Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Local News

Today's News

SEVIER COUNTY ORGANIZATION FILES PETITION TO INCLUDE ALCOHOL SALES ISSUE ON BALLOT FOR NOVEMBER ELECTION 01/20/20

Last week, a group of local business owners filed a petition for the legalization of alcohol sales to be included on the ballot for Sevier County voters in the November 2020 election. The petition was officially filed through the Sevier County courthouse on Friday, January 17th, 2020 by members of the Sevier County “EDGE” organization.

EDGE stands for Economic Development for Growth in Excellence.
According to the group’s facebook page, the organization was formed in May 2018 and is composed of local business owners seeking to “promote economic development through De Queen and Sevier County by forming an allegiance of volunteers that will act as a force to create community involvement and initiate change in order to achieve growth for local communities and businesses.”
 
The organization decided collectively to initiate the effort in order to “create revenue without raising taxes” in Sevier County, Arkansas. Neighboring communities of Ashdown, Arkansas and Broken Bow, Oklahoma are currently the closest locations for Sevier County residents to purchase liquor, though both trips require at least 20 minutes or more of travel time from De Queen. The city serves as the the county seat and its most populated town, as more than 6,000 residents call De Queen their home.
According to google maps, heading West from De Queen towards Broken Bow, Oklahoma is a 28-minute drive, while the 33-mile trip East from De Queen to Ashdown is estimated to take 41 minutes without excess traffic.
North of Sevier County,  there are “damp” liquor laws active for neighboring Polk County, Arkansas. Information on the official website for the city of Mena states that a few local restaurants are able to serve alcoholic drinks, however, there are  no liquor stores permitted to sell alcohol in Polk County.
 
EDGE is driving the initiative with the purpose of keeping those dollars spent on alcohol inside the Sevier county line.
If the petition gathers enough signatures and the ballot item were to be voted in, liquor stores would be allowed to open in Sevier County and area restaurants could file for permits to sell alcoholic beverages.

In the state of Arkansas, the population of an area dictates the number of liquor stores allowed in each county. Sevier County boasts more than 17,000 residents and a maximum of three liquor stores would be permitted within the county line.
 
In order for the item to pass, at least 2,503 signatures or 38 % of registered voters must sign the petition. Signing the petition doesn’t automatically mean a resident is in support of the item. A signature only indicates a desire for the issue to be put on the ballot, even if a resident shall choose to vote against it.
 
The petition will become available to the public through local business owners in retail stores and canvassing efforts around the county. Interested residents can request to view and sign the petition beginning Monday, January 20th.
 
POLICE ARREST TRESPASSER IN DE QUEEN 01/21/20
 
A man was held in the Sevier County jail earlier this month after police responded to a call on Oak Drive in De Queen.
According to a report from The De Queen Police Department, Officer Doug Johnson was provided with a copy of a trespass form and an order from Captain Sunny Kimmel to arrest a man named David Shaw on January 10th.
A woman named Shirley Shaw was reportedly questioned about David’s whereabouts by police but she denied that he was located inside the residence.
Police noted that Shirley refused to allow authorities to come inside the home and look for David.
The landlord of the house was called to the scene and she reportedly allowed the authorities to search for the suspect inside the home.
David Shaw was found inside the house and apprehended by police. Shirley Shaw was cited for hindering the apprehension of a person who committed a misdemeanor and David was charged with criminal trespass and held at the Sevier County Jail in De Queen.
 
 
MAN SUSPECTED OF DWI REFUSES BREATH TEST IN SEVIER COUNTY  01/21/20
 
A De Queen man was held in the Sevier County jail after authorities responded to a noise complaint Sunday.
A report released by The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department states that deputies arrived at the scene of a noise complaint call and came into contact with Daryl Rink, age 30 of De Queen on Sunday, January 19th. Officers noted finding that Rink had hit another vehicle with his own car and reportedly found that the man had been “consuming alcoholic beverages.” A series of field sobriety tests were administered before Rink was transported to the Sevier County Jail on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. While at the jail, he allegedly refused to take a breathalyzer exam and was charged with two crimes. Rink is now facing charges for DWI and refusal to submit to a breath test.
 
AGFC RECENT MEETING HELD 01/21/20
 
Arkansas’s bear and elk harvests showed slight declines during the 2019 season, but biologists with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said much of the decrease could be attributed to last year’s extremely productive hard mast crop.
There were 293 bears harvested with archery equipment, while 57 bears were harvested with muzzleloaders and 82 bears were taken using modern guns.
Arkansas bears are still slowly expanding in population numbers and a current study is in its last year of field research to establish a population baseline on bears in the Southwest Arkansas region and regulations will be based on those findings.
More information about elk and bear hunting updates and other news from the AGFC can be found online in a video of the most recent meeting. The link has been posted to AGFC.com
 
SOCCER REGISTRATION FOR PRE-K THROUGH 6TH GRADE IN DE QUEEN GOING ON NOW 01/21/20
 
Registration is going on now for the Spring soccer season in De Queen. The De Queen Soccer Association and De Queen Parks and Recreation department are currently accepting registration forms for Pre-K through 6th grade children. The registration fee is $25 and parents are required to sign their approval and medical release form for each child. Pre-K, Kindergarten 1st and 2nd grade soccer will be held on Thursday nights, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade soccer will be held on Monday nights.
Player information and medical release forms can be picked up at the parks and recreation office and all forms must be turned in by January 30th.
For questions, contact sports director Shelby Liggin at 870-642-4140 or email Sliggin@cityofdequeen.com
 
LARRY TEAGUE COLUMN 01/21/20
 
Thanks to legislation enacted in 1993, Arkansas continues to experience a competitive market for workers’ compensation insurance. The state Insurance Department performs an annual study of the market and reports to the Senate Committee on Insurance and Commerce.
According to the latest study, “Arkansas’s voluntary workers’ compensation market would have disappeared and many employers would have found themselves unable to afford workers’ compensation coverage, facing the choice of either closing down their business or operating outside the law, had Act 796 not become reality.” To emphasize its conclusion, the report states that “the impact of the Act on workers’ compensation premiums is clear and significant. Prior to its enactment rates were increasing significantly.”

In the two years immediately before the legislature approved Act 796 of 1993, rates increased 15 % and 18 %. However, the year in which the act passed was the first time in 10 years that workers’ comp rates did not go up. The act created a division within the Insurance Department assigned to investigate fraud, and set financial penalties for fraudulently making workers’ comp claims. In 2005 the division’s authority was expanded to investigate all forms of insurance fraud, and it was renamed the Criminal Investigation Division of the Insurance Department.

Workers’ comp fraud makes up four % of the total number of insurance fraud cases investigated by the division. Since 1993, when the investigation division was created, it has referred 166 cases to local prosecutors. Those referrals resulted in 123 convictions and three acquittals. The remaining cases were not acted on by prosecuting attorneys.

Arkansas companies can get workers’ comp from two categories. The most affordable plans are in the voluntary market. The other plan is an assigned risk pool for companies that do not generally qualify for the more affordable coverage available on the voluntary market. The Insurance Department annual report concludes that without the changes made by the legislature in Act 796 of 1993, it is doubtful that a voluntary market would still exist in Arkansas. The assigned risk pool, which is typically considered the market of last resort, would likely have become the Arkansas workers’ comp market of “only resort,” the insurance officials reported.

The state’s chief fiscal officer recently appeared before a Congressional committee in Washington, D.C. He briefed federal officials on the history of the Arkansas balanced budget amendment, and how state government can operate efficiently under a balanced budget every year.

The U.S. government is expected to run a deficit of $984 billion this fiscal year. Arkansas voters approved Amendment 20 to the state Constitution in 1934, which prohibits the state from borrowing money without approval by citizens in a statewide vote. Amendment 20 was placed on the ballot by the 1933 legislature.

In 1945 the legislature approved the Revenue Stabilization Act, which prioritizes state spending. If revenue declines due to a slowdown in the economy, state agency spending is reduced accordingly.

 
 
 
 
 
 
DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 01/20/20
 
A report from representative DeAnn Vaught states that research shows 61% of low-income families have no age-appropriate books in their homes. Middle-income homes have an average of 13 books per child.
On average, children in poverty have been exposed to only 25 hours of one-on-one reading, compared to middle-class children who have been exposed to 1,000-1,700 hours of one-on-one reading. Only 48% of young children are read to daily.

Exposure to books provides significant academic advantages as 85% of the brain is developed between the ages of 3-5.

To provide Arkansas families with more resources, a state 501 (c) (3) partnered with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in July 2017. Arkansas is 1 of 4 states to partner with the organization.

In 1995, singer-songwriter Dolly Parton launched the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Her vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families. The new program gave each child from birth to age 5 a specially selected book each month.
The program has expanded and now delivers 1.4 million books each month to children nationwide.

Recently, the House and Senate Education Committees were updated on the progress of the Arkansas Imagination Library.

Approximately, 39,000 books are delivered each month to Arkansas children enrolled in the program. And in the last year, more than 427,000 books have been delivered to Arkansas homes. The number of books mailed monthly grew 87.3% in just two years.

Thousands of families could still benefit from the program. Any family with children ages 5 and under can sign up regardless of income. We have provided a link on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

 
ASHDOWN ALUMNI ASSOCIATIONTO HOST SPEAKER JOHN MOORE NEXT MONTH 01/20/20
 
The Ashdown Alumni Association will host Ashdown High School Class of 1980 Graduate John Moore on Saturday, February 22 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Alumni House located at 751 Rankin Street. Mr. Moore will be signing copies of his most recent books Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now, Volume One and Two. They are available on Amazon and copies will be available at the signing for $10 each.
John Moore is a native of Ashdown, Arkansas, but he has called Texas home for over 30 years. He is a former radio announcer and worked at several stations in Arkansas and Texas. From 1979-1982, he even worked at Ashdown’s former station KMLA. While a student at AHS, he worked on the journalism staff as a photographer for the school paper.He currently owns One Moore Production, a recording studio where he does commercial voice work and books on tape for Audible. His weekly column, Moore Thoughts appears in the Marshall News-Messenger, Tyler Morning Telegraph, the Longview News-Journal, the Texarkana Gazette, and six others.
Mr. Moore said, “I am looking forward to coming home to Ashdown to see family and friends and I’m looking forward to supporting the Alumni Association through my book signing. I hope to see everyone come out on Saturday the 22nd from 11 to 2 and thanks to the Ashdown Alumni Association and the Ashdown School District for inviting me to come.”

Previously Reported

BURGLARY HANDLED BY CITY POLICE IN DE QUEEN SATURDAY 01/17/20

A man was jailed for burglary after authorities responded to a call at an apartment complex in De Queen Saturday night.

A report from The De Queen Police Department states that Sergeant Wayne Baker and Officer Micheal Barnes were dispatched to the scene of a burglary in process at Kingsgate Apartments around 5:56 p.m. on Saturday January 11th.
Police identified the burglary suspect as Rowdy Roberts, age 32 of Horatio. The occupant of the burglarized apartment reported coming home to damage at the residence, including a flooded bathtub and standing water throughout the living room and bathroom floor. Officers took photographic evidence of the scene and Roberts was placed in custody, then transported to the city police department for questioning. Roberts was charged with residential burglary, criminal mischief and theft of property. He was held in the Sevier County Jail in De Queen for the alleged crimes.

DEADLINE FOR SEVIER COUNTY HOSPITAL FLOOR PLAN COMMENTS TODAY 01/17/20

The deadline to submit input on the floor plan for the new Sevier County Hospital is today, Friday January 17th.
Local residents can look at the floor plan (pictured above) and email any comments that will be helpful in the overall design of the layout of the hospital. The board is looking for helpful and thoughtful comments regarding the layout of the hospital and all submissions must be turned in by the end of the day today, Friday, January 17th.
Please provide comments by emailing: myhospitalcomments@gmail.com
In the subject line, please enter: COMMENTS
Please include your name and address in the body of the email. Only verified comments will be accepted.

WILDLAND FIRE TRAINING OPEN TO AREA FIRE AND RESCUE AGENCIES 01/17/20

Red River Army Depot will be hosting a Wildland Fire Training Academy open to firefighters in the Southwest Arkansas area. The training is scheduled for February 3-11, 2020. This will be the third training academy held at RRAD.
This year the academy is offering seven courses, including: S-130/190 Basic Wildland Firefighter; S-212 Wildland Chainsaws; S-215 Fire Operations in the Wildland/Urban Interface; S-131 Firefighter Type 1; S-219 Firing Operations; S-230 Crew Boss (single resource) and S- 290 Intermediate Wildland Fire Behavior.
Registration is open to all federal and state agencies, as well as fire departments and prescribed burn managers. Classes will begin each day at 8:00 am at Red River’s Elliott Lake facility.
Those wanting to register may contact the Texas A&M Forest Service Regional Assistant Fire Coordinator, Billy Whitworth, at 936-546-3150 or by email at bwhitworth@tfs.tamu.edu.

FINES SUPPLY GRANT MONEY FOR ARKANSAS OUTDOOR EDUCATION AND CONSERVATION 01/17/20

Arkansas students participating in conservation education programs will have nearly a half a million dollars in support, thanks to the fines collected from poachers and other people who violate hunting and fishing laws in the state.
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission Division of Rural Services has awarded $444,230.34 in grants to promote wildlife education and improve school conservation programs to 164 schools, school districts, and conservation districts in 70 Arkansas counties. The grant program is funded by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission through fines collected from hunting and fishing violations. These grants have helped create archery, fishing and competitive shooting sports programs, created and enhanced outdoor classroom opportunities and provided funding for educational materials, lab supplies and field trips to AGFC nature and education centers. Conservation districts also use the funding to help promote wildlife conservation awareness in the communities by hosting environmental education days and fishing derbies for children of all ages.
Applications for these grants are each fall, with deadlines for grant proposals usually set at the beginning of October.
Visit www.ArkansasEDC.com/Rural-Services for more information on the grants, including a complete list of award recipients and program narratives.

ROAD IMPROVEMENTS APPROVED FOR POLK COUNTY 01/16/20

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to roadways in Polk County, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials.
The purpose of this project is to resurface selected sections of 3.7 miles of U.S. Highway 71 and State Highway 88 in Mena. Crow Group, Inc. of Morrilton was awarded the contract at $1,881,608.15.
Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in mid 2020.

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

HORATIO BOARD OF EDUCATION JANUARY MEETING UPDATE 01/16/20

Horatio Board of Education met in regular session on Monday, January 13, 2020 in
the administration building. The board voted to extend contract of superintendent, Lee Smith, through June 30, 2022. They also approved the 2020 master plan and resolution certifying the dedication of local resources to meet district’s share of the finance participation. Board members approved the resolution for the 2020 Annual School Election, to be held March 3, 2020. The board approved Save the Children budget and proceed with hiring of coordinators.
They accepted bid from Progressive Technologies for improvements to high school cameras and student transfer from De Queen to Horatio.

ARKANSAS AG FILES SUIT AGAINST TEXARKANA BUSINESS OWNER 01/16/20

Wednesday, January 15th, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed suit against Texarkana business owner Robert Stevens, owner of Pro-Pave Asphalt, Robert Stevens Construction and RS Asphalt, for multiple violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and Home Solicitation Sales Act (HSSA). Eight consumers have reported losses of nearly $60,000 resulting from Stevens’ aggressive and deceptive sales tactics.
“Arkansans, including our most vulnerable citizens, must be protected from aggressive business practices that attempt to skirt the law and demand exorbitant payments before work is performed or services rendered,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I will continue to hold bad actors accountable for their deceptive business practices.”
Eight consumer complaints received by the Attorney General’s Office between April 2016 and August 2019 reveal a common scheme. Stevens or his workers typically pull up to consumers’ houses in an asphalt truck, claim to have some leftover asphalt to sell at a “deeply discounted price,” and provide only vague, misleading, and incomplete estimates of the total cost. Stevens then immediately begins laying asphalt while failing to ever inform the consumer of their three-day right to cancel as required by the HSSA. After the work is completed or nearing completion, Stevens demands an exorbitant and unexpected payment amount and regularly threatens or intimidates consumers until they pay.
Six of the eight unresolved complaints are from senior citizens over the age of 60 and span the State from Manila to Gravette and Texarkana.
Stevens can face a $10,000 fine for each violation of the ADTPA and HSSA and is subject to an additional $10,000 penalty per violation for targeting elderly consumers.
General Rutledge encourages all Arkansans to demand written estimates of the total project price before any construction work begins.
For more tips to help avoid falling victim to bad actors, 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.

FULL AGENDA HANDLED BY DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD MONDAY NIGHT 01/16/20

A full list of agenda items was tackled by The De Queen school board during the meeting Monday, January 13th at the district administration building. A new head coach for the leopard football program was announced with Brad Chesshir to fill the role beginning later this year. Chesshir is the current defensive coordinator at Jonesboro High school and he also worked as a coach with Nashville High School when the team won a state title in 2015.
(click to hear soundbite on new Football Coach Brad Chesshir from Superintendent Jason Sanders)

KDQN 921 FM was granted exclusivity of broadcasting leopard athletic events by the board and Bunyard Broadcasting will continue to host the official network of leopard sports.
A master plan for the district's future was approved. The plan allows flexibility to be adjusted as goals for De Queen Schools continue to evolve in the coming years. In addition to all financial statements, expenditures, student transfers, policies and previous meeting's minutes, the expulsion of an unnamed student was also approved, as recommended by Superintendent, Jason Sanders.
In Mr.Sanders report, plans for the future were discussed in terms of phase two for the High School construction project. Sanders says a courtyard for outside classes and lunch breaks are on the way, along with renovations for the Jr. High School and many other updates still in the works.
(Listen to hear soundbite on district plans from Superintendent Jason Sanders)

Also in the Superintendent's report, the board discussed a partnership with UA Cossatot Community College that would bring “leopard launch” to the district. The proposed program would allow students to graduate High School with an associate's degree from the college. Sanders describes the program as “competitive.”
(Listen to hear soundbite on the leopard launch program from Superintendent Jason Sanders)

After approving the resignation of Athletic Director Bob Sikes and rescinding the resignation of Katelynn Norris, the board renewed contracts for Superintendent Jason Sanders and Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton. They also heard a report from Joe Vallee in the maintenance department regarding properties around the county that are owned by the district but are currently inaccessible or occupied by friends of De Queen schools. The board then approved the selling of a property in Lockesburg and established the next meeting time before adjourning.
The next De Queen School Board meeting will be held Monday February 10th at 5:30 p.m. in the district administration building.

SEVIER COUNTY FARM BUREAU RECEIVES RECOGNITION AT ANNUAL CONVENTION 01/14/20

Sevier County Farm Bureau President Bruce Jackson (center) of Lockesburg received recognition for the county’s work at the 85th Arkansas Farm Bureau annual convention recently in Little Rock. Presenting the award were former President Randy Veach (right) and newly elected president Rich Hillman of Arkansas Farm Bureau. Each county Farm Bureau is measured in 10 program areas and awarded Gold Stars for exemplary effort in each one. Sevier County earned 9 Gold Stars.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a non-profit, private farm and rural advocacy organization of more than 191,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR TO SPEAK AT KNIFE DEDICATION CEREMONY IN HEMPSTEAD COUNTY THIS WEEK 01/14/20

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson will be appearing in Hempstead County this week, as he is set to speak at the Arkansas #1 knife dedication ceremony during the grand opening of the UAHT James Black School of Bladesmithing and Historic Trades. The campus is located in Historic Washington State Park and the dedication ceremony will be held on Friday, January 17th at 2:30 p.m. The grand opening will also be the first public viewing of Arkansas #1 knife. Along with the dedication, there will be a special reception hosted by the Southwest Arkansas Arts Council.
The 92nd General Assembly, in ACT 510, designated the Bowie knife, commonly known as the “Arkansas Toothpick,” as the official knife of the State of Arkansas. The General Assembly also passed, and Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law ACT 818, which designated Historic Washington, Arkansas, as the “Birthplace of the Bowie Knife, Arkansas Heritage Site” and designated the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana to develop and operate a school of bladesmithing.
Visit https://www.uaht.edu/bladesmithing/ for more information about the dedication ceremony and the bladesmithing school.

HORATIO ELEMENTARY TEACHERS RECEIVE GRANTS 01/14/20

Three Horatio Elementary staff members successfully earned grants for their programs recently. Karen Cunningham earned a Blue & You Foundation grant for $1,000 to upgrade the school's first aid and CPR equipment. Leslie Ray was awarded two Life Science classroom grants totaling $631 for the addition of a freshwater aquarium and dissection materials. Glenda Butler was awarded $3,283 from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission to support the school's greenhouse and gardening education. Congratulations to these educators for going above and beyond to make safer and more meaningful learning experiences for students.

DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 01/13/20

In an age where technology moves at a rapid pace, electronic devices often become e-waste in only a few years after manufacturing.

Electronic waste is commonly known as e-waste. It is defined as used electronics that are nearing the end of their useful life, and are discarded, donated or given to a recycler.
The amount of worldwide e-waste generation in 2018 exceeded 50 million tons. And it’s growing at a rate of 5% every year.
This month, a House City, County, and Local Affairs Planning Sub-Committee held a meeting to discuss e-waste, the impact it has on our state, and what is being done to address the problem.
Many electronics contain elements – lead, mercury, and cadmium, for example – that are safe when the items are used as directed but can be hazardous if disposed of in household trash and compacted at landfills. There are 19 Regional Solid Waste Management Districts across the state. Representatives from several of those districts testified to members of the committee about their e-waste recycling efforts. In that testimony, we learned that e-waste represents 2% of America's trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste. We also learned that only 12.5% of e-waste is currently recycled.
An estimated 6,000 tons of e-waste in 2018 were collected and processed in Arkansas.
Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year. For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, and 75 pounds of gold can be recovered. For all the benefits of recycling electronics, collection efforts can be costly. And with Arkansans disposing more each year it is an issue that demands our attention.
While the legislature continues to study ways to address e-waste collection efforts, there are things all of us can do to reduce the amount of products we discard. Proper maintenance of electronics can extend their usefulness. And before discarding, consider selling or donating your used device.
Many Arkansas communities offer electronic waste collection centers or events. We posted a link to find an e-waste collection center in your area on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

FOUR STATES BANDMASTERS CONVENTION THIS WEEK 01/14/20

The Four States Bandmasters Convention & Clinic will be held on Thursday, January 16 through Saturday, January 18. An expected 350 students along with directors representing 57 schools from the four states area will be in attendance.

The Four States Bandmasters Convention & Clinic brings together the musical abilities of area students who have been nominated to the Four States Honor Band by area band directors. During the course of the convention, students audition for one of three bands: jazz, concert and symphonic. Following their concert assignment, students rehearse on a daily basis and present a series of concerts to the community which will be held on Saturday, January 18 at 2:00 p.m. at the Sullivan Performing Arts Center & John Thomas Theatre. Admission is FREE and the public is invited to attend

ARKANSAS AG TO OFFER FREE SCAM PROTECTION WEBCAST 01/14/20

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.

TRIAL DATES PUSHED BACK IN SEVIER COUNTY NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE CASE 01/10/20

A pre-trial date set for earlier this week in a Sevier County Negligent Homicide case has been pushed back, according to reports from the Sevier County Court system.

Justin Williams, age 25, of Texas is accused of killing three Sevier County residents and injuring another in a car accident that occurred on Highway 41 back on October 12th, 2019.

Reports state that the smell of alcohol was allegedly coming from Williams while he was being interviewed by State Police after the accident. He also allegedly admitted to attempting to pass another vehicle in a no pass zone at the time of the collision.

Williams was arrested by local authorities on October 17th and held at The Sevier County jail before being released the same day on a $100,000 bond.

The pre-trial hearing in the case was originally scheduled for Thursday, January 9th, 2020 at The Sevier County courthouse in De Queen, however the legal team representing Justin Williams asked for a continuance and the request was granted. The date has been pushed back to March 19th, 2020.

A jury trial date in the case set for January 29th was also rescheduled. That date has been rescheduled for April 1st of 2020.

If convicted, a prison term of up to 20 years is possible for each homicide charge.

SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES RECOVER STOLEN TRAILER THIS WEEK 01/10/20

A trailer reported stolen from a Sevier County business was recovered by local authorities this week, and a suspect was taken into custody.

According to a report released by the Sevier County Sheriff's Department, on Tuesday, January 7th Deputies recovered a 16-foot axle trailer that had been reported stolen from Baker's Saw Shop in Lockesburg.

Sergeant Greg Davignon and Investigator Brian Hankins reportedly received information about the trailer that lead to the discovery. Officers with the department went to a residence in Howard county Tuesday and recovered the trailer, valued at $1,800 and returned the property to the rightful owner. Robert Blake Massingill was arrested and charged with felony theft of property. Massingill was held in the Sevier County jail on a $5,000 bond.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE APPROACHING AT UA COSSATOT 01/10/20

The UA Cossatot spring semester will begin on Monday, January 13, 2020, but open registration will be taking place until Wednesday, January 15, 2020. Anyone that would like to enroll in a college course at UA Cossatot for the spring semester can do so by contacting Student Services by January 15.
Six-teen and eight-week courses are being offered in class and online. The full list of courses being offered this semester can be viewed at www.cccua.edu.
UA Cossatot Admissions Advisor, Jocelin Galvez, said, “Come on by Student Services, and we will be more than happy to help you get registered for classes and answer any questions. Whether you will be a first-time college student needing more information regarding our programs and tuition costs, or simply a returning student needing to get enrolled, please stop by any of our campuses. We will get you taken care of!”
To speak with Student Services about registering for classes, please call 870-584-4471 or e-mail them at studentservices@cccua.edu. Walk-ins are always welcome. The UA Cossatot campus hours for De Queen, Nashville, and Ashdown are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.

TURKEY HUNT PERMIT APPLICATIONS BEGIN JANUARY 15TH 01/10/20

Turkey season may open at the beginning of April, but now is the time to begin planning for a successful season. One of the best ways to be successful on public land is to apply for one of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s wildlife management area turkey hunt permits beginning Jan. 15.

Many good public turkey hunting opportunities exist, particularly on the large cooperative WMAs owned by the U.S. Forest Service. However, turkeys and turkey hunters need room to spread out, which can lead to conflicts between hunters on some smaller WMAs. To increase the quality of the hunt on some of the most popular public areas, the AGFC restricts the number of hunters allowed during turkey season through random drawings. Only permit holders may hunt on the WMA during the permit hunt. However, a permit holder can have a friend alongside them to call for them. Friends and family may camp with permit holders at designated campsites on the WMA.
Applications are taken electronically through www.agfc.com, from Jan. 15 through Feb. 15, and winning applicants will be notified via email. Applications require a $5 nonrefundable processing fee. Winning applicants are not required to pay any additional fees beyond the purchase of their hunting license.
Visit www.agfc.com/turkeypermits to view a list of available permits.

ASHDOWN STUDENTS ACHIEVE MICROSOFT SKILLS IN BUSINESS CLASSES 01/10/20

The following 9th grade students in Mrs. McCormack and Mrs. Tipton’s Survey of Business classes achieved Microsoft Office Specialisertification in Word 2016 in November and December.
The Microsoft Office Specialist Program provides industry-leading assessments of skills and knowledge through project-based testing, giving students and professionals real-world exercises to appraise their understanding of Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office Specialist program boosts academic performance, prepares students for college and opens doors for career opportunities. Microsoft Office continues to be one of the Top 3 Skills required for jobs.
Front Row, Left to Right: Brinlee McAdams, Anna Neeson, Reagan Burden, Jessie Hinton, Jaimya Northcross, Jamiya Traylor, Za’karyionna Williams, Quincya Faulks, Rachael Vice, Zoe Hogan, Matthew McKendre, Tyler Baldwin
2nd Row, Left to Right: Xzavier Brown, Kimberly Hendrix, Savannah Neldon, Dal Ringgold, Gavin Ketcher, Derek Hilton, Kayn Hawk, Marty Lansdell, Lexi Ryan, Elizabeth Rutledge, Caleb Bass
3rd Row, Left to Right: Adrian Fondren, Carter Cash, Destiny Surber, Blake Scheik, Journey Pope, Jeana Paredes, Stacy Walker, Gracie Young, Aly Mills, Isaac Linnett, Madison Hudleston, Ethan Jones, Michael Taylor, Jonathan Denney
4th Row, Left to Right: Jared Day, Drake Abney, Jerri Pricket, Allison Wooden, Emily Wooden, Shamar Easter, Makaila Moore, Von Deric Thomas, Cameron Sanders, Malik Muldrew, Whit Shelton, Sean Swearengin, Caleb Henry, Joshua Shute
Not Pictured: Kasey Dinwiddie, Dylan Rose, Matthew Reed, Kaiden Parker, Michael Mcelroy, Jaylie Lehnert, Jayda Nelson, Savanna Parker, Juan Pena, Shane Offutt, Jayden Brooks

HEMPSTEAD COUNTY MEETINGS ANNOUNCED FOR SALES TAX DISCUSSION 01/10/20

A series of meetings will be held throughout Hempstead County over the next few weeks as county officials present information regarding a one cent sales tax election. The issue will be on the March ballot and, if approved by voters, the tax revenues would be used to convert the former Farmers Bank and Trust building into a new courthouse. The measure would also provide funds for the removal of the current courthouse should the county decide to tear down the existing structure.

Meeting dates will include February 11th at the McNab Community Center, February 18th at the Blevins City Hall and February 25th at the Washington Fire Station. Each of the meetings will begin at six p.m.

 
SEVIER COUNTY HOSPITAL BOARD SEEKING PUBLIC INPUT ON FLOOR PLAN DESIGN 01/09/20
 
The Sevier County Hospital Board of Directors is seeking community input on the design for the New Sevier County Hospital Building. Since the beginning of the journey towards building a new state-of-the-art hospital for Sevier County, project leaders have promised transparency in the entire process. That is why the board is asking for Sevier County residents to comment on the new hospital floor plan. Since 84% of Sevier County voters approved the sales tax to support the hospital, project leaders and board members have felt compelled to see helpful comments from the community. 
Local residents can look at the floor plan (pictured above) and feel free to email any comments that will be helpful in the overall design of the layout of the hospital. The board is looking for helpful and thoughtful comments regarding the layout of the hospital and all submissions must be turned in by Friday, January 17th.
Please provide comments by emailing: myhospitalcomments@gmail.com
In the subject line, please enter: COMMENTS
Please include your name and address in the body of the email. Only verified comments will be accepted.
 
SEVIER COUNTY TOURISM COMMITEE NOMINATED FOR HENRY AWARD 01/09/20
 
The winners of the Excellence in Arkansas Tourism Henry Awards will be revealed at the 46th Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism to be held in Fort Smith March 1-3, 2020. The Henry Awards ceremony will take place the evening of Tuesday, March 3. The awards honor Henri de Tonti, the man historians consider to be among the first “Arkansas Travelers.”

The awards and respective finalists include:

The Bootstrap Award, which is presented annually to an individual, organization, or community that has achieved significant success “on a shoestring” budget.
Nominees:
– Spring River Innovation Hub, Inc., for work on the Arkansas Pie Festival
Sevier County Tourism Committee
– Marvell Civic Club for work on the Levon Helm Project
 
During the Henry Awards ceremony, the Tourism Person of the Year Award will also be announced. Selected by former honorees, the Tourism Person of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who has been actively involved in tourism and who has made a substantial contribution, within the past year, to the betterment of the tourism industry as a whole.

The Tourism Hall of Fame Award is presented the previous day of the conference, recognizing individuals who have been actively involved for many years in tourism and have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the industry.

For more information on the 46th Annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism, contact Arkansas Tourism at 501-682-1926. For specific information on the Henry Awards, contact Leigha Jones at 501-682-1676.

 
DE QUEEN QUIZ BOWL TEAM GOES UNDEFEATED WEDNESDAY 01/09/20
The De Queen High School Quiz Bowl team competed in the Dual Educational Cooperatives Tournament this week. The match was held at The UA Cossatot Nashville Campus on Wednesday, January 8th 2020. The team went undefeated and won the tournament. 
 
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL MEETING HELD TUESDAY NIGHT 01/09/20
 
Before diving into a short list of agenda items at Tuesday night's council meeting in De Queen, Logan Pearce of Pearce Knives and Riverside machine shop addressed the aldermen to propose logistics for the “world's biggest knife” project.
 
The knife is projected to stand 30 feet tall and will serve as a tourist attraction for travelers to stop and see when passing through Sevier County. Ideally, visitors would stop to take pictures with the knife and then check out local shops and restaurants in town. A discussion was held surrounding the best possible location to place the pending tourist attraction, and Mayor Jeff Brown suggested a pavilion be set up near the knife in Downtown De Queen to draw tourists towards local businesses in the Downtown District.
 
The biggest issue surrounding the location for the knife is visibility from busy streets and well-traveled areas to ensure visitors stop in De Queen. The World's Biggest Knife conversation is set to continue in the coming months and the council will be working closely with Logan on the new tourist attraction.
 
City Water Department Superintendent Darren Higgins also addressed the council to report that the water tank project has been going smoothly and is expected to be complete as early as the end of January.
 
After approving the previous meeting's minutes, the council agreed to push the master plan discussion until the January 21st meeting. Tabling the item will allow Economic Development Director Lisa Taylor to be present for the conversation so additional questions can be properly addressed if need be.
 
The aldermen then approved to up the city's portion of the County Economic Development Department from $10,500 to $20,500. The also approved the transfer of $12,500 from the 2019 budget to the 2020 budget for an expansion at The City Fire Department.
The last item addressed Tuesday night was the scheduling of dates and times for all monthly De Queen City Council meetings going forward in 2020. Mayor Jeff Brown reported last fall that most other city councils around the state meet just once a month, and the decision to continue their meeting schedule as is or drop down to one meeting a month was left up to the aldermen. After a quick discussion it was agreed that the meeting times will remain the same. All De Queen City Council meetings will continue to be held the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month, beginning at 5:30 p.m. in city hall. 
 
After the agenda items were all addressed, the topic of an amendment to the safe water drinking act was discussed. The council will conduct a rate survey to calculate the cost of production for city water. The rate survey will provide a breakdown of expenses and compare De Queen numbers with the numbers of a similar sized city in Arkansas.
 
The next De Queen City Council meeting will be held Tuesday January 21st at 5:30 p.m. in City Hall. 
 
 
PRE-TRIAL DATE SET FOR MAN ACCUSED OF CAUSING CRASH THAT KILLED THREE HORATIO RESIDENTS, INJURED ANOTHER 01/07/20
 
A man charged with multiple counts of negligent homicide for the deaths of three Horatio residents has a pre-trial hearing scheduled in Sevier County this week.
According to an Arkansas State Police report, Justin Blake Williams of Texas is listed as the driver of a 2016 Dodge Ram Truck that crossed the center line on Highway 41 October 12th, 2019 and struck a 2013 Buick Enclave, driven by Jessica Baig of Horatio.
Jessica, her husband Mirza Baig, and ten-year-old daughter, Lillian passed away as a result of the accident. The youngest daughter, Roselynn, age seven, was severely injured in the crash.
 
The pre-trial hearing in the case is set for this Thursday, January 9th at 9:00 a.m. in The Sevier County Courtroom, located in De Queen.
 
 Williams received medical services at a regional hospital after the accident and was then arrested by local authorities on October 17th. He was held at The Sevier County jail and then released the same day on a $100,000 bond.
 
An affidavit in the case states that Williams admitted to police that he consumed “a few” drinks but would not state how many. His speech was described as “slow and slurred” and the smell of alcohol was reportedly coming off his person while being interviewed after the accident. Williams also allegedly admitted to attempting to pass another vehicle in a no pass zone at the time of the collision.
 
Following the pre-trial hearing this Thursday, Williams is also scheduled for a jury trial beginning January 29th, 2020. Attorney Bryan Chesshir will prosecute the case before circuit Judge Charles Yeargan.
 
In addition to three counts of negligent homicide for the deaths of Mirza, Jessica and Lillian, Williams also faces one count of battery for the injuries Roselynn received from the collision.
If convicted, a prison term of up to 20 years is possible for each negligent homicide charge , as well as up to $15,000 in fines for each count.
 
Williams has reportedly plead “not guilty” to all charges.
 
PRUNING WORKSHOP IN CLARKSVILLE, AR   01/09/20
 

Thursday, February 27, 2020 the U of A Fruit Research Station in Clarksville will be hosting a pruning workshop.  In this workshop, you will learn about the principles of pruning with hands-on demonstrations in blueberries, blackberries, grapes, peaches, and pecans.  Registration will begin at 12:45 p.m. with the workshop starting at 1:15 p.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m.

Pre-registration is required. Please email Katie Hanshaw at  Khanshaw@uark.edu or call 479-754-2406 to pre-register, or  for further information.  There will be a $10.00 charge collected on the day of the event for the workshop. Cash only. (University employees and students are free)

Location: 1749 State Hwy 818, Clarksville, AR 72830

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact the Sevier County Extension Office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

 
MAN JAILED FOR ASSAULT IN DE QUEEN LAST WEEK 01/08/20
 
A man was held in the Sevier County Jail after local authorities responded to a call about a domestic dispute in De Queen last Thursday.
 
A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that officer Jarrin Platt was dispatched to a home on West Wood street Thursday, January 2nd around 9:40 a.m.
 Platt was assisted in the call by Officer Michael Barnes. While at the residence, officers spoke with a man named Trinidad Abrego who reportedly admitting to slapping a woman during an incident that occurred inside the home.
 
Officers noted seeing visible marks on the woman's face and the man was taken into custody. Abrego was charged with assault on a family or household member in the 2nd degree and held at the Sevier County Jail in De Queen.
 
 
TIME CLOCK ISSUE CONTINUES TO PUZZLE SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT 01/08/20
A hot button conversation put on hold by the Sevier County Quorum Court back in November has been tabled again until February, as decided at Monday's afternoon meeting, January 6th.
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 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 local police and paramedics.
 
After a lengthy discussion was held and opposing views were expressed by the Justices of the Peace, it was decided that the item would be tabled.
 
JP Earl Baptisse told the Quorum he feels the system would provide organization for the scheduling tasks of the department heads involved, while JP Greg Wright expressed that the tracking aspect of punching an electronic clock puts a “big brother” element over the county employees required to use the system. With no action taken and other items to address, The Quorum Court agreed to continue the discussion next month at the February meeting.
 
Under new business items, the official date and time of all Sevier County Quorum Court meetings was set. The same schedule will be kept as the previous years with the meetings to take place on the 2nd Monday of each month at 2:00 p.m. in the County Courthouse Conference room.
The Quorum then approved the decision to properly destroy old records kept by the county district court and to appropriate an additional $10,000 in legal fees related to the Sevier County Hospital.
 
The final item addressed was the decision to increase the amount of money allotted to Lisa Taylor and the Economic Development Department of Sevier County. The item was approved and $10,000 will be allotted for Ms. Taylor and the economic development department. The funds are set to provide a portion of the needed budget for economic programming, events, travel expenses, guest speakers at conferences, and other miscellaneous needs for the department, as well as the director's salary.
 
The next Sevier County Quorum Court meeting will be held Monday, February 10th at 2pm in the county courthouse.
 
 
PLUNGE FOR LIFE IN MCCURTAIN COUNTY FEBRUARY 1ST 01/08/20
 
WeeCare Pregnancy Resources, Inc.-a non-profit, faith based pregnancy crisis
center will be hosting our 11 th Annual PLUNGE for Life on Saturday, February 1 st at
1:00 p.m. The event will take place at Area D, Stephens Gap of Broken Bow Lake.
If you would like to participate, please contact the center at 580-286-5390 or by
email at weecare4u@yahoo.com. You may also pick up a participant packet at the center in Idabel, OK.
FREE SERVICES OFFERED TO CLIENTS REGARDLESS OF ECONOMIC STATUS INCLUDE:
 PREGNANCY TESTS
 ULTRASOUNDS
 CHILD BIRTHING CLASSES
 CPR/FIRST AID CLASSES
 PARENTING CLASSES
 MATERNITY CLOTHES
 BABY CARE ITEMS
 TUTORING & MENTORING PROGRAMS
 POST-ABORTION SUPPORT
 ADOPTION EDUCATION
 LOVE & SUPPORT
 PUBLIC SAFETY CAR SEAT PROGRAM
WeeCare Pregnancy Resources, Inc. can be reached by calling (580) 286-5390. The center is located at 110 East Main Street, Idabel, OK 74745.
 
 
DE QUEEN SCHOOLS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR TO RETIRE 01/07/20
 
De Queen Schools Athletic Director Bob Sikes informed Superintendent Jason Sanders Monday that he will be retiring at the end of the 2019-2020 school year after 38 years of service
with the De Queen School District. Coach Sikes began his coaching career as head baseball
coach and assistant football coach. He served the Leopards football team as defensive coordinator, and enjoyed a successful run as high school baseball coach before becoming
Athletic Director. Superintendent Sanders says he appreciates the dedication that Coach Sikes has shown the sports programs at De Queen Schools and he will always refer to Sikes as “Coach.”
The De Queen School Board will accept the retirement notice from Coach Sikes at their Tuesday meeting.
Meanwhile, the search for a new head football coach continues at De Queen High School. Superintendent Jason Sanders says that 39 potential applicants have expressed
interest in the position. A search committee, headed by Sanders, has narrowed the list down to six candidates to be interviewed. Three of the candidates will be interviewed on
Tuesday of this week, while the other three will be interviewed on Wednesday.
 
DE QUEEN SCHOOLS DISTRICT ON TRACK TO OPEN NEW HIGH SCHOOL NEXT YEAR 01/07/20
 
De Queen Schools have recently been recognized both regionally and statewide for academic achievement. In fact, a lobbying organization named Arkansas Learns wrote in an
article that other school districts around the state should borrow ideas from De Queen Schools as far as how to be better student-focused. De Queen Schools Superintendent Jason
Sanders told the De Queen Rotary Club Monday about some of the recognition that the school system has been receiving lately, including OEP awards received from The University of Arkansas and ranking #35 out of more than 200 schools throughout the state.
Construction continues on the new 78,000 square foot high school on the De Queen campus. The contractor is Clark Contractors from Little Rock. Despite the wet weather over the past twelve months, Superintendent Sanders says the project is on budget and on time for the 2020-2021 school year.
De Queen Schools currently have an enrollment of 2,350 students grades Kindergarten through 12th. Unless the De Queen area sees significant economic growth in the near future,
Superintendent Sanders says that the new high school should wrap up anticipated construction and expansion needs for the immediate future.
 
 
 
BROKEN BOW CITIZEN OF THE YEAR NOMINATIONS DUE JAN. 13TH 01/07/20
 
The Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce will begin accepting nominations for the 2019 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR. The recipient will be acknowledged at the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet scheduled for February 18th at the Broken Bow First Assembly Family Life Center.
Nominees do not have to be well-known or involved in major events. The nominee(s) can be anyone, your friend, your family, or your neighbor. All that we want to recognize is how their efforts have made a positive impact in our community. Do you happen to know someone who gives their time and energy on a voluntary basis to benefit Broken Bow? If you know someone deserving this honor, please send us the following information:
1. Your Name
2. Address
3. Phone Number
4. NOMINIEE’S NAME
5. Address
6. Phone Number
7. A description of “WHY” you believe this individual should be Broken Bow’s Citizen of the Year.
Nomination forms are due January 13th Nominations can be mailed, emailed, dropped off or faxed to the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce, 113 West MLK, Broken Bow, OK 74728. For more Information, call Charity O’Donnell, Chamber Director, at 580-584-3393.
 
EXTENSION GET FIT CLASSES OFFERED   01/06/20
 
Imagine a certified fitness program without a high membership cost, or the intimidation of a gym; one led by someone you know in a venue as close as your church or school. That’s the formula for Extension Get Fit, a program that’s already making an impact on the amount spent on healthcare in Arkansas.
Extension Get Fit is a community based fitness program that also serves as a support program. Extension Get Fit is a step in the right direction for Arkansas, which ranks third in the nation for its adult obesity rate of 37 percent, according to the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The more you exercise, the greater the health benefits. So get up and get moving and join us at the Skilled Trades Building on the UA Cossatot Campus in De Queen on Tuesday, January 14 at 5:30 pm for an introductory meeting.  Find out how you can exercise in your own community with your friends and neighbors.
The Sevier County Cooperative Extension Service offers the Get Fit for just $20 a year.  The class follows a structured training regime designed by Arkansas Extension Service specialists to use hand weights with exercises that can be tailored to different fitness levels.
Participation in Get Fit serves as a social outlet and a base of support for those trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle.  Participants have a lot of fun and think of it as a support group.
While the Extension Get Fit program targets older adults, the program is open to anyone especially those who have never exercised or who need to start at different levels.  Janet Cantrell, Family and Consumer Sciences County Extension Agent, says, “One of the ways that we are able to offer this service in so many areas is the use of local volunteers.  Community volunteers that usually start out taking the classes themselves, may go through a training program in order to be able to lead classes for others. This means that classes can be offered closer to rural communities in venues like churches and community centers.”
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week and should engage in muscle strengthening exercise that works all major muscle groups twice a week. Adults 65 and older should add balance exercises in addition to the aerobic and strengthening exercises recommended for younger people.
Participating in a group exercise program and maintaining a well-balanced exercise regimen is beneficial to health. It reduces risk of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and some cancers. It also improves sleep patterns and reduces stress.The program cannot only help participants maintain or increase their fitness level, but also help them gain confidence.  As people age, they might see a decline in what they were once able to do physically. The Get Fit program helps participants rebuild and maintain strength, making them a role model for health at a later age for their kids and grandkids.
For more information on Get Fit program times, locations, and pricing, contact the Sevier County Cooperative Extension Service at 870-584-3013 or email jcantrell@uaex.edu. We are located on the UA Cossatot Campus at 183 College Drive in De Queen.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact the Sevier County Extension Office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
 
DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 01/06/20
 

One of the new laws which took effect this week may reduce the number of uninsured motorists on Arkansas roads.

Nationwide, it is estimated that 1 in 8 drivers do not have insurance. In Arkansas, the uninsured motorist rate has been higher than the national average in recent years. The latest numbers show close to 16% of drivers on our roads may be uninsured. Arkansas State Police write more than 10,000 citations a year for failing to provide proof of insurance.

 Legislators along with law enforcement and insurance companies worked for two years to implement a system to address this problem.

The result is the implementation of a real-time insurance verification program. It was created by Act 1016 of 2017. The fees and dates of implementation were created by Act 869 of 2019. It went into effect on January 1, 2020. 

The system allows law enforcement real-time data when they run a license plate. It will tell officers if the car is currently insured or if a policy has lapsed. In addition, it will also result in letters being issued to any Arkansan (with a registered vehicle) if they allow any lapse in insurance coverage. As soon as the system is alerted to the lapse, the owner will be issued a $100 fine for the lapse in coverage along with a letter notifying them of this.  If the fine and proof of insurance are not provided within a certain time frame (normally 30 days), the vehicle’s registration will be permanently suspended until the fine is paid and coverage confirmed.

When a similar system was implemented in Alabama, the rates of uninsured motorists on the road dropped from more than 20% to 13%.

This is just one of several laws which took effect this week.  You can find a list of other laws on our websitewww.arkansashouse.org.

 
DE QUEEN MAN CHARGED WITH DWI ON FIRST DAY OF NEW YEAR 01/06/20
 
A man was charged with Driving While Intoxicated in De Queen on Wednesday, January 1st after local authorities conducted a traffic stop on Colin Raye Drive.
 
According to a report released from The De Queen Police Department, Sergeant Sunny Kimmel was patrolling Lakeside Drive when he noted observing a white truck  make a wide turn and drive through a shopping center parking lot.
 
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Robert Colton Rogers, age 20 of De Queen.
Sergeant Kimmel reported the smell of intoxicants coming off Rogers' person. The suspect was also reported to have bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Rogers allegedly admitted to consuming “five or six beers” and a series of sobriety tests were conducted by the officer.
Rogers was taken in to custody for suspicion of driving while intoxicated and held at The Sevier County jail in De Queen.
 
BLADESMITH SCHOOL OPENING IN WASHINGTON, ARKANSAS 01/06/20
 
The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana James Black School of Bladesmithing and Historic Trades, on the grounds of Historic Washington State Park, will hold a grand opening on January 17, 2020, at 2:30 p.m. The grand opening will be held at the James Black School located in the Stephens House at 601 Lawrence Street in Washington, Arkansas.
The 92nd General Assembly in ACT 510 designed the Bowie knife, commonly known as the “Arkansas Toothpick,” as the official knife of the State of Arkansas. The General Assembly also passed, and Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law, ACT 818 which designated Historic Washington, Arkansas, as the “Birthplace of the Bowie Knife, Arkansas Heritage Site” and designated the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana to develop and operate a school of bladesmithing in Historic Washington.
The grand opening will feature special guest, Governor Asa Hutchinson, who will formally dedicate the “Arkansas #1” Bowie knife during the event.
There will also be several other special events on the day of the grand opening. A community education class entitled “The History and Art of the Bowie Knife,” will take place at 11:00 a.m. in the beautifully restored 1860 Brunson House at Historic Washington State Park. Individuals wishing to participate in the class can register by calling the UAHT Community Education Department at 870-722-8102.
UAHT will offer a Certificate of Proficiency in Bladesmithing beginning January 17. The degree plan is designed to provide students with a unique opportunity to earn a degree in the historic art of bladesmithing. Courses in the credit program will include Introduction to Bladesmithing, Intermediate Bladesmithing, Knifemaking, and more. Students will also have the option to enroll in classes as non-credit students. To enroll, visit uaht.edu/bladesmithing.
 
Please join us at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana James Black School of Bladesmithing and Historic Trades Grand Opening. For more information, call 870-722-8516.
 

JACOB BUNYARD GRADUATES FROM UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS 01/03/20

Jacob Bunyard of De Queen graduated with honors in December from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with a double major in Accounting and Finance.
Bunyard, a 2015 graduate of De Queen High School, served as President for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and Vice President of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS). Jacob was a member of Beta Alpha Psi, and was also active in TF College, his church ministry. During his junior year at the University of Arkansas, he studied abroad in Brazil.
His grade point average at the University of Arkansas was 3.809. Bunyard, graduating Cum Laude, was one of only 14 honor graduates among the several hundred students receiving their diplomas from the Sam Walton College of Business on the Fayetteville campus last month. His thesis presentation topic was on International Money Exchange Rate Fluctuations.
The son of Jay and Teresa Bunyard of De Queen, Jacob will begin work with Landmark CPA’s in Fort Smith in January, and he plans to sit for the CPA exam in 2020.

COUNTY HOSPITAL BOARD SEEKING PUBLIC INPUT ON FLOOR PLAN FOR NEW MEDICAL CENTER 01/03/20

The Sevier County Hospital Board will be seeking public comment from the community in regards to the final floor plan design for the new emergency facility, set to open next year.
During the January 2nd meeting the board decided on a method for including the public, along with area medical providers in the process of finalizing the hospital design before submitting the plan to WD&D Architectural firm and then beginning the construction process this Spring.
Funds from the sales tax that will be used for construction and operation costs of the Hospital are set to begin generating in April 2020. The board members, legal team, architects, construction firm and various community leaders have all been hard at work planning logistics for the new medical center over the past several months.
Board Chairman Dr. Steve Cole reports that he as received comments from area residents who are concerned that the construction phase has yet to begin. Though ground has not yet been broken for the project to begin being built, the board members remain busy behind the scenes, working on legalities, insurance policies, planning and logistics issues, along with other paperwork required to bring a 24-hour a day, 7-day a week emergency healthcare facility to Sevier County. Dr. Cole says the hospital is still on track time wise, and dirt work is set to begin this Spring.
(Listen for Soundbite from Hospital Board Chairman, Dr. Steve Cole)

During Thursday's meeting, the board unanimously agreed to join the Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA). Cole reports many benefits will come with joining the organization, including savings on equipment purchases and additional discounts.
(Listen for Soundbite from Hospital Board Chairman, Dr. Steve Cole)

As far as the recent survey of the land for the new hospital goes, a move has been made to try and landscape the timber on the 18.63 acre property into a layout that supports walking trails and scenic views for visitors at the center.
(Listen for Soundbite from Hospital Board Chairman, Dr. Steve Cole)

Before the final floor plan is submitted to the architects, a private meeting will be held for area medical providers to offer input on the design on January 8th. The following day on January 9th, the floor plan will be published on KDQN for the community to view online and public comments can then submitted to the hospital board.
(Listen for Soundbite from Hospital Board Chairman, Dr. Steve Cole)

For more updates regarding the Sevier County Hospital Construction development, keep listening to KDQN 92.1 FM and viewing KDQN.net online.

2019 WEATHER SUMMARY – DE QUEEN 01/02/20

It was a very wet year in De Queen in 2019. Rainfall for the year totaled 66.18 inches. The average annual rainfall for De Queen is around 51 inches.

The most rain fell during the month of May when we recorded 10.91 inches.

The official hottest days in 2019 were 98 degrees recorded on both September 7th and 8th. The hottest day ever recorded in De Queen was 105 degrees on August 12, 1943. The coldest mornings in 2019 were 21 degrees recorded on both February 8th and 9th. The coldest day on record in De Queen is minus 16 degrees on February 12, 1899.
#1 Country 92.1 is the official reporting station for the National Weather Service in De Queen.

CHILD STRUCK BY VEHICLE WHILE BIKE RIDING IN DE QUEEN 01/02/20

A child was struck by a car while riding a bicycle in De Queen last week, according to a report released by local authorities.

The report from The De Queen Police Department states that Sergeant Bucky Sawyer was dispatched to North 4th street and W. Vandervoort on Friday, December 27th at 4:26 p.m.
Upon arriving at the scene,Sergeant Sawyer reported speaking with the driver of the vehicle, who stated they had been traveling South on North 4th street when a child crossed the road on a bicycle in front of them without stopping.

The report states that the driver claimed they attempted to stop the vehicle but was “unable to do so.”

Damage to the vehicle caused by the accident included a shattered driver's side windshield as well as damage to the left front fender.

The child was transported by medic 16 for medical attention.

ARKANSAS STATE POLICE LAUNCHING NEW ONLINE SCHEDULING TOOL FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE TESTING 01/02/20

Beginning next week anyone with a valid Arkansas driver learner’s permit can begin using an online scheduling tool to arrange the final step toward becoming a motor vehicle licensed driver. The scheduling tool will be accessible beginning Monday, January 6th through the Arkansas State Police Driver Exam web site at ar.gov/aspdrivertest
Online scheduling will make it easier for permit holders and anyone who must accompany the skills test applicant to set a specific date and time for the skills test and avoid waiting in line or possibly being turned-away due unexpected large numbers of applicants at a testing location and impending closing hours.
“This is another step toward modernizing the process of obtaining an Arkansas driver license,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.
Almost ten years ago the state police began installing computers at the 115 testing sites around Arkansas for driver license applicants to use in taking their knowledge test. Offering online study guides, online practice tests and voice prompted study features have been other modern additions for testing operations.
We’re always listening to the citizens when they voice their concerns about the testing process and I hope the scheduling module will prove to be a huge benefit for skills test applicants, particularly the parents and guardians who accompany their first time drivers to any of the testing sites around the state,” Colonel Bryant commented.
Anyone planning to proceed with the skills test, whether it has been scheduled online or not, is strongly encouraged to review the checklist of items and other information provided at the web site or provided to them when the learner’s permit was issued. The test site locations will continue to offer an open door availability for walk-in knowledge and skills test applicants.
When the scheduling module goes live next week, the online system can only be used to schedule skills tests for Class D licenses (i.e. a license to drive a conventional passenger car or truck). Plans are being considered to expand the scheduling system in the future to include other testing services, such as commercial driver license testing operations and knowledge tests for Class D applicants.
Driver License Testing is administered by the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division which is a part of the Arkansas Department of Public Safety.

ARKANSAS AG ISSUES HEALTH INITIATIVE 01/02/19
Getting in shape is always a top New Year’s Resolution and joining a gym is a popular step in achieving that goal. More than 60 million Americans are members of health clubs and gyms, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. While the decision to join an exercise program or gym can be a pleasant and rewarding experience, sometimes, it’s not.
“Investing in your health is important for your physical and mental wellbeing,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But reading the fine print, getting all sales promises in writing and knowing the cancelation and billing policies are crucial in securing your fiscal wellbeing and avoiding any unfortunate surprises.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge addresses some concerns received by her office on poor practices at health clubs, and what to look out for before signing on the dotted line.
Ask about trial periods so you can sample the gym without obligation to join.
Ask about hours of operation and any limits to certain memberships.
Do instructors and trainers have special qualifications or expertise to best serve its members?
Ask what the cancellation policy is upfront and the costs of any joining or cancellation fees.
Ask about automatic renewal policies and any recurring annual fees.
If signing a contract for a specific time period, are there extenuating circumstances that would allow breaks in the contract such as injury, illness or moving?
If a sales person agrees to special perks, waived fees or price changes, always make sure they are in writing and approved by the manager. The law requires that a copy of the signed contract be given at the time of joining.
Finally, before joining a health club, consider contacting the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau to find out if complaints have been filed against the gym.
For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

MINIMUM WAGE TO INCREASE IN ARKANSAS JANUARY 1ST 12/30/19

New laws are in effect as of January 1 st across the state, including new wage rules. The minimum wage increases to $10 per hour in 2020, and then bumps up to $11 per hour in 2021.
At the end of 2019, the minimum wage in Arkansas is $9.25 per hour.
Arkansas voters passed Issue 5 in 2018 to increase the minimum wage employees will earn around the state. Business owners are divided on the pay hike saying that it could drive
prices of products and services up.
Arkansas is one of twenty-one states seeing minimum wage hikes on January 1, 2020. Surrounding states of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Mississippi continue to
use the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour. Missouri increases its minimum wage from $8.60 to $9.45 per hour in 2020.

RUFFLING FEATHERS FOR FARMERS IN ARKANSAS 12/31/19

The $4.50 per square foot, that state assessment officials last year increased their recommended appraisals of standard chicken houses, has frustrated state legislators, who have
questioned the valuations. Lawmakers in Little Rock passed a resolution recently condemning the state Assessment Coordination Division’s poultry house valuations and urged further study.
Assessment officials say it’s time to update poultry house appraisals, which have remained unchanged since 1995. Several lawmakers though argue that the chicken houses are a
special type of property, and the rate increase from $4.50 to $9 per square foot on broiler houses was changed without proper representation for the farmers.
The Assessment Coordination Division was created to help ensure that local taxes across Arkansas were levied equitably. But in addition to the famers being upset about increased
property-tax bills, there were misconceptions about whether the division’s recommendations were binding on county assessors who felt the rates were too high in their respective
counties. The division publishes guidelines to assist assessors,
but they are not mandatory.
The final authority to determine market value in a specific county lies with that elected assessor. Lawmakers argue that while the guidelines aren’t binding on assessors, most are forced to abide by them because they don’t have the resources to independently develop their own  valuation measures.
State Representative DeAnn Vaught of Horatio, a poultry farmer told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the issue is still “muddy” even after a letter was sent from the Division to
lawmakers addressing concerns. Representative Vaught said some farmers could go out of business. Polk County Assessor Jovan Thomas told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that most of the confusion appeared to have cleared from her perspective. She said that she has spoken with many poultry farmers whose concerns were eased after she walked them through the new appraisal guidelines. Most, she said, ended up owing far less that expected. Thomas, who said Polk County has one of the highest concentrations of chicken houses in the state, added that new poultry houses are affected most by the new guidelines, but she said that after meeting with one farmer in the middle of building new chicken houses, even he was surprised at how little the taxes would increase.
To determine the property tax owed in Arkansas, 20% of a valuation is multiplied by a millage rate. Under the state constitution, a property-tax bill can increase at most 10% a
year when the valuations increase. Thomas, the Polk County Assessor, says the Assessment
Coordination Division’s poultry house valuations were accurate based on poultry house sales in Polk County. If anything, she said, the rate remains favorable to the farmer. In
recent months, Thomas said that poultry farmers in the area have come to realize that the new valuations are not as tremendous and scary as they thought. “We just had to take the time to explain it to our constituents”, Thomas said.
A spokesman with the Department of Finance and Administration noted that change is difficult, but that the new rates will benefit communities. The majority of the property- tax money is used to educate children in public schools locally. But some farmers argue that higher taxes on poultry houses could have an adverse effect by discouraging the construction of broiler houses.

AGFC COLLECTING XMAS TREES FOR FISH HABITATS 12/31/19
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has set up drop-off locations for your used Christmas tree. The trees will be given a second life as a fish habitat.
Game and Fish says that no artificial trees should be used, and trees should be free of any decorations which include lights, tinsels, and ornaments.
The brush piles will sink with standard cinder blocks tied to the tree with either parachute cord or heavy baling wire. These materials last for an extremely long time and keep the tree anchored to one spot.
Trees can be dropped off at any of the following locations
through the end of January:
Millwood Lake – Cottonshed, White Cliff’s Recreation Areas,
and the Millwood State Park ramp on the point.
Dierks Lake – Jefferson Ridge South Recreation Area
De Queen Lake – Any Corps of Engineers boat ramp
Gillham Lake – Any Corps of Engineers boat ramp
Lake Greeson – New Cowhide Cove and Self Creek Recreation
areas.

 
SHOPLIFTING INCIDENT REPORTED AT DOLLAR GENERAL IN DE QUEEN 12/30/19

A man who was reported to be shoplifting at a store in De Queen was held in the Sevier County Jail after authorities responded to a call last week.
According to a report released by the De Queen Police Department, Officer Kristopher Hundley was dispatched to the Dollar General in De Queen on Sunday, December 22nd in response to a call about a shoplifter inside the store. The suspect was described as a white male seen wearing a blue sweatshirt and jeans.
Employees at the store reported to the officer that a man “sounded suspicious” while in the restroom, and was seen leaving the building before quickly re-entering after exiting. Upon re-entering the store the man was seen with a woman in an area that did not have cameras and the two were reportedly making excessive noise.

When the suspect left the store, officer Hundley made contact with the man and informed him of the shoplifting call. The man was identified as David Shroeder, age 35 of Oklahoma.  The store manager reported locating an unopened package of pepperoni and beef jerky inside Shroeder's pocket. Shroeder reportedly later admitted to taking the items without paying because he was hungry. The store manager decided to press charges and the suspect was apprehended. Shroeder was charged with theft of property and held in the Sevier County Jail.

 

DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 12/30/19

As many of you are reflecting on 2019 and setting goals for 2020, we want to remind you of what is ahead for the Arkansas House in the New Year.

In less than 10 weeks, Arkansans will be heading to the polls to cast ballots in the March 3 primary.

This year, the General Assembly passed Act 545 which provides for a March preferential primary election in the years in which the office of President of the United States is voted on and a May preferential primary election in the years in which the office of Governor is voted on. Fiscal sessions have been held on the second Monday in February on even-numbered years. However, Act 545 states that on years in which the preferential primary is held in March, the General Assembly will instead meet for a fiscal session on the second Wednesday of April.  

 This means we will begin pre-fiscal session budget hearings the day after the primary election, March 4. The hearings are expected to continue through March 12. Members can begin filing bills for the session on March 9. We will convene on April 8.

 In 2008, Arkansans approved Amendment 86 which created fiscal sessions. Only budget bills are to be considered during a fiscal session. If any member wishes to file a bill other an appropriation bill during a fiscal session, then 2/3 of both chambers must first vote on a resolution to allow such a bill to be filed. Amendment 86 is also very clear about keeping these sessions brief.  Fiscal Sessions can only be 30 days long.  They can be extended one time for 15 days only if ¾ of both chambers agree.

We head into this New Year with an optimistic financial outlook. State revenue reports continue to exceed economic forecasts. And the unemployment level is at 3.6%.

Just as you do with your budget, our job in the weeks ahead will be to prioritize spending. As a reminder all of our budget hearings are live streamed and recorded on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

SENATOR LARRY TEAGUE COLUMN 12/30/19

The new year is an election year, and thanks to legislation approved during the regular session earlier this year, the primaries in Arkansas will take place on Tuesday, March 3.

Traditionally, Arkansas holds its primaries in May. The legislature passed Act 545 to move up the date, in the hope that presidential candidates will pay more attention to Arkansas voters. In past election years, both major political parties had usually completed their selection of presidential candidates by May.

So as not to mix electoral politics with governing, Act 545 also moved the starting date for the 2020 fiscal session. Usually, in even-numbered years our fiscal sessions begin on the second Monday in February. Now, in years with a presidential primary on the ballot, the fiscal sessions will begin the second Wednesday in April.

Another change in election law will affect organizations that want to place issues on the ballot, such as proposed constitutional amendments or initiated acts. In the past, those groups would get approval of the ballot title from the state attorney general, who would make sure that the ballot title accurately reflected the contents of the measure.

After the attorney general approved the ballot title, the groups would gather signatures on petitions to have their proposals placed on the ballot. Sometimes the attorney general rejected several proposed ballot titles before finally approving one.

Under Act 376 of 2019, the state Board of Election Commissioners will replace the attorney general’s office as the entity that approves ballot titles. Advocacy groups will submit lists of signatures to the Board at the same time as they submit a proposed ballot title. If the Board rejects either the ballot title or the sufficiency of signatures, appeals to the state Supreme Court will be extradited.

Act 376 increases the criminal penalties for petition fraud, changing it from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony.

At least three issues will be on the November general election ballot because they were referred by the legislature during the 2019 regular session. All three are proposed constitutional amendments.

One would permanently extend the current half-cent sales tax that generates revenue for highway projects. It is a temporary tax that is due to expire in 2023, unless Arkansas voters approve the ballot issue.

A second proposed amendment would change the current term limits provision in the state Constitution. It would impose a 12-year limit, but the limit would be for consecutive service and not for a lifetime. Thus, a legislator who served 12 years would have to leave office. But under the proposed amendment, the lawmaker could run again after sitting out for four years.

The third measure, if approved, would change the process for citizens’ groups to have measures placed on the November ballot. It would move up the deadline for submitting signatures to January 15. Currently, the deadline is in early July.

It would no longer allow groups an additional 30 days to collect more signatures. Now, if 75 percent of submitted signatures are valid, they get a 30-day extension. The amendment also would raise the bar for the legislature, which can refer up to three proposed amendments in every regular session. It would require a 60 percent majority in each chamber to adopt a joint resolution with a proposed amendment. Now, the legislature can refer a proposed amendment to voters by a vote of 51 percent of each chamber.

WEYERHAEUSER DONATES TO UA COSSATOT 12/30/19

 

On December 12, 2019, following UA Cossatot’s Christmas party, school representatives met with Sandra Gandara, Administrative Assistant for Weyerhaeuser, where Christmas came early in the form of a $6,000 donation from Weyerhaeuser’s “Giving Fund Grant”.

These funds will be used for further development of the Lockesburg Industrial Maintenance Institute, where both secondary and post-secondary students receive quality training in all areas of industrial maintenance. 

UA Cossatot Division Chair of Skilled and Technical Sciences, Steve McJunkins, said, “Thank you, Weyerhaeuser, for this generous donation and all your support. We could not provide this level of training without the assistance of our business partners.”
To learn about classes and programs offered at the UA Cossatot Lockesburg Campus, please contact Student Services at 870-584-4471. To learn about ways one can support UA Cossatot, please contact UA Cossatot Foundation Director, Dustin Roberts, at droberts@cccua.edu or 870-584-1172.

 
WOMAN SERVED WARRANT, CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTION IN DE QUEEN ON CHRISTMAS EVE 12/27/19 
 
Officers with the De Queen Police Department responded to a 911 Hangup call on East Hayes Avenue and Lakeside drive on December 24th around 3:04 p.m.
A male and female were reportedly seen walking down Vandervoort street by police at the time officers were dispatched to the residence.
Sergeant Wayne Baker and Jarrin Platt worked the incident and spoke with a man who reported seeing a couple arguing at a nearby park.
Upon making contact with the man and woman, the woman stated her name to be April Bray, age 24. The woman reportedly later admitted her true name was Haley Kesterson and she had an active warrant. Kesterson was placed in custody and transported to The Sevier County jail for the active warrant and additionally charged with obstructing Government operations. 
 
SALVATION ARMY BELL RINGING IN DE QUEEN A SUCCESS 12/27/19
 
Organizers of the Salvation Army Bell ringing campaign have reported the week of December 9th-15th was successful, as many churches, city and county volunteers as well as civic groups and businesses volunteered their time to raise funds for families in need around the local area. The campaign took place at the wal-mart on Colin Raye Drive in De Queen throughout the holiday season.
Contributing groups include The Sevier County Sheriff's Department, The County Courthouse, Kern heights baptist church, the city of De Queen, De Queen Rotary Club, First Baptist Church, and De Queen Auto Group.
The week of December 16th-22nd was also a success as The American Legion/VFW along with UA Cossatot and KDQN contributed throughout the week.
Saint Barbara's Catholic Church and De Queen Church of Christ volunteered their time this week to help ring the bell for the campaign.
According to organizers and volunteers for The Salvation Army, The fundraising effort went so well because so many local residents contributed their time and energy to these efforts. The initiative begins the day after Thanksgiving and continues until Christmastime. The total amount distributed to residents in need amounts to $ 14,466.32 this year. All funds raised have been distributed to local families in the community.
 
DECEMBER LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL MEETING REPORT 12/27/19
The Lockesburg City Council met in regular session on December 10th at city hall.
Resident Tracy Sutton, who reported an issue involving neighborhood dogs in the city, addressed the council. The problem was brought to the council’s attention and is under control for the time being. Mayor Danny Ruth informed the council that new tables and chairs for the senior citizen’s center arrived. The Lions club purchased the furniture.

After reviewing the budget for 2020, some corrections were made to the line item titles and the budget was then approved with the exception of the personnel fund.
After an executive session was held, the council elected to stay with the freeze on raises, with the exception of an employee obtaining a certification from a class attended.
The council then approved the decision to distribute $500 bonuses to Mayor Ruth, JoAnna Giusti and Justin Ruth. New wastewater superintendent Matt Webb also received a Christmas bonus in the amount of $50.
After correcting an error, the previous meeting’s minutes along with November financial report and bills were approved and the council briefly discussed progress on the new senior building and sidewalk project before holding an executive session and then adjourning shortly after 8:00 p.m.

POLICE RESPOND TO CALL ABOUT GUNSHOTS IN DE QUEEN THURSDAY 12/27/19
Local police officers responded to a call about gunshots heard in De Queen Thursday, December 26th.
De Queen Police Chief Scott Simmons told KDQN that officers responded to the 500 block of West De Quincy Avenue at 6:38 p.m. Thursday night. Upon responding to the call no active shooter was found in the area and no victims were discovered. Police say no further gunshot reports have been called into the department since the initial call. 
 
WOMAN CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL TRESPASS IN  DE QUEEN 12/26/19
A woman is facing a criminal trespass charge after city police responded to a call about trespassing at a residence on circle drive in De Queen earlier this week.
According to a report released by The De Queen Police Department, officer Gilberto Elizondo was dispatched to the home around 10:00 p.m. Monday, December 23rd. A man at the scene reportedly told the officer that a woman by the name of Amanda McDougal had been screaming and throwing groceries outside the house that night. A jar was also allegedly thrown at the man's car windshield and mountain dew soda cans had been busted in the driveway. The mailbox door was also reported to have been torn off by the suspect.
Police collected photos of the evidence consistent with the man's report and Officer Elizondo traveled to the suspect's home to speak with her.
Upon making contact with Amanda McDougal, she reportedly admitted to the officer that she had been at the man's residence but claimed she never got out of her vehicle. Amanda was transported to The Sevier County Jail and booked for criminal trespassing.
PUBLIC INPUT NEEDED FOR AGFC'S DEER MANAGEMENT PLAN 12/26/19
Biologists with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are seeking public input on the current revision to Arkansas’s White-tailed Deer Strategic Management Plan. This is the first review and revision of the plan since 2013.

The plan is reviewed every five to seven years to adapt to changing needs by developments in Arkansas’s deer herd and available habitat.

The plan was drafted by the agency’s deer program coordinator and assistant deer program coordinator with considerable input from the agency’s Deer Management Team, a collection of biologists and enforcement personnel from every region of the state. Additional review was provided by Wildlife Management Division administration as well as representatives from the agency’s Research, Evaluation, and Compliance Division and Communications Division before being submitted to the Commissioners for their review.

The draft of the plan and a public comment survey are available at www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer/2019-strategic-deer-management-plan/. Comments will be accepted until Jan. 20th. The Deer Management Team will then make needed revisions and submit the final draft to the Commission at its regularly scheduled February meeting.

 

FIRST DAY HIKES ORGANIZED BY ARKANSAS STATE PARKS 12/26/19

Make a New Year’s resolution to improve your health and happiness by kicking off 2020 with an invigorating First Day Hike at an Arkansas State Park.  On January 1st, Arkansas will join state parks across the country by offering unique programming as a part of this annual event.  Last year nearly 55,000 people rang in the New Year, collectively hiking over 133,000 miles throughout the country on guided hikes. The First Day Hikes initiative encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with an outdoor exploration.“So many people start the year with resolutions about seeking more authentic experiences, as well as taking control of their own health and fitness,” said Arkansas State Parks Chief of Interpretation and Program Services Kelly Farrell. “With our First Day Hikes, you can put those good intentions right into action! We hope our visitors will take advantage of our programs so they can turn goals into accomplishments on day one of 2020.”

 

Local state parks are participating, including Milwood state park, Queen Wilhemina, and Lake Ouachita, . Arkansas State Parks staff and volunteers will lead hikers along trails that will showcase the beauty of Arkansas. The distance and the difficulty of the trails vary from park to park, but the hikes are designed to benefit the entire family. You are encouraged to share your adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes.

Visit arkansasstateparks.com for more information.

SPECIAL HOLIDAY DEER HUNT IN ARKANSAS DECEMBER 26TH-28TH 12/26/19

Deer hunters using modern guns have one more chance to collect on their scouting time and tag a trophy. The statewide modern gun Holiday Deer Hunt is Dec. 26-28.

Established during the 1999-2000 deer season, the Statewide Holiday Deer Hunt was created to enable hunters another opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors and harvest deer while home for the holidays. “A lot of hunters will receive hunting equipment for Christmas, and they want to put those items to use right away,” said Ralph Meeker, Deer Program Coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “There also are a lot of families and friends who only see each other during the holidays and this hunt enables them to continue their hunting traditions.”

The holiday hunt is structured identically to the regular modern gun hunts with the exception that no dogs are allowed anywhere in the state. All deer taken during the hunt count toward a hunter’s seasonal bag limit for the zone where they are hunting. Some wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges are closed to modern gun hunting during the hunt, but many will be open.

Also ahead is the second Youth Hunt, Jan. 4-5. This also is a statewide hunt with no dogs allowed.

“We don’t see as much interest in the second youth hunt as the first,” Meeker said. “But there are still plenty of deer out there for young hunters to pursue and it gives them one last shot to use those new rifles they may have gotten at Christmas.”

Hunters 6 to 15 years old can go after deer with modern guns, muzzleloaders or archery gear. Youths who have passed hunter education may hunt on their own. Youths who have not passed hunter education must be under the direct supervision of an adult who is 21 or older. The adult mentor may not carry a hunting weapon of their own during the hunt.

This year’s extremely good mast crop has kept many deer deeper in the woods more than usual, which has not played in favor of hunters who have stayed on the stand in front of food plots or feeders.

“When the woods are full of acorns, the deer will absolutely focus on that food source as long as it is available,” Meeker said. “However, some acorns have been on the ground for a while and have begun to rot, especially with all the wet weather we’ve had. This may cause deer to begin moving more during the late season and going back to food plots and feeders. You never know unless you’re out there hunting.”
Visit www.agfc.com/deer for more information on deer hunting in Arkansas.

 
 
 
REGISTRATION FOR SPRING SEMESTER GOING ON NOW AT UA COSSATOT 12/24/19
UA Cossatot’s registration for the spring 2020 semester is ongoing now. Students will be able to enroll in courses by contacting a Student Services Advisor to begin or continue their education at UA Cossatot.

The college’s Student Services department has Admissions and Recruitment Specialists at the Ashdown, Nashville, and De Queen Campuses. To sign up for classes or to learn about educational opportunities, they can be reached at 870-584-4471 or studentservices@cccua.edu. Walk-in visits are welcome from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Monday through Friday. 
The Spring 2020 semester includes available courses in general studies, student personal development, accounting, biology, business, child development, fine arts, criminal justice, health and safety, political science, Spanish, English, and sociology, to name a few.
The college also offers courses in specific programs, including nursing, welding, radio-television broadcasting, industrial electricity and technology, automotive services, diesel technology, cosmetology, the physical therapist assistant program, and the occupational therapy assistant program. Medical pre-requisites are available to take, and UA Cossatot will also be offering EMT classes this upcoming semester at the Nashville Campus.
UA Cossatot has four campuses and will be offering classes for students to take in-class, online, during the day and evening. The college also provides AV courses.
Students are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible to enroll in the courses they need. The final day to register for the spring 2020 semester is January 14. Spring 2020 classes begin at UA Cossatot on January 13.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued a statement praising the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act.

ARKANSAS AG LEADS FIGHT AGAINST ROBOCALLS 12/24/19

“The unanimous Senate vote today is a welcome tool to help stop the incessant, irritating robocalls we all receive,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I have led the charge in Arkansas to stop these illegal calls, but this is a national problem that needs multifaceted solutions. Arkansans and all Americans can find hope in knowing this legislation is heading to President Trump’s desk, and with his signature, law enforcement will have an additional tool to shut down these illegal calls.”

Rutledge led the fight against robocalls by working with state legislators to pass legislation to require telecommunication providers to submit annual reports to the Arkansas Public Service Commission to certify that all available and applicable technology is being employed to identify and block illegal robocalls and spoofing.

Rutledge also joined a bipartisan, public/private coalition agreement with every state attorneys general and 12 phone companies earlier this year. The coalition adopted eight principals to fight illegal robocalls and pave the way for attorneys general to investigate and prosecute bad actors.

Arkansans who would like to file a consumer complaint can email the office at oag@ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

HORATIO SCHOOL RECOGNIZED AT GOVERNOR'S MANSION 12/24/19

Sevier County Judge Greg points to Horatio High School on a poster at the Governor's Mansion last week. The school art department was recognized, along with 24 total schools around the state for their work in researching and contributing to the “christmas around the world” display at the mansion of Governor Asa Hutchinson.

 
 
CAR WRECK IN SEVIER COUNTY TAKES LIFE OF ASHDOWN RESIDENT 12/23/19
 
An Ashdown, Arkansas resident died Friday, December 20th after a car accident in Sevier County, according to a report from The Arkansas State Police.
The preliminary crash report states that the single-vehicle wreck occurred after a 2007 Toyota Highlander overturned at 9:10 a.m. on Highway 27 in the city of Ben Lomond.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as a woman named Peggy Lovewell, age 75 of Ashdown, and the passenger is listed as Jason Lovewell, age 43 of Ashdown as well. The narrative in the report states that the car overturned after the vehicle struck a culvert while traveling west on Highway 27.
Peggy Lovewell died from injuries sustained in the wreck and Jason Lovewell was transported to UAMS to receive medical treatment.
The report lists the weather conditions as clear and the roads have been described as dry at the time of the accident.
The family of the deceased has been notified of the fatality.

 
MAN JAILED AFTER POLICE SEARCH HOUSE IN HORATIO 12/23/19

A man was arrested in Sevier County after authorities conducted the search of a residence in Horatio last week.

A press release provided by The Sevier County Sheriff's Department states that Narcotics officers with the 9th West Judicial Drug Task Force and the Arkansas State Police executed a search warrant at a house on Messer Street in Horatio, Arkansas on Wednesday, December 18th. The Sevier County Sheriff's Department assisted with the search, which resulted in the arrest of a 28-year-old Horatio resident named Dustin Taylor.

Taylor has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession with purpose to deliver methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and maintaining drugs on premises.

Dustin Taylor was held in The Sevier County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

ASHDOWN SCHOOLS RECOGNIZE TEACHERS OF THE YEAR 12/23/19

On, Monday December 16, Ashdown Public Schools recognized their campus Teachers of the Year and announced the District Teacher of the Year.  Teachers from each campus were able to vote for their Teacher of the Year and a special committee with much difficulty chose AHS teacher Jennifer Simmons as the District TOY.

The TOY for Ashdown Elementary is Gerina Ritter; L.F. Henderson – Diana Blankenship; AJHS – Lacy Shamsie; AHS – Jennifer Simmons.  Ashdown Superintendent Casey Nichols said, “I am so proud of these amazing teachers!  Each and every day they go above and beyond for our students in order to provide them with the best education possible!  They love, protect, and help each and every student, they know our students and meet them where they are to give them what is needed in order for them to grow into educated and productive citizens.”
 
Mrs. Ritter is an Ashdown graduate who has worked in this district for 19 years, with her experiences including being a second-grade teacher, a physical education teacher and presently, a kindergarten teacher.  Additionally, she is co-sponsor for the AJHS cheerleaders and has served in this position for the past 3 years. According to AE Principal Teresa Wake, “We appreciate Mrs. Ritter’s passion for her students.  She is caring, knowledgeable, and a hard worker.  She communicates well with the parents, community, and our staff.”
 
Ms. Blankenship graduated from Ashdown High School in 1991.  She started working as a paraprofessional in August of 2002 while working her way through college.  She graduated from Texas A&M in Texarkana in May of 2015.  Ms. Blankenship stated that she thoroughly enjoys teaching for the Ashdown School District.  She cherishes being an Ashdown Alumni and feels it is a privilege to work and have her daughter, Gracyn, attend the same district that she graduated from.  
 
Mrs. Shamsie has been a teacher in the Ashdown School District working at AJHS since 2006.  She has taught 6th and 8th-grade science during this time. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology in 2005 from Texas A&M at Texarkana and her Master's degree in Educational Diagnostician in 2018. She and her husband,  Curtis Shamsie, have two kids Colton and Annabeth Shamsie who attend school in the Ashdown School District.  
 
Mrs. Simmons has been selected by her peers as this year’s Teacher of the Year at Ashdown High School.  Jennifer holds a B.A. from the University of Arkansas Medical Science and is a Licensed Medical Technologist.   She has taught 5 years in the Ashdown School District and prior to teaching, she worked in Medical Laboratories and hospitals for 18 years.   Jennifer is presently teaching Biology and has an ASCP license.  Mrs. Simmons is also the 9th  grade Class Sponsor and has been the Co- Prom Coordinator for the past three years.  AHS Principal Kay York Wortham said, “Mrs. Simmons is always thinking of students.  She challenges kids and is always trying new things that will improve our school.  She is on the school’s leadership team and spends countless time working beyond the school day to make sure labs and learning are ready for her students.  Having a Medical Technologists on our campus positions our high school toward more opportunities for our students working toward medical certifications.  Mrs. Simmons, attendance and character along with her strong desire for all students to learn to their highest potential deems her extremely worthy of this honor.” 
 
DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 12/23/19
 
From delivering the food to the grocery store shelves to stocking up retail stores with must have gifts, the trucking industry touches every aspect of the holidays.
 
As the trend towards online shopping continues, the trucking industry continues to provide a critical infrastructure for our nation. Arkansas companies play an important role in providing the drivers and logistics.
 
As a midway point between Mexico City and Montreal, our central location enables Arkansas to have a large and growing distribution and logistics services sector. Arkansas offers access to a market of 100 million people within a 550-mile radius of the state. That represents 40% of the total U.S. population.
 
More than 55,000 Arkansans are employed at more than 80 distribution centers and 10 major trucking companies in the state.
 
Arkansas is home to two transportation companies on Fortune magazine's list of the largest 1,000 companies in the United States, based on annual revenue – J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. and ArcBest. And of the 25 largest employers in the state, 20% are in the transportation services sector.
 
The trucking industry is a growing industry. Nationwide, the number of trucking businesses grew 15.9% between 2012 and 2016, outpacing total growth across all industries. This translates into an increase of 200,000 workers in the trucking industry during that time period.
 
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, at least one in 10 truckers are veterans, double the rate of workers in general.
 
The Census Bureau also notes the demographic of new truckers is changing. Among younger truckers under age 35, more of them are women and they are more educated than their older counterparts. They’re also more urban. The percentage of young truck drivers coming from rural areas is about half that of older truckers, with fewer than 20% of younger truckers living in rural areas.
 
Although many truckers work a regular 40-hour workweek, almost half of truckers work longer hours. And many are working extra hours during this season. So if you see or know a trucker, thank them this season for tackling one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs.
 
ADHE PRESENTS SCHOLARSHIP CHECK TO UA COSSATOT 12/23/19
 
On December 13, 2019, UA Cossatot held its winter graduation ceremony at the UA Cossatot Bank of Lockesburg Gymnasium in Lockesburg, Arkansas. The ceremony began at 6:00 P.M. and concluded with 257 students receiving 374 credentials. 

During the graduation ceremony, UA Cossatot Chancellor, Dr. Steve Cole, introduced Dr. Maria Markham, Director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) and Alisha Lewis, Associate Communications Director for ADHE. They were invited to the ceremony to present Dr. Cole and UA Cossatot with a sample check for 1.1 million dollars.

This check was used to represent the total amount of money that has been awarded to UA Cossatot students through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education using funds generated by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.

In the ten years since its inception, the lottery has raised more than $908 million to help provide more than 542,000 college scholarships for Arkansas students.
To apply for a lottery scholarship in Arkansas, please visit the Department of Higher Education’s website, scholarships.adhe.edu, to complete the Arkansas YOUniversal Scholarship Application.

 

 

 

NURSING HOME RESIDENTS EVACUATED AFTER FIRE THURSDAY MORNING 12/19/19

 

Residents of a nursing home in De Queen were evacuated after a fire broke out at the facility Thursday morning.

A report from The De Queen Fire Department states that 12 firefighters were dispatched by the all-call alarm at 9:46 a.m, Thursday December 19th. The department utilized two fire trucks and arrived at Bear Creek Health Care on Colin Raye Drive at 9:47 a.m, just one minute after being dispatched to the scene.

Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt commended the Bear Creek staff and assisting agencies for their efforts in evacuating the residents quickly and efficiently. The chief says the staff originally thought the incident was just a drill before finding out an actual fire caused by a heater had ignited inside the building.

(click for Chief Pruitt soundbite)

*

With no injuries reported and residents safely brought back inside, the department left the scene by 10:36 a.m. Assisting agencies include local volunteer fire departments and The Sevier County Sheriff's Department.

 

HEMP PRODUCTION MEETING SEES LARGE TURNOUT IN DE QUEEN THURSDAY 12/19/19

 

Nearly 150 farmers from Sevier County and the surrounding area turned out for a Hemp farmer production meeting held at UA Cossatot’s De Queen campus Thursday, December 19th. Well-Known figures in the community in attendance included Sevier County Judge Greg Ray, De Queen Mayor Jeff Brown, Economic Development Director Lisa Taylor and a host of community leaders.

(De Queen Mayor, Jeff Brown attending the Hemp Farmer Production meeting at UA Cossatot in De Queen Thursday, December 19th)

County Agent Rex Herring thanked the meeting attendees and welcomed Attorney Rusty Rumley from The National Agricultural Law Center to lead the event presentation.

The main focus of the meeting was to address the legal regulations surrounding industrial hemp production for farmers in Arkansas. The long list of legalities circulating around the hemp discussion includes seed selection, pesticide use, processing, growing and selling of Industrial Hemp products.

Questions about the industry began to rise after The USDA put new regulations into effect in October 2019, and removed Hemp from the controlled substance list.

Though the new regulations provide more economic opportunities for area farmers, the rules won’t permit just anyone to grow hemp in Arkansas. As Mr Rumley says no one with a controlled substance-related criminal conviction in the last 10 years will be eligible to grow the product.

The program also featured an update on 2019 research trials and plans for the coming year in 2020, as presented by John Carlin of the Arkanas Crop variety improvement program.

The meeting also provided a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” for Hemp production and allotted time for questions from curious farmers to be addressed by a panel of experts. Though the laws involving industrial hemp production seem to have already changed so recently, Mr. Rumley also says the laws are expected to change over the next year and again the following year after that. As the industry evolves, the rules surrounding Hemp production will grow and change with it.

More news regarding hemp farming in Arkansas will be announced as information becomes available to KDQN.

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER RECEIVES AWARD AT ASBA CONFERENCE 12/19/19

 

Congratulations to Ashdown School Board Member Rosa Bowman on receiving a Platinum Award for completing 400 hours of in-service training at the annual Arkansas School Board Association (ASBA) Conference in Little Rock. Mrs. Bowman is also President-Elect for the association.

 

 
 
 

SWAECC AND TODAY'S POWER INC. SET TO BUILD SOLAR ARRAY IN TEXARKANA 12/19/19

Solar power company Today’s Power Inc. (TPI) and electric utility Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative (SWAECC) will build a 1-megawatt solar array near the headquarters of the cooperative in Texarkana.

TPI and SWAECC broke ground Wednesday (Dec. 18) on the single-axis tracking array that will include more than 3,800 panels on about 8 acres. The system was designed to offset a portion of SWAECC’s peak demand. Work on the project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020. TPI declined to release the cost of the project.

“Our partnership with Today’s Power allows us to add 1 megawatt of renewable generation to our portfolio and improve the quality of life for our members,” said Wayne Whitaker, president and CEO of SWAECC. “Our mission at Southwest Arkansas Electric is to provide first-class electric service to the community that is safe, reliable and affordable.”

TPI will own and operate the array, providing electricity to SWAECC under a 20-year service agreement. Including this project, TPI has developed arrays or energy storage for 13 of the 17 electric cooperatives in Arkansas. Most of the arrays have been about 1 megawatt and a result of a utility partnership.

“This solar project is a representation of the board of directors’ and management’s excellent commitment and vision to further improve the quality of life in their communities, thus creating substantial savings for the members of SWAECC for the next 25 to 30 years,” said Michael Henderson, president of TPI.

TPI is a subsidiary of Little Rock-based Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., which is owned by 17 Arkansas electric cooperatives. SWAECC provides electricity to 32,715 customer meters and has 4,531 miles of distribution lines, 139 miles of transmission lines and 35 substations.

 
CALL ABOUT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY LEADS TO ARREST IN SEVIER COUNTY FRIDAY 12/18/19
 
A man was jailed in Sevier County following a visit from authorities late Friday night.
According to a report from The De Queen Police Department, Officer Kristopher Hundley was requested to assist with a suspicious vehicle report  by Deputy Chris Wolcott (Jr.) on Highway 71 East around 11:20 p.m. Friday, December 14th.
 
Deputy Wolcott (Jr.) requested the assistance because he was in the midst of assessing a vehicle fire on Highway 70 East and would be unable to respond.
Upon arriving at the scene, the officer noted finding a male subject who was asleep in a White Chevy Pick-up truck. The man was identified as Jeffery Adams, age 57 of Smackover, Arkansas. Adams reportedly appeared to be under the influence of a substance and a plastic bag containing methamphetamine was allegedly found inside a cigarette carton in the vehicle.
Adams was taken into custody and transported to The Sevier County jail. The amount of methamphetamine discovered was listed as .89 grams and Adams was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

IMPORTANT END-OF-YEAR REMINDER FOR ARKANSAS BUSINESSES   12/19/19

This is a reminder for Arkansas businesses from Secretary of State John Thurston that the end of the year is approaching and there are a couple of important deadlines coming up.

Have You Paid Your Franchise Taxes?  If you have not paid your franchise taxes for 2019, and do not do so by December 31st, your business will enter revoked status.

To find out if your business is currently in good standing, search our database here: https://www.sos.arkansas.gov/corps/search_all.php.

You can file and pay your franchise taxes online 24/7 at: https://www.ark.org/sos/franchise/index.php.

Click Here to Pay Your Franchise Taxes Online

 

CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO SUSPEND SHORELINE ACTIVITY REQUESTS 12/18/19

The Army Corps of Engineers' Millwood Lake Project Office will suspend shoreline activity requests beginning Jan. 1, 2020 to establish a baseline of the lake for officials to use while revising its 45-year-old master plan and 7-year-old shoreline management plan.

Shoreline activity requests will not be accepted during the master plan revision and all zoning and shoreline management regulations will remain in effect until the plans are complete.

A series of public workshops will be held to inform the public about the process used to update the Millwood Lake Master Plan and Shoreline Management Plan.  The workshops will also allow project personnel to gather information from local residents and park visitors. The locations, dates and times of these workshops will be announced in the near future.

At the public workshops, representatives from the Corps of Engineers will be present to answer questions on the master plan and shoreline management plan revision process, to include explaining the difference between a master plan and a shoreline management plan. Anyone with any interest in the future management of Millwood Lake is encouraged to attend.

The Corps' master plans are used to guide all use and development of a project's federal public lands and waters for environmental stewardship and recreation related purposes, throughout its life.

Most of Little Rock District's master plans were completed in the 1970's, with supplements added through the years to document change for that specific time.

The shoreline management plan for Millwood Lake establishes policy and furnishes guidelines for the protection and preservation of the desirable environmental characteristics of the shoreline while maintaining a balance between public and private shoreline use.

If you have questions about the moratorium contact the Millwood Lake Project Office at 870-898-3343.

Recreation information can be found on the Internet at www.swl.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/littlerockusace, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/usacelittlerock

OKAY LANDING RECREATION AREA CLOSING EXTENDED 12/18/19

ASHDOWN, Ark.  – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office is extending the closure of the Okay Landing Recreation Area while repairs to Okay Levee are being made.

Depending on weather, the repairs should be completed by Jan. 6, 2020. Due to safety concerns, public access to the area will not be allowed during the closure period.

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

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

Recreation information can be found on the Internet at www.swl.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/littlerockusace, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/usacelittlerock.

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS OF LOCAL RESIDENTS 12/19/19

This week, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced a number of appointments to various boards and committees throughout the state. A press release from The office of the Governor included the names of local residents who have been appointed to new positions.

In Sevier County, Greg Revels of De Queen has been reappointed to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Appointment expires May 1st, 2025.
For Little River County, Ruth Ann Smithson of Ashdown has been named to the Little River County Quorum Court, Justice of the Peace for District 6. The appointment expires December 31, 2020 and replaces Gene Smithson.
In Miller County, Mary Pankey of Texarkana, has been reappointed to the Electronic Recording Commission. Appointment expires September 1, 2021.
For information, email press@governor.arkansas.goor call 501.682.3642
 

SCAMS REPORTED IN SEVIER COUNTY 12/19/19

A scam has been surfacing in Sevier County and surrounding areas this month as multiple local residents have reported receiving phone calls from a person claiming to be representing the social security office. The scam includes informing residents about someone else using their social security number, telling them to speak with an officer, and then asking to verify their name and social security number. Providing this private information over the phone to an unconfirmed representative can lead to identity theft, account hacking and fraudulent charges.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge asks residents to report potential scams and suspicious claims to her office to help take appropriate legal action. Consumer grievances can be filed at ArkansasAG.gov

 

 
EMERGENCY PERSONNEL RESPOND TO TRUCK FIRE IN DE QUEEN SATURDAY NIGHT
 
Local authorities responded to a truck fire near De Queen Saturday night, according to a report from The Sevier County Sheriff's Department.A press release provided to KDQN from the sheriff's office reports that Deputy Chris Wolcott was dispatched to Highway 70 East in regards to a vehicle fire around 11:00 p.m on Saturday, December 14th. Upon arriving at the scene, Deputy Wolcott spoke with Jessica McGough, who stated she was traveling Eastbound in a 2008 Chevy Silverado on 70 East and started seeing smoke coming from the truck.
The truck was towed due to the damage and The Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department assisted with the call and Southwest EMS responded to the scene, however no injuries were listed in the report.
Reports of a car wreck were called in to KDQN Sunday morning, however no collisions or other vehicles were reported to be involved in the incident.

LOCAL COLLEGE EMPLOYEE ATTENDS HISPANIC ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN CONFERENCE 12/171/9

Erika Buenrrostro is the Coordinator for the Center for Student Success at UA Cossatot. Erika was invited to serve on the panel for the Hispanic Organization for Women Conference in Springdale, Arkansas in October. Topics she discussed at the conference included Latinos in higher education, trends, Hispanic Serving Institutions in Arkansas, and her employment at UA Cossatot.

UA Cossatot is the only Hispanic Serving Institution (HSIs) in Arkansas and is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. With Erika’s employment at UA Cossatot and her experience as the Coordinator for the Center for Student Success, she has valuable knowledge that the committee members of the conference wanted her to share.

In Springdale, Erika shared her experience of being a former college student and a minority student. She then spoke about UA Cossatot’s best practices in achieving Hispanic enrollment.

Minorities tend to face obstacles in earning a certificate or degree from a college. At the conference, Erika discussed ways UA Cossatot reaches the needs of Hispanic men and women. Through the Center for Student Success, UA Cossatot helps students with self-care practices and gives students a safe place to seek assistance.

“It is important for students to know that their school cares about them. Also, if assistance is available, they should be aware of that. Every student is different, and UA Cossatot realizes that. I am proud to work for a college that believes in helping all students achieve their dreams,” said Coordinator of the Center for Student Success, Erika Buenrrostro.

Erika also discussed financial aid opportunities that are available to the public, programs available for secondary and post-secondary students, as well as opportunities available through Adult Education and Continuing Education at a community college.

The conference concluded with Erika stating that Hispanics, especially Hispanic women, have more opportunities than ever before to receive higher education. While promoting educational opportunities at UA Cossatot, Erika expressed ways other colleges can help Latinos reach their goals.

UAHT REGISTRATION OPEN NOW THROUGH JANUARY 10TH 12/17/19

Registration for spring classes at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana is open now through January 10, 2020. The college will hold extended hours registration on January 6, and 7 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Classes begin on Wednesday, January 8, 2020.

UAHT offers a textbook rental program where students can rent college textbooks for only $20 per credit hour. The school Foundation offers students over one hundred twenty privately funded scholarships. There are also numerous financial aid opportunities, institutional scholarships, and work-study programs available.

A variety of certificate and degree programs such as Diesel Technology, HVAC, Power Technologies, Industrial Maintenance and Electricity, and Welding are available through online, hybrid, and evening classes. Students can earn certificates and degrees through a variety of avenues. UAHT also has campuses in Hope and Texarkana, Arkansas, so students have two convenient locations to earn a degree around their busy schedules.

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

SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR CENTER SEEKING DONATIONS 12/17/19

The Sevier County Senior Citizen’s Center is still seeking donations for prizes to be distributed at their weekly bingo game.

Needed donations include laundry detergent, dish soap, cleaning supplies, towels, blankets, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, hand soap and similar household items.

Many senior citizens are on a fixed income and are unable to make purchases beyond their food and medication budgets, and winning the prizes through bingo helps our local seniors earn what they need, especially during the holidays and cold winter months.

Area businesses that would like to make a gift card donation are appreciated, as many seniors cannot go out to eat at restaurants because of set budgets.

The weekly bingo game at The Senior Center takes place every Tuesday morning from 9:45 to 11:00 a.m.

Please contact Joyce Short to arrange a donation at 870-584-3995.

 

DE QUEEN QUIZ BOWL TEAM GOES UNDEFEATED, WINS TOURNAMENT 12/16/19

The De Queen Quiz Bowl team competed at the Drew Central Invitational  Tournament in Monticello, Arkansas over the weekend on Saturday, December 14th. A total of eleven teams participated and the De Queen team went undefeated and won the tournament.

Team member Noah Reed was named tournament MVP and averaged 16 points per game.

The team won the 5A state Quiz bowl championship during a televised performance on AETN held April 20th of this year and were also ranked number one  in a preseason poll made by participating coaches in the Arkansas Quiz Bowl Association.

 
DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 12/16/19
 

The holidays are a magical time at the State Capitol. Lights illuminate the exterior at night, the halls are draped with garland, and school choirs from across the state serenade us with carols throughout the day.

But there is one particular day in the season here at that stands apart from the rest.  On Tuesday, we celebrated the 5th year of Christmas in the Capitol. At this event, legislators gather with the Governor, constitutional officers, and state employees as we bring gifts for the more than 4,000 children in Arkansas foster care.

This year was the biggest yet. Several of the children were able to make it the event. And seeing their faces as they open the gifts is a humble reminder of our duty to them as legislators. As Rep. Charlene Fite said, “We love them. And we see a bright, bright future for them.”

Earlier that day, the committee for Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs was given a quarterly report from the Division of Children and Family Services.

Currently, there are 4,362 children in foster care. Neglect and substance abuse are the most prevalent reasons for children entering foster care.

Additional funding for DHS approved by the legislature in recent years has helped to increase the number of caseworkers and decrease the average worker caseload. The average caseload statewide stands at 21 cases per worker. The Division’s goal is 20 or fewer.

Arkansas consistently exceeds the national standard of 40.5% in finding a permanent living situation for children within 12 months removal from their home.

There are 1,502 licensed foster family homes open statewide, providing a total of 3,394 available beds. The ratio of foster home beds to children in foster care was less than one (.78) at the end of the first quarter. The goal is to have at least one foster home bed available for each child.

Kids in foster care do better in homes, not facilities. We need caring, patient, and flexible foster families who can provide temporary care to kids while we work to get them safely back home to their original families as quickly as possible.

While we need foster homes for all of our kids in foster care, we especially need homes for teens and for sibling groups.

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, visitwww.fosterarkansas.org.

AUTHORITIES RESPOND TO CALL ABOUT WRECKED CAR IN A DITCH SUNDAY 12/16/19

Local authorities responded to a single-car accident in De Queen after a driver fell asleep at the wheel Sunday morning.

A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that Corporal James Gilbert assessed the scene of an accident on Highway 71 North around 8:13 a.m. December 15th.  The accident occurred after David Jennings, age 56 of Shreveport Louisiana fell asleep while traveling south on Highway 71 North and ran off the right side of the road. The vehicle, a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado , reportedly struck a metal culvert at the end of lacefield lane, which caused the vehicle to go airborne across the road before coming to a rest in a ditch.

The truck wound up lying on the passenger side in a small body of water at the mouth of the culvert in the ditch.

Mr. Jennings' truck received damage to the entire front portion and the bed on the driver's side rear fender was crushed, along with several dents and scratches on the doors, bed, tailgate and rear bumper. The front and side airbags deployed and a local wrecker service was called to remove the vehicle from the ditch. Jennings claimed he did not need medical attention and no serious injuries were reported as a result of the crash.

ARKANSAS AG JOINS BIPARTISAN COALITION REGARDING DRUG REGULATIONS 12/16/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined a bipartisan coalition of 56 attorneys general in calling for Congress to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I drugs. Schedule I drugs are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

“Fentanyl is an increasingly common, cheap and lethal drug,” Attorney General Rutledge said. “Its pain-relieving effects are greatly overshadowed by the overwhelming number of overdoses and addictions it has caused. Keeping its classification as Schedule I means that law enforcement and courts can bring criminal actions against those who manufacture, distribute or handle fentanyl-related substances.”

In the letter, the attorneys general urge Congress to pass S. 2701, the Federal Initiative to Guarantee Health by Targeting (FIGHT) Fentanyl Act, a bipartisan bill.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a temporary scheduling order in February 2018 to make any fentanyl-related substances a Schedule I Drug. This scheduling order is set to expire on Feb. 6, 2020. The FIGHT Fentanyl Act codifies DEA precedent to schedule fentanyl-related substances.

The FIGHT Fentanyl Act will ensure law enforcement agencies and courts retain the tools needed to keep those who traffic in this deadly substance off the streets.

In the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 72,000 drug-related deaths in the United States in 2017. Of those deaths, roughly 40% involved fentanyl or a fentanyl-related compound.

Attorneys general from every state, territory and the District of Columbia signed the letter.

SINGLE CAR ACCIDENT KILLS COLORADO RESIDENT IN MILLER COUNTY 12/16/19

 A Colorado resident passed away after a car wreck in Southwest Arkansas Friday.

Carl E. Muir Jr., 60, of Aurora, CO, died about 9:55 p.m. Friday in a one-vehicle wreck near Garland City in Miller County.

According to a preliminary Arkansas State Police report, Muir was driving westbound on 196 when he lost control while negotiating a curve. Muir was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead on scene.

Trooper Robert Neese investigated the crash and Miller County Corner Dakota Bloyd pronounced Muir dead on scene.

MAN CAUGHT SHOPLIFTING AT WAL-MART IN DE QUEEN 12/12/19

A local resident is facing theft of property charges after authorities responded to a call at Wal-Mart in De Queen Sunday, December 8th. A report from the De Queen Police Department states that Sergeant Bucky Sawyer was dispatched to the Wal-mart and upon arriving at the scene, a white male was identified as Caleb Brown, age 18 of De Queen.

Brown claimed he wasn't trying to steal a phone charger as he'd been accused, stating he'd put it in his pocket and forgot about it because he “wasn't thinking.”

However, police also found photographic evidence of Brown stealing a set of Sony headphones back on November 24th and he later admitted to the thefts.

Brown reportedly asked for a lawyer but did agree to write a statement before being transported to the Sevier county jail, where he was charged with two counts of theft of property.

 

MARIJUANA FOUND AFTER CAR ACCIDENT CALLED IN TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES 12/13/19

Marijuana joints were discovered in a man's car after an accident in Sevier County Saturday, according to local police.

A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that officer Jarrin Platt assisted Deputy Chett Stubbs of the Sevier County Sheriff's Department with a two-car accident on Highway 71 South of Lockesburg on Saturday, December 7th.

The man who called the accident in was identified as Timothy Ross of Nashville, Arkansas and officer Platt noted the smell of marijuana coming from inside his car while speaking with him. Ross reportedly handed the officer a container with marijuana and two burnt joints were found in the ashtray of the vehicle.

Ross was placed in custody and transported to the De Queen Police Department but did not agree to answer questions or make a statement.  He was then taken to the Sevier County Sheriff's Department and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

 

DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER CAMPAIGN ACTIVE FOR THE HOLIDAYS 12/13/19

State and local law enforcement agencies in Arkansas will partner with the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this holiday season to save lives by keeping alcohol and drug impaired drivers off the roads. Beginning this week (Friday, December 13th – January1st), Arkansas State Troopers and other law enforcement officers will join together in a high-visibility national enforcement campaign.

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is a “no excuses” “zero tolerance” operation in which law enforcement officers increase their patrol presence with additional emphasis directed to identifying and arresting drivers who may be impaired by alcohol or drugs. The campaign also includes an increase in state and national messaging about the dangers of driving impaired.

It is illegal in all 50 states to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Avoiding arrest and expenses of court fines and higher insurance rates begins with never getting into the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle while impaired.

Many drivers fail to realize the risks. During 2018 there were 10,511 people killed in drunk driving crashes, one every 50 minutes, according to the NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)

If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone’s life.

For more information about the 2019 Holiday Season Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit https://www/trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/drunk-driving/holiday-season/peak-enforcement-kit or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For information on Arkansas’ “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDarkansas.org .

LOCAL COLLEGE TO OFFER BASIC DIESEL SHOP COURSE 12/12/19

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT) will offer a Basic Diesel Shop course on Monday and Wednesday nights from 6:00 p.m. to 9:20 p.m. beginning January 8. Students who enroll in the night Basic Diesel shop course may be eligible for scholarships.

Basic Diesel Shop is a lecture-demonstration course in shop safety and management. The course emphasizes how to use and read service manuals and software, proper use of shop tools, measuring devices, order parts, perform jobs in the shop, have a good rapport with customers, and search for a job. The four-credit hour course is the first step to students receiving a Certificate of Proficiency or Technical Certificate in Diesel Technology and will be taught on the Hope campus.
UAHT offers a variety of options in Diesel Technology including:
• Certificate of Proficiency in Chassis Systems
• Certificate of Proficiency in Brakes and Power Train Systems
• Certificate of Proficiency in Engine Systems
• Certificate of Proficiency in Electrical Systems
• Technical Certificate – Basic
• Technical Certificate – Advanced
Diesel Technology Degree Plans
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for diesel service technicians and mechanics in 2018 was $22.76 per hour. The employment of diesel service technicians and mechanics is projected to grow by 5% through 2028.
Registration for the course is open now, and classes begin on Wednesday, January 8. For more information or to enroll, call 870-722-8228.

 

CAR WRECK LEADS TO ARREST IN SEVIER COUNTY SUNDAY 12/12/19

A man was jailed in Sevier County for driving while intoxicated Sunday, December 8th. According to a report from the County Sheriff's Department, Deputy Christopher Wolcott Jr. was dispatched to Highway 70 West in response to a male subject seen laying in a yard and then limping as though he'd been in an accident.

Upon arriving at the scene, a male subject named Andy Arce, age 25 of De Queen was identified. Deputy Wolcott noted observing a red SUV that had been wrecked after conducting further investigation. Due to suspicion of driving under the influence, a series of field sobriety tests were administered to Arce before he was taken into custody. Arce was transported to The Sevier County jail where he was read his rights and reportedly agreed to take a breathalyzer test. The result showed Arce to have a blood alcohol content level of .25 and he was jailed for DWI.

 

UA COSSATOT AGRICULTURE BANQUET HELD DECEMBER 6TH 12/12/19

On Friday, December 6, 2019, the 2019 UA Cossatot Agriculture Department and Collegiate FFA Banquet took place at the college's De Queen Campus.

The banquet is an annual event to thank supporters, honor graduates, recognize students, and celebrate agriculture. The banquet was hosted by UA Cossatot Agriculture Instructor, Kelli Harris and catered by Texas Roadhouse.

After the meal, special guest and keynote speaker, Jennifer Cook, encouraged the students and upcoming graduates to work hard and always give their best. Jennifer Cook is the Foundation Director for the Arkansas FFA. She also provided an update on projects and funding for the Arkansas FFA Foundation, and expressed how broad the field of agriculture is for students wanting to pursue a career in this industry.

Julie Williams, Field Representative and Projects Coordinator from U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman’s Hot Springs office, also attended the FFA banquet in Mr. Westerman's place. On his behalf, she congratulated the students for their accomplishments and stated that Mr. Westerman wishes them the best in their future endeavors.

Cody Chandler, Cole Grimes, and Hadley Philamlee were recognized as graduates for the Fall 2019 semester. On December 13, they will receive their degrees and certificates in Lockesburg at the UA Cossatot December graduation ceremony.

Gynder Benson, John Hardin, Codie Jamison, Dusty Kesterson, Kirsten Nicholas, Raven Revels, Bryce Turner, Kelsey Willis, and Kinley Wright were also acknowledged as upcoming spring 2020 graduates.

FFA Officers Dusty Kesterson, Hadley Philamlee, Kinley Wright, Raven Revels, Cody Chandler, and Codie Jamison received certificates for serving during the fall 2019 semester. Spring 2019 FFA officers were also recognized. The officers for last spring were Hadley Philamlee, Kinley Wright, Cody Chandler, John Hardin, and Dusty Kesterson. Courtney Vaught received a certificate of appreciation for selling the most tickets for the FFA gun raffle fundraiser. Dusty Kesterson was voted the Graduate of the Year Award by his fellow students. Gynder Benson received the Inspirational Student Award and the Outstanding Service Award went to Hadley Philamlee. Hadley also received a surprise check for $100 for earning the most service hours during the semester.

Over $6,000 in scholarships were provided through the collegiate FFA. Scholarship recipients for Fall 2019 were recognized at the banquet and include: Cody Chandler, Cole Grimes, Dusty Kesterson, Codie Jamison, Hadley Philamlee, Lindy Price, Raven Revels, Courtney Vaught, Kelsey Willis, and Kinley Wright.

The evening concluded with Instructor, Kelli Harris, thanking supporters of the agriculture department and expressing how proud she was of her students.

MAN WHO SHOT DE QUEEN RESIDENT INDICTED ON CHARGES 12/12/19

A man accused of shooting a De Queen resident at the Rancho Del Sol arena in DeKalb, Texas on September 22nd was indicted by a Bowie County grand jury this week.

Pedro Alarcon-Sepulveda, 21, allegedly fired a gun at a security guard and struck a 20-year-old De Queen woman in the chest by mistake. Alarcon-Sepulveda was identified by witnesses at the event and a description of his vehicle, black with shiny wheels, was broadcast to area law enforcement, according to a probable cause affidavit.

A Texas game warden pulled over a car matching the description provided to police and Alarcon-Sepulveda was apprehended.
 
The suspect has now been indicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison as well as Theft of a firearm which carries up to two years  in a state jail.

Bail for the alleged shooter is set at $250,000 on the aggravated assault charge and at $20,000 on the firearm charge. Court records indicate immigration officials have placed a hold on him as well.

 

DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT EARNS OEP AWARDS 12/11/19

The De Queen School district has been recognized by The Office for Educational Policy (OEP) in Fayetteville, Arkansas for their academic success, as announced last month in November 2019. The awards received have been granted to schools whose students demonstrate achievement in the classroom despite household income status or free and reduced lunch program participation.

The OEP awards highlight Arkansas schools based on student growth shown in the ACT Aspire standardized test scores. The tests include mathematics and English Language Arts subjects and serve as an indicator of educational improvement. The De Queen Primary, Elementary, middle, Jr. High and High School campuses were all recognized by the OEP for their academic success.  Awards earned by the district include recognition for “beating the odds” in school subjects despite family income status and also exhibiting improvement based on previous years scores.

Middle School principal Lance Pinkerton credits both the students and teachers for the school's academic strengths:

(Principal Pinkerton Soundbite)

At the High School level, Principal Bryan Blackwood says leadership and support are key aspects of excelling in education. He also says that support is found among the De Queen School Board and superintendent, as well as the great parents of the students:

(Principal Blackwood Soundbite)

For the younger students in the district, Principal Sharon Pigeon at the primary school attributes specific programs and curriculum for providing extra in-school support for certain subjects, in addition to the support received from dedicated faculty and staff:

(Principal Pigeon Soundbite)

For more information about the OEP awards, visit officeforeducationpolicy.org/

TWO MEN HELD AT SEVIER COUNTY JAIL AFTER TRAFFIC STOP AT HOTEL FRIDAY 12/10/19

Two men are facing drug related charges after authorities discovered paraphernalia and methamphetamine in the parking lot of a hotel in De Queen Friday. A report released by The Sevier County Sheriff's Department states that Sergeant Greg Davignon conducted a traffic stop outside the courtyard inn on Friday, December 6th. The driver of the pulled over vehicle was identified as Christopher Green, age 27 of Lockesburg.

Sergeant Davignon then came into contact with a man identified as Brian Franklin, age 51 of of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Both Franklin and Green were placed under arrest after methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia were found at the scene. The two men were transported to the Sevier County jail. Green was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, class B felony as well as possession of drug paraphernalia. Franklin was charged with possession of a controlled substance, class C felony and drug paraphernalia, class D felony.

 

HOLIDAY SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED FOR SEVIER COUNTY 12/11/19

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY:

In observance of the Christmas holiday, the Sevier County Courthouse will be closed from 11:00 a.m., Monday, December 23 until 8:00 a.m., Thursday, December 26.

The Sevier County Landfill will be closed Tuesday, December 24, and Wednesday, December 25 and resume normal hours of operation on Thursday, December 26. Solid waste satellite stations will be closed Tuesday, December 24.

NEW YEAR’S HOLIDAY:

In observance of the New Year’s holiday, the Sevier County Courthouse, landfill and solid waste satellite stations will be closed Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

 

HORATIO BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING HELD MONDAY 12/11/19

The Horatio Board of Education met in regular session on Monday, December 9th in the administration building.

Jason Holsclaw from Stephens, Inc provided board members with financial training before the meeting.

The board then approved the election ballots and the proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-22, for the March school board election.

The Board also voted to accept bid from Progressive Technologies for cameras and installation for the elementary school, then approved transfers from Horatio to De Queen and voted to approve the online fundraising policy.

All routines reports and minutes of the November meeting were approved before adjournment.

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES PIPELINE SUPPORT 12/11/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced joining an 18-state alliance urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that unnecessarily blocked construction on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and impedes the nation’s economic growth.

“This pipeline is a vital source of energy and economic development for the entire country,” Attorney General Rutledge said. “It is critical the law is interpreted accurately as to not set a dangerous precedent that can slow future progress.”

The coalition’s amicus brief filed Monday argues the appeals court was inaccurate in ruling the U.S. Forest Service lacked authority to grant the Atlantic Coast Pipeline rights-of-way through forestland beneath federal trails.

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline will transport natural gas through five West Virginia counties en route to Virginia and North Carolina. The halting of pipeline construction has cost jobs and lost revenue from income and property taxes.

If left intact, the attorneys general argue the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling would transform 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail into a near-impenetrable barrier to energy development – all due to a one-tenth mile crossing deep beneath the surface on a 600-mile pipeline.

If applied nationwide, the coalition argues the lower court decision would seal off more than 11,000 miles of federal trails from development and potentially disrupt the national power grid because of the chilling effect it could have on infrastructure investment.

Along with Arkansas, the West Virginia-led brief received support from Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

Read a copy of the coalition’s brief here.

 
 
MAN GOES TO JAIL FOR CALLING POLICE ON HIMSELF IN DE QUEEN SUNDAY 12/10/19
A local man was held in the Sevier County Jail after calling the police on himself over the weekend.
According to a report from The De Queen Police Department, officer Hundley was dispatched to an EZ mart store in De Queen around 3:50 a.m. Sunday, December 8th in response to a call from a man who reported his own crystal meth possession.
Due to previous interactions, the man was already known to authorities as Richard Martinez, age 24 of De Queen.  At the scene, Richard reportedly asked officer Hundley to rewind the EZ-Mart store cameras because he had thrown away a bag of crystal meth in the trash and then got the substance back out after words. Officer Hundley noted in the Report that Martinez said he wanted to take the footage to the Sevier County Sheriff's Department and turn himself in.
Police discovered the substance balled up in a paper towel and Officer Johnson assisted by conducting a chemical test on the substance that turned up positive for amphetamines. Martinez was handcuffed and transported to the Sevier County Jail in De Queen where he was charged with possession of a controlled substance. The total amount of meth discovered weighed .24 grams.

As of 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, December 10th, Jail staff confirmed Martinez was still being held in the detention facility.

 

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT TALKS BUDGET AT DECEMBER MEETING 12/10/19

The County budget served as the main topic of discussion during the final Sevier County Quorum Court meeting of the year at the courthouse in De Queen Monday afternoon. Before diving into the agenda items, Mike Archer spoke on behalf of the budget committee to provide an update on projected financial reports for Sevier County in 2020. Archer announced that the total proposed budget for Sevier County in 2020 is $3,316,837.13 General, not including the county jail, road or solid waste department.

Road Department budget: $2,775,278.20
Solid waste: $1,170,978.62
Jail: $1,450,079.28

Other departments factored in to the total 2020 Sevier County Quorum Court budget, including county court, treasurer, assessor, libraries, airport, emergency vehicles, reserve and miscellaneous costs equate to $10,590,951.70. A complete breakdown of all department budgets has been documented with Ms. Debbie Akin in the clerk’s office of the courthouse.

During the budget discussion, Archer also reported that he has served the county budget committee since 1996 and says the county’s current financial status is in much better shape than it was when he first began working on it. Expenses proving to be costly for the committee include the purchasing of two new vehicles for The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, as well as factoring in the 2% raise for county employees. The county will also be taking on a new bridge project and purchasing an additional dump truck in the coming year.

Under new business items, two proposed ordinances were addressed. The first being an ordinance to establish the 2020 budget, and the 2nd involved the allocation of the county portion of the 1% sales tax. The JP’s approved both ordinances. The Quorum Court also approved motion to receive reimbursement for the RSAT program, as well as the appointment of Hector Gallegos to the Sevier County Medical Board. Gallegos and his wife, Christy operate the healthcare express urgent care facility on Colin Raye Drive in De Queen. The board position opened up after appointee, Erika Buenrrostro stepped down from the role. Gallegos appointment is effective immediately.

Though the item had been tabled until the January meeting, Justice of the Peace, David Wright expressed concern for the time sheet liability issues alongside the pending county employee time clock debate. As previously reported on KDQN, a new state implemented time keeping system for all county employees, excluding elected officials has been proposed for Sevier County.

The new system would require agencies, including deputies, police, clerks, firefighters, road, sewer and trash departments as well as library employees and 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 item is set to be addressed at the next meeting, scheduled for Monday, January 6th at 2:00 p.m. at the county courthouse in De Queen.

After all agenda items were addressed, time for public comment was allotted and Extension agent Rex Herring reported that a Hemp Farmer Production meeting is being held December 19th at 10:00 a.m. in the Adams building of the campus. The purpose of the meeting is to get farmers educated about the changes coming for the county next year as a hemp production company will be coming to De Queen and the laws around hemp-based products continue to grow and evolve in Arkansas. The meeting will address regulations for legal hemp growth in Sevier County and all area farmers are encouraged to attend. Herring also reported the Extension Office would like to keep track of feral hogs killed on  sevier county resident properties throughout the year. Sevier County Citizens who kill feral hogs on their land are asked to submit the information to the extension office at 870-584-3013.

 
LOCKESBURG CHRISTMAS PARADE WINNERS 12/10/19
City of Lockesburg Christmas Parade Winners 2019

Commercial / Business
1st Place: Lansdell Family Clinic
2nd Place: United Ag & Turf
3rd  Place: B & H Trash

Religious
1st Place: Falls Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church
2nd Place: First Baptist Church
3rd Place: Grace Country Church

Organization
1st Place: Goin' Showin' 4H
2nd Place: Happy Face 4H
3rd Place: Rustic Relics Tractor Club

Recreational Vehicle
1st Place: La Vonna Wright
2nd Place: Cadee Glasgow

 

HEMP FARMER PRODUCTION MEETING 12/10/19

LOCAL GROUPS HELP WITH SALVATION ARMY BELL RINGING CAMPAIGN IN DE QUEEN 12/10/19

The Salvation Army is continuing to raise money to help families in need during the holiday season through bell ringing at Wal-Mart in De Queen.  On Saturday, December 7th Arvest bank contributed their time to ring the bell and on Sunday, December 8th De Queen Auto group  participated fron 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Today, Monday December 9th the fundraising effort to help local families continues with help from the Sevier County Judges office, Sheriff Deputies, collector's office and custodian.

Later this week, efforts continue with participation from Kern heights Baptist church on Tuesday, December 10th and the City of De Queen on Wednesday, December 11th. De Queen rotary club is set to ring the bell from 2pm-8pm on Thursday December 12th, and 1st Baptist church will round out the weekend December 13th and 14th.

100% of the money donated stays in the local community to help area families and volunteers for the campaign are always appreciated.

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES 12/10/19

Following the breakfast with Santa in Foreman and The Christmas tour of homes over the weekend, holiday festivities continue in Little River County with the Ashdown Christmas parade tonight and the 2nd annual snow day this Saturday.

This Saturday, December 14th the snow day will be held beginning with breakfast with Santa at 8:30 and the hoho parade around the courthouse at 9:00. The snow event starts at 10:00am and there will be “real” snow guaranteed for up to five hours. No age limit set for the fun and everyone is welcome. There will also be crafts throughout the day and the Little River County Chamber of Commerce can be contacted for Details. 870-898-2758.

 

FOUR CHARGES AND TWO CITATIONS ISSUED AFTER ONE TRAFFIC STOP IN DE QUEEN SATURDAY 12/09/19

A man received four substance-related charges and two traffic citations following a traffic stop conducted by local authorities in Downtown De Queen over the weekend.
According to information released by The De Queen Police Department this week, Officer Doug Johnson observed a black charger neglect a stop sign on De Queen avenue around 3:17 a.m. Saturday, December 7th.

The officer reported recognizing the driver of the car from having spoken with him earlier that evening during a noise complaint call less than an hour earlier.

The driver was identified as Mateo Garcia, age 20 of De Queen.

Garcia reportedly admitted to consuming alcohol and was also unable to provide proof of insurance for the vehicle when asked.

After a series of field sobriety tests were conducted, Garcia was taken in to custody for suspicion of DWI. The police report also states that an open bottle of alcohol was discovered inside the vehicle along with marijuana in a grinder. A Breathalyzer test showed Garcia's blood alcohol content level to be .12 , which is over the legal limit of .08.

In addition to DWI, minor in possession of alcohol, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia charges, Mateo Garcia was also cited with failure to obey a stop sign and failure to provide proof of insurance. Garcia bonded out of The Sevier County Jail later that day, December 7th on a $4,550 bond.

HARVEST REGIONAL FOOD BANK COMING TO SEVIER COUNTY 12/09/19

Harvest Regional Food Bank is returning to Sevier County with its TEFAP USDA Commodity Mobile Pantry. “We have several communities in our rural service area that are not fully served by local partner agencies. To be sure that the residents in these areas are served, we are providing direct service where needed.”said Camille Coker Wrinkle, Executive Director of Harvest Regional Food Bank.

Harvest Regional Food Bank will distribute TEFAP USDA Commodities directly from their truck on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 from 10 am to noon. The truck will be parked at the Horatio First United Methodist Church located at 304 S Pennock St., AR. Next Mobile Pantry will be on Wednesday, February 26, 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.

 MCCURTAIN COUNTY CHRISTMAS PARADE 12/09/19

The 49th Annual McCurtain County Christmas Parade will get underway at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 9th. The theme is “Lighting the Way.” The Parade will start at the Broken Bow High School and end at the Broken Bow Post Office.  Anyone interested in entering this year’s parade can pick up an entry form at the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce at 113 W Martin Luther King Drive.  The deadline for entries will be December 9th at 1:00 p.m.All floats, parade entries, and participants riding on floats will need to report to Charity at the Rector Johnson Middle School parking lot for line up assignments.  The McCurtain County Christmas Parade was the first one held in the county.

WESTERMAN WEEKLY 12/09/19
 
DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 12/09/19
Monthly revenue reports help to give us a picture of the state’s economy.  The reports show us if Arkansans are making more, spending more, and if businesses are doing well. Recent reports have created an optimistic outlook.
 
Five months into the fiscal year, general revenue for the state continues to exceed expectations. In fact, more gross general revenue was collected this November than any November in state history. November collections totaled $515.2 million. That is $23 million more than November 2018.
 
Sales tax collections are contributing to the increase in general revenue. This month, the revenue from sales tax was $9.1 million or 4.5% above last year. On a year to date basis, sales and use taxes are 3.1% more than Fiscal Year 2019.
 
Legislation passed in the 2019 Regular Session began requiring online retailers to collect and remit taxes on in-state purchases. That legislation went into effect in July of this year.
To date, there has been $104.2 million more in gross general revenue collected than this time last year.  That is a 3.9% increase.
 
Individual income tax collections are $73 million above this time last year.  We anticipate income tax revenue to decrease next year as new legislation lowering income tax takes effect. The top rate for income tax will drop from 6.9% to 6.6% on January 1, 2020. It will drop again to 5.9% on January 1, 2021.
 
Corporate income taxes are also showing an increase from last year.
 
All of these increases reflect our low unemployment rate and healthy consumer confidence. The unemployment rate in Arkansas is 3.5%, just slightly below the national average.
 
By monitoring the state’s revenue closely, we are able to create a budget that best serves the needs of the public. Budget hearings for the next fiscal year begin March 4. We convene for the 2020 Fiscal Session on April 8.
 
You can review the monthly revenue reports at www.dfa.arkansas.gov.

FIRE DEPARTMENT PUTS OUT GRASS FIRE BEHIND KDQN STUDIOS THURSDAY 12/09/19

The De Queen Fire Department responded to a grass fire at KDQN studios after a controlled burn quickly spread from a neighboring yard on to the radio station property Thursday, December 5th.

Calvin Zackaraias was identified as the renter of the home where the fire began. That  home, located at 915 North 9th street is also owned By KDQN radio station manager, Mr. Jay Bunyard. The occupants of the house reportedly began a small fire of trash and tree branches that got out of control and spread to the grass field behind KDQN studios next door.

The fire department arrived on the scene by 3:53 p.m., just 4 minutes after being dispatched by an all-call alarm.

A total of 15 firefighters and three trucks responded to the extinguish the fire by using foam and water. No injuries nor damage to any structures were reported as a result of the fire.

The department left the scene by 4:42 p.m.

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES PARDONS 12/09/19

Wednesday, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced his intent to grant 11 pardons and one firearm rights only. An additional 41 clemency requests were denied and five had no action taken upon them. These include requests from both inmates and non-inmates.

The applicants intended for pardons have completed all jail time, fulfilled all parole and probationary requirements and paid all fines related to their sentences. There is a 30-day waiting period to receive public feedback on the notices before final action is taken.

A local pardon includes that of:

Anthony W. Ebert (Broken Bow, OK): Possession of Meth, 2 counts (C Felony) (CR 97-7).

This notice is issued based on the date of conviction (1998 – Little River County), all terms of the applicant’s sentence have been completed and there have been no further criminal-law violations. There are no law enforcement objections to the application.

 

CITY HALL IN DE QUEEN GETS FESTIVE AS LIGHTS GO UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS 12/06/19

Christmas lights have been put up around the exterior of city hall in De Queen for the holiday season. The ladies of Southern Girls flowers and gifts put in a team effort to help decorate, along with assistance from employees of the city and fire department. The final touches were completed today, Friday December 6th.

 

SEVIER COUNTY HOSPITAL BOARD MEETING HELD THURSDAY 12/06/19

The Sevier County Hospital Board met Thursday December 5th at the courthouse in De Queen to continue the process of moving forward with the development of the new medical facility. Sales tax revenue for the construction and operation of the new facility will begin to generate on January 1st of 2020 and access to those funds will become available in April.

The board approved the previous meeting minutes before hearing from Michelle Kitchens of ACHI (Association for Community Health Improvement) regarding required guidelines, policies and important regulations the board will need to be informed for insurance purposes and business logistics.

Board President, Dr. Steve Cole reported that the land to be used for the center is being surveyed this week and details regarding the road to the facilities are being discussed with county judge Greg Ray, the road department and the current owners of the property. An additional update on the results of the land survey will be revealed at the January meeting.

Board member Greg Revels reported that he has been working with D and O insurance and will have more information at the next meeting.

The last item discussed included the sewer project for the hospital, which Judge Ray says he and the Mayor are working to collect financial numbers that the board can look at for the projected sewer line total cost.

In a final item of business, The board began a conversation involving WD&D architectural firm about the preliminary floor plan drawing of the new facility and working out both practical and financial logistics for a medical center designed to serve the county and the needs of both employees and patients who will utilize the facility.

The next meeting will be held January 2nd, 2020 at the Sevier County Courthouse.

A full look at Sevier County Medical Board meeting can be found on the facebook page for KDQN 92.1 FM

https://www.facebook.com/KDQN921/

 

MAN AND WOMAN FACING DRUG AND GOVERNMENT OBSTRUCTION CHARGES 12/05/19

Two people were charged for possession of drug paraphernalia and obstructing government operations after authorities conducted a traffic stop in De Queen late last month.

A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that officer King pulled over a vehicle on November 30th for not properly using a turn signal. The driver of the car reportedly claimed her name was Julie McMellon and the passenger was Juan Carlos Flores.

The report states that Julie was driving because Flores had been drinking. When officer King searched for the woman’s name in the system, no information could be found matching the date of birth and last name given.

Julie later admitted to giving a false name due to having warrants out for her arrest, as her true identity was Julie Wells.

She was detained in officer King’s patrol unit and Flores reportedly consented to a search of the car.

During the search a white crystal substance believed to be methamphettamine was found inside a straw, along with a clear glass pipe and a clear plastic bag with more of the substance. Both Flores and Wells claimed the items did not belong to them.

The two were taken to the Sevier county jail, there they were charged with felony possession of drug paraphernalia and a misdemeanor for obstructing government operations.

LOCAL COLLEGE TO OFFER STUDENT MEAL PLANS IN SPRING SEMESTER 12/05/19

UA Cossatot will continue to offer meal plan options for students during the spring 2020 semester. By completing a Colt Bucks form, UA Cossatot students will be able to set up meal plan options through the UA Cossatot Campus Café.

The University of Arkansas Cossatot has two Campus Cafés that are located on the De Queen and Nashville Campuses. Their hours of operation are Monday through Thursday 7:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. for the spring 2020 semester.

Students who purchase a meal plan will receive a UA Cossatot Colt Bucks card. The Colt Bucks card can contain four different meal plan options.

The Gold Plan is $300, the Silver Plan is $200, and the Bronze Plan is $100. Students can also add a custom amount to fit their needs.

Students can purchase a Colt Bucks meal plan at any time. If students wish to use financial aid for a meal plan, they must complete a Colt Bucks form by January 28, 2020. Forms are available in the Business Office on the De Queen Campus and at the front desk in the Atrium at the Nashville Campus.

Students who purchase a meal plan for the spring semester are also able to use that meal plan amount in the summer of 2020 until the 2019-2020 academic year is completed on July 31, 2020.

For questions or concerns regarding UA Cossatot meals plans, please contact UA Cossatot at 870-584-1113 or 970-584-1215 or e-mail askbusinessoffice@cccua.edu.

To sign up for classes next semester, please contact Student Services at 870-584-4471

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL REPORT 12/05/19

The Lockesburg City council addressed several updates and announcements during the November meeting held at city hall last month.

Lockesburg Mayor, Danny Ruth informed the council about repairs completed on the city’s boom hog used for maintenance and announced additional repairs needed to be made on one of the city’s wells. As far as updates go Mayor Ruth also revealed that two new residential water meters and one commercial water meter had recently been installed.

More updates in the city are on the way as well, as the council discussed the need for replacing the restroom doors at the concession stand in Ida Margaret Coulter Stone Park.

New Businesses are in the works for Lockesburg as well. The council approved building permits for Tanya Lansdell of Lansdell family clinic. The clinic will be located at 101 West Main Street in Lockesburg.

A building permit was also granted for Mark Crawford to build a shop at 145 Park Avenue.

The council then approved a Resolution Of The City of Lockesburg Levying Milage Rates On Taxable Property Within city limits, by title only before going into executive session.

After the session concluded, the council approved the hire of Mr. Matt Webb as the new waste water superintendent for the city of Lockesburg.

Logistics for the city Christmas parade were addressed during the meeting as well. The Lockesburg Christmas parade is set for Saturday December 7th at 4:00 p.m. The parade will feature four categories of floats and everyone in the community is welcome to participate.

Before adjourning, the council approved the previous meeting’s minutes and financial statements.

The next Lockesburg City Council meeting has been scheduled for December 10th at 6:30 p.m. in city Hall.

ASHDOWN SCHOOLS ALL-STAR READERS 12/05/19

November All-Star Readers 3rd Grade-Daegon Ford 4th Grade-Adalie Aylett 5th Grade-Erin Crow.

TEXARKANA MAN FOUND STEALING TELEVISIONS GIVEN PROBATION 12/05/19

A man who was found stealing televisions from hotels in the Texarkana area has been sentenced to probation for the offenses.

James Jerell Robinson, age 25, was arrested October 22nd after authorities pulled over a silver Volkswagon being driven by Robinson, and discovered two TV sets in the back seat and later found three more in the trunk.

Robinson plead guilty to theft, three counts of burglary of a building and three counts of bribery. Monday he was sentenced to a five-year deferred adjudication probation by 202nd District Judge John Tidwell after Tidwell confirmed that Robinson has never been before convicted of a felony. If Robinson successfully completes probation, he will not have a felony conviction on his record.

Tidwell ordered Robinson to complete an in-patient treatment program, an employment program and other classes while on probation. Tidwell ordered a $2,500 fine and court costs and ordered Robinson to complete 240 hours of community service.

Robinson was represented at the hearing by Assistant Public Defender Clayton Haas.

DRINKING AND DRIVING LANDS MAN IN SEVIER COUNTY JAIL 12/04/19

A man was detained in the Sevier County Jail after authorities conducted a traffic stop in De Queen last week.

A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that Officer King observed a white Toyota swerving while traveling West down Colin Raye Drive on Thursday, November 28th.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Gustavo Bahena Ortiz. Officer King noted Ortiz to have bloodshot eyes and smelled the odor of intoxicants coming from inside the car. Ortiz did not have a driver's license but was able to provide valid insurance. When asked how much he'd had to drink, Ortiz allegedly claimed he'd consumed two alcoholic beverages.

Deputy Alvarado assisted authorities in communication with Ortiz and it was later reported that the driver admitted to consuming at least five alcoholic drinks. A field sobriety test was administered and the result showed Ortiz to have a .089 blood alcohol content level. Ortiz was transported to the Sevier County Jail in De Queen and charged with a misdemeanor for drinking on the highway.

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL PASSES 2020 BUDGET 12/04/19

The De Queen City Council passed the 2020 budget at the meeting Tuesday night, December 3rd at city hall.

The 2020 budget was the only item on the agenda for the evening and just one minor adjustment was made to the financial allocation list before passing the final version. The police department portion of the budget was listed incorrectly as showing training costs to be $4,500 when the correct number was $12,000. City clerk Donna Jones corrected the issue before attorney Erin Hunter read the ordinance and the council approved the final budget as presented.

The total budget for all De Queen City administration and associated departments for the year 2020 is $8, 813,761.

A break down of all department budgets has been listed in the November 2019 KDQN council meeting report. This information is available online at KDQN.net

PESTICIDE APPLICATOR TRAINING DECEMBER 10TH 

*Rex Herring of The UA Extension office has announced there is incorrect information circulating regarding the pesticide applicator training class scheduled for this month.
There is no class offered this week, however the training will take place Tuesday, December 10th at 2:00 p.m. OR 5:00 p.m. For questions, contact Rex Herring at 870-584-3013.*

CHRISTMAS ON MAIN IN HORATIO THIS SATURDAY 12/04/19

Christmas on main in Horatio is taking place this Saturday, December 7th from 10am-3pm.

Vendors will begin setting up by 9:00am and Christmas on main begins at 10:00am. The Christmas cookie contest starts at 11:00am and a pulled pork sand which fundraiser will be held from 11:00am to 2:00pm at Horatio City Hall. All proceeds from the fundraiser are going to benefit the Horatio museum.

Santa will also be at the pit stop for pictures beginning at 11:00 and free bags for kids will be given out, plus .99 cent hot dogs will be available as well. The cookie contest judging starts at noon and the winners will be announced by 1:00. The parade will kick off at 2:00

There is no cost to enter in the parade and everyone is welcome to participate.

 

 

DOMESTIC BATTERY CASE REPORTED IN DE QUEEN 12/03/19

A local Man is facing a battery charge after police responded to a call in De Queen last week.

A report released by The De Queen Police Department states that Officer Barnes and Officer Elizondo were dispatched to a home on North Cleveland Wednesday November 27th in reference to a domestic dispute.

The officers took a statement outside the home from a woman who said her son had hit her. Police entered the house and found a man identified as David Gonzalez San Juan to be “rambling” and “not making sense.”

The man was taken into custody by authorities and the police then collected statements from family members.

Officers noted finding redness on the victim’s face and knots on her head. Another family member was found to have markings on her lips and scratches on her hands. David was transported to The Sevier County Jail and charged with 3rd degree domestic battery.

As of Tuesday December 3rd jail staff reported David was still incarcerated at the jail, located in De Queen.

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD DECEMBER MEETING HELD MONDAY 12/03/19

A brief De Queen School Board meeting was held Monday, December 2nd at the district administration building and a short list of agenda items were discussed.

The previous meetings minutes, bills and financial statements were all approved during the meeting.

Mr. Micheal Dobbs of First Security Beardsley addressed the board to discuss an option to do a 2nd lien bond, which would provide funds to be used for more updates and improvements to be made to properties around the district. The board voted to submit an “application for a permit to issue bonds” with related documents for $3,540,00 in construction bonds to the state department of education. The board also agreed to employ First Security Beardsley as fiscal agent as well authorizing Superintendent Sanders to accept or reject the best bid submitted in connection with the public sale of the proposed bonds.

Amendments to the district drug testing policies were accepted before Mr. Jason Sanders delivered the Superintendent report.

During the report, Sanders announced grades for the district have been released.

Primary/Elementary: “B”

Middle/Jr. High: “A”

High School: “C”

Principals have submitted plans to Sanders regarding plans for what to work on in the future. Sanders also reported that the schools voted on “leopard pride” and “Once a Leopard always a leopard” as the official slogans for the De Queen Schools.

Before adjourning, an executive session was held and the resignation of Katelyn Norris, Special Ed Para was accepted. The next meeting has been set for Monday January 13th 2020, at 5:30 p.m. in the District admin building.

 

PILGRIM'S PRIDE PLANT PROMOTES COMMUNITY SERVICE IN DE QUEEN 12/03/19

De Queen Mayor Jeff Brown and Sevier County Judge Greg Ray stopped by KDQN studios Tuesday morning, December 3rd to give a public 'shout out' to Pilgrim's Pride Chicken Plant in De Queen for their community service efforts last month.

The week before Thanksgiving, Pilgrim's Pride Plant in De Queen Shut down for upgrades at the facility to made. The plant managers arranged for employees to receive pay upon completion of trash pick up and other acts of service around De Queen and Sevier County.

This act allowed employees to not have to go a week without pay leading up to the holiday, and it also provided some needed clean-up efforts to remove litter around town. Employees also painted guardrails and hung Christmas lights at the county courthouse as well.

Mayor Brown emphasized the importance of cleanliness and pride in the town as outside visitors travel through De Queen and Sevier County during the holiday season.Both Brown and Ray would like to express many thanks to the folks at Pilgrim's for their dedication to the community and the people who reside here locally.

LIBRARY SNIPPETS BY: JOHNYE FISHER 12/03/19

Merry Christmas from the ladies at the De Queen Library we hope all have safe travels and journeys.

Thank you to the community for having such giving hearts. The food for fines and Mr. Rogers Sweater Drive was a great success once again. We collected so many items to be distributed locally for the community we haven’t had time to count them. We collected 147lbs all together for food for fines.

We will be having a story time with Tammy Smith of the De Queen School System on December 4th at 4 pm. The book will be read aloud while she uses American Sign Language to convey the story to the children.

The De Queen Library will kick off its 10th annual Christmas program with the 5th annual Cocoa and story with Mrs. Claus Saturday December 14th at 10 am. There will be lots of fun, songs stories and goodies for the first 30 Children.

Don’t forget those Domino games going on Wednesdays at 10am.You can contact us by calling 870-584-4364 or visiting our Facebook page www.facebook.com/seviercountylibrary

Tis the season to be jolly.   Speaking of Jolly we have some exciting news.   Photographers Don House and Sabine Schmidt has included the Horatio Library in their Remote Access project.  Horatio was one of the 25 library's chosen out of the 235 public library's in Arkansas.  The project highlights the small libraries across the state and the people who rely on them.   They will be visiting the library on Saturday, December 7th from 8:30 til 12:30.  House states ” I'm interested in the people, their personality, what they're wearing, what they're carrying, why they are there.   There is no posing, no pre-conceived notions.   When I'm done, if I've been successful, I have opened a window on the community, the people who make it what it is.”    The collection of photo's will be put in a book and be a part of a traveling exhibition.   No cost of any kind is involved.  As a thank you for participation each person will receive a complimentary copy of their photo.  Mrs. Amy received a letter from Santa and Mrs. Claus last Friday saying they will be stopping by the library on December, 21.   There will be a story time at 10 a.m. and first 30 kids will receive a stocking full of goodies. Boys and Girls make sure you are on your best behavior because Santa will want to know.  We look forward to seeing you here.   We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year.

At the Lockesburg Library there will be a book club discussion of December’s selection “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn”, by Betty Smith at 10:00 Saturday, Dec. 14. January’s book club selection will be available to pick up at this meeting.

A Come and Go Open House is planned Saturday, December 21 from 10:00 until 11:30. Stop by to help complete our new StickTogether winter poster and for refreshments at the Lockesburg Library.

Contact Wendy Clay at 870-289-2233 for more information concerning programs, books and activities at the library.

The Gillham Library will have their regular Story Time and Craft Day Saturday in December check our facebook page for details.  New on the shelf : Mystery of Julia Episcopa by John Rigoli the Vatican Chronicles Book 1 and Noel Street   by Richard Paul Evans. We have another donation of Diane Palmer books, which are for sale.Open Tuesday and Saturday 9-5 Closed 12 to 1:00 for lunch. For more information, you can contact Susie at the Gillham Library at 870-386-5665 or you can visit their Facebook   page at www.facebook.com/gillhamlibrary

 

TWO MEN REPORTED TO BE IMPERSONATING POLICE OFFICERS IN SEVIER COUNTY MONDAY MORNING 12/02/19

The Sevier County Sheriff's Department has reported that an incident involving two white males impersonating police officers occurred early Monday morning.

A report released by the department states that deputies were dispatched to a residence on Sycamore road at 12:44 a.m. Monday December 2nd to asses a report involving a person who was pulled over by someone who turned out to not be an active member of law enforcement.

The victim of the incident reported being stopped on Highway 24 East by a Black Dodge Charger with a blue dome light on the dash. The person who approached the pulled over vehicle was a white male who gave the name “Johnson” but did not provide which department he worked for. A second white male with a dog then approached the truck and the two claimed the vehicle was stolen and stated that they were going to search the truck.

The victim then reported realizing the men were not officers of the law and drove away from the scene. The men in the charger then followed the victim until his vehicle broke down at the intersection of Beacon Hill and Lone Oak Road and allegedly attacked the victim. After a brief fight the two men got back in the charger and fled the scene. The incident is currently under investigation and a BOLO advisory (Be On The Look Out) has been issued to all area law enforcement agencies.

The description of the two males includes:

  1. White male, estimated 5'10, in height, age: mid-late 20's with no facial hair, hair color black or brown and last seen wearing a blue button up shirt with blue jeans.
  2. White male, estimated 5'10 in height, age: mid-late 20's with facial hair, last seen wearing Blue Jeans and a black shirt.

The Sevier County Sheriff's Department does not have any unmarked black dodge chargers nor do they use blue dome lights in  any of their vehicles. All department units are white with the exception of one black charger which is marked but not used on patrol.

Anyone who has any information relating to the incident is asked to call The Sevier County Sheriff's Department at 870-642-2125.

FIRE DEPARTMENT RESPONDS TO INCIDENTS AT NEIGHBORING PROPERTIES IN SAME WEEK 12/02/19

The De Queen Fire Department responded to two fires at houses next door to each other within one week late last month.

The first report states that firefighters were dispatched to a structure fire at 522 West Gilson avenue on Friday, November 22nd at 8:11 p.m. Members of the department worked the incident, arriving on the scene within one minute of being dispatched. Three trucks and 19 total firefighters responded to the all-call alarm and extinguished the blaze with water.

The owner of the home was found to be Maria Hernandez. No smoke detectors were  found in the home and no injuries were listed in the report. Firefighters left the scene by 10:32 p.m.

Four days later on Tuesday, November 26th the department was dispatched to a tree fire at 518 West Gilson street, next door to where the house fire occurred.

Nine firefighters responded to the all-call alarm and arrived on scene by 10:53 p.m. Foam and water were used to put out the flames and no injuries were reported. The department left the scene by 11:25 p.m.

 

SALVATION ARMY BELL RINGING NOW THROUGH CHRISTMAS EVE 11/29/19

The Salvation Army is raising money to help families in need during the holiday season through bell ringing at Wal-Mart in De Queen.  Friday November 29th St. Barbara's Catholic Church staff kicked off the fundraising effort to help local families. The church is very active and often involve in community events. Local residents are asked to donate change on their way in or out of the store when shopping.

Saturday, November 30th Williamson Community Church volunteered to ring the Salvation Army Bell all day and will be filling in several vacancies throughout the month of December. Williamson Church is also very involved in the community and hosts many youth events.

100% of the money donated stays in the local community to help area families.

 

AGFC WATERFOWL REPORTS IN FOR SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS 12/02/19

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission staff conducted the November 2019 aerial waterfowl survey report  on November 19th in southwest Arkansas. A report from the AGFC states that the southwest Arkansas total duck count was 17,193, including more than 8,000 mallards.

The trend of slightly lower total ducks on average and about normal in mallards was also found in the River Valley observations, with the highest mallard and total duck estimates in the Frog Bayou survey zone. About half the ducks observed in southwest Arkansas were mallards, and observers noted most ducks along the Red River habitat corridor.

“Anecdotally, unmanaged habitat appeared to be high (in duck numbers) during the 7-10 days before surveys began and following extreme cold temperatures and obvious migration events,” Luke Naylor, the AGFC waterfowl program coordinator, said. ” Duck numbers reflect this habitat availability: estimates were high in the north Delta while noticeably low south of a line that roughly corresponds with U.S. Highway 64, including regions that are historic strongholds for ducks and duck habitat.”

AGFC survey observers were J.J. Abernathy, Jason Carbaugh, Jason Jackson, Cameron Tatom and Alex Zachary. Staff will conduct the next aerial waterfowl survey the week of Dec. 16.

 

FUGITIVE EXTRADITED FROM CANADA TO FACE CHARGES IN POLK COUNTY 12/02/19

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer announced that Chad Voelkel is back in the Polk County Detention Center. Voelkel was extradited from Canada and flown to the Bentonville, Arkansas airport Friday by the US Marshal’s Service. According to a  report by KENA, The Polk County Sheriff’s Office took custody Voelkel. He will await trial in the Polk County Detention Center on Rape and Failure to Appear.

Voelkel was arrested for Rape on January 3rd, 2019. While out on bond he failed to appear for his jury trial last May, a warrant was issued for Failure to Appear.

Voelkel fled the Arkansas with his wife, Stephanie Voelkel, and four of his minor children. She had a warrant was issued for Permitting Abuse of a Minor.

The Voelkels fled over 1,200 miles to Canada and were eventually in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada. Their 4 children were turned over to the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Stephanie Voelkel has not yet returned to Arkansas and is still in Canadian custody awaiting extradition to face charges of Permitting the Abuse of a Minor.

Sheriff Scott Sawyer thanked his Deputies and the US Marshal’s Service for their hard work. “Without the involvement of the US Marshal’s Service, we might still be looking for them”. Sheriff Sawyer also wanted to thank US Attorney Dak Kees, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canadian Border Services, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for their assistance. “This was a team effort. Everyone involved was focused on finding the Voelkel children and making sure that Chad and Stephanie Voelkel were brought back to face justice.”