Friday, April 3, 2020

Local News

Today's News

AGFC SEEKING PUBLIC SURVEY RESPONSES 04/02/20

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Management Division has proposed 85 regulation changes for the 2020-2022 regulation cycle. Many of the changes are to reduce barriers to hunting and trapping and streamline or clarify regulations.

Before submitting these proposals to the Commission for consideration, they would like to get public feedback through the available survey. 

The survey is segmented to enable you to choose whichever topics you are interested in to respond. The survey will run until April 15, 2020, and results will be presented to Commissioners at the Commission’s April 23 meeting. Visit AGFC.com for information and survey link.

SEVIER COUNTY DISTRICT COURT UPDATES 04/02/20

The Sevier County District Court has announced that first appearances are now able to be conducted through video conferencing, as coordinated by Judge Monya Wood and The Sevier County Jail. Judge Wood reports they are doing everything they can to work with the public while also staying in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines and state mandates as well.

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

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

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

As of March 16, 2020 until further notice, district court will no longer be accepting fine payments in person and no civil cases are being conducted at this time and they appreciate everyone’s patience. For information, contact district court at 870-584-7311.

HEMPSTEAD COUNTY DEPUTY CLEARED IN SHOOTING CASE 04/02/20

A Hempstead County Sheriff’s Deputy has been cleared of any wrong doing in a shooting that occurred last month. 8th North District Prosecuting Attorney Kristi McQueen says Deputy Jim Bush acted within the scope of his duties when he shot a suspect who is alleged to have approached officers with a machete type knife in one hand and a pocket knife in the other. The prosecutor’s findings concluded the individual, identified as 36 year old Charles Ray Alford of Henderson, Texas, continued approaching deputies and repeatedly failed to obey the officers commands to drop the weapons.

Reports said Deputy Bush shot one time, striking Alford in the chest. He was transported to a Texarkana hospital and released a few days later. The shooting followed a vehicle pursuit that began in Bowie County, Texas and ended near the Hempstead/Nevada County line on Interstate 30.

Alford is charged with Aggravated Assault.

CITY OF LOCKESBURG ANNOUNCES CLOSURES 04/01/20

In order to protect the public from further spread of Covid-19 and to assist with the Governor’s directives to limit social distancing, the City of Lockesburg will be closing facilities to the public. This includes:

Ida Margaret Coulter Park, City Shop and City Hall.

The closure is effective as of March 31st, 2020 until further notice. Residents are encouraged to handle all business online and by phone as city employees will continue to conduct business and will remain accessible by phone and email. Those who need to make payments may do so by calling 870-289-3261 or mail P.O. Box 14, Lockesburg Arkansas or stop by the drop box located at city hall. If you need to speak with an employee or have an existing appointment, please call during regular operating hours and someone will assist you.

A city facility is any facility including, but not limited to buildings, recreation areas, parks, playgrounds and property owned or otherwise operated or funded by a Governmental body or public entity. Email: cityoflockesburg@windstream.net or call 870-289-3261.

WESTERMAN SUMMARIZES CARES ACT     04/01/20


Arkansas’s Fourth District Congressman Bruce Westerman has compiled a list of resources, frequently asked questions, and background information below to help you better understand some of the main portions of the new CARES bill.

American Recovery Rebates

Every American with a valid Social Security number is eligible to receive a one-time tax rebate check. The full amount ($1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for couples, $500 for each child under the age of 17) is available for those with incomes at or below $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household, or $150,000 for joint filers. The credit phases out above those thresholds and will be phased out completely for single taxpayers with incomes exceeding $99,000 or joint filers with incomes exceeding $198,000. 

Those who have no income, as well as those whose income derives entirely from non-taxable means-tested benefit programs – such as SSI benefits – may still be eligible for a rebate. However, if a person over the age of 17 is a dependent on someone else’s tax return, they will not be eligible for a rebate.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I get my check?

If you have already filed your 2019 tax return, your rebate will be based on that information, otherwise it will pull from your 2018 tax return. The amount will come in the form of a tax rebate and will be directly deposited into your bank account, if you included direct deposit information on your tax form. If you did not, your check will be mailed to you.

If you typically do not file a tax return, you must still file one to be eligible for the rebate. More information on free filing is available here.

I changed my banking information since filing my tax return. How will the IRS know where to send my check?

The Treasury Department is creating a website where taxpayers can provide their banking information to receive a direct deposit instead of a check. You will be able to update your information there.

When will I get my check?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a March 25 White House briefing that the department could begin sending payments in as little as three weeks.

Will I get a check if I owe back taxes?

Yes, rebates will not be offset by tax debt or any other federal debt.

I receive Social Security benefits, veteran benefits, or disability. Will I get a check?

Yes. As long as a person has a valid Social Security number, they can receive the credit – so this means workers, those receiving welfare benefits, Social Security beneficiaries, veterans and others are all eligible. However, you must still file a tax return in order to be recorded by the IRS for this rebate.

Click here for a list of more FAQs compiled by the IRS.

Small Business Assistance

The CARES Act creates a Paycheck Protection Program for small employers, self-employed individuals, and “gig economy” workers, with $350 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Paycheck Protection Program provides 8 weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally-guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.

If the employer maintains payroll, the portion of the loans used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven. This proposal is retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Some businesses that employ more than 500 employees across multiple locations are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program at each individual location.

The CARES Act also institutes an employee retention credit, providing a refundable payroll tax credit equal to 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages per employee (including health benefits) paid by certain employers during the COVID-19 crisis. This credit is available to employers:

  • Whose operations were fully or partially shut down by government order limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19, or
  • Whose quarterly receipts are less than 50 percent for the same quarter in the previous year.

If you’re a lender, click here for more information.

If you’re a borrower, click here for more information.

Click here to access the borrower application.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What businesses are eligible?

  • Businesses and entities must have been in operation on February 15, 2020.
  • Small business concerns, as well as any business concern, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, a 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or Tribal business concern described in section 31(b)(2)(C) that has fewer than 500 employees, or the applicable size standard in number of employees for the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry as provided by SBA, if higher.
  • Individuals who operate a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor and eligible self-employed individuals.
  • Any business concern that employs no more than 500 employees per physical location of the business concern and that is assigned a NAICS code beginning with 72 (Accommodation and Food Services sector), for which the affiliation rules are waived.
  • Affiliation rules are also waived for any business concern operating as a franchise that is assigned a franchise identifier code by the Administration, and company that receives funding through a Small Business Investment Company.

Where can I get this loan?

Through any existing Small Business Administration lenders and any lenders that are brought into the program through the Treasury Department. Talk to your preferred financial lender to see if they qualify. 

What can the loan be used for?

  • Payroll costs
  • Costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums
  • Employee salaries, commissions, or similar compensations
  • Payments of interest on any mortgage obligation (which shall not include any prepayment of or payment of principal on a mortgage obligation)
  • Rent (including rent under a lease agreement)
  • Utilities
  • Interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before the covered period

When can I apply?

Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply. The Treasury Department encourages people to apply as quickly as possible because there is a funding cap. 

When is the application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program?

Applicants are eligible to apply for the PPP loan until June 30, 2020. 

How do I receive loan forgiveness?

You must apply through your lender for forgiveness on your loan. In this application, you must include:

  • Documentation verifying the number of employees on payroll and pay rates, including IRS payroll tax filings and state income, payroll and unemployment insurance filings.
  • Documentation verifying payments on covered mortgage obligations, lease obligations, and utilities.
  • Certification from a representative of your business or organization that is authorized to certify that the documentation provided is true and that the amount that is being forgiven was used in accordance with the program’s guidelines for use.

Unemployment Insurance

The CARES Act expands current unemployment benefits to individuals who are not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits: self-employed, independent contractors, individuals with limited work history, gig workers and others.

Federal funding is now available for states to provide the first week of unemployment benefits to eligible individuals immediately. This allows individuals to apply and receive unemployment benefits as soon as they become unemployed, instead of waiting one week after becoming unemployed to apply for and receive benefits. This legislation also provides an additional $600 per week to each recipient of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months.

The CARES Act authorized a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance of an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits for individuals who remain unemployed after state unemployment benefits are no longer available.

These provisions sunset on December 31, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I file for unemployment?

You can file an unemployment insurance application online here, call the hotline at 1-844-908-2178 or 501-534-6304, or file a claim at any Arkansas Workforce Center office. A valid government ID is required (driver’s license or passport). Due to an increased volume of applications, the online process is recommended.

Once you finish the application, you may need to call your local unemployment office to complete the process. Keep in mind that many others are doing the same thing, so expect longer wait times as local offices rush to catch up with the high demand.

My child’s daycare closed/I’m taking care of a family member with COVID-19/I’m experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and need to quarantine, am I still eligible for unemployment insurance?

Yes, if these circumstances are preventing you from working, you will be eligible for coverage.

I quit my job. Can I still receive these additional benefits?

It depends. If you were forced to quit your job because of daycare closures or COVID-19 exposure, you should still be covered under the bill. However, you cannot voluntarily opt-in by quitting for reasons unrelated to COVID-19. You must be laid off by your employer.

I’m already receiving unemployment benefits. Will I still be eligible for the additional coverage?

Yes. Even if you’re already receiving unemployment benefits, your state-level benefits will be extended by 13 weeks. You’ll also be eligible for the additional $600 weekly federal payment.

 

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

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

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

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

UPDATED DISTRICT COURT NOTICE     03/31/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S CORONAVIRUS GUIDELINES    03/31/20

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

 

Previously Reported

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

PRESIDENT SIGNS CARES ACT INTO LAW       03/27/20

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEVIER COUNTY EXTENSION SERVICE CLOSES OFFICE         03/26/20

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recreation areas temporarily shutting down:

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

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

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

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

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

LETTER FROM UA COSSATOT CHANCELLOR 03/26/20

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

March 25, 2020

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR

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

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

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

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

Thank You,

Dr. Steve Cole
Chancellor, UA Cossatot

 

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

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

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

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

The CARES Act includes provisions that:

Bolster Health Care Response to COVID-19:

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

 Provide Relief to Families:

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

Support Job Creators

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

Help Rural America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Playgrounds are closed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL MARCH MEETING UPDATE 03/25/20

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

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

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

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

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

HORATIO BOARD OF EDUCATION MARCH MEETING 03/25/20

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

UA COSSATOT GRADUATION CEREMONY POSTPONED 03/23/20

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

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

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

INCOME TAX FILING DEADLINE PUSHED BACK 03/23/20

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

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

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

SWEPCO SUSPENDING DISCONNECTS DUE TO CORONOVIRUS 03/23/20

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

DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 03/23/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to roadways in Little River County, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials.
The purpose of this project is to overlay 1.8 miles of various city streets in Winthrop to include Pine Street, Oak Street, Broad Street, North Street, Morgan Street, Burke Street and Post Street.
Tri State Asphalt, Inc. of De Queen was awarded the contract at $315,558.00.
Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in mid 2020.

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

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

CLINTON BIRTHPLACE HISTORIC SITE MODIFYING OPERATIONS       03/23/20

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT       03/20/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEVIERLY STRONG – STRONGER TOGETHER!             03/19/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

Guidelines include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Appointments can be made by contacting the appropriate offices.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

APRIL ACT TESTS POSTPONED     03/17/20

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

TO RESIDENTS OF SEVIER COUNTY      03/16/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regards,
Dr. Steve Cole
Chancellor, UA Cossatot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FIRST IMPRESSIONS HOSPITALITY TRAINING POSTPONED     03/13/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARKANSAS CAPITOL BUILDING CLOSURE EFFECTIVE TODAY 03/13/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Officers in Sevier County can go about their duties with confidence thanks to a $7,500 donation from the Arvest Foundation.

 

 

 

The gift was announced today at the Sevier County Sheriff's office.  Patti Boone, Helga Buenrrostro and J Bigham of Arvest Bank were on had to present the check.

 

The donation will go towards new bulletproof vests for the deputies.

 

 

 

Sheriff Gentry was very pleased that Arvest made this donation to the Sheriff's Department to help protect our officers.  “The majority of the vest that the officers currently use are at their expiration.   Thank you Arvest Foundation from the Law Enforcement Officers in Sevier County.”

 

 

 

'We are pleased to present this donation on behalf of Arvest Foundation to support the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and help ensure their safety with the bulletproof vests” said Patti Boone, Branch Sales Manager, Arvest Bank.  “This donation is just one of many we have made throughout the area.  It demonstrates the foundation's ongoing commitment to our community.”

 

 

 

The Arvest Foundation seeks to provide funding to grantees who are actively working to create positive change for others.  Major areas of focus include K-12 education, economic development, and enhancing the quality of life throughout the Arvest footprint.

 

KDQN Staff 

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 CENSUS OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED 03/11/20

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

ASHDOWN KINDERGARTEN ENROLLMENT 03/11/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NATIONAL FORESTS CONDUCTING PRESCRIBED BURNS    03/10/20

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

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

Prescribed burn areas will include forests in our area:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CADC EXPANDING SERVICES IN SEVIER COUNTY 03/10/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HUNTER'S EDUCATION CLASS OFFERED 03/10/20

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

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

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

DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 03/09/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) 03/06/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

                • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

 

 

 

                • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

 

 

 

                • Stay home when you are sick.

 

 

 

                • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

 

 

 

                • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

 

 

 

                • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.

 

 

 

                • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.

 

 

 

                • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

 

 

 

                • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

 

 

 

                • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

 

 

 

                • You should watch for symptoms. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Situation in U.S.

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

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

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

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

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

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

4-H OUTDOOR COUNTY O’RAMA 03/06/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL MAKER SPACE 03/06/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAISY STATE PARK OUTDOOR WEEKEND 03/06/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shown Below:  Back row (l-r):  Jaxon Reed, Cade White, Kambren Zaliski

 

Front row (l-r):   Kennedy Thornton, and Adalie Aylett.

Congratulations to the 3rd & 4th grade Quiz Bowl Team from L.F. Henderson Intermediate (Ashdown) for placing 2nd at the Murfreesboro Invitational Quiz Bowl Tournament on February 28.

 

 

 

 

Back row (l-r) Hudson Smith, Cade White, Carson Wilckens, Mrs. Emily Freeman

 

Vali Anderson, Kaitlin Sivley, and Adalie Aylett.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CCCUA FFA OFFICERS ANNOUNCED 03/04/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FEBRUARY LOCKESBURG COUNCIL MEETING 3/03/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Awards given were:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEANN VAUGHT WEEKLY REPORT 03/02/20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for March.
Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours were held in all 75 counties each year during her first term, assisting 3,300 Arkansans. In 2019, Attorney General Mobile Offices served over 2,200 Arkansans.

Rutledge believes face-to-face conversations are the best way to truly hear from Arkansans. The Attorney General Mobile Offices assist Arkansans with consumer related issues by filing consumer complaints against scam artists as well as answering questions about the office and the other services it offers to constituents.

Rutledge continues her partnerships with local law enforcement across Arkansas. Law enforcement officials will be on hand to collect unused and expired prescription medications to ensure they are secured and properly disposed. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office. During Rutledge’s five years in office, over 800 pounds of medications were collected at mobile offices.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s Office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.
The upcoming mobile office schedule for March includes a stop in Howard County:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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