Thursday, April 25, 2019

Local News

Today's News

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

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

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

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

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR RECEIVES $16,000 SCHOLARSHIP 04/25/19

De Queen senior Jonathan Buenrostro has been awarded the Henderson State University  Red and Gray Scholarship valued at $16,000.00.  Jonathan is the son of Rene and Xochitl Buenrostro. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Leopard football and track teams, and an honor graduate.  He plans to earn a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree.

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES DISBURSEMENT OF TOBACCO SETTLEMENT 04/25/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has secured the 2019 share of proceeds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with tobacco companies. More than 20 years ago, 46 states and numerous other jurisdictions entered into a historic, multi-billion dollar agreement to settle consumer-protection lawsuits for the costs that they had incurred for treating the negative health effects of smoking.

This year’s disbursement of $ 55,375,060.96 brings the total amount received since 2001 to fund various public health programs in Arkansas to $1,059,678,391.78.

The MSA imposed health-related and advertising restrictions on tobacco companies. Additionally, the agreement requires the settling manufacturers to make annual payments to the settling states.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Previously Reported

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Last Saturday Shoot Sessions will be featured:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ASHDOWN STUDENTS EXCEL IN READING PROGRAM 
Congratulations to Ashdown Junior High School student Bella Easley who has accumulated 1000 points in Accelerated Reader! Accelerated Reader is software for K-12 schools for monitoring the practice of reading. It was developed by Renaissance Learning, Inc. 
 
MUSEUM OF THE  RED RIVER ANNOUNCES SUMMER PROGRAMS 04/24/19
 
The Museum of the Red River is offering a variety of programs for children and adults this summer. Here’s what’s coming up.

First is Watercolors and Wine on May 11, starting at 6 pm. This year’s theme is ‘Spring Floral”. The class will be led by Connie Philips and costs $45 to attend. The fee covers everything needed to create a masterpiece-step-by-step instructions, supplies, and of course, wine. Aspiring painters and/or wine aficionados can register online at www.museumoftheredriver.org or by calling (580) 286 – 3616.

Fun with Molas and Fun with Mosaics are scheduled for May 18 and August 17respectively. (Molas are a type of reverse applique textiles unique to the Kuna, a South American indigenous group.)  Participants can drop in and drop out between 10 am and 3 pm. The workshops are part of the Museum’s Fun program, a series of free classes designed to connect people through art. 

Summer Explorers Camp is scheduled for June 17 to June 22. This year, budding anthropologists ages 8 to 12 will learn about the art, cultures, and peoples of the South Pacific. 
 
The Museum will also host two dinosaur-themed summer camps for children ages 4 to 8. The first camp is set for July 8 to 10. The second camp will run from July 15 to 17. Additional information and registration will be available in early May. 
 

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

On Thursday, April 18, 2019, the Sevier County Single Parent Scholarship committee held their annual spring fish fry fundraiser at UA Cossatot’s De Queen Campus. The fish fry took place in UA Cossatot’s Weyerhaeuser room from 4:30 PM to 7:00 PM, as the Argenbright Band provided entertainment. At 6:00 PM the committee announced that five Sevier County students had been selected to receive scholarships.
The fish fry is a fundraiser that is used to raise money for scholarships that are given to single parents, but businesses, clubs, associations, and individuals can also provide scholarships to the committee. “We appreciate everyone that buys a fish dinner at our fundraiser, and we really appreciate sponsors who give scholarship donations on their own to be used for students selected from the Single Parent Scholarship
committee,” said Single Parent Scholarship committee President, Jerry Davis.

Viridiana Cisneros and Jacqueline Rodriguez were two of the recipients present at the banquet. Cisneros received a scholarship for $450 from the Argenbright Band, and Jacqueline Rodriguez received a scholarship for $900 from Pilgrim’s Pride. Sandy Chandler, Kayle Helms, and Andrea Ruiz were unable to attend the
banquet but did receive scholarships. Chandler received an $800 scholarship from the Rotary Club, Helms received a $650 scholarship from Bancorp South, and Ruiz received an $850 scholarship from Gentry Chevrolet.
Viridiana Cisneros, Sandy Chandler, and Kayle Helms are currently enrolled at UA Cossatot. Along with their other scholarships, they each received a $100 scholarship from UA Cossatot to be used for tuition and fees at the college. The Sevier County Single Parent Scholarship committee’s Treasurer, Maureen Burrow said, “Our committee supports single parents, and we give scholarships two times a year. We hold this fish fry fundraiser once in the fall and once in the spring. At this banquet, we were able to provide five applicants financial aidbassistance totaling $3,650. This is a great opportunity for single parents to apply for scholarships, and we need
more applicants.” To apply for a scholarship provided by the Single Parent Scholarship committee, please visit www.ASPSF.org for full eligibility and requirements.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Board Camp /Polk

Cross Roads/Hempstead

Bradley/Lafayette

Murfreesboro/Pike

Dierks/Howard

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

WHISTLESTOP FESTIVAL 2019 IN ASHDOWN 04/23/19

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

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

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

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

Fiesta Fest, formally known as Diversity Fest, will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019, on North 3rd Street in front of the courthouse in Downtown De Queen from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The festival’s focus is bringing the community together to celebrate Hispanic cultures and raise scholarship money for UA Cossatot students. The festival will kick-off with a parade and a welcome speech by Miss UA Cossatot 2019 and De Queen Mayor, Jeff Brown. Festivities will include food, vendors, live music, a DJ, folkloric dancing, carnival rides, games, face painting, shopping, and a petting zoo.
The UA Cossatot Student Ambassadors will host the De Kolores 5K run before the festival at 8:00 AM in the same location. The entry fee is $20 and t-shirts are guaranteed to pre-registration participants. Registration forms can be found at www.cccua.edu/ff5k.

Completed forms can be mailed to Daniel Martinez
C/O UA Cossatot 183 College Drive De Queen, AR 71832.
The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Fiesta Fest Parade. Interested participants can register at www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.net/events.
“We are so excited for this year’s Fiesta Fest and hosting it in Downtown De Queen,” said Dustin Roberts with the UA Cossatot Foundation.
“We greatly appreciate the community’s support and love that the money raised from the event will fund scholarships for UA Cossatot students.”
The event is sponsored by many local businesses. The presenting sponsor is Tres Agaves. Headline sponsors include City of De Queen, Miscellanea and Lonchera JB, Walmart, De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce, Sonido Zeus, and Christus St. Michael Heath System. For information on how to become a sponsor or a vendor, please contact Dustin Roberts at
droberts@cccua.edu or at 870-584-1172.

ASHLEY DYKES RECEIVES ROTARY CRYSTAL AWARD  04/22/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 04/22/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sevier County Clerk, Debbie Akin, has announced that anyone interested in Sevier County marriage records can now instantly access that information online at no charge by going to www.actDataScout.com. In addition to this information, users can also print a form from the website to submit as a request for an official license by mail. The county has entered into an agreement with DataScout, LLC, a Web-based data solutions provider and database management firm, to host and maintain the website and the information at www.actDataScout.com.
The website is designed as an informational portal to the Sevier County Clerk’s office. Akin said it was time to move the county’s marriage records online, making the information more accessible to further serve the public. Akin believes this technology is one of the best available to her office. When they offered a software option for County Clerks in Arkansas, Akin knew it was time to go online. A few of the items users can expect to see online are marriage date, book and page, and participating
parties. Transparency of the County Clerk’s information with online accessibility and ease of use for the taxpayers led to the decision to provide this information to the public. For more information, call (870) 642-2852 or email sevierclerk@arkansasclerks.com.

SEVIER COUNTY SLOGAN CONTEST WINNER ANNOUNCED 04/19/19
The University of Arkansas Cossatot and the Sevier County Economic Development Tourism Committee have announced the official winner of the Sevier County Slogan Contest. Micah Martin was selected as the winner and “Sevier County: Where creeks and Culture unite” is the official slogan.

At their February meeting, Tourism Committee Members finalized details of the Slogan Contest, and an anonymous donor provided funding for the $500 cash prize. Entries were accepted during the month of March, and the winner was announced today in a formal event at the Lockesburg City Park. Contest judges selected Micah Martin’s entry as the winner on March 21 st , and they worked closely with the
winner to further develop the slogan and an accompanying logo. The winner, Micah Martin, grew up in DeQueen, and after attending college at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, he and his wife Kimberly, also a native of DQ, chose to make this home for his family. After several years in the banking industry, Micah joined the staff of First Baptist Church and currently serves as Minister to Families, Students,
and Missions. He and his wife have two daughters and one son. Micah can often be seen on the sidelines coaching basketball, soccer and softball for his daughters during their respective seasons.
“Today is an exciting day for Sevier County”, said Keisha McKinney, Tourism Committee Chairperson. “The Tourism Committee has been working closely with the Economic Development Director on new initiatives in our region and today marks a big step for us to move forward. Gathering current opportunities and developing a marketing and promotion brand for our county have been two of our first goals. Today we have arrived. This new slogan uniquely captures the opportunities and feeling that differentiates our county. Our natural resources and unique cultural experiences are unlike any other place in the state and we cannot wait for more people traveling our way to experience them.”
To learn more about the new brand and the future of tourism in Sevier County, please plan to attend a formal presentation on Monday, April 22, at 6 p.m. to be held in the Skilled Trades Building on the UA Cossatot De Queen Campus. The meeting is free, open to the public, and dinner will be provided by Pilgrim’s Pride of De Queen. Be sure to register online at cccua.edu/sevier. For more information, contact the Sevier County Economic Development Director, Lisa Taylor at 870-279-5937, or ltaylor@cccua.edu or contact Tourism Committee Chairperson, Keisha McKinney at
mckinneymediasolutions@gmail.com.

FRED’S STORES TO CLOSE IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS

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

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

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

TEXARKANA ARKANSAS MAN KILLED CRASH 04/19/19

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

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

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

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

For questions, contact The Army Corps of Engineers

Office: (580) 494-6452

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 04/19/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

ARREST MADE IN TEXARKANA SHOOTING CASE 04/18/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STATEWIDE DRUG TAKE BACK DAY APPROACHING 04/18/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT RECORDS ANNOUNCEMENT 04/17/19

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

SHOOTING IN TEXARKANA ARKANSAS EARLY WEDNESDAY 04/17/19

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

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

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

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

Details will be released as information becomes available.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DIERKS CITY COUNCIL MEETING 04/15/19

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

GOVERNOR HONORS VETERANS WITH NEW BILL 04/15/19

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

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

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

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

LOCAL RESIDENT HONORED AT STATE CAPITOL 04/15/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Judge Ray Soundbite: 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Sprick Soundbite:

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

Sprick Soundbite:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UA COSSATOT FFA SATURDAY PLANT SALE 04/11/19

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

Regular hours for the plant sale this season also include:

Monday 8:00 – 12:00

Tuesday CLOSED

Wednesday 8:00 – 12:00

Thursday 8:00 – 12:00

Friday 10:00 – 12:00

Contact Kelli Harris for more information: kharris@cccua

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARKANSAS AG RECOGNIZES VICTIMS RIGHTS WEEK 04/11/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

UA Cossatot hosted a women’s self-defense workshop on March 25 through March 29 on the De Queen Campus from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM offering women the chance to learn tips, pointers, and advice, about self-defense tactics.
UA Cossatot offers a variety of classes and workshops for college students and community members. The women’s self-defense workshop was taught by David “Kick” Griffin and J.P. Atkins. The workshop was free and offered through UA Cossatot’s Center for Student Success and Continuing Education
Program.

Nineteen women signed up for the workshop, and UA Cossatot is making plans to host this workshop again next semester. The Workshop is designed to help individuals grow in confidence, improve safety skills, work on fitness
goals, get more educated, and enjoy social interaction with others.
“It was a lot of fun and very informative. I now feel confident and unafraid while out alone. I encourage any woman wanting to protect herself to take this class,” said workshop attendee Lizz Garza.

In addition to receiving self-defense tools, participants received a certificate and were encouraged to share their hands-on experience with others.
Workshop attendee Eda Lopez said, “It’s really exciting and cool that UA Cossatot has fun things like this to get involved in. I had fun participating in the workshop, and I feel it was a good use of my time.” For questions about upcoming workshops, classes, and other recreational activities please visit
www.cccua.edu/conted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The students that attended and competed include:

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

Amy Newton and Lyndon Youngblood, Introduction to Business Presentation Team

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

Carson Jefferies,  Political Science, Ellie Loosier – Business Communications

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

Alex Fahandezh and Breanna Parker – Mobile Applications Development Team

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

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

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

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

More than 1,200 people attended the event.

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

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

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

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

The John Benjamin Glenwood Community Pond in Glenwood,

Lake Dieffenbacher in Texarkana,

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

and Both family and entergy ponds in Hot Springs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARY COMING TO TEXARKANA 04/10/19

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Jason Sanders soundbite)

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

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

(Jason Sanders Soundbite)

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

(Jason Sanders Soundbite)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

National Honor Society Inductees 2018-19         

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HORTICULTURE FIELD DAY NEXT MONTH 04/04/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT SPOTLIGHT: MEGAN LINZY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FORKLIFT CLASS SCHEDULED IN HOPE 04/04/19

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

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

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

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

LIBRARY SNIPPETS

BY: JOHNYE FISHER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayor Jeff Brown Soundbite: 

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

Mayor Jeff Brown Soundbite: 

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

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

Mayor Jeff Brown Soundbite: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 04/03/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MISSING TEEN FOUND SAFE 04/03/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UAHT NOW ENROLLING FOR SUMMER COURSES 04/02/19

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

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

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

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

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

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 04/02/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JUDGE GREG RAY TALKS HOSPITAL RECEIVERSHIP ON KDQN 04/02/19
 
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray stopped by “The Morning Brew” Monday, April 1st to inform the local community about a recent receivership of the De Queen Medical Center that was granted to local leaders in the area last week. Rachel Matheson was granted the temporary receivership in circuit court Thursday March 28th.
The Judge says the move was crucial for maintaining the credentials for the center to qualify as a critical access facility.
*SOUNDBITE: 

Judge Ray also clarified that receivership is not the same as a transfer of ownership and more than $100,000 in taxes are still owed to Sevier County by the De Queen Medical Center at this time.
*SOUNDBITE: 

The next step is to establish a plan for reviving services as well as replenishing the supplies and equipment required for the Hospital to get back on track.

*SOUNDBITE: 

An additional court date has been set for mid-April and more updates will be released as details become available. Keep listening to KDQN on 92.1 FM and checking kdqn.net/local-news for information.

LOCAL NON-PROFIT CHAPTER BRINGS INCLUSION THROUGH ATHLETIC EVENTS  04/01/19
The Andrew Shane Griffin Memorial 5K (ASG) held its inaugural race Saturday, March 30th to benefit a scholarship fund in honor of Andrew Griffin, a former student at Horatio High School, and Brooke Toye’s brother, who passed away in 2017. The race was a special one for both race director Brooke Toye and Ainsley’s Angels of Southwest Arkansas. Andrew and Brooke’s aunt, Ginger Griffin, also wanted to participate in the 5K in memory of her nephew. The only stumbling block: Ginger Griffin needed racing equipment to accommodate her lower lumbar paralysis.

Toye contacted Ainsley’s Angels after seeing them participate in their first 5K in Southwest Arkansas, The Never Give Up 5K on February 23, 2019. Andrew Griffin’s birthday was also February 23rd. Toye told the Ainsley’s Angels South West Arkansas Ambassador, Tessa Dean, “It just seemed right, that I would find out about you guys on Drew’s birthday, and now my Aunt Ginger can do his 5K.”

Ainsley’s Angels is a nonprofit organization that provides the free use of athletic equipment so that athletes of all abilities can participate in races across the country. Their mission, however, goes beyond athletics. According to the new South West Arkansas Ambassador-in-Training, Tessa Dean, “Ainsley’s Angels want to spread the joy of inclusion. We educate and advocate for the special needs community to have a place in the community at large. Everyone deserves to belong and to be part of events with their neighbors.”

On March 30th, Ginger Griffin rolled with her Ainsley’s Angels teammates- five Angel Athlete Riders pushed by 15 Angel Runners. Team Ginger was pushed by her longtime friend, Angel Runner Tracy Stancil, who was assisted on the hilly and wet course by Angel Runner Jason Barker. Throughout the race in her Axiom Racing Chair, she held a framed picture of Drew Griffin.
Sign-up to be an Ainsley’s Angel runner, Angel athlete rider, or Guardian Angel volunteer at www.ainsleysangels.org or follow them on Facebook: Ainsley’s Angels in Arkansas. Contact Tessa Dean about racing chair sponsorships or upcoming races that Ainsley’s Angels in Southwest Arkansas will be participating in at swarkansas@ainsleysangels.org.
ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 04/01/19
Legislation passing the House this week addressed everything from robocalls to property taxes.
While illegal robo-calls are frustrating for most, they are also costly and dangerous for far too many Arkansans. An alarming number of illegal robo-calls originate from scammers using automatic telephone dialing systems to send out thousands of phone calls per minute with fictitious or misleading names or telephone numbers displaying on unsuspecting consumers’ telephone caller identification. SB514 addresses this in a few ways.  It makes “spoofing”, or displaying fictitious names or numbers, a crime.  It makes robo-calling a Class D felony and holds telecommunication providers accountable with the Public Service Commission.
The House also passed legislation this week ensuring that firefighters who have completed 5 or more years of employment are granted at least 1,456 hours of paid leave for treatment of any cancer caused by his or her job. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, firefighters face a 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses, and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population in the U.S. HB1773 is title Crump’s Law. It is named in honor of Little Rock firefighter Nathanial Crump who was forced to go back to work after exhausting his sick leave while being treated for occupationally caused cancer.

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

ASHDOWN TEACHER CADETS VISIT ARKADELPHIA 04/01/19

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

AGFC NEW CADETS BEGIN TRAINING 04/01/19

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

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

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

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

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

DE QUEEN STUDENT AWARDED MAJOR SCHOLARSHIPS 04/01/19

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

 
RUTH SELECTED TO SERVE ON STEERING COMMITTEE   03/29/19
UA Cossatot Director of Educational Resources and OER Specialist Relinda Ruth was recently selected to serve on the Open Textbook Network (OTN) Steering Committee for a two-year term.
“This is a great honor,” Ruth said. “I am excited to work with dedicated individuals who are devoted to making higher education more accessible through the use of open textbooks.”
Ruth will join the six-member Steering Committee, alongside members from Colorado State University, the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana, the University of Arizona, Minnesota State and Penn State University. The Steering Committee offers field perspectives, provides guidance and support for OTN leadership, and offers outreach to OTN membership.
In 2018, UA Cossatot became the first institution in Arkansas to join the OTN. The OTN includes nearly a thousand institutions, both nationally and internationally. Its mission promotes access, affordability, and student success by using open textbooks and free open educational resources (OER). Ruth attended OTN’s July 2018 Summer Institute and Summit in Minnesota. As the college’s OER Specialist and an OER contact for Arkansas, she will continue training to facilitate future workshops and encourage the use of openly licensed materials across the state
 
PLAYGROUND CLEANUP    03/29/19
 
Third grade students from De Queen Elementary School participated in a playground cleanup project. 
 
The project was initially started by a two students in Mrs. Williamson’s 3rd grade class, Gabriel Martinez & Micah Irvan, who observed a lot of trash on the playground area while playing at recess.  They began picking up what they could during their recess time.  The movement then spread by including some of their classmates and friends. They even named their group the “Trash Troop.”
 
Coincidentally, De Queen is also hosting a citywide clean up project throughout the town.  This proves that no matter your age, you can still make an impact! De Queen Elementary is proud of these young students that are making a difference.
 
Pictured students from Left to Right: 1st row: Micah Irvan, Jordan Pass, Gabriel Martinez, Thomas Brewer.  2nd row: Haylee Hernandez, Maddie Elmore, Virginia Nix
 

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/29/19
On Thursday, the House passed a measure to increase homestead property tax credit. SB447 increases the credit from $350 to $375. It also diverts $8.2 million from the property tax relief fund to the county voting systems grant fund.  It also directs excess funds to the state’s long-term reserve fund.
The House passed HB1773. This bill ensures that firefighters who have completed 5 or more years of employment are granted at least 1,456 hours of paid leave for treatment of any cancer caused by his or her job.  Paid leave for occupationally caused cancer under this bill would not reduce the accrued sick leave or annual vacation leave of the firefighter.
The House passed SB448. This bill prohibits any person from performing an abortion unless he or she is licensed to practice medicine in the state of Arkansas and is board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. It also defines viability as:
The state of fetal development when, in the judgment of the physician based on the particular facts of the case before him or her and in light of the most advanced medical technology and information available to him or her, there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the unborn child outside the body of the mother, with or without artificial life support.
The House Revenue and Taxation committee advanced SB582. This bill provides a sales tax refund for machinery and equipment used to modify, replace, or repair molds and dies used in manufacturing.
 The House Public Transportation Committee advanced SB534. This bill amends distracted driving laws to put Arkansas in compliance with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards. It establishes minimum fines for violating the law of $25 dollars for the first offense and $50 for subsequent offenses. Maximum fines are set at $250 for the first offense and $500 for subsequent offenses.
 The House Judiciary Committee advanced HB1802. This bill instructs a committee appointed by the Supreme Court Chief Justice to revise the family support chart used in determining child support awards. It instructs the committee to base the chart on payor income and recipient income and no longer on the payor income based support chart. The new chart would be revised by March 1, 2020.
The Judiciary Committee also advanced HB1733which makes threatening to commit an act of mass violence on school property a Class C felony.
UA COSSATOT AMBASSADORS TRAVEL TO LITTLE ROCK 03/29/19
During their spring break, UA Cossatot student ambassadors traveled to Little Rock to explore tourist attractions and learn more about global hunger and poverty. Visiting the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, a 1200-acre ranch that focuses on finding solutions to poverty, hunger, and environmental issues, student ambassadors were able to simulate the experience of living in a third world country. “We knew our stay at Heifer Ranch was going to be one night, but we didn’t know what to expect,” said Alondra Galvez. “We had to make our own fire, prepare and cook our own food, and sleep on a cold, hard floor, which is a normal way of living for many people around the world.” Student ambassadors hiked to Pinnacle Mountain and ate lunch at The Root Café, which uses food grown by local Arkansas farmers. They learned the value of growing one’s own food. After touring an art exhibit and volunteering at a Salvation Army kitchen, the group understood how serious poverty is and how it affects people. “We all had a positive attitude about this trip and had fun, but we learned that we have the power to help make a change for those who are suffering,” said Galvez. “Speakers on this trip reminded us that we are educated, we have a voice, and we can speak our thoughts while using resources like social media to make a difference.” UA Cossatot students interested in becoming a student ambassador can contact Daniel Martinez at dmartinez@cccua.edu for more information.

4 STATE BARREL RACES IN TEXARKANA 03/29/19

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

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

ARKANSAS AG ACCEPTING INTERN APPLICATIONS 03/29/19

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

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

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

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

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

LOCAL STUDENT AWARDED CONSERVATION SCHOLARSHIP 03/29/19

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

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

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

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

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

Millwood stated that the scholarships are given each year to a Howard County High School Senior that plans on attending a college and pursuing a degree in a conservation or agricultural related field.
MEDICAL DIVISION HOST NURSING SKILLS COMPETITION  03/28/19
UA Cossatot held its first annual Nursing skills Competition for LPN Nursing students on March 15, 2019.  Approximately fifty-one LPN students and ten nursing instructors participated in the event at the Adams Building on the De Queen campus.  Students were able to select events at the competition.  The events included prepared speaking, CPR, an anatomy and physiology exam, an anatomy and physiology game, a medical terminology exam, and a performance of a specific nursing skill. 

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

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

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

STREET DEDICATED TO COACH SPIGNER 03/28/19

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

 

2019-2020 ASHDOWN CHEERLEADERS 03/28/19

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

 

 
FOREMAN FFA CHILI SUPPER TONIGHT 03/28/19
Foreman High School’s FFA would like to remind everyone in the community about the Annual FFA Workday Auction and Chili Supper tonight in the FHS Cafeteria.  Meal starts at 6:00 p.m. and the cost is $8.00.  The auction portion of the evening starts at 7:00 p.m. Student-made projects will be auctioned off as well as labor.  Five teams have recently qualified for state career development events.  All proceeds go to the local FFA chapter to fund trips like this as well as numerous other projects.  Please come out and support our students.  Events like this help to promote community service, reward hard work, and builds responsibility.  This also encourages networking for future jobs.
POLL TAKEN SHOWS ARKANSANS SUPPORT OF WATER QUALITY 03/28/19
The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas recently conducted a statewide poll of likely voters to better understand conservation interests and priorities. Protection of drinking water sources and conservation of fish and wildlife habitats ranked highest among those polled.
A survey was conducted by Gilmore Strategy Group of Little Rock. Jon Gilmore, founder of the group, said he had not seen favorable numbers as high as the results shown from the survey for any other statewide issue or candidate. “It’s clear voters believe in the importance of conservation,” Gilmore said.
The survey revealed voters’ concern for, as well as their resounding support of the state’s water quality. With 98 percent of those polled citing “protecting sources of drinking water” as an important issue for conservation within the state.  And 87 percent said they would support efforts to reduce sediment runoff from dirt and gravel roads, a leading contributor of pollution to streams, lakes, and rivers in Arkansas.
96 percent of the respondents cited the importance to conserve fish and wildlife habitats and 80 percent showed favorable views of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. AGFC Deputy Director Chris Colclasure stated, “The survey results are a welcomed confirmation for the work of our team here at the Commission, but also is evidence for how strong voters’ support our state’s natural resources. The outdoors are a way of life in Arkansas and together we need to protect the opportunities we have for future generations.”
The survey asked likely voters if they favored or opposed Amendment 75, which directs 1/8th of a percent of all sales in the state to conservation. Almost 80 percent said they support it. In 1996, Arkansas voters passed this tax to provide funding for fish and wildlife conservation, state parks, litter prevention and protection of natural heritage. The AGFC receives 45 percent; Arkansas State Parks, 45 percent; Department of Arkansas Heritage, 9 percent; and Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission, 1 percent of the funding. 

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

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/26/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SEVIER COUNTY SLOGAN CONTEST WINNER CHOSEN 03/26/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 03/25/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MENA SCHOOLS TALK STAFF ADMINISTRATION CHANGES 03/25/19

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

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

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

DIERKS LOOKING TO IMPROVE BALL FIELDS 03/25/19

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

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

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

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

The Junior class of Ashdown High School would like to invite the public to the 8th annual Prom Grand March on Saturday, April 6, at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Little River County Courthouse.  The first Grand March originated in 2012 by 2012 AHS graduate, Miranda Hopson as a result of creating a project in her EAST class.  She stated, “that her friends in Texarkana hosted a promenade before the prom and thought the idea would be something the students in Ashdown would participate.”  With the help from her classmate, Olivia Mize, they set in motion the steps to approve the promenade. Now, the march has become a tradition utilizing the beautiful grounds of the historic courthouse as a favorite photo setting.  The promenade of AHS juniors and seniors in all their prom finery is the perfect “photo op” for friends and relatives to view the procession.  The Prom Royalty Court will consist of ten AHS seniors.  The senior class will elect a King and Queen with four attendants.  The court will be presented at the march and the king and queen announced at the prom.

In the event of rain, the Prom March will be cancelled and not rescheduled. Those attending the Prom March are encouraged to bring a lawn chair for comfort and enjoyment. The Ashdown High School ‘Practice’ Gym will be the setting for the Community/Alumni Prom on Friday night and Saturday Night for the “Diamonds Are Forever” AHS 2019 Junior/Senior Prom.  Please enter through the high school main entrance at 171 South Locust.

The Community/Alumni Prom will be on Friday, April 5th from 7-8:30 p.m.  Everyone is welcome to attend.  There will be music playing from each decade.  Dancing is welcomed.  This is your opportunity to see the transformation of the gym and enjoy an evening of dancing and reminiscing.  Come see what the students and sponsors did to create this magical night.  Admission Friday night is free.

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

HIGHWAY 32 CLOSED THROUGH TUESDAY AFTERNOON 03/25/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UA COSSATOT FFA PLANT SALE 03/22/19

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

Regular hours this season will be:

Monday 8:00 – 12:00

Tuesday CLOSED

Wednesday 8:00 – 12:00

Thursday 8:00 – 12:00

Friday 10:00 – 12:00

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

The first week they will offer-

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

Peppers: Carnival Bell Mix, Jalapeno

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

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

Contact Kelli Harris for more information: kharris@cccua

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/21/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARKANSAS SENATOR TOM COTTON SEEKING INTERNS 03/21/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rabies shots: $10.

Parvo for puppies and adults dogs: $15.00.

Upper Respiratory shots-cats: $15.00

Feline Lukemia shots: $20.00

Corona and Lepto shots: $10.00

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 03/20/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONGRESSMAN WESTERMAN VISITS TEXARKANA 03/20/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE EVALUATED IN TEXARKANA 03/19/19

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

A press release regarding the incident stated the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

UA COSSATOT BOARD MEETING HELD 03/19/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR SIGNS SENATE BILL 308 03/19/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

“I want to be a firefighter”

By KDQN News Director Murriel Wiley

March 13th, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/15/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

LOCAL JUVENILES REPORTEDLY ATTEMPT FIREARM PURCHASE 03/14/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

DIERKS CITY COUNCIL UPDATES 03/14/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UA COSSATOT AMBASSADORS VISIT STATE CAPITOL 03/13/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

MARCH QUORUM COURT MEETING UPDATES 03/13/19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

The announcement says:

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

More information may be released as information becomes available.

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

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

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

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

OEM VISITS NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE    03/11/19

OEM Walter Smith visited the National Weather Service in Shreveport Friday, March 8th.  This follow up visit was part of the requirement for Sevier County to become SKYWARN certified.
 
During a tour of the facility, Warning Coordination Meteorologist Charlie Woodrum explained how a weather forecast or warning was issued.  Smith was also allowed to observe the launch of a weather balloon.  These balloons gather data that is transmitted back to National Weather Service computers to help meteorologists with their weather forecasts.  Shreveport is also participating in a research study that uses the collected data to compile information that may help better predict catastrophic storms and weather trends.

 
 
 
 
 
Shown with Warning Coordination Meteorologist, Charlie Woodrum (top left) and      Aaron Davis, Meteorologist Intern
 
 
 
 
ASHDOWN ANNOUNCEMENTS 03/12/19

Ashdown High School Updates have been provided by Rhonda Pounds:

On Saturday, March 9th, the Ashdown High School Band traveled to Lake Hamilton High School to perform for a panel of judges as part of the Region 2 Concert Assessment.  The band received a Division I composite rating on stage for their prepared music selections and a Division I rating for sight reading.  The band is under the direction of Mark Pounds, Tim Avery, and  Nick Palmissano.

AHS student Breonna Parker won 3rd place at the Student Chef Showdown at Pulaski Tech in Little Rock on Saturday, March 9th. The Student Chef Showdown is a contest by K-12 Culinary Connection that is sponsored by Pulaski Tech. Breonna won a 4.5 quart KitchenAid mixer sponsored by General Mills.

The Ashdown Junior High School EAST (Environmental and Spatial Technology) class received a grant for $1000 in order to create an exhibit at the Two Rivers Museum located in downtown Ashdown.  The Museum also received a matching $1000 grant in addition to what the class received.

The grant has given the class the opportunity to partner with the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street  and create an exhibit for the local museum.  The exhibit will focus on the decline of gardens in Little River County.  The students plan to interview older members of the community to help showcase the change over time.  They hope that the exhibit will be appealing to all ages and encourage more people to visit the museum

DIERKS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN EAST CONFERENCE 03/12/19

Dierks High School will be taking 8 students to the 2019 EAST Conference at the Hot Springs Convention Center on March 12th-14th. East Conference has more than 2,500 students, teachers, community and business leaders, and parents attending. It is the largest EAST event each year. It is a three-day exhibition style event that recognizes and challenges EAST students to learn and perform at the highest levels. This conference is an opportunity for those attending to network with other EAST students, share stories and ideas, and present projects that make a difference in their communities. Dierks will be presenting three major projects at EAST Conference:

Their 3D Printed Robotic Car, New Year Food Drive, and Drive-In Movie.

VETERANS FUNDRAISER EVENT ANNOUNCED 03/12/19

The 2019 “Wagons for Veterans” is scheduled for March 30 at the Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana Arkansas. This event is hosted by Vietnam Veterans of America, Texarkana Area Chapter # 278 and benefits area veterans of all eras.

“Wagons for Veterans” is a fundraiser to raise money to assist our local disabled and needy veterans of all eras. Local residents can come out to the Four States Fairgrounds and see 18 or more chuckwagons and other displays, hear local bands,  participate in the live auction and there will be a wine raffle. The gates open at 9:00 am and it is free to get in and look around, but to eat from a varied menu of food cooked the old fashioned way – in cast iron pots over an open fire, it is only $10 for adults, $5.00 for children 12 and under. Feeding will begin at 12:00 noon and continue until all the food is gone.

This event will take place at the Four States Fairgrounds, around the Oasis area on Saturday, March 30, 2019.

For more information: 903-908-2135.

TEEN STILL MISSING FROM MURFREESBORO 03/11/19
Authorities are still seeking help in locating a Southwest Arkansas teenager who has been missing since February.

16-year-old female named Sierra Dean was reported missing on Sunday, February 24, 2019 from Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

Sierra Dean was last seen Saturday February 23, 2019 in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. KDQN spoke with Murfreesboro Police Chief Randy Lamb Monday, March 11th about Sierra’s status. Chief Lamb says Sierra is still missing and a few reports of possible sightings had been called in but none have “panned out.”

Sierra is described as a 5’10, 150 pound Caucasian female with long dyed-black hair and a nose ring. If Sierra is located residents are asked to contact Murfreesboro police 870-285-3533.

 
 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY WILDLIFE OFFICER HONORED 03/11/19

Eleven Arkansas Game and Fish Commission enforcement officers and a K-9 were recipients of the division’s top honors Tuesday in the sixth annual AGFC Enforcement Division Awards at the Crowne Plaza.

Three officers earned the Governor’s Lifesaving Award and AGFC Lifesaving Medal, presented to an officer who, through direct lifesaving measures, sustains the life of another person. These included wildlife officer Cody Standifer of Little River County. Officer Standifer assisted Little River County Sheriff’s Office personnel with a motor vehicle accident, extracted from the back window a seriously injured victim who had a weak pulse and had bled extensively, saving his life.

Standifer also received a certificate of commendation for responding to another motor vehicle accident in Little River County that resulted in seven injured people and two fatalities, rescued 4- and 8-year-old children. His quick thinking in treating the 8-year-old’s head injury with applied pressure before emergency personnel could arrive was “instrumental in the outcome of this situation,” the accident report said.

SCOUT-O-RAMA EVENT FREE FOR PUBLIC SET FOR NEXT MONTH 03/11/19

Boy Scouts of America units all over the Four States area (Oklahoma, Arkanasas, Louisiana and Texas) will be gathering for Scout-O-Rama 2019 at Spring Lake Park in Texarkana, Texas April 26th, 27th and 28th. Registration for Scouting troops in the area is free and available online at 4statesSOR.com/registration through March 20th. After March 20th, there will be a $25 late registration fee. T-Shirt and patch orders must be in the Scout Service Center no later than April 12 by 5 PM.

The general public is invited to come learn more about Scouting on Saturday from 10:30 am to 4:00 p.m. and a variety of exhibits will   be open around noon. This year the theme is “Scouting for Life.” Scout Troops, Venture Crews, Sea Scouts, Webelos, Cub Scouts, Exploring Posts, and more will come from all over the Four States area for this popular regional Scout show and would love to show off the skills they have learned through their adventures in Scouting. Admittance is FREE, however attendees can Bring $5 to purchase a chili bowl to sample chili from across the Four States area during our 4th annual ICS sanctioned chili cook off. Chili will be served from Noon until it’s gone.

DE QUEEN QUIZ BOWL TEAM HEADED TO STATE 03/11/19

The De Queen High School Quiz Bowl Team competed at the 5A South regional tournament held in De Queen on Saturday, March 9th. Noah Reed was named the 5A regional tournament quiz bowl MVP as he averaged 17.4 questions per game. The team received 2nd place and will advance to the state competition scheduled for Saturday, April 13th in Beebe, Arkansas.

The team also won 1st place in a recent tournament held in Murfreesboro on Thursday, March 7th.

De Queen School District Superintendent Bruce Hill told KDQN during a recent interview that the team is on track to attend a national competition that will be held in Washington D.C this summer. The team needs roughly $30,000 to send 16 students and 4 advisors to the tournament. Superintendent Hill says quiz bowl team adviser Thomas Sweeten delivered a report at the March school board meeting last Tuesday and announced the team has raised about $25,000 of the $30,000 needed for the trip.

KDQN will announce the results of the state quiz bowl competition on-air when the results are in next month.

SEVIER COUNTY RSAT PROGRAM RECOGNIZED DURING 92ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY AT STATE CAPITOL 03/11/19

A local program based in Sevier County has been recognized on a statewide level during the 92nd General assembly in Little Rock this week.

 

Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry, Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir, Jail Administrator Chris Wolcott, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray, Circuit Judge Charles Yeargan and Celebrate Recovery Program Director Hattie Vance were invited to the State Capitol in Little Rock Arkansas Wednesday, March 6th to be honored for the success achieved in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program, also known as RSAT. Representatives DeAnn Vaught and Keith Slate presented the Sevier County leaders with the honor.

 

RSAT launched in August of 2017 and boasts a 70% success rate. The year before the program started, the Sevier County Jail documented 67 physical altercations, the year after it started the number of fights was logged at 12.  Wolcott and Gentry have dedicated countless hours to making the program a success.

 

The program is designed to take people who would have to enter the Arkansas Department of Corrections but instead are given a chance to rehabilitate themselves. In Sevier county, 48 people are allotted spots in the program each year. The ADC reported that it requires $22,856 per year to house each inmate in the system. Which means, that 70% of the 48 people who stay out of the prison system saves ADC $767,961 per year. Wolcott noted that some of the people in RSAT took sentences ranging from 3 years to 20 years suspended upon completion of the program.

 

The program has been recognized during the 92nd General Assembly with HR1037.

The House Resolution states:

“Substance Abuse is a problem across our country and the Sevier County Jail has done its part in helping those in need. The program gives inmates the opportunity to be rehabilitated from Drug Abuse and prepare for a productive life after incarceration.”

RSAT participants are taught vocational training, life skills and discipline. In addition to saving the state money, Administrator Wolcott told KDQN that the program also helps communities because the inmates are able to contribute to the workforce after graduation which factors into local economies and less children have to be placed in foster care when parents stay out of jail.

 

Every 3 months, a new class of inmates get to participate in a graduation ceremony where their achievements are recognized in front of family, friends and community members at De Queen First Assembly of God Church. During the last graduation ceremony on January 31st, Sheriff Robert Gentry gave opening remarks for the ceremony during which he described Sergeant Greg Davignon as one of the best drug enforcement agents in the county. Gentry asked Davignon to address the attendees and speak about his experiences with the RSAT program. During his remarks, Davignon admitted to doubting the program at the start of it’s launch but later came to support it. “I was wrong,” Davignon admitted, “I was dead wrong.” The nine year veteran of law enforcement told the audience he came to recognize that the solution for the drug problem in the community is to “curb the demand” as prison does not beat addictions.

Information about the celebrate recovery and RSAT program can be found by emailing joehattiecr@yahoo.com

SEVIER COUNTY 4H VISITS CAPITOL IN LITTLE ROCK 03/08/19

About 700 4-H’ers flooded the Arkansas Capitol on last month.  Sixteen youth from Sevier County traveled to the Capitol for an opportunity to see for themselves, how their state’s government works. During the event, 4-H youth met the governor, toured the state Capitol, and watched a session of the legislature.  Many 4-H’ers also were able to meet Arkansas representatives and senators.

“This is also an opportunity for today’s Arkansas leaders to meet tomorrow’s leaders,” said Angie Freel, interim associate department head for 4-H. “State government officials get to learn a little bit about the exceptional young people of Arkansas 4-H and learn about how 4-H is building life skills through their project areas.”

“What a great group of young leaders,” Governor Hutchinson said during the opening tribute to 4-H. “We are going to have a bright future. To see all of you in the Capitol today is very exciting to me and encourages all of us about the future of this state. Thank you for what you do to support Arkansas agriculture and leadership.”

FORE MAN SCHOOL BOARD MEETING AGENDA ANNOUNCED 03/08/19

Foreman Public Schools will hold their regular monthly board meeting next week.The board will meet at 6:00 p.m. at the foreman High School library on Tuesday, March 12th.

The agenda is as follows:

Call meeting to order and prayer

  1. Gator Success
  2. PPC Reports
  3. Principal Reports
  4. Superintendent Reports

NEW BUSINESS:

  1. Discuss bus purchases
  2. Executive session: a) rehire licensed employees for 2019-2020 school year
  3. Current Enrollment
  4. Approve minutes – regular meeting of February 19, 2019
  5. February Financial Reports
  6. Adjournment

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/08/19

The House Education Committee advanced HB1409.  This bill provides 40 minutes of recess for elementary school students. Currently, most students are allowed 20 minutes. The committee also advanced HB1647. This bill amends the eligibility requirements for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship to include the applicant’s superscore on the ACT.  

“Superscore” means the final composite score that is calculated according to a combination of the highest individual section scores across all of the ACT tests taken by an individual. 

 The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced HB1552. This bill allows for licensing of DACA recipients for nursing licenses.

 The House Public Transportation Committee advanced HB1689. This bill increases the penalties for passing an authorized vehicle stopped on a highway. It increases the maximum fine from $500 to $1,000.

 The full House passed HB1620. This bill creates the Arkansas Cycling Activities Act. It puts liability protections in place for businesses renting bicycles in the state.

 The full House also passed HB1565. This bill seeks to provide funding for a national cancer institute-designated center at UAMS.  The bill provides the funding by diverting existing taxes on medical marijuana from general revenue to the institute trust fund. The trust fund would also receive new revenue created by a 50 cents per pack tax on cigarette rolling papers, removing a border tax exemption on cigarettes and increasing the minimum mark price on cigarettes. In addition, HB1565 raises the legal age to use or possess vape or tobacco products to 21, with an exception for military.

 The House also passed HB1640 which designates the Alligator Gar as the official game fish of Arkansas. The House will reconvene on Monday at 1:30pm.

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO ARM STAFF FOR 2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR 03/07/19

The De Queen School Board held their meeting for the month of March on Tuesday, March 5th at the district’s administration building.

The main item discussed in the old business category was update on the construction process of the new high school building. Superintendent Bruce Hill told KDQN that despite numerous rain days the project is still on track and expected to be completed on time. The new building is expected to be ready for the fall of 2020.

The board also agreed to expel three students in the district for the remainder of the school year. Superintendent Hill says legalities prevent the board from revealing the names of students or details about their actions but he was able to say that the three students who were expelled were students of De Queen High school.

In positive news, Thomas Sweeten announced that the De Queen High School Quiz bowl team is on track to represent De Queen at a national competition in Washington D.C this summer. The team has been trying to raise the money to send 16 students and 4 advisers to the event. As of this week the team has raised roughly $25,000 of the $30,000 total needed for the trip. Hill is confident that the team will raise the funds needed and will represent the district well at the national competition.

The biggest item discussed during the meeting was the topic of arming staff with firearms for the 2019-2020 school year. The board voted to approve the item and a number of policies and procedures will be established in the upcoming future. In order to become an armed staff member, candidates will be required to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, then be recommended and interviewed by the De Queen Police Department. Those acting as armed staff will remain under the jurisdiction of DPD as well. The board agreed that the staff members equipped with firearms will remain anonymous and they will not be permitted to carry outside of the school campus or school events in De Queen. Superintendent Hill also noted that the De Queen police department will provide 120 hours of training before the staff can be armed. Additional training will be required each year in order for the staff to remain armed on campus and at events.

The last items discussed during the meeting was the approval of upcoming trips for De Queen High School students. The board approved the senior trip to six flags amusement park in Dallas as well as a student council trip to Dallas to visit the JFK museum.

The meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m. and the next meeting has been scheduled for April 8th, 5:30 p.m. at the administration building.

SENATOR LEADING SUICIDE PREVENTION EFFORTS FOR VETERANS 03/07/19

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) is helping lead efforts to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) operation, oversight and evaluation of its suicide prevention media outreach campaigns.

Boozman is the lead Republican cosponsor of the Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act. The bill, authored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), seeks to correct failures in VA’s suicide prevention outreach activities identified by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act requires that the VA:

  • Establish targets—based on industry-standard metrics such as impressions and engagement rate—to evaluate the efficacy of its mental health and suicide prevention outreach campaigns;
  • Create a process to oversee VA’s suicide prevention media outreach campaigns;
  • Report to Congress on the expenditures and obligations of funds of the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention; and
  • Ensure all future contracts regarding mental health and suicide prevention outreach include a clause that the contractor must track metrics established by the secretary and report these metrics to the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.

Boozman previously included language in the FY19 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that requires VA to develop metrics to evaluate the efficacy of all of its mental health and suicide prevention programs.

ASTRONOMY EVENT AT CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK 03/07/19

On Saturday, March 16 at 8 p.m. local residents of all ages are invited to come to the campground amphitheater at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro for an evening under the stars. Guest astronomer Rick Floyd will share his knowledge of the night sky, along with photos of the moon and stars.

Mr. Floyd first became interested in astronomy as a child and as he grew older and acquired a deeper love of space, he began taking pictures through his telescopes, to share captivating celestial scenes with family and friends.

The Astronomy event is free to attend. Participants should dress for the outdoors, and bring a flashlight to use after the program. Mr. Floyd will also have telescopes set up to answer questions and help others get started in astronomy and astrophotography. Because this is an outdoor program, it may be cancelled in the event of rain. For more information, contact Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3113.

AGFC INVITES HUNTERS TO HELP WITH SURVEY  03/07/19

Hunters can help the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission track hunting effort and success throughout turkey season this spring by signing up to be a part of the annual Spring Gobbler Hunting Survey. It’s free to participate and your responses will help shape important aspects of wild turkey management in Arkansas.

The spring turkey hunting survey has been in place since 2007 to gather information on hunter activity, gobbling activity, turkey observations and hunting success throughout turkey season. Volunteers record data from each hunt in a small booklet provided by the AGFC and send the results to be analyzed at the end of the hunting season. Biologists then compile all the data to identify trends in hunter participation and satisfaction and provide a report for all hunters to compare notes.

Wild turkey populations have declined throughout the southeastern United States in the last decade. Even turkey hunting destinations like Missouri have seen as much as a 17 percent decline in turkey harvest from spring 2017 to spring 2018. Arkansas’s turkey population has seen the same decline, and biologists are working to reverse the trend. It may be easy to pick out one or two obvious things that have changed since Arkansas’s turkey hunting heyday in the early 2000s, but many factors play into turkey population health.

Email Wood at jeremy.wood@agfc.ar.gov or call 800-364-4263 to participate in the survey.

COLTS CLASSIC HELD AT UA COSSATOT 03/07/19

UA Cossatot hosted over 1,000 high school students from across the state at the 8th Annual Colts Classic FFA Career Development Event on Friday, February 15th. Students from all across the state gathered at the UA Cossatot Amphitheater for the welcome by Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole before dispersing to the different
locations for contests.
“The Colts Classic is an important event to our college and community, and a way for our collegiate FFA to stay connected with the high school FFA chapters,” said UA Cossatot Agriculture Instructor Kelli Harris. “We couldn’t do this without all of our generous volunteers or the support of our local partners, UA Cossatot
employees, and the community.”

The event is organized and hosted by the UA Cossatot Collegiate FFA. There were fifty-six schools from across Arkansas and one school from Missouri that participated in twelve different contests, such as forestry, vet science, horse judging, and floriculture. Plans are already underway for the contest next year

 

ARKANSAS AG RECOGNIZES NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK 03/07/19

In conjunction with National Consumer Protection Week, March 3-9, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the top 10 most common complaints the Attorney General’s office received in 2018.

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

“At the Attorney General’s Office, we take every complaint seriously and will work diligently to protect Arkansans and hold bad actors accountable,” said Attorney General Rutledge.

The 10 most common complaint categories from 2018 were:

  • Automobile sales, service financing and repair
  • Sales of goods and services
  • Health care
  • Home repair, construction and maintenance
  • Landlord/tenant and real estate
  • Satellite, cable and internet service providers
  • Wireless and landline telephone services
  • Scams and opportunities
  • Credit repairs and other financial services
  • Utilities

After falling to the number two most received complaint in 2017, automobile-related transactions returned to the most common type of complaint reports to the Attorney General’s office in 2018. Last year, automobile sales, service financing and repairs brought in 1,200 complaints. These types of complaints often involve consumers reporting financing errors; high-pressure tactics to buy add-on services at the time of purchase, such as gap insurance, extended warranties; and sales misrepresentations.

Attorney General Rutledge’s office resolved 5,595 formal complaints in 2018. File a complaint online at ArkansasAG.gov.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 03/05/19

On Monday, the House passed two pieces of legislation addressing highway funding. In a vote of 71-26, the House passed SB336.  This bill outlines $95 million in additional funding in three ways.

First, it diverts all revenue from casino gaming that exceeds $31.2 million to the State Highway and Transportation Department Fund. Second, it includes a wholesale tax on fuel raising gas prices by 3 cents a gallon and diesel by 6 cents a gallon. And third, it imposes a $100 registration fee on hybrid vehicles and a $200 registration fee on electric vehicles.

The second piece of legislation addressing highways before the House was HJR8. This is a proposed constitutional amendment which would permanently extend a ½ cent sales tax for the purpose of funding state highways.  The current ½ sales tax funding highway improvements is set to expire in 2023.  If this resolution passes both chambers, it would be on the ballot for voter approval in November 2020.  The resolution passed the House with a vote of 67-30.

The House passed HB1522 which ensures that soldiers and airmen of the Arkansas National Guard are afforded the same benefits and protections as active duty soldiers when they are called on state active duty.

The House passed HB1407. This bill requires truth in labeling of agricultural products that are edible. The bill states the seller cannot sell the product under the name of another food.

The House passed HB1263. This bill allows pharmacists to prescribe certain types of tobacco cessation products.

The House also passed HB1278. This bill allows pharmacists to administer childhood vaccines to children age 7 and older under a written protocol by a physician.

The House will convene on Tuesday at 1:30pm.

STUDENT CHEF SHOWDOWN THIS SATURDAY 03/05/19

Students in the local area have qualified for the upcoming student chef showdown and will be competing in the finale this weekend.

Local qualifiers include Breonna Parker of the Ashdown School District. Linda Zaragoza of the Cossatot River School District and Jayla Densen of the Horatio School District.

Area friends, family, school personnel and community residents are encouraged to attend the showdown and support the contestants.

The event will be held Saturday, March 9th at Pulaski Tech Culinary Institute at 1:00 p.m. All participating students will arrive one hour early and have sessions with the chef to go over their recipes. The results of the competition will be posted to KDQN.net

TWO SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS COLLEGES ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP 03/05/19

Southern Arkansas University (SAU) and National Park College (NPC) announced a degree partnership that will bring bachelor’s degree programs to Hot Springs beginning in fall 2019. The agreement was approved Wednesday, Feb. 27, during the February Board of Trustees meeting at NPC.

All four years of the three new degree programs will be offered through the National Park University Center on the NPC campus. Students will complete the first two years of the degrees enrolled as NPC students and the junior and senior years enrolled as SAU students. The degrees will include Biology, Pre-Health; Chemistry, Pre-Health Biochemistry; and Computer Science.

Students will pay NPC tuition rates for the first two years of coursework and SAU tuition rates for the junior and senior year coursework. Fees will be shared among both institutions. Students who participate will have access to all of the services and resources NPC offers, as well as those SAU offers. Students will earn an associate degree diploma from NPC and a bachelor’s degree diploma from SAU upon graduation.

A public announcement for students was held immediately following the board meeting. Students, faculty and staff gathered in the Kettle to hear the news. NPC Student Government Association President Tyler Draper said, “Our College has come a long way since 1973. Just in my two years here, we’ve seen rapid expansion with the student commons and new road construction, residence halls and NJCAA sports. Today, our next chapter of growth is announcing three new bachelor’s degrees through the National Park University Center and Southern Arkansas University.”

More information about the degree plans can be found at saumag.edu/npc.

AMNESTY PROGRAM IN SEVIER COUNTY GOING ON NOW 03/05/19

Sevier County will be holding the annual “Amnesty Program” now through April 15th, 2019. The program is for residents who may have an outstanding warrant for their arrest with the Sevier County District Court.

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

This year’s Amnesty Program concludes April 15th. Any person with a qualifying outstanding warrant for failure to appear or failure to comply may have the warrant withdrawn by paying in full the fine and costs of the underlying charge. The Amnesty Program does not apply to charges that require a mandatory court appearance, like DWI and select misdemeanors.

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

UA COSSATOT RECEIVES GRANT TO HELP POND CREEK REFUGE 03/05/19

Collegiate FFA members at UA Cossatot recently completed a Day of Service Mini-Grant through the National FFA’s Living to Serve program during National FFA Week. Hadley Philamlee, an agriculture business major and Collegiate FFA president, developed the project with Paul Gideon at Pond Creek National Wildlife
Refuge. The grant allowed students to purchase $400 worth of tools and materials to build hog traps and place them on the refuge to help reduce the feral swine population.

Feral swine are an invasive species that have a negative impact on the hardwood wetland ecosystem at Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge and cause significant damage to surrounding agricultural lands. Studies show at least 66% of a hog population must be removed each year to prevent it from growing. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission recognizes large-scale trapping as the most efficient and economical means currently available to reduce feral hog populations.

On Thursday, February 21st, agriculture students Hadley Philamlee, Cody Chandler, Dusty Kesterson, and Peyton Frachiseur spent the day working with Kelli Harris, their agriculture instructor at UA Cossatot, and Charlie Marshall, an employee at Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge, to complete the project. Students will
be tracking data with Pond Creek to determine how many feral swine are removed from the refuge with the placement of additional traps.

ARKANSAS BROADCASTERS VISIT CAPITOL HILL   03/01/19

Earlier this week, the Arkansas Broadcasters Association took on Washington D.C. for the 2019 NAB State Leadership Conference. They met with U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives to discuss their continued support of local broadcasting and how Arkansas is #BroadcastingNaturally.
Their trip included: dinner with Representatives French Hill and Rick Crawford, lunch in the Senate Dining Hall with Senator John Boozman, and breakfast in the West Wing of the White House.
 

MAN FACING DRUG PARAPHERNALIA CHARGE IN SEVIER COUNTY 03/01/19

A man is facing drug paraphernalia charges after the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department conducted a traffic stop near Horatio Thursday.

A report from The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department states that Sergeant Greg Davignon pulled over the driver of a Maroon Honda vehicle for not having valid registration on Kornegay Road, West of Horatio Arkansas on Thursday, February 28th. Sergeant Davignon Reported noticing the smell of Marijuana upon approaching the vehicle.

The Driver of the car was identified as Michael Robinson. Robinson reportedly told the Sergeant he did not have a valid driver’s license. Davignon requested to search the vehicle and Robinson gave the sergeant permission to conduct the search. Davignon reportedly discovered a glass pipe believed to be used for methamphetamine and another glass pipe believed to be used for marijuana. A small amount of marijuana was also reportedly found during the search. Robinson was placed under arrest for drug paraphernalia and then transported to the Sevier County Jail.

THE 74TH ANNUAL DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER BANQUET 03/01/19

The 74th annual De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce Banquet was held Thursday, February 28th at the De Queen High School Cafeteria. Hundreds of local leaders, business owners and residents gathered for the event where entertainment was provided by the De Queen High School Jazz Band and awards were presented by the chamber board members. The evening began with the national anthem lead by Angela Smith, the pledge of allegiance by Michael Barnes and Pastor Ray Reynolds guided the attendees in prayer.

The award winners include:

 

 

Renovation Award: The Montgomery Family for De Queen McDonalds.
New Construction Award: HealthCare Xpress
Small Business of the Year: Country Girls Cafe
Business Family of The Year: Doug Suttle Family
Large Business of The Year: UA Cossatot
Citizen of the year: ZZ Kamruddin
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ms. Jen Arnold

After the awards were presented Kevin Williamson served as a lively and comical auctioneer for the live auction and the 50/50 raffle drawing was held. The night concluded with the table decorating awards, an announcement of the silent auction winners, and closing remarks made by Suzanne Babb.

Award for Most Beautiful Table went to De Queen Elementary School.  The award for Best Businesses Themed Table was given to UA Cossatot.

See more photos in our Photo Album.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 03/01/19

In a vote of 85-6, the House passed HB1437. This bill makes it a Class A misdemeanor if a mandated reporter fails to notify law enforcement of a serious threat made by an individual regarding violence in or targeted at a school.

The House also passed HB1356. This bill makes it against the law for students to be shamed or stigmatized for not paying for lunch. It prohibits schools from providing a different meal or snack than other students, from requiring a wristband or hand stamp, or requiring the student to dispose of the meal. It also requires the Department of Education to implement a system of best practices in collecting for unpaid lunches.

Additional legislation passing the House on Thursday include:

HB1416-This bill removes the enrollment cap on school districts which separation may occur. HB1491- This bill mandates DHS dissolve the wait list for the alternative community services waiver program (Developmental Disabilities Waiver) within 3 years.

HB1493-This bill amends the Arkansas Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit.  It lowers the minimum threshold for the credit from $25,000 to $5,000 of rehabilitation expenses in non-income producing properties.

The House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee advanced HB1290.  This bill authorizes pharmacists to provide access to and administration of oral contraceptives.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced HB1497.  This bill provides liability protection for stolen agricultural equipment or other off-road vehicle.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1485. This bill allows schools to use excess NSL (National School Lunch) funds for teacher salaries in certain circumstances. The House Public Transportation Committee advanced HB1561 which allows the State Highway Commission to approve an autonomous vehicle pilot program.

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

PERMITS FOR ARKANSAS TURKEY HUNTING THROUGH AGFC 03/01/19

If you didn’t draw a wildlife management area turkey hunt permit during the regular drawing, there’s still a chance to get a spot to hunt some of Arkansas’s most popular WMAs. All leftover permits will be available at www.agfc.com on a first-come, first-served online sale beginning 8 a.m., March 12.

Hunters interested in purchasing a leftover permit also can visit the licensing site. Applicants should click on the “Buy a License|Check Game” button in the top right of the page and then click “WMA Applications.” Once they have entered their personal information, they will be able to choose from the remaining permits and complete their purchase.

With nearly 3,300 applicants for WMA turkey permits and more than 250 applicants for the WMA youth turkey permits, there always are some people who do not draw for the limited hunts. There also are a few hunts that don’t receive enough applicants to fill their quota.

Just because there weren’t enough applicants for a hunt doesn’t mean the area is a poor hunting location. Some wildlife management areas that have excellent success rates often fly under the radar because all the attention is placed on one or two standout areas. In some cases, very good WMAs are left as a fallback option, in case hunters don’t draw the more popular hunts.

Each leftover permit requires a $5 processing fee. Each hunter may purchase one permit for each of the remaining WMA permit hunts. There is no limit to the number of permits a person may buy, but many of the hunts are on the same days, so hunters should pay attention to the hunt dates as well as the location before purchasing.

Visit www.agfc.com/turkey and click on “WMA Turkey Hunt Permits” see the list of remaining permits.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS TOURISM COFFEE MEETING SET FOR MARCH 15TH 03/01/19

The Arkansas Welcome Center at I-30 East Texarkana, Arkansas would like to invite community members to participate in a coffee reception for area leaders on March 15th at 9:30 a.m. to share ideas on Tourism efforts in the Southwest Arkansas area. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with and discuss tourism with representatives from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, including Cynthia Dunlap, Interim Executive Director of Parks and Tourism, Jim Daily Tourism Director, and Kristine Puckett, Deputy Director. If you have any questions please contact the Arkansas Welcome Center at Texarkana at (870)772-4301.

SWEPCO COULD RAISE RATES BY 24% IN 2020 03/01/19

Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) on Thursday (Feb. 28) submitted a request to the Arkansas Public Service Commission for a net annual increase of $45.6 million in the company’s non-fuel base rates, plus $12 million for increased vegetation management.

If approved, new rates could go into effect in the first billing cycle of January 2020. The combined $57.6 million request would result in an overall bill increase of approximately $22.60 per month, or 24%, for an Arkansas residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month.

Since SWEPCO’s last base rate review 10 years ago, the company’s operations and maintenance expenses and its capital investments in generation, transmission and distribution facilities have increased substantially.

According to SWEPCO, base rates refer to the costs of building, maintaining and operating electric system, including power plants, transmission and distribution lines and facilities to serve customers. Base rates do not include the fuel portion of the customer’s bill, which pays for fuel and purchased power and is a pass-through to customers with no profit to the company.

SWEPCO is also requesting that $28.9 million for costs now recovered through separate charges on customers’ bills be moved into base rates.

SWEPCO is a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power, and has 535,000 customers in western Arkansas, northwest and central Louisiana, northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle. American Electric Power has more than 17,000 employees and nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states.