Saturday, January 19, 2019

Local News

Today's News

FLU CASES ON THE RISE IN SEVIER COUNTY 01/18/19

Dr. Jason Loftin is the Sevier County Health Commissioner and the primary doctor at the wellness center in De Queen. Dr. Loftin stopped by KDQN studios to announce a recent rise in local flu cases this winter. Area residents are encouraged to get themselves checked and to receive proper medical care to manage the illness.

If a person suspects they may have the flu it is important to avoid spreading it to others by staying home from school or work.

The flu shot is a common method for preventing the virus and Dr. Loftin revealed that he recommends the shot for his own family as well as area community members. Flu shots can be administered by the wellness center in downtown De Queen. 

Dr. Loftin can be reached at the wellness center by calling 870-642-4000 with questions regarding flu concerns.

ARKANSAS TO BE AWARDED SETTLEMENTS 01/18/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached two settlements in the form of consent judgments requiring Fiat Chrysler and auto supplier Bosch to pay a total of $171.2 million nationwide for their roles in selling and leasing diesel vehicles equipped with illegal and undisclosed defeat device software.

Following a nearly two-year investigation, Rutledge, with 51 jurisdictions nationwide, filed suit against Fiat Chrysler and its subsidiaries, for having installed unlawful defeat device software and undisclosed auxiliary emissions control devices in several models of its diesel vehicles. The attorneys general found that Fiat Chrysler cheated on federal and state emissions tests by calibrating the software to conceal that vehicles emitted higher than permitted levels of harmful nitrogen oxides in real-world driving conditions, and misled consumers by falsely claiming some vehicles were environmentally friendly.

After a separate but related investigation, Rutledge, along with 49 other jurisdictions, filed suit against Bosch which is the engineering company that supplies Fiat Chrysler and other automobile manufacturers with electronic control units housing the complex software that controls nearly all aspects of an engine’s performance, including emissions systems. The investigation concluded that Bosch facilitated the implementation of the defeat device software in more than 600,000 Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler vehicles over a period of more than 10 years.

Under the terms of the two settlements, Fiat Chrysler will pay a total of $72.5 million to the litigating jurisdictions for consumer and environmental violations, with Arkansas receiving $763,750. Bosch will pay $98.7 million, with $737,100 for Arkansas.

AGFC MEETING ADDRESSES REGULATION CHANGES 01/18/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission heard the first official reading of amended regulations concerning importing, breeding and selling of captive wildlife species and educational animals in the state at this week’s regularly scheduled  meeting.

The regulations changes originally were presented during the Commission’s September and October meetings, and have been circulated to the public for comment. During the October 18, 2018 meeting, the Commission voted to table the first regulation proposals until January 2019. Modifications to the regulations were made based on public comment, and the final proposals were presented to the Commission . A complete list of regulations changes is available at www.agfc.com/code for review. These proposals again are available for public comment and are expected to be voted on at the Commission’s next meeting, Feb. 21.

As a result of the final proposals being submitted, the AGFC voted to amend the current temporary suspension on the issuance of importation permits for venomous or poisonous wildlife species to allow persons to apply for temporary importation permits for short-term public exhibition of such species, provided they meet certain criteria:

  1. The permit applicant is capable of complying with all existing regulations applicable for such captive wildlife species;
  2. The permit applicant agrees to voluntarily comply with the proposed regulations concerning possession of venomous reptile species, including caging and handling requirements, and
  3. The duration of the visit will be no longer than seven calendar days.

A video of the meeting is available at https://www.youtube.com/user/ArkansasGameandFish.

FSA LOCATIONS IN HOWARD, SEVIER LITTLE RIVER COUNTIES OPEN 01/18/19

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices will reopen temporarily in the coming days to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Friday, January 18, in addition to Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

In almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

Local FSA offices that will be open will include the Hempstead County, Little River County, and Sevier County Service Centers.

UPDATES FROM REGULAR SESSION ANNOUNCED 01/18/19

Representative Dee Ann Vaught announced there are a few bills now making their way to the House floor as the first week of the Regular Session is wrapping up..

 Thursday the House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee advanced HB1013 which adds podiatrists to the list of healthcare providers subject to rules regarding schedule II narcotics.  Schedule II narcotics include most opioid prescriptions.

 The Judiciary Committee advanced HB1016 which reduces the waiting period that a court may grant a petition to seal a criminal record.  The legislation reduces that period from 90 to 30 days.

 Also making its way the House, is a bill advanced on Wednesday in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development Committee.  HB1124 creates certifications for veterinary technologist and technician specialist.  This legislation was drafted to address the shortage of large-animal veterinarians in the state.

 The House will not meet on Monday as Arkansas honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. The group will reconvene on Tuesday at 1:30 pm.

ASHDOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING HELD FOR JANUARY 01/18/19

The Ashdown Board of Education held their regularly schedule meeting this week.

All board members were present and after the pledge of allegiance and prayer the superintendent and principal reports were presented.

The previous meetings minutes were approved and superintendent Casey Nichols acknowledged that January is school board appreciation month and thanked the board members for their efforts. Nichols also announced that all board members have completed the required six hours of training for 2018.

The free and reduced lunch application procedure update was approved as was a payment in the amount of $58,314.00 to C.R Crawford for the AES wall panel project.

The board also approved the 2020-2021 budget and a contract with Bunyard Broadcasting.

Prior to going into an executive session the board also approved a school choice transfer application and the financial reports as presented.

The executive session lasted approximately one hour and a half though no action was taken during the session.

After the session personnel issues were discussed.

Mr. Nichols made a recommendation to accept the resignation of Deyanira Rodriguez in food service, which was approved. Mr Nichols also recommended the approval of compensation for Anna Tillery for working a conference period during the spring semester and the motion carried.

The last items discussed during the meeting were approval of the MOU for the Ashdown Rotary Club and the Little River Chamber of Commerce as presented and the addendum to the superintendents contract to pay dues to the organizations. Both motions carried and the meeting adjourned at 8:08 p.m.

SCHOOL CHOICE WEEK IN ARKANSAS 01/18/19

National School Choice Week in Arkansas will be celebrated January 20th – 26th. The dates have been declared official school choice week by Governor Asa Hutchison. The Reform Alliance has organized events throughout Arkansas including the sponsoring of the “Partner With Me,” Community Meeting, January 21st, 6:00 pm – 8:00pm at Friendship Aspire Academy, 3615 W. 21st St., in Little Rock. Panelist for the evening will include Sidney and Takisha Moncrief. They will engage the community in a discussion on school reform in Arkansas. 

Sidney and his wife Takisha own a professional development company called Game Changer. Sidney Moncrief is a 5X NBA All-Star, and his wife Takisha is a former classroom teacher. For over 20 years she taught K-12 eduction serving children, teachers and parents. The purpose of the Non-profit organization is to develop important skills for children and families with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Sidney and Takisha use their organization as a platform for bringing awareness for the right for parents to choose educational paths for their children including home school, private school, charter schools and religious based learning centers.

The Reform Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting school choice opportunities for all students in Arkansas. More information can be found online at thereformalliance.org

DE QUEEN CHEER SILENT AUCTION TONIGHT 01/18/19

The De Queen High School cheerleaders have announced a fundraiser taking place this evening, Friday, January 18th.

A silent auction is being held at Leopard Coliseum during the basketball games against Eagletown. The auction items include a Husqavarna chainsaw and a weedeater.

The game starts at 5:00 and the winner will be announced at halftime.

The purpose of the fundraiser is to raise money for uniforms, travel expenses, camps and outfits for the De Queen cheer squad.

All members of the community are welcome to attend the game, participate in the auction in support of De Queen cheerleaders.

 

Previously Reported

GENERAL ASSEMBLY UPDATES ANNOUNCED 01/17/19

Representative Dee Ann Vaught has provided KDQN with updates on the 92nd General assembly.

Wednesday, Ms. Vaught reported that in every session, one of the first pieces of legislation to be considered by the House is the resolution to adopt House Rules.  Rules of the House guide members on everything from how a bill can be amended to when a member can ask a question. In the rules adopted Wednesday, members approved eliminating a bill filing deadline for non-appropriation bills.  In previous sessions, more than 20% of all bills were filed on the deadline.  

 The House also approved a resolution proclaiming  January 16, 2019, as “Religious Freedom Day”. Close to 300 bills have now been filed.  Committees began reviewing bills Wednesday morning and will be continuing today, Thursday January 17th.  The House convened at 10am.

 

 1ST ANNUAL ARKANSAS CHAMPIONSHIP GOOSE HUNT 01/17/19

A new, friendly competition has been planned to bring awareness to a conservation issue and help feed needy families in Arkansas this February. The first World Championship Snow Goose Conservation Hunt competition will take place, Feb. 9-10 at Mack’s Prairie Wings in Stuttgart, Arkansas.

The competition enables teams of 10 hunters each to harvest as many snow geese as possible during the two days, with the chance to win thousands of dollars in hunting gear. All geese harvested will be donated to Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry to provide meals for needy families in The Natural State. All proceeds from the competition will be donated to Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl and AHFH.

Look to the skies and you’ll see there’s no shortage of snow geese in east Arkansas. Hundreds of thousands of these waterfowl migrate to and through Arkansas each year, playing havoc on winter wheat fields and other agricultural crops. Snow geese are so abundant, they actually are damaging their breeding grounds near the Arctic Circle. To combat this population explosion, in 1999 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened a special hunt to encourage hunters to take as many of the geese as possible.

Visit https://www.mackspw.com/snow-goose-conservation-hunt for more information on the competition.

REGIONAL FOOD BANK RECEIVES $30,000 GRANT 01/17/19

Harvest Regional Food Bank of Texarkana, received a grant from the Blue & You foundation in the amount of $30,000 to support Harvest’s Mobile Pantry program this week. A check presentation was held on Monday, January 14, 2019.

Several of the nine Arkansas counties served by Harvest Regional Food Bank lack enough pantries or agencies to distribute enough food to meet the hunger relief needs of the community.

In 2011, Harvest established the Mobile Pantry program to provide food directly to those communities with the fewest hunger relief options. The food bank began quarterly distributions to Lafayette and Pike Counties and have increased mobile distributions to include Columbia, Howard and Sevier, and Hempstead Counties. The funds received from the Blue & You Foundation will help provide an additional 300,000 pounds of fresh and shelf stable food to approximately 14,000 food insecure individuals.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield established the Blue & You Foundation in 2001 as a charitable foundation to promote better health in Arkansas. This year, the Blue & You Foundation has awarded $2.7 million to 42 health improvement programs in Arkansas.

NEW MEMBERS ON DIERKS CITY COUNCIL 01/17/19

Dierks Mayor Ronnie Cogburn conducted his first city council meeting on Monday. The new mayor says he also welcomed three new council members including Quinn Revels, Jaron Tipton and Kevin Dinger. The council approved a cell phone allowance for three employees in the water and sewer departments. Council members also hired a new police officer, Zack Shankles…who has previously served as sheriff’s deputy for Howard County.

ANNUAL BOAT, SPORT, AND RV SHOW STARTS TOMORROW 1/18 01/17/19

 The 7th Annual Boat, Sport, and RV Show begins tomorrow and will continue through January 20th at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds.  The hours are Friday 10am – 7pm, Saturday 10am – 7pm, and Sunday 10am – 6pm. Close to 400 Boats, RV’s,  ATV’s and Side by Sides will be on display from the regional area. Attendees will have the opportunity to shop and compare many different lines of Boats, RV’s and ATV’s in a competitive environment. This event officially kicks off their season with the dealers offering discounts and special Show pricing.   
 
The show will feature a large kid’s area for family-friendly activities and some of the top 2018 State Fair food vendors will be on hand providing concessions the show.  
 
This year the show will also host two Bass Tournaments that will begin the tournament season for the Bayou Outdoor BOSS Tournament Trail and the North Louisiana High School Fishing League. Between 250-300 teams will be participating. Both weigh-ins will take place Saturday afternoon at the show.   
 For more information on the State Fair of Louisiana Boat, Sport, and RV Show, you can visit www.statefairoflouisiana.com.

 

LOCKESBURG RESIDENT ATTENDS FARM BUREAU CONVENTION 01/17/19

Arkansas Farm Bureau state board member Bruce Jackson of Lockesburg served as a voting delegate for the business session Jan. 15 at the 2019 Annual American Farm Bureau Convention in New Orleans, La.

As a voting delegate, Jackson was among 351 delegates from across the country who worked to set 2019 policy positions on issues important to the organization's 6 million members.

The 2019 convention marks the 100th anniversary American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation's largest agricultural advocacy organization.

CITY COUNCIL TALKS PROJECTS AND ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS AT JANUARY MEETING 01/16/19
The De Queen City Council met for a regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall Tuesday, January 15th. All city council members were present for the meeting.
The meeting was called to order at a new start time of 5:30 p.m. and after the pledge of allegiance and opening prayer were held Mayor Jeff Brown opened up the floor for public comments. Sevier County Economic Development Director Lisa Taylor spoke during the public comment time and provided updates for the council about efforts being made through a new program called “create bridges” which is designed to strengthen businesses, tourism and economic advancement of rural counties. Taylor announced that the first tri-state phone call with partnering communities was held on Monday, January 14th and a meeting has been planned for February 11th to discuss tourism development in Sevier County. Taylor also revealed she is working on an economic development summary with documented updates and accomplishments achieved in the last year.  

Mayor, Jeff Brown announced a possible project on the horizon for the city as an updated roof is required at the Ennis building downtown. The project will cost an estimated $18,000 but the mayor revealed the city could qualify for grant money of up to $250,000 from the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District. A visit has been planned with a representative from the district for later this month to further discuss the topic.

In the new business category the council re-visited the contracts of services with the Sevier County Humane Society, the senior center, Sevier County Museum, Economic Development and the Imagination Library-Sevier County chapter. Each contract had previously been discussed by the council and the financial amounts to be dispersed were agreed upon at the December meetings. Those amounts were finalized and approved Tuesday.

The final item addressed before the council entered a scheduled workshop was the topic of attendance requirements for the council members. No documented policies or guidelines are currently in place to mandate the number of meetings council members must attend, nor have any repercussions been established in the event that a member must miss a meeting for illness, vacation or prior obligation. The council held a discussion about establishing official attendance requirements and agreed to finalize the attendance policy by next month.

The next City Council meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 5th at city hall.

92ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY UPDATES ANNOUNCED 01/16/19

Representatives DeeAnn Vaught has provided KDQN with updated reports from the House Chamber as all newly elected constitutional officers took the oath of office this week.

Among those swearing in were Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin, Secretary of State John Thurston, Treasurer Dennis Milligan, Auditor of State Andrea Lea, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Commissioner of State Lands Tommy Land and Governor Asa Hutchinson.

After taking his oath, the Governor addressed the legislature outlining his agenda for this session.

He called for a third phase of tax cuts he referred to as the “2-4-5.9 plan”. It would lower income tax rates to 2% for people who earn up to $8,000 a year, 4% for those who earn between $8,001 and $18,000 a year and 5.9% for people who earn more than $18,000 a year. He is also asking the legislature to increase public safety funding for more state troopers and increase minimum teacher salaries by $1,000 a year.

More than 250 bills have already been filed.  Committees will begin meeting Wednesday morning at 10am.  The House will convene at 1:30pm on Wednesday. 

As a reminder, the House streams all meetings on our website atwww.arkansashouse.org.

 

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL LESLIE RUTLEDGE BEGINS 2ND TERM 01/16/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a statement following having been sworn in for her second term as Attorney General Tuesday, January 15th.

Attorney General Rutledge said:

“As we begin the next four years, I remain committed to increasing economic and educational opportunities for our families and keeping our most vulnerable children and seniors safe from predators. I will continue making the State more efficient and effective by expanding services and accessibility while decreasing the budget. On behalf of Boyce, Julianna and me, thank you, Arkansas families, for trusting me with these great responsibilities.”

Rutledge took the oath of office in the Chamber of the Arkansas State Capitol House of Representatives while her parents Keith and Nancy Rutledge, her brother Alan Rutledge and niece Kylie Rutledge as well as several other family members and friends observed from the House Gallery. She was escorted onto the House floor by her husband, Boyce Johnson who held their five-month old daughter Julianna and the family Bible.

In December 2015, Rutledge announced her marriage to Johnson and in July 2018, Rutledge announced the birth of their daughter, Julianna. Rutledge is the first constitutional officer of Arkansas to give birth while holding office, and also the first female and first Republican elected to the Office of Attorney General in Arkansas.

DE QUEEN MCDONALD'S DONATES TO LOCAL COLLEGE 01/16/19

The University of Arkansas Cossatot Foundation received a donation of ten canvas artwork sets that highlight various Sevier County landmarks from McDonald’s of De Queen.The artwork is being showcased in UA Cossatot’s Center for Student Success on the De Queen Campus.

“We helped create these canvas pieces highlighting De Queen and after the recent McDonald’s remodel, wanted the artwork to be displayed where the public could enjoy,” said Celia Montgomery, Owner of McDonald’s in De Queen. “We are happy to donate these pieces to the college and love where they are being
displayed.”

The UA Cossatot Foundation accepts a variety of donations including financial instruments, property, bequests, and artwork.
“We absolutely love the landmark artwork and truly appreciate McDonald’s of De Queen gifting us this collection,” said Dustin Roberts, Coordinator of Development.
More information on how you can give can be found at www.cccua.edu/give or by contacting Dustin Roberts at droberts@cccua.edu or 870-584-1172.

TURKEY HUNTING APPLICATIONS OPEN NOW FOR ARKANSAS HUNTERS 01/16/19

Turkey season will open at the beginning of April, but The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says now is the time to begin planning for a successful season.

Officials have urged Arkansas hunters to apply for The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s wildlife management area turkey hunt permits early, as the deadline is next month.

Many good public turkey hunting opportunities exist, particularly on the large cooperative WMAs owned by the U.S. Forest Service. However, turkeys and turkey hunters need room to spread out, which can lead to conflicts between hunters on some smaller WMAs. To increase the quality of the hunt on some of the most popular public areas, the AGFC restricts the number of hunters allowed during turkey season through random drawings.

Only permit holders may hunt on the WMA during the permit hunt. However, a permit holder can have a friend alongside them to call for them. Friends and family may camp with permit holders at designated campsites on the WMA.

Applications are taken electronically through www.agfc.com, from Jan. 15 through Feb. 15, and winning applicants will be notified via email.

Applications require a $5 nonrefundable processing fee. Winning applicants are not required to pay any additional fees beyond the purchase of their hunting license.

DE QUEEN PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES SOCCER REGISTRATION 01/16/19

Shelby Liggin is the Youth Sports Director for the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department. Shelby stopped by KDQN studios to announce soccer registration for Pre-K through 6th grade students is ongoing now. The fee is $25 and children are not required to live withing De Queen city limits. Forms are available at the park office in Herman Dierks Park. 

Shelby is also seeking parents to volunteer in coaching positions as well. Forms must be turned in by January 30th and Shelby can be reached at 870-642-4140 or sliggin@yahoo.com 

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD TALKS  BUILDING UPDATES AND SUPERINTENDENT CHANGES AT JANUARY MEETING 01/15/19
The De Queen School board met for their regular meeting Monday, January 14th at the district administration building. All school board members were present and lengthy list of agenda items were discussed.The previous meetings minutes, bills and old business items were addressed and approved.Joe Valley offered an update for the board regarding maintenance issues within the district. The updates include new lighting at the De Queen Elementary school, a recently repaired fire alarm at the middle school and the installation of new water fountains at the middle school as well.

The board also approved the financial statement, which Superintendent Bruce Hill noted has included an increase on costs in textbook purchases and the board approved the errors and omission insurance item prior to breaking for executive session. Student transfers and personnel changes were also discussed. The board agreed to hire a nurse at beginning salary to assist in covering shifts for nurses who may be out for vacation, or sick days as well as helping serve as extra staff for special events.

Mr. Kenneth Davis will be hired in as a bus driver with the district and the retirement of maintenance personnel Johnson was approved.Lastly, the board agreed to accept the resignation of superintendent Bruce Hill. The change will take effect June 30th with Jason Sanders filling the superintendent position on July 1st, 2019. Paul Shelton will remain assistant superintendent for De Queen schools.

Jason currently serves on the De Queen school board and has been working closely with Clark construction during the new high school building project. Jason announced that the project is still on track and the building is expected to be complete within 16 months and will be open in the fall of 2020.The next De Queen School board meeting will be held February 11th at the administration building.

DEPUTY DISCOVERS MAN WITH WARRANT, SUSPECTED DRUGS IN LOCKESBURG 01/15/19

A man is facing drug possession charges after a traffic stop was conducted by the Sevier County Sheriff's Department in Lockesburg Sunday.

According to the report from the Sheriff's Department Deputy Greg Harper was tracking drivers speeds at the intersection of Provo road and North Azalea street around 9:15 p.m. when he observed a ford truck travel at a rate of 37 miles per hour in area with a limit of 25.Deputy Harper reportedly conducted a traffic stop on Provo road and as he was exiting the patrol car a person described as an older white male exited the driver's side of truck at the same time. The man identified himself as Mike Dixon, age 56 of Lockesburg.

The police report states that Deputy Harper requested a query from the dispatcher to discover further information about Dixon and it was discovered that the man had an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Sevier County. Deputy Harper reported noticing Dixon turn away from him as though he was trying to discard something. Harper then questioned the suspect if there was anything illegal in the vehicle and asked if he could conduct a search.

Dixon agreed to the search and Harper reported observing a plastic bag containing suspected illegal substance on the ground underneath the truck where the suspect was standing. Dixon was then placed under arrest and advised of his Miranda rights. The suspect reportedly agreed to speak with the deputy without a lawyer present and when questioned about the bag he claimed it did not belong to him.

Dixon's vehicle was released to Justin Dixon upon request and he was transported to the Sevier County Jail where the warrant was served and he was booked by the jail staff. The contents of the bag were sent to the crime lab in Hope for analysis. Dixon will appear in circuit court on Thursday, January 17th at the Sevier County Courthouse.

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS RECOGNIZED 01/15/19

Ashdown School District joins districts across the state to celebrate School Board Member Recognition Month in January. More than 1500 Arkansas school board members are being honored for their service and dedication to public education.

 The members serving on the Ashdown School Board are Chuck Davis, Dorothy Henderson, Michael Turner, Ricky Ward, Glenda Smedley, Raymond Latson, and Rosa Bowman.

 Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas State Board of Education issued a proclamation and a resolution recognizing the boards for their contributions.

 As publicly elected school leaders, Arkansas school board members set policy for their respective districts. Under state law, they are empowered to hire and evaluate the superintendent, oversee district finances, approve the budget, and determine the vision and mission of the district. School boards must also approve the curriculum and ensure the district maintains adequate facilities for teaching and learning.

 In addition to their board duties, state law requires Arkansas school board members to earn a minimum of six hours of professional development each year in areas related to their role and responsibilities. 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY CHAMBER BANQUET SET FOR FEBRUARY 01/15/19

The Little River County Chamber Banquet will be held on Thursday, February 7, 2019.  They will be honoring individuals, businesses and teachers of the year selected in 2018.

Performing guests will be the Ashdown Drama Club.  Individual tickets are $30 each or 2 for $50.  Table sponsorships (with seating for 8) are also available by calling the Jana Smith at the chamber office at 870-898-2758 or e-0mail director@littlerivercoc.org.

You may decorate your own table for a chance to win Best Table Decorator or a centerpiece will be provided for you. 

MCCURTAIN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY BANQUET ANNOUNCED 01/15/19

The McCurtain County Historical Society will be hosting their annual banquet at the Kiamichi Technology Center in Idabel on Friday, January the 25th at 6:00 P.M. Keynote speaker for the event will be Mr. Jeff M. Moore, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society's OKPOP project.

The Oklahoma Historical Society will begin construction of the OKPOP Museum in Tulsa this year. The museum will be located across the street from the historic Cains Ballroom and will include many exhibits telling the story of Oklahoma natives in American pop culture.

The museum facility will also include a large events area and even a balcony overlooking Cains Ballroom and downtown Tulsa's Arts District. Jeff will speak to the organization about the OKPOP project and highlight  some of the artists from McCurtain County who will be featured in the new museum such as Harold Stevenson and Mae Axton

Admission is free and everyone is invited to attend. A pot luck dinner will be held before Jeff gives his presentation and attendees are urged to bring a covered dish. Memberships to the McCurtain County Historical Society will be available for purchase and existing annual memberships will be due the night of the banquet. The Historical Society will also have two of their books; McCurtain County Cooks and McCurtain County Pictorial History Vol. II available for purchase as well.

The organization will also honor one member with the society's Distinguished Service Award, which has not been awarded in the last 3 years. For more information please call Kenny Sivard at (580)212-3639. 

DE QUEEN QUIZ BOWL TEAM WINS TOURNAMENT 01/15/19

The De Queen High School Quiz bowl team won the DMEC/SWAEC tournament held in Nashville, Arkansas Tuesday, January 8th. The team went 6-0, winning by an average of 250 points and the closest win was by 165 points. A total of 12 teams participated. The De Queen Quiz bowl team will be competing at Nationals in Washington D.C this summer.

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER TO ATTEND NSBA EVENT IN WASHINGTON D.C 01/14/19

Ashdown School Board Member Rosa Bowman will travel to Washington D.C.  in January to represent the Arkansas School Board Association.  She currently serves as Vice-President for the State Association.  This trip is part of of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Advocacy Institute 2019.

Mrs. Bowman has served on the Ashdown School Board since 2006 and is a retired teacher.  She is excited to travel to the nation’s capitol, and said, “I’m honored to have the privilege to meet with our national legislators concerning the upcoming legislation.  This will be a great opportunity to consider the proposed federal mandates and to discuss the impact that they will have on the students of our state and community.”

While in Washington, D.C., she will have two days of meetings and workshops focused on IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act), Delivering Workforce Readiness, School Safety and to hear about current legislation.  On the third day, she will have the opportunity to meet one on one with Arkansas Legislators serving the state of Arkansas.  This will give Mrs. Bowman the opportunity to communicate to them the important issues of our local schools.  

Ashdown Superintendent, Casey Nichols said, “We are so excited for Mrs. Bowman to have the opportunity  to represent both our Ashdown School District and the entire state of Arkansas in order to voice the needs for our district and state to the legislators who serve us in Washington.”

DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT REGISTRATION DATES 01/14/19

De Queen High School Pre registration for the 2019-2020 school year dates have been announced:

Thursday, January 17 – juniors (next year's seniors)

Tuesday, January 22 – 9th grade (next year's sophomores)

Thursday, January 24 – 10th grade (next year's juniors)

All meetings will take place at 6 PM in the high school cafeteria.  Faculty will discuss requirements for Pre-AP and AP courses.  Parents and students are encouraged to attend.

ART CONTEST ANNOUNCED FOR ARKANSAS YOUTH 01/14/19

The Arkansas Wildlife Federation and Creative Ideas, a Little Rock-based nonprofit organization, are accepting entries into the 2019 “Wildlife of Arkansas” student art contest to help promote conservation awareness through the arts. Entries will be accepted through Feb. 15, 2019.

The art contest is open to all school-aged youths from kindergarten through 12th grade level. A panel of professional artists will select 4 winners in each grade level based on creativity, skill and interpretation of the theme. All artwork must be focused on wildlife and the natural world, however, it is not limited to animals. Wildflowers, landscapes and other natural features may be the focus of the piece. A special category will focus on monarch butterflies and other pollinatinator species to help bring awareness to their declines.

Winning entries will earn the artist a cash prize as well as a certificate of achievement at the AWF Annual Conservation Awards Banquet. All winning artwork also will be displayed at Arkansas Game and Fish Commission nature centers across the state throughout the year.

Teachers and other educators can find further information on the contest and entry forms at the AWF’s website, www.arwild.org.

CHILI SUPPER AND AUCTION COLLECTS $55,000 AND COUNTING FOR INJURED TROOPER 01/14/19

A Fundraiser was held at Ashdown High School over the weekend to assist the family of Arkansas State Police Trooper corporal Clayton McWilliams, 32, of Little River County. The purpose of the fundraiser was to help offset the cost of medical expenses for the McWilliams family.

As KDQN previously reported McWilliams was injured in an accident earlier this month while en route to the scene of a crash in Sevier County. Wet road conditions have been believed to have contributed to the accident.

Fundraiser organizer Johnny Brown said the event was a success as an estimated 600 people attended the fundraiser and more than $50,000 were raised for the injured trooper. As of 10:00 a.m Monday, January 14th donations were still coming in.

Brown also said the auction portion of the fundraiser was a success as a variety of different items were submitted. He also wanted to express thanks to all the people who came out to the fundraiser and those who assisted in organizing the event.

A social media post made by the Sevier County Sheriff's Department Sunday offered an update for McWilliams' supporters regarding his condition. The post announced that the trooper was recently removed from a ventilator and is now breathing on his own.

Persons interested in donating to help the family with medical expenses can donate cash or check to an account that has been set up at Diamond Bank in Ashdown, Arkansas.

92ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEGINS 01/14/19

The regular session of the 92nd General Assembly is beginning today, Monday, January 14th. Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchison mentioned last week that this would be “one of the most historic and transformative” of his lifetime, as he plans to initiate multiple key pieces of his recent re-election campaign.

Legislative leaders said the full agenda for the session calls for remaining focused to avoid the session taking an excessive amount of time.

The longest regular session documented in modern history was the 89th General Assembly back in 2013, which started January 14th and concluded May 17th. The Arkansas Constitution states, regular sessions are confined to a maximum of 60 days (days off, including weekends, are counted) unless extended to up to 75 days by a two-thirds vote of each chamber. Members may also agree to meet past 75 days by a three-fourths vote.

Regular sessions begin the second Monday in January in odd-numbered years, after November general elections. In even-numbered years, lawmakers meet in fiscal sessions to approve funding bills. The first fiscal session was in 2010.

ASHDOWN SCHOOLS COMPETE IN QUIZ BOWL 01/14/19

The Ashdown Junior High 7th Grade Quiz Bowl Team won 2nd place at the DeQueen Invitational Tournament on January 9th
(l-r) Luke Barnes, Ernie Merrell, Kevin Scott, Bella Wolfley, Bannon Price, and Caleb Blankenship
 
Ashdown High School Quiz Bowl Team won 2nd place at the SWAEC/DMEC Tournament on January 8
(l-r) Coach Jennifer Simmons, Carson Jeffries, Caden Hinton, Kohl Kervin, Aliyah Anderson,  Will Ford, Robin Roy,  Joshua Linnett, and Cole Sallede

 

 

FIRE CAUSED BY CHILD PLAYING WITH LIGHTER IN DE QUEEN 01/11/19
The De Queen Fire Department responded the call of a structure fire on Harvey Drive Wednesday, January 9th around 3:40 pm.

Two trucks and 12 fireman arrived on the scene within 5 minutes of being dispatched to the residential home. The occupants of the home made it out safely and the cause of the fire was identified. A child in the house was playing with a lighter when a towel caught fire and the flames spread.

The Department contained the fire and left the scene within one hour of arriving. Chief Dennis Pruitt credited the daylight as a factor in the department's quick response time to the home. He also says he hopes the department will be able to shorten response on night calls as well.

The owner of the home was identified as Sergio Gomez of De Queen and the house is covered by insurance. No injuries were reported.

 

 

 

HORATIO CITY COUNCIL TALKS RATE CHANGES AND NEW PURCHASES AT JANUARY MEETING 01/11/19

The Horatio City Council met Monday, January 7th for their regular meeting.This was the first meeting of the year with new Mayor Rich Dorsey, who was sworn in last week at the Sevier County Courthouse in De Queen.

The previous meeting's minutes wee approved and a motion was made to pay all outstanding bills. The motion carried and a discussion was also held about the purchase of a lawnmower for the street department. A decision was made to purchase a Husqvarna 61'' cut from Baker's saw shop.

            The council also agreed to purchase three signs from R&J sports in De Queen. One for the Fire Department, one for City Hall and one for the Museum.

The next item on the agenda was the topic of raising water and garbage utility rates for Horatio residents. The council agreed to raise the rates at the next meeting in February with the increase going into effect by March.

During the meeting Mayor Dorsey also presented four names to the city council for approval of membership in the Horatio Volunteer Fire Department. The names include Ben Mooneyham, Adam Mooneyham, Jason Vanhoose, and the transfer of Tyler Jones from Dierks VFD. The motion carried.  

Mayor Dorsey also met with Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry on Monday to discuss the Horatio Law Enforcement Department. The Mayor recommended that ticket books be purchased for the department as well as an upgrade be made to the reporting system computer program. In February Mayor Dorsey will meet with the Quorum Court to discuss fee for dispatch calls in the city of Horatio. The city will also be checking in with De Queen city officials concerning an ordinance on leash laws for dogs.

The Next Horatio City Council Meeting will be held February 4th at City Hall.

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE UPDATES ANNOUNCED 01/11/19

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce Director Suzanne Babb announced the annual chamber Banquet will be held next month in De Queen on February 28th. The banquet is a tradition lasting more than 70 years and it is not required that attendees be chamber members to attend. Suzanne can be contacted for information about purchasing tickets to attend the event.

Suzanne Also announced that the chamber and other local groups are working with a new program called “Create Bridges” in the Southwest Arkansas area. The purpose of the program is to strengthen local businesses, tourism efforts, entertainment options and other areas of opportunity in local, rural communities.

The De Queen/Sevier Chamber of Commerce is located in Downtown De Queen and Suzanne available to answer questions. To receive information about tickets to the upcoming chamber banquet or to find out more about the Create Bridges Program, call 870) 584-3225.

AGFC LAUNCHES NEW SKILLS PROGRAM 01/11/19

A new Outdoors Skills Program created by The Arkansas Game and Fish commission will reward beginner and veteran hunters and anglers with a special patch for their accomplishments in the outdoors.

When a person attends one of many workshops the AGFC’s Education Division provides, they become eligible to receive an attractive patch to place on their favorite piece of outdoors clothing. The initial patch labels them a beginner in one of 10 outdoor disciplines. From there, participants can complete different tasks for each discipline to “level up” through intermediate, advanced and expert rankings, each with its own rocker to accompany the initial patch.

Patch categories include archery, conservation leadership, fishing, game-calling, hunting, paddle sports, rifle marksmanship, shotgun marksmanship, trapping and watchable wildlife. Some of the categories crossover and lead into others, while some are independent of the rest.

Eric Maynard, AGFC assistant chief of education, says the new program will be available through all AGFC education centers, nature centers and regional educators this year.

Visit www.agfc.com/outdoorsskills or visit your local nature center for more information.

NEW HEMPSTEAD HALL DIRECTOR ANNOUNCED IN HOPE 01/11/19

Amanda Lance has been named the new Director of Hempstead Hall and Workforce Development at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. Lance brings over a decade of hospitality experience to the role and previously served as the Advertising and Publications Coordinator for the college. She is a 2003 graduate of Hope High School, a 2016 graduate of UAHT, and is currently completing her bachelor’s degree through the University of Arkansas Fayetteville.

“The impact of Hempstead Hall has been tremendously positive on Hope and all of Southwest Arkansas, and I am honored and humbled to continue the legacy started by Dolly Henley,” said Lance. “Our community’s culture is greatly enriched through the performing arts brought through Hempstead Hall, and I am thrilled to be a part of broadening that scope of opportunity. It will also be exciting to work with our industry and community partners to continue to offer the best training facility in our region.”

For more information, contact Amanda Lance at 870.722.8566 or amanda.lance@uacch.edu.

 

 

SWEAR-IN CEREMONY HELD AT SEVIER COUNTY COURTHOUSE 01/02/19
A formal swear-in ceremony was held in the courtroom of the Sevier County Courthouse Wednesday, January 2nd for elected officials of the county.

Law enforcement members, the Quorum Court JP's, county coroners, treasurer, clerk, and city mayors were all present at the ceremony where they were sworn in by Judge Monya Wood and Judge Greg Ray.

All deputies and elected officials were also required to sign documents recognizing their obligations to the county.

After the ceremony the first Quorum court meeting of the 2019 year was held in the conference room at the courthouse. All JP's on the quorum court have previously served out terms and were re-elected to their positions. Judge Ray says he felt the swear-in ceremony was successful and he has confidence in the county's elected officials.

There were only two items on the agenda, the first item to discuss was the ordinance for establishing the meeting times and dates for the quorum for all of 2019. All meetings will be held the 2nd Monday of each month at 2:00 p.m. in the conference room of the courthouse with the exception of November, due to a holiday the meeting will be held the 3rd Monday.

The 2nd and last item discussed was the appointment of Debbie Brotherman to the Sevier County Library Board. Debbie is replacing Lecretia Walker, who resigned from the position.
The next Quorum Court meeting is scheduled for February 11th at 2:00 p.m. at the Courthouse in De Queen.

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY PRE-TRIAL HEARING HELD TUESDAY 01/10/19
An update on current cases in the Little River County Court System has been provided by the Little River County Circuit Clerk, Lauren Abney.

A pre-trial hearing was held Tuesday, January 8th 2019.

Vincent Bradley, -Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of Controlled Substance. $750 fine and 3 years probation.

Gary Graves- Possession of Firearms by certain person. $1,000 fine and 3 years

Stephen Owens- Possession of controlled substance, Trial set for January 28th

Jaquenda Sims, No contest plea to child endangerment charge. $1,000 fine and 3 years probation

Jamaal Starks- Possession with purpose to deliver, 10 years and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, 6 years.

Todd Wade- Theft By Receiving , Trial set for January 28th

Additional cases scheduled on January 8th have been granted continuance, dismissed or awaiting evidence.

KDQN will continue to provide updates on pending cases in Little River and Sevier Counties.

DE QUEEN FIRE CHIEF ANNOUNCES FIRE SAFETY REMINDERS 1/10/19

De Queen Fire Department Chief Dennis Pruitt visited KDQN studios Thursday to issue a reminder for local residents to educate their children about the importance of fire safety at home. The reminder was inspired by a recent structure fire that was caused by a child who was playing with a lighter.

Chief Pruitt also clarified the policies in place for controlled burning of leaves and twigs on personal property. Though it is not illegal to conduct a controlled burn in a residential yard it is recommended that residents wait until leaves are dry before burning and monitor the smoke while being courteous of neighbors.

The Chief also reminded residents about proper locations for use of Turkey Fryers and similar heat-based cooking methods. He urged locals to not use these products inside an enclosed space like a garage. The chief also encouraged parents to reach out to the Fire Department for information about how to talk to kids about fire safety education. They can be contacted at 870-584-7224.

ASHDOWN JUNIOR HIGH WINS QUIZ BOWL TOURNAMENT 01/10/19

Image may contain: 7 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor

Congratulations to the Ashdown Junior High Quiz Bowl Team for winning 1st place at the SWAEC/DMEC tournament on January 7.
(l-r)  Sponsor Jaime Ward, Landon Wright, Rachel Vice, Dal Ringgold, Zoe Hogan, Dylan Rose, and Bannon Price

 DIABETES-FRIENDLY COOKING CLASS SCHEDULED AT UAHT 01/10/19

The University of Arkansas Hope will host “Living Well with Diabetes” a Diabetic Cooking Class beginning on Thursday, January 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Hempstead Hall. The class will be taught by Terrie James, County Extension Agent at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research & Extension Agency. The class will consist of four sessions on the following dates; January 17, January 31, February 7, and February 21. It is not necessary to attend all sessions. The cost is $10 per session.

The classes will offer tips for managing blood glucose, blood cholesterol and blood pressure, simple meal planning strategies, cooking demonstrations and tasting, hands-on activities, and class discussions. Recipes and materials are provided during each class.

For more information, contact Edessa Walton at 870-722-8102 or edessa.walton@uacch.edu.

AGFC HOLDS ALLIGATOR GAR TAG DRAWING 01/10/19

One hundred lucky anglers and bowfishermen were successful in drawing this year’s allotment of Alligator Gar Trophy Tags last week. These tags are required to take an alligator gar 36 inches or longer in Arkansas.

Applications for tags were available through the AGFC’s licensing system from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. Applications and tags for successful applicants are completely free. Each applicant should have received an email notifying them of their results. The successful applicants should log into the licensing system to claim their tag. Â At that point it will appear on their license, which they can reprint.

As part of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s effort in conserving and promoting this once popular trophy sportfish, fishing for alligator gar 36 inches and longer is only allowed on a catch-and-release basis without a trophy tag.

Alligator gar, the second largest species of freshwater fish in North America, occurs in many of Arkansas’s large rivers. The species frequently grows longer than 7 feet from tail to snout and can weigh more than 200 pounds. The largest fish ever caught in Arkansas was an alligator gar in the Red River that weighed 241 pounds, over 100 pounds more than the next largest Arkansas record fish, a 116-pound blue catfish that once held a world record.

Unfortunately, dams placed in many warmwater streams have blocked gar from their spawning areas and degraded spawning habitat. For many decades, indiscriminate killing of trophy gar, which tend to be females, also took its toll on this slow-growing species. The AGFC has been involved in a recovery and conservation effort for these large fish for the last decade. The Alligator Gar Permit and Alligator Gar Tags enable biologists to contact anglers who pursue the species and work with them to learn more about Arkansas’s remaining population and remnants of spawning grounds anglers may have knowledge of.

ARKANSAS AGRICULTURE HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES NEW INDUCTEES 01/10/19

 The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame has announced plans to induct five individuals whose leadership and service have brought distinction to the state’s largest business sector.

The newest class includes retired University of Arkansas educator Dr. L.B. (Bernie) Daniels of Fayetteville; Ed Fryar of Rogers, the founder of Ozark Mountain Poultry; UA professor Dr. Donna Graham of Fayetteville; UA distinguished professor Dr. Terry Siebenmorgen of Fayetteville; and David Walt of Dumas, a retired soybean farmer.

The group will be honored with an induction luncheon, set for 11:30 a.m. on March 1 at Little Rock’s Embassy Suites Hotel.

The new selections will bring to 169 the number of honorees in the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame, encompassing 32 classes of inductees.

The mission of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame is to build public awareness of agriculture and to formally recognize and honor individuals whose efforts have led to the prosperity of local communities and the state.

Luncheon tickets are $35 each. Individual tickets and tables of 10 are available by calling (501) 228-1609 or emailing aghalloffame@arfb.com.

ARKANSAS FALLEN OFFICERS FUND ACCEPTING DONATIONS 01/10/19

A statewide effort that started last year to support families of fallen law enforcement officers has started this year’s fundraising drive. The Arkansas Families of Fallen Officers, Inc. provides support to the families of all first responders who are killed or die in the line of duty. No law enforcement officers died in Arkansas during 2018. The 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization donated $1,000 to Arkansas State Police Trooper Kyle Sheldon’s recovery (K Troop Hot Springs).

In 2017, Arkansas lost 3 firefighters and 3 law enforcement officers in the line of duty.

Arkansas Families of Fallen Officers President Richard Curry of Nashville says the 2019 goal is to collect enough donations to be able to pay for the cost of funerals for the families. All funds raised are used for the families of responders, including law enforcement, firefighters and EMS. Organization volunteers do not receive any pay. Several fundraising efforts are planned for 2019. Curry says they have received support from several County Sheriffs offices across the state.

For more information, contact Curry at 870-557-6813 or make checks to:

Arkansas Families of Fallen Officers, Inc.

NEW ARKANSAS COMMUNITY COLLEGES BOARD DIRECTOR ANNOUNCED 01/09/19
 

T.J. Tubbs, Director of Physical Plant Operations at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana, has been elected to serve as the 2019 President-elect for the Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC) Board and as President for the year 2020. Tubbs began serving at UAHT in 2012 as a full-time faculty member in the Technical & Industrial Division and became the Director of Physical Plant Operations in 2017. He recently earned a Master of Science in Operations Management Degree from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville is currently working toward a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership.

ACC is a non-profit association representing all twenty-three public community colleges in Arkansas. The Association facilitates the sharing of ideas, resources, and opportunities among its members, and advocates on behalf of members’ students. Tubbs has served as a member of the ACC Board for three years.

Each of the twenty-three community colleges has at least one representative from their school serving on the ACC Board. An election among these members is held each year to elect a new president to represent and lead the board

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES ARREST OF WOMAN FOR MEDICAID FRAUD 01/09/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of a mental health therapist at Preferred Family Healthcare (PFH) this week.

Kandice Robinson, 33, of Bartlett, Tenn., is accused of billing the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services not rendered between August 15 and November 1, 2017, totaling about $4,950. Following an investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, Robinson turned herself in at Pulaski County District Court. She is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony.

“Robinson is another PFH employee accused of lying and charging Medicaid for services she did not provide,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “People cheating the Medicaid system are stealing from taxpayers and hurting the system, which is designed to protect Arkansas’s most vulnerable. I will not tolerate this behavior as the Attorney General.”

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

ASHDOWN CHEERLEADERS TRAVEL TO LONDON FOR NEW YEAR'S PARADE 01/09/19

  Ashdown High School Senior Cheerleaders Aliyah Anderson and Autumn Hoffman performed with more than 800 high school cheerleaders and dancers from across the U.S. who represented Varsity Spirit in the world famous London New Year’s Day Parade.

The individuals invited to perform in the parade qualified for the trip after being selected as an All-American at a summer camp hosted by one of the Varsity Spirit camp brands, which include Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA), Universal Dance Association (UDA), National Cheerleaders Association (NCA), National Dance Alliance (NDA) and United Spirit Association (USA).

All-Americans are selected to try out based on superior cheerleading, dancing and leadership skills at camps across the country. Only the top 12% of the more than 325,000 cheerleaders and dancers who attend the 5,000 Varsity Spirit summer camp sessions earn the chance to march in the holiday spectacular. 

Cheerleaders, dancers, marching bands, acrobats and more made up the 10,000 performers representing 20 countries worldwide in the 2019 parade. Established as one of London’s biggest events, the parade is seen by nearly 300 million people around the world. In addition to cheering in the parade, All-Americans were able to celebrate the holiday’s European style with the chance to tour some of London’s most historic sites during their seven-day stay.

FREE WEEKEND ACTIVITIES AT COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK 01/09/19

A variety of free, family-friendly activities have been planned at Cossatot River State Park in Wickes this weekend, Saturday January 12th and Sunday, January 13th.

On Saturday at 3:30 p.m. a one hour informational session about birds will be held in the legacy room of the visitor's center. The program is titled “Birds, it's cold outside” and park interpreters will educate attendees about birds who stay in the local area for the winter. A one hour “guess who's coming to dinner” program will be held in the wildlife viewing area of the visitor's center at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. Park interpreters will have participants identify animals by the foods they eat.

At 2:00 p.m. park visitors can meet at the natural area to feed the critters until 3:00 p.m. Park interpreters will also provide educational information about the animals while visitors observe the animals in their habitats.

The final weekend activity will be held at 3:30 p.m. as park interpreters lead visitors through a “primal paints” program. Attendees will be able to paint images of the park's animals in a natural setting.

All activities at Cossatot River State park planned for January 12th and 13th welcome visitors of all ages and are free of charge.

The park is located in Polk County at 1980 Hwy 278 West, Wickes Arkansas. More information at (870) 385-2201 or visit www.arkansasstateparks.com

FUNDRAISER SCHEDULED FOR INJURED TROOPER 01/09/19

An upcoming Fundraiser has been announced for this weekend to assist the family of Arkansas State Police Trooper corporal Clayton McWilliams, 32 of Little River County. The purpose of the fundraiser is to help offset the cost of medical expenses for McWilliams' family.

As KDQN previously reported McWilliams was injured in an accident last week while en route to the scene of a crash in Sevier County. Wet road conditions have been believed to have contributed to the accident. A chili dinner auction and fundraiser have been planned for Saturday, January 12th at 5:00 p.m. at The Ashdown High School cafeteria. The cost is by donation only and the Auction will start at 6:30 . Persons wishing to contribute an item to the auction can donate in advance by contacting Johnny Brown at 903-748-6846. Items will be accepted at the door as well.

ASHDOWN FOOTBALL SENIOR PLAYS IN ALL AMERICAN BOWL 01/08/19

Cody Barton, a Senior at Ashdown High School was named an Offense-Defense All-American at Camp this past Summer,   and received an invitation to participate in the 13th Annual Offense-Defense Bowl Week festivities that took place in December in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Cody’s team SSC1 won their game 24-12.

Cody Barton plays nose guard and defensive tackle for Ashdown High School. He was was selected for this opportunity from an outstanding group of thousands of athletes across the country and played well representing Ashdown, easily validating the Bowl Selection Committee's choice in tabbing Cody for the All-American tilt.  This is Cody’s 3rd year to earn honors to play in the O-D All American Bowl playing previously in Atlanta, GA (2016) and New Orleans, LA (2017).

UMPIRE MAN FACING CHARGES IN PIKE COUNTY 01/08/19

An Umpire man is facing felony charges in Pike county following a traffic stop by deputies. Authorities say 52 year old Robert Faulkner is charged with felony counts including Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Pike County Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrod Reid observed a pickup truck being driven by Faulkner on December 19th.

Knowing Faulkner had a suspended drivers license, the deputy conducted a traffic stop on Faulkner’s vehicle. While searching Faulkner, Deputy Reid said he discovered a piece of aluminum foil that had been folded numerous times. Police say the foil contained a white powdery substance believed to be meth cocaine. Authorities also said they recovered a zip lock bag containing several other smaller bags. In addition to the items found on Faulkner, reports said other drug related items were found beside the driver’s seat of the pickup.

UPDATE ON ARKANSAS STATE TROOPER INJURED IN CRASH 01/08/19

An Arkansas State Police trooper injured in a car accident on U.S. 71 remains in serious but stable condition in a Little Rock hospital.

Cpl. Clayton McWilliams, 32, of Ashdown was undergoing surgery Monday morning, according to his mother-in-law, Deanna Sivley.

“He has been stable enough to have surgery,” Sivley said. “The state police have been outstanding and have been to the hospital every day.

“We appreciate all the prayers and support we've been getting. This teaches us humility.”

McWilliams was taken to a Little Rock hospital after initially being taken to CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System on Thursday.

While driving to a crash scene on U.S. 71, McWilliams' patrol vehicle left the roadway after hydroplaning and struck a tree.

Heavy rainfall in the area is believed to have contributed to the cause of the crash.

The accident happened at 12:50 p.m. Thursday near Wilton in Little River County, according to a news release. McWilliams was responding to a crash scene in Sevier County where a logging truck had overturned.

POLK COUNTY SHERIFF ISSUES STATEMENT ON MURDER SENTENCING 01/08/19

Brian Travis, age 39, pled guilty to four counts of Capital Murder in Polk County Circuit Court today. Travis admitted guilt in the April 2017 deaths of Bethany Wester, age 43, Acelynn Wester, age 2, Reilly Scarbrough, age 9, and Steven Payne, age 66. Travis was sentenced to 4 Life without the Possibility of Parole sentences.

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer said “He will spend the rest of his life in prison and after today I will never mention his name again. Though this case was initially pursued as a death penalty case, ultimately Prosecutor Andy Riner allowed Travis to plead guilty to 4 Life w/o sentences. There are many reasons why Mr. Riner made this decision, which by the way I support 100%, but ultimately this is the sentence that the family of the victims requested. Travis was transported to ADC Varner Supermax after being sentenced. Please remember our victims and their wonderful family in your prayers”.

RAINFALL CALCULATED FOR DE QUEEN 01/08/19

Rainfall totals for 2018 in De Queen reached 69.20 inches. De Queen's yearly average rainfall is about 51 inches, based on a 30-year average.

Periods of “just prolonged rainfall events” occurred in 2018's final months, said meteorologist Travis Shelton at the National Weather Service in north little Rock. Rainfall in December totaled 8.94 inches in De Queen. The highest monthly rainfall in De Queen occurred in February when 12.23 inches of rainfall was recorded.

There is a good chance for higher-than-normal rainfall to continue for at least the early part of 2019, according to the National Weather Service three-month outlook for February through April, Shelton said. Temperatures, meanwhile , are expected to be in the normal range that time of the year, he said. That will follow below-normal temperatures for the latter half of January, according to the latest National Weather Service forecast for the next four weeks.

UA COSSASTOT SPRING SEMESTER ANNOUNCEMENTS 01/08/19

UA Cossatot student ambassadors Alondra Galvez, Saleni Rojaas and Johanna Martinez stopped by KDQN studios Monday, January 7th to announce upcoming dates and events happening for the Spring semester at the college campuses.

The ambassadors reminded area students that classes will begin January 14th with registration available until January 15th. Scholarships and financial aid information are still available online at cccua.edu. There will also be required new student orientation “colt kickers” in De Queen, Ashdown and Nashville this week.

More information about enrollment and the spring semester can be found at cccua.edu

 

THE 7TH ANNUAL BOAT, SPORT, AND RV SHOW ANNOUNCED 01/07/19

 The State Fair of Louisiana will host the 7th Annual Boat, Sport, and RV Show January 18,-20 at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds.  The hours are Friday 10am – 7pm, Saturday 10am – 7pm, and Sunday 10am – 6pm. Close to 400 Boats, RV’s,  ATV’s and Side by Sides will be on display from the regional area. Attendees will have the opportunity to shop and compare many different lines of Boats, RV’s and ATV’s in a competitive environment. This event officially kicks off their season with the dealers offering discounts and special Show pricing.   
 
The show will feature a large kid’s area for family-friendly activities and some of the top 2018 State Fair food vendors will be on hand providing concessions the show.  
 
This year the show will also host two Bass Tournaments that will begin the tournament season for the Bayou Outdoor BOSS Tournament Trail and the North Louisiana High School Fishing League. Between 250-300 teams will be participating. Both weigh-ins will take place Saturday afternoon at the show.   
 For more information on the State Fair of Louisiana Boat, Sport, and RV Show, you can visit www.statefairoflouisiana.com. KDQN will be giving away tickets this week during the morning brew show from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Listen for your chance to win.   

UAHT ANNOUNCES FUNDRAISER SET FOR FEBRUARY 01/07/19

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana will hold the 13th Annual Beads, Bags, and Bangles Kids’ College fundraiser on Thursday, February 28, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at The Venue at Twelve Oaks. The Venue at Twelve Oaks is located at 4177 Highway 29 North, Blevins, AR, just six miles north of Hope.

The theme of this year’s event is “Big Hats and Bow Ties.” Featured this year will be southern fare, mint juleps, horse racing, live music, and shopping. Wear your best big hat or your most charming bow tie.

Proceeds raised at the 13th Annual BBB event will be used for scholarships and supplies to benefit the 2019 Kids’ College and Camp Save-A-Life programs. These programs are designed for students who will be in first through eighth grade. The 2018 programs served over 250 children from Hope, Texarkana, and the surrounding communities. A portion of the funds will also benefit UAHT’s Camp Save-A-Life program which serves approximately 50 students in seventh and eighth grade on the Hope and Texarkana campuses.

Tickets to the BBB Big Hats and Bow Ties event are $35. For more information or to buy your tickets, contact Anna Powell, UAHT Foundation Executive Director, at 870-722-8516 or anna.powell@uacch.edu.

DE QUEEN DOCTOR WINS AWARD FOR PREVENTIVE VACCINE INITIATIVES 01/07/19

Dr. Floyd Gonzalez of De Queen is Arkansas' 2018 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion Award Winner.
The Award is given annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Cancer Society, and Association of American Cancer Institutes The award recognizes doctors, clinics, practices, groups, and health systems that are going above and beyond to foster HPV vaccination in their communities.

This year, one Champion from each of the 50 U.S. states, 8 U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, and the District of Columbia was recognized.
Dr. Floyd Gonzalez is a private practicing pediatrician in the city of De Queen, Arkansas, and has been a practicing pediatrician for more than 20 years.

Dr. Gonzalez received his medical training at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Tec Salud in Monterrey, Mexico and has achieved high vaccination rates through effectively communicating the benefits of vaccination and answering parents' questions in both English and Spanish. He educates parents about vaccines and explains the that it can help prevent children from developing certain types of cancer as they get older.

Dr. Gonzalez answers parents' questions and concerns and provides written information about the vaccine in both English and Spanish to ensure all of the parents in his practice have the information they need to feel comfortable in their decision to vaccinate their child.

Dr. Gonzalez has been recognized on the CDC website:  https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/champions/2018-winners.html

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL TO MEET THIS WEEK 01/07/19

The Lockesburg City Council has announced the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 8th at 6:30 p.m. in the Lockesburg, City Hall.
The meeting's agenda includes allotted time for visitor contributions and public comment. There will also be a report form the mayor.

Actions for council members will include swearing in of Alderman members, addressing the 2019 budget and setting future council meetings dates and times.

They will also discuss a request for synchronizing well #1 and well #2 as well as a building permit issue and the approval of the December meeting's minutes and approval of the December budget, bills and the council's financials.

LOCAL RESIDENT DONATES TO COLLEGE CAMPAIGN 01/07/19

The University of Arkansas Cossatot Foundation received a Legacy 2020 capital campaign donation from Ms. Julie Brown of De Queen.
Classrooms 305 and 307 in the Science and Arts Building on the De Queen campus is now named after Brown’s mother, Eddie Lou Watson and grandmother, Lou Gray to recognize the gift.

The UA Cossatot Foundation’s Legacy 2020 campaign focuses on community members and businesses that wish to invest in the growth of the college on all four campuses; De Queen, Nashville, Ashdown, and Lockesburg. For every contribution, a naming opportunity exists for those who want to leave a visible legacy in
the donor’s community.

“Naming a room in honor of a loved one is a great way to leave a legacy and help local college students” said UA Cossatot Development Coordinator Dustin Roberts.
“We greatly appreciated Julie’s generosity and support of our college.”
More information about the Legacy 2020 is available on the college’s website at www.cccua.edu/legacy2020.

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES STATE TO RECEIVE $75,000 01/07/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the for-profit education company, Career Education Corp. (CEC) has agreed to change its recruiting and enrollment practices and forgo collecting more than $493.7 million in debts owed by 179,529 students nationally. In the settlement with Arkansas and 48 other attorneys general, affected Arkansas students will receive $1.8 million in debt relief through student loan forgiveness, and the State of Arkansas will receive a payment of $75,000.

The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance caps a five-year investigation. CEC agreed to forgo any and all efforts to collect amounts owed by former students living in the states participating in the agreement.

CEC is based in Schaumburg, Ill., and currently offers primarily online courses through American InterContinental University and Colorado Technical University. CEC has closed or phased out many of its schools over the past 10 years. Its brands have included Briarcliffe College, Brooks Institute, Brown College, Harrington College of Design, International Academy of Design & Technology, Le Cordon Bleu, Missouri College and Sanford-Brown.

A group of attorneys general launched an investigation into CEC in January 2014 after receiving several complaints from students and a critical report on for-profit education by the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The attorneys general alleged that CEC pressured its employees to enroll students and engaged in unfair and deceptive practices. These practices included making misleading statements or failing to disclose information to prospective students on total costs, transferability of credits, program offerings, job placement rates, and other topics. As a result, some students could not obtain professional licensure and incurred debts that they could neither repay nor discharge. CEC denied the allegations of the attorneys general but agreed to resolve the claims through this multi-state settlement.

BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT IN MINERAL SPRINGS THIS WEEK 01/07/19

One of the oldest basketball tournaments in the state begins Monday January 7, the Southwest Arkansas Invitational Basketball Tournament will be held at Mineral Springs High School. The tournament originally started and was held for many years at Saratoga. Superintendent Thelma Forte has confirmed that the games will be held in the brand new arena, located in the new Mineral Springs school building that has been under construction since early 2017. Superintendent Forte says the new gymnasium seats roughly 1640 people. There are 510 bucket seats.

Girls teams participating in addition to the Hornets include: Ashdown, Murfreesboro, Horatio, Bradley, and Fouke.

DEPUTIES CATCH MAN ATTEMPTING TO FLEE IN DE QUEEN 01/04/19

A man is facing charges of drug possession and fleeing after Deputies from The Sevier County Sheriff's Department responded to a call about an attempted burglary in De Queen last week.

A report from the Sevier County Sheriff's Department says Deputy Chett Stubbs was dispatched to a residence on Dunn Road December 28th for the attempted burglary call when he observed a truck leave the area at a high rate of speed. Deputy Stubbs reportedly initiated emergency lights and attempted to conduct a traffic stop when the vehicle stopped and a passenger in the car took off on foot. In the report Deputy Stubbs stated that the passenger was wearing a black mask and camouflage jacket.

Stubbs reported issuing multiple commands to get the suspect to stop but he continued running before he was detained in a field behind a residential home. The suspect was identified as Keith White and he was placed into custody. Upon conducting a search on White, Deputy Stubbs reported finding what was suspected to be a pipe used for smoking methamphetamine.

Deputies also reported finding a white substance suspected to be methamphetamine, a leafy substance suspected to be marijuana, a syringe, 4 25 milligram alaprazolam pills, a tube containing suspected methamphetamine and plastic zip-lock bags consistent with the repacking and sales of controlled substances.

White was transported to the Sevier County Jail where he was charged with possession of controlled substance schedule 2 with purpose to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and fleeing. A court date has been set for January 10th at The Sevier County Courthouse.

STATE TROOPER HOSPITALIZED AFTER CRASH IN SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS 01/04/19

An Arkansas State Trooper has been hospitalized from injuries he sustained in a single-vehicle motor vehicle crash in southwest Arkansas at approximately 12:50 PM Thursday, January 3, 2018.
 
Corporal Clayton McWilliams, 32, of Little River County, was initially transported to a Texarkana hospital and later moved to a Little Rock hospital where his injuries are being assessed.
 
Trooper McWilliams was responding to a crash scene in Sevier County where a logging truck had overturned.
 
While driving to the crash scene along U.S. Highway 71, northbound, near Wilton (Little River County), the patrol car driven by Corporal McWilliams left the roadway and struck a tree.  Heavy rainfall in the area is believed to have contributed to the cause of the crash. (Photo submitted by Texarkana Gazette)

ADEQ TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING THIS MONTH 01/04/19

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will host a public meeting on January 22, 2019, from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30  p.m. at ADEQ headquarters, 5301 Northshore Drive in North Little Rock, to kick-off the Air Regulatory Efficiency and Streamlining Effort (EASE) Collaborative. The EASE Collaborative will bring together interested Arkansans and ADEQ staff to develop solutions to achieve regulatory streamlining goals and establish permitting guidance to assist the regulated community, as well as develop recommendations for streamlining four Arkansas Pollution Control & Ecology Commission (APC&EC) regulations. 

The EASE Collaborative was formed in response to comments and feedback received by ADEQ on the pre-proposal draft of the Air Integrated Regulation Streamlining Project and the group is open to the public. The purpose of the kick-off meeting is to select workgroup members for two smaller task-focused workgroups—Regulatory Streamlining and Permitting Guidance—which will meet regularly to develop solutions to present at quarterly meetings. The kick-off meeting will include discussion of a work plan to develop proposed revisions to streamline current APC&EC air regulations. 

 Further information about the EASE Collaborative, related public meetings, and historical documents for this effort can be viewed from the EASE webpage athttps://www.adeq.state.ar.us/air/planning/streamlining/.

PLUNGE FOR LIFE    01/04/19

WeeCare Pregnancy Resources, Inc., a non-profit, faith based pregnancy crisis center will be hosting the 10th Annual PLUNGE for Life on Saturday, February 2nd at 1:00 p.m.  The event will take place at Area D, Stephens Gap of Broken Bow Lake.  The theme this year is “TOO CHICKEN TO PLUNGE.”   Youth Organizations and Church Groups are encouraged to register for the Battle of the Plunge.  The group with the largest donations will receive a travel trophy and pizza party for their group.  

Other prizes and awards will be presented at event.  Plungers are encouraged to dress up in costumes or as chickens!  If you would like to participate, please contact the center at 580-286-5390 or by email at weecare4u@yahoo.com. You may also pick up a participant packet at our center located on 110 E Main St, Idabel, OK. 

LISTED BELOW ARE SOME OF THE FREE SERVICES OFFERED TO CLIENTS REGARDLESS OF ECONOMIC STATUS:

  • PREGNANCY TESTS
  • ULTRASOUNDS
  • CHILD BIRTHING CLASSES
  • CPR/FIRST AID CLASSES
  • PARENTING CLASSES
  • MATERNITY CLOTHES
  • BABY CARE ITEMS
  • TUTORING & MENTORING PROGRAMS
  • POST-ABORTION SUPPORT
  • ADOPTION EDUCATION
  • LOVE & SUPPORT

 

DEPUTIES DETAIN DISORDERLY SUSPECT IN DE QUEEN 01/03/19
A woman is facing charges for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after deputies responded to an incident that occurred in De Queen Monday, December 31st.
A report from the Sevier County Sheriff's Department says Deputy Justin Gentry was dispatched to a residence on Chapel Hill road Monday to respond to a call about an unwanted intoxicated person on the property. A caller reported that the suspect had been banging her head against a car and attempting to force her way into the home.
The report says Deputy Gentry was assisted by Sergeant Greg Davignon and the suspect was identified as Alexis Richards. Richards reportedly placed her hands behind her back to be handcuffed as requested but then attempted to pull away from the officers and turn around. Deputy Gentry reported commanding Richards to comply several times and ultimately had to force her hands in a position to be properly cuffed.
The report also stated that Sergeant Davignon spoke with the occupants of the home who claimed Richards showed up at the residence and they asked her to leave, which caused her to become irate. The home occupants reported that Richards tore the screen door of the home in an attempt to get inside. A resident of the house also reported that Richards clawed their arm and Stomach during the incident.
The residents declined to press charges against the suspect. Richards was transported to The Sevier County Jail where she was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. A court date has been set for January 22nd 2019 at the Sevier County Courthouse.
 
STUDENT AMBASSADORS ANNOUNCED AT LOCAL COLLEGE 01/03/19
The University of Arkansas at Cossatot inducted thirteen college students into the 2019 Student Ambassadors Class at a ceremony held at the Weyerhaeuser Room last month.
This was the sixth year of the Student Ambassador program. In exchange for a tuition waiver, resume building and networking opportunities, and help transferring to a four-year university, Student Ambassadors recruit in their communities, organize student events, facilitate service projects, and provide support at many other college events.
Chancellor, Dr. Steve Cole welcomed the group and presented tuition waivers.
“Of all the things we do at UAC, Student Ambassadors is one of my favorites,” Dr. Cole addressed the Ambassadors.
“Out of 1500 students and those who applied, the Ambassador Selection Committee saw something special in you. Something that will help move the college forward. It’s truly an honor to welcome you into your new role.”
“These students pass a series of interviews and meet stringent criteria before being selected to be Ambassadors,” said Daniel Martinez, Marketing Coordinator and Student Ambassador Sponsor. “This program gives students a chance to network and seek opportunities that enhance their future.”
HISTORIC WASHINGTON PARK EVENTS PLANNED FOR NEW YEAR 01/03/19
Several events and activities are planned for 2019 at historic Washington state park in hempstead county. Four “Trial By Jury” events are planned for the new year, with registration open for the first event on January 12th.
The evening begins with a meal and then a trial drama at the 1874 Courthouse. Cost is $25 for adults and $20 for children under 14. Registration is required by contacting the park at 870-983-2684.
Dancing with the Stars “Washington Style” is also planned for January 19th at the WPA gym.
BROKEN BOW CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SEEKING CITIZEN OF THE YEAR NOMINEES 01/03/19
The Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce will begin accepting nominations for the 2018 CITIZEN OF THE YEAR. The recipient will be acknowledged at the Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet scheduled for the end of February.
Nominees are not required have to be well-known in the community or involved in major events. It’s is not a contest multiple nominations for the same nominee are not necessary. The nominees can be anyone, including friends, family, or neighbors.The purpose of the award is to recognize how their efforts have made a positive impact in the city of Broken Bow.
The chamber is looking for people who go beyond their jobs to impact the community positively. An ideal nominee is someone who gives their time and energy on a voluntary basis to benefit Broken Bow.
 
If you know a Broken Bow resident who deserves this honor, please submit:
Your Name, Address, Phone Number, then the NOMINIEE’S NAME, Addres and Phone Number and A description of “WHY” you believe this individual should be Broken Bow’s Citizen of the Year.
Nomination forms are due January 11th Nominations can be mailed, emailed, or dropped off to the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce, 113 West MLK, Broken Bow, OK 74728.
 
For more Information, call Charity O’Donnell, Chamber Director, at 580-584-3393 or visit www.BrokenBowChamber.com
JEFF BROWN BEGINS TERM AS MAYOR OF DE QUEEN 01/02/19
 

Jeff Brown is the new Mayor of De Queen at New Years time. Mayor Brown and four new Aldermen were administered the Oath of Office by Judge Monya Wood during swearing in ceremonies Tuesday evening at De Queen City Hall.

Mayor Brown won over two other candidates in the November general election to become Mayor of De Queen. Previously, he had served as head of the Water Department for the City.
New Council members Jeff Holcomb, Dr. Jason Lofton, Troy Cravens, and Rick Pruitt were also sworn in along with returning Aldermen Teresa Bunyard and Kathy Richards, as well as City Clerk Donna Jones.

In the only action item at Tuesday's meeting, the Council set their regular meeting dates and time as the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 at City Hall.

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL'S FIRST TERM IN REVIEW 01/02/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is closing out her first term as the state’s chief legal officer with the announcement she has reached almost 90,000 Arkansans in person since taking office in January 2015, including over 21,000 in 2018.

Rutledge had hosted 306 roundtable meetings and 313 mobile offices to meet face-to-face with thousands of Arkansans. In 2016, Rutledge began partnering with local law enforcement to collect unused and expired prescription medications at mobile offices.

Rutledge also hosts numerous outreach and training events, including the annual Law Enforcement Summit, Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit and the Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event to recognize Arkansas’s missing persons. In addition to annual events, the Attorney General’s Office increased outreach efforts by hosting webcasts on topics including avoiding common scams, the Freedom of Information Act and teen dating violence prevention. During her first four-year term, Rutledge hosted 68 large training events and the Attorney General’s staff has presented to 1,291 groups.

LAST YOUTH MODERN GUN HUNT OF THE SEASON JAN 5TH-6TH 01/02/19

The second modern gun deer hunt for youth hunters will take place across Arkansas this Saturday and Sunday. Only hunters who are 6 to 15 years of age may pursue deer with modern guns on this last chance of the season.

Incorrect dates for the hunt were listed in a previous press release before the Christmas Holiday, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission apologizes for the error.

All private land deer zones are open during the youth hunt. Some wildlife management areas are not open to the special modern gun youth hunt. Visit https://www.agfc.com/en/hunting/where-hunt/wildlife-management-areas for season date information on WMAs.

During the youth hunt, youths who have completed Hunter Education may hunt on their own if their parent or guardian feels that they are responsible enough to do so. Youths who do not have Hunter Education must be under the direct supervision of a mentor who is at least 21 years old. Mentors may not hunt any species while accompanying the youth.

All deer taken during the hunt count toward the youth’s seasonal bag limit and the bag limits for the zone where they are hunting. Deer taken during the youth hunt must be checked to the youth hunter’s name and not the mentor or parent. Deer may be checked via phone, internet or the AGFC’s smartphone app.

To check by phone, call 877-731-5627. Checking via internet is available at www.agfc.com. The smartphone app is available for Android or iPhone through the Google Play and iTunes app stores.

WAGE INCREASES FOR ARKANSANS WITH NEW YEAR 01/02/19

Thousands of Arkansans will get a pay raise soon, compliments of a ballot measure approved by voters in November to gradually increase the state's minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2021.

The first stage — an increase from $8.50 to $9.25 — kicked in Tuesday January 1st.For an employee working 40 hours a week, that's a weekly pay increase of $30, from $340 to $370, not including deductions for taxes and other withholdings. For a year's work, that translates into an increase from $17,680 to $19,240, before taxes and other withholdings.

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and other groups that supported the passage last November of Issue 5 said 300,000 workers — or one-fourth of the state's workforce — will benefit as the measure takes full effect over the next couple of years. It's the second time since 2014 that Arkansas voters approved a minimum-wage increase. Both measures won with more than 60 percent of the vote.

The $9.25-an-hour wage will increase to $10 a year in 2020 and to $11 on Jan. 1, 2021. “Tipped wages” remain unchanged, at $2.63 an hour, at places where tips are expected to equal or exceed the $9.25 an hour. If that level of pay isn't reached, the employer is required to make up the difference.

NEW YEAR BRINGS NEWS TAX CUTS FOR ARKANSANS 01/02/19

The new year brings tax cuts to Arkansans, one for grocery shoppers and the other for lower-income people. On the first day of 2019, the state sales tax on groceries will drop from 1.5 percent to 0.125 percent and the individual income-tax rates for people who make less than $21,000 a year in taxable income will be cut.

The grocery tax cut is the final step of former Gov. Mike Beebe's bid to make good on a 2006 campaign pledge. He had proposed to incrementally trim the tax from 6 percent to 0.125 percent. Beebe served as governor from 2007-2015. The cut for low-income Arkansans will be the second in individual income-tax rates to take effect in recent years. They were proposed by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson and enacted by the Legislature.

In 2015, the Legislature enacted Hutchinson's plan to trim individual income-tax rates for people who make between $21,000 and $75,000 a year in taxable income. Then in 2017, the Legislature approved his second cut proposal, for people with less than $21,000 a year in taxable income. Governor Hutchinson hopes to continue his tax cutting in the regular session that starts Jan. 14. The governor is asking for the Legislature's approval of his plan to gradually cut the top individual tax rate from 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent.

ARKANSAS AG ANNOUNCES STATE TO RECEIVE $1,298,019 IN WELLS FARGO SETTLEMENT 12/31/18

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced Friday, December 28th that Wells Fargo Bank N.A. will pay $575 million to resolve claims that the bank violated state consumer-protection laws. The settlement is the result of multiple investigations by all 50 states and the District of Columbia of allegations that Wells Fargo was engaging in a number of unfair and deceptive business practices. The State of Arkansas will receive $1,298,019.

The settlement resolves claims the bank violated state consumer protection laws by opening millions of unauthorized accounts and enrolling customers into online banking services without their knowledge or consent, improperly referring customers for enrollment in third-party renters and life insurance policies, improperly charging auto loan customers for force-placed and unnecessary collateral protection insurance, failing to ensure that customers received refunds of unearned premiums on certain optional auto finance products, and incorrectly charging customers for mortgage rate lock extension fees.

Wells Fargo identified more than 3.5 million accounts where customer accounts were opened, funds were transferred, credit card applications were filed and debit cards were issued without the customers’ knowledge or consent. The bank has also identified 528,000 online bill pay enrollments nationwide that may have resulted from improper sales practices at the bank. In addition, Wells Fargo improperly submitted more than 6,500 renters insurance or simplified term life insurance policy applications and payments from customer accounts without the customers’ knowledge or consent. To date, this settlement represents the most significant engagement involving a national bank by state attorneys general acting without a federal law enforcement partner. Wells Fargo has agreed to provide more than $385 million to approximately 850,000 auto finance customers.

The remediation will include payments to over 51,000 customers whose cars were repossessed. Wells Fargo will create and maintain a website for consumers to use to access the program and will provide periodic reports to the states about ongoing restitution efforts. More information on the redress review program, including Wells Fargo escalation phone numbers and the Wells Fargo dedicated website address for the program will be available on or before February 26, 2019.

JOURNALIST RETURNS TO SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS TO RECEIVE AWARD 12/31/18

Image result for HOSEA SANDERS

Hosea Sanders is a long-time broadcast journalist from Arkadelphia Arkansas, who recently came back to his alma mater,   Henderson State University where he graduated in 1979. This month, Sanders was honored with an achievement award for his longstanding career in broadcasting. Sanders began his career in the late 1970s. Sanders’ friend and former classmate, Greg Harris, presented a plaque to Sanders that reads: “In recognition of HSU alumnus Hosea Sanders for his outstanding career in broadcast journalism which all began at Henderson State University'

Sanders spoke to Henderson’s current broadcast journalism class before the presentation. The plaque was then placed on KSWH studio wall in the Garrison Center. Sanders anchors the primetime newscast for Chicago’s ABC 7, provides regular reports for evening newscasts on issues important to Chicago neighborhoods, and covers key disability related stories. He also hosts the Emmy Award winning series “Heart and Soul,” which showcases Chicago’s vibrant African-American community. Prior to joining ABC 7, Sanders worked at TV stations in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Little Rock.

He has won 12 Emmy Awards, gaining honors for live coverage, spot news, entertainment reporting, news writing, programming, and overall news achievement. He has received more than 100 awards throughout his career from various churches, civic and community organizations for his community service.

SEVIER COUNTY JP'S TO BE SWORN IN THIS WEEK 12/31/18

The Sevier County Quorum Court will host their first meeting of the 2019 year next week.

All current JP's have been re-elected to serve an additional term. Both the swear-in and meeting are open to the public. Sevier County Judge Greg ray says scheduling of the future time and dates for meetings throughout the year, as well as the appointment of a new Sevier County library board member will be discussed during Wednesday's meeting.

The judge noted that financial issues have surfaced recently as the county jail facing a budget deficit and concerns at The De Queen Medical center. The judge spoke confidently about the JP's and their abilities to manage the county's money.

Wednesday, January 2nd 2019 at 9:00 a.m. The Justices of the Peace will be sworn in at the Sevier County courthouse in De Queen. After the swear-in ceremony the first meeting of the year will be held in the conference room of the court house at 10:00 a.m. The public is welcome to attend.

LOCAL STUDENTS MAKE CHANCELLOR'S LIST FOR FALL 2018 12/31/18

University of Arkansas Cossatot Office of the Registrar released fall Chancellor and Vice Chancellor’s lists.

109 students were named to the Chancellor’s list, maintaining a minimum of a 4.0 semester GPA while taking a minimum of 12 college credit hours. 78 students were named on the Vice Chancellor’s list, maintaining a minimum of a 3.50 semester GPA while taking a minimum of 12 college credit hours.

Students named to the Chancellor’s list include:

De Queen:  Sanjuana Alvarez, Eduardo Benitez, Matthew Chandler, Jesus Cisneros, James Edward, Maria Dominguez, Aida Gallardo, Sandy Chandler, Jennifer Garibay, Sean Harding, Aracely Hernandez, Andrea Herrera, Glen Lovell, Toni Manzella, Delfina Martinez, Jamnel Mejia, Carlos Pallares, Emmanuel Escobedo, Leslie Gutierrez, Jessica Hernandez, Merline Hernandez, Jaqueline Marrufo, Elvia Martinez, Daniel Montero, Anel Montiel, Jessica Rios, Carlos Santiago, Courtney Stancil, Sydney Talkington, Kelsie Easlon, Richard Ethridge, Sadie Haury, Jesse Power, Abraham Arellano, Laiken Emerson, and Allan Ramirez

COMMITTEE SELECTIONS TO BE ANNOUNCED JAN. 14TH 12/31/18

There is a new rule taking effect this session which changes the way our many of our committees are formed.

The House consists of 10 standing committees, 7 select committees and 3 special committees. A vast majority of legislation introduced in the Regular Session is assigned to a standing committee.

The new House rules give the Speaker the authority to appoint the membership of all committees. The Speaker will announce committee selections on the first day of session, January 14.  The Speaker also selects who will serve as chair and vice-chair of each committee and sub-committee.

Committees are where the lawmaking process begins.  It is where bills are first considered and publicly debated before a bill makes its way the House Chamber.  Committees provide an opportunity for the public to speak for or against a proposal. 

The Speaker assigns each bill to a committee germane to the subject matter. In 2017, more than 3,000 bills were introduced.  Less than 1,200 actually became law.  Many of those bills did not get the needed votes from the committee to advance any further in the law making process.

Each member serves on one “A” standing committee and one “B” standing committee.  House Rules state the Speaker must select five members from each of the four House District Caucus.  House District Caucuses are divided along the same geographical boundaries as our state’s congressional caucuses. 

Standing committees are as follows:

Class A Education, Judiciary, Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Public Transportation

Revenue and Taxation

 Class B Aging, Children & Youth, Legislative & Military Affairs

Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development City, County, & Local Affairs

Insurance & Commerce State Agencies & Governmental Affairs

 Once the committee selections are announced, we will post the lists on our website.  As a reminder, the House live streams all standing committee meetings and House floor proceedings during the Regular Session.  Visit www.arkansashouse.org for more information.

CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL FUNDRAISER SCHEDULED IN HOT SPRINGS 12/31/18

The 15th annual Chocolate festival has been announced for early next year.

The event will be held at the embassy suites hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas on Sunday, February 3rd 2019. The chocolate festival serves as a fundraiser for the Cooperative Christian Ministries and Clinic. Bakers may enter their chocolate treats in a competition to take place during the event. Any person interested in helping, being on the planning committee, volunteering the day of event, donating sponsorship, or participating in the silent auction may contact Lynn at 501-318-1153

DECEMBER WEATHER SUMMARY      12/31/18

The December weather summary collected by the NOAA Weather Observer, Jay Bunyard, at the Number One Country studios in De Queen is as follows:

December Weather Summary

                 Hottest afternoon                     70 degrees recorded on the 1st
                 Coldest morning                        25 degrees recorded on the 6th
                 Rainfall for the month                  8.94″

2018 Weather Summary

                 Hottest afternoon                      102 degrees recorded on July 21st and 22nd
                 Coldest morning                         6 degrees on January 17th
                 Rainfall for year                           69.20″ 

The average annual rainfall is 51 inches, so we had a very wet year.  The 69.20 inches recorded in 2018 is the most in a calendar year since 82.57 inches of precipitation was recorded in 2015.

JACKIE ICENHOWER, KPYN-ATLANTA 2018 WOMAN OF THE YEAR    12/31/18

Jackie (Frachiseur) Icenhower was chosen 2018 Atlanta, TX Woman of the Year by KPYN Radio station.  The following article was reprinted with permission:

Jackie Icenhower, Director of the Atlanta Public Library for more than 13 years has been named KPYN Radio’s 2018 Atlanta Woman of the Year.

Robert DelGiorno, KPYN’s owner announced that Icenhower was named the woman of the year today (12/29/18).

Jackie Icenhower is not only a successful grant writer, but also a fantastic “Sugar” to her two granddaughters.  During her time at the library, the number of people coming to the library annually has risen by 10,000.  Mrs. Icenhower taught for 16 years in both public and private schools, so teaching classes on computer use, knitting, or quilting came naturally.

“When our family relocated to Atlanta over 13 years ago it was about the same time that Jackie became the director of the library.” Robert DelGiorno said. “In the past 13 years I’ve noticed that the Atlanta Public Library has set the bar for the highest standards and is probably one of the best libraries in the country.”

It’s obvious that Atlanta’s Library is another benifit in the Atlanta community and it’s another reason why Atlanta is a great place to live and operate a business. Jackie Icenhower deserves a lot of the credit for the libraries success.

Jackie Icenhower has impressive credentials

Jackie. Icenhower received her Master’s degree in Library Science from Texas Woman’s University in 2009.  She also has a Master’s degree in English and Psychology and a B.S. in Education.  She regularly attends conferences and seminars and subscribes to library discussion groups to stay abreast of the latest trends in Librarianship.  From those continuing education exercises came the ideas for the 3D printer, the heirloom seed collection, digitizing our newspaper collection, and lending the Wi-Fi hotspots.  Other innovations at the library during her tenure include a public garden, the aforementioned classes, National designation as a Family Place Library, family game nights, CD/DVD repair, and an expanded genealogical collection.

Jackie Icenhower has a strong family and she’s got talent. 

Mrs. Icenhower has been married to Kenny Icenhower for 36 years and has three children.  She enjoys quilting, knitting, tatting, cross-stitch, smocking, playing the piano, and making outfits for her granddaughters.  She sings with Four States Fusion Chorus, a part of Sweet Adelines International barbershop quartet style four part harmony for women.

 
COUNTY LEADERS GATHER TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT DE QUEEN HOSPITAL'S FUTURE 12/28/18
The De Queen Medical Center remains open. Community leaders and hospital officials made that clear at a community meeting Thursday night at The Legacy Center in Downtown De Queen. An estimated 100 people attended the meeting organized by Dr. Jason Lofton and Chad Gallagher , leaders of a local non-profit organization working at providing information to the public concerning future of the hospital. A number of reports, many of them unsubstantiated, have suggested the hospital will soon close.

Gallagher told KDQN that the hospital is still open despite rumors of the closure and he believes working together as a community is crucial at this time.

Dr. Jason Lofton also serves as the Sevier County Health officer and is on the medical board for the hospital. He joined City Council members, local healthcare employees, Quorum court members, both the retiring and newly elected mayor of De Queen, the county judge, police chief, Representative Dee Ann Vaught and several community church pastors for a discussion about the questions circulating around the hospital's future. Missed paychecks, questions of closure, 15 confirmed lay-offs and confusion about leadership are all issues that inspired Legacy Initiatives to call the meeting. Gallagher lead the meeting's attendees through a power point presentation and provided information about conversations that have been held with the state health board, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison and as the Hospital's private owner, Jorge Perez.

Gallagher explained the history of the hospital's background and noted that ownership has shifted multiple times over the past several decades and has alternated between private and public ownership since the 1980's. Currently the De Queen Hospital is privately owned by Jorge Perez and Empower HMS.

Gallagher told the attendees that they cannot currently say whether or not Perez will sell the hospital. The possibility of shifting leadership into local control has been explored but the process would leave Sevier County without a critical access healthcare facility for a period of up to 2 years or more. Legally there can only be one critical access facility every 35 miles within a rural area.

Gallagher also told the group that he and Lofton have been working with large corporate partners in the private sector who would like to help families displaced due to loss of employment. Throughout the meeting Gallagher encouraged residents to utilize the hospital for services and refrain from spreading false information or rumors about the shutting down soon. Through all of the turmoil and confusion many hospital employees continued to show up for work to ensure the patients were cared for and they chose to work not knowing if they would ever be paid for the hours they put in. The group applauded the employees and expressed appreciation for their dedication to this community.

After the power point presentation, Gallagher took questions from the public. Many healthcare providers in De Queen utilize the hospital and refer patients there for x-rays, ultrasounds and similar services but now have to question if the staff will be present to perform the services needed. Gallagher maintained a theme of positive positioning and encouraged communication in telling patients what we do know, not what we don't.

Gallagher noted that area residents have a responsibility to continue to plan for the future and urged them to continue using the hospital services offered.  Gallagher also says working with the current owner is important for keeping the local critical access facility open.

State representative De Ann Vaught encouraged local residents to support the hospital and the employees who still show up to work despite the questions surrounding the hospital's future.

Many Sevier County leaders will be continuing to have conversations with organizations who can offer resources and help in resolving the concerns about healthcare in Sevier County and KDQN will offer updates and announcements as new plans are formulated and more information is released.

STRUCTURE FIRE HANDLED IN DE QUEEN 12/28/18

The De Queen Fire Department says a Thursday morning fire caused minor damage at a west Heynecker street residence. Fire Department units responded to a call about a fire shortly before 6:00 a.m. Fire officials said the heavy rain at that hour may have helped limit the damage caused by the structure fire.

Two engines and one truck responded to the call. The Fire Department spent about 45 minutes on the scene. Fire officials say the structure was insured. 17 firefighters responded. No injuries were reported.

GAS LEAK IN HOWARD COUNTY 12/28/18

A significant natural gas leak in the Chapel Hill area will continue to keep that area of Mt. Pleasant Drive closed for several days. Howard County Judge Kevin Smith says the leak occurred due to corrosion in the line and that traffic will continue to be diverted until the leak is repaired, which could take 3 or 4 days.

Traffic traveling north on Mt. Pleasant is being rerouted on Chapel Hill Road West to Highway 26…while traffic coming south on Mt. Pleasant is being diverted to Aylett Road & onto Cornith Road. Citizens are asked to not go around the barriers, unless you are a resident of the area.

LIBRARY ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR JANUARY RELEASED 12/28/18

Johnye Fisher of The De Queen Library Branch has released reminders and announcements about events and changes for the Sevier County Library system.

To check out any item at any of the Sevier County Libraries you will need:

A valid Government Issued photo ID, Proof of address, a local phone number, and a personal reference who does not live with you and their local phone number. The libraries offer a variety of items available for check out.

The De Queen Library staff hopes everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New year! The De Queen branch will be having two story time and fun days January 16th at 4pm with Ms LaDonna and her dog Josie and again January 30th at 4pm the story will be about snow and the children can make snowflakes.

“Activities” are held every Wednesday at 10 a.m including   Dominos, games, cards, coloring and more. Call the De Queen Branch at 584-4364 for more information.

The Horatio Library will be having two children’s programs in the month of January. January 5th will be Hiccupatoamus by Aaron Zenz and January 19th The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith. The Horatio branch has a variety of services like Fax, copies, lamination, notary, DVD check out and free WIFI with computer access for public use. They also have Dominoes’ Thursday Mornings at 10 am and Bridge at 1 pm.

On Saturday, January 12th the “That’s My Story and I’m Stickin’ to It” Book Club will meet at the Lockesburg Library to discuss the novel, “The Other Alcott” at 10 am. Ms. Wendy says that the Children’s library programs planned on Thursdays at 1pm in January will be: “One Snowy Day”, “Germs Make Me Sick!”, “Passports / Egypt” and “Our Skeletal System”. Visit the Lockesburg Library on Facebook or call Ms. Wendy at 870-289-2233 for more information.

The Gillham Library has new books on the shelf including Liar, Liar, by Lisa Jackson and Liars, Leakers, and Liberals by Judge Jeanine Pirro.  All new December DVDs and Books should be in after the new year. A Story Time and Craft will be held January 19th, 2019. Beginning January 1, 2019 the new Gillham Library Hours will be Tuesday 9-5 closed from 12-1 for lunch and Saturday 9-5 closed from 12-1 for lunch.

For more information, call Susie at 870-386-5665 or visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/gillhamlibrary.

 
CHRISTMAS FOOD BAGS DISTRIBUTED TO HOSPITAL EMPLOYEES  
 Dr. Randy Walker's office,  Horatio State Bank, Pruetts Food, De Queen First Assembly of God and Kern Heights Baptist Church collaborated efforts to provide Christmas grocery bags complete with a turkey and several side dishes for 50 De Queen Medical Center employees and their families on Saturday, December 22nd. The efforts were made after many employees experienced lay-offs from the center. A flyer released stated “this season is not about gift giving. It's about taking care of our community.”

SHOP WITH A COP DECEMBER 2018 HELD 12/28/18 

Local law enforcement representives, The De Queen Fire Department, and Southwest EMS as well as local volunteers including VFW, Brother's Keepers Motorcycle Club and individuals helped children choose their Christmas gifts for the 2018 shop with a cop program. 

This young man made the statement, “This is the best day of my life!”.

 

ANNUAL TOYS FOR TOTS TOY DISTRIBUTION

The annual Toys for Tots toy distribution was held Thursday, December 20th at the De Queen Armory.  Two hundred fifty-four children had a merrier Christmas this year after their parents or guardians were allowed to choose three gifts from the huge variety of toys that were on display. Children over two also received a bag with fruit and candy that was packed by Ethel Wommack, Charles Krudwig, and Carolyn Maurer.

December 20th was the culmination of an effort that began in October.  The committee, was lead by Mac McDaniel and Jerry Davis with assistance from Jerrel Jones and Laura Ambriz from First State Insurance, contacted local businesses and individuals asking them to donate items to be auctioned on November 2nd at the annual fund-raising chicken dinner, dance and auction at the fairgrounds.     Bill Powers and the Poor Boys for provided the music and Jimmy Ray Gentry conducted the auction.  Pilgrim donated chicken and cash donations were received from Brother's Keepers Motorcycle Club, De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce, and Arvest Bank.  De Queen High School students who were exempt from semester tests helped with the toy distribution.

Toys for Tots is an ongoing endeavor.  Volunteers are always welcome and donations to the fund may be made year round by mailing your check to: Toys for Tots, P.O. Box 884, De Queen, AR  71832. 

 
DE QUEEN MAYOR TO RETIRE AFTER 13 YEARS 12/26/18
De Queen Mayor, Billy Ray McKelvy sat down with KDQN staff Wednesday for an interview to reflect on his time in office and discuss his upcoming retirement plans set to begin in 2019. McKelvy was elected as the mayor of De Queen in May of 2005 and has served the city for 13 and a half years.
McKelvy is retiring as the year ends and a new Mayor, Water Department Superintendent Jeff Brown will begin his time as an elected official for the city January 1st. During the interview, Mckelvy acknowledged the sewer plant built back in 2008 and the new raw waterline east of town as positive accomplishments completed during his time as mayor. Both projects were achieved through financially resourceful methods that did not create added money woes for De Queen residents.
Mayor McKelvy also discussed how he and his wife, Robbie plan to spend their time once he retires. The McKelvys have two grandchildren they look forward to spending more time with and the couple plans to travel more, though they will continue living in De Queen.

The advice Mckelvy would like to pass on to Jeff Brown is the importance of cooperation and working together with council members and city leaders to achieve goals. McKelvy also expressed appreciation for the city council and city employees and their dedication to public service.

Jeff Brown will be sworn in as The new Mayor for The City of De Queen on Tuesday, January 1st at 6:00 p.m. in city hall. A retirement reception will be held in Mayor McKelvy's honor Friday, December 28th from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Herman Dierks Park community building. The public is welcome.

FIRE DEPARTMENT LAUNCHING NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR CITY CODES, PERMITS AND CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT 12/26/18

The De Queen Fire Department is in the process of launching new technology that will eliminate paper files and provide an online information management system through a software system called “iWorQ” The iWorQ software will help the department manage code enforcement, permit management and citizen engagement matters.

Code enforcement officer Jay Litchford says the paper work will be stored in a database that allows tracking for issues like property liens and code violations. The purpose of the new technology is to provide more efficient communication methods between the Fire Department and local officials like the mayor and city attorney.

The citizen engagement aspect of the software will allow residents of De Queen to go online and notify the city about issues occurring in town, like potholes needing to be fixed, or loose dogs running through neighborhoods. The communication method will be connected to the city of De Queen's website and a mobile app option will be available. The system has already been successfully implemented in Sheridan, Malvern and Arkadelphia Arkansas. The new technology was approved at the December 11th city council meeting and has been factored into the budget for 2019.

For questions contact the De Queen Fire Department at  (870) 584-7224

COMMUNITY MEETING FOR DE QUEEN HOSPITAL QUESTIONS SCHEDULED 12/26/18

Dr. Jason Lofton and Chad Gallagher of Non-profit organization Legacy initiatives have announced a community meeting scheduled for tonight. The topic of discussion is the future of health care in Sevier County and concerns about De Queen hospital. The meeting will be held on tonight, Thursday, Dec. 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Legacy Center, 121 S. 3rd Street in De Queen.

Along with the meeting's announcement, Gallagher also released a statement about the meeting's purpose. He says “Our aim is to widen community involvement, discuss solutions, and solicit input from those we might not otherwise consider reaching out to,”  “I am confident that by working together, we will overcome the current challenges and build a brighter future for Sevier County.” All members of the community are invited and encouraged to attend the meeting.

TEXARKANA MAYOR ISSUES FAREWELL STATEMENT 12/27/18

Texarkana Arkansas Mayor Ruth Penney-Bell posted a farewell message to the residents of the city. The post was published after her final board meeting last week.

Ruth Penney-Bell was the first woman mayor elected to serve the city of Texarkana, Arkansas and she began her time in office back in 2014.

The statement was posted to facebook December 17th and more than 80 comments have posted from area residents acknowledging her departure.

In the post, Penney-Bell says:

“This Monday Night, was my last board meeting as your Texarkana, AR Mayor. I would like to express my gratitude to our citizens for allowing me to represent you these last 4 years. I have tried to make myself available to hear your concerns and have heard your voices when you felt I could have done better! I wish the best to our new incoming Mayor on Jan. 1st and will always wish the best for our city. Thank you again for your support and encouragement as your first female mayor.”

Sincerely, Ruth Penney Bell

New Mayor, Allen Brown was uncontested in the mayoral race this year as Mayor Ruth Penney Bell opted to not run for re-election. Brown will be sworn in January 1st, 2019.

 

KNITTING WORKSHOP TO BE HELD IN IDABEL NEXT MONTH 12/27/18

The Museum of the Red River will host a beginner-level knitting workshop on January 19, 2019.  The class is scheduled for 10 am to 3 pm and will break at noon for lunch.  Attendees will learn how to create a scarf using 6mm knitting needles. Cost is $45; all supplies are provided. The class will be led by Pat Owens, a local weaver with over six decades of experience, with help from Katie Vick.

Owens started knitting at age six using chicken feathers as needles. Later in life, when she saw something expensive in the store, she would, “copy it and make it [herself]…sweaters, scarves, you name it.” She noted, “when you know how to knit, you can do a lot of things.”

Knitting does not require large equipment like looms, which made it attractive to non-agrarian societies. Today, most knitwear is made using semi-autonomous or autonomous machines. Nonetheless, hand-knitting remains a popular pastime throughout the world.

Registration is available at https://www.museumoftheredriver.org/product/knitting-workshop or over the phone, (580) 286 – 3616.

 

DIAMOND MINING 101 SESSIONS TO BE HELD IN MURFREESBORO 12/27/18

The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas is hosting multiple Diamond Mining educational sessions this month.

All sessions will be hosted by a park interpreter in the Diamond Discovery Center and attendees will learn mining tips and view a demonstration of diamond searching methods.

The park is one of the only places in the world where the public can search for real diamonds in their original volcanic source. Visitors to the park search a 37-acre plowed field, for a variety of rocks, minerals, and gemstones – and any rock or mineral found may be kept. Attendees may bring their own mining equipment to search with but no battery-operated or motor driven mining tools are allowed. Tools may also be rented from the park.

Park staff also provide complimentary identification or rocks and minerals found at the park. The cost is free for children age under age 6, $6 for children age 6-12 and $10 for ages 13 and older. Sessions will be held Friday, December 28th at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 29th at 10:00 am at 2:00 p.m.

Crater of Diamonds state park is located at 209 State Park Rd, Murfreesboro,  and can be contacted by calling (870) 285-3113.

 

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS COURT SYSTEMS RECEIVE NEW TECHNOLOGY 12/26/18

The Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office, Detention Center and the two Court Room at the Hempstead County Courthouse has been equipped with the Justice Bridge Program, from The Arkansas Association of Counties.

The system is a Video /Audio communication tool for Law Enforcement, State Prisons, and the Judiciary. The program improves courtroom safety and efficiency while providing potential advancements in parole and probation processes. Hearings can be accomplished via teleconference. Results include improved communication between county officials and law enforcement: less travel for investigators interviewing inmates in distant facilities; and streamlined communication between judges and prosecutors.

The benefits of the Justice Bridge Program will be reduced time, fuel and vehicle maintenance cost to counties due to reduction in inmate transports to court hearings. Reduced liability to counties for vehicular accidents, inmate assaults and medical cost while the inmate is in custody. Reduced amount of contraband due to fewer transports, and reduced escape potential, resulting increased public safety.

Hempstead County was able to obtain the system from the Association of Arkansas Counties Risk Management Fund of which Hempstead County is a member.

This will be a tool that will help save on the transportation of inmates from the Department of Correction facilities. It also allows the sheriff to contact other sheriff’s who are part of the system by video conference.

Instead of going after an inmate in the state prison system for court hearings the Judge will be able to use this system and have the hearing by video from the prison to the courtroom.

LOCAL NATIVES MAKE UAHT CHANCELLOR'S LISTS 12/26/18

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana has released the Chancellor’s and Vice Chancellor’s Honor Roll list for the fall of 2018. Local residents include:

Vice Chancellor’s List Fall 2018

Faith Graves Ashdown AR
Wade Madden Ashdown AR
Nichole Smith Ashdown AR
Jacob Tollett Dierks AR
Caitlin Adams Hope AR
Logan Murry Lockesburg AR
Brittney Williams Nashville AR
Kyle Bradley Prescott AR
Madalyne Barwick Texarkana AR
Aaron Porter Idabel OK
Maria Moya New Boston TX

Chancellor’s List Fall 2018

Logan Johnson Arkadelphia AR
Joshua Bennett Hope AR
Bianca Castillo Magnolia AR
Alan Laxton Mineral Springs AR
Frederick Hill Murfreesboro AR
Chase Johnson Nashville AR
Tracy Delgado Prescott AR
Fischer Alexander Texarkana AR

 

DEER IN SCOTT COUNTY TESTS POSITIVE FOR CWD 12/26/18

WALDRON  – Chronic wasting disease has been found in Scott County, Arkansas. A hunter-harvested white-tailed deer harvested north of Waldron tested positive for the disease, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

The buck, sampled through the AGFC’s network of partnering taxidermists, was confirmed as CWD-positive by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison today.

Although Scott County currently is outside the AGFC’s CWD Management Zone, Ballard does not expect any changes to deer-hunting regulations to take place for the remainder of the 2018-19 deer hunting season.  

Hunters who wish to have their deer tested for CWD can voluntarily take the head of the deer with about 6 inches of neck still attached to one of the AGFC’s network of participating taxidermists to have a sample tested for free. They may also drop the head off at one of dozens of CWD-testing Collection Stations positioned throughout the state. Visit www.agfc.com/cwd for a list of testing locations.

CWD was first detected in Arkansas Feb. 23, 2016. Since the first detection, AGFC has sampled and tested over 18,000 deer and elk from around the state with more than 16,000 of those samples coming from hunter-harvested animals. To date, 570 deer and elk have tested positive for the disease in Arkansas.

Research indicates CWD is caused by a misfolded protein called a prion that is transmitted through feces, urine and saliva, and can survive for years in soil and plants. CWD can have an incubation period of at least 16 months, which means infected animals may not show signs of disease immediately.

CWD prions accumulate throughout the body and affect an animal’s nervous system. The disease prions cause normal cellular proteins to misfold into abnormal shapes, which accumulate until neural cells cease to function. Infected animals begin to lose weight, lose their appetite and develop an insatiable thirst. They may separate from their herds, walk in repetitive patterns, carry their head low, salivate, urinate frequently and grind their teeth.

Visit www.agfc.com/cwd for more information.

COLLEGE BUSINESS COMPETITION ANNOUNCES WINNERS 12/26/18

Ouachita Baptist University’s Hickingbotham School of Business hosted its 10th annual Business Plan Competition this month on Dec. 5. Cole Jester, a senior Christian studies/biblical studies major from Benton, Ark., placed first in the competition with his business plan for Bone Dri and received a $4,000 cash prize. Jester was advised by Bryan McKinney, dean of the Hickingbotham School of Business, associate professor of business law and university counsel.

Bone Dri is based on a product designed to dry wet hunting waders and boots. A hunter himself, Jester said he “wanted to build a business on what I knew and understood.”

Immunovate earned second place in the competition. Immunovate, which seeks to develop a better test for screening prostate cancer, was presented by Joey Dean, a senior biology major from Hot Springs, Ark.; Joshua Lantzsch, a junior finance major from Rogers, Ark.; and Sykes Martin, a senior biology major from Sheridan, Ark. They were advised by Dr. Blake Johnson, assistant professor of biology, and received a $3,000 cash prize.

Kailee Jones, a senior biology major from Redwater, Texas, and Mallory Tabler, a senior biology major from Bentonville, Ark., received third place for their business, Quikgive; they were advised by Jeanie Curry, assistant professor of accounting. Quikgive is an online platform that helps connect donors with homeless shelters in order for donors to give exactly what the shelters need. Jones and Tabler received a $2,000 cash prize.

These three teams will advance to compete against the winners of Henderson State University’s competition during the OBU/HSU Business Plan Competition, which will take place in February

For more information, contact Bryan McKinney at mckinneyb@obu.edu or (870) 245-5513.

FIRST HIKE OF THE YEAR AT COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK

Cossatot River State park has announced the first hike of the year set for Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.    All participants will meet at the visitor's center.  This family-friendly 3hour hike of the Harris Creek Trail will lead to Goat’s Bluff, one of the most scenic views in the park.

Afterwards, hot chocolate, S’mores, Cider and Hot tea will be served to attendees. Leashed pets are welcome. The park is located at 1980 US-278, Wickes, AR. Contact the park at 870-385-2201 for more details.

CHRYSLER PRESENTS SERVICE AWARD TO LOCAL DEALERSHIP    12/21/18

De Queen Auto Group was honored on Thursday by Chrysler Corporation with a 25-year service award.  Presenting the award to Jay and Mary Ellen Dooley were Brent Burrows, Derrik Arozco, and Joe Brooks with Chrysler Corporation from the Southwest Business Center in Dallas.

Mr.  Burrows stated that there were few Chrysler dealers that received such a prestigious award and that it was a testament to De Queen Auto Group’s stability.  They commended De Queen Auto Group for their loyalty and for staying with Chrysler thru the movement of the car industry and the thick and thin of the company’s different issues over the years.

The staff at De Queen Auto Group was treated to a pizza lunch from Chrysler.

 

THIRTY-FIVE AHS STUDENTS CERTIFIED IN WISE! FINANCIAL LITERACY    12/21/18

Congratulations to the Ashdown High School fall semester’s 35 10th grade students that successfully demonstrated proficiency in personal finance by achieving a passing score on the nationally standardized Wise! Financial Literacy Certification test in Mrs. Tipton’s Financial Literacy Class. Subjects mastered include Money, Budgeting, The Cost of Money, Banking, Credit, Insurance, Investing, Retirement Planning, and Financial Planning and Management.
 
The Wise Financial Literacy Program is recognized by many states’ departments of education including Arkansas and has earned Wise numerous awards, including the U.S. Treasury Department’s John H. Sherman Award for Excellence in Financial Education.
 
To become a Certified WISE Instructor, you must pass a Certification Test for personal finance instructors to earn a Certification in Personal Finance.
 
       
 
 

              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo #1 (l-r)
Front Row from left:  Bandara Price, Ansleigh Patrick, Cade Hinton, Jukarra Greenlee, and Railee Schmidt. Back Row:  Caillou Quintal, Kohl Kervin, Braden Gentry, Braden Jackson, Dustin Green, Joseph Clark, and Vonee Thomas

#2  Front l to r – Jayla Sanders, Addison Smedley, Sara Huddleston.  Back – Devonte Carpenter, John Henry Thomas, Vontre O’Guinn, Nick Karambellas, and Cole Spigner  Not Pictured:  Faith Gray, Trenyce Hemphill, Ellie Loosier, and Robin Roy

#3 – Front l to r – Micah Stafford, Brayden Cross, Kaila Sullivan, and Keely Turner.  Back:  Kyle Burnham, Adarrius Hamilton, Angelina McGinn, and Blake Ritter. Not pictured:  Cove Nixon and Amy Newton

#4  Memphis Holland

 

 

AGFC STOCKS MILLIONS OF FISH IN AREA WATERS 12/21/18

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission stocked 7,451,885 fish to supplement The Natural State’s waters and provide increased opportunity for anglers in 2018.

According to hatchery reports compiled by the AGFC Fisheries Division’s Aquatic Culture Section, 18 fish species were produced on AGFC hatcheries and nursery ponds. These fish weighed an approximate 690,171 pounds, which was spread out among dozens of fisheries in Arkansas. Three size ranges of fish were stocked throughout the year — fingerlings, which measure 1 to 3 inches, yearlings, which are larger than 3 inches, and adults, which are catchable-size and usually are retired brood stock that were used for hatchery and nursery pond production.

While the numbers are impressive, Tommy Laird, assistant chief of fisheries, says it’s important to look at the relative size of the fish stocked in addition to the total number.

In addition to the sportfish stocked in Arkansas waters, hatcheries produced 2.1 million forage fish of different species to give stocked fish a jump start on growth and to boost the productivity in less fertile fisheries.

Threadfin shad stockings have increased in recent years to help boost forage populations, with roughly 232,000 threadfin shad stocked directly into Arkansas reservoirs, either through hatchery trucks or through nursery ponds connected to the lakes.

Stockings play a vital role in boosting populations in smaller bodies of water and those that lack the amount of spawning habitat available to withstand extreme

Another area where stocked fish shine is through the many fishing events and promotions the AGFC does to introduce new anglers to the world of fishing. More than 271,000 catchable-size catfish and 597,575 catchable-size rainbow trout were stocked in 2018, most of which were placed in smaller bodies of water specifically to hook new anglers with some fast success during the year.

The AGFC has also stocked catchable-size trout in tailwater fisheries below Lakes Ouachita, Greeson, Hamilton and Catherine for anglers to trout fish without driving all the way to the White or Little Red rivers.”

 

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES MOBILE LOCATIONS FOR 2019 12/21/18

On Thursday, December 20th Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the first round of mobile office locations set to be held in January 2019.

Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase office accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city. Office hours are held in all 75 counties of the State each year.

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

At the mobile office events Law enforcement officials will be on hand to collect unused and expired prescription medications to ensure they are secured and properly disposed. Arkansans are encouraged to bring their old, unused or expired prescription medications to an upcoming mobile office. During Rutledge’s first term, over 618 pounds of medications were collected at her mobile offices.

Rutledge will be visiting Southwest Arkansas on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Arkadelphia Senior Adult Activity Center located at 1305 N. 10th Street. Additional dates will be released and the mobile office location schedules are posted online at ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007.

ASHDOWN STUDENTS COMPETE IN CHEF SHOWDOWN 12/21/18

On, Tuesday, December 11, the second annual Student Chef Showdown was held at Ashdown High School and Breonna Parker was chosen as the winner from a three judge panel.  The showdown is made possible with the partnership of The University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College and K-12 Culinary.  Breonna competed against Gracie Sisemore, Ashlin Troxler, Shulyia Beard, and Deniyah Hemphill.
 
Students were required to use five mandatory ingredients which included cod, black beans, peaches, leeks and soy sauce and combine them with their own ingredients to produce a winning dish.  Breonna added mango, cilantro, lime, red wine vinegar, fresh jalapeño, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, and other seasonings to create her dish.
 
K-12 Culinary Connection Chef Matt Murr,  K-12 Senior Director of Operations Teri Cribb, and Regional Director of Operations Celeste Scarborough were present and able to set up the kitchen and answer any questions.
 
Ashdown is one of over 15 schools competing in the competition and now Breonna will go on to compete March 9 at the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Tech Culinary Institute Kitchen.
 
COLLEGE TO OFFER NEW PROGRAMS FOR LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS  12/21/18
 
The Arkansas Department of Education recently authorized the transfer of the Secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center currently operated by the Texarkana, Arkansas School District (TASD) to the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT). UAHT will assume operation of the CTE Center on July 1, 2019. This planned transition is another example of the growing partnerships between UAHT and TASD that will expand opportunity for high school students from across the region on both campuses of the college.

As a part of the transfer, UAHT will offer career and technical classes for qualifying high school students from the Arkansas High, Fouke, Genoa, and Ashdown School Districts on the U of A Texarkana campus and at TASD facilities currently in operation. Additionally, the operational transfer will expand career education opportunities across southwest Arkansas with the opening of a new CTE Center on the Hope campus this Fall. The center on the U of A Hope campus will offer classes to qualifying high school students from the Hope, Blevins, Spring Hill, Prescott, Nevada, and Lafayette County School Districts.

Secondary career and technical education centers are a part of the Arkansas Department of Career Education’s mission to prepare a job-ready, career-bound workforce to meet the needs of Arkansas employers. The goal is to provide the necessary academic and technical skills for high-quality jobs, to offer Arkansans of all ages the options to pursue a wide range of career choices and to supply employers with validation of skills through certifications and licenses.

UAHT will offer classes in a variety of career and technical fields including:
• Industrial Equipment Maintenance
• Medical Professions
• Welding Technology

For more information, contact Mikki Curtis, Secondary Career Center Director, at 870-722-8133 or mikki.curtis@uacch.edu.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY LEADERS ADDRESS HOSPITAL CLOSURE QUESTION 12/20/18
On Wednesday, December 19, 2018, a group of Sevier County community leaders met to discuss options for the continuation of services in the event of a hospital closure. Meeting attendance included representation of elected officials, the medical community, emergency responders, civic organizations, and major employers in the county.

“In light of the facts related to the financial woes of our local hospital, community leaders felt it necessary to develop a contingency plan for access to healthcare in Sevier County in the event of a hospital closure” said Lisa Taylor, Sevier County Economic Development Director.

During the meeting, officials discussed topics ranging from access to emergency services to assistance for displaced workers. While the loss of a local hospital will affect many lives in and around Sevier County, officials feel the community would recover in given time.

“People are worried, as they should be. However, there are a few rumors flying around that need to be cleared up.”, said Taylor. One such rumor is related to the loss of our region’s largest employers should the hospital close. “We have verified with our major employers that the loss of our local hospital would not impact their operations, as they each have contingency plans in place.” said Taylor.

“I encourage our community members to check the facts before they share rumors. False information often leads to increased stress. If you need help verifying something, please reach out to me or one of our community leaders for assistance.”

Above all else, the group concluded that the hospital remaining open is the priority. However, if it is not possible, local leaders are ready to take action to ensure that Sevier County will have the very best access to a local critical access hospital.

In 2018, many rural communities are facing the same challenge as Sevier County. Becker’s Hospital Review stated that across the US, more than 600 rural hospitals are vulnerable to closure, according to an estimate from iVantage Health Analytics, a firm that compiles a hospital strength index based on data about financial stability, patients and quality indicators. Research from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program also found that eighty-nine rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and those closures are spread across 26 states.

“Our local leaders are taking this matter very seriously and soon should have all the data necessary to move forward in bringing excellent hospital services and health care jobs back to Sevier County”, according to Taylor. For questions or assistance, please feel free to contact Lisa Taylor, Sevier County Economic Development Director at (870) 279-5937.

STATEWIDE HOLIDAY DEER HUNT ANNOUNCED BY AGFC 12/20/18

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

As Arkansas’s deer population has grown, this opportunity was added to help manage the deer herd and offer hunters another reason to get together during the holidays for some fellowship and fun. Deer program coordinator Ralph Meeker says many of the deer processors he has talked to have been very busy, and many deer are being taken throughout the state. He expects that trend to remain strong during the upcoming hunt. 

The large number of does typically taken during the holiday deer hunt help balance the buck-to-doe ratio in the state, which helps maintain a healthy deer herd. The Holiday Hunt is structured identically to the regular modern gun hunts with the exception that no dogs are allowed anywhere in the state. All deer taken during the hunt count toward a hunter’s seasonal bag limit for the zone where they are hunting. Some wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges are closed to modern gun hunting during the hunt, but many will be open. 

Also ahead is the second Youth Hunt, Jan. 3-4. This is also statewide with no dogs allowed. Hunters under 16 years old can go after deer with modern guns, muzzleloaders or archery gear. If youths have hunter education certificates, they may hunt on their own. If they do not have hunter education certificates, they must be accompanied by a person 21 or older. The adult mentor cannot carry a firearm.

Visit www.agfc.com/en/hunting/big-game/deer for more information on deer hunting in Arkansas.

 

AJHS STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN JOB SHADOWING PROGRAM   12/20/18
Maddie Huddleston at Ashdown Dental Clinic

Ashdown Junior High School 8th grade students participated in the job shadowing program on December 11th around Ashdown. Students “shadowed” teachers around the Ashdown School District, Ashdown Veterinary Clinic, Domtar, Family Medical Associates, King Medical Clinic, Cutting Edge Hair Salon, Kevin Robinson Construction, Memorial Medical Clinic, Ashdown Dental Clinic, and Little River Memorial Hospital.  
Dal Ringgold at Ashdown Veterinary Clinic

Job Shadowing is a learning tool that allows students to get a first-hand look
at a specific career, ask questions, and obtain hands-on experience.
The students chose the various careers to shadow based on their own personal interest areas.

AJHS teacher Virginia Spain said, “I appreciate very much the people and businesses that support and allow these students the opportunity to spend the day out in the workplace to get a first-hand look at a career they are interested in.  The success of our Job Shadowing Program is due to the willingness of these businesses to participate and be so accommodating to our students!  A big thanks to all the people and businesses who hosted a student this year and in years past!”

Jessie Hinton at Little River Memorial Hospital
Abby Butler with Mrs. Janet Phillips, L.F. Henderson teacher

 

 

 

 

 

Story and photos submitted by Ronda Pounds

 

 

 

INMATE RECEIVES CHARGE AFTER ALTERCATION AT SEVIER COUNTY JAIL 12/20/18

 An inmate at the Sevier County Jail is facing an additional charge after refusing a mandatory medical test issued by a corrections officer on Friday, December 14th.

According to a report from The Sevier County Sheriff's Department Marcus Johnson fell out of a bunk and Tower Operator Barbara Salazar notified Officer Isaac Alvarado. Alvarado reported that Johnson had refused the breakfast tray offered to him and was unresponsive when asked questions. The officer verified Johnson was awake and alert by waving an ammonia inhalant to Johnson's nose and instructed him to lay on this bunk.

Alvarado reported that Johnson did not cooperate and fell on the ground and began to yell about a back injury. Johnson reportedly denied medical attention from the jail staff but asked for an ambulance. It was also reported that Johnson used foul language when speaking to jail staff about their attempts to check his blood sugar. A mandated court order states that jail staff are to use force to assess the medical needs of Marcus Johnson when necessary. De Queen Police Officer JJ Lopez responded to the scene to offer assistance and Johnson refused Lopez's attempts to check his blood sugar.

Alvarado and Lopez attempted to handcuff Johnson so he could be placed in the restraint chair but Johnson resisted and did not comply with orders. Reports from the Sevier County Sheriff's department state that Johnson claimed he would rather go unconscious than comply. Officer Lopez informed Johnson he would be using a taser if Johnson refused to comply with the orders. Johnson still refused and Officer Lopez issued the taser twice and the officers were able to handcuff him and place him in the restraints.

Officer Megan Linzy attempted to check Johnson’s blood sugar but Johnson again, refused. Officer Lopez prevented Johnson from biting her and she was able to get a blood sugar reading from Johnson’s forearm. Johnson was still confined to the restraint chair and stated how he was not planning to comply in the future when he stated, “Don’t even bring no tray, I bet I go out then”. Johnson reportedly stated he was waiting for them to come with a needle to make them stick themselves.

Lopez, Alvarado and Linzy waited until Johnson appeared calm and they rolled him to the bunk. When they began to remove him from the chair, Johnson pulled his arms away from the officers and reportedly claimed he was going to keep the handcuffs. As officer Linzy removed the cuffs from Johnson’s hands, he was asked to unclench his fist and face forward. Reports state that Johnson became aggressive and verbally threatened Officer Linzy.

Officer Linzy was stepping away after she got the cuffs back, Johnson threw a bag containing vomit which he had received from the De Queen Emergency Center a day before and kept in his cell. The vomit bag that Johnson threw hit against Officer Linzy’s left lower leg and exposed her to the vomit. Johnson, is in jail for chargers of controlled substance delivery, burglary and assault. He is now facing an additional charge of aggravated assault on a correctional officer.

NEW TECHNOLOGY COMING FOR DIERKS SCHOOLS 12/20/18

The Dierks School Board met this week and approved additional technology purchases. A motion by Wendell Garner and seconded by Jeffrey Mounts passed unanimously to accept STS Education’s bid of $18,540 for five Promethean smartboards with mobile stands and a three year warranty.

Both Dierks elementary and high school received ten thousand dollar grants last week by the Weyerhaeuser Company to upgrade and purchase additional chrome books. In other agenda items, the board approved participation in the Workers Compensation Trust program. Board members also approved a motion to sell an acre of land at the appraised value of $1,850. The board adopted a resolution choosing the date to hold the 2019 annual school election on November 5, 2019.

 

 

 

 
SUSPECTS FOUND WITH PARAPHERNALIA IN DE QUEEN 12/19/18

Reports from the Sevier County Sheriff's Department say Sergeant Greg Davignon and Deputy Brian Hankins were traveling on 9th street in De Queen Friday, December 14th when they observed two individuals walking in the middle of the road.

The suspects were identified as Kenneth Williams and Deeana Broomsey. According to the sheriff's department Williams was found with an open beer can in his hand and the smell of alcoholic beverages was present on both suspects. The officers performed a search of the suspects and patted them both down to check for weapons. During the search Sergeant Davignon reportedly discovered a glass smoking pipe with a white crystal substance in Broomsey's pocket.

Broomsey was placed in custody and advised of her Miranda rights. She was transported to the Sevier County Jail where she was processed. Broomsey was charged with possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

SHOP LOCAL CAMPAIGN DRAWING WINNER ANNOUNCED 12/14/18

Suzanne Babb, Callie Miller, & Daniel Martinez

The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce “Love Your Local” campaign winner has been announced. The winner is Crystal Olvera of De Queen. More than 3,000 names were entered in the drawing. Every receipt that was dropped in one of the white boxes at a participating merchant was entered in the drawing for a chance to win a $1,000 value basket with gifts and gift certificates.

Crystal made a purchase at Baker's Bargain House and her name was drawn Wednesday December 19th during The Morning Brew on number one country 92.1.   The purpose of promoting local businesses is to maintain jobs and economic development in Sevier County. Chamber of Commerce Director Suzanne Babb and chamber members Daniel Martinez and Callie Miller assisted in the campaign.

CHRISTMAS GIFT SHOW IN MENA GOING ON NOW 12/19/18

The annual Christmas gift show is going on now in Polk County, Arkansas.

The Mena Art Gallery is hosting their yearly Christmas gift show featuring art work and displays created by residents in the local area. The ongoing event began October 31st and is continuing until December 29th. All art work turned into the show is for sale and the show is neither a contest nor competition as there is no formal judges evaluating the entries.

The show is an opportunity for local artists and creators to be paid for their work. If a submitted item sells, the gallery receives a 25% profit of the sale and the artist receives 75%. Items currently featured at the gallery are family friendly and include paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, and related items within the art and media field. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. They can be contacted at 479-394-3880 for questions.

WEYERHAEUSER DONATES TO LIMI 12/19/18

Weyerhaeuser donated $10,000 to the University of Arkansas Cossatot Foundation for the development of a pump transfer training system for the Lockesburg Industrial Maintenance Institute (LIMI)

Division Chair of Skilled and Technical Programs, Steve McJunkins says “$7500.00 previously received from Weyerhaeuser helped purchase parts and supplies to launch construction of the trainer and the funding received today will be used to complete the project, enabling us to develop further skill sets required by our business and industry partners in preparing our students for jobs within the pathway of instrumentation” The UA Cossatot LIMI opened for industrial technology classes in August 2018.

The institute provides training for local industries such as Weyerhaeuser, Tyson, Ashgrove, Domtar, and SWEPCO. Chancellor Cole says, We're honored that they are helping with this groundbreaking program in Lockesburg.” “This program helps hundreds of students that will be working towards high-wage, high- skill jobs in the industrial maintenance field, which is a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to economic development for our area.” For more information about Industrial Technology programs, visit www.cccua.edu/IndMaint

LOCAL PRINCIPAL'S COURT DATE RESCHEDULED IN BATTERY CASE 12/18/19

New details have been released in the Mineral Springs High School Principal Battery case. Clint Jones was arrested after a football game against Hampton on November 16th of this year after allegedly engaging in an altercation with the mother of a mineral springs student.

Jones reportedly attempted to break up a fight after the game which resulted in the accusation and his arrest. Jones was charged with third-degree battery and had a court date set for December 11th.

The principal was placed on administrative leave and has had his court date moved to February because the Calhoun County judge set to hear his case has experienced health issues. Tracy Forte has been filling to cover administrative responsibilities while Jones is on leave. More information will be released as reports become available.

LOCAL RESIDENTS MAKE ACADEMIC LISTS AT SAU 12/19/18

Several local students have been named to the President’s List or Dean’s List for the fall 2018 semester at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

President’s List (4.0 GPA)
Blevins, Ark.—Isabella Capetillo
Dierks, Ark.—Kaitlin Kitchens
Lockesburg, Ark.—Mallory Miller
McCaskill, Ark.—Tristan Nivens
Nashville, Ark.—Abby Williams

Dean’s List (3.5 GPA)
Blevins, Ark.—Michael Parker
Dierks, Ark.—James Bobo and Alison Kitchens
Lockesburg, Ark.—Erica Erwin and Sarah Sharp
Nashville, Ark.—Danielle Jessie, Miguel Padilla, Breanna Peebles and John Raulerson
Saratoga, Ark.—Jada Fricks

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL TO MEET FOR DECEMBER 12/19/18

The Lockesburg city council meeting has been rescheduled for tonight, Wednesday, December 19th at 5:30 p.m. in the Lockesburg City Hall.

Items to be discussed in Mayor Danny Ruth's report will include a Weyerhaesuer grant for the senior center, a sewer lift station for generator hook-ups and an update on the walking bridge.

Actions for the council members will include addressing the 2019 proposed budget and employee raises, Christmas bonuses and request for unused vacation time pay and building permits.

The council will also address a preliminary engineering report on the wastewater collection system, approval of the previous meetings minutes as well as the approval of the November budget and financial report.

SEVIER, HOWARD AND LITTLE RIVER COUNTIES INCLUDED IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM 12/18/18
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Extension Community and Economic Development announces the selection of two multicounty regions in the state for participation in CREATE BRIDGES, a program designed to build up rural economies. CREATE BRIDGES was recently launched in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arkansas with the help of a $2.7 million grant from Walmart to the Southern Rural Development Center.
The Little River, Howard and Sevier region is working together to elevate CREATE BRIDGES businesses. This area is home to popular natural tourism spots, with heavy interstate traffic because of its proximity to major highways. This region’s steering committee is comprised of county judges and county extension agents, with a history of working together to conduct agricultural and leadership programming, and has the support of University of Arkansas Cossatot for potential training and educational opportunities.
Economic Development leaders will work with state partners to facilitate a retail academy for regional leaders and a business retention and expansion program. They also will coordinate with regional workforce investment boards to identify opportunities for workforce training focused on incumbent and new workers. The program also will look at workforce solutions to retain workers and promote from within.

For more information about CREATE BRIDGES, visit https://uaex.edu/createbridges and contact Julianne Dunn at 501-671-2158 or jbdunn@uaex.edu.

 

WOMAN FACING CHARGES AFTER DOMESTIC DISPUTE IN DE QUEEN 12/18/18

Reports from the Sevier County Sheriff's Department say Sergeant Greg Davignon was dispatched to a residence on Chapel Hill road in De Queen on Sunday, December 16th after a call was received about a domestic disturbance.

Sergeant Davignon reported being familiar with the home because he had responded to multiple disputes at the address in the past. Upon arriving on the scene Sergeant Davignon reportedly made contact with the occupant of the home who claimed his ex-wife had been staying at the residence because she had no where else to stay. Reports say the woman allegedly slapped, hit and began choking the man during an incident.

The woman was identified as Regina Easlon of De Queen. According to police reports the man had visible marks on his neck which indicated signs of assault and Sergeant Davignon explained that a formal eviction would have to take place for Regina to be removed from the residence. The man reportedly did not want to press charges and the Sergeant began to leave the residence before he was called back because the man changed his mind.

Regina was placed in custody and transferred to the Sevier County Sheriff's Department where she was advised of her Miranda rights and charged with 3rd degree assault on a household or family member.

ASHDOWN SCHOOL BOARD DECEMBER MEETING HELD 12/18/18

The Ashdown School Board met for their regular board meeting at the administration building last week. Superintendent Casey Nichols reported enrollment in the district is currently at 1,420 students, which is up from the previous number of 1,369. Superintendent Nichols also announced a new partnership with the City of Ashdown and Pee Wee basketball.

Mr Nichols noted the superintendent evaluation set for January and board elections scheduled in May. He also announced the food service audit has been completed. Keith Fricks presented Panther pride awards to students Lily Chauncy, Kylee Crow and Halleigh Joe Williams for their participation in the state fair.  

In old business items, the previous meetings minutes and a new substitute teacher policy were approved. A recommendation by Casey Nichols was made to approve the purchase of Chromebooks and Licenses for the High School and Elementary schools in the amount of $38,446.90 The motion was approved. Mr. Nichols also made recommendations to accept the change order for the high school gym bleacher rails, approve the school improvement plans presented and approve board disclosures. All the recommendations were approved and the motions were carried.

In new business items the topic of additional costs for new band uniforms was addressed . The extra cost in the amount of $426.66 was approved because the tax had not been factored into the original bid.

The financial reports were also approved and a closed session took place for roughly one hour during the meeting. The final item addressed was personnel. The retirement of Sheila Vaughn was accepted and Mark Pounds hire as bus driver was approved. Roy Burton will transfer from a three hour bus route to a four hour route. Abby Williams and Tia Farmer were also approved as long term substitute teachers and Anna Tillery will transfer to Junior High business teacher on January 1st.

 

SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT ACTIVITY REPORT RELEASED 12/18/18

A report of all activity conducted by the Sevier County Sheriff's Department for the month of November, 2018 is in.

The report shows 1,827 hours were spent on duty with 1,905 miles driven.

In De Queen, 662 hours were spent addressing 50 complaints, six accidents and 21 building checks were conducted. A total of 8 warnings were issued, five arrests made and 10 traffic stops conducted.

In Horatio Deputies spent 415 hours were spent addressing 27 complaints, two accidents and 304 building checks. A total of 13 traffic stops were conducted with 13 warnings issued and no arrests or citations.

In Lockesburg 180 hours were spent addressing 40 complaints, three accidents and 24 traffic stops with 135 building checks. Three arrests were made, three citations issued and 22 warnings were given.

In Gillham 159 hours were spent addressing 27 complaints, 13 traffic stops and 146 building checks were conducted with 11 warnings issued and three arrests made.

UA RICH MOUNTAIN HOSTS CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE 12/18/18

More than 600 guests attended the ‘Jingle and Mingle’ Christmas Open House hosted by UA Rich Mountain in Mena last week. The event featured musical performances by area choirs including Acorn, Waldron, and Cossatot River’s ‘Noteworthy’. Guests also experienced performances by pianist Benjamin Mooren from Wickes and the Ouachita Strings.

The event is held in UA Rich Mountain’s 13,000 s.f. Ouachita Center, that was constructed in 2014, and attracts hundreds of community members each year. Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson said that the Christmas Open House is truly one of his favorite annual events since it brings everyone together… faculty, staff, students, business, and community, to celebrate this time of year, and another opportunity to showcase the Ouachita Center.

            The facility hosts a caterer’s kitchen with commercial warming ovens, convection oven, sinks, refrigeration, and dishwasher. The Dick and Frances Carver Grand Hall is used for large scale events and can be divided into smaller spaces for smaller gatherings. The facility is also equipped with state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment.

For more information about the Quachita Center contact Jessie Barr at 479-394-7622 ext. 1221.

 

HORATIO SOFTBALL TEAM SEEKING SPONSORS 12/17/18

  • Dustin Bakenhaus is the Softball coach at Horatio High School. Coach Dustin stopped by KDQN studios Friday to announce that the team is currently seeking sponsors for the 2019 season. Funds are needed to cover the cost of future facilities, equipment and related expenses.

Coach Bakenhaus says the local community has provided needed support for the team in the past but the time has come for new and current businesses to renew or sign up for sponsorship agreements.

The cost to sponsor the Horatio High School Lady Lions Softball team is $100 per year and a sign for the business will be placed on a billboard near the scoreboard for all fans in attendance to see. Interested sponsors can call the district at 870-832-1900 for more information or visit the Horatio Softball team's facebook and twitter page. The first game of the season is set for February 25th, 2019.

ASHDOWN TEACHERS OF THE YEAR ANNOUNCED 12/17/18

The Ashdown School District celebrated their campus Teachers of the Year, who were selected by their peers. The district Teacher of the Year award winner was announced during the December School Board Meeting. Jennifer Richardson was selected for Ashdown Elementary; Kendall Day, L.F. Henderson; Jessica Gallagher, Ashdown Junior High, and Connie Anderson, Ashdown High School. Connie Anderson was selected for the District Teacher of the Year.

Mrs. Richardson has taught 2nd grade for 5 years at Ashdown Elementary and student taught on the campus as well. She has two children, Olivia, who is in 1st grade and Brooks, who is 2. She is married to Matt Richardson, AHS Head Football Coach. She serves on Multiple committies and can often be found at football games supporting the team. She also participates in activities with the Methodist church and spends time with her family.

Mrs. Day has taught 3rd and 4th grade in her 4 years at L.F. Henderson. She is a graduate of Ashdown High School and Texas A&M University Texarkana. She is married to Jacob Day and has a son, Beaux. Her hobbies are spending time with her family, being outdoors, and working in her yard.

Mrs. Gallagher has taught 6th-grade math for 2 years in the Ashdown School District. She was the Valedictorian of the Foreman High School class of 2011. She attended the University of Arkansas and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. Jessica married Cody in 2016 and graduated with a Master’s Degree from SAU in 2018.

Mrs. Anderson has taught AP U.S. History, AP American History, and AP Human Geography during her 13 years in the district. She graduated from Ashdown High School and has a degree from SAU. She has three children that have all graduated from Ashdown Schools. AHS Principal Kay York said, “Not only does she encourage students, but many teachers and staff have given examples of how she has encouraged them Many students that have graduated and gone on to college have often mentioned that Mrs. Anderson was the teacher who prepared them for the rigor and expectations of college.”

LOCAL NATIVES COMPETE IN COLLEGE MUSIC COMPETITION 12/17/18

Several college students and natives of local cities in the Southwest Arkansas area competed in a music competition held at Ouachita Baptist University earlier this month.

The 13th annual W. Francis and Mary McBeth Wind and Percussion Concerto Competition took place Friday. December 7th.

Students who competed this year include Sierra Westberg, an instrumental music education major from Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The senior earned second place for her alto saxophone performance, along with an award of $300. Morgan Taylor, is a senior music industry major from Hot Springs, Arkansas who received third place and an award of $200 for her saxophone performance.

First place went to Junior Richie Blosch of Fort Worth, Texas. He performed “Concerto for Marimba – I. Despedida” by Ney Rosauro. He received a monetary award of $500 and may be featured as a soloist with the Ouachita Wind Ensemble in the 2018 spring semester.

Other locally based students who competed include Cayli Campbell, a trombone player and a senior instrumental performance major from Texarkana, Texas; and Blake Turner, trumpet player and a senior instrumental music education major from Malvern, Ark.

Pianists accompanying the students throughout the performance were Kristen La Madrid, Sunday Monroe and Elsen Portugal.

For more information about the competition and similar programs, contact Dr. Carlos Feller, visiting assistant professor of music, at fellerc@obu.edu or 870-245-4160.

2018 ARKANSAS FARM FAMILY OF THE YEAR INDUCTEES 12/17/18

Governor Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward and State leaders will honor 42 representatives from 25 counties across the state as they are inducted into the 2018 Arkansas Century Farm Program during a ceremony to be held on Wednesday, Dec. 19th.

Arkansas Century Farm recognizes Arkansas farms that have been owned and farmed by the same family for at least 100 years. Since 2012, when the Arkansas Agriculture Department program started, 418 farms have been inducted.
The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. on the second floor of the State Capitol building in Little Rock.

A full list of 2018 Arkansas Century Farm inductees by county and farm name, can be found online at www.aad.arkansas.gov/arkansas-century-farm-program.

 

DIERKS CHRISTMAS PARADE RE-SCHEDULED FOR DEC. 21ST 12/17/18

The Dierks Christmas parade has been moved from December 10th to This week on December 21st. The change was made due to scheduling conflicts with the High School and Pee-Wee basketball games. 

The parade will be held at 6:00 p.m. pm on Friday, December 21st with line-up at the school. After the parade Santa Claus will be set-up in front of the Methodist church with toys for the children. There will be prizes awarded as well. Five $100 cash prizes will be distributed for persons age 13 and up, and an air-powered hockey table and ESPN foosball table will be given away to two children under age 12.

Any person interested in singing Christmas carols following the parade can contact Jerry Mounts by calling 870-557-7298 for more information. 

 

HEMPSTEAD COUNTY BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION SATURDAY 12/14/18
The Hempstead County Bicentennial celebration will be held Saturday December 15th in Hope, Arkansas.  Festivities will begin at 10:00 a.m. at Hempstead Hall. Speakers will include Mack McLarty, Lavenski Smith, Joe Purvis, and Ellen Turner.  Past county officials will be honored and county veterans will be remembered in a ceremony.

At 1:00 p.m. the Bicentennial parade will start at the current Hempstead County Courthouse and make its way through downtown Hope.  After the parade, 2nd street downtown will host “the best of Hempstead County event with vendors, business information booths, and food trucks.

Live performances will be featured by Shelley Keith, Arnetta Bradford, the Dancetastics troupe, the Beryl Henry Elementary Choir, Brady Rhodes, the Trapp Jazz Giants, and the Night Hawk Band.  At 6pm cake will be served by the EHC ladies and the whole day will conclude at 6:00 p.m. with a fireworks show.  For more information visit hempstead200.com.

 

DIERKS SCHOOL BOARD TO MEET NEXT WEEK 12/14/18

The Dierks school board will meet for their December meeting next week.

The meeting will be held at The Dierks High School Library at 6:00 p.m. and the public is welcome.

The agenda calls for the approval and signing of the previous meetings minutes adn reports of the personnel policy committees.

There will also be a report presented by the superintendent and principals and bills and financial statements will be addressed.

The board will also address a land sale item issue in the unfinished business category.

In terms of new business, the board is set to discuss board election resolution, renewing participation in workers compensation trust, technology purchases and personnel issues.

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT COUNCIL ORGANIZES DRIVE 12/14/18

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The Ashdown High School Student Council sponsored a campus wide toy drive to help give children in our community a better Christmas this year. The students and faculty collected an estimated $6,500.00 worth of toys and clothing which will go to area children in need this holiday season. The drive was organized by the StuCo officers and each class president. Student council representatives include Hannah Denton, Caden Hunter, Kaylee Silva, Autumn Hoffman, Rileigh Day, Mrs. Melanie McGraw, Chance Redfearn, Mrs. Sandy Smith, Braylee Lansdell, Braden McKean, Mackenzie White, Aniya Polite & Lanyce Hemphill.

SHOP LOCAL CAMPAIGN DRAWING NEXT WEEK 12/14/18

The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce “Love Your Local” campaign is ongoing now.   Every receipt dropped in one of the white boxes at a participating merchant will be entered in a chance to win a weekly drawing and a $1,000 value basket with gifts and gift certificates. The purpose of promoting local businesses is to maintain jobs and economic development in Sevier County.

To enter the” Love Your Local” Drawings, stop by one of the local merchants, and put your contact information on a receipt and put it in the box for the drawing.

Tyson Company Store
Bailey Discount Building Supply
Ranch House Café
Simple Simon’s Pizza
De Queen Auto Group
D. Bradley & Company
Avana’s Boutique
Diana’s & Shoe Depot
Custom Graphics
De Queen Health & Wellness Pharmacy
Subway
Smartphone EMT
Southern Girls Flowers & Gifts
Russell Cellular
Harris Drug Store
Gentry’s Auto
Tres Agaves
Mary P.O.P.’s
Rawl’s Furniture
Factory Connection
Cutting Room & Company
Baker’s Bargain House
Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts
Moyer Equipment Sales & Rentals
Treasure Chest
Cricket Wireless
Wal-Mart Supercenter

Grand Prize Drawing will be held December 19th.

SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT AND LOCAL COLLEGE TEAM UP FOR NEW PROGRAM 12/14/18

(PHOTO: Front Row from left to right – UA Cossatot Chancellor – Dr. Steve Cole, Sevier County Sheriff – Robert Gentry
Second Row from left to right – Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Sargeant – Greg Davignon, Sevier County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigator – Brian Hankins, Sevier County Sheriff’s  Office Jail Administrator – Chris Wolcott, UA Cossatot Vice-Chancellor of Academics – Ashley Aylett, UA Cossatot Division Chair of Professional Studies – Barbara Lacefield)

The University of Arkansas Cossatot is now offering a new Criminal Justice Technical Certificate Program. The program prepares students to enter into the Criminal Justice field as a dispatcher/jailer. This program was developed in conjunction with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office with input documenting need from other counties in the UAC service area and with the Arkansas Office of Jail Standards.

Upon successful completion of the two-semester program, students may obtain certification which will allow them to work anywhere in the state.

“We are glad to have developed this program with the local Sheriff’s Office to prepare fully trained individuals who are ready for the workforce,” says Barbara Lacefield, Division Chair.

“Collaborating with our local college to provide training and education for future dispatchers and jailers has been tremendous and we cannot wait to hire future graduates” says Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry.

The annual median wage for Correction Officers/Jailers in Arkansas is $33,810 per year and $28,720 per year for Police/Fire/Ambulance Dispatchers. Enrollment for the program is currently underway, and classes are available after 6:00 pm on Monday and Wednesday and at 9:30 am on Tuesday with some available online, set
to begin on January 14, 2019, on Ashdown, De Queen, and Nashville campuses.

For more information visit www.cccua.edu or call the University of Arkansas Cossatot at 1-800-844-4471.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS FORESTRY COMMISSION AND ASHDOWN SCHOOL PLANT TREES 12/13/18

Shane Booth, Brandon Hall, Todd Gore, and Eric Myers with the Arkansas Forestry Commission helped staff and students at L.F. Henderson Intermediate School plant trees to shade their playground.   The school had completed an application for the STOP Program through the Forestry Commission to plant the trees and were contacted by Mr. Myers.

Mr. Booth worked with Mrs. Brenda Hill on the best location for the trees to be planted and the best date to plant them.  Mr. Myers spoke with the students on how to plant them and take care of them.  The students even took an oath that they would protect and take care of the trees. Each student was able to participate in the planting.  

The district expressed appreciation to Ashdown Mayor Sutton for allowing the street department to dig the holes as well as the street department for digging and Wes Horn for helping to plant the trees.

EVENTS AND CHARITIES MAKE FOR BUSY SEASON AT DE QUEEN LIBRARY 12/13/18

The De Queen Branch of The Sevier County Library is having a busy holiday season this year. In addition to normal activities and events, the library has hosted two special charity drives to help the local community stay warm and fed.

Johnye Fisher is the head librarian at the De Queen library branch and has announced that the outcomes of both the Mr. Rogers Sweater Drive and the food for fines program were successful last month in November.

Johnye says more than 100 pounds of food were collected and more than 400 items of clothing were received.

For the month of December the De Queen library will be hosting a Cocoa with Mrs Claus event. The special activity will feature a story time for kids and Johnye says there will be special treat for the children who arrive early.

Cocoa with a Claus starts at 11:00 am Saturday December 15th and all children and families are welcome to attend.

Contact the De Queen Library at 870-584-4364 for questions.

BREAKFAST WITH SANTA SATURDAY 12/13/18

Sevier County 4H teen leaders are hosting a Breakfast with Santa event this weekend.

On Saturday, December 15th area kids and families of all ages are invited to the UA Cossatot De Queen campus at 9:00 a.m. The breakfast will cost $3 and will continue until 11;00 a.m. The menu includes two pancakes, sausage, eggs and a drink. The purpose of the event is to raise money that will be used for community service projects lead by the Sevier County 4H teen leaders. Any person who brings a food item that can be donated to the chalice cupboard will receive $1 off the price of breakfast.

Contact the extension office at 870-584-3013 for questions

NEW SCHOLARSHIP OFFERED AT UAHT 12/13/18

A new scholarship opportunity became available at a local college in Southwest Arkansas this week.

The Randall Sanders Memorial Endowed Scholarship has been established at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana because of donations by family and friends of the late Randall “Randy” Sanders.

Randy was a member of the technical and industrial faculty at UAHT for thirty-four years before retiring in 2016. Sanders time at the college began at Red River Vo-Tech as a student in the CETA Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Program from 976-77. He then took a job at Red River Vo-Tech as the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Instructor in July of 1982. In his time at the college, he served and excelled as a full-time instructor and Dean of the Technical and Industrial Professions division. Sanders was responsible for the growth and success of the T&I division for many years and worked hard to bring to light the importance of career and technical education.

The Sanders family said they would like to give “Special thanks to the UAHT Foundation; their tireless effort in the fundraising campaign made the difference in its success. Helping students learn a trade or skill to better themselves and their families is a wonderful way to continue our dad’s legacy. That mission was truly his passion, and now that will continue with this scholarship. We are forever grateful to the kind and giving people in this community as well as those that surround us.”

For more information about scholarships at UAHT, contact Anna Powell at 870-722-8516.

DE QUEEN SCHOOLS BREAK GROUND ON NEW HIGH SCHOOL BUILDING 12/12/18
On Monday, December 10th members of the De Queen School Board attended a ground breaking ceremony for the new High School Building construction project that began this month.

Phase one has officially begun and board member Jason Sanders says the expected completion date has actually moved up. The original projected time frame was an 18 month project but now the board believes the total construction time will be just 16 months. Phase two will take place when the contractors are ready to begin the demolition process on the current facilities.

The project is also under the estimated budget as the board hoped the building would cost no more than $14.7 million dollars but has been estimated to cost a total of $13.7 million. The new facility will be a 2-story building that will have 38 academic rooms as well as library, counseling and administrative areas and will be a total of 73, 410 square feet in size.

The new building is on track to open in Spring of 2020.

WEEKEND ACTIVITIES PLANNED AT COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK 12/12/18

Several weekend events and activities have been planned at Cossatot River State park December 15th and 16th. The park is located at 1980 Highway 278 West, Wickes, Arkansas. On Saturday, Dec. 15 from 9:00-11:00 a.m. attendees can visit with a park interpreter and learn about the birds who spend their winter in the area instead of flying farther South. The session will be held in the Visitor Center’s Legacy Room. From 10:00-11:00 a.m. an educational program about animal hair will be lead by park interpreters at the Visitor Center’s Wildlife Viewing Area.

From 2:00-3:00 p.m. visitors can learn about the park’s evergreens and create a one of a kind wrapping paper featuring some of nature’s own patterns. The session will be held in the Visitor Center’s Legacy Room. At 3:00 a one hour hot cocoa and animal information program will be held. A park interpreter will teach attendees about the animals that live in Cossatot River's natural area and how they stay warm to survive the winter time. The Meeting place will be the Visitor Center’s Amphitheater.

On Sunday, Dec. 16th from 10:00-11:00 a.m. Local residents are invited to a one hour “morning Stroll.” The stroll will be lead by a park interpreter for a guided hike on the Harris Creek Trail. Attendees are encouraged to bring binoculars for sightseeing. The group will meet at the Harris Creek Trailhead a few minutes before 10:00 a.m. The final activity for the weekend will be a one hour critter feeding session from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Attendees will meet at the park's visitor center and can learn about the eating habits of animals who live in the park's natural area. Contact the park at (870) 385-2201 for questions.

RESIDENTS FACE MULTIPLE CHARGES AFTER TRAFFIC STOP IN DE QUEEN 12/12/18

A traffic stop resulted in multiple criminal charges for two De Queen residents found in possession of drug paraphernalia Saturday.

Deputy Justin Gentry of The Sevier County Sheriff's Department observed a Nissan Xterra with non-working brake lights on Lakeside drive in De Queen on Saturday, December 8th. The deputy pulled the driver of the vehicle over at Christopher Homes apartments and discovered the man did not have a driver's license on him and his car insurance was expired. The man claimed his name was Daniel Steffler of De Queen and a passenger in the vehicle was identified as Magen Gilbert. The Deputy became suspicious of the driver because he was familiar with a man by the name given and his appearance did not match.

Officer JJ Lopez arrived on the scene to assist Deputy Gentry and the driver was asked if he had anything illegal in the vehicle. The driver claimed there was nothing illegal in the car but he said didn't feel comfortable consenting to a search of the car because he did not own the vehicle. Officer JJ Lopez retrieved his K9 dog to conduct a free air sniff of the car for illegal substances.

The K9 unit discovered something inside the car. Upon further investigating conducted by Officer Kris Hundley it was discovered that a photo of Daniel Steffler in the system did not match the person driving the car. The man's real name was revealed to be Micah Steffler , who had a parole warrant. The man was placed under arrest and Officer Lopez discovered Magan Gilbert was in possession of Methamphetamine and a smoking pipe.

Two clear glass pipes and one plastic bag with suspected methamphetamine were recovered from the vehicle. Both suspects were transported to the Sevier County Jail to be interviewed where they were read their Miranda rights and questioned about the incident. Micah claimed none of the illegal items found in the car belonged to him but he admitted to giving the Deputy a fake name because he was aware of active warrants out for his arrest.

Magen Gilbert was booked in the county jail and charged with possession of a controlled substance for methamphetamine and felony possession of drug paraphernalia. Micah Steffler was booked for the outstanding warrants, charges of obstructing Governmental Operations and felony possession of drug paraphernalia. The evidence collected was submitted to the state crime lab in Hope, Arkansas and a court date has been set for December 18th, 2018 at the Sevier County Courthouse.

FINAL COUNCIL MEETING OF THE YEAR IN DE QUEEN TUESDAY 12/12/18

A specially called City Council meeting was held at City Hall in De Queen Tuesday, December 11th. The meeting was also the last scheduled meeting of the 2018 year and the final meeting for council members David Krantz, Gary Casey and Walter Smith.

(Left to right, Aldermans Krantz, Casey and Smith accept proclamations for their final meeting on Tuesday, December 11th at City Hall in De Queen)

During the meeting Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy addressed the council to explain a recent legal issue that has arisen for employees of the city of De Queen and Sevier County. A request was made for the council to approve the writing of a check in the amount of $3,000 to fund the cost of the municipal legal defense program for the city employees being faced with a lawsuit. The council approved the cost and a meeting with the defense program and select city employees has been scheduled for this week. The main item of discussion was an issue the council had not been faced with before as the new De Queen Mayor-elect Jeff Brown proposed a unique question for the council.

A current personnel policy for the city of De Queen states that in the event that a city employee retires or passes away their accumulated unused sick and vacation time will be paid out, however Jeff Brown will be leaving the water department Superintendent position because he has become an elected official with the city, and is not deceased or retiring. Elected officials sick time and vacation are not tracked by the city De Queen. Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy says he and the council will be consulting legal advice before making a decision for Brown's situation or making changes to the city's personnel policy.

The final item addressed was the approval of the 2019 budget. The budget was established in the December 4th meeting and the council members were given one last opportunity to go over the finalized list of projected expenses and the official budget was unanimously approved.

Before adjourning, alderman Casey, Krantz and Smith were thanked for their time and service with the city council and Mayor McKelvy presented them with proclamations and hats as tokens of appreciation.

CHIEF METEOROLOGIST VISITS ASHDOWN JUNIOR HIGH 12/12/18

Todd Warren, Chief Meteorologist at KTAL TV 6, spoke to 6th-grade students at Ashdown Junior High on Wednesday. He quizzed the students on the most important subject to study to become a meteorologist and the answer is math because the weather is all numbers. The second most important is English because you must be able to communicate correctly, both in print and verbally.
 
The AJHS students discussed the Water Cycle facts and its four main stages: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and runoff.
 
Mr. Warren gave visuals of weather concepts by having students act out several visual demonstrations for evaporation, high and low pressure, cold and warm fronts colliding, and thunder and lightning (why you see lightning before hearing thunder).
 
He explained that tornadoes in our area usually occur from March to May for our main tornado season, but there is another mini tornado season from October to Christmas and that 80-85 % of our tornadoes are EF0 – EF1. There has been one EF5 since 1950 in the KTAL TV viewing area, demonstrating that it is highly unlikely the students will experience a tornado. The Fujita Scale rates the intensity of tornadoes and is named for the man who developed the scale, Tetsuya Fujita and was replaced by the Enhanced Fujita scale in 2007. He also explained the difference between a watch and a warning and talked with the students about how to stay safe during bad weather.
 
Todd Warren has been visiting at AJHS during December for several years and always takes a video of the students to broadcast during the 6 p.m. weather-cast.

LOCAL FIGHTER PREPARING FOR TOURNAMENT IN GEORGIA 12/10/18

Antonio Baca is a Southwest Arkansas native who has been involved in the competitive fighting scene since 2009. The De Queen resident has a background in Mixed Martial Arts and spends his time training for kick-boxing tournaments. Most recently, the former state title holder traveled to Wisconsin in November to compete. Though the fighter travels long distances for fighting matches he trains locally and is involved in the Sevier County community.

On Friday, December 7th Antonio stopped by KDQN studios to update the community on his recent Kickboxing tournament and provide background information to the public about his career. During the interview, Antonio revealed that in his near 10 year career, he has only experienced one loss to date.

The sponsorship required to compete and travel in the tournaments comes from support based in Southwest Arkansas, as he trains at a local gym in De Queen.

Antonio also volunteers his time with a local support group called “celebrate recovery.” The program is designed to help individuals who are struggling with hurts, habits and hang-ups like anger management issues or drug and alcohol dependencies. Antonio volunteers with the group because he received help from the program personally.

The next fight on the fighter's schedule is set for May 4th in Georgia. If Antonio wins the match he will go on to represent the United States at a tournament in Bosnia. Antonio welcomes supporters to follow him on face book.

ROLL OVER CRASH RESULTS IN DWI CHARGES FOR MAN IN DE QUEEN 12/10/18

A man is facing DWI-related charges after an incident involving a roll-over crash in De Queen Friday.

At approximately 10:20 p.m. Friday, December 7th Deputy Thomas Jackson of the Sevier County Sheriff's Department responded to 9th Street to address reports of a car accident. Upon his arrival on the scene Deputy Jackson was informed by De Queen police officers that the driver of the vehicle had admitted to consuming alcohol and claimed he had drank four beers prior to operating the car. Deputy Jackson identified the driver as Roy Garza and asked if he needed medical attention. Garza claimed he was not hurt and Deputy Jackson asked if he would agree to take a portable breathalyzer test.

Garza agreed to take the test and the result was a .12, which is above the legal limit of .08. Deputy Jackson placed the suspect in custody to be taken to the Sevier County jail. Upon arriving at the jail, Garza reportedly stated he was experiencing pain in his leg but also refused to go to the hospital. Deputy Jackson performed more sobriety tests but was not able to complete all exams because the suspect claimed he was experiencing leg pain.

Garza was taken to the hospital to be checked out by medical staff and was later cleared with a bruised leg. Garza was brought back to the Sevier County jail and was held on DWI and DWI refusal to submit chemical test. He has a court date set for December 18th, 2018 at the Sevier County Courthouse.

ASHDOWN SCHOOL BOARD DECEMBER MEETING ANNOUNCED 12/10/18

The Ashdown School Board will meet Tuesday, December 11th at 6:00 p.m. in the district's administration building. A meal will be served at 5:00 p.m. and the Teacher of the Year award winners will be honored at 5:45 p.m. During the meeting the board will address principal and superintendent reports as will as approve the previous meetings minutes and discuss any other business not closed.

In the new business category the board will discuss policy updates, expenditure approvals, gym bleacher changes, a school improvement plan and any other new business items that arise.

The meeting will conclude with a financial report and personnel discussions including resignations, terminations, hires and transfers. The office of the superintendent can be reached at 870-898-3208 for questions.

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL TO MEET FOR DECEMBER 12/10/18

The Lockesburg city council meeting has been announced for Tuesday, December 11th at 6:30 p.m. in the Lockesburg City Hall.

Items to be discussed in Mayor Danny Ruth's report will include a Weyerhaesuer grant for the senior center, a sewer lift station for generator hook-ups and an update on the walking bridge.

Actions for the council members will include addressing the 2019 proposed budget and employee raises, Christmas bonuses and request for unused vacation time pay and building permits.

The council will also address a preliminary engineering report on the wastewater collection system, approval of the previous meetings minutes as well as the approval of the November budget and financial report.

FLAG RETIREMENT CEREMONY IN COLUMBUS SATURDAY 12/10/18

A flag retirement ceremony will be held at the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center this weekend. When a Unites States Flag becomes outdated or torn a ceremony is often held to properly retire the old flag and raise a new, updated one.

The event will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, December 15th at the Center in Columbus, which can be found in Hempstead county 15 miles outside of Hope, Arkansas. Community members have been invited to participate in the ceremony to retire their old flags as well as witness the raising of the center's new flag. Interested participants can call 870-983-2790 for questions.

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL HONORS VETERANS ON PEARL HARBOR DAY 12/10/18

On Friday, December 7, in observance of Pearl Harbor Day, Brookshires' Store Manager Shannon Matthews along with Veterans Mr. Otis Bell and Mr. Howard Tollette spoke with students at L.F. Henderson Intermediate about their service in the Marine Corps.

Mr. Matthews started the presentation with a slideshow of the 17th WWII Heroes Flight that is sponsored by Brookshires/Super 1. He had the privilege of escorting Mr. Bell in November to Washington D.C. where they were able to see National Memorials and meet other veterans. The Heroes Flights occur twice a year, Memorial Day (May) and Veteran's Day (November). On this Heroes Flight, there were 19 WWII Veterans and 4 Korean War Veterans. 

The students were very attentive and they were given the opportunity to ask questions of the veterans. Students asked how long they served our country, where they served, where they lived and their ages (both gentlemen are 93 years young). One student raised her hand and said she did not have a question but wanted to thank them for their service, which led the other students and staff to a round of applause.

HIGHWAY EXPANSION HEADED TO HOT SPRINGS 12/07/18
This week, an announcement was made by Senator Tom Cotton regarding transportation project funds for Arkansas. Funding has been awarded to transportation officials in Arkansas to finance interstate expansion for highways in The Natural state.

In Southwest Arkansas, plans to clear up heavy traffic in The Downtown Hot Springs Area are under way as $20 million dollars has been granted to the state for the extension of the Hot Springs East-West Bypass from U.S. 70 east of Hot Springs to the Arkansas 5 Arkansas 7 intersection north of the city. The funding has been provided by The U.S Department of Transportation.

Cotton published a statement on his website, (cotton.senate.gov) about the projects. The senator said “This announcement is great news for the greater Hot Springs community and Arkansas as a whole. This extension will help Hot Springs continue to grow.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation has also supplied a $25 million grant to for the completion of a near five-mile section of Interstate 49 in Missouri by the Arkansas border. The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission applied for the grant to make the project possible.

The news of the transportation funds was called in to Senator Tom Cotton by the department Thursday Morning.

HORATIO EDUCATION BOARD TO MEET FOR DECEMBER 12/07/18

The Horatio Board of Education has announced their regular monthly meeting will be held next week. The board will meet on Monday, December 10th at 6:00 p.m. in the Administration building. The agenda items include superintendent and building reports, approval of the previous meetings minutes and approval of financial statements, bills and enrollment.

There is no old business to discuss at this time but in the new business category the board is set to discuss the new minimum wage requirements and the discussion of possible bonuses. There will also be a personnel session in which a superintendent evaluation and an employee resignation will be discussed. The public is welcome to attend the meeting.

RAFFLE SET TO FUNDRAISE FOR LOCAL YOUTH TRIP 12/07/18

Stacy Faulkenberry of De Queen is chaperoning a youth trip for students in the southwest Arkansas the summer of 2019. The purpose of the trip is to provide an opportunity for Junior High and High school students to expand their horizons and experience different cultures in American cities.

The 2019 trip destinations include Washington D.C. and New York city. The trip is open to all students in the 6th-9th grades and will take place June 10, 2019 – June 13, 2019. The cost is $1,998 for a student and $2,298 for an adult, which includes airfare, bus travel, hotel, food and entrance fees.  Sites that will be visited include the Arlington National Cemetery, Lincoln Memorial Mount Vernon, Holocaust Museum, The Capital, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, a Broadway show, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

A raffle is being held to help raise the funds for the trip expenses. The students are selling raffle tickets for a prize drawing on Friday, December 14th. Tickets cost $5 each, or five tickets can be purchased for $20. The winner will have an option to choose between a custom built fire pit, $300 cash or marlin 243 with bushnell and sling blade package.

Contact Stacy Faulkenberry, by email at sfaulkenberry@dequeenleopards.org  or call (870) 784-0357 for questions.

ASHDOWN CHEER AND POM SQUADS HIT NATIONAL COMPETITION 12/07/18

Members of the Ashdown High School Varsity cheerleaders and Pom Squad were selected and participated with more than 800 high school
cheerleaders and dancers from across the country that represented the camp brands of Varsity Spirit in the fourth annual Varsity Spirit Spectacular at the Walt Disney World®Resort in Orlando, Florida from November 28 thru December 1, 2018.  

The individuals invited to perform in the parade were part of a select group of 10th to 12th grade captains, co-captains, officers, and All-American cheerleaders who attended a Varsity Spirit summer camp this summer hosted by Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA), Universal Dance Association (UDA), National Cheerleaders Association (NCA), National  Dance Alliance (NDA) and United Spirit Association (USA).  

The cheerleaders  and pom squad performed in an exclusive pre-parade performance through Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park before  hundreds of fans. Besides enjoying a sunny trip to Orlando, performers had the opportunity to meet cheerleaders and dancers from across the nation and enjoy holiday season at Walt Disney World® Resort parks.

FREE THEATRE ARTS PROGRAM AT OBU 12/07/18

Ouachita Baptist University’s Department of Theatre Arts will host its annual student-directed One-Act Play Festival Friday, Dec. 7th at 7:30 p.m. As the name suggests, the One-Act Play Festival will feature the performances of several plays, but each with their own director, cast and crew. Unlike in years’ past, this year is unique because the student-directed plays are by the same playwright: Tennessee Williams.

The 'The Long Goodbye' play will be directed by Stephen Vaughn, a senior theatre arts major from Hot Springs.

The One-Act Play Festival is the final project for Ouachita theatre students who are enrolled in a class led by Joe Hernandez, the school's Assistant director of theater arts. Students are responsible for all production components, which include recruiting a cast and crew, designing sound and lighting, compiling research for their show, taking line notes, taking acting notes and creating schedules.

The performance is free and open to the public.

AGFC TO PROVIDE PRIZES ON STOCKED TROUT IN LOCAL LAKES 12/06/18
Thousands of rainbow trout have been stocked around the state in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program locations. Among these fish, 300 will be fitted with fluorescent pink tags that can be redeemed for a special prize from the AGFC.
Clint Coleman, FCFP assistant coordinator for the AGFC. says “Anyone who catches one of these fish can return the tag for one of many randomly selected gifts we have available.”
The gifts range from tackle boxes and tackle to much larger items.
Coleman said. They’ll win that prize, and they’ll be entered into the grand prize drawing at the end of the winter stocking season for much larger items,” “The big prize for the year will be an overnight stay and fishing trip at Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center. They have fishing lakes with monster bass in them as well as trap and skeet shooting and other fun outdoors activities. It’s a great family getaway.”  
The prizes are limited to one per angler.
All tags must be mailed to the AGFC and postmarked by Feb. 28, 2019, to be eligible for the drawing.

Southwest Arkansas stocked ponds include:

Glenwood John Benjamin Glenwood Community Pond ​​
Hope *Mike and Janet Huckabee Youth and Senior Pond  ​​
Hot Springs Entergy Park ​​
Hot Springs Family Park ​​
Texarkana Lake Dieffenbacher ​​

For more information visit www.agfc.com/familyfishing or call the stocking hotline at 866-540-3474.

PIKE COUNTY ELECTION RESULTS 12/06/18

Pike County voters elected Travis Hill as the county’s next sheriff/collector in a run off Tuesday.  Final, but unofficial totals show Hill receiving 1,212 votes to Roger “Bimbo” Flemens’ 893.

Following his win Tuesday, Hill thanked his supporters & the people of Pike County.Hill, currently serves as the sheriff department’s chief deputy, and says officer training and the need for a K9 unit are among his top priorities.

He will become the new sheriff/collector in January. Also Tuesday, Tom Wilson defeated Valerie Wingfield for an alderman’s position in the city of Delight.

SERGEANT ARRESTS FELON FOR GUN POSSESSION 12/18/18

On Wednesday, December 5th at approximately 9:45 pm Sergeant Greg Davignon of The Sevier County Sheriff's Department was on patrol in Horatio when he observed a known suspect walking near the intersection of Williams and Main Street. Sergeant Davignon reported that the suspect crossed the street in an avoidance attempt upon noticing the presence of law enforcement. Upon making contact with the suspect Davignon asked his name and he claimed his last name was Marrufo but he was later identified as Jorge Yanez.

Davignon reported noticing a large Bulge in the front of the suspect's waistline and the smell of alcohol coming from his person. Davignon asked Yanez if he was in possession of any weapons and he admitted to having a gun on him. When the sergeant ordered the suspect to lay face down on the ground he did not comply. Sergeant Davignon reportedly repeated commands six times and Yanez did not comply. The suspect reportedly told the Sergeant he would have to shoot him. Davignon held the suspect at gunpoint for a few minutes before getting on top of the suspect and placing his hands behind his back for him.

The suspect was read his rights and Sergeant Davignon removed a .40 caliber Hi-point hand gun from his waistline. Yanez stated that his girlfriend kicked him out and that was his reason for walking. Upon further research Sergeant Daivignon discovered the suspect has prior felony convictions that prevented him from possessing a firearm. Yanez was taken to the Sevier County Jail and processed for possession of firearms by certain persons.

MEETING PLANNED FRIDAY TO HELP VETERANS IN MENA 12/06/18

Efforts are being made in Polk County to help the community establish ways to help Military veterans in the area who may be struggling with mental health issues, suicide risk and other concerns. A Community Engagement Partnership Meeting has been scheduled for Friday December 7th.

The meeting will start at 11 a.m. in the Ouachita Center at The UA Rich Mountain college campus. The VA is asking for members of the community to help establish resources that would assist local veterans who may be facing hard times. The goal of the meeting to compose a leadership panel that will identify needs of the local community and ways to help local military veterans.

The meeting has been planned by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs Suicide Prevention Program and is open to all members of the community. Education, input from the community and a meal will all be featured during the program.

 
LOCKESBURG PARADE WINNERS ANNOUNCED   12/05/18
Organizational

1st Place Goin Showin 4-H
2nd Place Happy Face 4-H
Recreational
1st Place Elf on the Shelf
2nd Place Rusty Relics
3rd Place Larry Hutson
Religious
1st Place Old Time Gospel
2nd Place First United Methodist Church
3rd Place First Baptist Church
Commercial
1st Place Baker’s Towing & Recovery
2nd Place B & H Trash Service

 
BUDGET REQUESTS ASSESSED AT CITY COUNCIL MEETING 12/05/18

The De Queen City Council met at city hall for their regular meeting Tuesday December 4th. During the meeting Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy distributed an announcement from Vyve Broadband services revealing an upcoming rate increase for area customers. Additional fees will be added to customers service plans beginning January 1st 2019. Vyve can be reached at 405-395-1184 for questions.
The majority of the council meeting was spent discussing the budget for 2019 and department heads from all city departments and area organizations were present to request funding or had previously made requests.
Mayor Mckelvy informed the council that positive changes have been made at the Sevier County Senior Citizen center since Kathy McMahon and Sheila Nash began leading the center and the attendance numbers have reportedly nearly doubled this year. The council granted their request for $10,000 in funding for 2019.

The local Humane Society was also granted the amount of money they requested as the council will disperse $2,500 to fund the spay and neuter clinics as well as other various expenses as needed. Although the Sevier County Museum asked for their funding amount to be increased to $5,000 the council agreed to supply them with their regular annual budget of $4,000. ZZ Kamruddin attended the meeting to help breakdown the Imagination Library's Sevier County chapters budget based on the number of children in the area and the costs to supply books for kids through the program. The council will assist the new chapter with $2,500 to serve 100 area children at $25 each for one year.

The council also agreed to disperse funding towards economic development efforts being made by Lisa Taylor. Taylor's role in the community is to organize efforts that will create sustainable and successful organizations in Sevier County. The council unanimously agreed to supply $5,000 to The Sevier County Economic development department.

Each of the city department heads addressed the council to provide a breakdown of the expenses and budget needs for the 2019 year.

Gathey Bakenhaus spoke to the council on behalf of the parks department and revealed that a new air conditioner and pressure washer will need to be purchased in the upcoming year. Gathey also noted that the cost of space rentals at community buildings will increase in the future but the cleaning deposits required would be eliminated. Other future goals for the De Queen Parks and recreation department include a new office building and a splash pad that would provide entertainment for community children, though these items will not be in the 2019 budget.

District Judge Monya Wood told the council there are little changes needed for the department's 2019 budget. The biggest expense will be changes to their computer system structure in order to comply with auditor requirements and maintain protection of residents personal information. Dennis Pruitt and Jay Litchford notified the council about expenses for updates in equipment and technology advances for the De Queen Fire Department. Pruitt informed the council that a new communication system called “Epage” that will alert the Firefighters about emergencies through their cell phones. The department currently has pagers that sometimes do not work in certain areas and the “Epage” system will provide more a reliable source of communication. Jay Litchford also distributed information about a new software program that connects city officials and local residents for code enforcement, permit management and citizen engagement. Residents would be able to inform the city about safety concerns and code violations through a mobile app.

Chief Pruitt also requested specialty washing machinery that would allow the firefighters to cleanse their gear of any carcinogens that may be collected during a fire. The council agreed that the Fire Department would benefit from many of the technology updates and new equipment but the washing machinery would not be in the budget at this time.

The biggest financial endeavor the council discussed during the meeting is the cost of two major projects that the water department must handle within the next year. The water department has to replace a water line at the pilgrim's chicken plant and painting the water tank behind the local hospital. Mayor McKelvy says collectively the two projects will cost the city more than $950,000.

The city council will continue to assess the budget as 2019 approaches and a special meeting will be held December 11th at city hall.

FUNDRAISER THURSDAY FOR ASHDOWN SHOP WITH A COP PROGRAM 12/05/18

Little River Nursing and Rehab is sponsoring an Indian Taco Lunch to support The Ashdown Auxiliary Police Department's “Shop With A Cop” program.

The lunch will be held Thursday, December 6 at the Ashdown Police Department from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. The cost is $7.00 a plate and delivery is available for orders of 5 or more. The program was founded by Pete Price in 2006 and was created to help underprivileged children in Little River County receive the gifts of Christmas. Both Ashdown Police Department and the Little River Sheriff’s office have been working together to make the event possible. Last Year the community helped more than 200 children shop for Christmas gifts.

The Shop With A Cop event is set for December 15, 2018 at Wal-Mart in Ashdown.

Donations can be made to:

  • Ashdown Police Department – P.O. Box 703 Ashdown, Ar. 71822
  • LR Co Collector- 351 N 2nd street Ste 2 Ashdown, Ar. 71822.
  • Checks should be made out to Shop with a Cop

Call 903-293-6276 or 903-278-4482 for questions about the Taco Fundraiser.

SCHOOL FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR RRAD LAID OFF EMPLOYEES 12/05/18

Area residents who have been laid off from Red River Army Depot or one of its contractors within the last year may qualify to receive funding to attend a workforce training program at Texarkana College in Spring 2019.
Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas may be able to assist with the costs of approved books, tuition, and fees for programs leading to careers in high-demand occupations.
To be eligible for this funding, residents must:
· Have been Laid off from Red River Army Depot or one of its contractors within the last year
· A U.S. citizen or legal resident alien
· Registered with Selective Service (if male)
Texarkana College programs covered include :
· Computer Technology & Networking
· Electronics Technology/Instrumentation
· Construction Technology
· Electrical Technology
· Air Conditioning/Heating & Refrigeration Technology
· Automotive & Diesel Technology
· Welding
· Nursing & Health Careers
· Business Administration
· Office Careers
Workforce Solutions Northeast Texas and Texarkana College have scheduled intake sessions for laid off workers who meet those criteria to begin the college enrollment process.
Call Shannon Goodrum at (903) 794-4163 ext. 129 for more information.

CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES IN FOREMAN AND ASHDOWN 12/05/18

The Foreman christmas parade will be held this weekend, Saturday December 8th. Perry young will be the parade Grand Marshall and a reception will be held in his honor at the Episcopal Church after the event. The Foreman public Library and The Rock Comfort Museum will be open 5:00-7:00 p.m. and Prince of Peace church will serve refreshments from 5:00-7:30.

Santa Will be at the Foreman Community Center after the parade to visit with the kids and a dance will be held at the Little River County Barn. Proceeds from the ance will go towards the LRC rodeo Queen Contest. 

On Monday, December 10th the Ashdown Christmas parade will be held at 6:00 p.m. On Saturday December 15th The Little River Chamber of Commerce will host a snow day event. Activities will start with the Jingle Bell 5K at 8am and Breakfast with Santa. The HoHo parade will start at 9:00 a.m and the snow play area will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS CAN APPLY FOR STATEWIDE ADEQ FUNDING 12/04/18

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) announced today that it is accepting proposal submissions for its Reduce Emissions from Diesels Program (Go RED!). In 2005, Congress passed the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). DERA stipulates that 70 percent of the funds it appropriates annually be used for national competitive grants. The remaining 30 percent of funds are allocated to the states to reduce diesel emissions.

 ADEQ distributes funds in Arkansas through the Go RED! Program. Funding from this program reimburses agencies, businesses, cities, counties, and schools for a percentage of expenses for projects that reduce or eliminate diesel emissions on medium and heavy-duty vehicles and equipment or for replacements of those vehicles and equipment.

Locally, the Horatio School District Replaced One School Bus as Recipients of DERA funds in Arkansas through the Go Red! Program in 2017. For the 2018 program year, ADEQ has been awarded $649,494 in DERA funds to distribute to governmental, private, and nonprofit entities. Eligible projects will reduce diesel emissions in Arkansas through exhaust controls, engine upgrades, idling reduction technology, engine replacements, or vehicle/equipment replacements. 

The first of this round of deadlines for funding requests is December 31, 2018. The next deadline will be January 31, 2019, with subsequent deadlines on the last day of each following month until all funds are awarded, or until April 30, 2019, whichever comes first.

For more information about the GoRED! Program, visithttp://www.adeq.state.ar.us/air/planning/gored/. For help with applying for funding, contact Deiona McKnight at mcknight@adeq.state.ar.us or 501-682-0641.

MAINTENANCE PROJECT IN BROKEN BOW 12/04/18

Maintenance is being conducted to the downstream low flow sluice gate on the Broken Bow Spillway.  As a part of this maintenance project there will be a crane on the spillway structure. As of December 4 at 10:00 am officials will be temporarily closing the Broken Bow Spillway to through traffic to set and operate this crane.    This temporary road closure will begin at 10:00 am and will reopen later in the afternoon around 4:00 pm.

It is estimated that in about a month from now, officials will have to set the crane on the spillway structure again, temporarily closing traffic across the spillway.  Officials will release an expected date as the time draws closer.

ASHDOWN SCHOOLS GET ENVIRONMENTAL UPGRADES 12/04/18

As part of the partnership between Ashdown School District, SWEPCO, and Clear Energy, the Ashdown School District recently completed a district-wide LED lighting retrofit and HVAC controls upgrade project. As a result of this project, Ashdown Schools will recognize significant savings through the cost avoidance in utility bills, for years to come.

In addition, SWEPCO extended an incentive check to the Ashdown School District for the project, in the amount of $63,046.60. Ashdown Superintendent Casey Nichols said, “It is truly a blessing to have such great partners like SWEPCO and Clear Energy.

As a result of this project, we are able to reduce our carbon footprint and redistribute our savings directly to our classrooms to positively impact the educational process for our children. We are blessed to have such an opportunity to improve our economic efficiencies, and be great stewards of our tax payers' dollars.”  

SHOPLIFTING INCIDENT AT WAL-MART IN DE QUEEN 12/04/18

On Friday, November 30th at approximately 2:58 p.m. Officer Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to the Wal-mart store on Colin Raye Drive in De Queen. Upon arriving on the scene Officer Sawyer spoke with Lexie Bimansha in the asset protection department who informed him that a white female had been seen bagging items without scanning them in a self-check out lane. The Officer collected an official statement from Bimansha as well as photo and video evidence of the theft.  

The female was identified as Laurie Broach, age 45 of Lockesburg Arkansas. Broach was placed into custody and transported to the Sevier County jail. Broach was read her Miranda rights and agreed to answer questions. Broach admitted to scanning certain items and not scanning others.

When asked if she had money to pay for the items she claimed she did but wasn't sure of the funds at the time. After checking out Broach reportedly felt guilty and claimed she went to the ATM and found she had enough money to purchase the items. She declined to write an official statement and has been charged with theft of property and has a court date set for January 8th 2019 at the Sevier County Courthouse.

DECEMBER ACTIVITIES AT SEVIER COUNTY MUSEUM 12/04/18

The Sevier County Museum has announced family friendly activities planned for the month of December. On Saturday, December 8th from 10am to 12pm a Kids day with frosty event will be held. A $5 donation per child is requested and crafts, music and games and lunch will be provided. Pre-registration is required by calling Karen at 870-784-0039.

On Thursday, December 20th from 6pm to 7:30 the Sevier County Museum Christmas open house and tour will take pace with refreshments served and entertainment provided by the museum youth choirs. Find out more by contacting the museum directly at 870-642-6642.

ASHDOWN SCHOOL RECOGNIZES ROCK STAR READERS 12/04/18

LF Henderson Rock Star Readers for November
3rd Grade-Adalie Aylett 
4th Grade-Jackson Hamby 
5th Grade-Tucker Wilson
 

LOCAL STUDENT ATTENDS NATIONAL 4H CONFERENCE 12/03/18
Veronica Rivas, daughter of Jorge and Donna Rivas of De Queen, represented Sevier
County 4-H this past week in Atlanta, Georgia. Veronica is a member of both Lakeside
and Teen Leaders 4-H Club.
While at the conference, she participated in leadership and community service activities
including volunteering at local schools, museums, and cleaning parks and cemeteries.
The group also toured some of the local sites.
Rivas was recognized for her 4-H career and accomplishments this past summer at the State 4-H Achievement Awards program held on the U of A Campus in Fayetteville.
Achievements like this opens the door for them to receive 4-H college scholarships.
Rivas is currently a student at U of A in Fayetteville.
 
Rivas said, “Recently I was given the opportunity to attend the 2019 National 4-H
Congress trip in Atlanta, Georgia. Representing Arkansas, as well as Sevier County
was a huge honor that I will carry with me for a lifetime. Attending the workshops and
events throughout the week improved my leadership skills and broadened my
communication skills as I engaged with many other youth around the country.
 
I attended a Healthy Gourmet Cooking workshop where they taught us how to live a
healthier lifestyle and gave us tips on portion sizes and how to shop local. Another big
event I enjoyed, was the community service project. This project was a cleanup at the
Atlanta History Center where we cleaned the center’s landscape by getting rid of all
trash and pulling weeds from the garden areas. We later had the opportunity to attend
the museum and see its fascinating exhibits. 
 
The experience I encountered on this trip was very enlightening and with this being said, I would like to thank everyone who helped make it possible. I want to especially thank my Sevier County Extension Office and my club leader, Debbie Seymour, for all they have done. Thank you.”
4-H is the youth organization of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. If you are interested in learning more about 4-H, contact the Sevier County Extension Service at 870-584-3013 or visit our office located in the Adam’s Building on the UA Cossatot Campus in De Queen.
 
VEACH CONTINUES AS ARKANSAS FARM BUREAU LEADER    12/03/18
Officers and seven state board members also elected
 
HOT SPRINGS — Randy Veach and Rich Hillman will continue as president and vice president, respectively, of Arkansas Farm Bureau following their re-election Friday. Delegates also elected seven other board members during the final day of the organization’s 84th annual convention at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
Board action later resulted in the re-election of Joe Christian of Jonesboro as secretary/treasurer.
The voting delegates re-elected seven board members to new two-year terms. They include: Christian, Jonesboro; Rusty Smith, Des Arc; Jeremy Miller, Huntsville; Dan Wright, Waldron; Tom Jones, Pottsville; Terry Dabbs, Stuttgart and Caleb Plyler of Hope.
 
DIERKS CHRISTMAS PARADE RE-SCHEDULED FOR DEC. 21ST 12/03/18
 
The Dierks Christmas parade has been moved from December 10th to December 21st due to scheduling conflicts with the High School and Pee-Wee basketball games. 
The parade will be held at 6:00 p.m. pm on Friday, December 21st with line-up at the school. After the parade Santa Claus will be set-up in front of the Methodist church with toys for the children. There will be prizes awarded as well. Five $100 cash prizes will be distributed for persons age 13 and up, and an air-powered hockey table and ESPN foosball table will be given away to two children under age 12.
 
Any person interested in singing Christmas carols following the parade can contact Jerry Mounts by calling 870-557-7298 for more information. 
 
BUS CRASH WEST OF BENTON ARKANSAS 12/03/18
 
An initial statement from the driver of a charter bus that crashed earlier today indicates she lost control of the vehicle causing it to roll off Interstate 30 west of Benton (Arkansas) about 2:40 AM. The bus was owned by Scott Shuttle Service of Somerville, Tennessee.
One child is dead and at least 45 other individuals (updated from release of 5:47 AM), most of them children, are reported to be injured, as the result of the crash. Most of the injured have been taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. The other injured are being treated at hospitals in Saline and Pulaski Counties.
The bus was transporting a youth all-star football team, and adults from the Memphis (Tennessee) area. The bus was traveling from the Dallas area where the team had competed in a weekend championship game.
As additional information may become available, it will be distributed by the Arkansas State Police Public Affairs Office.
 

HORATIO SCHOOL TO HOST CRAFTING WITH CLAUS EVENT 12/03/18

The 2018-2019 Horatio Marketing/Junior Class is hosting the “Crafting with Claus; A Handmade Christmas” event on Thursday December 20, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Horatio High School Practice Gym. All proceeds will be going to the 2019 prom. There will be an entry fee of $3 per person, which will include one free ticket to a craft of your choice. Any ticket after that is $1, most crafts are one ticket ($1), and a photo with Santa and Mrs. Clause is 2 tickets ($2).

At this event there will be a live auction, where there will be bidding on a variety of different goodies including cakes, pies, cookies brownies. There will be a large variation of crafts for all ages! Some examples include: salt dough hand print, a felt Christmas tree, pine cone owl, candy cane reindeer, and much more.

A Grinch Jail will also be at this event. You can donate money in order to throw a friend in jail! To escape, you are required to sing a Christmas song, answer a Christmas trivia question, or you may donate money. For the teen/adult level, we will be having painting sessions on the stage! For more information, go to the facebook event page “Crafting with Claus” and be sure to like and share, updates and new information is posted daily.
BROKEN BOW CHRISTMAS DECORATING CONTEST ANNOUNCED 11/30/18
 Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce will be conducting a Christmas Home and Yard Decorating Contest. Entries will be judged on Design, Overall Presentation, and Creativity.

 WINNER WILL WIN $100 & BRAGGING RIGHTS!

Entry Rules

  • Ø Any home located within the Broken Bow Area will be eligible for entry
  • Ø Only the front of properties will be judged
  • Ø Lights and décor must be visible from the road.Some exclusion may apply contact the Broken Bow Chamber staff for more information. Nominations may be made by submitting the home, the home owner, and detailed instructions to the home to the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce via email to bchamber@pine-net.com, phone 580-584-3393, and the chamber’s Facebook Instant Messenger. You may nominate you home or neighbors.

All entries will be put on a list of others to view your hard work. All nominations must be received by 4:00p.m. on December 3, 2018.  For more information call Charity O’Donnell, Chamber Director, at 580-584-3393.