Saturday, February 23, 2019

Local News

Today's News

 

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES ANNOUNCED 02/22/19

On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee advanced several pieces of legislation including HB1437.  This bill requires mandated reporters to notify law enforcement if he or she has a good faith belief that there is a threat to the safety of students or school employees.  This legislation would make the failure to notify a Class A misdemeanor. The bill identifies several professions as mandated reporters including clergy, physicians, and teachers.

The committee also advanced HB1438. This legislation makes repeat offenses of voyeurism and video voyeurism a Class C felony.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1413 which states private school and home school students who enroll in an endorsed concurrent enrollment course in a public school should not be charged for the course unless the district also charges public school students.

The House Public Transportation Committee advanced HB1304 which amends the Arkansas Speed Trap Law.  This bill requires Legislative Audit to include information to determine if a municipality is potentially abusing police power in the agency’s routine audit reports.

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced SB298.  This bill seeks to lower unemployment taxes paid for by employers. The bill outlines a sliding scale based on the unemployment rate. 

The House passed SB161.  This bill concerns special license plates and certificates for persons with disabilities.  It states the special license plate issued by the DFA should contain the international symbol of access and not display the word “disabled”.

The House also passed HB1496 which amends the requirement for an antique motor vehicle license plate from vehicles 25 years of age to vehicles 45 years of age or older.

The House will reconvene on Monday at 1:30pm.

AGFC INTERNSHIP APPLICATIONS STILL BEING ACCEPTED 02/22/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is accepting applications for summer internships until March 8, 2019. These internships, funded by sales of the AGFC’s Conservation License Plates, let students gain hands-on training and experience needed to compete for a future career in conservation.

To qualify for an internship, an applicant:

  • Must have a declared degree in the conservation field. Must have 60 hours of college credits earned by the time the Internship begins.
  • At the time of application, must be a college student, graduated within the previous 12 months, or currently enrolled in a post-graduate program.
  • Must have a 2.5 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale. 

Selected interns will be responsible to coordinate with their college or university to obtain course credit for their work.

Applications should include a current resume, a one-page cover letter, a copy of college transcripts and a completed application form.

Visit https://jobs.agfc.com for more information on the internship program and a list of openings for 2019.

FLU CASES REPORTED IN ARKANSAS 02/22/19

The latest flu report from the Arkansas Department of Health still reports widespread activity.

71 counties reported influenza cases. Howard County schools have reported large numbers of students absent, however that percentage is lower than surrounding counties.

The report stated that as of Feb. 16, eleven schools have closed briefly due to the flu.

Since Sept. 30, 2018, over 15,200 positive cases have been reported to the ADH online database by healthcare providers.

MUSEUM YOUTH ART CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED

The Museum of the Red River revealed the winners of its biennial art competition, Expressions of Youth, on Thursday. The contest was open to artists ages 11 to 19. Contestants could submit two original works in any form of media. Entries were judged on their technical quality, originality and artistic merit by Chris Powell, Associate Professor of Art at Texas Christian University. All submissions will remain on display until March 3. The winning works are also available online at www.museumoftheredriver.org/exhibits/.The exhibit closes with an Awards Ceremony on March 3, at 1:00 pm.

            The winners of the “two-dimensional, ages 16 to 19” category are:  Sloan Hickerson ,Addie Stephens, Peter Jinna and Alissa Ferrell (third place). The winning submissions in “three-dimensional art, ages 16 to 19” category are: Quaed Cox,Sloan Hickerson, Ana Adrian and Timothy Wright

            The winners of the “two-dimensional art, ages 11 to 15” category are: Armanda Stewart, Evy Zimmerman, Raylee Gaston, Breece Berryhill, and Lakken Caffey). The winners of the “three-dimensional, ages 11 to 15” category Jaxie Glasson and Mia Janelle Reich.

ASHDOWN WRESTLERS HEADING TO STATE COMPETITION 02/22/19

Ashdown High School Wrestlers will be competing in State Competition on February 22-23 in Little Rock at UALR Jack Stephens Center.
(l-r):  Brayden Cross, Lee Isham, Grant Young, Will Ford, Cody Barton and Manager Jacob Formby
 

GOVERNOR HUTCHISON TO SPEAK AT MURFREESBORO CHAMBER BANQUET 02/22/19

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson will be featured as the keynote speaker at the upcoming Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce banquet next week. The annual event will be held Thursday, February 28 at Murfreesboro High School. Tickets will cost $20 each and can be found at ‘On the Square Home and Floral’ as well as the Murfreesboro mayor’s office. A barbecue meal will be served and this years theme is “Denim and Diamonds,” The program begins at 6:30 p.m. A silent auction will be held and more information is available by calling 870-285-3131

Previously Reported

DE QUEEN FIRE DEPARTMENT TACKLES TWO FIRES WITHIN FOUR HOURS THIS WEEK 02/21/19

The De Queen Fire Department responded to two calls within a 4 hour time period earlier this week.

The first incident was a chimney fire on Red Bridge road in De Queen Tuesday, February 19th. The department was dispatched after an all-call alarm came in at 9:21 p.m. and they arrived on the scene by 9:26 p.m. 16 responders and 3 trucks contributed in extinguishing the flames. The owner of the home was identified as Lidia Figueroa, though, the current occupants in the report are listed as Michael Seals and Leila Ni. The cause of the fire was not released but the report from the incident noted that no smoke detector was found in the home. The department contained the flames with water and left the scene by 9:56 p.m. Insurance information on the home was not provided and no injuries were reported.

The 2nd incident the department handled this week was a chicken house fire on Red Cut road in De Queen early Wednesday morning. The department was dispatched to the scene at 1:15 a.m in response to an all-call alarm. A report from the Department states that responders were on the scene by 1:30 a.m. to control the flames. A total of 16 responders and 5 trucks helped extinguish the fire with water. The Department left the scene at 2:35 a.m. The owner of the home was identified as Mario Maya and diamond bank is listed as the corresponding insurance company. A smoke detector was not listed as present in the home. Firefighter Jay Litchford noted the loss of chicken but no human injuries were reported.

AGFC TAGGED TROUT PROGRAM TO CLOSE AT THE END OF FEBRUARY 02/21/19

The tagged trout program that has been running since Thanksgiving in Family and Community Fishing Program Ponds will be coming to a close at the end of February.

Thousands of rainbow trout were stocked around the state in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Family and Community Fishing Program locations throughout winter, while the fish could survive in the cold temperatures. Among these fish, 300 were fitted with special fluorescent pink tags that can be redeemed for a special prize in addition to the meal they provide.

Southwest Arkansas area stocked ponds include:

Entergy and Family Parks in Hot Springs, Lake Dieffenbacher in Texarkana, Mike and Janet Huckabee Youth and Senior Pond in Hope and John Benjaman Glenwood Community Pond in Glenwood. 

All tags must be mailed to the AGFC and postmarked by Feb. 28, 2019, to be eligible for the drawing. For more information or to find a location near you, visit www.agfc.com/familyfishing or call the stocking hotline at 866-540-3474.
This year’s grand prize is an overnight stay and fishing trip at Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center near Hope. This will include fishing in the center’s lakes that are teeming with giant largemouth bass as well as trap and archery shooting. 

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL SUGGESTIONS FOR STORM SAFETY PREPARATION 02/21/19

As springtime nears, the threat of severe weather increases. There are steps Arkansans can take to be better prepared heading into a potentially dangerous season, which often brings large amounts of rain, floods, severe storms and tornadoes.
  
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips on how to prepare for potential storms:

  • Create an emergency plan to share with friends, family and neighbors.
  • Heed severe weather warnings. Once a warning is issued, go to a safe place.
  • Secure personal belongings. It is a good idea to always keep an updated record of the descriptions and serial numbers of electronics and other valuables in case they need to be tracked down, replaced or reported to the insurance company after a disaster strikes.
  • Review insurance policies and consult with a qualified agent or broker to assess insurance coverages.
     
    For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS HOSPICE VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED 02/21/19

A local health organization is actively seeking volunteers to help support Southwest Arkansas Hospice patients and their families.

Encompass Health is a nationwide company offering home health services as well as rehabilitation and hospice care to patients.
Locally the company is seeking residents who can donate their time to help provide support to individuals during their final weeks and months of life.Volunteers are needed to provide non-medical assistance for hospice patients in the Lockesburg, De Queen, Ashdown, Foreman and Texarkana areas at this time.

Examples of ways volunteers can help hospice families include:
-Helping care for family pets
-Running errands for patients and families
-Assisting with housework
-Reading to patients
-Create a photo album for patient and family
– and playing games and reading to hospice patients.

All volunteers are given options for the locations and ways in which they can provide support and time for patients. More detailed information about being a hospice volunteer for encompass health can be found online at encompasshealth.com. There is no deadline for volunteer submissions as support for patients is a recurring need. To become a volunteer in the Southwest Arkansas area today, contact local volunteer coordinator Latoya Farris by calling 870-773-2621 or email Latoya.Farris@encompasshealth.com

TEXARKANA MUSEUMS HOSTING BLACK HISTORY MONTH PRESENTATION 02/21/19

The Texarkana Museums System is presenting an opportunity for local residents to celebrate Black History Month this weekend with “Legacy of the Great War: W. E. B. DuBois, the N.A.A.C.P., Democracy Building and Me,” The feature is a living history program organized and presented by Charles Everett Pace. The program begins at 2 p.m. at the P. J. Ahern Home, 403 Laurel Street, in Downtown Texarkana, on February 23, 2019.. The program is free, but seating is limited, so reservations are recommended.

In the Chautauqua tradition, Charles Everett Pace will present a living history performance focused on famous activist and writer, W. E. B. DuBois. Pace takes on the persona of DuBois, one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.).

HOSPITAL OWNERSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT MADE AT DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL MEETING 02/20/19

The De Queen City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall Tuesday, February 19th.

After the prayer and pledge of allegiance were recited Mayor Jeff Brown opened up the floor for public comments. ZZ Kamruddin represented The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce and requested the council consider allowing Food Trucks to operate in the city of De Queen. The trucks could potentially bring economic opportunities for business owners and variety in local restaurant choices for residents.

The council was generally receptive to the concept and will discuss the idea of considering the proposal on a trial basis.

After the public comment time, Mayor Brown addressed the room for an announcement regarding the status of the De Queen Medical Center. Brown revealed an agreement between Healthy Connections inc. and Hospital owner Jorge Perez is underway.

Brown also noted that the same company has purchased The Former Nursing home in De Queen, Crystal Falls health and rehab across from the hospital.

After the announcement Mayor Brown also read the state of the city, which announces the summary of the city departments review for 2018.

In the city address, Brown noted the water department updated their meter system to read more efficiently and sidewalks around town that have been replaced by the street department. He also acknowledged The Parks and Recreation Department received no complaints and had 0 accidents at the city swimming pool. The Fire Department responded to 107 alarms last year. Other success noted was the replacement and cleaning of city sewer lines as well as more than 7,000 calls worked by city police.

Next, the council discussed the resolution to terminate the contract with the current city attorney. The role is an elected 4-year position that has been held by Laura Lindly, of Broken Bow Oklahoma. The contract is being terminated because the law states that if a licensed attorney moves to the city of De Queen and requests the position, the role shall be filled by that resident. The aldermen and Mayor Brown thanked Mrs. Lindly for her service to the city and expressed gratitude for her time. The motion passed and the contract will be resolved within 30 days of the date from the day the request for the role was submitted to Mayor Brown.

The minutes from the January 15th meeting were approved Tuesday, as the had been tabled at the previous meeting.

In the new business category, Economic Development Director Lisa Taylor was on the agenda to discuss moving forward with a master plan for the city, however due to Lisa's absence the item is tabled until the next council meeting.

The last item addressed was the potential partnership between the city of De Queen and UA Cossatot for the annual Fiesta fest that will be held May 4th.

Representatives from the college attended the last meeting to request the event be moved from the UA Cossatot amphitheater to downtown in front of the court house. The college would be needing financial support from the city to produce the resources required for the events success. The school's request for $6500 and additional $800 for a generator was approved.

After the meeting adjourned the aldermen attended a workshop in which they discussed official guidelines and regulations for attendance requirements of the alderman. The results of the workshop will be announced at the next city council meeting, Tuesday March 5th at 5:30 p.m.

ARKANSAS DUCK STAMP REVEALED 02/20/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation unveiled the artwork to be used on the 2019-20 Arkansas State Duck Stamp at the Arkansas Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus luncheon in downtown Little Rock last week. The event was part of an update to state legislators on work the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and other partners are doing to improve and maintain the valuable natural resources of The Natural State. 

Over the last few years, AGFC has sold an average of 102,000 state duck stamps to resident and non-resident hunters. The agency spends funds from these stamps each year on improving habitat for waterfowl and providing access to public lands for many of the state’s duck hunters and bird watchers.   

Gov. Asa Hutchinson unveiled the image and said the Arkansas state duck stamp is one of the most highly sought pieces of artwork at the Governor’s Mansion each year. This year’s featured print was painted by Mike Marlar, a North Little Rock native who is an avid duck hunter. The print depicts a scene of father and son hunting in flooded green timber- a rich Arkansas tradition Marlar remembers well from his time hunting Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge.

NEW HEMPSTEAD COUNTY LIBRARY NOW OPEN 02/20/19

The updated Hempstead County Library is now finalized and open for local residents to visit

The new library is located in the same spot as the old site, at 500 South Elm Street in Hope, Arkansas. The public library has served the community Hempstead County since the 1940's and offers a variety of services to patrons. The library hours will be Monday Noon-8:00PM and Tuesday through Friday from 9:00AM-5:30PM, closed on weekends.

In addition to books, the Hempstead County Library also offers DVDs.   computer access, audio books, magazines, research outlets and much more. All services that are provided at the library are free to the community with a library card. Cards are issued at no charge to citizens who show proof of residence through a Driver's license or State issued ID card. The library is managed by Librarian Courtney McNiel as well as a full staff available to answer questions at 870- 777-4564.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 02/20/19

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee advanced several pieces of legislation including HB1126 which requires a defendant to physically remain in the courtroom during any victim impact statement.  Exceptions are made if the court determines that the defendant is disruptive or presents a safety threat.

The committee also advanced HB1114. This bill addresses child custody cases in which one parent wishes to move more than 60 miles from the current principal residence of the child. This bill places the burden of proof to show that the move is in the best interest of the child on the relocating parent.  Current law requires the burden of proof on the non-custodial parent.

And the Judiciary Committee advanced HB1280. The bill states that upon the third offense in five years for public intoxication, the judge has discretion to order individuals to alcohol treatment for a period longer than 30 days.  Current law allows for a period up to 30 days.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1396. This bill allows a school board to implement a drug screening requirement for new applicants and random drug testing for current employees of a school district. 

This afternoon, the House passed SB150. This bill allows a government entity, on its own or in partnership with a private entity, to apply for grants or loans to provide broadband in unserved areas.

The House also passed SB199 which states a school counselor shall spend at least ninety percent (90%) of his or her working time during student contact days providing direct and indirect services to students.

In a vote of 95-0, the House passed SB152. This legislation reforms the juvenile justice system by requiring judges to use a validated risk assessment.  Judges will be provides with information about the juvenile’s home life, mental health needs, and school needs.  It also creates plans for diversion options using community providers. And it redirects savings from incarcerating youth to community based services.

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL LAUNCHES GAMING CLUB 02/20/19

New this year at Ashdown high school is the launch of The Game Club, put together by students Tyler Burnham and Marshall Sullivan. The club is a gathering of students who have an interest in the various kinds of video gaming. This club presents a unique opportunity for students who have up until now not had a school-sponsored avenue to share these interests. Students with interests in PC and console gaming gather and play together, discuss, and find others who share their passion. This helps build comraderie between students, as well as giving some students a connection to the school and their classmates that they formerly lacked. Video gaming has long been considered a niche hobby, but it is now shifting to become more mainstream as well as a profitable form of entertainment. More people play games than do not, and the students felt it was important to the student community for their school to acknowledge this.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 02/19/19

On Monday, the House passed HB1403. This bill allows for an additional

sentence of 1 to 10 years in prison if certain offenses are committed in the presence of a child.  The offenses include murder, aggravated robbery, felony assault or battery, and rape.

 The House passed HB1301 which creates temporary and provisional occupational licenses (90 days) to individuals with a similar active occupational license in another state. 

 In a vote of 91-0, the House passed HB1426. This bill prohibits the spouse of a county election commissioner, a county party chairman, or the spouse of a county party chairman from working as a poll worker for elections. 

 The House also passed HB1446.  This legislation updates the Colorectal Cancer Prevention, Early Detection, and Treatment Act. In 2015, colorectal cancer was the second leading cause of cancer death in Arkansas. 

 The House will convene on Tuesday at 1:30pm

TEXARKANA ARKANSAS MAN KILLED IN SINGLE-CAR WRECK 02/19/19

Alex David Walker, 44 of Texarkana, Ark., was killed in a single-vehicle crash Friday night. According to a preliminary crash report Walker was driving a 2010 model Chevrolet Camero South on the highway when the vehicle veered off the right side of the highway and struck a culvert. The crash happened around 10:30 p.m. Friday, February 15 near Fulton. Trooper Dale Young investigated the accident for the Arkansas State Police.

Walker was pronounced dead by the Miller County Coroner at 11:55 p.m. Friday evening. The weather was reported as cloudy and the road conditions were described as dry at the time of the accident. At least 47 people have died on Arkansas roads so far this year, according to preliminary figures.

UA COSSATOT FFA ACCOMPLISHMENTS 02/19/19

It's national FFA week and today KDQN is spotlighting the accomplishments of the FFA program at UA Cossatot.

Fall 2018

Received a Living to Serve Grant from National FFA to assist the campus food pantry through a semester long project

Students worked the hog show at 4-states fair in Texarkana.

Forestry and Soils students presented at the ArcGIS Users Forum in Little Rock about GIS technology in agriculture

Hosted our annual chili supper and gun raffle

Purchased gifts for the Cossatot Angels program

Hosted annual banquet

Spring 2019

Attended Arkansas Alumni Conference at SAU

Organized Colts Classic Career Development Event which was attended by over 1,000 FFA members

Received Living to Serve Grant from National FFA for feral swine project at Pond Creek Wildlife Refuge

Planned for Spring 2019

Students will be delivery drivers for fundraiser lunch for Asher Frachiseur on Tuesday, Feb. 19th

Weather permitting, we will work on our project at Pond Creek this Friday (or the first Friday the weather cooperates)

Greenhouse will open for the season on March 25th and the sale will go through May 11th

Students are planning to volunteer at Runnin’ WJ Ranch in Texarkana

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL COMING TO HOWARD COUNTY 02/19/19

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has announced an upcoming mobile office location for the Southwest Arkansas area next month. The mobile office will be in Howard County March 7th.

Attorney General Rutledge created this initiative during her first year in office to increase accessibility for all Arkansans, particularly to those who live outside the capital city.

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.

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, more than 3,300 residents were served and over 618 pounds of medications were collected at mobile offices. For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (501) 682-2007.

THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 2019 9:30 AM

Howard County Senior Citizens Center 
206 East Howard Street, Nashville

Mobile Office
9:30 to 11 a.m.
Prescription Drug Take Back
9:30 to 11 a.m. Partnering with Sheriff Bryan McJunkins
Identity Theft and Scam Presentation 
10:30 to 11 a.m.

HARVEST REGIONAL FOOD BANK FUNDRAISER 02/19/19

Harvest Beast Feast is a festival style culinary fundraising event featuring “off the menu” items prepared by local backyard chefs and popular restaurateurs. Harvest Beast Feast 2019: Surf, Turf, and More is set to take place on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Festival Plaza Downtown Texarkana, AR. Cooks can begin setting up and cooking as early as 7:00 a.m. Judging will begin at the following times: Fish: 1-1:30pm Cajun 1:30 to 2 pm Fowl 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. Game: 2:30-3pm.  All proceeds of the event will benefit Harvest Regional Food Bank.

The entry fee is $100  for each category. The first prize winning team will win $500.  Second place will receive $250. Teams can have no more than 6 members and the competitors will be cooking up venison, wild game, quail, duck, alligator, rabbit and more.

Call Harvest Regional Food Bank at (870) 774-1398 for more information about this Fundraising event.

MARGARET DANIEL EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION DINNER 02/19/19

The Annual Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation Dinner was held in the Ashdown High School Cafeteria on Saturday, February 16 and sponsored by Diamond Bank. The meal was served by the AHS Skills USA and Beta Club students.  The evening entertainment was provided by local pianists. A total of $9,825 was raised for the foundation.

Grants have been awarded for World Drumming Materials, sensory stations, butterfly gardens, AHS art supplies, engineering equipment for robots and programming, Colombia University Writing Institutes, and most recently the Baby Grand Piano at Ashdown High School.  These grants have provided  opportunities for Ashdown teachers and students.  

The Foundation accepts donations, memorials, and honorariums throughout the year as well as providing for the annual dinner and silent auction in February each year.  Ashdown School District Employees that are “invested” have been giving $10 per month which is automatically deducted and given to the foundation each month.  
Foundation Board members include:  Darren Thomas, Brenda Tate, Kari Harger, Beth Provence, Thad Bishop, Katrina Williamson, Mallory Wharton and Kay Wortham. Any donations can be mailed to:  MD Ed. Foundation, 171 South Locust, Ashdown, AR   71822

 

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO ADVOCATE FOR FOSTER CARE CHILDREN 02/18/19

The local CASA agency has an immediate need for volunteers to advocate on behalf of children in the Foster Care system around the Southwest Arkansas area. Yuliza Aguirre is the volunteer coordinator for the organization's local chapter. Yuliza told KDQN that CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates and the role is designed to help children have a constant point of contact during difficult times in the foster care system.  

Yuliza also says experience is not required for the volunteer position but having a passion for helping kids is very important as an advocate. KDQN asked Yuliza what makes the position worth it and without hesitation she said “the difference it makes.”

Sevier, Montgomery and Polk counties are the areas in which immediate help from volunteers is needed. All volunteers must complete 30 hours of training and be sworn-in by a judge.  The De Queen office is located inside the Sevier County Senior Citizens Center by Herman Dierks Park. For more information call 870-518-4026 and speak with Yuliza today. 

UAHT COLLEGIATE ACADEMY INFORMATION MEETING MARCH 4TH 02/18/19

The University of Arkansas at Hope along with the Hope Public School District will host a public informational meeting on Monday, March 4 at 6:00 p.m. in the Rapert Library Complex for parents and guardians who have students interested in attending the Hope Collegiate Academy. The purpose of the meeting is to inform parents/guardians about the Collegiate Academy requirements, expectations, and the process of application for students entering the 10th grade next school year.

The Hope Collegiate Academy is a partnership between the Hope Public School District and the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. The goal of the academy is to provide students with a three-year curriculum that allows them the opportunity to complete a high school diploma and an associate degree simultaneously.

Students who will be entering the 10th grade can apply for the program now through April 1, 2019. Students must be enrolled or be eligible to become enrolled as a Hope Public School student and meet the collegiate academy entrance requirements to attend. The academy is a public school that is free of charge and is located on the University of Arkansas Hope campus.

Students must submit the collegiate academy application and college entrance scores by April 1, 2019. To apply, visit  http://www.uacch.edu/collegiate-academy/.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/18/19

More than 140 bills have been signed into law during this session. There are hundreds of bills still to be heard in committee and we expect many more to be filed in the weeks ahead.

On Thursday, with a vote of 82-14 and 2 members voting present, the House passed SB211. This bill cuts the top tax rate from 6.9 to 6.6 percent on Jan. 1, 2020. It decreases to 5.9 percent in 2021.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration estimates this legislation will impact 579,000 Arkansans. Currently, Arkansas has the highest top marginal individual income tax rates among surrounding states. Other legislation passing the House this week include:

SB149-This bill would prohibit abortion in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned by Supreme Court or if a constitutional amendment is adopted giving authority to the states to regulate abortion.

HB1302-This bill creates a process by which similar agencies could submit rules and regulations collectively to expedite process.  It would help ensure that agencies needing to respond to new legislation for occupational licensing do so in a timely manner.

SB113 -This legislation would transfer the responsibilities and duties of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace to the Arkansas Insurance Department.

HB1231-This legislation ensures journalism students at public higher education institutions have freedom of expression. This legislation states a student media advisor is not to be disciplined or dismissed for protecting the rights of a student journalist.

 The deadline to file proposed constitutional amendments was February 13.  A total of 31 amendments were filed.  The topics addressed vary from term limits to highway funding. The legislature can refer up to 3 amendments to voters on the November 2020 ballot. You can review the proposed amendments on our website www.arkansashouse.org .

CONGRESSMAN WESTERMAN ANNOUNCES LOCAL MOBILE OFFICE DATES 02/18/19

U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman will be hosting mobile office events in counties across Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District during the month of February. During these meetings, his staff will be available to help Arkansas residents with a wide range of issues, including Social Security benefits, Veterans Affairs claims, Medicare/Medicaid, international adoption, visas and the IRS. No appointments are necessary. Local mobile office dates and times will include

Sevier County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 11:00am
Sevier County Courthouse
115 North 3rd Street
De Queen, AR 71832

Little River County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 12:45pm
Little River County Courthouse
351 North 2nd Street
Ashdown, AR 71822

Hempstead County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 2:45pm
Hempstead County Courthouse
400 South Washington Street
Hope, AR 71801

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY AMNESTY PROGRAM 02/18/19

The Ashdown Police Department along with the Little River County Sheriff’s Department has announced an amnesty program for anyone who has a misdemeanor warrant in the City of Ashdown or Little River County. The amnesty period will range from March 1st through March 31st. This will allow anyone who has a warrant to contact the District Court Clerk to take advantage of this program. This program will help those who want to catch up on their fines. It will hopefully help the two agencies to collect these fines without having to arrest and jail these individuals.

Anyone who has questions about the program can call the Court Clerk at 870-898-7230 or 870-898-7231.

HOWARD COUNTY CREATE BRIDGES MEETING 02/18/19

The Howard County Extension Service in cooperation with the 3Cs Create Bridges Regional Steering Committee is hosting a community forum to gather information about the community assets in the retail, tourism, entertainment and accommodations industries. “Create Bridges” is actually an acronym, which stands for “Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies.”

The forum will be held Tuesday, February 26, 2019 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Howard County Extension Homemaker Educational Center located directly behind the courthouse in Nashville. The forum is open to anyone with a vested interest in retail and tourism to join in the discussion and share their perspectives. The goal is to recognize community assets, look at challenges and barriers and eventually develop an action plan to expand retail and tourism.

Create Bridges is a multi-state pilot program designed to help rural communities build their capacity for strengthening the retail, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment sectors, which provide jobs and business opportunities that frequently boost rural economies. For more information about Create Bridges or the community forum, please call the Howard County Extension Office at 870-845-7517.

NATIONAL FFA WEEK SPOTLIGHT: FOREMAN HIGH SCHOOL 02/18/19

It's National FFA week. With Agriculture serving as the top industry in Southwest Arkansas, KDQN is highlighting local High School FFA programs in the area.

Today, we're spotlighting the accomplishments of the FFA chapter at Foreman High School. The program placed First in numerous Land Judging contests, including the Tiger classic in Taylor, Arkansas the Mine Creek Conservation Contest in Nashville and the Centerpoint Knights Battle Royale. Foreman also finished 2nd at the Arkansas state contest in Fayetteville.

The District Champion Horse Judging team placed 5th at state while the Dairy Foods team received 2nd at district and qualified for state. The agri mechanics team and the Livestock team both qualified for state and numerous members of the Foreman FFA chapter exhibited livestock at the county, district, state, 4state and national level.

This year the chapter will be participating in land, livestock, poultry, agri mechanics, horse and dairy products career development events. The classes have done several community service projects in the shop, including building picnic tables for the jr. high and building lockers for the school's new softball facility.

The Foreman FFA is also planning a teacher appreciation breakfast during FFA week.

AGFC PUBLIC MEETING TOMORROW 02/18/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special “A Conversation with Commissioners” town hall style meeting from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19 in the AGFC auditorium at 2 Natural Resources Drive in Little Rock. The public is invited to come ask the Commissioners questions and learn more information about the agency’s work.

Commission Chairman Ford Overton proposed the meeting to offer Arkansans additional opportunity to voice any issues and have an open forum for public input into areas where the Commission should look deeper.The meeting will have no particular agenda, only the opportunity for participants to speak freely about conservation, fishing, and hunting in The Natural State. More information posted online at AGFC.com

AMNESTY PROGRAM IN SEVIER COUNTY BEGINS MONDAY FEB 18TH 02/15/19

Sevier County will be holding the annual “Amnesty Program” beginning Monday, February 18th. The program is for residents who may have an outstanding warrant for their arrest with the Sevier County District Court.

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

This year's Amnesty Program begins Monday and concludes April 15th. Any person with a qualifying outstanding warrant for failure to appear or failure to comply may have the warrant withdrawn by paying in full the fine and costs of the underlying charge. The Amnesty Program does not apply to charges that require a mandatory court appearance, like DWI and select misdemeanors.

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

ARKANSAS LEGISLATIVE UPDATES 02/15/19

In a vote of 82-14 with 2 members voting present, the House passed SB211. This bill cuts the top tax rate from 6.9 to 6.6 percent on Jan. 1, 2020. It decreases to 5.9 percent in 2021.

In a vote of 93-0, the House passed SB151 which establishes a fund to assist the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in its ongoing efforts to gain a National Cancer Institute designation.

With a vote of 72-20, the House passed SB149 which would prohibit abortion in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned by Supreme Court or if a constitutional amendment is adopted giving authority to the states to regulate abortion.

The House also passed SB168 which adds 24 hour manned fire stations to the locations where a parent can relinquish an infant. This bill also allows for the use of a Safe Haven Baby Box at Safe Haven locations if it includes a dual alarm system to notify authorities.

And the House passed HB1014 which requires that bleeding control training be taught as part of high school health courses.

The House Education Committee advanced SB199 which states a school counselor shall spend at least ninety percent (90%) of his or her working time providing direct and indirect services to students.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced SB196.  This bill provides tax incentives to businesses that invest in “Opportunity Zones” which are designated to be in economic distress. There are 85 opportunity zones in Arkansas.

The House Judiciary Committee passed SB152. It reforms juvenile justice system by utilizing the validated risk assessment tool. It also creates plans for diversion options to maximize benefits for juvenile offenders.

The House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor Committee advanced HB1440. This bill directs the Arkansas Department of Health to establish the Maternal Mortality Review Committee to review maternal deaths and to develop strategies for prevention. The House will reconvene on Monday at 1:30pm.

ARKANSAS GOVERNOR'S CONFERENCE ON TOURISM SET FOR FEB 24-26TH 02/15/19

Tourism partners from across the state will meet at the 45th Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism February 24-26 at the Hot Springs Convention Center. This year’s conference theme is “Tourism Builds Community.”
 The annual gathering of Arkansas’s tourism industry offers sessions on a variety of topics such as Google’s latest trends, marketing to a diverse audience and 21st century visitor engagement.

 New to the conference this year is the inaugural ArkTank startup pitch competition. The winner will walk away with a cash prize of $5,000 and guaranteed mentorship from Arkansas Tourism and Innovate Arkansas. The opening keynote speaker for the event is Erica Wheeler, a visitor experience specialist, educator and award-winning songwriter. She is the founder of Sense of Place Consulting and has worked extensively with the National Park Service. 

The Arkansas Tourism Development Foundation’s annual auction will take place Monday night. The money raised from the silent and live auctions funds scholarships for individuals seeking careers in the hospitality and tourism industries.
 The conference will culminate with the presentation of the 2019 Henry Awards and an address by Governor Asa Hutchinson.
  For more information, visit www.arkansas.com.

ARK-LA-TEX OUTDOOR EXPO 02/15/19

The 3rd Annual Ark-La-Tex Outdoor Expo will be held March 1-2, 2019 at Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas Hope’s campus. Participating vendors will have boats, all-terrain vehicles, duck and turkey calls, cabin lamps, leather goods, fishing lures, knives, lawn mowers, and jewelry for those who enjoy the great outdoors.

Admission to the Expo is $3 per person. The Expo will run 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 1, and 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.

The Kentucky Headhunters will headline this year’s Expo Concert on Friday, March 1 in Hempstead Hall’s theater. Tickets are on sale now at hempsteadhall.com and start at $25. The Kentucky Headhunters have won a GRAMMY Award, the CMA Album of the Year Award, two CMA Vocal Group of the Year Awards and multiple Top 40 hits, The band has been described as a blend of honky-tonk, blues, and southern rock.

Doors for the Expo concert open at 6:00 p.m. and the Kentucky Headhunters will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Vendor space is still available and interested participants should contact Amanda Lance at Amanda.lance@uacch.edu or (870) 722-8566.

 

AHS SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE ENCOURAGING CONTRIBUTORS   02/15/19

The Ashdown High School Scholarship Committee will soon be awarding scholarships to 2019 AHS graduates, as it has since its formation in 1986, and contributors are encouraged to either continue donations as they have in previous years or become new scholarship donors and contribute to the success of new Ashdown High School graduates in their post-secondary endeavors.

“Last year, we awarded 51 scholarships with a total value of $27,220” states Ronda Pounds, chairperson of the committee.  “This brings the total scholarships to over $425,467 awarded to 1090 students over the course of our 33-year history.”

Pounds also states that 100% of all donated monies are awarded every year and that all donations are tax deductible. 

The Scholarship Committee has also authorized an alumni fund through which former students of Ashdown High School and businesses may contribute to the program in any amount and at any time.  Such contributions may be made in honor or memory of friends and loved ones.

As in previous years, scholarship recipients will be announced and scholarships awarded at a tea sponsored by the committee.  The date for this year's tea is Sunday, April 28 at 2:00 p.m. in the Ashdown High School cafeteria.  “All donors are welcome at the tea,” Pounds continues, “and welcome to participate in presenting the scholarship they are giving if they would like.”

To be awarded to 2019 AHS graduates, contributions must be received by April 2.  They may be mailed to or dropped off at the Ashdown School District Administration Office at 751 Rankin Street, Ashdown, Arkansas 71822.

 

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES     02/15/19

Lockesburg City Council met in regular session Tuesday, February 12, 2019 in the Council Room at City Hall.  The media was notified of the meeting. 

The meeting was called to order at 6:35 by Mayor Danny Ruth followed with prayer by Council Member Roberts and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Those in attendance were Mayor Danny Ruth, Recorder Treasurer Becky Jegstrup, Council Members Steven Hill, Rodger Ridley, Donna Gallaher, Claudine Tompkins, Bill Roberts and James Jester.  Also in attendance were City Attorney Erin Hunter, Park Commissioner Shelia Ruth, Utilities Supervisor Justin Ruth, and Deputy Municipal Clerk JoAnna Giusti.

Guests in attendance were Joe Vallee and Jason Sanders from DeQueen School District.

Motion was made by Jester and seconded by Gallaher to appoint Steven Hill as Council Member to Ward 3 Position 2.  Motion passed 5/0/0.

Hill was then sworn in by Mayor Danny Ruth.

Joe Vallee from DeQueen School District addressed the Council concerning some discrepancies on the water bill for the New Gym on the Elementary School Campus.  After a lengthy discussion a motion was made by Gallaher and seconded by Ridley to have Utilities Supervisor Ruth to read the meter daily and if anything was found to be out of the ordinary to notify Mr. Vallee at which time they together would try to find the problem. She also stated the current water bill was to be adjusted to show the average water use of 300-400 gallons of water daily. Motion passed 6/0/0.

Park Commissioner Shelia Ruth addressed the Council concerning Spring Fest at the Ida Margaret Coulter Stone Park.  Most of the activities will be cancelled for this Spring due to medical problems with the Park Committee Members but the Easter Egg Hunt would still be held.

She also addressed the Council about the status of the security cameras that were to be installed at the IMCS Park. After a brief discussion and at the recommendation of the Park Committee a motion was made by Ridley and seconded by Roberts to hire Lindsey Communications to install cameras in the Park.  Motion passed 6/0/0.

A motion was made by Gallaher and seconded by Hill to replace the doors at the new Sr. Citizens Building with doors that have glass and the additional cost would be covered from the Tax Fund.  Motion passed 6/0/0.

A motion was made by Ridley and seconded by Jester to continue the Boulevard of Flags at a cost of $480 to come from the Community Relations Account.  Motion passed 6/0/0.

Mayor Ruth addressed the Council concerning a window on the back hoe that had been broken out and needed replacing.  They are searching for a used door to replace the broken one.

Council Member Tompkins left ill at 8:05.

Motion was made by Roberts and seconded by Hill to allow JoAnna Giusti and Becky Jegstrup to attend the ACCRTA district meeting at DeGray March 6-7, 2019.  Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Roberts and seconded by Ridley to approve the minutes from the January 8, 2019 meeting with corrections made. Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Gallaher and seconded by Roberts to approve the Financial Report for January 2019.  Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Roberts and seconded by Hill to approve the bills for January 2019. Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Ridley and seconded by Hill to go into executive session at 8:40.  Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Jester and seconded by Roberts to come out of executive session at 8:46 with no action taken.  Motion passed 5/0/0.

A motion was made by Ridley and seconded by Gallaher to adjourn. 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:04.

 

L.F. HENDERSON JR. CHEF     02/15/19

On February 4, 15 L.F. Henderson students were able to participate in the k-12 Culinary Connection Jr. Chef Program.  Students, one from each class donned chef hats and made their own 7 inch pizzas.  Students were taught about proper hand washing, cooking techniques while making their pizzas, and learned about nutrition facts while the pizzas baked.  Chef Justin Mills of K-12 Culinary Connection said, “the Jr. Chef Program was to get kids cooking and teach them how to eat healthy.”

The students were presented a certificate and enjoyed watermelon, apples, and their freshly baked homemade pizzas.

Back row (l-r) Terri Cribbs (K-12 Culinary), L.F. Henderson Principal Keith Fricks,  Kamarion Fricks, Jade Robinson, VonDerrick Hamilton, Chef Justin Mills, Zah’nye Ramnarine, and Sidney Isenberg, Celeste Scarborough (K-12 Culinary) and Superintendent Casey Nichols
Middle row (l-r) Colton Hinton, Learrey Baker, Keneica Barber, Serenity Mangrum, and Madison Blankenship
Front row (l-r) Shaylee Dossett, Kendall Erwin, Mayilah Scott, Peter Strong, and Sophie Lacey

 

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD DISCUSSING POSSIBILITY OF ARMING TEACHERS WITH FIREARMS 02/14/19

The De Queen School Board met for their regular meeting on Monday, February 11th in The District Administration Building.

The board approved the previous meetings minutes as well as the old bills and the 2019-2020 school year calendar. Student transfers were also accepted.

Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton noted that the contracts for projects involving the primary school came in significantly under budget with the Clark Contractors company. The bids were an estimated $80,000 less than anticipated.

Shelton said the main topic discussed during the meeting was the question of whether or not the district will move toward arming teachers with firearms at De Queen Schools. Though the item was tabled until the next meeting and no decisions were made, Shelton said the topic was discussed at length and local Police Chief Scott Simmons attended the meeting to explain the process required for training if the district were to decide to arm staff.

If the board does vote in favor of arming teachers proper training would be provided by local law enforcement representatives. In other news staff changes were made as some of the district's principals were re-hired and a few resignations were accepted. The next De Queen School Board meeting will be held Tuesday March 5th at 5:30 P.M in the District's administration building.

AGFC INTERNSHIP APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED 02/14/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is accepting applications for summer internships until March 8, 2019. These internships, funded by sales of the AGFC’s Conservation License Plates, let students gain hands-on training and experience needed to compete for a future career in conservation.

To qualify for an internship, an applicant:

  • Must have a declared degree in the conservation field. Must have 60 hours of college credits earned by the time the Internship begins.
  • At the time of application, must be a college student, graduated within the previous 12 months, or currently enrolled in a post-graduate program.
  • Must have a 2.5 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 scale. 

Selected interns will be responsible to coordinate with their college or university to obtain course credit for their work.

Applications should include a current resume, a one-page cover letter, a copy of college transcripts and a completed application form.

Visit https://jobs.agfc.com for more information on the internship program and a list of openings for 2019.

GOVERNOR TALKS HIGHWAY FUNDING AT RECENT PRESS CONFERENCE 02/14/19

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson unveiled his highway funding plan during a press conference on Monday, in what he called the “largest single highway plan in our history.” Hutchinson said his proposal would provide $300 million annually to state highways. The plan would add another $110 million to cities and counties through a half-cent sales tax extension for ten years. A new fuel tax would also add three cents a gallon to gas prices and six cents a gallon to diesel.

Governor Hutchinson noted that even with the tax increases, residents would still see a decrease due to his previous tax cuts and the reduction in the grocery tax.

Thirty five million dollars would also come from casino tax revenues.

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL NOW FEATURING A BABY GRAND PIANO 02/14/19

The Margaret Daniel Educational Foundation board members had the idea to purchase a Baby Grand piano to inspire those students who played and give them an avenue to showcase their talent during the lunch hour and to also provide the instrument for the many community and school events held in the Ashdown High School Cafeteria. A local musician suggested selling individual “keys” for $100 to fund the piano purchase.

According to AHS Principal, Kay York, “since it’s arrive a few weeks ago, students, community members and staff have shared their talents and provided music to the open area in our school.  The soft music often heard in the office during lunches and between classes is a welcome addition to the high school.  Our wish is for many students to continue to develop an appreciation and love for music.  Some students are now taking lessons after hearing others play.”

Superintendent Casey Nichols said, “We are so excited to have such a wonderful gift placed in the cafeteria for our staff and students to showcase their musical talents. What an awesome memorial to long time Ashdown educator Mrs. Margaret Daniel.”

The MD Ed. Foundation supports the Ashdown School district via grants that staff deem “over the top” ideas and opportunities for students at Ashdown. 
The Margaret Daniel Foundation Dinner will be held on Saturday, February 16 at 7 p.m. and area pianists will provide the entertainment on the new piano. To purchase tickets please contact the following MDF Board Members:  Brenda Tate, Kari Harger, Thad Bishop, Katrina Williamson, Beth Provence, Darren Thomas, Mallory Wharton, or Kay York at Ashdown High School.

TEXARKANA ARKANSAS RESIDENT CHOSEN FOR UAHT TRIO UPWARD BOUND HALL OF FAME 02/14/19

Diamond Holmes of Texarkana, Arkansas, has been selected as the 2019 TRiO Upward Bound Selects 2019 Hall of Fame Recipient at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT). Holmes is the daughter of Tanyaka Conway. She is a senior at Arkansas High School and an active member of Lonoke Baptist Church. She also works part-time and enjoys spending quality time with her three younger brothers.

Holmes is actively involved in numerous school clubs and community service organizations. She is a member of 4-H Club, Fellowship of Christian Students, Distributive Education Clubs of America, Future Business Leadership of America, NIKE Club, and TRiO Upward Bound. In addition to all of her involvement, Diamond maintains high scholastic achievements.

“I joined TRiO Upward Bound to learn about the opportunities that are available for my future in regards to college admission and scholarships. The program is also helping me identify the steps that are necessary for my chosen career path, and I have created lasting friendships through Upward Bound,” Holmes said. Diamond’s future plans include pursuing a career in nursing. “I want to become a registered nurse because I like to help other people,” she said.

The TRiO Upward Bound Hall of Fame is an effort to showcase the array of students within Arkansas TRIO Programs by noting their various academic and civic accomplishments. Each TRiO program can nominate one participant for inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame nominees will be recognized during the Arkansas TRiO Day Program held on Saturday, February 23, 2019, on the campus of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, AR.

For more information about TRiO Upward Bound at UAHT, contact Nicole Woods at 870-722-8287 or nicole.woods@uacch.edu.

 

MOBILE FOOD PANTRY COMING TO SEVIER COUNTY 02/14/19

Horatio, AR, Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – Harvest Regional Food Bank is returning to Sevier County with its Mobile Pantry. “We have several communities in our rural service area that are not fully served by local partner agencies. To be sure that the residents in these areas are served, we are providing direct service where needed.” said Camille Coker Wrinkle, Executive Director of Harvest Regional Food Bank.

Harvest Regional Food Bank will distribute pantry boxes and USDA commodities from Horatio First United Methodist Church located at 304 S Pennock St., AR on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 from 10 am to noon.
Volunteers are needed to help load boxes into cars. If you can volunteer, please call Harvest Regional Food Bank at 870-774-1398.

Recipients must bring photo identification verifying their age and residence in Sevier County. Distribution is limited to one per household. USDA commodities will be available for those who meet income requirements and do not receive commodities at another location. Please note, the day of mobile pantry will be on a Wednesday. Food boxes will include an assortment of canned fruits and vegetables, rice, pasta, fruit juices, spices, and other items. Harvest Regional Food Bank began the Mobile Pantry Program in 2011 with Pike and Lafayette Counties. Howard & Colombia Counties were added in 2014. 4.0 scale. 

 

DE QUEEN MEDICAL CENTER POWER AND WATER ON, SERVICES BEING PROVIDED TO PATIENTS 02/13/19
KDQN spoke with employees of the De Queen medical center who verified that the center is open, the electricity and water services are on and patients are being treated at this time. The clarification announcements have been made with the purpose of dispelling rumors that circulated this week after reports claimed the hospital had its power cut off Monday. Hospital employees verified the hospital is still operating, though with limited services for patients.
Other reports indicated that the power and water bills were paid by an organization called iHealthcare inc, however the company would not confirm the information when KDQN reached out to reps for comment Wednesday morning.

Mayor Jeff Brown told KDQN that the water bill still has yet to be paid as of Wednesday, February 13th. KDQN also spoke with ER nurse Julie Caudle who announced that services are still being offered by the De Queen Medical Center at this time. Caudle says patients will be seen for minor medical needs and any conditions that do not require lab work, which does include x-rays.The hospital remains on ambulance diversion but in the event of “dire emergency” situations Caudle says the hospital will accept patients with the purpose of being stabilized prior to being transferred to another facility to receive the necessary medical care.

KDQN will continue to update the community about the De Queen Medical Center's status as developments become available.

Caudle asked that the community continue to pray for the hospital and its employees.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/13/19

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced SB211 this morning. This bill cuts the top tax rate from 6.9 to 6.6 percent on Jan. 1, 2020. It decreases to 5.9 percent in 2021.

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced legislation making changes to the Safe Haven Act.  SB168 adds 24 hour manned fire stations to the locations where a parent can relinquish an infant. This bill also allows for the use of a Safe Haven Baby Box at Safe Haven locations if it includes a dual alarm system to notify authorities.

The Public Health Committee also advanced SB149 which would prohibit abortion in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned by Supreme Court or if a constitutional amendment is adopted giving authority to the states to regulate abortion.

The committee also advanced SB151 which established a fund to assist the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in its ongoing efforts to gain a National Cancer Institute designation.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced SB109 which adds correctional officers into the law enforcement officer classification regarding battery offenses against officers.

The committee also advanced SB14 which adds a $10 to fee for those convicted of driving or boating while intoxicated. That money will benefit program assistance for those recovering from alcohol abuse.

And the Judiciary Committee advanced HR1013, a resolution seeking to clarify gun rights and gun laws with regard to open-carry of firearms.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1014 which requires that bleeding control training be taught as part of high school health courses.

The committee also advanced SB135 which creates a tiered funding structure for secondary vocational centers.

Committees will convene at 10:00am on Wednesday.  The House will convene at 1:30pm.

DIERKS CITY COUNCIL ANNOUNCES UPDATES IN COMMUNITY 02/13/19

The Dierks City Council discussed several upcoming projects at the February monthly meeting held on Monday. Mayor Ronnie Cogburn says he hopes that some grant funding can be secured for new water meters and for improvements to the ball fields at the city park. The council discussed a shock treatment for the sewer ponds to assist in keeping them compliant with ADEQ requirements.

Mayor Cogburn also reported that a total of 38 street lights had been repaired and that several missing or damaged street signs had been replaced.

Police Chief Brian White reported four warrants served during the month of January, including one for Pike County. There were nine citations and 48 traffic stops.

The fire department had two fire calls during last month and several firefighters recently attended a training held this month at Center Point.

LOCAL SCHOOLS QUALIFY FOR ARCHERY STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS 02/13/19

LITTLE ROCK – 3,554 students filed into middle and high school gymnasiums across Arkansas last weekend to take their shot at qualifying for the Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program State Championship. Regional shoots were held in 12 locations, covering every region of the state.

Of the student athletes participating, 1,564 were female and 1990 were male. ANASP is one of the few scholastic sporting activities where young men and women compete side-by-side.

The top two teams from each division at each regional tournament will move on to the state championship. The remaining 12 slots will be filled by the highest-scoring teams who did not place first or second, no matter which regional tournament they participated in.

In addition to team competition, the top shooters at each regional tournament will be invited to compete at the state championship individually for additional awards.

The state championship will be held at Bank of the Ozarks Arena in Hot Springs, March 1-2. Elementary and middle school divisions will shoot on March 1, and the high school competition will be held March 2.

Visit https://www.agfc.com/en/anasp-app/ for complete team and individual scores for each region.

local teams received at-large bids to attend the state championship including :

Elementary School At-Large:
Blevins Elementary School 2,317
Middle  School At-Large
Wickes Middle School 2,968
Washington Middle School 2,920
Senior High School At-Large
De Queen High School 3,155

FIRST HABITAT FOR HUMANITY HOME BUILT ON ARKANSAS SIDE OF TEXARKANA 02/13/19

On Friday, February 8th, Habitat for Humanity Texarkana held a dedication ceremony for the first house built for the local chapter since the program launched. The home is located on E 12th St. in Texarkana, AR. Though the house is the first home built on the Arkansas side for the local habitat for humanity chapter, plans are already in place to build the next home.

The new homeowners have been working on the house as well as volunteering their time at community events, helping at Habitat events, and completing home ownership classes. The homeowner will be responsible for paying a zero-interest loan to Habitat for the purchase of the home. The organization depends on donations to continue building projects.

Habitat for Humanity will build the second Arkansas home in the spring of this year. A repair program is scheduled to begin once budgets are passed. To make a donation, volunteer or sponsor a home contact call 903 832-1746 or email info@habitattexarkana.org

FUNDRAISER ANNOUNCED FOR ASHER FRACHISEUR IN DE QUEEN 02/13/19

A fundraiser has been announced for Asher Frachiseur on Tuesday, February 19th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The meal will include a chicken sandwich, chips and water for $5.00. Orders can be placed ahead of time and picked up from the Adams building of the UA Cossatot De Queen campus or deliveries can be made to local businesses in De Queen.

Asher is the son of Tyler and Kim Frachiseur of De Queen. Asher was born with Eosophillic esophagitis, a chronic immune/allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus. The disease can cause irreversible damage to healthy tissues as well as joint pain, eating difficulty and poor growth. Asher recently received his 16th surgery for the condition and as of today there is no known cure.

Because the disease is rare, insurance does not cover the costs of all medical expenses associated with the condition.

Orders for Tuesday's fundraiser can be placed ahead by calling 870-584-3013 or make a donation to First State Bank of De Queen in the Asher Frachiseur Fundraiser account.

SKYWARN CLASS HELD IN DE QUEEN TUESDAY 02/13/19

County Judge Greg Ray, OEM Coordinator Walter Smith and Meteorologist Charlie Woodrum pictured at the SKYWARN storm-spotting class held at UA Cossatot Tuesday.

The storm spotting class held at UA Cossatot Tuesday night was lead by Davyon Hill, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Shreveport. The class was Free and open to the public. The main purpose of this class was to educate the public about hazardous weather, weather safety, and how to report hazardous weather to the National Weather Service. Walter Smith reported that 60 people attended the session and many attendees traveled from various parts of the Southwest Arkansas regional to participate.

SCHOOL ELECTION CANDIDATE FILING OPENS THIS WEEK 02/12/19
The Filing period for persons interested in submitting candidacy for the Sevier County School elections has been announced.
The filing period begins tomorrow, Wednesday February 13th at 12:00 p.m. and ends on Wednesday February 20th at 12 noon. All interested candidates must file at the Sevier County Courthouse in De Queen during this time. A meeting of the Sevier County Election Commission will be held at 1:00 p.m. in the county clerk's office on Thursday, February 22nd to certify the candidates. The public is welcome to attend. The election will take place on May 21st 2019.

Open positions at this time include:
De Queen Zone one -Skip Bell
Horatio, At large position one, Elizabeth Walker
Zone two, Christy Scott

Contact the Sevier County clerk's office at 870-642-2852

In Little River County the filing period for Ashdown's interested candidates began today, Tuesday February 12th at 12:00 p.m. and the deadline is Wednesday February 20th at 12:00 p.m.

Open positions at this time include:
Zone A, Dorothy Henderson
Zone E Ricky Ward

Foreman elections will not be held until November. Contact Little River County Clerk Deeanna Sively with questions by calling 870-898-7298.

QUORUM COURT MEETING HELD MONDAY IN DE QUEEN 02/12/19

A full room gathered for the Sevier County Quorum court's regular meeting Monday, February 11th at the Sevier County Courthouse in De Queen.

Sheila Cox attended the meeting to represent local residents who presented an issue to the JPs regarding legalities of Dog ownership within Sevier County. Cox reported that an overabundance of dogs have caused a nuisance in her neighborhood and she asked the quorum what could be done to address the issue as the dogs have not been vaccinated, spayed, neutered or fenced by the owner they belong to. A neighbor of Cox also revealed the owner has threatened her for asking him to control the pack of an estimated 15 dogs. Though the city of De Queen has a dog pound that can house excess dogs the county does not have a pound and a placement issue has risen with the problem as there is no formal ordinance set to limit the number of Dogs and owner can have at a time.

The Quorum Court and Sheriff Robert Gentry agreed to follow up with a public defender and report back to the residents about the legalities surrounding the issue.

The Report from Senior Citizen representative Sheila Nash was delivered prior to the meetings start time. Nash revealed that the center is serving meals four days a week and is beginning delivery services for homebound seniors. Judge Greg Ray also noted that he has received positive reports regarding the upgrade in the quality of the meals served through the center and commended Nash's efforts as she took over in July of 2018.

In the new business category JP Greg Wright volunteered for the delegate position and a motion was made by Angie Walker. The motion passed unanimously and Wright has been   selected as the Quorum Court delegate to the Arkansas Quorum Court Association. As the delegate Wright will be responsible for attended Quorum conferences and reporting information back to the Sevier County JPs.

The Quorum also discussed the transfer of $13,000 to fund two bridges on Bear Creek Cut off road. The motion passed and the funds will be appropriated.The official line of succession for the Sevier County Sheriff was announced during the meeting. The line is as follows:

Sheriff Robert Gentry, then Jail administrator Chris Wolcott, followed by Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle and then criminal investigator Jeff Wahls.

After the succession line was established Sheriff Gentry spoke to the JPs about a mildew issue that has come up at the Sevier County jail. A lack of airflow in pods has caused the mildew problem which makes for higher utility bills in the jail and health concerns for inmates. The sheriff revealed that multiple lawsuits are pending based on grievances regarding conditions in the jail. The quorum agreed to fund the cost of de-humidifiers that should alleviate the problem. The final item discussed in the meeting was a request from Sheriff Gentry to raise the uniform allowance for the Sevier County Deputies from $4340 to $9900. The motion passed and the funds will be appropriated.

Under announcements Sevier County Economic director Lisa Taylor informed the quorum that 73 new jobs have been established in Sevier County within the last year and more businesses are on the way. The Sevier County Quorum Court meetings are always held the 2nd Monday of each month at 2:00 p.m. at the county courthouse.

CREATE BRIDGES KICK-OFF HELD AT UA COSSATOT MONDAY 02/12/19

Several local residents and leaders of Sevier County attended the Create Bridges Tourism Kick-off event at the Weyerhauser room at UA Cossatot in De Queen Monday night. The rally was organized by Lisa Taylor, Janet Cantrell, Suzanne Babb and Keisha McKinney.

The Create Bridges program is a regional effort designed to drive economic success in the Howard, Little River and Sevier County Regional area.   The event began with a meal provided by Tyson foods and opening words delivered by Lisa Taylor, Sevier County Economic Development Director. Sevier County Tourism Committee Director Keisha McKinney also spoke during the meeting to emphasize the importance of regionalism and actively pursuing efforts that will achieve growth for local businesses and drive tourism in the area.

A slide-show presentation was delivered by Julianne Dunn who revealed a step-by-step plan that has been established for pursuing the Create Bridges initiative. During the program Dunn had each table work together as a group in listing strengths specific to the local area as well as challenges and opportunities that exist in the community. The neutral location of Sevier County as well as the natural features of SouthWest Arkansas like lakes and Rivers were cited as strengths of the area but multiple groups agreed that declining industry and lack of entertainment and nightlife are challenges in the area. After the group work was completed an announcement was made by the Create Bridges leaders revealing that a Sevier County Slogan contest will be held through March 14th and is open to anyone 13 or older. The person who has their slogan chosen will win a $500 cash prize.

At the conclusion of the program Chamber Director Suzanne Babb spoke to the audience about the importance of why these economic initiatives are being made. Suzanne says “we are involved because this is where we live, work and play and we want our kids to grow up and if they choose, stay here with great job opportunities and a thriving economy. For that to be a reality we have to make that happen and for that to happen we have to all be united.”

$500 CASH PRIZE ANNOUNCED FOR WINNER OF SEVIER COUNTY SLOGAN CONTEST 02/12/19

The University of Arkansas Cossatot and the Sevier County Economic Development Tourism Committee are launching an official Sevier County Slogan Contest. The goal of the contest is to receive suggestions from Sevier County residents that would lead us to adopt a new promotional slogan, identifying icon and marketing concept for the Sevier County region.

During the past year, Sevier County residents have had the opportunity to participate in several surveys, community forums, and committee meetings with a common goal of planning for future economic growth in our region. The Sevier County Tourism Committee was formed as a result of this community planning process, and has been working to identify tourism assets in our county. In fall 2018, our efforts were awarded the opportunity to participate in the CREATE Bridges (Create Bridges – Celebrating Retail, Accommodations,
Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies) Tourism Development Initiative.

As community members work to develop our tourism products (lodging,
entertainment, retail, etc.), it has become evident that we need a vision for our future that includes a brand, or slogan, in order to market our region to potential tourists. The Sevier County Tourism Slogan Contest is expected to identify an appropriate brand.

All residents, and only residents, of Sevier County, are encouraged to complete an entry. Additionally, the contest guidelines include: must be a Current resident of Sevier County, must be 13 years of age or older, and
only one entry per resident. The committee believes this is a great opportunity for families to dream and be competitive. Each family member should complete an entry. They also encourage teachers, human resources departments, group leaders, and presidents of clubs throughout the county to encourage participation through competition.
When developing your idea for a Sevier County Tourism Slogan:

1) Keep it short and simple; 2) Focus on what makes Sevier County different and appealing to tourists; 3) Make it timeless; 4) Make sure it stands alone, without additional explanation; 5) Consider a specific target audience; and 6) Most important – get input from your family and friends. Once you decide on your slogan, go to www.cccua.edu/sevier to submit your entry no later than 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, 2019. Entries may be made in the English or Spanish version of the same form for entry in the same contest.
This is your chance to personally invest in the marketing and promotion of our community and the exciting days ahead! The winner of the contest will receive a $500 cash prize, so everyone is encouraged to participate;
lifelong residents and youth alike. For questions, contact the Sevier County Economic Development Director, Lisa Taylor at 870-279-5937, or
ltaylor@ccua.edu or contact Tourism Committee Chairperson, Keisha McKinney at
mckinneymediasolutions@gmail.com.

CREATE Bridges aims to strengthen economies in rural Arkansas by building capacity in retail, tourism,
accommodations, and hospitality sectors. This rally will provide opportunity for participants to discuss tourism
related strengths, challenges and opportunities in Sevier County.
https://www.uaex.edu/business-communities/strategic-planning/create-bridges.aspx

KRAV MAGA INSTRUCTOR VISITS ASHDOWN ELEMENTARY 02/12/19

Learning for Life, a career exploring program sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America, provided for Dana O’Neal, Krav Maga instructor of Texarkana to meet with third, fourth, and fifth graders at Ashdown’s L.F. Henderson Intermediate School.
 
Mrs. O’Neal taught the students skills to focus and not be distracted from their studies or goals.  She also told them they had the power to not let negative thoughts stay in their heads, that they had the power to only focus on the positive comments.   When negative comments were to come their way, they could “wad them up and throw them away”. 
 
Learning for Life utilizes programs designed for schools and community-based organizations that are designed to prepare youth for future success and to enhance their self-confidence, motivation, and self-esteem in future careers.
 
Linda Willis is the local Learning for Life Coordinator.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES ANNOUNCED 02/11/19
Last week the house voted to raise teacher salaries, increase a tax credit, and increase fines for distracted driving in school zones. HB1145, titled the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act, would raise the minimum teacher salary by $4,000 over the next 4 years.  The House voted 91-0 in favor the legislation.  The bill now heads to the Senate Education Committee.

The House also voted in favor of increasing the Homestead Property Tax Credit. HB1321 raises the credit from $350 to $375 a year. In a vote of 89-7, the House voted in favor of HB1182. This bill makes it a primary offense to use a handheld wireless device in a school zone.

Other legislation passing the House last week include:

HB1006-This bill raises the penalty for passing a stopped school bus.  It raises the minimum fine to $500 and the maximum fine to $2,000.

HB1246-This bill changes the date for run-off elections of county and municipal offices.  Currently, run-off elections are held three weeks following the date of the general election. This extends it to four weeks after the general election.

HB1225-This bill requires the Department of Human Services to post all the regulations and necessary information to start a child care facility in one central location on the agency’s website. This creates a one stop shop online in hopes of opening more childcare facilities in the state.

HB1128-This bill allows the Governor to call the Arkansas National Guard into active service to address cybersecurity threats.

HB1249-This bill allows the Department of Community Correction to donate the former site of the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center in Pine Bluff to a non-profit organization helping veterans.

In the upcoming week, the Governor is expected to address the tax cut proposal and hear more proposals regarding highway funding. Watch all committees and House floor proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

RESIDENT FINDS UNRESPONSIVE MAN IN DE QUEEN 02/11/19

A local resident called authorities to report an unresponsive man found lying in the road between KDQN studios and Bank Corp South in De Queen at approximately 9:30 a.m on the morning of Monday, February 11th.

Taxi Driver Nic Garza told KDQN that he noticed the man laying down on the ground while giving a passenger a ride on Collin Raye drive. Garza said he tried talking to the man to find out what was wrong but he did not respond so he called the local authorities. De Queen police officers and South West Emergency medical Services arrived on the scene within minutes.

An officer with De Queen police told KDQN they did not know the man's name or exactly why he was lying on the ground but when he eventually responded he said he thought he had broken his ribs. No cause as to why the man believed his ribs were broken was provided to KDQN.

Because the De Queen Medical Center is currently not accepting emergency patients at this time the Police transported the man to Dr. Randy Walker's office to receive medical attention.

A De Queen medical center representative confirmed the hospital is “under diversion” at this time and the staff has not received information about when they will begin accepting emergency-level patients again. To find out what services the De Queen Medical center is offering at this time call 870-584-4111.

More information will be reported as updates are provided.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS HOSPICE VOLUNTEERS NEEDED 02/11/19

A local health organization is actively seeking volunteers to help support Southwest Arkansas Hospice patients and their families.

Encompass Health is a nationwide company offering home health services as well as rehabilitation and hospice care to patients.
Locally the company is seeking residents who can donate their time to help provide support to individuals during their finals weeks and months of life.

Volunteers are needed to provide non-medical assistance for hospice patients in the Lockesburg, De Queen, Ashdown, Foreman and Texarkana areas at this time.

Examples of ways volunteers can help hospice families include:
-Helping care for family pets
– General office support
-Providing socialization and companionship
-Running errands for patients and families
-Assisting with housework
-Reading to patients
-Create a photo album for patient and family
– and playing games and reading to hospice patients

All volunteers are given options for the locations and ways in which they can provide support and time for patients. More detailed information about being a hospice volunteer for encompass health can be found online at encompasshealth.com

There is no deadline for volunteer submissions as support for patients is a recurring need. To become a volunteer in the Southwest Arkansas area today, contact local volunteer coordinator Latoya Farris by calling 870-773-2621 or email Latoya.Farris@encompasshealth.com

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD TO MEET TONIGHT 02/11/19

The De Queen School Board will meet for their regularly scheduled meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the school's administration building.

The agenda items include approving the previous meetings minutes, bills and discussing any old business needing to be re-visited.

In terms of new business items the board will discuss the approval or disapproval for the 2019-2020 school year calendar, approval or disapproval of the AIA contract and guaranteed maximum prices with Clark contractors. The board will also vote to approve or disapprove student transfers and an executive session will be held. The last items on the agenda include accepting of resignations and the discussion of arming teachers.

The public is welcome to attend the meeting.

MADDIE MARTIN CROWNED 2019 MISS DHS 02/11/19

17-year-old Maddie Martin was crowned the 2019 Miss De Queen High School on Saturday, February 9th at the DHS auditorium. Maddie is the daughter of Dr. Kenneth and Jennifer Martin. A member of the junior class, Maddie enjoys fishing, hunting, reading, signing and playing the piano and guitar. Maddie is an active member of the National Honor Society, FFA, Chapel Hill 4-H, as well as track and field and she is also a member of the Lady Leopards conference championship basketball team. She has received the Three Point Percentage award.

Maddie also won the People's Choice award at the pageant Saturday night as well as the talent portion of the competition for her vocal solo, “I'll never love again” by Lady Gaga. 2018 winner Halley Gentry crowned Maddie as the 2019 winner.

The first runner-up was Katelyn McDougal and the 2nd runner-up was Lizbeth Osura and the Miss Congeniality award went to Astrid J. Camarillo.

This year was the 42nd annual Miss DHS pageant as the competition originally began back in 1978. The theme for this year was “the world is your runway.” The pageant serves as a fundraiser for the junior class in paying expenses for the cost of prom.

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY AWARDS BANQUET    02/08/19

The Little River County Chamber of Commerce held their annual Membership and Awards Banquet on Thursday, February 7, 2019 in the Barbara Horn Civic Center on the UA Cossatot Ashdown Campus.

Several hundred people were present to enjoy the steak or chicken dinner, entertainment provided by the Ashdown Drama Club, and visit with their friends.

Awards presented included:  (Click here to view photos)
Foreman Teacher of the Year – Teresa Crenshaw
Ashdown Teacher of the Year – Connie Anderson
Business Renovation – The Weathered Rooster
Small Business of the Year – McIver Abstract & Title
Large Business of the Year – Justin Time Transportation
School, Community or Non-Profit Organization of the Year – Skills USA Team
New Construction – Davis Pecans & Justin Time Transportation
Best Business Themed Table – Pleasant Manor Nursing Home
Most Beautiful Table – Little River Nursing & Rehab
Clayton Castleman Public Service Award – Glen Ray Bowman
Steve Pearce Citizen of the Year – Courtney Pullen

 
DE QUEEN FIRE DEPARTMENT PUTS OUT TWO GILLHAM FIRES IN ONE WEEK 02/08/19
The De Queen Fire Department responded to two calls in the Gillham Area of Sevier County, Arkansas last week. On Wednesday, January 30th around 2:48 p.m. a grass fire was reported at a residence on King Road. The De Queen Fire Department served as mutual aid for the Gillham Volunteer Fire Department by responding with 11 firefighters and one truck within 10 minutes of being dispatched to the scene. The official cause of the fire was not listed in the department's report but no injuries were reported.

The 2nd fire extinguished last week was reported around 8:47 a.m. on Friday, February 1st. DQFD assisted the Gillham department as mutual aid and arrived on the scene with eight responders and two trucks by 9:01 a.m. The fire was called in by the owner of the home on Van Zant Road. The type of incident described in the De Queen Fire Department's report is a water heater fire. The situation was contained by 9:49 a.m. and no injuries were reported.

LOCKESBURG MAN CATCHES POSESSION CHARGE AT EZ MART THURSDAY MORNING 02/08/19

A Sevier County man is facing felony charges for possession of a controlled substance after a Sheriff's deputy observed suspicious behavior in the parking lot of the EZ Mart in Lockesburg this week. According to a police report by the Sevier County Sheriff's Department, Deputy Greg Harper, stopped at the EZ Mart on Thursday, February 7th around 3:35 in the morning. Harper reported noticing a white pickup truck parked outside. A man identified as James Horn of Lockesburg and a woman later identified as Susan Nolte were occupants of the vehicle.

Harper noted in the report that Horn was showing strange behavior and was moving “frantically” in the driver's seat, which caused Deputy Harper to believe it that Horn was under the influence of an illegal substance. Harper contacted the EZ Mart store and spoke with an employee who told the deputy the truck had been parked in the spot for “a while.”

Upon making contact with Horn, it became apparent to Deputy Harper that he was under the influence and asked Horn to exit the truck. The report states that Harper saw Horn throw a glasses case into the floorboard of the driver's seat.

Harper also requested the female passenger, Nolte to exit the vehicle and she complied. After speaking to Nolte, Harper asked Horn if there was anything illegal in the truck and Horn reportedly told him he didn't have anything on him and just wanted to go home.

Upon searching the vehicle Deputy Harper found two plastic bags with a white substance believed to be methamphetamine. Horn was placed under arrest and advised of his Miranda Rights. Horn also reportedly admitted the methamphetamine belonged to him. The truck was released to Nolte and Horn was transported to the Sevier County Jail where he was turned over to the on duty jail staff for booking procedures. Horn had a court appearance Thursday, February 7th at the Sevier County Courthouse where the judge issued a $5,000 bond.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/08/19

With a vote of 91-0, the House passed a bill titled the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act.

HB1145 brings the minimum starting teacher salary from $31,400 to $36,000 over the next 4 years. The bill includes the entire salary schedule.  We’ve posted it on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

Currently, there are 168 schools in the state paying the minimum salary.

The House also passed HB1321 which increases the homestead property tax credit from $350 to $375.

The House passed SB153 which enhances the Right to Read Act.  This bill would require public schools and open-enrollment public charter schools to include a literacy plan in their annual school level improvement plan.  The plan would have to include curriculum and professional development aligned with the literacy needs of that school and based on the Science of Reading initiative. This bill also requires the Arkansas Department of Education to make a list of material and resources available that are supported by the Science of Reading.

The House Public Health, Welfare, and Labor committee voted to advance HB1302, An Act to Create the Red Tape Reduction Collective Rulemaking Act of 2019. This bill creates a process by which similar agencies could submit rules and regulations collectively which would serve to expedite process.  It would help ensure that agencies needing to respond to new legislation for occupational licensing do so in a timely manner.

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

 

TRAP SHOOT FUNDRAISER FOR UAHT SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 02/08/19

The 12th Annual University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana “Pulling for Education” Trap Shoots will be held on March 8 and 9, 2019 at the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Conservation Education Center located at 1685 Hempstead 35 Rd N, Columbus, AR 71831. Two trap shoots will be held again this year. Details for each shoot are listed below.

COMMUNITY TEAM SHOOT
Friday, March 8, 2019 • 9:00 a.m.
Community Team Registration Form

  • 3 Man Teams
  • $300 Per Team
  • Gun Raffle
  • Lunch provided by Farm Credit Services

SCHOOL TEAMS SHOOT
Saturday, March 9, 2019 • 8:00 a.m.
School Team Registration Form

  • 45 Team Limit; FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED
  • 5 Man Teams
  • Jr. High Team $50 / 1 Round
  • Sr. High Team $100 / 2 Rounds
  • Gun Raffle
  • Concessions Available

All proceeds from the event benefit the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Foundation scholarship funds. For more information, call the UAHT Foundation at 870-722-8516.

CONGRESSMAN WESTERMAN ANNOUNCES LOCAL MOBILE OFFICE DATES 02/08/19

U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman will be hosting mobile office events in counties across Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District during the month of February. During these meetings, his staff will be available to help Arkansas residents with a wide range of issues, including Social Security benefits, Veterans Affairs claims, Medicare/Medicaid, international adoption, visas and the IRS. No appointments are necessary. Local mobile office dates and times will include

Polk County Mobile Office

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – 1:30pm
Polk County Courthouse
507 Church Avenue
Mena, AR 71953

Sevier County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 11:00am
Sevier County Courthouse
115 North 3rd Street
De Queen, AR 71832

Little River County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 12:45pm
Little River County Courthouse
351 North 2nd Street
Ashdown, AR 71822

Hempstead County Mobile Office

Thursday, February 21, 2019 – 2:45pm
Hempstead County Courthouse
400 South Washington Street
Hope, AR 71801

AGFC TO HOLD TOWN-HALL STYLE MEETING FOR ALL HUNTERS AND ANGLERS IN ARKANSAS 02/08/19

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a special “A Conversation with Commissioners” town hall style meeting from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19 in the AGFC auditorium at 2 Natural Resources Drive in Little Rock. The public is invited to come ask the Commissioners questions and learn more information about the agency’s work.

Commission Chairman Ford Overton proposed the meeting to offer Arkansans additional opportunity to voice any issues and have an open forum for public input into areas where the Commission should look deeper.

Overton said. “With Facebook, Twitter and social media in general, we are able to hear many more viewpoints, but we want to offer this opportunity for face-to-face contact as well to ensure everyone has a chance to speak about issues they may have.”

The meeting will have no particular agenda, only the opportunity for participants to speak freely about conservation, fishing, and hunting in The Natural State.

Find out more at AGFC.com

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES ANNOUNCED 02/07/19
In a vote of 95-0, the full House voted in favor of HB1296.  This prohibits an occupational licensing board from revoking a license specifically for a defaulted or delinquent student loan.

The House Insurance and Commerce Committee advanced SB113.  This would transfer the responsibilities and duties of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace to the Arkansas Insurance Department. The Insurance Commissioner has stated the agency can handle the duties of the marketplace at a lesser cost which could reduce fees for those buying insurance on the marketplace.

The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced SJR3.  This resolution seeks to apply to the United States Congress to call a convention of states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the United States Constitution under the provisions of Article V. The resolution states the proposed amendments would be limited to imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limiting terms for members of congress.

The House City, County, and Local Affairs Committee advanced HB1174. This amends the civil service system law concerning the age of eligibility.  Upon approval from the individual city board, this lowers the age of eligibility for firefighters from 21 to 18.

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL TALKS ATTENDANCE, IMAGINATION LIBRARY AND FIESTA FEST AT FEBRUARY MEETING 02/07/19

The De Queen City Council met for their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 5th at city Hall in De Queen.

Mayor Jeff Brown, City clerk Donna Jones and all 6 members of the council were present for the meeting. After Alderman Lofton lead the prayer and the pledge of allegiance was recited Mayor, Jeff Brown opened up the floor for public comments.

Economic Development Director Lisa Taylor took the floor and announced the upcoming forum for the Create Bridges program that will be held on Monday, February 11th at the Weyerhouser room of UA Cossatot De Queen campus. The meeting will discuss ways to recruit new businesses for Sevier County and push established businesses to the forefront of the community.

Another issue discussed during Lisa's time on the floor was the talk of a master plan for the city of De Queen. Lisa says a master plan for the city would allow updates to zoning laws which would help create new opportunities to satisfy housing needs in the area.

The next item on the agenda was to approve the minutes from the January 15th meeting. The council agreed to table the minutes approval until the next meeting which will take place February 19th.

The Council has also been in discussion about establishing official guidelines for alderman attendance requirements. No formal attendance rules have previously been set in place and the council decided certain exceptions for meeting participation should be considered, including vacations days, sick days and family obligations. A workshop will be held after the next meeting and rules will be established.

In the new business category the topic of the annual Fiesta Fest was addressed. Dustin Roberts, Erika Buenrrostro and Daniel Martinez attended the meeting to propose a partnership between UA Cossatot and The City to bring the festival to a new location. The college has suggested moving the fest from the UA Cossatot amphitheater to downtown De Queen in front of the courthouse. The council agreed to consider the college's proposal and will add the topic to the next meeting's agenda.

Representatives from Imagination Library also attended the meeting to announce the success of the Sevier County Chapter. ZZ Kamruddin told the council that the local chapter is considered among the top programs in the state as roughly 40 local businesses have donated to the chapter and enough funding has been generated to back the children's literacy program for a full year.

(Imagination Library Sevier County Chapter pictured with De Queen Mayor, Jeff Brown at the February 5th City Council meeting. Imagination Library provides children up to age 5 with one book a month for literacy development support.)

The last item on the agenda was a discussion about Ennis building in Downtown De Queen. The building is currently in need of remodeling as a recent engineer report revealed numerous issues with the wiring, plumbing and several structural features in need of being replaced. A pending roof replacement project has been cancelled as mayor Brown says the construction would be costly and the building itself needs additional work. Mayor Brown says a public hearing has been scheduled with the Southwest Arkansas planning and Development district to address the topic of an infrastructure grant. The topic of historic site registration for the building has been proposed as well.

The next De Queen City Council meeting will be held February 19th at 5:30 p.m. in city Hall.

ARKANSAS TOURISM WEBSITE WINS NAJTA AWARD 02/07/19

Arkansas Tourism was recently selected as a bronze award winner in the 2018 North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards Competition. The award recognizes the official travel website for the state, Arkansas.com. The site won in the category of visitor’s guide (printed or digital)/website.

This NATJA competition, now in its 27th year, honors the best of the best in travel journalism, photography and destination marketing that cover all aspects of the travel industry.  Submissions reflect major publications, renowned journalists, and influential bloggers from across the globe.

“The winners are a microcosm of the talent, creativity and journalistic excellence that encapsulates our industry leading members,” said Helen Hernandez, CEO, NATJA. “As our membership continues to grow so do the submissions of the accomplished pool of those who work in the travel industry—raising the competitiveness and prestige of the annual NATJA Awards.”

For more information about NATJA or a complete list of 2018 award winners and honorable mentions, visit www.natja.org.

NEW FARM BILL AIMS TO HELP ARKANSAS LAND OWNERS 02/07/19

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law on Dec. 20, offers renewed hope for conservation-minded landowners who are looking for ways to benefit wildlife habitat on their property without drastically losing production revenue from farming or other agricultural land uses.

While much of the bill supports subsidies and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, roughly $5 billion has been earmarked for conservation funding in the next five years.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission actually receives very little funding, if any, through grants related to the Farm Bill. Instead, this money goes to programs to benefit private landowners who want to restore and maintain wildlife habitat on their property. Only 13 percent of Arkansas is publicly owned land.

One of the most notable additions to the new bill for Arkansas landowners is the establishment of a pilot program to help combat feral pigs on private land. The program will receive $75 million over the next five years to help landowners with trapping and using modern technology to control feral hogs causing damage to their crops and land. With hogs causing and estimated $1.5 billion in crop loss and damage annually, more landowners are looking for help with the best methods to remove nuisance hogs in large enough numbers to reduce damage to property and wildlife.

Another area of the 2018 Farm Bill Colclasure is particularly interested is the continued  funding available for the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Improvement Program. This program is similar to other Natural Resource Conservation Service programs that enable landowners to receive compensation for habitat development on their property, but it goes a step further in adding a monetary incentive for landowners to allow public access for hunting on enrolled acres.

Landowners interested in learning more about how Farm Bill Programs such as CRP, EQIP and the Wetland Reserve Program should contact their local private lands biologist, available atwww.agfc.com/privatelands. These biologists can perform site visits and prescribe methods to create excellent wildlife habitat on marginal cropland or other property and can assist qualifying landowners with their application for grants and cost-share programs such as those outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill.

 

BROKEN BOW CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNUAL BANQUET TO BE HELD THIS MONTH 02/07/19

The Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce will host the 64th Annual Chamber Banquet and Silent Auction.  The banquet will be held: Thursday, February 28th 6:30 p.m.  the Family Life Center behind 1st Assembly of God Church.

Tickets are $25.00 each and can be purchased at the chamber office or from any of the chamber board members. The 2019 board members are Patrick Williams, Sharon Payne, Wenda Blankenship, Rene Latta, Donald Watson,  April Roberts,  Leah Sanders,  Alana Hiner, Kim Kennedy,  Jazmin Pola,  Kendra McIntyre and Jeremy Jewell.

Entertainment at this year's banquet is Broken Bow High School's the very talented Alorany Villalobos, who will be singing.

Awards to be presented at this year's banquet will be as follows:

  • Citizen of the Year
  • Heritage Award
  • New Business of the Year
  • Small Business of the Year
  •  Organization of the Year
  • Business of the Year
  • Community Appreciation Awards

Everyone is invited to attend.

Another activity planned for the evening will be a silent auction.   Anyone who would like to donate an auction item can drop it by the chamber or contact us and we will arrange to have the item picked up.

For more information call Charity O'Donnell, Chamber Director, at 580-584-3393.

 

ARVEST BANK DONATES TO DE QUEEN FIRE DEPARTMENT FOR NEW EQUIPMENT PURCHASES 02/06/19

The De Queen Fire Department has purchased equipment that will help the firefighters put out fires more efficiently and quickly detect safety issues thanks to a donation made by the local Arvest bank, De Queen Branch. Each Arvest location is provided with funds that are set aside to be donated to local organizations in the community every year. Patti Boone of Arvest bank told KDQN that the De Queen branch chose to allocate their funding to The De Queen. Fire Department and the Imagination Library, Sevier County Chapter.

The donation amount of $5,000 was originally presented to the De Queen Fire Department last year during a grand opening celebration of the Bank's De Queen location on October 29th and the funds were recently put towards the purchase of two positive pressure ventilation fans as well as a set of V-watches.

De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt explained how the fans will pressurize a house and push the fire in the appropriate direction which will help the department control flames.The purchase of the V-watches will help detect hot power lines and identify danger in the event of storm damage and car accidents.

Chief Pruitt explained that the equipment can be costly and he says the department is appreciative that Arvest reached out them and offered the generous donation. In addition to new equipment, the De Queen Fire department is also seeking new volunteers and currently has one full time job opening available for a qualified applicant age 21 or older. For questions, contact Chief Pruitt at 870-584-7224.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/05/19
More than 600 bills have been filed and several bills are now making their way to the Governor’s desk as we enter the 4th week of the 2019 Regular Session.

In a vote of 70-18, with one member voting present, the House passed SB17. This reduces the fees for a concealed carry permit. This Senate bill is identical to the House version, HB1036, which passed last week. It reduces the application fee from $100 to $50 and then lowers the renewal fee from $35 to $25. This bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

The House also passed HB1249. This bill allows the Department of Community Correction to donate the former site of the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center in Pine Bluff to a non-profit organization helping veterans.

According to testimony, there are currently 1,200 veterans serving a sentence in the Department of Correction. This new facility would help veterans re-enter society after their sentence is served. The new facility is expected to create 100-150 new jobs for the region. HB1249 passed the House with a vote of 95-0.

In a vote of 88-0, the House passed legislation changing the date for run-off elections of county and municipal offices. Currently, run-off elections are held three weeks following the date of the general election. HB1246 extends it to four weeks after the general election.

The House voted in favor of HB1128. This bill allows the Governor to call the Arkansas National Guard into active service to address cybersecurity threats. The Governor can currently call the guard into active service in cases of invasion, disaster, public health emergencies, or training purposes.

The House will reconvene on Tuesday at 1:30 pm.

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL BEAUTY PAGEANT 02/05/19

On Thursday, January 31st, the Ashdown High School Journalism Department sponsored the Miss AHS Beauty Pageant themed “Black Tie Affair” as part of their annual fundraising effort. AHS Journalism is sponsored by Ms. Julie Sheppard.

The pageant was led by emcees Colyn Grimes and Brylee Haskins. Fifteen Ashdown High School girls competed in the pageant as they hoped to be named one of the Top Four AHS Beauties.  Contestant include:  Kaylee Welborn, Bailee Whitehead, Breonna Parker, Ashlynn Johnston, Paxton Parker, Emma Wrinkle, Chloe Young, La’Nyce Hemphill, Liza Embry, Railee Schmidt, Ebony Hawkins, Davina Gaines, Blair Gentry, Deniyah Hemphill, and Treija French.

After the opening dance number was performed and the contestants prepared for the evening wear part of the competition, Emma Gamble performed a dance to “Here I Come” and AHS Student Amy Newton sang “Rise Up”.

2018 Miss Photogenic Ansleigh Patrick presented the 2019 Alisha Proksch Photogenic Competition Winner to Chloe Young and the Top 8 Contestants were announced and each answered a question that they randomly selected.  The Top 8 were:  Kaylee Welborn, Ashlynn Johnston, Paxton Parker, Emma Wrinkle, Chloe Young, Ebony Hawkins, Davina Gaines, and Treija French.

Miss Congeniality 2019 Railee Schmidt was announced and the 2018 Miss AHS winners were presented for their final walk.  They were Aliyah Anderson, Autumn Hoffman, and Ansleigh Patrick. The 2019 Miss AHS Beauties are:   Ebony Hawkins, Treija French, Emma Wrinkle, Paxton Parker

PIKE COUNTY SCHOOLS HIRE NEW SUPERINTENDENT 02/05/19

During a special called meeting on Monday, the South Pike County School Board approved Brad Sullivan of Hot Springs as the new superintendent on a 5 to 2 vote. He accepted the position following the meeting. Board President Steve Conly said Sullivan is being hired on a two year contract.

Both Sullivan and Bill Lee were interviewed during an executive session. Sullivan will replace current superintendent Roger Featherston at the end of the school year, who was not involved in any of the hiring process.

Sullivan currently serves as the Education Renewal Zone Director at Henderson State University, where he works with 16 school districts. He has spent the last 24 years as a school administrator, also previously serving for four years as assistant superintendent of Fountain Lake schools.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES 02/06/19

The House Education Committee advanced several bills including HB1145, the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act.  This bill raises the minimum teacher salary by $4,000 over the next 4 years.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced HB1321. This bill increases the Homestead Property Tax Credit from $350 to $375 a year.

The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee advanced HB1362, which would transfer $300,000 in surplus funds from the Marketing Recyclables Program Fund to the Used Tire Recycling Fund. This will allow the program to accept bids for the collection and processing extra-large tires such as those used on tractors and farming equipment.

In a vote of 89-7, with 1 member voting present, the full House voted in favor of HB1182.  This bill makes it a primary offense to use a handheld wireless device in a school zone.

The full House also passed HB1006 which raises the penalty for passing a stopped school bus.  This bill raises the minimum fine to $500 and the maximum fine to $2,000.

Committees will meet Wednesday morning at 10am.  The full House will meet at 1:30 pm.

 

CHAMBER DIRECTOR NOTIFIES LOCALS ABOUT NEW SCAM 02/06/19

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce Director Suzanne Babb has announced a new telephone solicitation scam that has been circulating in the local area recently.

Multiple phone calls have been placed to local residents from scam artists claiming to represent the chamber and requesting people buy ads for a new map of the city that is being produced. Suzanne verified that this is not connected with the local chamber in anyway and local residents and chamber members are encouraged to disregard the phone call. Scams can be reported to the Arkansas attorney general, Leslie Rutledge through information provided at arkansasag.gov and Chamber information confirmed through Suzanne Babb at 870-584-3225

RDA TALKS HOUSING AT FEBRUARY MEETING 02/06/19

The Sevier County Rural Development Authority (RDA) met Tuesday afternoon at 12;00 p.m. in the Tres Agaves board room on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot. Members in attendance were Gary Golden, Dick Tallman, Ray Wilson, Crystal Rankin, and Chair Dr. Steve Cole. The group briefly took up new business by approving the minutes and the most recent financial report and voting to hire New Growth Solutions to perform grant research, looking for economic development funding opportunities for RDA and Sevier County.

The main conversation during the meeting centered around new housing development in Sevier County. For this conversation, the RDA was joined by Lisa Taylor, Director of Economic Development for Sevier County, John Baxter, of Baxter Family Investments, Trey Gage, Housing Specialist for Simmons Bank in Fort Smith, and Eddie Halter, plant manager of Pilgrim’s Pride in De Queen. The focus of the discussion was how this community could leverage resources to provide attractive investments for single-family dwellings in Sevier County, citing that this is one major way to improve our local industry employee pool and grow the economy.

According to John Baxter, “There is real opportunity for affordable housing in Sevier County, and with groups like the RDA, the City of De Queen, and the County all pulling the same direction, this can really work. The beauty of the model I would propose for Sevier County is that all the construction is performed by local sub-contractors, which is another plus for the economy”.

After the group heard Halter’s concerns for our area to have more family housing opportunities, it was agreed that Baxter would develop some scenarios where affordable single family dwellings could be built in Sevier County. A driving force behind these conversations is that industries like Pilgrim’s Pride offer jobs that pay $12 and $13 dollars per hour, but for employees to relocate here, there needs to be affordable housing. This same scenario applies to all existing and perhaps future industries. During the discussions, RDA Chair Dr. Steve Cole mentioned that for any economic development plan to work, even housing, there must be a broad-based steady stream of funding or efforts like these would tend to fade with time. The meeting adjourned agreeing to revisit housing at their next meeting.

SERGEANT FINDS DRUG PARAPHERNALIA NEAR LOCKESBURG MONDAY 02/06/19

A Sevier County man is facing Felony Drug Paraphernalia charges after a traffic stop was conducted by the Sevier County Sheriff's Department near Lockesburg Monday.

A report from the Sheriff's Department states that Sergeant Greg Davignon was patrolling on Highway 71 when he noticed a small white vehicle pull over and turn on emergency flashing lights. The driver was identified as Ambrocio Shomo. Shomo reportedly told the sergeant he stopped because he was having trouble seeing and the patrol unit lights were bright.

The report states that Davignon requested a warrant check on the vehicle plates from the dispatcher and found Shomo to have an active warrant in the city of De Queen. Shomo reportedly exited the car and cursed at the sergeant, asking “what the f*** is the deal?” Davignon explained the warrant had been revealed and requested the suspect place his hands behind his back multiple times.

In the report, Sergeant Davignon noted making contact with female passengers in Shomo's vehicle who were identified as Rylie Gonzalez and Sarah Rosas. While speaking with the women the sergeant reported noticing a smell consistent with marijuana. After removing the keys from the ignition and placing them on the hood Davignon reported the suspect cursed at him again, saying “d*** white boy.” The sergeant reportedly told the suspect that he could be charged with disorderly conduct for using the curse words in public.

Upon conducting a search of the car Sergeant Davignon noted finding a black backpack in the trunk with the smell of marijuana coming from it. Inside the bag Davignon reported finding a glass pipe with white residue consistent with methamphetamine. Gonzalez reportedly claimed the backpack and its contents belonged to Shomo. Shomo was advised of his Miranda rights and when questioned about the backpack he reportedly acknowledged that it belonged to him but claimed the pipe belong to “dope heads” he used to live with.

Inside the backpack Davignon also reported finding two burnt marijuana roaches and a metal marijuana pipe. Shomo was transported to the Sevier County Jail where he was charged with possession, class D felony. He will go to court at the next available date.

HOWARD COUNTY ACCIDENTS CLAIM TWO LIVES THIS MONTH 02/04/19
Two fatal accidents occurred in Howard County over the weekend. The first accident took place on Friday evening at 9:40 on Highway 278, east of Nashville. According to the Arkansas State Police, twenty-six-year old Gambino Martinez of Nashville was the driver of a 2011 Dodge vehicle, which was traveling eastbound. The vehicle veered off the right side of the roadway and collided with a tree. Martinez was pronounced deceased by Howard County Coroner John Gray at Howard Memorial Hospital. Trooper Antonio May investigated the accident.

The second fatal accident happened early Sunday morning on state highway 84, north of Umpire. That single vehicle accident killed a Wickes resident and injured four others. According to an Arkansas State Police preliminary report, the accident occurred when the 2019 Chevy Traverse, headed westbound, ran off the right side of the roadway then over-corrected to the left and crossed both lanes of traffic. The vehicle then overturned several times before coming to rest. A passenger, 19 year old Rachel Rada Mae Norman of Wickes was pronounced deceased on scene by Howard County Coroner John Gray at 6:10 a.m. The driver, 21 year old Chance Austen Manasco of Cove, and three minors who were passengers were injured and taken to Mena Regional Health System and Children’s Hospital. Trooper First Class Mason Glasgow investigated the accident.

CITY OF HORATIO TO CONDUCT SMOKE TESTS THIS WEEK 02/04/19

Mayor Rich Dorsey has announced the city of Horatio will be conducting smoke tests on the sewer system this week.

The tests will begin today, Monday, February 4th on Bourkeslough and will continue in various parts of Horatio throughout the week.

Residents are advised to not be alarmed by seeing the smoke, as Mayor Dorsey says the smoke is not hazardous and the city is conducting the test to try and find leaks in the plumbing.

For questions or concerns contact the city of Horatio by calling 870-832-2511.

LOCAL WOMAN FACING ASSAULT CHARGES AFTER INCIDENT IN LOCKESBURG 02/04/19

A Sevier County woman is facing charges for assault on a family member after deputies responded to a call in Lockesburg Thursday afternoon. A report from the Sevier County Sheriff's department says the resident contacted authorities to report that she had been assaulted with a knife by her daughter Thursday, January 31st at her home on Highway 71 South.

The reporting party informed the deputies that the suspect, Katelyn Brewer  left the scene in a Gray Ford Escape after the incident occurred. Deputies Wendall Randall and Matt Webb reportedly patrolled the area in search of a car matching the description given. The car was located nearby with a pit-bull dog in the front of it but was otherwise unoccupied. A wrecker service was called to impound the vehicle and an interview with the victim was conducted to collect additional information about the incident.

The victim told deputies the altercation occurred earlier that day at her Lockesburg home. The sheriff report states that the victim found her daughter, Katelynn Brewer asleep inside the vehicle when she arrived home from work about 7:30 a.m. that morning. Brewer reportedly asked to use the reporting party's phone and for gas money. The report says the victim told Brewer she had no money on her but would meet her at a gas station to put gas in the vehicle. Brewer reportedly cursed and screamed at the victim and also began shoving her and exhibiting “physically aggressive” behavior in various parts of the home.

The victim told Deputies she attempted to keep Brewer off of her by trying to hold her hands. Brewer reportedly told the victim she would kill her as well and removed a knife from her pocket and threatened again to kill her and also burn the house down. Brewer reportedly grabbed a sheet from the closet and began cutting it with the knife and told the victim she was going to tie her up and duct tape her.

The victim told deputies she tried to get away from the suspect by going through the bedroom to a door that leads outside but was drug to the floor and continued to struggle to get away from Brewer.

The report states that Brewer said “why don't I just kill myself” and allegedly took the knife to her forearm and proceeded to drag the blade down her arm in a slicing motion then began hitting her self in the face in an attempt to make it appear as though she had been assaulted by the victim. The suspect reportedly continued to threaten the victim as she ran to a neighbors house where she contacted the Sheriff's Department.

While searching the yard of a neighboring residence the cut up sheet was located along with items belonging to Brewer. Brewer was taken into custody following a traffic stop conducted in De Queen by Police Officer Doug Johnson. On Friday, February 1st Wendall Randall reported interviewing Brewer at the Sevier County Sheriff's Department. Brewer opted to speak with an attorney prior to telling her side of the story in regards to the incident. Katelynn Brewer was booked into the Sevier County Jail for aggravated assault on a family member.

HOPE COLLEGIATE ACADEMY ENROLLING NOW 02/04/19

The Hope Collegiate Academy is a partnership between the Hope Public School District and the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. The goal of the academy is to provide students with a three-year curriculum that allows them the opportunity to complete a high school diploma and an associate degree simultaneously.

Students who will be entering the 10th grade can apply for the program now through April 1, 2019. Students must be enrolled or be eligible to become enrolled as a Hope Public School student and meet the collegiate academy entrance requirements to attend. The academy is a public school that is free of charge and is located on the University of Arkansas Hope campus.

Students must submit the collegiate academy application and college entrance scores by April 1, 2019. To apply, visit  http://www.uacch.edu/collegiate-academy/.

For questions about eligibility or a paper application, contact Mikki Curtis at mikki.curtis@uacch.edu or 870-722-8133.

ASHDOWN STUDENT TAKES FIRST PLACE AT TRACK MEET IN FAYETTEVILLE 02/04/19

Congratulations to Vincent Jones on winning 1st place in shot put at the Indoor Track Meet in Fayetteville.

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INDIAN TACO FUNDRAISER FOR INJURED TROOPER 02/04/19
 
An additional fundraiser has been planned to help offset medical expenses for the family of injured Arkansas State Trooper Corporal Clayton McWilliams who was hurt in a crash while en route to the scene of an accident in Sevier County last month.
Melodie Clemmons of Little River Nursing and Rehab is organizing an Indian taco fundraiser to be held Thursday, February 7th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m at 162 HWY 32 in Ashdown. Melody says the fundraiser will also help the family with monthly bills and expenses as well as travel costs while McWilliams recovers at a facility in Houston, Texas.
 
Orders can be made ahead of time and delivery for the fundraiser is available by calling 870-898-5101.

SAT GRADUATION CEREMONY HELD IN DE QUEEN THURSDAY 02/01/19

Hundreds of local residents gathered at De Queen First Assembly of God church for the Sevier County Jail's Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program graduation ceremony Thursday, January 31st.

The ceremony marked 6 graduations since the program launched two years ago and 23 total graduates were recognized Thursday evening. There were 13 of the participants who graduated into after care and 10 were recognized for their one-year after care completion. A series of community leaders attended the graduation to speak to the graduates and provide content for the ceremony.

Former razorback football player Muskie Harris served as the program's speaker at the banquet held prior to the ceremony. Hattie Vance of the celebrate recovery group facilitated the ceremony and introduced each speaker.During the service, words were delivered by Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry, Jail administrator Chris Wolcott, Sergeant Greg Davignon, Representative Dee Ann Vaught, Counselor Shaun Higgins as well as both past and current graduates.

(Former Razorback Football Player Muskie Harris pictured with KDQN News Director Murriel Wiley. Markie runs MHRS monitoring and rehab center in Little Rock and spoke at the RSAT graduation banquet Thursday, January 31st in De Queen. )

Sheriff Robert Gentry gave opening remarks for the ceremony during which he described Sergeant Greg Davignon as one of the best drug enforcement agents in the county. Gentry asked Davignon to address the attendees and speak about his experiences with the RSAT program. During his remarks, Davignon admitted to doubting the program at the start of it's launch but later came to support it. “I was wrong,” Davignon admitted, “I was dead wrong.” The nine year veteran of law enforcement told the audience he came to recognize that the solution for the drug problem in the community is to “curb the demand” as prison does not beat addictions.

Both Sheriff Gentry and Representative Vaught noted that De Queen has gained state-wide attention from other communities for the success in rehabilitating inmates in the jail system through the RSAT program. Jail administrator Chris Wolcott leads the program and says that the local community benefits from the program as rehabilitated inmates are able to contribute positively to their families and the area workforce after working with the program. Wolcott also noted that volunteers contribute to the program's success.The celebrate recovery group meets at DQ first assembly of God Church at 6:00 p.m. on Fridays. For more information contact Joe and Hattie Vance by calling 870-584-3435.

ARKANSAS LEGISLATION UPDATES ANNOUNCED 02/01/19

The House has now completed the third week of the Regular Session.

Today, the House Public Transportation Committee passed HB1006.  This bill increases the minimum fine for passing a stopped school bus from $250 to $500.  It also makes the offense a Class A misdemeanor.

The same committee advanced HB1182 which allows law enforcement to stop a driver using a handheld device in a school zone. The Public Health committee also advanced HB1296 and HB1317.  HB1296 ensures occupational licensing boards do not revoke licenses solely based on delinquency of student loan payments. HB1317 gives Office of Medicaid Inspector General access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

The Judiciary Committee advanced legislation including HB1233. This bill clarifies for community corrections that a probationer's probation begins upon judge issuing verdict.

The House Education Committee advanced HB1021 and HB1020.HB1021 requires newly elected school board members to receive training and instruction on how to read and interpret an audit report in their initial training.

HB1020 allows school districts to consider out of state school experience when considering teacher salary schedule.

The full House passed several bills including HB1012.  This bill authorizes the issuance of a Purple Heart recipient special license plate to a surviving spouse.

The House also passed HB1100. This bill gives a veteran more options to prove his or her veteran status when they go the DMV for a license.  This designation makes it easier on veterans to receive access to benefits.

The House passed HB1239 which updates what is included in a search for a parolee’s residence.  Currently, law enforcement officers and probation officers are not allowed to search an out-building or garage.

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

PILGRIM'S EMPLOYEE CELEBRATES 59 YEARS WITH COMPANY 02/01/19

Last month, Pilgrim's Pride employee Gene Leathers, Sr., accomplished a milestone with the company as he celebrated 59 years of employment with the Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation. The near six decades of experience makes Leathers the longest-employed team member the company has at the Nashville/De Queen complex.

To recognize the achievement, Pilgrim’s threw Leathers a party with cake and ice cream, and also hosted a meeting with officials from a Pilgrim's internal Kickoff Meeting in Charlotte, N.C. Company leaders gave him a round of applause and an award for his long-term commitment to the company.

Plant manager Randy McClellan said “We at Pilgrim’s are proud to have you in our work family and we look forward to working beside you for many more years.”

Pilgrim officials reported that Leathers has been a model team member for 59 years, contributing greatly to the company and inspiring others to be as dedicated as he is to the success of our complex.

Management also expressed thanks to Gene for his hard work and dedication over the last several decades, and wished him many more years of continued success.

LOCAL WOMAN CHARGED WITH DISORDERLY CONDUCT 02/01/19

A Sevier County resident has been charged with disorderly conduct following a report of her being in possession of a weapon while walking on a local highway.

Reports from the Sevier County Sheriff's Department say on Tuesday, January 29th, Deputies Krystin Reed and Wendell Randall were dispatched to Highway 71 in response to calls concerning a woman identified as Belinda Golston. Upon arriving on the scene, officers reported patrolling the area but initially did not locate the suspect on site. Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle and the deputies went by an address on Highway 27, where they made contact with Jody Wilson, who reportedly informed the deputies that Golston was located inside the home.

Deputy Randall reportedly questioned Golston about what had happened and she did not respond. He noted observing two rifles behind a butane stove in the home.

Reports say Deputy Dowdle removed the riffles and took them outside. When Deputy Reed asked Golston what happened and she reportedly stated that she had a gun and was going to kill her nephew for lying to her.

Golston was transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center for an evaluation. Deputies reported that multiple officers have responded to calls involving Golston recently. Deputy Randall reported that Nurses from the hospital evaluated Golston's medical needs and attempted to contact several mental health facilities to find a place that could take her but had no success.

Golston was transported to the Sevier County Jail where she was charged with disorderly conduct. A court date has been set for February 26th at the Sevier County Courthouse.

ADDITIONAL TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR HOPE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANQUET 02/01/19

Due to the overwhelming response to the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce annual banquet, tickets for the dinner portion of the event have sold out. President Bill Clinton will be the keynote speaker at the event. The chamber and the University of Arkansas-Hope Texarkana have revised the event to allow more people to attend. The annual meeting and awards presentation will follow the dinner and Clinton will speak in the auditorium of Hempstead Hall. Tickets are $21 and must be purchased in advance. The banquet will be held on April 6th at 6:30 p.m. in Hope. Call 870-722-8565 or visit hempsteadhall.com for more information.

NURSING EXPO ANNOUNCED AT UAHT 02/01/19

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT) will hold a Nursing Expo for Employment and Education on April 3, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Hempstead Hall on the Hope campus. All professional nurses (PN, RN, & APRN) and nursing students are invited to attend. The event will offer employment recruitment for professional nurses and nursing students, exposure to educational institutions offering programs to further education and vendors that offer a variety of quality products.

Employers, educational institutions, and vendors from the Ark-La-Tex region and beyond can reserve booth space at the Nursing Expo. Booth space for the event is $50. If you would like to reserve booth space at the Expo, please click on the link below and complete the booth space form. Deadline for reserving booth space is March 15, 2019.

Booth Space Form: https://goo.gl/7oV1Lg