Local News Archive

Apparent homicide in Waldron under investigation     11/30/22

WALDRON – The Arkansas State Police is investigating an apparent homicide that occurred in Waldron over the weekend.

According to authorities, deputies with the Scott County Sheriff’s Office and troopers with the state police responded to a home at 293 Ross Creek Road in Waldron where a witness reported a shooting around 8:45 that evening.

The body of Eldder Santiago Bautista, age 33, was found unresponsive inside the home. Bautista had been shot in an apparent homicide. His body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an official determination on the manner and cause of death.

Later that evening, authorities located a man carrying a rifle near a wooded area near the home. He was arrested and identified as Luis Gabriel Olivares, age 33. Authorities stated that Olivares was believed to be staying inside the residence where Bautista was found.

Olivares is being held for questioning by the state police special agents at the Scott County Jail. No formal charges have yet been filed in the case.

March trial date set for De Queen man suspected of shooting two sons     11/30/22

DE QUEEN – A March trial date has been set for a De Queen man charged with shooting his two sons – one fatally – during an incident earlier in November.

According to court records, 66-year-old Armando Arce of De Queen is scheduled to appear before the Sevier County Circuit Court on March 2 of next year for a pre-trial hearing. Arce has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder stemming from an incident that occurred the evening of Nov. 8. If he maintains his not guilty plea, a trial is currently scheduled for March 15.

According to the De Queen Police Department, officers were dispatched the night of Nov. 8 to 223 Bobby Lane on the north side of De Queen in reference to a double shooting. Upon arrival, officers found two men suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. Both men were transported for emergency medical treatment. Authorities stated one of the victims died en route to the hospital. The other was released following medical treatment.

Arce developed as a suspect in the case. A manhunt for Arce began that evening and he was apprehended near the residence less than 24 hours later.

Arce was identified as the father of both victims.

Bail has been set at $1,000,000.

If convicted, Arce could face up to 40 years or life in prison for the first-degree murder offense.

KDQN recognizes DQTV interns for 2022 football season     11/30/22

Top Row L-R: Greg Revels, Jay Bunyard, Beau McCastlain, and Jennifer Higgins
Seated: Dayton Newberry and Carson Prewett

DE QUEEN – De Queen Leopards football play-by-play announcers Jay Bunyard and Greg Revels, along with Bunyard Broadcasting, Inc. Regional Sales Manager Jennifer Higgins, presented a check Tuesday to De Queen School District Communications Director/Television Production Program Director Beau McCastlain for the KDQN/DQTV partnership on the live video streaming of Leopards football games this fall. 

De Queen High School student broadcast interns Dayton Newberry and Carson Prewett also received internship checks from the Arkansas Broadcasters Association for their production efforts on the live video stream project. KDQN and Bunyard Broadcasting, Inc. are active members of the ABA. 

Bunyard, Revels, Higgins, and McCastlain thanked the KDQN/DQTV sponsors for their support of the project: Southern Home Furniture & Interiors, De Queen Auto Group, Tri-Lakes Realty, Kawasaki of Idabel, Discount Tire & Alignment, Pruett’s Foods, Outlaw BarBQ, Bristow Custom Metals, Southwest Arkansas Accounting Services, Simply Chiropractic, Don’s EZ Pay, Diamond Bank, Sevier County Farmers Cooperative, Health Care Express, Southeast Feed, and Twisted Tines Outfitters. 

The KDQN/DQTV live video streaming project continues into basketball season. 

Friendship Baptist Church hosts 11th annual Thanksgiving Day meal     11/29/22
Members of Friendship Baptist Church in De Queen hosted their 11th annual Thanksgiving Day meal on Nov. 24. Over the past decade the church has provided thousands of meals to area residents on Thanksgiving Day.

DE QUEEN – Thanksgiving Day began wet and cold, but the weather didn’t stop one local church from completing its mission of feeding hundreds of people in its community who otherwise may have gone without a good Thanksgiving meal.

Friendship Baptist Church in De Queen hosted its 11th annual Thanksgiving Day meal giveaway on Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day. Over the past 11 years the church has fed thousands of people on Thanksgiving Day. That has included families, homebound senior citizens and on-duty first responders.

Misty Burke is a member of Friendship Baptist Church and has helped organize the meal giveaway since its beginning 11 years ago. She said members arrive at the church early Thanksgiving morning to prepare meals and that the planning process begins months in advance.

“For 11 years our church family has met up here, some of us start getting here at 6:30-7 in the morning,” said Misty.”Way before the meal, we start talking and praying about it, usually about September or October.”

Misty and fellow Friendship Baptist member Mary Ida Pearce said some members of the community greatly anticipate the meal giveaway as an opportunity to fellowship and eat a great meal.

“We go door-to-door at the senior apartments about a week before Thanksgiving to make sure they don’t have plans,” she said. “I have one gentlemen who said he’s been waiting for us all year. It’s just a blessing to be able to do this.”

Several of the church’s men had the challenging job of cooking – and taste testing – the chicken for Thanksgiving Day.

“To be able to come together as a church family and be able to serve the community, it just brings us all together,” said Pearce.

Chris Burke has helped organize the event for the past 11 years. He said the entire church hopes the event provides just not a meal for members of the community but a chance to be with others on Thanksgiving Day.

“We love coming up here and cooking for everyone,” said Chris. “We have a number of people in our community who are older or who don’t have family around here. We started this to give them an opportunity where they could eat with us and just fellowship with somebody on Thanksgiving Day. We hate for anyone to be alone on Thanksgiving.”

Chris said the church would not have imagined 11 years ago the event would provide as many meals as it does now each year. Before COVID, the church was providing as many as 500 meals on Thanksgiving Day. That’s dipped some in 2020 and 2021 but is starting to get back this year to those pre-pandemic numbers.

“The first year, we were so excited, and we had maybe 10 to 12 people show up and around 80 meals delivered,” said Chris. “Then, before COVID hit, this exploded to where we were delivering over 500 meals on Thanksgiving Day. We’re slowly getting back to the pre-COVID numbers. You just don’t realize everyone that’s in need or who would normally go without on Thanksgiving.”

The meal is now a tradition not just for the church, but for the community as well. No doubt, you’ll see members of Friendship Baptist Church spending their Thanksgiving next year sharing those blessings with anyone who needs them.

HWSP to host Christmas & Candlelight Dec. 9-10     11/29/22
WASHINGTON – Historic Washington State Park is gearing up to host its annual Christmas and Candlelight historic event in December.

Park staff will line the streets with candles to provide a natural and historic Christmas look. Decorations, music and more will help set the mood for a historic Christmas experience. The homes of Historic Washington will be adorned with period decorations and thousands of luminaries will be lit during the evening hours.
The park will host its 36th annual Christmas and Candlelight on Dec. 9-10. Candlelight tours will be held from 1-8 p.m. both evenings. Music will be played in the churches and the the 1940 WPA Gym starting at 5 p.m. Williams’ Tavern Restaurant will also be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for a Christmas buffet. Carriage rides will be available and the gift shop is scheduled to be open.

Cost to participate in this year’s Christmas and Candlelight is $10 for adults and $6 for children six to 12-years-old. Children under six get in for free.

The event is sponsored by Historic Washington State Park, the Pioneer Washington Restoration Foundation and the townspeople of Washington. Historic Washington State Park is located 19 miles from Nashville on Highway 278.

KCS Holiday Express coming to Ashdown, Mena and Texarkana next week     11/29/22
ASHDOWN – The 2022 KCS Holiday Express train will return to the rails for the first time since the start of the pandemic in 2020. This year, the festive, six-car holiday train with intricate displays inside and out will bring Santa Claus and his elves to visit children and families in 20 communities in eight states, including here in Southwest Arkansas.

In addition, the KCS Holiday Express project will continue its tradition of charitable giving to The Salvation Army.

KCS is thrilled that we can once again run the Holiday Express train and stop in communities along our rail network,” said president and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “We are grateful to the many donors who continued to support the virtual Holiday Express program over the last two years, and look forward to another successful fundraising campaign to help The Salvation Army help people who need it most during the holiday season.”

This year’s schedule includes stops in Texarkana from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Dec. 5; in Ashdown at 4 p.m. on Dec. 6; and Mena on Dec. 7 beginning at 4 p.m.

Over 21 years, the charitable component of the KCS Holiday Express project has raised well over $2.6 million.

The KCS Holiday Express was built on the tradition of the Santa Train, which ran on a segment of the network bought by KCS in 1997. In 2000, a group of warm-hearted KCS employees noticed that the Santa Train was the only Christmas some kids had, and that some kids did not have essential items like coats, hats and gloves, so they committed to elevating the project. In 2001, volunteers transformed a retired freight train to the KCS Holiday Express experience that thousands enjoyed for 19 years prior to the start of the pandemic.

In the first 19 years, the KCS Holiday Express train stopped in 20 or more communities in five or six states between Thanksgiving and Christmas. At each stop, visitors could board the train, meet Santa and his elves and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train. These events return in 2022 after not occurring the previous two years. The KCS Holiday Express is free to the public at all of its stops.

Sevier County CFS seeking community’s help in providing Christmas to foster kids     11/29/22

With the holiday season here, the Sevier County Department of Human Services is once again organizing its annual project to provide gifts to all area foster children in-need.

The agency is seeking the community’s help in ensuring all foster children in Sevier County receive a gift this Christmas.

In total, the department is providing serves to 67 Sevier County children in need – up from 43 last year. Officials estimate that figure will raise to 75 by Christmas.

Organizers are asking anyone interested to contact them starting this week to request a child or children to sponsor this Christmas. The Department of Human Services will provide volunteers with information specific to each child. Gift cards are also welcome.

Organizers are asking sponsors to stay in the $150 range for this gift program. Sponsors can be matched with a partner to lessen the burden on individuals.

Those participating in the gift program are asked to turn their gifts in by Dec. 16.

For more information, contact the Sevier County Children and Family Services staff at 279-1731.

National Weather Service: severe weather possible Tuesday     11/28/22
DE QUEEN – The National Weather Service is issuing a Hazardous Weather Outlook ahead of a chance for severe thunderstorms on Tuesday for De Queen and the surrounding area.

The outlook, issued for Southwest Arkansas, Southeast Oklahoma and Northeast Texas, states showers and thunderstorms are expected to increase across the region Tuesday ahead of a strong upper level disturbance into the Mississippi Valley.
Warm and humid air is expected to quickly spread into the region on Tuesday, helping fuel a potentially increasing threat for strong to severe thunderstorms. Damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes are all possible. The threat of severe weather will diminish Tuesday evening in advance of a strong cold front that will move through the region overnight.
Currently the chance for severe thunderstorms in the listening area is 40 percent. The high tomorrow is expected to be 71 with that quickly cooling to a low of 35 Tuesday night ahead of that cold front.

Christmas music now playing on 102.1 “The Good Path”     11/28/22

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is just around the corner. In anticipation of this most wonderful time of year, our sister station, 102.1FM “The Good Path,” is now playing non-stop Christmas music so tune in to hear all of your favorite Christmas classics.

Need a little help getting into the Christmas spirit? Well, we here at KDQN Studios are here to help. Ranging from Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole to Mariah Carey and Paul McCartney, 102.1 has the music to help you enjoy that Christmas spirit.

So tune-in whether you’re traveling around the listening area or just enjoying some relaxing at home. It’s that most wonderful time of year, and let us help you sit back, relax and enjoy the Christmas holiday with all your favorite classics.

Lions Club radio auction set for Dec. 5 & 8     11/28/22

DE QUEEN – The annual De Queen Lions Club radio auction will be held on Monday, Dec. 5 and again on Thursday, Dec. 8 starting at 5 p.m. both evenings. Tune in to #1 Country 92.1 to bid, buy and support the Lions Club during it s annual two-day radio auction fundraiers.

Bid by calling First State Bank of De Queen at (870) 642-4423. Pick up and purchase your items at First State Bank in De Queen. Area merchants have donated a lot of great merchandise this year, and all proceeds go towards the many worthwhile De Queen Lions Club projects.

State Rep. Vaught weekly update: Supporting local businesses during holiday shopping season     11/28/22

By State Rep. DeAnn Vaught

When you choose to shop at a small business you are choosing to invest in your community. It is estimated that for every $100 spent in a local business, $68 recirculates and remains in the local economy.

Local businesses are owned by people who live in your community. They donate to local causes and employ local people. In fact, 47.2% of employees in Arkansas work for a small business.

Saturday, November 26 was Small Business Saturday. It’s a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.  There are more than 260,000 small businesses in Arkansas. These businesses employ close to 500,000 Arkansans.

More than 43% of small businesses in Arkansas are owned by women. Veterans own 9.1% of small businesses and minorities 13% of small businesses in the state.

These owners took a chance on their dreams. As a result, the employees are more likely to be personally invested in the products or services they are selling. That often means they can provide more specific product expertise and a personalized shopping experience.

Whether it’s handcrafted jewelry or vintage furniture, locally-owned businesses are also more likely to offer unique merchandise.

The Arkansas General Assembly continually review proposals to make it easier to open and sustain small businesses. In recent years, we’ve reduced the red tape on licensing procedures, lowered taxes, and improved infrastructure. As we approach the 2023 Regular Session, supporting our small businesses will continue to be a priority.

Your small purchase this holiday season can make a big difference. Our small business owners are still emerging from a challenging economic time in our history. And while Small Business Saturday is over, there’s still plenty of time to support your local businesses – and perhaps never before has it been more important to shop local throughout the holiday season.

State Rep. Vaught weekly update: Supporting local businesses during holiday shopping season     11/28/22

By Sevier County Head Librarian Johnye Fisher

We all hope you had a wonderful time for Thanksgiving, with lots of Thanks, and Giving special time with family and great food.

Sevier County Library System’s annual Mister Roger’s Neighborhood Sweater Drive and Food for Fines was a great success this year thanks to our wonderful community partners, patrons of the library, and citizens of the county!

An early Merry Christmas from all the staff at Sevier County Library System.

Our mailbox is up inside the library for letters to the North Pole. So get those kiddos in here so they can get those letters sent to Santa.

Our Cocoa with Mrs. Claus will be December 17th at 11 am. Carolyn will have great Christmas Story Time, fun and Mrs. Claus will be here. There might even be a special guest come if he isn’t too too busy!

 

Remember we have the LIBBYAPP if we do not have a book on our shelves. You can follow the instructions to download the libbyapp from our Facebook.com/seviercountylibrary or simply go to your play store on your device. Remember you must search “Arkansas Digital Library Consortium” and hold a valid library card to browse our selection. For more information, you can call 584-4364

 

Catherine at Horatio Library Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying this special time of the year with your family. If you are in town for the Horatio Christmas Parade, please come by the library. For the first 22 kids, we will have surprise book bags. Candy, small games and books for your kids. On December 13th our library dog, Dusty, will be here to see everyone. He can’t wait to see everyone. He wants us to play Bingo. Sounds like fun to me. There will be snacks for everyone and treat bags also. Looking forward to seeing everyone. The Horatio Library hours will change Dec. 1: Tuesday 8:30 – 12:00 and 1:00 – 5:30 Thursday 8:30 – 12:00 and 1:00 – 5:30 Saturday 8:30-12:30. For more info call Catherine 832-6882.

The Lockesburg Library has two events planned in December. On December 3rd the monthly Pokemon Club meeting from 10-11:00. Stop by and bring 5 or 6 cards to trade that your parents have okayed. Members don’t forget your food items for the Blessing Box in town.


There will be Christmas book, games and activities throughout December with the theme, “A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas’. As always homeschool families are always welcome and appreciated here at the library. For more info call Mz. Wendy 870-289-2233

Rhonda at Gillham Library says that they hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Holiday!  The library will be having a Christmas program on December 17th at 11:00. Ms. Sherry will read a book on “How to Catch a Reindeer” and Santa will drop by to check on the kids and hand out treats. So remember to come by and listen to a story and see Santa December 17th at 11 am. We have several new books, “The Final Hunt” by Audrey Cole, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid Diper Overlode” Jeff Kinney, “Going Rogue” by Janet Evanovich. New DVD’s  are Rumble, Mack & Rita Remember we are Open Tuesday 9-1, Friday 1-5 and Saturday 10-2. Call Rhonda, Freda or Mr. Bob at 386-5665 for more information.

Sevier County Quorum Court lays out plan for next interim county judge pick    11/23/22
DE QUEEN – Sevier County officials laid out their plan this week for the transition of the office of county judge.
The interim position is currently held by Dick Tallman. Tallman was appointed by the Sevier County Quorum Court in September following the passing of Sevier County Judge Greg Ray in late August.
During the quorum court’s meeting on Monday, Tallman officially announced he would resign from the interim county judge position effective Jan. 10, 2023. His resignation will leave an opening for the next four year term, scheduled to begin Jan. 1 of next year.
Tallman previously served as the elected county judge for Sevier County between 1996-2010.
As Ray was running unopposed for the office, state law required the quorum court to appoint an individual to fill the position of county judge for the 2023-2026 term. On Monday, the quorum court announced a scheduled organizational meeting on Jan. 3 to go through resumes it receives for the office. The quorum court plans to officially declare a vacancy on Jan. 9 and appoint the next interim county judge that day.
Angie Walker, a justice of the peace on the Sevier County Quorum Court, stated the plan is designed to incorporate the decisions of the newly-elected quorum court. Four of the quorum court’s nine justices of the peace are newly elected and will begin Jan. 1 – Walter Smith, Callie Efrid, Michael Barnes and Scotty Morris.

The next election for the office of Sevier County Judge is scheduled for the fall of 2026.

Sevier County Medical Center grand opening set for Dec. 2    11/23/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Medical Center will host a grand opening ceremony on Friday, Dec. 2 to officially inaugurate the new and long-awaited hospital.

Officials and dignitaries will gather at the hospital, located several miles north of De Queen on Highway 71, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 2. The grand opening ceremony will include tours of the brand new Sevier County Medical Center for the public as well as a ribbon cutting by the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce.

Special guest speakers are also scheduled and refreshments will be served during the event. Hospital officials are welcoming the entire community to come out and welcome the brand new $24 million facility.

Sevier County voters approved a one-percent sales tax increase several years ago to fund construction of the new hospital following the closure of the De Queen hospital in 2019.

The facility was scheduled to open earlier this year but construction delays forced officials to postpone the opening to December.

Thanksgiving closures in Sevier County    11/23/22
DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Courthouse is reminding the public that the courthouse, county landfill and all satellite waste stations will be closed this Thursday and Friday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
All Sevier County Libraries will be closed Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the holiday. The Sevier County Landfill and all county satellite stations will reopen with regular hours on Saturday, Nov. 26.
The courthouse will reopen to the public on Monday, Nov. 28.
De Queen City Hall will also be closed this Thursday and Friday in observance of Thanksgiving Day. The trash schedule for this week is as follows:
Thursday and Friday’s trash will be picked up on Wednesday.

Your Number One Country Studios will also be closed this Thursday and Friday. From all of us here, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Friendship Baptist hosting Thanksgiving meal tomorrow    11/23/22

DE QUEEN – Friendship Baptist Church here in De Queen is hosting a Thanksgiving meal giveaway tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day. This is the 11th year for the church to host its Thanksgiving meal for those in need.

Meals will be served beginning at 10:30 tomorrow morning and will continue through 12 noon.

Deliveries will be offered to homebound individuals in both De Queen and Horatio as well as first responders working Thanksgiving Day in Sevier County.

The meal will include grilled chicken donated by Tyson Foods, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and dessert.

The church anticipates it will give away between 250 and 300 meals this Thanksgiving. That means, over the past 11 years, the church has fed more than a thousand people on Thanksgiving Day.

Anyone wishing for a Thanksgiving Day meal delivery on Nov. 24 can call (870) 279-0507 or (870) 847-0439. Organizers ask that when you call you please provide your name, address and how many meals are needed. 

Cooking a delicious – and safe – Thanksgiving turkey    11/23/22

The traditional Thanksgiving meal revolves around the turkey, and food safety is a must to make sure holiday celebrations go off without a hitch.

Kristen Gibson, director of the Center for Food Safety, part of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, weighed in with some basic tips to keep the Thanksgiving feast safe. Her first piece of advice was to avoid washing the turkey.

Once your turkey is thawed, most people want to get rid of the slimy feeling on the turkey by rinsing it in the sink,” Gibson said. “By doing that, you’re creating a really great situation for potential cross-contamination. Not only are you potentially spreading pathogens in your sink, but a lot of water can splash out that you don’t see.”

Gloving up

She recommends dabbing the turkey with paper towels to dry the skin and properly disposing of the paper towels in the trash can. Gibson also warned about the dangers of handling the turkey while preparing other foods for the holiday meal.

You want to be sure your hands are properly cleaned before and after you touch the raw turkey,” Gibson said. “Wearing gloves may help further protect against potential cross-contamination, but you still need to wash your hands before putting gloves on.”

Be sure to change gloves and dispose of dirty pairs in between contact with the raw turkey.

Cooking by the numbers

Once the turkey is cooking, the most important thing to remember is temperature, Gibson said.

The breast should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and dark meat should reach 170 degrees Fahrenheit,” Gibson said. “You want to make sure you temp it in several spots and do it correctly. Most experts recommend going in at an angle rather than straight down to get into the meat instead of the cavity.”

She said simply cutting the turkey open and eyeballing the meat to determine whether it is fully cooked isn’t a reliable method because looks can be deceiving.

Storing leftovers

After the meal has been eaten and cleanup commences, do not forget about the turkey.

Don’t leave the turkey on the counter for several hours so people can pick on it throughout the day,” Gibson said. “Put it in the fridge so that it’s stored at the correct temperature.”

For more tips on Thanksgiving food safety, check out this blog post    from White County Family Consumer Science agent Katie Cullum.

The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station is the research arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

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

U.S. Navy hosts keel-laying ceremony for next USS Arkansas    11/23/22

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Senior Navy leaders, members of Congress, and shipbuilders gathered at Newport News Shipyard (NNSY) on Saturday to attend a keel-laying ceremony for the future Virginia-class submarine USS Arkansas (SSN 800).

SSN 800 will be the fifth naval vessel to bear the name Arkansas. The original Arkansas was a Civil War-era screw steamer. In 1902 an Arkansas-class monitor, one of the last monitors in the U.S. Navy, was commissioned with the same name. The third Arkansas, a Wyoming-class battleship, was commissioned in 1912. The fourth, which saw service from 1980 until 1998, was a Virginia-class nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser.

The new submarine’s sponsors are, in fact, the six women of the Little Rock Nine. In a 1954 landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled racial segregation of schools as unconstitutional. Three years later, nine African-American children were the first people of color to attend Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, a previously all-white campus. President Dwight D. Eisenhower would eventually federalize the Arkansas National Guard to protect the students during their integration. The Little Rock Nine, as they came to be known, have spent their lives advocating for quality education.

Per Navy tradition, shipbuilders welded the six women’s initials onto steel plates that will be affixed to the ship. The men of the group were also honored during the ceremony.

With advances in sound silencing, acoustic sensors, and weapons delivery systems, Arkansas will traverse the world’s oceans and seas as an Apex Predator,” said Vice. Adm. Bill Houston, Commander, Naval Submarine Forces. “Representing our asymmetric advantage in the undersea domain, Arkansas will have no equal.”

Arkansas will be the 27th Virginia-class submarine. Boats in this class are the most advanced attack submarines in the world, with superior stealth, firepower and maneuverability than previous classes.

For more information about the Virginia-class attack submarine, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/virginiaclass/

Christmas parades scheduled for Dec. 3 in Horatio, Lockesburg and De Queen    11/22/22
DE QUEEN – It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in Southwest Arkansas.
Decorations are already beginning to pop up in yards and windows and the good folks on North Ninth Street near De Queen are setting up their annual neighborhood display. That Christmas feeling is definitely in the air.
But if you need a little help getting in the spirit of the season, you won’t have to look far with a number of Christmas-themed parades just around the corner.
Next weekend, on Dec. 3, communities in Sevier County will be hosting their parades ahead of the Christmas holiday. The day will begin with the annual Christmas parade hosted by the City of Horatio at 1 p.m. through main street in Horatio. Parade entries will have a chance to win prizes, including $100 for first place, $75 for second and $50 for third.
Horatio’s parade will be followed by the City of Lockesburg’s Christmas parade at 3 p.m. Following the parade, the city will host its first annual Christmas at the Park at the Ida Margret Coulter Stone Park. Tickets for people’s choice may be purchased at City Hall for $1. Children’s activities at the park will include a train ride, free hot chocolate and a showing of the Polar Express movie. Santa will be set up at Southern Bancorp for pictures. Parade prizes will be presented at Southern Bancorp following the parade.
Area residents are invited to wrap up the day with the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas parade around the Sevier County Courthouse square in downtown De Queen. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. with vendors and activities around the square. The parade will begin at 6 p.m.
For more information and to register a parade entry, contact the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce by emailing dqchamber@gmail.com or by calling (870) 584-3225.

Little River Courthouse lighting ceremony is tonight    11/22/22

ASHDOWN – Tonight, the 31st annual Lighting of the Little River Courthouse is planned for 6 p.m. Everyone is invited to come by the Little River Courthouse tonight to view the lighting of the courthouse as well as performances by carolers from the Two Rivers Museum. Also scheduled to perform are students from Ashdown Elementary, Marty Lansdell and Bradley Music Studio. Hot chocolate and refreshments will be provided.

The ceremony, hosted by the Little River County Chamber of Commerce, will also include a presentation of the 2022 Land of Lights Pageant winners along with other fun activities for the family.

De Queen Mayor to host tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 2    11/22/22

Next Friday, Dec. 2, De Queen Mayor Jeff Brown will host the city’s second annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Herman Dierks Park in De Queen. The event begins at 5 p.m. and everyone is invited to come by for the lighting of the Christmas tree at Herman Dierks Park. Hot cocoa and other refreshments will be served.

Schedule announced for Santa House in De Queen    11/22/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Chamber of Commerce has also released its schedule for Santa’s appearance in De Queen.

He’ll be in town to meet with local kids and take photos on Dec. 3 immediately after the De Queen Christmas parade.

Other appearances include on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 2-4 p.m., Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon and from 2-4 p.m., Dec. 21 from 3-5 p.m., Dec. 22 from 3-5 p.m., Dec. 23 from 3-5 p.m. and for a final day on Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Ashdown native establishes endowment at UofA    11/22/22

(Photo courtesy of UofA)

FAYETTEVILLE – A former Little River County resident and her husband recently created a new endowment for the University of Arkansas to help promote Arkansas’s next generation of engineers.

The Sharon D. Booth McGee and Chad C. McGee Endowed Scholarship was created with a $50,000 endowment, and the couple will make additional gifts over time to increase the number of scholarships that can be awarded, according to the University of Arkansas.

Sharon, who grew up in Ashdown, and her husband, Chad, who is also from Arkansas, both hold undergraduate and graduate degrees from the U of A.  Sharon earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in chemical engineering from the College of Engineering, and Chad earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and Master of Public Administration with a focus on information systems. 

The scholarships are intended to recruit talented graduates from Ashdown High School or Viola High School who choose to major in the College of Engineering at the U of A in Fayetteville and to supplement other awards to bridge funding gaps. The first scholarships will be awarded for students entering the university for the Fall 2023 semester. 

The endowment will provide at least two freshman scholarships with a minimum award of $1,000 per recipient or one freshman scholarship with a minimum award of $2,000 and continue to grow in amount or number of awardees over time. 

Sharon Booth McGee currently serves on the Board of Directors of Tetra Technologies Inc., an industrial oil and gas products and services company that is evolving its business model by expanding into the low-carbon energy markets.

Thanksgiving closures in Sevier County    11/22/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Courthouse is reminding the public that the courthouse, county landfill and all satellite waste stations will be closed this Thursday and Friday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

All Sevier County Libraries will be closed Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the holiday. The Sevier County Landfill and all county satellite stations will reopen with regular hours on Saturday, Nov. 26.

The courthouse will reopen to the public on Monday, Nov. 28.

De Queen City Hall will also be closed this Thursday and Friday in observance of Thanksgiving Day. The trash schedule for this week is as follows:

Thursday and Friday’s trash will be picked up on Wednesday.

Your Number One Country Studios will also be closed this Thursday and Friday. From all of us here, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Harvest Food Bank announces campaign to address hunger during holidays    11/22/22

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. But for many of our neighbors, this isn’t good news.

Rising prices are causing incredible economic strain in Southwest Arkansas and Northeast Texas and many families are bracing for a Thanksgiving without the traditional meal. Once again, moms, dads, and worried children have just one thing on their holiday wish list: Food.

Organizers with the Harvest Regional Food Bank stress that members of the public can help make that wish come true.

Through a donation drive now under the way, Harvest Regional Food Bank is hoping to put food on the table for families in need this holiday season. Through its various partnerships, every $10 donated will help provide 55 meals to families facing hunger.

Just imagine a Thanksgiving without the food and joy that makes the day special. Imagine an empty table, and a quiet house full of sadness and worries.

That’s the reality families are facing in our community this holiday. Harvest Regional Food Bank is reaching out to the community to help address that need.

For more information on how to donate, visit harvestregionalfoodbank.org.

The mission of Harvest Regional Food Bank is to alleviate hunger in southwest Arkansas and northeast Texas through food distribution and education. Through its network of food pantries, soup kitchens and support organizations, the agency assists over 60,000 food insecure individuals in our region each year.

Sevier County Hospital nearing opening date    11/21/22
Construction is entering its final stages for the Sevier County Medical Center. (Photo courtesy of Bartek Recon)

DE QUEEN – Christmas is just around the corner and Sevier County is set to receive the best gift it could this year – a brand-new hospital.

Officials with the Sevier County Medical Center said on Thursday that construction of the $24 million facility is nearing completion. The final touches are being placed on the hospital in preparation of its big grand opening.

Sevier County Medical Center CEO Lori House mentioned that, if you’ve recently been by the hospital site just north of De Queen on Highway 71, you’ve seen a nearly complete facility.

“If you drive by the hospital right now, all the landscaping is almost complete and it’s just gorgeous,” said House. “It looks like a hospital now. From our standpoint, it’s completely ready. The construction crew is putting the final touches on it right now. We have everything in and ready to go.”

It’s been an exciting time for those behind the drive to build a new hospital for Sevier County after the closure of the De Queen Hospital in 2019. It’s easy to forget that the county has been without 24-hour healthcare for more than three years.

That’s set to change soon once the Sevier County Medical Center opens its doors later this year. The process of opening the new hospital was, naturally, met with a few delays. COVID and the economic consequences it caused were no small part in the delay of the hospital’s opening. Then there was a major theft of construction materials from the site in the spring that set back construction. Other construction-related delays took their toll on the opening date.

There was one factor which did not force a delay – and it’s a surprising one given that this is, after all, Southwest Arkansas.

“The weather has been very kind to us. It’s one thing we haven’t really had to worry about,” said House.

Hospital officials also announced that the Safe Haven Baby Box has been installed and will be available beginning with the hospital’s first opening date. The baby box, as regulated by Arkansas state law, allows mothers to anonymously surrender their a child up to 30 days old for adoption through the foster care system. Jim Smith of De Queen spearheaded the effort to see the hospital incorporate the baby box in hopes it will save the lives of future newborns.

Hospital officials agreed to incorporate the baby box as it will be the only 24-hour emergency facility in the county.

“The baby box is complete and the sidewalk leading up to it is complete,” explained House. “We are following all the guidelines and standards. There are no cameras in that area so if someone does feel the need to surrender a baby, they can know that their identity is protected.”

Stacy Dowdy, Chief Nursing Operator for the new hospital, detailed how the baby box will work.

“It goes off weight, so when they place the baby in the box, it cannot be opened again from the outside,” said Dowdy. “An alarm goes off in the hospital, nurses are notified and they’ll get the baby. The baby will be taken to the ER and checked out to make sure it’s healthy.”

Until the doors of the new hospital actually open, the public is invited to learn more about the facility and its services – as well as apply for any final positions – by visiting www.seviercountymedical.com.

CRHS collects over 700 lbs of food during collection drive    11/21/22

Members of the Cossatot River High School NHS chapter stand next to the items collected during a food drive held this month. In total, the group collected 760 items to distribute through the campus food backpack program.

WICKES – Organizers behind a recent food drive at Cossatot River High School say the effort was a huge success.
Over the past few weeks, members of the Cossatot River High School’s National Honor Society have been challenging their fellow classmates to bring in canned goods to benefit the district’s campus backpack program. To help encourage participation, the group offered a day off from school as a prize to the class who brought in the most items.
With just over 600 items donated, the sophomore class earned the prize and was able to enjoy one extra day of Thanksgiving break on Friday, Nov. 18.
A total of 760 items were brought in through this year’s food drive at Cossatot River High School.
The backpack food program offers families free groceries for weekends and school breaks to help address local food insecurity.
Cost of Thanksgiving meal up by 20 percent in 2022    11/21/22
Spending time with family and friends at Thanksgiving remains important for many Americans and this year the cost of the meal is also top of mind. Farm Bureau’s 37th annual survey provides a snapshot of the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10, which is $64.05 or less than $6.50 per person. This is a $10.74 or 20% increase from last year’s average of $53.31.

The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs more than last year, at $28.96 for a 16-pound bird. That’s $1.81 per pound, up 21% from last year, due to several factors beyond general inflation. Farm Bureau “volunteer shoppers” checked prices Oct. 18-31, before most grocery store chains began featuring whole frozen turkeys at sharply lower prices. According to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service data, the average per-pound feature price for whole frozen turkeys was $1.11 the week of Nov. 3-9 and 95 cents the week of Nov. 10-16, a decline of 14% in just one week; and the share of stores offering feature prices rose from 29% to 60%. This means consumers who have not yet purchased a turkey should be able to find one at a lower cost than the Farm Bureau average.

General inflation slashing the purchasing power of consumers is a significant factor contributing to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” said AFBF Chief Economist Roger Cryan. General inflation has been running 7% to 9% in recent months, while the most recent Consumer Price Index report for food consumed at home reveals a 12% increase over the past year.

Other contributing factors to the increased cost for the meal include supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine,” Cryan said. “The higher retail turkey cost at the grocery store can also be attributed to a slightly smaller flock this year, increased feed costs and lighter processing weights.” Cryan said the supply of whole turkeys available to consumers should be adequate this year, although there may be temporary, regional shortages in some states where avian influenza was detected earlier this year.

Farmers are working hard to meet growing demands for food – both here in the U.S. and globally – while facing rising prices for fuel, fertilizer and other inputs,” said Cryan.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

We should not take our food supply for granted,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Supporting sustainable productive agriculture in the U.S. and globally is imperative. As many of us gather with family and friends for a special meal, it’s a time for giving thanks and doing our part to help those who can’t afford a big holiday feast,” he added.

State and local Farm Bureaus across the country have strong partnerships with local food banks and I’m proud of their collective efforts to help ensure no one goes hungry.”

In recognition of changes in Thanksgiving dinner traditions, the Farm Bureau price survey also includes ham, Russet potatoes and frozen green beans, in an expanded holiday menu. Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost by $17.25, to $81.30. This updated basket of foods also increased in price (up 18%) compared to 2021.

This year’s national average cost was calculated using 224 surveys completed with pricing data from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers checked prices in person and online using grocery store apps and websites. They looked for the best possible prices without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986. The informal survey provides a record of comparative holiday meal costs over the years. Farm Bureau’s classic survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Individual Prices

  • 16-pound turkey: $28.96 or $1.81 per pound (up 21%)
  • 14-ounce bag of cubed stuffing mix: $3.88 (up 69%)
  • 2 frozen pie crusts: $3.68 (up 26%)
  • Half pint of whipping cream: $2.24 (up 26%)
  • 1 pound of frozen peas: $1.90 (up 23%)
  • 1 dozen dinner rolls: $3.73 (up 22%)
  • Misc. ingredients to prepare the meal: $4.13 (up 20%)
  • 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix: $4.28 (up 18%)
  • 1 gallon of whole milk: $3.84 (up 16%)
  • 3 pounds of sweet potatoes: $3.96 (up 11%)
  • 1-pound veggie tray (carrots & celery): 88 cents (up 8%)
  • 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries: $2.57 (down 14%)

Regional Averages

AFBF analysis revealed regional differences in the cost of the meal.

The cost for the classic meal was the most affordable in the South – $58.42, followed by the Northeast – $64.02, Midwest – $64.26 and West – $71.37. The expanded meal (classic meal plus ham, green beans and Russet potatoes) was the most affordable in the South – $74.90, followed by the Midwest – $81.53, Northeast – $82.76 and West – $88.55.

November is National Adoption Month    11/21/22

As we enter the last full week of the month, we want to remind everyone that November is National Adoption Month. It is a time to increase awareness of adoption issues, bring attention to the need for adoptive families for teens in the foster care system, and emphasize the value of youth engagement.

Last year, the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) launched the Every Day Counts campaign as a reminder for people that every day these children and teens spend in foster care is a day too long because every day counts!

 

After the launch of the program, Project Zero took on the challenge to give every waiting child a short film by the end of 2021. Project Zero is a non-profit organization whose mission is to diligently and enthusiastically promote adoption through the foster care system with the ultimate goal of finding a forever family for every child who is waiting. These short films have been a critical piece in finding adoptive families for children in foster care. You can find the films and more information about each child in Project Zero’s Arkansas Heart Gallery at www.projectzero.org.

Churches hosting several Thanksgiving meal giveaways in coming days    11/18/22
DE QUEEN – Thanksgiving is next week and several churches in the area are hosting meal giveaways in the coming days to ensure those in need have a good holiday filled with good food.

That includes the Thanksgiving Grocery Blessings event hosted by De Queen First Assembly this Sunday. The church is giving away Thanksgiving meals to the first 100 families in need. To receive a basket, individuals are asked to attend the church’s 10:30 a.m. worship service this Sunday, Nov. 20. Meals will be given out following the conclusion of the service. No deliveries will be available.

Pastor Ray and Pastor Jerry joined us earlier this week to discuss the church’s Thanksgiving Grocery Blessings – which De Queen First Assembly has sponsored for around 15 years.

The church is located at 1440 W. Collin Raye Drive in De Queen. For additional information, call De Queen First Assembly at (870) 584-3435.

Gillham First Baptist Church will also host a pantry giveaway this weekend to ensure local families in need have a great Thanksgiving meal.

The drive-thru Thanksgiving pantry is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 4. The event will be held in a drive-thru fashion and will be first come, first serve.

A hundred Thanksgiving baskets will be given away. The baskets include a whole turkey or chicken as well as sides, bread and assorted desserts. Non-perishable baskets are also available upon request. There is no cost to families for this Thanksgiving meal giveaway.

Gillham First Baptist Church is located at 203 College Drive in Gillham. Watch for signs and workers for guidance. Delivery will be available upon request.

For questions or for more information, call or text (870) 582-2808.

Those are the two events scheduled for this weekend. Friendship Baptist Church here in De Queen will also host a Thanksgiving meal giveway on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24. This is the 11th year for the church to host its Thanksgiving meal for those in need.

Meals will be served beginning at 10:30 that morning and continue through 12 noon.

Deliveries will be offered to homebound individuals in both De Queen and Horatio as well as first responders working Thanksgiving Day in Sevier County.

The meal will include grilled chicken donated by Tyson Foods, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and dessert.

The church anticipates it will give away between 250 and 300 meals this year. That means, over the past 11 years, the church has fed more than a thousand people on Thanksgiving Day.

Shelton said anyone wishing for a Thanksgiving Day meal delivery on Nov. 24 can call (870) 279-0507 or (870) 847-0439. Organizers ask that when you call you please provide your name, address and how many meals are needed. 

De Queen ABC collects nearly 1,000lbs of food for Chalice Cupboard    11/18/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen Branch of the Sevier County Library System hosts its food for fines program throughout each November to help collect food items for the De Queen-based Chalice Cupboard.

This year Sherry with De Queen ABC Preschool got involved with the library’s project and 1,272 items were donated through the preschool.

Mrs. Lynne and Wendy’s class won an ice cream party with 420 collected items.

Rod and his co-worker from De Queen Schools loaded up all those items and

delivered them to the Chalice Cupboard this week.

Gary Walker with the Chalice Cupboard said in total 937 lbs of food were delivered through the De Queen ABC Preschool collection drive.

Both Sevier County Librarian Johnye Fisher and Walker expressed their gratitude to everyone involved with the collection drive and to those participating in this year’s Food for Fines program.

Sevier County Chamber of Commerce seeking entries for 2022 Christmas Parade    11/18/22

DE QUEEN – Officials with the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce are encouraging everyone interested to get their floats ready for this year’s Christmas Parade in De Queen, which is just a couple of weeks away.

This year’s parade will be themed “The Magic of Sevier County.” The chamber is also reminding area residents that this year’s Disney-inspired parade will return with its traditional format around the Sevier County Courthouse Square in downtown De Queen.

Santa will be appearing alongside the lighting of the Courthouse before the parade. Chamber officials say with everyone’s help this will be a Christmas parade to remember in our community.

The parade is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3 beginning at 6 p.m. The festival will begin at 4 p.m. with vendor booths and other activities around the courthouse square.

Chamber officials are asking all interested churches, businesses and community organizations to participate in the parade. If you would like to enter a float, ATV, tractor, vehicle, horse, etc. just reach out to the chamber of commerce to get on the list. Entry forms are available now, as fell as vendor applications.

For more information and to register a parade entry, contact the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce by emailing dqchamber@gmail.com or by calling (870) 584-3225.

De Queen Middle School recognized for ACT Aspire Growth scores    11/18/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen School District is giving a huge congratulations to De Queen Middle School for being recognized by the Office for Education Policy (OEP) at the University of Arkansas as a school where students demonstrated high growth on the ACT Aspire.

District officials say Principal Brandon Lindly, his staff, and his students have been doing an excellent job as evidenced by the awards De Queen Middle School received this year. Those include being named:

A top 20 Middle Schools in the state for Overall ACT Aspire Growth

Number 1 in the Southwest Region for Overall ACT Aspire Growth

Number 1 in the Southwest Region for Math ACT Aspire Growth

Top 5 in the SW Region for ELA ACT Aspire Growth

The OEP creates an annual report entitled the Outstanding Educational Performance Awards where we recognize schools with high student academic growth. Awards are based on the 2022 content growth score calculated by the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. These growth scores reflect how much students at the school improved from 2021 compared to how much they were expected to grow considering prior achievement. The OEP recognizes schools based on Overall Growth, as well as for Growth in Math and English Language Arts separately.

Arkansas waterfowl hunters asked to be on look out for signs of HPAI    11/18/22

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is asking waterfowl hunters heading to the field this weekend to remain vigilant for any concentrations of sick or dead birds they find in the wild that may be the result of avian influenza. The risk of humans contracting the disease remains low, but hunters can help further minimize that risk by following a few simple precautions.

Hunters and wildlife watchers who observe concentrations of sick or dead birds should contact the AGFC’s wildlife health program with information about the species, number of birds affected and location at agfc.health@agfc.ar.gov.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been confirmed in domestic poultry flocks this year as well as one wild bird in Arkansas, according to state wildlife veterinarians for the AGFC.

Various low pathogenic strains of influenza always circulate in wild bird populations. The particular variant known as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza causing recent headlines has much more potential to spread and has caused billions of dollars of damage to domestic poultry production in Asia, Europe and North America.

The risk for humans to contract HPAI is still very low, and cases where the disease has infected humans came from situations where working conditions caused people to be in close proximity to infected poultry.

As a general precaution, hunters should use good hygiene practices when handling, cleaning and preparing harvested waterfowl.

More information on avian influenza is available at USDA APHIS’s website.

Hochatown votes for incorporation    11/17/22
HOCHATOWN, Okla. – On Tuesday, Nov. 8h, local Hochatown residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of the ballot question proposing the incorporation of their community.

McCurtain County Election Board Secretary Kelly Donaldson has certified the result of the election as 129 votes in favor of incorporation and 18 votes against. The final certification of that result is now in the hands of the McCurtain County Commissioners, who have placed the item on the agenda for their regularly scheduled meeting to be held on Monday, Nov. 28 at 9 a.m.

According to Oklahoma state law, “If a majority of the votes cast are in favor of incorporation as a town, the board of county commissioners shall, within twenty (20) days after receiving the result of the vote, issue an order declaring that the town has been incorporated and naming the date for the election of town officers. The territory shall, from the date of the commissioners’ order, be deemed a body corporate and an incorporated town.”
Any registered voter currently residing within the town limits is eligible to become a candidate for one of the five initial town officers’ seats. Due to the statutory periods of public notice required in Oklahoma, the initial election of town officers cannot be conducted until February 2023, at the earliest.

The McCurtain County Election Board will oversee the initial election.

Texarkana man charged with felony theft from LRCO company    11/17/22

ASHDOWN – A Texarkana man is facing a felony theft charge after authorities say he stole thousands of dollars worth of items from a Little River County business.

According to court records, 53-year-old David Edward Berton of Texarkana, Arkansas, has been charged with felony theft of property for his alleged role in an embezzlement scheme involving BTC Trucking in Ashdown. The arrest affidavit states that Berton is suspected to purchasing semi-truck rims through the company and then selling them privately to other businesses. Berton was employed by BTC Trucking as a terminal manager during the period of the suspected theft.

Company officials said they became suspicious of Berton’s involvement in the scheme after he was reportedly seen selling the items through Facebook Marketplace. He was also allegedly caught on camera delivering two truck wheels to another trucking business in October.

Company officials said they provided authorities with invoices and other documents alleging Berton purchased the rims using a company account, sold them to other businesses and then pocketed the earnings. BTC Trucking stated it does not sell rims to private companies. Company officials said they have documentation to show Berton is responsible for approximately $106,000 worth of theft from the company. A total of 99 invoices were provided, each reportedly evidencing theft from the company.

Authorities said at the time of the report they possesses information to show that $2,000 worth of theft occurred within Little River County.

Felony theft of property carries a sentence of three to 10 years in prison in addition to fines totaling up to $10,000.

Gillham FBC hosting Thanksgiving meal giveaway    11/17/22

GILLHAM – Gillham First Baptist Church will host a pantry giveaway this weekend to ensure local families in need have a great Thanksgiving meal.

The drive-thru Thanksgiving pantry is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 4. The event will be held in a drive-thru fashion and will be first come, first serve.

A hundred Thanksgiving baskets will be given away. The baskets include a whole turkey or chicken as well as sides, bread and assorted desserts. Non-perishable baskets are also available upon request. There is no cost to families for this Thanksgiving meal giveaway.

Gillham First Baptist Church is located at 203 College Drive in Gillham. Watch for signs and workers for guidance. Delivery will be available upon request.

For questions or for more information, call or text (870) 582-2808.

Arkansas lawmakers consider improvements to state mental health policy    11/16/22

By Tess Vrbin, Arkansas Advocate

Arkansas legislators are compiling a report to recommend legislation during the 2023 session aimed at bolstering mental and behavioral health services for Arkansans of all ages and incomes.

The Joint Health Services Subcommittee met Monday to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the state’s existing mental and behavioral health care resources, in accordance with a 2021 law requiring the Legislature to recommend potential 2023 policy changes.

Rep. DeAnn Vaught (R-Horatio) sponsored the 2021 law and told the subcommittee she hoped the discussion would lead to policies that make Arkansas a “flagship” example of mental health care infrastructure for other states to follow.

I was hearing from providers that there wasn’t a good bridge between them and DHS,” she said, referring to the state Department of Human Services. “I thought the best way to handle this is to all come together in one room and do the very best we can to try to move mental health to the top of people’s lists.”

The Legislature has a Mental Health/Behavioral Health Working Group split into several subgroups. Vaught chairs the Prevention and Early Intervention subgroup, and she said it has considered creating a DHS role that would focus on collaboration between state agencies to help Arkansans in crisis or at risk of crisis.

A lot of these groups had no idea what each group was doing, and maybe if we had somebody in charge of that, those bridges could be built much faster than they’re being built right now,” Vaught said.

The chairs of the subgroups will write up a report of Monday’s discussion and submit it to the Arkansas Legislative Council for further review.

More than 34,000 children and nearly 15,000 adults in Arkansas with behavioral health issues “are not responding” to outpatient counseling, and they need home-based and community-based services so they can avoid crises that might put them in psychiatric hospital settings, according to data provided by DHS.

Over 55,000 Arkansans are enrolled in DHS’ Provider-Led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity (PASSE), a program for Medicaid recipients with complex behavioral health, developmental or intellectual disabilities.

DHS staff studied the program and determined that most PASSE members receive the services they need, but others do not receive services in the amount or duration necessary to meet their needs, said Melissa Weatherton, DHS’ Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services.

The department recently received a report on its services that will further help with policy recommendations, Weatherton said.

We are seeing services that we think would be beneficial to PASSE members and yet are not being utilized,” she said.

DHS Secretary Mark White emphasized that the department is working on policy changes involving much more than just Medicaid-reimbursable services, though these services are a frequent topic of discussion regarding potential improvements.

We want [health care providers] to partner with good organizations providing other resources as well,” White said. “We know the social determinants of health. We know those impact individuals and their ability to recover and do well. Whether it’s housing or employment or education, we want hospitals to find those community partners and direct folks as they need.”

Shawna Burns, a counselor and the owner of a mental health practice in Harrison, said the Legislature’s efforts give her “hope” that mental and behavioral health care will become more accessible to Arkansans.

Mental health care providers throughout the state are “weary” because there are not enough of them to meet their communities’ needs in a timely manner, Burns said, and most providers have waiting lists of several months.

When a child is suicidal and in crisis, and they cannot get in for help, that’s too long,” she said.

A lot of people misperceive mental health as simply helping someone manage their symptoms and stay alive, Burns said. In reality, there are more possibilities, she added.

There are so many things that we can do to not only help people get better but stay better and completely overcome their problems,” Burns said.

Arkansas deer on the move    11/16/22

Deer are on the move in The Natural State. That means hunters and motorists in Arkansas should keep a watchful eye out, particularly at dawn and dusk. 

In addition to the increased deer activity, the shortened days place rush hour during the peak times of day when deer are on the move.

One way to increase safety is simply slowing down. Giving yourself a split-second longer to see and react to deer along the side of the road often can be the difference between a safe braking job and a dangerous situation. Give yourself a few extra minutes in the morning and at night to get where you’re going and arrive safely.

When it is dark, use your high beams whenever the road is free of oncoming traffic. This will allow a deer’s eyes to shine, even when along the side of the road, so that you are prepared if one starts making its way toward you.

While jokes abound about deer crossing signs and the Arkansas Department of Transportation simply moving them to a crosswalk to let deer cross in those areas, the signs are there for a reason. These signs are placed at areas where they have been requested by people observing multiple instances of animals crossing the road and where vehicle collisions have occurred.

Never swerve to avoid a deer in the road. Swerving can confuse the deer on where to run. Swerving can also cause a head-on collision with oncoming vehicles, take you off the roadway into a tree or a ditch, and greatly increase the chances of serious injuries. If a deer does move into your path, maintain control and do your best to brake and give the deer time to get out of your way.

If you do collide with a deer or other large animal, call emergency services at once if injuries are involved, or local law enforcement if no one is injured but damage has been caused to your vehicle. Also give the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission a call at 833-356-0824 to report the road kill. Report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible.

A frequent question to the Game and Fish Commission is, “If I hit and kill a deer on a road, can I keep the deer for meat?” The answer is yes, and it does not count on a hunter’s season limit. But be sure to report it. The AGFC will issue you a confirmation for the vehicle collision so wildlife officers will know where the deer came from.

Trial continued for former Dierks city clerk accused of $500k in theft    11/15/22
DIERKS – A former clerk for the City of Dierks who is accused of embezzling more than $500,000 in city funds will see her trial rescheduled to next year.
Cheryl Delarosa, age 59, of Dierks, appeared in the Howard County Circuit Court last week and received a continuance in her trial. Her new trial date has been set for Feb. 21, 2023.
Delarosa faces 6 felony charges for theft of property greater than $25,000 and 6 felony charges for abuse of public trust. Special Agent Joe Pickett, with the Arkansas State Police Special Investigations Unit, led the investigation of this case and found a total of $501,193 unaccounted for under Delarosa’s time as clerk for the Dierks City Water Department. Authorities also found bank accounts under her name that had unexplained cash deposits, along with possible gambling winnings, totaling approximately $261,000. 
Delarosa reportedly turned herself over to authorities in August of last year after state auditors discovered the missing funds. The funds were misappropriated from the Dierks Water and Sewer Departments between 2015-2020.

The audit led to an investigation by the Arkansas State Police. Investigators allege they were able to show unexplained cash deposits and possible gambling winnings in Delarosa’s bank accounts. The affidavit claims Delarosa was credited with more than $365,000 on her Choctaw Gaming “players club” account between 2015 and 2018.

During a state inquiry officials with the City of Dierks said a lack of oversight and accounting of deposits and the city’s bookkeeping allegedly allowed Delarosa to misappropriate funds over the six year period. Mayor Ronnie Cogburn said the issue came to light when the city was notified of unpaid bills and that money appropriated for those bills was not available.

Since Delarosa’s arrest Cogburn says procedures have been put in place to better account for the city’s finances.

Upon a conviction, each count of felony theft of property and abuse of public trust carries a sentence of five to 20 years in prison.

Ashdown man sentenced to 17 years on federal drug trafficking charges    11/15/22

BEAUMONT, Texas – An Ashdown man will serve 17 years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges last week.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Charles Hawkins, Jr., 31, pleaded guilty to distribution and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone to 17 years in federal prison.

According to evidence presented in court, Hawkins was stopped for speeding in a construction zone in Nacogdoches County in Texas on Dec. 4, 2020. Officers smelled air freshener which they suspected was used to disguise the smell of marijuana.

The officer’s canine alerted the presence of drugs in the vehicle. Officers found three one-gallon storage bags in the trunk containing 2,449 grams of methamphetamine. That equaled nearly five pounds of methamphetamine and totaled tens of thousands of dollars in street value.

Hawkins was indicted earlier this year by a federal grand jury.

This case was investigated by the Nacogdoches Police Department, the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations.

Winter temps remind us Christmas is just a month away    11/15/22

DE QUEEN – – Christmas is over a month away, but it’s going to feel a lot closer this week with winter weather beginning to set in.

This week, forecasters with the National Weather Service are expecting De Queen and the surrounding area to see its coldest days of the year so far. The chilly winter weather follows a rather warm fall and one of the hottest summers in over a decade.

Sevier County saw its first hint of winter Monday night with some sleet and even a mix of other wintry precipitation in the northern portions of the county.

Despite the onset of much colder temperatures, no further snow or wintry precipitation is in the immediate forecast.

Wednesday night is expected to see the coldest night in the 10 day forecast, with a chilly low of around 22 degrees. Lows will increase – not by much – through the end of the week and into the weekend. Those will hover around the mid-20s with daily highs in the high 40s to low 50s.

Winter weather advisories were issued earlier this week in portions of Arkansas for the first time this season.

If you took the opportunity during last week’s spring-like weather to help your cold-sensitive plants by bringing them back outside, you’ll certainly want to get them protected again. It’s also vital to protect outside animals and ensure they have shelter and access to ice-free water sources.

During these cold nights measures should also be taken to protect your home’s plumbing. Cover those outside faucets and keep your house warm to avoid frozen pipes. You can also allow a drip from your faucets to help keep them from freezing solid.

De Queen Public Schools hosting 10th annual Senior Citizens Thanksgiving Luncheon today    11/15/22

DE QUEEN – De Queen Public Schools will host its 10th annual Senior Citizen Thanksgiving Luncheon today from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event will be held in the De Queen Elementary School Cafeteria and all area senior citizens are invited to attend.

OCC shoebox collection week now underway    11/15/22

HORATIO – Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Collection Week is now fully underway to bring Christmas to less-fortunate children across the world.

Local volunteers will be transforming empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and articles of clothing for children in need worldwide. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and bring joy to children in struggling communities across the world. It all starts with the help of a shoebox filled with gifts.

This year’s collection week is scheduled for Nov. 14-21.

As in previous years, local organizers will host a drop-off and volunteer site at the Horatio First Baptist Church, located at 211 Hazard Street in Horatio.

In Little River County, a drop-off location has been set up at the First United Methodist Church of Ashdown. Other drop-off sites are located in Nashville, Mena and Broken Bow.

Anyone interested in participating is asked to fill out a standard-sized shoebox with gifts for a girl or boy in certain age categories. Operation Christmas Child provides a full step-by-step guide on what and how to pack. That guide can be found online at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. That website also includes more detailed dates and times for when and where shoeboxes can be dropped off.

Arkansas law enforcement plan “Click-It-Or-Ticket” Campaign for Thanksgiving    11/15/22

Arkansas law enforcement officers plan to bolster their patrol assignments aimed at violators who are not buckled-up while traveling on local streets and state highways during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday period.

State troopers, local police and sheriff’s deputies are following the lead of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) high visibility Click It or Ticket seat belt awareness campaign which is intended to reduce the number of fatalities that occur when motorist fail to buckle-up. 

The concerted campaign by law enforcement begins Monday, Nov. 21 and continues through Sunday, Nov. 27.

During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend of 2020 (6 PM Wednesday, November 25, to 5:59 AM, November 30), there were 333 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes across the nation. More than half the victims (52%) were not wearing a seatbelt.  Additionally, nighttime has proven to be more deadly than daytime, with 67% of Thanksgiving weekend fatal crashes occurring at night. The deaths were needless tragedies for families across America that may have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt.

Properly using a seat belt in a moving vehicle isn’t just a suggestion, it’s the law,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police, and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “Wherever you travel, short distances or long, you must wear a seat belt.  It’s your best defense if involved in a crash and may mean the difference between life and death.  This Thanksgiving, and every day of the year, remember, Click It or Ticket.”

For more information about highway safety during this Thanksgiving holiday, please visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.

State Rep. DeAnn Vaught weekly update     11/15/22

Committees are an essential part of the legislative process. While in committee, a bill is reviewed, researched, and sometimes revised. Committee meetings also provide an opportunity for public comment.

Committee selection is one of the first orders of business for newly elected members and returning members of the House.

A House Caucus is currently scheduled for 9 am on November 17.

During the caucus, newly elected members will draw for seniority and all members will select their seats for the 94th General Assembly. After seat selection, the committee selection process will begin.

The vast majority of legislation considered during a legislative session begins in a standing committee.

There are 10 standing committees in the House. These include 5 class “A” committees and 5 class “B” committees.

Each member serves on 1 “A” committee and 1 “B” committee.

Class “A” committees include:

Education

Judiciary

Public Health, Welfare, and Labor

Public Transportation

Revenue and Taxation

Class “B” Committees include:

Aging, Children, and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs

Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development

City, County, and Local Affairs

Insurance and Commerce

State Agencies and Governmental Affairs

Each standing committee consists of 20 members including 5 members from each of the 4 House district caucuses.

According to a House Rules, the most senior member of the House of Representatives will select first and will choose a position on a Class “A” standing committee. The seniority rotation procedure will continue until the member with the least seniority makes his or her selection. After the member with the least seniority makes his or her Class “A” standing committee selection, the most senior member will select his or her Class “B” standing committee. The seniority rotation will continue until the member with the least seniority selects his or her Class “B” standing committee.

Selection for the House Budget Committee, Arkansas Legislative Council, and Legislative Joint Auditing will take place after standing committee selection.

You can watch the committee selection process live at arkansashouse.org.

Arce charged with murder following De Queen shootings; bail set at $1M    11/11/22
DE QUEEN – A De Queen man is facing felony charges after authorities say he shot his two sons, one of whom died from his injuries.

According to court records, 66-year-old Armando Arce of De Queen has been charged with first-degree murder as well as attempted murder stemming from an incident that occurred the evening of Nov. 8. The charges were formally filed within the Sevier County Circuit Court on Wednesday.
According to the De Queen Police Department, officers were dispatched around 6 p.m. the night of Nov. 8 to 223 Bobby Lane on the north side of De Queen in reference to a double shooting. Upon arrival, officers found two men suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. Both men were transported for emergency medical treatment. Authorities stated one of the victims died en route to the hospital.
Arce developed as a suspect in the case. A manhunt for Arce began that evening and he was apprehended near the residence less than 24 hours later.
The victims were identified as Alexander Tom, age 32 of De Queen, and John Tom, age 34, also of De Queen. Alexander Tom’s injuries were fatal, and he was pronounced deceased Tuesday night. John Tom was treated at an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries and has since been discharged.

Arce was identified as the father of both victims.

Arce entered a plea of not guilty during a Nov. 10 arraignment. Bail was set at $1,000,000. His next court appearance is scheduled for March of next year.

If convicted, Arce could face up to 40 years or life in prison for the first-degree murder offense.

Sevier County State Trooper J.D. Jones promoted to sergeant    11/11/22
LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas State Police Commission has approved the promotion of Corporal J. D. Jones to the rank of sergeant.  The recommendation for promotion was presented by Colonel Bill Bryant, director of the state police, to commissioners on Thursday during a regular monthly meeting.
Sergeant Jones, 41, of Sevier County is a 17 year veteran of the state police and most recently has been assigned to the department’s Criminal Investigation Division, Company C.

The promotion entails a transfer to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop G, where Sergeant Jones will supervise a patrol post.

Horatio FFA hosting Harvest Fest this Saturday    11/11/22

HORATIO – Horatio will host a Harvest Fest this Saturday, Nov. 12 with a ton of activities for the whole family. That includes local vendors, live music, food trucks, a wrestling match, car show and more. The event will begin at 9 a.m. on Main Street in Horatio.

The Horatio FFA is presenting a Big Buck and Doe Contest at the Horatio Harvest Fest. Entries must be received by 6 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 11 at the Pit Stop in Horatio or on the Horatio FFA Facebook page. Entry fee is $20 for a buck, $10 for a doe. Weigh-in will be held at the Pit Stop between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12. First place will receive a trophy cup and 50 percent payback. Second place will receive 25 percent payback. Bucks will be scored by typical Boon and Crocket, does by weight.

Government offices, banks closed today for Veterans Day    11/11/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Courthouse and Landfill will be closed Friday, Nov. 11 in observance of Veterans Day. The Landfill and Solid Waste Stations will be open this Saturday, Nov. 12 during normal operation hours. The courthouse will reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14.

All branches of the Sevier County Library System are closed today.

De Queen City Hall will also be closed Friday in observance of the holiday.

Veterans Day a time to remember sacrifice of nations servicemen and women    11/11/22

Today is Veterans Day, a time to honor those who have served in the nation’s military.

Veterans Day is a Federal Holiday meant to honor United States veterans and active-duty military personnel. Established in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson, the holiday was originally celebrated as “Armistice Day,” commemorating the end of World War I and honoring all those who fought in it. In 1954, the day was renamed “Veterans Day” and expanded to honor all servicemen. Veterans Day differs from Memorial Day in that it’s meant to celebrate those who served and are still alive as opposed to those who’ve died, though you can certainly celebrate both.

Veterans Day is annually observed on Nov. 11. This is because it was originally conceived as commemorating the armistice that ended World War I, which was signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the year 1918.

A big component of Veterans Day is honoring those who have previously served our country.

Honoring a veteran can be as easy as calling or messaging someone who has served and letting them know you appreciate everything they’ve done. If you’re looking to celebrate someone who’s currently on active duty, consider sending them a care package or a thank you card.

Cossatot River FFA hosting breakfast for area vets this morning    11/11/22

WICKES – Cossatot River FFA Officers are hosting a special Veterans Day event this morning to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of the nation’s servicemen and women.

All veterans are welcome to come by the Cossatot River High School Ag Building between 7:30-10 this morning for a free breakfast.

This is the ninth year for the Cossatot River FFA chapter to host its Veterans Day Breakfast.

Ribbon cutting scheduled for Ashdown’s new inclusive playground    11/11/22

ASHDOWN – The Ashdown Community Foundation announced that the Domtar Community Advisory Team and the City of Ashdown will be officially opening the new inclusive playground at the Ashdown City Park on Friday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m.

This project is made possible by a generous grants from the Blue and You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas, Roy & Christine Sturgis, Charitable Trust and monies raised from the annual Ashdown Community Auction.

Volunteers from the Domtar Community Advisory Team and representatives from the City of Ashdown will be hosting the official ribbon cutting event for the new inclusive playground at the Ashdown City Park. Students from the Ashdown Elementary School will be on-site to join in on the festivities.

Also invited are representatives from the Blue and You Foundation, who provided a gracious grant of $150,000 toward the project. The remaining dollars were made possible by the many individual, community and business supporters of the annual Ashdown Community Auction.

The ribbon cutting ceremony begins at 1 p.m. on Nov. 18 and the playground will officially open to the community with a reception at 1:15 p.m. at the Ashdown City Park.

The Ashdown Community Foundation is committed to giving back to the local community of Ashdown through improvement projects benefiting the local City Park and downtown area.

De Queen shooting suspect apprehended; victims were suspect’s sons    11/10/22
DE QUEEN – Authorities have announced that the De Queen man suspected of shooting two men Tuesday night – one fatally – is now in custody.

66-year-old Armando Arce was apprehended around 1:30 Wednesday afternoon by officers with the De Queen Police Department, Sevier County Sheriff’s Department, 9th West Judicial District Drug Task Force, and Arkansas State Police.

The suspect was taken into custody without incident.

According to the De Queen Police Department, Arce of De Queen wass sought in connection with the two shootings that occurred around six Tuesday night. Officers were dispatched that evening to 223 Bobby Lane on the north side of De Queen in reference to a double shooting.

Upon arrival, officers found two men suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. Both men were transported for emergency medical treatment. Authorities stated one of the victims died en route to the hospital.

Arce developed as a suspect in the case and was sought by law enforcement agencies before his arrest less than 24 hours later.

The victims have been identified as Alexander Tom, age 32 of De Queen, and John Tom, age 34, also of De Queen. Alexander Tom’s injuries were fatal, and he was pronounced

deceased Tuesday night. John Tom was treated at an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries and has been discharged.

Authorities report that the suspect is the father of both victims. The investigation into this incident remains on-going.

Lockesburg parents charged following death of newborn    11/10/22

DE QUEEN – Two Lockesburg residents are in custody after authorities say they improperly disposed of a newborn child that did not survive birth.

According to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, deputies received a report on Nov. 7 regarding a baby being born at a home in Lockesburg. After further investigation, authorities discovered the baby, a boy, did not live and was disposed of. Deputies and investigators with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office located the baby in a nearby dumpster.

The mother and father were both placed into custody on the charge of abuse of a corpse. In Arkansas the offense is a felony.

The father of the child has been identified as 20-year-old Matthew Hallmark. Investigators believe Hallmark was involved in the incident.

The mother, a 17-year-old juvenile, has not been named due to her status as a minor.

An autopsy by the Arkansas State Crime Lab on the baby boy is currently pending.

Friendship Baptist Church to host 11th annual Thanksgiving Day Meal    11/10/22

DE QUEEN – A local church is gearing up to present its annual Thanksgiving Day meal giveaway for local families in need – an event they’ve hosted for over a decade and one which has provided meals to hundreds of people in the area during that time.

Friendship Baptist Church will host its 11th Thanksgiving Day Meal on Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, Nov. 24. Meals will be served beginning at 10:30 that morning and continue through 12 noon.

Deliveries will be offered to homebound individuals in both De Queen and Horatio as well as first responders working Thanksgiving Day in Sevier County.

Ashlie Shelton, a member of Friendship Baptist Church, shared some of the details for this year’s Thanksgiving Day Meal.

“If you’re in need of a Thanksgiving meal, we’ll be glad to get you one,” said Shelton.”For those who do not need a meal delivered, just come on by and we’ll bring you one. And if someone is alone on Thanksgiving, they are more than welcome to come by and fellowship with us at the church. We don’t want anybody to be alone on Thanksgiving.”

The meal will include grilled chicken donated by Tyson Foods, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and dessert.

The church anticipates it will give away between 250 and 300 meals this year. That means, over the past 11 years, the church has fed more than a thousand people on Thanksgiving Day.

Shelton said it’s a big effort and takes the entire church to make it happen. Members get up early Thanksgiving Day morning for the final preparations. Even the church’s youngest members are there to help make the day a success.

“Everyone helps out,” she said. “The whole church gets together for this meal, even the little ones help. It’s so much fun to see everyone come together to make this happen each year.”

For the past 11 years members of Friendship Baptist Church have spent their Thanksgiving providing meals to others – including those in need and those first responders who work Thanksgiving Day. Now, it’s a church tradition.

“It’s a tradition for us now and we really enjoy it,” said Shelton. “It’s how we’ve come to enjoy our Thanksgiving, by helping out those in need.”

Shelton said anyone wishing for a Thanksgiving Day meal delivery on Nov. 24 can call (870) 279-0507 or (870) 847-0439. Organizers ask that when you call you please provide your name, address and how many meals are needed.

ONF officials remind hunters to be safe, follow rules as modern gun opens this weekend    11/10/22

OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST – Deer hunting season in Arkansas is about to be in full swing with the opening of modern gun this weekend. Forest Service managers are reminding hunters to be safe and follow State and Federal laws when hunting in the Ouachita National Forest.

 

It is important to always remain alert and aware of surroundings and to practice the “Four Steps for Safety” to improve awareness of natural hazards: Look Up, Look Down, Look Around, Look Below. Dead or dying trees are likely to fall or drop branches without warning, especially in high winds, and forest terrain can be uneven or unstable. Check the weather forecast and assess weather conditions before travel. Hunters should always let someone know planned routes, destinations, and expected return times.

All state wildlife regulations are in effect on national forests in Arkansas. State and federal law enforcement officers work cooperatively with forest officials to enforce federal regulations. Prohibited activities include:

·     Baiting game species on the national forests.

·     Shooting from or across a county, state or federally maintained road.

·     Possessing or consuming alcohol during any hunting activity or while operating a motorized vehicle, including off-highway vehicles.

·     Traveling off designated routes for motorized vehicle use.

·     Leaving dispersed campsites up and unoccupied for longer than 30 days. Any unoccupied (held) campsite is considered abandoned. At the end of the 30-day period, dispersed campsites must be completely dismantled and moved at least one mile from the original campsite. The 30-day period begins the first day any item is placed at the campsite.  Campers may camp up to 90 days in a calendar year. 

 

Hunters should also be aware of requirements that apply specifically to individual national forests or wildlife management areas on a forest:

In the Ouachita National Forest

·     Hunting stands may be placed for up to 14 days at a time and must be moved to another location more than 200 yards away if the hunting trip continues. All stands must have the owner’s name and address permanently affixed. Remove stands from the forest at the end of the hunting season.

 

·     Off-highway vehicles are allowed on designated routes only or in game retrieval corridors while retrieving legally downed large game.

For more information on hunting the Ouachita National Forests, consult hunting regulations published by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission. Call the Ouachita National Forest at (501) 321-5202 for National Forest questions. National Forests do not issue hunting licenses.

Memorialize their first deer with an AGFC certificate    11/10/22

Memorialize that unforgettable first Arkansas deer hunting moment with an official certificate from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Whenever a family member or friend tackles the challenge of harvesting their first deer, visit www.agfc.com/resources/brochures and choose your certificate from the bottom of the page. Fill out the online form and print the certificate on your color printer.  You can personalize the certificate after printing with a photo from the hunt or use the standard certificate if you forgot to take pictures in all the excitement of the day.

Certificates for first dove, duck, fish, rabbit, squirrel and turkey also are available to mark those milestones as well.

Search continues for De Queen man suspected in Tuesday night shootings    11/09/22
Armando Arce, a 66-year-old resident of De Queen, is suspected of shooting two De Queen men Tuesday evening, one of whom has since died. Police are seeking his whereabouts and ask anyone with information on his location to call 911. He is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

DE QUEEN – Authorities are continuing their search Wednesday morning for a De Queen man suspected of shooting two men Tuesday night, one of whom has since passed away from his injuries.
According to the De Queen Police Department, 66-year-old Armando Arce of De Queen is sought in connection with the two shootings that occurred around six Tuesday night. Officers were dispatched to 223 Bobby Lane on the north side of De Queen in reference to a double shooting.
Upon arrival, officers found two men suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. Both men were transported for emergency medical treatment. Authorities stated one of the victims died en route to the hospital.

Arce developed as a suspect in the case and is currently being sought by law enforcement agencies. Officials with the De Queen Police Department say Arce is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached. Anyone who sees Arce or knows of his whereabouts is asked to call 911 immediately.

 

 

Lockesburg parents charged following death of newborn    11/09/22

DE QUEEN – Two Lockesburg residents are in custody after authorities say they improperly disposed of a newborn child that did not survive birth.

According to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, deputies received a report on Nov. 7 regarding a baby being born at a home in Lockesburg. After further investigation, authorities discovered the baby, a boy, did not live and was disposed of. Deputies and investigators with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office located the baby in a nearby dumpster.

The mother and father were both placed into custody on the charge of abuse of a corpse. In Arkansas the offense is a felony.

The father of the child has been identified as 20-year-old Matthew Hallmark. Investigators believe Hallmark was involved in the incident.

The mother, a 17-year-old juvenile, has not been named due to her status as a minor.

An autopsy by the Arkansas State Crime Lab on the baby boy is currently pending.

Election results from Sevier County    11/09/22

DE QUEEN – Tuesday night’s election results for Sevier County are in with voters deciding two countywide races and casting their ballots in favor of two upsets on the Sevier County Quorum Court.

A total of 3,695 Sevier County voters cast their ballot for a voter turnout of 49 percent.

Sevier County races decided tonight include:

-Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry reelected to a third term with 52.75 percent of the vote (a total of 1,949 votes) to 46 percent for challenger Johnny Cooke (a total of 1,697 votes)

-In the election to determine who would replace retiring Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akin, Renea Bailey won with 65 percent of the vote (2,408) against 31 percent for fellow candidate Jeff Wahls (1,144)

-Michael Barnes wins the three-way race for District 1 seat on the Sevier County Quorum Court with 52 percent of the vote, replacing incumbent Earl Battiest (83 votes) and defeating fellow challenger Veronica Ozura.

-In another upset, Callie Miller wins the District 4 seat on the Sevier County Quorum Court with 69 percent of the vote (287) to 28 percent for incumbent David Wright (117)

-Troy Cravens, the incumbent De Queen Alderman for Ward 3-Position 2, wins that race with 57 percent (415 votes) to 36 percent for challenger Ron Huckaby (261)

-Incumbent Horatio Mayor Borden Neel narrowly wins that race with 51.23 percent of the vote (83 votes) to 46.91 for Randy Barnett (76 votes). That’s a difference of just seven votes.

-Incumbent Lockesburg Mayor Danny Ruth will receive an additional term after receiving 52.51 percent of the vote (94 votes) to 47.49 for challenger Randy Pickett (85). That’s a difference of just nine votes.

Both the Lockesburg and Horatio mayoral races will be ones to keep an eye out in the days ahead as provincial ballots will be counted in the coming days.

Sevier County voters joined those across the state in defeating all four ballot initiatives, including the legalization of recreational marijuana.

(These results are unofficial and pending the final count of provisional ballots. These results are expected to be certified early next week.)

Little River voters decide next county judge; Ashdown votes for new mayor    11/09/22

In Little River County election night ended with Larry Cowling elected the new county judge. He defeated Elbert Bradley, Jr. with 2,889 votes to Bradley’s 905.

Trey Cobb will be Ashdown’s new mayor after defeating incumbent James Sutton with 730 votes to Sutton’s 276 and 138 for Bobby Freeze.

Other Little River County results include:

-Lisa Hearn elected to JP District 2 with 268 votes to 181 for Donte Weed

-Mark Ardwin elected to JP District 4 for 262 votes to 192 for Linda Briggs McAllester

-Tyler Davis elected to JP District 5 with 333 votes to 226 for Brandon Kennemore

-Kevin Sanders wins race for Constable of Little River Township with 163 votes to 15 for Andrew Chapa

-Willie Kersten wins race for Constable of Franklin Township with 247 votes to 54 for Charles Dorse

-In the Ashdown Alderman Ward 1, Pos. 2 race, incumbent Glen Ray Bowman reelected with 407 votes to 164 for challenger Perry Smith.

State Rep. Vaught, State Senator Hickey win reelection bids    11/09/22

In other election news from the listening area, District 87 State Representative DeAnn Vaught was reelected to another term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. She received a total of 2,959 votes in Little River County and 2,725 in Sevier County.

Democratic challenger Chris Wolcott received 725 in Little River and 774 in Sevier. Libertarian candidate Marc Rosson ended the night with 124 votes in Little River and 144 in Sevier.

In addition, District 4 State Senator Jimmy Hickey, Jr. also won his reelection bid Tuesday night.

De Queen Public Schools hosting fundraiser for Denison Schools after Nov. 4 tornado    11/09/22

DE QUEEN – De Queen Public Schools has announced it will host a fundraising event for Denison School in neighboring McCurtain County, Okla., following major damage suffered by the school from the Nov. 4 tornado that struck Idabel.

District officials are encouraging every student and faculty/staff member in the De Queen School District to bring at least $1 to help in the relief efforst for Denison School. Organizers are asking those interested to bring their donations on Monday, Nov. 14, which is World Kindness Day. Organizers say they are hoping to show the district’s kindness by helping the teachers and students of Denison School in their time of need.

Denison School suffered major damage from the tornado and several of the school’s students lost homes. The school has also received major flood damage to classrooms.

Members of the community are also invited to participate in the De Queen Schools fundraising event. If you or your business would like to give, you can drop off your check or money at the front office of any De Queen Public School campus on or before Nov. 14. Please make checks payable to Denison Public Schools.

Sevier County Library sweater drive, Food for Fines remains underway    11/09/22

DE QUEEN – November is here and that means a couple of things: Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the Sevier County Library System’s annual Food for Fines program is now underway.

Through this yearly initiative, patrons are invited to bring in any nonperishable food item for a one dollar reduction per item in existing overdue fines. Food accepted for fines are for returned library materials only, not for replacement fees of lost or damaged items. The program is part of the library system’s annual effort to address food insecurity in Sevier County, according to Head Librarian Johnye Fisher.

In addition to the Food for Fines program, the library is also once again sponsoring the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive. The library is accepting new or gently worn items for donation, including cold weather clothes like coats, sweaters, gloves, hats, scarves and more. These items can be dropped off at any system library, including De Queen, Horatio, Lockesburg and Gillham.

For more information, call the De Queen Library at (870) 584-4364.

Legacy Warriors go 7-0 after win against Malvern    11/09/22

Submitted by Ben Wright/Legacy Academy

LOCKESBURG – Legacy Academy Warriors played two boys basketball games Monday night, hosting the Knights of Ambassador Baptist from Malvern. In Senior boys action, the Warriors came on strong and kept the lead the entire ballgame. The Warriors outscored the the Knights 42-14 in the first half and empty the bench throughout the second half, giving everyone on the team playing time. Ethan Gallagher led the scoring for the Warriors with 26 points, all but six of those in the first half. Layne Schroer had twelve points, followed by 7 from Everrette Martz, 6 from Joshua Tucker and Manolo Vazquez, while Eli Hamilton gave 4, and Brett Talley joined James Bartek with 2. Gallagher had 12 rebounds, and 8 assists. Schroer also grabbed 12 rebounds for the home team. Ozzy Tolendano and Corban Wilson each had 5 rebounds for the Warriors. The Warriors defeated the Knights 71-33. Lelan Capshaw was the high scorer for the Knights with 14.

The Lockesburg’s junior boys pulled out a nail biter with a 38-35 win against the Malvern team. The Warriors outscored their guests 8-6 during the first period but were swamped by the Knights in the second quarter when the visitors scored 17 to the Warriors’ 6. Everette Martz keep the Warriors in the game with three 3 pointers during the first half. Legacy was down 32-14 at the half. The home team rallied in the third period with an impressive defensive effort that held the Knights to 4 points, while Legacy scored 15. It was a two point game going into the 4th. With two minutes to go the Warriors trailed by two. Eli Mitchell tied it up with two free throws. With twelve seconds to go Manolo Vazquez broke a 35-35 tie at the free throw line. Everrette Martz led the junior boys with 13 points followed by 10 from Eli Mitchell. James Bartek provided six points with two 3-pointers in the third quarter rally. Manolo Vazquez contributed four points and six rebounds. Eli Mitchell had five rebounds and the team’s scoring was rounded out with 3 points from Jude Gallagher and two from Brayson Talley. Leland Capshaw gave the visitor’s 16 points.

Legacy’s junior boys will play Caddo Hills in the Dierks junior high tournament on Wednesday at 430pm. Legacy’s senior teams will travel to Eagletown on Friday with games beginning at 6pm.

Gentry reelected as Sevier Sheriff; Bailey wins county clerk race; two JP races see upset    11/08/22
DE QUEEN – The election results for Sevier County are in with voters deciding two countywide races and casting their ballots in favor of two upsets on the Sevier County Quorum Court.
A total of 3,695 Sevier County voters cast their ballot for a voter turnout of 49 percent.
Sevier County races decided tonight include:
-Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry reelected to a third term with 52.75 percent of the vote (a total of 1,949 votes) to 46 percent for challenger Johnny Cooke (a total of 1,697 votes)

-Renea Bailey wins the race for Sevier County Clerk with 65 percent of the vote (2,408) against 31 percent for Jeff Wahls (1,144)

-Michael Barnes wins race for District 1 seat on the Sevier County Quorum Court with 52 percent (161 votes) to 26.7 percent for incumbent Earl Battiest (83 votes) and 19.3 for Veronica Ozura (60 votes)

-In another upset, Callie Miller wins the District 4 seat on the Sevier County Quorum Court with 69 percent of the vote (287) to 28 percent for incumbent David Wright (117)

-Troy Cravens, the incumbent De Queen Alderman for Ward 3-Position 2, wins that race with 57 percent (415 votes) to 36 percent for challenger Ron Huckaby (261)

-Incumbent Horatio Mayor Borden Neel narrowly wins that race with 51.23 percent of the vote (83 votes) to 46.91 for Randy Barnett (76 votes). That’s a difference of just seven votes.

-Incumbent Lockesburg Mayor Danny Ruth will receive an additional term after receiving 52.51 percent of the vote (94 votes) to 47.49 for challenger Randy Pickett (85). That’s a difference of just nine votes.

Both the Lockesburg and Horatio mayoral races will be ones to keep an eye out in the days ahead as provincial ballots will be counted in the coming days.

Sevier County voters joined those across the state in defeating all four ballot initiatives, including the legalization of recreational marijuana.

(These results are unofficial and pending the final count of provisional ballots. These results are expected to be certified early next week.)

Cowling to be next LRCO Judge; Trey Cobb elected as Ashdown mayor    11/08/22
In Little River County election night ended with Larry Cowling elected the new county judge. He defeated Elbert Bradley, Jr. with 2,889 votes to Bradley’s 905.
Trey Cobb will be Ashdown’s new mayor after defeating incumbent James Sutton with 730 votes to Sutton’s 276 and 138 for Bobby Freeze.
Other Little River County results include:
-Lisa Hearn elected to JP District 2 with 268 votes to 181 for Donte Weed

-Mark Ardwin elected to JP District 4 for 262 votes to 192 for Linda Briggs McAllester

-Tyler Davis elected to JP District 5 with 333 votes to 226 for Brandon Kennemore

-Kevin Sanders wins race for Constable of Little River Township with 163 votes to 15 for Andrew Chapa

-Willie Kersten wins race for Constable of Franklin Township with 247 votes to 54 for Charles Dorse

-In the Ashdown Alderman Ward 1, Pos. 2 race, incumbent Glen Ray Bowman reelected with 407 votes to 164 for challenger Perry Smith.

Vaught reelected as State Rep for District 87, Hickey as State Senator for District 4    11/08/22
In other election news from the listening area, District 87 State Representative DeAnn Vaught was reelected to another term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. She received a total of 2,959 votes in Little River County and 2,725 in Sevier County.
Democratic challenger Chris Wolcott received 725 in Little River and 774 in Sevier. Libertarian candidate Marc Rosson ended the night with 124 votes in Little River and 144 in Sevier.
In addition, District 4 State Senator Jimmy Hickey, Jr. also won his reelection bid tonight.
It’s decision day in Arkansas; polls open through 7:30 tonight    11/08/22
DE QUEEN – Well it’s finally here, election day 2022. Polls opened across the nation this morning for the Nov. 8 midterm elections and tens of millions of Americans are expected to cast their ballots today.

In Arkansas, polls opened this morning at 7:30 and remain open through 7:30 this evening. In Sevier County polling locations include the De Queen Church of Christ, the De Queen Community Building at Herman Dierks Park, the De Queen-Mena Educational Cooperative in Gillham, the Lockesburg United Methodist Church, the Ben Lomond Community Building and the J.L. Walker Fellowship Hall in Horatio.
In Little River County, polling locations are being hosted at the Little River County Election Center in Ashdown, the Foreman Community Center, the Ogden Community Center, the First Southern Baptist Church of Crossroads in Winthrop, First Baptist Church in Wilton and the Yarborough Community Center.
Voters will have to present photo ID before casting their ballot in this election.

Again, there’s a host of races in Sevier County, from sheriff and county clerk to two justices of the peace and challenges for the mayor’s office in both Lockesburg and Horatio. In Little River, voters are deciding their new county judge as well as three justices of the peace and a race for Ashdown mayor.

Voters in both counties also have a race to decide for District 87 state representative and District 11 state senator.

Ballot issues range from who and when can special legislative sessions be called, to recreational marijuana, a religious freedom initiative and a proposal to change the way citizen-led constitutional amendments are placed on ballot.

Arkansans will also be deciding a number of statewide races, from governor and lieutenant governor to attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor and public lands commissioner.

This is also a federal mid-term election year, with a host of U.S. Representative and U.S. Senate seats up for grabs in 2022.

It’s a big election with a lot of races and seats up for grabs this year. To help bring those results to you as quick as possible this evening, we’ll be posted at both the Sevier County and Little River County Courthouses and sharing the vote totals live throughout the evening beginning at 8 p.m. We’ll be there to the last vote is counted so make sure to tune in with us here at KDQN for all those live election results.

De Queen Schools plan Wednesday test of safety notification system    11/08/22

DE QUEEN – De Queen Public Schools is informing the community that it will perform a test of the district’s alert system this Wednesday.

District officials announced the test of the district’s RAVE Panic Button Alert System is to ensure the effectiveness of the system and the safety of students. The RAVE system is designed to provide instant communication to district faculty and staff as well as local first responders.

The test on Wednesday will check the effectiveness of the RAVE communication system via cell phones. Officials said this test will ensure the system is in place and that first responders receive notifications accordingly.

DQ FFA team marks great show season in 2022    11/08/22

Submitted by De Queen FFA Chapter

The De Queen FFA showteam has had a very successful year exhibiting their livestock.

The De Queen show team is a very diverse group of students ranging from elementary to high school. Our members include the following students, Jacob Seymour, Kyle Williamson, Katie Williamson, Olivia Cooley, Kathryn Cooley, Kane Faulkenberry, Benjamin Moniewski, Kimmi Simmons, Kalee Simmons, Kix Lee, Bristol Lee, Monica Rivas, Kinnah Ferguson, Raegun Hall, Jacob Hibbs, Jackson Walker, Bryton Griffin, Tristan Whisenhunt, Zae-Lei Frachiseur, Alyson Harder, Samuel Olvera, Will Collins, Silas Collins, Charlie Collins and Jace and Peyton Blanton. Our students are involved in showing commercial poultry, swine, goats, lambs and cattle.

Kane Faulkenberry is a senior swine showman who has had a very successful year jack-potting and exhibiting at the fall shows. Kane exhibited the Grand Champion Light Cross and York in the SASS series this summer. He also earned 3rd overall and Champion Arkansas honors in this series of shows. Kane has an accomplished showmanship record, earning championships in the SASS and Senior showmanship at our Sevier County Fair. He exhibited the Champion York, and 3rd overall market hog at the Sevier County Fair. His wins also include the Reserve Grand York at the Four State Fair. Sophomore Alyson Harder is also a veteran swine showman. She exhibited a hampshire and a duroc hog at county earning a spot in the premium sale.

We had several members attend show camps this summer to sharpen their skills in the show ring. Kyle Williamson earned Reserve Grand Showmen and Reserve Grand Fitter at the Be A Champ Show Camp this summer. In addition to this Kyle also showed the Grand Champion Simbrah bull at county and had Reserve Grand Champion Bred and Owned bull and Heifer at the state fair. Katie Williamson was 3rd overall in the fitting contest. She also won Reserve Grand Champion Simmental at the Sevier County Fair. Kinnah Ferguson also attended the Be A Champ Show Camp this summer. Kinnah was awarded the Most Improved Camper award and did a great job exhibiting two commercial heifers at numerous shows this year. Jacob Seymour was Reserve Grand Champion lamb showman at lamb camp this summer. He also did a great job with cattle, lambs and a goat, earning a Reserve Grand Champion with a commercial heifer at our county fair.

Peyton Blanton is an accomplished showman in the Beefmaster shows. She won Grand Champion Beefmaster heifer at the State Fair Spring Show and at the Rolling in the Ouachita’s Jackpot show. Peyton also won Grand Champion Beefmaster heifer at our county show and was in the premium sale.

Benjamin Moniewski is a steer and commercial heifer showman. He had a great year at our Sevier County fair winning both Grand Champion Steer and Grand Champion overall commercial heifer. Not only did he exhibit these great specimens, but he was also awarded Senior Cattle Showman at our county fair. Ben always does a great job.

The Cooley girls are also no strangers to the cattle show ring. They have earned several

wins this year with their hereford cattle. Olivia exhibited the Grand Horned Hereford heifer at our Sevier County Fair. This heifer also had the distinction of being the Grand Champion English heifer earning Olivia a place in the Premium Sale. She also had the Grand Champion Simmental Heifer that she raised. Kathryn also had a good year. She had the Reserve Grand Polled heifer and the Reserve Grand English heifer which earned her a place in the Sevier County Premium Sale.

This year we had some first year showmen who did a great job. Zae-Lei Frachiseur exhibited a commercial heifer which won a class at Four States Fair. Samuel Olvera exhibited a registered Charolais heifer and a commercial heifer while doing a great job representing our club. Raegun Hall is a senior this year and exhibited a market goat for the first time. She did great and earned a spot in our county fair premium sale. Bryton Griffin exhibited a Charolais market steer winning Reserve Grand Champion at our county fair earning him a premium sale spot.

Senior goat showmen Jacob Hibbs and Jackson Walker had a great year showing their final string of goats. Both of these young men made the premium sale with their market goats at county and went on to exhibit at AYE. Jacob was fourth in a very large class at AYE. These young men will be missed next year.

This year we had the addition of some commercial poultry exhibitors and rabbit

showmen. The Collins brothers had a good year exhibiting commercial pullets. Charlie had Grand Champion commercial pullets at the county fair. Will and Silas also exhibited. Charlie and Silas went on to exhibit at the Arkansas State Fair earning a 5th and 9th place in class. Jace Blanton was awarded Grand Champion Lion Head rabbit at our county fair. Kimmi and Kalee Simmons are commercial heifer exhibitors. Senior member Kimmi did a great job with her crossbred Charolais commercial heifer at the county and state fairs. Kalee did well with her American cross heifer winning Reserve Grand American Commercial heifer at the Four States Fair. She also was 1st in her class at the Arkansas State Fair.

Recently at the Arkansas State Fair we had some stand out victories from our members. Several of our students won Purple Circle honors and Grand Champion victories. Freshman Monica Rivas was inducted into the Purple Circle club resulting from a Grand Champion win with her Angus Bull. She also won two classes in the steer show. 7th grader Kix Lee also was a Purple Circle inductee resulting from his Grand Champion victory in the Market Steer show. Kix also exhibited the reserve overall heifer at the AYE this year.

3rd grader Bristol Lee had a stellar performance at the Arkansas State Fair and AYE this year. Bristol was a Grand Champion showman at AYE in addition to winning the Natural State Doe show. She qualified for the Purple Circle club through numerous wins. Bristol won Market Goat Showmanship, Grand Champion Doe, Reserve Grand Champion Market Goat and Grand Champion Charolais Percentage Heifer. Rounding out the Charolais Percentage show was Junior classmen Tristan Whisenhunt who earned a place in the Purple Circle club with a Grand Champion victory with his bull.

Pinnacle Propane donates $5,000 to Cossatot River athletic programs   11/08/22

By Ethan Nahté, Polk County Pulse

 

The Cossatot River School District (CRSD) has been working to complete their new ballfields since February, constructing soccer, baseball and softball fields, plus the addition of a track and space for shot put, long jump and discus throwing. The construction work has been done by Nabholz. Now, Pinnacle Propane has stepped up to the plate and donated $5,000 to help with the school’s new ballfield.

Mark Sherman, operations supervisor for Pinnacle Propane–Southern Arkansas & Louisiana, said, “Our southern Arkansas team of customer care representatives and delivery drivers take pride in caring for our customers and local business partners like the friends, family, and neighbors they are. We are local folks working and sharing in the same communities and want to help and support those communities in any way we can. We place a high value on the integrity and trust required to build lasting relationships with our customers and local business partners. We seek to earn and keep that trust with every order placed and every delivery made. We have the courage to care!”

Sherman visited the new ballfield and presented the check to Cossatot River School District Superintendent Tyler Broyles on behalf of Pinnacle Propane.

Jennifer Higgins, regional sales manager for Bunyard Broadcasting at the KDQN Studios in De Queen, helped bring CRSD and Pinnacle Propane together.

Higgins said, “In corporate sales, one of the most valuable services we can offer our clients is pairing them with other businesses in partnerships that benefit both organizations. It’s not in the ‘sales manual’ and there’s no campaign specifically for that kind of service… it’s just something we do when we see an opportunity to help our clients. I work closely with Cossatot River Schools as well as Pinnacle Propane and felt that introducing Dr. Broyles and Mr. Sherman would result in something that would benefit both organizations.”

Broyles said, “Cossatot River School District is proud to partner with Pinnacle Propane to bring additions to our newly completed facilities for track, soccer, softball, and baseball. Thanks to the recent donation from Pinnacle Propane, we plan to add press boxes to our baseball and softball fields. For the first time, all our athletic teams will be able to play at the same central location next to our high school. We are honored to partner with such a great company to help advance the district forward.” 

Pinnacle Propane is a leading regional supplier and distributor of propane. They have seven service centers located in Arkansas, including Mena and De Queen. The company offers bulk gas storage and delivery, as well as cylinder filling for residential and commercial customers. 

One death confirmed from Friday night tornados, disaster declared    11/07/22
The Kiamichi Medical Clinic in Idabel was nearly completely destroyed by a tornado Friday evening. (Photos courtesy of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)

IDABEL, Okla. – Cleanup and recovery continues in neighboring McCurtain County in Oklahoma after a tornado struck Friday evening, killing one and damaging or destroying over a 100 buildings.
Emergency response officials confirmed on Saturday that one person died as a result of Friday night’s tornado. That tornado developed as a result of a powerful storm system that swept through Northeast Texas and Southeast Oklahoma before entering Arkansas. Damage was reported as far east as Centerpoint in Arkansas, but no significant damage was reported in Sevier County.
The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Emergency alert for Broken Bow and Idabel around 6:45 Friday evening. The alert is among the rarest issued by the National Weather Service.
Clean up and assessment continues following assessment by local and state officials over the weekend.
Idabel received widespread structural damage, including the destruction of Trinity Baptist Church and major damage to the Kiamichi Medical Clinic. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who visited Idabel to inspect damages, reported that around 100 homes and businesses were either damaged or destroyed during the storm Friday night. Scenes from Idabel showed entire buildings demolished by the tornado, which was recorded creating winds of 108 mph as the storm passed through.
Emergency responders reported that state search and rescue teams alongside emergency generators were being deployed to the Idabel area. A Red Cross shelter has been organized at the Bypass Church of Christ in Idabel.

Gov. Stitt declared a state of emergency for the affected counties in Southeast Oklahoma, including McCurtain, Bryan, LeFlore and Choctaw. He tweeted Friday night that 

The same storm system was responsible for extensive damage and structural loss around Paris, Texas, and the nearby communities of Powderly and Honey Grove. Reporting by Texas-based media suggests a tornado there left a miles-long swath of destruction. Numerous people were reported hospitalized for injuries sustained during the storm and one death was confirmed in Morris County.

The National Weather Service reports that the storm system also resulted in several F1 tornadoes in Arkansas, including one responsible for fallen trees and damaged poultry houses in the Wickes area. Winds from that tornado were clocked at 90mph. No injuries or deaths were reported in Arkansas. 

The Washington Post reported that at least 17 tornadoes developed across the region as part of Friday night’s storm system.

Today is last day of early voting in Arkansas    11/07/22

DE QUEEN – Well, if elections were like jury trials, then today marks closing arguments.

That’s because today is the last day in Arkansas to early vote ahead of election day, which is tomorrow, Nov. 8. Arkansans wanting to skip any potential lines at their polling location tomorrow have until 5 p.m. today to cast their early vote.

As of Saturday, Nov. 5, the Sevier County Clerk’s Office was reporting 1,514 early votes cast so far. That totals around 20 percent of the county electorate.

Polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Remember, if you aren’t sure where your polling location is on election day, you can contact your county clerk or visit www.voterview.ar-nova.org to find that information along with a sample ballot specific to your area.

Arkansas law requires that voters present a photo ID before voting.

Sevier County voters are deciding several local races in addition to a host of statewide challenges and ballot issues. Locally those include Sevier County sheriff, county clerk and two justices of the peace. Voters in Little River County are also deciding who will be their new county judge as well as a challenge for three justices of the peace. Voters in both counties also have a race to decide for District 87 state representative and District 11 state senator. Voters in Ashdown, Horatio and Lockesburg will also vote on mayoral challenges in those cities. There is also a race for the Ward 3, Position 2 seat on the De Queen City Council and for the Ward 1, Position 2 seat on the Ashdown City Council.

Local municipal races include a race for the Ward 3, Position 2 seat on the De Queen City Council, as well as mayoral challenges in both Horatio and Lockesburg. Ashdown voters will also decide a race for mayor as well as the Ward 1, Position 2 seat on the Ashdown City Council.

Ballot issues range from who and when can special legislative sessions be called, to recreational marijuana, a religious freedom initiative and a proposal to change the way citizen-led constitutional amendments are placed on ballot.

Arkansans will also be deciding a number of statewide races, from governor and lieutenant governor to attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor and public lands commissioner.

This is also a federal mid-term election year, with a host of U.S. Representative and U.S. Senate seats up for grabs in 2022. Nationwide polling results suggest Democrats could lose control of Congress to Republicans following this election.

Sevier, Little River voters to decide races from local to federal level    11/07/22

The following is a list of all the races that will appear on ballots in Sevier and Little River County on election day:

Federal Races

U.S. House Arkansas District 4

Republican – Bruce Westerman (Incumbent)

Democrat – John White

Libertarian – Gregory Maxwell

U.S. Senate

Republican – John Boozman (Incumbent)

Democrat – Natalie James

Libertarian – Kenneth Cates

Statewide Offices

Arkansas Auditor of Statewide

Republican – Dennis Milligan

Democrat – Diamond Arnold-Johnson

Libertarian – Simeon Snow

Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands

Republican – Tommy Land (Incumbent)

Democrat – Goldi Gaines

Arkansas Secretary of State

Republican – John Thurston (Incumbent)

Democrat – Anna Beth Gorman

Arkansas Supreme Court Position 2 (Nonpartisan)

Robin Wynne (Incumbent)

Chris Carnahan

Arkansas Treasurer

Republican – Mark Lowery

Democrat – Pam Whitaker

Arkansas Attorney General

Republican – Tim Griffin

Democrat – Jesse Gibson

Governor of Arkansas

Republican – Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Democrat – Chris Jones

Libertarian – Ricky Dale Harrington, Jr.

Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas

Republican – Leslie Rutledge

Democratic – Kelly Krout

Libertarian – Frank Gilbert

Arkansas State Senate District 11

Republican – Jimmy Hickey (Incumbent)

Independent – Lonny Goodwin

Arkansas House of Representatives District 87

Republican – DeAnn Vaught (Incumbent)

Democrat – Chris Wolcott

Libertarian – Marc Rosson

Sevier County Races

Sevier County Sheriff

Democrat – Robert Gentry (Incumbent)

Republican – Johnny Cooke

Sevier County Clerk

Independent – Jeff Wahls

Republican – Renea Bailey

Justice of the Peace District 1

Democrat – Earl Battiest (Incumbent)

Republican – Michael Barnes

Independent – Veronica Ozura

Justice of the Peace District 4

Democrat – David Wright (Incumbent)

Republican – Callie Miller

De Queen City Council Alderman

Ward 3, Position 2 (Nonpartisan)

Troy Cravens (Incumbent)

Ron Huckaby

Lockesburg Mayor (Nonpartisan)

Danny Ruth (Incumbent)

Randy Pickett

Horatio Mayor (Nonpartisan)

Borden Neel (Incumbent)

Randy Barnett

Little River County Races

JP District 2

Independent – Donte Weed

Republican – Lisa Hearn

JP District 4

Independent – Mark Ardwin

Republican – Linda Briggs McAllester

JP District 5

Independent – Tyler Davis

Republican – Brandon Kennemore

County Judge

Republican – Larry Cowling

Democrat – Elbert Bradley, Jr.

Constable Franklin Township

Independent – Willie Kersten

Democrat – Charles Dorse

Constable Little River Township

Independent – Andrew Chapa

Republican – Kevin Sanders

Ashdown City Races

Ashdown Mayor (Nonpartisan)

James Sutton (Incumbent)

Bobby Freeze

Trey Cobb

Ashdown Alderman Ward 1, Position 2 (Nonpartisan)

Glen Ray Bowman (Incumbent)

Perry Smith

Leopards Cross Country boys earn State Runners-up   11/07/22

DE QUEEN – Congratulations to six De Queen Leopard Cross Country student-athletes after their performances this season resulted in their qualification for All-State Honors.

The Leopards cross country team competed at State on Saturday, finishing fourth overall at the tournament. Saturday’s loss at state was only the second for the boys cross country team. They were named 4A State Runners-up and school officials said their accomplishments this year were incredible ones.

The six athletes qualifying for All-State Honors include Juan Maldonado, Randy Rodriguez, Gustavo Garcia and Carlos Jan Aguilar for the boys team, and Alyssa Neal and Jaden Valdez for the girls team.

Upcoming events at Cossatot River School District   11/07/22
WICKES – In some other school news, Cossatot River School District is informing its students and families of a few upcoming events scheduled for November.
That includes a night for parents and students to learn more about the district’s Gifted & Talented, ESL and Home Access Center programs. The Home Access Center is a program that allows parents to access their child’s grades at any time.

The informative meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 17 beginning at 6 p.m. in the Cossatot River High School Cafeteria. Parents will also be able to receive more info regarding upcoming events at Cossatot River and have any questions answered.

For more information on the Parent Night event, contact Bethany Brantley at bbrantley@cossatot.us or Maricela Avila at mavila@cossatot.us.

Cossatot River FFA will also present a Thanksgiving event on Nov. 17 during both lunch hours that day. The event will include food, drinks and games. FFA members are invited to pay their dues during this event.

And finally, this Friday, Nov. 11, Cossatot River FFA Officers will host a special Veterans Day event to recognize the contributions and sacrifices of the nation’s servicemen and women. All veterans are welcome to come by the Cossatot River High School Ag Building between 7:30-10 that morning for a free breakfast. This is the ninth year for the Cossatot River FFA chapter to host its Veterans Day Breakfast.

Horatio FFA hosting Harvest Fest this Saturday, Big Buck/Doe Contest   11/07/22

HORATIO – Horatio will host a Harvest Fest this Saturday, Nov. 12 with a ton of activities for the whole family. That includes local vendors, live music, food trucks, a wrestling match, car show and more. The event will begin at 9 a.m. on Main Street in Horatio.

The Horatio FFA is presenting a Big Buck and Doe Contest at the Horatio Harvest Fest. Entries must be received by 6 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 11 at the Pit Stop in Horatio or on the Horatio FFA Facebook page. Entry fee is $20 for a buck, $10 for a doe. Weigh-in will be held at the Pit Stop between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12. First place will receive a trophy cup and 50 percent payback. Second place will receive 25 percent payback. Bucks will be scored by typical Boon and Crocket, does by weight.

State Rep. DeAnn Vaught weekly update: Remember our veterans   11/07/22

By State Rep. DeAnn Vaught

Arkansas is home to more than 222,000 veterans. That equals close to 10% of our adult population.

Whether they served in times of war or peace, our veterans all share an unwavering belief in the cause of freedom.

As we approach Veterans Day, we want to extend our sincere appreciation to those who despite the risk and sacrifice, raised their hand to serve and defend our country. We are also grateful to families of service members and veterans who also serve this nation with their support and sacrifice.

The Arkansas General Assembly continually reviews ways to ensure our veterans and their families are well cared for and that our policies make life a little easier for those who call Arkansas home.

In 2017, we passed Act 141 which exempts military retirement benefits from state income tax. It is estimated that there are close to 25,000 military retirees living in Arkansas.

In the 2021 Regular Session, we passed Act 988 which allows dependents of certain veterans to receive tuition waivers to private, nonprofit institutions of higher education; and caps the amount of the tuition waiver for dependents of certain veterans.

We also passed Act 58 creates a veterans treatment specialty court program. This General Assembly passed Act 888 which waives the licensing fee for a license to carry a concealed handgun if the applicant is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces or is currently serving in the United States Armed Forces. And we passed Act 640 which ensures that the Suicide Prevention Hotline employs individuals who have experience working with veterans.

We encourage Arkansans to consider ways they can support our veterans this Veterans Day and throughout the year.

There are numerous volunteer opportunities across the state. Medical facilities, VA hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics need volunteers to perform a wide range of duties.

You can find links to resources for our veterans at veterans.arkansas.gov

At least one death reported in McCurtain Co. following Friday night tornado    11/05/22
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tours damages in Idabel following a tornado Friday night that resulted in over 100 destroyed or damaged buildings as well as at least one death. (Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Governor’s Office)

IDABEL, Okla. – A tornado claimed the life of at least one McCurtain County resident and destroyed numerous buildings following a strong system across the region Friday night.
Reporting after the storm suggested a resident of the Pickens community in McCurtain County was killed by the tornado. The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Emergency alert for Broken Bow and Idabel around 6:45 Friday evening. The alert is among the rarest issued by the National Weather Service.
Clean up and assessment from the tornado continues today.
Idabel received widespread structural damage, including the destruction of Trinity Baptist Church and major damage to the Kiamichi Medical Clinic. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who visited Idabel to inspect damages, reported that around 100 homes and businesses were either damaged or destroyed during the storm Friday night. Scenes from Idabel showed entire buildings demolished by the tornado, which was recorded creating winds of 108 mph as the storm passed through.
Stitt announced he will declare a state of emergency for the affected counties in Southeast Oklahoma. He tweeted Friday night that search and rescue teams along side emergency generators were being deployed to the Idabel area.
The same storm system was responsible for extensive damage and structural loss around Paris, Texas, and the nearby communities of Powderly and Honey Grove. Reporting by Texas-based media suggests a tornado there left a miles-long swath of destruction. No deaths were reported but numerous people were hospitalized for injuries sustained during the storm.

The Washington Post is reporting that at least 17 tornadoes developed across the region as part of Friday night’s storm system.

Locally, no significant damage was reported in Southwest Arkansas. Emergency response officials in Sevier County said they were not aware of any damages as a result of Friday’s storms.

Early voting ends Monday in Arkansas    11/04/22
DE QUEEN – Arkansas voters have just a few days left to early vote ahead of election day on Nov. 8.
During the first week of early voting, 705 people cast their ballots in Sevier County – a total of nine percent.
Early voting will continue through Nov. 7. Polls will be open today from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the final Monday before Election Day.
The early voting location for Sevier County is the Herman Dierks Park Community Building in De Queen. For Little River voters, early voting will be held at the Little River County Election Center in Ashdown.
If you have moved to another county since you last voted, you have until the end of business today to update your voter registration with your county clerk for this election.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls that day will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Arkansas law requires that voters present a photo ID before voting.

Sevier County voters are deciding several local races in addition to a host of statewide challenges and ballot issues. Locally those include Sevier County sheriff, county clerk and two justices of the peace. Voters in Little River County are also deciding who will be their new county judge as well as a challenge for sheriff and three justices of the peace. Voters in both counties also have a race to decide for District 87 state representative and District 11 state senator.

Ballot issues range from who and when can special legislative sessions be called, to recreational marijuana, a religious freedom initiative and a proposal to change the way citizen-led constitutional amendments are placed on ballot.

Sevier County DHS announces program to bring Christmas to foster kids    11/04/22

DE QUEEN – With the holiday season here, the Sevier County Department of Human Services is again organizing its annual project to provide gifts to all area foster children in-need.

The agency is seeking the community’s help in ensuring all foster children in Sevier County receive a gift this Christmas.

In total, the department is providing services to 67 Sevier County children in need – up from 43 last year. Officials estimate that figure will raise to 75 by Christmas.

Organizers are asking anyone interested to contact them starting this week to request a child or children to sponsor this Christmas. The Department of Human Services will provide volunteers with information specific to each child. Gift cards are also welcome.

Organizers are asking sponsors to stay in the $150 range for this gift program. Sponsors can be matched with a partner to lessen the burden on individuals.

For more information, contact the Sevier County Children and Family Services staff at 279-1731.

AHS Junior Bannon Price selected as finalist for USSYP program    11/04/22

ASHDOWN – Bannon Price, a junior at Ashdown High School, has been selected to advance to the finalist round for delegate selection for the 2022-2023 United States Senate Youth Program (USSP). 

The USSYP was created by Senate Resolution 324 in 1962 and has been sponsored by the Senate and fully funded by The Hearst Foundations since inception. The goal of the program is to increase young Americans’ understanding of the interrelationships of the three branches of government, learn the caliber and responsibilities of federally elected and appointed officials, and emphasize the vital importance of democratic decision making not only for America but for people around the world. 

Each year this extremely competitive merit-based program provides the most outstanding high school students – in fact, just two from each state – with an intensive week-long study of the federal government and the people who lead it. 

The overall mission of the program is to help instill within each class of USSYP student delegates more profound knowledge of the American political process and a lifelong commitment to public service. In addition to the program week, The Hearst Foundations provide each student with a $10,000 undergraduate college scholarship with encouragement to continue coursework in government, history, and public affairs. 

All expenses for Washington Week are also provided by The Hearst Foundations. The 61st Annual United States Senate Youth Program Washington Week is being planned for March 4–11, 2023 in Washington, D.C.  www.ussenateyouth.org/

As a finalist, Bannon Price will interview with the selection committee in Little Rock on November 14 at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Two student delegates and two alternates will be selected from the eight AR finalists and are scheduled to be announced in December. 

Quorum Court to meet this month to finalize 2023 budget proposal    11/04/22

DE QUEEN – Sevier County officials will be meeting in the coming weeks to prepare the county’s 2023 budget.

Meetings have been scheduled for Nov. 11 beginning at 8:30 a.m. in the Sevier County Jail conference room. Further meetings are scheduled for Nov. 16 and Nov. 18 beginning at 8:30 a.m. both days and will be held in the conference room of the Sevier County Courthouse.

The final budget committee meeting will be held Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. in the courthouse conference room.

These meetings are being held to discuss and compile the county’s 2023 operating budget proposal. These meetings are open to the public.

Howard County jury finds man guilty of murder of three-year-old son    11/03/22
A Howard County man was found guilty this week for the 2021 death of his three-year-old son.

Devalin Wiseman of Mineral Springs was found guilty by a Howard County jury Tuesday afternoon on a single count of first degree murder. Wiseman was arrested in November of 2021 after his three-year-old son, Kingston, died from injuries caused by Wiseman.
During an investigation into the child’s death, and in video played as testimony during this week’s trial, Wiseman admitted to whipping the child with a belt, a wooden spoon and an extension cord. He also admitted to striking the child four times to the head.
The child was taken to the Howard Memorial Hospital where staff attempted to provide lifesaving treatment to child. The child however passed away from the injuries.
Following the jury’s guilty verdict on Tuesday, Wiseman was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The case was prosecuted by Howard County Deputy Prosecutor Aaron Brasel.
Little River County lifts burn ban    11/03/22

Burn ban map current as of Nov. 3. Counties with active burn bans are shown in red.

Little River County is one of the latest counties in Arkansas to lift its burn ban following the summer-long drought this year. Currently all counties in the listening area besides Hempstead are no longer under a burn ban as of Thursday morning.
Nonetheless, Arkansas state foresters are saying that the risk of wildfires in Arkansas continues to grow. The Arkansas Forestry Commission recently upgraded the risk in Southwest Arkansas – including Sevier, Howard, Little River and Polk Counties – from moderate to high. Under a high risk level, foresters say unattended fires can spread quickly and easily.

The Forestry Division is asking those who see fires to report them by calling 1-800-468-8834 and to avoid flying drones in the area. When drones are present, those fighting the fires are unable to perform detection flights or fly single engine airtankers (SEATs) to drop water.

Arkansas youth hunters reminded they will need CID    11/03/22

Young hunters will be hitting the field Nov. 5 and 6 for the Arkansas Special Youth Modern Gun Deer Hunt, and if they’re lucky they’ll be taking pictures wearing their hunter orange posing with their deer. AGFC officials are asking parents of these young hunters to make sure their experience goes as smoothly as possible by ensuring that they have a customer ID number ready to check the deer in their name.

All hunters aged 6 and above, must have an AGFC-issued customer ID to check big game or participate in permit drawings beginning this season. For hunters 16 and over, that ID is automatically assigned to a person’s hunting license. Youth hunters do not need a license to hunt, but must still obtain a CID through a simple, free process at agfc.com or any license vendor.

Simply go to www.agfc.com, click “Buy a Licenses/Check Game” in the top right corner of the website and fill out the youth hunter’s information. They will need to submit their Social Security number if they have been assigned one; otherwise, they can choose the “exempt” option for that portion of their information. All information is kept confidential and is required by the federal government as part of the licensing process.

Once their profile is complete, youth hunters may choose the Youth Customer Identification Number (license code YCID) option in the licensing system, which has no fee. After completing the transaction, youth will have a Customer ID assigned to them that may be used to check big game or used in future permit draw applications.

Leopards, Razorbacks football game moved up to tonight    11/03/22

TEXARKANA, Ark. – The threat of inclement weather has forced a change in this week’s varsity football game between the De Queen Leopards and Arkansas High Razorbacks.

Instead of playing this Friday, the two teams will battle it out at Arkansas High this evening.

The call to move up the game was made on Tuesday due to the high change (90 percent) of heavy rainfall and possibility of thunderstorms Friday evening.

Kickoff for tonight’s game is 7 p.m. Tune in to your Number One Country 92.1 FM for full play-by-play coverage of the game with the pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Two De Queen students named Heisman High School Scholarship contestants    11/02/22
Belle Lindsey

DE QUEEN – Two of De Queen’s top student-athletes have been recognized as candidates for the 2022 Heisman High School Scholarship.
Belle Lindsey and Nathan Patterson, both seniors at De Queen High School, were selected as candidates for this year’s Heisman High School Scholarship award out of a pool of thousands of high school student-athletes from across the nation. In total, more than 5,700 students have been named school winners in the Heisman High School Scholarship competition awarded by the Heisman Trophy Trust.

Belle and Nathan will go on to compete with other school winners from across Arkansas for a chance to become state winners. State winners will then go on to the national finals for a chance at becoming winners of the nationwide Heisman Trophy Scholarship program.

State winners will receive a $1,000 college scholarship while national finalists will earn a $2,000 college scholarship. The male and female national winners will each receive a $10,000 scholarship.

Nathan Patterson

A complete list of school winners can be found at www.heismanscholarship.com/results/.

The complete 2022 program timeline can be found at heismanscholarship.com/about/program-timeline/.

State winners will be announced on Friday, Nov. 4. National finalists will be determined on Nov. 7 and, on Nov. 30, the national winners will be announced.

The Heisman Memorial Trophy is annually award tot he most outstanding college football player in the nation. The Heisman High School Scholarship extends the Heisman prestige to our nation’s most esteemed high school seniors by recognizing and rewarding outstanding scholar-athletes who understand that the most important victories not only happen on the field, but in their schools and communities. These remarkable young leaders set the example and make a game-changing difference every day, paving the way for everyone around them.

To apply, students must be graduating with the class of 2023, have a cumulative weighted high school GPA of 3.0 or better, participate in at least one of the sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee and be a leader in their school and community.

Thursday’s Leopards/Razorbacks game moved up to Thursday due to inclement weather    11/02/22

TEXARKANA, Ark. – The threat of inclement weather has forced a change in this week’s varsity football game between the De Queen Leopards and Arkansas High Razorbacks.

Instead of playing this Friday, the two teams will battle it out at Arkansas High this Thursday, Nov. 3.

The call to move up the game was made on Tuesday due to the high change (80 percent) of heavy rainfall and possibility of thunderstorms Friday evening.

Kickoff for Thursday’s game is 7 p.m. Tune in to your Number One Country 92.1 FM for full play-by-play coverage of the game with the pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Sevier County Chamber announces 2022 Christmas Parade theme    11/02/22

DE QUEEN – Officials with the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce have announced the theme for this year’s annual De Queen Christmas Parade.

Organizers say this year’s parade will be themed “The Magic of Sevier County.” The chamber is also reminding area residents that this year’s Disney-inspired parade will return with its traditional format around the Sevier County Courthouse Square in downtown De Queen.

Santa will be appearing alongside the lighting of the Courthouse before the parade. Chamber officials say with everyone’s help this will be a Christmas parade to remember in our community.

The parade is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3 beginning at 6p.m.

Chamber officials are asking all interested churches, businesses and community organizations to participate in the parade.

For more information and to register a parade entry, contact the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce by emailing dqchamber@gmail.com or by calling (870) 584-3225.

Deadline extended for 2022 LRCC Land of Lights Pageant    11/02/22

ASHDOWN – The Little River County Chamber of Commerce is extending the application deadline for this month’s Miss Land of Lights pageant competition.

The deadline for applications is this Friday, Nov. 4. Paper applications can be pickedu p from the “Blessing Box” at the chamber office located at 180 E. Whitaker in Ashdown. Online applications are available here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-zKnR5P-4UPV0pIvu28lJGYjfVt3IE8eDqJlP7i11QI/edit?fbclid=IwAR0siKT6Rj7S1919d4CcT8xruTSinI59OVIhIMrO54odJ4ecq9hJcjaUuDI

Completed applications can be dropped off at the chamber office in the door mail slot.

The Little Miss Land of Lights pageant will be held Saturday, Nov. 12. The event begins with the Baby, Tiny, Little, Petite and Young Miss Land of Lights at 2 p.m. The Junior & Teen Miss Land of Lights begins at 5 p.m. and the Miss Land of Lights at 6 p.m. The pageant will take place at the Ashdown High School Auditorium.

For more information call (870) 898-2758.

Operation Christmas Child collection week is Nov. 14-21    11/02/22

HORATIO – Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Collection Week will soon be fully underway to bring Christmas to less-fortunate children across the world.

Local volunteers will be transforming empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and articles of clothing for children in need worldwide. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and bring joy to children in struggling communities across the world. It all starts with the help of a shoebox filled with gifts.

This year’s collection week is scheduled for Nov. 14-21.

As in previous years, local organizers will host a drop-off and volunteer site at the Horatio First Baptist Church, located at 211 Hazard Street in Horatio.

In Little River County, a drop-off location has been set up at the First United Methodist Church of Ashdown. Other drop-off sites are located in Nashville, Mena and Broken Bow.

Anyone interested in participating is asked to fill out a standard-sized shoebox with gifts for a girl or boy in certain age categories. Operation Christmas Child provides a full step-by-step guide on what and how to pack. That guide can be found online at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. That website also includes more detailed dates and times for when and where shoeboxes can be dropped off.

Fire ant quarantine expanded within Arkansas    11/02/22

LITTLE ROCK – The number of Arkansas counties included in the federal fire ant quarantine zone continues to grow.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced on Tuesday that seven additional Arkansas counties would be included in the existing Federal Order regarding quarantine areas for imported fire ants. Those counties include Cross, Franklin, Johnson, Lee, Monroe, St. Francie and Woodruff. The existing quarantine zone has for years included Sevier, Polk, Howard and Little River Counties in addition to the rest of central and southern Arkansas.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued a Federal Order for the expansion of quarantine areas for the existing imported fire ant quarantine areas in Arkansas. A map indicating the existing and updated quarantine areas can be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/plant-industries/regulatory-section/quarantines/.

Imported fire ants are commonly transported by nursery stock, grass sod, hay, and straw. These items are all included in the federal quarantine order. Anyone transporting a regulated article from the quarantine areas to outside of the quarantine areas must have a certificate or compliance agreement from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture to ensure that no fire ants are moved along with these items. The quarantine applies to the following:

  • Nurseries in the quarantine areas shipping plants with soil outside the quarantine area.
  • Landscapers and nurseries picking up plants in the quarantine area and bringing them outside of the quarantine area.
  • Landscapers and nurseries within the quarantine area that are moving plants from the quarantine area for landscaping jobs outside of the quarantine area. 
  • Grass sod owners in the quarantine area shipping sod outside the quarantine area.
  • Landscapers bringing sod from the quarantine area to outside the quarantine area.
  • Bailed hay and straw which is shipped from the quarantine area to outside the quarantine area.

APHIS officials said they are taking these actions based upon verification from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture that imported fire ants are present and established in the areas listed. For more information about imported fire ants and the related quarantine, visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/plant-industries/regulatory-section/imported-fire-ant-program/.

State Rep. DeAnn Vaught Weekly Update: November is National Adoption Month    11/02/22

By State Rep. DeAnn Vaught

Did you know that out of the over 400,000 children and teens in foster care in the United States, over 100,000 of them are waiting to be adopted? Right now, there are 292 children in Arkansas whose parents’ parental rights have been terminated and are currently seeking a forever family.

November is National Adoption Month. It is a time to increase awareness of adoption issues, bring attention to the need for adoptive families for teens in the foster care system, and emphasize the value of youth engagement. On November 3, the Arkansas Department of Human Services will be hosting a National Adoption Month Rally at the State Capitol. The event begins at noon.

In the 2021 Regular Session, the General Assembly passed Act 574, which directed the House Committee on Aging, Children, and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs, and the Senate Interim Committee on Children and Youth to conduct a study of the best practices for reducing the number of children in foster care. Part of that study includes reviewing the length of time from termination of parental rights to adoption finalization for relative and foster parent adoptions. Significant progress has been made to shorten that time. The committee is scheduled to review a draft of the final report when they meet in November. While we continue our study and work to reduce the number of children entering the foster care system, we encourage you to explore how your family may be able to help.

Last year, the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) launched the Every Day Counts campaign as a reminder for people that every day these children and teens spend in foster care is a day too long because every day counts!

 

After the launch of the program, Project Zero took on the challenge to give every waiting child a short film by the end of 2021. Project Zero is a non-profit organization whose mission is to diligently and enthusiastically promote adoption through the foster care system with the ultimate goal of finding a forever family for every child who is waiting. These short films have been a critical piece in finding adoptive families for children in foster care. You can find the films and more information about each child in Project Zero’s Arkansas Heart Gallery at www.projectzero.org.

Wildfire risk upgraded to “high” for Southwest Arkansas    11/01/22
Arkansas state foresters are saying that, despite some more of that much-needed rainfall over the weekend, the risk of wildfires in Arkansas continues to grow.
The rain was definitely needed but still not enough to reduce that risk. In fact, the Arkansas Forestry Commission recently upgraded the risk in Southwest Arkansas – including Sevier, Howard, Little River and Polk Counties – from moderate to high. Under a high risk level, foresters say unattended fires can spread quickly and easily.
Risk levels are determined by drought status and long-term weather forecasts and are defined by how easily fires can start and how hard they are to contain. The Wildfire Danger map can be found at arkfireinfo.org.

The Forestry Division is asking those who see fires to report them by calling 1-800-468-8834 and to avoid flying drones in the area. When drones are present, those fighting the fires are unable to perform detection flights or fly single engine airtankers (SEATs) to drop water.

The recent rainfall was enough to prompt several area counties – Sevier, Howard and Polk – into lifting their burn bans. However, Little River remains under a burn ban as of Tuesday morning.

Arkansas state foresters are saying that, despite some more of that much-needed rainfall over the weekend, the risk of wildfires in Arkansas continues to grow.

The rain was definitely needed but still not enough to reduce that risk. In fact, the Arkansas Forestry Commission recently upgraded the risk in Southwest Arkansas – including Sevier, Howard, Little River and Polk Counties – from moderate to high. Under a high risk level, foresters say unattended fires can spread quickly and easily.

Risk levels are determined by drought status and long-term weather forecasts and are defined by how easily fires can start and how hard they are to contain. The Wildfire Danger map can be found at arkfireinfo.org.

The Forestry Division is asking those who see fires to report them by calling 1-800-468-8834 and to avoid flying drones in the area. When drones are present, those fighting the fires are unable to perform detection flights or fly single engine airtankers (SEATs) to drop water.

The recent rainfall was enough to prompt several area counties – Sevier, Howard and Polk – into lifting their burn bans. However, Little River remains under a burn ban as of Tuesday morning.

Operation Christmas Child Week is Nov. 14-21    11/01/22

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Collection Week will soon be fully underway to bring Christmas to less-fortunate children across the world.

Local volunteers will be transforming empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and articles of clothing for children in need worldwide. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and bring joy to children in struggling communities across the world. It all starts with the help of a shoebox filled with gifts.

This year’s collection week is scheduled for Nov. 14-21.

As in previous years, local organizers will host a drop-off and volunteer site at the Horatio First Baptist Church, located at 211 Hazard Street in Horatio.

In Little River County, a drop-off location has been set up at the First United Methodist Church of Ashdown. Other drop-off sites are located in Nashville, Mena and Broken Bow.

Anyone interested in participating is asked to fill out a standard-sized shoebox with gifts for a girl or boy in certain age categories. Operation Christmas Child provides a full step-by-step guide on what and how to pack. That guide can be found online at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. That website also includes more detailed dates and times for when and where shoeboxes can be dropped off.

Arkansas group stresses “no” vote on Issue 4    11/01/22

Arkansas voters are heading to the polls to decide a number of issues and perhaps none is receiving more attention than Issue 4: recreational marijuana.

After passing medical marijuana back in 2016, Arkansans now have the option of legalizing it for recreational purposes as part of a growing trend across the nation towards legal recreational use. Supporters say the benefits of legalizing marijuana include economic factors, such as job creation and additional tax revenue for the state. They also cite the regulatory effect of legalization – in effect, shifting marijuana from a black market industry to a regulated one.

Opponents, however, point to a number of apparent flaws with this reasoning. The Family Council Action Committee, a Little Rock-based conservative public policy organization, has come out strongly against Issue 4 in the November General Election.

 

 

That was Jerry Cox, the group’s executive director. Cox said the Family Council Action Committee has come out against Issue 4 for numerous reasons, including how favorable it is to the industry.

 

 

Issue 4, Cox stresses, gives too much authority to the recreational marijuana industry in setting standards, tax obligations and its claim to use revenue to boost police salaries. The bill, he said, doesn’t provide enough industry or regulatory control over recreational marijuana.

 

 

The group’s skepticism focuses on more than economic factors. The Family Council Action Committee has also expressed concern over the societal effects of recreational marijuana. Cox said a particular concern is the effect legalized marijuana would have on the growing opioid epidemic in Arkansas.

 

 

Cox also pointed out to the ongoing worker shortage in Arkansas and across the nation, and how legalized marijuana could forestall this significant economic issue.

 

 

Cox invites voters, both undecided and those who’ve already made up their minds either way about Issue 4, to seek more information through the organization, whose website is www.familycouncilactioncommittee.com. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center has also released a voter guide detailing each statewide ballot issue as well as the arguments for and against each one. 

Arkansas is not the only state that will decide on recreational marijuana this year. North Dakota, South Dakota, Maryland and Missouri are also featuring similar issues on their ballots. Polling on the issue in all five states shows results are likely to be close.

Murder trial began Monday for Howard County man suspected of son’s death    11/01/22

Original reporting by www.southwestarkansasradio.com

A murder trial started in the Howard County Circuit Court on Monday with a jury of eight women and 4 men. 

Devaline Wiseman has been charged with murder in the first degree for causing the death of his 3-year-old son.

The trial started Monday afternoon with testimony from Howard County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Quick who testified he was dispatched to an incident in Mineral Springs but was re-routed to Howard Memorial Hospital where the victim had been taken by private vehicle. When Deputy Quick arrived at the hospital he testified that hospital staff members were performing life-saving measures on a 3-year-old child.

Wiseman’s fiancé, Chasity Holms testified that Wiseman started punishing his son after the child soiled himself. Holms stated she left the room after a while because she began to feel uncomfortable. She said she returned to the room after the child stopped crying. Holms said when she returned to the room, the child was lying motionless on the floor.

Prosecutor Aaron Brasel shared video footage of the two interviews that Howard County Chief Deputy Joey Davis conducted with Wiseman. 

In the videos, Wiseman admitted to whipping the child with a belt, a wooden spoon and an extension cord. He also admitted to striking the child four times to the head.

Wiseman broke down in tears in the courtroom Monday afternoon, while watching the portion of the video interview where he was told his son had passed away.

The trial is expected to conclude Tuesday and will then be set to the jurors.

Listening area host to numerous Halloween events tonight    10/31/22
DE QUEEN – It’s Halloween! A number of groups are planning events today to celebrate this spookiest day of the year.
That includes Halloween on the Square hosted by the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce tonight from 4-5:30 p.m. around the downtown courthouse square. Chamber members and local civic groups are invited to participate by setting up a booth around the square to pass out candy to kids.
To join in on the fun, contact the chamber office ASAP today at (870) 584-3225 or Amy McDonald at (870) 784-0266. Booths will need to be set up by 3:30 p.m.
In other local Halloween events, Alicia Rivas will host the fourth annual De Queen Trunk or Treat from 5-7 p.m. this evening at the De Queen Sportsplex. Activities are also welcomed and some have been scheduled already, including sack races, face painting, corn hole and more.

There is no cost to attend and area kids are invited to come by for a free and safe Halloween candy giveaway experience.

The De Queen Church of Christ will host a candy giveaway event at its parking lot from 7-8 p.m.

The Timber Ridge apartments on Fourth Street in De Queen will host a trick-or-treating event for all area children from 5-7 p.m. on Halloween.

The Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association and De Queen Junior Class will present the final night of their first ever haunted house this evening from 7-9:30 p.m. Cost is $10 for ages 12 and up and $5 for those 11 and under. Proceeds from the fundraising event will be split between the CACA and the De Queen Junior Class.

And finally, the Horatio High School chapter of the National Honor Society will present a Trunk or Treat event tonight from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Horatio High School parking lot.

Early voting enters second week; 705 already cast ballots in Sevier County    10/31/22

DE QUEEN – Today marks the start of the second week of early voting ahead of the 2022 General Election scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 8.

As of Saturday evening, 705 people have cast their ballots in Sevier County – a total of nine percent.

Early voting will continue through Nov. 7. Polls will be open this Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the final Monday before Election Day.

The early voting location for Sevier County is the Herman Dierks Park Community Building in De Queen. For Little River voters, early voting will be held at the Little River County Election Center in Ashdown.

To check your voter registration, find your polling location and operating hours, or to view a sample ballot, visit www.voterview.org.

A voter guide containing unbiased information regarding ballot issues, produced by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center, can be accessed at www.uaex.uada.edu/business-communities/voter-education

If you have moved to another county since you last voted, you have until this Friday, Nov. 4 to update your voter registration with your county clerk for this election.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls that day will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Arkansas law requires that voters present a photo ID before voting.

Sevier County Library System announces Food for Fines, sweater drive    10/31/22

DE QUEEN – November is nearly here and that means a couple of things: Thanksgiving is just around the corner and so is the Sevier County Library System’s annual Food for Fines program.

Through this yearly initiative, patrons are invited to bring in any nonperishable food item for a one dollar reduction per item in existing overdue fines. Food accepted for fines are for returned library materials only, not for replacement fees of lost or damaged items. The program is part of the library system’s annual effort to address food insecurity in Sevier County, according to Head Librarian Johnye Fisher.

In addition to the Food for Fines program, the library is also once again sponsoring the Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive. The library is accepting new or gently worn items for donation, including cold weather clothes like coats, sweaters, gloves, hats, scarves and more. These items can be dropped off at any system library, including De Queen, Horatio, Lockesburg and Gillham.

For more information, call the De Queen Library at (870) 584-4364.

Halloween tales – The Fouke Monster    10/31/22

With Halloween today, we thought there was no better time to take a look at some of the haunted and just plain creepy parts of our corner of the state.

This time, we’re going to look a little further south, at the swamps of Southern Arkansas where for decades something, so it’s been said, has been lurking, hiding and only occasionally making its presence known.

The swamps of Southern Arkansas are a notoriously wild and almost impenetrable expanse. It’s a land seemingly almost forgotten to time itself. And there, around the town of Fouke and the surrounding wilderness, something mysterious and terrifying is said to live.

I speak, of course, of the Fouke Monster. The story of the Fouke monster spans five decades with initial sightings in the early 1970s. The creature is most commonly associated with the bigfoot or Sasquatch of American folklore. A hairy, bipedal seven-foot tall ape-like creature said to have, oddly, three-toes, the Fouke monster has had many run-ins with residents of southern Miller County – if you believe the stories.

The monster came to some fame after it reportedly attacked a man and in his family at their home. Sightings increased from there, with the creature blamed for multiple deaths of large animals in the area. One farmer claimed to see the Fouke Monster run off with a pair of 200 lbs hogs tucked under its arms.

Soon after, a series of cheesy docudrama films were made and helped carry the legend of the Fouke Monster to audiences across the nation. I’ve seen the first two movies and they’re full of… um, heart. Nonetheless, the Legend of the Boggy Creek monster was the 10th highest grossing film of 1972. Americans, after all, do love a good Bigfoot tale. Here’s a clip from the movie detailing one of the first reported encounters with the Fouke Monster.

Although most encounters with the Fouke Monster have been peaceful, those who claim to have seen it don’t recommend visiting the surrounding woods alone. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped the creature from becoming Fouke’s most famous residents. An annual festival is held to celebrate the creature and its legacy in southern Arkansas. The Fouke Monster Mart is a great place to see some history on the monster and maybe even talk to a local or two who claim to have seen it.

And in case you’re wondering, sightings of the Fouke Monster and related kin have been reported aren’t just centered in Miller County. Obviously, the creature doesn’t care much for county lines. Sightings have been reported right here in Sevier County, mostly in the bottoms of Pond Creek.

A few folks around the Little River and Rolling Fork rivers have helped make the legend more local with their own sightings of the monster. That includes one recent story regaled to me. A few hunters checking their deer feeder near the Rolling Fork River at the beginning of the 2021 archery season found the feeder smashed to bits and dragged hundreds of feet from its location.

They’re adamant it wasn’t hogs but something much bigger, much scarier and, likely, much hairier. I’ll leave it up to you to decide. But one thing’s certain – talk to someone who’s claimed to have seen the monster and you’ll feel a chill down your spine. And you might just be left wondering if there’s a lot more mystery in them woods than what we know – or even want to believe.

Halloween Tales – Avon Cemetery and the Gurdon Lights    10/31/22

Halloween is upon us and that means it’s time for some scares, thrills and screams.

A popular activity this time of year is, of course, the telling of ghost stories and other thrilling tales. We all know the tales of the Salem Witch Trials, the vanishing hitchhiker, the Flying Dutchman and the haunted graveyards of New Orleans.


But you don’t have to look far for a good haunted tale. One of the most haunted places in Arkansas can be found right here in Sevier County. It’s true that our area consistently ranks in the top 10 of most haunted locales in the Natural State. I’m talking, of course, about Avon Cemetery.

Located just north of De Queen on the west side of Highway 71, Avon Cemetery is pretty well known thanks to its high haunted rankings. OnlyInYourState.com, which highlights tourism opportunities within each state, lists Avon Cemetery as the fifth most haunted place in Arkansas.

Most local folks know the story. But it deserves a retelling since it’s, well, Halloween.

So, as the legend goes, many, many years ago (no one’s exactly sure) a young mother sat her baby on the edge of an old well on the cemetery grounds. She began drawing water from the well when the baby fell backwards and into the well. The baby could not be rescued and drowned. The mother grieved herself to death. Another tale has it that the mother killed the young child and threw it in the well.

Either way, local legend has it that if you drop a rock into the well, you can hear the baby crying. There’s a chance, too, you’ll see an apparition of the mother frantically running through the cemetery.

If you’re hoping to visit Avon Cemetery and try out the local legend for yourself, well, you might be out of luck. The well was long ago filled in and then covered up. But that hasn’t stopped some visitors from reporting some rather creepy encounters when visiting Avon Cemetery. Footsteps without any identifiable source, an odor of rotting meat, mysterious lights, unexplained sounds in the surrounding woods.

A team of paranormal investigators visited the cemetery in 2010 and claimed to capture the sound of a baby laughing. A part of that clip is featured in the full audio story above.

My wife and I, along with a couple of friends, visited Avon Cemetery one Halloween night several years ago. Personally, I’m not really into the whole ghost or haunted thing. But my skepticism did little to calm an uneasy feeling I had while touring the cemetery. Like other reports from visitors, we noticed the smell of rotting meat in the air – perhaps, my friend suggested, the smell of death? We also noticed piles of animal bones scattered on the road and in parts of the cemetery, just like those noted by the investigators in the audio clip we played a moment ago. It’s a coincidence, I’m sure. But, a coincidence I’d rather not be proven wrong about.

Another well known area haunting is the Gurdon Light. This mysterious light can be seen – so say locals – near a set of discontinued railroad track in a wooded area near Gurdon. The lights and a chance to see them are among the most popular Halloween attractions in the state.

According to folklore, the light originates from the lantern of a railroad worker who was killed when he fell into the path of a train. The legend states that the man’s head was separated from his body and was never found, and that the light that people see comes from his lantern as he searches for it. In another variation, the light is a lantern carried by railway foreman Will McClain, who was killed in the vicinity during a confrontation with one of his workers, Louis McBride in 1931. McClain believed McBride was the one who removed the spikes from a section of track, causing a freight train to derail, in an attempt to derail the Sunshine Special passenger train. Some sources say the confrontation was about how many hours McBride was allowed to work due to the Great Depression. McBride confessed to the murder and was executed by electrocution.

The lights are believed by some to be from passing cars on the highway in the distance (which look like small floating lights that flash off in the distance).

Some believe that it’s caused by piezoelectricity – the same kind that ignites a gas water heater’s pilot light – from the constant stress that the area’s underground quartz crystals are under. Gurdon does indeed sit above large amounts of quartz crystals and the New Madrid fault line. So it’s a good explanation. But one that doesn’t convince many local residents who know the Gurdon Light is not so easily explained.

Leopards, Magnolia Panthers 29th matchup tonight    10/28/22

DE QUEEN – Tonight’s matchup between the Magnolia Panthers and the De Queen Leopards is the 29th meeting between the two schools. The Panthers have claimed 18 victories, while the Leopards have been victorious nine times. There has been one tie in the matchup.

De Queen and Magnolia have one interesting fact in common. Legendary Don Hubbard was the head coach of the Leopards from 1963 – 1966. During that four-year span, the Leopards combined to go 25-15-2. Coach Hubbard then took over the reins at Magnolia where he built a football powerhouse program that claimed several state championships.

De Queen Schools Administrator Murray “Tuffy” Neely played quarterback for Coach Hubbard’s Leopards during the 1965 season when De Queen finished 9-2. Later, Neely served as an assistant coach for Hubbard in Magnolia. In a 2021 interview with KDQN, Neely had this to say about his legendary mentor: “He was immensely important to me. And I said then if I ever had success, I would attribute it to him. It was an honor watching him work that year in Magnolia.”

The first meeting between the two schools was back in 1940, when De Queen nipped Magnolia 13-12.

The two teams tied at 12 in 1941. After the 1942-1944 seasons were suspended due to World War II, the Panthers claimed their first win of the series by a final score of 7-6 in 1945. The Panthers prevailed in 1946, 1947, 1948, and 1949, but the games were always closely contested. The Panthers won 13-12 in 1948, and by a margin of 7-6 in 1949, the year that the Leopards would finish as State Runners-up.

De Queen and Magnolia played only twice in the 1950’s. The Leopards blanked the Panthers 35-0 in 1955 enroute to a 10-1 season. Magnolia shut out De Queen 6-0 in 1959.

Don Hubbard’s Leopards knocked off Magnolia 25-19 in 1963, while the Panthers defeated De Queen in Coach Hubbard’s final game as the head coach of the Black & Gold 21-19 on November 11, 1966.

The last time De Queen and Magnolia would meet on the gridiron before a 44-year lapse in the series came in 1971, a 32-22 Panthers victory.

De Queen and Magnolia would not compete again until the 2012 season when the two schools became 5A-South Conference opponents. Magnolia has won six of the ten meetings since that thrilling 28-21 De Queen victory.

In 2014, De Queen rallied for a 21-20 victory after trailing 14-0 early. Quarterback Brady Hanney scored on a one-yard sneak and hooked up with Kobi Whitmore on an 11-yard scoring toss.

In 2015, the Leopards prevailed 14-7 as Daniel Villeda rushed for 113 yards, including the winning score on a 49-yard touchdown run.

In 2017, De Queen blanked Magnolia 31-0. Hunter Earney rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Adrian Mendoza added 113 yards on the ground and a touchdown on 11 carries. Malik Beasley had two fumble recoveries for a stingy De Queen defense.

Magnolia has claimed the last four meetings in this old rivalry that dates back to 1940. Tonight’s 29th meeting between the Leopards and Panthers should be another memorable “cat fight” between these two old foes.

CRSD announces tutoring program to curb learning loss from pandemic and beyond    10/28/22

WICKES – The Cossatot River School District is unveiling a new tutoring program to address learning loss among its students – both during the pandemic and after.

The program, titled SOAR, will offer free tutoring services each Monday for Cossatot River students. Cossatot River School District operates on a four-day schedule with Mondays off, but campuses will now be open that day to provide tutoring services to any student.

SOAR will host tutoring services between 7:30 a.m. and 12 noon each Monday through Dec. 19.

Cossatot River Superintendent Dr. Tyler Broyles said the program is designed to help any student who is falling behind on classes or experiencing any learning loss following two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Students that need extra help with an assignment, tutoring or just a quiet place to work, any grade K-12, can come by any Monday at their campus,” said Broyles. “They can come and take advantage of that day off to get some extra support, some extra help on anything they need in the presence of a teacher.”

Breakfast and lunch will be provided, as well as bus transportation. Bus locations include at the Gillham TIre Shop, Grannis Police Department, Cossatot River Elementary School, Hatfield First Baptist Church and Cove City Hall.

The program began as a method to remedy learning loss from the COVID-19 pandemic – a nationwide issue now dubbed the “Grade Recession.” Broyles said the program has been broadened to help address learning loss or academic struggles among students for any reason.

“When we started the program, we envisaged it as a way to fill the gap of that learning loss,” said Broyles. “But as we developed it, we thought, let’s just continue to offer it in the future even after the pandemic is over just as a support measure for our students.”

There is no registration process but district officials ask parents to reach out to a campus principal if they wish for their child to participate in the Soar program. Contact information for each campus principal can be found on the district’s website at www.cossatot.us

LRCO Trunk or Treat is Sunday, other Halloween events set for Oct. 31    10/28/22

DE QUEEN – A number of groups are planning Halloween-themed activities this month for all the little ghouls, ghosts, superheros and princesses in the listening area.

That includes Halloween on the Square hosted by the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce. The annual event will be held Monday, Oct. 31 from 4-5:30 p.m. around the downtown courthouse square. Chamber members and local civic groups are invited to participate by setting up a booth around the square to pass out candy to kids.

To join in on the fun, contact the chamber office at (870) 584-3225 or Amy McDonald at (870) 784-0266. Booths will need to be set up by 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

In other local Halloween events, Alicia Rivas will host the fourth annual De Queen Trunk or Treat from 5-7 p.m. at the De Queen Sportsplex. Trunks are still needed and organizers are hoping for a total of 30 at this year’s event. Activities are also welcomed and some have been scheduled already, including sack races, face painting, corn hole and more.

There is no cost to attend and area kids are invited to come by for a free and safe Halloween candy giveaway experience.

For more information on the De Queen Trunk or Treat, and to sign up your business, organization or self as a trunk, visit the group’s event page on Facebook.

The Timber Ridge apartments on Fourth Street in De Queen will host a trick-or-treating event for all area children from 5-7 p.m. on Halloween.

The Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association and De Queen Junior Class will present their first ever haunted house Oct. 28, 29 and 31 from 7-9:30 each evening. Cost will be $10 for ages 12 and up and $5 for those 11 and under. Proceeds from the fundraising event will be split between the CACA and the De Queen Junior Class.

For more information on the CACA and the organization’s future events, visit www.cossatotartsandcrafts.com or check out the group’s Facebook page.

The Little River Chamber of Commerce will present its Trunk or Treat event on Sunday, Oct. 30 from 2-4 p.m. at Pocket Park in Ashdown. Planned activities include face painting, candy giveaways, games, a costume contest and food. Trunks are needed and can be registered by calling Ashley Chandler at (903) 293-7735 or by eamiling director@littlerivercoc.org.

Free Narcan training in De Queen this afternoon    10/28/22

DE QUEEN – A free Naloxone training event will be held in De Queen this Friday to provide local residents with knowledge on how to use this proven, lifesaving medication for victims of an opioid overdose.

The training will be held from 2-4:30 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 28 at the Sevier County Outreach Center located inside First Baptist Church of De Queen. The training is free and is being hosted by the Arkansas Behavioral Health Integration Network.

Attendees will receive instruction on using the naloxone product Narcan and will be provided one dose of the nasal spray. Narcan has been proven to provide lifesaving emergency treatment for an individual suffering from an opioid overdose.

Wednesday was Opioid Awareness Day in Arkansas and state health officials are reminding the public about the increasing threat caused by opioid addiction and overdose. In 2020, 547 Arkansans died from a drug overdose. Across the nation more more than 220 people die every day from an overdose.

In recent years the Arkansas General Assembly has expanded access to naloxone and created criminal and civil immunities for those who try to get help for an overdose patient.

This Saturday, Oct. 29, is Arkansas Drug Take Back Day. Arkansans are encouraged to safely dispose of their unwanted, unused and expired medication at one of the more than 250 locations across the state. Those include an event site at the De Queen Walmart this Saturday. Permanent drop off locations are based at the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Little River Sheriff’s Office and the Ashdown Police Department.

A full list of events and permanent drop boxes can be found at www.artakeback.org.

Benefit for Cory Mickle Family this Saturday    10/28/22

DE QUEEN – The Cory Mickle Family Benefit Chicken Dinner will be Saturday, October 29th, at 5:30 pm at the Sevier County Fairgrounds.  $10 a plate or by donation will get you a chicken dinner with all the fixings.  There will be a silent auction, door prizes, deer rifle raffle, dessert auction, and a 50/50 drawing.  All proceeds will benefit the Mickle family with medical expenses.

Benefit shootout to support local woman following cancer diagnosis    10/28/22

GILLHAM – A benefit shooting competition will be held this Saturday, Oct. 29 in Gillham to help raise funds for a local woman.

The benefit, titled “Shootout for Cancer,” is being held in support of Brandy Garrett. Attendees are advised to turn onto King Road from Highway 71 to find the event site. The event kicks off this Saturday with a skeet shoot at 10 a.m. followed by a rifle shoot at 1 p.m. Cost for the skeet shot is $25 and will include free shells for use during the competition. The rifle shoot is $25 as well with a $10 per stage insurance option. This shoot will include timed stations ranging from 100-600 yards.

The benefit will include a gun raffle and lots of added prizes. Trophies and prizes will be awarded to the top shots. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. Preregister with Phillip Frachiseur by calling (870) 582-2929.

Call that number or Rhonda Blanton at (870) 584-8013 for any questions or for more information.

Cossatot River Eagles post win with first basketball game of season    10/28/22

WICKES – It was an exciting night of high school basketball Thursday night as Cossatot River played host to the Kirby senior teams on action debuting for the first time on our sister station in Mena, KENA 104.1. The Eagles rallied for a thrilling 59-57 victory over the Trojans in boys action, while the Lady Trojans came from behind to knock off the Lady Eagles 39-32.

In the boys contest, Kirby led by as many as 11 points on numerous occasions in the third quarter. The Eagles slowly chipped away and took the lead with about a minute to play on a long three-point shot by Dillon Loving. After Kirby tied the game at 57, the Eagles called on Hunter Burke who hit the winning jumper with six seconds to play. Burke finished the night with 18 points for Cossatot River.

In girls action, Cossatot River took a seven point lead in the third quarter before Kirby rallied and took charge of the contest to post the seven-point victory. 

Keep our furry flying friends in mind during Bat Week    10/28/22

Bat Week, an annual international celebration of the role of bats in nature, runs all this week and, naturally, through Halloween, Oct. 31. It also affords the opportunity for Arkansans not only to think about these creatures and their role in our outdoors, but what people can do to reverse some dangers haunting some bat species in The Natural State.

Two species in Arkansas have seen their populations take such precipitous drops that they are on the proposed list of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for categorization as endangered. In a study in the Ouachita National Forest by the U.S. Forest Service, the northern long-eared bat has seen a 98 percent fall in numbers. In September, the USFWS proposed listing the tricolored bat as endangered. Both species have been harmed in great numbers by white-nose syndrome, a fungus found in caves.

White-nose syndrome is a fungus that originally was found in caves in Europe and Asia. Fungus gets on the bats while they are hibernating in caves during winter. It causes damage to their tissues and it makes them wake up more often than they normally would. When they’re awake when they should be hibernating, they use more energy than they normally would and they end up starving to death.

White-nose syndrome most likely made it to these shores by being carried via spores on clothing of spelunkers, who then explored this area’s caves, and it’s been in Arkansas about 10 years, harming previously unexposed bats. The fungus can grow in any cave-like environment, Sasse said, and it has been found on bats hibernating in culverts as well.

Humans’ best efforts now are to do whatever they can to stop spreading the fungus. Hence the many posted protocols that cave visitors will find such as on trips to Blanchard Springs Caverns north of Mountain View in Stone County to decontaminate their shoes and clothing before and after entering.

Visit whitenosesyndrome.org for info on how to clean clothes and gear when exploring caves or mines.

Other things that people can do for bats if they want to help them is to build and put up a bat house. www.agfc.com has a document under its free brochures page (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1R52Z4KbgSfchcavtnWczCszzdxYfPYO0/view) that provides a good starting place to providing a summer home for bats.

Another bat in Arkansas that has been on the endangered list, the gray bat, is seeing populations rise due to protections in place in caves where they spend their summers

Worldwide, there are more than 1,400 species of bats — nearly 20 percent of all mammal species. According to Bat Conservation International, they are vital to the health of the environment and economy. Most bats in North America, including all 16 Arkansas species, eat insects, including moths, beetles, aquatic insects and flies. A single bat can eat up to its body weight in insects each night. Eating these insects helps protect food crops and forests from insect pests, saving farmers and forest managers billions of dollars each year.

Many bats eat pollen, nectar or fruit and are vital for pollinating flowers and spreading seeds that grow new plants and trees.

Bats are also the only mammal that can fly (some other mammals can “glide”). The bat’s wing is actually a modified “hand.” And, contrary to popular belief, bats have good eyesight, though the main technique for most species for navigating or locating prey is using echolocation: emitting high-pitched sounds that bounce off obstacles in their path, like trees, other bats, buildings and food.

Although nearly 70 percent of bat species feed primarily on insects, some are carnivorous and will eat rodents, frogs and fish. And, in case the Halloween trick-or-treaters who were wondering when they go out Monday evening, only three species of bats feed on animal blood (two of these specializing in bird blood), none of which reside in the United States.

For more information on Bat Week, which officially started Oct. 24, visit https://batweek.org/.

De Queen Fire Department reminds county residents of membership dues    10/26/22
DE QUEEN – De Queen firefighters are encouraging county residents who live near De Queen to renew their memberships as the new year approaches.

Dues are $50 a year with the De Queen Fire Department and ensure there is no extra charge to a property owner in the event the fire department is called to respond to a fire on their property. A city ordinance passed years ago authorizes the city to collect $500 from property owners for a structure fire and $300 for other fire responses, such as a grass or car fire.

Jay Litchford, a full-time firefighter with the De Queen Fire Department, said the dues system was created to help offset costs of responding to fires outside the city limits.

De Queen’s fire district extends west to the state line, north to nearly the new hospital, east to the Weyerhaeuser office and south to Plantation Lakes. City officials stress that dues are not required from residents who live within the De Queen city limits.

De Queen firefighters also emphasize that they will respond to a blaze if called to do so, regardless if the property owner is a member of the department and current on their dues or not.

Litchford also provided an update on the fire department, detailing the additional manpower hired earlier this year to increase the department’s response capability. The fire department now has five full-time employees.

For more information on becoming a member of the De Queen Fire Department, call (870) 584-7224. Dues can be paid at the De Queen City Hall.

Free Naloxone training to be held in DQ this Friday    10/26/22

DE QUEEN – A free Naloxone training event will be held in De Queen this Friday to provide local residents with knowledge on how to use this proven, lifesaving medication for victims of an opioid overdose.

The training will be held from 2-4:30 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 28 at the Sevier County Outreach Center located inside First Baptist Church of De Queen. The training is free and is being hosted by the Arkansas Behavioral Health Integration Network.

Attendees will receive instruction on using the naloxone product Narcan and will be provided one dose of the nasal spray. Narcan has been proven to provide lifesaving emergency treatment for an individual suffering from an opioid overdose.

Today is Opioid Awareness Day in Arkansas and state health officials are reminding the public about the increasing threat caused by opioid addiction and overdose. In 2020, 547 Arkansans died from a drug overdose. Across the nation more more than 220 people die every day from an overdose.

In recent years the Arkansas General Assembly has expanded access to naloxone and created criminal and civil immunities for those who try to get help for an overdose patient.

This Saturday, Oct. 29, is Arkansas Drug Take Back Day. Arkansans are encouraged to safely dispose of their unwanted, unused and expired medication at one of the more than 250 locations across the state. Those include an event site at the De Queen Walmart this Saturday. Permanent drop off locations are based at the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Little River Sheriff’s Office and the Ashdown Police Department.

A full list of events and permanent drop boxes can be found at www.artakeback.org.

KCS Holiday Express coming to Ashdown, Mena and Texarkana this year    10/26/22

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 2022 KCS Holiday Express train will return to the rails for the first time since the start of the pandemic in 2020. This year, the festive, six-car holiday train with intricate displays inside and out will bring Santa Claus and his elves to visit children and families in 20 communities in eight states, including here in Southwest Arkansas.

In addition, the KCS Holiday Express project will continue its tradition of charitable giving to The Salvation Army.

KCS is thrilled that we can once again run the Holiday Express train and stop in communities along our rail network,” said president and CEO Patrick J. Ottensmeyer. “We are grateful to the many donors who continued to support the virtual Holiday Express program over the last two years, and look forward to another successful fundraising campaign to help The Salvation Army help people who need it most during the holiday season.”

This year’s schedule includes stops in Texarkana from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Dec. 5; in Ashdown at 4 p.m. on Dec. 6; and Mena on Dec. 7 beginning at 4 p.m.

Over 21 years, the charitable component of the KCS Holiday Express project has raised well over $2.6 million.

The KCS Holiday Express was built on the tradition of the Santa Train, which ran on a segment of the network bought by KCS in 1997. In 2000, a group of warm-hearted KCS employees noticed that the Santa Train was the only Christmas some kids had, and that some kids did not have essential items like coats, hats and gloves, so they committed to elevating the project. In 2001, volunteers transformed a retired freight train to the KCS Holiday Express experience that thousands enjoyed for 19 years prior to the start of the pandemic.

In the first 19 years, the KCS Holiday Express train stopped in 20 or more communities in five or six states between Thanksgiving and Christmas. At each stop, visitors could board the train, meet Santa and his elves and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train. These events return in 2022 after not occurring the previous two years. The KCS Holiday Express is free to the public at all of its stops.

Burn bans lifted in Sevier and Polk, but caution still urged    10/26/22

DE QUEEN – Sevier County Judge Dick Tallman announced Tuesday morning that the burn ban impacting Sevier County over the last month has been lifted.

That’s thanks to some substantial rainfall Monday evening totaling over two and a half inches. More rain is likely this week with percentages currently in the 50s and 60s for Thursday night into Friday.

Polk County also lifted its burn ban on Tuesday. But other than that, most of the rest of the state remains under burn bans at this time. That includes, locally, Little River, Howard, Hempstead and Montgomery Counties.

Nonetheless, officials encourage residents to continue to exercise extreme caution as the risk of wildfires in Arkansas remains high.

As dry conditions continue throughout the state, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division is reminding Arkansans that wildfire danger is elevated across the state and, currently, 62 counties remain under a burn ban.

Conditions are dry with low humidity statewide,” said State Forester Joe Fox. “We are seeing an increase in the number of wildfires and their intensity, and that’s a trend that will continue until we see significant rainfall. With this in mind, we are asking citizens of the state to be mindful of this risk and avoid burning.”

The Forestry Division maintains a county-by-county Wildfire Danger map with four risk levels: low, moderate, high, and extreme. Risk levels are determined by drought status and long-term weather forecasts and are defined by how easily fires can start and how hard they are to contain. The Wildfire Danger map can be found at bit.ly/ARWildFireRisk. The risk level definitions are:

  • Low: Fuels do not ignite easily. Weather conditions will lead to slow, easy to control fires.
  • Moderate: Fire can start from accidental causes. May not become serious, but caution should be taken.
  • High: Fires ignite easily and spread quickly. Unattended brush fires and campfires are likely to escape. Fires may become serious if not attacked early.
  • Extreme: Fires start quickly, spread furiously, and burn intensely. Every fire started has the potential to become large. Expect extreme, erratic behavior.

Currently, the southernmost 16 counties have been given the “extreme” designation, while the rest of the state remains under “high” risk levels. Additionally, 62 counties are under burn bans. Burn bans primarily prohibit activities that involve an open flame. This includes fireworks, campfires, trash burning, open flame grilling, and prescribed or controlled burns.

Robert Murphy, Director of Emergency Services for the Forestry Division, emphasizes the importance of heeding these burn bans.

In these conditions, it’s very important for Arkansans to avoid burning and remain cautious,” he said. “We’re seeing several large fires that start as small, controlled backyard fires.”

Murphey also recommends caution when driving or operating machinery.

 

It’s important to remain cautious when driving through or working in dry grass,” Murphy said. “Trucks, ATVs, hay balers, and other vehicles can easily start fires by causing sparks over dry grass.”

The Forestry Division is asking those who see fires to report them by calling 1-800-468-8834 and to avoid flying drones in the area. When drones are present, those fighting the fires are unable to perform detection flights or fly single engine airtankers (SEATs) to drop water.

Find a county burn ban map at bit.ly/ARBurnBan. To learn more about burn bans in your county, find your local official’s contact information at arcounties.org/counties/.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit www.agriculture.arkansas.gov.

 

Sevier County lifts burn ban    10/25/22

DE QUEEN – Sevier County Judge Dick Tallman announced Tuesday morning that the burn ban impacting Sevier County over the last month has been lifted.

That’s thanks to some substantial rainfall Monday evening totaling over two and a half inches. More rain is likely this week with percentages currently in the 50s and 60s for Thursday night into Friday.

Get ready for one of the greatest shows in Arkansas – the fall color change    10/25/22

Get ready, one of the best shows in Arkansas is almost here.

That is, of course, fall foliage. Every autumn nature paints the mountains and valleys of the Ouachitas and the neighboring lowlands here in our corner of the state with incredible hues of gold, red and orange. Thousands of visitors travel here each fall to see the transformation.

Fortunately, area residents don’t have to look far to experience this gorgeous time of year.

The Ouachitas are right at the cusp of the seasonal color change, with the most dramatic displays of fall foliage predicted by Arkansas Tourism to occur between early and mid-November.

The Talimena National Scenic Byway offers spectacular panoramic views of the Ouachita National Forest. No doubt, both first time visitors and long-time residents of the listening area already know the Talimena National Scenic Byway is one of the most scenic drives in the state. The road goes for 54 miles along forested mountain tops between Mena in southwest Arkansas and Talihina, Okla. The drive is beautiful year-round and stands out in fall because of the color that can be seen there. In Mena, the route goes up Rich Mountain, Arkansas’ second-highest peak, and by Queen Wilhelmina State Park.

There is usually a period of a week or so when the fall foliage in a particular area is at its prime. Typically, the peak occurs around two or three weeks after color changes begin. However, note that these are not predictions.

This year’s drought, however, could make the 2022 fall display a lot less vibrant and could bring on an early color change than usual. Cool nights with sunny days are a big help in bringing out the best colors, especially if those days are mixed in with some rain.

For more information throughout the season, sign up for the fall color reports from across the state, special announcements and trip planning information. For more details, visit www.arkansas.com/things-to-do/attractions/fall-attractions. You can also view an animated map of this year’s predicted autumn color change across the United States at www.SmokeyMountains.com.

UofA Research Station to host Beef & Field Forages field day this Friday    10/25/22

HOPE – The University of Arkansas Southwest Research & Extension Center in Hope will host a Beef & Forages Field Day on Friday, Oct. 28. Area cattle producers are invited to come by between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Oct. 28 for a beef cattle and forages field day featuring an overview of the research and programs performed through the extension center. Center Director Daniel Rivera will host the event.

Shane Gadberry, cattle nutritionist and director of the UofA Livestock and Forestry Research Station, will deliver information to help producers better manage their herd’s nutritional needs as drought and fertilizer cost has impacted hay quality. Tours of the facility and center pastures will also be offered to help share management strategies in practice.

There is no cost to attend. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required and must be done before Oct. 26 by calling (870) 777-9702 or by emailing spote@uada.edu.

Ashdown Alumni host annual scholarship banquet    10/25/22

ASHDOWN – The 2022 Ashdown High School Alumni Association annual banquet was held this past weekend to help raise scholarship funds and honor past graduates of Ashdown High School.

The banquet began with President Susan Simmons welcoming everyone and Dean Sikes Class of 1970 led the Pledge of Allegiance and Prayer.

Dr. Mike Finley, Class of 1971 was honored posthumously. His high school friend David Honnell provided the tribute before a large gathering of AHS Alumni, friends, and family who returned for the event.

Dr. Finley was born in Camden, Arkansas in 1953. He moved to Ashdown while in 10th grade when his father was hired by Nekoosa Paper Mill. At Ashdown High School, he was an All-State member of the Purple Pride Marching Band and the Panther football team. After graduation in 1971, he attended Hendrix College majoring in chemistry. While at CHRISTUS St. Michael, he was Chief Medical Officer and Designated Institutional Official Officer.

1990 graduate Audra Turner Holt sang two hymns acapella and 1968 graduate Terry Snead recognized the undefeated 1970 AHS football team. The classes of 1970, 1971, and 1972 were inducted into the Golden Circle Club which consists of all AHS alumni who have celebrated 50 years since graduation.

Tony Spigner (Class of 1946) was the oldest male alumni in attendance while Thelma Setliff (Class of 1942) was the oldest female alumni present and Lerlene Jetton Henry (Class of 1972) travelled all the way from Seattle, Washington to attend.

Organizer Ronda Pounsd said the event, as always, was filled with lots of storytelling, memories, and ended by all singing the AHS Alma Mater, led by 1985 graduate Mark Pounds.

A special scholarship will be given this year to a graduating a 2023 AHS senior who will be going into the medical profession. It will be given in memory of Dr. Finley and over $800 was given at the close of the banquet.

Those who were unable to attend the banquet, but who would like to pay their annual membership dues or make a donation to the scholarship fund, checks can be sent to P.O. Box 862, Ashdown, Arkansas 71822 or through the association’s Venmo account at

@Ashdown-AlumniAssociation. Please note when sending through Venmo or mail how the money is to be directed. Also, please include graduation year and current contact information. You can also private message that information.

Sevier County Extension Service to host additional cattle protection meeting    10/25/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Extension Service will host another Cattle Price Protection educational meeting next month.

The seminar is scheduled for Nov. 1 starting at 6 p.m. in the Adams Building on UA Cossatot’s De Queen campus. Producers are invited to learn about cattle price protection resources and how to protect their calves without an upfront cost.

The event is free but registration must be completed by Oct. 28. To register, or for more information, call the Sevier County Extension Office at (870) 584-3013.

AARP to host Smart Driver course in DQ    10/25/22

DE QUEEN – The AARP will host a smart driver course next month in De Queen to help drivers of all ages in becoming safer drivers.

The class will be held Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the De Queen Senior Citizens Center located at 605 E. Haes Avenue. Registration will begin shortly before at 8:45 a.m.

Organizers invite all drivers to take the Smart Driver course to refresh their driving skills and knowledge of the rules of the road. Proven driving methods will be shared to help keep drivers and their loved ones safe on the road. By performing the AARP Smart Driver classroom course some participants could receive a reduction on their car insurance.

Cost to attend is $20 for AARP members and $25 for non-members. For more information call (870) 584-6120.

Early voting begins today in Arkansas    10/21/22

 

DE QUEEN – Well it’s here folks, elections are finally underway. It’s not just talk and political signs anymore. It’s decision time because today is the first day of early voting.
Early voting begins today and continues through Nov. 7. Polls will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the final Monday before Election Day. Polls are closed on Sundays. The early voting location for Sevier County is the Herman Dierks Park Community Building in De Queen. For Little River voters, early voting will be held at the Little River County Election Center in Ashdown.
To check your voter registration, find your polling location and operating hours, or to view a sample ballot, visit www.voterview.org.
A voter guide containing unbiased information regarding ballot issues, produced by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center, can be accessed at www.uaex.uada.edu/business-communities/voter-education.
If you have moved to another county since you last voted, you have until Friday, Nov. 4 to update your voter registration with your county clerk for this election.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls that day will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Arkansas law requires that voters present a photo ID before voting.
Chloe Silva crowned 2022 Ashdown Homecoming Queen    10/21/22

Ashdown High School Senior Chloe Silva was crowned the AHS Homecoming Queen Friday night at Dick Hays Stadium. She is pictured with her dad Brent Silva.
Leopard Marching Band off to state competition    10/21/22
DE QUEEN – No De Queen football game would be complete without the exciting and dedicated performance of the Leopards High School Band.
This year the Leopard Band is earning some extra attention after a performance so excellent at regionals that the band is now heading to state. The De Queen Leopard Band received superior ratings at the Region II Marching Assessment in October and earned an invitation to the state competition for its topnotch performance. Band directors said they couldn’t be prouder of the hard work students have put into the season so far.
It’s been an excellent season for the De Queen Leopard Band, with students making the Powerband Classic marching competition for the first time this year. The band placed 10th overall at the competition while receiving first in division color guard, first in division percussion and first in division band.
Congratulations to all De Queen High School Band students as well as band leaders Mr. Daniel Dunn and the entire Leopard Band Department!
Numerous activities planned locally for Halloween    10/21/22
DE QUEEN – A number of groups are planning Halloween-themed activities this month for all the little ghouls, ghosts, superheros and princesses in the listening area.
That includes Halloween on the Square hosted by the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce. The annual event will be held Monday, Oct. 31 from 4-5:30 p.m. around the downtown courthouse square. Chamber members and local civic groups are invited to participate by setting up a booth around the square to pass out candy to kids.
To join in on the fun, contact the chamber office at (870) 584-3225 or Amy McDonald at (870) 784-0266. Booths will need to be set up by 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.
In other local Halloween events, Alicia Rivas will host the fourth annual De Queen Trunk or Treat from 5-7 p.m. at the De Queen Sportsplex. Trunks are still needed and organizers are hoping for a total of 30 at this year’s event. Activities are also welcomed and some have been scheduled already, including sack races, face painting, corn hole and more.
There is no cost to attend and area kids are invited to come by for a free and safe Halloween candy giveaway experience.
For more information on the De Queen Trunk or Treat, and to sign up your business, organization or self as a trunk, visit the group’s event page on Facebook.
The Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association and De Queen Junior Class will present their first ever haunted house Oct. 28, 29 and 31 from 7-9:30 each evening. Cost will be $10 for ages 12 and up and $5 for those 11 and under. Proceeds from the fundraising event will be split between the CACA and the De Queen Junior Class.  

For more information on the CACA and the organization’s future events, visit www.cossatotartsandcrafts.com or check out the group’s Facebook page.

The Little River Chamber of Commerce will present its Trunk or Treat event on Sunday, Oct. 30 from 2-4 p.m. at Pocket Park in Ashdown. Planned activities include face painting, candy giveaways, games, a costume contest and food. Trunks are needed and can be registered by calling Ashley Chandler at (903) 293-7735 or by eamiling director@littlerivercoc.org.

UofA Public Policy Center releases 2022 Voter Statewide Ballot Guide    10/21/22

From the UofA Extension Service Public Policy Center

Arkansas voters choose more than candidates on Election Day. They also have a voice in shaping state law by voting on proposals seeking to change to the state constitution.

On Nov. 8, 2022, Arkansans have four constitutional amendments to decide in the general election. The Cooperative Extension Service provides voters with neutral, research-based information on all of the statewide ballot proposals.

For a full look at this year’s voter guide, visit https://www.uaex.uada.edu/business-communities/voter-education/

Issue 1

Arkansas legislators have proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would give them the authority to call special meetings of the legislature (formally called the General Assembly) at any time. Currently, only the governor has that authority. 

Issue 2

Arkansas legislators have proposed a constitutional amendment that would increase the percentage of votes required to pass most statewide ballot issues. 

Currently, a majority of votes are required for statewide ballot issues to pass and go into effect. This percentage is frequently described as “50% plus one vote” or a simple majority.

Issue 2 proposes amending the three sections of the Arkansas Constitution governing ballot issues to require a “super majority” vote in order for constitutional amendments and initiatives to go into effect. Specifically, Issue 2 proposes:

  • Increasing the percent of votes required to pass constitutional amendments proposed by citizen groups from 50% to 60%. 
  • Increasing the percent of votes required to pass constitutional amendments proposed by the legislature from 50% to 60%. 
  • Increasing the percent of votes required to pass state laws proposed by citizen groups from 50% to 60%.

Requirements for citizen-sponsored referendums, which ask voters to decide the fate of existing laws, would remain unchanged and be decided by a simple majority of voters. 

Supporters say:

-It’s a much-needed safeguard for our initiative and constitutional amendment process. It is entirely too easy to amend our state constitution. We shouldn’t amend our constitution in some sort of willy-nilly fashion. 

-The state’s lenient rules make it vulnerable to big money and out-of-state interests that would want to highjack our process and push their own pet projects and hobby horse issues. 

-Supporters don’t view this as a particularly ideological measure. It is designed to simply put some safeguards on our constitutional amendment process. 

-That process is fairly easy for big money or out-of-state interests to hijack because all they have to do is spend a large sum of money in a relatively short window of time, and temporarily convince people that something is a good idea. And then viola, it’s in the Constitution forever and ever. 

Opponents say:

-This proposal would create minority rule as 40% of the electorate voting “no” would deny proposed measures. 

-Between 2000-2020, there has been 1 out of 40 initiated amendment that exceeded 60%. There have been 14 referred amendments that exceeded 60%. There were 3 initiated acts that exceeded 60%. The effect of Issue 2 on the peoples’ right to direct democracy is much more severe than that on the general assembly primarily due to the fact that the people have to include a ballot title that accurately summarizes the proposal while the General Assembly does not. 

-Acts by the General Assembly only require 50% approval while initiated acts by the people would require 60%, making it more difficult for the people to pass an initiated act than the General Assembly. 

-Ballot measures give citizens of our state the power to make laws when politicians fail to do their jobs. Don’t let politicians and special interests change the system that has served Arkansas well for the past 112 years. If they get rid of ballot measures as we know them in Arkansas, it will mean more power for lobbyists, more backroom deals, and less power for voters to decide on the issues that matter most. 

Issue 3

The proposed amendment would add language to the Arkansas Constitution that: 

  • Prohibits state and local governments from burdening the practice of religion in Arkansas unless the government shows there’s a compelling reason to do so and acts in the least restrictive way. 
  • Provides a legal claim in a court or other governmental proceeding for a person to seek relief against the government for imposing on their religious freedom. 

The amendment would apply to current and future government laws, rules, regulations, ordinances, administrative provisions and rulings, guidelines and other requirements. 

Supporters say:

-Courts and opinions change over time, so the state should put forth the strongest language possible. 

-The First Amendment has not changed, but the way courts interpret it has over the years. The Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment helps stop courts from reinterpreting and undermining the free exercise of religion in Arkansas. 

-SJR14 [Issue 3] would be a barrier to infringements on religious freedom at the local level. 

-The proposed amendment would provide a stronger protection for religious freedom because it would only have to be proven that the government was burdening religious liberty, not that it was a substantial burden. 

-Measures like SJR 14 [Issue 3] simply help restore protections for the free exercise of religion. It’s just a good amendment that will help ensure that our state constitution protects religious liberty in Arkansas. 

-We have executive branches come and executive branches go, and I don’t want an executive branch that changes our law. Governors have really done things to infringe on people’s religious freedoms, and I don’t want that to happen in the future. 

Opponents say:

-This proposal is redundant. We’re doing something that really doesn’t do anything. 

-I think it sets us in a weaker position were this to be challenged under the First Amendment. 

-Nothing in the amendment explains what remedies are available when one person’s or group’s religious liberties adversely impact the rights and liberties of other groups or people. On the contrary, this amendment sets up the potential for abuse of other people by persons claiming “free expression” or “free exercise” of religion. 

-Despite public claims by its supporters that this amendment will safeguard religion from government, it does not safeguard government from religion. It will allow religion to burden the government and it implicitly demands that the government allow that to happen. 

-The amendment does not permit the government to burden anyone’s religious practice for any reason, which is extremely short-sighted in cases of public health, security, order, and the protection of other rights and liberties of people in society. 

-Despite public claims by its proponents that this amendment will strengthen the free expression of religion, the language of this amendment is vague and overbroad, with little guidance for how it is to be interpreted.  

Issue 4

This citizen-proposed amendment asks voters to change the Arkansas Constitution to allow and regulate cannabis, also referred to as marijuana, for non-medical purposes. The proposal also would make numerous changes to add, alter or remove parts of Amendment 98, currently known as the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016.

Note: The proposed amendment uses the term “adult use cannabis” to differentiate it from marijuana used for medical purposes. This voter guide uses “non-medical marijuana”” interchangeably with “adult use cannabis,” which is also known as “recreational marijuana.”

For people 21 and older buying marijuana, this amendment would:

  • Make the possession of one ounce of marijuana for non-medical personal use legal under Arkansas state law for adults, while recognizing the drug remains illegal under federal law.
  • Allow medical marijuana cardholders to purchase non-medical marijuana without that amount counting toward how much they can purchase for medical purposes.

Regarding cultivation facilities that grow marijuana, this amendment would:

  • Allow licensed cultivators to grow, prepare, manufacture, process, package, sell and deliver marijuana to dispensaries for non-medical purposes.
  • Grant owners of eight existing medical marijuana cultivation facilities a second license to grow marijuana for non-medical sales. These facilities do not have a limit on the number of plants they can grow at any time.
  • Require the state to issue 12 additional marijuana cultivation licenses for growing non-medical marijuana. Cultivators that receive these new licenses could not grow more than 250 plants at one time and could not sell their product for medical marijuana use. The licenses would be issued via a lottery system.

Regarding dispensaries selling marijuana to the public, this amendment would:

  • Automatically give the existing 40 medical marijuana dispensaries a license to sell marijuana for non-medical uses at their current location starting March 8, 2023.
  • Automatically give the existing 40 medical marijuana dispensaries a second license to sell non-medical marijuana at another location at least five miles away from any medical marijuana dispensary
  • Require the state to issue 40 additional non-medical marijuana dispensary licenses using a lottery system.
  • Allow people to have a financial interest in up to 18 non-medical marijuana dispensaries.
  • Allow dispensaries to possess, make, deliver or sell items such as pipes, bongs, rolling papers, roach clips and other items that were previously prohibited for them to sell.
  • Increase the number of mature marijuana plants a medical marijuana dispensary may grow or possess at one time from 50 plants to 100 plants.
  • Require non-medical marijuana dispensaries to purchase marijuana only from state-licensed cultivation facilities and dispensaries.
  • Eliminate the ability of dispensaries to accept marijuana seedlings, plants, or usable marijuana from out-of-state dispensaries.
  • Eliminate the ability of dispensaries to transfer or sell marijuana seeds, plants or other usable marijuana to out-of-state dispensaries if federal law ever permitted it.
  • Eliminate the ability of dispensaries to accept marijuana seeds from out-of-state suppliers.

For all marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries, this amendment would:

  • Repeal Arkansas residency requirements for owners.
  • No longer require criminal background checks on people who own less than 5% of the business.
  • Prohibit the businesses from opening within a certain distance from a facility for individuals with developmental disabilities. This is in addition to existing distance requirements for schools, churches, and daycare centers. Dispensaries must be located at least 1,500 feet away, and cultivation facilities at least 3,000 feet from these institutions.

Related to taxes and licensing fees, this amendment would:

  • No longer allow taxes on medical marijuana, which would repeal requirements on how existing state tax revenues are distributed.
  • Allow the state to charge an additional 10% sales tax on non-medical marijuana sales at dispensaries. This would result in consumers paying up to 16.5% in state sales tax on non-medical marijuana purchases in addition to any city and county sales taxes on their purchases.
  • Require sales tax proceeds from non-medical marijuana sales be used for: (1) paying law enforcement stipends every year, (2) supporting the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, (3) funding drug court programs, and (4) contributing to state general funds.
  • Require lawmakers to use licensing fees and sales taxes from non-medical marijuana sales to pay the cost of regulating the marijuana program by state agencies.

If approved by voters, this amendment also would:

  • Remove a requirement that food or drinks combined with marijuana for medical purposes not exceed 10 milligrams (10 mg) of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per portion. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.
  • Remove the authority lawmakers have to change parts of Amendment 98, and instead require any future changes to be approved by voters.
  • Delete a section that says the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division establish advertising restrictions for dispensaries and cultivation facilities related to artwork, building signage, product design, indoor displays and other medical marijuana-related advertising. The ballot measure would replace that wording with a requirement that the Division establish advertising restrictions that are “narrowly tailored” to ensure advertising isn’t designed to appeal to children. Packaging also must be child-resistant and designed in a way that doesn’t appeal to children.
  • Authorize the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to issue and renew licenses for non-medical marijuana cultivation facilities and dispensaries, establish labeling requirements and set other rules and regulations.
  • Allow transporters and distributors licensed under Amendment 98 to also deliver marijuana to dispensaries and cultivation facilities selling non-medical marijuana.
  • Prohibit cities and counties from creating or changing existing zoning laws in a way to restrict dispensaries and cultivation facilities from operating in non-residential areas.
  • Allow cities and counties to hold local elections on whether to allow non-medical marijuana sales within their boundaries.
  • Establish that the amendment would not prohibit employers from having drug-free workplace policies or property owners from being able to restrict or prohibit the combustion of cannabis on private property.
  • Establish that the amendment would not affect existing laws regarding driving under the influence, activities related to cannabis not expressly authorized by law, or purchase, possession or consumption of cannabis by minors.

Supporters say:

This initiative reduces healthcare costs by removing taxes from medical cannabis sold to qualified patients, and replacing it with taxes on adult use.

  • Ensures that one mistake will not last a lifetime by reforming our state’s existing laws on the possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use.
  • Extends the medical marijuana program into a new adult use industry, with 12 new “craft” cultivation licenses issued via a lottery, which are authorized to grow up to 250 mature plants.
  • People … want this, and we want to be able to provide this to Arkansans in a responsible way. That’s, I think, one of the biggest distinctions between what we’re trying to do and some of the other efforts. We understand that it needs to be regulated. For those folks who are not necessarily supporters of this, we want them to know that we’re going to do this in a responsible way. We’re going to limit the number of stores. It’s not going to be on every corner. There’s not a home grow component. It’s going to be controlled, be able to be taxed and the quality and the quantities are going to be controlled to some degree.
  • This is something that is coming our way. We can either be a part of it, or we’re going to lose out to some of our neighboring states in jobs and tax revenue for the state.
  • Regardless of what one thinks personally about the prospect of legal recreational marijuana, the revenue created by this ballot initiative would support general fund investments that can unlock the potential of Arkansas – in areas like education starting with preschool, infrastructure starting with broadband, and economic development starting with jobs – while supporting the state drug court program, UAMS, and law enforcement.
  • Don’t listen to the people saying we should vote no because the amendment isn’t good enough. The Republicans in charge of the state will never allow an amendment that has things like amnesty for people already in jail for weed, home growing, or protection for workers who smoke. I would love to see these things happen but I’m realistic enough to see it will never happen while Arkansas is controlled by our current lot of Republicans.
  • To get that many signatures from Arkansans it can’t be all Democrats, or all Republicans, or all Independents. You need a large swath of Arkansans to get that many signatures. The people want to vote on this and make this decision themselves.
  • Enables law enforcement to maintain control of the black market by keeping cannabis out of the hands of minors and unauthorized growers.
  • Provides regulatory oversight to keep children safe by limiting the number of licensed businesses and keeping unregulated homegrown cannabis out of our neighborhoods.

Opponents say:

Issue 4 will expand illegal drug use in our communities by authorizing the sale and use of drugs that are still 100% illegal under federal law.

  • The proposal is too favorable to the industry rather than to the patients and consumers. The proposal will kill the medical program because cultivators and dispensaries will not provide a wide variety of strains that can help ease patients’ medical problems. Producers will be incentivized to cater to the recreational consumers and simply grow the strains that have the highest concentrations of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.
  • The only dispensaries that will be able to sell medical are the original 40. The 40 original dispensaries will automatically receive a second license (for rec only). This leaves patients that are having to travel up to two hours to get their medicine will continue to have to drive excess of two hours. That leaves only 40 more dispensaries open for licensing. That is a small number to create competition. Not only that, but you may own up to 18 dispensaries, which would stop any competition.
  • There is no provisions for expungement on criminal records, so those that have had their lives destroyed by sometimes as little as a joint, continue to have their lives destroyed while these conglomerates rake in MILLIONS of dollars.
  • Giving 10% to police (while I DO support the police) sort of sounds like they are trying to BUY the police hoping a blind eye will be held for illegal dealing that may be in play.
  • Issue 4 doesn’t just legalize marijuana. It legalizes any drug or chemical extract or derivative that can ever be manufactured from the marijuana plant. It’s impossible to say just how far that will go.
  • Issue 4 legalizes marijuana in Arkansas, and it prevents lawmakers from enacting reasonable regulations on the marijuana industry.
  • The amendment makes sweeping changes to the Arkansas Constitution. It repeals and rewrites some parts of the constitution, and it adds new language to other parts. It is almost impossible to know how far some of these changes go.
  • Every drug dog within the State of Arkansas would have to be de-certified and replaced with one that does not include marijuana as a detectable substance. That alone would open the door for a mass influx of other controlled substances, such as methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, among others, into the state, if the amendment is enacted, and before the State can fund and train a whole new set of dogs for every location where a drug dog is currently in use in the State of Arkansas.
  • Unlike other states the Arkansas law does not exempt hemp from the definition of Cannabis sativa. The Arkansas law would do away with the existing hemp laws in Arkansas and require that all hemp and hemp products be grown and sold only though the licensed cultivators and dispensaries.
Attendance down but entires up at 50th King Art Show    10/20/22
KING – The Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association (CACA) wrapped up its 50th annual King Art Show earlier this month and though attendance was not what organizers had hoped for, the art show itself featured one of the largest collections from regional artists in the show’s history. 

“From this year to last year, and year’s before, we’ve definitely seen an increase,” said Nancy Youngblood, president of the CACA. “I don’t think attendance was as much as last year.” 

Youngblood said despite the smaller attendance, this year’s art show was still a success. As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the King Art Show also included a number of vendors, art-themed activities and demonstrations. Youngblood said the art show would not be possible without the numerous sponsors who financially support it. 

“Our sponsors are wonderful and we couldn’t have done this without them,” said Youngblood. “They are the ones who make this show possible.” 

The art show is not a fundraiser for the organization. In fact, Youngblood said the group’s goal is to break even on costs and cash awards for the top artwork in each category. However, the group has some other activities planned in the future to help raise funds for renovation work and repairs to the art show’s longstanding venue, the former King Schoolhouse and the adjacent youth building. 

“We are going to have some fundraiser coming up because we have a lot of work that needs to be done to the school house and the kids building,” she explained. 

One of those fundraisers includes hosting a haunted house inside the King Schoolhouse just in time for Halloween. 

“We’re partnering with the De Queen Junior Class and split this 50/50 because they have the people and energy to help make this a really cool event,” said Youngblood. “That’s going to be a wonderful event and we can’t wait to see what they can do with it.” 

The CACA and De Queen Junior Class will present their first ever haunted house Oct. 28, 29 and 31 from 7-9:30 each evening. Cost will be $10 for ages 12 and up and $5 for those 11 and under. 

For more information on the CACA and the organization’s future events, visit www.cossatotartsandcrafts.comor check out the group’s Facebook page.
UofA Extension Center in Hope to host Beef & Forages Field Day    10/20/22

HOPE – The University of Arkansas Southwest Research & Extension Center in Hope will host a Beef & Forages Field Day on Friday, Oct. 28. Area cattle producers are invited to come by between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Oct. 28 for a beef cattle and forages field day featuring an overview of the research and programs performed through the extension center. Center Director Daniel Rivera will host the event.

Shane Gadberry, cattle nutritionist and director of the UofA Livestock and Forestry Research Station, will deliver information to help producers better manage their herd’s nutritional needs as drought and fertilizer cost has impacted hay quality. Tours of the facility and center pastures will also be offered to help share management strategies in practice.

There is no cost to attend. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required and must be done before Oct. 26 by calling (870) 777-9702 or by emailing spote@uada.edu.

Legacy Academy hosts Warrior Day   10/20/22

Submitted by Ben Wright, Legacy Academy

On Friday, Legacy Academy held three great events – Warrior Day, the Ashlee Fisk Benefit Dinner, and Navy-White Night. Warrior Day, a day set aside to celebrate shool spirit and build school community, saw the whole school come together to play games and compete during the school day, showing off our school Warrior Spirit. A benefit dinner was put on for the whole community of Lockesburg to raise money for Ashlee Fisk, a long-term teacher at Legacy Academy, who has been battling cancer this year – over $14,000 has been raised so far! To finish the night, our basketball teams started their seasons with scrimmages, shooting competitions, and the annual Legends v. Warriors game.

Warrior Day was packed full of competitions all day: races, dodgeball, a dance off, the teacher door-decorating contest, and more. The day is all about our school community building friendships and having fun. We work hard AND we play hard, and Friday’s festivities are but one example of that!

Ashlee Fisk has been a teacher at Legacy Academy for 13 years, one of our longest serving faculty, and it, therefore, is a joy for us to do whatever we can in gratitude of her faithfulness and commitment to the school as she battles cancer. The Fisks are well known and loved by the city of Lockesburg and the event showed that in abundance as people flocked to the Legacy Auditorium for the Benefit Dinner to bid on the silent auction items, enjoy a chicken dinner, and  donate towards her expenses.

Navy-White night was the capstone of the day, where our Warrior and Lady Warrior basketball teams took to the court for the first time for the season. Fans and families packed the stands to cheer on the teams as they scrimmaged. The evening ended with our teams each playing the Legends and Lady Legends, parents, teachers and alumni of the school, doing their very best to show the youngsters that they still have what it takes!.

The day as a whole  was a celebration of being Joyfully Different! We are an Unashamedly Christian private school that celebrates community, virtue, honor, and excellence in all things.

Sevier County Clerk’s Office reminds public of absentee ballot deadline   10/20/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Clerk is reminding residents that early voting for the Nov. 8 General Election will begin this upcoming Monday, Oct. 24 at the Herman Dierks Park Community Building in De Queen. In addition, now is the time to submit your absentee voting request if you wish to vote by absentee ballot this year.

Call for an absentee voter application at (870) 642-2852 or email countyclerk@sevco.ar.gov.

The deadline to transfer your voter registration information from one county to another is Nov. 4.

De Queen Mini Hoops application period open   10/20/22

DE QUEEN – Registration is now open for the De Queen Mini Hoops 2022 basketball season. Forms can be picked up and returned to the De Queen Parks Office in Herman Dierks Park. Applications must be returned by Wednesday, Oct. 26. Cost is $20 if no jersey is needed and $50 for a provided jersey.

The De Queen Mini Hoops Basketball Program is open to De Queen students in grades four through six.

For more information contact De Queen Sports Director Joslynn Frachiseur at (870) 642-4140 or email jfrachiseur@cityofdequeen.com.

Carbon monoxide poisoning suspected in deaths of three Nashville residents    10/19/22
NASHVILLE – Carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected in the deaths of three Nashville residents including two juveniles late last week.

Nashville Police Chief Amy Marion said law enforcement and Nashville Fire Department personnel responded to a call around 11:15 Friday morning to 625 South Mill Street, where three individuals were found unresponsive. When officers arrived, they found the three victims in an outbuilding behind the residence.

Authorities say the investigation revealed the three people had been staying in the outbuilding on a temporary basis, while renovations were being made to the residence. A generator had been running all night to supply electricity for the outbuilding and is suspected as the source of the carbon monoxide poisoning.

The three individuals have been identified as 49 year old Raymond Jones, along with two juveniles, who were 13 and 14 years of age. All three are from Nashville. They were pronounced dead at the scene by Howard County Deputy Coroner Chris Janes.

All three bodies are being sent to the state crime lab for autopsies, to determine an official cause of death ruling.

Ashdown Homecoming ceremonies this Friday    10/19/22

ASHDOWN – Retired Ashdown Band Director, Mark Pounds will lead the 2022 Ashdown High School Homecoming Parade as Grand Marshall on Friday, October 21st.

The annual Homecoming Court presentation and pep rally will begin at noon in Dick Hays Stadium, the parade will immediately follow. The parade will begin at the high school, head south on Locust Street, turn left on Hagan Drive, left on Ellen, left on Locke Street and arrive back at AHS.  The parade will include the homecoming court, football teams, class floats, Purple Pride Marching Band and alumni who graduated in years ending in “2” will each have floats.

Alumni and community members are invited to line the route and cheer on the Panthers.  The evening coronation will begin at 6:30 p.m. with kick-off against Arkadelphia at 7 p.m.

Keep Arkansas Beautiful campaign continues through Oct. 31    10/19/22

The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission is reminding Arkansans that there’s still time to participate in its annual fall cleanup. The annual cleanup event will continue through October 31. Arkansans across the state are encouraged to get involved by registering their own cleanup event or volunteering during one near them.

During the Great Arkansas Cleanup, thousands of Arkansans volunteer to get involved with statewide beautification efforts and improve their communities by removing trash and discarded debris from Arkansas’ roadways, shorelines, parks and other public areas.

Individuals and groups are invited to sign up to organize a local clean up.

Cleanup organizers can use Keep Arkansas Beautiful’s print-ready promotional items to help recruit volunteers and learn how to organize a cleanup. Cleanup supplies including disposable gloves, cotton gloves, and fluorescent safety vests are also available through Keep Arkansas Beautiful.

In 2021, 13,637 Arkansans volunteered to improve their communities by removing 286 tons of litter during 473 cleanup events, double the number of cleanup events held last year during the Great Arkansas Cleanup and Keep Arkansas Beautiful’s annual spring cleanup, the Great American Cleanup in Arkansas. Volunteers can find and join local cleanups by visiting keeparkansasbeautiful.com.

Courtney Angel benefit car show set for Saturday in Lockesburg    10/19/22

LOCKESBURG – A local group is preparing to host a benefit car show this weekend in support of a local woman and her battle against colon cancer.

Organizers with the second annual Courtney Angel Benefit Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show announced they will host the event this Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Lockesburg City Park.

Registration will begin for entries at 8 a.m. and continue through 10 that morning. At 10 a.m., the benefit begins with an opening ceremony including the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer and announcements.

Judging begins at 10:15 and winners will be announced later in the day. Entry fee is $25 for an individual’s first vehicle and $20 for each additional vehicle they enter.

Awards will be issued for first and second place in a wide variety of categories, from 50’s and older vehicles to the newest car and truck. Rat rods and motorcycles in all classes are welcome. Awards will also include best of show and participants’ favorite. A total of 42 trophies will be given away.

Other events scheduled throughout the day include a 50/50 raffle, bounce house, food, drinks, shaved ice and more.

The second annual Courtney Angel Benefit Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show will raise funds in support of Makalee Rose Gilmore. Gilmore is a single mother recently diagnosed with colon cancer. She is the mother of a five-year-old daughter.

For more information contact Libby McWhorter at (870) 582-2651 or Chuck Martin at (903) 513-0666.

Arkansas law enforcement launches “U Text. U Drive. U Pay.” campaign    10/19/22

Beginning this week and continuing through Oct. 23, Arkansas law enforcement agencies are intensifying their patrols aimed at drivers violating the Arkansas texting while driving law.

Texting while driving is against the law in 47 states.

U drive, U text, U pay” is a coordinated campaign designed to stop distracted driving. Law enforcement agencies across the state have pledged their support toward enforcing the law and educating violators.

National Teen Driver Safety Week continues through Oct. 22.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials will be reminding teenagers of the danger in using their phones while driving. Using a phone to text, talk or participate in social media while driving is unacceptable, even while stopped in traffic.

Drivers should consider these reminders:

-If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. 

-Designate your passenger as your “designated texter”.

-Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.

-Activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature, or put your phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

-Remember: U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY.

For more information visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.org or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at 501-618-8136.

National Weather Service issues freeze warning for region    10/18/22
DE QUEEN – The National Weather Service is advising residents of the listening area to brace for a cold front this evening that will see temperatures drop below the freezing point for the first time this fall.
A widespread “Arctic blast” from Canada entered the country on Monday and is expected to bring freezing temperatures to more than 75 million Americans. The National Weather Service said more than half of the country will see temperatures drop to at least 10 degrees below average Tuesday night.

In Arkansas, state meteorologists say tonight’s freeze and frost will be the earliest on record. This comes after a summer-like beginning to fall and consistently above-average highs and lows across the region.

The National Weather Service is calling for a frigid low of 27 degrees for De Queen and the surrounding region tonight. That will be followed by a low Wednesday night of 32 degrees. A freeze warning has been issued for the entire region. Forecasters are predicting widespread frost beginning early Wednesday morning.

Daily highs will range from 60 today and 63 on Wednesday before rising back up to above average territory on Friday and into the weekend.

Under the freeze warning, affected residents should protect or bring inside any cold-sensitive plants as tonight’s conditions will kill them. Outside animals should also be provided cover and a warm place to shelter through the night.

In addition, steps should be taken to prevent freezing and possible bursting of outdoor water pipes. Exposed pipes should be wrapped, drained or allowed to drip slowly. In-ground sprinkler systems should be drained and above-ground pipes covered to protect them from freezing.

Fire danger in Arkansas grows despite weekend rainfall    10/18/22

DE QUEEN – Despite some much needed rain across the listening area on Sunday, it was not enough to prompt county officials to lift the burn bans implemented throughout the region.

At this time Sevier, Little River, Howard, Polk, Montgomery, Pike and Hempstead Counties all remain under burn bans. McCurtain, Le Flore and Pushmataha Counties in neighboring Oklahoma are continuing their burn bans as well. Almost all of Arkansas remains under a burn ban though several counties in the northern half ended theirs after more substantial rainfall over the last few days.

Most of the entire state remains at high risk for wildfires, according to the Arkansas Forestry Commission. Southern Arkansas, from Miller and Hempstead in the west to Desha and Chicot in the east, are under an extreme wildfire danger at this time.

Josh Graham, fire management officer for the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests, said ongoing drought conditions, combined with forecasted winds and low humidity, have set the stage for potential extreme fire activity. Although no closures or restrictions are currently being implemented in the National Forest, fire starts due to human carelessness have the potential to spread rapidly.

Cooler temperatures and the opening of muzzleloading season this past weekend are expected to attract more visitors to public lands in Arkansas. Human-caused grass fires are already being reported around the state. Despite recent rainfall, extremely dry ground fuels are still present.

Late last week the region was placed under a fire watch warning by the National weather Service due to the high wildfire danger. Visit www.forecast.weather.gov and search by zip code to find current watches or warnings for any area. To report a wildfire, call 911.

LRCO Courthouse to be closed this Friday for repairs    10/18/22

ASHDOWN – The Little River County Courthouse will be closed this Friday for additional repairs to the building. County Judge Mike Cranford said crews will perform repairs to the sub-floor and foundation support of the courthouse and the building will need to be closed for those repairs to be made. Judge Cranford said he apologizes for any inconvenience and appreciates the understanding of courthouse visitors.

The work is being funded through a grant from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

De Queen Public Schools seeking G/T nominations    10/18/22

DE QUEEN – De Queen Public Schools has announced it is now seeking nominations for the district’s Gifted/Talented program. The G/T program is available for students in grades third through 12th and referrals are currently being accepted.

To nominate a student, notify De Queen School District Gifted and Talented Coordinator Krystal Minchew by calling (870) 584-4311 or by emailing kminchew@dequeenleopards.org.

The deadline for nominations is Dec. 4.

Cossatot River announces new staff attendance incentive    10/18/22

WICKES – The Cossatot River School District is offering a new incentive to promote higher attendance among school employees.

Cossatot River Superintendent Tyler Broyles said teacher absenteeism hasn’t been an issue in his district and likely coincides with the state average. Nonetheless, he is hoping to encourage better attendance among district teachers through a monthly, monetary incentive program. Full-time employees with no unscheduled time off will be eligible for a $200 prepaid VISA gift card.

“The employee must have been a full-time employee during the previous month and have used no sick leave, taken no time off without pay, had no unscheduled late arrivals or early departure, and had no unscheduled vacation leave,” said Broyles. “A school business absence like a club sponsor taking students to an event does not disqualify an employee from this award. The award is a $200 prepaid VISA gift card. Eligible staff will be placed in a pot with a winner to be drawn at the beginning of month. There will be one winner for classified staff and one winner for certified staff each month starting this December.”

Broyles said the district is also launching a teacher/staff member of the year program beginning for the current school year. In the spring, each Cossatot River campus will vote on a certified staff member of the year and a classified staff member of the year. Those winners will be voted on for overall district winners. 

State Rep. Vaught weekly update    10/18/22

By State Rep. DeAnn Vaught

It is estimated that the average family will spend more than $600 per child on back-to-school shopping this year. This time of year can bring a financial burden to many families across Arkansas. That is why we want to remind you about the upcoming Arkansas Sales Tax holiday.

This year, the event will begin at 12:01 am on Saturday, August 6th, and will continue until 11:59 pm on Sunday, August 7th.

Act 757 of 2011 provides for a sales tax holiday in Arkansas during the first weekend of August each year. A sales tax holiday is a temporary period when state and local sales taxes are not collected or paid on the purchase of certain products.

Clothing less than $100 per item is exempt during the weekend, as well as clothing accessories less than $50 per item. Clothing accessories include handbags, cosmetics, jewelry, umbrellas, and more. Most school supplies, including book bags, binders, paper, crayons, pencils, and rulers, are also exempt.

In the 2021 Regular Session, we passed Act 944, which amended the sales tax holiday to include electronics. Examples include a calculator, desktop computer, cell phone, e-reader, computer mouse, laptop, monitor, printer, keyboard, and tablets. It does not include video game systems or televisions. Statewide, Act 944 is estimated to save Arkansans an additional $650,000 in taxes a year.

Online purchases for the specified items will be tax-free as long as the transaction processes between 12:01 a.m. on the 6th and 11:59 p.m. on the 7thand the items are shipped to an Arkansas address. 

The sales tax holiday was created to help Arkansas families. We hope you take advantage of this opportunity. We have posted the entire list of tax-exempt items and answers to frequently asked questions at www.arkansashouse.org.

Sevier, LRCO voters to decide a host of local races this year    10/17/22

DE QUEEN – Early voting begins in exactly one week for the Nov. 8 General Election.

The early voting period begins next Monday, Oct. 24 and continues through Nov. 7, the day before the election. Early voting will be held both Saturdays in the early voting period from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All early voting in Sevier County will take place at the Herman Dierks Park Community Building in De Queen. In Little River County, early voting will be held in the Little River County Election Center located at 349 N. Third Street in Ashdown.

Election day is Nov. 8 and polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Both Sevier and Little River County voters will be deciding a number of local races, alongside state and federal.

In Sevier County, that includes a race between incumbent Sheriff Robert Gentry and challenger Johnny Cooke. The county clerk’s seat will also see a new elected official, with the retirement of incumbent County Clerk Debbie Akin. That challenge is between Jeff Wahls, currently an investigator with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, and Renea Bailey, who is currently an employee in the county clerk’s office.

Other county races include two quorum court challenges: for District 1 Justice of the Peace, incumbent Earl Battiest will run against Veronica Ozura and Michael Barnes. The District 4 JP, David Wright, is running against newcomer Callie Miller.

In municipal elections, there is a race between incumbent De Queen City Alderman Troy Cravens and challenger Ron Huckaby.

In Lockesburg, Mayor Danny Ruth is facing a challenge from Randy Pickett for the position. And in Horatio, Randy Barnett will run against incumbent Mayor Borden Neel.

Little River County will also host a number of municipal and county races this election. That includes a race between Republican Larry Cowling and Democrat Elbert Bradley for the office of Little River County Judge. Current County Judge Mike Cranford announced earlier that he would not seek reelection.

Three seats on the Little River Quorum Court will see a battle: District 2 between Donte Weed and Lisa Hearn; District 4 between Mark Ardwin and Linda Briggs McAllester; and District 5 between Tyler Davis and Brandon Kennemore.

Incumbent Ashdown Mayor James Sutton is seeing a challenge from two candidates, Trey Cobb and Bobby Freeze. And in a final Ashdown city race, the Ward 1 Position 2 seat on the city council will see a race between Glen Ray Bowman and Perry Smith.

Both Sevier and Little River voters will decide a race on the state level, for District 87 state representative. Republican incumbent DeAnn Vaught is facing a Democratic challenger, Chris Wolcott, and an Independent candidate, Marc Rosson, in this election.

Voters can verify their registration, polling locations, view their ballot and see more election-related information online at www.voterview.ar-nova.org.

Today is deadline for property, real estate taxes in Arkansas    10/17/22

DE QUEEN – The deadline for property and real estate tax payments in Arkansas is here.

The final date to pay without an added penalty is typically Oct. 15. However, since that date fell on a Saturday this year, the deadline was extended to Oct. 17.

Residents in most counties can pay those tax bills online. You can visit portal.arkansas.gov to get the payment information for where you live.

After the deadline, there will be a 10 percent penalty added to the total due.

Taxpayers in Sevier County can pay their taxes online at tax.countyservice.net/sevier.

The Sevier County Collector’s office will be open today from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to accept payments. The office will be closed from 1-2 p.m. for lunch.

The Sevier County collector’s office will be closed Oct. 18 through Oct. 21 in order to prepare the delinquent tax list. The office will return to normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 22.

According to the University of Arkansas Public Policy Center, residents also need to pay personal property taxes for cars, boats, motorcycles, RVs and livestock.

Before paying taxes, residents will need to have them assessed. Assessments were due May 31 this year, but County Assessors are still doing assessments.

City of Dierks raises millage rate for first time in 32 years    10/17/22

DIERKS – Millage rates are increasing in the city of Dierks for the first time in 32 years.  During the council’s October meeting, aldermen voted to raise the general millage from 1.7 to a new rate of three mills.

In addition, the council also voted to create a one mill taxing rate to assist the fire department.

At the start of the meeting, council members heard concerns from the fire department regarding a lack of participation by firemen. The city council was told that Dierks has the only municipal fire department in Arkansas in which firemen aren’t paid anything when they respond to calls. 

The Dierks Fire Department has around twenty individuals on the roster. However, department leadership reported that only five to six of those people show up on calls. The fire department was asked to report back at next month’s council meeting with statistics on how many calls firemen respond to on a monthly basis.

Submit a deer sample for CWD testing and enter chance for lifetime license    10/17/22

Arkansas hunters are being encouraged to help in the fight against Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) with a chance to win a lifetime hunting and fishing license.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will give away two Lifetime Combination Licenses this deer season to two hunters who turn in deer samples for CWD testing. The fight against CWD continues with renewed effort following the detection of the disease into Randolph and Union Counties last year. CWD is most frequently detected in deer populations in Northwest Arkansas. The cases detected closest to Southwest Arkansas were in Scott County and the case detected last year in Union.

Nonetheless, state wildlife biologists encourage every hunter to get their harvested deer tested this season in hopes of tracking the spread of CWD. As in previous years, the AGFC will continue its extensive system of drop-off containers throughout the state, as well as its work with taxidermists and regional offices to pull samples for hunters and have them tested. More than 100 locations around Arkansas are available to get your deer tested for CWD free of charge. A few veterinarians also will provide sampling services for a fee, but hunters should call ahead to ensure availability.

Testing locations are available in each Arkansas county, including at the De Queen City Hole on East Haes Avenue; the Little River County Sanitation Department; the Farmers Association in Dierks; and the USFS Ranger District Office in Mena.

It’s simple to get a deer tested through a drop-off location. Just bring the deer’s head with four-six inches of the neck attached and any antlers removed to the location and place it in one of the provided plastic bags with your name and contact information on the card provided. The AGFC will collect these, pull the samples and have them analyzed by the Arkansas Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Testing results should be available within two to three weeks.

Test results will be posted through a secure system at www.agfc.com/cwd.

Riggs says staff also will notify hunters via phone if their sample is not usable for some reason, so it is important to give complete information with their deer’s head. Hunters who submit a sample will be automatically entered into the drawing and those who submit multiple deer for testing will have increased chances of being selected.

Testing locations will remain open until Feb. 28, the last day of the archery deer season.

A list of official testing locations is available at www.agfc.com/cwd as well as the latest regulations and news about the disease in Arkansas.

Cubs fall to Junior Cardinals    10/16/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen junior high Cubs took the opening kickoff and drove to the Camden Fairview one-yard line before stalling on downs. Afterwards, four De Queen turnovers spelled defeat as the Cubs fell to the Junior Cardinals 20-0 Thursday night at Leopard Stadium in action heard live on your #1 Country 92.1. 

Kyle Williamson was named our McDonalds Player of the Game with a tremendous defensive effort. Kyle was credited with 13 tackles, including four tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery.

Rusty Bermeo led the Cubs offense with 60 yards on 11 carries.

The Cubs will host Hot Springs Lakeside next Thursday night at Bill Blackwood Field. 

Fire watch issued for region, ONF due to ongoing drought conditions    10/16/22

OUACHITA NATIONAL FOREST – Fire weather watches and red flag warnings in many Arkansas and Oklahoma counties have created heightened awareness for Forest Service officials.

 

All but four Arkansas counties – and all in the listening area – and many Oklahoma counties, including McCurtain, have implemented burn bans and are in either high to extreme fire danger.

The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for Thursday, October 13, and a Fire Weather Watch for today for many of the counties within the boundaries of the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests.

According to the National Weather Service, a Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring currently or will shortly. A Fire Weather Watch indicates that critical fire weather conditions are forecast to occur.

Josh Graham, fire management officer for the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests, said ongoing drought conditions, combined with forecasted winds and low humidity, have set the stage for potential extreme fire activity. Although no closures or restrictions are currently being implemented in the National Forest, fire starts due to human carelessness have the potential to spread rapidly.

Cooler temperatures and the opening of muzzleloading season this weekend are expected to attract more visitors to public lands in Arkansas. Human-caused grass fires are already being reported around the state. Despite recent rainfall, extremely dry ground fuels are still present.

With the right information and a little proactive care, residents in and visitors to communities with high fire danger can protect their families, homes and woods from wildfire,” added Graham. Be mindful! Avoid outdoor burning, discard of smoking materials or hot coals carefully, avoid parking on grassy areas, and postpone operating equipment that could throw a spark. Tying up or adequately securing boat and trailer tow chains to avoid ground dragging is also critical to preventing fire starts along highways. It only takes one small spark to start a dangerous wildfire. 

Visit www.forecast.weather.gov and search by zip code to find current watches or warnings for any area. To report a wildfire, call 911.

HealthCare Express to host second annual De Queen Street Dance    10/14/22

DE QUEEN – HealthCARE Express will host its second annual De Queen Street Dance next month for a day of live music, food, assisting veterans, fighting food insecurity and more.

The locally-based healthcare provider announced the event is scheduled for Nov. 5 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. that day.

In addition to live music, dancing, arts, crafts, shopping, food, and fun, owners Hector and Christy Gallego said the primary purpose for hosting this Street Dance is to collect nonperishable food items that will be donated to the American Legion and help bring awareness to their mission to aid veterans in the De Queen Community.  

All area businesses and community organizations are invited to join organizers at this family-friendly event. Those who would like to be a vendor at the De Queen Street Dance can request a form by calling Saybra Scott at (870) 784-1312.

Each vendor will receive a 10’ x 10’ booth space, specific site locations will be first come first served, and set up will be from 7-9 a.m. on Nov. 5 on W. De Queen Ave. Hector Gallego said HealthCARE Express is veteran owned, veteran ran, and takes a great deal of pride in supporting Veterans services like the American Legion.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month    10/14/22

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc., one in eight women will develop breast cancer. It is the most common form of cancer and the second leading cause of death among women.

However, more women are living longer and healthier lives after a diagnosis. The key is early detection.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now is the time to talk to your healthcare provider about getting screened and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

In 1997, the Arkansas General Assembly passed the Breast Cancer Act, which led to the ADH’s BreastCare program. The BreastCare program has coordinated efforts with a statewide network of providers offering no-cost screenings and follow-up services to eligible women who are uninsured or underinsured. Women aged 21-64 can be screened for cervical cancer, and women aged 40-64 can be screened for breast cancer.

In addition to screening and diagnostic services, BreastCare provides educational information to communities about the importance of regular breast exams as well as the risks associated with breast cancer.

Since its inception 25 years ago, the BreastCare Program has enrolled over 128,000 women for breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services.

If you would like more information on the BreastCare program, call 501-661-2942 or visit www.ARBreastCare.com

Arkansas State Fair opens today, continues through Oct. 23    10/14/22

LITTLE ROCK – The 82nd Arkansas State Fair gets underway today with a huge assortment of free concerts, fair food, livestock competitions, carnival rides and varied attractions.

The 10 days of festivities conclude Oct. 23.

North American Midway Entertainment of Farmland, Ind., is providing the carnival attractions, including more than 250 state-of-the-art rides, custom-designed food concessions and family-oriented games.

The Arkansas State Fair Concert Series on the Lotto Main Stage is free with gate admission; limited deck seating is available for an additional $20 at the fairgrounds box office and at ArkansasStateFair.com.

De Queen Public Schools upcoming events    10/14/22

DE QUEEN – De Queen Public Schools is making its students and families aware of a few upcoming events the week of Oct. 17.

That includes parent/teacher conferences next Thursday, Oct. 20. Conferences will be held at each De Queen campus from 3:30-8 p.m. Report cards will be available.

Rick Lancaster with Herff Jones will be in the coliseum from 11:15-6 p.m. on Oct. 20 to take ring orders from juniors and graduation orders from seniors.

The UA Rich Mountain TRIO program will be on site to help seniors and parents fill out FAFSA forms. Contact Ms. Garza or Ms. Hill at (870) 642-2426 to make an appointment.

There will be no school next Friday, Oct. 21. ACT testing will begin the following Saturday, Oct. 22.

Louisiana State Fair kicks off Oct. 27    10/14/22

SHREVEPORT, La. – The State Fair of Louisiana is making plans for the 116th State Fair which will take place Oct. 27 through November 13 at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds in Shreveport.

The primary goal of the State Fair of Louisiana is to create an event for families to come out and have a great time in a safe and friendly environment.  The Fair is typically a 14-day run being closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. However, this year, the State Fair will open for  election day, Tuesday November 8th from 12pm – 10pm with regular weekday discounts and savings. This year, fairgoers can expect over 50 state of the art carnival rides, over a dozen free shows and attractions, plenty of great fair food, and live music every night. The LRCA Finals Rodeo will also return this year along with the largest livestock show in Louisiana.

State Fair Advance Discount Tickets:
The Advanced Discount Ticket Sale Campaign is now underway. These discounts will provide big savings on Gate Admission and Carnival Ride Armbands for the upcoming State Fair.  Advance ticket discounts are as follows. A Gate Admission ticket is $8.00 when purchased in advance and $12.00 at the gate on weekends. The Pay-One-Price ticket which includes Gate Admission and a Carnival Ride Armband are $35.00 in advance and $47.00 at the gate on weekends. Tickets can be purchased online at statefairoflouisiana.com or at participating Brookshire’s and Super 1 Foods grocery stores. A list of these ticket locations can be found on the State Fair of Louisiana website. All advance discount ticket offers will end October 26, 2022.  

State Fair Ticket Giveaways:
Fairgoers will be able to follow the State Fair of Louisiana on Facebook and Instagram for opportunities to win gate admission tickets, rodeo tickets and ride armbands for this year’s State Fair. Also, many of local radio stations will be doing contests and ticket giveaways as well.

By providing Discounts and Free Gate Admission opportunities, it is our hope that every family would have an opportunity to enjoy the many free shows, concerts and attractions the State Fair offers.   For more information on the State Fair of Louisiana, you can visit our website at www.statefairoflouisiana.com

2022 DHS Homecoming returns a sense of normalcy to school events     10/14/22

DE QUEEN – Following the last two years of COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, officials with De Queen Public Schools said they were glad to see a return to normalcy with this year’s De Queen High School homecoming ceremonies.

The football game didn’t go as Leopard fans would have hoped, with the Hot Springs Trojans taking the win 42-7. Nonetheless, that didn’t distract from the crowning of the 2022 DHS Homecoming Queen Lorel Morphew along with her 11 maids or the other homecoming festivities held on Oct. 7.

De Queen Superintendent Jason Sanders took some time with us this week to share his thoughts on the 2022 De Queen High School Homecoming.

 

Death penalty an option for De Queen man accused in family slayings    10/13/22

MADISON COUNTY – Prosecutors will be seeking the death penalty for a De Queen man accused of killing three family members in Madison County last year.

According to court records, the State of Arkansas filed a notice of intent on Tuesday stating the prosecution’s decision to seek the death penalty for 24-year-old Hunter Chenoweth of De Queen. The notice states the murders for which Chenoweth has been accused were committed in an “especially cruel and depraved manner.”

Chenoweth is accused of killing his mother, 51-year-old Tami Lynn Chenoweth; his stepfather, 59-year-old James Stanley McGhee; and his sister, 26-year-old Cheyenne Chenoweth. All three were found deceased inside a home in Madison County on Feb. 23 of last year, according to the Arkansas State Police.

Chenoweth’s attorneys filed a motion in January seeking to prevent the death penalty as a possible sentence in his case. Chenoweth asked the court to hold a hearing to present evidence suggesting that prosecutors are denying him the opportunity to enter a plea and thereby avoid the death penalty. The motion described the lack of a plea deal from prosecutors as “abritrary, capricious and standardless.”

Chenoweth’s defense claims nothing in his case distinguishes it from other cases in which the State of Arkansas has agreed to a plea bargain for a sentence of less than death. A further defense motion sought to proclaim the death penalty as “cruel and unusual” and prohibit it as a sentence in Chenoweth’s case.

Tuesday’s notice of intent seemingly denies Chenoweth’s claim and makes him eligible for the death penalty upon his conviction.

Chenoweth was scheduled to appear in court for a jury trial over the summer, but the trial has been continued on several occasions due to incomplete reports from the Arkansas State Crime Lab. At this time Chenoweth is scheduled to reappear in court on Nov. 1 for a plea and status hearing.

Arkansas voter registration deadline is today    10/11/22

DE QUEEN – Today is the deadline to register to vote in Arkansas for this year’s Nov. 8 General Election.

Anyone who has not registered to vote and plans to cast their ballot this year must be registered by the end of business today. Voter registration can be done in person or through the mail. If registering by mail, it must be postmarked by today.

Early voting begins Oct. 24 and will continue through Nov. 7. Early voting is held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. the two weeks before the election and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturdays in the early voting period (Local times could vary). Polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Arkansas voters can verify their registration by visiting www.sos.arkansas.gov.

Arkansas voters are reminded they will need to provide an approved photo ID when they vote. The ID cannot be expired for more than four years. Accepted forms of photo ID include a driver’s license, U.S. Passport, military ID or an ID from an Arkansas college or university.

For more information on registering to vote, or the upcoming election in general, visit www.sos.arkansas.gov or contact your local county clerk’s office. In Sevier County, call (870) 642-2852; in Little River, (870) 898-7202; in Howard County, (870) 845-7502; and, in Polk County, (479) 394-8123. Typically offices will post sample ballots for the public to view in the weeks ahead of the election.

New application process available for Sevier County Christmas charity programs    10/11/22

DE QUEEN – Organizers of several Sevier County Christmas-themed charities are announcing a new application process ahead of the holiday season.

The community is by now well acquainted with several Sevier County programs aimed at providing Christmas gifts to local children in need. This includes Shop with a Cop and Shop with a Biker. These programs have operated for years in Sevier County and have brought Christmas gifts to hundreds of local children.

Beginning this year, families in Sevier County may apply for holiday assistance through these programs by completing an application process. A new universal application has been formed to make the process easier for residents. Kim Frachiseur, 4-H Program Assistant for the Sevier County Extension Service, said organizations like Shop with a Biker and Shop with a Cop and any other similar charitable groups are welcome to use the applications to provide aid this holiday season.

Each organization will select families for their individual programs by using this application. This means that families will only have to apply once this year.

These programs are based entirely in Sevier County and for Sevier County residents. Frachiseur said that assistance is given based on need and that apply for assistance cannot guarantee it.

Paper copies of the application can be picked up in the extension office located in the Adams Building on UA Cossatot’s De Queen campus. Online applications are available here: https://forms.gle/NkWPvtZGkQ7Yy5ZT8

For additional information contact Frachiseur at the Sevier County Extension Office by calling (870) 584-3013.

Horatio Public Schools to host flu shot clinic    10/11/22

HORATIO – The Horatio School District will host its flu clinic on Tuesday, Oct. 25 to provide students will an additional opportunity to receive their yearly flu vaccine.

Flu shot forms were sent home with elementary students last week. Extra forms will be available in the elementary office. Flu shot forms for high school students will be available in the high school office.

Completed forms must be turned back in by Oct. 19. If you have any questions, contact High School Nurse DeAnn Roden by calling (870) 832-1907 or Elementary School Nurse Karen Cunningham at (870) 832-1930.

Annual flu vaccination is recommended for most adults and children six months and older. The flu virus changes from year to year, and this year’s vaccine protects against the flu viruses that are expected to cause the most illness this flu season.

De Queen superintendent addresses 2021-2022 school index scores    10/11/22

DE QUEEN – Officials with the De Queen School District are hoping to get ahead of the state’s soon-to-be released school index scores to share an important message: academics within the school district remain strong.

Several years ago the Arkansas Department of Education began measuring school performance as a way to bring increased accountability to the state’s public school systems. These measurements – similar to a student’s report card, but instead for schools – factor in a number of issues, including academics, graduation rates and attendance.

De Queen Superintendent Jason Sanders said it’s this last factor – attendance – that will see four of the five campuses within the De Queen School District drop a letter grade on the state report card. During Monday night’s meeting of the De Queen School Board, Sanders stressed that the state’s report card will not show an entirely accurate picture.

The reason, he explained, was COVID-19.

“There’s a very complicated formula that [the Arkansas Department of Education] uses to come up with these grades,” said Sanders. “There’s a 15 percent factor with enrollment. All of our academics went up in every parameter, but we just went through the last two and a half years of one of the biggest pandemics in our history. We had a lot of kids out and that was beyond our control. We had students that had to be quarantined following health requirements, they could not be at school and they were marked absent.”

Sanders said as much as 25 percent of district students were absent at any time during the 2021-2022 school year due to COVID-19 quarantine. Normal attendance is between 90-95 percent.

The drop in attendance during the previous school year will see the De Queen Primary and Elementary Schools go from a “C” on the state report card to a “B.” The middle school and junior high will drop from an “A” to a “B.” The high school will actually increase from a “C” to a “B.”

Besides the attendance factor, Sanders said De Queen’s other metrics have remained stable or in fact increased during the pandemic. The state’s decision to include attendance on its latest report card is a regrettable one, Sanders added.

“It’s not totally accurate and it’s not totally valid because of the way attendance is calculated,” said Sanders. “I wish they had based it solely on our academics. Because at the end of the day, all of our schools increased in achievement, growth increased or remained steady, our graduation rate improved and we’re above the state average in just about every single area. The only measurable decrease was attendance and we feel that was due to COVID.”

Sanders said he doesn’t want the new report card to dilute the achievements made by De Queen’s students and educators.

“Our teachers actually brought our kids’ scores up. That is unbelievable in this day and time given the amount of days kids were out and the amount of learning loss they had,” said Sanders. “Our teachers just rocked. We don’t feel this letter grade [in the new school report card] is reflective of the true, positive things happening in our classrooms.”

The latest Arkansas Department of Education school report cards have not yet been issued. They will be available later this year, along with previous school index scores, on the Department of Education’s Data Center website. Those are viewable by visiting www.myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov.

The De Queen School Board discussed several other items during Monday night’s regular meeting. That included upholding a student expulsion requested by school officials. The student was expelled for 45 days for marijuana possession.

The school board also discussed a possible change to its long-standing food service system. Sanders, along with the head of the school cafeteria system, stressed there was no problem with the district’s existing food service. However, they discussed exploring possible changes in the future that could include additional meal options for De Queen students.

Athletic Director and Assistant Superintendent Lance Pinkerton said work has been completed on the district’s softball field. The work included drainage improvements to help prevent the field from flooding in the future and forcing game cancellations.

Second annual Courtney Angel benefit car show set for Oct. 22    10/11/22

LOCKESBURG – A local group is preparing to host a benefit car show this month in support of a local woman and her battle against colon cancer.

Organizers with the second annual Courtney Angel Benefit Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show announced they will host the event on Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Lockesburg City Park.

Registration will begin for entries at 8 a.m. and continue through 10 that morning. At 10 a.m., the benefit begins with an opening ceremony including the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer and announcements.

Judging begins at 10:15 and winners will be announced later in the day. Entry fee is $25 for an individual’s first vehicle and $20 for each additional vehicle they enter.

Awards will be issued for first and second place in a wide variety of categories, from 50’s and older vehicles to the newest car and truck. Rat rods and motorcycles in all classes are welcome. Awards will also include best of show and participants’ favorite. A total of 42 trophies will be given away.

Other events scheduled throughout the day include a 50/50 raffle, bounce house, food, drinks, shaved ice and more.

The second annual Courtney Angel Benefit Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show will raise funds in support of Makalee Rose Gilmore. Gilmore is a single mother recently diagnosed with colon cancer. She is the mother of a five-year-old daughter.

For more information contact Libby McWhorter at (870) 582-2651 or Chuck Martin at (903) 513-0666.

Former Glenwood doctor receives 21 additional life sentences    10/11/22

GLENWOOD – A former Glenwood docter was given an additional 21 life sentences in Clark County just a day after receiving 18 life sentences in Pike County, each for the sexual assault of nearly three dozen children between 1997 and 2021.

Barry Alan Walker, 58, pleaded guilty the sexual assault charges in Clark County on Thursday. The plea came a day after he pleaded guilty to dozens of felony charges in Pike County – including sexual assault, drugs and illegal possession of firearms.

In total, Walker was charged with 132 felony counts involving 31 children in both Pike and Clark counties after his arrest in June. Victims range in age from four to 14 at the time of the crimes. The incidents occurred at various residences in Amity and Glenwood.

Walker, a former doctor, was convicted in 1999 for the sexual abuse of an eight-year-old girl. That offense resulted in the lost of his medical license and a nine month prison sentence. He served additional time on other related charges in Sebastian County between June of 2000 and March of 2001.

The 39 life sentences handed to Walker last week will be served consecutively. There is no option for parole.

The case was investigated by John Jones of the Ninth West Judicial District Drug Taks Force as well as the Pike and Clark County Sheriff’s Offices. Assistance was provided by the Arkansas State Police and other area sheriff’s offices.

Walker was being held in the Pike County Jail on a $10 million bond.

Don Stemple of De Queen honored as REA’s longest-serving chairman    10/10/22

Don Stemple is awareded a plaque by SWREA Board Chairman Russell Pendergraft honoring Stemple’s 54 years as a board member for the Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative. (Photo courtesy of SWREA)

TEXARKANA – The longest-serving member of the Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative Board of Directors was recognized during a recent ceremony in honor of his retirement.

Don Stemple of De Queen marked 54 years with the cooperative energy provider this year. He officially retired in July.

During a reception held in his honor, officials recognized his contributions to Southwest Arkansas REA, the other boards on which he serves, and to his community in general.

Officials also announced the De Queen Substation would be renamed the “Don Stemple Substation” in his honor.

Earlier this year, Southwest REA also announced a scholarship for students in its service area. The scholarship was named the “Don Stemple Scholarship” and would award $2,000 to a graduating senior selected from applications submitted by children or grandchildren of cooperative members. Employee’s families would also be eligible to apply.

 

Sevier County firefighters battle worst blaze of the year    10/10/22

DE QUEEN – Sevier County firefighters spent much of Saturday battling blazes in Sevier County that morning, including a large wildfire on the east side of the Cossatot River near Allen and Fletcher Roads, and another on the west side of the river near Crosstrails. De Queen firefighters responded to the blaze alongside numerous area fire depts and crews from the Arkansas Forestry Commission and Weyerhaeuser.

Burn bans remain in effect in nearly every Arkansas county and all counties in the local area, including McCurtain County. Fire officials are asking everyone to be extremely careful due to the continuing drought like conditions.

The entire state remains at a moderate risk for wildfires, according to the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

Battiest announces reelection bid for District 1 JP    10/11/22

Earl Battiest and his wife, Dana.

DE QUEEN – Justice of the Peace Earl Battiest has released his announcement regarding his intention to seek re-election to the District 1 seat on the Sevier County Quorum Court. The following is his announcement:

It has been my pleasure for the last 14 years to have represented the citizens of District 1 as their Justice of the Peace. When Justice Mike “Bo” Walker retired 14 years ago, I was

encouraged by friends to fill this position. I have thoroughly enjoyed these past 14 years.

I have lived in District 1 for 30 years. I have been married to Dana Kirk Battiest for 31 years. We have raised two sons Kirk Hodges and Zachary Battiest.

While being a Justice we have endured many challenges, but none were so bad that collectively as a county, we could not overcome our challenges. During this time, we have weathered the financial crisis other counties have had to struggle with because of lacking funds. Our goal has been to be proactive and build financial security for those things that were impossible to plan for in future times. These past few years have proven that preparing for the unforeseen such as a pandemic or to have a hospital shut down leaving our county with no emergency care is a crucial step in having a successful strategy and county. The Quorum court was able to gain public support to plan and start building a hospital to provide emergency care to our citizens.

I had the privilege of working with Mr. Mike Archer and learning the intricacies of our county government. I have been a member of the Finance Committee for the last 8 years. Our goal has been to be financially sound and good stewards of the county’s money. It is not an easy thing to learn or understand because of all the moving targets that are created by the state government and their impending regulations. The hundreds of funds for revenue and expenditures learning what monies goes where and for what use. Sometimes it is hard to say no to requests for pay or hiring increases. These can be very challenging and have to be weighed as to the cost for the immediate and looking ahead five-ten years in the future.

A county government cannot add to their cost for services to increase revenue like a business can and must live within its resources. Our revenue is bound to the taxes we levy and, therefore, must be protected, safeguarded, and spent diligently for the good of all the citizens of Sevier County. This is a critical time in our county government as we finish the building of our hospital. We will have two new Justices this coming session as we regrettably lost Mike Archer and Charles Keel. We have two Justices that have challenging candidates. This is not the time for such a turnover. Sevier County needs an experienced, reliable, and strong leadership on the Quorum Court.

I hope and desire that you, the voters of Sevier County, cast your vote and support for me.

Thank You,

Earl Battiest

Sevier County Justice of the Peace District 1

LRCO issues burn ban    10/07/22

ASHDOWN – The number of Arkansas counties under burn bans continues to increase, with Little River County the latest to join the growing list.

In fact, all but eight Arkansas counties are now prohibiting all outside burning due to the risk of uncontrollable fires. Locally, Little River, Sevier, Polk, Howard, Pike, Miller, Hempstead and Montgomery are all under a burn ban.

A combination of above average temperatures, declining humidity and a complete lack of rain in recent weeks has prompted fire officials across to state to implement burn bans. Sevier County has been under a ban for over two weeks – and this ban is the second of the year.

The entire state remains at a moderate risk for wildfires, according to the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

Under a burn ban, all outdoor burning is prohibited. Typically these bans remain in effect until the affected county receives enough rain to remedy the fire threat.

LRCO issues burn ban    10/07/22

ASHDOWN – The number of Arkansas counties under burn bans continues to increase, with Little River County the latest to join the growing list.

In fact, all but eight Arkansas counties are now prohibiting all outside burning due to the risk of uncontrollable fires. Locally, Little River, Sevier, Polk, Howard, Pike, Miller, Hempstead and Montgomery are all under a burn ban.

A combination of above average temperatures, declining humidity and a complete lack of rain in recent weeks has prompted fire officials across to state to implement burn bans. Sevier County has been under a ban for over two weeks – and this ban is the second of the year.

The entire state remains at a moderate risk for wildfires, according to the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

Under a burn ban, all outdoor burning is prohibited. Typically these bans remain in effect until the affected county receives enough rain to remedy the fire threat.

Bowie County jury finds woman guilty of killing pregnant woman, abducting baby    10/06/22

TEXARKANA, Texas – Court records show a Bowie County, Texas woman was found guilty this week of the 2020 murder of a pregnant woman and of kidnapping her unborn baby.

Taylor Rene Parker, 29, was found guilty of capital murder following around an hour of jury deliberation on Monday.

Parker was charged in October of 2020 with capital murder after she killed a woman, cut opened her abdomen and removed the unborn child. Prosecutors said Parker attempted to cover up the crime by pretending to be pregnant following the murder. Her deception included social media posts declaring her pregnancy, hosting a gender reveal party and preregistering for her delivery at the McCurtain County Hospital in Idabel, Okla.

Investigators were able to tie Parker to the murder on Oct. 9, 2020 when the death of the pregnant woman was reported by her mother. Authorities found the victim dead and with her unborn baby removed. Shortly after, Parker was pulled over for speeding. Parker told state troopers she had just delivered a child and was seen holding the baby in her lap. Both were taken to the McCurtain County Hospital. The child later passed away.

Doctors quickly determined Parker had not delivered the child. The resulting investigation ended with Parker’s arrest and the charge of capital murder filed against her.

Following Monday’s guilty verdict, Parker is now scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 12. The sentence could range from life in prison without parole to the death penalty.

Legacy Academy inducts five into Scholars program    10/06/22

LOCKESBURG – Legacy Academy hosted a Scholar Induction on Sept. 22 to welcome five new sophomores into the rank of Scholar.

In a press release, the private Christian school said its Scholars program includes upper classmen charged to uphold the values, ways, and standards of Legacy Academy and the Word of God – strength, virtue, and excellence.

Legacy Academy’s newest scholars – Oaklee Lofton, Rayne McDonald, Layne Schroer, Ozzy Toledano and Joshua Tucker – made their pledge before their peers, the school body, their families and the wider community: to be leaders who serve sacrificially, to unswervingly follow the ways of the Lord, and to be role models of righteous young men and women. They take their place as those who arise and shine to provide light to every sphere in which they walk.

Earlier in the ceremony, the school set in its new Rookies (K-2nd grade) and promoted the Protégés (3-6) and Apprentices (7-9) who have reached the next stage of their Legacy journey, and these younger students can look forward to the time when they will add their light to the community in which they shine.

Each group was given its own charge for how they are expected to behave and what character and values they are expected to display. The charges were read by Chad Gallagher, the founder of the school.

Each student also each received a token in honor of their promotion: the Rookies received a certificate, the Protégés a coin, and the Apprentices a pin. The Scholars received a navy blazer to be worn as part of their formal uniform, which was placed on them by their parents at the culmination of the ceremony.

For more information on Legacy Academy, visit www.legacywarriors.org.

Sidewalks completed through Ashdown partnership    10/06/22

ASHDOWN – Through a combination of a grant and partnership between the city of Ashdown, Little River County, and Ashdown Public Schools, the three entities were able to provide sidewalks along Locust Street so that students walking or biking to school would have a safe way to travel.  

According to Ashdown Mayor James Sutton, “this was a great opportunity to provide students with a safe route to school.  It was a collaborative effort with all three partners working together to make it happen.  It was one of my pet projects and it is great to see it completed.  With the sidewalk completion, the street should be resurfaced soon.” 

The grant was applied for through the Safe Route to Schools Program through the Arkansas Department of Transportation.  It was an 80-20 grant with the balance being split between the city, county, and school district.

On the U.S. Department of Transportation web site, “Safe routes to School (SRTS) is an approach that promotes walking and bicycling to school through infrastructure improvements, enforcements, tools, safety education, and incentives to encourage walking and bicycling to school.  It can be implemented by a department of transportation, metropolitan planning organization, local government, school district, or a school.”

Judge Mike Cranford said he’s elated to be a part of seeing local tax dollars along with grant money being spent in a manner to ensure that Ashdown students and citizens are safe if they bike or ride along Locust Street.  “This community enhancement project is a testimony of collaboration of the city, county, and school working together for the benefit of our citizens.”

AGFC says shooting collared deer is ok    10/06/22

Arkansas hunters hitting the woods may notice a few deer and bears sporting some new neckwear this fall, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from legally taking that animal.

The collars are part of ongoing research taking place in certain portions of the state, according to Cory Gray, AGFC chief of research, said. The  five-year study is looking at the effects chronic wasting disease may be having on the state’s deer population.

Researchers are collaring deer, performing live tests for CWD and following their movements. When the deer die, they’ll track it down and perform necropsies on them to determine the cause of death.

Deer collared in the project include individuals that tested positive for CWD as well as deer that did not test positive. It is recommended that all deer harvested, regardless of their appearance or the presence of a collar, be tested for CWD using one of the many testing locations available through the AGFC. Testing locations are available in each of Arkansas’s 75 counties.

A few female bears also are wearing collars. Some have the same radio-location collars that have been used by the AGFC for decades to locate females with cubs when they are denned to measure productivity, but a few in south Arkansas are sporting some new-age GPS-enhanced collars.

The new collars are being placed right now on female bears in the newly opened bear zones (Zones 3 and 4), which include Sevier and Little River Counties.

In years past, collared bears were protected because of the need to study reproductive effort and the amount of work involved in trapping and safely sedating the bears, but that regulation was removed to ensure the quality of the research.

Ideally, said Gray, the AGFC wantw hunters to ignore whether there is a collar there or not. “If it’s a deer or bear that you want to harvest, and it’s legal to do so, go ahead. Hunters however are asked to contact the AGFC as soon as they recover the animal so researchers can collect the collar to be reused.

Sevier County Sheriff Gentry donates to DQ Schools for Red Ribbon Week    10/05/22

DE QUEEN – Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry and the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association presented De Queen educators with a $1,000 check on Tuesday to promote drug-free lifestyles among local youth.

The check was presented to De Queen Primary Counselor Angela Lindly to help pay for this year’s Red Ribbon Week festivities. The Primary will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week the last week of October and Lindley said the school has many fun speakers and activities planned.

RED RIBBON WEEK, which is celebrated annually October 23-31, is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention awareness program. 

Red Ribbon Week was started after the death of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who in 1985 was murdered by drug traffickers.

In 1988, the National Family Partnership coordinated the first National Red Ribbon Week.  Since then, the Red Ribbon campaign has taken on national significance, and NFP continues to coordinate the campaign for families, schools and communities across the nation each year.  Wearing red ribbons during the month of October continues to represent our pledge to live drug free and honors the sacrifice of all who have lost their lives in the fight against drugs.

Organizers ask everyone to celebrate Red Ribbon Week in their community and their child’s school, and raise awareness of living a drug free life. This time, they say, is a great time to take the opportunity to talk to your kids about drugs and a drug-free lifestyle.

Country music superstar, national icon Loretta Lynn passes away    10/05/22

HURRICAN MILLS, Tenn. – Country superstar Loretta Lynn passed peacefully in her sleep the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 4 at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Lynn was 90.

Over the course of her 60-year career, the famous native of Butcher Hollow, Ky. amassed a staggering 51 Top 10 hits, garnered every accolade available in music from GRAMMY awards to induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and broke down barriers for women everywhere with songs like “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “Fist City” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

 

Thanks to the Oscar-winning 1980 film Coal Miner’s Daughter starring Sissy Spacek, Lynn’s story and songs were brought to an even wider audience, amplifying her impact on several generations of songwriters and artists in various genres.

Throughout her 80s, Loretta continued to write new songs and, in 2016, returned to the charts with the GRAMMY-nominated Full Circle, the first in a series of critically acclaimed albums produced by her daughter, Patsy Lynn Russell, and John Carter Cash at Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tenn.

Lynn’s music and achievements were repeatedly recognized by all of the major awards bodies. She joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1962, won four GRAMMY awards, seven American Music Awards and eight Country Music Association awards. She was the first woman to win the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards for Entertainer of the Year. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008, and was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. That year she also brought her wealth of musical talent to De Queen for a performance that drew in thousands.

In total, she sold over 45 million albums worldwide.

Lynn was preceded in death by her husband of 48 years Oliver Vanetta “Doolittle” Lynn, her daughter Betty Sue Lynn, son Jack Benny Lynn, and her grandson Jeff Lynn. She is survived by her daughters Patsy Lynn Russell, Peggy Lynn, Clara (Cissie) Marie Lynn and her son Ernest Ray Lynn as well as a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to be made to the Loretta Lynn Foundation. Information about a memorial service/celebration of life will be made available at a later date. For more information, visit LorettaLynn.com.

The family has asked for privacy during this time, as they grieve. 

Local livestock exhibitors win big at district fair, AYE    10/05/22

A huge shoutout to all our local youth who participated in last week’s Southwest Arkansas District Fair and also those who made it to this week’s Arkansas Youth Expo.

Sevier County was well represented at the district fair, with Leighton Frachiseur of Horatio earning the Grand Champion Junior Showmanship title. Brady Haarmeyer showed the Reserve Grand Champion Berkshire and Kolton Dockins showed the Overall Grand Champion Hog.

Megan Midget received Grand Champion Senior Showmanship while Caselynn VanVoast received Grand Champion Junior Showmanship. Raylee Vanvoast showed the Grand Champion Brahma Bull.

Brayden Frachiseur showed the Reserve Grand Champion Goat. Jocie Tallent showed the Reserve Grand Champion Lamb.

Kate Baker received Grand Champion Senior Showmanship while Layla Tallant received Grand Champion intermediate showmanship.

Lydia Craig showed the Grand Champion Brahma Heifer.

And then a huge congratulations to Caselyn VanVoast for winning Supreme Grand Breeding Gilt on Tuesday at the Arkansas Youth Expo. She also won Grand Champion Dark Cross.

SWEPCO announces rate hike beginning in October    10/03/22

Southwestern Electric Power Company has announced it will implement a rate increase for its residential electric customers beginning this month.

The rate increase will average $12.05 per month for SWEPCO’s residential customers. The rate increase will continue through March 2023, according to a company press release. These rates will go into effect automatically and do not require regulatory approval.

The company said rising natural gas prices were responsible for the temporary rate increase. The additional revenue is expected to offset above average energy costs over the summer.

The rate increase will see SWEPCO’s fuel-factor rate increase from 37 to 64 cents, or around 74 percent.

It’s Homecoming Week in De Queen    10/03/22

DE QUEEN – It’s Homecoming night at De Queen Public Schools. A number of activities were held this week leading up to the big ceremony before tonight’s Homecoming game at Leopard Stadium against the Hot Springs Trojans.

The De Queen High School Student Council announced that Lorel Morphew will be this year’s homecoming queen.

Lorel will be escorted by 11 DHS homecoming maids. Senior maids include Wendy Victoriano, Laura Figueroa, Amairany Ortiz, Makenzie Townsend, Belle Lindsey, Emily Garcia and Cinthya Buenrostro. Junior maids include Presli Young and Alexa Monroy. Sophmore maids will be Stephanie Villeda and Ashley Hernandez.

The football bearer will be Lowell Morphew while Emery Sanders will be the crown bearer.

The homecoming festivities will begin at 1:45 p.m. this afternoon with a downtown parade around the square. The parade will continue down School Drive at 2:15 p.m. for Kindergarten through 12th grade. The afternoon coronation ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the DHS Coliseum followed by a pep rally. The evening ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Leopard Stadium before the Leopards vs. Trojan game starting at 7 p.m.

All Leopards fans and returning alumni are welcomed to come out tonight’s coronation ceremony and football game to show off their best Leopard Pride.

For more information visit the De Queen School District’s website at www.dequeenleopards.org.