Local News Archive

 

Foreman Board of Education to hold Special Called Meeting             06/30/22

A special called meeting of the Foreman School Board will be held Tuesday, July 5th at 6:00 pm in the high school library.

Items on the agenda include: Approval of high school handbook cell phone policy and an Executive session to discuss personnel.

 

Cossatot River School District implementing expanded security procedures     06/30/22

WICKES – School security has been a major topic of discussion across the nation since the tragic killing of 21 children and teachers at the Uvalde, Texas Elementary School last month. At last night’s meeting of the Cossatot River School Board, members approved a district-wide upgrade to enhance the school system’s security measures.

The board approved a partnership AAMSCO for upgraded the upgraded door security system to be installed districtwide. Currently, the system is in use at the central office and at Cossatot River High School. That system will be now be extended to every campus of the Cossatot River School District.

All campus main doors will be equipped with an Aiphone, which is the button the visitor presses that rings into a video feed for the secretaries, who can buzz the visitors in. Each campus will have at least one additional Aiphone for doors that get a lot of student traffic. Doors that get a lot of staff use will have a badge reader. Also, doors will be equipped with an alarm that will buzz if propped open past a few minutes.

Each campus will have a visitor management system that will require visitors to scan their driver’s license to get a visitor sticker. The driver’s license scan will do a quick background check on them on the spot. Additionally, there will be a physical door lockdown switch as well as the capability for administration to lockdown the exterior doors digitally as well.

The district also plans to add additional school resource officers. Superintendent Tyler Broyles said he also plans to train additional staff to serve as reserve deputies within buildings of the school district. He said that training will set the standard for what school security should be.

The board approved a few personnel changes also. Judy Joiner was hired as the CRPS Pre-K Director. Samantha Sellers was hired as principal at CRPS.

Dr. Mary Lowrey was hired as the Umpire K-12 Principal. She has been a teacher at De Queen for 21 years as well as a community college adjunct instructor. She and her family own a farm in Vandervoort where they have lived for some time. The district also hired a band director, art teacher, and a few paraprofessionals to replace people who have left.

Finally, the Cossatot River School District athletic fields are projected to be done this week.

Cassady Crocker recognized as SWAR Counselor of the Year     06/30/22

HOT SPRINGS – This week the Southwest Region of Arkansas School Counselors awarded Cassady Crocker of De Queen Elementary School as the 2022 Elementary Counselor of the Year.

School Counselors are nominated each year by fellow counselors and administrators. 

Crocker’s nominator Angela Lindly said Crocker has a passion for her students and shows true love and concern for them.  She is the true definition of an amazing counselor. 

Crocker has helped start a number of programs at De Queen Primary including the Primary’s first AttenDANCE program and helped get the Primary clothing closet off the ground and running.  Her passion is seeing kids grow not just academically, but emotionally as well.

Cassady is married to Ethan Crocker and has 2 children, Hattie and Hayes.  She graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a degree in Early Childhood Education and then continued to earn her Master’s in School Counseling and Leadership. 

During her 8 years in education she taught kindergarten before accepting the elementary counselor position at Mount Ida.  Cassady is currently the 2nd and 3rd-grade counselor.  Cassady will now compete for the overall Arkansas Elementary School Counselor of the Year. 

Recipients were recognized at the Arkansas School Counselor’s Conference held June 27-29 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Sevier County Farmer’s Market adds Monday evening to open schedule     06/30/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Farmers Market is now offering extended hours on an extra day of the week to allow more people a chance to come by and check out the farmers market’s selection of fresh produce and homemade goods.

The farmers market is now open each Monday from 3-7 p.m. at the pavilion at Herman Dierks Park. This is in addition to its regular hours of 7-11 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Organizers say the season is picking up and vendors are offering a wide variety of locally-grown fresh produce as well as preserves, eggs, handmade crafts, honey and other items.

Anyone interested in joining the farmers market as a vendor can do so at a cost of $5 per day or $50 for the whole season. For more information call 642-2718 or visit the Sevier County Farmers Market page on Facebook.

State, local police announce DWI campaign for holiday weekend     06/30/22

The Independence Day holiday will be a prolonged celebration this year, as the nation’s birthday occurs on a Monday. Many Arkansas families will start their travel plans Friday with varied destinations over the following three days. With increased traffic volume anticipated, comes the risk of tragedy often attributed to a drunk driver.

Law enforcement officers across the state are aware of these risks and know firsthand what can happen when a driver mixes alcohol with a holiday celebration. All too often the end result is injury or death. This is why Arkansas State Troopers, sheriff’s deputies and local police officers will increase their patrols to be on guard against impaired drivers this holiday weekend, getting them off the roadways before anyone can be hurt.

From 2016 to 2020, there were 1,390 drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July 4th holiday period. Thirty-nine percent (542) of the drivers killed were alcohol impaired (with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher), and more than half (51%) were between the ages of 21-34.

With many holiday festivities wrapping up late in the evening, nighttime hours are especially dangerous. Over the 2020 Independence Day holiday period, of the 201 people who died in alcohol impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes, 85% of the crashes were at night (6 PM – 5:59 AM).

This Fourth of July, the Arkansas Highway Safety Office and NHTSA are working together to urge drivers to designate a sober driver before drinking any alcohol.  If you plan on drinking, do not plan to drive.

The Arkansas Highway Safety Office recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:

Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.

If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1.

If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.

Buckle up, always. Your seat belt is your best defense against the drunk driver.

For more information on impaired driving, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.

Learn more about Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign intended to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit highway safety office web site https://www.tzdarkansas.org/

USPS announces proposed increase to cost of stamps, special services     06/30/22

Like everything else these days, the cost of a stamp are very likely set to increase again.

This month, the United States Postal Service filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of price changes to take effect July 10, 2022. The new prices, if favorably reviewed, include a two-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp from 58 cents to 60 cents.

The proposed prices, approved by the Governors of the U.S. Postal Service, would raise FirstClass Mail prices approximately 6.5 percent.

If favorably reviewed by the PRC, the single-piece letter additional ounce price would increase to 24 cents, the metered mail 1-ounce price would increase to 57 cents and the price of a postcard stamp would increase to 44 cents. A one-ounce letter mailed to other countries would increase to $1.40 cents. The Postal Service is also seeking price adjustments for Special Services products including Certified Mail, Post Office Box rental fees, Money Order fees and the cost to purchase insurance when mailing an item.

As inflation and increased operating expenses continue, these price adjustments will help with the implementation of the Delivering for America plan, including a $40 billion investment in core Postal Service infrastructure over the next ten years.

The complete Postal Service price filing with prices for all products can be found on the PRC site under the Daily Listings section at prc.gov/dockets/daily.

The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.

Traffic fatalities see large increase in Arkansas, U.S. between 2019-2020     06/30/22

The number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. surged by 19 percent from 2019 to 2021. Traffic fatalities began to increase dramatically in 2020 even as vehicle travel rates plummeted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traffic fatalities continued to increase in 2021 as vehicle travel returned to near pre-pandemic levels.

This is according to a report released this week by TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, entitled Addressing America’s Traffic Safety Crisis: Examining the Causes of Increasing U.S. Traffic Fatalities and Identifying Solutions to Improve Road User SafetyThe report documents the increase in traffic fatalities and fatality rates from 2019 to 2021 at the national and state levels, examines possible causes for this increase, and prescribes a broad, comprehensive approach to reducing traffic fatalities in the U.S.

By April 2020, as most activity was curtailed in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, U.S. vehicle travel was 40 percent lower than April 2019. But by October 2020, U.S. vehicle travel rebounded to within nine percent of October 2019 levels. Overall U.S. vehicle travel in 2020 was 11 percent lower than in 2019, dropping from 3.3 trillion vehicle miles of travel (VMT) to 2.9 trillion.

However, despite the significant decrease in vehicle travel from 2019 to 2020, the overall number of traffic fatalities during the same time increased by eight percent (from 36,096 to 38,824) and the traffic fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel increased by 21 percent (from 1.11 to 1.34).

In 2021, as COVID-related restrictions gradually lifted, U.S. vehicle travel increased to approximately 3.2 trillion miles, a 10 percent increase over 2020 levels, but still three percent below 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.  From 2020 to 2021 the number of traffic fatalities increased by approximately 11 percent (from 38,824 to 42,915), roughly on pace with the 10 percent increase in vehicle travel during the same time, and the highest number recorded since 2005. The traffic fatality rate in 2021 rose to 1.35 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.

The chart below shows the number of Arkansas traffic fatalities, the rate of traffic fatalities per 100 million VMT in Arkansas, and the rate of vehicle travel in the state in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Data for all states can be found in the Appendix.

Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities also increased significantly over pre-pandemic levels. From 2019 to 2021, the number of U.S. pedestrians killed increased by 18 percent (from 6,205 to 7,342) and the number of bicyclists killed increased by 16 percent (from 846 to 985).  Pedestrian and bicycle deaths accounted for 19 percent of all U.S. traffic fatalities in 2021.

The significant increase in traffic fatalities since the onset of the pandemic appears largely related to increased risks being taken by drivers.  In an October 2021 report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that “after the declaration of the public health emergency in March 2020, driving patterns and behaviors in the United States changed significantly.  Of the drivers who remained on the roads, some engaged in riskier behavior, including speeding, failure to wear seat belts, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS) drew similar conclusions about the role of increased risks being taken by drivers during the pandemic. 

A survey taken of drivers in October and November 2020 by the AAAFTS asked whether their level of driving had decreased, remained the same or increased since the beginning of COVID-19 related restrictions, and whether the motorist had engaged in a variety of risky driving behaviors in the previous 30 days. In a February 2022 brief about the survey, the AAAFTS noted that drivers who maintained or increased their pre-COVID travel levels indicated that they were more likely to engage in risky driving behavior, including speeding, not wearing a seat belt, being impaired and driving aggressively. 

It is possible that many of the individuals who were willing to travel—and even increase their travel—despite the health risks associated with the pandemic were already more willing than average to take other risks,” the AAAFTS report found.

 

Shooting in Hempstead County under investigation     06/28/22

Original reporting by www.southwestarkansasradio.com

Hempstead County Investigators are investigating a shooting that occurred sometime between three and five o’clock Saturday morning.

According to the victim, 19-year-old Jarod Welch of Texarkana, Arkansas, he and a male passenger were driving in the 1300 block of Highway 32 East when they pulled over in front of a metal gate to relieve themselves. Welch stated once his passenger was out of the vehicle a gray SUV drove by shining a bright light at them.

The passenger reportedly fled into the woods and Welch began backing out in the highway.  Welch stated that once he was out in the lane of traffic, pointed west, the gray SUV pulled in front of him and turned sideways, the driver exited the vehicle, threw a Crown Royal whiskey bottle at his windshield.  

Welch stated that he had no idea who the man was and had never seen him before, so he drove around him and took off.  Welch stated the man pulled a handgun from his waist band and began shooting at him, shooting through the front passenger side window, striking him in his right thigh.  He also told authorities that the man emptied the gun at him as he was driving away, firing multiple shots. Welch said the man chased him all the way into Hope, through Hope and onto Interstate 30, where he reached speeds of 120 mph and finally lost him. Welch stated that he had tried to call his passenger and couldn’t reach him, so he thought he was dead.

After arriving in Texarkana, Welch stated he called a friend to take him to the hospital. The victim stated that his friend took him to Wadley in Texarkana and dropped him off and left. Around 9 a.m. Saturday, Deputies were dispatched to the State Police Headquarters to meet with an individual in regards to a shooting that had occurred earlier. The individual stated that he was on his way to the area of Hempstead 123 and Highway 32 to pick the passenger who was with Welch at the time of the shooting and wanted a Deputy to go with him.

Hempstead County Deputy Kristen Evans was dispatched to the area where she located a male subject walking on Hempstead 123. Deputy Evans asked the male subject who identified himself as Charles Ziska if he had called someone from Texarkana to come pick him up and he stated he had. According to Deputy Evans, Ziska stated that his friend was shot, and he fled the scene on foot to dodge the shots. Ziska stated that he then called his friend  to come pick him up and take him back to Texarkana.

Authorities are currently investigating the shooting and no arrests have been made at this time. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office at (870) 777-6727.

USDA “Find Meals for Kids” map connects families with free meal services     06/28/22

For Arkansas families facing food insecurity, the summer months can be especially difficult. Children who are eligible for free and reduced-cost meals during the school year may not have access to regular meals during the summer break. To help fill this gap, parents and caregivers of K-12 students can find information about summer meal sites in their communities using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program “Find Meals for Kids” map.

The USDA’s “Find Meals for Kids” map shows USDA-operated sites that serve as many as three meals to each child per day.

Organizers say that without summer meal programs, students may not have access to regular meals throughout the day, which “can harm a child’s physical and social development.

Households can also text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or call 866-348-6479 to search for summer meals in their area. In Arkansas, this program is administered by the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ Arkansas Special Nutrition Program. Children 18 and younger may receive free meals through the program.

In March 2020, Congress gave the USDA the authority to issue nationwide child nutrition waivers through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The USDA then worked with school districts, non-profits and other community organizations to waive many of the traditional requirements for their feeding programs. This made free school meals available to all children, regardless of income.

Unfortunately, these child nutrition waivers are set to expire on June 30, 2022.

Webinar to discuss aging among America’s farmers     06/28/22

Aging farm families face the prospect of making a difficult decision between buying long-term care insurance and keeping farm assets.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average age for all farmers is 57.5 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the average life expectancy in the United States at 77 years. That likely means long-term care won’t be an option for many — it’ll be a necessity.

Two-thirds of people 65 and older will need long-term care of some kind,” said Robert Moore, attorney and research specialist with the Agriculture and Resource Law Program at The Ohio State University.

Nursing home costs are now $100,000 a year,” he added. “There are many farms that just don’t have the financial ability to take on that kind of expense.

If there’s no income or savings available, then farm assets will have to be sold,” Moore said.

Moore will be discussing strategies for those in ag to manage the risks involved in long-term care costs during a webinar hosted by the National Agricultural Law Center on Wednesday, July 20. The webinar begins at noon Eastern/11 a.m. Central.

There is no cost to attend the webinar and registration is online.  

For more information on the National Agricultural Law Center, visit https://nationalaglawcenter.org/

Area Fourth of July celebrations begin this weekend     06/28/22

DE QUEEN – Communities across Southwest Arkansas are gearing up to present their annual fireworks show and Independence Day celebrations this holiday weekend.

Those celebrations include the City of De Queen’s 24th annual Freedom Fest fireworks show and Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 2.

The event will begin at the De Queen Sportsplex at 6 p.m. with the fireworks show to begin after dark. As in previous years, Freedom Fest will include DJ music, food vendors and a water cannon provided by the De Queen Fire Department. There is no cost to attend.

For more information or to request vendor space at the event, call the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department at (870) 642-4140.

The Little River County Chamber of Commerce will present its Fourth of July Fireworks show on Monday, July 4 at Ashdown Junior High School. Live music and food will be just part of the fun with prizes, games and giveaways also set to be part of this year’s celebration. Activities begin at 4 p.m. with the fireworks show to start at dark. For more information call the Little River County Chamber of Commerce at (870) 898-2758 or email director@littlerivercoc.org.

The City of Lockesburg will present its annual Fireworks in the Park event on Monday, July 4. The event will be held in the Ida Margaret Coulter Stone Park. Activities kickoff at 1 p.m. with a cornhole tournament. Entry fee is $20 per couple. Bingo starts at 4 p.m. at a cost of $10 per card. That evening, Marlon Sharp & Cowboys at the Cross will take the stage for a live musical performance. There will be a band intermission before a recognition for veterans in attendance.

The always popular fireworks show begins at dark.

Haworth Assembly of God Church will present its Fireworks Display on July 10 starting at 8:30 p.m. at the church. The event will include free locally produced watermelons and drinks will also be provided. Fireworks begin at dark.

The City of Wickes will host an Independence Day celebration on Monday, July 4 titled “God and Country.” The event is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. at the Wickes Elementary School Ball Park. There will be concessions and Mexican food as well as live music from the band Harmony and a fireworks display that evening. Craft vendors are invited to set up a booth but no food or drink vendors will be allowed. Cost to set up a vendor table is $15. Call Leona at (870) 385-7218 for more information.

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce will present its annual Fourth of July celebration on Saturday, July 2. Gates open at 6 p.m. with a patriotic show starting at 6:30 p.m. Billstown will take the stage at 7:30. The event will be held at the Nashville City Park on 1301 West Johnson Street. Those aged 12 and under get in for free while admission for those 13 and up is $5. Those who purchase an event t-shirt will receive free entry.

And finally, the City of Vandervoort will host its 133rd Fourth of July celebration and fireworks show on Saturday, July 2 at the Vandervoort Picnic Grounds. The event-packed celebration will include food, vendors, musical performances and activities for the whole family. 

Former Horatio teacher enters guilty plea to charge of internet stalking of a child     06/27/22

DE QUEEN – A former Horatio teacher arrested last year on charges that she and another former teacher attempted to organize a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old girl has entered a guilty plea to the offense.

According to court records, 41-year-old Lori Marshall of Lockesburg entered a plea of guilty to attempted internet stalking of a child during the June 23 session of the Sevier County Circuit Court. She entered the guilty plea after initially pleading not guilty to the felony charge.

The second defendant in the case, 32-year-old Ryan Smith of Conway, has maintained a plea of not guilty. He is scheduled to appear before the Sevier County Circuit Court for a pre-trial hearing in September.

Marshall and Smith were both charged in June 2021 following an investigation into the internet stalking allegations. Prosecutors alleged Smith and Marshall had discussed arranging a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old girl. The incident in question was reportedly committed between May 20, 2020 and June 30, 2020, according to court records.

Attempted internet stalking of a child involves the pursuit of online communications with a child aged 15 or younger with intent to engage in sexual activity.

Marshall was a first-grade teacher at Horatio Elementary School while Smith was a basketball coach who left the Horatio School District in 2016.

Both Smith and Marshall posted $50,000 bonds following their initial court appearances last June.

Smith is also facing 35 counts of possession of child pornography in Faulkner County. He was initially arrested on those charges in May of last year.

Marshall has been sentenced to four years of probation in addition to a $1,500 court fine. She will also be required to register as as sex offender.

DQFD, other area fire departments receive wildfire suppression grants     06/27/22

 The Rural Fire Protection program, managed by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, received $279,562.45 as part of the 2021 Volunteer Fire Assistance Grant from the United States Forest Service to purchase and distribute 87 Wildfire Suppression Kits to rural volunteer fire departments. The kits include equipment and gear necessary for the safe suppression of wildfires and have been delivered to the volunteer fire departments listed below.

Area fire departments receiving grants through this program include the De Queen Fire Department in Sevier County as well as the Arden, Ogden and Winthrop Volunteer Fire Departments in Little River County.

Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner to Forestry crews in wildfire response and suppression but often need the specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. Since 2014, 579 volunteer fire departments have received Wildfire Suppression Kits through the Rural Fire Protection program. Kits distributed this year include lightweight wildfire-resistant coveralls and gloves, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers.

Volunteer fire departments interested in participating in the Wildfire Suppression Kit program submit applications that are scored according to specific criteria including fire district population, the size of the response area, wildfire response equipment needs, and other factors. The application period for next year’s Wildfire Protection Kit program is expected to start in August of 2022. Fire Departments may contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at Kathryn.Mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501) 679-3183 with questions regarding the application.

Crater of Diamonds continues 50th anniversary with new programs     06/27/22

With summer here, Crater of Diamonds State Park is planning exciting new programs for park guests in the months to come. This summer will be a special one for the Crater of Diamonds, as the park celebrates 50 years as an Arkansas State Park! Visitors who buy admission to the diamond search area from now through the end of November can enter to win a replica of the fabulous Esperanza Diamond pendant for the park’s 50th Anniversary.

The best way to learn about the Crater of Diamonds is by exploring this fascinating state park. Join a park interpreter for a guided walk around Prospector Trail or take a self-guided hike. This easily-traversed, graveled trail is 1.2 miles long and takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete. The trail intersects with several points of historical and geographical interest, including historical roads and rock outcroppings that are unusual for this area. While hiking this summer, stay heat smart by drinking plenty of fluids, dressing in lightweight, light-colored clothing, and wearing proper shoes. The park also recommends wearing a hat, sunscreen, and bug spray while spending time outdoors.

The park will also host several evening programs on Fridays and Saturdays, including firefly hikes and owl prowls. Check out our event calendar for all of the latest programs. 

The park will also offer a variety of summer programs for younger diamond searchers, including Jasper Bingo, Colors in the Rocks, and How a Diamond Forms. Kids ages 6 to 14 can become Arkansas State Parks Explorers by connecting with state parks, learning how to be safe, and sharing their park experiences! To get started, children can request a Parks Explorer Field Guide at any Arkansas State Park. Once they have completed the program, they will take the explorer pledge and receive a certificate and badge! For more information about the Arkansas Parks Explorer program, visit www.arkansasstateparks.com/about/education/become-park-explorer.

Attend a program or hike this summer, and you’ll find that the Crater of Diamonds is much more than just a dirt field! Check our Events page at www.CraterofDiamondsStatePark.com for details about these and other upcoming programs, workshops, and events.

Rep. DeAnn Vaught Weekly Update     06/27/22

If you are someone you know is caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, you may be interested in a new program launched this month.

The Arkansas Legislative Council recently approved the creation and funding for the Dementia Respite Care Pilot Program.

This program provides $500 respite grants to enable caregivers to take a break from caregiving.

It is estimated that more than 93,000 Arkansans are caring for a loved one with dementia.  Full-time caregiving can take an emotional and physical toll on anyone.  This program is designed to give those care-takers time to rest or just get out of the house to do routine activities many of us take for granted.

The program is the first of its kind in Arkansas. It was established by the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Advisory Council, which was created as a result of Act 391 in the 2021 Regular Session.

In addition to authorizing the Respite Program, the Council has worked to update Arkansas’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Disease State Plan.

Under the Respite Program, families can receive two grants during a calendar year (with at least six months between approved dates). To qualify, care recipients must live in Arkansas and have a primary or secondary diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other dementia. Additionally, the diagnosis must state that the patient requires daily assistance.

Respite Program grants come from a $200,000 investment, funded through the Social Services Block Grant.

The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Respite Care Pilot Program is administered by the DHS Division of Provider Services and Quality Assurance.

These grants are available now and interested parties can apply starting today.

To learn more about the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Respite Care Pilot Program and to apply for assistance, please visit www.ALZark.org/grants, email grants@ALZark.org, or call 501-224-0021, extension 210.

Listening area in for second heat advisory in as many days     06/24/22

The listening area is in for a second consecutive day with a Heat Advisory with a heat index expected as high as 107 today. The advisory includes Southwest Arkansas, Southeast Oklahoma and Northeast Texas. The heat advisory goes into effect at 11 a.m. and continues through seven this evening.

Again, this mix of hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur.

The NWS advises the public to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room when possible, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.

Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible.

To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location

The heat continues this weekend with highs reaching 99 degrees – not counting the heat index value. Fortunately, some relief is coming next week with a cold front bringing daytime highs in the high 80s and lows in the high sixties.

Sevier one of just 11 counties in Arkansas with more births than deaths     06/24/22

Deaths outpaced births in Arkansas from 2020 to 2021, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates, for a variety of reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic, an aging population and where people choose to raise families and to retire.

Despite losing 3,236 residents to what’s called “natural population change,” the state’s overall population continued to grow in the same time period, adding 13,659 residents.

Sevier County is one of just 11 counties that saw more births than deaths between 2020 and 2021. The other 10 counties were mostly in populous regions of the state and included Benton, Craighead, Crittenden, Faulkner, Lonoke, Madison, Pulaski, St. Francis, Sebastian and Washington counties.

Statewide, there were 38,257 deaths from July 2020 to July 2021 and 35,021 births, according to census data.

More July 4th activities planned across listening area     06/24/22

DE QUEEN – Communities across Southwest Arkansas are gearing up to present their annual fireworks show in celebration of the United State’s 246th birthday.

Those celebrations include the City of De Queen’s 24th annual Freedom Fest fireworks show and Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 2.

The event will begin at the De Queen Sportsplex at 6 p.m. with the fireworks show to begin after dark. As in previous years, Freedom Fest will include DJ music, food vendors and a water cannon provided by the De Queen Fire Department. There is no cost to attend.

For more information or to request vendor space at the event, call the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department at (870) 642-4140.

The Little River County Chamber of Commerce will present its Fourth of July Fireworks show on Monday, July 4 at Ashdown Junior High School. Live music and food will be just part of the fun with prizes, games and giveaways also set to be part of this year’s celebration. Activities begin at 4 p.m. with the fireworks show to start at dark. For more information call the Little River County Chamber of Commerce at (870) 898-2758 or email director@littlerivercoc.org.

The City of Lockesburg will present its annual Fireworks in the Park event on Monday, July 4. The event will be held in the Ida Margaret Coulter Stone Park. Activities kickoff at 1 p.m. with a cornhole tournament. Entry fee is $20 per couple. Bingo starts at 4 p.m. at a cost of $10 per card. That evening, Marlon Sharp & Cowboys at the Cross will take the stage for a live musical performance. There will be a band intermission before a recognition for veterans in attendance.

The always popular fireworks show begins at dark.

The City of Wickes will host an Independence Day celebration on Monday, July 4 titled “God and Country.” The event is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. at the Wickes Elementary School Ball Park. There will be concessions and Mexican food as well as live music from the band Harmony and a fireworks display that evening. Craft vendors are invited to set up a booth but no food or drink vendors will be allowed. Cost to set up a vendor table is $15. Call Leona at (870) 385-7218 for more information.

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce will present its annual Fourth of July celebration on Saturday, July 2. Gates open at 6 p.m. with a patriotic show starting at 6:30 p.m. Billstown will take the stage at 7:30. The event will be held at the Nashville City Park on 1301 West Johnson Street. Those aged 12 and under get in for free while admission for those 13 and up is $5. Those who purchase an event t-shirt will receive free entry.

And finally, the City of Vandervoort will host its 133rd Fourth of July celebration and fireworks show on Saturday, July 2 at the Vandervoort Picnic Grounds. The event-packed celebration will include food, vendors, musical performances and activities for the whole family. More details will be released as the event nears.

UA Cossatot partners with Walker Clinic to provide mental health services     06/24/22

UA Cossatot and Dr. Randy Walker Family Practice and Allergy Clinic recently partnered to provide mental health services to UA Cossatot students with no out-of-pocket expense to students.

The plan is for the clinic to bill the student’s insurance if available and then bill the college for any remainder. UA Cossatot has received HEERF funds to cover this cost, which are projected to consist mainly of copays.

Tonya Chambers, PMHNP, with Dr. Randy Walker Family Practice and Allergy Clinic, provides health coaching to patients struggling with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, tobacco cessation, grief, anger management, OCD, PTSD, Trauma, and Caregiver support.

Angie Walker, with Dr. Randy Walker Family Practice and Allery Clinic, said, “Our goal is to improve health outcomes, reduce costs and create a happy, healthy community. This Partnership is the first step!”

Mental health services will be available to all UA Cossatot students beginning July 1. “This will be super convenient for our De Queen students, but telehealth will also be available so students on our other 3 locations can also utilize these services face-to-face!” said Suzanne Ward, Director of Student Services.

According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, “Up to 44% of college students reported having symptoms of depression and anxiety.” Additionally, “Up to 75% of struggling students are reluctant to seek help. This increases the risk of harmful outcomes, such as dropping out of college, poor academic performance, suicide and substance abuse.”

UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole said, “UA Cossatot students are the reason we exist and we want to make sure we are doing all we can to make them successful. Today’s world has brought more stress than we have ever seen, and partnering with Dr. Walker’s office to offer mental health counseling for our students will hopefully give our students a private and helpful way for them to deal with this stress or any other mental health matter they are facing. We also wanted to make sure there was no cost to our students for this service. We want to have healthy students…body and mind, and we feel this is a helpful way to accomplish this.”

For more information, contact Suzanne Ward at 870-584-1143 or sward@cccua.edu

250,000 Florida bass fingerlings stocked at Millwood Lake     06/23/22

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission hatchery trucks delivered a quarter of a million Florida bass to the rich waters of Millwood Lake in southwest Arkansas last week as part of the AGFC’s continued effort to elevate the trophy potential of fish for Natural State bass anglers.

The fish were raised at Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery in Hot Springs, and were hauled by truck to the waters of the fifth-largest reservoir in the state. This is only the first batch of fish headed to Millwood, with a total request of 400,000 fingerlings to be shipped this year, adding to the 1.8 million Florida bass fingerlings stocked here in the last decade.

After months of time invested in caring for broodstock, pairing them up in hatchery ponds, harvesting and hatching eggs and nourishing the fingerlings every step of the way, AGFC staff are careful to make sure their work has the best chance of success. Instead of simply backing down a boat ramp and opening a valve on the truck, AGFC staff hand-load nets full of fingerlings to waiting boats that will distribute them directly into cover.

Boat ramps might be fine for catchable-size catfish and trout, but fingerlings benefit from the extra step of placing them directly into good cover where they can hide from predators and find food,” said Tommy Laird, assistant chief of fisheries for the AGFC. Given the investment into these fish, boat stocking is the way to go.

Millwood is one of many lakes being stocked this year with Florida largemouth bass, but the only located in Southwest Arkansas. A handful of smaller lakes also have been chosen for these fish that are known for their ability to reach larger sizes than northern largemouth bass.

Requests for Florida bass may come from many districts, but lakes must meet certain criteria before Florida bass can be stocked with any measure of success. Millwood Lake is one of of those lakes.

Traditionally, shallower lakes in the southern half of the state with good fertility and vegetation have received the lion’s share of the Florida bass fingerlings the hatcheries produce. Longer growing seasons, more fertile water and excellent habitat allow a better opportunity for the fish to reach their potential. Angler desires also play a big part in the decision to stock Florida bass. These fish may grow larger, but they tend to be a bit more finicky, which may not appeal to the majority of anglers who use a particular body of water.

Hochatown incorporation committee files case with OK Supreme Court      06/23/22

HOCHATOWN, Okla. – This week attorneys representing Hochatown filed legal documents to compel the McCurtain County Board of Commissioners to act on Hochatown’s Petition for Incorporation.

The formal request is being filed in the Oklahoma Supreme Court in Oklahoma City. Supreme Court case 120520.  The request is that the Supreme Court assume original jurisdiction to hear the case.

The state Constitution gives the Supreme Court the authority to order government boards and commissions to comply with a state statute that mandates a certain action. The writ, called mandamus, applies to the Board of County Commissioners of McCurtain County.

In this instance, state law requires the County Commissioners to determine, within thirty days after a Petition for Incorporation is presented, if the petition has complied with the law that governs incorporation of towns. If the petition is sufficient, the commissioners must call a special election and put the issue on the ballot.


Hochatown delivered a Notice of Intent to Incorporate to commissioners on March 24, 2022.  The Board of McCurtain County Commissioners is nearly 60 days delinquent.


Bob Burke, a McCurtain County native, Constitutional lawyer and Author, has joined forces with Lysbeth George and Associates to represent Hochatown. “The residents of Hochatown deserve the right to determine their own destiny. If they want to incorporate as a town and provide basic municipal services to residents and businesses, no one should stand in their way. The law says the commissioners SHALL determine the sufficiency of the Petition for Incorporation. It is not a discretionary duty, it is an absolute duty. That is why we are asking the Supreme Court to order the commissioners to fulfill their statutory duty and act,” Burke said.  “My dad was county commissioner for thirty years. He and mom were both born in Hochatown. I know they would want it incorporated and to provide important services for the residents.” he added.


Oklahoma City attorney, Liz George, who has already won one lawsuit and appeal against the City of Broken Bow related to this matter said, “The people of Hochatown are determined to do what is necessary to protect their community and preserve its historical character. Incorporation is the first step in that process.”

Dian Jordan, Hochatown community representative, said the continuing delay is preventing the community from municipal services such as adequate police and fire. “We have upwards of 25,000 people in this community on weekends. We cannot keep waiting to address the dangers that come with a crowd this size in a rapidly growing community.  It’s a safety issue.” She explained.

Learn to identify Arkansas’s six venomous snakes before enjoying the summer      06/23/22

As summer approaches in the Natural State, many Arkansans will take to hiking trails, campgrounds, lakes, rivers and favorite swimming holes to enjoy time outdoors. While doing so, it’s important to be aware of Arkansas’ native snakes – including six venomous species – and how to avoid them.

Arkansas has 39 native snake species. Six of these are venomous: the Eastern Copperhead, Northern Cottonmouth, Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake, Timber Rattlesnake, Western Pygmy Rattlesnake and Texas Gulf-coast Coral snake. Of these, only the Cottonmouth can be found in wetland habitats such as swamps, streams and drainage ditches. For a guide on identifying these venomous species and more information on native snakes, check out the Cooperative Extension Service’s Snakes of Arkansas web page.

While many people fear snakes, deaths from venomous snakebites are rare. From 1983 to 2018, 68 deaths caused by venomous snakes were reported to Poison Control Centers.

Becky McPeake, extension wildlife specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said that while seeing a snake in one’s yard can be frightening at first, non-venomous snakes can be an asset to homeowners. They help control other wildlife on the property, preying on rodents, insects, toads, frogs, crayfish, minnows, and even other snakes. She says if you have a non-venomous snake in your yard, you should probably keep it instead of killing it because it could actually be defending its territory against the snakes you don’t want to be there.

McPeake said it’s important to remember that snakes are “more afraid of us than we are of them” and to treat them with respect. To be “snake aware,” follow these guidelines:

  • Walk on paths with clear visibility and little ground cover. If walking at night, be sure to use a light source to brighten the path.
  • Never step over logs or other obstacles unless one can see the other side. McPeake suggests carefully stepping on top of a log – after checking that there is not a snake resting atop it – and looking on the other side. “Snakes can hide underneath the log, right alongside where it meets the ground, waiting for prey,” she said.
  • Watch where you put your hands,” McPeake said. “Don’t put fingers under debris you intend to move. Flip with a wooden pole to make sure a snake isn’t hidden underneath.”
  • Make noise and be watchful, particularly of where you are about to step.
  • Carry a walking stick to clear away leaves, make noise, flip objects and keep balance when peeking over logs or other obstacles before crossing.
  • Wear close-toed shoes or boots, as many snakebites result when walking barefoot or wearing sandals around the yard.
  • If you encounter a snake, step back and allow it to pass. Snakes usually don’t move fast, and one can retreat from the snake’s path.

During the hot summer months, snakes are more active at night and seek cooler shelter during the day.

Keep an eye out for snakes while swimming or boating. Cottonmouths are the only venomous snake found in water in Arkansas, and they’re more likely to swim in brackish water such as streams or swamps. It’s important to stay alert for snakes in overhanging trees while canoeing or kayaking.

If you’re in a canoe, be mentally ready for a snake to drop down, then to pick up the paddle and scoop it out. Don’t panic. It seems that right when a snake drops, it’s stunned. It will sit there for a second, and that’s your chance to get it out.”

If one does get bit by a venomous snake, McPeake’s advice is simple: go straight to the hospital without delay. For those venturing into more remote wilderness, it’s important to prepare for such an emergency.

Next Sevier County Block Party scheduled for July 12 in Lockesburg      06/23/22

BEN LOMOND – The Sevier County Block Party Committee in conjunction with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office will host its next block party in its series of summer block parties with an event next month in Lockesburg.

Everyone is invited to attend between 6-8 the evening of July 12 for free fun for the whole family. The event will include hotdogs and other refreshments as well as vendor booths and family activities. The event was launched several years ago by Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry to help foster good relationships between communities in Sevier County and the law enforcement agencies that serve them.

Additional events will be held throughout the summer within other communities of Sevier County. That includes Horatio on Aug. 9, De Queen on Sept. 13 and, finally, Gillham on Oct. 4.

Runoff election ends with new Howard County Judge     06/22/22

NASHVILLE – Howard County voters have elected a new county judge to begin serving at the start of 2023. 

During Tuesday’s Republican runoff, KMTB/KNAS Station Manager and a 26 year member of the Howard County Quorum Court, Brent Pinkerton defeated incumbent County Judge Kevin Smith.  Final, but unofficial totals from last night, had Pinkerton receiving 696 votes to Smith’s 360.

The results will be certified by the county’s election commission.

De Queen Public Schools welcomes back Coach Chad Lites     06/22/22

DE QUEEN – A familiar name and face is coming back to De Queen Public Schools to help lead the district’s student-athletes.

Chad Lites is being welcomed back to the Leopard Family after he was rehired by the De Queen School Board last week. He is returning as Leopard and Lady Leopard Tennis Coach as well as the Head Softball Coach for the Lady Leopards. Head Coach Caitlin Collins has stepped down from the position to prepare for the arrival of her baby daughter.

Coach Lites has an impressive softball coaching resume and was the pitching coach for Head Coach Tracy Nealy and the Lady Leopards when they brought home four straight 5A South Conference Championships and the 2017 5A State Title.

Coach Lites said he’s excited to be back with the Leopard Family in his new role and is looking forward to meeting the softball and tennis student-athletes. Both sports will begin practice in July.

For updates and questions regarding practice and schedules, contact Coach Lites at clites@dequeenleopards.org or check the Leopard Athletics Facebook page.

Leopards Athletic Booster Club hosting golf tournament July 30-31     06/22/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen Athletic Booster Club is organizing a three-man scramble golf tournament for the end of next month.

The two day tournament is scheduled for July 30-31 at the De Queen Country Club. The three-man scramble begins at 8 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. both days with a shotgun start. First come, first serve on tee time. Calcutta following play depending on participation.

Cost to participate is $300 per team and includes scats. There is a limited cart rental availability.

There will be first and second place cash prizes every flight as well as prizes for longest drive and closest to the pin.

To register, call or text (870) 784-1395.

Volunteers needed today for corn harvest donation in Foreman     06/22/22

FOREMAN – Volunteers are needed today to help one local farm in its annual mission to donate crops to area families facing food insecurity.

Matteson Farms, located near Foreman in Little River County, has partnered each year with Harvest Regional Food Bank to donate two acres of corn for distribution to families in need. According to Harvest Food Bank, volunteers were available Monday but not Tuesday to assist with the harvesting effort.

Organizers are encouraging anyone with free time and a willingness to help others to come out today to help pick corn for the food bank. Today’s effort will begin at 8 a.m. and continue through 1:30 p.m.

Matteson Farms was unable to donate corn last year after feral hogs rampaged through the two acres and either ate or destroyed most of the crop. Organizers are racing to harvest this year’s crop in hopes of preventing a similar occurrence.

Anyone interested in helping out today is asked to call ahead at (870) 774-1398 or (501) 837-6071.

Mineral Springs PD investigates suspected self-inflicted shooting     06/22/22

MINERAL SPRINGS – Police in Mineral Springs are investigating a shooting incident from the weekend. 

Police Chief Francisco Mercado said officers from his department, along with the Howard County Sheriff’s Office and Nashville Police Department responded just after midnight Sunday morning to an unknown incident at a residence in the 400 block of North Street in Mineral Springs.

As officers arrived on scene, a vehicle fled east on North Street.  Officers and deputies were able to stop the vehicle and made contact with an 18 year old male who appeared to have a gunshot wound on his right thigh.  Upon further investigation, police believe the individual accidentally discharged his firearm while attempting to secure it in his vehicle. 

The victim was transported to Howard Memorial Hospital for treatment & is expected to make a full recovery.

De Queen knife-maker arrested on felony grand larceny charge     06/21/22

DE QUEEN – A De Queen man who once worked with local city officials to proclaim De Queen as the knife-making capital of the world was arrested late last week on a felony charge out of Oklahoma.

According to records with the Choctaw Nation Tribal Authorities, 37-year-old Logan Pearce was arrested at his home on Friday, June 17 by members of the Sevier County Drug Task Force. Officers with the DTF arrested Pearce after an extradition request was filed by authorities in Oklahoma.

The arrest affidavit filed on June 16 states Pearce is accused of illegally spending nearly $13,000 belonging to a former girlfriend residing in Oklahoma. The incident took place between early 2019 and the summer of 2020. Prosecutors say Pearce was able to spend the funds by illegally accessing the victim’s bank account. The victim stated the money included life insurance issued to her following the death of her grandfather.

Pearce’s case is currently being handled by Choctaw Nation Tribal Authorities as Pearce is a registered member of the Choctaw Nation.

A felony charge of grand larceny was filed against Pearce for the alleged theft. If convicted, Pearce could face up to three years in prison in addition to a fine of $5,000 and restitution.

Four States Fiber seeks help from Sevier County in bringing fiber internet to area     06/21/22

DE QUEEN – A new regional broadband internet entity is laying the groundwork for a massive project to bring fiber optic internet to Sevier County, and local residents are being asked to help out.

Four States Fiber, the recently-created broadband internet provider established as a subsidiary of Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative – also known as Southwest REA – is preparing to laying around 600 miles of fiber optic broadband lines through Sevier County to meet the area’s growing need for reliable, high-speed internet.

Broadband expansion, however, is not cheap. The project cost for to bring fiber optic internet to REA’s Sevier County customers is estimated at $24 million. Fortunately, money is out there to fund the project. But project leaders say the community’s help is needed to ensure REA receives the federal and state funding needed to complete the project and continue its broadband expansion plans across the region.

Jeff Tollett, one of the leaders behind Four States Fiber, said helping the entity complete it’s goal is not a difficult task. He stressed Sevier County residents can assist simply by taking an internet speed test to let state officials know reliable, high-speed internet is locally a commodity in short supply. Tollett joined us to discuss the importance of internet users in Sevier County assisting in this quick and easy survey.

The speed test can be performed by visting www.broadband.arkansas.gov. Tollett suggests turning off any mobile internet service you have to ensure the speed test only captures data from your existing internet service provider. The test takes just a couple of minutes to complete.

Given the growing importance of internet, especially in the fields of commerce and education, Tollett said the need for reliable, high-speed broadband has never been greater. It’s a need only compounded by the shift to work- and learn-at-home accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four States Fiber has already largely completed its internet infrastructure projects in neighboring Howard County. Now, the entity is ready to complete its goals in Sevier. Four States Fiber has five crews ready to begin the major project of laying fiber optic lines through the county. In all, the project is expected to take around 600 miles of lines in Sevier County alone.

Tollett said the goal of Four State Fiber is to bring reliable, future-proof fiber-to-the-home internet access to citizens of the county. Cost for internet through Four States Fiber will be affordable with rates starting at less than $50 for 100mps service. Customers will also have the option to sign up for amazingly high-fast 1gbs service as well.

And Tollett stressed the best and fastest way to make this internet available is to let state broadband leaders now how lacking this commodity is in Sevier County. And that can be done by simply taking the internet speed test at www.broadband.arkansas.gov. Taking the test will also assist the Arkansas Department of Commerce Broadband Office bring Arkansas up from one of the least connected states in terms of internet access to one of the best.

For more information on Four States Fiber and its goal to bring fiber-to-the-home internet to Southwest Arkansas, visit www.fourstatesfiber.com.

Runoff election today for Howard County judge race     06/21/22

HOWARD COUNTY – Today is the runoff election day from the May 24th party primaries in Arkansas.

In Howard County, voters have been casting ballots for a week in the Howard County Judge’s race.

Current County Judge Kevin Smith is being challenged by Brent Pinkerton, a 26 year member of the Howard County Quorum Court.  569 residents cast a ballot during the early voting process.  Smith and Pinkerton received the most votes during the May election that featured four candidates.

Voting will take place today at the Carter Day Center in Nashville, Umpire Fire Station/Community Building, Dierks Community Building, and at the Mineral Springs Methodist Church.

Polls will close at 7:30 this evening.

Despite initial signs that Sevier County may see a runoff election for a state supreme court associate justice race, that decision will instead be decided at the November General Election.

Gillham reunion set for this Saturday     06/21/22

GILLHAM – The Gillham High School Alumni Association will hold its annual school reunion this Saturday, June 25th from 10am to 3pm in the Activity Center of the First Baptist Church in Gillham.  Light refreshments will be served.

The alumni will raffle off a quilt made by Sharon Rightmire. Tickets will be available at the reunion for $1 each or 6 for $5. There will also be a pie and cake walk fundraiser, so those who attend are encouraged to bring and donate their favorite pie or cake. Everyone is invited to attend.

 

Ashdown man charged with assault on police officer     06/20/22

ASHDOWN – An Ashdown man is facing a felony charge after allegedly assaulting a police officer during an incident in May.

According to documents filed with the Little River Circuit Court last week, 33-year-old Brennan J. Manning has been charged with second degree battery stemming from an incident in Ashdown on May 13. Reports allege a deputy was dispatched to the scene of a single vehicle accident that day when he observed Manning involved in a physical altercation with another person.

The deputy ordered Manning to cease the fight but, after Manning allegedly attacked the person again, the deputy deployed pepper spray gun against the suspect. Manning then reportedly fled towards a wooded area with the deputy following close behind.

While attempting to place Manning into custody, the deputy said Manning engaged him and an officer from the Ashdown Police Department in a physical altercation. During the fight Manning allegedly struck the officer several times in the face and placed his hands around the officer’s throat. He then reportedly bit the officer on his left leg around the upper thigh.

Manning was then reportedly subdued and placed into custody. He was transported to the Little River County Memorial Hospital to be treated for injuries he sustained from the accident earlier that day.

Manning was arraigned on the felony charge of second degree battery and bond was set at $25,000.

Mena man finds hammerhead worm, experts stress care needed to dispose of them     06/20/22

A Mena resident recently posted a photo of a hammerhead flatworm to the Facebook page, Critters of Arkansas. Recognized in at least 10 Arkansas counties, the hammerhead worm is considered an invasive species and special care is needed to properly dispose of them. (Photo courtesy of UofA Extension Service)

Arkansas is unfortunately host to a number of invasive and detrimental species, from feral hogs to giant salvinia. While those two examples grab most of the attention, there is one smaller critter than nonetheless poses a threat to the ecology of not just Arkansas, but the entire country.

That is the hammerhead worm. Although small compared to a feral hog or a giant salvinia infestation, the hammerhead worm is nonetheless big for its family. Reaching lengths of up to 12 inches, the hammerhead worm is an instantly recognizable invader. They feed primarily on earthworms which, as any nature expert will tell you, are a vital part of the ecosystem. In times of need, however, hammerhead worms aren’t adverse to cannibalizing one another.

Hammerhead worms have been in Arkansas for at least a decade. Native to parts of Asia, experts suspect they came arrived here through shipments of tropical plants for sale in the United States.

Jon Zawislak, extension apiarist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said hammerhead worms tend to prefer climates like those found in Arkansas.

The worms are thought to have been accidentally transported in soil through the global horticultural trade,” Zawislak said. “These flatworms prefer warm climates and feel right at home in the southeastern United States.”

Because they require moist conditions, the worms are uncommon in the drier western deserts and mountain regions but can thrive in greenhouses anywhere that maintain the right conditions, Zawislak added.

Reports of these invasive worms to country agents have become increasingly more common in the last year.

Locally, renewed attention to the invasive species was raised recently after a Mena resident posted a picture of one he found outside his home. A photo was posted to the popular Facebook page, Critters of Arkansas.

At this time they’re recognized in at least 10 Arkansas counties. Like many other species in their family, hammerhead worms are toxic. They can cause illness in pets that happen to consume them as well as irritation to people who handle them. That’s why it’s always best to handle them with gloves.

Like any invasive species, it’s best to dispose of them whenever the chance arrives. But, when it comes to hammerhead worms, a little care is required. Hammerhead worms cut into pieces – by say, a garden trowel – will form separate individuals from each of those pieces. The best way to dispose of one, according to experts with the University of Arkansas Extension Service, is to place it in a container with salt and vinegar. Then, freeze it overnight before disposing of it – just to be sure.

Anyone who spots one of these writing, slimy and invasive creatures – or, in fact, any invasive species – is encouraged to report it to the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey office at www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/plant-industries/regulatory-section/ag-pest-survey-program/.

Zawislak said that while researchers are aware that hammerhead worms are present in Arkansas, residents have yet to record many sightings. https://www.inaturalist.org/ is a citizen science project attempting to catalog all living things. Arkansans can upload observations and be among the first to help track the spread of this invasive worm.

Vanderpool named new asst. director of De Queen music dept.     06/20/22

DE QUEEN – De Queen Public Schools is welcoming a new face to help lead its band and musical department.

At last week’s meeting of the De Queen School Board, members voted unanimously to hire Dalton Vanderpool as the De Queen Leopards Assistant Band Director. He may be a new face to public schools but his name may be familiar to education in our area as his father, Zane, is superintendent of Horatio Public Schools.

Vanderpool will join Head Band Director Daniel Dunn to help lead the department. In a statement following his hiring, Vanderpool said he’s excited to join Mr. Dunn, fellow assistant band director Mrs. Smith and all the talented musicians in the De Queen School District.

Vanderpool grew up in Northwest Arkansas, where he found a passion for percussion and music education. He received his bachelors in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Central Arkansas. He said he is looking forward to settling in Southwest Arkansas and bringing his experience to De Queen Public Schools.

Today is last day of early voting for Howard Co. judge runoff election     06/20/22

HOWARD COUNTY – Early voting wraps up today in the Howard County Judge’s runoff election.  By the end of Friday, the county clerk’s office reported 456 people had voted early. 

Early voting is open to people who voted Republican in the May primary, did not vote at all last month, and to those who voted in the non partisan judicial election last month. 

Howard County residents will be able to cast their ballot again today 8 to 4:30 at the Carter Day Center on North Main.

During the election day tomorrow, polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at locations in Umpire, Dierks, Nashville, and Mineral Springs.

State Rep. DeAnn Vaught weekly update     06/20/22

By State Rep. DeAnn Vaught

With more than 800,000 visitors a year, the Buffalo National River is one of the leading tourist destinations in Arkansas. 

This year, the Buffalo National River celebrates its 50th anniversary as a unit of the National Park Service.

Former Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt and former Senators J. William Fulbright and John L. McClellan introduced the first Buffalo National River park legislation in 1967. The final park legislation was introduced in 1971, and hearings were held in late 1971. In February 1972, Congress voted to establish the nation’s first “national river.”

President Richard M. Nixon signed the law to put the river under the protection of the National Park Service 100 years after the establishment of Yellowstone National Park, the first national park. 

It is one of the few remaining free-flowing rivers in the lower forty-eight states. It runs through NewtonSearcyMarionand Baxter counties. 

The Buffalo National River is one of the state’s and indeed the nation’s premier rivers and is a source of scenic beauty, a unique habitat for local biota, and an agricultural resource to the state as a whole. It is essential that we preserve of this irreplaceable natural and cultural resource for future generations of Arkansans.

In the 2021 Regular Session, the General Assembly passed Act 785 which creates the Buffalo River Conservation Committee to establish measurable objectives and lead partnership projects to benefit water quality and resource management in the Buffalo River Watershed. 

The committee is tasked with conducting an annual review of the watershed and making recommendations for updates of the plan to the Governor.

We also passed Act 541 which creates the Buffalo River Community Development special license plate. Fees from the license plate benefit the development corporation.

If you’ve never floated the Buffalo River, this summer provides a perfect opportunity. The National Park Service is hosting 50th-anniversary celebratory events throughout the year. Visit nps.gov for more information.

Area communities to host Fourth of July celebrations     06/17/22

DE QUEEN – Communities across Southwest Arkansas are gearing up to present their annual fireworks show in celebration of the United State’s 246th birthday.

Those celebrations include the City of De Queen’s 24th annual Freedom Fest fireworks show and Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 2.

The event will begin at the De Queen Sportsplex at 6 p.m. with the fireworks show to begin after dark. As in previous years, Freedom Fest will include DJ music, food vendors and a water cannon provided by the De Queen Fire Department. There is no cost to attend.

For more information or to request vendor space at the event, call the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department at (870) 642-4140.

The Little River County Chamber of Commerce will present its Fourth of July Fireworks show on Monday, July 4 at Ashdown Junior High School. Live music and food will be just part of the fun with prizes, games and giveaways also set to be part of this year’s celebration. Activities begin at 4 p.m. with the fireworks show to start at dark. For more information call the Little River County Chamber of Commerce at (870) 898-2758 or email director@littlerivercoc.org.

The City of Lockesburg will present its annual Fireworks in the Park event on Monday, July 4. The event will be held in the Ida Margaret Coulter Stone Park. Activities kickoff at 1 p.m. with a cornhole tournament. Entry fee is $20 per coupl.e. Bingo starts at 4 p.m. at a cost of $10 per card. That evening, Marlon Sharp & Cowboys at the Cross will take the stage for a live musical performance. There will be a band intermission before a recognition for veterans in attendance.

The always popular fireworks show begins at dark.

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce will present its annual Fourth of July celebration on Saturday, July 2. Gates open at 6 p.m. with a patriotic show starting at 6:30 p.m. Billstown will take the stage at 7:30. The event will be held at the Nashville City Park on 1301 West Johnson Street. Those aged 12 and under get in for free while admission for those 13 and up is $5. Those who purchase an event t-shirt will receive free entry.

And finally, the City of Vandervoort will host its 133rd Fourth of July celebration and fireworks show on Saturday, July 2 at the Vandervoort Picnic Grounds. The event-packed celebration will include food, vendors, musical performances and activities for the whole family. More details will be released as the event nears.

DQ Lions Club to present annual Youth Fishing Derby this Saturday     06/17/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen Lions Club will present its annual Youth Fishing Derby June 18 from 9-11 a.m. at the De Queen Lake Spillway. Registration will begin that morning at 8:30. There is a limit of one fishing pole per youth and all youth must be accompanied by an adult. The first 100 contestants will receive a t-shirt, There is no cost or fishing license required for the event.

wo vehicles found in river near Fulton; no human remains found     06/16/22

FULTON – An investigation into a vehicle found submerged in the Little River in Hempstead County on Tuesday resulted in response teams finding a second vehicle in the river.

No human remains were found in either vehicle, according to the Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation began after a fisherman reported to authorities that his fishfinder had detected a vehicle submerged in the river near Allen’s Ferry boat ramp, located near Fulton on the Little River. The vehicle was found in around 30 feet of water. Dive teams with the Hempstead and Miller County Fire Departments arrived on scene and discovered the second vehicle during their search for the first. Emergency responders were able to pull both vehicles out of the water.

The first vehicle recovered was heavily deteriorated and broken into pieces as it was recovered. The second vehicle was identified as a 1989 Toyota pickup.

Officials say the investigation is ongoing.

Heat Index Value to reach 103 today    06/16/22

The official start of summer is still a few days away, but it still feels like the dog days here in Arkansas.

The listening area is set to receive another day of three-digit heat index values. Although the high is projected to be 96 today, heat index values will make it feel a lot more like 103. And there appears to be little relief in site with temperatures in the high 90s throughout the weekend and into next week.

This mix of hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur.

You can’t say it enough, but drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room when possible, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.

Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible.

To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location.

Two Amity men charged with rape    06/16/22

AMITY – Two Amity residents have been charged with having repeated sexual contact with a juvenile female.

An investigation by the Crimes Against Children Division of the Arkansas State Police and Glenwood Police Department, has led to Rape charges against 19 year old Ethan Hill and 33 year old Cody Allen Smith.  In addition to the Rape count, Smith is also charged with a felony count for Introduction of a controlled substance Into the body of another person.

Authorities say their investigation began last year. The charges cover alleged sex acts that took place multiple times from 2019 to 2021.

The victim also told authorities that Smith gave her marijuana, that could possibly have contained other narcotic substances, before the alleged rapes took place.

Both defendants are awaiting their arraignment and bond hearing.

Sports conferences in SWAR to see potential re-alignment    06/16/22

LITTLE ROCK – It appears high school conferences will be changing slightly for sports other than football with the 22 through 24 school years.  According to information released yesterday by the Arkansas Activities Association, the 7-4A Conference will feature De Queen, Ashdown, Nashville, Arkadelphia, Hope, along with Camden Fairview, Magnolia and Malvern.

The 7-2A Conference, for all sports other than football, is apparently set to include Horatio, Foreman, Dierks, Murfreesboro, Acorn, Caddo Hills, and Spring Hill.

Mineral Springs is scheduled to be part of the 7-1A Conference, which will also include, Blevins, Kirby, Mount Ida and Nevada County. In addition to those teams, the conference softball field also features Oden.

There’s still a possibility of a change or two taking place in baseball and softball, as those sports have until December 1st to become official.

Arkansas alligator permit application period now open    06/16/22

LITTLE ROCK – Applications for the 2022 Arkansas alligator season are available at www.agfc.com from 8 a.m., June 15 through midnight, June 30. Anyone interested in pursuing alligators on public land in Arkansas must apply for one of the six hunting locations within two of Arkansas’s three open Alligator Management Zones.

The 2022 alligator permit draw will have 43 permits available for public draw.

Locally, there are 12 permits open for Millwood Lake and five for the Little River Wildlife Management Area.

Additional permits are available on Bois D’Arc Lake, the Sulphur River and the Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex, particularly the Arkansas River backwaters near Arkansas Post.

Alligator Management Zone 2, which covers the south central part of the state, does not have any public draw opportunities, but is part of the private land hunt, which is regulated by a quota system.

Each permit authorizes the harvest of one alligator, which must be at least 4 feet long. Alligator hunting is allowed 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise during the approved alligator hunting season dates – Sept. 16-19 and Sept. 23-26. Each permit holder may have up to three assistants with them on the hunt, but only the permit holder is allowed to snare, harpoon or dispatch the alligator.

Applicants must be at least 16 years of age the day the hunt begins, and only Arkansas residents or holders of an Arkansas Lifetime Sportsman’s Permit may apply. Applicants with 18 or more AGFC violation points are ineligible to apply. Alligator-hunt applicants must pay a $5 nonrefundable processing fee at the time of their application.

Anyone who has access to private land in Alligator Zones 1, 2 or 3 may purchase a private land alligator tag in addition to their big-game hunting license and be able to hunt during alligator season until the quota is met for their zone.

Each private land hunter must call the wildlife hotline (1-800-440-1477) every night before hunting to see if the quota has been met. If the quota is reached, the hunt ends early.

Successful applicants and private land hunters must also go through an online hunt orientation before going to the field. The orientation lays out the most important details and frequently asked questions about the hunt.

 

Sen. Boozman highlights Arkansas general with De Queen ties     06/15/22

Major General (ret.) Ronald Chastain

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) recognized the service and sacrifice of Major General (retired) Ron Chastain, who received his first command as a lieutenant in De Queen.

Chastain was recognized as part of Boozman’s “Salute to Veterans,” a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.

Chastain was born in Paris, Arkansas on October 18, 1950. He enjoyed his childhood in Branch along with his 11 brothers and sisters, two of whom also served in the military. His father was a contract painter and his mother raised Ron and all his siblings while tending to the home. Growing up, the children all helped out with chores around the house and on the family farm.

Chastain attended Arkansas Tech University after high school where he met his future wife, Pam Berry, from Dover. At ATU he was required to join ROTC. During his sophomore year, he received a low draft number and continued participating in the ROTC so he could serve as an officer. Because the Vietnam War was winding down by the time he graduated college, fewer lieutenants were needed so he was given the choice of serving for three months or two years. He opted for the shorter service because he had a job lined up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Unfortunately, while he was training at Fort Benning, Georgia, President Richard Nixon issued a federal hiring freeze, so his position with the USDA was no longer an option.

Chastain changed his plans and started working toward his master’s degree at the University of Arkansas while also being encouraged by a retired major to join the National Guard, so he became a member of the 142nd Field Artillery Group in Fayetteville.

When the federal hiring freeze was lifted, he discontinued pursuing his master’s and took a job with the USDA. It wasn’t long before he joined the 39th Infantry Brigade as a lieutenant in the company in nearby De Queen.

After serving as a platoon leader, he was eventually named company commander.

It was kind of interesting that my civilian office was just diagonal across the intersection from the National Guard Armory in Mena and so I’d go over and visit with them during break,” he said. 

Over the next few years, Chastain served in a number of leadership positions including as company commander in Prescott, a logistics officer and an intelligence officer, and with units in Malvern, Ozark, Clarksville, Little Rock, North Little Rock and Camp Robinson. After moving to Conway, he was most appreciative of being able to come home after drill and spend the night with his family. “I can tell you living in Central Arkansas makes all the difference for officers in the National Guard.”

Chastain assumed leadership of the 25th Rear Area Operations Center and before they had even been through an exercise, he was alerted of their deployment in support of Operation Desert Shield and mobilized at Fort Hood, Texas.

It was supposed to be a quick turnaround. “We only had time for weapons qualification, drawing equipment and getting our protective masks tested,” Chastain said. But he and his troops were “stuck” at Fort Hood while planes were flying other troops to the Middle East.

Chastain flew on a C-5 military transport, and while in the air to Saudi Arabia, the next phase of the Gulf War – Operation Desert Storm – had started.

He and his troops deployed with the 18th Airborne Corps. They were given the mission of setting up a logistics base in Iraq. He remembers the harsh elements like sandstorms, traveling in total blackout, and a close encounter with an Army cobra attack helicopter.

After the land war ended and his troops returned to the base in Saudi Arabia, he said there were a lot of challenges.

That’s when my problems really started as the unit commander, because everybody was in a hurry to get home, and everybody was tense.” Chastain’s teams oversaw finding locations for vehicles to be cleaned and stored before being shipped out, taking care of the air bases for personnel, and clearing the Desert Shield area to the expectations of Saudi Arabia. After his team had done everything to the standard of the 18th Airborne Corps, he and his unit were sent home and demobilized at Fort Hood.

Chastain continued to demonstrate his incredible leadership as he moved up the ranks. In 1995 he became executive officer at the 39th Infantry Brigade. In this role he was selected for the Army War College, which he says was “the hardest two years I think I’ve ever had in my life.”

Chastain later served as the brigade deputy commander before commanding the brigade. While Chastain was preparing for a Joint Readiness Training rotation, he learned he and the rest of the 39th Infantry Brigade would be deploying to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In Iraq, Chastain’s team suffered several casualties early on. “We knew it was going to be a long year.”

He had the largest area of operations of any of the 1st Cavalry Division at Taji Air Base, which came with increased responsibility. “It was dangerous. You could do everything right and still get hurt.” He recalled one incident when a grenade hit directly behind his vehicle and exploded, narrowly missing him.

One of the key tasks was to train the Iraqi Army. “If we were going to use them on a mission, we’d typically not tell them what we were going to do until right before the mission, because they were liable to call the folks we were after,” Chastain said.

For this deployment, Chastain was away from his civilian job at the USDA for 22 months. “I was fortunate working for the Department of Agriculture,” but it was “pretty traumatic for a lot of other folks,” he said.

Chastain remained the 39th Infantry Brigade commander for more than five years as a result of the war. At the end of that extension, he was promoted to Major General and assigned to Wartime Chief of Staff for U.S. Forces – Korea.

Former Governor Mike Huckabee appointed him Adjutant General of the Arkansas National Guard in 2006.

He later served as Deputy Commander, Reserve Component at Forces Command in Atlanta. During this time, he traveled across the country visiting mobilized guard units.

After 38 years of military service commanding units in two different wars, Chastain retired from the Arkansas National Guard. He was recognized for his distinguished service with awards including the Army Distinguished Service Medal, two Legions of Merit and two Bronze Star medals. He was also inducted into the Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame in 2014.

It’s not always the highest rank that you make that is the most fulfilling. The most fulfilling assignment I’ve ever had was as commander of the 39th Brigade,” Chastain said of his time in the military.

Following his distinguished military career and successful career at USDA, he continued his public service as a member of Senator Boozman’s staff where he served as an agriculture liaison. He also taught elementary students across the state about the history and proper care of the American and Arkansas flags.

Major General Chastain has led a life devoted to his country, state and community. I am thankful for his military service to our nation, and his civil service to Arkansas and his steady guidance during his time on my team. He is an excellent example for all Arkansans and Americans to follow. I am proud of this servant leader and all he has accomplished and am honored to call him a friend,” Boozman said.

Boozman will submit Chastain’s entire interview to the Veterans History Project, an initiative of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center to collect and retain the oral histories of our nation’s veterans.

Portion of Chapel Hill Road closed for bridge replacement     06/15/22

DE QUEEN – Sevier County Judge Greg Ray has announced that a a portion of Chapel Hill Road will be closed until further notice for a bridge replacement project.

The affected portion includes the first bridge on the north end of Chapel Hill Road. The closure began Monday and will be closed until further notice.

Public comment period open for Broken Bow Lake Master Plan revision     06/15/22

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking the public’s feedback on a proposed revision to the 40-year-old Master Plan that guides the federal agency’s management of Broken Bow Lake.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Tulsa District hosted an Open House on May 23 at the Kiamichi Technology Center in Idabel, Okla. to provide information about the Broken Bow Lake Master Plan revision content and process. This public Open House initiated a 30-day public comment period for the Broken Bow Lake Master Plan revision that will be open through June 23, 2022, during which the public can submit comments, suggestions, and concerns.

At this time, no changes or updates have been made to the existing Master Plan. After the comment period closes, comments will be reviewed and considered during the draft writing phase of the Master Plan process. An additional Open House will be held in May 2023 to present the proposed draft document at which time an additional 30 day comment period will be active.

Corps officials say the current Master plan was last approved in 1979 and needs revision to address changes in regional land use, population, outdoor recreation trends, and the USACE management policy. The USACE defines a Master Plan as the strategic land use management document that guides the comprehensive management and development of all recreational, natural, and cultural resources throughout the life of the water resource development project. It defines how the resources will be managed for public use and resource conservation. The Master Plan study area includes Broken Bow Lake proper and all adjacent recreational and natural resources properties in USACE fee-owned property and not adjacent private land.

The revision of the Master Plan does not address in detail the technical or operational

aspects of the lake related to flood risk management, the water conservation missions of the project, or the shoreline management program which specifies what private uses are permitted along the shoreline. Any proposals for future recreation development are reviewed under a separate policy titled “Recreation Development Policy for Outgranted Corps Lands” ER 1130-2-550 and are not part of the Master Plan revision.

The Corps says public participation is critical to the successful revision of the Master Plan. Information provided at the Open House, including the existing Master Plan, may be viewed on the Tulsa District website at the following link https://www.swt.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Master-Plans/

Comments can be submitted in writing to Shae Harrison, Broken Bow Lake Manager, P.O. Box 99, Sawyer, Oklahoma, 74756 or via email to: CESWT-OD-RBRBSWT@USACE.ARMY.MIL.

De Queen’s Independence Day celebration set for July 2     06/15/22

DE QUEEN – The City of De Queen will present its 24th annual Freedom Fest fireworks show and Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 2.

The event will begin at the De Queen Sportsplex at 6 p.m. with the fireworks show to begin after dark. As in previous years, Freedom Fest will include DJ music, food vendors and a water cannon provided by the De Queen Fire Department. There is no cost to attend.

For more information or to request vendor space at the event, call the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department at (870) 642-4140.

Jury finds Ashdown man not guilty of 2020 murder     06/14/22

ASHDOWN – A Little River County jury has found a man not guilty of murder in a case stemming from a 2020 shooting incident.

The jury did not find sufficient evidence to convict Corey Tyrell Garfield of second-degree murder for the fatal shooting of 48-year-old Dennis Graves on Oct. 6, 2020. Graves was found lying face down in his yard with a bullet wound to his chest. According to records within the Little River County Circuit Court, investigators suspected Garfield was involved in the murder after Graves allegedly urinated on methamphetamine reportedly belonging to Garfield.

Felony arrest warrants were issued for both Garfield and another suspect, Cheleka Johnson, following the incident. Both were arrested the following month at a hotel room in Little Rock. The pistol used to kill Graves was never found.

Garfield’s attorney, Clayton Tinkes, successfully argued that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to tie Garfield to the murder and that witness statements included too many discrepancies.

Sevier Co. Quorum Court again tables employee raise decision     06/14/22

DE QUEEN – At Monday’s meeting of the Sevier County Quorum Court, justices of the peace again postponed a decision on whether and how to compensate county employees who worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The issue has been in discussion since it was raised by a private citizen in April. At that meeting, Sandra Jackson said she was representing a group of around 30-40 people who wanted to see the county provide raises to its employees for their work during the pandemic.

Jailers and deputies with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office received additional raises during the pandemic. Jackson said she and others were upset that the remaining county employees were left out.

Besides a small annual cost-of-living raise, county employees received no raises throughout the pandemic despite maintaining their job duties. They have, however, received a couple of bonuses payed for through federal COVID-19 funding.

At Monday’s meeting, Justice Earl Battiest requested that the quorum court again hold off on making a decision on how to compensate those employees. He and other members of the quorum court’s financial committee said they are seeking a way to use money from the American Recovery Plan Act to fund some kind of additional compensation – whether that be a raise, a bonus or a combination of both. The process, he said, will take additional time to ensure the federal funds are spent correctly.

Justices also discussed providing the compensation only to employees who worked during the pandemic – not new employees or those recently hired by the Sevier County Medical Center. Sheriff’s office personnel would also be ineligible given their recent raise.

Battiest said the quorum court is aiming to make a decision at its April meeting.

The quorum court also heard from Sevier County Medical Center CEO Lori House, who introduced several new employees of the hospital: Bryan Gathright, ER director; Brandy Gore, patient care director; and Melissa Wright, who will head the hospital’s radiology lab. House said these employees will be familiar faces to Sevier County residents and all have extensive backgrounds in healthcare.

In other business, the quorum court approved an ordinance that would allow private clubs in the county – such as the De Queen Country Club – to apply for a license through the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control to sell onsite alcohol beverages as a restaurant. If approved by the state ABC, a private club would no longer be described as such nor require patrons to become members to purchase and consume alcohol onsite.

Justices also approved two ordinances related to a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration for taxiway improvements to the Sevier County Airport. The grant will cover 100 percent of the cost and has already been approved for Sevier County.

An ordinance was passed that will allow the county to continue doing work with P.J. Minor, who was recently hired as the county’s new Office of Emergency Management Coordinator. Minor has agreed to paint a county election commission van and has previously installed decals on vehicles of the sheriff’s office. Justice Greg Wright said county departments should solicit bids for future work and accept the lowest to ensure fairness in county business dealings.

Finally, the quorum court reappointed Skip Bell to the Sevier County Medical Center Board of Governors.

The Sevier County Quorum Court is scheduled to meet again on Monday, July 11.

DQ School Board meeting held Monday night     06/14/22

Members of the De Queen School Board addressed a number of issues at their Monday night board meeting, from school safety to approving a number of new hires.

Assistant Superintendent and Athletic Director Lance Pinkerton led the meeting as Superintendent Jason Sanders was unable to attend. Pinkerton introduced several expenditure requests, including long-range handheld radios for bus drivers to use in areas where cell service is limited. Other requests included new lockers for the junior high football program as around 80 students have signed up to play during the next school year.

Pinkerton also introduced a request from the band department for 35 new instruments to accommodate a growing number of students in the program.

The last expenditure request seeks to install additional controlled access systems on entry ways to the district’s various campuses to further enhance school security.

All of these requests were approved.

The board accepted two resignations: Assistant Football Coach Darren Horn, who has elected to join Coach Brad Chesshir in Murfreesboro; and Assistant Band Director Alex Clark, who has been hired as the new band director for Dierks.

Under new hires, the board approved Debbie Longacre as a middle school science teacher; Dalton Vanderpool as the new assistant band director; and Yuvita Rivera as a migrant paraprofessional.

Monday night’s meeting also included the swearing in of the new school board, though all the members are the same: Board President Dr. Kenneth Martin, Skip Bell, Sandy Huntsberger, Barry Reed and Tony Soto.

Dr. Kenneth Martin finished the meeting by highlighting the work of new Head Girls Basketball Coach Eden Spears. Martin said Coach Spears is injecting some new excitement in the program and is quickly impressing both players and parents with her coaching skills.

The De Queen School Board is scheduled to meet again on July 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the Administration Building. All meetings of the school board are open to the public.

Sevier County Block Party tonight in Ben Lomond     06/14/22

BEN LOMOND – The Sevier County Block Party Committee in conjunction with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office will kick off its series of summer block parties with an event this evening in Ben Lomond.

Everyone is invited to attend between 6-8 that evening for free fun for the whole family. The event will include hotdogs and other refreshments as well as vendor booths and family activities. The event was launched several years ago by Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry to help foster good relationships between communities in Sevier County and the law enforcement agencies that serve them.

Additional events will be held throughout the summer within other communities of Sevier County. That includes Lockesburg on July 12, Horatio on Aug. 9, De Queen on Sept. 13 and, finally, Gillham on Oct. 4.

Win an Arkansas vacation by taking tourism survey     06/14/22

What kind of Arkansas traveler are you?

The new “My Trip” quiz from Arkansas Tourism will help you find out.

By answering a few simple questions such as “Who is your traveling buddy?” and “What view do you want to wake up to?,” participants are matched with an Arkansas adventure that aligns their interests with The Natural State’s best destinations and attractions.

And the best part is, your dream trip doesn’t have to remain a dream.

By completing Arkansas Tourism’s “My Trip” quiz, users will be entered to win a free Arkansas vacation – with a customized itinerary based on their unique personality.

The Natural State is home to seven national park sites, 52 state parks, two and a half million acres of national forests, as well as some of the Mid-South’s best food, cultural destinations and live entertainment.

Whether your happy place is hiking in the Ozarks, duck hunting in the Delta, or relaxing on Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs, Arkansas has something for everyone.

To enter, complete the “My Trip” quiz at https://www.arkansas.com/mytrip. Participants must be 21 or older and reside in the contiguous U.S. (48 states plus the District of Columbia) to enter. Only one entry per participant will be considered for the prize drawing. No purchase is necessary for eligibility. The contest ends June 30 at 11:59 p.m. (CST).

Grover Hill hired as new Dierks superintendent     06/13/22

DIERKS – The principal of Umpire Schools will start the next school year with a new position in a new school district.

On June 8, the newly-elected Dierks School Board voted unanimously to hire Grover Hill as the new superintendent of the Dierks School District. Hill currently serves as the principal of both Umpire High School and Umpire Elementary School.

A total of 17 candidates applied for the position of superintendent of the Dierks School District. Three candidates however withdrew their names from consideration before the interview process began last week.

Other candidates included Dierks High School Principal Gene Strode, Scott Feemster, former De Queen High School Principal Brian Blackwood, Mickey Ford and Ladonna White.

Board members also hired Alex Clark as the new band director. Clark was an assistant band director last year in the De Queen School District.

Listening area under heat advisory again today     06/13/22

Folks, get ready for another hot one today with the listening area under a heat advisory through seven this evening.

Heat index values from 106 degrees are expected, said the National Weather Service in Shreveport. Yesterday that value reached as high as 110.

This mix of hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur.

The NWS advises the public to drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room when possible, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening.

Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible.

To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location.

Area students graduate from UAMS     06/13/22

LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences has released its list of graduates from the spring 2022 semester, including a number of students from the listening area.

In total, degrees and certificates were conferred to 942 graduates of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ (UAMS) five colleges and graduate school on May 23.

Degrees were awarded to 162 in the College of Medicine, 182 in the College of Nursing, 91 in the College of Pharmacy, 67 in the Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, 382 in the College of Health Professions and 58 in the Graduate School.

Local students receiving their degrees during the ceremony include James Thomas Sellers of De Queen, Stephanie Nicole Rivas of Horatio, Rachel Foshee of Kirby, Shelby Layne Tipton of Ashdown, and Emily Grace Martin of Dierks.

State Rep. Vaught Weekly update     06/13/22

By State Rep. DeAnn Vaught

Last week, officials from the Arkansas Center for School Safety (ACSS) provided members of the House and Senate Education Committees with an update on school safety measures taken in recent years. 

In 2018, the Governor created the Safe Schools Commission to assess the state of school security in Arkansas.

That commission gave the General Assembly a list of 30 recommendations. The General Assembly has passed several pieces of legislation in recent years based on those recommendations.

One of the recommendations stated that all school districts should provide access to training in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) for all personnel who interact with students.

In 2021, lawmakers passed Act 620 and 648. These identical acts require all school counselors to complete YMHFA training every four years. In addition, we passed Act 551 and 622. These acts requires all school resource officers to complete YMHFA training every 4 years.

To date ACSS staff has trained 611 SROs and school counselors.

Another recommendation by the commission stated that the Arkansas Department of Education should review roles and responsibilities of school counselors to provide increased time with students for counseling and social-emotional learning.

In 2019, the General Assembly acted on that recommendation by passing Act 190. This act requires school counselors to spend 90% of time with students.

The commission also recommended that the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training should study the feasibility of school districts being allowed to establish their own law enforcement agencies. As a result, the General Assembly passed Act 629 in 2019. This allowed school districts to form their own law enforcement agency. To date 16 school districts have been approved to do so.

Dr. Cheryl May with the Criminal Justice Institute serves as the chair for the School Safety Commission. She told members this week that there is more work to be done including improving our anonymous reporting system and strengthening physical security at access points on school campuses.

Lawmakers will be reviewing the recommendations and will update Arkansans on developments. You can watch all Education Committee meeting at www.arkansashouse.org.

From severe thunderstorms to 105 degrees, listening area in for a rollercoaster of weather     06/10/22

DE QUEEN – The listening area is likely in for a roller coaster of weather today and through the weekend and into the new week.

Forecasters are calling for a solid 100 percent chance of severe thunderstorms for the listening area this morning, including Southwest Arkansas, Southeast Oklahoma and Northeast Texas. At this time no thunderstorm watch or warning has been issued.

However, a Hazardous Weather Outlook was issued for the region and advises There will be a threat today for strong to severe thunderstorm across portions of the Four State Region along and ahead of an upper level disturbance moving south and east into the Middle Red River Valley. Strong and damaging wind gusts will be the main threat, but an isolated tornado and large hail threat cannot be ruled out. In addition, thunderstorms will produce locally heavy downpours with at least a minimal flash flooding threat mainly across Southeast Oklahoma into portions of Southwest Arkansas.


Forecasters predict most of the storm system will pass through the area this morning. There is a slight, 20 percent chance for rain again late tonight.

A severe thunderstorm in Southwest Arkansas swept through on Wednesday, bringing with it strong winds and even hail in some parts of Sevier County.

Today’s storms will be replaced by the hottest days on the year so far this weekend and into next week. Saturday is expected to see a high of 93 but that’s going to increase on Sunday and into the beginning of the week with highs in the high 90s. Sunday is expected to see temps of 98 degrees and heat values as high as 105. The heat is expected to settle in next week just ahead of the official start of summer.

Man charged with DWI same day after leaving jail for DWI offense     06/10/22

ASHDOWN – Charges were filed in Little River this week against a Texarkana man arrested on his seventh DWI charge the same day he was released from jail for his sixth DWI arrest.

According to court records, 48-year-old Patrick Dewayne Conway was arrested for his seventh DWI last month. The arrest affidavit states that Conway was released from the Little River County Jail that day for an April 14 DWI arrest. Later that day, Conway reportedly drove to the Ashdown Police Unit and walked up to an officer sitting inside his patrol vehicle.

While speaking to Conway, the officer reported smelling the odor of alcohol emanating from Conway. The officer then performed a series of field sobriety tests which Conway reportedly agreed to. Following these tests, the officer determined that Conway was allegedly intoxicated and again driving while intoxicated. He performed a blood-alcohol content test which allegedly displayed a reading of .14 percent, or nearly twice the legal limit.

Conway was then arrested for his seventh DWI offense and transported back to the Little River County Jail.

In Arkansas, a sixth or subsequent DWI offense is upgraded to a Class B Felony. Upon conviction, the offense can carry a sentence of five to 20 years in prison along with fines.

Second of archaeological trainings to be held in DQ this Saturday     06/10/22

DE QUEEN – The Arkansas Archaeological Society is hosting a series of annual training programs in De Queen throughout the month.

Both the Arkansas Archaeological Society and Arkansas Archaeological Survey will be offering the training program in Archaeology in the Adams Building on UA Cossatot’s De Queen Campus. Programs are scheduled for June 11, June 14 and June 17.

The entire community is being invited to attend this training event.

The Arkansas Archeological Society is dedicated to learning about, researching, and preserving the past. One way the group accomplishes this is through its annual summer Training Program.

On Saturday, June 11, the groups will host an open house for its lab and those who attend will have a chance to tour the archaeology lab and see artifacts that archaeologists are analyzing.

The program on June 14 will feature a talk by Alex Barker while Dr. Carl Drexler will return June 17 for an additional discussion.

The mission of the Arkansas Archaeological Society and Study is to study Arkansas’ past, to preserve and manage information about archaeological sites, and to share what we learn with the people of Arkansas. The group invites members of the public to help discover and record information about archaeological sites in Arkansas.

For more information on these training events, contact Dr. Carl Drexler at (870) 235-4230 or email crexler@uark.edu.

This weekend is Free Fishing Weekend in Arkansas     06/10/22

One weekend each year the State of Arkansas hosts a free fishing weekend. This year, Free Fishing Weekend will fall on June 10, 11 and 12.

Residents and nonresidents may fish this weekend without fishing license or trout permits. This applies to the entire state of Arkansas. So if you’ve been considering a new hobby this is the weekend to try your luck in many of Arkansas’ fish filled waters. Regulations for waters still apply such as daily, slot, and length limits. If you decide hitting the water is for you you can purchase a Resident Fish License for $10.50 and a Trout permit for $10.00. That’s a cheap investment for a good time and a reason to make up some big stories.

An annual tradition sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and approved by Gov. Hutchinson, Free Fishing Weekend gives many people the opportunity to enjoy the amazing angling The Natural State has to offer.

In celebration of Free Fishing Weekend in Arkansas, a number of fishing derbies are planned across the state. That includes here in Polk County.

The fishing derby has been scheduled for Saturday, June 11 at the Oden Rifle Range Pond. Registration kicks off that morning at 7 a.m. with the event to start at 8 a.m. The derby continues through 10:30 a.m. that morning.

This event is designed for ages two to 15-years-old. No fishing licenses will be required as youth under the age of 16 can fish without a license.

Prizes will be awarded following the event. Forest Service fishing derbies will follow the current CDC COVID-19 guidance. Forest officials are asking that people not attend if they are experiencing symptoms or have tested positive for COVID.

For more information call the Mena/Oden Ranger District Office at (479) 394-2382.

The De Queen Lions Club will present its annual Youth Fishing Derby June 18 from 9-11 a.m. at the De Queen Lake Spillway. Registration will begin that morning at 8:30. There is a limit of one fishing pole per youth and all youth must be accompanied by an adult. The first 100 contestants will receive a t-shirt, There is no cost or fishing license required for the event.

SCMC on track for Sept. 20 opening date     06/10/22

Officials with Sevier County’s new hospital say construction remains on track despite a theft earlier this spring and global supply shortages especially in the field of construction.

Back in late March or early April, thieves reportedly stole an undisclosed amount of installed copper wire and contractor tools. The theft occurred in the midst of an ongoing global supply shortage for many critical materials such as copper.

In a press release, hospital officials said that, due to the quantity of materials that were already installed and then forcibly removed, and the ongoing supply shortage, they foresaw a possible delay of the hospital opening currently scheduled for Sept. 20. Hospital officials said the theft posed the greatest threat tot he planned opening date since construction began.

However, Lori House, CEO of the Sevier County Medical Center, said the materials have been replaced and that construction is back on track for the fall opening date.

Following the incident, hospital officials said additional security policies and safeguards were put into place to prevent future thefts from the construction site.

Hospital officials are continuing to reach out to people in the area interested in applying for one of the more than 100 full-time positions expected at the hospital once it opens this September. The hospital is seeking applicants for all positions within the medical center. To apply, send your resume and cover letter to apply@seviercountymedical.com or visit the hospital’s website at www.seviercountymedical.com.

DQ City Council moves forward on rezoning ordinance     06/08/22

DE QUEEN – During what was an otherwise routine meeting, the De Queen City Council voted Tuesday night to advance an ordinance allowing for the construction of multi-family dwellings within one of De Queen’s oldest neighborhoods.

With two alderman absent, the four remaining members of the city council voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance for the second time. The ordinance, because of a lack of an emergency clause, will take one final reading and vote before becoming law.

The ordinance seeks to rezone a neighborhood adjacent to downtown De Queen from R1 to R1-S. This designation would allow for the construction of townhouses and duplexes – but not apartments or mobile homes – in this section of town.

The area in question encompasses the neighborhood between Fourth and Seventh Streets and from Dequincy to Heynecker Avenues. This neighborhood includes many of De Queen’s oldest and most historical homes.

Mayor Jeff Brown said the neighborhood has many small, unused lots that could be more efficiently used for the construction of multi-family homes. He said the planning commission and majority of the city council felt the ordinance seeks to address a long-standing shortage of rental units within the city.

Brown said the city is also considering other options to stimulate construction of new housing subdivisions within De Queen. Those, he said, would include easing certain municipal rules and regulations regarding the standards new construction is required to meet.

In other business Tuesday night, the council approved an ordinance increasing capitalization of personal property to $5,000. Aldermen also voted to provide approximately $60,000 to the De Queen Fire Department to finish equipping a new firetruck. The fire department is expected to take delivery of the brand new firetruck this weekend. The money is a mixture of state assistance funding provided to the fire department along with an additional amount from the city’s general revenue fund.

The council, under guidance from Mayor Jeff Brown and an engineer from A.L. Franks Engineering, voted to apply for a $1.3 million federal grant through the American Recovery Plan Act. If received, these funds would be used to replace the water main from the municipal water plant to Pilgrim’s. The upgraded line would more adequately serve the De Queen-based poultry processing plant, the engineer explained.

Finally, the council approved a $115,000 bid to renovate the city’s two existing tennis courts and to construct a new one at Herman Dierks Park.

Sevier Co. Quorum Court to discuss raises, other items at June 13 meeting     06/08/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Quorum Court is expected to return to the topic of employee raises during its regular monthly meeting next week.

The issue was tabled at last month’s meeting but justices discussed potential raises as well as a continuation of bonuses payed for through federal pandemic recovery funds.

In May Justice Earl Battiest, who heads the quorum court’s budget committee, stressed the county should look at the long term costs of providing raises to all county employees before making its decision. He said the county is not going to raise taxes and therefore must work with the funds it currently has.

Justices had planned to study the pay raise recommendations in May and return to the discussion at the quorum court’s June meeting.

The pay increase discussion was initially raised in April by Sandra Jackson, a private citizen and farmer who resides near Lockesburg.

Jackson said a number of Sevier County citizens were upset that a recent pay raise for county deputies and jailers was not spread to other county departments. Earlier this year, the Sevier County Quorum Court approved a $2.50/hr pay raise for deputies and, last year, approved a pay hike for jailers and dispatchers at the Sevier County Detention Center.

Those pay raises were both passed in hopes of attracting more applicants to the sheriff’s office and to ensure the county was meeting statewide jail staffing standards.

Jackson stressed that other county employees were deserving and in need of pay raises. Besides a small cost-of-living adjustment each year, county employees have not received a pay raise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. She also pointed out that higher prices caused by inflation, coupled with sales of alcohol in Sevier County, have boosted tax revenue collected by the county.

In other business, next week the quorum court will vote on an appropriation to cover the final expenses related to the creation of an Airport Layout Plan. The funds would be reimbursed by a grant through he Federal Aviation Administration.

Justices of the peace will also discuss an appropriation to install a new firewall for the jail and a resolution allowing the Sevier County Election Commission to conduct business with P.J. Minor. Minor, who was hired as the county’s new Office of Emergency Management coordinator, has agreed to paint the election commission’s van at a cost of $3,000.

Finally, the quorum court will vote on the re-appointment of Skip Bell to the Sevier County Medical Center Board of Governors.

The meeting begins at 2 p.m. on Monday, June 13 in the courtroom of the Sevier County Courthouse. The meeting is open to the public.

Summer Block Parties to kick off with event in Ben Lomond     06/08/22

BEN LOMOND – The Sevier County Block Party Committee in conjunction with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office will kick off its series of summer block parties with an event on June 14 in Ben Lomond.

Everyone is invited to attend between 6-8 that evening for free fun for the whole family. The event will include hotdogs and other refreshments as well as vendor booths and family activities. The event was launched several years ago by Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry to help foster good relationships between communities in Sevier County and the law enforcement agencies that serve them.

Additional events will be held throughout the summer within other communities of Sevier County. That includes Lockesburg on July 12, Horatio on Aug. 9, De Queen on Sept. 13 and, finally, Gillham on Oct. 4.

FSB of De Queen warns of “home warranty” scam     06/08/22

DE QUEEN – First State Bank of De Queen and other financial institutions are notifying their customers of a home warranty scam circulating the area. Some customers have reported that they’ve received notices in the mail requiring them to call a number to update their home warranty coverage. These notices are usually pink or yellow. They may also be from the size of a postcard to the size of a letter. They claim to be the “Home Warranty Division”.

People who receive these letters are asked to be careful and DO NOT FALL for this scam. Local financial institutions are not affiliated with this organization in any way. Never give out any personal or secure information to anybody over the phone or the internet unless you know who they are. If a bank needs to contact you regarding any existing loans or mortgages that you have through them, they will contact you directly.

For more information on this scam and others, and how to report if you are a victim of one, visit www.arkasnasag.gov

FAA awards grants to De Queen, Mena airports     06/08/22

Airports in the region are among those sharing in $518 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration.

Locally those recipients include the J. Lynn Helms Airport in Sevier County. The airport is set to receive just over $66,000 for taxilane construction.

The Mena Intermountain Airport will receive $67,000 to extend and reconfigure an existing taxiway.

The second round of the 2022 Airport Improvement Program (AIP) awards includes 416 grants to airports across the U.S. to fund a variety of projects such as construction of new and improved airport facilities, repairs to runways and taxiways, maintenance of airfield elements like lighting or signage, and purchasing equipment needed to operate and maintain airports.

Foreman man charged with drug possession, sawed-off shotgun     06/07/22

ASHDOWN – Numerous felony charges were filed this week against a Foreman man after a search warrant was executed at his home in May.

According to the arrest affidavit filed this week in the Little River County Circuit Court, law enforcement officers served a search warrant on a home at 101 Little River County Road 173 in Foreman on May 2. An arrest warrant was issued after residents of the home were allegedly observed selling methamphetamine, the affidavit states.

During a search of the residence, officers reportedly located firearms and illegal controlled substances. The firearms found included two shotguns, both chambered at the time of their discovery. Authorities allege one of the shotguns was illegally sawed-off to an eight-inch barrel and had a ground off serial number making it impossible to read the number.

Authorities allege a box inside the home contained two bags of suspected methamphetamine for a total of four grams. An additional 20 grams of marijuana were reportedly confiscated along with related drug paraphernalia including scales and packaging.

Following the search warrant officers arrested the home’s occupant, 44-year-old Waylon Joe Green. Last month, prosecutors filed similar charges against another of the home’s residents, 48-year-old Jeannie Dianne Rhodes.

In total, Green is facing six felony counts. The offenses include possession of controlled substances, possession of controlled substances with the intent to deliver, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, criminal use of a prohibited weapon, possession of a defaced firearm and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Mental health and substance abuse seminar in DQ tonight     06/07/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County RSAT and Outreach Center will host a mental health and substance abuse open discussion this evening for all area residents interested in the topic.

The event is scheduled for June 7 starting at 6 p.m. in the Outreach Center located at First Baptist Church of De Queen. The discussion will feature Tonya Chambers of the Dr. Walker Clinic. Organizers invite those interested to come be part of a discussion on mental health and the effects of substance abuse in all age groups. Attendees will be able to be part of the solution to end the cycle of substance abuse.

CRSD offering meals for community, free for those 18 and under     06/07/22

WICKES – The Cossatot River School District is reaching out to families in its service area regarding this summer’s school feeding program.

The summer feeding program will provide meals to the community, including both breakfast and lunch. All meals will be provided ad Wickes Elementary School between June 7-10, June 14-17 and June 21-24.

Those aged 18 and under can receive both meals at no cost. Adults can purchase breakfast for $2.25 and lunch for $4.

Breakfast will be served 7:30-8 a.m. while lunch is scheduled each day from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.

For more information contact Carla Harwood, the district’s child nutrition director, at (870) 385-7101, ext. 5800.

NALC to host seminar regarding leases and lawsuits     06/07/22

A New Hampshire hunter who was seriously injured when a tree stand collapsed in 2009 sued the landowner. The hunter dropped the suit when he learned another party owned the tree stand, but how do you determine who is liable for injuries or other legal issues on leased land?

The National Agricultural Law Center will host a webinar focusing on the legal risks and other practical issues of land leases on June 15 at 11 a.m. CDT.

Rusty Rumley, senior staff attorney at NALC, will be the webinar presenter. Rumley’s areas of expertise focus on land use, including landowner liability, leasing and agritourism.

Potentially expensive disputes between landowners and lessees illustrate the risks of leasing land without fully considering the terms of the agreement, Rumley said. Other issues for landowners to consider include insurance, the number of people granted access to the property and restrictions on certain hunting or other land-use practices.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, during COVID there were almost 3 million new hunting licenses, tags, permits, and stamps issued. With the influx of newly licensed hunters, it is essential that both parties know the legal risks of leasing land.

Harrison Pittman, director of the National Agricultural Law Center, said, “In Arkansas alone, almost 90 percent of land is privately owned. Demand to hunt that privately owned land is high and knowing how leases work will set landowners and hunters up for successful seasons.”

Learn more and register for the webinar at https://bit.ly/3PNVKSu.

DQ man enters guilty plea to negligent homicide charges     06/06/22

DE QUEEN –A De Queen man has pleaded guilty to two counts of negligent homicide resulting from a 2020 fatal crash in Sevier County.

Hugo Hernandez, 25, entered the guilty plea on June 2 in the Sevier County District Court. The charges stem from an accident in Sevier County that killed two people in 2020.


According to court records, Hernandez was arrested on two counts of negligent homicide as well as driving while intoxicated and felony battery for his role in the accident that occurred on June 28 of 2020.


Prosecutors with the Ninth West Judicial District allege Hernandez was responsible for the death of two people in that accident. Authorities claim he was driving while intoxicated when the accident occurred.


State police records show 22-year-old Bernard Edwards, Junior, of Fulton and an unidentified minor were killed in that accident.

Hernandez was arrested after charges were formally filed following an investigation into the accident. He was charged with negligent homicide for the deaths of the minor and Edwards, felony battery for the injuries sustained to the other passenger, and driving while intoxicated. He was initially released from jail after posting bond on a $75,000 bail amount. However, his bond was revoked following his arrest for public intoxication in Hot Springs last year.

Hernandez is expected to return to court in August for sentencing. He could receive up to 20 years in prison for each of the two negligent homicide charges as well as additional time for the charges of driving while intoxicated and felony battery.

In addition, the victim’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against Hernandez and five other individuals who the family alleges served alcohol to Hernandez prior to the accident. The names of the five defendants are not listed in the suit.

The family is asking for a jury trial in the civil lawsuit. The family said they are seeking a monetary judgment against Hernandez for both economic and non-economic damages they’ve suffered due to Edward’s death.

Naked man who allegedly stole car, honked at officer, is charged with theft     06/06/22

ASHDOWN – A felony charge has been filed against a Little River County man arrested in April after he reportedly honked at a deputy while driving a stolen car, all while in the nude.

According to records filed within the Little River County Circuit Court last week, on April 28 a Little River County deputy was at the Foreman EZ Mart when a Black Toyota Scion pulled into the parking lot and honked at him. The driver pulled up next to the deputy, who identified the driver at 44-year-old Daryl Roberts.

Roberts reportedly had no clothes on and told the deputy a man in Tom, Okla., was trying to kill him. The deputy ran Roberts information, which allegedly returned showing Roberts had two failure to appear warrants for his arrest. Roberts was then placed into custody. The Scion was towed by Bypass Wrecker Service to its lot.

Deputies contacted the owner of the vehicle, who did not realize her car had been stolen until deputies notified her. After retrieving her vehicle the owner said several items were missing from inside.

Roberts has been charged with felony theft of property for the stolen car.

Free Fishing Weekend in Arkansas is June 10-12     06/06/22

One weekend each year the State of Arkansas hosts a free fishing weekend. This year, Free Fishing Weekend will fall on June 10, 11 and 12.

Residents and nonresidents may fish this weekend without fishing license or trout permits. This applies to the entire state of Arkansas. So if you’ve been considering a new hobby this is the weekend to try your luck in many of Arkansas’ fish filled waters. Regulations for waters still apply such as daily, slot, and length limits. If you decide hitting the water is for you you can purchase a Resident Fish License for $10.50 and a Trout permit for $10.00. That’s a cheap investment for a good time and a reason to make up some big stories.

An annual tradition sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and approved by Gov. Hutchinson, Free Fishing Weekend gives many people the opportunity to enjoy the amazing angling The Natural State has to offer.

Arkansas Attorney General warns of vacation scams in state    06/06/22

The school year has wound down, and many Arkansans are making summer vacation plans. Whether it is a trip to the beach, somewhere abroad, or one of Arkansas’s many lakes or state parks, Arkansans should keep a watchful eye to avoid falling victim to a vacation scam. Scam artists are using the internet, including online advertising and social media, to pitch free or deeply discounted travel deals.

Many scammers will attempt to convince you that your friends and family members are taking advantage of this offer and you should too. Meanwhile, other scammers include being offered vacation rentals that look too good to be true. Travelers make the reservation and show up at the home or condo, only to find it was never up for rent and a scam artist stole photos and listing information to trick you out of hard earned cash.

While it is possible to find a good travel deal or even win a vacation, you must stay mindful of the fact that there are bad actors seeking to ruin your fun by taking your money.

Attorney General Rutledge released the following list of common scams vacationers could encounter:

  • Third-party Booking Scam: If you book your airfare, hotel, rental car, or other travel through a third party website, use caution. After booking, scammers call consumers directly to verify personal financial information—something a legitimate company would never do.
  • Ticket Sale Scam: Summertime is full of festivals and concerts that often sell out. Scammers take advantage of this and list tickets for sale at a discounted price. Consumers don’t find out until trying to attend the event that the tickets are fake.
  • Gasoline Scam: Scammers approach with a convincing story that they ran out of gas and money. They claim to only need $40 to fill up the tank and may even offer to mail a check to repay you. The likelihood that the repayment will be received is slim. Either refuse to give the scammers money or pay for their fuel at the nearest service station to ensure the money is spent as intended.
  • Rideshare Service Scam: Uber or Lyft drivers approach, and mention that a passenger just canceled a trip, leaving them available for a trip, but they must be paid in cash. Often, these drivers do not even work for a legitimate rideshare company. Similarly, any drivers who claim an “outage” is preventing them from accepting payment via the Uber or Lyft system is a red flag. Cashless travel is one of the main perks of using a rideshare company.
  • Fake Front Desk Phone Call Scam: Scam artists call hotel rooms directly, often in the middle of the night.. They say there has been a computer glitch and they need to verify your credit card information. Hang up immediately and contact the front desk to verify the call.

Some helpful travel tips include:

  • Put a travel alert on your debit or credit card to prevent issues or scams while out of town.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card because there are more protections available and it may be easier to dispute versus losing access to the cash in your bank account.
  • Use social media with care—don’t post while you’re out of town. You might be inviting a criminal into your empty house.
  • Withdraw cash from an ATM at a financial institution versus a standalone ATM to prevent your card information from being stolen.

For more information on safe summer travel and other consumer-related issues or to file a consumer complaint, visit ArkansasAG.gov or contact the Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov.

De Queen Public Schools hires new high school principal     06/03/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen Public Schools Board of Directors met in a special session Tuesday, June 1st, and approved the hiring of a new De Queen High School Principal and several teachers throughout the district.

The Board approved Audrey Chandler to be named as the new De Queen High School Principal. She will be replacing former Principal Bryan Blackwood who announced his retirement in May. Mrs. Chandler is coming to the district with an extensive background in teaching and educational leadership in public education, including experience as a professor for Harding University and the University of Arkansas.

We are excited to have Mrs. Audrey Chandler join our school district as our high school principal!” Superintendent Jason Sanders said. “She was definitely the most qualified candidate for our open position. She has been a successful building-level principal for eight years in the Des Arc and Springhill Arkansas school districts. She also has experience as a district-level leader. She is currently employed at the Arkansas Department of Education in the Special Education and Fiscal Unit. Mrs. Chandler is very intelligent and has contacts across the state of Arkansas. We feel that she will be a great addition to our school and open up opportunities and resources for our students to be successful!”

Although Mrs. Chandler will be new to the district, she has spent an extensive amount of time in De Queen visiting family and is looking forward to joining the Leopard Family.

Thank you for the opportunity to be the new high school principal at De Queen. I am deeply honored and excited to be a part of this school district.” Chandler said. “Leopard blood runs deep in my family. My mom as well as her four siblings plus a large number of my cousins graduated from De Queen. I’ve attended many school events and have always been impressed. I look forward to serving the students, parents, and community in De Queen.”

The community will have an opportunity to meet Mrs. Chandler at a DHS Open House and Meet the Principal event in July. The district will be releasing more details about the event in the near future.

During Tuesday’s Special Session, the school board also approved the following hires: Cristal Calderon as a Primary Teacher, Mindy Efird as an Elementary Teacher, Chad Lites as a Middle School Business Teacher, and Elvia Martinez as a Paraprofessional, Travis Lyda as Civics Teacher and Coach. The De Queen Public Schools Board of Directors will meet in regular session on Monday, June 13 at 5:30 p.m.

Sevier County Senior Citizens Day is today     06/03/22

DE QUEEN – It’s Senior Citizens Day in Sevier County, a day held each year to honor our area’s senior citizens and their contributions to the community.

The event is held yearly and, as in the past, organizers are promising lots of food, fellowship, prizes and more at today’s Senior Citizens Day.

The festivities kick off at 9 a.m. on the lawn of the Sevier County Courthouse. Registration opens just before then. Activities are planned through one this afternoon.

Dozens of vendors will be set up around the courthouse offering a host of healthcare demonstrations and free screenings. Everyone aged 55 and older is invited to take advantage of this opportunity while also receiving a smoked chicken dinner around noon. This year’s theme is Spring Carnival.

A host of prizes donated by local businesses and county officials will be awarded throughout the day. Live musical performances will be staged at the gazebo on the courthouse lawn.

The county’s oldest man, woman, veteran and longest married couple will also be honored during the event. Last year, one guest was a ringer for three of those awards. Sterling Daniel, a former alderman of De Queen and a veteran of the Second World War, was recognized as the oldest man in attendance and the oldest veteran. In addition, he and his wife, Pud, were highlighted as the longest married couple at an amazing 72 years.

Mary Johnson of De Queen was recognized as the oldest woman in attendance at 94-years-old.

Co-ed softball fundraiser this weekend for Braylee Janes     06/03/22

DE QUEEN – A co-ed softball tournament is scheduled for this Saturday, June 4 to assist a local young cowgirl make her way to a national rodeo competition later this year.

The softball tournament will benefit Braylee Janes, who a state championship winning rodeo contestant who has now advanced to the National Junior High School Rodeo Finals in Perry, Ga. This is her second year qualifying and second state championship.

Braylee qualified for two events this year: pole bending and breakaway roping.

Along with tomorrow’s Yee-Haw tournament, Pilgrim’s will be offering chicken dinners along with a full concession stand at the De Queen Sportsplex.

Raffle tickets are also being sold for a donated Ruger American .308 rifle at $5 per ticket or five for $25. All proceeds will go to Braylee’s travel fund to help cover expenses on her trip to Georgia.

For more information contact Stacy Janes at (870) 784-3055 or Brennannah Linely at (870) 222-7921.

AYSSP state competition starts today, local schools will be represented     06/03/22

When the top 64 teams from the senior division of the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program meet at the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation Jacksonville Shooting Sports Complex on June 4, a number of teams from local schools will be competing to bring home the state championship award.

The top 16 South Region Senior Division teams advanced to the AYSSP State Championship held in May. In addition to the top three teams from Beebe, Fouke and Jacksonville, Ashdown Team 1; Ashdown Team 2 and the Nashville Scrappers Team 2 will compete at this weekend’s state tournament.

The juniors will decide their champion today in a 64-team bracket, while the seniors have the complex Saturday. Shooting on both days begins at 9:30 a.m., preceded by the opening ceremony and the National Anthem starting at 9 a.m. The Ashdown Junior Team 1 and 2, as well as the Foreman Junior Team 1, are set to compete in today’s events.

Each top-seeded team earned their ranking in the state championship opening rounds by winning one of four regional competitions, but they all will face tough competition throughout a day of shooting if they wish to achieve the crown of Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Champion. Each bracket is filled with the top 16 teams from each region, meaning the winning team will have to triumph in six head-to-head matches to claim the top spot in this year’s competition.

Once the smoke clears, each member of the winning team in the senior division will earn college scholarships worth $1,500. The second-place team will receive $1,000 scholarships per competitor, and each shooter on the third-place squad will earn $500 scholarships. All scholarships are funded by the sales of the AGFC’s Conservation License Plates.

Spectators are welcome at the event, and bleacher seating behind many of the shooting fields allow families to come and cheer on the competitors. Some teams even bring along campers or recreational vehicles and stay overnight to make it a weekend-long event. Additionally, the AGFC will live-stream the championship rounds of competition on the AGFC’s Facebook Page with shot-by-shot commentary provided by Trey Reid, host of Arkansas Wildlife Television.

Arkansas WMA deer permit application process now open     06/03/22

The application period for special deer hunting permits on many wildlife management areas in Arkansas is open now until 11:59 p.m. July 1.

Many WMAs managed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are open during fall deer hunting seasons without additional restrictions beyond the season dates and bag limits in that portion of the state.

Hunters may apply for WMA deer hunt permits at www.agfc.com by clicking the “Buy License/Check Game” button at the top of the page, then selecting Special Hunt Permits to find the hunt they wish to apply for.

WMA Deer Hunt Permit applications are available for $5 per application type. If successful, applicants receive their permit without additional fees. Each hunter may submit one application for each type of permit hunt: youth hunt, archery, muzzleloader and modern gun. Mobility-impaired individuals also may apply for special mobility-impaired hunts through the permit system.

Hunters must be at least 6 years old by the beginning of the hunt, and hunters applying for youth hunts must be at least 6, but no older than 15, the day the hunt begins. To apply for a youth hunt, the youth hunter must be logged in under his or her own Customer ID in the licensing system. Youth hunts do not appear as an option to choose in the licensing system for any hunters older than 16.

Hunters applying for regular modern gun and muzzleloader hunts may do so as individuals or they may apply as a group of up to four, thanks to the AGFC’s party hunt system.

45th annual Lum & Abner Festival begins today     06/03/22

MENA – One of the region’s oldest and most popular festivals is back this weekend with the 45th Annual Lum & Abner Music and Arts Festival, June 3 – 4.

The event is hosted each year by the Mena Advertising & Promotion Commission and organizers are inviting everyone to attend this weekend’s event.

Mena’s signature event, the Annual Lum & Abner Music & Arts Festival, is held at Janssen Park, in Mena. This is a Free Admission event and was voted “Best New Festival in Arkansas” in 2006 by the Arkansas Festival & Events Association and “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” in 2010 by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival has received statewide publicity in various newspapers, specialty publications, and television.

Live entertainment is a huge part of the event as it runs all day both days of the festival. In addition to live entertainment, enjoy wonderful arts and crafts, great food, the incredible Arkansas Circus Arts performers, an awesome Lum & Abner Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Show, Kiddie Korner with playground and bounce houses, the Lum & Abner 5K Run/Walk, the Lum & Abner 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, Fishing Derbies, the RE/MAX Baby Crawlin’ Contest, and more.

There will also be live entertainment on the festival stage. Great music has become a hallmark of the Lum & Abner Festival. There will be live music from top Arkansas artists on the Aleshire Electric Entertainment Stage or Visit Mena Stage, both days of the festival.

The event kicks off this Friday at 10 a.m. with a recital of the National Anthem. That will be followed by performances by The Ouachita Strings Ensemble, Marissa Dawn, Backroad Revial, Ryan Paul Davis and others throughout the afternoon and evening.

The events continue on Saturday with a talent show and more performances by regional artists. Make sure to check out the full schedule of events online at www.mypulsenews.com or at www.visitmena.com.

And don’t forget your lawn chairs.

ASL scholarship application period ends July 31     06/03/22

July 1 is the deadline to apply for the Arkansas Academic Scholarship for students planning to enroll in a two- or four-year college or university in the fall.

 

Applicants can be new high school graduates, students already enrolled in college and older, non-traditional students wanting to further their education. To apply simply go to SAMS.ADHE.EDU and click on “Students.”

 

Since 2010, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery (ASL) has helped raise more than $1.1 billion to fund more than 675,000 scholarships for students attending 51 Arkansas college and universities – both public and private.

 

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must be an Arkansas resident for at least 12 months prior to enrollment and receive at least a 19 on the ACT. To maintain eligibility, students must keep a 2.5 GPA.

 

Scholarship award amounts are:

Four-year college: Year 1 – $1,000; Year 2 – $4,000; Year 3 – $4,000; Year 4 – $5,000.

Two-year college: Year 1 – $1,000; Year 2 – $3,000.

 

The lottery also helps fund two other scholarships:

 

  • The Arkansas Workforce Challenge Scholarship is available for those attending technical schools. It is for students seeking certifications in high-demand occupations, such as healthcare and information technology.
  • The Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Award provides financial incentives to eligible high school students who want to get an early start on college courses.

 

About the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery

More than 92 cents of every dollar of ASL revenue goes to prizes, scholarships, retailer commissions, and other expenses in Arkansas. Since 2009, the lottery has raised more than $1.1 billion in proceeds for scholarships. More than 675,000 college scholarships have been awarded to Arkansans. The lottery has awarded more than $4 billion in prizes to players, about $347 million in retailer commissions and provided more than $154 million in state and federal tax revenue.

Chenoweth pre-trial hearing rescheduled to July     06/02/22

MADISON COUNTY – The pre-trial hearing for today for a De Queen man charged with multiple counts of capitol murder for the deaths of three family members last year has been postponed until next month.

According to records filed in the Madison County Circuit Court, 24-year-old Hunter Chenoweth will not appear for the pre-trial hearing today. That hearing has been rescheduled to July 10. Prosecutors filed the continuance motion on the basis that crime lab reports have not been completed.

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 has also asked the court to prevent the imposition of the death penalty in his case. Chenoweth’s lawyers are asking 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 seeks to proclaim the death penalty as “cruel and unusual” and prohibit it as a sentence in Chenoweth’s case.

If Chenoweth is convicted, the capital murder charges make him eligible for the death penalty.

A further motion filed earlier this year also seeks to impose a gag order on the case to prevent Chenoweth’s counsel, state prosecutors and other state officials from discussing the case publicly or with members of the media.

The court has yet to decide either the gag order motion or the motion to ban the death penalty in his case.

Arkansas Archaeology Society to host training seminars in De Queen     06/02/22

DE QUEEN – The Arkansas Archaeological Society will host one of its annual training programs in De Queen on several occasions this month.

Both the Arkansas Archaeological Society and Arkansas Archaeological Survey will be offering the training program in Archaeology in the Adams Building on UA Cossatot’s De Queen Campus. Programs are scheduled for June 4, June 11, June 14 and June 17.

The entire community is being invited to attend this training event.

The Arkansas Archeological Society is dedicated to learning about, researching, and preserving the past. One way the group accomplishes this is through its annual summer Training Program.

During the Training Program, members may participate in the excavation of a historic or prehistoric site, under the supervision of professional archaeologists, and may take courses to enhance their knowledge of archaeological techniques. Members are introduced to the discipline of archaeology, learn methods and skills of field and laboratory research, and share in the task of researching Arkansas’s past. Through the Training Program, Society members experience the thrill of seeing the past come to life.

The first session, set for this Saturday, June 4 at 6:30 p.m., will feature a presentation by Dr. Carl Drexler of the Arkansas Archaeological Survey.

On Saturday, June 11, the groups will host an open house for its lab and those who attend will have a chance to tour the archaeology lab and see artifacts that archaeologists are analyzing.

The program on June 14 will feature a talk by Alex Barker while Dr. Carl Drexler will return June 17 for an additional discussion.

The mission of the Arkansas Archaeological Society and Study is to study Arkansas’ past, to preserve and manage information about archaeological sites, and to share what we learn with the people of Arkansas. The group invites members of the public to help discover and record information about archaeological sites in Arkansas.

For more information on these training events, contact Dr. Carl Drexler at (870) 235-4230 or email crexler@uark.edu.

De Queen man’s pre-trial hearing today for 2020 fatal accident     06/02/22

DE QUEEN –A pre-trial is scheduled today for a De Queen man facing two counts of negligent homicide.


The felony charges were filed in 2020 against Hugo Hernandez, a 25-year-old resident of De Queen. The charges stem from an accident in Sevier County that killed two people that year


According to court records, Hernandez is facing two counts of negligent homicide as well as driving while intoxicated and felony battery for his role in the accident that occurred on June 28 of 2020.

Prosecutors with the Ninth West Judicial District allege Hernandez was responsible for the death of two people in that accident. Authorities claim he was driving while intoxicated when the accident occurred.


State police records show 22-year-old Bernard Edwards, Junior, of Fulton and an unidentified minor were killed in that accident.

Hernandez was arrested after charges were formally filed following an investigation into the accident. He was charged with negligent homicide for the deaths of the minor and Edwards, felony battery for the injuries sustained to the other passenger, and driving while intoxicated. He was initially released from jail after posting bond on a $75,000 bail amount. However, his bond was revoked following his arrest for public intoxication in Hot Springs earlier this year.

Hernandez is scheduled to appear before the Sevier County Circuit Court for a rescheduled pre-trial hearing today. If he maintains his plea of not-guilty, a jury trail will be held the week of June 20. Court records show subpoenas have been filed for individuals associated with the case to appear in court this week for the possible jury trial.

Hernandez could receive up to 20 years in prison for each of the two negligent homicide charges as well as additional time for the charges of driving while intoxicated and felony battery.

In addition, the victim’s family has filed a civil lawsuit against Hernandez and five other individuals who the family alleges served alcohol to Hernandez prior to the accident. The names of the five individuals listed as defendants are not listed in the suit.

The family is asking for a jury trial in the civil lawsuit. The family said they are seeking a monetary judgment against Hernandez for both economic and non-economic damages they’ve suffered due to Edward’s death.

40th annual Sevier County Senior Citizens Day is tomorrow     06/02/22

DE QUEEN – Organizers are gearing up to present the 40th annual Sevier County Senior Citizens Day appreciation event this week. The event is set for Friday, June 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the lawn of the Sevier County Courthouse. This year’s theme is Spring Carnival and organizers encourage everyone 55 years of age and older to come by for a host of free health screenings, demonstrations, food, prizes and fellowship.

The county’s oldest man, woman and longest married couple will also be honored during the event.

For more information on this year’s Senior Citizens Day appreciation event contact the Sevier County Courthouse at 642-2425.

45th annual Lum & Abner Festival this weekend in Mena     06/02/22

MENA – One of the region’s oldest and most popular festivals is back this weekend with the 45th Annual Lum & Abner Music and Arts Festival, June 3 – 4.

The event is hosted each year by the Mena Advertising & Promotion Commission and organizers are inviting everyone to attend this weekend’s event.

Mena’s signature event, the Annual Lum & Abner Music & Arts Festival, is held at Janssen Park, in Mena. This is a Free Admission event and was voted “Best New Festival in Arkansas” in 2006 by the Arkansas Festival & Events Association and “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” in 2010 by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival has received statewide publicity in various newspapers, specialty publications, and television.

Live entertainment is a huge part of the event as it runs all day both days of the festival. In addition to live entertainment, enjoy wonderful arts and crafts, great food, the incredible Arkansas Circus Arts performers, an awesome Lum & Abner Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Show, Kiddie Korner with playground and bounce houses, the Lum & Abner 5K Run/Walk, the Lum & Abner 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, Fishing Derbies, the RE/MAX Baby Crawlin’ Contest, and more.

There will also be live entertainment on the festival stage. Great music has become a hallmark of the Lum & Abner Festival. There will be live music from top Arkansas artists on the Aleshire Electric Entertainment Stage or Visit Mena Stage, both days of the festival.

The event kicks off this Friday at 10 a.m. with a recital of the National Anthem. That will be followed by performances by The Ouachita Strings Ensemble, Marissa Dawn, Backroad Revial, Ryan Paul Davis and others throughout the afternoon and evening.

The events continue on Saturday with a talent show and more performances by regional artists. Make sure to check out the full schedule of events online at www.mypulsenews.com or at www.visitmena.com.

And don’t forget your lawn chairs.

Micah Gibson of De Queen elected as representative at Arkansas Boys State    06/02/22

CONWAY – Micah Gibson of DeQueen High School has been elected as a State Representative for his congressional district at Arkansas Boys State 2022, a summer leadership and civic engagement experience sponsored by the American Legion.

Gibson was elected by his peers during district elections on Tuesday, May 31, as part of the 81st annual session of Arkansas Boys State, where students build a mock government structure, including eight different congressional districts each with four senators and 12 representatives.

David Saterfield, director of instruction for Arkansas Boys State, said being elected as State Representative is a special opportunity for Micah and his fellow legislators. He’ll get an up-close and personal look at the legislative process with his own state legislators leading him through the process.

On Wednesday, Gibson had a chance to meet with Arkansas legislators to learn more about the legislative branch and process. As part of their meeting, Gibson joined his fellow Arkansas Boys State senators and representatives in creating mock legislation that they will debate and vote upon at the state capitol on Friday.

Gibson is one of more than 400 students from throughout the state attending Arkansas Boys State at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. Students are mock citizens in eight different counties and congressional districts, sixteen cities, and two political parties.

Arkansas broadband coalition set to bring broadband to rural areas of state     06/02/22

 

Diamond State Networks, a coalition of 13 Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, is the newest wholesale broadband provider in the state with the goal of providing high-speed internet access to 1.25 million rural Arkansans, including here in the Southwest corner.

Together, the 13 electric cooperatives have invested, or are planning to invest, more than $1.66 billion in broadband communication infrastructure, exclusively in fiber-optic networks. Focusing on reliability, quality and sustainability, the network will serve nearly 600,000 potential customer locations, and will have an immensely positive impact on the state’s economy by helping to make Arkansas a place where people want to live and do business for years to come

Of the 13 partners in this expansion, the one closest to our area is the Four States Fiber Internet. Based in Texarkana, the partner is a subsidiary of Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative, which is either offering or plans to soon offer high-speed internet to members in Sevier, Howard, Little River, Polk and other counties in Arkansas; Bowie and Cass Counties in Texas; and McCurtain County in Oklahoma.

The Diamond State expansion should help reach Arkansas households without access to high-speed broadband. A recent report from Broadband Development Group (BDG) said the state has 210,000 households underserved by broadband services, but 100,000 of them are being addressed by federal and state programs. Using federal funding, the remaining 110,000 households could be reached at a cost of up to $550 million.

The report says 110,000 households are not being addressed by any federal programs, and up to $550 million would be needed to reach them. That money can come from the American Rescue Plan Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act programs. Of those, 100,000 households can be reached for between $254 million and $358 million within three years.

The last 10,000 households, many of them in the most rural and sparsely populated areas of Arkansas, would require more than $200 million, or about $20,000 for every household, the report said.

 

Broach wins top prize in 32nd annual Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival     05/31/22

Denson Broach with the biggest bass of the festival. (Picture by Sevier County Chamber of Commer

 

DE QUEEN – Congratulations to Denson Broach, the overall winner of $1,500 biggest bass award for the day in the 32nd annual Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival held this past Saturday.

Broach hauled in a lunker that weighted in at 6.54 pounds from De Queen Lake during the third hour of the tournament. Second place went to Michael Howard with a 6.06 pounder. Ken Strasner took third with a 5.95 pound bass. Fourth place went to Weston Johnson at 5.90 pounds. Dennis Sorrells took the fifth overall place with a 5.67 pound bass.

The event is sponsored each year by the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce with hour reports aired on Your Number One Country, 92.1 FM.

 

 

Pilgrim’s and City of De Queen host grand opening for new splash pad     05/31/22

DE QUEEN – On Friday, Pilgrim’s and the City of De Queen hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony, signaling completion of a $480,000 Hometown Strong investment to fund a state-of-the-art splash pad at Herman Dierks Memorial Park.

We are proud to use our Hometown Strong investment to help bring families together and unveil this new splash pad just ahead of the summer,” said Eddie Halter, Pilgrim’s De Queen/Nashville Complex Manager. “We hope this investment brings joy to families and children in our community, and we’re proud to work with the city to bring this splash pad to life.”

 

The City of De Queen is excited to announce the grand opening of the new splash pad facility located in Herman Dierks Park. This project would not have been possible without the support of Pilgrim’s, who continues to invest in and show support for in the communities they serve,” said De Queen Mayor Jeff Brown. “We look forward to seeing the fun that families will enjoy together for many years to come.”

Through Hometown Strong, Pilgrim’s previously announced a $715,000 investment in the community and has since worked closely with local leaders to identify where the funds can best help meet immediate and longer-term community needs. Of that total, Pilgrim’s also invested $225,000 to build a walking trail on the Sevier County Medical Center campus.

The Pilgrim’s De Queen/Nashville facility employs more than 1,400 people with an annual payroll of more than $53 million. The facility supports 238 growers, paying them more than $36 million per year for their chickens.

Pilgrim’s anchors dozens of rural communities – operating more than 30 meat poultry and prepared foods facilities and employing 31,000-plus people in the United States. Nationally, the Hometown Strong initiative is a $20 million investment from Pilgrim’s, which is part of a $100 million nationwide contribution from JBS USA. Visit hometownstrong.jbssa.com to learn more.

The splash pad will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Mental Health and substance abuse counseling discussion to be held in De Queen     05/31/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County RSAT and Outreach Center will host a mental health and substance abuse open discussion this month for a’’ area residents interested in the topic.

The event is scheduled for June 7 starting at 6 p.m. in the Outreach Center located at First Baptist Church of De Queen. The discussion will feature Tonya Chambers of the Dr. Walker Clinic. Organizers invite those interested to come be part of a discussion on mental health and the effects of substance abuse in all age groups. Attendees will be able to be part of the solution to end the cycle of substance abuse.

State Rep. DeAnn Vaught Weekly Update     05/31/22

By State Rep. DeAnn Vaught

Arkansas is home to many families of brave men and women who deserve recognition on Memorial Day.

More than 2,183 Arkansans lost their lives fighting in World War 1. During World War II, an estimated 194,645 Arkansans served the nation in the various branches of the U.S. armed forces, and more than 3,500 were killed as a result of combat.

Arkansans continued to answer the call to serve.  There were 461 Arkansans who lost their lives in the Korean War and 588 lost their lives in Vietnam.  The state lost several of its own in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and in Operation Enduring Freedom.

And today, there are thousands who willing put their lives on the line to protect our freedom. Arkansas has citizens in nearly every community serving our country.

Their sacrifice is a true expression of selfless service. Whether they were drafted, volunteered, or served during peacetime, they represent the best America has to offer.

As the first weekend of summer, Memorial Day is typically filled with barbecues or days at the lake.

As Arkansans made their plans for the weekend, state lawmakers encouraged Arkansans to consider how they can best pay tribute to the service members who have died in military service.

We can all honor the lives lost by remembering and retelling their stories.

In addition to placing flowers at veteran cemeteries, Arkansans can donate to charities that provide for their families.

We can recognize their sacrifices by taking care of their comrades who served. This could include volunteering at the VA Hospital or picking up the tab for the table with a soldier at a restaurant.

And we can honor the fallen every day of the year by committing to live a life worthy of their sacrifice.

De Queen Lions Fishing Derby set for June 18     05/31/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen Lions Club will present its annual Youth Fishing Derby June 18 from 9-11 a.m. at the De Queen Lake Spillway. Registration will begin that morning at 8:30. There is a limit of one fishing pole per youth and all youth must be accompanied by an adult. The first 100 contestants will receive a t-shirt, There is no cost or fishing license required for the event.

American Legion to host Memorial Day service for unknown soldier buried in Redmen Cemetery     05/27/22

DE QUEEN – This upcoming Monday is Memorial Day, a time observed each year to honor the memory and sacrifice of the nation’s fallen servicemen and women. A group of local veterans plans to do just that with a special service in De Queen this Memorial Day.

The De Queen-based American Legion Post #54 is commemorating the occasion by placing a stone on the grave of an unknown soldier at Redmen Cemetery. The event begins at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day at Redmen Cemetery in De Queen.

Post Chaplain Rick Gregory said the Legion is inviting the public to the ceremony as a way to honor the passing of this unidentified soldier.

The grave of the unknown soldier was recently discovered on the back end of Redmen Cemetery in De Queen. Monday’s commemoration will include a full military honor guard service and a bugler provided by the De Queen High School Leopards Band. The American Legion will place a memorial stone on the grave during the ceremony.

The local American Legion Post has for several years taken on a project to identify a number of gravestones and markers belonging to Sevier County servicemen and women. Since that project began, the Legion has been able to find the resting location of most of the individuals named on those markers.

Gregory said the remaining stones can be viewed at the Sevier County Museum. He asks anyone with information on the individuals named on those markers to contact the American Legion so they can hopefully be placed in their rightful home.

City of De Queen pool to open Memorial Day     05/27/22

DE QUEEN – This weekend marks the traditional beginning of the City of De Queen’s summer pool schedule.

The city pool will open for the first day of the season on Monday, May 30, Memorial Day. Following this, the hours of public swim are Monday through Friday from 12 noon to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The pool is closed on Sunday.

As in previous years, a free adult and senior only swim is open Monday through Friday from 9-10 a.m. This time is for adults 25 years or older and no children will be allowed in the pool during this time.

General admission remains at $3 person and season passes can be purchased for $50. Family passes for four or more family members are available at a cost of $200.

Pool parties can be booked during afternoon and evening hours Monday through Saturday by contacting the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department at 642-4140. Pool parties are available for booking on Sunday by Vacation Bible Schools and other church groups only.

Swim lessons are again available this year and can be scheduled by contacting the park office.

Contact Jill Smith on Facebook for information on this year’s De Queen Dolphin Swim Team. There is no age requirement and the team will practice during evening hours through July 31.

The parks department is also debuting this year the city’s new splash pad. The project was funded through a $480,000 grant from Pilgrim’s. A splash pad is a large water-themed public park attraction usually only seen in much bigger communities. They are praised in other cities for the cool space they provide without the need for a lifeguard because there’s little to no standing water. Splash pads are also known for drawing in residents far and wide during the warmer months.

The City of De Queen and Sevier County Chamber of Commerce will officially inaugurate the new splash pad during a ceremony today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Herman Dierks Park.

Body of missing Howard County woman found     05/27/22

Original story reported by www.southwestarkansasradio.com

HOWARD COUNTY – The body of a Howard County woman was discovered on Thursday just a day after she was reported missing.

According to Howard County Sheriff Bryan McJunkins, authorities discovered the body of 37-year-old Summer Denise Younger Thursday evening along Blue Bayou Road in Howard County.

Younger’s body will be sent to the state medical examiner’s office for further examination and cause of death.

Younger was reported missing by family members on Wednesday. She was last seen around 11:15 Tuesday morning at her resident on Blue Bayou Road.

AGFC urges safety when hitting the water this holiday weekend     05/27/22

The Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer for Arkansas’s boating fraternity. It’s one of the busiest times on the water, but the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is reminding the public that it can also be one of the most dangerous if proper precautions aren’t taken.

The most important piece of safety equipment when hitting the water this weekend is a life jacket. Boaters are required to have a properly fitting life jacket for everyone on board. By law, all children 12 and under must have their life jacket on and secured any time they are on the boat.

Life jackets aren’t the only items a boater needs to check for while preparing for a day on the water. A quick glance to make sure your boat has a fire extinguisher if it has enclosed fuel tanks and some method to signal for help also are worth their weight in gold should you encounter trouble on the water. Additionally, anyone out after dark should make sure that their boat is equipped with a proper light source.

AGFC officials also stress the importance of having a designated driver on the boat at all times and to practice moderation with any alcoholic beverages on board.

Boater education is mandatory for anyone born on or after January 1, 1986 who is operating a motorboat or personal watercraft.

Visit www.agfc.com/boatered for more a full list of Arkansas’ boating regulations.

Election officials share updates on May 24 primary elections     05/27/22

DE QUEEN – Sevier County election officials are informing the public of a couple of notices in regards to the May 24 party primary election.

First off, Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akin has announced the election commission meeting scheduled for May 31 has been cancelled as there were no provisional ballots cast in the May 24 election.

Also, there will be no run-off Election on June 21 in Sevier County. The run off in the contest of the Supreme Court Associate Justice Position 2 will instead be on the November ballot.

Howard County election officials will hold a run-off election on June 21 for the position of county judge. Neither of the top two candidates in that election – incumbent Kevin Smith and challenger Brent Pinkerton – secured enough votes to prevent a run-off election. Smith ended the May 24 election with 36 percent of the vote while Pinkerton received 30 percent. Two other candidates split the remainder and will not be included on the run-off ballot.

Legacy Academy lauds students at awards ceremony; graduation is tonight     05/27/22

 

Grace Tucker was acknowledged for being named All-state basketball players. She is pictured with Chad Gallagher, founder of Legacy Academy.

 

LOCKESBURG – Legacy Academy, Sevier County’s private Christian School in Lockesburg, recognized its award-winning students in a 2-hour ceremony, Thursday evening, before a packed auditorium of students, parents, teachers, friends, and supporters in the community. The theme of the night was, “Joyfully Different” and the school’s founder, Chad Gallagher, exhorted the parents and the students to celebrate the importance of living a Christian life that is counter to prevailing cultural norms often seen today. The night centered around a celebration of the school’s commitment to the Christian faith and to honoring its values with authentic Christian living.

Stand-out students were honored with more than eighty awards and citations of recognition for achievements in sports, academics, and character development. Teachers Mrs. Rachel Garner, Mrs. Sara Rachel, and Ms. Susan Shelton received the school’s Pioneer Award for their establishment of the school’s very successful Empowerment Lab, an intensive educational program designed to assist students with educational breakthrough and interventions. Zebbie Launius, girls’ coach and Doug Currence, clockkeeper,  were honored for their contributions in the past year in basketball. Junior Ethan Gallagher received a special citation for scoring the most points in a single season of basketball in the state of Arkansas during the 2021-2022 season, scoring 901 points this year. He and senior Grace Tucker were acknowledged for being named All-state basketball players, with Junior Dori Bartek receiving honorable mention. 

The night begin with Kindergarten graduation, promoting the school’s youngest learners  into the first grade and the school’s grammar level stage. This promotion was followed by the athletic awards, which included awards for track and field and basketball. Basketball awards included best defensive and offensive effort, as well as team player awards, and the “work hard” awards. Dr. Jason and Cindy Lofton received the “Heart of a Warrior” award, which is given to honor those who sacrificially support and enhance the athletic program. The school also acknowledged notable season successes for the athletic program, including the junior high relay team consisting of Everette Martz, Wyatt Roden, Manolo Vazquez, and Eli Mitchell that placed 2nd at the state meet, along with Manolo Vazquez’s third place in junior high long jump, Eli Mitchell’s first place in shot put, and Ethan Gallagher’s second place in high school discus. The junior boys’ basketball team was commended for delivering the school its first state championship this season. 

 

Legacy Academy teachers Mrs. Rachel Garner, Mrs. Sara Rachel, and Ms. Susan Shelton received the school’s Pioneer Award for their establishment of the school’s very successful Empowerment Lab, an intensive educational program designed to assist students with educational breakthrough and interventions.

 

Students across the school were honored with academic excellence awards and Logic level (7-9th grades) and Rhetoric level (10-12th grades) were awarded subject awards with one student received honor for each major course subject including humanities, foreign language, mathematics, English & literature, and science. Sixth grader Silas Lofton, was also presented with the Presidential Citation of Excellence, awarded by the US Secretary of Education and the President of the United States to students who have made all As in the 3rd-6th grades. 

The highlight of the night was the school’s character awards. Rookie students (1-3 graders) who demonstrated good character and choices throughout the year received the Rookie Citizenship award, while outstanding Proteges (4-6th graders) were honored with Excellence in Character Awards. Students in 7th-12th grade were also acknowledged with Salute Awards. To receive a salute award a student must be nominated by both peers and teachers alike and must uphold school values consistently throughout the year. The chief honor of the night is the school’s most prestigious award, the Legacy Honor Award. This can only be awarded to Rhetoric level students (10-12) and is reserved for either one student alone or one worthy female and one worthy male student. Recipients must be overwhelmingly selected by faculty and peers alike and are honored for most representing the school’s values and representing Christ well in all areas of life. This year the honor was bestowed up senior Grace Tucker and Junior Ethan Gallagher.

Guests enjoyed a video recapping the year and sang the alma mater together before dismissal. 

 

Junior Ethan Gallagher received a special citation for scoring the most points in a single season of basketball in the state of Arkansas during the 2021-2022 season, scoring 901 points this year. He is pictured with his father, Chad Gallagher.

 

Legacy Academy, a classical Christian school, offers students a rigorous academic program. Learning is divided into three stages beginning with Kindergarten through 3rd grade students known as Rookies; 4th-6th grade students are known as Proteges; 7-9th our Apprentices, and Sophomore-Seniors as Legacy Scholars. In addition to its faith-centric approach and strog academics, the school boasts an award winning athletics program of basketball and track and will be adding other sports programs in the near future with an eye toward cross country, golf, and baseball next. The school also operates a pre-kindergarten program for three and four year olds. Legacy is now enrolling students for the fall, with additional information on the school’s website: www.legacywarriors.org

Legacy’s  commencement ceremony will be held Friday, May 27 at 7 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium.

 

Comment period open for plan to replace Six Mile Creek Bridge in Polk Co.     05/27/22

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Department of Transportation will host a public comment period on the proposed plan to replace Six Mile Creek Bridge in Polk County. The comment period began this week and continues through Friday, June 10. The public may view the meeting materials and provide written comments during this period by visiting Events Feed page at www.ardot.gov

2022 Millwood Lake Fishing Challenge ends June 3     05/27/22

ASHDOWN – The Little River County Chamber of Commerce will wrap up its 2022 Millwood Fishing Challenge next week and anglers are encouraged to get to the lake and try their hand at catching the remaining prize fish available through the challenge.

The challenge kicked off on Millwood Lake near Ashdown on March 1 and continues through June 3.

The contest is open to anyone with a valid Arkansas fishing license and a valid badge that can be purchased for $15. Badges can be purchased at Bogey’s and Milway Federal Credit Union in Ashdown, and Futrell Marine in Nashville.

Visit the Little River County Chamber of Commerce online at www.ashdownarkansas.org/millwoodfishingchallenge for more details.

Jana Bradford wins district prosecutor race, election sees low turnout in Sevier     05/26/22

Arkansas party primaries ended last night with voters deciding a number of party challenges across the state ahead of this November’s General Election.

One of the most watched races in Southwest Arkansas was for the next Ninth West Judicial District prosecutor. The position covers the counties of Sevier, Little River, Howard and Pike.

The May 24 election ended with a clear winner in that race: Jana Bradford, who received a total of 5,032 votes, or nearly 58 percent, across the four-county district. Her opponent, Mickey Buchanan, received a total of 3,707 votes or just above 42 percent across Sevier, Little River, Howard and Pike Counties.

Only Little River County saw more support for Buchanan than Bradford. There he received a total of 62 percent of the votes cast. In Sevier County, Bradford received 52 percent and nearly 71 percent in Howard.

The district prosecutor is elected to four-year terms in Arkansas. Bradford will begin at the start of 2023.

In other locally watched primaries, Larry Cowling edged out Butch Lisenby in the Republican primary for Little River County Judge. Cowling received just under 54 percent of the vote in the primary and will face the Democratic challenger for Little River County Judge, Elbert Bradley, Jr., in the November General Election.

There will also be a run off election for Howard County Judge for Republican candidates Brent Pinkerton and Kevin Smith. Smith had the most votes of the four candidates seeking the office at 36 percent, while Pinkerton ended the night with 30 percent. Among the other two candidates, John Maines collected 23 percent of the vote and Steve nation had 11 percent. A runoff election will be held June 21 in Howard County between Smith and Pinkerton as neither received a high enough percentage of votes to eliminate the need for a runoff.

From the city of Mineral Springs, voters elected Bobby Tullis to return as mayor, defeating Vera Marks, 53 percent to 47 percent.

The May 24 primary election drew out a relatively small crowd from Sevier County, with just 23 percent of registered voters turning out to cast their ballot. Nonetheless, it is notable that more ballots were cast in Sevier County on a GOP primary ballot than there are Republican voters. The county has 425 registered Republicans and 357 registered Democrats. The remaining 6,629 voters are registered independents. Yet, of the 1,700 ballots cast in Sevier County this election, 1,358 were on Republican ballot. That equals just under 320 percent of registered Republican voters.

Likely, it was the high number of Republican party challenges for statewide offices that saw this high percentage of Republican ballots cast in Sevier County in the May 24 primary election.

UA Cossatot Head Basketball Coach Byrd to leave, Coach Pagan to take his place     05/26/22

DE QUEEN – UA Cossatot has announced that Head Basketball Coach and Athletic Director Robert Byrd has accepted the head basketball coaching position at Coastal Bend College in Beeville, Texas.

Reflecting on his time spent at UA Cossatot, Coach Byrd said it’s a bittersweet day for him and that he’s thoroughly enjoyed his two years at UA Cossatot. In a statement Byrd said he believes that a solid foundation is in place and that athletics will continue to flourish at UA Cossatot.

Dr. Steve Cole, chancellor of UA Cossatot, stated Assistant Coach Bryant Pagan will replace Byrd as both Head Basketball Coach and Athletic Director.

In his remarks regarding the Colts basketball coaching change, Coach Pagan said he was both thankful for his two years of working with Coach Byrd at UA Cossatot and optimistic about the future of the athletic programs at Cossatot.

Coach Byrd’s last day at UA Cossatot will be June 10, 2022. Coach Byrd, Coach Pagan, and the UA Cossatot administration believe the transition will be a smooth process.

Parade this evening in Ashdown to celebrate Pantherette’s state softball championship win     05/26/22

ASHDOWN – A parade will be held this evening in Ashdown to celebrate the Ashdown High School Pantherettes and their state softball championship win this past weekend.

The parade begins at 5 p.m. in front of Ashdown High School and continue onto Locust, Hagan, Ellen and Locke Street before returning to the school.

All Panther fans are invited to come out, line the route and support the Ashdown High School Class 3A State Softball Champions.

The Ashdown Panthers softball team dominated Atkins 6 to 0 this past Saturday to claim the Class 3A State Championship at the Benton Athletic Complex.

The Ashdown girls utilized their speed to score two runs in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings and rode the shut-out pitching of sophomore Madison Cook to blank Atkins 6 to 0. Cook threw a complete game in the circle, scattering five hits, striking out five, and walking four. Cook worked her way out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh inning to seal the victory. It was the first state softball title for Ashdown since 2008. And a word of warning to future opponents…..the Panthers softball team started all underclassmen in the state championship game. Kylie Erwin was named the Most Valuable Player of the state tournament.

40th annual Sevier County Senior Citizens Day is June 3     05/26/22

DE QUEEN – Organizers are gearing up to present the 40th annual Sevier County Senior Citizens Day appreciation event next week. The event is set for Friday, June 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the lawn of the Sevier County Courthouse. This year’s theme is Spring Carnival and organizers encourage everyone 55 years of age and older to come by for a host of free health screenings, demonstrations, food, prizes and fellowship.

The county’s oldest man, woman and longest married couple will also be honored during the event.

For more information on this year’s Senior Citizens Day appreciation event contact the Sevier County Courthouse at 642-2425.

Arkansas HAF continues to seek applications in state     05/26/22

A statewide assistance program is continuing to seek applications from Arkansans who found themselves falling behind on their mortgage and utility payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Called the Arkansas Homeowner Assistance Fund, or HAF, the federally-funded program seeks to help Arkansas residents who are behind on their mortgages, electricity, gas and/or internet payments.

Homeowners must have a total annual household income of less than 150% of the area median income of their county. To determine eligibility for a specific county, go to arkansashaf.com/qualify

Eligible homeowners are encouraged to apply through the online portal at apply.arkansashaf.com or contact the call center at 888-698-0964. Call center hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Applicants will need a valid ID, proof of homeownership, income documentation and documents showing mortgage delinquency.

Half-day workshop in Hope this Friday to cover pond management topics     05/26/22

The University of Arkansas Extension Service will host a half-day workshop on pond management this Friday, May 27 at the UofA Southwest Research & Extension Center in Hope. The workshop is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the center, located at 362 Highway 174 North in Hope.

Topics include pond weed identification and management, fish stocking and impact of ponds on cattle health. There will also be a Q&A session with extension pond and fish specialists and an electrofishing demonstration.

There is no cost to attend and a free catfish dinner will be provided. However, those interested in attending must pre-register. Pre-registration can be completed by calling the Hempstead County Extension Office at (870) 777-5771.

Arkansas one of 12 states affected by Jif recall    05/25/22

Arkansas is one of 12 states reporting salmonella cases connected to a product recall of Jif brand peanut butter products, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The latest major food recall from the FDA, issued May 20, includes more than 50 different Jiff peanut butter products, including creamy, crunchy, natural and reduced-fat peanut butters and honey. Jars with lot codes 1274425 through 2140425 have been recalled and should be disposed of.

Salmonella contamination can cause fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain – some of the key symptoms of food poisoning,” said Bryan Mader, assistant professor and health specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “Fortunately, there is an easy way to check whether the products in your pantry are affected.”

To check if Jif products are part of the recall, visit this page on the FDA website. There is also a secondary FDA recall that covers other products containing Jif peanut butter, including chocolate-covered candies and crackers. To check products included in the secondary recall, visit this page on the FDA website.

If you have these products in your home, you have the option to return them to the retail store where they were purchased, or simply throw them away,” Mader said. “If you have these products in your home and you have recently consumed them, monitor yourself or your family members for symptoms of salmonella and consult a healthcare professional if you become ill.”

For real-time notices of food recalls and alerts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the FDA, visit the Cooperative Extension Service’s Food Recalls page. 

Dierks School Board approves bonuses for all employees    05/25/22

DIERKS – Members of the Dierks School Board approved a bonus for all school employees and discussed other items related to the district during Monday night’s regular monthly meeting.

Monday night, Dierks Superintendent Jody Cowart reported the district’s ending balance was down $67,000 from last year. He also stated revenue was down, but the district had received some additional funds for the food service department and an ELC grant in the amount of $51,716.

Board members accepted the low bid from Mainstream AC for the air purifiers and a bid for a new roof top HVAC unit from Carver Heating and Air in the amount of $29,700. Cowart stated the district would use the ELC grant funds to pay for the air purifiers and ESSR III funds for the roof top unit.

Cowart stated the district has been on the state’s enhanced transportation list and encouraged them to remain on the list once a new superintendent is hired and new board members installed. Cowart said the district received $35,000 this year by being included on the list. Board members then voted to lease a 71-passenger Thomas model bus from Midwest Bus Sales.

Cowart then recommended a $500 a non-reoccurring bonus for all school employees. The total cost to the district will be $45,800.  

Flash flood watch expires early    05/25/22

Forecasters with the National Weather Service have called off the flash flood watch for Southwest Arkansas, Southeast Oklahoma and Northeast Texas that was implemented Tuesday morning. The watch was originally set to expire Thursday morning but the listening area received less rain than expected, allowing forecasters to expire the watch earlier than expected.

Tri Lakes Big Bass Tournament set for this weekend    05/25/22

The Sevier County Chamber of Commerce will present the 32nd annual Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival this weekend von De Queen, Dierks and Gillham Lakes.

The event is scheduled for 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 28 at all three lakes. Registration fee is $45 and enters each angler into a chance to win some of the $14,000 in cash prizes for this year’s bass tournament – including the $1,500 top prize for the biggest bass. Registration forms are available at the chamber office on the courthouse square in downtown De Queen. This year’s event will include a registration bundle for $65 which includes registration fee and a tournament hat. Wear your hat at the hourly weigh-ins and, if you take first place, you’ll win an additional $50.

Check-in will be held at Oak Grove and Rolling Fork landings on De Queen Lake, Coon Creek and Little Coon Creek on Gillham and at Jefferson Ridge on Dierks Lake. Weigh-in sites will be located at all three lakes.

For more information, contact the chamber of commerce at (870) 584-3225.

Flash flood watch in effect thru Thursday morning    05/24/22

Forecasters with the National Weather Service have issued a flash flood watch in anticipation of heavy rainfall expected across the listening area today and tomorrow.

The flash flood watch went into effect 7 a.m. Tuesday morning and is currently set to expire at 7 a.m. on Thursday. The watch effects communities in Sevier, Howard, Little River and McCurtain Counties as well as Northeast Texas.

Rain chances range from 50 to 90 percent through today and tonight. Those chances fall to 60 percent tomorrow and 20 percent tomorrow night as more dry weather enters the area later this week.

Two to four inches of rain will be possible along with isolated higher amounts. Flooding could occur in poor drainage and urban areas along with other flood-prone locations.

Accident on Saturday claims life of Horatio man    05/24/22

DE QUEEN – The Arkansas State Police has reported that a single vehicle accident claimed the life of a Horatio man over the weekend.

According to state police records, 38-year-old Claude Ray Smith, Jr., of Horatio, was traveling westbound on Highway 70B just west of De Queen on May 22 when his 2007 Chevy Tahoe veered left, exited the roadway and struck a culvert. The force of the collision caused the vehicle to overturn onto its driver side.

The accident occurred around two that afternoon.

Smith was transported to Howard Memorial Hospital where he later succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the accident.

The investigating state trooper reported weather conditions as cloudy but dry at the time of the accident.

CRSD superintendent says no closure of Umpire campus planned    05/24/22

UMPIRE – Officials with the Cossatot River School District are addressing concerns regarding the financial viability of the Umpire campus and, in effect, whether it will continue as a separate campus within the district.

The answer: yes it will.

During the May 19 meeting of the Cossatot River School Board, Superintendent Tyler Broyles raised concerns he’s heard regarding the future of the Umpire campus. During that meeting Broyles stated the district is committed to maintaining the campus and Umpire Schools’ long tradition within the Umpire community.

“Umpire is going to continue to operate at this time and there is no closure agenda,” said Broyles. “We are in a campaign to get more students back [to Umpire Schools].”

Broyles said the Umpire campus and the Cossatot River School District as a whole is facing no financial difficulties. Given the concerns he has heard from the community, Broyles said he brought the topic up for discussion on May 19 to counter any misconceptions about the future of the Umpire campus.

“In the preceding weeks I had gotten questions from community members and staff that I thought would be good to answer through an informative meeting and to also cure some misconceptions out there,” said Broyles.

Broyles stressed the Umpire campus is not under any threat of closure at this time. There is a concern, he said, with declining enrollment. Between 2020 and 2021, the district saw a drop in enrollment from 121 students to 87. That decline is more than twice what the district saw in previous years.

“I think COVID may have been a lot of the reason for that, but when you lose 37 kids at a campus that small in one year, then district leadership cannot ignore that,” Broyles explained. “We just need to embark on some campaigns to try and do what we can to show people why the Umpire campus is the right place for their kids.”

To counter the decline, Broyles said the district is partnering with media and other entities in the community to highlight the opportunities available on the Umpire campus. The district hopes that campaign will encourage more parents to send their children to Umpire schools.

“They have a lot to be proud of at the Umpire campus,” Broyles said. “I call it one of Arkansas’ best kept secrets. It has advanced where it needed to and stayed the same where it needed to. We’re looking for ways to sustain the campus and we just need more students there.”

Some changes are coming to the Cossatot River School District beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. Earlier this year, the school board voted to restructure the district to house all kindergarten through second grade students at the Vandervoort campus and rename it the Cossatot River Primary School. Third through sixth graders will move to the Wickes campus which will be renamed the Cossatot River Elementary School.

Transportation will be provided to all students affected by the change. Broyles said the change was a compromise among several other options and would pave the way to more progress in the future. He said it would strengthen the district’s academics by providing more aligned curriculum and more collaboration among staff within the same grade levels.

Broyles also stated it would provide more financial stability for the district as a whole.

Create Bridges wins press award for coverage of Latino businesses in De Queen    05/24/22

The UA Division of Agriculture’s CREATE BRIDGES Project was recognized with a first place win in the Web & Social Media category at the 2022 Arkansas Press Women’s Awards in Little Rock this weekend.

The winning entry is titled “Bilingual in Business,” and served as the 27th episode of their “Small Business: Big Rural Impact” podcast series and explored Latino entrepreneurship in De Queen.

The team also received Second Place in the Social Media category for a blog written about Ashley Campos, a De Queen nail salon owner who opened her business with support from resources obtained through CREATE BRIDGES last year.

First place winners at the state level advance to compete in the National Federation of Press Women’s contest and will be recognized during a reception on June 25th in Fargo, North Dakota.

The winning episode was recorded in both Spanish and English, and the interviews explore positive contributions made by Hispanic business owners in Sevier County over recent decades. The Spanish version is hosted by KDQN Espanol radio personality Diego Martinez, and the English edition is conducted by former CREATE BRIDGES Program Coordinator Murriel Wiley.

Community leaders Lorena Esquivel and Nelson Ramirez are lifelong locals of the De Queen area who were interviewed for the podcast in both languages.

Esquivel and Ramirez explain the ways that Hispanic-owned businesses help bring tax dollars to the community and offer diversity in retail inventory for the area. They also discuss the impacts of soccer, Spanish radio, and how offering services in multiple languages benefits community economics. 

The episodes run roughly 25 minutes long and can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and BuzzSprout.

More information about the CREATE BRIDGES economic development project can be found online at www.uaex.uada.edu/createbridges and The podcast website is located at www.uaex.uada.edu/createbridgespodcast.  

Today is election day for Arkansas primary challenges    05/24/22

DE QUEEN – Today is election day in Arkansas.

Polls will be open across the state through 7:30 this evening.

Voters are reminded they can view their polling locations and look at sample ballots for the May 24 election by visiting www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections.

Voters within the Ninth West Judicial District – which includes Sevier, Little River and Howard Counties – are deciding the next district prosecutor during this month’s elections. The race is between Mickey Buchanan of Ashdown and Jana Bradford of Glenwood, both of whom are running as independents.

There are a number of political challenges for local offices in Sevier. However, none are party challenges and all will be decided during the November General Election. It’s likely for this reason – the lack of local primary contests – that the early voting period in Sevier County only drew out a few hundred voters – significantly less than in past elections, specifically years in presidential elections.

There is one primary challenge in Little River County for the office of county judge. Two Republicans have filed for the office: Larry Cowling and Butch Lisenby. Little River County Republican voters are deciding between Cowling and Lisenby this month. The winner of that contest will face Elbert Bradley, Jr. – who has filed as a Democrat – in the November general election.

Arkansans across the state are also deciding a number of party primaries for statewide and national offices this month, ranging from U.S. Senate to Arkansas Attorney General.

Officer-involved fatal shooting in Mena under investigation by ASP    05/23/22

MENA – Polk County authorities have requested the Arkansas State Police to investigate a shooting incident that occurred in Mena as sheriff’s deputies were about to enter a residence where a domestic disturbance had been reported just before 10 p.m. on May 19.

Rickey Looney, 40, of 108 Majesty Lane was shot by a law enforcement officer after Looney reportedly ordered authorities to leave, then pointed a gun at one of the three sheriff’s department personnel who was about to enter the home. Looney was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where he later died.

Sherriff’s department personnel initially responded to Looney’s home after a woman reported she had accidentally shot Looney with a pistol as he attempted to stop her from leaving following an argument between the two.

Special agents of the state police Criminal Investigation Division are conducting an investigation into the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer. The investigative case file will be used by the Polk County prosecuting attorney in making a decision whether the use of deadly force was consistent with Arkansas law.

The identity of the law enforcement officer who shot Looney is not being released at this time. The sheriff’s department and prosecuting attorney will decide when to move forward in making the identity public.

State police special agents are continuing their investigative work today and will obtain an autopsy report from the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where the medical examiner will determine the cause and manner of death.

Last day of early voting is today    05/23/22

DE QUEEN – Today is the last day of early voting for the May 24 preferential party primary election.

In Sevier County, the early voting process will continues today until 5 p.m. at the Community Building in the Herman Dierks park.

Little River County voters can early vote at the Little River County Election Center located at 349 North Third Street in Ashdown. Early voting for citizens of Little River County is also available at the Foreman Community Center. Both locations will be open until 5 p.m. for early voting.

Voters are reminded they can verify their registration, view their polling locations and look at sample ballots for the May 24 election by visiting www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections.

Voters within the Ninth West Judicial District – which includes Sevier, Little River and Howard Counties – are deciding the next district prosecutor during this month’s elections. The race is between Mickey Buchanan of Ashdown and Jana Bradford of Glenwood, both of whom are running as independents.

There are a number of political challenges for local offices in Sevier and Little River Counties However, none are party challenges and all will be decided during the November General Election.

Except for the race for Little River County Judge, where two Republicans have filed for the office: Larry Cowling and Butch Lisenby. Little River County Republican voters are deciding between Cowling and Lisenby this month. The winner of that contest will face Elbert Bradley, Jr. – who has filed as a Democrat – in the November general election.

Arkansans across the state are also deciding a number of party primaries for statewide and national offices this month, ranging from U.S. Senate to Arkansas Attorney General.

Arkansas Pantherettes claim state softball championship title    05/23/22

BENTON – The Ashdown Panthers softball team dominated Atkins 6 to 0 Saturday to claim the Class 3A State Championship at the Benton Athletic Complex in action heard live on 102.1 The Good Path. On the baseball diamond earlier in the day, Ashdown lost a 4-2 heartbreaker to Harding Academy to fall short of a state title.

The Ashdown girls utilized their speed to score two runs in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings and rode the shut-out pitching of sophomore Madison Cook to blank Atkins 6 to 0. Cook threw a complete game in the circle, scattering five hits, striking out five, and walking four. Cook worked her way out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh inning to seal the victory. It was the first state softball title for Ashdown since 2008. And a word of warning to future opponents…..the Panthers softball team started all underclassmen in the state championship game. Kylie Erwin was named the Most Valuable Player of the state tournament. In Saturday’s championship game, Karielle Forbes had a pair of hits. Jaela Coleman, Lakenya Williams, and Kaylee Walker all had run-scoring hits. Jeana Paredes added a single. The Ashdown girls finished the season with a record of 25 and 5.

In the baseball championship contest, the Ashdown boys took a 2 to 0 lead into the fifth inning. The defending state champs from Harding Academy took the lead with a three-run fifth inning, and the Wildcats added an insurance run in the sixth inning to defeat the Panthers 4 to 2. Alex Keilbach pitched the first five innings for Ashdown, and Derek Hilton pitched the final inning in relief. Keilbach and Hilton had RBI singles in the Panthers two-run third inning. Hilton had two hits on the day. Spencer Patterson and Walt Jones added singles. Patterson was tagged out trying to steal home in one of the game’s most exciting plays. The Panthers baseball team finished the year as state runners-up with a record of 26 wins and seven losses. 

Lockesburg man arrested on two felony charges involving minor    05/23/22

DE QUEEN – A Lockesburg man is facing two felony charges after investigators with the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office say he engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor.

According to the sheriff’s office, the 36-year-old Locksburg man was arrested on charges of sexual indecency with a child and possession of child pornography following an investigation that began the beginning of this week.

Investigators received information on May 16 that the suspect had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old minor. Authorities allege the suspect, who was reported as a close family friend of the victim’s family, convinced the minor to send nude photos and himself sent explicit and inappropriate messages to the minor through SnapChat.

Due to the close relationship of the suspect and the victim’s family, we’ve elected to not mention the suspect’s name in this story.

However, investigators have filed two felony charges against the suspect, who was arrested and had his phone confiscated as part of the ongoing criminal investigation.

Arkansas Feral Hog Taskforce announces new federal funding    05/23/22

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is announcing that additional funding has been made available to assist with feral hog eradication efforts in Arkansas. Senator John Boozman was instrumental in securing $650,000 in federal funding through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture to implement additional eradication efforts across the state.

In a press release, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward said the funding Boozman secured will be used by the Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force to expand efforts to remove more feral hogs from Arkansas’s croplands, pastures, forests, and wetlands.

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture will use the federal funds to work with USDA Wildlife Services to establish a statewide feral hog management plan. These efforts will supplement ongoing removal activities, including eradication efforts in 12 Arkansas counties including funded through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program. That pilot program is currently operating in both Sevier and Howard Counties.

USDA Wildlife Services will use the funding from the BRCC to purchase additional traps.

Approximately 30,000 feral hogs have been removed from the state by members of the Feral Hog Eradication Task Force (Task Force) since January 2020. The Task Force was created by the Arkansas legislature in 2017 to create a plan for the eradication of feral hogs in Arkansas and is made up of 21 federal and state agencies and non-government organizations. More information on the Task Force can be found at agriculture.arkansas.cov bit.ly/FeralHogETF

 

Feral hogs are an invasive species that are especially destructive to agricultural crops, native wildlife, and young domestic livestock. In Arkansas, the latest survey by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated that feral swine cause at least $41 million in agricultural damages every year, including $34 million in damages to soybeans, corn, cotton, wheat, hay, pecans, and rice, and $7.3 million in damages to livestock. Landowners experiencing feral hog damage are encouraged to call USDA Wildlife Services at (501) 835-2318 for assistance.

Local high school athletes compete at state field events    05/23/22

FAYETTEVILLE – Five athletes from De Queen and Ashdown competed in the grueling High School State Decathlon and Heptathlon on May 18th and 19th in Fayetteville. The Decathlon includes ten events: Long Jump, High Jump, Triple Jump, Pole Vault, Discuss, Shot Put, 100-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, and the 1500-meter run. 

Shamar Easter, a Junior from Ashdown, finished in third place overall among the 74 participants with 5,565 points. The strongest events for Shamar, who has committed to play football for the Arkansas Razorbacks, were third place finishes in the high jump and shot put; a fifth-place finish in the discus throw, and a ninth-place finish in the long jump. De Queen sophomore Luke Pearce finished 43rd overall with 4,174 points, including a seventh-place finish in the pole vault. Senior Peyton Williams of Ashdown finished 55th with 3,793 points. And, Senior Luke Reed of De Queen finished 59th with a score of 3,697 points.

The girls Heptathlon featured seven events in the two-day meet. Laura Mae Harp of De Queen finished in 69th place with 2,232 points. 

State Rep. DeAnn Vaught Weekly Update    05/23/22

By State Rep. DeAnn Vaught

The House Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs Committee met jointly with the Senate Children and Youth Committee last week to hear from groups actively working to combat human trafficking.

The Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC) testified that there were 13 arrests for human trafficking charges in Arkansas in 2021.

In 2022, there have been 4 arrests.

Since the year 2000, there have been 14 convictions for individuals facing human trafficking-related charges in Arkansas.

Representatives for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) also testified in the committee.

In 2021, the organization received more than 17,000 reports of possible child trafficking. The organization estimates that 1 in 6 of the children reported missing to NCMEC who had run away were likely victims of child trafficking.

Boys made up 6% of the child trafficking cases reported to NCMEC.

The committee also heard from organizations helping survivors recover from abuse.

Members will review the information presented to determine if there is a need to strengthen existing laws.

In the 2021 Regular Session, lawmakers passed a number of acts addressing human trafficking in Arkansas.

Act 798 provides heightened conditions for release on bail for persons accused of human trafficking and human trafficking-related offenses.

Act 1106 establishes an affirmative defense for victims of human trafficking accused of certain offenses.

Act 1098 creates the offenses of grooming a minor for future sex trafficking and traveling for the purpose of an unlawful sex act with a minor.

Child trafficking victims often are unable to self-identify as victims or disclose their abuse because of fear, shame, or loyalty to their abuser(s). It is not a child’s responsibility to ask for help. It is up to the professionals and trusted adults in these children’s lives to recognize the signs associated with child sex trafficking, so they can intervene and help them get the support they deserve.

You can report suspected child trafficking or make a tip at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) CyberTipline.org 

Just a few days left of early voting for May 24 party primary    05/19/22

Arkansas voters have just a few days left of early voting before next Tuesday’s May 24 preferential party primary.

In Sevier County, the early voting process will continue through May 23 at the De Queen Community Building. Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday May 9-20.

The early voting location will also be open two Saturdays, May 14 and May 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The final day of early voting will be May 23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Little River County voters can early vote at the Little River County Election Center located at 349 North Third Street in Ashdown. Early voting for citizens of Little River County is also now available at the Foreman Community Center at 200 Shuman Street..

The Little River County Election Center is open Monday through Friday during the early voting period from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturdays.

Voters can verify their registration, view their polling locations and look at sample ballots for the May 24 election by visiting www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections.

Sevier County Election Commission meetings set    05/19/22

DE QUEEN – There will be a meeting of the Sevier County Election Commission on Tuesday, May 24 in the Sevier County Courthouse Conference Room. This meeting will be to canvass absentee ballots and tabulate all ballots of the Preferential Primary Election, School Election, and Nonpartisan Judicial General Election. The meeting will begin at 5 p.m.

There will also be a meeting of the Sevier County Election Commission on Tuesday May 31 at 1 p.m. This meeting is for hearing objections to any provisional ballot decisions that might be made on Election Night. If all UOCAVA absentee ballots have been returned, the election will be certified at this meeting. If the Commission is unable to certify the May 24 Elections at this meeting, a meeting will be held on June 3 in the County Clerk’s office for this purpose.

All Election Commission meetings are open to the public.

Today, tomorrow last days of De Queen’s Spring Cleanup Week    05/19/22

DE QUEEN – It’s spring clean up week in De Queen and city officials are asking everyone to do their part in making sure the city’s looking good and as free of trash and debris as possible.

Spring clean up week begins today and continues through May 20. City residents are asked to clean up their properties by getting rid of brush and leaves as well as large items like old and unused appliances. De Queen citizens can contact De Queen City Hall at (870) 584-3445 to have a time scheduled for the city to assist by collecting those large items and brush and leaf piles.

The De Queen Fire Station will also collect old and unused electronic items for recycling during clean up week only. Old computers, printers, cellphones and other electronic items can be dropped off at the fire station from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. between today and May 20.

Continuing this year, the city is hosting an Adopt-a-Block program. Mayor Jeff Brown said this is a way for city residents to give back by ensuring the areas around their homes, neighborhoods and nearby streets are cleaned up and free of trash.

AHS Valedictorian Landon Wright named Gov. Scholar    05/19/22

ASHDOWN – Ashdown High School Senior Landon Wright was named an Arkansas Governor’s Distinguished Scholar for Little River County this year.

In order to even be considered for the honor, a minimum composite score of 32 in the ACT must be made AND either a 3.50 academic grade point average or selection as a National Achievement Finalist or National Merit Finalist. The Arkansas Governor’s Distinguished Scholar’s program promotes academic excellence and to encourage the state’s most talented graduates to enroll in Arkansas post-secondary educational institutions is created and established which shall be cited as the Arkansas Governor’s Scholars Program.

Landon Wright is the 2022 AHS Valedictorian and on May 7th was able to attend the Governor’s Scholastic Honors Day held at the Governor’s Mansion.

Landon is the son of Kelly and Emily Wright and plans to attend Ouachita Baptist University and major in chemistry with plans to become an optometrist.

Foreman woman facing numerous drug, firearms charges after search warrant    05/18/22

ASHDOWN – A Foreman woman is facing numerous felony drug and firearm charges after a search warrant was executed on her home earlier this month.

According to the arrest affidavit filed this week in the Little River County Circuit Court, law enforcement officers served a search warrant on a home at 101 Little River County Road 173 in Foreman on May 2. An arrest warrant was issued after residents of the home were allegedly observed selling methamphetamine, the affidavit states.

During a search of the residence, officers reportedly located firearms and illegal controlled substances. The firearms found included two shotguns, both chambered at the time of their discovery. Authorities allege one of the shotguns was illegally sawed-off to an eight-inch barrel and had a ground off serial number making it impossible to read the number.

Authorities allege a box inside the home contained two bags of suspected methamphetamine for a total of four grams. An additional 20 grams of marijuana were reportedly confiscated along with related drug paraphernalia including scales and packaging.

Following the search warrant officers arrested the home’s occupant, 48-year-old Jeannie Dianne Rhodes.

The arrest affidavit claims Rhodes told investigators she had been selling methamphetamine over a one-year period and was given the sawed-off shotgun for personal protection.

In total, Rhodes is facing seven felony counts. The offenses include possession of controlled substances, possession of controlled substances with the intent to deliver, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, criminal use of a prohibited weapon, possession of a defaced firearm, maintaining a drug premise and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Arrests made in theft of tractor from Sevier County    05/18/22

DE QUEEN – A De Queen man is in custody for his connection to the theft of a tractor from Sevier County earlier this month.

According to a press release issued by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, Deputy Justin Richardson took a theft report on May 7 regarding a stolen John Deere tractor from Sevier County.

Several days later, on May 11, Deputy Greg Davignon and Investigator Brian Hankins along with law enforcement officers from McCurtain County located the tractor and recovered it from a location in Broken Bow, Okla.

After further investigation, authorities connected the theft to 39-year-old Cody Culp of De Queen. He was charged with accomplice to theft of property for his alleged involvement in the stolen tractor. The charge is a Class B felony. In addition, Oklahoma authorities have an additional, unnamed male suspect in custody on charges of receiving the stolen property.

Sevier County Chamber hosting cleanup day across county this Saturday    05/18/22

LOCKESBURG – A number of community cleanup events have been scheduled for this Saturday in In Sevier County as part of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful statewide cleanup campaign.

Organizers will meet up beginning at 8 a.m. at numerous locations throughout the county. That includes at the UofA Cossatot Bank of Lockesburg Gym. Cleanup crews will be canvassing in and around Lockesburg through 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 21.

Other meetup locations for this cleanup day event include at the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce office in downtown De Queen, the Gillham Fire Department and the Horatio Elementary School Cafeteria. All four of these cleanup events are scheduled for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Those who register for one of these events by Thursday, May 19 will receive a free t-shirt. Registration can be done on the Step Up to Clean Up event page on the Facebook page of the Sevier County Chamber of Commerce. Those interested can also contact Judy Pickett at (903) 276-2034 or Melinda Taggart at (740) 739-0022 to get registered.

Dalton Jones Memorial Skeet Shoot set for this Saturday    05/18/22

BROKEN BOW, Okla. – Local skeet shooters are being invited to the annual Dalton Janes Memorial Skeet Shoot, scheduled for this weekend in Broken Bow. The yearly memorial competition is held to help raise money for various causes in McCurtain County.

The event will take place at 1961 Gardenia Road in Broken Bow and signs will be in place to help those arriving.

The memorial skeet shoot is open to everyone with several divisions, including adults and children. There will be a trophy for the highest shooter in all three categories.

Organizers say everyone is welcome to come by, compete in the skeet shoot and enjoy some free food and fellowship while remembering Dalton Janes and raising funds for local youth shooting sports. Numerous prizes will also be given away.

The event will kick off at 10 a.m. this Saturday and continue until the last shooter competes.

The memorial skeet shoot was set up in memory of Dalton Janes, who passed away in 2013. He had a passion for skeet shooting and had just won a gun at a county skeet shoot. It was one of his prized possessions. In honor of Dalton, family and friends have hosted the shooting event each year. This year, funds raised will be donated to the McCurtain County Skeet Shoot program in hopes of allowing more local youth to get into skeet shooting and enjoy one of Dalton’s passions.

For more information on the event, contact Heather Beat at (580) 236-2696 or Emily Kirby at (580) 236-4171.

Horatio to honor Class of 2022 during grad ceremony tomorrow night    05/18/22

HORATIO – Horatio Public Schools is informing its families of some important upcoming dates.

That includes an appreciation event for the senior student body on today starting at 2 p.m. An appreciation event will be held on Thursday starting at 12 noon for parents of Horatio seniors.

In addition, graduation for the Horatio Lions Class of 2022 will be held Thursday night beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Lions Stadium.

Other upcoming events include reviews for semester testing this Friday, kindergarten graduation next Monday, May 23, starting at 8:30 a.m. Sixth grade graduation is set for later in the day at 1 p.m.

Elementary awards will be presented for first through second grades on Tuesday, May 24 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Awards for grades third through fifth will begin at 10 .m.

Wednesday, May 25 is make-up day for semester testing and also the last day of school.

De Queen man charged with negligent homicide in Pike County     05/17/22

From www.southwestarkansasradio.com

PIKE COUNTY – A De Queen man has been arrested in connection with a fatal accident that occurred in November of last year.

The Pike County Sheriff Office has reported 31-year-old Joshua Edward Becerra was arrested last week by Sevier County Sheriff’s deputies. Becerra had been charged April 26 in Pike County with Negligent Homicide and a misdemeanor count of Driving While Intoxicated, 3rd offense.

State police say Becerra was traveling along U.S. Highway 70 last November, near Kirby, when his vehicle crossed the center line and collided with another vehicle driven by 40-year-old Jonathan Orr of Nashville. Orr died from injuries received in the accident. Toxicology reports on Becerra allegedly returned results showing his blood alcohol content was above the legal limit.

Becerra is currently being held on a $100,000 bond.

Upon conviction, the negligent homicide offense can carry a sentence of five to 20 years in prison.

Legacy Academy announces top grads of Class of 2022     05/17/22

LOCKESBURG – Legacy Academy announced that senior Grace Tucker is the private school’s Class of 2022 Valedictorian.

Grace has a perfect 4.0 for all of her high school career. In addition to her academic success, she met all of the other graduation requirements at Legacy Academy, including performing over 400 community service hours and completing a two year capstone project.

For her capstone project, Ms. Tucker learned about art wall murals and painted one on a wall at the school’s campus in Lockesburg. Grace also served as the captain of the Lady Warriors basketball team and was this year’s homecoming queen. Grace is the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Scott Tucker. She will attend Ouachita Baptist University in the fall.

Daniel Williams is the Class of 2022 Salutatorian. Mr. Williams’ capstone project was to research for and write a book. He authored a book with more than 350,000 words. All seniors presented their capstone projects last week. Daniel is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Mark Williams. He plans to attend Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, Florida.

SCSO to host blood drive June 1     05/17/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Sheriff’s Office will host a blood drive on Wednesday, June 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its location on 137 Robinson Road.

Due to ongoing blood supply shortages across the nation, everyone who can donate blood is encouraged to do so. The gift of a blood donation can impact the life of someone you know, someone you’ll meet or even your closest loved one.

All donors will receive a free “Drop in & Give” t-shirt.

For more information contact Chris Wolcott at the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office by calling 784-0748 or emailing cwolcott@seviersheriffar.org.

Rusty Relics antique tractor show set for this weekend     05/17/22

NASHVILLE – The Rusty Relics will host its 18th annual Antique Tractor Show in Nashville this weekend.

The event kicks off May 21 at 9 a.m. and will continue through three that afternoon at 424 Yorks Chapel Road, located between Lockesburg and Nashville on Highway 371. Signs will be placed along the way for the ease of visitors.

The event will include an antique tractor show, tractor games, races, a parade, concessions and fun for all ages. There will be a drawing for one lucky person to win a Harry Ferguson antique tractor. Tickets are $5 each or six for $25. See any Rusty Relics members to purchase tickets or purchase them on the day of the show.

There is no cost for admission, parking is free and activities are planned for the whole family. Bleacher seating will be available but everyone is welcome to bring their lawn chairs.

For more information contact Roger White at (870) 451-2096, Rob White at (870) 845-9237 or Lesley White at (870) 451-1239.

“Click-It-Or-Ticket” campaign to begin May 23     05/17/22

Beginning Monday, May 23 state and local law enforcement agencies will have patrols across Arkansas watching closely for motorists not using their seat belts.

The stepped-up enforcement operation will continue through June 5 as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Click It or Ticket campaign which spans the Memorial Day holiday period.

The Arkansas Highway Safety Office reminds drivers and their passengers that the regular practice of using seat belts is a proven lifesaver.

The objective is to change the ways of so many drivers and passengers who never use their seat belts,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. Bryant said the agency wants the act of buckling up to become instinctive for everyone anytime they get in a car or truck to travel.

As a part of the Click It or Ticket plan for 2022, NHTSA has asked authorities in every state to participate in the kickoff event, Border to Border (B2B), a 4 hour national seat belt awareness event coordinated by participating state highway safety offices and their respective law enforcement liaisons scheduled for May 23rd. The B2B program is intended to increase law enforcement participation by coordinating highly visible seat belt enforcement involving drivers at heavily traveled, highly visible, state border locations.

According to NHTSA statistics from 2020, there were 10,893 unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States. More than twice the number of males died in crashes as compared to females. Additionally, the use of seat belts was lower among males. More than half the males who died in motor vehicle crashes (55%) were not wearing a seat belt.

Participating law enforcement agencies will be taking a no-excuses approach to seat belt law enforcement, writing citations day and night.

News and facts about Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities can be found at https://www.tzdarkansas.org/

De Queen boys basketball program hosting training camp     05/17/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen Boys Basketball program will be hosting a fundamental camp for both boys and girls the week of May 31 through June 3.

Session 1 will be from 9 a.m. to 12 noon for kids going into grades 4th through 6th. Skills that will be focused on are ball handling, rebounding, shooting, passing and defense.

Session 2 will be from 1-4 p.m. for kids going into 7th through 9th grades.

Cost for the Camp is $45 per session. Campers will receive instruction from individual coaches and players as well as a camp T-shirt. To register go to the De Queen Boys Basketball Facebook page. Registration will close on May 31.

Accident claims life of Sevier County woman on Friday     05/16/22

DE QUEEN – A two vehicle accident claimed the life of a De Queen woman late last week.

According to the Arkansas State Police, the accident occurred on Highway 70 in Sevier County when a 2001 Ford driven by 55-year-old Juana Vasquez crossed the eastbound lane on Highway 70, crossed the centerline and struck a vehicle in the westbound lane. Vasquez, from De Queen, was killed in the accident.

The accident occurred around 7:30 on the morning of Friday, May 13.

The other vehicle was described in the accident report as a 2012 Cadillac. The driver, an 86-year-old man from Whitesboro, Texas, was injured. He was taken to Howard County Memorial for treatment of injuries sustained in the accident.

The investigating state trooper reported road conditions as clear and dry at the time of the accident.

Bonita Smith of KDQN honored with ABA Celebrating Milestones award     05/16/22

 

During Friday’s keynote luncheon at the 2022 ABA conference, Bonita Smith of De Queen was recognized with the Celebrating Milestones in Broadcasting award. The award, the first of its kind ever issued, was given in recognition of Smith’s 46 years in Arkansas broadcasting.

 

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Broadcasters Association’s 2022 convention wrapped up this weekend with its traditional array of broadcast-specific workshops, networking events and accolades – including the first-ever presentation of an award to one broadcasting professional our listeners will know well.

Bonita Smith, office manager of KDQN in De Queen Chief Financial Officer of the broader Bunyard Broadcasting network, was presented with the Celebrating Milestones in Broadcasting Award during Friday’s keynote luncheon at the ABA conference. The award honors Smith’s 46 years in broadcasting – all of those with KDQN in De Queen. This is the first time the award has ever been issued by the ABA.

In addition to a plaque, $460 – $10 for each of Smith’s 46 years in broadcasting – was donated by the ABA to the Sevier County Medical Center Foundation.

Smith previously announced her intention to retire at the end of 2022. Jay Bunyard, owner of KDQN and Bunyard Broadcasting since 1983, said Smith has been not just an employee, but a mentor and critical component of the broadcasting network he operates across the state. Smith has been a part of KDQN since it was still under the ownership of Haskell Jones.

Bunyard added that Smith will be sorely missed following her retirement this year.

Smith said the award came as a complete surprise at the Friday ABA keynote luncheon.

A native of Grannis and graduate of Gillham High School, Smith saw the transition of KDQN AM to KDQN FM in 1978 and the creation of KILX 102.1 years later. Smith was an instrumental volunteer with the Collin Raye Committee and the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce for many years, including a term as president.

Smith is married to her husband, Walter, and together they have two children: Liz and Jennifer. She is also an active member of her church, Holly Grove Missionary Baptist Church.

It’s spring cleanup week in De Queen     05/16/22

DE QUEEN – It’s spring clean up week in De Queen and city officials are asking everyone to do their part in making sure the city’s looking good and as free of trash and debris as possible.

Spring clean up week begins today and continues through May 20. City residents are asked to clean up their properties by getting rid of brush and leaves as well as large items like old and unused appliances. De Queen citizens can contact De Queen City Hall at (870) 584-3445 to have a time scheduled for the city to assist by collecting those large items and brush and leaf piles.

The De Queen Fire Station will also collect old and unused electronic items for recycling during clean up week only. Old computers, printers, cellphones and other electronic items can be dropped off at the fire station from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. between today and May 20.

Continuing this year, the city is hosting an Adopt-a-Block program. Mayor Jeff Brown said this is a way for city residents to give back by ensuring the areas around their homes, neighborhoods and nearby streets are cleaned up and free of trash.

Leopards, Lady Leopards fall short in state soccer tournament     05/16/22

LITTLE ROCK – It was a great season for the Leopards and Lady Leopards soccer program but hopes for another state championship win were dashed over the weekend with both teams losing to strong performances from their opponents at the state tournament in Little Rock.

The Lady Leopards’ shot at the state soccer championship came to an end on Friday. The Lady Leopards played their hearts out but fell to a dominating Valley View team 5-2. Nonetheless, it was a great season for the Lady Leopards and these ladies, as always, gave it their all at the state tournament.

The Leopards advanced to the semi-finals on Saturday after earning a hard-fought victory over the Brookland Bearkats 2-1 on Friday. But heartbreak struck again on Saturday when the Leopards fell to Farmington 1-0 in one of the tensest games of the state soccer tournament. Coach Stephen Sloan said it was one of those games where the Leopards controlled the game but just couldn’t make the shots needed to get points on the board.

Nonetheless, the Leopards marked this soccer season as District Champs of 4A South for the third year in a row. Sloan said he and the team are extremely thankful for the monetary, food and drink donations made by supporters of Leopards soccer.

The state tournament continues this Friday with the 4A Girls finals between Valley View and Pulaski Academy and, on Saturday, the 4A Boys state finals between Clarksville and Farmington.

Ashdown Panthers advance in state softball, baseball championship tournament     05/16/22

The Ashdown baseball and softball teams advanced to the Class 3A State Championship Games next Saturday in Benton after a big weekend at the State Tournaments in Harrison.

On the baseball diamond, the Panthers defeated the Haskell Harmony Grove Cardinals 7-4 to advance to the title game. Ashdown jumped out to a 5 to 0 lead, and held off the Cardinals. The Panthers reached the semifinal round with a 6 to 2 victory over Elkins Friday in action heard live on 102.1 The Good Path, behind the pitching of senior Jaxon Jester, who threw a complete game allowing only two runs on five hits. Jester helped his own cause with three R.B.I.’s on the afternoon at the plate.

The Panthers battle the Harding Academy Wildcats Saturday morning in Benton at 10:00 for the Class 3A State Championship.

On the softball diamond in Harrison, the Ashdown girls advanced to the title game with a 3 to 0 shutout victory over Hackett in action heard live on 102.1 The Good Path. The Ashdown girls reached the semifinal round with a thrilling 6 to 5 victory over Lincoln on Friday. Kylie Erwin had a walk-off game-winning double for Ashdown. In the Class 3A State Championship game Saturday afternoon at 1:00 in Benton, the Ashdown girls will take on the Atkins Lady Red Devils. 

In the Class 2A State Baseball Tournament Friday in Greenbrier, the Horatio Lions saw their season come to an end with a 15 to 6 loss to McCrory in the quarterfinals.

On the softball diamond in the Class 4A State Tournament in Nashville, the Scrapperettes dominated on their home turf with a 16 to 6 win over Morrilton in Friday’s quarterfinals, followed by a 10 to 0 shutout victory over Stuttgart in Saturday’s semifinals. The Nashville girls will compete for the Class 4A State Softball championship Friday at 4:00 against Valley View in Benton.

Sevier County Cattlemen’s Association to meet tonight     05/16/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Cattlemen’s Association will host its next monthly meeting this evening starting at 7 p.m. at the Jackson Culp Fellowship Hall in Lockesburg.

May is Beef Month in Arkansas and members are reminded to wrap up their membership drives this month. Members announced that Gabbi Morris received this year’s $500 Sevier County Cattlemen’s Scholarship.

For more information on the Sevier County Cattlemen’s Association, contact President Charles Morris at (870) 582-4240.

State Rep. DeAnn Vaught Weekly Update: Honoring Arkansas’ law enforcement officers     05/16/22

By State Rep. DeAnn Vaught

From patrolling morning rush hour to responding to a domestic call late at night, we ask a great deal from our men and women in law enforcement. We cannot thank them enough for their selfless service.

The Governor issued a proclamation declaring May 15-May 21 as National Police Week. Sunday, May 15 is designated as Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The proclamation directs that the state flag of Arkansas be flown at half-staff on Sunday as an expression of public sorrow.

There are an estimated 7,000 officers are protecting and serving 3 million Arkansans. We recognize that a single week is not a sufficient amount of time to honor their continually sacrifices. We hope the legislation enacted in the most recent session helps to support them and their families throughout the year.

In the most recent fiscal session, we passed an appropriation providing a one-time stipend of $5,000 to full-time certified city and county law enforcement officers, as well as probation and parole officers. It also provided for a $2,000 one-time stipend for state troopers.

We also increased the budget for Arkansas State Police by $7.4 million increase to assist in raising the salaries for state troopers.

In the 2021 Regular Session, we passed Act 714, which requires a city of first-class to establish a city police department and provide the department with proper resources.

 

We also addressed the mental health of our officers by passing Act 747. This bill states law enforcement agencies must assist a law enforcement officer involved in a critical incident in obtaining services that may help the officer recover from psychological effects.

We passed legislation that was recommended by the Governor’s Task Force to Advance the State of Law Enforcement in Arkansas. Act 218 limits a law-enforcement agency to two part-time officers for every full-time officer. The task force report noted that the higher ratio of full-time officers would strengthen in-house training and enhance stability.

 

And we passed legislation making sure K-9 units get the necessary medical services they need if injured in the line of duty with Act 790 titled Gabo’s Law.

We will continue to explore ways to support our law enforcement. We encourage Arkansans to take this week as an opportunity to say thank you and show your appreciation to those who keep your communities safe.

Oklahoma man in jail after attacking Horatio man with knife     05/13/22

HORATIO – An Oklahoma man is in jail on a felony battery charge after allegedly attempting to enter a home and then stabbing one of the occupants when he was not let inside.

According to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched to a residence on Williamson Loop near Horatio on May 11 in reference to the report of a stabbing.

When they arrived they spoke with the victim, who told police an older white man had attacked him at his home after attempting to gain access to the residence. The man allegedly produced a knife and cut the victim several times before the victim was able to subdue the man and force him to leave. Deputies were given a description of the vehicle the suspect fled in.

Soon after, deputies found a vehicle and driver matching the description. The vehicle was stopped and the driver, identified as 58-year-old Arthur Tucker of Shinwell, Okla., was placed into custody. The arrest affidavit notes that deputies suspected Tucker was under the influence of some substance due to his erratic behavior at the time of his arrest.

The victim was treated by first responders with Southwest EMS for several stab wounds to his body.

Tucker was transported to the Sevier County Jail and has been charged with felony battery in the second degree.

Soccer Leopards advance in state tournament     05/13/22

LITTLE ROCK – The Leopards are another step closer to earning another state soccer championship following wins as the state tournament on Thursday.

Both the De Queen Leopards and Lady Leopards soccer teams posted impressive victories in the opening round of the Class 4A State Tournament Thursday in Little Rock. The Lady Leopards advanced with a 4 to 1 victory over E-Stem of Little Rock, while the Leopards shut out Warren 7 to 0.

The De Queen girls meet Valley View Friday morning at 10 a.m. at Pulaski Academy field, while the Leopards battle Brookland this afternoon at 4 p.m. at Pulaski Robinson field.

Horatio Lions advance after Thursday baseball win     05/13/22

In other local high school sports news, at the Class 2A State Baseball Tournament Thursday afternoon at Greenbrier, the Horatio Lions advanced with a 10 to 2 win over Southside Bee Branch. Meanwhile, the Dierks Outlaws saw their season come to an end with an 8 to 4 loss to Bigelow.

The Lions return to action in the quarterfinals Friday at 12:30 against Thursday’s McCrory – Lavaca Winner.

The Ashdown Panthers played the CAC Mustangs in the opening round of State 3A Softball tournament Thursday in Harrison. The Panthers came away with a 2 to 1 victory that had Panthers fans all biting their nails and breathing a sigh of relief as the last out was made.

Maddie Cook pitched a five hit complete game. Maddie was constantly ahead in the count and gave the Panthers a fabulous effort. Jala Richard made an amazing play in the third inning by throwing out a Mustang runner trying to score from third. Kylie Erwin was the hitting star with two doubles and two RBIs. Also the boys defeated DeWitt 11 to 1 to advance to the second round as well. The boys game will be heard live today at 2:45 on 102.1 the Good Path and on the KILX App.

AG Rutledge warns of tech support scam in Arkansas     05/13/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Cattlemen’s Association will host its next monthly meeting on Monday, May 16 starting at 7 p.m. at the Jackson Culp Fellowship Hall in Lockesburg.

May is Beef Month in Arkansas and members are reminded to wrap up their membership drives this month. Members announced that Gabbi Morris will receive this year’s $500 Sevier County Cattlemen’s Scholarship.

A presentation will take place on May 15. For more information on the Sevier County Cattlemen’s Association, contact President Charles Morris at (870) 582-4240.

Rodeo in Foreman this weekend    05/13/22

FOREMAN – Foreman will host a Rodeo next weekend, May 13 and 14 at the Little River County Fairgounds. Sheep riding will kick off at 7:30 p.m. with the rodeo to begin at eight. Numerous events are scheduled including bareback, breakaway, tie down, chute doggin, ribbon roping and bulls. Gate fee is $7 and contestants do not pay. For more information, and to submit an entry, text (580) 286-1635.

AG Rutledge warns of tech support scam in Arkansas     05/13/22

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is warning Arkansans of a prevalent tech support scam infecting common electronic devices, such as smart phones, laptops and tablets. This antivirus software scam usually begins with a phone call or pop-up message on the consumer’s electronic device. The communication is actually from a fake tech support representative claiming to be from a well-known technology company.

How the scam works is that a representative or message will claim to the consumer that there is a virus infecting a device or that the consumer’s virus protection has expired. The consumer is instructed to install software immediately in order to protect the device and private information. When the device is accessed in this way, the scammers install applications that allow remote access to the device any time without the victim’s knowledge or permission. The scam artists use this information for illegal activities, such as gaining access to consumer’s bank accounts. Scammers will quickly drain the accounts and move on to another unsuspecting victim.

Remember these tips when safely navigating online:

  • No legitimate company will ever send you an unsolicited email asking for your personal information.
  • If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply.
  • Contact the business identified in the original message directly by using the customer service number provided to you on a reliable statement to verify the legitimacy of the message.
  • Do not give sensitive information in response to an unsolicited request.
  • Immediately delete all suspicious emails, and never open email attachments or click on links from unknown sources.

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Attorney General’s office by calling (800) 482-8982 or visiting ArkansasAG.gov.

Petition period begins today for 2022 municipal candidates     05/12/22

DE QUEEN – Sevier County election officials are sharing information on the filing period and other details for this year’s municipal elections.

Today is the first day that signatures may be collected on petitions for municipal candidates. The official filing period for those municipal candidates will be Aug. 3 to noon on Aug. 10.

Signatures collected more than 90 days before the Nov. 8 election will not be counted. Petitions should have the candidate name, position sought, Office, and /or District before signatures are collected. Petitions must contain at least 10 signatures of registered voters who are residents of an incorporated town and cities of the 2nd Class or at least 30 signatures of registered voters who are residents of cities of the 1st class. Candidates must file a Petition of Candidacy, Affidavit of Eligibility, and Political Practices Pledge with the County Clerk.

Municipal Positions to be voted on include all alderman positions in Gillham, Ben Lomond, Lockesburg and Horatio. In De Queen, several city council seats will be voted on this year: Alderman Ward 1 – Position 2, Ward 2 – Position 2, and Ward 3 – Position 2.

In addition, the City Clerk/Treasurer of De Queen, Ben Lomond, and Gillham are also up in this year’s election, as well as mayor of De Queen, Horatio, Lockesburg, Ben Lomond, and Gillham.

The County Clerk will certify the candidates to the Election Commission at the close of the filing period and a Ballot Draw will be conducted if necessary, by August 28.

 

Statements of Financial interest are due to the City Clerk by Aug. 17 for non-incumbent candidates for Municipal Office.

Sample petitions and other required forms are available in the County Clerk’s Office.

If you have questions or need the forms listed above please feel free to call The Sevier County Clerk’s office at 870-642-2852.

Anyone interested in being an election worker should contact the county clerk’s office at 870-642-2852.

And be sure to make address or name changes to your voter registration prior to election day.

State soccer tournament begins today     05/12/22

LITTLE ROCK – The De Queen Leopards are set to compete this morning in the state soccer tournament in hopes of earning their seventh championship win in the team’s 14-year history.

Both the De Queen Leopards and Lady Leopards soccer teams compete in the Class 4A State Tournament that begins today at Robinson High School in Little Rock.

At 9:00, the Lady Leopards, the number two seed from the 7-4A Conference, battle E-Stem High School. The Leopards, the 7-4A Conference champions and the number one seed, battles the Warren Lumberjacks in boys action in the first round Thursday afternoon at 3:00.

LITTLE ROCK – The De Queen Leopards are set to compete this morning in the state soccer tournament in hopes of earning their seventh championship win in the team’s 14-year history.

Both the De Queen Leopards and Lady Leopards soccer teams compete in the Class 4A State Tournament that begins today at Robinson High School in Little Rock.

At 9:00, the Lady Leopards, the number two seed from the 7-4A Conference, battle E-Stem High School. The Leopards, the 7-4A Conference champions and the number one seed, battles the Warren Lumberjacks in boys action in the first round Thursday afternoon at 3:00.

CRSD to host summer feeding program for community     05/12/22

WICKES – The Cossatot River School District is reaching out to families in its service area regarding this summer’s feeding program.

The summer feeding program will provide meals to the community, including both breakfast and lunch. All meals will be provided ad Wickes Elementary School between May 31-June 3, June 7-10, June 14-17 and June 21-24.

Those aged 18 and under can receive both meals at no cost. Adults can purchase breakfast for $2.25 and lunch for $4.

Breakfast will be served 7:30-8 a.m. while lunch is scheduled each day from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.

For more information contact Carla Harwood, the district’s child nutrition director, at (870) 385-7101, ext. 5800.

Arkansas SHIP workshop for Medicare-eligible individuals     05/12/22

HOPE – The Arkansas Senior Health Insurance Information Program, also known as Arkansas SHIP, will present an informational session this month to help area seniors learn more about the federal Medicare program.

The event is scheduled for May 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hempstead Hall in Hope. The event will be held in partnership with the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Arkansas to provide free information and guidance for Medicare eligible individuals.

The session will be free, confidential and educational. Hempstead Hall is located at 2400 South Main Street in Hope.

For more information about Arkansas SHIP and the event day in Hope, call 1-800-224-6330.

Whitmore places 11th at Meet of Champs track meet     05/12/22

It was great experience for the De Queen track team members who competed against State Champions from all classifications in Wednesday’s Meet of Champs at Russellville High School.

Donyea Whitmore was the only De Queen athlete to place. The junior tossed the discuss 134 feet 3 inches to finish 11th in the event.

It was the final Meet of the season for the De Queen Teams who had great spring campaigns. The Leopards finished third in the Class 4A State Meet, while the Lady Leopards finished in fifth place last week at Harrison. Junior Belle Lindsey set new school records in both the 100 and 300 meter hurdles.

Leopards basketball program hosting skills camp     05/12/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen Boys Basketball program will be hosting a fundamental camp for both boys and girls the week of May 31 through June 3.

Session 1 will be from 9 a.m. to 12 noon for kids going into grades 4th through 6th. Skills that will be focused on are ball handling, rebounding, shooting, passing and defense.

Session 2 will be from 1-4 p.m. for kids going into 7th through 9th grades.

Cost for the Camp is $45 per session. Campers will receive instruction from individual coaches and players as well as a camp T-shirt. To register go to the De Queen Boys Basketball Facebook page. Registration will close on May 31.

DHS students receive Seal of Biliteracy     05/12/22

Congratulations to 34 DHS Spanish 3 & 4 students who recently earned the Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy for demonstrating proficiency in English and Spanish by high school graduation. These outstanding students are 34 of 780 Arkansas students from around the state who have earned this distinction.

De Queen High School was fourth in the state with the most students who have achieved this honor. These students had to show proficiency in English, which was determined by a 19 or higher on the ACT for both English and Reading, as well as scoring a 5 or higher (Intermediate Mid – Advanced High) on the Spanish language proficiency exam.

The Seal of Biliteracy is now recognized in 48 states and Washington D.C. According to the official website, “the Seal of Biliteracy encourages students to pursue biliteracy, honors the skills students attain, and can be evidence of skills that are attractive to future employers, the military, and college admissions offices.”

Since the 2017 pilot year in Arkansas, a total of 3,309 students from 80 high schools around the state have attained this certification across 19 languages other than English.

Jane Moore, De Queen High School Spanish teacher,

I want our community to know that just because a student may have some background in speaking Spanish, that does not mean he or she is proficient in the language. There are 4 proficiency domains in all languages and they are listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Most of my students have had no formal education in Spanish until entering our program in the 9th grade. We also had 1 non-native speaker to receive the Seal and another non-native speaker who was only 1 point away from earning the Seal. Mrs. Esther Hendershot and I will continue to work hard growing our program and helping our students become bilingual and to hopefully earn the Arkansas Seal of Biliteracy one day..” – Jane Moore, HS Spanish Teacher, Levels II, III, and IV

Leopards set to compete in state soccer tournament this Thursday     05/11/22

The De Queen Leopards are set to compete this week in the state soccer tournament in hopes of earning their seventh championship win in the team’s 14-year history.

Both the De Queen Leopards and Lady Leopards soccer teams compete in the Class 4A State Tournament that begins on Thursday at Robinson High School in Little Rock.

At 9:00 Thursday morning, the Lady Leopards, the number two seed from the 7-4A Conference, battle E-Stem High School. The Leopards, the 7-4A Conference champions and the number one seed, battles the Warren Lumberjacks in boys action in the first round Thursday afternoon at 3:00.

Seven DHS athletes heading to Meet of Champs     05/11/22

De Queen High School will send seven athletes to compete in the Meet of Champs in track and field action today at Russellville.

The Lady Leopards, who finished fifth at the state track meet last week, will be represented by Belle Lindsey in three events. The junior will compete in the Long Jump, 100 meter hurdles, and 300 meter hurdles. Belle set school records in both the hurdles events at the state meet last week at Harrison. 

The Leopards, who finished third in the state meet last week, will be represented at the Meet of Champs today by Donyea Whitmore in the discus throw. Dominic Moore will run in the 110 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles. And the 4 by 800 relay team, consisting of Johnny Sanchez, Randy Rodriguez, Juan Balderas, and Carlos Aguilar, will compete today in Russellville.

De Queen Public Schools looking at three-year vision, goals for district     05/11/22

This week administrators and school board members with De Queen Public Schools took a look not just at the upcoming school year, but goals for the district to accomplish over the next three years.

Following several district reports, Superintendent Jason Sanders discussed the district’s three year vision. He tasked school board members to return in June with one or two projects or goals they hope to see the district accomplish over the next three years.

Sanders said the entire community is a shareholder in the school district and the school board, as elected representatives, are the voices of the community when it comes to the operation of De Queen Public Schools. Sanders hopes the projects and goals accomplished over the next three years will be representative of the broader De Queen community.

During Monday night’s meeting, Sanders also reported that 20 new students were accepted for the 2022-2023 school year. All 20 of these students live outside the De Queen School District boundaries and will attend De Queen Public Schools through the School Choice Act. The figure is the highest Sanders has seen in his five years with the district. It’s a testament, he said, of the positive perception of De Queen Public Schools in the region.

As is common this time of year, the De Queen School Board also accepted a number of resignations and new hires. Several retirements this year include well-known district employees such as Jan Durham, an administrative assistant in the administration office who has been with the district for over four decades. The school board also accepted the resignation of Brian Walthour, who will retire after many years as a De Queen High School math teacher – a position his father also held.

On the administration level, the resignation of Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton was accepted. Shelton plans to retire following this school year. The board then voted to promote Misty Gentry as the new assistant superintendent alongside assistant superintendent and athletic director Lance Pinkerton.

The De Queen School Board is set to meet again June 13 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the administration office. This and all meetings of the school board are open to the public.

Cossatot River students advance to state shooting tournament     05/11/22

 

Top Shots – Cossatot River High School’s Senior Team Squad One placed 10th overall in the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports West Regional tournament on May 7. The squad, alongside the Cossatot River Junior Team, earned a trip to the state tournament with its performance.

 

JACKSONVILLE – More than 75 junior squads and over 100 senior squads competed in Jacksonville this past weekend at the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports West Regional tournament.

The top 16 Junior squads and top 16 Senior squads qualified for the State Tournament to be held June 3 and 4th.

Cossatot River High School’s Junior Team, which included Flint Dickerson, Tayden Broach, Thomas Goethals, Dalton Jewell and Cody Shelton, placed seventh and qualified for the State Tournament.

Gabe Bell was the Lone Ranger on Junior Squad Two and Doubled his shooting average.

Senior Team Squad One, which included Brodie Dickerson, Cole Brantley, Hunter Hamm, Jerrod Frachiseur and Noah Richardson placed 10th overall and also qualified for the State Tournament.

Senior Team Squad Two included Cooper Hayes, Travis Taylor, Braylee Jewell, Jacob Richardson and Easton Johnson. They came up only five targets short of qualifying for the state tournament.

Senior Team Squad Three included Justin Bell, Bradley Harwood, Landon Case and Kyler McKee. They walked to the line one shooter short of a full five person squad but gave good effort with a couple shooters having their best scores shooting in Jacksonville.

Today is deadline for BQA workshop in Wickes     05/11/22

WICKES – Today is the deadline to register for the University of Arkansas Extension Service’s 2022 Beef Stockman and Stewardship program, which will be held in Wickes later this month.

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on both May 20 and May 21 at the Wickes Community Center. There is a limit of 25 people per day and those interested must register by May 11.

Registration can be completed by calling the Polk County Extension Service at (479) 394-6018.

Topics will include cattle handling and care, biosecurity, herd health, transportation, nutrition and environmental stewardship. Upon completion participants will receive BQA certification.

Leopards and Lady Leopards advance to state soccer tournament     05/10/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen Leopards and Lady Leopards soccer teams celebrated Senior Night with shutout victories over Nashville Monday night at Leopard Stadium.

The Lady Leopards blanked the Scrapperettes 5 to 0, while the Leopards shutout the Scrappers 4 to 0. Both De Queen Teams will advance to the Class 4A State Tournament later this week. The Leopards, as conference Champs, will be a number one seed. Despite going unbeaten in league play, the Lady Leopards will be a two seed in the state tourney because two of their conference contests ended in ties.

In baseball action, the Dierks Outlaws won the 2A South Regional tournament at Parker’s Chapel Monday night with a thrilling 6 to 5 win over Murfreesboro.

Accident in Sevier County claims life of Horatio man     05/10/22

HORATIO – The Arkansas State Police has released information on an accident that claimed the life of a Sevier County man last week.

According to the State Police’s fatal crash records, 61-year-old Mike Bellville of Horatio was killed on May 2 in a single-vehicle accident on Highway 41 just north of Horatio. The investigating state trooper reported Bellville’s 2004 Jeep Wrangler struck a ditch along the highway.

Bellville was transported to Baptist in Little Rock but later succumbed to the injuries he sustained in the accident.

Early voting for May 24 primaries now underway across Arkansas     05/10/22

DE QUEEN – Early voting began Monday for the May 24th party primary elections in Arkansas.

In Sevier County, the early voting process will continue through May 23 at the De Queen Community Building. Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday May 9-20.

The early voting location will also be open two Saturdays, May 14 and May 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The final day of early voting will be May 23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Little River County voters can early vote at the Little River County Election Center located at 349 North Third Street in Ashdown. Early voting for citizens of Little River County is also available at the Foreman Community Center at 200 Shuman Street beginning on May 18.

The Little River County Election Center is open Monday through Friday during the early voting period from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturdays.

Voters can verify their registration, view their polling locations and look at sample ballots for the May 24 election by visiting www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections.

Voters within the Ninth West Judicial District – which includes Sevier, Little River and Howard Counties – will decide the next district prosecutor during this month’s elections. The race is between Mickey Buchanan of Ashdown and Jana Bradford of Glenwood, both of whom are running as independents.

There are a number of political challenges for local offices in Sevier and Little River Counties However, none are party challenges and all will be decided during the November General Election.

Except for the race for Little River County Judge, where two Republicans have filed for the office: Larry Cowling and Butch Lisenby. Little River County Republican voters will decided between Cowling and Lisenby during this month’s primary elections. The winner of that contest will face Bradley in the November general election.The winner of that contest will face Elbert Bradley, Jr. – who has filed as a Democrat – in the November general election.

Arkansans across the state will also be deciding a number of party primaries for statewide offices this month.

Memorial service in Little Rock to honor Arkansas’ fallen state troopers     05/10/22

LITTLE ROCK – Survivor families and friends of 19 Arkansas State Troopers killed in the line of duty spanning the departments 87 year history will gather at state police administrative headquarters at today for a memorial service honoring the personal sacrifice of each trooper.

The service is being held in advance of National Police Week, which begins Sunday, to allow the Arkansas survivor families to attend services in Washington D.C. next week.

Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police, will lead the tribute as state troopers from across the state and other law enforcement officers gather around the families of the fallen troopers. The service will take place in front of the Hall of Honor located off the main lobby of headquarters located at One State Police Plaza Drive, in southwest Little Rock.

The Hall of Honor will be opened to families of the troopers killed in service following the memorial service.

The service will include a memorial for Trooper Louis Perry Bryant, who was shot and killed by a white supremacist in 1984 just outside of De Queen. Trooper Bryant was just 37-years-old when he was killed. He was survived by his wife, son and daughter.

The killing led to further tragedy when four members of the De Queen Police Department were killed in an automobile accident while en route to Trooper Bryant’s funeral. Those officers were Captain William Mills, Patrolman Herman Jones, Patrolman William Gilham and Sergeant Roy Brewer.

The murderer, Richard Snell, attempted to flee police after shooting Trooper Bryant. He was apprehended by police in Oklahoma after a shootout. He was sentenced to life without parole for Trooper Bryant’s murder but later sentenced to death for another murder. The death sentence was carried out in 1995.

A graduate of Fayetteville High School, Bryant became a state trooper and worked in Southwest Arkansas. He was widely hailed as a friendly, professional and dedicated law enforcement officer who served as the ideal role model for other men and women entering the profession.

Sevier County Quorum Court returns to pay raise issue, tables topic to June for further study     05/10/22

DE QUEEN – Discussion continues on an effort to provide higher pay to Sevier County employees after the issue was raised by a private citizen last month.

During Monday’s meeting of the Sevier County Quorum Court, justices of the peace raised the issue of raising the salaries of county employees. The issue was tabled but justices discussed potential raises as well as a continuation of bonuses payed for through federal pandemic recovery funds.

Justice Earl Battiest, who heads the quorum court’s budget committee, stressed the county should look at the long term costs of providing raises to all county employees before making its decision. He said the county is not going to raise taxes and therefore must work with the funds it currently has.

Justices are expected to study the pay raise recommendations this month and return to the discussion at the quorum court’s June meeting.

The pay increase discussion was initially raised last month by Sandra Jackson, a private citizen and farmer who resides near Lockesburg.

Jackson said a number of Sevier County citizens were upset that a recent pay raise for county deputies and jailers was not spread to other county departments. Earlier this year, the Sevier County Quorum Court approved a $2.50/hr pay raise for deputies and, last year, approved a pay hike for jailers and dispatchers at the Sevier County Detention Center.

Those pay raises were both passed in hopes of attracting more applicants to the sheriff’s office and to ensure the county was meeting statewide jail staffing standards.

Jackson, whose son is a law enforcement officer, said she understood the need to provide deputies and dispatchers with higher pay. But she stressed that other county employees – from county road crews and transfer station employees to staff within the courthouse’s various offices – were deserving of pay raises. Besides a small cost-of-living adjustment each year, county employees have not received a pay raise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month Jackson also mentioned that inflation – which is currently at a 40-year high – is bringing the county higher sales tax collections while also directly hurting the pocketbooks of county employees and the entire public. Alcohol sales and the collection of sales tax from online sales is also bringing the county greater revenue, she added.

Jackson said that many people in Sevier County are “disappointed and not happy” with Sevier County officials for not getting county employees better wages.

In other business on Monday, the quorum court approved the appointment of Tawana Newton to the Sevier County Housing Authority and the appointment of Cathy Tallant to the Sevier County Equalization Board. Mildred Walker was also reappointment to an additional term on the equalization board.

The quorum court also heard a report from Lori House, CEO of the Sevier County Medical Center. She informed justices of the peace that the hospital was back on track for a Sept. 20 opening date after the theft of copper wire, tools and other materials from the construction site earlier this year.

House also informed the quorum court that 90 percent of the hospital’s exterior is now complete. She introduced the hospital’s newest employee, Kayla Castor, who will head the hospital’s risk management department. House also announced that bond repayments are now underway for the $22 million construction project.

Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Sevier County awards five students     05/10/22

 

Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Sevier County presented five students from Sevier County for a Spring semester. A total of $2,900 in scholarships were presented to Patricia Hernandez, Sidney Snead, Sara Abril, Angelica Padilla and Twana Newton. A student must be a single parent of any age, a Sevier County resident, and go to any higher education institute in the State of Arkansas.

 

Rep. DeAnn Vaught weekly update     05/10/22

By State Rep. DeAnn Vaught

All children deserve to grow up in a loving and stable home. Unfortunately, many children in Arkansas are lacking that stability.

Currently, there are more than 4,600 children in foster care in Arkansas. There arefewer than 1,700 foster families statewide.

May is National Foster Care Month. Children in foster care do better in homes with families, not facilities. DHS needs caring, patient, and flexible foster families who can provide temporary care to children while we work to get them safely back home to their original families as quickly as possible.

Foster care is home-like care provided by licensed foster parents and providers for children who cannot live with their parents because they are either unsafe, have special care or treatment needs that their parents are unable to manage, or other circumstances resulting in their parents or family being unable to care for them.

Placement in foster care is usually temporary and gives families time to make necessary changes so the child can safely live in his or her home and community. Most children in foster care return home to their families, which is called reunification. When children cannot return home, they find permanence through adoption, guardianship, or other means.

You don’t need a lot of money to become a foster parent. However, you must have sufficient resources to meet the financial, medical, physical, educational, emotional, and shelter needs of the child without relying solely on state or federal financial assistance to meet those needs.

Foster home applicants must be at least 21 years of age. Two-parent homes may apply and must demonstrate a stable relationship. A single person also may apply.

Foster parents do not do it alone. They have multiple staff from the Division of Children and Family services to help support the family.

If you think you could provide a loving home to a foster child, visit humanservices.arkansas.govto apply.

Construction of Sevier County’s new hospital back on track following theft     05/06/22

DE QUEEN – Officials with Sevier County’s new hospital say construction is back on track after thieves stole copper wire, tools and other construction materials from the site earlier this spring.

The theft occurred the night or early morning of March 31 and April 1. Thieves reportedly stole an undisclosed amount of installed copper wire and contractor tools. The theft occurred in the midst of an ongoing global supply shortage for many critical materials such as copper.

In a press release, hospital officials said that, due to the quantity of materials that were already installed and then forcibly removed, they foresaw a possible delay of the hospital opening currently scheduled for Sept. 20.

However, Lori House, CEO of the Sevier County Medical Center, said the materials have been replaced and that construction is back on track for the fall opening date.

Following the incident, hospital officials said additional security policies and safeguards were put into place to prevent future thefts from the construction site. In addition, the hospital asks Sevier County residents to report any suspicious activity at the construction site by calling the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office at (870) 642-2125.

The theft remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office at (870) 642-2125.

Hospital officials are continuing to reach out to people in the area interested in applying for one of the more than 100 full-time positions expected at the hospital once it opens this September. The hospital is seeking applicants for all positions within the medical center. To apply, send your resume and cover letter to apply@seviercountymedical.com or visit the hospital’s website at www.seviercountymedical.com.

Ashdown man arrested in Texarkana stabbing incident     05/06/22

TEXARKANA – An Ashdown man is facing a felony charge after allegedly stabbing a man in Texarkana earlier this week.

According to the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department, 34-year-old Patrick Ardwin is charged with second-degree battery following the stabbing incident on State Line Avenue in Texarkana Tuesday night.

Officers were dispatched to the 5100 Block of North State Line Avenue in response to a man seen lying on the ground and bleeding. A bystander was attempting to treat the victim and officers rendered further aid until an ambulance arrived on scene.

The victim told police he had been stabbed by Ardwin. Ardwin was soon picked up after being seen in a parked car at a nearby parking lot. He was arrested and transported to the Miller County Jail.

An investigation into the stabbing continues and anyone with information is asked to contact the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department at (903) 798-3154 or Texarkana Area Crime Stoppers at (903) 793-7867.

Kiamichia Rod Run set for May 21-22    05/06/22

BROKEN BOW, Okla. – The annual Kiamichi Street Rods Rod Run is scheduled for this month in Broken Bow.

The event is set for May 21 and 22 at the Broken Bow City Park. As in previous years, the event will feature a parade through the downtown area with cash prizes for participants. Other activities at this always popular event include a Saturday evening meal, games, door prizes, hot wheel races and a Sunday morning church service. Cash prizes for participants in the Rod Run range from $100 to $300 in addition to dash plaques. T-shirts will also be available.

To pre-register your hot rod by mail, send your registration form to Kiamichi Street Rods, 471 Old Broken Bow Hwy, Broken Bow, OK 74728. Those interested can also contact Dwayne Bean at (580) 584-2345 or, during evening hours, at (580) 584-2355. Cost to register is $25.

Ernest hired as new head football coach for Outlaws    05/06/22

DIERKS – Tuesday, the Dierks School Board voted unanimously to hire Paul Ernest to be the next head football coach, head baseball coach and athletic director for the Outlaws.

Superintendent Jody Cowart said the district received 13 applicants and they interviewed seven.

Ernest was an assistant football and baseball at Horatio for one-year. The head football and assistant baseball coach at Horatio from 2001 to 2010. He was an assistant football coach, assistant baseball coach and head softball coach at Nashville. He was the head football coach for five-years in Gentry and at Mineral Springs for the past two years.

Ernest will replace Jarrod Fannin who left the Dierks School District to be the head football coach and assistant athletic director in the De Queen School District.

Flash flood warning issues for Southwest Arkansas, Northeast Texas     05/05/22

DE QUEEN – A flash flood warning was issued as of noon today for our listening area, including Sevier, Little River and Howard Counties in Southwest Arkansas and Bowie County in Northeast Texas.

At this time, the warning is set to expire at 3:15 this afternoon. A flash flood watch will continue through seven this evening. Cities in the affected area include De Queen, Ashdown, Nashville, Texarkana, Horatio, Dierks, Mineral Springs, Foreman and Hope.

According to the National Weather Service, Doppler radar indicated thunderstorms producing heavy rain across the warned area. Between one and two inches of rain have fallen. Additional rainfall amounts of two to four inches are possible in the warned area. Flash flooding is ongoing or expected to begin shortly.

CRSD hires school resource officer, announces transportation award     05/05/22

WICKES – Cossatot River School District has announced the upcoming school year will begin with a new school resource office.

Officials with the school district said Deputy Mike Underwood has been hired as the school resource officer for Cossatot River Primary School at the Vandervoort Campus. He will begin at the start of the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. His assignment to CRPS means that each district building will now have a school resource officer dedicated to its campus.

Cossatot River Superintendent Tyler Broyles said Underwood brings valuable experience having worked in the Polk County Jail, as a part-time deputy in Montgomery County, and as a part-time police officer in Grannis. Broyles said CRSD is proud to partner with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department to bring another outstanding community member and SRO school resource officer to the school district.

In other news from Cossatot River, the school district has been selected as one of six Arkansas schools to be awarded the School Bus Safety Award for 2022. The recognition, which is awarded by the Arkansas Association of Pupil Transportation (AAPT), recognizes great safety practices regarding the maintenance of the district’s bus fleet. The award establishes CRSD as one of the safest bus fleets in Arkansas for the 2021-2022 school year. The criteria for the award includes quality of the bus inspection, quality of the school bus maintenance records, cleanliness of the school bus fleet, and quality of the preventative maintenance program.

Superintendent Tyler Broyles said the award is a testament to the dedication shown by Cossatot River transportation director Greg Ricks and his staff.

Sevier County Farmers Market meeting this evening     05/05/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Farmer’s Market is reaching out to all local gardeners, bakers, craftsmen and hobbyists interested in participating in this year’s farmers market.

Organizers will host a meeting this Thursday, May 5 from 6-7 p.m. at the Herman Dierks Park in De Queen to sign up new vendors and set the opening date of the farmers market. Organizers only ask that you live in Sevier County or a county adjacent to Sevier to be eligible as a vendor. All items under the Arkansas Cottage law that are hand made, home grown and personally crafted are allowed to be sold at the farmer’s market.

Organizers say the Sevier County Farmers Market is perfect for those who enjoy a low-key, low-cost friendly market atmosphere while visiting as well as selling their wares.

For more information on the Sevier County Farmers Market, visit the group’s Facebook page.

De Queen Senior earns $36k in scholarships from UofA Fort Smith     05/05/22

 

De Queen honor graduate Yazmin Castro-Dominguez has been awarded the Myles Friedman Honors Scholarship valued at $35,000 and the Fort Smith Foundation Award valued at $1,000.
The Myles Friedman Honors Scholarship is based on the application essay, recommendations, resume and interview.
Yazmin is a member of National Honor Society, Spanish Club, Cross Country and the cheer squad. She has also received the National Seal of Biliteracy for Spanish and the National Career Readiness Certificate.
Yazmin is the daughter of Olga Dominguez and Efrain Castro.  She plans to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene.

 

Arkansas man finds biggest diamond of the year at Crater State Park     05/05/22

A regular visitor found a 2.38-carat brown diamond on April 10 at Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park. It is the largest diamond found at the park this year.

After more than a decade of searching and hundreds of diamond finds at the park, Adam Hardin found his first diamond weighing more than two carats. Hardin was wet-sifting soil from the East Drain of the park’s 37.5-acre search area when he found the gem.

Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said many visitors wet sift using a screen set to wash away soil and separate the gravel by size. Smaller gravel is then sorted by weight, sending heavier material to the bottom of the screen.

“When it’s flipped upside-down, the heavier gravel—and sometimes a diamond—can be found on top of the pile,” Cox said.

Hardin carried his gem in a pill bottle to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center, where staff registered it as a 2.38-carat brown diamond.

Hardin’s diamond is the largest found at the park since last September, when a visitor from Granite Bay, Calif., discovered a 4.38-carat yellow gem on the surface of the diamond search area. Hardin’s is the largest brown diamond since the 9.07-carat Kinard Friendship Diamond was discovered on Labor Day 2020.

Finders of large Crater diamonds often choose to name their gems. Hardin named his diamond Frankenstone.

Hardin typically sells his diamonds locally and said he also plans to sell this one. 

260 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2022, weighing a total of more than 44 carats. An average of one to two diamonds are found by park visitors each day.

In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were discovered in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is located on Arkansas Highway 301 in Murfreesboro. It is one of 52 state parks administered by Arkansas State Parks, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism.

De Queen City Council votes 5-1 in support of rezoning effort     05/04/22

DE QUEEN – The De Queen City Council voted Tuesday night to begin the process of allowing the construction of new multi-family dwellings within one of De Queen’s most historic neighborhoods.

In a five-to-one vote, the council approved a Planning Commission ordinance allowing for the rezoning of a neighborhood adjacent to downtown De Queen. Dr. Jason Lofton was the sole dissenting vote on the council.

The area in question encompasses the neighborhood between Fourth and Seventh Streets and from Dequincy to Heynecker Avenues. This neighborhood includes many of De Queen’s oldest and most historical homes. As an R1 zone, only construction of single-family homes was previously allowed within the described area.

Until now, that is. With the council’s approval of the rezoning ordinance, the construction of new multi-family dwellings such as duplexes and townhouses may soon be allowed. The ordinance will take to further readings and votes of approval from the council at future meetings before it is implemented into municipal law.

Tuesday night’s meeting was attended by numerous city residents representing opinions both for and against the rezoning ordinance. Those against have previously cited their concern that allowing the construction of new multi-family dwellings in this area would conflict with its historical appeal.

At last month’s city council meeting, Chad Gallagher, a De Queen mayor and current business owner who owns a historic home within the effected neighborhood, expressed several concerns regarding the rezoning proposal. In particular, he stressed the neighborhood has a historic appeal that would be eroded by the construction of new, multi-family dwellings. He added that many homeowners in the neighborhood live there in part out of an expectation that neighboring homes are solely single-family homes.

The council ended up approving the ordinance out of a need to meet a critical housing shortage within De Queen. At last month’s meeting, ZZ Kamrudding estimated the city needs around a thousand new housing units to meet current demand. Tuesday night, the council heard from other local landlords who said they are flooded with calls from people interested in renting a home in De Queen.

De Queen Mayor Jeff Brown said the housing shortage is one he hears about on a daily basis. He added that the city had recently received three letters of support from local industry and educational institutions in support of the rezoning ordinance.

Brown said the council decided Tuesday night to allow the rezoning process to begin in hopes of meeting the ongoing demand for rental units. He also stressed that the ordinance only allows the construction of new multi-family dwellings and not the retrofitting of existing homes. The ordinance would also prohibit the construction of apartments or the addition of mobile homes in the neighborhood.

Brown said the city is also considering other options to stimulate construction of new housing subdivisions within De Queen. Those, he said, would include easing certain municipal rules and regulations regarding the standards new construction is required to meet.

The council is expected to hold a second reading of and vote on the rezoning ordinance at its June meeting.

Kentucky man killed in Sevier County accident     05/04/22

SEVIER COUNTY – An accident Tuesday evening in Sevier County claimed the life of a Kentucky man and left a Vandervoort woman hospitalized.

According to the Arkansas State Police, 72-year-old Maria Diaz Deleon of Vandervoort was traveling northbound on Highway 71 when her 2018 Chevy Cruz struck a motorcycle in the opposite lane. The reporting state trooper stated Deleon was attempting to turn onto a side road when she pulled out in front of the motorcycle. The accident occurred around 7:20 Tuesday evening.

The driver of the motorcycle, identified as 68-year-old Paul Mays of Heidrick, Ken., was killed in the collision and pronounced dead at the scene by Sevier County Coroner Rusty Williams.

Deleon was transported to the Mena Regional Health System for treat of injuries she sustained during the accident.

The investigating state trooper reported road conditions as clear and dry at the time of the accident.

Two arrested in LRCO on felony DWI charges     05/04/22

ASHDOWN – A Texarkana man is facing a felony charge of driving while intoxicated after he was arrested in Ashdown last month for his sixth overall DWI offense.

According to records in the Little River County Circuit Court, on April 14 an officer with the Ashdown Police Department reportedly observed a vehicle traveling nearly 90mph in a posted 60mph zone. The officer initiated a traffic stop and upon approaching the vehicle reported that he immediately noticed a strong odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle.

The officer then identified the driver as 48-year-old Patrick Dewayne Conway of Texarkana. The officer performed several field sobriety tests which Conway allegedly failed.

A search of Conway’s criminal history showed five previous convictions in Arkansas for driving while intoxicated. With the current arrest Conway’s sixth for DWI, the offense was upgraded to a felony under Arkansas state law. All five of those prior DWI convictions occurred in the previous 10 years.

A September pretrial hearing has been set for Conway.

Upon conviction the felony DWI offense carries a sentence of five to 20 years imprisonment.

An Ashdown man was also arrested last month on a similar charge of felony driving while intoxicated.

The arrest affidavit states that, on April 10, an officer with the Ashdown Police Department was patrolling on North Constitution Avenue when he observed a vehicle driven by a man who the officer knew had a revoked drivers license in Arkansas.

The vehicle was stopped and the driver identified as 60-year-old Larry Dean Baldwin. The officer reported smelling the odor of intoxicates from Baldwin’s vehicle. A portable breath test reportedly showed a reading of .17 percent, or more than twice the legal limit.

Baldwin’s history showed four prior DWI convictions, all in Little River County over the past decade. His current arrest marks Baldwin’s fifth for DWI and raises the offense to a felony.

A pretrial hearing has been scheduled for Baldwin in August.

A conviction for felony DWI carries a sentence of five to 20 years in prison.

2022 County Farm Families of the Year announced     05/04/22

The 75th annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program has named the 2022 County Farm Families of the Year from each of Arkansas’ 75 counties. The families will be visited by a set of judges to determine eight District Farm Families of the Year, which will be announced June 14. The state Farm Family of the Year will be announced in December at the Farm Family of the Year luncheon.

The 2022 Farm Families in our listening area includes Josh Walker and family, owner of Red Bud Farms in Sevier County. The Little River County Farm Family of the Year is Joe Wallis and family, owner of Boudreaux Farms. In Howard County, the Farm Family is the family of Brandon and Samantha Manasco. And, in Polk County, the 2022 County Farm Family of the Year is Monte and Krystal Hostetler, owners of MK Ranch.

Since 1947, the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program has served as a vehicle to recognize outstanding farm families throughout the state. The objectives of the Farm Family of the Year program are:

  • To give recognition and encouragement to farm families who are doing an outstanding job on their farm and in their community;
  • To recognize the importance of agriculture in the community and state; and
  • To disseminate information on improved farm practices and management.

Selection as Arkansas Farm Family of the Year include efficiency of production, conservation of energy and resources, leadership in agricultural and community affairs, home and farm improvement, and home and farm management.

Sevier County Farmers Market to host first meeting of the season on Thursday     05/04/22

DE QUEEN – The Sevier County Farmer’s Market is reaching out to all local gardeners, bakers, craftsmen and hobbyists interested in participating in this year’s farmers market.

Organizers will host a meeting this Thursday, May 5 from 6-7 p.m. at the Herman Dierks Park in De Queen to sign up new vendors and set the opening date of the farmers market. Organizers only ask that you live in Sevier County or a county adjacent to Sevier to be eligible as a vendor. All items under the Arkansas Cottage law that are hand made, home grown and personally crafted are allowed to be sold at the farmer’s market.

Organizers say the Sevier County Farmers Market is perfect for those who enjoy a low-key, low-cost friendly market atmosphere while visiting as well as selling their wares.

For more information on the Sevier County Farmers Market, visit the group’s Facebook page.

Car submerged in DQ Lake found to be reported stolen in 2014     05/03/22

 

First responders use boats to locate a vehicle found submerged in De Queen Lake over the weekend.

 

DE QUEEN – A vehicle found in De Queen Lake by a fisherman over the weekend has been identified as a vehicle stolen nearly a decade ago.

According to Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry, the vehicle was found submerged in the lake by a fisherman late Sunday while using a live scope from his boat. He notified authorities who then dispatched investigators to the location where the vehicle was seen on De Queen Lake.

On Monday, Jay Litchford with the De Queen Fire Department assisted in diving to check the object which was then confirmed as being a vehicle.

Authorities were able to recover the vehicle and identify it as a vehicle reported stolen in 2014. An investigation remains underway and authorities say more details will be released in the future.

 

Early voting kicks off Monday for May 24 primary election     05/03/22

DE QUEEN – Early voting begins next Monday for the May 24th party primary elections in Arkansas.

In Sevier County, the early voting process may be conducted May 9th through 23rd at the De Queen Community Building. Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday May 9-20.

The early voting location will also be open two Saturdays, May 14 and May 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The final day of early voting will be May 23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In Howard County, early voting will be held at the Carter Day Center in Nashville. Residents of Dierks will have one day of early voting at the Dierks Community Center on Monday, May 23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Voters can verify their registration, view their polling locations and look at sample ballots for the May 24 election by visiting www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections.

Arkansas AG files suit against Family Dollar over rodent infestation     05/03/22

LITTLE ROCK – State authorities have launched a lawsuit against Family Dollar, which operates stores in Ashdown and Mena as well as numerous other locations throughout Arkansas and the region.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the filing of the lawsuit on April 28. The lawsuit takes aim at the popular dollar store chain for selling potentially harmful or contaminated products following a massive rodent infestation at its West Memphis distribution center. The incident came to light in February and forced the company to close hundreds of stores and recall dozens of products.

The complaint alleges that Family Dollar was aware of the rodent infestation for years but disregarded concerns despite the danger to public safety and the unsafe working conditions at its distribution center. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages, restitution and civil penalties.

Rutledge said the company took advantage of the reliance Arkansans have on Family Dollar when it failed to address the infestation.

In many rural communities in Arkansas, families rely on discount stores like Family Dollar for essential products such as food, medicine or pet food,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Family Dollar has had knowledge of this dangerous and massive rodent infestation for over two years, yet they continued to sell and profit from potentially contaminated goods. Consumers lost money and could have lost their lives.”

Reports from state and federal health inspectors show that Family Dollar had knowledge of its rodent infestation since at least January 2020. In March 2021, the Arkansas Department of Health inspected the West Memphis Distribution Center where inspectors reported seeing “significant rodent activity where human food and pet food were stored” and management stated that they were aware of the rodent issues. In April 2021, state health inspectors reported that effective measures were not being taken to stop the rodent infestation. Following notices from the Arkansas Department of Health and consumer complaints, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began an investigation in January 2022 of the West Memphis Distribution Center.

In March 2022 the FDA issued a safety alert regarding the Distribution center, which stated in part:

Conditions observed during the inspection included live rodents, dead rodents in various states of decay, rodent feces and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting and rodent odors throughout the facility, dead birds and bird droppings, and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination. More than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered from the facility following a fumigation at the facility in January 2022. Additionally, a review of the company’s internal records also indicated the collection of more than 2,300 rodents between Mar. 29 [2021] and Sep. 17, 2021, demonstrating a history of infestation.”

These contaminated products included human foods, animal foods, cosmetics, medical devices, and over-the-counter medications for both adults and children. Following the FDA’s investigation announcement, Family Dollar issued a “voluntary recall” and was forced to temporarily close 404 stores, including 85 Arkansas stores, so that hazardous and contaminated products could be removed from its shelves.

Rutledge filed the lawsuit in the Pulaski County Circuit Court.  Each violation is subject to a fine of up to $10,000.

Arkansas Century Farm applications sought     05/03/22

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture (Department) is now accepting applications for the 2022 Arkansas Century Farm program. This program recognizes Arkansas families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years.

Arkansas Century Farm families have persevered for at least ten decades and have contributed greatly in making Arkansas agriculture the success story that it is today,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward. “As Arkansas’s largest industry, agriculture contributes $19.4 billion to the state’s economy annually and provides one in six jobs.”

To qualify, Arkansas farms must meet the following criteria:

The same family must have owned the farm for 100 years by Dec. 31, 2022. The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nephews or nieces, including through marriage and adoption.

The farm must be at least ten acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.

Online and printable applications are available at agriculture.arkansas.gov/arkansas-department-of-agriculture-services/arkansas-century-farm-program/. Applications must be received via email or postmarked on or before May 31, 2022 to be eligible for designation as a 2022 inductee. There is no cost to apply for the program.

Qualifying Arkansas farms will receive a personalized Arkansas Century Farm certificate and metal sign listing the farm name and year established. Contact Beth Moore at 501-539-4027 or beth.moore@agriculture.arkansas.gov with questions.

Arkansas is home to more than 42,200 farms, of which 96 percent are family owned and operated. Since the program began in 2012, 526 farms have been certified. Find a list of previously inducted Arkansas Century Farm families at agriculture.arkansas.gov/arkansas-department-of-agriculture-services/arkansas-century-farm-program/.

Sevier County Library updates     05/03/22

DE QUEEN – Sevier County Head Librarian Johnye Fisher is informing patrons of the local library system that branches have a ton of activities planned for May.

That includes Kickin’ it with Klondike on May 4 starting at 4 p.m. at the De Queen Library. There will be games and reading activities for local youth to participate in at no cost.

All four county libraries are preparing to present their annual Summer Reading Programs in June. This year’s theme is “Oceans of Possibilities.” Events will include live animals at the library in addition to numerous group reading activities throughout the month.

Fisher said those interested should keep an eye out for flyers with additional information.

The De Queen Library is continuing to host its seed sharing program for gardeners in the community. Fisher said the library has seeds from many different plants ready to check out. The library just asks that if you have seeds from your harvest, bring them back to the library to share with others and keep the seed program going.

Library patrons can access the library’s full card catalog anytime online at www.seviercountylibrary.com. Patrons can also use download the LibbyApp from the Sevier County Library Facebook page or on Google Play and the Apple Store.

The Horatio Library will host children’s programs on May 13 and May 27 starting at 10 a.m. both days. The Horatio Library also hosts domino games each Thursday at 9 a.m.

The Lockesburg Library will host a mini-art show May 4 through May 14. The public is invited to come by then to see works of art inspired by reading and made by local patrons.

The Lockesburg Library was a grateful recipient of 81 new English and Spanish preschool children’s books from Beth Tody and Save the Children group.

Finally, the Gillham Library is informing the public of its new location on 207 Second Street. The library is hosting a book and DVD sale currently. The Gillham Library is open Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday from 1-5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call (870) 386-5665 for more information.

Fatal crash claims life of De Queen man on Friday     05/02/22

DE QUEEN – A De Queen man was killed following a one vehicle accident in Sevier County over the weekend.

According to the Arkansas State Police, 32-year-old Jonathan Martinez-Salgado was traveling on Highway 371 east of Lockesburg when his 2011 GMC left the roadway. The vehicle overturned and rolled several times before coming to a rest. The accident occurred around 10:40 p.m. the night of April 29.

Martinez-Salgado was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Arkansas State Police.

The investigating state trooper reported road conditions as clear and dry at the time of the accident.

Ashdown alum and Razorback Montaric Brown signs with Jaguars     05/02/22

ASHDOWN – Former Ashdown Panthers star and a 34-game starter for the Arkansas Razorbacks, Montaric Brown was a seventh-round selection (the number 222 pick overall) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in Saturday’s NFL Draft.

Brown was the first Arkansas cornerback to be drafted since 2015. He was the first Arkansas cornerback to receive first-team All-S.E.C. recognition since 2003, Brown tied for the S.E.C. regular-season lead with five interceptions last season.

Montaric starred for the Ashdown Panthers from 2014 through 2016. During his senior season for the Panthers, Brown made 110 tackles and recorded seven interceptions, including a 71-yard “pick six”. Offensively in 2016, Brown hauled in 52 receptions for 813 yards and seven scores for Ashdown. He chose the Razorbacks over Alabama, Auburn, L.S.U., Oklahoma, and others.

Montaric is the son of Danica Richard and Patrick Brown, and the stepson of Eddie Richard.

Felony, misdemeanor charges filed against Ashdown man after firearm discharge     05/02/22

ASHDOWN – Charges have been filed against an Ashdown man for allegedly firing a rifle into an apartment during an incident earlier this year.

According to online court records, felony charges were brought last month to 21-year-old Benjamin Wayde Spikes after he allegedly discharged a firearm inside his apartment. The bullet entered an adjacent apartment and struck a television set inside.

The incident, which occurred in March, was investigated by the Ashdown Police Department. Investigators reported finding a bullet hole in the apartment where Spikes was staying that matched the size and trajectory of the hole found in the adjacent apartment.

After initially denying the incident, Spikes reportedly then told investigators he had discharged the firearm but only accidentally.

No one was injured in the incident. The destroyed television was valued at $700 with additional sheetrock damage and repairs not estimated.

Spikes has been charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief and felony aggravated assault for the incident.

Spikes was transported to the Little River County Jail and was released after posting a $10,000 bond. The next scheduled court appearance is set for June.

Harvest Food Bank returning to Sevier County next week     05/02/22

LOCKESBURG – Harvest Regional Food Bank will distribute USDA Commodities directly from its truck next Wednesday, May 11 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The truck will be parked at the First Baptist Church Lockesburg located at 3466 S. Camellia Lockesburg.

Vehicles will start lining up on W Magnolia and the church parking lot. The next Mobile Pantry will be Aug. 17.

AFMC, Harvest Food Bank and the Arkansas Department of Health are partnering to provide Free COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines to individuals aged 12 & up. First doses will be available at next week’s distribution event. Those interested are asked to have their COVID-19 vaccine card with them if requesting a second dose or booster dose. If you do not have your vaccine card, you may contact your local health unit for a copy. No appointment necessary and vaccines will be provided at no cost. Bring your insurance card if you have one.

Those 18 and older receiving a 1st dose will have their choice of a $20 Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Scratch-Off or an Arkansas Game and Fish Gift Certificate. Those 12-17 receiving a 1st dose will be given an Arkansas Game and Fish Gift-Certificate.