DE QUEEN – The Rotary Cup has been presented annually to the Most Valuable Senior on the De Queen Leopards football team since 1936. Past winners of the award represent top students and athletes spanning more than nine decades at De Queen High School.
At Monday’s noon meeting of the club, “The Voice of the Leopards” Jay Bunyard presented the award for the 2023 season to cornerback/running back Jonathan Bahena. He’s the 88th all-time recipient of the Rotary Cup.
Bahena led the team in all-purpose yards in 2023 with 532. For his career, he was credited with 833 all-purpose yards. Defensively, he was credited with 58 tackles and a team-leading 19 passes defended this season. For his career, he was credited with 123 tackles and 40 passes defended. He was named to the All-5A South Conference first team as sophomore, junior and as a senior.
Bahena also excels in the classroom with a 3.22 GPA. He’s active in Student Council, DQTV and the Student Leadership Program. The son of Sarah Cook and Ismael Bahena, Jonathan plans to go to college after graduation in May and become a high school coach and history teacher.
Besides performance on the football field, the Rotary Cup is also based on character, leadership, scholastic achievements and participation in other school activities.
Trial for LRCO man accused of murder rescheduled to next year 12/05/23
ASHDOWN – The trial for a Little River County man accused of murdering his girlfriend’s son last year has been continued to next April.
According to court records, 65-year-old Walter Duermit was scheduled to appear for a pre-trial hearing in the Little River County Circuit Court today for a single count of first-degree murder. A motion to continue was granted by the court, moving his trial date to April 22. A pretrial hearing will be held on April 9.
Duermit has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder charge. He was released on a $250,000 bond in October.
The charge stems from an incident on July 26, 2022. That night Little River County deputies were dispatched to a residence on Little River County Road 170 after receiving a report about a fatal shooting in the home. Dispatchers were informed by a woman on the phone that her boyfriend had shot and killed her son.
When deputies arrived they secured the scene and identified the boyfriend as 65-year-old Walter Duermit. The victim, 37-year-old Joshua Yeager, was found deceased inside the home.
Duermit was then arrested for the offense of murder and taken to the Little River County Jail.
The arrest affidavit states Duermit allegedly admitted to shooting Yeager following an altercation at the home. Duermit reportedly told investigators that Yeager was unarmed when he retrieved a gun and shot Yeager once.
Upon a conviction, the Class Y felony offense of first-degree murder carries a sentence of 10 to 40 years or life imprisonment.
EXPLORE Act includes provision to reopen Albert Pike for camping 12/05/23
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A board bipartisan legislative package introduced last week into the U.S. House of Representatives aims to address a number of outdoors recreation issues on public lands including the reopening of the Albert Pike Recreation Area in Southwest Arkansas.
U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-04) introduced the EXPLORE Act alongside Arizona Democrat Raul Grijalva following discussions in the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, which Westerman chairs.
The bill seeks to address a number of issues on America’s public lands and water, including modernizing technology to improve visitor experiences, streamlining the permitting process and reduce fees for small businesses that depend on public land access, and improve accessibility for military service members, veterans and individuals with disabilities.
One of the most impactful measures in the EXPLORE Act, at least for residents of Arkansas’ Fourth District, is a repackaging of Westerman’s “Ouachita National Forest Overnight Camping Act” he introduced this past spring. If passed, the bill would reopen overnight camping at Albert Pike Recreation Area in the Ouachita National Forest.
Westerman said packaging the bill with the bipartisan EXPLORE Act should help it get across the finish line and into law.
“That should streamline the process and insure we can get this passed by both the House and Senate by including [the Albert Pike provision] within the EXPLORE Act, which has bipartisan support and has been very popular since we started working on it,” said Westerman.
The Albert Pike Recreation Area is one of the most popular sites within the 1.8 million-acre Ouachita National Forest. The park features hiking, swimming and day-use only activities.
Albert Pike has prohibited overnight camping since 20 people tragically died in a 100-year-flood in the early morning hours of June 11, 2010. The incident was followed by a lawsuit brought by survivors and families of the victims. In 2020 the U.S. Forest Service conducted a public review and planning process to determine the future use of the park. In its final decision, the U.S. Forest Service stated it would not reopen the park for overnight camping due to the risk associated with possible future floods.
During a previous interview, Westerman said he introduced the legislation to Congress after hearing from numerous constituents who expressed their hopes to see the park reopen for overnight camping.
“It was an incredibly tragic event, but in the last 12 years I’ve had lots of people reach out and say they want to reuse that site for overnight camping,” explained Westerman. “People were frustrated with the decision because there are safe options and plans out there for camping in this area.”
Westerman added that he understood, but ultimately rejected, the Forest Service’s appraisal. He said safe, overnight camping is possible within the park.
“The Forest Service decided to close it and only allow day use. And as the infrastructure fails, they’re not going to replace it,” he said. “That’s when it’s time for Congress to step in and reevaluate the decision and the process. [Allowing overnight camping at Albert Pike] is something that can be done and be done in a way that’s rational, safe and good for residents of the Fourth District and for everyone who grew up camping at this beautiful location.”
If passed by Congress and signed into law, the EXPLORE Act would require the Forest Service to reopen any campsites outside of the 100-year flood plain within 30 days of the bill’s enactment. In addition, the act would also require the development of at least 27 campsites within two years of the bill’s enactment. This would include at least eight campsites with water and electric capabilities. All of these would also be located outside of the 100-year-flood plain, or areas with a one percent chance of flooding in a given year.
“We want to be rational with this, we don’t want to build these campsites along the river where the tragedy occurred, but rather build above the 100-year floodplain,” Westerman explained. “It’s something that can be done and I hope we can make it happen with this bill.”
Winners of the 2023 Lockesburg Christmas Parade 12/05/23
LOCKESBURG – The City of Lockesburg has announced the winners of the 2023 Lockesburg Christmas Parade.
This year’s winners are as follows:
First Place – Cake It Easy
Second Place – Schroer Medical
Third Place – Sevier County Housing Authority
First Place – Goin’ Showin’ 4-H
Second Place – Harper Young
Third Place – Legacy Academy
First Place – Lighthouse Church
Second Place – Williamson Church
Third Place – First Baptist Church of Lockesburg
First Place – LaVonna Wright
Second Place – Rusty Relics Tractor Club
Third Place – Wayne Smith
Cooperative Extension hosting webinars on HPAI 12/05/23
Submitted by Cooperative Extension Service
As one of the nation’s leading poultry-producing states, Arkansas has a keen interest in reducing the spread of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, often referred to as HPAI. To support that effort, the Cooperative Extension Service — the outreach and education arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture — is hosting two HPAI webinar workshops in December.
The first workshop, scheduled for Dec. 5, is for commercial industry producers. The second, scheduled for Dec. 12, is aimed at small and backyard hobby flock owners. Both webinars are scheduled for 6 p.m. (CDT).
Dustan Clark, extension poultry health veterinarian for the Division of Agriculture, will lead both webinars.
There is no charge to participate, but registration is required. Register online by clicking this link.
As of Nov. 30, there are confirmed cases of the H5N1 avian influenza in 47 states, including Arkansas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The most recent detection in Arkansas was Nov. 29, in a commercial broiler production flock in Carroll County.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.