Southwest Arkansas Daily
All news stories published to this web-site are the direct property of KDQN Radio Station and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without direct consent from the radio station.
Local News archives
For more information, call the Pond Creek National Wildlife
Refuge office at 870-289-2126.
COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK ACTIVITIES 6/9/16
Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Victoria Carson announced park interpreters will be leading guided kayak tours this Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. She said these tours are for beginners, so it's going to be a leisurely pace.
The cost of the kayak tours is $30.94 per person and that includes shuttle transportation, interpretive guide service and the use of a kayak, paddle and lifejacket.
Friday, guest can participate in two snorkeling scavenger hunts at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Carson said snorkel equipment and a scavenger list will be provided, but everyone should wear appropriate clothing for swimming.
Carson said the park will also be hosting a 5-day teacher workshop starting Monday, June 13th. She said teachers can earn up to 18-hours of professional development.
Carson said the park will also be holding a 4-day Ecology Camp for children 5-8 years old from Tuesday, June 21st to Friday, June 24th. Cossatot River will also be hosting a 4-day, 3-night SWAT camp for children 9 to 13 years of age this summer from Monday, June 27th to Thursday, June 30th. She said they will need to pre-register by June 15th.
For more information, call the Cossatot River State Park at 870-385-2201.
SEVIER COUNTY FARMER'S MARKET IS OPEN 6/8/16
Angela Smith reported Wednesday morning that the Sevier County Farmer's Market opened last week and will now be open every Wednesday and Saturday until the Sevier County Hoo-Rah Days in October. She also mentioned some of the items that have been at the market so far this season.
Smith said the market is open from 7:30 to 11 a.m.
Smith also mentioned it's not too late to participate in this year's market. She said they have a seasonal rate of $50 and a daily rate of $5.
For more information, visit the market's Facebook page at Sevier County Farmer's Market or call 870-642-2718.
DAISY STATE PARK ACTIVITIES 6/8/16
Daisy State Park staff will be leading a workshop on snakes in Arkansas this Friday from 2 to 2:30 p.m. at the visitor center, as well as a cast iron cookware demonstration from 4 to 5 p.m. Participants will enjoy some cobbler that's been prepared by Park Superintendent Tamara Lunsford. She will also be sharing the basics of cast iron cooking and how to season and care for your cast iron cookware.
The cost of the cast iron cookware demonstration is $2 and Lunsford recommends you register at the visitor center by 11 a.m. on Friday.
Saturday and Sunday, the Daisy State Park is offering a scenic tour of Lake Greeson from 10 a.m. to noon. Lunsford said seating is limited, so guests should sign up at the visitor center by 9 a.m. on day of the tour.
The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 6 to 12.
There's also going to be a nature scavenger hunt from 1 to 2 p.m. and a kayak expedition from 7 to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information about the Daisy State Park, call 870-398-4487.
HORATIO SOFTBALL CAMP JUNE 15-17 6/8/16
Horatio Head Softball Coach Dustin Bakenhus announced the Horatio Lady Lions will be hosting a softball camp June 15 through the 17th from 10 a.m. to noon at Lady Lion Yard at Lane Fields and the Horatio baseball and softball indoor facility.
Bakenhus stated this camp wasn't only for Horatio players, but any young lady in the area between the ages of 8 and 14.
Bakenhus said all players should bring their glove and any equipment that they want to use, including a defensive facemask. Players should also bring both cleats and tennis shoes. For more information, Bakenhus stated you may contact him or the Horatio High School.
Bakenhus said all campers who pre-register by Friday, June 10th will receive a free camp T-shirt.
TEXARKANA RESIDENT KILLED IN TWO VEHICLE ACCIDENT 6/7/16
Monday afternoon about 12:50, members of the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, the De Queen Fire Department and Southwest EMS were dispatched to the scene of an accident on U.S. Highway 71 about 4 miles East of De Queen.
When emergency personnel arrived, they attempted to extricate the driver of the 1999 Dodge truck, but 29-year-old Wallace Wright of Texarkana, Texas was pronounced dead at the scene by Sevier County Coroner Rusty Williams at 1:56 p.m.
According to Trooper Kyle Jones of the Arkansas State Police, Wright and 25-year-old Niki Barndon of De queen were traveling north on Highway 71 when they crossed the centerline and collided with a 2015 Mack truck.
Barndon was taken to Christus St. Michaels Hospital in Texarkana by Southwest EMS.
CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR MAY 2016 06/07/16
The Chalice Cupboard assisted 63 families in Sevier County in May, including 112 adults and 94 children, totaling 206 people.
1,514 lbs. of food was added to the pantry. This included 1,063 lbs. of purchased food plus donations of 944 lbs. Saint Barbara Catholic church gave 115 lbs. Tyson Foods gave 680 lbs. and Farm Bureau Insurance gave 64 lbs. Individuals donated 85 lbs.
The bank balance on May 1, 2016 was $6.016.47. Deposits for the month totaled $152.00. During May 2016, $821.34 was spent for food to replenish the pantry supply. The bank balance on May 31, 2015 was $5,347.13.
Individuals living in Sevier county who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 N. 5th Street in De Queen on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 pm until 3:15 pm. food is given tothose requesting assistance once each three-month period of the year.
Suggested non-perishable items for those people who want to make a donation are soup and fruit. any money donated will be used for the purchase of food.
Submitted by Grant Grove
CIVIL WAR MARKER DEDICATED AT BELLVILLE CHURCH DURING HOMECOMING ACTIVITIES 6/7/16
Sunday, June 5th, the Belleville Cemetery Association hosted their 71st annual Homecoming celebration at the Historic Belleville Church in Lockesburg. Church board member, Dr. Steve Cole said this is a time for families that are affiliated with the church and/or cemetery to return and discuss the history of the church.
During this year's event, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program dedicated a Civil War Historical Marker. Cole described the work that it took to get a marker placed on the Belleville Church and Cemetery grounds.
The plaque reads, and I quote, "While no fighting took place in Sevier County during the Civil War, local men served in Confederate units. Men gathered at Belleville Church as part of Pettus' Battalion of State Troops, marching to Arkadelphia under Governor Harris Flanagin's General Order Number 6. Local men fought at Wilson's Creek in 1861. Sevier County men served in the 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles, 12th, 19th and 24th Arkansas Infantry, Crawford's Infantry Battalion, 37th Arkansas Militia and the 27th Texas Calvary. The county's mineral wealth also served the Confederacy, yielding lead and iron pyrite," unquote.
Cole said the church board was excited to have one of the 75 Civil War commemorative markers placed on the historic grounds of the church and cemetery.
The historic Belleville Church and Cemetery is located south of Lockesburg on Highway 317 East. You can view the story of the marker and see more locations of Civil War markers at www.arkansascivilwar150.com/historicalmarkers.
CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK TO HOST SCHOOL'S OUT POOL PARTY 6/7/16
This Saturday, June 11th, the Diamond Springs water park at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro will celebrate summer with a School's Out Pool Party from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Park Interpreter Waymon Cox reported they will have decorations, refreshments, games and entertainment by the Joe Ledbetter Band.
Cox reported the Diamond Springs Water Park is a 14,700 square feet mining-themed aquatic playground that features a wading pool with spray geysers, water slides and water falls that are surrounded by a spacious deck and pool furniture.
Diamond Springs is open daily from noon to 6 p.m. and admission is $6 for anyone over 42 inches tall and $4 for anyone under 42 inches tall. Children under 2 years of age are admitted free and a non-water ticket of $2 is required for visitors who are not utilizing the water, but just observing swimming activities.
For more information, call the Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3113.
DIERKS KAYAK FESTIVAL IS JUNE 17-19 6/7/16
The Dierks Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the Dierks Kayak Festival in cooperation with the Arkansas Kayak group and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, June 17th through the 19th.
The event will be held at the Horseshoe Bend campground below the Dierks Lake and the Corps of Engineers has agreed to provide an adequate release of water to have the event.
The event will include instructions and safety classes for beginners, a fishing tournament plus races with world class participants. The course will allow spectators to view the entire course.
On Friday, June 17th, there will be clinics on general river safety, swift water rescue and introduction to kayaking and canoeing. Saturday events include races, raft and shredder rides for the public and a hunker down tournament. Sunday events will include a kayak bass tournament on the lake and whitewater play day.
There will also be food vendors. For more information, contact the Dierks Chamber of Commerce at 870-286-2911.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 6/7/16
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported this week that the average family spends an additional $300 a month on food during the summer months. She said working parents know their children are safe, supervised and fed during the school year, but they must make other arrangements for their kids during the summer.
According to the Arkansas Department of Education, there are about 280,000 children who are eligible for reduced price meals at school during the school year, but where do they eat during the summer?
This summer close to 200 sites are offering meals for children. The meals are paid for by the USDA and must meet certain guidelines to ensure proper nutrition.
Parents are not required to sign up in order to get free summer meals for their children, and it does not interfere with other benefits the family may be receiving. Arkansas ranks highest in the nation for food insecurity, according to a Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap report. In that report, it states 19.7 percent of households and 28.4 percent of children were unsure of where they will get their next meal.
In our area there are several USDA authorized Summer Meal Sites including: the Horatio Elementary School, the Ashdown High School, the Mineral Springs Elementary, the McCurtain County boys and girls club in Broken Bow and the Idabel High School.
MUNICIPAL ELECTION INFORMATION 6/7/16
Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akins announced the first day that municipal candidates were permitted to start collecting signatures was May 1st, but the filing period won't open until July 29th and it will remain open until noon on August 19th.
Akins said signatures that are collected more than 90-days before the election will not be counted and petitions should contain the candidate's name, the position they are seeking and the office and/or district before they collect any names. Petitions must also 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.
County residents will be voting on all the aldermen positions in all of the towns and cities of Sevier County and the residents of Horatio and Lockesburg will be voting on the position of Recorder/Treasurer.
Akins said candidates must also file an affidavit of eligibility and political practices pledge with the County Clerk's office by noon on August 19th.
On August 25th, the County Clerk will certify the candidates to the Election Commission and hold a ballot draw if necessary.
Statements of Financial interest are then due to the City Clerk for non-incumbent candidates for municipal offices by August 22nd.
Sample petitions and other required forms are available in the County Clerk's Office. If you have any questions or need any of the forms listed above, call the Sevier County Clerk's office at 870-642-2852.
If you are interested in serving as an election worker, you should also contact the county clerk's office.
DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFERING SUMMER PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT BOOK DISTRIBUTION 6/6/16
Tammy Whatley announced the De Queen School District is holding a summer parental involvement book distribution program to help keep students reading this summer.
Whatley said she will have books for kindergarteners through the 12th grade on Monday, June 13th beginning at 9 a.m.
Whatley said the district was trying this program to help student maintain their reading skills over the summer months.
Whatley said she is planning a second book distribution in July and parents are invited to join their children in selecting a book or two for them to read.
AREA BLOOD DRIVES 6/6/16
LifeShare Blood Center will host a couple of blood drives in the area this week.
LifeShare is having a blood drive on Thursday, June 9th at the Center Point Community Center from 2 to 7 p.m. in the community building. There is also a blood drive on Friday, June 10th in the parking lot of the De Queen Wal-Mart on the LifeShare donor coach from 2 to 7 p.m.
LifeShare Blood Centers regularly supplies blood components to 117 medical facilities throughout Louisiana, East Texas and South Arkansas, including De Queen Regional Medical Center, Little River Memorial Hospital and Howard Memorial Hospital.
For more information visit the website lifeshare.org or call 903-794-3174.
ARKANSAS PANEL NOT LOOKING AT RAISES FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS 6/6/16
The chairman of an Arkansas commission that sets salaries for the state's top elected officials says the panel is not considering any pay hikes since other state employees didn't get a raise this year.
Independent Citizens Commission Chairman Larry Ross announced last week that the panel had cancelled a meeting that was planned for later this month, because state employees won't be getting a cost-of-living adjustment for the upcoming year. The commission had initially planned to meet June 14th to hear from state budget officials about the state employee's COLAs.
The panel voted to more than double legislator's salaries and granted substantial raises to constitutional officers, judges and prosecutors, last year. The commission was created through a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2014 to review and adjust salaries for the state's top elected officials.
MCKINNEY NAMED VOLUNTEER CHAIR OF THE HEROES OF HOPE PROGRAM 6/6/16
The American Cancer Society's Mid-South Division recently named Keisha McKinney as volunteer chair of the Heroes of Hope program. As the chairperson, McKinney will lead, train, and support more than 60 cancer survivors and caregivers from the Mid-South states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
The Heroes of Hope program is in its eighth year. Honorees will serve as spokespeople for the American Cancer Society in their communities. Those selected have triumphed over cancer or cared for loved one, made significant volunteer contributions to the American Cancer Society and made an impact in the lives of others.
McKinney is an eight-year Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer survivor and volunteered for Relay for Life in Clark County by serving as a team captain for her alma mater's team, sitting on the committee and chairing her local event. In 2011, McKinney was selected to join the Mid-South Heroes of Hope and chaired the program for the next two years. In 2012, she relocated to join the staff of the American Cancer Society in Northwest Arkansas where she served as a community manager, Northwest Arkansas executive director and senior manager of Relay for Life in North Arkansas. Now, back in a volunteer role, McKinney will serve once again as chair of the inspiring group of cancer survivors and caregivers.
Heroes of Hope provide a highly visible symbol of personal victory over the disease, plus support and participation in the programs of the Society. The Heroes of Hope represent the courageous struggle of all cancer patients as they deal with the physical and emotional aspects of their experience.
POND CREEK TO HOST YOUTH FISHING DERBY 6/6/16
Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge will host a Youth Fishing Derby this Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Little Bell Lake.
Little Bell Lake is located along Central Road between Nobles Mound entrance road and the Tram entrance road. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will provide 300 catchable size channel catfish to provide a better opportunity for the fishing derby participates.
Little Bell Lake will be closed to the public for fishing from June 8th until 9 a.m. June 11th. Only youth less than 16 years of age will be permitted to participate in the event. Children who are participating in the event must be accompanied and supervised by an adult 18 years of age or older.
The event is free of charge, however all participants are asked to check-in with the refuge staff before the starting fishing. All participants are also asked to comply with state regulations and fish limits and they must bring their own fishing gear.
There will be prizes given at the end of the event.
Little Bell Lake will be open to the public with a valid fishing license after the youth event. For more information, call the Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge Office at 870-289-2126.
SEVIER COUNTY LAND AUCTION NETS $36,688.16 6/6/16
The recent auction of tax-delinquent properties in Sevier County collected over $36,000 for county and state government, the Commissioner of State Lands announced.
The Land Commissioner's office conducted the auction of delinquent properties recently at the Sevier County Courthouse. Twelve bidders participated in the auction, which sold three of the four available parcels for a total of $36,688.16 for Sevier County and state government.
The Land Commissioner's office conducts one tax-delinquent land sale per county each year to dispose of land on which the taxes have been past due for over two years.
Commissioner John Thurston said his office only auctions off a small percentage of certified tax-delinquent parcels, because in most cases the original owner redeems the delinquent property by paying the back taxes.
Thurston noted redemption of property is the preferred method of disposing of tax-delinquent lands, but it's important for his office to return inactive parcels to the tax rolls by conducting land sales.
Registered bidders may purchase land at the auctions. Registration to bid at state land sales is free and upon the sale of a tax-delinquent parcel, the Commissioner's office will issue a limited warrant deed to the highest bidder.
Thurston's office returns delinquent tax and interest collected, whether through redemption or sale, to the county taxing unit just as if the money had been originally collected.
Thurston said last year, his office returned almost $20 million dollars to school districts and county governments. He said Sevier County received almost $30,000 of that amount. Thurston explained that this is an important process, because it provides stable revenue for necessary services including public schools.
A list of public auction properties is listed online at www.cosl.org.
TRIAL DATE SET FOR FOREMAN RESIDENT IN ATTEMPTED ESCAPE 6/6/16
A trial date of August 22nd was set in the Little River County Circuit Court for 31-year-old Devin Hawkins of Foreman for attempting to escape from the Little River County jail.
According to court records, Hawkins attempted to escape from jail while telling jailers that he needed to get out on March 29th.
Allegedly, Officers Christian Clark and Britney Perry watched Hawkins push the ceiling tiles up and crawl up into the ceiling. He then crawled over to Dorm B.
Hawkins had been arrested for disorderly conduct by Foreman Chief Marshall Chris Snider. Foreman residents also alleged Hawkins had attempted to break-into a residence and was trespassing on their property.
After Hawkins served his sentence on the disorderly conduct charge, he was released, but he was arrested on April 14th for discharging an AR-15 rifle within the city limits of Foreman.
A federal Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer tased Hawkins has he exited a storage building to end a standoff between Hawkins and the Arkansas State Police and other law enforcement agencies.
UA COSSATOT OFFERING EXERCISE CLASSES AND MORE THIS SUMMER 6/6/16
Zebbie Launius of UA Cossatot's Continuing Education Program announced the college is offering exercise classes, children's classes and classes to help you find a job this summer.
She said you can register for the Ab class, which starts Tuesday at 6 p.m., until 4:30 Tuesday afternoon. Launius said the registration cost is $35 and the instructor is Alisha Lewis.
Launius also mentioned several other classes, including a colored pencil class, a concealed handgun class and job training courses.
Launius will also be leading a senior adult trip this Friday to the Athens Trade Days. She said for more information, you should contact UA Cossatot at 870-584-4471. A copy of the Continuing Education catalog can be found on the radio stations website, KDQN.net or at CCCUA.edu.
FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION HIRES SEVERAL ELEMENTARY TEACHERS DURING SPECIAL CALLED MEETING 6/3/16
Members of the Foreman Board of Education met during a special called meeting on May 23rd to accept the resignation of a special education para-professional and an elementary teacher and they voted to hire two new elementary teachers.
According to Superintendent George Kennedy, the board accepted the resignation of Haylie Nelson who was a special education para-professional and Lisa Smith who was an elementary teacher.
Board members voted to hire Michelle Maye and Rhonda Boyd. They will both teach at the Oscar Hamilton Elementary School, contingent upon them receiving their standard Arkansas teacher license.
GPS DEVICES BEING DONATED TO AREA FIRE DEPARTMENTS 6/3/16
De Queen Fire Chief, Dennis Pruitt reported a group of individuals in the community is donating GPS devices to the volunteer fire departments in Sevier County. He said emergency officials discovered GPS coordinates are more accurate than cellphone triangulation during a medical emergency.
Mike Hambrecht is the base pilot supervisor at the Sevier County Air Evac base and he stated the GPS devices will help save valuable time in the case of an emergency.
Hambrecht said this is another positive result that came out of a tragic event.
Hambrecht also mentioned Air Evac has installed new cockpit glass and auto-pilot systems in their helicopters. He said the new upgrades will help with information management and reduce the workload of the pilots. Hambrecht said this will help the pilots stay focused on situational maneuvers and safety.
Hambrecht said residents may also purchase a membership for $65 a year to cover their entire household. Members can also submit their homes coordinates to Air Evac, so flight teams will know where they live if there is every an emergency at their house.
For more information, contact Anna Bivens at 870-642-4700.
CLICK IT OR GET A TICKET AND MAYBE MORE 6/3/16
On Monday, May 30th, Officer J.J. Lopez noticed the passenger in a Ford Taurus not wearing a seat belt.
Lopez reported when he pulled the vehicle over, he noticed the driver’s hands were shaky and he appeared to be nervous. He also noticed the smell of raw marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.
When the driver was asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, he stated there shouldn’t be and he gave Officer Lopez and Patrolman First Class Levi Browning permission to search the car.
When the passenger, 50-year-old Scotty Medlay stepped out of the car he informed Lopez that there was some pot in the backseat where he was sitting and it belonged to him. He also stated the other people in the car didn’t know he had it.
Officers found a plastic container containing a small clear bag of suspected weed and a socket that Medlay said he smoked out of.
Medlay was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.
PEAK-TO-PEAK POKER RUN 6/3/16
Saturday, the Arkansas State Park system is holding the annual Peak to Peak Poker Run from Queen Wilhelmina State Park to Mount Magazine State Park.
Bikers will leave Queen Wilhelmina State Park between 9 and 11 a.m. on their way to Mount Magazine State Park and all poker hands must be drawn at the Mount Magazine Lodge by 4 p.m.
Riders will travel along the winding roads from the state’s second highest mountain to the highest, through mountains and tall southern forests. There are also many scenic sights just a short distance from the route.
At Mount Magazine State Park Lodge, riders will trade the five beads they picked up along the way for cards and a chance to win prizes based on the best hand.
First prize is worth $500, second place is worth $200 and other prizes will also be based on the poker hands.
The registration fee includes a t-shirt and the chance at a winning poker hand. Registration is $30, plus $20 for each passenger. All vehicles are welcome.
For more information, call 1-800-264-2477. A route map will be provided at registration.
DE QUEEN JUNIOR HIGH RECEIVES HIGH ACHIEVING AWARD FROM OFFICE OF EDUCATION POLICY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS 6/2/16
Wednesday afternoon during a regular meeting of the De Queen Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton informed KDQN that the De Queen Junior High School had received a High Achieving Award from the University of Arkansas' Office of Education Policy. Superintendent Bruce Hill stated the junior high was the highest performing school in this region.
Board members approved a state mandated increase to the district's lunch prices. Hill said it will cost $1.50 for lunch and a $1.00 for breakfast for the 2016-2017 school year. He said they are also trying to develop a system where parents can pay for their child's meals online.
Hill reported the district's maintenance employees will be renovating parts of the old high school cafeteria and the old elementary building this summer.
Following an executive session, board members voted to accept the resignation of head basketball coach, Beau Brickel and to hire Jacob Wayne Lee as the new basketball coach. Hill said Lee comes highly recommended to the district.
The next board meeting was scheduled for Friday, July 1st at noon in the administration building. Hill said the board will be discussing the district's new drug testing policy.
COSSATOT RIVER BOARD OF EDUCATION LEASES FORMER VANCOVE HIGH SCHOOL PROPERTY TO THE COSSATOT RIVER FFA/AG BOOSTER CLUB 6/2/16
Members of the Cossatot River Board of Education agreed to lease the former VanCove High School baseball field, softball field and Ag barn along with all known acreage surrounding those fields to the Cossatot River High School FFA/Ag Booster Club for $1. The agreement also states the agreement will be renewable annually at a cost of $1 per year, but the booster club is responsible for the upkeep of the property.
According to the agreement, the district will provide both water and electricity for the property, but the booster club will be responsible for any improvements made to the property.
Board members also stated the booster club can not sublease the property to any entity without the approval of the board and Superintendent Donnie Davis.
According to the minutes, the board approved the district's extended sick leave policy. It states the board may grant an employee extended sick leave at the following rate. If an employee has been in the district for zero to five years, they can receive up to 45 days leave; if they have been in the district for six to 15 years, they can receive up to 60 days; and if they have been in the district for more than 16 years, they can receive up to 75 days. However, the substitute’s salary will be deducted from the employee's salary.
Board members accepted the resignation of six staff members and voted to hire Staci Nix as a Special Education teacher at the high school and Bryan Richardson as a high school coach.
DUGGAN AWARDED HONORS PROGRAM SCHOLARSHIP FROM ARKANSAS TECH 6/2/16
De Queen High School graduate Danielle Duggan has been awarded the University Honors Program Scholarship from Arkansas Tech University in the amount of $50,400; along with the Roger and Carylin Dossey Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,000; the Janice Duggan Memorial scholarship in the amount of $500 and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship in the amount of $14,000.
Duggan was a member of the National Honor Society, the National Society of High School Scholars, Quiz Bowl, Gifted and Talented and the Interact Club. She was the vice-president of Show Choir, FBLA and the senior class. Duggan was the captain of the varsity soccer and basketball teams and ran track and cross country.
Duggan was also awarded the 2016 Rotary Crystal Cup and was a Wendy's High School Heisman state finalist. She also represented De Queen High School at Girls State and was the Arkansas Representative on the Youth Leadership Council in Washington, D.C. for the Rural Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.
Duggan is the daughter of Greg and Donna Duggan. She is the granddaughter of Dennis and Kay Duggan and the late Janice Duggan.
Duggan plans to attend Arkansas Tech University and pursue a degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Human Resources.
GILLHAM RESIDENT ARRESTED ON ACTIVE WARRANT 6/2/16
A Gillham resident was arrested May 31st after deputies with the Sevier County Sheriff’s office received information that he was riding around in Gillham in a white Hyundai car.
When Deputy Greg Davignon located the vehicle, he informed the passenger, 36-year-old Justin Price that he was wanted on an active warrant.
While searching Price, Davignon found a metal marijuana smoking pipe in his pocket. Price then allegedly told Davignon that he had a meth pipe under the passenger seat in a black case. Davignon reported the pipe contained a white residue that’s consistent with methamphetamine.
Price was taken to the Sevier County jail on the active warrant and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
MANY CHILDREN NOT GETTING ENOUGH FOOD DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS 6/2/16
Eighty percent of the children who get free lunch at school don’t participate in summer meal programs, mostly because their parents and guardians aren’t aware of them, according to the anti-hunger group Hunger Free America.
Joel Berg, the group’s CEO, is pushing the message about summer nutrition across the country, and toured several spots in Arkansas Tuesday, including the Afterschool Meals program at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center. Berg says hunger is an issue every state in the nation faces, and it’s especially prevalent in Arkansas.
Berg’s group has a nationwide toll free number set up so anyone can call to see where free summer meals are offered in their community. It’s 866-3 Hungry.
Berg says there are things states, cities and counties and community groups can do to help end hunger, but it’s really going to need to be addressed on a national level.
Berg says one in four Arkansas children deals with hunger issues, with 29 percent living below the poverty level. The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance says an average family spends an additional $300 each month for food during the summer.
The Horatio School District is offering a seamless summer lunch program starting Monday, June 6th. Lunches are free to anyone 18 or younger and just $3.25 for anyone over the age of 19.
THREE AUTHORS TO SIGN BOOKS JUNE 11TH AT WINTHROP LIBRARY 6/2/16
The Winthrop Public Library will host a book signing for three local authors from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 11th.
Mary May who is also known as Beth Heath has published six books, including "On a Prayer," "The Angel Chronicles Series," and the young adult novel "The Red House."
May is originally from De Queen but now lives in Foreman. She is the co-owner of the Winthrop Wolfpack store.
Kacy Hart who is known as Shelli Hopkins is also originally from De Queen and lives in Foreman. She works at the Little River County jail in Ashdown as a 911 dispatcher.
Hart has written two books entitled: "Fighting Fate's Desires" and "Escaping the Darkness."
Terrell Polite has also published two books. He wrote "Men Hurt Too" and "Growing in The Lord." He is an assistant youth pastor at the Spirit and Life Fellowship in Ashdown and he works at the Little River Nursing Home.
TRAVELING AT A SNAIL’S PACE 6/2/16
On May 28th, Sevier County Deputy Greg Davignon observed a vehicle on Highway 71 that was traveling 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit and had several vehicles backed up behind them.
Davignon reported the vehicle swerved several times within the lane and traveled on the right side of the fog line for several seconds at a time before getting back into the traffic lane.
Davignon stopped the vehicle in the Lockesburg E-Z Mart parking lot.
The driver, 32-year-old Jamie Whatley of Ashdown informed Deputy Davignon that she had not been drinking and that she had not taken any prescription medication, but her eyes were glassy, bloodshot and watery.
Whatley reportedly admitted that she had consumed one whiskey drink early in the day. After she failed a series of field sobriety test, Whatley was taken to the Sevier County jail on the suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
CORDERO AND RODRIGUEZ SELECTED FOR GIRLS STATE 6/1/16
Kimberly Cordero and Emily Rodriguez have been selected by the De Queen High School faculty as representatives to the 74th session of Arkansas Girls State, which is held on the campus of Harding University in Searcy from May 29th through June 3rd.
Cordero and Rodriguez were chosen on the basis of leadership, character, honesty, scholarship, cooperativeness, community participation and service.
Cordero is being sponsored by the Rotary Club and the Lions Club is sponsoring Rodriguez.
HORATIO SOFTBALL CAMP JUNE 15-17 6/1/16
Horatio Head Softball Coach Dustin Bakenhus announced the Horatio Lady Lions will be hosting a softball camp June 15 through the 17th from 10 a.m. to noon at Lady Lion Yard at Lane Fields and the Horatio baseball and softball indoor facility.
Bakenhus stated this camp wasn't only for Horatio players, but any young lady in the area. He also said players should bring their glove and any equipment that they want to use, including a defensive facemask. Bakenhus also said players should also bring both cleats and tennis shoes.
For more information, Bakenhus stated you may contact him at 870-784-1090 or the Horatio High School.
Bakenhus said all campers who pre-register by Friday, June 10th will receive a free camp T-shirt.
ONE VEHICLE ACCIDENT RESULTS IN DWI ARREST 6/1/16
Just before midnight on May 28th, Sevier County Deputy Thomas Jackson was dispatched to the Beacon Hill Road to a one-vehicle accident.
When Deputy Thomas and Deputy Matthew Webb arrived, they discovered a Toyota pickup in the ditch on the north side of the road about 150 feet east of Red Bridge Road.
When the deputies arrived, 40-year-old Matthew Ruth of De Queen got out of the pickup and allegedly admitted that he had consumed several beers. He informed the deputies that he hit his head against the windshield when he hit a tree.
Southwest EMS was dispatched to the scene, but Ruth refused treatment. He was cited for driving while intoxicated #1.
THOMSON WINS 27TH ANNUAL TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL 6/1/16
The 27th Annual Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival was held last Saturday on the De Queen, Dierks and Gillham lakes.
The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce paid out over $14,000 in prize money and door prizes were to 349 fishermen from the local and four states area.
First place and a prize of $1,500 were won by Josh Thomson of Ashdown on the Dierks Lake with a fish weighing 7.00 lbs. He told De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy, this was the first year he had fished the Tri-Lakes Big Bass Tournament.
Vince Strasner of Dierks was second with a fish weighing 6.24 lbs. He caught it on the Dierks Lake. Third place went to Jim Presson of De Queen. He caught a fish weighing 5.98 lbs on the De Queen Lake. Fourth place went to Derek Scott of Nashville. He caught a 5.64 lbs fish on the De Queen Lake and Mark Spears of Nashville caught a 5.63 lbs fish on the Dierks Lake for fifth place.
THREE MINORS CHARGED WITH COMMERCIAL BURGLARY 6/1/16
On May 26th, former Horatio High School football coach Mark King contacted the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office to report that the football field concession stand had been broken into.
Deputies Brian Hankins and Andrew Gomez were informed that the concession stand had been broken into about 12:26 a.m. and drinks and food were taken.
Deputies reviewed surveillance video that revealed a suspect crawling through a window and then crawl around inside the building. The suspect then opened the door and several other suspects entered the building.
A total of four suspects between the ages of 9 to 16 were identified on the video.
Deputies then went to the home of one of the subject’s and during an interview, he allegedly admitted to breaking into the concession stand and taking the food and drinks.
Three of the four minors have been charged with commercial burglary.
ASHDOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES PURCHASE OF VIDEO TECH CLASS EQUIPMENT 5/31/16
During the May meeting of the Ashdown Board of Education, board members approved the purchase of video equipment for the district's new Video Tech Class. Superintendent Jason Sanders said the equipment cost $26,507.05. He said students will learn how to produce a video broadcast, showcasing the district's new video scoreboard.
Sanders reported the district was approved for the 2016-2017 McKinney-Vento homeless student grant.
Sanders said the board of education also voted to transition to the Edmentum credit recovery program after using a different program for the past three years.
Sanders also announced Linda Davis was selected as the Arkansas Rural Teacher of the Year for 2016. He said she is a fourth grade teacher on the L.F. Henderson campus and she was chosen for the southern part of the state.
Board members also voted to hire Loretta Price as the District's Testing Coordinator.
BODY IDENTIFIED AS MISSING DE QUEEN RESIDENT 5/31/16
The Arkansas Crime Lab notified Sevier County Coroner Rusty Williams that the body found on May 22nd near the railroad tracks just west of the Herman Dierks Park was identified has 47-year-old Juan Munoz of De Queen.
According to the autopsy report, Munoz died by hanging.
Munoz's decomposing body was found Sunday, May 22nd by a search party of family members and friends. Munoz was pronounced dead at the scene by Williams.
According to the initial incident report, Munoz's family reported him missing on May 5th.
The investigation is being conducted by the Arkansas State Police and the De Queen Police Department.
SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY SNIPPETS 5/31/16
Head Librarian of the Sevier County Library System, Johnye Fisher reported the Tri-County Regional Library System has all new computers. She said they were purchased by the regional library system and installed by Jon Chambers of Nashville.
Chambers reported the new HP Google Chrome Box computers are cloud based and are a lot faster and more reliable.
Chambers also said patrons personal information is not saved on the Chrome Boxes if they log out of the system, so they are safer to use.
Fisher said the De Queen Library also has a new Microfilm Reader for the Genealogy Section. She explained the library received a grant from the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District and it was installed on May 19th.
Fisher said the De Queen Library also has a signed copy of "Where the Wild Lines Are" by Lewis Leathers who is a 2009 graduate of De Queen High School and is currently attending Henderson State University.
All four libraries will be hosting summer reading programs this June and you can call our local library for dates and times.
Carolyn Jones of the De Queen Library said the De Queen Library’s first summer reading program is Wednesday, June 1st at 10 a.m.
Horatio Library will be hosting story time on Saturday's starting June 4th at 10 a.m. through June 25th.
The Lockesburg Library will be holding their summer reading program on Saturday's beginning June 4th at 10 a.m. and the Gillham Library summer reading program entitled "Exercise Your Mind" is scheduled for Saturday, June 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th.
ACM TOP FEMALE VOCALIST SARA EVANS TO PERFORM IN HOPE 5/31/16
Multi-platinum RCA recording artist, Sara Evans brings her US tour to Hempstead Hall, in Hope on Friday, June 24th.
Many in the country music industry describe Evans as one of the most compelling female vocalists of this generation. She lives up to that reputation with 6 million records sold and five number one country singles including Suds in the Bucket, A Real Fine Place to Start, No Place That Far, A Little Bit Stronger, and Born to Fly. In addition, she was awarded “ACM’s Top Female Vocalist of the Year” and the “CMA Best Video Award for Suds in the Bucket.”
Evans’ attention and talent reaches beyond singing. She won the hearts of the national television audience on Dancing with the Stars, she was an author to three best-selling books and was recognized as one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.”
Evans says she has never been more excited about her performances. She said she is singing with a ton of confidence and she is striving to sing, write and perform better because she’s very competitive with herself.
Tickets are on sale now at hempsteadhall.com or by calling 870-722-8565. Tickets range between $23 and $75 each, but group pricing is available for 10 or more.
LIVE MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT LINEUP ANNOUNCED FOR 39TH ANNUAL LUM AND ABNER FESTIVAL 5/31/16
The Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission is proud to announce the live entertainment lineup that will be performing at the 39th Annual Lum and Abner Festival, June 3rd and 4th on the Aleshire Electric Entertainment Stage in Mena’s Janssen Park. Variety is the keyword for this year’s entertainment lineup, with something for everyone including rock, country, blues, gospel, bluegrass and more. Best of all, entry to the festival is free.
The live musical entertainment fun will begin on Friday at 12:30 p.m. with Don Thompson and The Talimena Drive. At 2:30 p.m., Gator and Friends Cajun Country and Gospel Band will take the stage, followed by Richie Owens at 4:30. Friday evening, the opening act will be the Crumbs from Fort Smith. They feature Americana, bluegrass, and modern folk music who will take the stage at 6:30. The headliner Friday night will be Billstown, a group that features three generations of band members and music variety. Billstown was named for a small community in Pike County and many of the band members are from and live in the hometown of Glen Campbell. The band was formed in 2008 by reuniting members of the Campbell Family Band along with some new additions.
Live music will continue on Saturday, beginning at 12:30 p.m. with the band Dual Carb from Hot Springs. At 2:30, Partners in Christ will take the stage, followed by Highway 31 at 4:30. Lana Gail and Gail Force will be the opening act. Gill is a Nashville Recording Artist. She and her band will entertain the crowd with their unique upbeat treatment of songs from yesterday and today. Headlining Saturday night’s event is Pamela Ward and the Last Call Orchestra.
CORPS URGES SAFETY THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND - COON CREEK ON GILLHAM LAKE CLOSED 5/27/16
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer for many people, and it often kicks off with an outing to a lake or river. Park rangers with the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District want you and your family to be safe in or around the water.
Tiffany Smith of the Tri-Lakes office said the corps encourages everyone to wear a life jacket and to boat sober. She said if you plan to swim or do any boating, always make a plan and let people know where you are going.
Each lake has a life jacket loaner station if you happen to forget your life jacket. Statistics say most people who drown never intended to be in the water; they unexpectedly fall from a boat or dock into the water.
Smith also reported some areas are still closed due to flooding.
In the Tri-Lakes area, which includes the De Queen, Gillham and Dierks lakes, Jefferson Ridge Loop 1 and 2 are closed as well as the day use area on Dierks Lake. On Gillham Lake, Big Coon Creek North is closed and Millwood's Saratoga Landing is closed due to a large amount of debris in the area.
Park rangers are urging everyone to obey boating laws and they point out that more than half of all people who drown consume alcohol before their accident, so they suggest you skip the alcohol if you plan to be in or on the water this weekend.
DE QUEEN CITY POOL OPEN MEMORIAL DAY 5/27/16
Callie Miller of the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department announced the De Queen City Pool will open Monday, May 30th with the park's annual free swim day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
She said the pool has a maximum capacity of 150 people and if there are more than 150 people wanting to swim Monday, they will rotate every 30-minute, so everyone can enjoy the pool.
Public swim times will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Miller said general admission is $3, but area residents may purchase a family pass for $200 or a season pass for $50 from the De Queen park office.
Miller said pool parties must be scheduled through the park office and they cost $125 for 2 hours; $250 for 4 hours; and $400 for 6 hours. Parties may be scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; from 5:30 to 7:30 or 8 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and from 3:30 to 5:30, 6 to 8 or 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturdays.
Senior and adult swim is from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and there is a marathon hour from 6 to 7 p.m. every Monday through Wednesday, but you must have a season pass.
Miller said the park will be offering swim lessons Monday through Thursday from 10 to 11:15 a.m. June 6-9; June 13-16; and June 20-23. Night lessons will be from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. June 27-30; July 5-8 and July 11-14. The cost is $30 per child per week.
Miller said the De Queen Dolphin Swim team is also currently practicing from 8-10 p.m. and if you would like more information about the swim team, contact the park office at 642-4140.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY 5/27/16
Bobby Thompson of Ashdown has organized a Memorial Day Ceremony for this Monday at noon on the Little River County Courthouse lawn. He said this year's speaker is Grannis native, Sergeant First Class Shilo Smith who is a retired Army Ranger.
Thompson said the program will start at noon with the band Harmony and the Little Rock Air Force Base Honor Guard will post the colors, retire the colors and hold a three volley salute.
Thompson said if it rains, the program will be moved to the fellowship hall of the Central Baptist Church in Ashdown.
ARKANSAS SWIM BEACHES CLOSED DUE TO HEALTH RISKS 5/27/16
Several swim beaches have been closed in the state due to health risks like E. Coli.
The Arkansas Health Department’s list as of May 26th listed two creeks in Southwest Arkansas. The list includes a total of 20 swim beaches, including Story Creek in Sevier County and Coon Creek in Howard County.
According to the Arkansas Health Department, beaches must pass two tests to be deemed safe. Story Creek was closed on April 27th, but is considered safe after passing two tests. Coon Creek was closed on May 3rd and is considered unsafe because it has not passed two tests, as of Thursday, May 26th.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli is a large group of bacteria. Some kinds of it can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia and other illnesses.
CHILDREN MORE AT RISK OF DROWNING IN ARKANSAS 5/27/16
Boating season is about to kick into high gear on waterways around the state, and officials are urging Arkansas swimmers and boating enthusiasts to take the proper precautions to stay safe.
The Arkansas Infant and Child Death Review Program at Arkansas Children's Hospital says the state ranks 7th in the United States for drowning-related deaths among children, younger than 17, and that rate is 60 percent higher than the national average.
Sergeant Al Bavarska works in marine safety law enforcement and he says most people who drown in a boating or personal watercraft accident would be alive if they had been wearing a life jacket.
One life jacket is required for each person on a watercraft, and kids younger than age six must be wearing one at all times. On a personal watercraft or Jet Ski, a life jacket is required for those riding or being towed. National Safe Boating Week runs through today.
Many boating accidents involve the use of alcohol and Bavarska notes it's illegal for anyone to operate a boat or personal watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Before heading out on the water for the season, he encourages boaters to ensure the equipment on their vessel is operating correctly, including the battery, fire extinguisher and navigational lights.
LIFESHARE BLOOD DRIVE AT PILGRIMS PRIDE THIS FRIDAY 5/27/16
LifeShare Blood Center will be hosting a blood drive this Friday at the Pilgrim's Pride plant in De Queen from 2 to 8 p.m. LifeShare officials reported the donor coach will be in the parking lot between the security shack and the main entrance on South 3rd Street.
Officials said about one in seven people who enter a hospital will need blood and one blood donation can save up to three lives.
LifeShare Blood Centers supplies blood components to 117 medical facilities throughout Louisiana, East Texas and South Arkansas, including the De Queen Regional Medical Center and the Little River County Memorial Hospital.
For more information, visit the website lifeshare.org or call 903-794-3173.
AGFC TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING TONIGHT TO DISCUSS CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE IN HOPE 5/26/16
A public meeting will take place tonight at the Hope Fair Park Community Center from 6 to 8 p.m. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists plan to deliver information about chronic wasting disease and proposed regulations that should help combat the spread of the disease.
All of the proposals will be voted on in June.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission heard the first proposals from wildlife management staff on potential regulations concerning deer hunting and management of chronic wasting disease in Arkansas at the May 19th Commissioners meeting.
Some of the regulations would establish a chronic wasting disease management zones in counties with known positives and those close to known positives. One would establish a private land chronic wasting disease management program within the chronic wasting disease management zone to allow landowners to take additional deer off their property to reduce deer density and to slow the spread of the disease. One would prohibit the transport of certain portions of carcasses outside the disease management zone. It would allow only deboned meat, cleaned skull plates, hides, teeth and taxidermy products to be transported out of the disease management zone.
All chronic wasting disease related proposals will be voted on in June.
ARKANSAS HIGHWAY COMMISSION APPROVES BID FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN SEVIER COUNTY 5/26/16
The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to a roadway in Sevier County, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department officials.
The purpose of this project is to resurface 5.6 miles of County Road 2 near Walnut Springs in Sevier County.
The bid was awarded to C & F Construction Company, Inc. of Smackover at $216,332.
Highway department officials also awarded another bid to C & F Construction in the amount of $180,986 for the purpose of resurfacing 3.4 miles of County Road 2 near Bright Star in Howard County.
Construction on both projects is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in late 2016.
SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARIES HOLDING SUMMER READING PROGRAMS 5/26/16
Carolyn Jones of the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library System announced the library's summer reading program is going to start Wednesday, June 1st at 10 a.m. She said the first program will be led by Linda Goodner of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Jones said they will have snacks, drinks, crafts and some special events this summer. She said the summer reading program is scheduled for every Wednesday through the month of June at 10 a.m.
Jones said the Horatio, Lockesburg and Gillham libraries will also be conducting summer reading programs.
For more information, call the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library at 584-4364.
DAISY STATE PARK ACTIVITIES 5/26/16
Daisy State Park is hosting a critter crunch Friday morning from 11 to 11:30 a.m. at the visitor center. Participates will discover where some of the smaller park critters live and what they like to eat. Friday afternoon, from 1 to 1:30 p.m., park visitors will be reminded not to leave a trace when they leave the park, so other guests can enjoy the park’s undisturbed beauty. Then Friday night, a park interpreter will teach some basic techniques of kayaking from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Area E Boat launch.
On Saturday, park staff will discuss the different types of snakes you might encounter in Arkansas from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday afternoon from 2 to 3 p.m. everyone can enjoy some cobbler that's been prepared in cast iron cookware.
Sunday, guests can tour Lake Greeson by boat and learn the history of the lake while discovering the natural features of the lake during a scenic lake cruise from 10 a.m. to noon.
For more information about the Daisy State Park, call 870-398-4487.
OLYMPIC EXHIBIT CURRENTLY AT CLINTON LIBRARY IN LITTLE ROCK 5/26/16
Rebecca Tennille of the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock announced the Clinton Library is offering several programs to encourage children to keep learning this summer.
Tennille said the library is currently featuring an exhibit called: American Champions: the Quest for Olympic Glory.
The Clinton Presidential Center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for youth and children five and under are free.
SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE FAST APPROACHING 5/26/16
With the June 1st deadline fast approaching, Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley is encouraging both traditional and nontraditional students in the state to apply for Lottery-funded scholarships. The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship is available through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education by applying online at Scholarships.ADHE.edu.
Woosley said like the lottery, students won’t be awarded a scholarship if they don’t apply for a scholarship.
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Act of 2009 provided for revenue raised by a state lottery to provide for college scholarships that are administered by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. Tens of thousands of scholarships are awarded to Arkansas students across the state annually. 200,000 scholarships have been granted as of this year this year.
TRAIL DATE SET FOR FORMER LITTLE RIVER COUNTY DISPATCHER ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING PRISONER 5/23/16
A former Little River County dispatcher who has been accused of sexually assaulting a prisoner had a trial date of September 26th set for the Little River County Circuit Court in Ashdown.
Forty-four year old Mary Gibson is accused of fourth-degree sexual assault of a male inmate and furnishing prohibited articles to the same prisoner.
The alleged victim, 36-year-old Steven Carmack of Little River County was found hanging from a tree in the woods near the Jack’s Isle community on March 12th.
According to court records, Carmack was scheduled to testify during Gibson’s trial.
According to the incident report, Gibson would let Carmack out of his cell to smoke cigarettes and kiss while they sat on a bench on the courthouse lawn. She also allegedly brought Carmack food from various restaurants, so they could eat together either in Gibson’s office or on the courthouse lawn.
TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL 5/26/16
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced the Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival will be held Saturday, May 28th on the De Queen, Dierks and Gillham lakes. He said boats checks will begin at 5 a.m. and the fishing tournament will be from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ray said this year's event will feature hourly prizes and a grand prize of $1,500.
Ray said new this year is a target fish contest.
The registration fee is $45 per person through the end of business Friday or $50 per person at the lake on the day of the event. Entry forms may be obtained by calling 584-3225 or from the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's website: www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.com.
You can listen to Your Number One Country 92.1 for the official start of the tournament at 6 a.m. and for hourly updates, winners, as well as the winners of the target weight contest every hour.
FOREMAN PUBLIC LIBRARY PRESENTS “ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, READ” SUMMER READING PROGRAM 5/26/16
The Foreman Public Library presents “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read” during the summer library program. Tammy Whitlow will lead children in group games, physical challenges, art projects, science and engineering experiments and more.
Whitlow said the 2016 Summer Reading Program is open to young people ages preschool through sixth grade.
Programs will be lead by officials from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Little River County Extension office and the Millwood State Park. Programs will begin on Thursday, June 2nd from 10:30 a.m. to noon and will continue every Thursday during the month of June.
Registration is open now through June 2nd but for more information, call Whitlow at 870-542-7409.
SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR ADULT CELEBRATION MOVED TO SEVIER COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS 5/25/16
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray and Sevier County Senior Adult Celebration event organizer Angie Walker announced Friday's 35th annual senior adult appreciation day has been moved to the Sevier County fairgrounds. Judge Ray stated all of the vendors and activities will be under a roof.
Ray said they will line up the vendors in the livestock area, but the commercial building will be open if someone needs to cool off.
Walker said this is the first time the event has been moved, but they have 15 new vendors for a total of 48 vendors this year.
Ray said with all the extra parking and protection from the elements, this year's event may be the best one every.
911 ADDRESSES ARE ESSENTIAL IN SEVIER COUNTY 5/25/16
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray tried to explain this morning how important it is for every house in Sevier County to have a 911 address on it that is visible to emergency workers.
Sevier County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Walter Smith said it’s a problem in the county, but he said there are a lot of houses within the city limits of De Queen, Lockesburg and Horatio that do not have their 911 addresses posted on them, either.
Judge Ray said having your 911 address posted on your home and/or mailbox could save valuable time in the case of an emergency.
ASSESS PERSONAL AND COMMERCIAL PROPERTY BY MAY 31 5/25/16
The last day for Arkansans to assess cars, boats, and other personal property without a late penalty is Tuesday, May 31st. With the statewide deadline less than a week away, it is important for residents to assess on time to avoid paying a ten percent penalty on their property tax bill and to streamline their car tag renewal process.
Arkansas law requires drivers to assess their vehicles, pay property taxes and have current insurance before they can renew their registration.
Commercial property can not be assessed over the phone, but you may contact the Sevier County Assessor’s office for more information at 584-3182. In Little River County, contact the assessor’s office at 898-7204.
TRI-COUNTY REGIONAL LIBRARY SYSTEM INSTALLS NEW COMPUTERS 5/25/16
Tri-County Regional Library System director Marilyn Archer reported recently that all 11 libraries in Sevier, Little River and Howard counties have new Chrome boxes for their patrons to use.
Archer said Jon Chambers of Chambers IT installed the new computers for the library system.
Chambers said he will be able to manage the systems of all 11 libraries remotely, saving time and money. He said patrons will also be able to access their personal information through their Goggle accounts and the information will be erased when they log out of the computer.
Archer said the Tri-County Regional Library was excited about the upgrades because all of the libraries are getting ready for their summer reading programs.
For more information, contact your local library.
ASHDOWN TEEN SENTENCED TO 45 YEARS IN PRISON 5/25/16
An Ashdown teen who shot and killed a Texarkana man and shot his dog in March of this year, was sentenced to 45 years in a Texas prison, Monday afternoon.
Eighteen year old Warrick Dunn will not be eligible for parole until he is 40 years old after pleading guilty to killing 27-year-old Deandre Bush on March 30th.
According to court records, Bush was killed shortly after midnight as he sat in his car in front of his house in the 2,000 block of West 18th Street in Texarkana, Texas. Bush was shot several times at close range through the driver's side window.
Dunn's motive was robbery and he arranged to sell two guns to the mother of a friend for $300. The woman had agreed to buy the .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun that Dunn used to kill Bush and a Taurus 9mm that Dunn stole from Bush.
PUBLIC MEETING FOR HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN FOR LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 5/25/16
A public hearing will be held at 9 a.m. on June 13th at the County Annex building in Ashdown.
In the past, federal legislation has provided funding for disaster relief, recovery, but Per FEMA and the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, Section 322 requires local governments; as a condition of receiving certain federal disaster mitigation funds to have a mitigation plan that describes the process for identifying hazards, risks and vulnerabilities, identify and prioritize mitigation actions; encourage the development of local mitigation and provide technical support for those efforts.
The goals of this Hazard Mitigation plan are to 1) reduce the loss of life and reduce property losses in the County due to natural disasters; and 2) provide a framework and coordination to encourage all levels of government and public and private organizations to undertake mitigation to minimize potential disasters and employ mitigation in the recovery following disasters.
This public hearing is to inform residents of Little River County of the preparation of the Little River County Hazard Mitigation Plan and provide the residents with an opportunity to review the completed DRAFT copy of the Hazard Mitigation Plan. The DRAFT Plan will be submitted to ADEM and FEMA in the following weeks.
Residents in Little River County, neighboring communities, businesses, academia and other interested parties, agencies and persons are encouraged to attend this public meeting.
SEARCH LEADS TO TWO ARRESTS 5/24/16
On May 21st, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office obtained information that lead to the arrest of two De Queen residents on drug charges.
Circuit Judge Tom Cooper issued a search warrant for a residence at 401 West Maple Street, Apartment 4 in De Queen and at about 1:34 p.m. officers with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and the De Queen Police Department executed the warrant.
Inside the house, officers discovered drug paraphernalia in plain view throughout the home. They also arrested to two occupants, Joey Rymer and Tracey Moncus.
After processing the scene, officers collected 13 pieces of evidence and conducted interviews with the suspects at the Sevier County jail.
Rymer and Moncus have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO INSTALL CAMERAS ON SEVEN BUSES 5/24/16
Foreman Superintendent George Kennedy reported Gene Hawk with Gene Hawk Consulting; LLC presented a spreadsheet of the depreciation values of the district's buildings during the May meeting of the Foreman Board of Education. He said the district is starting to consider updating the high school or possibly building a new one.
Kennedy said the board accepted the district's school choice applications. He said they approved the applications of five students into the district and five students out of the district.
Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory presented some grant information about a school resource officer. Kennedy said the grant would pay about 75 percent of the resource officer's salary for the first year.
Kennedy said the board also accepted the bid from KLC Video Security for bus cameras on seven route buses. He said they will cost about $17,000 dollars.
Board members also accepted the resignation of Blake Walker the Technology Coordinator and Elementary teacher Samantha Young.
BEACON HILL BIKERS MOTORCYCLE MINISTRY HOLDING A COUPLE FUNDRAISERS 5/24/16
Carla Wolcott of the Beacon Hill Bikers Motorcycle Ministry announced they will be holding a benefit bake sale this Sunday starting at 8 a.m. at the Wal-Mart in De Queen. Wolcott said the proceeds will be split between the Jones family and a former teacher at Horatio.
Wolcott said the Jones' baby was born pre-mature and has heart problems.
She also challenged Ms. Carlson's former students from Horatio to stop by the bake sale and support her in her time of need.
Wolcott said the Beacon Hill Bikers will also be hosting a charity ride and potluck on Sunday, June 19th. She said they will leave from the Cossatot Reefs pavilion in Gillham at 2 p.m. Wolcott said all of the proceeds will benefit the Houston Hayes Memorial Fund.
For more information, call 682-970-0378 or 870-784-1899.
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT HOLDS TABLE TOP DISASTER DISCUSSION MONDAY AFTERNOON 5/24/16
Monday afternoon, Walter Smith of the Sevier County Office of Emergency Management held a table top discussion concerning disaster response.
Members of the De Queen Fire Department, the Horatio Volunteer Fire Department, the Provo Volunteer Fire Department, the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, employees of Southwest EMS, De Queen Regional Medical Center, and employees of the city and county road departments, met with OEM officials from Sevier, Little River, Montgomery, and Polk counties to discuss their responsibilities in an emergency.
Jay Litchford of the De Queen Fire Department reported the fire department would immediately take over dispatching duties from the sheriff's office in the case of an emergency and they would start clearing debris from streets and roads.
Litchford said the department would set up a mobile command center close to the disaster area and set up barriers around down power lines.
He also stated the department would conduct house to house searches in the affected area because public safety is their top priority.
Litchford said law enforcement would establish patrols around banks and other sensitive areas, while the fire departments would check on the hospital, nursing homes and areas with a lot of elderly residents.
Sevier County OEM Director Smith stated media would be utilized to inform the public and to discourage residents from getting out, just to look around.
Smith reported all of the departments in Sevier County work well together and they have been called into action of several occasions, but they will continue to hold disaster preparedness meetings and training to ensure they are ready if and when a disaster strikes the area.
BODY FOUND NEAR RR TRACKS IN DE QUEEN 5/23/16
The De Queen Police Department released a statement this morning stating the family of a missing De Queen resident found a decomposed body Sunday morning near the railroad tracks, west of the Herman Dierks Park.
Interim Chief of Police Scott Simmons reported the family of 47-year-old Juan Munoz formed a search party this weekend to look for Munoz. Munoz has been missing since May 3rd.
The Arkansas State Police were contacted to assist the De Queen Police Department with the investigation and the body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for identification and to determine the cause of death.
Memorial Mass service for Mr.
Munoz will be held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 26, 2016, in the
St. Barbara Catholic Church with Father Juan Manjarrez
officiating. A Rosary service will start at 10:00 a.m., Friday
with memorial service at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, May 28, 2016, in
the “Centro Pastoral” St. Barbara Catholic Church. Burial
will be at a later date in Monterrey, Mexico.
BAND BOOSTER MEETING IS TUESDAY NIGHT 5/23/16
De Queen Band director Jeff Attaway announced the band booster club will be holding a planning meeting for next year tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. in the band hall. Attaway explained what all the band booster club does for the band students.
Attaway said the band does not hold very many fundraisers, but did sell t-shirts this year to raise money for 15 students who will be attending band camp this summer.
Attaway said booster club meetings last about an hour once a month, but if you are interested in the band program, you can follow them on Facebook or visit their website, leopardband.org.
For more information, contact the De Queen High School at 642-2426.
DE QUEEN PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES VARIANCE FOR NEW BUILDING AT STILWELL HIGH-LIFT STATION 5/23/16
Thursday night, May 19th, the De Queen Planning Commission met at the De Queen City Hall to consider a hardship exemption for the construction of metal building at the Stilwell high lift station.
Water Department manager, Jeff Brown, informed commissioners that for the past year his department has been updating the city's water system with new pumps. He reported the De Queen City Council approved the purchase of three new high lift pumps and variable frequency drives. However, the new equipment is quite a bit larger than the old equipment and the city wants to build a metal building around the existing building to give more room for the pumps.
Brown reported he had been informed by the city's code enforcement officer that the building is located in a flood plain and the city had to have a variance from the planning commission.
Brown explained the location of the high lift station was determined by the design of the water system. He said relocating the high lift station out of the flood plain would be impossible without rebuilding the entire water system.
Brown then asked the commission for the variance because the existing building has not flooded since it was built and because the new metal building is vital to the livelihood of the city, including residents and businesses. He also stated it would be impossible to relocate the three new pumps, electrical power, water mains and two water storage tanks.
Commissioners voted to approve the variance in the interest of public health and safety.
SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR CITIZENS APPRECIATION DAY IS FRIDAY 5/23/16
This Friday, May 27th is the 35th annual Senior Citizens Appreciation Day in Sevier County for senior citizens 55 years of age and older on the Sevier County Courthouse lawn.
Event organizer Angie Walker stated this year's theme is the 50's and there's going to be a car show and live music along with the free health screenings. She said they have about 36 vendors signed up for this year's event.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray stated the event would not be possible without the support of the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce members and lots of volunteers.
Judge Ray said there will be extra parking at the former First National Bank and the car wash across the street from the courthouse and he hopes to provide a shuttle service for senior adults who are unable to park around the courthouse.
TRIAL DATE SET IN DEATH OF LITTLE RIVER RESIDENT 5/23/16
A trial date of June 28 and 29th has been set for 23-year-old Aaron Rhodes of Little River County. Rhodes has been charged with second degree murder for the shooting death of Matthew Stewart of Little River County.
Twenty year old Courtney Clemensen of Little River County has also been accused of tampering with evidence in the incident.
According to the incident report, Little River County deputies were dispatched to the residence of Rhodes and Clemensen about 8:30 p.m. on October 9th of 2015 about a shooting.
When deputies arrived, they found the body of Stewart sitting in a chair with a gunshot wound to the head. According to the Arkansas State Police, Rhodes and Clemensen told police that Stewart shot himself.
A couple of days later, Rhodes reportedly said he accidentally shot Stewart while playing with a .45-caliber pistol.
Rhodes said Stewart was sitting in the chair, texting on the phone. Rhodes said he was smoking marijuana while he was playing with the gun and it accidently went off, striking Stewart on the top of the head.
After the shooting, Clemensen reportedly wiped the gun down and she allegedly told police she picked up the shell casing that was ejected from the gun.
A trial date for Clemensen has been scheduled with a pre-trial hearing on June 7th and a trial date of June 20th.
Rhodes is currently being held in the Little River County jail with a $100,000 bond. Clemensen has been released on bond.
ABOUT 400 SIGNATURES NEEDED TO PUT ALCOHOL PROPOSAL ON BALLOT 5/23/16
The Vote for Growth committee in Little River County lacks about 400 signatures to place a proposal to allow alcohol sales in the county on the November ballot.
Committee chairman Kirk Babb explained the proposal would allow retail stores to sell beer and wine, except on Sundays.
State law requires the collection of valid signatures from 38 percent of the county’s registered voters to place a proposal on the ballot. Little River County had 6,988 registered voters as of May 18th, which means the Vote for Growth committee needs to collect 2,655 signatures.
The proposal is being supported by Wal-Mart and E-Z Mart.
Babb said the sell of beer and wine in Little River County would be a boost for the local economy. He said they could get sales from Oklahoma because their beer has less alcohol with two percent alcohol, as well as, surrounding counties like, Howard and Sevier.
If the proposal is approved by county voters in November, E-Z Mart, Wal-Mart and Brookshire’s and other retail establishments that want to sell beer and wine, would have to apply to get permits from the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
Babb said if the proposal passes it could open to the door for the establishment of liquor stores, but the state only allows one liquor store per 5,000 county residents, which means Little River County would only be allowed to operate two liquor stores.
According to Little River County Judge Mike Cranford, the last time a local option initiative was on the ballot in Little River County was about 70 years ago.
WIVES THAT WALK THE LINE IN SEVIER COUNTY 5/23/16
Last week was National Police Week and a local group called Wives that Walk the Line held a program to honor officers who have died in the line of duty.
Tanya Wolcott is the wife of Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Wolcott and she stated the event gave area residents the opportunity to express their appreciation to the local officers.
Wolcott said her husband, Chris, has been an officer for over 10 years and the Walk the Line group was formed to help these officers show how much they care about their communities.
Wolcott said for more information about the Wives that Walk the Line group, contact her or Dana Gentry.
Although National Police Week as ended, we should thank an officer ever chance we get.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION IS SUNDAY 5/20/16
De Queen School District's Public Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced the De Queen High School graduation is today at 2 p.m. at the Bill Blackwood Leopard Stadium. She also mentioned the school is providing a shuttle service from the junior high to the stadium.
Whatley said if it rains the ceremony will be moved to the coliseum.
Whatley also mentioned the administration of the De Queen School District wants all children to be in the stands with their parents during the graduation ceremony.
The staff of KDQN wants to say congratulations to all the graduating seniors of De Queen High School.
ASP HONORS AREA INVESTIGATOR 5/20/16
Arkansas State Police recently honored retired criminal investigator Special Agent Hays McWhirter of Ashdown with the ASP Distinguished Meritorious Service Award.
McWhirter was recognized for his career that spanned more than four decades with the Arkansas State Police.
McWhirter was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division, Company C in 1985. He opened 1,569 criminal cases over the course of his career.
According to McWhirter's case files, 374 of his investigations involved fire and arson and 167 were deaths.
One of his cases involved the death of three Hispanic children in De Queen in 2006.
Officers found the bodies of the three children lying side by side on a bed in the master bedroom near the rear of a wood-frame home.
Later, the mother of the three children confessed to killing her children in retaliation against her husband and she is now serving a life sentence in prison.
DIERKS SCHOOL DISTRICT FULLY ACCREDITED BY THE STATE 5/20/16
Dierks Superintendent Holly Cothern informed the Dierks Board of Education the district is fully accredited by the state board of education.
Board members also approved a non-recurring bonus of $500 for all school employees and approved an out-of-state trip for FBLA advisor Betsy Mack and FBLA member Kaylynn Brasel who placed 4th in the state's personal finance event during the state convention. Mack and Brasel will attend the national FBLA conference in Atlanta, Georgia June 29th through July 2nd.
Board members also voted to accept 13 School Choice transfers. There were four students from the Cossatot River School District, one from Horatio, and four from Nashville and four from De Queen.
MINERAL SPRINGS MAN FACING NEW FELONY CHARGE IN FEDERAL COURT 5/20/16
A Mineral Springs man who has been accused of writing threatening letters to seven Arkansas mayors last year is now facing a new felony charge in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.
Fifty-five year-old Maverick Bryan has been indicted on seven counts of mailing threatening communications to the mayors of Ashdown, Hope, De Queen, Lewisville, Nashville, Prescott and Murfreesboro. Bryan allegedly threatened to hang the mayors from a tree if they didn't remove the Common Core curriculum from the public schools and put prayer and the Ten Commandments back in the classrooms.
A new charge of possession of a firearm by a certain person has been added to Bryan's charges.
According to court records, when Bryan was arrested in March of 2015, he was allegedly in possession of a 12-gauge shotgun that did not have a serial number on it. Bryan is currently serving a five-year term of probation for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
During Bryan's detention hearing, he admitted he penned the letters and he admitted that he authored an advertisement in the Thrifty Nickel seeking a $23 million dollar loan so he could form a Christian army to overthrow the U.S. government.
Bryan is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant for arraignment of the new charge on May 27th.
BREATHING DIFFICULT FOR THOUSANDS OF ARKANSANS 5/20/16
May is Asthma Awareness Month and, according to the American Lung Association, nearly 26 million people in the United States suffer from the condition, and more than seven million are children.
A study by the University of Arkansas found 13 percent of adults in Arkansas have asthma, and the state is currently not funded under the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Asthma Control Program. Charles Gray, a physician assistant with Peak Vista Community Health Centers, says exposure to ground-level ozone, or smog, can be particularly harmful for people with asthma.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people can prevent episodes by avoiding exposure to other triggers such as tobacco smoke, mold and people with colds and flu. The agency found almost half of all people in the United States with asthma have at least one attack a year, and more children experience attacks than adults.
Asthma episodes can also be prevented by using inhalers and other prescribed medicines. Gray says the biggest challenges facing many of the patients he sees are socio-economic; families simply can't afford to pay for health insurance or fill prescriptions.
A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children of color and from low-income families have higher rates of asthma and more severe symptoms. They also experience more challenges managing the condition and are at a higher risk for associated academic and behavior problems.
HOPE/HEMPSTEAD COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 20TH ANNUAL FREE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL 5/20/16
The Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce's 20th Annual Free Bluegrass Festival is this Saturday at Historic Washington State Park, under the trees of the 1874 Courthouse.
Admission is free and the music will start at noon and continue until 8 p.m.
Everyone is encouraged to take a lawn chair and enjoy the Hartley Family from Arkadelphia, the Bona Fide String Band from Fayetteville, High Mountain Grass from Magnolia, Buck and Company of Glenwood and the Hempstead County Melody Boys from Hope.
If it rains, the music will be moved indoors. For more information, call 870-777-3640.
SUMMER CONTINUING EDUCATION CLASSES AT UA COSSATOT 5/20/16
Zebbie Launius announced this week that UA Cossatot will be offering something for everyone this summer through the Continuing Education program, including some new classes.
Launius said the college is also offering several courses in job safety and job training.
Launius reported they will also be offering several arts and crafts type of classes.
Launius said there will also be classes for children and a senior adult trip to the Amity Trade Days event.
For more information, visit KDQN.net and CCCUA.edu for a complete list of classes. Launius said registration is always open and if you have questions, contact her at 584-4471.
AREA LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS PARTICIPATING IN TORCH RUN FOR ARKANSAS SPECIAL OLYMPICS 5/19/16
Monte Stringfellow of UA Cossatot announced Wednesday morning that he’s organizing a Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics of Arkansas in Sevier, Little River and Howard counties.
Stringfellow explained the 2016 Summer Games Torch Run will kick-off on May 23rd in all four corners of the state and will be carried through varies cities. He said on Wednesday, May 25th all Guardians of the Flame will converge at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Little Rock for the ceremonial lighting of the Final Leg Torch, which will be carried to Searcy on Thursday, May 26th.
Stringfellow said this will be the first year, local officers have participated and he said area residents can join the officers at noon on Monday, May 23rd here in De Queen starting at the De Queen Police Station.
Stringfellow said officers in Nashville will start at the Nashville City Hall on Tuesday, May 24th at 8 a.m. and the Ashdown officers will run from the college to Anytime Fitness beginning at 10 a.m.
Special Olympics of Arkansas has 15,000 athletes across the state and they are no stranger to training or hard work, and Stringfellow said they will inspire you
This year's theme for the summer games is "The Hero Within." So, support the local Special Olympic athletes and help them unleash their spirit through the joy of sport.
GILLHAM VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT BBQ DINNER 5/19/16
The Gillham Volunteer Fire Department will host their annual BBQ dinner fundraiser this Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Gillham Fire Station. Volunteer fire fighter Karen Russell said they will not only be collecting membership dues, but they also hope to recruit some new volunteers.
Russell stated the department currently has 12 members and they need more help. She said the department has a large service area and many of the volunteers are not available during the day because they work outside of Gilham.
For more information, call Russell at 784-1142 or Marc Rosson at 584-9434.
CORPS ASKS FOR COMMENTS ON PROPOSED WATER DEVIATION REQUEST FOR DIERKS LAKE 5/19/16
The Army Corps of Engineers at the Dierks Project office is asking for public comments on a proposed water deviation request. The request is in conjunction with a kayak festival that has been planned for June 17th through the 19th at the Dierks Lake spillway.
If approved, water releases between 300 and 500 cubic feet per second, which is typical for this time of year, would be released through the dam during the festival between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The proposed deviation, if approved, will be contingent upon favorable hydrologic conditions at the time of the event. If these conditions change for the worse, an approved deviation can be canceled.
During the festival, whitewater safety classes will be offered to local firefighters, first responders and the general public. There will also be a Disabled Veterans Team River Run benefiting the Wounded Warriors.
Comments can be mailed to the Corp's Dierks Field Office at P.O. Box 8, Dierks, AR 71833 or faxed to 870-286-2945. All comments must be received by May 24th.
FREE KIDS' CRAFTS AT THE CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK THIS WEEKEND 5/19/16
The school year is almost over, and now is a great time to explore the outdoors and enjoy the beautiful, mild weather that May brings. This Saturday, kids 12 and younger can mine for real diamonds and make a variety of fun crafts during the Crater of Diamonds State Park's Kids to the Park Day.
At 10 a.m. participants will make their own colorful test-tube collections of Crater rocks and minerals.
At 11 a.m. children can create boxes to display their favorite thumbnail or palm-sized rocks and minerals. After lunch, at 1 p.m. children will make and decorate bubble wands with wire and beads.
Finally at 2 p.m., children can make a bird feeder using natural ingredients.
All crafts are free with the purchase of a mine admission, which is $8 for ages 13 and up; $5 for children 6 to 12; and free for anyone 5 and younger. Each craft will continue through the hour, while supplies last. Younger children may require help from an adult with some of the crafts, according to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox.
For more information, contact the Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3113.
TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL 5/19/16
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced the Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival will be held Saturday, May 28th on the De Queen, Dierks and Gillham lakes. He said boat checks will begin at 5 a.m. and the fishing tournament will be from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ray said this year's event will feature hourly prizes and a grand prize of $1,500.
Ray said there will be a target fish contest this year.
Ray said the deadline for a business to sponsor the Tri-Lake Big Bass Festival or to make a donation is Friday, May 20th.
The registration fee is $45 per person through May 27th or $50 per person if registering at the lake on the day of the event. Entry forms may be obtained by calling 584-3225 or from the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's website: www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.com.
WORK ON LITTLE RIVER BRIDGE TO START SOON 5/19/16
Construction on a bridge that spans the Little River on Highway 41 in Sevier and Little River counties is expected to begin soon.
The bridge is expected to be longer and wider and will replace the bridge that has been deemed structurally deficient.
The bid for the job was awarded to Jensen Construction at just over $13.9 million and construction is expected to start in June. It's estimated that the project will take about two and a-half years to complete.
The new bridge will be constructed directly east of the existing bridge and traffic will remain open.
According to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, the existing bridge is about a quarter of a mile long and connects Sevier County to the north with Little River County on the south side. The existing bridge was built in 1961 and about 2,200 vehicles cross the bridge every day.
The bridge is still structurally sound, but according to the highway department, it needs to be replaced because of the age of the bridge and deterioration of the structure. It also does not currently meet the department's current design standards.
The new bridge will be 1,982 feet long and two feet wider than the existing bridge. It will have a 40-foot road width with two 12-foot lanes and two 8-foot shoulders.
SEVIER COUNTY - A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE 05/18/16
Sevier County continues to grow in population, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Neighboring counties are decreasing.
Submitted by Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy
UA COSSATOT IS AWARDED ANCRC GRANT 5/18/16
Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council voted on and approved a proposal on Wednesday that was made by the UA Cossatot staff that awarded the college a $175,000 grant. UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole said the college will use the grant to restore the old Lockesburg gymnasium.
Through ACT 318 of the 89th General Assembly, public school districts are allowed to donate their closed and consolidated schools to community and technical colleges and UA Cossatot received the old gym, the high school and the middle school on the Lockesburg campus from the De Queen School District.
Cole said the plan is to restore the gym while maintaining the historical integrity of the structure. He said there is a lot of the original wood still remaining throughout the building.
Cole said the college couldn't thank the ANCRC enough for supporting this project. He said Senator Larry Teague and Representative DeAnn Vaught also provided a lot of support and the college is excited about working with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to restore the building to its original luster.
Cole said UA Cossatot wants to continue making investments in the communities that the college serves. He said serving these communities is the heart of the college's mission statement.
Cole said this grant will allow the college to expedite offering educational opportunities and a facility for community events in the City of Lockesburg and to the surrounding area.
Cole reported the last time the gym was used was in 2009, when retiring Sevier County Judge Dick Tallman was honored at a dinner and roast. Cole said after the renovation, more events are expected to be held in the gym.
Cole said restoration is expected to start this summer and be finished by the spring of 2017.
TRIAL SCHEDULED FOR SEVIER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT ON MAY 25TH 5/18/16
The trial of a De Queen resident who has been accused of first degree murder, kidnapping and carjacking, has been scheduled for May 25th in the Sevier County Circuit Court.
Twenty-year-old Aaron Loving has been charged with the murder of 37-year-old Amado Gallardo of De Queen. Loving is being held in the Sevier County jail on $300,000 bond.
According to court records, the Sevier County Sheriff's office received a call about 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 28th stating someone had been shot at a trailer park on Coulter Street in De Queen.
When police arrived, they discovered Gallardo on the ground with a .22 caliber gunshot wound to the face.
Allegedly, Loving had stayed with Gallardo for a couple of nights and had been asked to leave.
While officers were searching for the suspect, McCurtain County officials contacted the Sevier County Sheriff's Department to inform them that a TraShaun Maull of De Queen was at the McCurtain County Sheriff's office reporting he had been carjacked in De Queen and forced to drive to Oklahoma. He also reported Loving had chocked him and kicked him out of the car near Idabel.
An officer with the Broken Bow police department located the stolen vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop, but Loving tried to evade police. The chase ended in the parking lot of the McCurtain County Sheriff's office and Loving was taken into custody.
CITY OF DE QUEEN PASSES ORDINANCE ALLOWING THE CITY TO DO BUSINESS WITH AN ALDERMAN AND CITY EMPLOYEE 5/18/16
Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the De Queen City Council, aldermen approved an ordinance allowing the city to conduct business with Bunyard Broadcasting and Gary Cunningham Backhoe and Dozer. Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy explained the city had a similar ordinance, but the state auditors felt the city should describe the extent of that authority in a new ordinance.
McKelvy reported the city opened the bids for a new steel building at the high-lift station on Stilwell Avenue. He said the bid was awarded to Cossatot Builders in the amount of $34,470.
McKelvy also reported the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department did not receive a bid for the city's state aid street paving project. He said the state will re-bid it in the August cycle, but in the meantime, the city is going to proceed with its summer paving program.
Sevier County Museum Director Karen Mills spoke to the city council about the Boy Scout Hut. She explained it was in disrepair and needed to be torn down. She suggested using parts of the building to create a Boy Scout display in the museum.
Mayor McKelvy said they would plan a de-commissioning ceremony that involves the Boy Scouts if the council elects to tear the building down.
If anyone would like to share their opinion about the Scout Hut, they may contact Mills at the museum.
Aldermen will also consider some form of action during the June 7th council meeting.
39TH ANNUAL LUM AND ABNER FESTIVAL TO BE HELD IN MENA, JUNE 3-4 5/17/16
The Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission would like to invite you to join the fun at the 39th Annual Lum and Abner Festival on June 3rd and 4th. The Lum and Abner Festival was voted the Best New Festival in Arkansas in 2006 by the Arkansas Festival and Events Association and one of the Top 20 events in the Southeast in 2010 by the Southeast Tourism Society.
The Lum and Abner Car, Truck, Corvette and Motorcycle Show is presented by the Polk County Developmental Center. Registration is from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 4th. No pre-registration is required. Registration fee is $20 and all proceeds go to the Polk County Developmental Center.
The All-American Lumberjack Show is Friday, June 3rd beginning at 1 p.m.
The Outlaws Gunfighter Group will perform in Janssen Park throughout both days and there will be live music all weekend long.
This year's 5K run/walk will start and end at Janssen Park at 8 a.m. on Saturday and registrations will be accepted until 7:30 a.m. on race day. Registration forms are available on line at www.visitmena.com. Early registration is $26 and must be received by May 23rd. After May 23rd, registration is $30.
There's also a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, a fishing derby, a softball tournament, a firefighter's challenge, helicopter rides and a kiddie korner.
DE QUEEN CHURCH OF CHRIST HOSTING A HOMETOWN HEROES LUNCH ON WEDNESDAY 5/17/16
The De Queen Church of Christ will be hosting a Hometown Heroes luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Wednesday and Pastor Toney Stowers said all first responders are welcome.
For more information, contact the De Queen Church of Christ at 784-2499.
ELECTION INFORMATION FOR UPCOMING SCHOOL ELECTION 5/17/16
Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akins announced today that June 12th is the first day candidates who are filing by petition can begin circulating petitions for the Annual School Election. She reported signatures that are collected more than 100 days before the election will not be counted and petitions must contain at least 20 signatures of registered voters in the school district.
The School Board position that will be voted on in the De Queen School District is the Zone 3 position, which is currently held by Gloria Caldwell.
De Queen School District patrons will also vote on the schools millage of 27.3 mills, which according to Akins is on the ballot every year.
Horatio School District patrons will vote on the Zone 1 and Zone 4 positions. They are currently held by Joe Jones and Sherri Hodges. Hodges was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy in 2015.
Patrons will also vote on the Horatio School millage of 44.0 mills.
The filing period for candidates is from noon on Tuesday, July 5th through noon on Tuesday, July 12th. Candidates must also file a petition of candidacy, an affidavit of eligibility and a political practices pledge with the County Clerk's office.
The County Clerk will certify the candidates to the Election Commission and the ballot draw will be held on July 13th.
If you have any questions or need any of the forms listed above, contact the Sevier County Clerk's office at 642-2852.
Anyone interested in being an election worker should also contact the county clerk's office.
TWO AREA RESIDENTS KILLED ON ARKANSAS ROADWAYS 5/17/16
On Thursday, May 12th, 49-year-old Danny Davis of Delight was pronounced dead at the scene a single vehicle accident by Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith on Highway 32.
According to the Arkansas State Police, the 2005 Mack truck left the roadway and overturned on its right side, causing the load of logs to shift forward, fatally injuring Davis.
On Sunday, May 15th, 31-year-old Joshua Dyas of Lockesburg was killed when the Honda ATV that he was riding overturned when he attempted to turn right onto Highway 24 from Highway 329.
Dyas was transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center by Southwest EMS. Doctors pronounced Dyas deceased at 9:45 p.m.
SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR ADULT CELEBRATION 5/17/16
Angie Walker and Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced last Friday that the 35th annual Senior Citizens Appreciation Day will be held on Friday, May 27th. Walker said this year's theme is the 50's and there's going to be a car show, entertainment and prizes will be presented to the county's oldest man, oldest woman and longest-married couple.
The event will begin Friday morning at 8 a.m. on the courthouse lawn and a meal will be served at noon.
Walker said there will be a variety of health screenings and other senior-related services during the event, including the Arkansas Heart Hospital's Heart Health Checks. She said there are about 30 vendors signed up, but if you would like to participate, your business will need to contact her office by Friday, May 20th to get on the health report card.
Judge Ray said extra parking will be available across the street from the courthouse at the car wash and at the former First National Bank building on Third Street.
Ray said if any business or individual would like to help during the event, they should contact his office at 642-2425.
TAX DELINQUENT LAND SALE SCHEDULED FOR SEVIER COUNTY 5/17/16
A public auction for the sale of tax delinquent land in Sevier County will be held on Thursday, June 2nd, at 10 a.m. at the Sevier County Courthouse, according to John Thurston who is the Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands.
Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m.
The Commissioner of State Lands offers an online Catalog of Tax Delinquent Lands, which contains the current statues governing the sales, auction dates, times, locations and other pertinent information regarding parcels that are being offered. The catalog can be found on the Commissioner's website at www.cosl.org, providing current information about each parcel of land.
Thurston said bidding begins at the amount of taxes and fees that are due on the property. Owners of delinquent parcels should remember that they have only 10 business days to redeem their property if it sells at auction.
Delinquent property owners may call the office at 501-324-9422 to request a Petition to Redeem, or they may look up the delinquent parcel on the COSL website and print it from there.
ANNUAL SINGING SCHOOL AT OLD TIME MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH 5/17/16
JP Atkins of the Old Time Missionary Baptist Church announced their annual singing school has been scheduled for June 13-17 with classes in the morning and evening.
Atkins said the school will be led by Marty Phillips. He said the cost of the singing school is only $10 for the week and students will receive college level instruction.
Atkins said students will learn how to read music and they will get to perform Friday night, June 17th.
For more information, call Atkins at 584-9557.
CLICK IT OR TICKET CAMPAIGN IS UNDERWAY 5/17/16
Law enforcement agencies across Arkansas are once again stepping up enforcement of the state's primary seat belt law. The click it or ticket enforcement plan will cover the next three weeks through one of the most active travel periods for Arkansas motorists.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2014 were not using a seat belt.
Arkansas state law requires all front seat passengers, not just drivers, to be properly buckled up. It requires all children less than 15 years of age to be properly secured in the vehicle. A child less than six years of age and weighing less than 60 pounds should be restrained in a child passenger safety seat. If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must be properly buckled up.
For more information about the Click It or Ticket campaign, call 501-618-8136.
FORMER DIERKS RESIDENT CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 5/16/16
A former Dierks resident has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with a Bowie County resident’s death.
Lee Evan Sharp who now lives in Bowie County was arrested last Wednesday and booked into the Bowie County jail for aggravated assault. His bond has been set at $100,000 in connection with the death of William Pate, who was found dead in the 7,500 block of Farm-to-Market Road 2149 in Maud, Texas.
According to an eye witness, Pate may have died after an alleged drunken “wrestling” session.
The Bowie County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement: “On May 8th, around 2:40 a.m., Sergeant Curtis Cole and Deputy Damon Lynn were dispatched to a residence on Farm-to-Market 2149 in reference to a subject that was not breathing.
According to the statement, when they arrived, members of the Maud Volunteer Fire Department were attempting to resuscitate a white male who was lying in the driveway. Life Net personnel arrived shortly after and took over the attempt to revive the individual, but the efforts were unsuccessful.
Robert Autrey has been identified as the owner of the home and he identified the suspect in his driveway as Pate. Autrey informed the officers that he, Pate and Sharp had been visiting and consuming alcoholic beverages. He said Pate and Sharp began wrestling around in a playful manner. Autrey described it as drunk wrestling.
Autrey said he went into the house and when he came back outside, he thought he saw Pate falling to the ground. He also saw Sharp with a board in his hands.
Autrey and Sharp moved Pate to the garage. They then covered him up to let him sleep it off. Autry then took Sharp home.
When Autry got back home, he said Pate wasn’t breathing and he called 911.
According to the incident report, Pate had a mark on his face that was consistent with being struck by a board.
Sharp voluntarily turned himself in at the Bi-State Building and he was booked for aggravated assault.
CODE ENFORCEMENT IN DE QUEEN 5/16/16
Monday morning, De Queen Code Enforcement Officer Ray Sowell stopped by the KDQN studios to ask the residents of De Queen to help keep the city clean.
Sowell also reported if a homeowner does not comply with the ordinance, they can be fined. But, he said the city is willing to work with homeowners who are working to keep their property clean.
Sowell said businesses look at the community before they decide to open a store in a new area. He also pointed out there several changes are coming to De Queen, including a new Chevy dealership.
Sowell encouraged everyone to show their pride in the City of De Queen and help make it look good.
SOUTHWEST EMS HOSTING THIRD ANNUAL COOKOUT 5/16/16
Megan McMahan announced the Third Annual Southwest EMS Cookout has been scheduled for Monday, May 23rd from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the pavilion in the Herman Dierks Park.
McMahan said this event is a way they can express their appreciation to the county dispatchers, law enforcement agencies, first responders and volunteer fire departments for working so well with them all year.
McMahan also reported Southwest EMS's average response time for the first quarter of the year was about eight and a half minutes.
McMahan said if you have an emergency call 911, but if you have a non-emergency or if you have questions about a membership, call 642-2611.
FAMILY OF ASHDOWN WOMAN SUES KIAMICHI RAILROAD 5/16/16
The family of a woman killed in an accident at the Domtar Plant in Ashdown is suing the Kiamichi Railroad company.
Fifty-two year-old Velma Perkins died September 18, 2015 when a railroad car crashed into an overhead structure that collapsed, knocking her onto the tracks, according to a complaint that was filed on behalf of her husband, Ronald Perkins, Jr., and the couple’s three children.
The complaint was initially filed in Little River County Circuit Court in March, but last week Kiamichi’s lawyers moved the case to federal court in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.
The lawsuit alleges Kiamichi, which contracts with Domtar to provide railroad cars that are used to ship the company’s products, delivered cars, including the one that Perkins was using, which were taller than the railcars that they were previously using at the mill.
Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith estimated Perkins had already died when the first call for help was received at 8:10 a.m. on September the 18th. An ambulance arrived 10-minutes after the call, but there was nothing paramedics could do.
Perkins was an equipment helper on the switch engine in the shipping department and had worked for Domtar for 14 years.
The lawsuit accuses Kiamichi of negligence and seeks to recover damages for wrongful death, compensatory damages including funeral expenses and punitive damages meant to deter future similar conduct.
Kiamichi responded in a court filing on April 29th, stating the railroad company denies any wrongdoing. Their answer says Perkin’s death cannot be placed squarely on Kiamichi that if blame is to be assigned, Perkins and Domtar should be found at fault, also.
LEGISLATORS HEADED BACK TO LITTLE ROCK 5/16/16
Legislators are heading back to Little Rock today for the start of a special session to address state highway funding.
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught explained this special session has been called so they can meet an important deadline, which will allow the state to receive $200 million dollars from the federal government for the improvement of the state's infrastructure.
In December of 2015, the President signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, which will fund surface transportation programs at over $305 billion dollars between 2016 and 2020. Vaught reported this is the first long-term surface transportation authorization bill that's been enacted in a decade.
But in order for the state to receive these federal funds, the state must match the amount and they must inform the federal government by mid-August that they have fulfilled their obligation.
During this year's Fiscal Session, legislators approved transferring $50 million dollars of the state's surplus to the Governor's Rainy Day Fund. Vaught said these funds could be used for this match.
Vaught reported the state could receive up to $2 billion dollars in federal highway money if it provides a $50 million match annually. However, the highway department does not have enough revenue to cover those costs.
Vaught reported these funds will be used to widen heavily traveled roads, as well as highway noise reduction projects.
LITTLE RIVER MEMORIAL DAY PROGRAM 5/16/16
Bobby Thompson of Ashdown is organizing a Memorial Day program at the Little River County Courthouse on Monday, May 30th starting at noon. He said the Marine Honor Guard from Texarkana will be in attendance and retired Army Ranger Shiloh Smith of Grannis will be the guest speaker.
Thompson was involved in the Adopt a Soldier program but had to retire recently, but he said area residents can get involved in some great programs that support our military.
Thompson invited everyone in the area to join them on May 30th in remembering those who gave their all in the service of our country.
For more information, contact the Little River County courthouse at 898-7275.
ARKANSAS PAYS AT LEAST $100,000 TO 2,722 STATE EMPLOYEES 5/16/16
The number of Arkansas state employees whose salaries are at least $100,000 a year increased by 137 to 2,722, this year.
Most of the growth occurred at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a teaching hospital based in Little Rock where the number of state employees making at least $100,000 increased by 74 to 1,254.
The ranks, of other higher-education institutions increased by 43, to a total of 1,083. Higher-education institutions include two-year and four-year universities.
Among employees who work at state agencies other than higher-education institutions, 385 earn six-figure salaries.
Funding for state government’s 2,722 highest-earning employees comes from a variety of state, federal and private sources, including tuition, hospital billings and taxes.
The highest paid state employee is Bret Bielema, who makes $4.1 million a year as the head football coach at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. His boss, Athletic Director Jeff Long, makes $1 million dollars a year. The University of Arkansas chancellor makes $450,000.
Governor Asa Hutchinson said each position has to be evaluated separately based upon skill level, private-sector salaries and demand. Hutchinson’s salary is $141,000 a year.
The governor doesn’t have direct control of the state’s higher-education institutions, but he appoints trustees to the universities’ governing boards when terms expire or trustees depart before their terms end.
HOPE WILL HOST SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS MEETING ON CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE 5/13/16
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has scheduled 11 public meetings between May 24 and May 26 to discuss chronic wasting disease and the regulations that the commission is proposing in an effort to manage the disease.
To date, 82 cases of chronic wasting disease have been found in Arkansas deer and four more cases have been found in elk. Currently, the disease have been detected in four counties. They are Newton, Madison, Pope and Boone.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has also scheduled a one-hour broadcast on AETN at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 23rd with a panel discussion about chronic wasting disease.
The meeting in Hope will be at the Hope Fair Park Community Center from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 26th.
MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL BOARD HIRES NEW HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL 5/13/16
The Mineral Springs Board of Education hired Josh Kessler of Des Arc as their new high school principal to replace Stephanie Rowe, who accepted the position of high school principal in the Horatio School District.
Board members continued to prepare for the district’s building project and have purchased some property near the school that will serve as the staging area for the construction company.
Superintendent Curtis Turner said he will be meeting with the state department of education in July to receive approval for the construction loan. He said he expects the project to get underway in October and last about 18 months.
Board members also approved a high priority school bonus for lower tier employees and in a separate bonus, all classified employees will receive a $750 end of year bonus.
UA BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO APPROVE TO NEW BOARD MEMBERS FOR UA COSSATOT 5/13/16
UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole reported two members of the UA Cossatot Board of Visitors retired during the last board meeting.
Cole said Larry Mashburn was the board chairperson and had served for over 22 years. He said John Hearn was the board vice-chairperson and had served for 16 years. He said it will be hard to replace that amount of sage advice.
Cole said he will present two new board members for the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees approval during their May meeting on the UA Cossatot campuses.
Cole said UA Cossatot will host the UA Board of Trustees on May 25th and 26th on the Nashville and De Queen campuses.
The other seven board members are Jay Dooley, Greg Revels and Robert Martinez of De Queen; Kathy Beavert of Murfreesboro; Senator Barbara Horn of Foreman and Dr. Glen Lance and Ricky Keasterson of Nashville.
BEHIND THE BIG HOUSE PROGRAM TO BE HELD IN HISTORIC WASHINGTON STATE PARK MAY 13 AND 14 5/13/16
The Behind the Big House program is a two-day program that moves beyond the "Big House" or stately historic homes, to explore the extant slave dwellings and interpret the experience3s of the enslaved people who inhabited them.
This workshop, which will be held at the Historic Washington State Park on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14, will include live historical interpretations, tours and lectures to highlight the important contribution African American made to Arkansas's history.
On Friday evening, Preserve Arkansas will hold a Preservation Libations at the Sanders Kitchen from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Libations will be provided by Preserve Arkansas and Joseph McGill will prepare to sleep in the Sanders kitchen and Jerome Bias will prepare a sampling of foods based on enslaved diets. Preservation Libations is free and open to the public.
Saturday's program will be held in the 1874 County Courthouse and will feature a tour of Historic Washington as well as sessions on slavery at Historic Washington: The Slave Dwelling Project; African American Heritage Tourism and Stagville State Historic Site Foodways Program; The Archeology of Slavery; and The Challenges and Benefits of African American Heritage Tourism. The on Saturday runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Teachers can receive three Arkansas Department of Education Professional Development credits for attending the workshop
ASHDOWN SCHOLARSHIP TEA 05/12/16
The annual Ashdown Scholarship Tea was held on Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 2p.m. in the Ashdown High School Cafeteria. Fifty-two scholarships of $ 27,211 were given to 29 Ashdown High School Seniors.
The Scholarship Committee has awarded over 100% of all donated moneys for some time due to investments. We plan to continue this trend and strive both to recognize students’ needs and to reward their hard work and high aspirations.
Last year, we awarded 46 scholarships with a total value of $23,750. This brings the total scholarships to over 529 awarded to 1013 students over the course of our 30-year history. The committee has authorized an alumni fund through which former students of Ashdown High School, businesses, or other individuals may contribute to the program in any amount and at any time. Such contributions may be made in honor or memory of friends and loved ones. Scholarships are tax deductible and may be sent to Ashdown Public Schools, 511 N. 2nd St., Ashdown, AR 71822. You may attention your correspondence to: Ashdown Scholarship Committee. You may call 870-898-3208 if you have any questions.
We would like to thank all of the donors for allowing us to continue honoring our deserving seniors from Ashdown High School. We would also like to encourage businesses, as well as individuals to support the scholarship program.
Pictured: (l-r) Front row:
Jammie Cush, Wesley Strange Memorial; Austin Cross, Bishop & Bishop, James E. Sutton, Jr. Memorial; and Vestco; Jaylonia Cook, Delta Kappa Gamma, Shirl & Nancy McCoy Scholarship, and Wesley Strange Memorial; Kennedy Cook, Cecil & Beth Bowman Scholarship and Wesley Strange Memorial; Mia Johnson, Ashdown Alumni Association; Lakia Hargrove, Jackson Auto Mart; Itasia Britt, Little River County Hardwoods and Wesley Strange Memorial; Kyle Kidd, Little River County Farm Bureau; and Savanna Woods, Ashdown Beta Club, Ashdown Rotary Club, Ashdown School Administrators, and Coleman Pearson Memorial
Madeline Chandler, Ashdown Alumni Association; Bradley Isenberg, Little River Farm Bureau and Ashdown Eye Care; Melissa Stanton, Ashdown Band Boosters, Chad & Virginia Trammell and First Guaranty Insurance; Kaitlyn Corbell, Jim & Paula Mounts, Jalen Lewis Memorial and Matt Harris Memorial; Emily Hatridge, Ashdown Alumni Association; Shelby Danielle Ford, Bob Porter Memorial Scholarship; Hunter Mulholland, Domtar & Mil-Way Federal Credit Union; Andy Daniels, Vestco; Briar Reed, Fred C. Jester, Sr. Memorial and Kaufman Memorial; Ty Cobb, Davis Family Scholarship and Dugan Ward Memorial; Levi Harger, Class of 1965
Raven Shankel, Ashdown Alumni Association; Juliana Ormsbee, Sandra East Memorial and Sgt. Charles Edward (Eddy) Withem Memorial; Brittany Dossett, William Coker Memorial; Madison Swilley, Family Medical Associates; Kinley Wright, Jalen Lewis Memorial; Brinlee Ward, Fred C. Jester, Jr. Memorial and William L. & Mary E. Welch Scholarship; Meghan Brown, Bear State Bank and Coca-Cola; Paige Copeland, Ashdown Alumni Association; and Mandi Duncan, Little River County Retired Teachers and Little River County Extension Homemakers
ADHD PRESCHOOLERS MAY BE TAKING TOO MANY MEDS 5/12/16
A new report that was released this week says parents should try behavior therapy before they give their preschoolers drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging parents of preschoolers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD to try behavior therapy first before trying drugs. The CDC also is asking insurance companies to cover the cost of treatment.
The CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat says long-term effects of drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin on young brains and bodies haven't had a lot of study.
Those side effects include irritability and difficulty sleeping. They can also curb hunger, which can stunt growth. More than 6 million U.S. children have been diagnosed with ADHD and a new report out by the CDC shows 75 percent of those children between the age of 2 and 5 already are taking medication for it.
The report has guidelines for parents and health-care providers to try therapy first. Schuchat says not all private health-insurance companies will cover behavioral therapy, but Medicaid typically does
The report found 54 percent of children on Medicaid received psychological services each year, while 45 percent of children with private plans did.
Dr. Georgian Peacock at the CDC says doctors need to play a role in the decision about trying therapy first. She says it could mean the child can avoid taking the medications altogether, or the age that they start taking them can be postponed.
CAUDLE RECEIVES FARM CREDIT SCHOLARSHIP 5/12/16
Michaela Caudle is a 2016 Horatio High School graduate and she was one of 20 western Arkansas students who were awarded a $1,000 academic scholarship from Farm Credit of Western Arkansas.
Caudle is pursuing a Pre-Vet degree at Southern Arkansas University. She is the daughter of Jason and Anita Caudle of Horatio.
Farm Credit of Western Arkansas CEO Glen Manchester stated Caudle was selected based on her many academic accomplishments and student leadership. He explained the Farm Credit scholarships support the future of western Arkansas agriculture, agribusinesses and rural communities because many of the recipients have agricultural backgrounds. He said some are pursuing degrees or careers in agri, while others plan to live in a rural community
MINERAL SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL HEARS SAFETY CONCERNS 5/12/16
During Monday's meeting of the Mineral Springs City Council, aldermen heard comments from resident, Willie O'Neal about a couple concerns that he had.
O'Neal told aldermen that a blinking warning light was needed near the Dollar General Store. He said several kids cross the highway there everyday and it can be dangerous with all the traffic.
O'Neal also asked the council to consider more stop signs on North Street because people are driving too fast.
Mayor Bobby Tullis reported he would like to burn brush somewhere besides the city park. He said he also wanted to see if there was any interest in creating a fishing pond in the park.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT'S BOND PROPOSAL FAILS 05/11/16
Voters in Ashdown rejected the $12.3 million in bonds for miscellaneous improvements. The final tally was 550 in favor, with 588 voting against.
UA COSSATOT COMMENCEMENT IS SATURDAY 5/11/16
UA Cossatot will hold commencement Saturday, May 14th at 11 a.m. at the UA Cossatot Amphitheater.
UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole stated this class represents the 40th year of Cossatot graduates and 40-years of student success.
Cole said they will celebrate with a picnic after graduation for the graduates, their families, and alumnus at the concession stand.
In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the De Queen High School Auditorium and the picnic will be held in the foyer.
Over 355 diplomas and certificates have been earned this semester. Students earning their GED will also be honored along with honor graduates and students who are members of Phi Theta Kappa, which is the honor society of two-year colleges.
ASHDOWN RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO MURDER 5/11/16
An 18-year-old Little River County resident plead guilty to murder Monday in the Bowie County District Court and may be sentenced to 45-years in prison later this month.
Warrick Dunn of Ashdown accepted the plea deal Monday and will be sentenced in two weeks.
Dunn was arrested April 1st in the March 30th shooting death of 27-year-old Deandre Bush of Texarkana, Texas.
Bush was killed while sitting in his car in front of his house shortly after midnight. Bush was shot multiple times at close range through the driver's side window. Bush's dog was shot once in the chest as it chased Dunn from the scene.
Dunn allegedly told investigators the motive in the shooting was robbery.
ASHDOWN VOTERS REJECT MILLAGE INCREASE 5/11/16
Voters in the Ashdown School District rejected a proposed 3.9 mill increase for the renovation of the Margaret Daniel Primary and construction of an additional 64,000 for a new elementary school, Tuesday during a special school election.
One-hundred and sixty-seven votes were cast against the proposal by early and absentee voting, while 93 votes were cast for it.
The final tally was 550 votes in favor of the proposal and 588 against.
Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders said the district will respect the voters opinion and will start working on plan 'B' tonight during their May Board of Education meeting.
The proposed 3.9 mills would have also increased teacher salaries to help the district attract and retain teachers.
Ashdown's school millage is 35.7, which is just under the state average of 37.7 mills.
HORATIO HIRES BENNETT AS NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACH 5/11/16
Monday night during the regular meeting of the Horatio Board of Education, board members voted to hire David Bennett from Dierks as the new head football coach. Superintendent Lee Smith said they also hired a high-school math teacher and Laurie Kirkpatrick as a kindergarten teacher and Hannah Topor as a fourth grade teacher.
Smith said the board also approved the district's special education budget and they increased the cost of school lunches to $2.25.
Smith said he was pleased with the district's report cards, but he said there was still plenty of room for improvement.
The next Horatio Board of Education meeting has been scheduled for Monday, June 6th.
THOUSANDS OF ARKANSAS CHILDREN WAITING FOR FOREVER HOME 5/11/16
May is National Foster Care Month and advocates hope to bring awareness to the issue so more children can find a permanent home. There are several non-profit groups in Arkansas that try to recruit and work with foster families. One is Project Zero.
Christie Erwin heads it up and has also been a foster parent for 19 years. She has permanently adopted two children. Her group holds events to match children in the foster system with potential parents.
Project Zero also has three traveling exhibits that are taken around the state with pictures and stories of kids waiting to be adopted. She says that's crucial because once people see a face and not just paperwork, more children find what she calls a forever home.
On any given day across the nation there are about a half a million children in foster care. In Arkansas there are over 5,000, but fewer than 1,500 families who can take in kids.
Laurie Currier heads up The Call, which is a faith based group that also recruits families, and then helps them work with the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services. She says there are too many children waiting and the best thing for them is to part of a family.
The Call is operating in 38 Arkansas' counties and is currently getting established in six others.
Erwin says at one of her group's foster events last year a teenage boy started playing the piano. She video taped it and put it on Facebook.
The mission of both groups is simple: one waiting child plus one welcoming family equals zero children waiting.
HILL: "WE ARE NOT A 'C' SCHOOL" 5/10/16
Monday night the members of the De Queen Board of Education received a report from Superintendent Bruce Hill about some projects the district hopes to complete this summer, including renovating some restrooms in the old elementary building and a new bus turn-around at the primary.
Board members approved the low bid of $13,067 dollars from Hope Fire Services for a new fire alarm system at the primary school. Hill said he's not sure what happened to the current system, but the state fire marshal said it had to be replaced.
Board members discussed the district's food service program and decided to use a student/parent survey in an attempt to improve the school meals. Hill said he met with the chef of Culinary Connections and he said he has heard that some districts are out-sourcing their food services.
Hill also told board members he did not feel the district's report card grades were accurate, because if the district was average, why were other districts visiting the De Queen campuses to see why students were performing so well on state test.
Board members also discussed a program called Anonymous Alerts to help curb bullying and other issues on the junior high campus, but no decision was made.
MCCURTAIN COUNTY DEPUTY A HERO 5/10/16
According to a published report, Oklahoma Game Warden Captain Mike Virgin and McCurtain County Sheriff's Deputy Corey Sharrock were investigating a vehicular assault report at a residence north of Broken Bow Friday afternoon, May 6th when the suspect grabbed a semiautomatic rifle and opened fire on the officers.
According to the incident report, Captain Virgin was approximately 15 feet from the suspect and had to take cover. Deputy Sharrock returned fire and hit him near the elbow, but the suspect fired back at the deputy, striking him just below his bullet proof vest.
Captain Virgin called for backup and Deputy Sharrock was transported to a Texarkana, Texas hospital by helicopter.
Law enforcement officials are hailing Sharrock as a hero because he was able to keep the suspect at bay while Captain Virgin took cover.
The suspect who was identified as 43-year-old Charles Brown surrendered to the McCurtain County Sheriff a short time later and was taken into custody with no further incident. He was treated at a local hospital for his injuries and then transferred by helicopter to a hospital in Tulsa.
SEVIER COUNTY JOINS NATIONAL JOINT POWERS ALLIANCE 5/10/16
Monday afternoon, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray informed the members of the Sevier County Quorum Court that the county almost lost a bridge during the rain last month during the storm that dropped seven inches of rain in about six hours.
Justices of the Peace approved a General Improvement Fund grant for the repair of the final section of the courthouse roof. Ray said the funds came from Senator Jimmy Hickey and Representative DeAnn Vaught.
JPs also approved the purchase of a new software system for the County Clerk, Treasure and County Judge’s office. County Clerk Debbie Akin said the program is a cloud based program, but the county will have it's own password, so they can access the information anytime they need it.
Ray also asked the Quorum Court to transfer $63,500 from one line item in the Road Department's budget to another for the purchase of two dump trucks.
Justices of the Peace also passed a resolution permitting the county to join the National Joint Powers Alliance. Ray explained this membership will save the county money on large equipment purchases.
County Assessor Judy Smith reported the last day to assess real and personal property without a penalty is Tuesday, May 31st.
SENATOR HICKEY AND OTHERS CONSIDER PLAN TO RAISE TAXES FOR HIGHWAYS 5/10/16
Four Arkansas senators are working on legislation that would raise the state's gas and diesel taxes to pay for road improvements.
A special legislative session is expected to begin May 19th.
The state gas tax is 21.5 cents per gallon and the diesel tax is 22.5 cents per gallon. According to the Department of Finance and Administration, the state collected $442 million dollars in motor fuel taxes in 2015.
Senator Hickey and the other three senators are proposing increasing the gas tax to 26.5 cents per gallon and the diesel tax to 27.5 cents per gallon. They say that would raise about $100 million dollars for roads in 2018.
Their proposal would also increase the fuel taxes another 3 cents a gallon in 2019, which would raise another $60 million dollars a year.
Hickey said under this proposal, the tax increases would all expire after four years.
Governor Asa Hutchinson, however, has proposed a highway funding plan that would not raise taxes, but instead would use state surplus funds and reallocate other funds to increase the state's match for federal highway dollars that are available this fall.
SLOW IT DOWN 5/10/16
Saturday afternoon, Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department pulled over a vehicle for speeding.
Sawyer identified the driver as 32-year-old Brandon Coulter of De Queen and he suspected Coulter had been drinking due to the smell of alcohol.
Coulter informed Sawyer that he was coming back from a bar and he had drunk a few Corona's.
Coulter was citied for driving on a suspended license and taken into custody for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
SMELLING THE GRASS AT THE SPORTS PLEX 5/10/16
Saturday night, Patrolmen First Class Bucky Sawyer and Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department were on a stationary patrol at the De Queen Sports Plex when they observed a blue car pull into the Sports Plex and park by the pavilion.
As Sawyer and Baker approached the vehicle, they noticed two occupants sitting in the car, drinking alcoholic beverages.
The driver was identified as 20-year-old Abel Rezendiz and the passenger was identified as 21-year-old Brandon Luna.
After speaking with the two subjects, officers decided to have them pour out the alcohol, but officers noticed the smell of marijuana. While searching the vehicle, Officer Sawyer noticed Luna's shoe laces were un-tied, so he asked him to remove his shoes.
Luna then admitted he had marijuana in his shoes and handed Sawyer a clear bag containing suspected marijuana.
Luna was taken to the Sevier County jail and citied with possession of a controlled substance.
E-CIGARETTES NOW UNDER FDA AUTHORITY 5/9/16
The Federal Drug Administration announced last week that hundreds of e-cigarette brands will have to undergo a lengthy federal review to stay on the market.
The FDA also announced the changes will limit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and will require now health warnings.
The FDA stated companies will have to submit a pre-market application that will undergo a review process to determine their impact on the public's health. Companies that do not submit the required information or don't meet the federal standards will be removed from the market.
Mike and Dee Sanders are the owners of LeCig in De Queen and Mike said several small companies plan to join together to submit one e-cig device for approval.
The vaping industry says this review process will be time-consuming and costly, and could put smaller companies out of business.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that turn nicotine into an inhalable liquid vapor. Though nicotine can be addictive, e-cigarettes lack the chemicals and tars of burning tobacco.
Dee and Mike Sanders say the vaping industry is worried that big tobacco companies will start adding some of those chemicals.
The FDA's action comes five years after the agency first announced its intent to regulate e-cigarettes.
The FDA gained the authority to regulate some aspects of cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products under a 2009 law. But, since e-cigarettes do not actually contain tobacco, they were not covered by the original law.
NOTICE OF ADJUSTED POLLING PLACES FOR ASHDOWN SCHOOL ELECTION 5/9/16
Ashdown School District patrons will go to the polls tomorrow to consider the passage of a 3.9 mill increase. Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders explained 3 mills will be used to make renovations to the current Margaret Daniels Primary School and construct an additional 64,000 square feet, which house the district's elementary students.
Sanders said the other .9 percent of a mill will be used to increase the pay of teachers and staff members in the district.
The Little River County Clerk announced last Friday that voters in the community of Ben Lomond will be able to cast their votes at the Ben Lomond Community Center tomorrow in the Special School Election.
The other polling places include:
Red River precinct at Richmond Church; Johnson precinct at Ogden Community Building; Burke precinct at Winthrop City Hall; Lick Creek precinct at Oak Grove Baptist Church; Franklin precinct at Millwood Baptist Church; Cleveland precinct at Wilton Schoolhouse; Ashdown Ward 1 precinct at First Baptist Church; Ashdown Ward 2 and Jefferson precinct at Church of Christ; Ashdown Ward 3 precinct at Church of the Nazarene; Arden precinct at Arden Community Building.
The County Clerk's office also reported 152 district patrons have cast their votes early at the Little River County Courthouse as of 11 a.m.
SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR ADULT CELEBRATION 5/9/16
Last Friday, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray and Amy Mills of Dr. Randy Walker's office announced the 35th Annual Sevier County Senior Adult Celebration will be on Friday, May 27th from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Sevier County Courthouse lawn.
Judge Ray said this year's theme is the 50's and there's going to be a car show on the south side of the courthouse.
Mills said there will be vendors offering free health screenings and elder care information. She said if a vendor would like to sign up they can call Dr. Walker's office at 584-3000.
Judge Ray said the Sevier County Sheriff's Office will also be holding a Drug Take Back event for anyone that has some expired, unused or unwanted medications that they would like to get rid of.
The Argenbright Band will once again be providing the live entertainment. If you would like more information, contact Judge Ray's office at 642-2425.
PICKING UP A FEW THINGS 5/9/16
Thursday, May 5th, Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer was dispatched to Wal-Mart after a subject ran out of the store with some razor blades and a razor. The subject was reportedly wearing blue jeans and a red hooded shirt.
As Sawyer was driving toward Wal-Mart, he noticed a man running West that matched the subjects description. The subject was identified as 25-year-old Jason Kimberlin of De Queen.
When Sawyer made contact he made Kimberlin lay down on the ground, while he placed him in cuffs, because dispatch had informed Sawyer that Kimberlin may be armed.
Officers found a Hydro razor and some replacement blades in the grass where Kimberlin had been walking.
Kimberlin was cited for shoplifting under $1,000.
Later that same day, Sawyer was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to someone who had been trespassed from the store, being inside the store.
Sawyer found 46-year-old Kevvy Follis in the produce department and he was escorted out of the store and citied for criminal trespass.
COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK ACTIVITIES 5/9/16
Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Shelly Flanary announced the park will be hosting a boater education class today and Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the visitor center.
Flanary reported Arkansas law says anyone who was born after 1985, must take and pass an approved Arkansas Game and Fish Boating Education Course and carry proof that they completed the course in order to operate a motorboat on Arkansas waters.
Flanary said attendees must attend all class sessions and pass the test to complete the course. She said the course is free and open to everyone.
For more information about the Cossatot River State Park, call 870-385-2201.
27TH ANNUAL TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL 5/6/16
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced the 27th Annual De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival is set for Saturday, May 28th from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the De Queen, Gillham and Dierks Lakes. Boat checks will begin at 5 a.m.
Ray said there's over $14,000 dollars in prize money and door prizes that will be paid out with five hourly prizes on each lake, each hour and Diamond Bank is sponsoring a target fish contest per hour.
Ray said this year's grand prize is $1,500 and it will be paid for the largest fish overall, $1,000 for 2nd place, $750 for 3rd place, $500 for 4th place and $300 for 5th place overall.
Ray said the registration fee is $45 per person through May 27th or $50 per person if registering at the lake on the day of the event. He said you can pick up an entry form at the KDQN studios or from the chambers website.
Entry forms may also be obtained by calling 870-584-3225 or from the chamber website, www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.com.
PARENT INCARCERATED - CHILDREN FEEL THE PAIN 5/6/16
A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation looks at how mass incarceration is having a devastating impact on children in Arkansas and around the nation. There are about 61,000 kids in Arkansas who have, or have had, a parent who's been jailed or imprisoned.
The report states that kids who parents are incarcerated are more likely to be homeless, and their families have a hard time making ends meet financially. There's also a lot of emotional stress and strain that's put on a family when a parent is incarcerated.
Paul Kelly with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families says it destabilizes the family and leaves a vacuum in the child's life.
Kelly says it has a negative impact on a child's development and well being. There are more than 5.1 million children in the United States with a parent who's been incarcerated.
Scot Spencer with the Casey Foundation says losing regular involvement with a parent during the formative years can have a lifelong impact on a child. He says many are dealing with the loss at a very young age.
Kelly says many of these kids end up with behavioral problems.
Spencer says the justice system needs to take into account the impact on families when making sentences decisions.
TRAIN DAYS IS THIS SATURDAY IN HOPE 5/6/16
Sharon Caldwell is the co-chairman of the Hope Train Day festival and she explained the event started when Amtrak opened their depot in Hope four years ago.
Caldwell said Train Days is free for children and events start at 8 a.m. with a 5K run.
Caldwell said there will also be live entertainment throughout the day including several local bands beginning around 5 p.m.
Caldwell said Train Days celebrates the history of the railroad in Hope and Hempstead County. She said Hope as been a railroad town for the past 140 years.
For more information, contact Caldwell at 870-777-4444.
CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR APRIL 2016 05/05/16
The Chalice Cupboard assisted 80 families in Sevier County in April, including 148 adults and 87 children, totaling 235 people. 1,880 lbs. of food was distributed.
1,249 lbs. of food was added to the pantry. This included 1,108 lbs. of purchased food plus donations of 141 lbs. St. Barbara Catholic church gave 68 lbs, the Order of the Eastern Star gave 46 lbs. and individuals gave 27 lbs.
The Bank balance on April 1, 2016 was $6,866.41. Deposits for the month totaled $209.00. During April, 2016, $1058.94 was spent for food to replenish the pantry supply. The bank balance on April 30, 2016 was $6,016.47.
Individuals living in Sevier County who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 N. 5th Street in De Queen on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 pm until 3:15 pm. food is given to those requesting assistance once each three month period of the year: January-February-March; April-May-June; July-august-September; October-November-December.
Suggested non-perishable items for those people who want to make a donation are peanut butter and fruit. Any money donated will be used for the purchase of food.
Submitted by Grant Grove
ADOPTING A PET SHOULD BE A HAPPY TAIL 5/5/16
The Arkansas Attorney General's office has issued a warning for families wanting to adopt a new pet: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge warns families to watch out for scam artists online who offer low prices and make a lot of promises that they don't live up to.
Rutledge says the idea of a new puppy in the family can sound like a great idea, but she recommends that you watch out for online breeders who promise a lot of things but don't follow through.
Some of these breeders have photos of adorable puppies and guarantee they are up to date on all their vaccinations, but consumers should use caution because it could be a scam artist.
Ashley Younger is the director of CARE for Animals and she says Arkansas doesn't have a lot of regulations for breeders, and there are some reputable ones in the state, but there are also what she calls backyard breeders who are just out to make a quick buck.
Before getting a new animal, Younger says it's a good idea to do research, because adopting a pet should be a lifelong commitment.
Younger says there are too many unwanted animals in Arkansas, but rather than focusing on just how to house them, the smarter approach is through spay and neuter programs.
Younger says many communities in Arkansas offer low-cost spay and neuter clinics for pets.
Younger says there are a lot of great animals, including full-breed dogs available for adoption in shelters around the state, but if you buy from a breeder, she says ask to spend some one-on-one time with the animal before you take it home.
The Attorney General's office says responsible breeders will let you tour their facility. Rutledge also recommends checking a breeders references and pay with a check or credit card so you'll have a receipt.
SEVIER COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY SPAY AND NEUTER CLINIC 5/5/16
Janelle Gage and Martha Fines of the Sevier County Humane Society announced there will be a low-cost spay and neuter clinic Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week at their new location across the street from Herman Dierks Park on East Haes Street.
Fines said 123 pets were operated on during their last clinic in February and they have a waiting list of about 50 pet owners already. She said if you would like to sign-up for this clinic, call 584-9096 and leave a message.
Fines said they will start with cats at 7 a.m. and dogs at 8 a.m.
The cost is $35 for cats, plus a $5 rabies shot and $60 for dogs. But, Fines said residents of De Queen may apply for a discount.
Gage said if you would like to volunteer stop by the clinic Tuesday through Thursday or call 584-9096.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HONORED AT COSSATOT ARTS AND CRAFTS ASSOCIATION ART SHOW 5/5/16
De Queen Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced that several De Queen High School students participated in the 45th annual Cossatot Arts and Crafts Show, this past weekend.
Ninth grader Chasity Franco earned a red ribbon; while Shau'ri Esquivel won a white ribbon and was given an Honorable Mention award.
Tenth grader Patricia Hernandez received a blue ribbon; Monique Jacobo earned a red ribbon and Tori Parker received a Special Merit Award from Revels and Company.
Eleventh grader Alexis Rubio earned a red ribbon and Diana Campos won a white ribbon.
Twelfth grader DeAnna Johnson was awarded an Honorable Mention award; Krishna Patel earned a red ribbon and Angel Hernandez received two Youth Special Merit Awards from Mrs. Larry Romine and Judy Smith.
LOCKESBURG MAYOR PROCLAIMS HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH 5/5/16
Lockesburg Mayor Danny Ruth is among 147 officials in 70 counties who have declared May as Historic Preservation Month and Arkansas Heritage Month according to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Director Frances McSwain.
Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst reported this is the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act and they hope Arkansans will take the time to reflect on the importance of the historic sites here in Southwest Arkansas that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mayor Ruth's proclamation says: Whereas, historic preservation is an effective tool for managing growth, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering local pride and maintaining community character while enhancing livability; and
Whereas, historic preservation is relevant for communities across the nation, both urban and rural, and for Americans of all ages, all walks of life and all ethnic backgrounds; and
Whereas, it is important to celebrate the role of history in our lives and the contributions made by dedicated individuals in helping to preserve the tangible aspects of the heritage that has shaped us as a people; and
Whereas, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and
Whereas, "This Place Matters!" is the theme for National Preservation Month and "Arkansas Arts: Celebrating Our Creative Culture" is the theme for Arkansas Heritage Month, cosponsored by the City of Lockesburg, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Mayor Ruth is also calling upon the residents of Lockesburg to join their fellow citizens across the country in recognizing and participating in this special observance.
TRIAL BY JURY EVENT THIS SATURDAY AT HISTORIC WASHINGTON STATE PARK 5/5/16
Historic Washington State Park will hold a Trial by Jury event this Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m.
Guests will experience justice in 1880 Washington as they take part in a new twist on the popular "Trial by Jury" series. This trial is a re-enactment of an actual murder trial that took place in the 1874 Courthouse.
The event also includes a meal. The cost is $25 for adults and $20 for children under the age of 14.
For more information, call the Historic Washington State Park at 870-983-2684.
FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS MINERAL SPRINGS MAN BACK TO JAIL 5/4/16
U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey has ordered a Mineral Springs man who has been accused of sending threatening letters to seven Arkansas mayors back to jail.
Fifty-five year old Maverick Dean Bryan was released from jail following a detention hearing in March, but Hickey announced Monday that she had reviewed the transcript of the detention hearing and decided Bryan should have remained in custody as prosecutors had requested.
According to Hickey, Bryan admitted he wrote the letters in January of 2015 threatening the mayors of De Queen, Ashdown, Hope, Lewisville, Nashville, Prescott and Murfreesboro. Bryan allegedly threatened to hang them from a mighty oak on the courthouse lawns if they didn't remove Common Core and put religion back in the local schools.
Hickey also pointed out that Bryan has an extensive criminal history involving the possession of firearms.
Bryan also admitted during his detention hearing that he was the author of an advertisement in the Thrifty Nickel seeking a $23 million dollar loan, so he could raise a Christian army to overthrow the U.S. government.
Bryan is scheduled for trial later this month. If he is found guilty of mailing threatening communications, he could face up to 35 years in prison and a fine up to $1.75 million dollars.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 5/4/16
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the House of Representatives continued to pass dozens of appropriation bills last week for various state agencies. She explained an appropriation gives the agency the authority to spend the money when it becomes available and it is effective for one year beginning July 1st.
Vaught said the appropriation will specify which agency will receive the money, where the money will come from and what the money will be used for. She said the House will also pass supplemental appropriations which usually add money from an accumulated surplus. She said they also vote on re-appropriations which will allow an agency to spend a balance that is left over from the previous year.
Vaught explained that just because the House passes an appropriation, it does not mean that the amount will be funded, until the House passes the Revenue Stabilization Act, which the House will begin voting on today.
Vaught said the proposed budget does not include any tax increases or cuts to essential state services, but will include increase funding for education and DHS.
Vaught reported soon after the House approves the budget, they will reconvene for a special session to address the highway funding issue.
Representatives will review Governor Asa Hutchinson's Working Group on Highway Funding Report, which states the Highway Department needs $110 million dollars over the next three years to address the department's most critical needs.
If you would like to watch the House proceedings, visit the website, ArkansasHouse.org.
ADD A CHARGE TO THAT OUTSTANDING WARRANT 5/4/16
Sunday, May 1st, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputies Brian Hankins and Greg Davignon were headed back to the sheriff's office following a call in Horatio when they noticed a black man standing in a yard on Everett Street that they thought had an outstanding warrant.
When they approached the suspect, he identified himself as 42-year-old James Kelly. Deputies confirmed Kelly had a warrant and asked him to stand in front of their patrol vehicles.
Kelly then allegedly told the deputies that he had some marijuana in his pocket along with a pipe.
Deputies secured two plastic bags of suspected marijuana and a pink glass pipe that contained suspected meth residue in it.
Kelly allegedly said he had just bought the pipe, but had not used it yet.
Kelly was booked into the Sevier County jail on the outstanding warrant and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT TO HOST RETIREMENT RECEPTION 5/4/16
Five retirees of the Ashdown School District will be honored with a public reception on Monday, May 16th from 4 to 5 p.m. on the lawn of the Little River County Courthouse.
The event is being hosted by the Ashdown School District, along with the Little River County Retired Teachers Association.
Retirees to be honored include: teachers Debra Ward and Yvonne Bond at the Ashdown Elementary; DeeDee Ward from the L.F. Henderson Intermediate School; and Jim Welchel from the Ashdown Junior High School. Classified staff members who are retiring include: Roger Rose.
Everyone is invited to attend and share in extending thanks and congratulations to these school retirees.
If it rains, the event will be moved indoors.
FARM BUREAU AG SAFETY POSTER CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED 5/4/16
Arkansas Farm Bureau has announced the winners of its annual safety poster contest, which coincided with Ag Safety Awareness Week. All posters were designed to increase awareness of potential hazards on farms and ranches. The posters also depicted this year's theme, "Caution: Safety is No Accident."
Local winners in the first and second-grade category included: Lyndsey Powell who is a second graders at Acorn Elementary School in Polk County, won first place. Powell is the daughter of Jeremy and Amber Powell.
In the third and fourth grade category, Lyza Gonzalez, a third grader at Waldron Elementary in Scott County won first place. Fourth-grader Aniyah Muresan of Blevins Elementary in Hempstead County won second place. And, Kyler McKee, a third-grader at Vandervort Elementary school placed third. McKee's parents are Chad and Falicia McKee.
FOREMAN PLEASED WITH HIGH SCHOOLS GRADE IMPROVEMENT 5/3/16
During the April meeting of the Foreman Board of Education, Superintendent George Kennedy reported he was pleased with the district's grades from the state board of education. He stated the Foreman High School received a B and the Oscar Hamilton Elementary received a C.
Kennedy said some students took the ACT Aspire recently and he was pleased with the test. He said it tested students on things they are actually studying.
Kennedy reported the district plans to have the restrooms throughout the district renovated this summer and they are re-keying the entire district to one Master key to provide better safety, in the event that they ever have to lock-down the campus again in the future.
Kennedy said the board also finalized the re-financing of the district's existing bonds. He said this will save the district between