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Local News archives

 

 

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL APPROVES MORE UPGRADES FOR WATER DEPARTMENT        4/20/16

 

Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the De Queen City Council, aldermen voted to allow Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy and Water Superintendent Jeff Brown to seek bids for a metal building for the high lift station on Stilwell Avenue. McKelvy said they are planning to build around the existing building.

 

McKelvy also informed aldermen that the city water department had earned the 2014 Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the Arkansas Department of Health. He said De Queen was one of 46 water systems that earned this honor.

 

McKelvy also reported Kansas City Southern Railroad has announced they will be making some improvements to the tracks between Page, Oklahoma and Blanchard, Louisiana this June. McKelvy said this is a part of a $20 million dollar project by KCS.

 

Council members agreed to finish the undeveloped portion of Archer Street, but they will need to repeal an ordinance dealing with undeveloped but platted and dedicated lots and streets during their next council meeting.

 

McKelvy also addressed the location of manufactured homes within the City of De Queen. He said the federal Affordable Housing Accessibility Act requires city's to allow manufactured homes in at least one zone. McKelvy said in De Queen manufactured homes are allowed in R2 zones.

Aldermen also voted to sell three trucks and a tractor on GovDeals.com.  

 

 

 

2016 COUNTY FARM FAMILIES OF THE YEAR      4/20/16

 

County winners for the 69th annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program have been selected. The county winners will be judged June 6th through 8th to determine the eight district winners. The district winners will be announced June 14th.

 

The district winners will be judged again by a different set of judges July 11th through the 14th to determine the state winner, which will be announced December 8th during the Farm Family of the Year luncheon.

 

The local county winners include: Brett and Teresa Fawcett of Ashdown in Little River County; Joe and Jill Brinkley of Grannis in Polk County; and Phillip and Patricia Maben of De Queen in Sevier County.

 

The Fawcett Ranch is in the Southwest District; the Brinkley farm is in the Western District; and the Maben farm is in the West Central District.

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach said all of the county Farm Family's of the Year represent the pillars of the state.

 

The Farm Family of the Year programs begins each year with the selection of the top farm families in each county and culminates in December with the announcement of the state Farm Family of the Year who will then represent Arkansas at the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year event.

 

 

DE QUEEN PUBLIC SCHOOL REPORT       4/20/16

 

De Queen School District's Public Relations Director Tammy Whatley wants to remind parents, grandparents and family members of De Queen fifth graders that the elementary school Science Night is this Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

 

Whatley said local merchants donated money, supplies and door prizes for the event.

 

For more information about events on the campuses of the De Queen School District, contact your child's school office.

 

 

 

FOREMAN RESIDENT MAKES FIRST COURT APPEARANCE FOLLOWING STANDOFF         4/20/16

 

Thirty-one year old Devin Hawkins appeared before Ninth Circuit Court Judge Tom Cooper Tuesday in the Little River County Circuit Court after being arrested last Friday. No formal charges have been filed, but Hawkins may be charged with misdemeanor obstructing government operations, resisting arrest and attempted escape.

 

Hawkins was arrested following an alleged standoff with police on Friday.

 

Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory reported Hawkins was living in a storage building since his house burned down about a month ago. He said Hawkins was a combat veteran and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

A felony charge of attempted escape in the third-degree is being considered against Hawkins for another incident that's not related to Friday's standoff.

 

Judge Cooper set Hawkins bond a $15,000 and ordered him to return to court on May 10th.

 

 

 

NASHVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT LISTED AS DEFENDANTS IN MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT LAWSUIT         4/20/16

submitted by KMTB

 

A federal civil rights lawsuit that was filed by the Mineral Springs School District has been amended and lists the Nashville School District, the Nashville Board of Education and Nashville Superintendent Doug Graham as defendants.

 

According to court records, the amended lawsuit was filed April 6th.

 

Graham reported he had not been served as of Monday, but Hempstead County Judge Haskell Morse reported he has contacted the county's lawyers in Little Rock and Hot Springs to handle the matter. Morse said the lawsuit is over 300 pages long.

 

Attorney John Walker filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Mineral Springs Superintendent, Curtis Turner, Jr. and the members of the Mineral Spring Board of Education. The members of the Mineral Springs School Board include: Mike Erwin, William Dixon, Dorthy Vaughn, Shelia Jackson, Ray Hawkins, Jamie Jackson and Zemera Newton.

 

The lawsuit alleges revenue from the SWEPCO Turk Plant was diverted from the district and sent to the Hope School District. The lawsuit also includes several allegations, including that state officials encouraged white students and black athletes to transfer from the Mineral Springs School District to the Nashville School District.

 

 

 

JANES RECOGNIZED BY ARKANSAS FARM BUREAU      4/20/16

 

Stacy Janes of De Queen was recognized during the Farm Bureau's statewide agents and agency managers meeting, March 10th and 11th in Little Rock for her total performance during 2015.

 

Janes was presented the Million Dollar Ring award for her outstanding insurance production.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY GENEALOGY SOCIETY TO STUDY MEANINGS OF COMMON TOMBSTONE SYMBOLS AND ICONS       4/20/16

 

If you are like most people, you've wandered through a cemetery and wondered about the meanings of the designs that are carved onto old gravestones. There are thousands of different religious and secular symbols and emblems that have adorned tombstones through the ages. Symbols also can indicate attitudes towards death and the hereafter. There are symbols of fraternal and social organization membership and even indications of a person's trade, occupation or even ethnic identity.

 

While many tombstone symbols are fairly easy to interpret, sometimes it is not easy to determine their meaning and significance.

 

Saturday, April 23rd, the Little River County Genealogy Society will hear a presentation by Genealogist Nancy Tribbey of Texarkana concerning cemetery symbolism. The program will begin at 10 a.m. in the Millwood Room on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot.

 

The meeting is free and open to the public.

 

For more information, contact Jennie Stone at 870-898-2974.

 

 

ASHDOWN PUBLIC SCHOOL TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING FOR PROPOSED MILLAGE INCREASE        4/19/15

 

Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders announced the district will be hosting a public meeting on Monday, April 25th to discuss the proposed 3.9 mill increase.

 

Sanders said the district wants to renovate the Margaret Daniel Elementary School and add about 64,000 square feet and consolidate the three elementary campuses into one.

 

Sanders reported 3 mills would raise the $12 million dollars that needed for the construction project and .9 mills would be used to provide a two to three percent raise for teachers. Sanders said this would help the district recruit and retain qualified teachers.

 

The public meeting is Monday, April 25th at 6 p.m. and early voting will start on Friday, April 29th.

 

 

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL INFORMED OF POSSIBLE CHARTER SCHOOL COMING TO TOWN       4/19/16

 

Aldermen Matt Webb reported Dr. Michelle Burgess held a public meeting early this month to discuss establishing a charter school in the City of Lockesburg, during the April meeting of the Lockesburg City Council.

 

Webb reported Burgess plans to start the Lockesburg STEM Academy. He said she can start the school with a few as 30 students, but the charter needs the approval of the Arkansas Department of Education. He said the department of ed, should announce their decision in November. He reported the school would serve Kindergarten through the eighth grade, but has a five-year plan to include all grades through the 12th grade.

 

Aldermen approved the city's 2014 and 2015 water and sewer audits with no findings. Mayor Danny Ruth reported that according to new state regulations, no new water service could be approved until the customer provides approval from the Department of Health.

 

Ruth also reported city employee James Maish had presented his letter of resignation effective April 15th.

 

Aldermen then voted to approve a stop sign at the intersection of West Avenue and West Walnut Street.

 

Mayor Ruth updated aldermen on the progress of the city's storm siren grant and the council reviewed a 50/50 grant for new lighting at the Ida Margaret Coulter Stone Park ballfields.

 

Park Director Shelia Ruth reported ballgames are being held at the city park every Tuesday and Thursday through the month of May and teams are also using the field for practice.

 

According to Ruth, Marlon Sharp has agreed to perform during the city's Fourth of July celebration and aldermen approved a bid of $3,100 dollars from Air Magic for the fireworks.

 

 

CRATER OF DIAMOND STATE PARK HOSTING FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT, APRIL 30TH         4/19/16

 

Saturday, April 30th, area residents can enjoy an evening under the stars at the Crater of Diamonds State Park campgrounds for the park's first family movie night at 8 p.m.

 

That evening, the park will host a special outdoor screening of the Lorax.

 

Tickets are $4 per person and concessions will be available. Bench seating is limited, and everyone is encouraged to bring their lawn chairs or a blanket.

 

For more information, contact the Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3113.

 

 

LOUD AND DISORDERLY         4/19/16

 

Monday night about 10 p.m., Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department was sent to Sixth Street in reference to a verbal dispute between 19-year-old Kevin Bell and 49-year-old Gwendolyn Bell.

 

Patrolman Sawyer was assisted by Patrolman J.J. Lopez and Sergeant Chad Bradshaw. When the officers arrived they witnessed the two subjects walking away from the residence hollering at each and calling each other names while walking down the middle of the street.

 

Officers separated the two so they could speak to them, but neither one would stop yelling at the other, so both were citied for disorderly conduct and taken to the Sevier County jail.

 

 

TOO YOUNG TO HAVE THAT        4/19/16

 

Friday afternoon about 1 p.m., Patrolman Justin Gentry of the De Queen Police Department pulled over a vehicle because the driver was not wearing a seat belt.

 

According to Gentry's report, the driver, 18-year-old Erik Camacho did not have a driver's license and the passenger, 19-year-old Alexander Churchwell appeared to be nervous.

 

When asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, Camacho reportedly stated he had some beer in the car. Since, both Camacho and Churchwell were under the age of 21, they were arrested and citied for being minors in possession of alcohol.

 

Gentry reported there were five beer cans in the car.

 

 

UA COSSATOT FFA CRAWFISH BOIL IS THURSDAY        4/19/16

 

UA Cossatot Collegiate FFA member TJ Newton announced their chapter will be holding a crawfish boil fundraiser, this Thursday beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Cossatot Amphitheater concession stand. She said they will be selling platters of 3 lbs of crawfish, 2 corn, 4 potatoes and a drink for $17.

 

Newton stated all of the proceeds will be used for chapter trips and scholarships.

 

Newton said they are still selling plants and vegetables at the greenhouse every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. She said they will also be open on Saturday, May 7th.

 

For more information, contact Kelli Harris at 584-1218.

 

 

ASHDOWN CONTRACTS WITH K-12 CULINARY CONNECTION FOR THEIR FOOD SERVICES       4/18/16

 

During the April meeting of the Ashdown Board of Education, board members agreed to enter into a contract with K-12 Culinary Connection for the 2016-2017 school year.

 

Superintendent Jason Sanders said traditionally district’s only had two options for their food service programs, but consultants like Justin Mills are providing district's with a third option.

 

Sanders said this agreement should save the district money, while serving more meals.

 

Sanders said he visited with Horatio Superintendent Lee Smith about Culinary Connection because the Horatio District was using them this year.

 

Sanders said Domtar recently purchased a switch engine painted in Ashdown colors and logo to show their Ashdown pride.

 

Board members also voted to re-hire the district's classified staff and they named James Smith the Athletic Director, while Matt Richardson will serve as the Football Athletic Director.

 

 

 

 

AREA BIKERS RAISE ALMOST $1,000 FOR SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS CRISIS AND RESOURCE CENTER        4/18/16

 

April 17th, members of the Beacon Hill Bikers Ministry hosted a benefit bike ride and chicken dinner for the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center. President of the Beacon Hill Biker's Ministry, Newman Hance, reported they raised $980 for crisis center.

 

Hance said they hope to hold an annual benefit ride for the center.

 

Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center executive director, Courtney White stated the center appreciated the group for shining a spotlight on the center this month because it's National Child Abuse Awareness Month.

 

White explained the crisis center is supported financially by several different sources including contracts of services with the city of De Queen and Sevier County and grants, but this was a great gesture by the Beacon Hill club members.

 

If you need information about the Crisis and Resource Center, contact White at 870-642-2141.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS' FIRST BEN CARSON READING ROOM TO OPEN THIS FRIDAY ON THE L.F. HENDERSON CAMPUS IN ASHDOWN        4/18/16

 

Through the generosity of Domtar and their suppliers, the Carson Scholars Fund has announced they will be opening the first Ben Carson Reading Room in Arkansas on the L.F. Henderson campus of the Ashdown School District this Friday with a grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m.

 

The Ben Carson Reading Project is an initiative of the Carson Scholars Fund to help create a literacy enriched environment for children, so they can develop their reading skills. He said the reading project and the Ashdown School District are dedicated to promoting reading as a key to unlocking a child's full potential.

 

L.F. Henderson Principal Keith Fricks stated the district appreciates the support of Domtar and their vendors in the school's effort to encourage students to think big.

 

The Ben Carson Reading Room in Ashdown is the first of 10 reading rooms that will be opened through Domtar's partnership. The other nine reading rooms are slated to open in May and early fall.

 

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PUBLISHES SCHOOL REPORT CARDS       4/18/16

 

The Arkansas Department of Education published its annual school district report cards late last week. The report provides information about each school and school district in the state, including information about teacher qualifications and discipline. It also gives each school a letter grade from A to F.

 

This year, 19 schools received a grade of 'F', while 10 schools earned an 'A'.

 

According to the report, the De Queen Primary and Elementary schools earned 'B's', while the Middle, Junior and High schools received 'C's'. All of the De Queen Schools received 'B's', last year.

 

Horatio High School received a 'B' and the elementary received a 'C'.

 

The Ashdown School District received 'C's' for the Margaret Daniel Primary, the CD Franks Elementary, the LF Henderson Intermediate School and the Ashdown High School.

 

Foreman High School earned a 'B' and the Oscar Hamilton Elementary received a 'C'.

 

According to state education officials, the decrease in the number of A's and B's and the increase in C's was due to the change in the state's testing program.

 

Last year, the state moved away from the Arkansas Benchmark and End-of-Course exams and required district's to give the PARCC exams in math and English.

 

Throughout the state only one in three students scored at the desired Levels of 4 and 5 in English and only one in four scored at the desired levels in math.

 

According to the state a score of 4 meant students were at their grade level and a 5 meant they had exceeded expectations and tested above their grade level.

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT - BUDGET MEETINGS     4/18/16

 

Members of the state legislature convened last week to begin working on the 2016-2017 budget.

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the outcome of the budget will depend upon the passage of Senate Bill 121, which is the appropriation bill of services and operating expenses for the Department of Human Service Division of Medical Services.

 

She said SB 121 includes appropriations for long-term facilities, ARKids First, and hospital and medical services. Vaught explained SB 121 also funds the services provided by Arkansas Works, which is the state's version of the private option. Arkansas Works will use federal funds to purchase healthcare insurance for low-income residents.

 

Vaught reported the bill failed by two votes on the Senate floor last week, and was sent back to the Joint Budget Committee, which is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. The full House is expected to meet Tuesday afternoon at 1:30.

 

 

 

STANDOFF IN FOREMAN ENDS WITH NO ONE BEING HURT       4/18/16

 

A Foreman resident was arrested Friday about 2:15 p.m. after a standoff with police started Thursday night about midnight.

 

A federal Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer tased 31-year-old Devin Hawkins Friday afternoon after he walked out of his home waving a handgun. Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory reported no one was injured during the incident.

 

According to the Little River County Sheriff's office, Hawkins reportedly started discharging an AR-15 rifle Thursday night. Authorities reported Hawkins was living in a storage building that set behind his house that burned down about a month ago.

 

Hawkins allegedly told some family members that he would not be taken alive, so local authorities asked for assistance from the Arkansas State Police SWAT team.

 

According to Sheriff Gregory, Hawkins had been released from the Little River County jail recently after serving a sentence on a disorderly conduct charge. He said Hawkins suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. 

 

Charges have not been filed at this time, but Hawkins is being held in the Little River County jail.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE PRESENTS UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE, APRIL 24TH AND 25TH        4/18/16

 

Ashdown High School theater students would like to invite the public to their spring production of Up the Down Staircase, which is based on the work of Bel Kaufman.

 

Theater goers will be invited to imagine the first day of high school, as students pour into the classroom, cautious, testing, and challenging. The first words to greet the new teacher, Sylvia Barrett is "Hey, Miss."

 

Soon afterwards, Barrett finds herself the most involved person in the school. She started a romance and she's involved in a battle with a discipline-micro-managing administrator. But, mostly, she is involved in the unexpected, sometimes heartbreaking problems of her students.

 

Performances will be held at the Ashdown High School auditorium on Sunday, April 24th at 2 p.m. and on Monday, April 25th at 10 a.m.

 

Admission is $3 for students and $5 for adults.

 

For more information, contact the Ashdown High School at 898-3562.

 

 

 

FORMER DE QUEEN DOCTOR PASSES AWAY IN SEARCY         4/18/16

 

Dr. Eugene Joseph, formerly of De Queen, passed away April 11th at his home in Searcy.

 

Dr. Joseph lived in De Queen for 12 years before moving to Searcy and starting the Joseph Clinic. He along with Bill Blackwood and the late Bobby Holcombe developed the JoHoWood residential area behind Tires Plus.

 

Dr. Joseph graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in Helena and attended the University of Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas Medial School in 1961.

 

A memorial service was held for Dr. Joseph in Searcy on Friday, April 15th at the First United Methodist Church.

 

 

HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT DISCONTINUES ADVANCE ED MEMBERSHIP       4/15/16

 

Monday night during a regular meeting of the Horatio Board of Education, board members voted to renew their contract with K-12 Culinary Connection, which has been the district's food service provider for the past school year. Superintendent Lee Smith said K-12 Culinary increased the number of meals the district served while saving the district money.

 

Smith said the board also voted to purchase new band instruments for the band program.

 

During the Superintendent's report, Smith informed the board that the state increased the district's internet bandwidth, but the district has to install a system that will connect the high school to the elementary school.

 

Smith also reported the board voted to discontinue the district's Advance Ed membership. Smith stated the board felt the district wasn't benefiting by participating in the Advance Ed accreditation process.

 

Smith reported the board hired Stephanie Rowe as the new high school principal during a special called meeting, Thursday afternoon. She is currently the principal of the Mineral Springs High School and she will replace, James Dobbins, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

 

 

 

BENEFIT BIKE RIDE THIS SUNDAY FOR CRISIS AND RESOURCE CENTER      4/15/16

 

The Beacon Hill Bikers Club will be hosting a benefit ride and chicken dinner for the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center, this Sunday with the first bike leaving the Town North Shopping Center at 10 a.m.

 

Courtney White of the crisis center stated April is Child Abuse Awareness month and all forms of abuse are intertwined. She said not everyone who is abused or witness’s abuse becomes an abuser, but most abusers were or witnessed abuse as a child.

 

White explained the crisis center is supported financially by several different sources but expressed her appreciation to the Beacon Hill Bikers Club for supporting the center's work.

 

For more information about the crisis center call 870-642-2141 or Newman Hance at 692-930-0378.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN AIR EVAC LIFETEAM HOLDS TRAINING FOR OZAN VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT        4/15/16

 

The De Queen Air Evac Lifeteam crew of pilot Robert Parrish, flight nurse Amanda Pannell and Base Clinical Lead Justin Kinkade recently conducted a Landing Zone and Helicopter Safety class for the members of the Ozan Volunteer Fire Department.

 

The class included instruction on interacting safely with helicopters, selecting landing zone sites, guiding the helicopter to the ground and patient loading.

 

Parrish said the class gives Lifeteam members the opportunity to educate volunteers about what Air Evas does and how they work with other responders at the scenes of medial emergencies. He said the landing zone class is very important because they want everyone involved in an emergency situation to be safe around the helicopter.

 

Parrish explained that by demonstrating and explaining how the helicopter operates, Air Evac lessens the fears of volunteers while heightening their awareness, which will allow Air Evac to fly directly to the scene of a medical emergency, thus decreasing the amount of time that it takes to residents of the surrounding area to receive critical, life-saving care.

 

 

 

DONKEY BASKETBALL GAME AT COSSATOT RIVER SATURDAY NIGHT    4/15/16

 

The 2nd annual Cossatot River Donkey Basketball game is set for 5 p.m. Saturday night at the Cossatot River High School gym. According to Ag Booster club member Kristy Frachiseur, the event is a fundraiser for both the Ag and Athletic Booster Clubs.

 

Frachiseur said proceeds will be used to cover fair expenses for Ag students and new equipment for the athletic department.

 

There's going to be a concession stand and funnel cakes. She said they will also be playing musical donkeys and ‘where's the dress’ at halftime.

 

The athletic team members are Sheriff-elect Scott Sawyer, Mike Salinas-the Grannis Chief of Police, Brian Richardson, Marcelo Trinidad, John Newlin, E.J. Tena and Raymond Jewell.

 

The Ag Booster team includes: Clint Bell, Hunter Johnson, Ag teacher Mr. Morgan, Jamie Bailey, high school principal Mr. Ford, Reed Bowen and Cullen Hopper.

 

Advance tickets are still available at the Union Bank for $6 or you can call Frachiseur at 870-784-1903.

 

 

 

LOCAL 4H MEMBERS ASSIST WITH GRAND OPENING OF TRACTOR SUPPLY IN ASHDOWN       4/15/16

 

Seven local 4-H members assist the new Tractor Supply with their official Grand Opening on April 2nd in Ashdown. They served popcorn and assisted customers with coupons, passed out Tractor Supply hats, and helped customers sign up for door prizes on iPads.

 

Tractor Supply is also conducting its annual Paper Clover program through April 23rd. Little River County Extension Agent Sherry Betty-Sullivan said all of the money raised through the event supports 4-H programs at the local, state and national levels.

 

For more information about the Little River County 4-H, contact the Little River County Extension Office at 898-7225. 4-H is open to all youth ages 5 through 19.

 

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL BOARD LOOKS AT NEW BUILDING FLOOR PLANS      4/15/16

 

The Mineral Springs School Board gave approval to move forward with preliminary plans for the new school construction during Monday’s board meeting.

 

Architect Craig Boone presented the most recent floor plan to board members and said that he had met with the newly hired construction manager, Kinco. He said the building will be 118,000 square feet and will include a new dining hall and gymnasium. Boone reported the plans are still be tweaked, but he would like to be taking bids by July or August, so the project could start in October.

 

According to Superintendent Curtis Turner, the district's finances are about 1.6 million dollars ahead of last year.

 

Board members voted to re-hire the district's classified staff and accepted the resignations of Agri teacher Rick Hart, band director Angela Dunn and secondary math teacher Sherry Laymon. Carmen Wise was hired to fill the secondary math position.

 

 

ASHDOWN COMMUNITY CLEAN UP IS THIS SATURDAY       4/14/16

 

The Ashdown Community Spring Cleaning event is this Saturday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., but Kayla Wood of Bear State Bank said things will get started at the bank at 8.

Wood said if you have any questions, you can contact her at Bear State Bank by calling 898-2761 or 898-2758.

The annual event is sponsored by the Little River County Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 

DIERKS CITY LAGOON PROJECT ABOUT TO GET UNDERWAY        4/14/16

 

Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts reported work on the city's new sewer lagoon should be getting underway in the near future. He said they will be holding a pre-construction meeting Friday morning at city hall. He said work can start anytime after Friday, but it must be completed by December 31st.

 

Mounts reported aldermen of the Dierks City Council voted to enter into a franchise agreement with Rich Mountain Electric for 4-percent, which will be paid quarterly.

 

Mounts said he also informed aldermen that he plans to get with the city's animal control officer and try to capture some of the dogs that are wandering around town.

 

Mounts also announced the city may start issuing citations to property owners that do not clean up their property.

 

The next meeting of the Dierks City Council is Monday, May 9th.

 

 

 

LOCKESBURG RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASE      4/14/16

 

Forty-one year old Nolen Reece Baker of Lockesburg entered a guilty plea to using a computer to access child pornography Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey.

 

Baker was serving a five-year term of probation since September 2013 in Dallas County. He had been convicted of internet stalking a child and ordered to register as a sex offender.

 

In April of 2014, a Sevier County probation officer conducted a home visit and found several suspected child pornography sites listed in the computer's browsing history. The computer was confiscated by the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and turned over to the U.S. Secret Service for forensic analysis.

 

As part of the plea agreement, Baker also forfeited the computer he was using.

 

Baker will return to court at a later date, but faces up to 10 years in federal prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both.  Hickey reported with the prior conviction that was related to child pornography, Baker could face a mandatory sentence of at least 10 years with a maximum sentence of 20 years.

 

Baker is also arguing that he cannot afford a lawyer, but the court records show he has two Certificates of Deposit that mature in 2017.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS SCHOLARSHIP LOTTERY REACHES MILESTONE       4/14/16

 

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has reached a milestone in its mission to provide scholarships to Arkansas students. As of this academic year, the Lottery has provided funding for 200,000 scholarship recipients across the state.

 

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley says the state has one of the lowest percentages of citizens with advanced degrees and some students would not be able to go to college at all without the lottery scholarship.

 

Woosley said he encourages both traditional and non-traditional students in the state to apply for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education before the June 1st deadline.

 

Since lottery sales started in Arkansas in 2009, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has provided more than $573 million dollars in net proceeds for scholarships, lottery players have won nearly $2 billion in prizes and lottery retailers have earned more than $162 million dollars in commissions. More than 92 cents of every dollar of lottery revenue goes to prizes, scholarships and retailer commissions in the state.

 

To learn more about the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery or to apply, visit the website www.adhe.edu.

 

 

CITY OF MINERAL SPRINGS RECEIVES GOOD REPORT ON 2015 WATER SEWER AUDIT        4/14/16

Submitted by KMTB

 

The Mineral Springs City Council was informed Monday night that the city's 2015 water and sewer audit came back with no exceptions, but it did reveal a slight deficit in funds.

 

Aldermen approved a resolution allowing Mayor Bobby Tullis to seek short term financing for future council approved expenditures. They also voted to transfer $500 from the city's general fund to the park's account to pay some maintenance and custodial work.

  

 

 

BULLFROG SEASON OPENS ON FRIDAY        4/14/16

 

April 15th is usually one of the most stressful days of the year, but this year, it also marks the kickoff one of the most exciting summer pursuits in Arkansas bayous. Friday is opening day of bullfrog season.

 

Bullfrogs can be found all across the state, but the heaviest concentrations are usually found along ponds, slow-moving streams and fish farms in Eastern Arkansas.

 

Some froggers don waders or rubber boots to ease along the banks as quietly as possible, but many slide along in aluminum johnboats or kayaks to get close to the easily spooked amphibians.

 

Arkansas Game and Fish officials say it's possible to catch a bullfrog or two during the day, but it's at night when the real action takes place. Officials stated the eyes of a bullfrog will reflect the light of a spotlight and daze them just long enough for froggers to stab them with a gig or grab them with their hands.

 

 Arkansas Game and Fish officials say frog gigging is more like hunting than fishing, but you still need an Arkansas fishing license to participate. There is also an 18 frog limit per day, which runs from noon to noon. Frogs may also be taken by a hand net, hook and line, spear or bow and arrow. Firearms and air guns are not allowed.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT FACULTY ATTEND SYMPOSIUM       4/14/16

 

UA Cossatot staff recently attended a symposium concerning the use of Open Educational Resources in the University of Arkansas System schools.

 

Crystal Sims is the Division Chair of the General Education Department and she served as a panelist for the discussions. Faculty members Ashley Doughterty and Lynze Greathouse also attended the meeting.

 

UA Cossatot recently completed the second semester after adopting a new textbook policy last summer calling for more Open Educational Resources to be implemented in courses. Some courses still require a textbook but the college offers them at a low cost rental thereby reducing the student's textbook expenses to a minimal cost. Because of the implementation of the program, Sims was asked to serve on the panel discussion while other faculty members of eVersity, the University of Arkansas' Online College, participated in a conversation that allowed questions and comments from the panelists.

 

Sims explained Open Educational Resources have a place in face-to-face classes, as well as, in online environments.

 

During an afternoon session, eVersity staff members talked about the copyright laws and how to best use these open resources in class without breaking licensing laws.

 

Sims said it was rewarding to be asked how UA Cossatot's experience has been while using Open Educational Resources. She said it's another way Cossatot is helping students be successful in their quest for a higher education degree.

 

 

STATE LAWMAKERS RETURN TO LITTLE ROCK FOR BUDGET BATTLE       4/13/16

 

Minutes after the Arkansas Senate and House of Representatives passed Governor Asa Hutchinson's Arkansas Works bill, it was signed into law.

 

Arkansas Works will replace the program that is currently referred to as the Private Option, which uses federal Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance plans for the state's lowest income residents.

 

Arkansas Works will require unemployed recipients to participate in work training programs, have a yearly wellness check-up and anyone making above 100 percent of the federal poverty level will pay a small premium.

 

Starting today, lawmakers will debate proposed budgets, including Governor Hutchinson's plan which would fund the Arkansas Works law.

 

Hutchinson said he won't send lawmakers his proposal to tap into surplus funds and some general revenue for state's roads, unless they fund the Arkansas Works program.

 

Legislators are expecting to pass a balanced budget with a 2-percent growth from last year. They are expected to consider proposals to increase spending on education and the Department of Children and Family Services.

 

According to one report, over 200 appropriations have been filed.

 

To follow the budget process, watch the House proceedings on the website, www.arkansashouse.org.

 

 

 

ACCIDENT DAMAGES STILWELL'S RESTAURANT        4/13/16

 

Tuesday afternoon about 2 p.m., Sergeant Chad Bradshaw of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to the intersection of 3rd Street and Stilwell Ave in reference to a two vehicle accident.

 

When Bradshaw arrived, he discovered one of the vehicles on the sidewalk in front of Stilwell's Restaurant. The other vehicle was sitting on 3rd Street with damage to the front bumper.

 

According to Cindy Stanley of De Queen, she was traveling North on 3rd Street. Stanley said she stopped at the stop sign but did not see anything coming so she proceeded across Stilwell Ave and that was when Frederick Abney of De Queen hit her 2009 Chevy Impala.

 

Abney stated Stanley struck his 2007 KIA causing him to spin around 180 degrees. The car came to a stop on the sidewalk up against the front window of Stilwell's.

 

No one was injured in the accident, but it caused approximately $8,000 worth of damage to Stilwell's Restaurant, but the business will remain open while repairs are being made.

 

 

 

4 ASHDOWN FBLA STUDENTS QUALIFY FOR NATIONAL CONFERENCE      4/13/16

 

The Ashdown High School FBLA Chapter attended the Arkansas FBLA State Conference early this month in Little Rock and four members qualified to compete at the National FBLA Conference this summer in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Casey Thompson, Peyton Reed and Gregory Shumake finished third in the Entrepreneurship Team competition and qualified for the national conference. Alex Simmons qualified for nationals by placing second in the Intro to Financial Math.

 

Shauna Tipton and Melissa Kilgore are the Ashdown High School FBLA sponsors.

 

 

 

DRUG ARREST RESULTS FROM SUSPENDED LICENSE      4/13/16

 

April 7th, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning attempted to pull over a blue, 4-door sedan, after confirming the driver, 24-year-old Cody Romine of Horatio had a suspended license.

 

Browning reported Romine sped up after turning onto 9th Street. Browning followed the vehicle to 11th Street where it stopped and the front seat occupants switched places. The driver then proceeded to 12th Street before they stopped.

 

Romine was asked to exit the vehicle and informed by Browning that he had seen him driving. Romine and a female occupant, 23-year-old Kaitlyn Smart of Horatio informed Browning that she had been driving the whole time.

 

Browning informed Smart that Romine would not be going to jail for driving on a suspended license if she told him the truth. Smart then stated Romine had been driving.

 

Browning then asked Smart for permission to search a reddish, pink book bag that was in the passenger's side floor board. Smart stated the bag was hers, but she said she didn't understand why he wanted to search it.

 

After Smart went through the bag, she agreed to let Browning search it. He found a small black camera case that contained multiple packages of rolling papers, a small plastic bag of seeds, a clear bag with filters and a smoking device with burnt residue in it.

 

While speaking with Smart, Browning was informed that a witness saw Romine put a black pouch down his pants. According to Browning's report, the pouch contained a smaller bag with several clear plastic bags in it. One of the bags contained suspected methamphetamine, while the rest of the bags were empty. There was also a blue and white smoking device with a small red canister that contained more suspected meth, along with some suspected marijuana.

 

Smart was charged with two misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, two felony counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of methamphetamine or cocaine with the purpose to deliver.

 

Romine was charged with two felony counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance with the purpose to deliver and possession of methamphetamine or cocaine with the purpose to deliver.

 

 

 

DONKEY BASKETBALL GAME AT COSSATOT RIVER HIGH SCHOOL      4/13/16

 

This Saturday night, the Cossatot River Ag Booster Club will be hosting their second annual donkey basketball game fundraiser to support both the Cossatot River Ag program, and the athletic.

 

Ag booster member Kristy Frachiseur said the doors will open at 4:30 Saturday night at the Cossatot River High School gym and advanced tickets are still available.

 

For more information or to purchase tickets, call Frachiseur at 870-784-1903.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY 4H ANNUAL BASS TOURNAMENT      4/13/16

 

The Sevier County 4-H annual Bass Tournament is April 23rd on De Queen Lake at the Oakgrove landing. Justin Stewart stated the tournament will payout 70 percent of the entry fees and the other 30 percent will support the programs of the Sevier County 4-H.

 

According to 4-H member Hunter Frachiseur, there is a five fish limit and they will pay one place for every five boats up to three places.

 

Stewart said for more information; contact him at 870-584-6555 or 870-584-2167.

 

Stewart said the big bass pot will pay 100 percent back to the anglers during the annual 4-H Bass Tournament.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT APPROVES CONTRACTS OF OBLIGATION WITH ADEQ        4/12/16

 

Monday afternoon the members of the Sevier County Quorum Court suspended the rules and voted to approve two contracts of obligation with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. Justices of the Peace passed an ordinance authorizing Sevier County Judge Greg Ray to sign two contracts with the ADEQ and two resolutions entering into contracts of obligation concerning the county's transfer station and the county’s class four landfill.

 

Ray stated it was necessary, so the county could avoid a fine from the state.

 

During Monday's regular meeting, JPs approved an appropriation in the amount of $10,000 for the Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department. Judge Ray explained the funds were General Improvement Funds presented by District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught for the purchase of wildland personal protective equipment.

 

JPs also approved the purchase of a new security system for the county courthouse. Judge Ray explained it was cheaper to purchase a new system than to repair the old one.

 

Sevier County District Court Judge Stephen Tedder reported the district court had collected about $915,000 in 2015. He said the City of De Queen was responsible for about $430,000 of that amount.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT HEARS WHITE HOUSE EDUCATION PLANS       4/12/16

 

UA Cossatot Vice Chancellor Dr. Maria Markham attended a teleconference with White House officials last week to hear more about President Obama's plans for higher education.

 

The call outlined the College Promise Campaign and featured Roberto Rodriguez, who is the Deputy Assistant to the President for Education, Kyle Lierman who is the Associate Director of Public Engagement and Senior Policy Advisor of WHO and Martha Kanter who is the former Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign.

 

During Obama's 2015 State of the Union address, he announced his plan to make two years of community college education free for responsible students. Since then, leaders in education, business, philanthropy, nonprofits, and other sectors have stepped up to highlight the value of a community college education and build support for College Promise programs across the country. At least 24 initiatives have been announced, including new programs in communities like Oakland, Detroit and Salt Lake City. Dr. Markham explained there is still a lot of work to do to make College Promise Campaign a reality.

 

During the month of April, the nation will celebrate National Community College Month. UA Cossatot has been a part of the University of Arkansas System since 2001 and will celebrate its 40th graduating class in May.

 

Dr. Markham said will be hosting several events over the next two months including a college reunion following graduation on Saturday, May 14th.

 

For more information about UA Cossatot, call 1-800-844-4471.

 

 

 

EPA: 6 ARKANSAS WATER SYSTEMS EXCEED LEAD LIMIT SINCE 2013      4/12/16

 

An analysis shows six Arkansas water systems have exceeded federally allowable lead limits at least once since the start of 2013.

 

The ongoing crisis in Flint, Michigan, where residents have been without tap water for months, has highlighted how lead-tainted water can poison children; affect IQ, the ability to pay attention and academic achievement.

 

According to a published report from the Environmental Protection Agency, data from the Community Water System that serves more than 30,000 people in the Greers Ferry area had 25 parts per billion of lead. Harrison Waterworks, which has nearly 17,000 customers, reported a sample with 17 parts per billion.

 

Tim Shaw is the general manager of the Community Water System and he said the water in the Greers Ferry system is naturally corrosive, making it more likely to pull lead and copper from pipes in older homes.

 

The EPA's allowable level is 15 parts per billion.

 

Other systems with high lead levels are Delight Waterworks, Houston Waterworks, Keiser Waterworks and the North Howard Rural Water Association, which serves about 1,000 people in the Umpire area.

 

Jeff Stone of the Arkansas Department of Health reported state regulators are required to hold public water systems accountable for lead levels, even though the lead measured at private residences often comes from private pipelines.

 

Stone said the Delight Waterworks reported at least one lead sample above the federal level in nine of 16 sampling periods in the last 25 years. He said in that same time frame, the Houston Waterworks reported at least one sample above the mark in seven of 15 sampling periods.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE HOSTING HORSESHOE TOURNAMENT      4/12/16

 

Relay for Life of Little River County has announced they will be hosting a horseshoe tournament on Saturday, April 23rd in the Ashdown City Park.

 

According to event organizer, Willie Booth, the tournament will include three age categories: 11 and under, 12 to 18 years of age and 18 and older. The single elimination tournament will begin at 10 a.m. and feature 21-point games with a 30-minute time limit. First, second and third place winners will be awarded prizes.

 

Booth said the entry fee is $10 per person for pre-registration or $12 per person on the day of the event.

 

Little River County Relay for Life Director Linda Fielding stated the county committee will be serving hot dogs and sodas for $3 and all of the proceeds will benefit the county Relay for Life.

 

To register or for more information, call Booth at 870-898-3908 or Fielding at 903-276-5650. 

 

 

 

ARKANSAS RESIDENTS ENCOURAGED TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT      4/12/16

 

Twenty-two percent of Arkansas residents are collecting social security benefits, which places it in the top five of all the states when it comes to how many residents are either retired or collecting disability. For about a third of those people, though, it's their only income.

 

The average benefit is $1,344 dollars a month, and Andrew Salata with the Social Security Administration says the program was designed to be a safety net, not the sole support for someone once they stop working. He says signing up for a retirement account online allows you to see exactly how much you'll collect when you retire, and that's key because if you don't think it will be enough you can start another savings plan early.

 

There are 59-million Americans collecting social security benefits, with 673-thousand in Arkansas. Of those, 140-thousand are disabled.

 

Salata says the process to collect social security is fairly easy, but disability benefits are another story. He says those signing up for it get discouraged about being rejected, but he says they should keep trying.

 

On average disability payments are about 1,160 dollars per month. To sign up for a personal retirement account, go to www.socialsecurity.gov.

 

 

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL PROM   04/12/16


The Little River County Courthouse Lawn was the place to be Saturday, April 2nd at 5 p.m. Ashdown High School Juniors, Seniors and their escorts were dressed in their elegant attire. The lawn was filled with family, friends, and community members to watch the students "march" down the courthouse steps and down the front walk through an flower draped arch and tulle lined path. Many memories and photos were made on the grounds.

Students left to make their dinner reservations, but returned to Ashdown to the high school. The students were greeted along the front drive, where volunteers valet parked their vehicles. The students were welcomed into the building by staff members and followed the beautiful walk way into the Helen Parker Gymnasium which was transformed into a ballroom filled with laser lights, disco balls and fabric lined ceiling and walks. Students danced the night away as D.J. Fabienne Thrash played a large selection of music.

As the evening came to a close, the prom royalty were announced. Senior King was RJ Powell and Queen was Kennedy Cook. The senior court was: Ty Cobb, Austin Cross, Cameron Soloman, Brinlee Ward, Savanna Woods, Danielle Ford, and Jaylonia Cook. Junior Prince was Tajhnick Bishop and Princess was Jasmine Dennis. The junior court was: Joe Pennington, Bryson Haskins, Zac Spigner, Cole Grimes, Alexia Rowton, Callie Redfearn, Tye James, and Ishianna Harris.

 


Kyle Kidd, Ashdown High School KDQN intern

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT MEETING TODAY        4/11/16

 

Sevier County Justices of the Peace will meet today during a regular monthly meeting in the Sevier County Courthouse conference room at 2 p.m.

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray reported the members of the Quorum Court will consider removing some items from the county's property inventory list because they are unusable or obsolete. JPs will also consider a resolution authorizing Sevier County District Court Judge Stephen Tedder to destroy some district court records.

 

According to the agenda, JPs will consider a request from the Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department for the appropriation of $10,000 so the department can purchase some wildland personal protective equipment and an automatic external defibrillator.

 

Ray said the Quorum Court will also hear a request to transfer about $1,200 from the Courthouse Maintenance account to the Capital Outlay, Machinery and Equipment account for the purchase of a new security system for the courthouse.

 

 

 

LEGISLATORS RETURNING TO LITTLE ROCK FOR FISCAL SESSION      4/11/16

 

Days after wrapping up, a special session on the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion, Arkansas lawmakers are returning to Little Rock to pass the state budget.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson has proposed a $5.3 billion dollar budget, which includes a $142.7 million dollar increase in spending. A bulk of that increase would go toward the Department of Human Services. The state's Medicaid program would receive $88 million and $20.4 million would go toward the state's child welfare programs.

 

Hutchinson is also proposing a $23.7 million dollar increase for state schools.

 

According to lawmakers, the big issue is funding for the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion, which lawmakers approved last week by a wide margin, but still shy of the three-fourths majority that is needed to support the Medicaid budget.

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught announced she voted yes on Governor Hutchinson's Arkansas Works bill.

 

Vaught said she feels her vote was what was best for District 4. She said Arkansas Works will implement work referrals, premiums for those making over 100 percent of the federal poverty level and will require recipients to receive wellness checkups.

 

Vaught said by voting for Arkansas Works it will ensure that federal tax funds will come back to the state. She explained if legislators didn't pass Arkansas Works then the state would have lost about $5 billions dollars over the next 5 years.

 

Vaught said without Arkansas Works, the Little River Memorial Hospital and De Queen Regional Medical Center would possibly close.

 

  

 

FOREMAN HIRES MARK KING AS NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACH       4/11/16

 

Foreman Superintendent George Kennedy reported the Foreman Board of Education voted last week to hire Mark King as the next head football coach of the Foreman Gators.

 

Kennedy stated the district received between 15 and 20 resumes, but felt King was the right person for the job.

 

The Foreman Gators were 1-9 last season.

 

 

 

15-YEAR-OLD FINDS DIAMOND WITHOUT A SHOVEL      4/11/16

 

Over spring break, a 15-year-old boy from Bruceton, Tennessee discovered a 1.01-carat white diamond, which appears to be clear and almost flawless, with 24 smooth, rounded facets.

 

Robert Miller stated he searched the internet for an interesting destination and discovered the Crater of Diamonds State Park. He said his family arrived the day after a heavy rain and he said according to his research that meant they had a good chance of finding a diamond on the surface of the search area.

 

Miller and his family had searched for over an hour in the east drain area, when he noticed something shiny and half-buried in the mud. Miller said he thought he had found a piece of glass, but decided to take it to the Diamond Discovery Center, "Just in case."

 

Miller's diamond was the second one found on the surface weighing over one carat the week of spring break, and it was the third diamond found on the surface during the month of March. The largest one was a 1.43-carat brown diamond. It was found on March 24th.

 

For more information about the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, call 870-285-3113 or visit their website at www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT HONORS LONG-TIME FOOD SERVICE WORKER      4/11/16

 

Ruby Lee Rosenbaum was honored Friday, April 8th in the Ashdown High School cafeteria for her 50 years of service with the Ashdown School District.

 

Rosenbaum started working in the district in 1966 and has worked for nine superintendents, several administrators and principals and in three different administration buildings and she said she plans to keep working.

 

Ashdown School District retiree Judy Dowdy presented a brief and interesting history of Rosenbaum's work career and Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders presented her with proclamations from the City of Ashdown, a citation from the Arkansas House of Representatives and a plaque from the district.

 

 

 

BEACON HILL BIKERS MOTORCYCLE MINISTRY SPONSORING CHARITY RIDE AND CHICKEN DINNER         4/11/16

 

Newman Hance and Carla Wolcott of the Beacon Hill Bikers Motorcycle Ministry announced their club will be sponsoring a charity ride and chicken dinner this Sunday in the Town North Shopping Center. Hance said all of the proceeds will benefit the Southwest Arkansas Crisis Center.

 

Hance said the cost is $20 per rider and $10 for any additional rider. He also stated the band, Page One, from Van Buren will be performing, while everyone enjoys the chicken dinner.

 

Wolcott said the ride will start in De Queen and make a loop through Oklahoma up to Mena and back.

 

For more information, call 682-970-0378 or visit the Beacon Hill Bikers Facebook page.

 

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT: VEHICLE BUYERS BEWARE OF STORM DAMAGE      4/11/16

 

Severe thunderstorms have hammered the Natural State the past few weeks causing hail damage and flooding. These storms may be quick but can cause lasting and severe damage to vehicles.

 

Dents and dings caused by hail damage seldom affect the mechanics of a vehicle, but if consumers are planning to participate in one of the many "hail sales" that are being advertised, they should be prepared. Buyers should obtain a disclosure of the damage in writing from the seller and also check with their insurance company to see how the hail damage may impact coverage of future repairs.

 

Consumers should also review a vehicle's title for any flood damage reports. Arkansas law requires dealerships to place a separate disclosure in the window of cars that have previously been submerged.

 

This consumer alert from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says consumers should ask sellers if the car has been damaged by hail or flood water; inspect the vehicle for water stains and mildew in the vents and behind the dashboard; have the car inspected by a mechanic and if the car has significant damage and is considered a salvage vehicle, it should have a buyer's notification posted on it and it should cost much less that a vehicle with a clean title.

 

For more information, visit the Attorney General's website at ArkansasAG.gov or call 1-800-482-8982.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE RUMMAGE SALE        4/11/16

 

The Annual Little River County Relay for Life rummage sale is scheduled for Saturday, April 16th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central Baptist Church in Ashdown, rain or shine.

 

As part of the Relay for Life events in Little River County, individuals and groups may set up a sales booth for a $20 donation. Registered Relay for Life teams may set up a booth at no charge. Booths may be set-up on Friday, April 15th.

 

Several teams have already made plans to host a booth with lots of goodies, and a bake sale will also be a part of the event.

 

To register for a booth, call the event chairman Linda Fielding at 903-276-5650. The county's website is RelayForLife.org/LittleRiverAR, and on Facebook, search for Relay for Life--Little River County, AR.

 

 

 

WANT TO BE HEALTHIER? GET OUTDOORS      4/11/16

 

As the weather warms up, birds chirp and flowers bloom, so, don't forget to take some time to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. Research shows it can make you feel better, inside and out.

 

Dr. Frances Kuo has published articles on the benefits of green space since 2001 and she says people are instinctively drawn to places where their ancestors thrived, but the current obsession with electronic devices, poor urban planning and disappearing open space means most folks are spending less time outdoors. She says it's especially important for children to be exposed to greenery, and one of her latest research projects found symptoms of ADHD were reduced by using nature as a prescription.

 

Kuo says the study found outdoor time has the same effect on kids, no matter their socioeconomic background. She says city planners need to keep that in mind when designing living spaces, particularly public housing. She says tree-lines streets, grass, gardens and parks need to be included, because for some kids, it's their only exposure to the outdoors.

 

Kuo says being exposed to greenery also reduces anger, aggression and violence.

 

Her research also links the lack of green space to obesity, some infections and respiratory diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, migraines, depression and anxiety. She says while nature deficit disorder isn't an official medical diagnosis, many people find that spending more time in nature just makes them feel better.

 

 

 

IMPACT: WALKING FOR CHRIST 2016       4/8/16

 

Jim Cross is the minister at the Ashdown First United Methodist Church and the Richmond United Methodist Church and for the past three years, he has completed a 30-mile walk as part of his Impact Walking for Christ event.

 

Cross said the event has raised over $51,000 and this year's walk will begin Saturday morning at 6 a.m. at the Ashdown High School.

 

Cross said there will be a fish fry at the high school when he finishes his walk around 4 p.m. and people can donate by attending the event or by mailing a donation to the First United Methodist Church of Ashdown. He said tickets for the fish fry at $10 each and children can buy a wristband for unlimited inflatable fun from 1 to 6 p.m. for $5.

 

Cross said some of the funds will be used for improvements at the Ashdown City Park, Ashdown Matters and other worthy causing in the Ashdown community.

 

Cross is also selling raffle tickets for $1 each. He said they will be drawing for a handcrafted Arkansas Razorback bench, an Apple Ipad Mini2 and a basket of gift cards at the stadium.

 

Cross said he does this to give glory to God and to show that if we all do our part, we can help one another.

 

 

 

NEXT WEEK IS SPRING CLEAN-UP WEEK IN DE QUEEN        4/8/16

 

De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy wants to remind area residents that next week is the city's annual spring clean-up week and property owners can call the De Queen City Hall to have their name added to pickup list by calling 584-3445.

 

McKelvy said city residents can also take their old electronics or unused paint to the De Queen Fire Station. He explained the city takes all of the old electronics to the Federal Correctional Institute in Texarkana for recycling. He said these items can also be taken to the solid waste satellite station at the Sevier County airport anytime. McKelvy said the satellite station is open Tuesday morning, Thursday afternoon and on Saturdays.

 

McKelvy said if a resident has an old vehicle that needs to be disposed of, they should contact Baker Sales and Service to see if it has any salvage value.

 

McKelvy said city employees will also be cleaning up areas throughout the city during clean-up week.

 

For more information or to put your name on the pickup list, call 584-3445.

 

  

 

ARE THOSE YOUR PAPERS?        4/8/16

 

Tuesday morning, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department pulled over a vehicle that had a brake light out and noticed some rolling papers in the driver's side door.

 

Officer Browning asked the driver, 40-year-old Michael Skelton of Lockesburg about the rolling papers and Skelton stated he rolled his own cigarettes.

 

After Skelton removed a pocket knife from his shorts, Browning stated he was going to pat him down because he could see something else in his pocket. Skelton allegedly told Officer Browning that he didn’t want Browning to pat him down, because he didn't like to be touched.

 

After a short conversation, Skelton agreed to turn his pockets inside out. When he did, Officer Browning discovered a clear bag of suspected marijuana and a metal smoking device.

 

Skelton was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

 

 

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL SPRING BREAK TRIP          4/8/16

 

De Queen High School students, as well as students from Horatio and Texarkana and sponsors, recently returned from their annual trip to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, with an overnight stay in Destin, Florida.

 

Since 1995, students and their sponsors from the De Queen area have been enjoying these incredibly fun as well as educational trips.

 

The group visited Disney's Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios and EPCOT Center, which was hosting the International Flower and Garden Festival. They also enjoyed the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure, Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, with the Hogwarts Express and Disney Springs which was formerly known as Downtown Disney and the Disney Marketplace.

 

Since 2001, the group has participated in the Youth Education Series program at Walt Disney World.

 

This year's program was "Energy and Waves Physics Lab." Students discovered how energy is transmitted by light and sound waves, and how these waves affect the Disney Guest experience and their day-to-day lives. They also discovered how light and sound can be manipulated.

 

After completing the Energy and Waves Lab the students were able to articulate a variety of forms of energy. They demonstrated a compression wave, could define a medium, and demonstrate how solids, liquids and gasses affect sound. They could state the factors that may affect the speed of sound. They learned how white light is composed of different colors of light and how different colors of light are made up of different wavelengths. They were also shown how holograms were created for the dancing ghost in the Haunted Mansion as well as how many other ""Disney Secrets" are made in the 3-D show, "Stitch's Great Escape."

 

When Walt Disney originally envisioned his theme park, his dream was to create places where people could have fun and at the same time learn something about the world. The YES program facilitators take great pride in furthering Walt's dream by using the theme parks to not only inspire the students to think differently about the world, but to explore the endless possibilities that await them back at home, at school and within their own community.

 

Shown above: Aurora Gonzales, Alisia Gonzales, Rachel Camarillo, Lucee Lugo, Karen Trammell, Jackie Gonzales, Jan Durham, Lynn Wright, Wanda Smith, Mandie Stafford, Brittany Jones, Haylee Rich, Alexi Gonzales, Manuel Hernandez, Kurt Blocker, Stephen Sloan, Damien Garcia and Prince Beasley.

 

SLEEPING ONE OFF IN THE CAR          4/8/16

 

Sunday, April 3rd, Sevier County Deputy Brian Hankins was dispatched to Peach Lane off Highway 41 South in reference to a vehicle that was in the ditch with a male subject slumped over the steering wheel.

 

When Deputy Hankins arrived, Horatio First Responders were on the scene. They reported the doors were locked and they could not wake the driver up, but could tell he was still breathing.

 

Hankins reported the vehicle was still running and it was still in drive. A first responder unlocked the door and Hankins was able to put the vehicle in park and remove the keys of the ignition.

 

EMTs with Southwest EMS arrived and checked the driver for injuries. They reported he appeared to be fine and released him. The driver was then placed under arrest for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

 

The driver was identified as Justin Alexander. Before Deputy Hankins had finished reading Alexander his rights, he requested a lawyer, refused to sign or take any other field sobriety test.

 

Alexander was charged with DWI #1 and refusal to submit.

 

 

 

STATE BOARD WORKING TO PROMOTE ACCOUNTABILITY      4/8/16

 

To promote accountability and keep the State of Arkansas in compliance with federal law, the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board has formed a sub-committee to develop a detailed report that will be submitted to Governor Asa Hutchinson and the appropriate legislative committees later this year.

 

The Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board is responsible for distributing funds that are granted to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice's office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Funds have been awarded to community-based programs across the state designed to prevent juvenile delinquency and to improve the juvenile justice system.

 

De Queen High School graduate Victor Rojas is a member of Arkansas Juvenile Justice Board and he said as a member of the Governor's Report and Legislative Sub-committee he plans to be transparent with state officials and the citizens of Arkansas to ensure that tax dollars are being spent wisely on services that produce positive outcomes for Arkansas families.

 

 

 

THE DIRTY SECRET ABOUT ALLERGIES       4/8/16

 

All the runny noses and itchy eyes tell us it's allergy season in Arkansas. From April to June, grass pollen causes problems from many, then, come fall it will be ragweed and other plants shedding pollen that causes misery. If it seems like more people have allergies than ever, that is indeed the case.

 

Dr. Bill Miller is a blogger and author and studies the causes of allergies. He says the problem is we're too clean. He and other researchers call it the "Hygiene Hypothesis." Miller says we've upset the balance of germs inside us by prote3cting ourselves more than our ancestors did.

 

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology cites research that suggests early antibiotic use changes the bacterial flora, which impacts the development of allergic diseases like asthma. Other studies suggest we may be using too may products like acetaminophen to treat children.

 

Miller says we need to back away a little from hand sanitizers and antibiotics.

 

He says we're upsetting the natural balance in our bodies and he says doctors need to stand their ground and not give out prescriptions so easily.

 

Miller believes kids should play with other kids, and they should have a pet early in life because exposure to other germs can help them avoid allergies later in life.

 

 

UA COSSATOT TO HOST UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS SYSTEM BOARD OF TRUSTEE        4/7/16

 

UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole reported the college is working to start a Physical Therapy Assistant Program following the success of their Occupational Therapy Assistant Program, during the March meeting of the UA Cossatot Board of Visitors.

 

Dr. Cole said Cossatot has received board approval from the University Of Arkansas Board Of Trustees, but they are hoping the Arkansas State Higher Education Coordinating Board will approve the program in May.

 

Dr. Cole said the nursing program has been recommended for re-accreditation by the State Board of Nursing and Cossatot will be celebrating their 40th Anniversary on May 14th. He said it will not only be the 40th anniversary of the first graduating class from UA Cossatot but the 40th anniversary of the first nursing class at Cossatot.

 

Cole also announced UA Cossatot will be hosting the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees meeting May 25th and 26th on the De Queen and Nashville campuses.

 

UA Cossatot will be holding registration for first time students starting Monday, April 11th. For more information, contact UA Cossatot at 870-584-4471.

 

 

 

 

AGFC BEGINS NEW STATEWIDE SEARCH FOR CWD        4/7/16

 

With 56 confirmed cases of chronic wasting disease in northern Arkansas, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is widening its search to determine if it is in other parts of the state.

 

The final results from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's original testing phase should be completed this week, but biologists have already confirmed a larger instance of chronic wasting disease than anticipated.

 

The second phase of chronic wasting disease surveillance will be able to determine how far the disease has traveled in the state. Arkansas Game and Fish officials will be taking samples from any sick or dead deer that is reported throughout the state. The primary focus will be on road-kill animals.

 

The second phase of testing will continue until at least May 20th and anyone who sees a sick or dead deer or elk should contact the Arkansas Game and Fish at 1-800-482-9262. Operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

Once a deer or elk contracts chronic wasting disease, the brain begins to degenerate, they lose weight, lose their appetite and develop an insatiable thirst. They also tend to stay away from herds, walk in patterns, carry their heads low, salivate and grind their teeth.

 

For more information, visit the Arkansas Game and Fish website at www.agfc.com.  

 

 

 

MORRIS AWARDED ARKANSAS TECH SCHOLARSHIP      4/7/16

 

De Queen High School senior Aaron Morris has been awarded a Collegiate Scholars Scholarship from Arkansas Tech University for the Fall 2016 semester.

 

Morris is the president of the De Queen High School FFA chapter, a state 4-H Ambassador, and a member of Future Teachers of America. He is also on the De Queen High School archery and trap shooting teams. He has been named the De Queen High School Archer of the Year, two times.

 

Morris is the son of Ronald and Kimberly Morris and a member of the De Queen Church of Christ.

 

 

 

SIX DHS STUDENTS QUALIFY TO COMPETE IN NATIONAL FBLA COMPETITION          4/7/16

 

The De Queen High School FBLA chapter attended and competed at the Arkansas State Conference in Little Rock, April 4th and 5th.

 

Fourteen students represented De Queen High School and six qualified for the National FBLA Conference this summer in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

Haylee Rich placed second in the Agri-Business competition, Jeffery Davis, Krishna Patel and Prince Beasley placed second in the Digital Video Production, Cody Lites placed third in Public Speaking II, and Danielle Duggan placed fourth in the Electronic Career Portfolio competition.

 

The state conference was also attended by Anna Grace Cauley, Tara Montgomery, Jessica Rogers, Alec Lowery, Josie Vaught, Edgar Espinoza, Noah Sherry and Jessica Williams.

 

 

 

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ANNOUNCES YOUTH TOUR WINNERS        4/7/16

 

Three winners were recently selected to participate in the 2016 Electric Cooperative Youth Tour to Washington, D.C.

 

Maria Dominguez and Josue Castellanos of De Queen High School and Abigail Taylor of Cossatot River High School were announced as the representative of the local Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative on this summer's Youth Tour.

 

The trip is all expense paid and will involve approximately 44 other youths from across Arkansas, June 8th through the 16th. They will tour the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson monuments; the Vietnam Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and other sights in Washington, D.C.

 

In addition, they will be eligible to compete for a chance to represent Arkansas on the National Rural Cooperative Association's Youth Leadership Council.

 

 

 

WHISTLESTOP FESTIVAL TO FEATURE ART BY FOURTH THROUGH TWELFTH GRADERS       4/7/16

 

Students in fourth through twelfth grades are invited to "Get on Board" and participate in the Whistlestop Festival's Youth Art Show during the 2016 Whistlestip Festival, April 29th and 30th, in Ashdown.

 

Cash prizes will be awarded in three categories: grades four and five; grades six through eight; and grades nine through 12, according to Carolyn Henderson.

 

Entries for the art show will be accepted from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 27th at 21 East Main Street, next door to the Two Rivers Museum, and the show will be open to the public beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, April 29th and all day Saturday, April 30th.

 

Artwork must be on paper, preferably matted, and ready to hang with clamp-style clips, which will be provided by the Little River Arts Council. No frames, glass or wet paint will be included, and work must be at least five by seven inches, but no larger than 18 by 24 inches.

 

Young artists may enter two pieces of art, and there are no entry fees. Artist may also choose their own medium.

 

Registration and entry packets can be picked up at the Two Rivers Museum on the corner of East Main and U.S. Highway 71 North in Ashdown, or from the art teachers at the Ashdown, Foreman or Horatio School districts.

 

For more information, call Henderson at 903-826-5627.

 

 

Chalice Cupboard Report for March 2016     04/06/16

 

The Chalice Cupboard assisted 39 families in Sevier county in march, including 72 adults and 46 children, totaling 118 people.  1026 lbs. of food was distributed.  597 lbs. of food was added to the pantry.  This included 345 lbs. of purchased food plus donations of 252 lbs.   First United Methodist and St. Barbara Catholic churches gave 11 lbs. Individuals gave 135 lbs.  There was a 6 lb. anonymous donation.

 

The bank balance on March 1, 2016 was $6.752.11.  Deposits for the month totaled $370.00.  During March, $255.70 was spent for food to replenish the pantry supply.  The bank balance on March 31, 2016 was $6.866.44.

 

Individuals living in Sevier County who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 North 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 months period of the year:  January-February-March; April-May-June; July-August=-September; and October-November-December. 

 

Suggested non-perishable items for those people who want to make a donation are Macaroni & Cheese and Jell-o.  Any money donated  will be used for the purchase of food.

 

 

CITY OF DE QUEEN SELLS SANITATION TRUCK TO PILGRIM'S PRIDE      4/6/16

 

Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the De Queen City Council, aldermen passed a resolution to sell Pilgrim's Pride a 2003 International sanitation truck for $30,000.

 

Aldermen also passed a resolution allowing District Court Judge Stephen Tedder to destroy some old district court records.

 

Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy reported Tuesday night that the state highway department opened bids for several projects in March, but they did not have a bidder for the city’s street paving project.

 

Aldermen discussed changes to the city's mosquito control program and voted to spray longer this season and purchase some chemicals to put in areas with standing water. McKelvy said the most effective way to control the mosquito population is to educate the public.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN FIRE DEPARTMENT EARNS AN ISO RATING OF 3         4/6/16

 

De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt is encouraging all De Queen homeowners to contact their homeowner insurance providers to see if the department's new ISO rating of "3" will help lower their premiums.

 

Pruitt said the De Queen Fire Department earned a rating of "4" 10-years ago, but during their recent inspection it was lowered once again.

 

Pruitt said the De Queen Fire Department is a combination department with both volunteer and full-time fire fighters. He said a lot of factors went into getting the ISO lowered, including the support of the De Queen City Council and the residents of De Queen.

 

Pruitt said some insurance companies don't use the ISO rating, so all homeowners should check their insurance policies.

 

De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy also congratulated the department for their commitment to serving the City of De Queen.

 

 

 

YOU SHOPLIFTING, "NO, APRIL FOOLS"        4/6/16

 

On Friday, April 1st, Sergeant Gary Cunningham of the De Queen Police Department went to the De Queen Wal-Mart in response to a shoplifter.

 

When Cunningham arrived, a member of the Wal-Mart Asset Protection Team reported she saw a white man take a pair of gloves out of the packaging and put them in the bottom of a shopping cart with some other items that he paid for. But, he walked out the door without paying for the gloves.

 

While Cunningham was patting down the suspect, 32-year-old Billy David Hicks of Wellston, Oklahoma, he found a wallet in Hicks' back pocket that still had the price tag on it.

 

Hicks was trespassed from Wal-Mart and charged with shoplifting. 

 

 

 

ARKANSAS GIVES - GROW THE LOVE THURSDAY           4/6/16

 

Thursday area residents will have the opportunity to help local nonprofit organizations that serve and help individuals and families here in Sevier County.

 

Cynthia Martin is the Director of the CASA of the Ouachita Region and she stated CASA was participating in the Arkansas Gives, online fundraiser, so they can advocate on behalf of more children in Sevier County.

 

Assistant Program Director Renee Hendrix stated Casa of the Ouachita Region is currently advocating on behalf of four children in Sevier County. She said they need more volunteers in order to help more children.

 

Hendrix said CASA of the Ouachita Region depends on grants to operate and most of those grants are matching grants. She said they normally hold a fundraiser in the spring, but this year they decided to participate in the Arkansas Day of Giving event on Thursday.

 

Arkansas Community Foundation Media Relations Director, Sarah Kinser said all you have to do to donate is go to the ArkansasGives.org website between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. this Thursday and click on county of service and select the nonprofit of your choice.

 

Area residents can also donate to the Sevier County Museum and the Shattered Homes organization.

 

 

 

NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK IS APRIL 10-16       4/6/16

 

April 10th through the 16th is National Library Week and this year's theme is "Libraries Transform."

 

In the mid-1950's, research showed Americans were spending less time reading and more time listening to the radio, and watching television. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Committee formed a nonprofit citizen's organization called the National Book Committee.

 

The committee's goals were to encourage people to read during their leisure time and to improve their income and health and to develop strong and happy families.

 

To celebrate National Library Week, the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library will host a story and craft time for children on Wednesday, April 13th at 4 p.m.

 

Area residents are invited to stop by their local libraries in De Queen, Horatio, Lockesburg and Gillham on Tuesday, April 12th to celebrate National Library Workers Day to let the library staff know how much you appreciate them.

 

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY JUDGE ANNOUNCES ROAD CLOSURE      4/5/16

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced Tuesday morning that Mineral Road will be closed Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the installation of a culvert.

 

Ray suggested traffic detour on Stemple Road.

 

For more information, contact the County Judges' office at 642-2425.

  

 

 

DE QUEEN BOARD OF EDUCATION RECEIVES GOOD REPORTS         4/5/16

 

Monday night, members of the De Queen Board of Education were informed the district was doing well financially, as well as, academically.

 

Superintendent Bruce Hill presented the board with a copy of the district's 2014-2015 audit, which contained a few findings that were related to a new food services system and delegation of duties.

 

Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton said it was a normal audit.

 

Board members also approved Hill's recommended changes to the district's salary schedule. Shelton said the recommendations are intended to help the district retain quality staff members.

 

Hill also reported the district's expenditures were remaining close to the same amount as last year, and the balance is expected to be up by about $750,000 over last year. Shelton said the district is in good financial shape.

 

Shelton said he’s pleased the state selected the ACT Aspire test.

 

Hill announced the district is preparing both the football field and the gymnasium for graduation, which is scheduled for Sunday, May 22nd at 2 p.m.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN WOMAN'S DEATH STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION     4/5/16

 

Law enforcement agencies in Little River County continue to investigate the death of an Ashdown woman who was run over by a Kansas City Southern train, Saturday night.

 

According to the incident report, crew members on the train spotted 53-year-old Mary Blair lying across the railroad, but they were unable to stop.

 

A member of the KCS crew contacted the Little River County Sheriff's office about 8:45 p.m. and she was pronounced dead at the scene by Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith.

 

The body was sent to the Arkansas Crime Lab for an autopsy.

 

Allegedly, Blair was treated and released from the Little River Memorial Hospital prior to the incident.

 

 

 

LEGISLATORS TAKING LONG HARD LOOK AT MEDICAID PROPOSALS      4/5/16

 

Wednesday, Arkansas Legislators will convene at the state Capitol for a special session, to address changes to the state's healthcare system.

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught says there are two issues before the legislature. One is a piece of legislation to create a program that the Governor is calling Arkansas Works. The second will address reforms that should provide savings to the state's Medicaid program.

 

The Private Option will end on December 31st and currently there are more than 267,000 Arkansans insured through the program that uses federal Medicaid dollars to provide private insurance plans for families making 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or less. Currently that amount is equal to $16,394 dollars for an individual or $33,534 dollars for a family of four.

 

Governor Hutchinson's Arkansas Works program would replace the Private Option. The plan would still use the private insurance marketplace, but with some major changes.

 

For instance, one of those changes would direct anyone on the program that does not have an income to go to the Department of Workforce Services for job training and to search for a job.

 

It would also require participants to receive an annual wellness exam.

 

And, it would require any participant making over the federal poverty level to pay a premium at an affordable rate. Failure to pay would result in a loss of benefits, but not coverage.

 

According to Vaught, the special session is expected to last three days. State legislators will then reconvene on April 13th for the state's Fiscal Session where they will vote on appropriations for all of the state agencies and determine a budget for the state.

 

Vaught said you can follow the proceedings on the web at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

 

 

THURSDAY IS ARKANSAS GIVES DAY        4/5/16

 

This Thursday, Arkansans will have the opportunity to support their favorite nonprofit organization during a 12-hour online giving event that is being sponsored by the Arkansas Community Foundation.

 

Sarah Kinser of the Arkansas Community Foundation reported the event raised over $2 million dollars last year and had over 350 nonprofits participating. She said this year there are over 600 nonprofits participating this year.

 

Last year, the Sevier County Museum participated in the program and raised $2,200. This year, the museum board hopes to match or exceed that amount. Museum Board President Gary Walker said if you would like to make a donation, but don't have a computer, you're invited to stop by the museum and use one of theirs.

 

For more information, you can call the museum Director Karen Mills at 870-784-0039.

 

This year, the Shattered Homes Foundation in De Queen is also participating. Shattered Homes provides education to families with drug or alcohol addicted family members and help them mend.

 

For more information, call Shattered Homes at 870-784-0413.

 

Kinser said by participating, Arkansans are not only donating to their favorite nonprofit they will also be helping them earn bonus money and prizes.

 

So, help local nonprofits by making a donation on Thursday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and be a part of something amazing.

 

WHISTLESTOP FESTIVAL YOUTH ART SHOW  04/05/16

All students in grades 4 through 12 are invited to "Get on Board" the Whistlestop Festival Youth Art Show to be displayed during the 2016 Whistlestop Festival in Ashdown on Friday and Saturday, April 29-30. Cash prizes will be awarded in three categories: 4-5 grades; 6-7-8 grades; and 9-10-11-12 grades.

Entries for the art show will be accepted on Wednesday, April 27, from 1:30-5:30 p.m. at 21 E. Main Street, next door to the Two Rivers Museum, and the show will be open to the public for viewing at that location, beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 29 and all day Saturday, April 30, during the Whistlestop Festival. 

Artwork must be on paper, preferably matted, and ready to hang with clamp style clips provided by the Little River Arts Council, sponsor of the youth art show.  No frames, glass, or wet paint will be included, and work must be at least 5"x 7", but no larger than 18 x 24 inches. 

Young artists may enter two pieces of art, and there are no entry fees.  Each may choose his/her own subject and medium. 

Registration and entry packets can be picked up at the Two Rivers Museum on the corner of E. Main and Highway 71 N in Ashdown or from the art teachers at Ashdown, Foreman or Horatio schools.  For any further information, please contact Carolyn Henderson at 903-826-5627.

 

NEW STUDY SHOWS ARKANSAS PROGRAM IS DOUBLING COLLEGE COMPLETION RATES   04/05/16

Little Rock, AR – March 31, 2016 – Today, a new study titled College Count$ demonstrates that low-income students who have participated in the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) earn associate degrees or technical certificates at more than double the rate of the general community college population in Arkansas. The findings are especially significant considering that students who participate in CPI must qualify for public assistance, live at 250 percent or less of the poverty level and support a family as a custodial parent.

Today’s findings are the first phase of research from College Count$, a joint research project established in April of 2015 by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation to demonstrate the potential for CPI to break the cycle of poverty and provide a return on investment for participants, their families and the state. The College Count$ study was conducted by Metis Associates, a nationally recognized research firm. Research methods used in the study all comply with the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse guidelines for evidence-based programs.

UA Cossatot first implemented CPI in 2006 and has assisted several thousands of students advance their job skills and receive degrees and certificates in our area. 

“The goal of Career Pathways Initiative is to remove any barriers to a student’s success,” said Crystal Bell Hunter, CPI Director at UA Cossatot. “Pending available funds, we can assist parents with childcare, transportation, academic fees, and supplies.  Often times, these costs mean the difference between a student excelling and dropping out.  But perhaps the strongest case for our success is the counseling that we are able to provide CPI students.  We serve as encouragement and a point of contact for students who find themselves unsure how to navigate college waters.”     

 

 

DE QUEEN RESIDENT DIES IN MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT      4/4/16

 

Wednesday, March 30th, 35-year-old Robert Blake Beavers of De Queen was pronounced dead at the scene of a single vehicle accident on Highway 41 south of Piney Road about 7:56 p.m. by Sevier County Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Marshall.

 

According to the accident report, Beavers was driving a 2006 Chevy Monte Carlo south on Highway 41 when he entered the left hand curve and left the roadway on the right side of the road. The vehicle overturned and struck two trees before coming to rest on the roof of the vehicle.

 

A minor passenger was transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center by Southwest EMS for treatment of injuries.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS DHS WANTS TO REMIND AREA RESIDENTS APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH       4/4/16

 

Sherry Johnson of the Sevier County Department of Human Services and Alexis Lampkins of the Little River County DHS stopped by the KDQN studios to remind area residents that April is Child Abuse Awareness Month. They also mentioned the need for foster homes in both Sevier and Little River counties.

 

Johnson said Sevier County has seven foster homes and 21 foster children. Lamkins said Little River County currently has 23 foster children and only one foster home, so children are being placed in homes outside the counties.

 

Johnson said DHS needs foster parents and if someone is interested in serving, they should visit the website, www.fosterarkansas.org.

 

Lamkins stated DHS also needs volunteers to serve in a variety of other ways.

 

Johnson said the Little River and the Sevier County DHS offices are collecting items for foster care bags. She said items may be dropped off in boxes that are in the lobbies of the DHS offices or at Dr. Randy Walker's office in De Queen.

 

Johnson said they need items for infants to 2-years of age like: bottles, pacifiers, sippy cups, diapers, wipes, shampoo, body wash, lotion and pajamas. They need combs and hairbrushes, socks, underwear, shampoo, body wash, soap, hair ties, pajamas, toothbrushes, and toothpaste for children ages 2 to 18.

 

Johnson and Lamkins said area residents can help make a difference in the lives of area children by donating or volunteering at their local DHS office. For more information, call the Sevier County DHS office at 870-642-2625 or the Little River County DHS office at 870-898-5155.

 

 

 

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL          4/4/16

 

Saturday night about 6:30 p.m., Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Matthew Webb was dispatched to a single motor vehicle accident at the intersection of Lake Road and North 9th Street.

 

When Webb arrived, the driver was being transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center by Southwest EMS where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries that he sustained in the accident.

 

The driver, 19-year-old Ezequiel Escamillia, reported he blacked out and when he woke up, his car was in the ditch.

 

Escamillia's mom informed Webb he had worked the night shift and may have fallen asleep.

 

Webb reported the car skidded 85 feet from the intersection and ended up in the ditch.

 

 

 

LET ME OFF THE BUS          4/4/16

 

On March 31st, Sevier County Deputy Brian Hankins was dispatched to the Highway 70/71 East in reference to a disorderly passenger on a Jefferson Line Bus. According to the incident report, Sheriff Bennie Simmons pulled the bus over at the Martinez Auto Sales.

 

According to the incident report, the bus driver informed the officers that a passenger was upset that she had to ride a Jefferson Line bus instead of a Greyhound. The driver said about 10 miles outside the De Queen City limits; she started struggling with him trying to get to the stairs demanding that he pull over and let her off.

 

The passenger was identified as 22-year-old Ariel Cole of St. Louis, Missouri.

 

Cole informed Deputy Hankins that she had been on the bus for a long time and she needed a break. Hankins advised her that the bus was on a schedule and could only stop at designated stops.

 

After speaking with Sheriff Simmons, the driver agreed to let Cole back on the bus, if she would sit in the back and not cause any more trouble.

 

Deputy Hankins reported he followed the bus into De Queen and was flagged down by the driver at the Tiger Mart. The driver stated, Cole had started struggling with him again. She was then arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.  

 

 

 

TORNADO SAFETY TIPS      4/4/16

 

It's spring in Arkansas and that means the weather can change at a moments notice. So, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes is offering the following tornado safety tips.

 

The alliance recommends families develop a family tornado plan, so all family members will know where they can take shelter. They also suggest homeowners install a tornado safe room or storm shelter.

 

The alliance says during a tornado, people should take refuge in a storm shelter, safe room or in a community shelter that labeled as the  counties official tornado shelter, however, there is no official shelter in Sevier County.

 

If no shelter is available, you should go to the lowest floor of your home, and get in a small, central, interior room. Officials suggest getting under a stairwell or in an interior hallway that does not have any windows.

 

It's suggested you crouch down as low as possible to the floor, face down and cover your head with your arms.

 

If you are in a mobile home, it's recommended you get out and get in a permanent structure.

 

After a tornado strikes, gather your family together, stay away from downed power lines, trees and puddles that could hide live wires. You should also stay out of heavily damaged structures and listen to your radio for information and instructions.

 

 

ASHDOWN MAN CHARGED IN THE DEATH OF A TEXARKANA RESIDENT      4/1/16

 

Members of the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department arrested an Ashdown man Thursday for his involvement in the shooting death of a man who was found in his car just after midnight Wednesday on 18th Street in Texarkana, Texas.

 

According to a Texarkana, Texas police spokesperson, officers arrested 18-year-old Warrick Dunn of Ashdown at an apartment complex on Locust Street. 

 

According to the incident report, 27-year-old Shawn Bush was found dead from what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds to the body shortly after midnight, Wednesday, March 30th.

 

Officers reported Bush was slumped over in the front seat of his car.

 

Investigators say they believe robbery was the motive for the homicide.

 

 

 

LOCKESBURG MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO TWO COUNTS OF RECEIVING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY         4/1/16

 

Twenty-three-year-old Nathan Karl Thomas of Lockesburg plead guilty during a plea hearing, Thursday morning before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey in Texarkana on two counts of receiving child pornography.

 

Thomas plead guilty to receiving pornographic images of children on October 30th, 2014 and December 3rd, 2014.

 

One of the images was of a 15-year-old girl from Texarkana whom he communicated with via an App called Kik Messenger. Court records show Thomas met the girl in person in January of 2014 and that she sent him several sexually explicit photos of herself.

 

The second count concerns a video that Thomas received from a female friend that show his associate molesting a 2-year-old boy.

 

Twenty-four-year-old Haidy Branson was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison in August for sending videos of her molesting the boy from a location in Bowie County, Texas.

 

Thomas and Branson will be required to register has sex offenders upon their release from federal prison.

 

Thomas will be sentenced at a later date. Thomas could face up to 40 years in prison.

 

 

 

GRAZING SCHOOL FOR AREA FARMERS SET FOR APRIL 5TH        4/1/16

 

Little River County and surrounding area livestock producers are invited to learn how they can shave some dollars off their expensive winter feeding during a grazing school on Tuesday, April 5th from 2 to 5 p.m. on the Jerry Christie farm on Staggs Drive in Nashville.

 

Instructor Kenny Simon will discuss "Alternative Forages;" Paul Beck will compare haylage versus hay; John Jennings will discuss correcting problem fields and local county extension agents will discuss different types of hay.

 

For more information or to register, call Sherry Beaty-Sullivan at the Little River County Extension Office at 870-898-7225.

 

All of the featured speakers are from the University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture.

 

 

 

RICH MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE IN MENA MAY JOIN U OF A SYSTEM        4/1/16

 

Officials at Rich Mountain Community College in Mena are considering merging with the University of Arkansas System.

 

Rich Mountain President Phillip Wilson reported a merger would provide his college's students with more programs to choose from in addition to what he called a prestigious diploma with the UA brand on it.

 

Rich Mountain is the smallest community college in the state with an enrollment of 932 students.

 

There are 22 community colleges in the state. Twelve are independent institutions, five are already part of the University of Arkansas System, four are affiliated with the Arkansas State University System and one is an arm of Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

 

 

 

3RD ANNUAL SPRING CLASSIC GOLF EVENT IS APRIL 16     4/1/16

 

First Assembly of God Minister Johnathan Reynolds announced Friday morning that the 3rd Annual Spring Classic Golf Scramble is Saturday, April 16th. He said the event will begin with a shotgun start at 9 a.m.

 

Reynolds said the proceeds will be donated to the Speed the Light Ministries of the First Assemblies Denomination. He said some of the funds will be used here locally to minister to young people in De Queen and Sevier County.

 

Reynolds said this year's event is once again sponsored by Gentry Chevrolet.

 

For more information or to register for the event, contact the De Queen First Assembly of God Church at 584-3435.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY 4-H ANNUAL BASS TOURNAMENT       4/1/16

 

Sevier County 4-H members Aaron Morris and Hunter Frachiseur announced the date for the annual Sevier County 4-H Bass Tournament, Friday morning.

 

Frachiseur said the tournament will be held on the De Queen Lake at the Oak Grove Landing on Saturday, April 23rd. He said the entry fee is $40 per boat and the tournament will run from safe light to 3 p.m.

 

Morris is the Sevier County 4-H Ambassador and he explained the tournament helps Sevier County 4-H members attend different events around the state.

 

For more information or to sign up for the bass tournament, call Justin Stewart 870-584-6555.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE                        4/1/16

 

The Sevier County Relay for Life survivor's dinner has been scheduled for May 6th at the De Queen Church of Christ and Relay for Life committee member Linda Frachiseur said all county survivors are invited to the event.

 

Emmy Bailey is the county's executive director and she said area residents can buy chances for a raffle being held by the Horatio State Bank Relay for Life team. She said the winner will be announced during the main event on Friday, May 13th.

 

She also said Sevier County residents can pay up to $50 dollars to have a friend's yard flocked with as many as 40 flamingos. To flock a friend call Frachiseur at 784-1692 or Bailey at 784-3053.

 

Bailey said teams and individuals can sign up at the Sevier County Relay for Life Facebook page. She said county teams are also selling luminaries in memory of or in honor of loved ones for $5 each. She said you can also order a luminary on the county's Facebook page or by texting 870-200-1649.

 

For more information, contact Bailey at 784-3053.

 

 

FOREMAN SCHOOL DISTRICT AWARDED THREE GRANTS FOR VARIOUS PROJECTS        3/31/16

 

During the March meeting of the Foreman Board of Education, Superintendent George Kennedy reported the district had received three different grants for various projects.

 

Kennedy said the high school media specialist, Tracie Kent, applied for a grant through the Lowe's Toolbox Education program and she was awarded a $4,965 grant that will be used to create a garden area at the main entrance of the high school.

 

Kennedy said the district received a $4,000 dollar grant from Lowe's for the purchase of some preschool playground equipment. He said the equipment should be delivered by April 7th.

 

Elementary teacher Kristie Smith was awarded a $1,500 grant from the National Book Bank. Kennedy said the district plans to purchase a book for all 296 elementary students.

 

Kennedy reported the Arkansas Department of Education approved the district's application to refund their existing bonds, which will save the district about $30,000.

 

Board members also voted to accept the letter of resignation of high school football coach, Neil Evans.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS 529 GIFT PROGRAM       3/31/16

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reminded area residents that they should take advantage of the Arkansas 529 GIFT program and provide their child with the gift of a college education. She said the State of Arkansas will also reward parents who are saving for their child's education by allowing them to deduct up to $5,000 of their 529 plan from their state adjusted gross income.

 

529 plans were established to help parents and grandparents save money for college that can be used at schools across the country and some institutions abroad. State 529 Director Beth Anne Rankin explained the program's name refers to the Internal Revenue Code section that discusses college savings tools.

 

On average, college tuition triples every 17 years. But the numbers continue to show it's a worthwhile investment. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, college graduates will earn an average of $1 million dollars more over their lifetime than a high school grad.

 

Rankin said saving even a little can be more cost effective than borrowing. While most families combine some level of saving and borrowing when paying for college, she said putting aside money early and often is a good way for families to build their savings.  Rankin said families can start a 529 account will as little as a $25 investment.

 

Vaught said some Arkansans may even qualify for a matching grant of up to $500 a year if they meet the income requirements.

 

Vaught said plans are not limited to just parents. Any adult can open an account for anyone they would like to help save for college. And if your designated beneficiary decides not to go to college, you can either, keep the money invested until a later time, change the beneficiary, or withdraw the funds and be subject to a 10 percent penalty.

 

Arkansas 529 GIFT accounts can be opened by visiting the website, www.arkansas529.org.

 

 

 

GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP IN ARKANSAS CONTINUES THROUGH APRIL AND MAY       3/31/16

 

Arkansans committed to cleaning up their communities in an effort to enhance its appearance, inspire civic pride and attract tourism can volunteer during local Great American Cleanup events across the state through the months of April and May.

 

Volunteers are needed to participate in Gillham's Keep Arkansas Beautiful event on Saturday, April 9th.

 

Dianne Rosson is the event organizer and she stated they will have everything volunteers will need to pick up litter on all of the streets and Highway 71 within the city limits of Gillham.

 

Rosson said anyone can volunteer, from church groups to individuals. She said everyone is welcome to organize a cleanup team and pitch in.

 

Volunteers can stop by the Gillham branch of the Sevier County Library between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 9th to pick up trash bags, gloves and vests.

 

 

 

HUNTER EDUCATION CLASS IN PROVO        3/31/16

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's mandatory hunter education regulation went into effect July 1st, 1985. The regulation makes it unlawful for any person born after December 31, 1968, to take or attempt to take wildlife with firearms, crossbow or conventional bow, without first having on their person proof that he or she has satisfactorily completed an approved Hunter Education Course.

 

The exceptions to this regulation are those hunters whose birth dates are prior to 1969, and hunters less than 16 years of age when under the direct supervision of a licensed adult at least 21 years of age.

 

If you were born after December 31st, 1968, or if you are just a concerned sportsman or wildlife enthusiast, plan to attend the Hunter Education Course that's being offered on Saturday, April 9th from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Provo Community Building. The class is limited to the first 50 students and everyone must pre-register online at www.register-ed.com.

 

The course will cover firearm safety, conservation, wildlife management, sportsmanship, archery, muzzleloading, first aid and survival, and other hunting information. The purpose of the course is to inform and educate those who enjoy the great outdoors, which will lead to safer and more responsible behavior by all outdoorsmen throughout the state.

 

The course is free, but for more information, contact T.J. Newton at 582-1328, Lynn Newton at 584-5513 or Emmy Bailey at 784-3053.

 

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT: SCAMMERS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CREDIT CARD CHIP CONFUSION       3/31/16

 

Scammers have found a new way to target Arkansans while retailers and banks continue to make the switch from magnetic stripe credit and debit cards to the chip cards.

 

The confusion surrounding this transition has made a prime environment for con artists. It has been reported that scammers will pose as credit card companies and contact consumers through email, informing them that a new card is ready but they need to update their account information before the card can be sent.

 

If a consumer opens the link and enters his or her personal financial information, it will likely be taken and used to commit fraud. In some cases, the link itself could install malware on the device and then monitor online activities and steal passwords, log-in information or account numbers.

 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following tips to minimize the risk of falling victim to this scam: she said you shouldn't respond to any emails or phone calls requesting a credit card number or the update personal information. She said if you receive one of these types of calls, that you should hang up and contact the credit card company to confirm if the call was legitimate. Rutledge said you should not open an email link without verifying the link's authenticity. And, you should look for the lock icon on the browser's status bar and "https" in the URL address to be sure the information is secure during the transmission.

 

The chip that is embedded in the new debit and credit cards will provide ways to prevent credit card fraud. The technology creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again; therefore, any stolen transmission numbers would be void and criminals would be denied if they attempted to forge a credit card.

 

It's estimated that 90 percent of counterfeit card fraud could be eliminated by using the chip cards.

 

If you have any questions, contact the Attorney General's office at 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website, ArkansasAG.gov.

 

 

 

RICH MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY COLLEGE IN MENA MAY JOIN U OF A SYSTEM        3/31/16

 

Officials at Rich Mountain Community College in Mena are considering merging with the University of Arkansas System.

 

Rich Mountain President Phillip Wilson reported a merger would provide his college's students with more programs to choose from in addition to what he called a prestigious diploma with the UA brand on it.

 

Rich Mountain is the smallest community college in the state with an enrollment of 932 students.

 

There are 22 community colleges in the state. Twelve are independent institutions, five are already part of the University of Arkansas System, four are affiliated with the Arkansas State University System and one is an arm of Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

 

 

COSSATOT VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT MEMBERSHIP DRIVE IS SATURDAY      3/30/16

 

Linda Frachiseur of the Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department announced Wednesday morning that the department's annual membership drive and BBQ dinner is this Saturday at the fire station, which is located on Highway 70 East.

 

Frachiseur stated there's going to be a live and silent auction and if you can't attend the BBQ dinner, you can mail your membership dues of $25 to the fire station or contact her or Katrina Frachiseur.

 

Frachiseur also said the band, Harmony will be performing throughout the event.

 

For more information, call 584-9592 or 642-5569.

 

 

 

APRIL IS DISTRACTED DRIVING PREVENTION MONTH       3/30/16

 

Arkansas is putting a renewed emphasis on education and enforcement of the state's distracted driving laws. Highway Safety authorities are joining national operations intended to stop distracted driving.

 

The Sevier County Sheriff's Office and the De Queen Police will join other law enforcement agencies across the nation by participating in the "U Drive, U Text, U Pay" campaign to stop distracted driving.

 

Arkansas law prohibits the use of a hand held cell phone for texting, typing, email or accessing the internet while driving, regardless of the driver's age. It is also a "primary offense" law, which means a state trooper, police officer or sheriff's deputy can initiate a traffic stop without observing any other violation.

 

Drivers should be aware of all state laws related to distracted driving, particularly related to the prohibition of using a hand-held cell phone while traveling through school or highway work zone. All drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Driver 18 to 20 years using a cell phone are required to use a hands-free device.

 

The national distracted driving effort focuses on ways to change the behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education which are the same tools that have been used to curb drunk driving and increased seat belt use.

 

For more information on distracted driving issues, call 501-618-8136 or visit the website www.distraction.gov.

 

 

 

BEACON HILL BIKERS MOTORCYCLE MINISTRY SPONSORING CHARITY RIDE AND CHICKEN DINNER         3/30/16

 

Newman Hance and Carla Wolcott of the Beacon Hill Bikers Motorcycle Ministry announced Wednesday morning that the ministry will be sponsoring a charity ride and chicken dinner on Saturday, April 17th at the Town North Shopping Center. Hance said all of the proceeds will benefit the Southwest Arkansas Crisis Center.

 

Hance said the cost is $20 per rider and $10 for any additional rider. He also stated the band, Page One, from Van Buren will be performing.

 

Wolcott said the ride will start in De Queen and make a loop through Oklahoma up to Mena and back.

 

For more information, call 682-970-0378 or visit the Beacon Hill Bikers Facebook page.

 

 

 

GLASGOW EARNS PRESIDENTIAL SCHOLARSHIP FROM SAU       3/30/16

 

Jacob Glasgow of De Queen High School has been selected to receive the Presidential Scholarship from Southern Arkansas University.

 

The scholarship includes $5,500 per semester and has a four-year value of $44,000. SAU is one of the fastest growing and most affordable universities in Arkansas and it was named the sixth most affordable small college in the United States by Bestvalueschools.com. And, according to the U.S. Department of Education, SAU has the highest return on investment among all Arkansas universities.

 

Although SAU maintains a low cost for students; quality and student success are still top priorities of the school.

 

SAU has repeatedly surpassed enrollment records in part because of its comprehensive list of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, which includes new degrees like the B.F.A. in Music Theatre, Engineering, Computer Game and Animation Design, Business Entrepreneurship and Wildlife and Marine Biology.

 

Glasgow is the son of Bob and Angelina Ward.

 

 

 

IF YOU DON'T STOP; THEY WILL STOP YOU         3/30/16

 

Last Thursday, Patrolman J.J. Lopez of the De Queen Police Department witnessed a vehicle not stop at a stop sign on Harvey Drive.

 

When Lopez spoke to the driver, 33-year-old Kara McCain of De Queen, she informed him that the vehicle had a manual transmission and she wasn't very good at driving it and that was why she didn't stop at the stop sign.

 

After getting permission to search the vehicle, Officer Lopez and Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker discovered a small black container in McCain's purse that contained suspected marijuana residue.

 

Officer Nicole Nealy was then asked to assist with the traffic stop, so she could search McCain. Nealy found two empty needles and one loaded needle containing suspected methamphetamine in McCain's jacket.

 

McCain was then arrested and charged with felony possession of meth, four counts of felony possession of drug paraphernalia and citied for failure to stop at a stop sign.

 

 

 

SEAT BELT MAY KEEP YOU FROM GOING TO JAIL        3/30/16

 

Monday morning, Patrolman Justin Gentry of the De Queen Police Department observed a man not wearing his seat belt on Collin Raye Drive.

 

Officer Gentry reported when he approached the vehicle he could smell marijuana, so he had dispatch run a background check on the driver, 28-year-old Ryan Grusendorf of Norman, Oklahoma. Officers informed Grusendorf that they suspected there was marijuana in the vehicle and asked for permission to search his vehicle.

 

Before officers started their search, Grusendorf allegedly stated there was marijuana in a bag in the passenger floorboard.

 

According to the incident report, the bag contained several glass jars containing marijuana. Officers also found five black containers, three more glass jars and a plastic bag, containing marijuana or marijuana residue. There was also two empty cigarette packs with burnt marijuana roaches inside them.

 

Grusendorf reportedly stated he had brought the marijuana back from Colorado. He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also citied for not wearing his seat belt.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY 4H SELLING CHANCES FOR AR-15      3/30/16

 

Sevier County 4-H leader Linda Frachiseur reported the county 4-H clubs will be drawing for the winner of an AR-15 this Friday, but you can still purchase a ticket today and Thursday.

 

For more information, contact the Sevier County Extension Office at 584-3013.     

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT FINALIZING PLANS FOR OLD MAIN RENOVATION         3/29/16

 

Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders reported he plans to recommend a bid for the renovation of the Old High School to the Ashdown Board of Education during their April board meeting. He said they hope to consolidate their administration facilities into one on later than January of 2017.

 

Sanders said the board voted to take $79,000 from the district's building fund to repair the roof on the high school auditorium and they voted to re-hire the certified staff for the 2016-2017 school year. However, Loretta Price will move from the LF Henderson campus to the elementary campus as the counselor; Quincy Rayfield will move from the high school campus to the LF Henderson campus as counselor and Susan Fleming will be the new high school counselor.

 

Yvonne Bond and Dee Dee Ward informed the district that they plan to retire at the end of the school year and Billy Jack Helms and James Welchel resigned.

 

Sanders said the board also voted to use Arch Ford Cooperative Alternative Learning Services for their alternative learning resource to help a variety of students in different academic situations.

 

Sanders informed KDQN that the reason the board approved the Arch Ford recommendation was because of their support services.

 

 Board members also voted to purchase video and classroom equipment from the ACE Sign Company at a cost of $66,140.41 for the operation of the new digital scoreboard.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS AWARDED SCHOLARSHIPS        3/29/16

 

De Queen High School senior Tara Montgomery was awarded a $1,000 Freshman Academic Scholarship from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

 

Montgomery is the daughter of Wayne and Celia Montgomery. She is a member of the Kern Heights Baptist Church and an active member of the DHS student council, FBLA, Interact Club and FFA.

 

In the fall, Montgomery plans to study Dental Hygiene at the University of Arkansas.

 

Senior Jeffery Davis has been awarded the Henderson State University Distinguished Freshman Scholarship, which is valued at $58,000.

 

Davis is a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, National Honor Society, President of the Interact Club, captain of the De Queen High School Quiz Bowl team, and yearbook staff.

 

Davis is also a youth leader in the Awana program at the Center Point Baptist Church, a member of the De Queen High School golf, archery and trap shooting teams. He was also chosen to attend Arkansas Boys State.

 

Davis is the son of Alan and Stephanie Davis and he plans to major in chemistry this fall at Henderson.

 

Senior Italia Bustamante has been awarded the Arkansas Tech University Second Century Scholarship, valued at $20,400; a $12,000 scholarship from the University of Central Arkansas and the Southern Arkansas University Blue and Gold Scholarship, which is worth $26,400.

 

Bustamante is the daughter of Osbelia and Angel Bustamante and she plans to major in physical therapy.

 

Bustamante is a member of the Spanish Club, the Interact Club, the Young Democrats and the National Honor Society. She also volunteers at the St. Barbara Catholic Church.

 

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS MAN RELEASED FROM JAIL ON $10,000 BOND       3/29/16

 

Fifty-five-year-old Maverick Dean Bryan of Mineral Springs was released Monday following a federal detention hearing in Texarkana. Bryan has been charged with threatening to hang seven Arkansas mayors.

 

FBI Special Agent Peyton Tucker testified that Bryan's handwriting matched the handwritten letters that were sent to the mayors of Ashdown, Lewisville, Prescott, Nashville, Murfreesboro, Hope and De Queen on or about January 5th, 2015. The letters stated Bryan would hang the mayors from a tree if they wouldn't put prayer and the Ten Commandments back in the public schools and eliminate the common core curriculum.

 

Tucker said the letters were signed Lieutenant Gary Owens, which is the same name used in a Thrifty Nickel ad. Tucker said a FBI source contacted Bryan through the ad and met with him in February.

 

Bryan is currently on probation for being a felon in possession of a firearm after he was arrested by the Howard County Sheriff's Office for wearing a .44 caliber pistol in a western style holster in public.

 

Tucker said when FBI agents searched Bryan's home in March, they found a 12-gauge shotgun leaning against the door frame of his bedroom.

 

Federal Probation Officer Amanda Jordan testified Bryan had been convicted of interstate motor vehicle theft in 1987. She said he has been arrested twice for illegally possessing guns since 1987.

 

Bryan was released on a $10,000 bond. He was also ordered to be nowhere near a gun. He has to stay in the federal district where his charges are pending and he must have no contact with the mayors that they allegedly threatened to hang.

 

Bryan's case is scheduled for a jury trial in May in Texarkana. If convicted, Bryan could face up to five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 for each count.

 

 

 

REGULAR ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM CLOSING MARCH 31        3/29/16

 

The Southwest Arkansas Development Council announced Monday afternoon that the regular Low Income-Home Energy Assistance Program will close on Thursday, March 31st.

 

According to SWADC, the Low Income-Home Energy Assistance Program provides limited benefits and area residents do not need a shut-off notice to apply. However, the Crisis Intervention Program will remain open until all of the funds have been depleted or the program closes.

 

The Crisis Intervention Program helps residents who need emergency utility assistance because they have received a shut-off notice or their utilities have been disconnected.

 

Both programs provide assistance, once-a-year, so if you have applied for assistance through the Low Income-Home Energy Assistance Program this year, you are not eligible for additional help.

 

Applications will be accepted on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m. at the De Queen Senior Adult Center on Haes Avenue in De Queen.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION HELD MONDAY AFTERNOON       3/29/16

 

The Sevier County Democratic Committee held their county convention Monday afternoon in the conference room of the Sevier County Courthouse to confirm the county delegates to the Democratic State Convention and to elect two county representatives to the State Democratic Committee.

 

Skip Bell, Patti Chaney, Virginia Dowdle, Sandra Dunn, John Gore, Lucinda Hale, Alma Hunter, Jean Killian, Risa Krantz, Cynthia Mickle, Greg Ray, Victor Rojas, Judy Smith, Kathryn Smith, Robin Stacy, Harvey Stephens, Roxy Stephens, Gary Walker and Betty Williams were confirmed as delegates to the Arkansas Democratic Convention.

 

County chairperson Killian stated Dunn and Walker were elected as the Sevier County representatives to the State Democratic Committee and Mickle had filed to be a delegate to the Democratic Special meeting to elect the state's delegates to the National Democratic Convention.

 

Killian said committee members also voted to donate $500 to Connor Eldridge's campaign for the U.S. Senate and $500 to Fonda Hawthorne's campaign for the District 4 State Representative seat.

 

According to the Arkansas Democratic website, the special meeting to elect the Arkansas delegates to the National Convention is scheduled for June 11th at 9 a.m. in Little Rock.

 

 

 

WORK ON LITTLE RIVER BRIDGE SET TO BEGIN      3/29/16

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray informed KDQN Monday afternoon that work on the Little River Bridge is set to begin possibly within the next few weeks.

 

Ray said the Arkansas Department of Transportation held a bid opening last week and awarded the bid to the Jensen Construction Company of Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Ray said five bids were presented for the project which will cost over $13.9 million dollars and should take about two to three years to complete.

 

Ray also stated the project should help boost the local economy with construction crews shopping and staying in the area while the bridge is under construction.

 

 

AREA ACCIDENTS CLAIM TWO LIVES        3/28/16

 

March 25th, a 21-year-old Ashdown man was pronounced dead on the scene of a rollover accident on Highway 71 north of Texarkana, according to the Arkansas State Police.

 

According to the accident report, Matthew Harris was pronounced dead on the scene by Coroner Joshua Hawkins after he was thrown from his vehicle when it left the roadway and overturned. The accident happened about 6 a.m. Friday morning.

 

According to the report, Harris was traveling northbound in a 1996 Toyota Camry.

 

Arkansas State Police also investigated a fatal accident on Thursday morning on Highway 27 in Sevier County.

 

According to the accident report, 23-year-old Preston Lamay of Lewisville was traveling east on Highway 27, when his BMW left the roadway. The vehicle overturned and struck a tree.

 

Lamay was pronounced dead at the scene by Sevier County Coroner Rusty Williams.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO CONDUCT DRUG TESTING       3/28/16

 

On the Friday before Spring Break, members of the De Queen Board of Education met during a special called school board meeting to discuss drug testing students.

 

According to Superintendent Bruce Hill, the board unanimously voted to drug test students who are involved in any extra-curricular activity and students who drive on campus.

 

Hill said drug testing students could cost between $10 and $20 dollars per student, per test.

 

Hill stated the district is currently gathering drug policies from other districts and will present a policy for the boards’ approval during their April or May meeting. Hill said he worked in the Idabel School District when they started drug testing about 10-years ago.

 

Hill stated a drug policy may not stop a student from using drugs that uses on a regular basis, but it will give students who may be recreational users a reason to say no, simply because they want to be a part of a team or organization within the district.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL SHOW CHOIR HELPING AREA FOOD PANTRIES        3/28/16

 

After attending America Sings in Orlando, Florida earlier this month, the De Queen High School show choir, Center Stage, will present two special performances for the students of the De Queen Primary and Elementary schools this week to help two local food pantries fill their shelves.

 

While in Orlando, students saw the sights and performed for thousands of other students. They also helped make 'Kits for Kids' that were handed out to children in the Orlando area.

 

This week, they will help area residents by asking students to bring non-perishable food items as admission to the performances.

 

Center Stage will perform for the Primary students on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. in the high school auditorium.

 

Choir members are asking all kindergarten students to bring a box of Macaroni and Cheese; first grade boys are being asked to bring one can of beans; first grade girls should bring a can of corn; second grade boys should bring a can of green peas and second grade girls should bring a can of green beans.

 

Center Stage will perform for the elementary students on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and they are asking third grade boys to bring one package of Ramen Noodle soup; third grade girls should bring one can of soup; fourth grade boys are being asked to bring a box of saltine crackers and fourth grade girls are being asked to bring jars of peanut butter or jelly. Fifth grade boys should bring one can of pasta and fifth grade girls should bring one can of fruit.

 

For more information, contact Stefani Jones at the De Queen High School at 642-2426.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY MUSEUM PARTICIPATING IN ARKANSAS GIVES FUNDRAISER          3/28/16

 

According to the president of the Sevier County Museum, Gary Walker, the museum is alive and well, but they need more financial support from the community.

 

Walker reported the City of De Queen and the Sevier County Quorum Court has helped support the museum for the past several years, but each governmental body cut the museum's budget by $1,000 for 2016. He said the City of De Queen budgeted $4,000 and the Quorum Court budgeted $5,000, this year.

 

Walker said the museum director, Karen Mills, worked three days a week last year without pay to help reduce the museum's expenses. He said she has agreed to do the same this year, however, the cost to keep the museum doors open is about $18,000 a year.

 

Walker said the museum board also needs volunteers to help with the maintenance, cleaning and yard work.

 

Walker said one way, the community can help is by making a donation through the Arkansas Gives program, which is sponsored by the Arkansas Community Foundation.

 

The ACF helps Arkansas nonprofits raise money and Walker said the organization will add $1 million dollars to whatever the nonprofits raise and divide it up proportionately.

 

Walker said last year was the first time the event was held and the Sevier County Museum raised $2,200.  He said this year's event is April 7th from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The minimum donation is $25 and if you don't have a computer, area residents can stop by the museum to use one of theirs.

 

For more information, call Mills at 870-784-0039.

 

 

 

TROY BUCK FAMILY SCHOLARSHIP DINNER AND AUCTION        3/28/16

 

The public is invited to a dinner and auction May 6th in Arkadelphia to raise money for the Troy Buck Family Scholarship endowment. The endowment will provide annual scholarships for students studying agriculture at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

 

The dinner, along with a live and silent auction, will be held at the Arkadelphia Recreation Center on Twin Rivers Drive in Arkadelphia. Individual tickets are $35 each and can be purchased Centerpoint High School.

 

The scholarship honors the Troy Buck family of Alpine. Buck is a long-time vocational agriculture teacher in Arkansas and a member of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame. Buck was recently recognized by Farm Credit as one of 100 leaders who are changing rural communities and agriculture for the better.

 

Since 1961, Buck has guided vocational agriculture programs in Hope and Amity and for the consolidated Centerpoint School District. He has helped shape the futures of thousands of students, including state FFA officers and numerous state competition winners.

 

One of his most significant achievements was the completion of the student-run Centerpoint High School meat processing lab and school farm. In 2000, Centerpoint's vocational-agricultural program was named the Outstanding Ag Program in America.

 

Buck has been named the state's Agri Teacher of the Year, three times and he was awarded the Pioneer Award by the Arkansas Department of Vocational Education in 1982.

 

Buck serves as a member of the board of directors for Arkansas Farm Bureau and Farm Credit of Western Arkansas. In 2004, he was awarded the Dan Pilkinton Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education by the Arkansas School Boards Association.

 

For more information, call Justin Reynolds at 501-228-1217

 

 

 

ARKANSAS AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES 2016 SPECIALTY CROP BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM REQUEST FOR APPLICATIONS        3/28/16

 

The Arkansas Agriculture Department is now accepting applications for funding through the United State Department of Agriculture's Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Grants administered through the program will help fund opportunities to enhance Arkansas' specialty crop industry, including fruits, vegetables, floriculture and nuts.

 

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, local, state, and federal government entities, for-profit organizations and colleges and universities. To be eligible projects must solely enhance the competitiveness of an Arkansas specialty crop, and they must benefit a specialty crop segment as a whole.

 

Proposals may include projects such as: research, promotion, marketing, nutrition, food safety and security, education, increased knowledge and consumption, improved efficiency and reduced costs of distribution systems, conservation, product development, good agricultural practices, good handling practices, and good manufacturing practices.

 

Arkansas will receive about $294,000 for the 2016 fiscal year. Applications must be submitted to the Arkansas Agriculture Department by May 4th.

 

For more information, call 501-219-6324.

 

 

 

PAYING BY SMARTPHONE? BE CAREFUL        3/28/16

 

Mobile payments for goods and services are becoming increasingly common. The Arkansas Attorney General's office says financial identity fraud occurs when anyone uses another person's identifying information in an attempt to open a credit card or debit account without that person's permission. It also happens when someone uses a scanning device that copies or changes the information on a plastic card's black magnetic strip.

 

Susan Grant with the Consumer Federation of America says it's important to know just what information is collected when making a payment with a smartphone or other device.

 

Grant says smartphones, tablets, and other devices contain lots of sensitive information. From mobile payments, she says thieves can find out account numbers and passwords, as well as your location, who you do business with, what you spend, and what you buy.

 

She adds, you should closely examine each app you download to make mobile payments and monitor the information it passes along. Grant says it's important to take steps ahead of time to protect your personal information if you lose your device.

 

It's a crime in Arkansas to use another person's identifying information without his or her consent for any unlawful purpose. Anyone who, for example, uses it to avoid criminal prosecution, harasses someone else, or to try to obtain anything of value commits the crime of non-financial identity fraud, and faces up to six years in prison.

 

 

DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EASTER EGG HUNT IS SATURDAY AT 2        3/25/16

 

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Massey announced Friday morning that the chamber of commerce will host their annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday at the De Queen Sportsplex at 2 p.m.

 

The hunt is free and will be divided into three age categories but children will be required to hunt for eggs on their own. According to chamber member Shane Haarmeyer, the Easter Bunny will be on hand to pose for pictures for $3.

 

Massey also mentioned the De Queen First Assembly of God Church will be holding their 10,000 egg-stravaganza at 10 a.m. He said there will be lots of prizes, including some money-filled eggs.

 

For more information, contact Massey at the De Queen Bee at 642-2111.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN FFA HOLDING CATTLE SHOW AND CHICKEN DINNER FUNDRAISER ON SATURDAY        3/25/16

 

Caitlin Carver and Brandy Frachiseur announced this morning that the De Queen FFA chapter will be holding a cattle show and chicken dinner fundraiser Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. at the Sevier County Fairgrounds. Plates are $8 each and they will start serving at 11:30.

 

All of the proceeds from both the cattle show and the chicken dinner will go to support the De Queen FFA programs.

 

 

 

STORAGE TANKS ADVISORY COMMITTEE SETS MEETING      3/25/16

 

The Arkansas Petroleum Storage Tank Advisory Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 29th at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Headquarters Building in North Little Rock to consider requests for reimbursements for cleanup operations involving petroleum product releases in Batesville, De Queen, Dermott, Helena and Trumann.

 

The committee will also hear reports on the ADEQ's Regulated Storage Tank Program guidelines for cleanup reimbursements; cost-recovery efforts involving the Trust Fund; and the reorganization of the ADEQ's former Regulated Storage Tank Division as part of the new Office of Land Resources at the agency.

 

The Storage Tank Advisory Committee advises and assists ADEQ and the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission concerning administration of the state Regulated Storage Tank Program.

 

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE RUMMAGE SALE      3/25/16

 

The Annual Little River County Relay for Life Rummage Sale is scheduled for April 16th from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central Baptist Church in Ashdown.

 

As part of the Relay for Life events of Little River County, individuals or groups may set up a booth for a $20 donation. Registered Relay for Life team may set up at no charge. Booths will be set up on Friday, April 15th.

 

The 9th Annual Relay for Life of Little River County main event will take place on Friday, May 13th at the Fred Jester Memorial Track on the Ashdown High School campus.

 

The opening ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the Survivor Lap around the track at 6:30 and the Caregiver Lap at 6:45. A variety of events will fill the evening until midnight, including recognition of the Relay for Life teams, a Luminary Ceremony, a slideshow, entertainment and family games and activities.

 

To register a team, donate as a sponsor, or participate in any other Relay for Life event call Linda Fielding at 903-276-5650.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS TO BEGIN DRUG SCREENING FOR WELFARE RECIPIENTS      3/25/16

 

Drug screening and testing is expected to begin in less than two weeks in Arkansas for the heads of families who apply for and receive government welfare.

 

Applicants for government aid will answer a questionnaire regarding drug use, and if the answers raise concerns, the applicant will be asked to take a drug test.

 

Those who refuse testing will be denied benefits for six months. Those who test positive can receive aid as long as they follow treatment or recovery plans. Applicants who continue testing positive, or fail to complete the program, are excluded from receiving the funds directly and the benefits will be sent to the person's family.

 

Supporters claim the program will improve the quality of the workforce, send those in need to drug treatment, and safeguard government money from being spent by drug users.

 

Critics argue the program could cost too much for its return. The program has been estimated to cost from $1.45 million to $1.7 million dollars a year, while providing $40,000 in savings, by finding people who are ineligible for benefits because of drug use.

 

Some state legislators believe this program will distract state leaders from important issues like roads and jobs, while increasing the size and cost of state government.

 

 

 

22 ARKANSAS DEER AND ELK TEST POSITIVE FOR CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE       3/25/16

 

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials reported this week that 22 deer and elk have tested positive for chronic wasting disease in the state.

 

Last week, tissue samples, from 49 deer and elk were taken in and around the 125,000 acre focal area, were sent to a lab in Madison, Wisconsin for testing. Out of the 18 positive deer samples, four were found just outside the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's focal area. Those deer were either found dead or were killed by vehicles.

 

So far, all of the positive test samples have been from Newton and Boone counties.

 

The first animal that was confirmed to have chronic wasting disease in Arkansas was a two-and-a-half year old female elk. It was killed on October 6th by a hunter near the Buffalo National River during elk season.

 

As of March 24th, 260 deer and 18 elk have been taken for sampling. Arkansas officials expect results from another large batch of samples next week.

 

According to a press release, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will continue its efforts to sample elk that appear to be sick from throughout the known elk range.

 

According to Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Chief of Wildlife Management Brad Carner, landowners will continue to be helpful in allowing the game and fish commission access to their property.

 

To report a sick deer or elk, call 1-800-482-9262.

 

 

 

LESSON ON RECYCLING NEEDED IN ARKANSAS       3/25/16

 

There's an effort underway in Arkansas to get people to recycle correctly.

 

Lisa Disbrow is the regional spokesperson for Waste Management and she says more clutter is tossed out while people are doing spring cleaning projects. She says too many things are being thrown into the recycle bin when they actually belong in the garbage can. She says people are eager to help by recycling but throwing the wrong things away actually hurts the environment.

 

Disbrow says keep it simple as you recycle; cans, bottles, paper and plastics; and always consider whether an item can be donated before tossing it out. She also cautions people to keep all electronics and hazardous waste out of trash bins, because these can cause contamination at landfills.

 

Disbrow says the best way to avoid having too much trash is to avoid creating it in the first place.

 

She says small steps like that save money and goes a long way toward protecting the environment. Disbrow added there are other benefits of spring cleaning for the yard and garden, too.

 

Disbrow says batteries or anything with a cord on it doesn't belong in the recycling bin.

 

 

DE QUEEN LEOPARD HIT-A-THON IS TODAY       3/24/16

 

De Queen Baseball coach Beau McCastlain reminded area Leopard baseball fans that their annual Hit-a-thon is today at 5 p.m. He said the 2016 Leopards will play against former players in an alumni game tonight about 6:30.

 

McCastlain said between 20 to 22 former Leopards have returned to participate, including some with college and minor league baseball experience.

 

There's no admission to tonight's events, but donations of water, Gatorade, and snacks would be appreciated. He said some baseball moms will also be selling bowls of chili and all of the proceeds will benefit the Leopard baseball program.

 

 

 

FOREMAN CITY COUNCIL APPROVES SHERIFF'S PROPOSAL        3/24/16

 

Monday night during a meeting of the Foreman City Council, aldermen approved a merger between the Foreman Marshall Service and the Little River County Sheriff's Office by a 4 to 1 vote.

 

Mayor Judy Adams was informed earlier this month that the passage of the merger required a two-thirds vote, which meant four members of the city council or three aldermen and the mayor had to vote for the passage of the resolution.

 

The merger was tabled by the Little River County Quorum Court during their March meeting, but Little River County Judge Mike Cranford appointed a committee to study the matter. The Quorum Court will reconsider the matter during their April meeting.

 

Adams also reported the Foreman Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a $34,000 block grant for the purchase of new turnout equipment.

 

Adams stated the county provided some gravel to the city and the city will use it to widen the street by the elementary school before the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department overlays the street.

 

Adams said the council also appointed Bill Hart to fill a vacancy on the city council during their March meeting. Adams said Hart will fill the seat vacated by Whit Hinton.

 

 

 

 

HOWARD COUNTY HOSPITAL BOARD APPROVES NEW TESTING SERVICE FOR DE QUEEN      3/24/16

Submitted by KMTB

 

The Howard Memorial Hospital Board of Directors approved a new testing service in De Queen during their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

 

Board members heard a presentation from Rehab Services Director Paul Cox about offering physical ability testing for the Pilgrims Pride plant in De Queen. He said the service would be contracted through the testing equipment provider BTE. 

 

According to Cox, the testing helps ensure employees are able to safely perform the essential functions and physical demands of their jobs. 

 

The new service is projected to bring a yearly profit of $19,000. 

Cox said the service will be offered at Dr. Randy Walkers office in De Queen and will begin sometime in April. 

 

 

 

ASHDOWN JUNIOR CLASS ANNOUNCES DATE OF PROM GRAND MARCH       3/24/16

 

The Ashdown High School junior class announced the 5th annual Prom Grand March is Saturday, April 2nd at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Little River County Courthouse.

 

The first grand march was planned by former Ashdown teacher Nancy Stuart in 2012 and has become a prom favorite, by utilizing the grounds of the historic courthouse as a photo backdrop.

 

The Prom Royalty Court will consist of 10 juniors and 10 seniors. The junior class will elect a Prince and Princess with four attendants and the senior class will elect a King and Queen with four attendants. The court will be presented at the march and the prince, princess, king and queen will be announced at the prom.

 

The Junior Class Royalty Court includes: Jasmine Dennis, Ishionna  Harris, Tye James, Callie Redfearn and Alexia Rowton; Tajhnick Bishop, Cole Grimes, Bryson Haskins, Joe Pennington and Zac Spigner.

 

The Senior Class Royalty Court includes: Meghan Brown, Kennedy Cook, Danielle Ford, Brinlee Ward and Savanna Woods; Ty Cobb, Austin Cross, Brandon Northcross, R.J. Powell and Cameron Solomon.

 

The Helen Parker Gym will be the setting for the Community/Alumni Prom on Friday night and Saturday night for the Junior/Senior Prom.

 

The Community/Alumni Prom on Friday is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and there is no admission.

 

Saturday night's prom is from 9 p.m. to midnight.

 

 

 

EMPLOYEES WITHOUT PAID SICK DAYS MAY BE A HAZARD TO ALL     3/24/16

 

It's a dilemma faced by working families in Arkansas and all across the nation, what to do about work when someone is sick, and a new report finds the decision has consequences for everyone.

 

According to the report, people who were sickened by eating at the popular restaurant chain Chipotle's because employees continued to work while sick. And, the company blamed the virus outbreak on those workers.

 

Report author LeaAnne DeRigne of Florida Atlantic University says the U.S. lags behind 22 other countries that make employers provide paid sick days.

 

The report found that families without sick leave benefits, including those with children, are twice as likely to delay health-care treatment. DeRigne says timely care is important for making sure conditions don't get worse and end up costing a lot more than a day's wages.

 

Only four states, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Oregon, require employers to offer paid sick benefits. DeRigne says that leaves 49-million workers without sick days. She says when workers in jobs dealing with the public, such as food service, child care, retail and others show up to work sick, it can create a public health issue.

 

She says keeping sick kids out of school helps keep other kids from getting sick, so workers need paid time off to stay home with children. The study also found people in low-wage jobs without benefits are most vulnerable, and workers who are ill also are more prone to injuries and mistakes.

 

 

CITY OF LOCKESBURG SEEKING GRANTS FOR SEVERAL PROJECTS      3/23/16

 

Lockesburg Mayor Danny Ruth reported the City of Lockesburg is currently seeking grants for several projects.

 

Ruth said the current Senior Citizen Building is in need of repairs and he has applied for a grant from the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District in Magnolia to build a new building on some property that the city recently purchased.

 

Ruth said a grant was recently sent to Little Rock to fund the purchase of two storm sirens for the city. He said the two sirens will cost about $44,000.

 

Ruth reported aldermen will vote to approve the sidewalk project and the city council will hold a public meeting in the near future concerning the city's sewer pond project.

 

Ruth announced the water project is complete but he is making a punch list of items that the construction company will need to comeback and resolve before the city signs off on the project as complete.

 

Ruth also presented aldermen with information about a self-contained breathing apparatus. He said the Arkansas Health Department requires every city to have one at the water plant because they treat the water with chlorine. According to the minutes of the meeting, the council tabled the issue until they could review the material.

 

Ruth said UA Cossatot Chancellor Steve Cole updated the council on the progress of the renovations being done at the UA Cossatot-Lockesburg campus.

 

Cole reported all of the demolition work was finished and some of the outside lighting and security cameras have been installed.

 

 

 

GILLHAM LITTER PICKUP EVENT SET FOR APRIL 9TH       3/23/16

 

Volunteers are needed to participate in Gillham's spring community improvement event on Saturday, April 9th at 9 a.m. The cleanup is being held in conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful: Great American Cleanup in Arkansas, which is an annual spring statewide litter pickup campaign that's promoted by Keep Arkansas Beautiful.

 

Dianne Rosson of Gillham said the community of Gillham can accomplish so much more when they work together to keep their community beautiful.

 

Rosson is this year's local coordinator and she explained litter makes a negative impact on a community and during this year's Great American Cleanup in Arkansas, local residents can help make Gillham a vibrant example to other area communities.

 

Rosson said everyone is being encouraged to participate in this year's community improvement effort. Civic and service organizations, churches and youth groups, school groups and clubs, scouts, individuals, families, neighborhoods and businesses can organize a cleanup team and pitch in.

 

Volunteers should meet at the Gillham Library on Saturday, April 9th anytime between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. According to Rosson, the goal is to clean all the streets and Highway 71 within the city limits of Gillham. She said trash bags will be distributed at the library. Rosson said they will also have gloves, vests, and t-shirts on a first come, first serve basis.

 

 

 

MILLIGAN RELEASES EARLY 2016 INVESTMENT RETURNS     3/23/16

 

During a regular quarterly meeting of the State Board of Finance, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan released the early results for the returns on the investment portfolio for January and February 2016.

 

Milligan announced his office receipted $28.2 million in returns on interest for 2015, which is nearly an $8 million dollar or 40 percent increase over each of the three previous years.

 

In January and February of 2016, the office receipted $11.9 million dollars in interest returns, which is 42 percent of the amount earned in 2015.

 

Milligan said these results reflect the hard work of his office in utilizing every investment tool at their disposal to help secure the greatest and safest return for the State.

 

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION TO RELOCATE TO SARATOGA DURING CONSTRUCTION       3/23/16

submitted by KMTB 

 

Following spring break, the Mineral Springs School District has plans to reopen the administration offices at Saratoga on Monday.

 

Superintendent Curtis Turner says all of the phone lines have been moved and the address changed. The pre-school, ABC program, and Headstart program will also be relocated to the Saratoga campus.

 

Turner says this may be a slight inconvenience to bus students back and forth; however it’s necessary for the district to move forward with the construction of a new high school.

 

Several buildings around the current administration office will be demolished to allow space for the new building.

 

 

 

WATCH YOUR MEDS AROUND TODDLERS      3/23/16

 

Medications are intended to keep families healthy, but used improperly, they can lead to life threatening situations. It's National Poison Prevention Week, and a new report from "Safe Kids Worldwide" says each year, more than 59,000 children are taken to an emergency room after getting into medicine.

 

The group's President and CEO Kate Carr says that's one child every nine minutes, and sometimes the visit involves the ingestion of other health related products.

 

According to the report, nearly half the time a child got into a medication, it belonged to a grandparent. So, Carr advises anyone with children around to be diligent about keeping medicines out of the sight and out of the reach of little ones.

 

Because of their curious nature, Carr says one and two-year-olds are at highest risk for medicine poisoning. And she says they're sometimes finding it in unexpected places.

 

Carr adds that medication should always be given as directed and kept in its original container. If a poisoning of any kind is suspected, specially trained professionals are available through the Arkansas Poison Center. The number to call is 1-800-222-1222, from anywhere in the state.

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS MAN PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO THREATENING SEVEN ARKANSAS MAYORS       3/22/16

 

A Mineral Springs man pleaded not guilty to threatening seven Arkansas mayors through letters that were sent through the mail on Monday.

 

Fifty-five year-old Maverick Bryan was charged with seven counts of mailing threatening communication. According to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Kenneth Elser, Bryan mailed letters containing a threat to injure the mayors of Hope, Nashville, De Queen, Ashdown, Lewisville, Prescott and Murfreesboro.

  

According to Elser, the FBI, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Howard County Sheriff's Office are investigating the case.

 

Bryan’s next hearing is scheduled for March 28th at 10 a.m.

 

 

 

DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE IS APRIL 5TH      3/22/16

 

Residents of 11 Arkansas counties who suffered damage for the severe storms of December through January have only until Tuesday, April 5th to register for federal disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

 

Assistance can include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property loss and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

 

Residents in Little River and Sevier counties may be eligible for assistance.

 

The first step is to register by calling 1-800-621-3362 or visit the website www.disasterassistance.gov.

 

The toll free lines operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

 

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to help with residential and business losses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. Applying for these loans is also a way to qualify for other avenues of assistance.

 

The SBA offers online an application through the website disasterloan.SBA.gov. Survivors can contact the SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or visit the website www.sba.gov/disaster.

 

 

 

OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER        3/22/16

 

March 21st, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon pulled over a silver SUV after observing it cross the center line several times.

 

When Davignon approached the vehicle, he noticed the smell of burnt and raw marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. Davignon then contacted De Queen Police Officer Nicole Nealy for assistance because the driver of the vehicle was a woman and he had made the stop inside the city limits of De Queen.

 

When Nealy arrived, she confirmed the odor of marijuana and asked the driver, 60-year-old Annette Davis of Waldron for permission to search her vehicle.

 

While searching the vehicle, officers found four marijuana joints and a glass smoking pipe.

 

Davis was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY PLAYER WINS $100,000 IN THE STRIKE IT RICH GAME       3/22/16

 

Shane Blankenship of Lockesburg is $100,000 richer after winning the prize in the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery's $5 Strike It Rich instant game.

 

Blankenship purchased his winning instant ticket at the Murphy USA on East Collin Raye Drive in De Queen.

 

Blankenship said he told his mom and dad first. He is in college and an Arkansas Scholarship Lottery scholarship recipient. He said this prize will go a long way to help with his other college expenses and some needed photography equipment.

 

 

 

SUSPECT PICKED UP IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY FOR DRUGS, WANTED IN SEVIER COUNTY         3/22/16

 

Monday, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon discovered a suspect wanted in Sevier County on a failure to comply warrant was being held in the Sevier County jail after being arrested in Little River County for drug possession.

 

Davignon reported he had stopped 37-year-old Leah Osburn on the 16th of August for driving left of the center line in Lockesburg.

 

Davignon's report states Osburn was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. However, Osburn did not comply with a court order and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

 

According to jail records, Osburn was picked up in Little River County on the warrant and charged with a new count of felony drug possession. She is currently being held in the Sevier County jail on a $50,000 bond from the Little River County Circuit Court. Her next court appearance is scheduled for March 31st.

 

 

DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EASTER EGG HUNT IS SATURDAY AT 2        3/21/16

 

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Massey announced, Monday morning that the chamber will hold it's annual Easter Egg Hunt this Saturday, March 26th at the De Queen Sportsplex at 2 p.m.

 

The hunt is free and will be divided into three age categories: children walking age through two-years; ages three to five; and ages six through the third grade.

 

Children will be required to hunt for eggs on their own and the Easter Bunny will be on hand to pose for pictures with your child for $3.

 

 

 

 

LOCKESBURG RESIDENT ACCUSED OF FAKING MENTAL ILLNESS       3/21/16

 

Twenty-three year-old Nathan Karl Thomas of Lockesburg has been accused of faking a mental illness while awaiting trial on child exploitation and pornography charges.

 

Thomas has been charged with nine-counts of enticing a 15-year-old girl that he transported across state lines and photographed in 2014.

 

Thomas was evaluated at a facility in Colorado and according to the doctor’s report; they believe he’s faking a mental illness to avoid prosecution.

 

U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross reported Thomas took six-specific tests to assess his mental state, which showed he was pretending to suffer from a mental illness. Ross pointed out that the rocking motion that Thomas engages in during court hearings is another fake symptom.

 

U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey announced the court has found Thomas to be competent and his case will proceed to trial next month.

 

According to the affidavit, Thomas allegedly communicated with a 15-year-old Texarkana girl in an Internet chat room. The complaint states the girl admitted to exchanging images of child pornography with an unnamed male friend at his request.

 

The victim also provided the investigators with a cellphone that she used to communicate with Thomas. The phone allegedly contained sexually explicit text conversations. The girl described Thomas as a 22 or 23-year-old white male who lived near De Queen.

 

According to court records, authorities recovered a cellphone while searching Thomas' house on Provo Road in Lockesburg on December 6th.

 

The phone contained the contact number of the female and two pornographic images of the 15-year-old Texarkana girl.

 

Count one of Thomas' indictments accuses him using a computer to entice a juvenile to engage in sexual activity between January 1st, and June of 2014. Count two alleges Thomas transported the girl across state lines from January 1st to June 2014 for sex. Counts three, four and five allege Thomas produced child pornography during 2014. Count six alleges Thomas received child pornography. Count seven says Thomas allegedly received child pornography depicting a child under the age of 16, while counts eight and nine allege Thomas possessed child pornography involving a child under the age of 12.

 

Thomas faces life in prison if convicted and jury selection in the case has been set for April 11th.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN STUDENTS TOUR ARKANSAS ART MOBILE       3/21/16

 

Ashdown School District students recently toured the Arkansas Arts Center Go Gallery Art Mobile.

 

Students were greeted by the ArtMobile host who guided them in the ways they could view art and see the art for its colors, style, subjects, and theme. After discussing the art, students were given cards to help them locate another piece of art in the center and view it using the examples they had learned.

 

The ArtMobile has been serving the state for over 50 years as one of the nation’s few mobile art museums. This unique space features curated exhibits from the Arkansas Arts Center’s permanent collection.

 

Works from diverse media are carefully selected each touring season for their artistic integrity and education value. The theme for this season is “Animals-Familiar and Fantastic.”

 

By reaching people in their own communities, the ArtMobile has allowed the Arkansas Arts Center to fulfill its mission of providing quality art experiences to the entire state.

 

The Ashdown Tour was coordinated by Ashdown’s Target Instructor, Hope Peirce.

 

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT: FREE GIFT CARDS COST YOUR IDENTITY    3/21/16

 

Some shoppers across the Natural State are being targeted by con artists in an attempt to steal personal and financial information about these consumers.

 

Scammers are mailing fake gift cards, some for as much as $500, for popular retailers. Arkansans are told all they have to do is call the phone number on the card to activate it. But when the victim calls the number provided, the person on the other end of the line asks personal, financial questions.

 

Meanwhile, other reports of a related scam have surfaced. Gift cards to retail businesses are being offered through email and social media, where a link is provided that takes potential victims to a website asking for similar personal information.

 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a consumer alert to warn Arkansans to never give out personal information to an unknown party or untrustworthy website.

 

Rutledge encouraged Arkansans to never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited request; do not open or respond to unsolicited mail offering free gifts; contact the retailer directly; report suspected gift card scams; and if you have fallen victim to this scam, contact your financial institution immediately to protect your accounts, block your cards, fill out a fraud affidavit and take other protective measures.

 

For more information, contact the Attorney General's office at 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website ArkansasAG.gov.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE REQUESTING PHOTOS FOR SLIDESHOW       3/21/16

 

Relay for Life of Little River County is offering a special opportunity to honor loved ones who have fought the brave fight against cancer. During the Relay for Life event on May 13th, a slideshow featuring victims of cancer will run continuously, and the team is requesting pictures to be included.

 

Those being honored include survivors who have fought and defeated the vicious disease, along with victims who fought bravely but lost the battle against the relentless foe of cancer. The slideshow will begin during the Luminary Lighting Ceremony at dark and run throughout the evening until the event’s conclusion at midnight.

 

Picture submissions are to be delivered to Milissa Kilgore at Ashdown High School. For your convenience, pictures may also be sent by email to mkilgore@ashdownschools.org. It is very important that each picture be labeled with the full name of the honoree and if the recognition is “In Honor of” for survivors or “In Memory of” for deceased honorees. The $5 charge for inclusion will be added to the American Cancer Society funds raised by the Relay for Life teams.

 

The main event for Relay for Life of Little River County has been themed “In the Center Ring-A Cure for Cancer,” will begin at 6 p.m. at the Fred Jester Memorial Track at the Ashdown High School, where participating teams and other supporters will celebrate what survivors have overcome and remember those who are have fought or are fighting cancer now. The goal of this event is to inspire Relay participants to take action against a disease that has taken too much from us all.

 

For more information about ways to participate, visit www.relayforlife.org/littleriver or call Linda Fielding at 903-276-5650. Also check the Facebook page, “Relay for Life-Little River County, AR.”

 

 

 

UMPIRE STUDENT SELECTED AS WINNER IN GOVERNOR ART COMPETITION       3/21/16

 

Umpire ninth grade student, Emily McCarley, has been selected as a winner in the 2016 Governor's Young Artist Competition.

 

McCarley entered two photographs in the different perspective and transportation categories. The photographs will be displayed at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion from April 4th to the 30th.

 

Each school was permitted to submit 15 entries. Seven of McCarley's entries were chosen as winners. Her photographs were of the Cossatot River Bridge.

 

The Governor and First Lady will honor McCarley and her parents during a winner's reception at the Governor's Mansion on Saturday, April 30th.

 

 

 

HORATIO DISTRICT SEEKING WAIVERS FROM ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION      3/18/16

 

Monday night during the Horatio Board of Education meeting, board members approved a resolution to allow the district to apply for some waivers from the Arkansas Board of Education. Superintendent Lee Smith said the board felt they qualify for a district of innovation status.

 

Smith said the board approved the district's 2014-2015 Legislative audit which contained only one finding that was related to the district conducting business with a local company that had a family member working in the district.

 

Smith said the board also approved the purchase of a 77-passenger, 2017 Bluebird bus and the board heard a presentation from the district's art teachers, Lisa Kraus and Jennifer West.

 

Last month, the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce selected the Horatio School District as the Large Business of the Year.  Smith said everyone in the district was proud of that honor.

 

The next meeting of the Horatio Board of Education will be Monday, April 11th.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER QUORUM COURT TABLES LAW ENFORCEMENT MERGER       3/18/16

 

Tuesday morning, the Little River County Justices of the Peace tabled the merger between the Little River County Sheriff's Office and the Foreman Marshall Service until next month.

 

Little River County Judge Mike Cranford said the JPs had some questions about the finances. He also explained the measure had to be approved by a two-thirds vote of the Foreman City Council, which means four-members of the council or three-members and the mayor must vote for the measure. He said it was passed by a 3 to 2 vote and the Foreman City Council will reconsider the issue on Monday.

 

Cranford said Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders made a presentation to the Quorum Court concerning the district's upcoming Special School millage election and they approved a resolution to enter into a contract of obligation with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. He said the resolution was necessary so the county can renew its landfill license in April.

 

Cranford said JPs will reconsider the merger between the sheriff's office and the Foreman Marshall's office during their April meeting.

 

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT HIRES CONSTRUCTION MANAGER       3/18/16

 

The Mineral Springs School District continues to make plans for the start of construction on a new high school building.

 

Monday, during the Mineral Springs Board of Education meeting, the board hired Kinco Construction of Springdale as their construction manager.

 

Superintendent Curtis Turner discussed financing options with the board and said the district had the option of either borrowing funds or restructuring the district’s existing debt. He said restructuring the district’s existing debt would require voter approval, however it’s not a millage increase.

 

The estimated cost of the high school construction project is $17 million dollars.

 

Turner said the architectural rendering of the proposed project is almost complete. And, he hopes to get approval from the state board of education their May meeting.

 

Turner reported the district is also on the state board of education’s April agenda because the district’s appeal of their current academic distress designation was not reviewed during the state board’s March meeting. He said their appeal was postponed until the state boards next month.

 

During the Mineral Springs City Council meeting, aldermen voted to partially abandon the street that runs through the current proposed high school construction zone.  

 

 

 

NO DRIVER'S LICENSE LEADS TO DRUG ARREST     3/18/16

 

Wednesday morning about 10:45, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department noticed a vehicle on Ninth Street with an expired temporary tag.

 

When Browning asked to see the driver's ID, he produced a valid insurance card, but he did not have his driver's license with him. The driver was identified as 34-year-old Robert Brown of Nashville, Tennessee.

 

After Brown gave officers permission to search his vehicle, they discovered a small black bag that contained a smoking pipe with burn marks on it and a hotel card under the driver's seat.

 

Brown was taken into custody and the other occupants of the vehicle were detained because of the drug paraphernalia.

 

Brown reportedly told officers the pipe did not belong to him. He said he found the bag earlier when he was walking to the store to get cigarettes in Oklahoma.

 

Brown admitted he put the bag under the seat and was charged with two counts of felony possession of drug paraphernalia. The other three occupants were released.

 

 

 

PICKED UP ON A WARRANT        3/18/16

 

Tuesday afternoon, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department and Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon were patrolling on Fifth Street when the observed a suspect whom they knew had a warrant for his arrest.

 

As the officers drove toward him, the individual ran into a house.

 

Deputy Davignon went toward the back of the house, while Browning asked the owner of the house, Jeffrey Hendrix, if he could search the house for the suspect.

 

Browning found the suspect, 37-year-old Michael Bowers of De Queen in a closet.

 

After Bowers was taken into custody, he asked if he could have a cigarette and grabbed for his pack of Newports. When Deputy Davignon looked inside the pack, he discovered a small plastic bag that contained a white powder and four white pills that Bowers reportedly said were hydros and Tylenol.

 

Later at the police station, Bowers admitted that he didn't have a prescription for the pills and that he gotten them from a friend.

 

Bowers was charged with possession of a controlled substance with the purpose to deliver and felony possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

TROY BUCK RECOGNIZED BY FARM CREDIT IN NATIONAL SEARCH FOR TOP 100 PEOPLE SHAPING RURAL AMERICA AND AGRICULTURE        3/17/16

 

Troy Buck has been a long-time vocational agriculture teacher at Centerpoint High School and he has been selected as one of the Top 100 people shaping rural America and Agriculture. Buck was named as one of the top ten leaders, nationally, in the Agriculture Education and Community Impact category.

 

Buck and the other honorees were announced at a National Ag Day event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

 

Buck has guided vocational agri programs in Hope and Amity and for the consolidated Centerpoint School District. He helped shape the futures of thousands of students, including mentoring state FFA officers and numerous state competition winners.

 

Buck said he wants to see young men and women learn the values and skills that are necessary to be well trained, productive citizens. He said he would like for all of his students to be a productive, gainfully employed person tens years after graduation.

 

Buck helped create the student-run Centerpoint High School meat processing lab and school farm. In the year 2000, Centerpoint's vocational-agri program was named the Outstanding Ag Program in America.

 

Buck has been honored as the state's Agriculture Teacher of the Year, three-times; in 1982 he was awarded the Pioneer Award by the Arkansas Department of Vocational Education. In 1992, the Amity FFA won the national Building our American Communities award for restoring the old school building and turning it into the Alpine Community Center.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS STATE POLICE INVESTIGATING STABBING IN DE QUEEN     3/17/16

Submitted by the staff of the De Queen Bee 

 

Special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were contacted by the De Queen Police Department on Wednesday, March 9th to investigate the death of 25-year-old Stephen C. Pilant of De Queen.

 

Pilant's body was discovered by local police in the doorway of his apartment, located at 102 East De Queen Avenue with stab wounds. The body was transported to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for examination and determination of the manner and cause of death.

 

No arrests have occurred and the investigation remains open pending a final report from the State Crime Lab.

 

 

 

FINAL CHANCE TO MEET FEMA EXPERTS WITH TIPS ON REDUCING DISASTER DAMAGE      3/17/16

 

There are only a few days left to meet with FEMA specialists at Bailey Discount Building Supply in De Queen to learn how to lessen the impact of disaster related property damage.

 

Experts will be available Friday and Saturday to talk to any Arkansas resident who is interested in building or remodeling their property to better withstand heavy rain, wind and flooding.

 

FEMA specialists will offer "how-to" information on both retrofitting buildings to make them more resistant to weather damage, as well as ways to elevate utilities against flooding. They will also provide tips on how to clean and prevent mold and mildew.

 

Teams will be Bailey Discount Building Supply from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 18th and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 19th.

 

FEMA also offers a number of free online resources for home and property owners. To get started, visit www.fema.gov/safer-stronger-protected-homes-communities or www.fema.gov/arkansas-disaster-mitigation.

 

 

 

MOUNTAIN HARBOR TAKES A HIT BUT REMAINS AFLOAT      3/17/16

 

A tornado moved through Montgomery County Sunday afternoon that according to Bill Barnes of Mountain Harbor and the National Weather Service developed right above the resort.

 

Barnes said no one was injured in the storm, due to the resorts storm protocols. He said after the storm moved through the area, he started receiving reports of the damage.

 

Barnes said clean up work started immediately. He said Entergy brought in extra crews and had the power restored by Tuesday.

 

Barnes said Mountain Harbor was able to get back up and running due to the cooperation of county officials and a host of volunteers.

 

Barnes said Mountain Harbor is open for business, but for more information, you should call Mountain Harbor resort at 870-867-2191 or visit their Facebook page.

 

 

 

TRIAL DATE SET FOR JAILER ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT OF AN INMATE       3/17/16

 

Ninth Circuit Court Judge Charles Yeargan set a trial date of May 23rd in the Little River County Circuit Court for a former female Little River County jail administrator who has been accused of sexually assaulting an inmate.

 

Forty-four-year-old Mary Gibson has been accused of fourth-degree sexual assault of a male inmate and furnishing prohibited articles to the same prisoner, according to court records.

 

The alleged acts occurred between May and August of 2015. According to county records, Gibson was a jail administrator and the victim was serving time for failure to pay child support.

 

Allegedly, Gibson would let the inmate out of his cell, usually after 5 p.m. and they would sit outside on a bench, smoking cigarettes and kissing. She also allegedly provided the inmate with food from several restaurants in Ashdown, so they could eat together in her office or on the courthouse lawn.

 

Security cameras inside the jail allegedly show Gibson and the inmate, sitting next to each other, talking.

 

 

ASHDOWN STUDENTS VISIT ART MOBILE  03/17/16

 

Ashdown School District students were able to tour the Arkansas Arts Center Go Gallery Art Mobile. Students were greeted by the ArtMobile host who guided them in the ways they could view art and see the art for it's colors, style, subjects, and theme. After discussing the art, students were given cards to help them locate another piece of art in the center and view it using the examples they had been given.

The Artmobile has been serving the state for over 50 years as one of the nation's very few mobile art museums. This unique space features curated exhibitions of works from the Arkansas Arts Center's permanent collection. Works from diverse media are carefully selected each touring season for their artistic integrity and education value. The theme for this touring season is "Animals - Familiar & Fantastic".

By reaching people in their own communities, the Artmobile has allowed the Arkansas Arts Center to fulfill its mission of providing quality art experiences to the entire state.

The Ashdown Tour was coordinated by Ashdown TARGETS' Instructor, Hope Pierce.

 


 

 

BODY FOUND HANGING IN TREE IDENTIFIED       3/16/16

 

Little River County authorities say the body that was found hanging in a tree last Saturday night by three boys who were playing in the woods near Jack's Isle community has been identified as the alleged victim of a sexual assault by a former Little River County jail administrator when he was incarcerated.

 

Arkansas State Police announced the state crime lab had confirmed the identity of the body as 36-year-old Steven Chad Carmack of Little River County.

 

According to the Little River County Sheriff's Office Carmack's death appears to be a suicide and had been hanging in the tree for about two weeks.

 

A sheriff's office spokesperson reported Carmack's family reported him missing on January 31st.

 

According to the initial report, the three boys, ages 16, 12 and 8 were playing in the woods when they discovered the body. One of the boys took a photo and showed it to his parents.

 

The parents contacted the Little River County Sheriff's Office at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12th.

 

The body was found about 100 yards from the last section of houses in the Jack's Isle community, which is on the southwest side of Millwood Lake.

 

 

 

DIERKS BOARD OF EDUCATION RE-HIRES CERTIFIED STAFF        3/16/16

 

Members of the Dierks Board of Education met Monday evening and voted to re-employ the district's certified staff. However, Superintendent Holly Cothern reported the district is accepting applications for a Special Education teacher at the elementary school.

 

Cothern also reported the district replaced the security doors on both campuses and are adding a new video security system.

 

Cothern said the board reviewed the district's Legislative Joint Audit Report and approved a proposed change to the district's board policies concerning certified staff.

 

Board members voted to purchase a new scoreboard for the baseball field. Cothern said the district received donations to fund the project.

 

Cothern said the district will be financing the purchase of a new 77-passenger bus from Midwest Bus Sales through a lease purchase agreement with First Security, Beardsley Public Finance.

 

Board members also approved the 2016-2017 school calendar. Cothern said students will report to class on August 15th and the last day of school will be May 26th, 2017.

 

 

 

FILE INCOME TAX RETURNS BY APRIL 18      3/16/16

 

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration is reminding taxpayers that they have three extra days this year to file their income tax returns.

 

The usual deadline for filing is April 15, however that day falls on Emancipation Day, this year, which is being celebrated in Washington D.C.

 

The deadline for filing both state and federal tax returns has been moved to midnight, Monday, April 18th.

 

 

 

FIVE FLU RELATED DEATHS IN ARKANSAS        3/16/16

 

Arkansas health officials are reporting five flu related deaths in the state. The reports date back to October of 2015 until now.

 

According to the Center for Disease Control, flu season usually peaks between December and March. Nationally, 25,000 to 50,000 people die from the flu virus each year. Over 70 deaths were reported in Arkansas last year.

 

Health officials reported it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine if you haven’t already, but remember it takes two weeks to develop immunity after getting the shot.

 

Contact the Sevier County health department at 642-2535 for more information.

 

 

 

ROJAS SUPPORTS USING FEDERAL FUNDS TO HELP HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIMS      3/16/16

 

Victor Rojas is a member of the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board and he has expressed his support for using federal juvenile justice funds to help victims of human trafficking and to resolve the shortage of shelter beds for runaways in Arkansas.

 

Human trafficking has been identified as a heinous crime which exploits the most vulnerable in society. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that one in seven of the endangered runaways reported to its hotline is 2013 were likely victims of sex trafficking.

 

The Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board is responsible for overseeing the distribution and use of federal juvenile justice funds to support youth development programs and improvements to the state's juvenile justice system.

 

Rojas said it's essential that we identify the victims of human trafficking and provide them with the appropriate support and services. He said he applauded the Division of Youth Services for meeting with the FBI to formulate a plan to accomplish this task.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE SEEKING NEW TEAMS      3/16/16

 

Recently, Linda Frachiseur of the Sevier County Relay 4 Life announced the county's survivor dinner would be May 6th at the De Queen Church of Christ and the relay's main event would be held at the De Queen Leopard football field on May 13th.

 

Emmy Bailey is the county's executive director and She said county residents can pay up to $50 dollars to have a friend's yard flocked with as many as 40 flamingos. To flock a friend call Frachiseur at 784-1692 or Bailey at 784-3053.

 

Bailey said teams and individuals can sign up at the Sevier County Relay for Life Facebook page.

 

Bailey said local teams raise funds because the American Cancer Society uses funds for research to help find a cure for cancer. She said they also teach cancer patients about treatment options, how to cope with side effects. Bailey said the American Cancer Society also provides help to caregivers.

 

For more information, contact Bailey at 784-3053.

 

 

LEVEL THREE SEX OFFENDER   03/15/16

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department is releasing the following information pursuant to Section 13 of Act 989 of 1997. The Sex and Child Offender Registration and the Community Notification Guidelines promulgated by the Commission on Child Abuse, Rape, and Domestic Violence, which authorize law enforcement agencies to inform the public of a sex offender’s release when the release of such information will enhance the public safety and protection.

The individual who appears on this notification has been convicted of an offense that requires registration with the Arkansas Crime Information (ACIC). Further, his/her previous criminal history places him in a classification level that reflects the potential to be a repeat offender. 

This offender has advised the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department that he will be living on the location below. HE IS NOT WANTED BY THE POLICE AT THIS TIME. THE NOTIFICATION IS NOT INTENDED TO INCREASE FEAR; RATHER, IT IS OUR BELIEF THAT AN INFORMED PUBLIC IS A SAFER PUBLIC.

Sex offenders have lived in our community but it was not until passage of the Sex Offender Registration Act that law enforcement even knew where they were living. Depending on Risk Level law enforcement is now able to share certain Sex Offender information with you. Citizen abuse of this information to threaten, intimidate or harass registered sex offenders will not be tolerated. Further, such abuse could potentially end law enforcement’s ability to do community notification. We believe the only person who wins if community notification ends is the sex offenders. Since sex offenders derive their power through secrecy.

Act 989 of 1997 requires community notification to all institutions, agencies, establishments or residents that primarily serve individuals likely to be victimized or that are likely to encounter the offender. Neighborhood notification to a private residence indicates the offender lives within three block proximity of each notified home.

SEX OFFENDER: Terry Wayne Bowman                             LEVEL: 3
Date of Birth: 02/25/1969                  Hair: Black             Eyes: Blue
Address: 103 Funderburk Ln Horatio AR.

AGENCY ISSUING NOTIFICATION SHEET:
Sevier County Sheriff’s De Queen, Arkansas 71832  PHONE 870-642-2125

 

 

BODY FOUND HANGING FROM TREE IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY      3/15/16

 

Three boys found a body hanging from a tree Saturday night near the Jack's Isle community in Little River County.

 

According to the Little River County Sheriff's Office, the case is being investigated as a suspicious death and the sheriff’s office has asked the Arkansas State Police to conduct the investigation.

 

According to the report, the three boys, ages 16, 12 and 8 were playing in the woods when they discovered the body. One of the boys took a photo and showed it to his parents.

 

The parents contacted the Little River County Sheriff's Office at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12th.

 

The body was found about 100 yards from the last section of houses in the Jack's Isle community, which is on the southwest side of Millwood Lake.

 

Authorities say the body may have been hanging from the tree for about two weeks. The body has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy to determine the cause of death and to identify the person.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT APPROVES APPROPRIATION FOR SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT ACOOP PLAN         3/15/16

 

Monday afternoon Sevier County Judge Greg Ray informed the members of the Sevier County Quorum Court that the county submitted a request to FEMA in the amount of $187,000 for cleanup reimbursements.

 

County Treasurer Risa Krantz reported the county made the March payment on the county's jail bond. She said the county has a balance of just over $1.2 million dollars.

 

Judge Ray said the bond should be paid off early, but there are some issues at the jail that need to be addressed now.

 

Judge Ray said Justices of the Peace approved an appropriation in the amount of $5,000 to cover the cost of hiring the Southwest Planning and Development District to help the Sevier County Sheriff's Office develop their ACOOP plan. He said they also approved an appropriation in the amount of $8,832 to increase the county's level of liability coverage.

 

Judge Ray said the Little River County bridge project is scheduled to go to bid later this month. He said the project is expected to cost around $13 million dollars and take between two and three years to complete.

 

 

 

2016 SEVIER COUNTY POLAR PLUNGE FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS IS THIS SATURDAY      3/15/16

 

For the past several months, Elizabeth Tompkins and the organizers of the Sevier County Polar Plunge have been trying to set a date for their plunge, but inclement weather and high water prevented it, until now.

 

Tompkins informed KDQN Tuesday morning that this year's Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics of Arkansas will be held this Saturday at the Oak Grove swim beach on the De Queen Lake. She said registration will begin at 11 a.m. and the plunge will take place at noon.

 

Tompkins said all of the proceeds will benefit Special Olympic athletes in Southwest Arkansas.

 

Tompkins said they are still accepting corporate sponsorships and she is encouraging plungers to ramp up their efforts to collect donations.

 

A glacier sponsorship is $2,500; an iceberg sponsorship is $1,000; an artic ice sponsorship is $500; and, a snowflake sponsorship is $250.

 

Individual plungers will receive a t-shirt with a $50 donation.

 

If you would like to donate to the Sevier County Polar Plunge, listeners can make a donation at the KDQN studios, but for more information, contact Tompkins at 784-3822.

 

 

 

APPLICATIONS FOR MASH CAMPS AVAILABLE     3/15/16

 

Applications are now available to high school students for the summer MASH camps. These camps will be located at 34 medical facilities throughout Arkansas. Two new host facilities have been added this year. They are the De Queen Regional Medical Center and the Black River Technical College in Pocahontas.

 

The two-week MASH camps are designed to expose high school juniors and seniors to healthcare-related vocations.

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau's rural health specialist, Jennifer Victory, said the MASH program gives students an inside look at various medical professions and is designed to spark a students' interest in the medical field. She said a large number of the camps are held at rural medical centers and attract local students with a rural background.

 

Victory said the idea is that future medical students from a rural background are more likely to return to their roots.

 

Applications are available through the local school counselor offices or by contacting the MASH director at each medical facility or by visiting the website www.arkansashealthcareers.com.

 

The camp director at the De Queen Regional Medical Center is Ramona Driver and she may be reached by calling 584-4111.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY CATTLEMEN HOSTING AREA 3 SPRING CONFERENCE       3/15/16

 

Sevier County Cattlemen's President Greg Wright announced Sevier County will be hosting the 2016 Area 3 Spring Conference, March 22nd at the De Queen High School cafeteria at 6:30 p.m.

 

Wright said non-cattlemen members may sign up for the spring conference by contacting the Arkansas Cattlemen's Association in Little Rock at 501-224-2114.

 

Wright said the area spring conference is designed to update local associations about association's business, membership, leadership and industry news. He said non-members can also signup for a cattlemen's membership during the conference.

 

Wright also mentioned the Sevier County Cattlemen's Association will host a field day event in May. He said more details will be provided later.

 

For more information, call 784-1233.

 

 

 

SPEED THE LIGHT GOLF TOURNEY APRIL 16TH        3/15/16

 

De Queen First Assembly of God Minister Johnathan Reynolds announced registration is open for the church's 3rd Annual Spring Classic Golf Tournament.

 

Reynolds said the registration fee is $120 per team and that covers their green fees, a cart, lunch and a goodie bag.

 

Reynolds said all of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Speed the Light Ministry or used for local youth missions.

 

To register or for more information, contact the church at 584-3435.

 

 

ASHDOWN JUNIOR HIGH TRAP TEAM TAKES FIRST PLACE AT GRANDVIEW     3/14/16

 

Saturday, March 5th, the Ashdown Junior Trap Shooting team took first place during the University of Arkansas at Hope-Texarkana Foundation's 9th annual Pulling for Education Trap shoot at the Rick Evans Grandview Shotgun Range.

 

Forty-four teams competed in the competition, including 34 high school and junior high teams.

 

The Ashdown Junior High team members include: Logan Russell, Jake Day, Cole Smith, Taylor Schmidt and Colby Dellinger. Their overall score was 101 out of 125.

 

Day and Schmidt tied for Top Shooter in the Junior Division, by breaking 24 out of 25 targets.

 

The second place team was also from Ashdown, they shot 95 out of 125. This team includes: Hunter Poole, Dawson Hearn, Braden Jackson, Braden Gentry and Braden Gibson.

 

The Ashdown Senior High team also won first place with a score of 237 out of 250. The senior high team members are Trevor Myers, Drake Hile, Koda Aylor, Jon Michael Molock and Logan Henry.

 

Henry also won the Top Shooter award by breaking 49 out of 50 targets.

 

The Pulling for Education Trap Shoot is a fundraiser for the UAHT Foundation.

 

 

 

FREE LEADERSHIP TRAINING TUESDAY ON THE NASHVILLE CAMPUS OF UA COSSATOT       3/14/16

 

Zebbie Launius stated UA Cossatot will be offering a free leadership seminar Tuesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the Nashville campus in rooms 101 and 102.

 

Greg Gilbert will present an educational, interactive leadership development exercise entitled Own It and Win. Gilbert uses real life examples to quickly restore profitability to an unprofitable company by using basic and new leadership tools. He says to accomplice this; companies must replace employee-follower thinking with the leader-owner mindset at every level of leadership.

 

Launius said pre-registration is not required, but for more information, contact her at 584-4471.

 

Launius said for a complete list of continuing education classes, visit the UA Cossatot website cccua.edu or kdqn.net and click on the news tab.

 

For more information about the programs and degrees at UA Cossatot, call 1-800-584-4471.

 

 

 

HARVEST REGIONAL FOOD BANK BRINGING MOBILE PANTRY TO SEVIER COUNTY      3/14/16

 

Harvest Regional Food Bank is returning to Sevier County with its Mobile Pantry on Wednesday, March 16th at the First United Methodist Church in Horatio.

 

Camille Wrinkle is the executive director of the Harvest Regional Food Bank and she said there are several communities in their rural service area that is not serviced by a local partner agency. Wrinkle said to make sure residents in these areas are served, the food bank delivers pantry boxes directly to the residents.

 

Harvest Regional Food Bank will distribute pantry boxes and USDA commodities at the First United Methodist Church from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, March 16th.

 

Wrinkle said senior adults 65 and older will be served first, starting at 10 a.m.

 

Volunteers are needed to help load boxes into cars and if you can volunteer, contact the food bank at 870-774-1398.

 

Recipients must bring a photo ID verifying their age and residence in Sevier County. Distribution is limited to one per household and residents can not pick up a box for someone else. USDA commodities will be available for those who meet income requirements and do not receive commodities at another location. Full income guidelines can be found on the website, www.harvestregionalfoodbank.org under programs.

 

Food boxes will include an assortment of canned fruits and vegetables, rice, pasta, fruit juices, spices and other items.

 

 

 

HISTORIC WASHINGTON HOSTS 48TH ANNUAL JONQUIL FESTIVAL     3/14/16

 

The arrival of spring is heralded each year with a bounty of beautiful jonquils at Historic Washington State Park and area residents are invited to enjoy the jonquils by shopping with over a hundred arts and craft vendors during the 48th annual Jonquil Festival, March 18th through the 22nd.

 

Also, take time to tour the historic homes and grounds of the 19th century town, listen to live music, and enjoy festival food.

 

Festival admission is free, with a $5 parking fee, guided tours of the museums are $9 for adults, $6 for children (6 to 12), age 5 and under are free.

 

For more information, call 870-983-2684.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY TO HOLD PESTICIDE COLLECTION EVENT     3/14/16

 

Little River County producers will have the opportunity to dispose of their outdated and unused pesticides during a collection event on Tuesday, March 29th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Little River County Fairgrounds in Foreman.

 

The pesticide collection is free and is made available through funding from the Arkansas Abandoned Pesticide Trust Fund. Products that will be accepted are outdated, discontinued or unwanted agricultural pesticides. These pesticides may include older products that are more toxic, such as arsenicals, DDT, silvex, heltachlor, dieldriin, lindane, and taxaphene.

 

Many old pesticides cannot legally be used or disposed of through usual means, such as landfills. If you have pesticides that fall into this category, plan on taking your pesticide to this event.

 

The purpose of this collection is to promote a safer and cleaner environment by reducing the amount of pesticides that could potentially contaminate the drinking water, groundwater, streams, rivers, and lakes across the state. To date the pesticide collections have brought in over 2.3 million pounds of unwanted materials from 75 counties.

 

If you are interested in taking your pesticides to the event, contact the Little River County Extension Office at 898-7225 to pre-register or to receive information on how to safely transport chemicals to the event location.

 

 

 

MEMORIAL BLOOD DRIVE TUESDAY AT DE QUEEN CHURCH OF CHRIST     3/14/16

 

The pastor of the De Queen Church of Christ, Tony Stowers, announced Monday morning that the church was hosting a memorial blood drive on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in honor of Layne Woods.

 

Stowers said there will be a taco bar during lunch and a dessert and drink table all day.

 

Stowers said the Woods are a special family and this is a way to keep Layne's memory alive.

 

For more information or to make an appointment, call the church at 584-3226. 

 

 

 

THOUSAND WILL LOSE SNAP BENEFITS APRIL 1     3/14/16

 

The state estimates about 12,000 unemployed Arkansas residents will lose their food stamp benefits on April 1st because the federal government has reinstated work requirements. Food assistance benefits will now be limited to three months for able-bodied, childless adults from the ages of 18 to 49 if they aren't employed, in school, or participating in a volunteer or job-training program.

 

Tomike Townley with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance says those with jobs have to work at least 20 hours a week in order to qualify for SNAP, but she says that's often easier said than done.

 

The limits were actually put in place in 1996, but states with high unemployment got waivers, and that included Arkansas. And while some Arkansas counties still qualify for the waiver, the state chose not to ask for it.

 

Townley says her agency is spreading the word to food pantries that they may see an increase in people needing help.

 

Ed Bolen with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says that lost benefit can hit those who need it the most.

 

He says states should provide job training assistance, but most don't because it's too expensive.

 

Townley says only a handful of counties in Arkansas offer job training for people who need SNAP benefits.

 

According to the latest census figures, Arkansas is tied with Mississippi as the most food insecure state in the nation with 19.2 percent of residents having an insufficient amount of food sometime in the last 12 months.

 

 

 

TRYING TO PREVENT AN OUTBREAK OF ZIKA IN ARKANSAS    3/14/16

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the Arkansas Department of Health recently revealed their plan to monitor and prevent an outbreak of the Zika virus in the state.

 

Zika is spread by mosquito bites, but so far no mosquitoes in the state have tested positive for the virus. Vaught said the health department is currently doing active surveillance on the mosquito population and testing on a regular basis.

 

Health officials also announced there are no current infections in Arkansas and to date, only one Arkansan has been diagnosed with the virus and that person had recently traveled out of the country.

 

Current areas of active Zika transmission include most of Central and portions of South America.

 

Vaught said the virus is a particular concern to pregnant women because of the association with birth defects. The health department is asking pregnant women to consider postponing travel to countries where the virus is active. They say if you are not pregnant and traveling to those areas, you should protect yourself by using repellant with DEET or other mosquito repellants. The health department also suggests when you return to avoid mosquito bites for the first 10 days after returning home to help prevent the spread of the virus to mosquitoes in Arkansas.

 

Health officials say 80 percent of people who get the virus will not have any symptoms. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes. Illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week.

 

For more information on how to protect you and your community from the Zika virus, visit the Arkansas Department of Health website at www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

 

 

LITTLE RIVER RELAY FOR LIFE  03/14/16

Relay for Life of Little River County AR is offering a special opportunity to honor loved ones who have fought the brave fight against cancer.  During the Relay for Life event on May 13, a slideshow featuring victims of cancer will run continuously, and the team is requesting pictures to be included.  

Those being honored include survivors who have fought and defeated the vicious disease, along with victims who fought bravely but lost the battle against the relentless foe of cancer.  The slideshow will begin during the Luminary Lighting Ceremony at dark and run throughout the evening until the event's conclusion at midnight.

Picture submissions are to be delivered to Melissa Kilgore at Ashdown High School.  For your convenience, pictures may also be sent by email to mkilgore@ashdownschools.org.  It is very important that each picture be labeled with the full name of the honoree and if the recognition is "In Honor of" (for survivors) or "In Memory of" (for deceased honorees).  The $5 charge for inclusion will be added to the American Cancer Society funds raised by the Relay for Life teams.

The main event for Relay for Life of Little River County AR, themed "In the Center Ring -- A Cure for Cancer," will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the Fred Jester Memorial Track at Ashdown High School, where participating teams and other supporters will celebrate what survivors have overcome and remember those who are have fought or are fighting cancer now.  The goal of this event is to inspire Relay participants to take action against a disease that has taken too much from us all.

For more information about ways to participate, visit www.RelayforLife.org/LittleRiver AR or call Event Chair Linda Fielding at 903-276-5650.  Also check Facebook page "Relay for Life -- Little River County, AR."

 

RELAY FOR LIFE HORSESHOE TOURNAMENT  03/14/16

Relay for Life of Little River County announces its first Annual Relay for Life Horseshoe Tournament to be held on April 23 at the Ashdown City Park.

The tournament will include three age groups:  11 & under, 12-18, and 18 & over.  The single elimination tournament will begin at 10:00 a.m. and feature 21-point games with 30-minutes time limits.  First, second and third place winners will be awarded prizes, amounts of which will be determined by the number of entrants.  

Entry fees are $10 per person for pre-registration or $12 per person on the day of the event.  Hot dogs and soda will be offered for $3.  All proceeds benefit the Relay for Life of Little River County AR.  Everyone is encouraged to be part of the fun while taking action to support the fight against cancer, a disease that has taken too much from us all.

To register or for more information, call Willie Booth at 870-898-3908 or Linda Fielding at 903-276-5650.

 

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE  03/14/16

 

The Ashdown High School Scholarship Committee will soon be awarding scholarships to 2016 AHS graduates, as it has since its formation in 1986, Contributors are encouraged to either continue donations as they have in previous years or become new scholarship donors and contribute to the success of new Ashdown High School graduates in their post-secondary endeavors.


"Last year, we awarded 46 scholarships with a total value of $23,750," states Ronda Pounds, chairperson of the committee. "This brings the total scholarships to over $345,311 awarded to 963 students over the course of our 30-year history."


Pounds also states that 100% of all donated monies are awarded every year and that all donations are tax deductible.
The Scholarship Committee has also authorized an alumni fund through which former students of Ashdown High School and businesses may contribute to the program in any amount and at any time. Such contributions may be made in honor or memory of friends and loved ones.


As in previous years, scholarship recipients will be announced and scholarships awarded at a tea sponsored by the committee. The date for this year's tea is Sunday, May 1st at 2:00 p.m. in the Ashdown High School Cafeteria. "All donors are welcome at the tea," Pounds continues, "and welcome to participate in presenting the scholarship they are giving if they would like."


To be awarded to 2016 AHS graduates, contributions must be received by April 15. They may be mailed to or dropped off at the Ashdown School District Central Office at 511 N. Second Street, Ashdown, Arkansas 71822.

 

 

2016 ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL PROM  03/14/16

 

The junior class of Ashdown High School would like to invite the public to the 5th annual Prom Grand March on Saturday, April 2, at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Little River County Courthouse. The first Grand March originated in 2012 by retired Ashdown teacher Nancy Stuart . Now, the march has become a tradition utilizing the beautiful grounds of the historic courthouse as a favorite photo setting . The promenade of AHS juniors and seniors in all their prom finery is the perfect "photo op" for friends and relatives to view the procession. The Prom Royalty Court will consist of ten juniors and ten seniors. The junior class will elect a Prince and Princess with four attendants and the senior class will elect a King and Queen with four attendants. The court will be presented at the march and the prince, princess, king and queen announced at the prom.


The Junior Class Royalty Court are:
Jasmine Dennis, Ishionna Harris, Tye James, Callie Redfearn, and Alexia Rowton
Tajhnick Bishop, Cole Grimes, Bryson Haskins, Joe Pennington, and Zac Spigner


The Senior Class Royalty Court are:
Meghan Brown, Kennedy Cook, Danielle Ford, Brinlee Ward, and Savanna Woods
Ty Cobb, Austin Cross, Brandon Northcross, R.J. Powell and Cameron Solomon


Those attending the Prom March are encouraged to bring a lawn chair for comfort and enjoyment.
The Helen Parker Gymnasium will be the setting for the Community/Alumni Prom on Friday night and Saturday night for the Junior/Senior Prom.


The Community/Alumni Prom on Friday, April 1st is from 7-8:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend and there will be music playing from each decade. Dancing is welcomed. This is your opportunity to see the transformation of Helen Parker Gymnasium and enjoy an evening of dancing and reminiscing. Come see what the students and sponsors did to create this magical night. No cost.


On Saturday night, there will be free valet parking provided by community volunteers, refreshments provided by First United Methodist Church, and a bag/coat check available as well as a photo booth with free customized pictures. There are all new decorations, as well as, dance and laser lighting! The "Ashdown Flash", Fabienne Thrash (1974 AHS Graduate) will DJ the event. Cost is $20/ single and $30/couple.

 

 

PULLING FOR EDUCATION TRAP SHOOT   03/14/15

The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana Foundation held the 9th Annual Pulling for Education Trap shoot Saturday at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Rick Evans Grandview Shotgun Range on March 5th. The competition had 44 teams, including 34 high school and junior high teams. The junior high competition was sponsored by Alliance Insurance and dominated by Ashdown School teams who won first by shooting a 101 out of 125.

First place junior team (pictured above and in order) consisted of Logan Russell, Jake Day, Cole Smith, Taylor Schmidt, and Colby Dellinger.
Jake Day and Taylor Schmidt tied for Top Shooter in the Jr. Division both breaking 24 out of 25 targets. The second place team in the shoot was also from Ashdown, they shot a 95 out of 125.

(pictured l to r) Hunter Poole, Dawson Hearn, Braden Jackson, and Braden Gentry.  Not pictured is Braden Gibson  

 


In the senior high division, sponsored by BancorpSouth, Ashdown team members (pictured l to r) Trevor Myers, Drake Hile, Koda Aylor, Jon Michael Molock and Logan Henry, won first, shooting a 237 out of 250.



Logan Henry won the Top Shooter award for the Sr. division breaking 49 out of 50 targets.

The “Pulling” for Education Trap shoot was hosted by State Senator Larry Teague and Representative Brent Talley. Sponsors for the event included AEP-SWEPCO and Arkansas Farm Bureau, who have helped with the event all nine years. The “Pulling” for Education Trap Shoot is a fundraiser for the UAHT Foundation.
 

SPRING FORWARD THIS WEEKEND        3/11/16

 

The staff here at KDQN would like to remind area residents to set their clocks forward one-hour before going to bed Saturday night.

 

Time in Arkansas will officially change on Sunday, March 13th at 2 a.m. in the morning.

 

Daylight saving time is the practice of advancing our clocks during the summer months by one hour so we can experience an extra hour of daylight in the evening, while sacrificing normal sunrise times.

 

  

 

SIMMONS NAMED POLICE CHIEF-IN-WAITING       3/11/16

 

De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy informed KDQN Thursday that Captain Scott Simmons of the De Queen Police Department had been named the Chief-in-waiting.

 

McKelvy said he named Simmons the acting chief on Chief Richard McKinley's last day on the job, which was Friday, February 26th.

 

McKelvy informed the De Queen City Council last week that he had received three applications from within the De Queen Police. He reported Simmons, Investigator Sonny Kimmel and Lieutenant Chad Bradshaw applied for the position.

 

After interviewing the three applicants, McKelvy said he felt Simmons was the right person for the job.

 

Simmons will officially become the Chief of the De Queen Police Department on July 1st when Chief McKinley officially retires from the City of De Queen.

 

 

 

LIGHTNING STRIKE RESPONSIBLE FOR HOUSE FIRE     3/11/16

 

Authorities in southwest Arkansas say a lightning strike caused an explosion that destroyed a storage building and home, but no one injured.

 

the blast happened about 1 a.m., Wednesday morning at a home in a rural area of Little River County on the Southside of Millwood Lake. Authorities say lightning struck a storage building that contained gasoline.

 

Yarbrough Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jeff Plowman says the exploding gasoline caused the storage building to catch fire. The fire then spread to the house. Plowman reported the home's occupants were able to escape the house unharmed. 

 

 

 

AHS SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE       3/11/16

 

The Ashdown High School Scholarship Committee will soon be awarding scholarships to 2016 Ashdown High School graduates, as it has since its formation in 1986.

 

Contributors are being encouraged to either continue making donations as they have been doing in the past or to become a new scholarship donor and contribute to the success of new Ashdown High School graduates in their post-secondary endeavors.

 

According to the chairperson of the scholarship committee, Ronda Pounds, the committee awarded 46 scholarships in 2015 with a total value of $23,750. She said the committee has awarded over $345,311 to 963 students over the past 30 years.

 

Pounds stated that 100 percent of all donated monies are awarded every year and that all donations are tax deductible.

 

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

 

As in previous years, scholarship recipients will be announced and scholarships will be awarded at a tea that is sponsored by the committee. The date of this year's tea is Sunday, May 1st at 2 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

 

Pounds said all donors are welcome to attend the tea and they are encouraged to present the scholarship that they contributed to.

 

For scholarships to be awarded to the 2016 Ashdown graduating class, contributions must be received by April 15th. They may be mailed to or dropped off at the Ashdown School District Central Office at 511 North Second Street in Ashdown.

 

 

 

FEDERAL MONEY TO HELP ARKANSAS RESTORE WATERFOWL, WILDLIFE HABITAT        3/11/16

 

Money coming from taxes collected on guns, ammunition and fishing equipment is being doled out to all 50 states. Officials say the money will be used to help protect fishing, hunting and wildlife areas. Arkansas' share is just over $17 million dollars.

 

Jim Hodgson heads up the Midwestern Division of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program and he says the program has been in place for decades and each state can choose how to use the money.

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says it will use the money to renovate 11 wildlife management areas and also create or restore more than 1,300 acres of waterfowl habitat.

 

The total being distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is just over $1 billion dollars, and it's divided between all 50 states. Hodgson says without it, wildlife would suffer. He says when the program began decades ago, some species were being over-hunted.

 

Hogdson says the goal of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program is to conserve and manage fish and wildlife and their habitats for future generations.

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are also asking the public to provide feedback on some of the state's wildlife regulations.

 

The regulation proposals include adding a youth modern gun deer hunt for the Rick Evans Grandview Prairie Wildlife Management Area and another is to extend the spring turkey season to 21 days, opening on the third Saturday in April annually. The list also includes opening a quail season at Rick Evans Grandview.

 

Arkansas Game and Fish officials say the survey can be found on their website at agfc.com.

 

 

 

OKLAHOMA MAN DROWNS WHEN VEHICLE SWEPT INTO CREEK     3/11/16

 

A McCurtain County man drowned earlier this week when floodwaters swept his SUV into a creek after he attempted to cross a low-water crossing on Lukfata Creek, about two and a half miles south of Broken Bow.

 

Authorities say the SUV was swept off the road around 9:15 Tuesday night. County officials say between six to seven inches of rain fell in a short period of time causing some flash flooding.

 

30-year-old Michael Liles and his passenger 36-year-old Paul Rymel got out of the SUV and tried to swim to shore. Rymel made it to shore and survived.

 

However, emergency crews recovered Lyle's body about 100 yards downstream about two hours later.

 

According to the National Weather Service, more than half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous floodwaters.

 

Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. The National Weather Service says a mere six inches of fast-moving floodwaters can knock over an adult and it only takes 12-inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles.

 

According to the National Weather Service, these deaths have led to the creation of the Don't Drown, Turn Around safety campaign.

 

 

APARTMENT FIRE FORCES EVACUATION       3/10/16

 

Wednesday night about 8:25, fire fighters with the De Queen Fire Department were dispatched to the apartment complex at 214 South Third Street in De Queen.

 

Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt reported the apartment on the southwest corner of the building was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. He said 16 fire fighters responded to the call with three trucks.

 

Pruitt said the fire was contained to that one apartment but other parts of the building received some smoke and water damage.

 

Several people that lived in the building were transferred to the De Queen Regional Medical Center to receive treatment for smoke inhalation.

 

Pruitt said the residents of the apartment complex will be forced to find a new residence until the building's electrical system is brought up to code.

 

The building's owner Sabino Flores informed the city code enforcement officer Thursday morning that he plans to have a electrician replace the wiring and reopen the apartment complex as soon as the work is finished.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY AMNESTY PROGRAM UNDERWAY      3/10/16

 

Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory announced amnesty is available for people wanted for failure to appear in district court or contempt of court in matters related to cases in the Ashdown or Little River County district courts.

 

Gregory said residents can take advantage of the amnesty program until April 20th. He said anyone with an outstanding warrant may contact the Little River County District Court Clerk and make arrangements to pay their fines.

 

Gregory said this program will help people catch up on their fines and help the court collect some fines without having to arrest people and hold them in jail.

 

For more information, call 898-7230 or 898-7231.

 

 

 

RELAY FOR LIFE AWARDS PRESENTED TO SEVIER COUNTY     3/10/16

 

Linda Frachiseur of the Sevier County Relay 4 Life announced Wednesday morning that the county's survivor dinner has been scheduled for May 6th and the relay's main event has been moved back to the De Queen Leopard football field on May 13th.

 

Frachiseur reported the Sevier County Relay for Life organization received five awards from the Mid-South area Relay for Life organization. Stina Brown is the district representative for the Mid-South Relay for Life. Brown presented Frachiseur the Excellence in Caring for Those with Cancer Award; Becky Matney received the Helping Prevent Cancer Award; Linda Santiago received the Helping to Seek a Cure Award; LaLonnie Williamson received the Best Practice Award and KDQN and the De Queen Bee received the Lighthouse Media Award.

 

Frachiseur also announced it was not too late to sign up a team for this year's Relay for Life.

 

For more information visit the Relay for Life website and search for Sevier County.

 

 

 

TRIAL DATE SET FOR FORMER ASHDOWN AG TEACHER      3/10/16

 

A trial date of June 20th was set for 41-year-old Terry Simmons by 9th Circuit Court Judge Tom Cooper in the Little River County Circuit Court in Ashdown on Tuesday.

 

Simmons has been charged with two counts of theft of property for allegedly selling or trading shotguns that were owned by the Ashdown School District's shooting sports team.

 

At the time of the alleged theft, Simmons was the shooting sports coach and agri teacher.

 

An investigation was opened on January 12th, 2015 after Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory contacted the Arkansas State Police about the alleged theft of some shotguns that were being stored in the sheriff's department gun safe.

 

According to the school district, the guns were used by the shooting sports team and were purchased in May of 2008 with a grant from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

 

According to court records, Debbie Greathouse became the director of the shooting sports program and asked to inventory the districts 10 shotguns that were being stored at the sheriff's office. On December 10th, when Greathouse and Simmons opened the safe, it only contained three guns.

 

Greathouse said Simmons brought three shotguns to the office from his vehicle that he said had been at his house.

 

According to the investigation report, Simmons allegedly sold or traded three guns and a shotgun at Davis and Jones Pawn in Ashdown on January 3rd, 2014 and he sold or traded a rifle and a shotgun at the pawn shop on March 27th, 2014.

 

Arkansas State Police investigators confirmed two of the shotguns that were sold or traded at the pawn shop belonged to the Ashdown School District.

 

 

 

TAKING A HIKE IN THE WOODS      3/10/16

 

Tuesday morning around 9:30, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department noticed a vehicle with expired temporary tags while patrolling on Lakeside Drive.

 

When Browning attempted to make a traffic stop, the vehicle sped up as it drove past the city park through the city shop gate. After driving around a mound of gravel, the driver hit a small tree.

 

The driver then exited the vehicle and ran into some nearby woods. About 20 minutes later, Captain Scott Simmons advised Browning that the driver had been located in an opening behind the city shop. Simmons and Patrolman David Higgins were able to secure the driver and took him into custody.

 

While searching the vehicle, Browning found a blue glove inside a gold colored purse. Browning reported there was a loaded syringe with approximately two units of a blue substance and a clear bag that contained a green leafy substance in the glove.

 

The driver was identified as 34-year-old Justin Bice of De Queen.

 

According to Bice's statement, he was at the casino and returned to De Queen with Alberto Garza and the female passenger who identified herself as 31-year-old Rebecca Conatser of Broken Bow, Oklahoma.

 

Bice said Conatser got into the car with a purple coat and a gold colored bag. He said he dropped Garza off and went to his dad's shop on Stilwell.

 

When asked why he fled, Bice said he thought he had a warrant for his arrest. He also stated he did not know about the drugs.

 

At the Sevier County jail, Conatser informed a jailer that her name was actually Ashley Campbell. She stated she gave officers her sister's name because she thought she had a warrant for failure to pay child support. Campbell also stated the purse belonged to her along with the loaded syringe, however, she said Bice told her to put the marijuana in her purse.

 

According to police records, Bice was wanted on a white warrant. He has also been charged with fleeing, misdemeanor fleeing, and possession of a controlled substance-marijuana.

 

Campbell was charged with possession of a controlled substance-methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance-marijuana, obstructing governmental operations and felony possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

 

March 11 is Deadline to Apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance     3/10/16

 

NORTH LITTLE ROCK  —  Arkansans in the 11-county federal disaster area who became unemployed as a result of severe storms from late December – January have until March 11 to file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance with their local Department of Workforce Service.

The disaster area is Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Faulkner, Jackson, Jefferson, Lee, Little River, Perry, Sebastian and Sevier counties. DUA may be available to:

 

  • Individuals who have temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits;

  • Self-employed individuals who have lost all or part of their livelihood as a result of the disaster;

  • Individuals who worked or had been scheduled to work in the disaster area; and

  • Employees who were prevented from working because of an injury or illness resulting from the severe weather.

 

DUA provides unemployment benefits up to 32 weeks.

People who believe they may be eligible should bring a photo ID, Social Security card, the name and address of their last place of employment, and documents verifying income.

Additional information is available by calling 866-392-7284 or going online to http://www.arkansas.gov/esd/UI/DUA.htm.  Out-of-state residents may call 800-461-9941.

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT FILES SUIT AGAINST THE STATE        3/9/16

 

Mineral Springs School District leaders filed a lawsuit against Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key, the state board of education, the Arkansas Department of Education and Hempstead County on Monday, February 29th alleging Arkansas officials "knowingly diminished" the quality of education for black students in the district after it was "wrongly" placed on the state's fiscal distress list in 2013.

 

Representative John Walker of Little Rock filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Mineral Spring Board of Education and Superintendent Curtis Turner.

 

Walker contends state officials encouraged white students and black athletes to transfer from Mineral Springs to the Nashville.

 

The suit also asks U.S. District Judge Price Marshall to find that the district was deprived significant financial and educational resources between 2004 and the present. Walker stated the loss of those resources resulted in denying equal education opportunities to the Mineral Springs students.

 

Walker is asking the judge to restore benefits that were denied to the district which has 420 students, 79 percent of whom are black. The reimbursement amount includes $210,000 in state funds based on the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced-price school meals.

 

The suit also alleges county officials diverted tax revenue and revenue in lieu of taxes that was paid by SWEPCO to the Hope School District.

 

Turner reported he was asked to take the position of superintendent in Mineral Springs while he was the superintendent of the Eureka Springs School District by then-Education Commissioner Tom Kimbrell.

 

Turner wrote in an affidavit that why he asked Kimbrell why the state didn't close the Mineral Springs District and combine it with the Nashville School District, Kimbrell reportedly said it wouldn't be fair to the Nashville superintendent.

 

Turner was told the district was projected to end the 2012-2013 school year with a deficit of $147,000, but he and federal programs director Wendy Reed found over $120,000 in unidentified funds within a matter of days after taking over the district's finances.

 

Turner said the state has not assisted the district for the purpose of improving the district's academic achievements, and he doesn't expect the state to approve the district's construction plans.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN TEENAGER KILLED IN ACCIDENT MONDAY     3/9/16

 

Eighteen-year-old Mason Gross of Ashdown was killed and two other Ashdown residents were injured in an accident near Alleene at the intersection of Highway 234 and Highway 108, Monday night.

 

According to the accident report from the Arkansas State Police, 18-year-old Colton Ard of Ashdown was driving south on Highway 234 when he failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection. Ard's 1993 Jeep struck a 2012 Dodge pickup that was being driven by 52-year-old Lawrence Chandler of De Queen.

 

Arkansas State Trooper Travis Hale reported Gross was pronounced dead at the scene by Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith at 8:35 p.m. Ard and the other passenger, 18-year-old Dustin Hill of Ashdown were taken to Christus-St. Michael Medical Center in Texarkana.

 

Gross was a student at Arkansas Tech in Russellville, while Ard and Hill are students at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia.

 

 

 

DIERKS PLEAS NOT GUILTY IN DEATH OF LITTLE RIVER COUNTY TEEN       3/9/16

 

Forty-one-year-old Traci Dierks of Little River County plead not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder, four-counts of aggravated assault and seven-counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, Tuesday in the Little River County Circuit Court.

 

Dierks has been charged with killing 17-year-old Caitlin Caskey on January 23rd at the birthday party of Dierks' daughter.

 

9th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Tom Cooper scheduled a pretrial hearing for July 5th and a trial date of July 25th.

 

According to witnesses at the party, Dierks was carrying a rifle around. They said, she would answer the door, with the rifle in her hands and ask guests if their parents knew where they were and if they were going to tell the police she was serving alcohol to minors.

 

Witnesses reported the rifle went off and Caskey was struck in the chest.

 

According to Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir, the four counts of aggravated assault were based on Dierks pointing and firing the weapon.

 

Dierks is being held in the Sevier County jail with a $100,000 bond.

 

 

 

TRAVEL CENTER ON HIGHWAY 71 GETTING $2.5 MILLION DOLLAR FACELIFT         3/9/16

 

Officials with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department announced plans to renovate the Red River Welcome Center on Highway 71.

 

Officials say the upgrade will cost about $2.5 million dollars. The project was awarded to Contech Contractors of Texarkana and dirt work started in February.

 

The new building will feature a rock and log construction and will be built just north of the existing building.

 

The new facility will contain a coffee bar, a computer information desk, sitting areas, and an information desk staffed by Arkansas Parks and Tourism employees.

 

The existing welcome center will remain open during the construction phase, but the old center will be demolished once the new facility is completed. Officials hope to open the new facility during the summer of 2017.

 

 

DE QUEEN BOARD OF EDUCATION PLANS FOR THE FUTURE     3/8/16

 

Monday night, Superintendent Bruce Hill informed the De Queen Board of Education that he and board president, Randy Hedge attended a meeting with the state's facility committee in Little Rock to discuss the failed millage and to address the district's plans for the future.

 

Hill said the district plans to wait and see what projects the state approves next year before moving forward with any major projects.

 

Hill said the district will also look into constructing a couple of metal buildings at the football field, to provide dressing rooms for approximately 300 student athletes.

 

Hill also reported the Office of Civil Rights was very pleased with the district's ESL program. He said they informed him that they will be using the De Queen School District as an example for other districts.

 

Board members voted to approve a bid from Mike's Sound Systems and Design on a new sound system for the football field at a cost of $19,292.75. They also voted to purchase a used bus from Midwest Bus Sales for $58,500.

 

Hill said board members also approved the closing of the J.T. Counts Daycare in Lockesburg at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

 

The next meeting of the De Queen Board of Education was scheduled for Monday, April 4th.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS LAW ENFORCEMENT HANDING OUT LAURA'S CARD      3/8/16

 

Every nine seconds a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States, and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says one of every three has been a victim of physical violence by an intimate partner within her lifetime.

 

For men, the numbers are also high: one in every four men will experience domestic violence. It's dangerous and very emotional, and in the midst of it, victims don't always know how to get out of it, or who to call for help.

 

In Arkansas, there's an effort under way to change that. As part of "Laura's Card," which was signed by the governor last year, law enforcement officers are handing out a flyer to anyone involved in a domestic situation.

 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says it puts crucial information right into the hands of someone who needs help.

 

Laura's Card was one of four domestic-violence laws that were approved in Arkansas last year. It means officers have to give a victim the flyer, but only when it's safe to do so and not when the abuser can see what's happening. Rutledge says just having the information might prevent that person from falling victim to abuse again.

 

Rutledge says there's been a huge increase in domestic violence in Arkansas in the last few years and intimate partner violence accounts for 15 percent of all violent crime.

 

Domestic violence affects children, too. One in 15 is exposed to intense fighting between intimate partners each year, and 90 percent of these children are eyewitnesses to violence.

 

 

 

FREE RIDER       3/8/16

 

Saturday, February 5th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon was patrolling in the Horatio area when he observed a Hispanic male driving a motorcycle that he knew didn't have a valid motorcycle endorsement.

 

After stopping the motorcycle, Davignon identified the passenger on the motorcycle as 18-year-old Luis Vega.

 

After searching Vega's pockets, Davignon found a one-dollar bill folded in a manner that is used to conceal or contain controlled substances. Davignon reported he opened the bill and found some suspected methamphetamine.

 

Later, Vega allegedly admitted that the substance was ICE.

 

Vega was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

While Vega was being booked at the Sevier County jail, Davignon discovered Vega was out on bond from Fort Smith for possession of methamphetamine. He is scheduled to appear in the Sevier County Circuit Court on March 10th.

 

 

 

JOINT MEETING FOR LITTLE RIVER COUNTY GOVERNING BODIES RESCHEDULED       3/8/16

 

Little River County Judge Mike Cranford announced Monday afternoon that a joint meeting of the Little River County Quorum Court and the Little River Memorial Hospital Board of Governors will be held on Thursday, March 24th at 6 p.m. in the Barbara Horn Civic Center on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot.

 

Cranford reported the meeting was originally scheduled for March 7th, but had to be rescheduled due to a conflict.

 

Cranford said the purpose of the meeting is to discuss options for the future of and the direction of the hospital. A presentation will be given by BKD of Little Rock, with a question and answer session to follow.

 

As with all Quorum Court and Board of Governors meetings, this meeting is open to the public.

 

For more information, contact the Little River County Judges office at 898-7202.

 

 

AREA FFA CHAPTERS COMPETING IN DONKEY BASKETBALL TOURNEY     3/7/16

 

Michaele Caudle, Grace Harris, Morgan Johnson and Marlee Carver of the Horatio FFA announced their chapter will be hosting a donkey basketball tournament this Saturday in the Horatio game gym at 7 p.m.

 

Caudle said FFA members representing Horatio, Foreman, De Queen and Ashdown will be competing for a championship trophy.

 

Caudle said advance tickets are on sale now for $6 in advance or $8 at the door. All children 6 and under are free. You can purchase tickets from any Horatio FFA member, the Pit Stop in Horatio, the Horatio, De Queen and Ashdown High Schools.

 

For more information visit the Horatio FFA Facebook page or contact the Horatio FFA advisor Nicki Litchford by calling the Horatio High School at 832-2341.

 

 

 

DRIVE OUT LUPUS GOLF TOURNAMENT MARCH 19TH        3/7/16

 

Former Sevier County resident Sandy Tutt informed KDQN that spots are filling up for the 2016 2-Person Scramble Driver Out Lupus Benefit Golf Tournament at the De Queen Country Club on Saturday, March 19th.

 

Tutt said she got involved raising funds for the Lupus Foundation of America after she was diagnosed with Lupus last year. She said Lupus is hard to diagnosis and affects people in a variety of ways.

 

Tutt said she and her team, Sandy's Soldiers, are also selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a .22 caliber rifle or a handmade quilt, as well as, bracelets and peanut brittle.

 

To sign up for the golf tournament or to purchase a raffle ticket, contact Tutt at 903-280-0435 or email her at STUTT_BCDT@yahoo.com. 

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE SURVIVOR DINNER     3/7/16

 

Cancer survivor and guest speaker Detra Tysdal-McCarver reminded other cancer survivors and their caretakers that "God loves me and God loves you" during her message of hope and encouragement at the annual Cancer Survivor's Banquet that was sponsored by the Little River County Relay for Life and held at the Ashdown Central Baptist Church.

 

The banquet annually kicks off the county's Relay for Life campaign, which also includes a sponsorship drive, team registrations and t-shirt sales, a garage sale on Saturday, April 16th, a horseshoe tournament on April 23rd, the Paint the County Purple contest and finally the Relay for Life event on Friday, May 13th, at the Fred Jester Memorial Track at the Ashdown High School.

 

More than 50 cancer survivors, their caretakers, and Relay for Life committee members and guests attended the event.

 

McCarver who is a survivor of Hodgkins Lymphoma and Primary Refractory Lymphoma, shared her story of encouragement and reminded the attendees of the importance of faith, family and knowing your body. She shared her memories of "knowing there was something not right happening" in her body, yet the doctor could not seem to find anything. She expounded on the importance of trusting your feelings and being proactive in seeking a doctor who will heed your concerns.

 

After being diagnosed with cancer, McCarver reacted with an attitude of "Why me?" Then she said to herself, "God, why not me?", reminding herself that :God loves me."

 

McCarver further encouraged cancer patients to allow family and friends to help. "Help with chores. Help with the kids. Help as needed."

 

McCarver is a fitness instructor at Christus St. Michael Health and Fitness Center and also teaches in the singles ministry of First Baptist Church Moore's Lane in Texarkana.

 

At the conclusion of the banquet, each survivor stood and shared the number of years that they had been cancer-free and was presented with a Certificate of Honor and Admiration.

 

The Little River County Relay for Life is still enlisting sponsors and teams. This year's theme is "Under the Big Top--In the Center Ring, A Cure for Cancer."

 

For more information or to register, visit the webpage RelayForLife.org/LittleRiverAR and the Facebook page is Relay for Life--Little River AR. Linda Fielding is the Little River Relay for Life director, and she can be reached at 903-276-5650.

 

 

 

SCHOLARSHIP FOR SCHOOL COUNSELOR DEGREE       3/7/16

 

De Queen High School Counselor Ramona Hill is the Secondary Vice-President of the Arkansas School Counselor Association and she announced the ArSCA is offering the Hugh Lovett Memorial Scholarship to students who are enrolled in a school counseling Master’s Degree program.

 

The scholarship is in the amount of $1,000 for one year.

 

If the recipient of the award fails to render at least three full years of service in education in the state of Arkansas, may be asked to repay the money to the scholarship fund.

 

The deadline to apply for the scholarship is March 31st and the winner of the award will be announced during the association’s summer conference.

 

Applicants will be to submit a completed application, a copy of their college transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. One recommendation must be from either candidate’s administrator or graduate advisor.

 

For more information, contact Hill at the De Queen High School by calling 642-2426 ext. 227.

 

 

 

UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS MAY QUALIFY FOR SOME DISASTER AID ON CHILD'S BEHALF      3/7/16

 

Undocumented immigrants who are parents or guardians of minor children who are U.S. citizens in the federally-declared Arkansas disaster area may apply for disaster aid on behalf of their child, according to FEMA.

 

Residents of Little River and Sevier counties affected by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of December 26th through January 22nd may be eligible for disaster aid and are encouraged to register for assistance with FEMA.

 

To register, go online to www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362. Multilingual operators are available.

 

FEMA collects only the information the agency needs to process the application. That information is confidential. However, FEMA shares that information with the state and designated agencies that provide disaster assistance.

 

 

INTERNET SAFETY PROGRAM  03/07/16

 

Students at Ashdown Junior High, were presented a program on Internet Safety by Dwayne Yarborough from the Arkansas Attorney Genera's office. That evening, he spoke to parents to educate them on the newest apps, websites, and social media that students may be using. Mr. Yarborough is the senior law education instructor in the Attorney General's office. He is a 20 year veteran of the office.

Tips for Parents:

Help your child understand that he or she does not own the phone, it is your property because you bought it and pay the bill. Use of the phone is a privilege - not a right.

Always know your child's passwords.

Reserve the right to review all texts, call logs, social media postings, contacts. etc. This is not a matter of privacy invasion; it is a matter of safety.

Make sure your child knows not to join ANY social media site without your approval.

Stress the important of answering all calls from Mom or dad.

Enforce a no-phones-during-meals policy, whether at home or at a restaurant.

Restrict the length of time your child may play games or browse social media.

Have a set time for your child to give you his or her phone every night.

Stress to your child the importance of being kind and not posting messages that are untrue, hurtful or inappropriate.

Make sure your child understands that everything posted online is there FOREVER. Do not allow them to send or receive inappropriate pictures of themselves or anyone else. Doing so is always a bad idea and could ruin their teenage/college/adult life.

Create an open environment where mistakes are constructively discussed. Help your child know that there will be consequences if he or she violates these rules.

Some useful apps for driving teens are: Safely Go and Canary. Social media apps are constantly changing and being added, but be aware of those beyond Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine. They are Kik, Snapchat, Meerkat, Tumblr, and Yik Yak.

And, always remember that communication is key. The best way to protect children online is to talk with them. Things to discuss are: inappropriate conduct, inappropriate contact, inappropriate content and consequences of inappropriate behavior.

Helpful resources are CyberTipline.com (800-843-5678), OnGuardOnline.gov, NetSmartz.org, webwise.ie, and iKeepSafe.org.

If you suspect internet crimes again children, please contact the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (Arkansas State Police) at 501-618-8373.


Pictured are Dwayne Yarbrough and AJHS Principal, James Jones

 

 

LOVING MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE IN SEVIER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT THURSDAY       3/4/16

 

Twenty-year-old Aaron Loving of De Queen was formally charged with first degree murder Thursday morning during his first appearance in the Sevier County Circuit Court.

 

Loving has been accused of shooting Amado Gallardo on Sunday, February 28th following some type of altercation between the two men.

 

Loving then carjacked a vehicle and kidnapped the driver, before being arrested in the McCurtain County Sheriff's Office parking lot by members of the McCurtain County Sheriff's office, the Idabel Police Department and Sonny Kimmel of the De Queen Police Department who is in Idabel interviewing the kidnap victim, 20-year-old TraShaun Maull.

 

Persecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir also announced Loving has been charged with kidnapping, aggravated robbery and felon in possession of a firearm.

 

Chesshir said the first degree murder charge, the kidnapping charge and the aggravated robbery charge all carry 10 years to life sentences.

 

Loving is currently being held in the Sevier County jail on a $300,000 bond.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN JUNIOR HIGH STUDENT MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE IN COURT THURSDAY       3/4/16

 

A 15-year-old De Queen Junior High School student appeared in the Sevier County Circuit Court Thursday to be formally charged with first degree terroristic threatening, after being arrested Wednesday morning on the De Queen campus. Circuit Court Judge Charles Yeargan announced the young man will be tried as a juvenile.

 

According to the De Queen Police Department, school officials received information that a student had sent a message concerning a possible terroristic act.

 

Law enforcement and school officials responded immediately and the juvenile suspect was taken into custody without any incident.

 

The student will remain in a juvenile facility until his lawyer is able to find a suitable facility for a mental evaluation.

 

 

 

CASTEEL COMPLETES TERM AS PRESIDENT OF THE ARKANSAS FUNERAL DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION      3/4/16

 

Sarah Wilkerson Casteel, of Wilkerson Funeral Home of De Queen and Dierks completed her term as President of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association by leading the annual convention which was held in Hot Springs on February 26th and 27th. 

 

Casteel is the fourth generation of the Wilkerson family to be a licensed funeral director. Like her father, Trey Wilkerson, and grandfather, B-Bud Wilkerson, she grew up around the funeral home and began learning about the funeral business at a young age. She is a Certified Pre-Planning Consultant, a member of the De Queen Rotary Club and the First United Methodist Church in De Queen. She served the AFDA as their 115th president in 2015-2016. She and her husband, Doug, live in Horatio and have one daughter, Sydney.

 

Casteel led the AFDA in a year of reorganization and growth culminating with a record-breaking attendance at this year's annual convention. She will now assume the role as Past President and remain on the board in an advisory position for the next year.

 

During the banquet, Casteel reviewed the organization's activities for the previous year and presented awards and honors to those with distinguished service in the industry. At the end of the evening, Casteel was presented with plaques of appreciation from the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association for her year of service to the Association by the AFDA President Don Martin and from the National Funeral Directors Association by Randy Anderson.

 

 

 

FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO REFINANCE SCHOOL BONDS       3/3/16

 

A representative from First Security Beardsley Public Finance presented a schedule of savings to the Foreman Board of Education if they refinanced the district’s two bonds into one bond.

 

Beardsley reported the district has one bond that was issued in 2008. He said it has an interest rate of 5.25 percent and the other bond was issued in 2010. He said it has interest rate of 3.93 percent.

 

Beardsley stated the district could combine the two bonds into one at an interest rate of 2.86 percent.

 

Board members voted to submit “Applications for a Permit to Issue Bonds” in the amount of $380,000 and $250,000 to the Commissioner of Education and to employ First Security Beardsley Public Finance as their Fiscal Agent.

 

Colton Churchill from Excel Energy Group made a presentation to the board about how much money the district could save by converting the district’s lighting fixtures to LED fixtures. However, the board did not make a decision during the February meeting.

 

Board members also voted to extend the contracts of the high school principal, Kimberly Cody; elementary principal, Patricia Tankersley; and athletic director John Hall.

 

Cody reported the following eight students were inducted into the National Honor Society. The students were Kylie Cowan, Tucker Hall, Clay Whitecotton, Amberly Walker, Amy Elkins, Tometra Williams, Jada Smith and Jordan Whisenhunt.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY DISASTER RECOVERY CENTER TO CLOSE SUNDAY      3/4/16

 

Little River County Judge Mike Cranford announced Thursday afternoon, the Disaster Recovery Center in Little River County will close Sunday, March 6th at 3:30 p.m.

 

The center is located at the intersection of Highway 41 and Highway 380 at the Little River Country Club Clubhouse.

 

The center will be open today until 6 p.m.; on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

 

Representatives with FEMA, ADEM and the U.S. Small Business Administration will be at the center until Sunday.

 

The SBA is a federal partner with FEMA and it provides long term recovery resources for disaster survivors.

 

Before visiting the center, register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362 or online at www.disaterassistance.gov.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY SHOOTING SUSPECT CHARGED WITH MURDER     3/4/16

 

Forty-one-year-old Traci Dierks of Little River County was charged with second-degree murder, four counts of aggravated assault and seven counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in the Little River County Circuit Court on Wednesday in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Caitlin Caskey.

 

According to court records, Dierks was hosting a birthday party for her daughter and was serving gummy bears that were laced with alcohol.

 

According to witnesses at the party, Dierks was carrying a rifle. They said, she would answer the door, with the rifle in her hands and ask the guests if their parents knew where they were and if they were going to tell the police she was serving alcohol to minors.

 

Witnesses reported the rifle went off and Caskey was struck in the chest.

 

According to Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir, the four counts of aggravated assault were based on Dierks pointing and firing the weapon.

 

Dierks is being held in the Sevier County jail with a $100,000 bond.

 

 

 

 

March 6 Deadline to Request Public Assistance Funding for Severe Storm Damage     3/4/16

 

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — State and local officials, county agencies and certain private nonprofit organizations in 32 Arkansas counties have only a few days remaining to submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) for federal funds to support the recovery from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding and tornadoes, Dec. 26 – Jan. 22, 2016.

The deadline to submit the one-page RPA is Sunday, March 6, 2016.

 

The counties eligible for PA are: Benton, Boone, Bradley, Calhoun, Carroll, Clay, Crawford, Dallas, Drew, Franklin, Greene, Independence, Izard, Lawrence, Little River, Logan, Madison, Marion, Mississippi, Montgomery, Ouachita, Perry, Pike, Polk, Randolph, Scott, Searcy, Stone, Washington, White, Woodruff, and Yell.

 

Representatives from the Arkansas Emergency Management Agency, with support from FEMA, held detailed briefings for officials of governmental organizations, local officials and private non-profit organizations throughout the disaster areas to address application procedures, administrative requirements, funding and program eligibility.

 

Public officials and other eligible applicants who were unable to attend the briefings and want to file an RPA can download the RPA form at ADEM/PA/Applicant Packet. They may also call ADEM at (501) 683-6700 and ask to speak to the Recovery Branch.

 

Once a RPA is received it is processed by the state and a FEMA public assistance officer is assigned to work in partnership with the applicant to provide comprehensive information, explanations and technical assistance.

 

The public assistance officer focuses on the eligibility and documentation requirements that are most pertinent to an applicant. The FEMA project officer and the applicant then work together to prepare subgrant applications.  

 

Eligible costs include debris removal, emergency protective measures (such as police, fire and medical), road and bridge repair, and repair and restoration of public buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

 

 

 

STUDENT ARRESTED AT DE QUEEN JUNIOR HIGH        3/3/16

 

Wednesday morning, local law enforcement authorities arrested a De Queen Junior High student for terroristic threatening following an incident at the school.

 

According to a press release from the De Queen Police Department, school officials received information Wednesday morning that a student sent a message concerning a possible terroristic act.

 

School officials and members of the De Queen Police Department along with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office acted upon the threat immediately and the juvenile suspect was taken into custody without any incident.

 

The juvenile has been charged with first degree terroristic threatening and is being held in a juvenile facility, where he is awaiting arraignment.

 

School officials do not believe there is any other threat to students or faculty members related to the incident.

 

 

 

SPLIT DECISION ON FUTURE OF FOREMAN MARSHAL'S OFFICE    3/3/16

 

On February 10th, the Little River County Sheriff's Department presented a proposal to the City of Foreman to merge the city's marshal department with the sheriff's office.

 

Foreman Mayor Judy Adams explained two marshal's had resigned at the beginning of the year and she was looking for qualified replacements when Sheriff Gary Gregory approached her with the proposal.

 

According to the proposal, the sheriff's office will provide law enforcement coverage in the City of Foreman 24 hours a day; seven-days a week when practical and the city will pay the salaries and benefits of two deputies, as well as provide equipment, when practical.

 

The proposal also states the city will continue to receive funds from fines and fees, but will not have to pay for Little River County Court or dispatcher fees, which will save the city about $15,000 a year.

 

Adams said she presented the proposal to the city council during their regular monthly meeting, but they tabled the issue.

 

Adams said a special called meeting was held a week later and the proposal passed by a 3 to 2 vote.

 

Adams said the proposal contains a clause that will allow the city to terminate the agreement after six-months if the council is not satisfied with the department's coverage.

 

One resident Jimmy Callahan opposes the agreement and is seeking signatures from other Foreman residents who do not like the new arrangement. He said residents can sign the petition at his store, This N That Home Furnishing on South Madden Street.

 

The agreement must be approved by the Little River County Quorum Court. Justices of the Peace will meet Tuesday, March 8th in the Little River County Courthouse in Ashdown. If the Quorum Court approves the proposal, it is expected to go into effect, April 1st.

 

 

 

TRAFFIC STOP RESULTS IN DRUG ARREST      3/3/16

 

Sunday morning, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department was patrolling on Stilwell Avenue when he noticed a pickup with an expired temporary tag.

 

During the traffic stop, the driver, 40-year-old Jerome Brown of Smithville, Oklahoma, stated he knew the tags were expired, but he hadn't had time to take care of that.

 

Browning also asked for IDs from the two passengers. They were identified as 28-year-old Jeremy Lee Hill of Ozan and 29-year-old Charity Kyle of Vandervoort.

 

According to dispatch, Hill was wanted on an outstanding warrant for carrying a concealed weapon.

 

Hill was taken into custody by Patrolman David Higgins who asked him if he had anything illegal on his person. Hill allegedly stated he had a smoking device in his bag and two clear bags with methamphetamine residue in them.

 

While searching the vehicle, officers found a black case that contained a syringe and glass smoking device under the seat between the two passenger seats. None of the occupants of the vehicle admitted the case belonged to them, so all three suspects were arrested.

 

Hill was charged with six counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. Kyle and Brown were charged with three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, each.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY FARMER'S MARKET SPRING MEETING IS TONIGHT     3/3/16

 

Angela Smith of the Sevier County Farmer's Market stopped by the KDQN studios this morning to remind area gardeners that the market's spring meeting is tonight at 6 p.m. at the Herman Dierks Park Pavilion.

 

Smith said they will be deciding how much the membership fees will be for the 2016 season. She said a lot of vendors pay $5 a day, especially if they have certain types of crops.

 

Smith said the market is also expanding in an effort to form partnerships with area businesses.

 

For more information, call 642-2718 or visit the market's Facebook page at Sevier County Farmer's Market - De Queen, Arkansas.

 

 

Federal Assistance Tops $1 Million for Arkansas Recovery      3/3/16

 

 NORTH LITTLE ROCK – More than $1 million in aid to date is helping the residents of 11 Arkansas counties recover from the severe storms, Dec. 26 – Jan. 22, 2016.

 Aid is still available to residents of Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Faulkner, Jackson, Jefferson, Lee, Little River, Perry, Sebastian and Sevier counties who suffered disaster-related damage. They are encouraged to register for assistance with FEMA before the April 5, 2016 deadline.

 

 According to FEMA and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, 171 persons have been approved for disaster assistance as of close of business Feb. 29, 2016.

 

 That assistance includes $922,237 in housing aid to help homeowners and renters:

·         Rent temporary housing for a limited period of time;

·         Repair damage from the disaster to a homeowner’s primary residence that is not covered by insurance; and

·         Help replace homes destroyed in the disaster.

 

The assistance also includes $77,839 to help pay for:

·         Disaster-related medical and dental costs;

·         Disaster-related funeral and burial costs;

·         Clothing, household items, tools required for work and necessary educational materials;

·         Clean-up items;

·         Disaster-damaged vehicles;

·         Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster; and

·         Other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA.

 

 Also, $431,200 in low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses and private nonprofit organizations has been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

 

 To register for assistance:

·         Call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA). If you are deaf, hard-of-hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.

·         Go to www.disasterassistance.gov.

 

 The toll free lines operate from 7 a.m.to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

 

 Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to help with residential and business losses not covered by insurance. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. Applying for these loans is also a way to qualify for other avenues of assistance.

 

 For more information on SBA programs, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Persons with speech disability, are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call TTY (800) 877-8339.

 

 

CHIEF MCKINLEY'S LAST DAY WAS FEBRUARY 26      3/2/16

 

De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy announced Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the De Queen City Council that Police Chief Richard McKinley's last day on the job was Friday, February 26th, but he will not officially retire until July 1st.

 

McKelvy said Captain Scott Simmons was the acting-chief, but three candidates had applied to fill the position from within the De Queen Police Department. McKelvy stated he hopes to name a new chief by the end of this week.

 

Aldermen passed an ordinance Tuesday night to participate in the Arkansas Diamond 457 plan, which is similar to an employee IRA retirement plan. McKelvy said city employees will be able to participate through a payroll deduction.

 

For the past month, aldermen have been considering a stop sign at the intersection of De Queen Avenue and Third Street. McKelvy said some city residents want a stop sign, others do not. He said another option was to suspend a red light between two steel poles that belong to SWEPCO.

 

McKelvy said a representative from Signal-Tek said he would not recommend suspending a light from the poles because they did not know the specs on the poles concerning how much weight the poles could support.

 

Aldermen elected not to put stop sign at the intersection of De Queen Avenue and Third Street.

 

However, aldermen encouraged McKelvy to consider replacing the road sensors with cameras at the 70/71 intersection and Ninth Street and Collin Raye Drive red lights.

 

The next De Queen City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 15th at 6 p.m. in the De Queen City Hall.

 

 

 

DRUG DRIVING ARREST IN DE QUEEN     3/2/16

 

Monday morning around 10 a.m.. Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department observed a car on Collin Raye Drive speeding.

 

Officer Browning reported he noticed an open case of Budweiser in the back floor board as he approached the vehicle on the passenger side.

 

The driver was identified as 34-year-old Maurice Piggee of De Queen.

 

After failing a series of field sobriety test, Piggee was taken into custody on suspicion of drunk driving. While searching Piggee's vehicle, Browning discovered a green leafy substance in the driver's side flood board and in the driver's side door.

 

At the Sevier County jail, Piggee refused to submit to a chemical test. Piggee then allegedly informed Browning that he was violating his rights by not allowing him to take the test. According to the incident report, when Piggee was asked to sign the form, he refused once again.

 

While Officer Browning was filling out the incident report, Correctional Officer Anthony Johnson attempted to get Piggee to change into his jail clothes, but Piggee continued to be uncooperative.

 

According to Browning, Piggee stated he wasn't going to do anything until he spoke with his lawyer.

 

Piggee was then told to put his hands on the wall, but he ignored the order. Browning and Johnson then attempted to subdue Piggee who continued to resist.

 

Finally, Piggee removed a white bag from his pants and attempted to escape from the officers. Piggee was tazed by Officer Browning, but once the effects wore off, Piggee attempted to run away from the officers again. This time, Officer Johnson sprayed Piggee with pepper spray and he dropped the bag that he was holding on to.

 

After Piggee was taken to the restroom to be decontaminated, officers recovered five clear bags of suspected methamphetamine and one bag of suspected marijuana. Officers also found a smoking device with residue in it and burn marks on it.

 

Piggee was charged with possession of controlled substance-marijuana, possession of methamphetamine or cocaine with the intent to deliver, two counts of felony possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal mischief, driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to a chemical test and furnishing prohibited articles.

 

 

 

PRIMARY RESULTS      3/2/16

 

Arkansas voters cast their votes for the presidential candidates of their choice on Tuesday and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was announced the winners of the Arkansas Primary.

 

In the Democratic Primary:

Clinton              136,967; 66.53 %

Bernie Sanders    61,166; 39.71%

 

In the Republican Primary:

Trump        125,373; 32.69%

Ted Cruz            116,395; 30.35%

Marco Rubio        95,940; 25.01%

Ben Carson         21,853; 5.7%

 

In the Democratic Primary, Sevier County voters cast 342 votes for Clinton and 167 for Sanders. In Little River County, Clinton received 721 votes to Sanders 441 votes.

 

In the Republican Primary, Sevier County voters cast 593 votes for Trump, 495 for Cruz, 253 for Rubio and 141 for Carson. In Little River County, Trump received 521 votes, Cruz-488, Rubio-187 and Carson-87.

 

In the Republican Senate Race, Senator John Boozman won the Republican nomination. He received 277,328 or 76.21% of the votes to Curtis Coleman's 86,567 or 23.79%.

 

Sevier County voters supported Boozman with 1,040 votes to Coleman's 384. In Little River County, Boozman won 779 to 467 over Coleman.

 

Boozman will face Democratic Challenger Conner Eldridge in the November General Election.

 

Dan Kemp was elected State Supreme Court Chief Justice with 310,242 or 58.03% of the votes to Courtney Goodson's 224,385 or 41.93%.

 

Sevier County cast 1,000 votes for Kemp and 856 for Goodson. Little River County voters cast 1,330 votes for Kemp and 1,359 for Goodson.

 

Shawn Womack won the Supreme Court Associate Judge position with 352,465 or 67.50% of the votes. Clark Mason received 169,681 or 32.50%.

 

Sevier County elected Womack by a margin of 1,181 to 609 for Mason. Little River County voters cast 1,743 votes for Womack and 804 for Mason.

 

In Little River County, Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory defeated Mike Matthews, 884-694, in the Democratic Primary.

 

Gregory will now face Republican challenger Bobby Walraven in the November general elections.

 

 

 

ELECTION RESULTS FROM POLK COUNTY     3/2/16

Submitted by KENA

 

A total of 5,464 Polk County voters cast their ballots in the 2016 Presidential Primary with three local races determining the new office holders.  These are still considered “unofficial” numbers as the local Election Commission has not certified them.

Polk County voted predominantly Republican with 4,762 casting Republican ballots, 651 in Democratic races, and 59 Non-partisan.

 

Scott Sawyer has been voted in as the next Polk County Sheriff after a tight race on Tuesday. Sawyer pulled in 50.55% of the vote with 2,348 ballots cast in favor of him. His opponents, Mickey Simmons and Tim Milham won 39% and 10% of the vote respectively.

 

There will be a run-off in the Circuit Clerk race. Debbie Scott pulled in 44.63% of the vote, while Michelle Schnell grabbed 31.87% and Wanda Smith 23.5%. Scott and Schnell will face each other in the run off on March 22nd.

 

Brian Bowser will remain the Polk County Coroner after a tight race with 2,470 votes while his opponent, Richard Myhand had 2,025.

 

In state races, John Boozman claimed victory in Polk County with almost 75% of the votes above opponent Curtis Coleman.

 

In the race for Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice, Dan Kemp grabbed 58% of the vote over current Chief Justice Courtney Goodson. Shawn Womack had 67% of votes cast over Clark Mason for Supreme Court Justice Position 5.

 

Donald Trump was the clear winner on the Republican ticket in Polk County with 1,895 votes, or 40%. Ted Cruz had 1,043 votes cast in his favor, while Marco Rubio was only three behind with 1,040.

 

Hillary Clinton won the democratic ticket with 349 votes while Bernie Sanders pulled in 272 votes in Polk County.

 

 

 

ELDRIDGE INVITES BOOZMAN AND GILBERT OT PARTICIPATE IN 5 DEBATES AND 5 TOWN HALL FORUMS      3/2/16

 

Following Senator John Boozman's victory last night over his Republican challenger, Curtis Coleman, former prosecutor and U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge, who is running for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat, congratulated the former Congressman and current U.S. Senator Boozman on securing his nomination and then invited him to participate in five televised debates and five town hall forums around the state to take questions directly from voters.

 

Eldridge also invited Frank Gilbert who is the Libertarian Party nominee to participate.

 

Eldridge is calling for a total of five televised debates, one debate in each congressional district and participation in the AETN statewide debate.

 

Eldridge is also calling for five town hall forums where voters ask questions directly to the candidates. The forums would be held in Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Rogers and Texarkana. Eldridge said the logistics and details of each debate and town hall can be worked out between the hosting organizations and the candidates, but agreeing to participate in them is the first step.

 

Eldridge said this is a critical election with too much at stake not to give voters honest debate and clear answers.

 

 

IT'S ELECTION DAY        3/1/16

 

Today is Election Day in Arkansas and voting in the presidential primary and non-partisan judicial election will continue until 7:30 p.m. at county wide polling sites.

 

Early voting numbers statewide suggest today's election will surpass recent primary elections in turnout, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State's office.

 

As of last Friday, 141,046 Arkansans had cast ballots since early voting began on February 15th. Chris Powell of the secretary of state’s office reported about 100,000 ballots was cast in early voting for the 2012 and 2014 primaries.

 

Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akins office reported 468 Sevier County residents cast their votes during the early voting period.

 

Powell also announced the secretary of state's office will be uploading results from the Primary and Nonpartisan General Election online after the polls close tonight at 7:30.

 

Powell said they expect results to begin coming in around 8 p.m., but timeliness of results will vary by county.

 

Arkansans will be able to view the election data in a number of ways including by race, county, precinct, and vote type. County and precinct maps can also be viewed at www.sos.arkansas.gov/electionresults.

 

 

 

COSSATOT BOARD OF EDUCATION EXTENDS CONTRACTS OF ALL ADMINISTRATORS        3/1/16

 

During the February meeting of the Cossatot River Board of Education, board members voted to renew the contracts of the district's administration. Superintendent Donnie Davis reported he agreed to serve the district for four-years and the board voted to lockup his contract through the 2017-2018 school year.

 

Davis said the board also extended the contracts of the high school principal, LaDonna White; the high school assistant principal, Mickey Ford; the Wickes Elementary principal, Dewayne Taylor; the Vandervoort Elementary principal, Jana Richardson; and the Umpire principal, Carla Golden.

 

Davis said the district upgraded the district’s computer labs by purchasing some new Dell desktop computers and board members also approved the purchase of some new literacy software.

 

Davis also reported the district purchased two new buses at a cost of $175,190 dollars.

 

Davis announced the board approved the 2016-2017 school calendar. He said the first day of school will be August 15th and students will get two-full weeks for Christmas.

 

The next board meeting was scheduled for Thursday, March 10th at 6 p.m. in the administration building.

 

 

FEMA Home Inspectors Help Start Arkansas Recovery from Severe Winter Storms     3/1/16

 

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Residents and business owners who have registered for disaster assistance with FEMA should expect a housing inspector to verify damage soon after they’ve applied.

 

Identifying damage helps determine both the amount and the types of assistance FEMA or other state and federal agencies may provide. There is no fee for the inspection. The inspector does not determine the amount of assistance an applicant will receive.

 

The inspector is required to carry identification that includes his or her photo and ID number.  When the inspector comes to your home, ask to see the identification.

 

Residents of Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Faulkner, Jackson, Jefferson, Lee, Little River, Perry, Sebastian and Sevier counties that suffered damage from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding Dec. 26, 2015 - January 22, 2016 may be eligible for disaster assistance.

 

Being ready when the inspector visits can help speed assistance.

If you’ve registered with FEMA for disaster assistance, here’s what to expect:  A FEMA inspector will contact you to schedule an appointment to inspect your damaged home. If you have a disability and require an accommodation when the inspector arrives, please call 800-621-3362 during regular business hours.

 

Provide the inspector with clear, accurate directions to the damaged property.  Post office boxes do not show locations.

 

Be prepared to provide written proof of ownership or rental occupancy, such as a tax receipt, deed, mortgage payment book, rental agreement, or home insurance policy with the damaged property’s address. Having the necessary documentation will help speed up the inspection process.

 

The inspector will not ask you for your Social Security number, your bank account or credit card account numbers or for medical information. If someone claiming to be with FEMA asks you to provide such information, call your local law enforcement immediately.

 

Whether you are an owner or a renter, you must show that the damaged property was your primary residence at the time of the disaster. Inspectors will accept a valid driver’s license or current utility bill (such as an electric, gas or water bill) as proof you live there.

 

The inspection is free. It usually takes between 45 minutes and an hour, and consists of measuring the real property, inspecting its contents, and recording the findings.

 

Using a handheld electronic device, the inspector creates a digital “model” of the damaged home and uses it to indicate where damage occurred. The device — called an inspector’s pad —transmits information electronically to FEMA. This speeds up the process of providing assistance.

 

The inspector will ask to see damage to both real property and personal property in all areas of your home. This is to inventory both the type and extent of loss. For example, not all disaster damage results in a complete loss. The inspector’s report will show which items are total losses; which items can be repaired; and those that are not affected. FEMA will not replace damaged items that can be repaired with new items.

 

Typically, in 10 days or less after the inspector’s visit, you will receive a letter from FEMA containing a decision.

 

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621- 3362 (FEMA).

 

Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability, are deaf or hard of hearing and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

 

 

Mobile Disaster Recovery Centers Open in Little River County      3/1/16

 

NORTH LITTLE ROCK – Joint federal/state disaster recovery centers will open Tuesday, March 1, 2016 in Jackson and Little River counties to help those whose homes or businesses were affected by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding Dec. 26, 2015 – Jan. 22, 2016.

Representatives from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other agencies will be at the centers to explain disaster assistance programs and help survivors apply for aid. Those visiting the centers can talk to experts on ways to prevent future disaster damage and take home free publications on mitigation topics.

 

These mobile, temporary centers are located:

Little River County at the entrance of the Little River County Country Club
392 Country Club Road
Winthrope, AR 71866

 

Hours at the centers are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays until further notice.

 

Those seeking disaster assistance should register with FEMA before going to a recovery center. To do so:Call 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for individuals with a speech disability, are deaf or hard-of-hearing. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. Go to www.disasterassistance.gov.

 

The toll free lines operate from 7 a.m.to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Each disaster recovery center has assistive technologies for people with disabilities. ASL interpreters are available at the DRCs by calling 1-800-621-3362.

 

Disaster aid for individuals and families can include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal property loss and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

 

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to help with residential and business losses not covered by insurance. The SBA is the federal government’s primary source of money for the rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. Applying for these loans is also a way to qualify for other avenues of assistance.

 

For more information on SBA programs, applicants may contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955, emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Individuals with a speech disability, are deaf or hard-of-hearing, may call TTY (800) 877-8339.

 

Federal disaster assistance is available to eligible residents of Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Faulkner, Jackson, Jefferson, Lee, Little River, Perry, Sebastian and Sevier counties.

 

Disaster recovery centers are also open in Carroll, Crawford, Faulkner and Jefferson counties. The address of each center can be found at http://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm .   Those affected by the storms may visit any center.

 

 

SBA Disaster News - One Month Left to Apply for SBA Disaster Loans       3/1/16

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Director Tanya N. Garfield of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Field Operations Center - West today reminded small, nonfarm businesses in 67 Arkansas counties; neighboring Louisiana parishes; and neighboring counties in Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas of the March 29, 2016, deadline to apply for an SBA federal disaster loan for economic injury. These low-interest loans are to offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the excessive rain, flash flooding, flooding, hail, high winds, lightning and tornadoes in the following primary counties that began March 1, 2015.
 
Primary Arkansas counties:  Carroll, Columbia, Conway, Craighead, Crawford, Cross, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hempstead, Independence, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Little River, Logan, Madison, Miller, Nevada, Perry, Phillips, Poinsett, Pope, Prairie, Scott, Sebastian, Sharp, White, Woodruff and Yell;
Neighboring Arkansas counties: Arkansas, Baxter, Benton, Boone, Clark, Clay, Cleburne, Cleveland, Crittenden, Desha, Garland, Grant, Howard, Izard, Lee, Lincoln, Lonoke, Mississippi, Monroe, Montgomery, Newton, Ouachita, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Randolph, Saint Francis, Saline, Searcy, Sevier, Stone, Union, Van Buren and Washington;
Neighboring Louisiana parishes: Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne and Webster;
Neighboring Mississippi counties: Bolivar, Coahoma and Tunica;
Neighboring Missouri counties: Barry, Dunklin, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Stone and Taney;
Neighboring Oklahoma counties: Adair, Le Flore, McCurtain and Sequoyah;
Neighboring Texas counties: Bowie and Cass.
 
According to Garfield, small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. “EIDLs may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact,” said Garfield.
 
“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster. EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the applicant suffered any property damage,” Garfield added.
 
The interest rate is 4 percent for businesses and 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.
 
Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration.
 
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
 
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more disaster assistance information, or to download applications, visit http://www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

 

CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 2016     03/01/16

 

The Chalice Cupboard assisted 25 families in Sevier County in February, including 37 adults and 30 children, totaling 67 people.  626 lbs of food was distributed.

 

632 lbs of food was added to the pantry.  this included 489 lbs. of purchased food plus donations of 143 lbs.   St. Barbara Catholic Church gave 67 lbs.  Individuals gave 70 lbs.  There was a 6 lb. anonymous donation.  volunteers donated 31 hours of work in February.

 

The bank balance on February 1, 2016 was $5,979.13.  Deposits for the month totaled $1,137.00.  During February, $364.02 was spent for food to replenish the pantry supply.  The bank balance on February 29, 2016 was $6,752.11.

 

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 p.m. until 3:15 p.m.  food is given to those requesting assistance once each three months period of the year:  January-February-March; April-May-June; July-August-September; and October-November-December.

 

Suggested non-perishable items for those people who want to make a donation are canned soup and tuna.  Any money donated will be used for the purchase of food.