Southwest Arkansas Daily
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Local News archives
DE QUEEN ELEMENTARY TEACHER OF THE YEAR 01/23/15
Mrs. Brenda Clowers is the De Queen Elementary School’s teacher of the year. Mrs. Clowers is the librarian and works with every child in third, fourth, and fifth grade. She also uses the computer lab to teach research skills as well as computer skills. Clowers also does a lot of the behind the scenes work. Pictured with Mrs. Clowers are Kamina Monna, Payne Thornton, Kane Faulkenberry, and Emily Garcia.
De Queen Elementary School will have their annual Book Fair January 26-30. Parent night is on January 27, 4-6 p.m.
MARKETING SEMINAR FOR SMALL BUSINESSES 01/23/15
UA Cossatot has partnered with Henderson State University and the Arkansas Small Business And Technology Development Center to present "Marketing Techniques for Small Businesses". This seminar will be held Monday, January 26th from 3 until 5 pm.
A small marketing budget doesn't have to mean restricted resources for your small business. Get an overview of general marketing techniques, accompanied by suggestions for small businesses with small budgets. Topics include how to create a marketing plan and calendar, determining your target markets, low cost marketing tools, and much more!
for this seminar.
Call 870-230-5184 or David Sirmon at
UA Cossatot to register.
Members of Arkansas Delegation Push for Level Playing Field for Arkansas Rice 01/23/15
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Bruce Westerman (AR-04) joined colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to encourage Iraq to purchase more American produced rice.
The letter asks for diplomatic assistance to improve trade relations with the Iraqi Grain Board (IGB) because of the decreased purchases of American produced rice. In recent years, the IGB has bought rice from other nations over lower cost American rice. The letter asserts that the IGB has not indicated that American rice is deficient in quality, grade or price.
Arkansas leads the nation in rice production. Rice is the top agricultural export for the Natural State. Nationwide, rice production generates approximately $34 billion in economic activity annually, creating thousands of jobs in rural America.
“We recognize Iraq’s prerogative to make these types of decisions, but it serves no purpose to discriminate against competitively-priced U.S. rice in favor of rice produced elsewhere. As an example, on November 6, 2014, the Iraqi Grain Board announced its intent to purchase 170,000 metric tons (mt) of rice. The IGB purchased 80,000 mt from Thailand, 60,000 from Uruguay, and 30,000 from Brazil. No rice was purchased from the United States, despite offers of U.S. rice that were of similar quality but nearly $24 per mt below the prices from competitors from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Iraqi authorities have provided no explanation for this type of decision,” the letter states.
Click here to read the letter in its entirety.
The IGB is expected to begin accepting bids on a new tender to buy 30,000 metric tons of rice soon.
The letter was also signed by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), David Purdue (R-Ga.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Members of the House of Representatives signing the letter include Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Brian Babin (R-Texas), Charles Boustany (R-La.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), John Fleming (R-La.), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Jason Smith (R-Mo.), Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), David Valadao (R-Calif.) and Randy Weber (R-Texas).
FOREMAN SCHOOL BOARD REPORT 01/23/14
The Foreman Board of Education met in regular session on January 20, 2015. Mr. Bradley presented a certificate of appreciation to Mrs. Leon and the Key Club for their help with the Kiwanis pancake breakfast this past weekend.
Mrs. Tankersley, elementary principal, reported:
Formal and informal
observations are going on, all the teachers have embraced the new
teacher evaluation and I am
DMEC Reading Fair starts
tomorrow. We had local Reading Fair in December, the winners of the
local will go to compete
We are gearing up for the PARCC
assessment, the math teachers went to a PARCC update at the co-op
and came back
· We will have about fifteen Texas teachers from Region 8 schools to observe our K-6 literacy classes
Mrs. Cody, high school principal, reported:
· Myself, Mrs. Whisenhunt, and Alice Young attended a Math PARCC workshop at the co-op
· Ms. Gauldin took her 9th grade English class on January 7th to visit Central High and the Capitol in Little Rock
· TAMUT in Commerce and the Armed Services have visited with our seniors in preparation for their future plans
· The Leadership Team is continuing to have meetings twice per month
The professional development
topic on January 14th was “Praise”, which is one of our
areas of Focus for School
· Night school began tonight for those in need of credit recovery
· Student Council will have a blood drive tomorrow
The high school was recognized
as a high achieving Middle School and High School, Beating the Odds,
Mrs. Cody and Mrs. Whisenhunt presented Interim Measurable Objectives (IMO) for all four quarters as a result of high school being on Focus School status. Results in meeting each IMO were also discussed for the first and second quarters.
· Mr. Kennedy presented certificates of appreciation for each board member for Board Appreciation month
· The audit is finished and will report the findings later once we have our final exit conference
· An estimate of the greenhouse repairs were given to each board member
· The fence at the softball field is complete
Mr. Kennedy reported there were not any expenditures over $10,000 for this month.
Mr. Kennedy recommended tabling the approval of Arkansas School Boards Association School Board Legal Liability Policy until the February board meeting. The company was not able to send us the policy before our board meeting.
The board adjourned to executive session at 7:05 p.m. for the discussion of the superintendent’s yearly evaluation.
The board returned to open session at 8:00 p.m.
Mr. Bradley made a motion to extend Mr. Kennedy’s contract one more year, until June 30, 2018. Mr. Way seconded the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Bradley made a motion to approve the minutes of December 16, 2014. Mr. Segraves seconded the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Kennedy reported the current enrollment is 509; elementary has 258 students and high school has 251 students.
Mr. Segraves made a motion to approve the December financial reports as presented by the superintendent. Mr. Bradley seconded the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Segraves made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Bradley seconded the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
BENEFIT ACCOUNT SET UP FOR TARA KITCHEN BAILEY 01/23/15
A benefit account has been opened at First State Bank of De Queen for Tara Kitchens Bailey, daughter of Cleatis and Barbara Kitchens. She is a single mom that is battling cancer. Funds are to help with medical bills and loss of income.
Also donations may be made for a drawing on a king size Razorback quilt (94 x 98"). $2.00 donation enters your name in drawing 1 time' $10 donation enters your name in drawing 6 times. Donations may be made at any First State Bank location.
Benefit for Ricky Stanford family 01/23/15
Local musicians, Daryl Argenbright and Johnny Reed, stopped by KDQN studios Thursday morning to and invite everyone to a benefit for Ricky Stanford family on Saturday, January 24th at the Sevier County Fairgrounds.
Ricky was from Horatio and ran a construction company for many years. He lost his battle with cancer in December and his friends are holding a benefit to assist his family with medical bills and final expenses.
A Soup & Chili Supper with all the fixing served will be served by donation. David Shipman will have his crew ready to conduct a silent auction of items that have been donated. Items include everything from baked goods to loads of gravel.
If you cannot make it to the benefit Saturday night, an account has been set up at First State Bank of De Queen. For more information contact Marcell McMillian at (870) 584-9199
Three Women Arrested for Allegedly embezzling from college bookstore 01/23/15
Arkansas authorities say three women have been arrested for allegedly embezzling $280,000 from the campus bookstore at UACC in Hope.
Brandy Harvel, age 26, and Tammy Williams, age 49, both of Hope were arrested around 1 pm Wednesday and were each charged with theft over $25,000.
Previously, on January 16th, Heather Langston, age 27, of Hope was arrested on theft of property charges for allegedly stealing funds from the bookstore.
The three women were employees of the Texas Book Company Book Store located on the UACC campus in Hope. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.
FOSTER PARENTS NEEDED 01/23/15
Judy Huff with the Arkansas Department of Human Services informed KDQN that her office will be hosting a foster parent inquiry meeting on Tuesday, January 27th in Lockesburg.
Huff stated there's currently a shortage of foster homes in Southwest Arkansas. She explained they needed more foster homes to help keep children in their communities when they are removed from their parents home.
Huff said they are needing foster parents who are willing to take children of all ages.
Huff stated that if you are unable to attend next week's meeting, you can contact the Department of Human Services if you would like to serve as a foster parent.
The Sevier County Department of Human Service phone number is (870) 642-2623.
FILMING OF "MENA" MAY START IN FEBRUARY 01/23/15
Barry Seals is a well-known name to those familiar with the history of the city of Mena and he is the focus of a new movie script that was sold to Universal Studios for a reported $1 million dollars.
Seals allegedly ran drugs across state lines while operating out the Mena Intermountain Municipal airport in the 19080s.
The story alleges that Seals transported guns and drugs for the CIA and a Mexican cartel. Seals was ultimately shot to death by a member of the Mexican cartel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but a lot of his illegal activities took place at the Mena airport.
Tom Cruise reported has agreed to star in the new movie that will be filmed in and around the Mena area.
Proposed AR bill would remove Robert E. Lee from MLK Day
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Robert E. Lee's birthday would no longer be celebrated on the same day as Martin Luther King Day under a bill introduced by an Arkansas lawmaker.
Republican Rep. Nate Bell's bill would remove Lee's birthday from the designations of state and school holidays. It would keep Martin Luther King's birthday as a state holiday on the third Monday of January.
Bell introduced the bill Wednesday.
Arkansas is one of three states, along with Alabama and Mississippi, that jointly celebrate King and Lee.
The practice has been criticized by civil-rights advocates who say it doesn't make sense to recognize a black civil-rights leader on the same day as a white Confederate general.
Address comments to Representative Bell by calling 479-234-2092 or Email: Nate@NateBell4Arkansas.com
Lucky for Life™ Lottery Draw Game Arrives in Arkansas on January 27!
LITTLE ROCK - On Tuesday, January 27, nearly 2,000 Lottery retailers across Arkansas will begin sales of “Lucky for Life™,” the new multi-state draw game. Tagged as "The Game of a Lifetime™,” Lucky for Life features a top prize of $1,000 a day for life as well as a second prize of $25,000 a year for life, and twice-weekly drawings.
The “Lucky” game was introduced in 2009 in Connecticut. Three game changes since then have included an extension to the five additional New England states, and now to Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, and South Carolina. Because of the steady population expansion, the game has grown from a top prize of $2,000 a week for life, to a $1,000 a day for life top prize, a patented second “for life” prize, and additional prize levels that resonate with players. With Lucky for Life, a true “for life” win opportunity in a draw game is available. Both the top prize and second prize are payable for the entire of a winner’s natural life.
“This win style holds great attraction for Arkansas Lottery players. Because when we say ‘for life,’ we mean it,” said Bishop Woosley, Director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. “We believe that winning a prize that can be paid on an on-going basis is tremendous incentive for consumers to purchase the game and that is part of the reason the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is excited to bring Lucky for Life to our players.”
Features that make Lucky for Life a unique addition to Arkansas Scholarship Lottery game portfolios include:
1. A top prize of up to $1,000 a day for life, payable as an annuity or lump sum.
2. A second prize of up to $25,000 a year for life, payable as an annuity or lump sum.
3. “For Life” prizes are payable for the length of a winner’s
natural life. At minimum, 20 years of payments are guaranteed;
4. Twice a week drawings will be held in Connecticut (the
drawing host state) every Monday and Thursday at 9:38pm
5. Following each drawing, players will be able to view the
drawing via upload on
www.LuckyforLife.US, and on participating
6. Tickets cost $2 each.
7. Eight prize levels besides the two “for life” levels are available to win, with a minimum prize of $3.
8. Overall odds are similar to scratch game odds, and are set at 1 in 7.8.
Top prize odds offer a life changing experience but with odds more
familiar to lotto style games, and are set at 1 in
COALITION MEETING SET 01/22/14
The Sevier County Coalition will be meeting on Tuesday, February 10th at the Sevier County Health Unit. You are invited to attend a networking lunch at noon and the meeting will be from 12:30-1:30p.
The goal of the meeting is to bring new partners to the table to emphasize the importance of local participation in the coalition and to discuss 2015 Coalition programs.
Please bring a new community member to the meeting and be prepared to discuss programs you feel are important for the coalition to work together on in 2015.
MISS HORATIO SCHOOL PAGEANT ANNOUNCED 01/22/14
The Miss Horatio School Pageant will be held on Saturday, February 21, 2015. Entry forms may be picked up at all school offices. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, February 10.
Competition will be for Baby Miss (1-2 years old), Tiny Miss (3-4 years old), Tiny Mister (1-4 years old), Miss Horatio Primary (Pre-K, K, 1st grade), Miss Horatio Elementary (2nd, 3rd grades), Miss Horatio Middle School (4th, 5th, 6th grades), Miss Horatio Junior High (7th, 8th, 9th grades), Miss Horatio High School (10th,11th, 12th grades). All participants must live in the Horatio School District or attend school in Horatio.
For more information, contact Ashley Elmore at 832-1900 or email@example.com. You may also go to Horatio School Events on Facebook for updates and questions.
De Queen City Council meeting 01/22/15
The De Queen City Council approved four contracts for services and designated one of its members as an authorized check signer during the regular council meeting Tuesday evening, January 20, 2015.
Council members approved resolutions authorizing contracts for services to four organizations in the following amounts: Sevier County Historical Society Museum, $5,000; Sevier County Senior Citizens Center, $10,000; Sevier County Humane Society, $1,500 and Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center, $7,500. The council amended the resolutions to specify that the payment for the contracts would be paid quarterly, except for the Humane Society, which is the smallest. It will be paid in one payment.
The council selected Alderman Walter Smith as an authorized check signer for all city accounts. The city has four authorized signatures. The other three are the mayor, city clerk-treasurer and accounts payable clerk.
The meeting opened with a presentation by the staff of Smiles of Arkansas Dental Center concerning National Children’s Dental Health Month in February. Dr. Robert Carter and Reese Sheffield of Smiles clinic, said the clinic has seen almost 10,000 patients since it opened in 2009. The Smiles staff is working to educate children and parents on the importance of good dental health.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy provided the Smiles staff with copies of a proclamation marking February as National Children’s Dental Health Month in De Queen.
In other business, the mayor said the city needs to reverse the sale by sealed bid of a Ford brush loader truck because the city cannot provide a title for the vehicle. The truck was sold in 2014 for a bid price of $4,260. The truck was purchased at an auction from the City of West Monroe, La. after the 2000 ice storm. Records indicate that the title was to be mailed but it was apparently never received. The buyer of the truck did not want to have a bonded title, which is the only alternative. The mayor said they have negotiated with the buyer and offered to reverse the sale and buy the truck back for the bid price. This was approved by a unanimous voice vote. The truck will be offered for sale again with no title, or sold for scrap metal.
Finally, the mayor said he has been talking with Pilgrim about their interest in having the city abandon four sections of street that are inside the Pilgrim plant. The mayor said he will ask the company to make the request and set a public hearing on the proposal. The hearing will be well publicized to give anyone affected to make comments before a decision.
BEST CARE CLASSES DEADLINE APPROACHING 01/21/14
If you are an early childhood professional, foster parent, or early childhood educator and want to learn more about caring for young children, you may be interested in The Best Care. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, in partnership with the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Association, is offering training for early childhood professionals. Classes are offered free of charge and is verified training through the Traveling Arkansas’ Professional Pathways (TAPP) and supports the Better Beginnings Program.
The Best Care will begin Monday, January 26, 2015 at the Howard County Extension Homemaker Center located at 425 N. Second Street in Nashville. The training will begin with registration at 5:45 and class starting at 6:00 p.m. Additional hours will be offered February 2, 9, and 16. By attending all four sessions, participants will receive 10 hours of certification.
Topics for this year’s The Best Care training will include More Money in Your Pocket: Making the Most of Tax Credits, Making the Most of Your Health Care Dollar, Health Care: Private Option, Infectious Diseases in Early Childhood, Best Nutrition Practices for Healthy Kids, Arkansas Nutrition Myth Busters, Outdoor Learning Environments, Infant Care in Early Childhood, and Your Blueprint for Happiness.
If you are interested in participating in The Best Care, contact the Sevier County Extension Office at (870) 584-3013 to register. Please register by January 23, 2015.
The Health Care Law - Getting Ready to File Your Tax Return 01/21/14
It’s always a good idea to prepare early to file your federal income tax return. Certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act – also known as the Health Care Law – will probably affect your federal income tax return when you file this year.
You or your tax professional should consider preparing and filing your tax return electronically. Using tax preparation software is the easiest way to file a complete and accurate tax return. There are a variety of electronic filing options, including free volunteer assistance, IRS Free File for taxpayers who qualify, commercial software, and professional assistance.
Here are five things you should know about the health care law that will help you get ready to file your tax return.
The Affordable Care Act requires that you and each member of your family have qualifying health insurance coverage for each month of the year, qualify for an exemption from the coverage requirement, or make an individual shared responsibility payment when filing your federal income tax return.
Most taxpayers will simply check a box on their tax return to indicate that each member of their family had qualifying health coverage for the whole year. No further action is required. Qualifying health insurance coverage includes coverage under most, but not all, types of health care coverage plans. Use the chart on IRS.gov/aca to find out if your insurance counts as qualifying coverage.
For a limited group of taxpayers -those who qualify for, or received advance payments of the premium tax credit - the health care law could affect the amount of tax refund or the amount of money they may owe when they file in 2015. Visit IRS.gov/aca to learn more about the premium tax credit.
You may be eligible to claim an exemption from the requirement to have coverage. If you qualify for an exemption, you will need to complete the new IRS Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, when you file your tax return. You must apply for some exemptions through the Health Care Insurance Marketplace. However, most of the exemptions are easily obtained from the IRS when you file your tax return. Some of the exemptions are available from either the Marketplace or the IRS.
If you receive an exemption through the Marketplace, you’ll receive an Exemption Certificate Number to include when you file your taxes. If you have applied for an exemption through the Marketplace and are still waiting for a response, you can put “pending” on your tax return where you would normally put your Exemption Certificate Number.
Individual Shared Responsibility Payment
If you do not have qualifying coverage or an exemption for each month of the year, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your return for choosing not to purchase coverage. Examples and information about figuring the payment are available on the IRS Calculating the Payment page.
Premium Tax Credits
If you bought coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement from your Marketplace by early February. Save this form because it has important information needed to complete your tax return.
If you are expecting to receive Form 1095-A and you do not receive it by early February, contact the Marketplace where you purchased coverage. Do not contact the IRS because IRS telephone assistors will not have access to this information.
If you benefited from advance payments of the premium tax credit, you must file a federal income tax return. You will need to reconcile those advance payments with the amount of premium tax credit you’re entitled to based on your actual income. As a result, some people may see a smaller or larger tax refund or tax liability than they were expecting. When you file your return, you will use IRS Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC), to calculate your premium tax credit and reconcile the credit with any advance payments.For more information about the Affordable Care Act and your 2014 income tax return, visit IRS.gov/aca
CAREER DAY AT L.F. HENDERSON INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL 01/21/14
Nine career professionals recently spent an afternoon with the fourth and fifth graders of L. F. Henderson Intermediate School, informing them of the requirements of their jobs and encouraging the students to begin preparing themselves for the careers they might choose in the future. Sponsored by Learning for Life, an organization that offers seven programs that focus on character and career education for preparing youth to be successful in handling the complexities of their futures, the speakers included medical professionals, engineers, law enforcement professionals, and other representatives from the fields of law, culinary arts and personal stylists who own and operate their own businesses. Students were able to interact, ask questions and receive solid advice from representatives of their own community.
Linda Willis, Learning for Life Director through the Caddo Area Council of Boy Scouts of America in Texarkana, has been bringing such programs to schools in the area for a number of years and enriching the communities through teaching children quality character traits and practical life skills through these programs. Learning for Life, with its PreK-12 integrated academic and character development curriculum, is based on values and ethics very similar to the traditional Scouting program that Willis represents.
Willis, with the help of school partners, recruits community and career speakers as classroom guests who encourage students to embrace education and realize its necessity. By involving local business, civic and community members in the lives of the young people, a kind of partnership is forged that is needed to make a profound difference in the lives of children.
Leading group sessions with the LFH students were pharmacist Angela Adkison, registered nurse Cindy Metzger, stylist Devona Powell, chef James Powell, chemical sales representative Darren Adkison, Ashdown Police Chief Mark Ardwin, Patrolman Glen Hankins, attorney Thad Bishop, and electrical engineer David Davis.
In the Caddo Area Council, Learning for Life serves over 5600 young people. To learn more about the Learning for Life program and how you may utilize it, contact Willis at linda.willis@LFLmail.org or call her at 903-793-2179.
Shown above: (l to r) Area Learning for Life Director Linda Willis, Ashdown Chief of Police Mark Ardwin, Ashdown Police patrolman Glen Hankins, Little River Memorial Hospital Registered Nurse Cindy Metzger, Attorney Thad Bishop, Ash Grove Cement electrical engineer David Davis, Chef James Powell, stylist Devona Powell, Kemira Chemical sales representative Darren Adkison, and Brookshire's pharmacist Angela Adkison.
Henderson State University Presidential Scholarship awarded 01/21/15
De Queen High School senior Mc Kenzie Jones has been awarded the Henderson State University Presidential Scholarship valued at $40,000 over 4 years. She is the daughter of Donna Jones and Max and Stefani Jones.
Mc Kenzie is a member of the National Honor Society, Lady Leopard basketball and soccer teams, the show choir and is enrolled in concurrent classes at UA Cossatot. She is a member of First Baptist Church in De Queen.
Mc Kenzie will attend Henderson State University in the Fall where
she plans to pursue a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
POK-TA-POK ANYONE??? 01/21/15
Students in Mrs. Karina Tun’s Spanish I class participate in a re-creation of the ancient Mayan ball game Pok-ta-Pok.
Submitted by Karina Tun, De Queen Junior High School
LOCKESBURG WATER PROJECT UNDERWAY 01/21/14
A project to overhaul the City of Lockesburg’s raw water system is now underway, with contractors already placing several miles of water line within the city.
Goslee Construction of Bonnerdale won the bid to replace all 14 miles of the city’s water line, and began work on the project last week.
Water quality has been a serious issue in Lockesburg for years, with crews constantly working to patch the 60-year old water system in town and the regular issuing of boil orders. Tree roots grow into the line, busting whole sections of it, and thousands of gallons of water regularly leak from the aging water system. But that will change once construction is completed later this year. Mayor Danny Ruth said the city was informed in 2014 that, after several years of applying, it had finally received a low-interest loan and grant from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to replace the water lines. The total cost of the project is around $2.2 million.
The funding includes a $1.2 million grant, with the city having to pay back the additional $1 million on a 20 year loan with an interest rate of 2.2 percent. To qualify for the $1.2 million grant, the city will have to contribute the other $1 million on its own.
Ruth said the city qualified for the funding after it was determined that Lockesburg was losing up to 40 percent of its water through old and leaky lines, which date to the 1950s and 1960s.
"They're old and they give us a lot of trouble," said Ruth. The city water crew regularly has to patch up leaks and repair sections of the lines. "I haven't been able to leave town for years without worrying about our water lines."
Ruth said once the new lines are in place, water leaks will become a very rare occurrence. Water quality, he said, will increase, too. “This is going to cut out our problems tremendously,” Ruth said. “It’ll be a really good thing for our town once it’s done.”
The project is expected to take around 300 days to complete.
Ruth said the city is continuing to work on collecting easements so it can begin another infrastructure project - one to replace over 11,000 feet of sewer main, 36 manholes and two lift station pumps.
This project will be paid for through a $380,000 USDA grant as well as $400,000 in city funds.
Ruth said the investments, while putting the city in debt, are long over due and will benefit the town greatly. Last November, Lockesburg residents approved a half-cent sales tax measure to help pay off the loans in a quicker timeframe.
"I'm hoping that renewing some of our infrastructure will make our town more attractive to residents, businesses and maybe even an industry. We just want to keep Lockesburg moving in the right direction,” Ruth said.
By Patrick Massey, De Queen Bee Editor
BROKEN BOW CHAMBER BANQUET 1/20/15
The Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce will be holding their 60th Annual Chamber Banquet on Tuesday, February 24th at the Broken Bow Assembly Family Life Center at 6:30 p.m.
The chamber will be presenting several awards including Citizen of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Large Business of the Year, Organization of the Year, the Heritage Award and Community Appreciation Awards.
A silent auction will be held with the proceeds helping with the operating expenses of the chamber.
Banquet tickets are $20 each and may be purchased from any board member or at the Broken Bow Chamber office. The 2015 board members are Derek Warren, Wenda Blankenship, Patrick Williams, Revica Fisher, Jia Johnson, Ray Gaston, Tommy Julian, Karla Queen, Sharon Payne, Chyrel Fortner, Steve Dollarhide and Evelyn Warren.
For more information, contact the chamber at 580-584-3393.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL TO MEET TUESDAY 1/20/15
Aldermen of the De Queen City Council will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the council room of the De Queen City Hall.
Aldermen will consider four resolutions concerning contracts of services with non-profit entities in Sevier County.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy explained that the amounts for the contracts of services were approved in the 2015 budget, but the council needed to approve a resolution for each contract.
Aldermen approved $5,000 for the Sevier County Historical Society to help with the upkeep of the Sevier County Museum and to provide residents with an opportunity to observe historical artifacts and to learn about historical events that are significant to this area.
Aldermen allocated $10,000 to the Sevier County Senior Citizens Center and have agreed to waive rental fees for the use of the facility, which saves the center about $32,000 in rent.
According to the contract of service, the funds will be used to provide senior citizens with meals and other services.
The Sevier County Humane Society was allocated $1,500 to provide spaying and neutering clinics for dogs and cats to help control the number of animals within the city limits.
The humane society also shelters unclaimed animals that are not adopted after the city's animal control officer picks them up.
And, $7,500 was budgeted for the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center to provide services to the residents of De Queen.
Mayor McKelvy also informed the council that Smiles of Arkansas Dental has asked for them to designate February as National Children's Dental Health Awareness Month in the city.
He explained this is an annual promotion by the American Dental Association and is to help raise dental health awareness in the community.
McKelvy also reported that the city water department installed the new streaming current meter and it is working the way it was designed and benefiting the water department.
DHS BAND MEMBERS SELECTED FOR FOUR STATES BAND 1/20/15
De Queen High School band director Jeff Attaway reported that three senior band members were selected to represent the De Queen band to participate in the 2015 Four States Band Conference, this past weekend.
Shayde Kitchens plays the clarinet and D.J. Lee plays the saxophone and they were selected by audition to the Four States Concert Band.
Ryan Whitley auditioned and placed second out of all of the participating tuba players and earned a second chair placement in the Four State Symphonic Band.
All three students performed alongside students from Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
The concert was held Saturday at the Sullivan Performing Arts Center in Texarkana, Texas.
DIERKS MAN KILLED IN SINGLE VEHICLE ACCIDENT 1/20/15
Arkansas State Police reported a Dierks man was killed Saturday afternoon during a single vehicle accident on Green Plains Road in north Howard County.
According to the report, about 5 p.m. Saturday, a 2001 Mack truck overturned and caught fire. By the time emergency crews arrived on the scene, the truck was completely engulfed in flames, trapping the driver 51-year-old John Kirby inside.
Kirby was pronounced dead by Howard County Coroner John Gray.
Members of the Dierks Police Department, the Howard County Sheriff's office and the Arkansas State Police arrived at the scene of the accident, along with volunteers fire fighters from Dierks and Nathan and the Howard County Ambulance Service.
According to the accident report, the road conditions were clear and dry at the time of the accident.
Howard County Emergency Management Coordinator Sonny Raulerson reported Kirby was a long time fire chief of the Umpire Volunteer Fire Department.
[Courtesy of Jonathon Canaday, KMTB]
DIERKS SCHOOL BOARD EVALUATES SUPERINTENDENT 1/20/15
Members of the Dierks Board of Education met last week to make a few policy changes and to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Holly Cothern.
Cothern spoke with KDQN and mentioned the board provided her with a positive evaluation and she encouraged the board to conduct yearly performance evaluations.
Cothern provided the board with the district's financial report and stated the district's tax revenue is up and the finances are better this year than this time last year.
Cothern reported the board made a couple of changes to some district policies and they approved for two out-of-state trips for the Outlaw baseball team.
According to the board minutes, the board also approved added Sabrina Kuykendal and Carol Sharp to the substitute teachers list.
NEW BRIDGE IS SLATED FOR LITTLE RIVER 1/20/15
State Highway Department officials have announced that a new bridge will be built to replace Highway 41 bridge that connects Little River County on the south side and Sevier County on the north side after it was labeled structurally deficient, however, the highway department says the bridge is still structurally sound.
The current Highway 41 bridge was built in 1961 and has a traffic count of about 2,200 vehicles per day and should begin sometime in 2016 and take about two to three years to complete.
According to the highway department, the project will cost about $1.2 million dollars. The cost will be split 80-20 between the federal government and the state.
Highway department engineers stated the bridge has been classified as structurally deficient, but there is no danger of the bridge falling down. They explained the bridge needs to be replaced based on it age and because the bridge does not meet current design width standards.
The new bridge will be 1,982 feet long, which is two feet longer than the existing bridge, and significantly wider.
9th WEST DISTRICT PROSECUTING ATTORNEY SELECTED TO SERVE ON ASSOCIATION BOARD 1/19/15
Members of the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney's Association met earlier this week to elect the 2015 Board of Directors.
9th West District Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir was elected secretary/treasurer, 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley will serve as the new President, while 23rd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham was elected vice-president.
Other boards members will include: Blake Batson of the 9th East Judicial District, Scott Ellington of the 2nd Judicial District, David Gibbons of the 5th Judicial District and Cody Hiland of the 20th Judicial District. Tom Tatum II, of the 15th Judicial District will serve as the board's representative to the National District Attorney's Association.
AAA ANNOUNCES REGIONAL AND STATE TOURNAMENT SITES 1/19/15
The Arkansas Activities Association announced Thursday afternoon the locations of the 2015 spring sport tournament sites.
Cossatot River High School will host the 3A state basketball tournament and Kirby will host the 1A state basketball tournament in Nashville.
Mena will host the Class 4A state baseball tournament.
In soccer, the De Queen Leopards and Lady Leopards will travel to Hope for the 5A state tournament.
ASHDOWN HONORS SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS IN JANUARY 1/19/15
Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders announced that January has been designated as School Board Member Recognition Month.
Sanders introduced the members of the Ashdown School Board and said the district presented the board members with letters from kindergarteners and the city of Ashdown declared January as School Board Member Recognition Month.
Sanders reported that board member Chuck Davis had been honored by the Arkansas School Boards Association with Honor, Outstanding and Master Board member and he received the ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2008.
Dorothy Henderson is also Honor, Outstanding and Master Board Member and received her ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2002.
Rosa Bowman is a Honor, Outstanding and Master Board member and received her ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2012.
Raymond Latson is a Honor, Outstanding and Master Board member and received his ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2010.
Michael Turner is an Outstanding and Master Board member and Bradley Day is the newest elected member.
During the meeting, Sanders informed the board members that the lawsuit with a district contractor had been settled and the board hired two new personnel members and reviewed the district's financial report.
ASHDOWN TEACHER ACCUSED OF SELLING SHOOTING SPORTS GUNS 1/19/15
An Ashdown School District Agri teacher was arrested Thursday for allegedly selling or trading two guns at a pawn shop that belonged to the district's shooting sports team.
41-year-old Terry Simmons was charged with two counts of theft of property for allegedly selling or trading guns that were owned by the district's skeet shooting team.
Simmons was the district's skeet shooting club coach and sponsor.
Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory contacted the Arkansas State Police on January 12th about the alleged thefts, after Debbie Greathouse took over as the director of the shooting sports team and asked to inventory the guns, which are stored in a safe at the sheriff’s office.
Allegedly, on January 3rd, 2014, Simmons went to Davis and Jones Pawn in Ashdown and sold or traded three guns and a 20-gauge shotgun. Reportedly, Simmons got a Winchester 270 model 70 for the four guns.
Then on March 27th, 2014, Simmons reportedly went back to Davis and Jones Pawn and sold or traded one rifle and a shotgun for a Bar Browning 243 rifle.
According to the arrest affidavit, a state police investigator went to the pawn shop and met with Dylan Davis on January 12th.
Simmons has been placed on a leave of absence from the district by Superintendent Jason Sanders.
ASHDOWN WINNERS OF DISTRICT READING FAIR 1/19/15
Eighteen L.F. Henderson Intermediate School students were chosen as winners of the annual Reading Fair competition, recently. First, second and third place winners were chosen from both the fourth and fifth grade entries in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction and Technology. The top two places in each category will represent Ashdown in the district Reading Fair competition at the De Queen-Mena Educational Cooperate in Gillham, January 21st and 22nd.
Jace Jackson and Demarcus Duncan advanced in the fourth grade, nonfiction category; Ali Mills and Rachal Vice advanced in the fourth grade, technology category; Lilly House and Allison Garner advanced in the fourth grade fiction category.
Jaxon Jester and Lindsey Miller advanced in the fifth grade, nonfiction category; Caylee Turner and Spencer Patterson advanced in the fifth grade, technology category and Jaelyn Wolf and Landon Wright advanced in the fifth grade, fiction category.
Students who entered the fiction and nonfiction categories created eye-catching visual displays using trifold boards on which they presented information about the books that they had chosen.
The students who chose to present their book in the technology category used computer programs, such as the cloud-based Prezi or Microsoft PowerPoint, to create an interesting informative report about their book.
DE QUEEN MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE GREAT KINDNESS CHALLENGE 1/19/15
De Queen Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley informed KDQN last week that Middle School Counselor Linda Quinn would be leading students to participate in the Great Kindness Challenge during the week of January 25th through the 31st.
Quinn explained that a friend told her about the program and she researched it on the website, greatkindnesschallenge.org.
According to the program's website, greatkindnesschallenge.org, last year, 554,486 students produced over 27 million acts of kindness.
Quinn said the website also provides suggests on the type of acts students can do, but she's hoping they will get creative.
Quinn said she wanted the Middle School students to participate because there are so many negative stories in the news about young people.
Quinn also challenged the residents of De Queen to conduct acts of kindness.
Quinn is hoping students and adults will impact their communities by treating each other with kindness and respect.
PSEUDORABIES OUTBREAK IN SEVIER COUNTY 1/19/15
A pseudorabies outbreak has been confirmed near De Queen in Sevier County and has claimed the lives of 10 hunting dogs after they encountered some feral swine. The dogs were being used to chase feral swine away from some livestock when an infected hog was caught and mauled by the dogs.
Soon after consuming the meat, the dog's showed signs of mad-itch, which is a common side effect of the viral infection. The symptoms were reported to the proper authorities and samples of the hog and dogs were collected and analyzed by researchers at Iowa State University.
According to experts, the virus is fatal to pets and livestock, but the Arkansas Department of Health says the virus is not transmissible to humans, however, feral swine can carry several viruses, parasites and bacteria that can lead to severe illness.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission uses large-scale trapping as an efficient and economical means of reducing the feral swine population.
Sport hunting of feral hogs has been more of a hindrance to hog removal than a benefit and it is illegal to relocate hogs for hunting purposes.
In 2013, the Arkansas Legislature passed a law prohibiting the possession, sale or transporting of any live feral hog, except to Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission approved terminal facilities by licensed individuals. The intent of the law is to limit the spread and impact of feral swine, as well as the diseases they carry.
BEAR STATE BANK 1/16/15
First National Bank will be officially changing its name to Bear State Bank at the beginning of February, this according to the Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Retail of Bear State Financial Shelly Loftin.
Loftin stated the name change will also bring about several system upgrades and the reason for the change was to create a better banking experience for their customers.
According to Loftin, current First National Bank customers will be receiving notification of this change in the mail or by email sometime this week and only the name will changing.
Loftin said the signage should be coming in February and she expects everyone will love the new design.
If you have any questions about the re-branding of First National Bank, contact your local office.
COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK ACTIVITIES FOR THIS WEEKEND 1/16/15
Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Shelley Flanary stated the park is offering several activities this weekend to encourage area residents to get out and experience nature.
This Saturday, guests are invited to join Interpreter Andrew Rawlings on a hike through the park as he shares the history of the Cossatot River State Park.
The hike will begin at Brushy Creek at 10 a.m.
Then from 2 to 3 p.m., Rawlings will lead a one hour hike over the River Corridor Trail to show guests some of the most beautiful areas of the park during the winter.
The hike will begin at the Low Water Bridge which is just below the visitor center.
On Sunday, Rawlings will lead a hike in search of our nation’s symbol of freedom, the bald eagle from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Guests will hike the Harris Creek Trail to Goat’s Bluff so they can get an excellent view of the eagles that are visiting the park.
Then from 2 to 3 p.m., park guests can help feed the park critters in the visitor center. Rawlings will also talk about the animals and their eating habits.
For more information about the activities at the Cossatot River State Park, visit our website at KDQN.net or call 870-385-2201.
HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT HONORS MEMBERS OF THEIR BOARD OF EDUCATION 1/16/15
Members of the Horatio Board of Education met Monday night and after evaluating Superintendent Lee Smith, they voted to renew his contract for the 2015-2016 school year.
Board members approved Becky Pendergraft’s contract through the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year as the district’s speech therapist and hired Cathy Day to be a long-term sub for a teacher who will be taken maternity leave.
They also accepted the transfer of one student from the Foreman School District and adopted the district’s school bus safety plan.
Smith informed KDQN that the district also recognized the years of service by the members of the Horatio Board of Education. Smith said board President Pollyanna Smith had served on the board for the past 15 years, while Vice-President Elizabeth Walker had served four. Jeff Irvan has been on the board for nine years and is currently serving as the board secretary.
The other board members include Joe Jones who has served for five years and Greg Litchford, Troy Allen and Dana Vance who have all served for two years each.
Smith said the district is planning several events throughout the month to honor the board members.
Smith said the district was excited in joining districts from across the state in celebrating School Board Member Recognition Month and to honor Horatio’s school board for their service and dedication to the education of Horatio’s students.
IDABEL POUND CONDITIONS UNDER SCRUTINY 1/16/15
The conditions of the Idabel, Oklahoma pound are the topic of an online petition following the release of an online video.
The video which surfaced on the internet Tuesday, shows a dog in the shelter eating the bloody remains of another dog.
Abe Thomas made the video says the kennels are completely open to the elements. He said there is no heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer.
Idabel Mayor Tina Foshee-Thomas said the recorded incident has been investigated and the animal control officer, Cecil Richards, had informed her that he had been at the pound earlier that morning and had cleaned out the dog pens, sanitized them along with feeding and watering the dogs.
Foshee-Thomas said it is possible that the dog died from natural causes or the dogs may have gotten into a fight, but she admitted that she didn't know exactly how the dog died.
The online petition has over 2,500 signatures calling for Richards to be fired.
Foshee-Thomas also invited anyone who wants to help with the animal control program to volunteer their time to help care for the animals.
MINERAL SPRINGS DISTRICT RECEIVES GOOD AUDIT NEWS 1/16/15
A recent audit of the Mineral Springs School District only turned up one small issue, according to Superintendent Curtis Turner, Monday night during the district’s monthly Board of Education meeting.
Turner said the finding stemmed from a laptop purchase that was made during the summer in which the school was billed for 30 laptops, but only received 26.
The company that sold the laptops to the district, repaid the difference, however, auditors still flagged the error during their review.
Turner said other than that, the audit turned out very good and he hoped the next one would be even better.
The board approved the district’s master plan and hired Kenneth Green as a social studies teacher for the spring semester.
SPENCERVILLE, OKLAHOMA MAN ARRESTED IN SEVIER COUNTY FOLLOWING HIGH SPEED PURSUIT 1/16/15
On the afternoon of January 14th, McCurtain County deputies and members of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol pursued a grey Chevy pickup that was pulling a white cargo trailer into Arkansas on U.S. Highway 70.
According to court papers, the pursuit turned north onto Stateline Road and up to the intersection of Bellahmine and Pine Ridge Road. At that point, the driver made a U-turn and attempted to ram a McCurtain County patrol unit.
The pursuit continued onto Kellum Road and an Oklahoma Highway Patrol vehicle left the road and came to rest next to a fence near the intersection of Kellum and Mountain Roads.
At the intersection of Kellum and Deer Road, the driver attempted another U-turn, but was stopped when the truck was struck by a McCurtain County deputy’s vehicle.
Sevier County Deputies Chad Dowdle and Chris Wolcott arrived at the scene about the time the two occupants in the truck were taken into custody.
The driver was identified as 42-year-old Clay Denny and the passenger was identified as Rhonda McCombs.
After searching Denny, deputies discovered a clear bag that contained suspected methamphetamine, a syringe; an Altoids can with two pills inside it and a Scan disk SD card, $59, and a cell phone.
According to the report, Denny informed Wolcott what he had in his pocket before he was searched.
Allegedly, Denny admitted the trailer was stolen and that it contained other stolen items.
Deputies found another loaded syringe in the passenger seat and a glass smoking devise in the driver's side floor.
Denny is being charged with possession of a controlled substance-methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and theft by receiving, under $5,000 and felony fleeing.
Deputies inventoried the trailer and discovered items reportedly stolen from Little River and Lafayette counties in Arkansas and Bowie and Cass counties in Texas.
JIM HARRIS NAMED TREASURY CHIEF OF STAFF 01/16/15
Little Rock, Ark --Arkansas State Treasurer Dennis Milligan has named Jim Harris of Bryant as his new chief of staff.
Harris, 61, is the grandson of the late George and Leona Lewis of De Queen. He was born in De Queen General Hospital.
He served as Milligan’s chief of staff while Milligan was Saline County Circuit Clerk from 2011 until the end of 2014.
“Jim was instrumental in helping to implement many of the changes we made in the circuit clerk’s office during my four years there. He has a wealth of experience in working in the local, state and federal government levels that will be invaluable in the Treasurer’s office.” Milligan said.
In 2011-12, Harris served on the Arkansas Secretary of State Review and Implementation Committee that made recommendations on improving that office to Secretary of State Mark Martin.
Before coming to work for Milligan, he was director of communications for the Beth Anne Rankin for Congress campaign in 2010.
Harris was the governor’s representative for the recovery operation
in Arkadelphia when that town was devastated by a tornado on March
1, 1997. He began advising the governor on emergency management
issues in June 1997 and worked on Homeland Security policy
issues after Sept. 11, 2001.
In 1992, he took a sabbatical from the Texarkana Gazette to serve as
press secretary for the Mike Huckabee for U.S. Senate campaign.
He is married to the former Pat Huckabee and they have two grown children and three grandchildren.
PHOTO: Jim and Pat Harris at the "A New Day In Arkansas 2015 Inaugural Ball” in Little Rock Tuesday night
UA COSSATOT AMBASSADORS MEET WITH SENATOR BOOZMAN OFFICIALS 01/15/15
ASHDOWN- The Student Ambassadors from UA Cossatot recently met with representatives from Senator John Boozman’s office to discuss educational needs in his district
Students and Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole met with Stacy McClure, Boozman’s State Director and Chase Emerson, Boozman’s Regional Representative. They discussed the accessibility of Boozman’s office to everyone but specifically students and encouraged the ambassadors to consider an internship for elected officials.
Cole expressed a deep appreciation for the Senator’s involvement in handling affairs for UA Cossatot and cited his willingness to be an advocate for Arkansas.
Pictured are: (left to right) Alex Curry of Nathan, Brettny Lynch of Horatio, Walter Dean of Nashville, Ashley Scott of Nashville, Kelsie Emerson of Nashville, Chase Emerson, Regional Representative for Sen. Boozman, Dr. Steve Cole, Chancellor for UA Cossatot, Stacy McClure, State Director for Sen. Boozman, Jessica Rios of De Queen, Clayton Alspaw of De Queen and Isaac Alvarado of De Queen.
DPD INVESTIGATING AGGRAVATED ROBBERY AT SONIC 1/15/15
On Friday, January 9th at approximately 11:50 p.m., the De Queen Police Department responded to an aggravated robbery at the Sonic Drive-In.
The closing manager reported that he had exited the store when an unknown male subject approached him and demanded the money. The suspect was wearing dark clothing and had a knife.
The incident is still under investigation and the De Queen Police Department is asking the public to contact them if they have any information by calling 870-642-2213.
13 DEFENDANTS CHANGE PLEAS IN SEVIER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT 1/15/15
Thirteen defendants changed their pleas to guilty during the January 8th session of the Sevier County Circuit Court.
Levi Durham changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to 10-years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections along with $1,490.13 in restitution for his participation in the burglary and theft of property from the First Baptist Church in De Queen and $120 dollars restitution for his part in the burglary at Benito’s Car Lot in De Queen.
Trenton Hamm received three-years probation after he plead guilty to abuse of an adult at the Brookewood Nursing and Rehab.
Tresa Burris was sentenced to 5-years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to delivery of a controlled substance.
Edward Williams changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to 26-years and over $28,000 in restitution. Williams was found guilty to three counts of theft of property and three counts of breaking and entering along with one count of battery in the second degree.
Barry McKinney was sentenced to 10-years in prison for theft by receiving, delivery of a controlled substance-meth and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms.
Brett Hall plead guilty to disorderly conduct, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a scheduled I or II controlled substance that’s not meth or cocaine and was sentenced to 15-years in prison with five suspended.
Cody Nava was sentenced to three-years in prison for possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a drug premises.
Eric Hammer plead guilty to delivery of a controlled substance-Xanax and was sentenced to 6-years with three suspended.
Jennifer Martinez was sentenced to 10-years with 6-suspended for delivery of a controlled substance-meth.
James Culp was sentenced to five-years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections for the manufacturing of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, maintaining a drug premises, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm by a certain person and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms.
Raylon Brown was sentenced to 15-years in prison for possession of drug paraphernalia, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and possession of meth with the intent to deliver.
A trial date of March 18th was set for Michael Wester, Karla Pacheco and Laken McWhorter.
A trial date of May 20th for Maria Mosqueda on the charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, maintaining a drug premises, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and trafficking a controlled substance-meth.
And, failure to appear warrants were issued for Kenneth Wells on the charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of meth or cocaine.
BOIL WATER NOTICE FOR NHRWA 1/15/15
The Department of Health has issued a boil order notice for the North Howard County Rural Water Association.
The order was issued as a precautionary measure due to the possibility that contaminated water entered the distribution system as a result of a complete loss of normal system pressure due to a water main break the weekend of January 10th.
Under the boil water notice, all affected customers are advised that water may be unsafe for human consumption, and water used for drinking or food prep must be boiled briskly for one minute prior to use. All ice cubes should be discarded and only boiled water used for the making of ice.
The order will be lifted when water samples indicate that the water is free of bacterial contamination and an adequate disinfectant level is established throughout the distribution system.
CONTRACTS FOR SUPERINTENDENT AND ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT EXTENDED 1/15/15
Monday, during the January meeting of the De Queen Board of Education, board members voted to extend the contracts of Bruce Hill the superintendent of the district and assistant superintendent Paul Shelton.
Board President Randy Hedge informed KDQN they extended Hill’s contract for 3-years and Shelton’s contract for 1-year.
Board members will be reviewing the contracts of the campus administrations next month and teachers and staff in the upcoming months.
MLK PROGRAM THIS SUNDAY AT UA COSSATOT - LITTLE RIVER CAMPUS 1/15/15
A commemorative service will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot.
The guest speaker will be Bob Nash, who served as a special advisor to former President Bill Clinton as the White House director of personnel.
Nash grew up in Texarkana and served in several positions when Clinton was the governor of Arkansas.
For more information, contact Brenda Tate at 870-898-6405 or Shirley Jackson at 870-898-2954.
NEW ANIMAL CONTROL POLICY WORKING IN DE QUEEN 1/15/15
During the January 6th meeting of the De Queen City Council, Police Chief Richard McKinley reported on the department’s new animal control program.
McKinley reported that the new animal control officer, Matt Robinson, was interested in pet adoption instead of euthanizing the animals, they are posting pictures of the dogs on the department’s Facebook page. If you find you dog there will be a $25 dollars fee if you have proof that the dog has had its shots and $35 dollars if you don’t have proof. After 5-days, dogs can then be adopted.
McKinley said the program was going well so far with all of the animals being adopted.
McKinley said that the department is also planning to purchase a chip reader to help find the owners of dogs that are running loose in De Queen. He said they are also planning to upgrade the dog pens at the county shop. McKinley said they have also received donations of blankets and dog food to help care of the animals.
McKinley told aldermen that he would like to see some changes made to the city’s current animal control ordinances to make it easier for residents to understand.
For more information, check out their Facebook page at Facebook.com/De Queen Police Department or call the department at 584-2213.
SCHOOL BOARD RECOGNIZED FOR SERVICE IN JANUARY 01/15/15
Ashdown School District joins districts across the state to celebrate School Board Member Recognition Month in January. More than 1400 Arkansas school board members are being honored for their service and dedication to public education.
“Our board members assume a crucial role in representing our students and advocating for public education,” said Ashdown School Superintendent Jason Sanders. “We are very proud of our members, and Arkansas School Board Recognition Month is a great time to recognize them and celebrate their accomplishments.”
Seven elected members serve on the Ashdown School Board. President of the board is Chuck Davis, who has represented Zone D for 28 years now. In his sixth term, Davis, a Little River County farmer and feed store owner, has been honored by the Arkansas School Boards Association with Honor, Outstanding, and Master Board Member recognitions in 1996-97 and with the ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2008.
Board vice-president Dorothy Henderson, a public educator, was elected in 1991 to represent Zone A. Now in her 23rd year, Henderson was recognized as an Honor Board Member in 1994, Outstanding Board Member in 1995, and Master Board Member in 1996, and received her ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2002.
Rosa Bowman, Ashdown Board Secretary serving Zone G, was elected to the board in 2006 and is now in her second term. A school teacher herself, Bowman has been selected as a member of the Arkansas State Board of Directors and a region director. Her ASBA Honor, Outstanding, and Master Board Member recognitions came in 2006-07-08 and her Pinnacle Award in 2012.
Board member Raymond Latson was elected in 1992 to represent Zone B and is now in his 22nd year. Recently retired from Domtar, Latson received his three Honor, Outstanding, and Master Board Member awards in 1995-1997 and his Pinnacle Award in 2010.
A contract logger and water superintendent for the city of Ogden, board member Ricky Ward began his service for Zone E in 1999 and is now starting his fourth term or 16th year. His Honor, Outstanding, and Master Board Member awards were presented in 2000-01-02 and his Pinnacle Award in 2009.
Elected in 2010 to represent Zone C, Michael Turner is a senior technical analyst for Domtar. In his first term, Turner has already earned Outstanding and Master Board Member recognition from the ASBA.
Board member Bradley Day is the newest elected member, serving Zone F since 2011. He is a self-employed contractor.
During January's School Board Recognition month, the board members were honored with a proclamation set forth by Ashdown Mayor James Sutton and individual recognition certificates sent down from the Arkansas School Boards Association, both presented at the regular meeting of the Ashdown School Board on January 12. Every member also received a packet of hand-written notes and pictures from the kindergarten and first grade students of Margaret Daniel Primary School, along with fresh baked bread from appreciative district personnel.
As publicly elected school leaders, Arkansas school board members set policy for their respective districts. Under state law, they are empowered to hire and evaluate the superintendent, oversee district finances, approve the budget, and determine the vision and mission of the district. School boards must also approve the curriculum and ensure the district maintains adequate facilities for teaching and learning.
In addition to their board duties, state law requires Arkansas school board members to earn a minimum of six hours of professional development each year in areas related to their role and responsibilities.
CORRECTION: IN THE CASE OF JEFFERY BURLESON 1/14/15
KDQN incorrectly reported that 48-year-old Jeffery Burleson of De Queen was arrested after selling suspected methamphetamine to a confidential informer who was working with the South Central Drug Task Force at the Sevier County Courthouse.
However, according to the arrest affidavit, Burleson actually sold the meth to a CI in the parking lot of the De Queen Wal-Mart.
On December 18th, a CI arranged for the purchase of 1.75 grams of methamphetamine from Burleson who was employed as a maintenance man at the Sevier County Courthouse.
According to a sworn statement from a member of the drug task force, Burleson picked up the CI and drove them to a parking spot and that is where the transaction took place.
A small Ziploc bag of suspected methamphetamine was purchased for $125 and then placed into evidence.
On December 22nd, Assistant Chief Scott Simmons of the De Queen Police Department served an arrest warrant for delivery of meth on Burleson as he was leaving work at the courthouse.
Officers discovered a clear plastic bag that contained a clear crystal like substance of suspected methamphetamine in Burleson's front pocket.
Officers also received verbal consent to search Burleson's vehicle.
Inside the vehicle, officers discovered a clear bag that contained eight-Hydrocodone pills, a working set of digital scales and several clear plastic bags of suspected meth.
Burleson was arraigned in the Howard County Circuit Court last week and charged with one count of possession of meth with the purpose to deliver, one count of possession of Hydrocodone, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of meth.
If convicted Burleson could face over 40 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections and fines of over $35,000.
Burleson is being held in the Howard County jail on a $50,000 bond because he was previously a 309 inmate in the Sevier County jail.
Burleson was previously convicted of possession of methamphetamine and served time in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
This incident was investigated by members of the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's office, the South Central Drug Task Force and the Arkansas State Police.
A NEED FOR 911 ADDRESSES 1/14/15
Tuesday morning, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray, Sevier County Office of Emergency Management Director Walter Smith and De Queen Fire Marshall Dennis Pruitt explained the importance of 911 addresses being on homes throughout the area.
Smith asked all residents, even those in the surrounding counties, to put their 911 address on their homes and mailboxes.
Smith explained it would help first responders and other emergency service personal by ensuring your safety and the safety of your family.
Smith said emergency volunteers are putting their lives in danger to help others and all they want you to do, is put your 911 address up where it is visible.
Judge Ray explained that it is critical for county residents to have their 911 address visible because houses are so far apart in parts of the county.
Pruitt stated that in an emergency every second counts and emergency workers don't need to spend a lot of time looking for an address.
Pruitt also stated that the De Queen Fire Departments smoke and carbon monoxide detector program is going great, but they are only able to provide detectors for residents inside the De Queen fire district.
Smith also pointed out that the address stickers are not expensive and it doesn't take long to put them up. So, area residents are being asked to put up their address as soon as possible, for everyone's sake.
DE QUEEN DISTRICT FINANCIAL REPORT - INCREASING BALANCE 1/14/15
De Queen Superintendent Bruce Hill reported that the De Queen School District's ending balance was over $800,000 more this quarter than last year, however, one area of concern is the professional development fund, which according to Hill was cut by $43,000 dollars.
Hill also reported that the district's food service program was still operating in the black and the district was accomplishing that feat, in spite of stricter nutrition standards.
Members of the De Queen School Board of Education approved Hill's recommendation concerning the purchase of lockers for the new baseball/softball locker room.
Hill said the board accepted the bid from Superior Lockers because they could guarantee the date of delivery.
Hill also stated that January was School Board member appreciation month and he mentioned how fortunate the district for its current school board members.
Board members Randy Hedge, Skip Bell and Sandy Huntsberger had earned the certification of Master, Honorary and Outstanding board members, while Gloria Caldwell earned her Master board member certification this year.
Board members also approved the transfer of three students to the Horatio School District and Hill explained that he felt these transfers were what was best for the students.
DIERKS MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN HOWARD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT 1/14/15
A Dierks man plead guilty to possession of a firearm by a certain person in the Howard County Circuit Court.
Forty-one year old Samuel Rogers was convicted of felony theft in 1994 and therefore lost his right to possession a firearm, however, in October of 2014, authorities were notified that he kept several firearms inside his residence on Old Highway 70.
Rogers was sentenced to one year in the Arkansas Department of Corrections and he had to forfeit four firearms.
SCHOOL BOARD RECOGNIZED FOR SERVICE IN JANUARY 01/14/15
Horatio School District joins districts across the state to celebrate School Board Member Recognition Month in January. More than 1400 Arkansas school board members are being honored for their service and dedication to public education.
“Our board members assume a crucial role in representing our students and advocating for public education,” said Lee Smith, Superintendent. “We are very proud of our members, and Arkansas School Board Recognition Month is a great time to recognize them and celebrate their accomplishments.”
The members serving on the Horatio School Board are Pollyanna Smith, President – 15 years of service; Elizabeth Walker, Vice President – 4 years of service; Jeff Irvan, Secretary – 9 years of service; Greg Litchford, Member – 2 years of service; Troy Allen, Member – 2 two years of service; Joe Jones, Member – 5 years of service; and Dana Vance, Member – 2 years of service.
As publicly elected school leaders, Arkansas school board members set policy for their respective districts. Under state law, they are empowered to hire and evaluate the superintendent, oversee district finances, approve the budget, and determine the vision and mission of the district. School boards must also approve the curriculum and ensure the district maintains adequate facilities for teaching and learning.
In addition to their board duties, state law requires Arkansas school board members to earn a minimum of six hours of professional development each year in areas related to their role and responsibilities.
BEST CARE CLASSES BEING OFFERED 1/13/15
If you are an early childhood professional, foster parent, or early childhood educator and want to learn more about caring for young children, you may be interested in the Best Care classes that are being presented by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, in partnership with the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Association.
Classes are free of charge and is a verified training through the Traveling Arkansas' Professional Pathways and supports the Better Beginnings Program.
The Best Care classes will be Monday, January 26th at the Howard County Extension Homemaker Center, which is located on Second Street behind the Howard County courthouse.
Registration will begin at 5:45 and the class will start at 6. Additional hours will be offered on February 2nd, 9th and 16th. If participates attend all four sessions, they will receive 10 hours of certification.
Instructors will cover topics like, 'more money in your pocket: making the most of tax credits', 'making the most of your health care dollar', health care: private option, infectious diseases in early childhood', best nutrition practices for healthy kids', 'Arkansas nutrition myth busters', 'outdoor learning environments', 'infant care in early childhood', and 'your blueprint for happiness.'
If you are interested in participating in The Best Care classes, contact the Sevier County Extension Office at 870-584-3013 to register. Everyone is asked to register by January 23rd.
CHAMBER ANNOUNCES DATE FOR 70TH ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP AND AWARDS BANQUET 1/13/15
The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's 70th Annual Membership and Awards Banquet will be held on Thursday, February 19th at the De Queen High School cafeteria.
A variety of business and community service award honorees will be recognized, new officers for 2015 will be introduced and you may shop for bargains at the huge silent auction when the doors open at 5:30 p.m.
The De Queen Show Choir will perform and the De Queen High School Cross Country team will serve the roast beef dinner that will be prepared by the ladies of the high school cafeteria beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets for the banquet are $17 each and are available by calling Patty Sharp or Bonita Smith at the KDQN radio station at 642-2446. Reservations are being taken for tables of eight and are eligible to enter the table decorating contest.
DE QUEEN DISTRICT HONORED FOR BEATING THE ODDS 1/13/15
Last week, De Queen School District Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley reported the De Queen Junior High had been honored with an award from the University of Arkansas for Education Policy.
Today, Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton explained to KDQN that the Junior High was honored with a Beating the Odds Award for its work with underprivileged students in the district.
Shelton said the district is accomplishing this feat on all campuses.
Whatley informed KDQN that the De Queen High School had completed the installation of the Virtual Computer Lab and Shelton explained the district had to build the lab to be in compliance with a state law.
Whatley stated the new state law is part of the graduation requirements for this year's ninth grade class.
Shelton also mentioned that the district had received a waiver from the state concerning some End-of-Course testing in Algebra II and Literature.
Shelton said the district was excited about the awards but was more concerned about educating students who are college and career ready following graduation.
GUIDE TO THE 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION 1/13/15
The Arkansas Legislature convened today for its regular legislative session and here is a rundown on what you can expect during this session.
Of course, the biggest question that lawmakers face this session revolves around the future of the state's private option Medicaid expansion, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.
The program was crafted two years ago as an alternative tot he Medicaid expansion that was envisioned under the federal health care overhaul.
Reauthorizing the program for another year will require a three-fourth vote from the House and Senate and it may be a difficult hurdle to clear after anti-private option legislators were elected in November.
Two years after controlling the Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans expanded their majorities in both the House and Senate.
The GOP holds 64 of the 100 seats in the state House and 23 of the 35 seats in the Senate.
Senate officials have reported that this year's session will cost about $13,200 a day, while the House estimates it will cost about $18,698 each day, and the session will last at least 60-days, according to the Arkansas constitution, unless two-thirds of the House and Senate approve an extension. The 2013 regular session lasted 100 days.
District 4 is represented by newly elected Representative DeAnn Vaught and Senator Jimmy Hickey.
To follow bills and legislative activity, go to the General Assembly website at arkleg.state.ar.us. and you can watch House broadcasts online at arkansashouse.org.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY GENEALOGY SOCIETY MEETING 1/13/15
Roxie Jones of the Little River County Genealogy Society announced this week that Bo Bean of Ashdown will be the featured speaker of this month's meeting in the Millwood Room on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot.
Jones explained that Bean was formerly of Texarkana and was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution-South West Trails Chapter and has been involved in family history research for many years.
Jones said Bean will chronicle the history of the Van Dalsen family from 1720 to the present and will illustrate how family lore that's handed down from generation to generation, can be erroneous and how he got to the truth regarding his family.
Bean will also display documents naming battles that his family Patriots fought in during the American Revolutionary War.
The Little River County Genealogy Society will meet Tuesday at 5:30 for refreshments and visitation, but the meeting will start at 6.
All members are urged to attend and visitors are welcome, but if you have any questions, contact Jones at 870-898-7224.
TRAFFIC STOP RESULTS IN DRUG CHARGE 1/13/15
About 10:45 p.m. Friday night, Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department observed a red pickup traveling west on Collin Raye Drive with a driver's side tail light not working.
Baker conducted a traffic stop at TJ's and asked the driver roll down the back window because the tint was to dark to see inside the vehicle.
Baker reported that as the window went down, he immediately smelled marijuana coming from the truck.
23-year-old Bilmar Cervantes was identified as the driver and he allegedly admitted to smoking pot about a half-hour before.
Baker then searched the truck and found half a marijuana blunt in the center console.
Officers JJ Lopez and Sergeant Chad Bradshaw assisted in the search and they uncovered a pill bottle in the center console that contained a small amount of marijuana.
Cervantes was citied with a misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance - marijuana.
WARRANTS ISSUED FOR MAN FOR ALLEGEDLY RAPING TWO GIRLS 1/13/15
Arrest warrants have been issued for 31-year-old Pedro Escobedo for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting two girls in a Blevins home.
The arrest warrants were issued Friday by the Hempstead County circuit Court for rape and sexual assault in the fourth degree, according to Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton.
The warrants are based on incidents that occurred on October 24th, 2014 in a Blevins residence, where Escobedo allegedly raped and sexually assaulted two girls, ages eight and 11.
Escobedo had been living with the family of the two girls and his last known address was in Nashville.
The Hempstead County Sheriff's office announced they have received information that Escobedo has fled the state, but they are seeking information regarding his whereabouts. If you have any information, as to the whereabouts of Escobedo, you should contact the Hempstead County Sheriff's office at 870-777-6727.
UA COSSATOT NAMES STUDENT AMBASSADORS 01/13/15
UA Cossatot recently named the students selected to serve as Ambassadors for the college.
Students were chosen to represent UA Cossatot after going through a challenging selection process. Student Ambassadors are required to serve the college at events and functions as ambassadors of the student population. They also serve as recruiters and mentors to students with less college experience.
The Student Ambassadors were honored with an induction reception held in the home of Justin White, Director of Student Services.
Front row: Walter Dean of Nashville, Alex Curry of Nathan, Isaac Alvarado of De Queen
Middle Row: Ashley Scott of Nashville, Kelsie Emerson of Nashville
Back Row: Brettny Lynch of Horatio, Clayton Alspaw of De Queen, Jessica Rios of De Queen
DANGERS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING 1/12/15
De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt stopped by the KDQN studios to mention how dangerous carbon monoxide is and he explained that it comes from anything that burns.
Pruitt said carbon monoxide is found in combustion fumes, such as from cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal, heating units, gas ranges and fireplaces.
Carbon monoxide is a hidden danger in homes because it is an odorless and colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and even death.
Pruitt said carbon monoxide is called the silent killer and officials recommend that residents have their heating units checked by a qualified technician at least once a year, but if you suspect that you have a carbon monoxide leak, Pruitt said you should contact the fire department.
Pruitt also explained his department was offering free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. So, if you need a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or if you suspect you have a carbon monoxide leak, call the De Queen Fire Department at 584-7224.
DEER CHECKS PASS 200,000 WITH ARCHERY HUNTING STILL OPEN 1/12/15
For the third straight season, deer checked by hunters in Arkansas have pushed past 200,000 and there are seven more weeks of archery hunting left. The high mark was set during the 2012-2013 season with 213,487 deer checked.
With modern gun and muzzle-loader hunting ended, far fewer sportsmen are in the woods, thus making the conditions favorable for those who want to hunt with a compound bows, conventional bows and crossbows, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
The archery deer hunt will run through February 28th on private land and on most wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges, statewide, but some public areas will close earlier.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission encourages hunters to properly identify their target during these last season hunting opportunities because bucks are beginning to cast off their antlers, which makes identifying the sex of the animal difficult.
In Sevier County, 1,025 antlered bucks were harvested as off January 8th, along with 976 in Little River County, 1,441 in Howard County and 1,272 in Polk County.
DISTRICT COURT ADDING NEW SERVICE FOR FINE PAYMENTS 1/12/15
District Court Judge Steven Tedder announced Friday morning that people who have a fine from the Sevier County District Court will soon be able to pay their fines by using their debit or credit card.
Tedder explained the court has contracted with a national law organization that provides the service, which will give residents another way to pay their fines on time.
Tedder stated he signed 49 warrants last week for people who failed to pay their fines. Tedder said he thought this was going to be a good service.
If you have any questions about a fine, you can contact the District Court Clerk's office at 584-7311.
FLU DEATHS UP TO 11 1/12/15
Arkansas public health officials say the number of reported deaths due to the flu has risen to 11 since the flu season began in September.
The Health Department has said this flu season could more severe than in 2013-2014 when there were 76 flu-related deaths in the state.
More than 200 people were hospitalized with the flu last week bringing the seasonal total to 667.
The H3N2 strain is predominantly circulating this flu season and has been associated with the increase in hospitalizations and deaths in older adults and young children.
In addition, approximately two-thirds of the H3N2 viruses that have been tested by the Center for Disease Control is genetically different from the H3N2 vaccine virus and therefore is less effective, but officials still recommend getting a flu shot to help decrease the intensity of your flu symptoms.
HAYLAGE/NUTRITIONAL SEMINAR 1/12/15
Sevier County Extension Agent Rex Herring stated the extension office would be co-hosting a haylage/nutritional seminar Monday in Nashville and Tuesday in Mena.
Herring said speakers will talk about the forage fermentation process and the benefits of rolling the hay at higher moisture levels.
Herring said there will be two sessions, and the seminar will be led by Bernard Adam of Canada and Stuart Norman of Georgia.
Herring said the program is being sponsored by the extension offices of Pike, Howard, Polk, Clark, Montgomery, as well as, Sevier. For more information, contact the extension office at 584-3013.
ON MISSION TO HEAL 1/12/15
Terry Brackett is an Algebra teacher at the De Queen Junior High School and this past year she faced the most difficult situation that any parent will ever experience.
Following the death of her youngest son, Austin, Brackett decided that the best way she could heal was to share her story to others. So, for the past few months she has been sharing with others about how God's glory was and still is being revealed to her.
She said everyone is either going through a storm or will go through a storm and she talks about how they can find peace in the midst of those storms.
Brackett said by sharing others, its helping her heal.
Brackett has shared her testimony nine times and this summer she will be speaking at a church camp, but she is willing to speak anytime, anywhere.
WINTER SAFETY AND ENERGY-SAVING TIPS FROM SWEPCO 1/12/15
AEP/SWPECO's service area could experience the impact of snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain and extremely cold temperatures during January and February, making energy-saving tips and a home emergency kit a good idea during winter weather.
For economy, set the thermostat for 68 degrees and leave it alone.
Check and install clean filters every month and have your heating system inspected and service once a year.
Air leakage through small cracks and holes in a home's exterior is a major reason for heat loss, so install weather-stripping around doors and windows to prevent air leaks.
It's recommended to open curtain and blinds on the sunny side of the house to allow the sun help heat the home.
Since heat rises, it's a good idea to inspect the attic and check the duct insulation for tears and when the fireplace is not in use, the damper should be closed tight and the glass fireplace doors closed.
And, home owners should keep blankets, flashlights, bottled water, a portable radio and a fresh supply of batteries on hand in case the power should go off due to inclement winter weather.
DE QUEEN BASEBALL BANNER PROGRAM 1/9/15
De Queen Head Baseball Coach Beau McCastlain recently announced that they would be continuing the teams fence banner fundraiser to help fund projects and trips for the 2015 Leopard baseball team.
McCastlain explained that the program supplements the district's baseball budget to help make upgrades to the field and program.
McCastlain talked about the new indoor netting system that the team will use for indoor hitting practice that was purchased as a result of 22 businesses and individuals participating in last year's banner fundraiser.
McCastlain said the team would also like to make some upgrades to the outfield if the funds become available.
Donations are needed by February 15th to ensure the banners are displayed in time for the teams benefit game against the Horatio Lions and the Leopards 3rd Annual Hit-A-Thon.
For more information, contact McCastlain at 870-279-4479.
585 DIAMONDS FOUND AT CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK IN 2014 1/9/15
The Crater of Diamonds State Park had a fantastic year of diamond finds during 2014.
By the close of business on December 31st, 585 diamonds had officially been registered, weighing a total of 121 carats. According to the park staff, that is 130 more diamonds and nearly 25 more carats than the total of registered diamonds in 2013.
Arkansans were responsible for finding 213 of last year's diamonds, while visitors from 36 states and five foreign countries registered 372 diamonds.
The largest diamond was found on April 15th by David Anderson of Murfreesboro. It's a 6.19 carat white diamond that is also the 9th largest white diamond that's ever been found at the park.
For more information, visit craterofdiamondsstatepark.com.
ENID WOMAN INJURED AFTER HITTING TRACTOR-TRAILER 1/9/15
An Enid woman was injured early Wednesday morning when the car she was driving hit a tractor-trailer that was hauling military-grade explosives in Choctaw County, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
The accident caused the delay of classes at the Grant School and closed U.S. Highway 271 about five miles south of Hugo, overnight.
21-year-old Delany Jones of Enid was taken to the Plano Medical Center in Plano, Texas with injuries to her legs, and she was listed in stable condition.
According to the report, Jones was driving south on U.S. Highway 271 when a tractor-trailer that was be driven east by 61-year-old Renntta Williams of Malvern attempted to turn onto U.S. 271 to go north.
Jones' car hit the rear tires of the tractor-trailer.
Williams and her passenger, 76-year-old John Williams were not injured.
Bomb technicians from Fort Sill responded to ensure that the explosives were safe before crews unloaded the tractor-trailer.
LOTTERY MARKS 12% INCREASE IN INSTANT SALES 1/9/15
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is ringing in the New Year with a continuing increase in sales of its scratch-off tickets, and lottery officials are hoping a new line of games will ignite new excitement during these cold winter months.
After a five-month upswing in instant ticket sales, December saw those sales jump to almost $28 million dollars, which is a 12 percent increase over instant sales the previous December.
One new addition to the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery portfolio is the new $20 dollar, 5th Anniversary Millions instant ticket, which celebrates the lotteries five years of raising revenues of funding the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship.
UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT 1/9/15
Thursday morning, De Queen School District Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced a couple of exciting things on the campuses of the De Queen School District.
Whatley said the De Queen Junior High School received an award from the University of Arkansas for Education Policy for outstanding student performance on last year's End-of-Course Algebra exam and the End-of-Course Geometry exam.
Whatley also announced that the district had completed the installation of the district's Virtual Computer Lab, which will be used by students to take mandatory online courses as part of their graduation requirements.
For more information about programs on the campuses of the De Queen School District, contact your child's school office or call the administration building at 584-4312.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL OFF TO FAST START IN 2015 1/8/14
Aldermen of the De Queen City Council made a change to their meeting time for the first time in years, Tuesday night during their first regular meeting of 2015.
Newly elected alderman David Krantz informed the other members of the council that he did not get off work until 5:30 during the summer, so, aldermen voted to set the meeting time at 6 p.m., the first and third Tuesdays of each month.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy informed aldermen that Vyve Broadband was currently not carrying the Little Rock stations because they were a duplication of the Shreveport stations. McKelvy told KDQN that he spoke with Vyve and asked them to reconsider the change.
Vyve sent a letter to Mayor McKelvy in November explaining that they were increasing local cable bills by $2.25 to help cover the rising cost of broadcasters' contract fees.
Water Superintendent Jeff Brown reported that the streaming current analyzer was not working and asked the council to approve the purchase of a new one.
McKelvy explained the piece of equipment was critical to the water departments operation.
Aldermen also approved a resolution condemning a house on Harvey Drive during a public hearing, Tuesday night.
Aldermen heard reports from Police Chief Richard McKinley concerning the city's animal control program, Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt about this past weekend's flooding and officials from the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center.
Aldermen tabled the Water, Sewer and Sanitation audit, but will consider passing a resolution accepting it during their January 20th meeting.
I DON'T WANT TO TAKE A BREATH TEST 1/8/15
Monday evening about 9:30, Patrolman Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department stopped a red Jeep Cherokee after observing it drive left of the center line.
Sawyer reported that the driver, 34-year-old Michael Whisenhunt, appeared confused while he was looking for his insurance card after he gave Sawyer his driver's license.
Sawyer said that when he asked Whisenhunt where he was coming from, he said De Queen. Whisenhunt was informed that he was in De Queen and Sawyer asked him where he was coming from a second time.
Whisenhunt then said he was going to the Villas and Sawyer asked him where he was coming from for a third time. This time, Whisenhunt stated that he was coming from the De Queen E-Z Mart.
Following their conversation, Sawyer asked Whisenhunt to get out of the vehicle and take a field sobriety test, which he failed.
Sawyer then placed Whisenhunt into custody and transported him to the Sevier County jail, where he refused to submit to a breathe test.
Whisenhunt was cited for driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to test, driving left of center and for having no proof of insurance.
MINOR CITED FOR DWI 1/8/15
Sunday morning, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon observed a silver Chrysler 300 traveling east on Highway 70 West cross the center line on a couple occasions.
Davignon pulled the vehicle over at the intersection of Highway 70 West and Highway 70 B and identified the driver as 18-year-old Erica Martinez of Mount Pleasant, Texas.
Martinez and her passenger informed Davignon that they had not been drinking, but Martinez failed a field sobriety test and blew .08 on a portable breath test.
She was then cited for driving while intoxicated.
NEW MINERAL SPRINGS MAYOR ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR CITY 1/8/15
New Mineral Springs Mayor Bobby Tullis announced several projects that he's planning to start this year after being sworn-in January 1st.
Tullis says he plans to make several improvements to the city park and cleanup around town. He stated the city was also looking forward to the completion of the new Dollar General store.
Monday during the first meeting of the Mineral Springs City Council, aldermen approved budgeting $2,500 for repairs to the council room and appropriated $10,000 for repairs to the historic town depot, however, there was no discussion on how the depot will be used.
Aldermen approved Tullis' request to put the district court fine money in a separate account that will be used for the purchase of a new patrol car and 11 nominees were approved for the city park commission.
Aldermen did not vote to condemn the laundromat after the owner promised that they would board up the building.
SECURITY CHECK RESULTS IN THREE ARRESTS 1/8/15
On January 3rd, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon noticed a silver Dodge van setting on the side of Highway 70 East about five miles east of De Queen that had it's hazard lights on.
Davignon stopped to check on the occupants and found three men apparently sleeping with an open bottle of beer in the center console.
After waking the man in the driver's seat, Davignon began questioning 58-year-old Wilbert Jackson of Ashdown.
Jackson told Davignon that he needed a ride home, but he didn't know the other two men and he didn't know who the van belonged to.
Since Jackson was sitting in the driver's seat with the key in the ignition, Davignon asked him if he would take a field sobriety test. Jackson allegedly responded by saying he wasn't driving and he wasn't going to take a test. He also allegedly informed Davignon that he had been in jail before for driving under the influence.
After placing Jackson in his patrol car, Davignon woke up 46-year-old William Clark of Hope.
Davignon asked him how he was doing and Clark said he was doing ok but he was having a long day.
The other passenger was identified as 32-year-old Justinian Jones of Texarkana, Texas.
Sevier County Deputy Michael Barnes assisted Davignon in searching the van and they discovered five empty cans of beer and an open 30-pack that contained only seven cans.
Jackson was citied for driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to test and driving on a suspended driver's license, while Clark and Jones were citied for public intoxication.
TAKE SOME COLD WEATHER PRECAUTIONS 1/8/15
As temperatures continue to drop in Arkansas, the American Red Cross is reminding residents to take some cold weather precautions.
The Red Cross suggests that you avoid unnecessary exposure to the cold, but if you must go outside to remember to wear something on your head because, you lose most of your body heat through your head.
You should also dressing in layers to help retain your body heat and wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid frostbite.
Many families around the area may result to using alternative heating sources either out of necessity or to avoid the rising cost of heating fuel, so, the Red Cross cautions residents with portable space heaters.
Space heaters should be placed at least three feet away from anything combustible and you should never leave a space heater operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed.
All homes should have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If you do not have a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, contact the De Queen First Department at 584-7224 and they will install one for you.
To keep your pipes from freezing, the Red Cross suggests opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow the warmer air in the room to circulate around the plumbing and to let the cold water drip from the faucets to help prevent the pipes from freezing.
Residents should also keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.
UA COSSATOT REGISTRATION OPEN UNTIL JANUARY 13 1/7/15
UA Cossatot student recruiter and admissions advisor, Ericka Buenrrostro, announced Tuesday morning that new students may register until January 13th and she said students should contact the school to find out documents students will need to bring when they register.
Buenrrostro mentioned that UA Cossatot will hold a new student orientation for new spring semester students on the De Queen campus this Thursday from 10 to 12.
Classes will begin Monday, January 12th and students can register online at www.cccua.edu or they can call the Office of Admissions at 584-4471.
A HOT TRUCK 1/7/15
About 11 a.m. Saturday morning, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Rodger Ridley was notified that there was an abandoned truck on Mize Crossing Road that had been burnt recently.
Ridley reported that he discovered a four-door Chevy pickup sitting on blocks because the tires and wheels had been removed.
Ridley noted the truck was still smoldering and that the metal had lost its structural integrity due to the intense heat.
When Arkansas Game and Fish Officer David Hall arrived on the scene, he was able to remove the license plate and discovered the truck was registered to a Kristy Randall of Horatio.
After checking with dispatch, the officers discovered the truck had been reported stolen in McCurtain County, Oklahoma.
Officer Hall then contacted the McCurtain County Sheriff's Office to notify them that the stolen vehicle had been recovered in Sevier County.
The case remains under investigation, but if you have any information concerning the theft of this truck, you should contact the Sevier County Sheriff's Office at 642-2125.
OKLAHOMA RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING IN DE QUEEN 1/7/15
Saturday, January 3rd, Sergeant Gary Cunningham of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to a possible shoplifter.
Cunningham reported that before he arrived at Wal-Mart, he witnessed a white male run across Collin Raye Drive with two Wal-Mart employees pointing at him.
Cunningham stopped the suspect and the man who was identified as Terry Bruce of Broken Bow, Oklahoma told him that he hadn't taken anything and he hadn't been shoplifting.
Cunningham placed Bruce under arrest and transported him to the Sevier County jail. Cunningham then returned to Wal-Mart and interviewed the store manager.
The manager stated that he watched the suspect for about eight minutes and when the man went thru the door, he asked if he could see his receipt and that is when the man started pushing the cart away and ran through the parking lot.
On January 5th, Lieutenant Sonny Kimmel received information from Wal-Mart's asset protection manager that Bruce had been identified as being the person that had stolen items on three other occasions.
Bruce was cited for four counts of shoplifting of $1,000 or less.
RESOLVE TO HELP FOSTER CHILDREN FIND PERMANENT HOMES - BECOME A CASA VOLUNTEER 1/7/15
"Out with the old and in with the new" is a phrase often used by those who make a list of resolutions at the start of every New Year. Some of those resolutions are to kick a bad habit like smoking or eating junk food; others, however, may want to lose weight or spend less money.
Resolutions are different for everyone, but they all serve the same objective, to make life changes for the better.
If you're looking for anew way to make changes, resolve to help others in need. More than 150 children in the local foster care systems need caring adults to speak up for their best interests They need a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer to help get them through the foster care system as quickly as.
Executive Director of the Texarkana Region, Leigh Harris explained that Child Protective Service workers usually handle two to three dozen cases and each of them can involve multiple children and as a result, many children stay in foster care longer than necessary and may not receive the help they need to begin to heal.
Harris said CASA volunteers help get foster children the services they need, but they need more volunteers to help all of the children in the Texarkana Region, which includes Hempstead, Howard, Little River, Lafayette, Nevada and Miller counties.
In 2014, CASA for Children has served approximately 400 children in its eight county service area. Currently, there are 81 children in foster care in Miller County, 18 in Hempstead County, 11 in Howard County, 12 in Lafayette County, 6 in Nevada County and 16 in Little River County. And, unfortunately, more than half of those children do not have a CASA volunteers to assist them through the process.
Harris said the Texarkana Region will be holding an information session next week on Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. each day.
Harris said interested parties may choose the one session that is convenient for your schedule and attend to learn more about the role of a CASA volunteer or you can call 903-792-1030.
YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST 1/7/15
Monday evening about 9:30, Sergeant Chad Bradshaw of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to the De Queen Regional Medical Center because of an unwanted visitor.
Bradshaw was informed by a member of the nursing staff that 24-year-old Jeremy Wheeler of De Queen was attempting to visit a patient that had a visitor restriction and Wheeler was not on the list.
The staff explained to Bradshaw that Wheeler had been told by a nurse that he could not visit the patient because the only people on the patient's list was their father and brother.
Bradshaw was informed that Wheeler had left but came back again trying to visit the patient and had even asked members of the nursing staff what room the patient was in.
Bradshaw advised Wheeler that he could not visit the patient and for him to leave the hospital and if he came back, he would be arrested.
According to Bradshaw, Wheeler left, but came back before he left the nurses station. When Wheeler came through the Emergency Room entrance, he had his phone to his ear and told Bradshaw that he was speaking with the patient and they told him, he could visit.
Bradshaw then placed Wheeler under arrest and charged with disorderly conduct.
BATTERY IN FIRST DEGREE UNDER INVESTIGATION 1/6/15
January 2nd, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon was on patrol when he was advised that someone had their throat cut on Bellahmine Road and that he had been dumped out of a black truck and that the truck had left the scene. However, on the way to the scene, dispatch advised officers that a suspected drunk driver was driving a white Ford pickup and had just left the scene.
When officers stopped the white truck, the driver was wet and reportedly had blood on his face and shirt, according to the incident report. Officers also noted that the driver appeared drunk and asked him to exit the vehicle.
While searching the vehicle, officers discovered blood on the passenger side door, the dashboard, the steering wheel and the driver's side door.
The driver of the white truck was identified as Michael Cowling.
Cowling reported that a Michael Guire had beat him up and had tried to kill him. Cowling allegedly informed officers that he had cut Guire.
When Deputy Kristopher Hundley arrived at the scene, he witnessed Deputy Davignon applying pressure to a large laceration on the side of Guire's neck.
Southwest EMS transported Guire to the De Queen Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Cowling was cited for driving under the influence, refusal to submit to test, driving left of center and expired registration.
A Sheriff's Department spokesperson said the battery is still under investigation.
ARGUMENT LEADS TO ARREST 1/6/15
New Year's Eve, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Barnes was dispatched to a residence on Highway 71 north of De Queen in reference to a verbal argument between roommates.
When Deputy Barnes arrived he interviewed 56-year-old Paula Goggans who said she and 55-year-old Beth Walling were roommates and that they had gotten into an argument.
Goggans said that Walling and Bobby Davis were at the house earlier that night and that Walling didn't like for Goggans to be around Davis. Goggans started Walling started acting aggressive toward her and they started arguing.
Goggans informed Barnes that Walling then started cooking something in one of her pans and when she asked Walling when she was going to get it back. Walling threw the pan at her and hit her on the foot and that is when Goggans called the police.
Walling was arrested and charged with battery in the 3rd degree.
Barnes noted in his report that both women were intoxicated at the time of the incident.
COSSATOT ARTS AND CRAFTS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES TOP ARTIST OF THE YEAR 1/6/15
The Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association announced the winners of the Artist and Photographer of the Year awards during their annual Christmas party.
Jerri Rivers of De Queen was named the Artist of the Year for her painting entitled "Red Poppies." Shrley Tipton of Horatio was the second place winner with her painting "Maumelle Ghost" and Van Ledbetter was third and Iris Saylor was fourth.
The winning paintings will be on display at area banks during the month of January, while the winning photograph will be on display at the De Queen Regional Medical Center.
Iris Saylor was named the Photographer of the Year for her picture "Trumpets at Dusk."
The next Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association meeting will be Friday, January 16th. During that meeting, members will start work on the 44th Annual King Art Show, which will be held in May.
For more information about the King Art Show or the Cossatot Art and Craft Association, call 642-2419 or 642-7170.
DELIGHT MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN DEATH OF 12-YEAR-OLD 1/6/15
The Delight man that was driving a Ford Explorer when it hit and killed a 12-year-old girl after she got off a school bus, plead guilty Monday to misdemeanor negligent homicide.
88-year-old Dwight Moody plead guilty in the Pike County Circuit Court and Judge Charles Yeargan accepted the plea and sentenced him to one year probation and a fine of $2,500. Moody also lost his driver's license for the remainder of his life.
According to Prosecutor Bryan Chesshir's office, as part of the accident investigation, Moody's vision was tested and he failed.
The misdemeanor negligent homicide charge was filed Friday at the request of the family of Jazmin Hernandez of Glenwood who died October 27th from injuries that resulted from being hit by Moody's SUV.
Hernandez was a seventh grader in the Kirby School District and was a passenger on a school bus that had stopped on U.Sl Highway 70 near Salem to let students off.
According to the state police report, the buses emergency lights and signals were activated at the time of the accident.
Hernandez was taken by helicopter to the Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, where she died.
DRUNK IN PUBLIC 1/6/15
New Year's Day, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Barnes was dispatched to the Arkansas/Oklahoma state line in reference to a woman staggering down the side of the road.
When Deputy Barnes arrived, he discovered a woman laying on the side of the road. The woman was identified as 24-year-old Niki Brandon of De Queen.
When Barnes got Brandon to sit up, he noticed her eyes were bloodshot and watery. He noted her speech was slurred and he could smell the odor of alcohol.
Brandon reportedly informed Barnes that she was walking home from the Blue Bar because her friend had left her at the bar. She also allegedly informed him that she was drunk.
Brandon was arrested and charged with public intoxication.
EXTRA CHARGES FOR WANTED SUSPECT 1/6/15
January 3rd, Sevier County Sheriff Deputy Greg Davignon reported that he witnessed a Ford SUV pull out of the Lockesburg E-Z Mart without its headlights on.
Davignon followed the vehicle to the intersection of Highway 71 and Provo Road and made a traffic stop because the driver never turned their lights on.
Davignon made contact with the two passengers, Hunter King and Brett Denton along with the driver Dakota King.
Davignon was informed by dispatch that Denton had an active felony warrant out of Oklahoma.
After Deputy Davignon asked for consent to search the vehicle, Denton said he didn't want him to search the vehicle, so Davignon contacted the county's K-9 handler, Deputy Travis Turner for his assistance.
After conducting an open air search outside the vehicle, "Kilo" gave a positive alert to the passenger side of the vehicle.
Denton then allegedly informed the deputies that he had a bag of marijuana inside the vehicle along with a smoking pipe.
The driver, Dakota King was issued a warning and he and Hunter King were released.
Denton was arrested on the active warrant and then charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE TAKES EFFECT IN STATE 1/6/15
With the start of the new year, an estimated 40,000 Arkansans will be getting a pay raise.
The state's voter-approved new minimum wage increased from $6.25 per hour to $7.50 per hour as off January 1st. Nearly 66 percent of Arkansas voters approved the increase by passing a state constitutional amendment during the November election.
According to the nonprofit group, the Economic Policy Institute, about 40,000 Arkansas workers received the pay increase and about another 17,000 who currently earn just above the minimum wage will most likely receive a pay raise as well.
Most employers with four or more employees are required to pay the state minimum, with some exceptions, such as agricultural industries and some public teaching positions.
The amendment also requires the minimum to rise to $8 an hour on January 1st, 2016 and to $8.50 an hour on January 1st, 2017.
WOMEN'S SELF-DEFENSE CLASS THIS SATURDAY 1/6/15
The Wellness Center and AMP Fitness in De Queen will be hosting a women's self-defense class this Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the Weyerhaeuser Room on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.
Cindy Lofton informed KDQN that she and her husband, Dr. Jason Lofton, decided to offer the class after several members of AMP Fitness asked them to offer a women’s self-defense course.
Lofton explained the program is designed to educate and empower women to become more efficient in the context of an attack within one arms reach.
Lofton said Tiffany Lopez would be helping lead the class so local women will not have to be afraid of being attacked.
During a phone interview, Lopez explained why she and Tyler Grant started the Not A Victim workshops and how it can benefit women of all ages and fitness levels.
Lopez said the goal of the one-day class is to teach women to fight back and she said students will discover what the body does naturally in an attack and how defensive physical skills will be incorporated with what the body does naturally.
Lopez also mentioned there will be several other components during the class besides just simple hand to hand combat moves, like the dynamics of an attacker, pre-contact cues and the mindset of attackers.
Lofton stated the class is for women 12 and older and the cost is $50 for one-person, $80 for two and $105 for three.
To sign up or for more information call 584-4267.
SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT HOLDS FIRST MEETING OF THE YEAR 1/5/15
Friday morning at 10 a.m., members of the Sevier County Quorum Court met to set the date and time of their monthly meetings after being sworn in at 8 a.m.
Members of the Quorum Court will meet the second Monday of each month at 2 p.m. in the courthouse conference room.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray mentioned that all of the improvements to the Sevier County airport were done with the help of federal grant money.
Then, during the Quorum Court meeting, Justices of the Peace confirmed the appointment of Susan Fitzsimmons to the airport board.
JPs passed a resolution amending the county's employee handbook concerning Sevier County jailers working 12-hour shifts. Judge Ray said the change should save the county money.
Newly elected District 4 Representative, DeAnn Vaught, addressed the court and informed them that she would be available to them if they need to contact her.
Vaught will represent a portion of Sevier County and all of Little River County, along with the city limits of Dierks during the upcoming Legislative session.
Vaught told Curtis Coleman on his television program that she is for open carry laws when it comes to firearms and that she discovered during the campaign that most of her constituents are opposed to the state's private option.
Today's meeting of the Quorum Court was the first meeting for newly elected JPs Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore and David Wright.
SEVIER COUNTY SWEARING IN CEREMONY 1/5/15
Friday morning, Sevier County elected officials and sheriff's deputies were sworn in by Sevier County District Court Judge Stephen Tedder in the county courtroom.
Elected officials included the newly elected Sevier County Circuit Clerk, Kathy Smith, along with County Treasurer Rita Krantz, County Assessor Judy Smith, County Clerk Debbie Hughes and County Judge Greg Ray.
Aldermen from De Queen, Gillham, and Ben Lomond were sworn in as well as Danny Ruth, the mayor of Lockesburg and Lester Overturf, Jr., the mayor of Gillham.
Rusty Williams was sworn in as the county coroner along with four deputy coroners.
Dick Tallman and Kim Culp were sworn in as constables and Judge Tedder announced that he will attend the Tuesday, January 6th De Queen City Council meeting to swear in the remaining aldermen.
FIRST FLU DEATHS REPORTED IN STATE 1/5/15
The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting the first two flu-related deaths in the state.
One victim was between the ages of 25 and 44, while the second victim was over the age of 65. The department also reported that 451 people have been hospitalized with the flu since the season started in September, that's almost twice has many as last year at this time when 76 people died due to the illness.
The report says there have been more than 5,400 positive flu tests, but health officials say not everyone who gets sick goes to the doctor and not everyone who goes to a doctor is tested for the flu.
Health officials are predicting that flu activity may increase when schools resume next week following the holiday break.
The Center for Disease Control has declared the flu an epidemic and healthcare officials are urging everyone to use preventive measures, such as hand washing and avoiding contact with people who are sick.
Officials stated this year's flu strain has mutated, but doctors say getting a flu shot is still the best defense against the flu.
FISHER CHOPPED WALNUTS AND PECAN COOKIE PIECES RECALLED 1/05/15
Fisher chopped walnuts and pecan cookie pieces are being voluntarily recalled after a routine sampling program by the Food and Drug Administration revealed a package contained Salmonella.
The products affected are the Fisher Chopped Walnuts and Pecan Cookie Pieces that were sold in eight-ounce plastic bags in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas and online. The recall involves products with the best by dates of October 31st, 2015, November 1st and November 3rd, 2015 on the chopped walnuts and November 3rd, 2015 for the pecan cookie pieces.
The best by date is located on the back of the bags.
Customers of this product are advised not to consume this product and instead return it to the store of purchase for a full refund or replacement.
Customers with questions about the recall should contact JBSS customer service at 1-800-874-8734.
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes it can cause a fatal infection in young children, elderly people and others with weak immune systems.
People infected with Salmonella often experience fever; diarrhea, with may be bloody; nausea; vomiting and abdominal pain.
TWO MORE JOIN BID TO REVISE RED RIVER DISCHARGE 1/2/15
Two southwest Arkansas businesses have joined two others and two cities in petitioning the state for an increase in the levels of minerals that can be discharged into bodies of water.
SWEPCO, which owns and operates the John W. Turk Power Plant in Fulton is seeking permission to increase the concentration of minerals that it deposits in the Red River from the mouth of the Little River to the Louisiana state line and have the designation of un-used drinking water removed from the same area
SWEPCO is also seeking permission to increase the temperature of the water in the Little River from Millwood Lake to the Red River from 86 degrees to 89.6.
According to SWEPCO, this will allow them to operate the Turk Plant in a more efficient manner.
Domtar in Ashdown is asking to be allowed to increase the concentration of minerals in the Red River from the Oklahoma state line to the mouth of the Little River along with the concentration of sulfate from the mouth of the Little River to the Louisiana state line.
Domtar reportedly is not planning to increase the amount of minerals that it discharges, but they say they are worried about the parameters of its permit changing when it reapplies for one in the future.
Both companies say the increase in minerals wouldn’t be detrimental to the quality of the water; instead it would provide the companies with more lenient standards that are similar to neighboring states.
The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission will be holding a public meeting in Ashdown on January 26th concerning Domtar’s proposed changes.
The City of Huntsville and Fayetteville along with Tyson Foods and Lion Oil Company are the other entities that are trying to finalize their new standards with the state.
DE QUEEN RESIDENT INVOLVED IN ROLLOVER ACCIDENT 1/2/15
Sunday night a De Queen resident was involved in a rollover accident on Highway 27 west of Mineral Springs.
According to a report by the Arkansas State Police a Chevy HHR rolled over about 8:15 Sunday night.
According to the report, the driver, Lexie Bimansha of De Queen crossed the center and over-corrected causing the vehicle to leave the roadway on the south side of the highway. The HHR then rolled over at least one time and came to rest on its roof.
Neither Bimansha nor her minor passenger was injured.
Members of the Mineral Springs Police Department, the Mineral Springs Fire Department, the Howard County Ambulance Service and the Howard County Sheriff’s office were also on the scene of the accident.
LANDFILL REVIEWS TIRE SHREDDING PROGRAM 1/2/15
Board members of the Upper Southwest Regional Solid Waste Management District discussed the landfill’s new tire shredding program during their quarterly meeting this month.
The executive director of the regional landfill, Max Tackett, reported that the process of shredding tires at the site was going slower than expected. He reported they had shredded just over 50,000 tires since October.
Tackett explained that the conveyor belt system was prone to stoppages because of magnets that are designed to remove metal from the shredded tires. He suggested redesigning the conveyor out of stainless steel and moving the magnets may help prevent the stoppages.
Board members gave Tackett permission to start gathering bids for the construction of a new conveyor belt system from area companies.
Tackett also presented a proposed budget to the board that included a three percent raise for the landfill employees.
Tackett said this was the first raise since 2009.
Board members approved the budget including the raises.
Board members then elected officers for the upcoming year. Howard County Judge Kevin Smith was elected president, De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy was elected vice-president and Nashville Mayor Billy Ray Jones was elected secretary/treasurer.
The next meeting of the Upper Southwest Regional Solid Waste Management District board will be March 24th.
LIBRARY SNIPPETS 1/2/15
Head Librarian Johnye Fisher of the Sevier County Library System announced the new library hours for the New Year, this week. She said the De Queen Library will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.
Fisher explained that the new hours were at the request of library patrons. She also stated the library has WIFI and it’s free.
Fisher said they can also scan documents, offer Notary Public services, do color copying and they have free Department of Motor Vehicle practice tests for an Arkansas permit, Commercial Driver’s License and motorcycle license.
The book, “Unbroken” is now available at the Horatio Library. It’s the true story of a young man who went from the Berlin Olympics to being a Japanese prisoner during World War II. It’s a story of survival, resilience and redemption and yes, it has been made into a movie.
The adult book club will meet and discuss “Sarah’s Key” on Saturday, January 10th at 10 a.m. at the Lockesburg Library and on Saturday, January 17th, the library will host its second kids’ book club by reading the book, “Frozen.”
Fisher said they are planning some games and other activities for the kids on the 17th.
The Ben Lomond Library will take advantage of their close proximity to the Pond Creek National Refuge by reading about and discovering migratory birds during the month of January.
Fisher said Pond Creek is dominated by hardwood forest land and its an outstanding habitat for birds particularly neo-tropical migratory song birds. She said these birds use the refuge as a resting spot to help replenish their energy for their long journey to and from their wintering areas in Central and South America.
ROADSIDE SHOOTING INCIDENT CLAIMS LIFE OF FUGITIVE 1/2/15
A 44-year-old man who was wanted by the Houston Police died today at Wadley Regional Medical Center in Hope from what law enforcement witnesses report was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Special agents with the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing to investigate the incident.
The incident occurred about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday morning during a traffic stop by an Arkansas State Police trooper near the 45 mile marker on the eastbound side of Interstate 30.
A woman and three children who were in the car at the time of the traffic stop were taken from the scene by the Arkansas State Police and were reportedly uninjured.
The youngest of the children was believed to be the subject of a Texas Amber Alert that was issued by the Houston Police after the child’s mother, Angel Jackson was found dead Tuesday morning.
The shooting victim was identified as 44-year-old Tumetheus Pack and is believed to be the biological father of the youngest child that was the subject of the Texas Amber Alert.
The incident is still under investigation.
SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT PASSES 2015 BUDGET 1/2/15
Monday afternoon the members of the Sevier County Quorum Court voted to pass the proposed 2015 budget which included a two percent cost of living raise for all county employees.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray explained that the bulk of the budget is appropriated to the county jail, county road and the solid waste funds.
Judge Ray and Justice of the Peace David Wright commended the budget committee for their work this year. JP Michael Archer stated that he's served on the budget committee for the past 18 years.
JPs amended the 2014 County Road Department's budget by transferring $50,000 from two accounts to the county's gravel, dirt and sand account.
Judge Ray said the county has twice has many gravel roads as it does paved roads and the county has over 133 miles of paved roads.
JPs approved an appropriation for $15,250 concerning the completion of the Deed and Mortgage Records Grant Project. Judge Ray stated this was going to make searching the county records much easier.
Monday was also the final Quorum Court meeting for JPs Bill Jackson and Carol Cobb. Judge Ray presented them with plaques.
SWEPCO TURK PLANT RECEIVES AWARD 1/2/15
Southwestern Electric Power Company's John Turk Power Plant in Fulton has been honored with a Clean Coal Award.
The award recognizes the best environmental performance achieved among U.S. coal power plants in 2013 based on key emission rates.
The Turk Plant is a 600-megawatt ultra-supercritical power plant that went into service in 2012. According to SWEPCO, it is the most fuel-efficient coal plant in the country.
ARKANSAS AG'S OPINION SOUGHT ON TERM LIMITS 1/23/15
A co-sponsor of an amendment that changes terms limits for Arkansas legislators is asking the attorney general for an opinion on part of the measure.
Republican state Senator Jon Woods is asking the attorney general's office to weigh in on whether the new 16-year term limit applies to past lawmakers who were not eligible to seek re-election because of the previous term limits amendment.
The previous law limited lawmakers to three two-year terms in the state House and two four-year terms in the Senate.
The state constitutional amendment was approved by voters during the General Election in November and will allow legislators to serve a total of 16 years.
DPD MAKE FELONY DRUG ARREST 12/31/14
Christmas Eve, Sergeant Chad Bradshaw of the De Queen Police Department stopped a red Ford pickup with Missouri plates after discovering the tags had expired in October.
The driver was identified as 36-year-old Joseph Batchelor and he informed Sergeant Bradshaw that he didn't realize the tags were expired.
Batchelor also didn't have a driver's license and according to Bradshaw appeared to be very nervous.
When Batchelor was asked if he had an ID of any kind, he first presented a credit card. Bradshaw informed Batchelor that he had given him a credit card and asked for a form of ID a second time.
Batchelor informed Bradshaw that he lived in Port Arthur, Texas, but could not find an insurance card or his vehicle's registration.
Bradshaw then discovered that Batchelor had an active warrant out of Vernon County, Missouri and the authorities in Missouri reported that they wanted to extradite him on the warrant.
Batchelor was then placed under arrest on the warrant. He was informed that if he took any kind of contraband into the Sevier County jail he was be charged with additional charges.
Batchelor allegedly stated that he had a cigarette package in his pocket that contained some pills and marijuana in it. He went on to say that there might also be something else in the package.
Bradshaw removed the package and discovered a yellow piece of plastic that contained five pills that were suspected methadone that weighed 8.9 grams along with a small zip lock bag that contained suspected marijuana and another zip lock bag with suspected methamphetamine residue in it.
Batchelor will be extradited back to Missouri but was charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance in Sevier County.
DRINK AND DRIVE GO TO JAIL 12/31/14
December 27th, Patrolman Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department made a traffic stop at Fourth and Stilwell on a vehicle that was being driven by 62-year-old Ralph Collins of Idabel, Oklahoma.
When Sawyer approached the vehicle, he reported that he smelt alcohol and asked Collins to step out of the vehicle.
When asked if he had been drinking, Collins allegedly stated that he had drank a lot the night before.
Collins took a portable breath test and the result was .112. Collins failed a series of field sobriety test and was cited for Driving while intoxicated and for having no drivers' license.
Sawyer also discovered that Collins was wanted on an outstanding warrant, so he was transported to the Sevier County jail.
LOCKESBURG RESIDENT CHARGED WITH MISDEMEANOR DRUG POSSESSION 12/31/14
December 27th, Officer James Gilbert of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to Highway 71 North because dispatch had been advised that a male subject was driving an older model gray Jeep and the caller wanted the authorities to check on a child that was riding in the vehicle.
Gilbert located the Jeep on Lakeside Street and noticed the tags were expired and stopped the vehicle on the intersection of Highway 329 and the De Queen city limits.
Gilbert informed the driver, 24-year-old Levi Gentry that he needed to check on the child that was riding in the backseat and Gentry agreed.
Officer Gilbert reported the child appeared to be ok and sleeping.
When Gilbert asked where the mother was, Gentry told him that she was at the residence on Acorn Road that he just left. Gilbert asked him if he had been drinking or anything that would cause her to ask for the welfare check.
Gentry allegedly showed Gilbert a cigarette box that contained nine cigarettes and a small clear bag of a green leafy substance that was suspected of being marijuana.
Gentry was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and the child was released into the custody of its mother.
MAN ARRESTED IN KIDNAPPING RETURNED TO STATE 12/31/14
A man who police said kidnapped his girlfriend's 2-year-old son December 18th has been returned to Arkansas from the Atoka County Jail.
30-year-old Brent Wilks of Fayetteville was arrested in Atoka, Oklahoma on December 18th after an Amber Alert was issued for the child.
Wilks has been charged with domestic battering, kidnapping, two counts of terroristic threatening and a parole violation. All five counts are felonies. He will also be charged with a misdemeanor count of domestic battering in the third degree.
The child's mother, Alise Almodovar informed police that Wilks beat her and took her son after a fight between her and Wilks. She also reported that she thought Wilks had punched her son, but the child was uninjured when he was found in a car seat in Wilks' vehicle.
ELDERLY DELIGHT MAN CHARGED IN KIRBY STUDENT'S DEATH 12/30/14
Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir has announced that he will file a misdemeanor negligent homicide charge against the elderly Pike County man who ran over and killed a Kirby student after she exited a school bus.
Chesshir said the charge is being filed following a request by the family of 12-year-old Jazmin Hernandez who died from her injuries on October 27th.
Hernandez was hit by a SUV that was being driven by 88-year-old Dwight Moody of Delight after she got off a bus near Salem along Highway 70.
Hernandez died at the Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.
According to the incident report, the bus was stopped and unloading students with its emergency lights and signals activated at the time of the accident. The report states that Moody and his wife, 84-year-old Dorothy Moody, failed to yield to the bus and struck Hernandez as she crossed the highway.
According to Chesshir's office, he met with Hernandez's family on December 17th and asked them to consider either a misdemeanor or felony negligent homicide charge against Moody.
Hernandez's parent recommended that Moody be charged with the misdemeanor and asked that Moody not serve any jail time.
LITTLE RIVER LIBRARY BOARD ANNOUNCES REDUCED HOURS 12/30/14
The Little River County Library Board will be reducing hours at the three county libraries in Ashdown, Foreman and Winthrop effective Tuesday, January 6th.
County Judge-elect Mike Cranford said the move by the library governing board can be attributed to a reduction in tax revenues over the past year.
Cranford said the media specialists and librarians provided input into what hours the facilities would be open.
Cranford said the librarians and media specialists have worked over and above what was expected of them and everyone of them has shown a great deal of devotion and love for their jobs.
Cranford explained the reduction in hours will be in effect until further notice and that the library board will reevaluate the hours periodically.
Cranford said the county libraries offer a vary of services to the citizens of Little River County besides books. He said there are periodicals, computers, WIFI, children's reading programs, fax services, copiers, CD's and movies, audio books as well as inter-library loans for books that are not on the local library shelves.
The new hours for the Ashdown Library will be Tuesday from 9 a.m. until noon and from 1:30 to 6 p.m.; Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. until noon and from 1:30 to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The hours for the Foreman Library will be Tuesday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 5 p.m.; Wednesday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; and Thursday 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 5 p.m.
The hours for the Winthrop Library will be Tuesday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Ashdown, Foreman and Winthrop Libraries will be closed on Monday and Friday.
Cranford said the libraries belong to the citizens of Little River County and they apologize for any inconvenience that the new hours may create. He said hopefully the board will be able to restore full hours in the future.
LOCAL RESIDENT SPEAKS OUT ABOUT STATE CUTTING FUNDING TO YELL JAIL FACILITY 12/30/14
Last week, the state Youth Service Division announced that they will stop sending youth tot he Yell County Juvenile Detention Center in Danville until it is satisfied with the methods of punishment are investigated.
According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, youth were being punished with pepper spray, hogtying or a restraint that's known as the Wrap.
The Youth Services Division has paid the Yell County lockup more than $1.2 million dollars for housing an of 21 youths per month over the pate four years. Invoices show the facility was receiving about $35,724 a month for housing youth this year.
Yell County Sheriff Bill Gilkey said he removed the Wrap from the facility on October 1st after a member of the Arkansas Public Defender Commission discovered the device was being used to punish youth in lockup.
De Queen Victor J. Rojas serves on the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board and he said and I quote "as a state, we must be dedicated to doing everything possible to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of Arkansas' juvenile justice system. Attention must be paid immediately to the rights and well-being of juveniles in state custody. Harmful practices that violate constitutional rights foster a dehumanizing atmosphere are unacceptable and will not be tolerated." unquote.
Rojas went on the say that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette found more than 100 cases in which the Yell County lockup staff members and local law enforcement officers used restraints, pepper spray and sometimes a combination of both when dealing with youths who misbehaved by mouthing off, not following directions, banging on walls, kicking doors, yelling or name-calling.
The practices that were described in the article have been dangerous, anti-therapeutic and a clear violation of the youths civil-rights.
SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE SPREADS SOME CHRISTMAS JOY 12/29/14
Christmas Eve members of the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and Santa Claus delivered some Christmas joy to a Horatio family by providing gifts and a Christmas dinner to a family in need.
Deputy Chris Wolcott explained that this was the second time in two years that the department had helped a family in the community.
Wolcott said during the summer of 2013, deputies were dispatched to a home concerning a domestic dispute where the parents were arguing over money.
At the residence, deputies discovered a little girl that was all dressed up because it was her birthday. Deputies said it broke their heart because she seemed to be so excited to be getting BBQ chicken for her birthday.
Well, at Christmas last year, deputies took up a collection and decided to buy Christmas gifts for that little girl and her sibling along with a nice Christmas meal.
Then in November, the department received a card from the family that they had assisted last year with a note that said the family wanted to thank them for their help last year and they were doing a lot better this year.
The card also contained $10 that the family wanted to be used helping this year's family. So, deputies took up another collection and this year they collected over $400.
Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle contacted the Horatio School District and they decided to help this year's family.
Christmas Eve about 3 o'clock, Santa, Sheriff Bennie Simmons and several deputies delivered gifts and a Christmas meal.
Everyone involved stated they were truly moved by the excitement of the children and the true gratitude of the family.
Area law enforcement officers work to keep our communities safe, while having an impact on people that they come into contact with.
AREA BLOOD DRIVES 12/29/14
LifeShare Blood Center will be holding a couple of blood drives over the next couple weeks.
December 31st, there will be a blood drive at Pilgrim's Pride in De Queen from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on January 6th, there will be a blood drive at the Horatio High School from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.
The Horatio High School blood drive is part of LifeShares scholarship program, which is designed to honor students who demonstrate their community service and leadership by becoming regular blood donors.
Every school has the opportunity earn scholarships for students and the community can support the Horatio High School by participating during their January 6th blood drive.
According to LifeShare Blood Centers, about one in seven people who enter a hospital will need a blood product and one blood donation, can save up to three lives.
Blood donors at both blood drives will also receive a Make your Resolution Matter-Give Blood t-shirt.
For more information call LifeShare Blood Center at 903-794-3173.
HOLES IN SKULL COULD HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY BULLETS 12/29/14
A skull that was found near East Ogden has two holes in the back that could have been created by gunshots, according to Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory.
According to Gregory, the holes indicate that someone could have been shot in the back of the head in what could be described as execution style.
The skull and bones were identified as 26-year-old Zachery Wagner by the Arkansas Crime Lab in Little Rock. Wagner has been missing since February and was a suspect in a arson case involving a log truck in East Ogden.
At the time of the arson incident, Wagner was on parole from the Arkansas Department of Corrections, where he was serving time for felony residential burglary and theft.
However, the Arkansas Crime Lab has not confirmed the cause of death.
Gregory said DNA information was sent to the University of North Texas' archaeological department in Denton, Texas, for an analysis on the possible bullet holes, but his department has not received a report yet.
The skull was found October 7th, by a 6-year-old girl while she was waiting for an Ashdown School District bus. When she discovered the skull, she thought it was a part of a Halloween display and took it to her parents who called the Little River County Sheriffs Office.
Authorities began to search the area off County Road 251 and found additional bones, including an arm bone, back bone, torso and a leg bone.
Anyone with information about this case should contact the Little River County Sheriff's office at 870-898-5115 or the Arkansas State Police at 870-777-4641.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY SHERIFF ISSUES WARNING TO TRAILER OWNERS 12/29/14
Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory announced that thieves are apparently targeting trailer owners in Little River County because over the past three weeks, six trailers have been stolen with a total value of about $14,000.
Most of the thefts have occurred in the western region of the county near the Oklahoma border and the trailers have varied from 4 feet to 8 feet to a 20-foot trailer.
Gregory said his office is recommending trailer owners to put game camera to possibly record who is stealing the trailers.
Gregory said none of the stolen trailers have been recovered and his department doesn't know if they are being taken out of the area or cut up and sold for scrap.
Gregory also cautioned residents about putting information of social networks about property that you may have for sell or own. He said thieves can use that information to target your property.
Gregory said if anyone has any information concerning these thefts to contact his office at 870-898-5115.
RECYCLE YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE 12/29/14
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is asking Arkansans to donate their leftover live Christmas trees so they can help improve the state's fisheries by dropping the trees off at several sites around the state.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission community fisheries biologist Ben Batten says studies have shown that fish utilize underwater structures for cover and discarded Christmas tress offer some of the best cover. Batten said Crappie, bass, bluegills and other fish use the trees to hid in and around.
The Christmas trees provide cheap, but quality underwater structures. They are easy to place in ponds and lakes and they last several years, according to Batton.
Trees may be dropped off on Millwood Lake at Cottonshed and the White Cliffs recreation areas, as well as the Millwood State Park ramp on the point.
On the Dierks Lake, trees may be left at the Jefferson Ridge South Recreation area and at any of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boat ramp on the De Queen Lake and Gillham Lake.
Or residents may leave their unwanted trees may be left at the Cowhide Cove or Self Creek recreation areas on Lake Greeson.
WOMEN REPORTEDLY FIRES SHOTS AT TWO MEN 12/29/14
Reportedly, a woman got tired of two men arguing outside her house, so she opened a window and fired two shots from a .357 caliber pistol at the man threatening her boyfriend.
According to a report from the Little River County Sheriff's office, one bullet ricocheted off the ground and entered the house, striking a cabinet door below the kitchen sink.
Allegedly Chris Day was arguing and threatening Mark Merrell about 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon on Little River County Road 559.
51-year-old Judy Surber was arrested on charges of felony aggravated assault with a weapon.
Surber was able to post a $15,000 bond and was released from custody.
PRIVATE APPLICATOR TRAINING (P.A.T.) OFFERED 12/26/14
Joe Paul Stuart, Little River County Extension Agent will be offering a class required for those who need to re-certify or apply for a private applicator restricted use pesticide license.
The class will be Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at the Cossatot Community College Campus located north of Ashdown on Hwy 71.
The license is good for five years.
The training will be held in the Millwood Room located at the back of the college next to the County Extension office. Pre-registration is not required.
If you do not currently have a private restricted use pesticide license and would like to become certified, plan to attend this training session.
This training session is open to all interested persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.
Anyone needing special assistance should notify the office as soon as possible prior to the event.
For more information contact the Extension office at 898-7224 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
virtual lab at de queen high school 12/26/14
De Queen Public School’s Tech Team is completing a virtual lab at De Queen High School. Pictured is Mrs. Nena Land the technology director for the district. Nena is showing the edge of the monitor which will function as a laptop. Gone are the days of installing the cumbersome towers. A state statute was passed by the Arkansas legislature. It requires all students that enter the ninth grade during 2014-15 and after, must take an online class as part of their graduation requirements.
Pictured above are Gary Stewart, Eric Angeles and Nena Land setting up the virtual lab and Jay Carver running cables.
Jay Carver is part of the De Queen Public Schools’ Tech Team. Part of his job is to stay informed on the latest technology information from the Arkansas Department of Education. Mr. Carver is naturally gifted when it comes to technology. Below right, Jay is pictured viewing an ADE webinar on Dec. 18, 2014.
SEVIER COUNTY COURTHOUSE EMPLOYEE ARRESTED 12/26/14
A Sevier County Courthouse employee was arrested Monday afternoon by members of the Sevier County Sheriff's office.
Deputy Greg Davignon reported that a warrant was issued for Jeffery Burleson earlier this week, following an investigation into an allegation that Burleson was selling drugs out of the courthouse.
After receiving the tip, the South Central Drug Task Force was immediately contacted and the task force conducted an investigation and made a drug buy from Burleson, while he was working at the courthouse.
The warrant was served at 4 p.m. as Burleson was leaving the courthouse.
Arresting officers discovered a clear plastic bag in Burleson's front pocket that contained suspected methamphetamine. Officers found a working set of digital scales, numerous clear bags containing meth residue and a clear bag that contained Hydrocodone pills in the vehicle that Burleson was operating.
Burleson is being held in the Howard County jail on a $50,000 bond because he was previously a 309 inmate in the Sevier County jail.
Burleson was charged with delivery of a controlled substance - meth; possession of a controlled substance with the purpose to deliver; possession of Hydrocodone; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Burleson was previously convicted of possession of methamphetamine and served time in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
This incident was investigated by members of the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's office, the South Central Drug Task Force and the Arkansas State Police.
THREE-VEHICLE ACCIDENT STOPS TRAFFIC AT 70/71 INTERSECTION IN DE QUEEN 12/26/14
Shortly after noon on Tuesday, December 23rd, Officer Justin Gentry of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to a three-vehicle accident on Collin Raye Drive in front of McDonalds.
When Officer Gentry arrived, he spoke with Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon who informed him that Charles Clifton of Gillham had been traveling east in the inner most lane when Jessica Rogers of De Queen attempted to merge into the inner lane from the outer lane, striking Clifton's 2013 Mack Truck with her 2014 Nissan Altima.
The impact caused Clifton to swerve into the turning lane, striking a 2012 Jeep Wrangler that was being driven by Keith Mitchell of Horatio who was in the turning lane traveling west.
No injuries were reported but two vehicles had to be towed from the scene.
In an unrelated accident, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning was dispatched to the Burger King parking lot to work a five-vehicle accident.
Browning reported that after investigating the accident scene and speaking with several witnesses, he determined that Helen Long of De Queen was backing out of a parking spot at a high rate of speed.
Long informed Browning that when she attempted to apply the brakes, the vehicle wouldn't stop and she hit a truck and RV. She then accelerated forward and swiped another vehicle before running into a pickup forcing it into another truck.
No one was injured but Long's vehicle had to be towed after suffering heavy damage to the front and rear.
ARKANSAS STATE PARKS CELEBRATE THE START OF A NEW YEAR WITH GUIDED FIRST DAY HIKES ON JANUARY 1ST 12/26/14
The Arkansas State Parks are joining 49 other state park systems in the nationwide invitation to start the New Year on a healthy note by taking a hike along a state park trail.
On New Year's Day, 33 of Arkansas' 52 state parks will offer a total of 55 guided hikes to showcase these close to home places and invite families to celebrate the New Year on a guided outdoor adventure.
First Day Hikes originated over 20 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation in Massachusetts. The initiative targeted the first day of the year to promote both healthy lifestyles throughout the year and year-round recreation that can be experienced locally in state parks.
This year, parks in all 50 states will be participating in the program.
According to Arkansas State Parks Director Greg Butts, state parks all around Arkansas will join the America's invitation to the public to enjoy a First Day Hike by offering individuals and families the opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a health hike on January 1st.
Butts said Arkansas's state park system includes 143 trails totaling 400 miles and the public is invited to explore one of these trails on your own or join a park interpreter on a guided hike.
Butts explained that Arkansas State Park trails range in length from short nature walks to overnight backpacking adventures. He said in addition to walking and hiking trails, the state park system also includes biking, equestrian, river and off highway vehicle trails. Some of the trails are even barrier-free to accommodate the needs of visitors with disabilities.
Locally the Cossatot River State Park near Wickes will host a hike on the Harris Creek Trail from 1 to 5 p.m. The trail is an easy-to-moderate trail which passes through six different habitats that range from a dry open shale pit to a mature shortleaf pine and hardwood forest. The trial also has an overlook of the Cossatot River, which winds its way through the Ouachita Mountains.
Visitors can also hike the Little Missouri River Trail from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Crater of Diamond State Park near Murfreesboro.
The trail is over level terrain and winds through the woods from the park's campgrounds to the scenic Little Missouri River and loops back to the trailhead. Half of the trail is paved and barrier-free. The other half is unpaved but is an easy walk.
Daisy State Park near Kirby will be offering a one-mile hike to explore nature in the park from 1 to 2 p.m. starting at the visitor center.
Millwood State Park near Ashdown will be hosting a hike along the Waterfowl Way Trail from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
This trail is one and half mile hike and is popular during the fall and winter months when there are several varieties of migratory waterfowl resting on Millwood Lake.
For more information about Arkansas State Park trails go online at ArkansasStateParks.com/things-to-do/trails.
CAREGIVERS SUPPORT GROUP IN MENA 12/26/14
Jennifer Kranszman of the Mena Rehabilitation Center announced that Beth Bickell will be speaking during the January meeting of the Caregivers Support Group.
For more information about the Caregivers Support Group, contact the Mena Regional Health Center at 479-394-1161.
CDC REPORTING WIDESPREAD FLU ACTIVITY 12/26/14
It's that time of year, the Centers for Disease Control is reporting widespread flu activity across Arkansas and most of the country.
About 1,700 confirmed influenza-associated cases have been reported by Arkansas hospitals. The highest hospitalization rates are among people age 65 and older.
Four flu pediatric deaths were reported to the CDC during the week ending December 13th. There have been a total of 11 influenza pediatric deaths during this flu season.
Flu activity is also expected to increase further in the coming weeks.
RESOLVED TO GET IN SHAPE IN 2015 12/26/14
Arkansas consumers who are making New Year's resolutions to drop a few pounds in 2015 should select a fitness club or gym with care and review contracts before committing to memberships.
Health spas and fitness clubs are competing for New Year's business by offering special deals on gym memberships and because of that, some Arkansas consumers may face high-pressure sales tactics, misrepresentations about services or other problems that may derail their fitness goals.
So, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a consumer alert to give Arkansans some tips for choosing the right gym.
McDaniel warned consumers to be wary of advertisements for free club memberships. Sometimes, those free memberships mean consumers will be subject to high-pressure sales pitches and at other times, lured by the promise of a free month's membership into signing a costly, long-term contract.
Consumers should make sure that everything promised by a salesperson is included in the contract.
In addition, McDaniel reminded consumers that Arkansas law allows for consumers to cancel a health spa contract if the buyer become permanently disabled or moves more than 50 miles form any of that same club's locations.
McDaniel recommends that consumers visit the spa or gym during the hours you would normally be using the gym to see if it is overcrowded and to see if the facilities are clean and well-maintained.
Ask about trial periods to see if there is an opportunity to sample the services and equipment for free without any obligation to join?
Ask about the number of members, hours of operation and speak with the instructors and trainers.
For more information about this issue or other consumer related issues, call 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website, gotyourbackarkansas.org.
STATEWIDE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY DEER HUNT 12/26/14
For deer hunters using modern guns, the statewide Christmas holiday deer hunt starts Friday.
As 2014 winds down, the number of deer harvested is pushing the 200,000 mark and this follows the all-time highs of 2012 and 2013 with more than 213,000 deer harvests.
Eli Talley of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission says there are still several opportunities to deer hunt, including the Christmas holiday deer hunt and the second youth deer hunt the weekend of January 3rd and 4th.
Talley says the deer have been healthy this year and habitat conditions have been excellent this fall.
As of Tuesday, there were 1,001 antlered bucks harvested in Sevier County. The number of antlered bucks in other counties included, 952 in Little River County, 1,417 in Howard County, 1,236 in Polk County and 1,716 in Pike County.
New Year’s Eve Blood Drive 12/26/14
Texarkana, Texas., December 24, 2014— LifeShare is having a blood drive December 31st from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Pilgrim’s Pride (Bloodmobile), 401 S. 3rd Street, De Queen, Arkansas. Donors will receive a t-shirt.
About 1 in 7 people entering a hospital need blood. One blood donation, approximately one pint of blood, can save up to three lives. Every donation has the potential to save someone’s life.
For more information, go to www.lifeshare.org or call 903-794-3173.
NOVEMBER SALES TAX REVENUE FIGURES 12/26/14
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy has provided us with the latest sales tax revenue figures for De Queen and Sevier County.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT SECRET SANTA PROGRAM 12/24/14
It will be a much happier Christmas for 136 children from sixth grade and under in the Ashdown School District, thanks to the district's "Secret Santa" program. Secret Santas through the joint efforts of Domtar, Ashdown School student groups and social clubs, civic organizations, church groups, individual community members, and school district personnel stepped forward in a big way to assist families in need by providing Christmas gifts to dozens of children who may get very few or no gifts during the Christmas holiday.
The Ashdown School District “Secret Santa “program, under the leadership of School District Homeless Liaison Kim Befeld, collaborates with the Wilma Gentry Angel Program & Shop with a Cop Program to bring the total number of children receiving help with holiday gifts to 309 for Little River County.
NORADSANTA.ORG YOUR CHILD'S SANTA TRACKER 12/24/14
Santa is about to start his Christmas voyage and with NORAD's help you and your family can follow along as he brings toys to girls and boys around the world.
On NoradSanta.org you can see where on the Earth Santa has visited and where he's headed next. The site also features Christmas games, songs and videos as well as facts about Santa, NORAD and holiday traditions from around the world.
NORAD's Santa Tracking technology is also available as an app for your Apple, Android and Windows Smart Phones. Twitter users can follow updates from @NoradSanta.
Tracking Santa has been a Christmas tradition for nearly 60 years.
In 1955, a Sears Roebuck and Company advertisement misprinted a telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead, kids were put through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief's operations "hotline." The Director of Operations told his staff to check for signs of Santa flying down from the North Pole, and callers were given updates on his location.
NORAD took over the tradition in 1958, and has been carrying it on ever since.
Google is also ready to help you track Santa with its Advent Calendar style tracker for Google Chrome and GooglePlay.
By most accounts, Santa flies down from the North Pole, and begins his journey at the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean, then travels west through Asia, down through Africa then back up through Europe before flying across the Atlantic to visit North and South America.
THINGS TO DO IN ARKANSAS 12/24/14
Arkansas Travel blogger Kim Williams reminded the KDQN listeners that it wasn't to late to get out and enjoy the Christmas lights all around the state including Hot Springs, Fayetteville and Blytheville.
On the Arkansas.com travel guide website mentions several locations here in our area including the Sevier, Little River and Howard county courthouses.
After Christmas, Williams encouraged everyone to start the year off with a First Day Hike.
Shelley Flanary of the Cossatot River State Park said the park will be hosting a First Hike event on January 1st at 1 p.m.
She said participates will hike the Harris Creek Trail, but interested visitors will need to call the park to make a reservation so they can get a head count because the park staff will be serving chili after the hike.
First Day Hikes will also take place at the Daisy State Park and the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
THE VOICE WINNER HAS SEVIER COUNTY TIES 12/24/14
The 2014 winner of The Voice, Craig Wayne Boyd, is related to Pat Athey and Crystal Rankin of Sevier County.
Boyd is from a large family from around Monticello and is a distant cousin of Athey who was originally from Rye, Arkansas. Rankin said Boyd occasionally attends the family reunions and entertains the family with southern rock/country music.
Boyd has also been quoted as saying that he has relatives from all over Arkansas including all four corners and scattered in between.
Boyd started singing and playing guitar at a young age and moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 25 to pursue a career in country music. He is scheduled to make his Grand Ole Opry debut January 3rd.
Athey and Rankin stated they appreciated everyone locally for supporting and voting for Craig and they wish him nothing but the best and they hope he becomes a huge superstar.
FOREMAN SCHOOL DISTRICT TO REVIEW TRANSFER POLICY 12/24/14
Board members of the Foreman Board of Education discussed setting a new policy when it comes to student transfer requests for the 2015-2016 school year, after approving a student transfer request from the Foreman District to the Horatio School District during their December board meeting.
Superintendent George Kennedy presented the board with an updated version of the Related Party Transaction Disclosure list which included Rocky Comfort Car Care and The Gift Box.
The disclosure list allows the district to conduct business with local vendors who have family ties with faculty or staff of the Foreman School District. It states the listed vendors offer local services that are necessary to the district and the business between the district and the vendor has no bearing due to their relationships with current school employees. The list includes, Grill Hill Dozier, Tanner Sheet Metal, Turner Heating and Air, Hadaway Tire Shop, Gator Graphics, Young's Grocery, Rocky Comfort Car Care and The Gift Box.
Board members approved Superintendent Kennedy's presentation of the new facility usage policy.
The policy states that a committee that consists of Kennedy, Coach Cowling and Kim Cody will decide to allow the community to use the district's facilities. It also says there will be no charge for use, but the committee will determine if something is damaged and what procedures should be taken if any damages occur.
Board members approved the purchase of an intercom system and computers for the Oscar Hamilton Elementary.
Board members also approved a $350 Christmas bonus for the Foreman staff.
FOUR MYTHS ABOUT THE CRATER OF DIAMONDS SEARCH AREA 12/24/14
Visitors, bloggers, and websites often have four common myths about the Crater of Diamonds State Park's diamonds and its diamond search area.
Park Interpreter Margi Jenks explained that she will attempt to shed some light on these myths that she has discovered while working at the park.
The first myth is diamonds feel greasy or oily.
Jenks said the problem with this myth is the fact that diamonds are made from carbon and therefore, can't produce grease or oil. However, the real answer to this myth is that diamonds have very little static electric charge and therefore, are very slick.
The second myth is the park is able to put a monetary value on diamonds.
Jenks said some visitors even think the park buys diamonds, but neither statement is true. There are no registered gemologists on the park staff and no one at the park as been trained to put a monetary value on any diamond, whether it's found at the park or not.
Instead, the park will refer visitors to visit with several registered gemologists in Arkansas who are familiar with Crater diamonds and their value.
Myth three accuses the park of saving up the large diamonds until they need some publicity.
Jenks says that when someone finds a large diamond or thinks they may have found a large diamond, word spreads through the search area very quickly, because people just can't keep it to themselves. However, most of the time, people don't even realize they found a diamond until they take it to the Diamond Center and are informed by a member of the park staff what they have found.
And, the fourth myth is that park staff puts diamonds out in the search area.
Jenks points out that 559 diamonds have been found this year and over 31,000 diamonds have been found over the past 40 plus years.
She said Former Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism Director Richard Davies told the Nashville Rotary Club a couple of years ago that he couldn't imagine going to the legislature every year and asking them for several millions dollars to buy diamonds to put out on the search field.
Jenks said she hopes this sheds some light on the fourth main questions that some potential visitors may have had when it comes to the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES NATIONAL CRAMMING SETTLEMENT WITH T-MOBILE 12/24/14
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced that he and 50 other attorneys general, the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission has reached a settlement with T-Mobile USA over "mobile cramming" allegations.
Cramming is when a company places charges for third party services on mobile phone bills that were not authorized by the consumer.
The settlement includes at least $90 million dollars in payments to affected consumers.
Under the terms of the settlement, T-Mobile must provide each victim of cramming who files a claim under its Premium SMS Refund Program an opportunity for a full refund. The settlement terms require T-Mobile to pay at least $90 million dollars of which $18 million will be paid to attorneys general and $4.5 million to the Federal Communications Commission.
Arkansas received over $230,000 for its participation in the settlement.
Consumers can submit claims under the program by visiting www.t-mobilerefund.com. However, if consumers have any questions about the program they can visit the program website or call the refund administrator at 855-382-6403.
Arkansas consumers may also call the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-482-8982.
ELECTRONIC ACCESS CONTROLS INSTALLED AT ASHDOWN SCHOOLS 12/23/14
Ashdown schools have completed the installation of security access controls to all of the front entrances of its six student-housed campuses.
Superintendent Jason Sanders stated that when he was hired the Ashdown Board of Education informed him that school security was a priority and since the first of the school year, the district has purchased and installed magnetic locking systems, which will give the district's security team the ability to control access to the main entrances of all campuses at all times.
Sanders said they felt they had a safe school, but the new system upgrades the schools security.
To enter any of the Ashdown School District buildings, a visitor must push a button which is located outside the front entrance of the main buildings and wait for a receptionist, who can see the visitor on a camera and release the lock so they can enter.
Sanders apologized for any inconvenience that the new system may cause, but explained that it was for the safety of the students.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CENTER NOT CLOSING 12/23/14
Many in the community have heard the rumor that the Southwest Arkansas Domestic Violence Center is closing, so, Executive Director Courtney White and board president, Mindy Vandiver-Finney stopped by the KDQN studios to let everyone know that they were not closing.
White explained the center will be re-applying for some federal grants that they recently lost after their non-profit charter for the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center is approved.
Finney said the center is still providing victim services.
White said three paid victim advocates have been laid-off due to the loss of funding, but they are offering their services for free. She also stated the center will be expanding its services in January.
White said the center was still seeking board members and volunteers. When asked what characteristic a board member or volunteer should have, White responded that they needed a lot of compassion.
Finney stated the board will be releasing monthly newsletters in the coming year and asked for the continued support of the communities that the center serves.
White explained Southwest Arkansas needed the center because abuse affects us all.
If you have any questions or concerns about the center's future, White said you can call the center and the center is still accepting donations to help provide victim services in the area, so if you would like to make a donation, contact the center at 642-2141.
CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK TO HOST FIRST DAY HIKE 12/23/14
According to the president of the National Association of State Park Directors, 28,000 people hiked 66,811 miles in state parks all across the country last year, when the association launched America's State Parks First Day Hike event.
This year, several area state parks are hosting a First Day Hike Event including, the Crater of Diamond State Park in Murfreesboro at 10 a.m. for a free, guided hike along the Little Missouri River Trail.
Park Director Waymon Cox said the Little Missouri River Trail is a 1.2 mile loop that provides access from the campground to an overlook of the scenic Little Missouri River. He explained half of the trail is paved and barrier-free, the other half is unpaved but is easily walked.
The trail also contains two exercise stations along the way to provide extra challenges for visitors looking to boost their physical health.
For directions, call the park at 870-285-3113 or print a free park information brochure from the park's website at www.CraterofDiamondsStatePark.com.
Hikers are encouraged to wear good walking shoes, dress for the weather and bring plenty of drinking water.
Cox reminded visitors that the rest of the park, including the diamond search area will be closed on New Year's Day.
AG&FC PERMANENTLY ADOPTS BAN ON IMPORTED FIREWOOD 12/23/14
During the December meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, commissioners approved the permanent ban on the importation of firewood into the state's wildlife management areas.
The ban is an attempt to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer, which feeds on and kill Arkansas' ash trees. The permanent ban includes people camping on the Arkansas Game and Fish owned Wildlife Management Areas.
The insect has been discovered in six southwest Arkansas counties including, Clark, Columbia, Dallas, Hot Spring, Nevada and Ouachita.
The permanent firewood ban went into affect December 18th.
Arkansas Game and Fish officials also announced that 189,850 deer were harvested in Arkansas as of December 19th.
A total of 2,052 deer were harvested in Sevier County, 2,304 in Little River County, 2.995 in Howard County and 2,470 in Polk County.
ATOKA POLICE ANSWER CALL AND ENDS ARKANSAS AMBER ALERT 12/22/14
An Amber Alert that was issued in Rogers, Arkansas ended Thursday afternoon, December 18th in Atoka, Oklahoma where a two-year-old child's alleged abductor was arrested.
The Amber Alert had been issued earlier Thursday morning and around 2 p.m., Atoka Police received a tip from a motorist that a car fitting the Amber Alert description was traveling south on U.S. Highway 69.
Atoka Police stopped the vehicle in the Pizza Hut parking lot, and found the suspect Brent Wilks and the child inside the vehicle.
According to police, the child was in good spirits and was not harmed.
Wilks was booked into the Atoka County Jail on felony kidnapping charges and is expected to extradited back to Arkansas.
The child was returned to his mother who was Wilks' roommate.
BIG WINNER ANNOUNCED FRIDAY MORNING 12/22/14
De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Meagan Smith and chamber board members Zebbie Minton, Renee Logan and Crystal Rankin announced Friday morning the winner of the 2014 Shop Local campaign, but first they thanked all the participating chamber members.
Based on number of tickets, the chamber estimated that close to a million dollars was spent locally during the shop local campaign.
Leroy Hardwick of Foreman was the winner of over $1,400 in gift certificates from the participating chamber members.
DIERKS SCHOOL BOARD GIVES FINAL APPROVAL FOR ATTENDANCE REWARD PROGRAM 12/22/14
During the December meeting of the Dierks Board of Education, board members voted to approve the district's attendance reward policies for certified, classified and district bus drivers.
Superintendent Holly Cothern said the policy was established to encourage teachers and staff members to spend as many days as possible in the classroom with students.
Cothern informed KDQN that the district was currently accepting bids for a school security system.
During the board meeting, Cothern reported that the district currently had 578 students after the board approved the transfer of one student to the Cossatot River School District.
Board members also requested Cothern present a policy which will allow her to approve the use of school facilities for them to consider during their January meeting.
IDABEL MAN ARRAIGNED IN TODDLERS' MURDER 12/22/14
An Idabel man has been arraigned for the murder of a two-year-old girl last July.
19-year-old Dakota Williston was arraigned this week in a federal court in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Williston is being accused of killing two-year-old Payton Cockrell in July at a home in MuCurtain County. Prosecutors say Williston abused the toddler, causing her eventual death and he is being charged with first degree in Indian Country Committed during the Perpetration of Child Abuse.
The charge is a federal crime because the incident happened on tribal lands near Idabel.
Williston faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
MAN ARRESTED FOR THEFT OF PROPERTY 12/22/14
36-year-old Sidney Walker of Howard County has been arrested and charged with theft of property following an investigation of the theft of an air conditioner unit that was taken from a Center Point church.
On December 15th, Howard County Chief Deputy Bryan McJunkins took a report from Oscar Coulter who said the air conditioner from the Church of Christ near Center Point had been stolen.
Coulter informed McJunkins the unit was valued at $2,500.
Later this week, the stolen unit was discovered by Howard County Sheriff Investigator David Shelton at the South Side Scrap yard in Texarkana, Texas.
According to records, the unit was sold to the scrap yard by Walker.
Walker's bond has been set at $15,000.
MINERAL SPRINGS RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR THEFT 12/22/14
A Mineral Springs man has been arrested on charges of residential burglary, theft of property and conduct constituting attempted arson.
Authorities responded to a call at 504 Cornbridge Road, December 15th and were informed by Cynthia Smith that 35-year-old Curtis Smith had broken into a residence that belonged to her father, Lloyd Ashley and had stolen some guns. She stated Smith then allegedly attempted to burn the house down.
Smith was later arrested on another incident in Sevier County after the Sevier County Sheriff's office was notified of a domestic dispute between Smith and his sister at her home on Red Colony Road.
When deputies arrived they discovered Smith inside his sister's house with his sister outside. She told deputies that he was uninvited and asked for him to leave.
Smith was arrested and charged with public intoxication, criminal mischief in the second degree and criminal trespassing.
The weapons that were stolen in Howard County were recovered and Smith's bond has been set at $75,000.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK 12/22/14
Shelley Flanary of the Cossatot River State Park announced Friday morning that the park would be hosting several events this weekend and during the month of January.
Flanary said the park will be hosting a First Hike event on January 1st.
She said participates will hike the Harris Creek Trail, but interested parties need to call the park to make a reservation so they can get a head count.
Flanary said on January 31st, the park will host a Arkansas Black Bear Workshop from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
For more information about the programs at the Cossatot River State Park, call 870-385-2201 or visit our website at KDQN.net.
ELECTRONIC ACCESS CONTROLS INSTALLED AT ASHDOWN SCHOOLS 12/22/14
Ashdown Schools has completed the installation of security access controls to all of the front entrances of its six student-housed campuses. This includes Margaret Daniel Primary School, C. D. Franks Elementary School, L. F. Henderson Intermediate School, Ashdown Junior High School, Ashdown New Tradition School, and Ashdown High School.
"When I was hired as Superintendent of Ashdown Schools," states Jason Sanders, "school security was one of the first areas that our school board stressed upon me." Since those discussions, the school has purchased and installed magnetic locking systems, which gives the district security team the ability to control access to the main entrances of all campuses at all times.
"We feel that we have a safe school environment," continues Superintendent Sanders, "but this system just allows us to improve upon that."
To enter a school building in the Ashdown district, visitors will have to push a button located outside the front entrance of the main building of the campus and wait for a receptionist, who can view the visitor on a camera, to release the lock for entry.
"We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause," says Sanders, "but it is for the safety of our students."
The campus electronic access system was purchased and installed by KLC Video Security of Texarkana, Texas, a certified integrator of Video Insights IP Surveillance Systems.
BUFFALO SOLDIERS MOTORCYCLE CLUB 12/22/14
The Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Texarkana, AR, may be a small club in number but they are big in heart. The eleven-member club is on the search for ways they can contribute to the good of their communities, and most recently, their contribution was an all-decked-out bicycle and helmet for a child in need.
Working in partnership with Ashdown School District Homeless Liason Kim Befeld and the school district's "Secret Santa" program, BSMC chose to purchase and donate a youngster's bike because member Alonzo Williamson works with Befeld and recognized the need. A bike seemed the perfect gift since all Buffalo Soldiers ride Harley-Davidsons or other big bikes.
"But we are more than bike riders," states the club's website. "We believe that we are role models and share a responsibility and positive value system with our community."
The motorcycle club, with 103 chapters worldwide, selected the name "Buffalo Soldiers" to pay homage to the legacy of African-American military contributions in the post Civil War era and to those who received little recognition for their years of service on the frontier.
The Texarkana, AR chapter of Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club includes members from Mt. Pleasant, Texarkana, and Ashdown who value the rich history their club represents and encourage other dedicated individuals to consider membership.
Pictured behind Arkansas State Trooper Robert Wilson's Harley-Davidson motorcycle and the smaller Spiderman version are (l to r) Ashdown New Tradition School Principal Susan Fleming; BSMC-Texarkana, AR President Robert "Truper" Wilson; assistant secretary Shirley Coleman "Bizee B" Johnson; sergeant-at-arms Alonzo "Mr. Hawg" Williamson; historian Dianne "Lady Di" Williamson; vice-president Rex "T-Rex" Toney; secretary Ida "Sapphire" Toney; and Ashdown School District Homeless Liaison Kim Befeld.
ASHDOWN PRIMARY REINDEER CONTEST 12/22/14
"Explain why you think you would be a good reindeer for Santa's Team," the writing prompt stated, and from that info, eight tiny reindeer, plus Rudolph, of course, were chosen to guide the sleigh for St. Nick. The writing prompt was part of a continued writing lesson about expressing "voice" for the first graders at Margaret Daniel Primary School in Ashdown. Each student's version of "Santa's Reindeer Job Application" was submitted to the employee selection panel (the county officials at the Little River County Courthouse), and the finalists for Santa's Team were announced in an assembly at MDP on Thursday, Dec. 18.
Winners were presented with their official names and reindeer antlers by Little River County Judge Hoyt Johnson. The reindeer team members are:
DASHER = Fredrick Hunter, who says he will be strong!
DANCER = Kristin Huddleston, who wants to fly and can be careful! She likes reindeer because they are cool!
PRANCER = Journee Burris, who required a salary of $5.10. She says she can fly high and land smoothly.
VIXEN = Nicolas Bells, who can see through the fog and fly super fast!
COMET = Lillie Mays, who will be good because she takes gymnastics, can do a hand stand, and loves reindeer!
CUPID = Lily Babb , who will be glad to help Santa fly high up in the sky!
DONNER = Kaida Bromley, who can run fast and jump from house to house!
BLITZEN = Maggie Lyn Lawrence, who can talk funny and believes in Santa and all the reindeer.
And, of course, the most famous reindeer of all....
RUDOLPH, the Red-Nosed Reindeer = Madison Ceynar, who loves Rudolph's red nose and won't allow any bullying on Santa's sleigh!
Pictured are each of the reindeer, along with MDP Principal Kay York and Little River County Judge Hoyt Johnson.
4 C COWBOY CHURCH YOUTH GROUP HOSTS 2ND ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PROGRAM 12/19/14
Ruston Reynolds and members of the 4 C Cowboys Church youth group announced that they will be hosting their 2nd Annual 'From the Manger to the Cross' Christmas program this weekend.
Reynolds stated the youth group is called the "CREW" because Christ Renews Everyone Willing and he talked about how moving the Christmas program is going to be.
Reynolds said the event will take place round the churches circle drive. He said the church is located just west of the Sevier County Airport on Highway 70 from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday night.
For more information, contact the 4 C Cowboy Church.
LIFESHARE BLOOD CENTER BLOOD DRIVES 12/19/14
In an effort to prevent a blood supply shortage, LifeShare Blood Centers will be conducting a couple blood drives in the area.
This Saturday, the LifeShare Bloodmobile will be parked in the De Queen Wal-Mart parking lot from 1 to 6 p.m. and the bloodmobile will be at the De Queen Regional Medical Center on Monday, December 22nd from noon to 4 p.m.
Rhonda Blanton of the De Queen Medical Center reported the hospital has set a goal of 30 units of blood.
LifeShare Blood Center also wants to remind residents that the blood products that patients need can only be provided by blood donors.
LifeShare is also giving a holiday t-shirt to every donor.
Tina Hooper of the LifeShare Blood Center said everyone is busy during the holiday season, doing their shopping and going to Christmas gathering, but the need for blood donations doesn't stop, just because we're all busy. She said typically donations drop during the holidays and it creates a shortage in late December and early January.
Hooper is asking area residents to take an hour and stop by the local blood drives and give blood now, so LifeShare can make sure that no one suffers from a lack of blood being available this season.
PARENT SUPPORT TEAMS LOOK TO CONGRESS 12/19/14
The clock is ticking on federal funding that helps struggling parents with young children. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program is set to expire in March, unless Congress takes action.
A coalition of 750 organizations, including six in Arkansas, has sent a letter asking that the program continue as it has for decades.
Karen Howard at "Zero to Three" explains the home visiting idea has always had bi-partisan support, and research has shown that voluntary home visits, usually conducted by nurses or social workers, can prevent serious problems and learning deficits.
There's also a pay-off. Howard points to the RAND Corporation report that found home visiting programs saved up to around six dollars for every dollar invested.
Howard says many parents are very young, experienced abuse or neglect as children, are disconnected from their parents or have aged out of the foster system. The home-visiting professionals offer non-judgmental support.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, Prevent Child Abuse America and Salvation Army are among the national organizations that signed the letter. Among the Arkansas groups signing: the Invest Early Coalition, and Parents as Teachers at Fort Smith Public Schools.
Funding nationally has been as about 400 million dollars a year.
PROPOSED FEDERAL GUIDELINES AIM TO REDUCE JUVENILE LOCK-UPS 12/19/14
Congress is set to consider updating a decades-old law that guides states on the custody and care of juveniles in the criminal justice system. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act was introduced late last week and one big change would be providing incentive to states to lock up fewer children.
Investigative journalist Nell Bernstein says locking kids up is expensive for states. She said it costs the state about $300 dollars per day, per inmate in Arkansas, and can cause harm that follows kids for the rest of their lives.
Her research into juvenile justice has focused on lawsuits related to guards abusing kids in custody. She also claims guards are rarely punished, and that kids are afraid to speak up or don't have safe ways to file grievances.
Bernstein advocates for closing most juvenile detention facilities, saying treating the underlying issues that are closer to the kids' homes has been proven to be more effective. Plus, she believes that the "acting out," "mouthing off," skipping school and shoplifting that often leads to kids being put behind bars is a developmental phase.
STUDENT ARRESTS ON THE RISE IN ARKANSAS 12/19/14
Each year, there are more than 3,000 law enforcement incidents on Arkansas public school campuses, but the majority of the children involved in these incidents are arrested for nonviolent offenses.
Across the county, millions of students are being removed from their classrooms for minor misconduct.
A new report by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families looks at the school-based arrests across the state between 2013 and 2014.
The report shows that the total number of arrests has increased by 13 percent since 2011.
The study reveals that getting arrested is another risk factor for students who are either vulnerable or high-need children and further endangers that future opportunities. It showed that students who are pushed out of the school and into the juvenile justice system face increased risk of chronic absenteeism, failing classes, dropping out, abusing drugs and alcohol, being arrested again and longer-term incarceration.
Authors of the report suggests educators should consider alternative disciplinary strategies that focus on positive reinforcement and restorative justice, which according to the study reduces police involvement by 68 percent and out of school suspensions by nearly 40 percent in some districts.
The report recommends the state develop a task force to review existing district discipline policies, train off-campus officers on how to respond to students, expand the use of preventative measures to reduce school misconduct, and to require law enforcement agencies to report arrests that are made on school grounds.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT DAISY STATE PARK 12/19/14
Park interpreters at the Daisy State Park announced some upcoming events at the park in January.
Park interpreters will be leading a First Day Hike on January 1st to celebrate the new year. Adults and children are invited to get started on their New Year resolutions for a healthier lifestyle in 2015 by exploring nature and engaging in some physical activity, while have a fun family outing.
Hikers are reminded to dress for the weather and to bring plenty of water.
The hike will consist of one mile, beginning at 1 p.m. outside the visitor information center.
Admission is free and the hike should take approximately one hour.
Park staff will also host a cast iron cookware workshop on Saturday, January 17th from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. The workshop will include a hands-on class about cooking with Cast Iron.
The unique cookware has been used throughout history for outdoor cooking and is still a great way to bring family and friends together around a campfire.
During the workshop, participates will learn everything they need to know about seasoning, cleaning and cooking with cast iron cookware.
All cookware, ingredients and utensils will by supplied by the park.
Cost of the Cast Iron Cookware Workshop is $15 per person.
Class size is limited so if you are interested in the class contact the park at 870-398-4487. Cast Iron Cookware including the Lodge Dutch Ovens and accessories will be available for purchase at a discounted price in case you get hooked on cooking with cast iron.
ALDERMAN DANIEL NAMED MAYOR PRO-TEM FOR FINAL COUNCIL MEETING 12/18/14
Tuesday night's De Queen City Council meeting was the last for outgoing aldermen Pat Minor and Sterling Daniel and Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy recommended the council appoint Daniel as mayor pro tem for his final council meeting.
Daniel served on the De Queen City Council for over 15 years and Minor served over six. Daniel was defeated by Lawrence Wishard for his position on the council during the November General Election, while David Krantz will fill Minor's position after she did not seek re-election.
Mayor McKelvy presented Daniel and Minor a plaque in appreciation for their service to the City of De Queen.
De Queen Police Chief Richard McKinley reported to the council concerning the Shop with a Cop program. He stated 25 kids shopped with officers from his department, the Sevier County Sheriff's office, the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
CPA Richey McCullough presented his independent audit of the city's water, sewer and sanitation accounts. He reported the departments were in good shape, but the city would need to address a drop in revenue in two of the three accounts.
City Clerk/Treasurer Donna Jones reported the city had received one finding on the city's legislative audit concerning how the city was handling travel expenses and she explained to KDQN that the city would be making a change to its travel expense policies to come into compliance with the state’s recommendations.
Aldermen passed a resolution allowing the fire department to sell rural fire memberships for $50 a year. If someone outside the city limits of De Queen would and they live in the De Queen Fire Department's fire protection area, they can go to the fire station and purchase a membership.
McKelvy announced Richard Robinson had been hired as the city's new Animal Control officer.
Chief McKinley said the department was working to change it policies in an effort to get dogs adopted and not have to euthanize them. He said they will be posting photos of dogs that are picked up by the animal control officer on their Facebook page Facebook.com/De Queen Police Department.
CRIME VICTIMS PROGRAM FACING BUDGET SHORTFALL 12/18/14
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced this week that he will notify expected recipients of reparations from the state's Crime Victims Reparations Program that funding for their claims may be delayed indefinitely as a result of a significant budget shortfall.
Current state and federal funding levels will be insufficient to pay claims awarded by the Crime Victims Reparations Board, possibly as early as February, according to the attorney general.
McDaniel warned crime victims' advocates and legislators in June about funding problems and his efforts to preserve the program through the current fiscal year. However, stopgap measures to ensure full funding of awards will not be enough to offset a consistent decrease in payments from the state Administration of Justice Fund, which is the primary source of revenue for the program.
McDaniel announced that he had informed Governor Mike Beebe, Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General-elect Leslie Rutledge that he had secured enough to pay claims and avoid layoffs until February.
The Crime Victims Reparations Board awarded $3.91 million dollars to Arkansans in 2013.
State law provides for claims to be paid in the order in which they were submitted, but the law states that if there is insufficient funding for the program, claims will not be paid.
McDaniel said his office will continue to process claims as usual, regardless of the budget situation, and claims will be paid as funding becomes available.
NOVEMBER REPORT OF THE CHALICE CUPBOARD 12/18/14
During the month of November, the Chalice Cupboard assisted 45 families in Sevier County by distributing 1,213 pounds of food to 105 adults and 90 children.
Donations were made by the St. Barbara Catholic Church, Cub Scout Pack 54, First National Bank and KDQN, the Sevier County 4-H program and the Sevier County Library.
The Chalice Cupboard received $810 dollars during the month from several donors and had an ending balance of $1,604.
This month, volunteers are seeking donations of peanut butter, cereal and canned fruit.
The Chalice Cupboard is located on 5th Street in De Queen and is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
UPCOMING EVENTS FOR THE DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT 12/18/14
Wednesday morning, De Queen School District Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced several upcoming events this week involving students of the district.
Whatley stated the De Queen Primary second graders will be performing at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and Parkhill will be holding their secondary AL graduation this Thursday at 6 p.m.
Whatley said she also wanted to remind parents that sixth through twelfth grade students will be taking semester test today and Friday.
And, Whatley invited everyone to support the De Queen High School Show Choir this weekend as they continue to raise money for a trip to Orlando, Florida for a choir event during the Lace Lane Festival of Lights on Friday night at 6 p.m. and at the Sevier County Museum on Saturday night at 6 p.m. for the reading of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”
For more information about programs on the campuses of the De Queen School District, contact your child's school office or call the administration building at 584-4312.
DOMTAR DELIVERS BOOKS TO ASHDOWN SCHOOL 12/18/14
Nine Domtar employees delivered books, read to students, and brought smiles to kids' faces on Dec. 11 as part of the partnership between Domtar and First Book aimed at ending illiteracy and supporting schools.
The eighteen students of Mrs. Lonni Dollarhide's kindergarten class were divided between eight Domtar representatives and one Domtar employee who read to Shonda Wrinkle's entire class. The adult readers shared a book with their group and assisted in the presentation of each child's copy of Kindergarten Rocks! to take home.
Thanks to Domtar and First Book, a non-profit organization established in 1992 in Washington, D.C. dedicated to providing access to books for children, "the kids will get one new book today," says Dollarhide, "one wrapped book for a Christmas gift, and their own copy of First Grade Here I Come at the end of their kindergarten year this year." The book each child will receive for Christmas is a beautiful hard-bound copy of Disney's Christmas Storybook Collection, a treasury of 18 tales.
"When I told them Domtar was coming to bring books, they were thrilled," continued Dollarhide, "especially when I told them they would get books to take home!"
In addition to the books of the day, Dollarhide has also ordered books to go along with Common Core Standards as read-alouds for every kindergarten teacher, in all totaling almost 150 books. "Subjects such as black history, science, life cycles, and nature are included in the non-fiction selections to go along with study units throughout the year," she says.
For several years now, Domtar and First Book have partnered together to provide thousands of free books to classrooms nationwide and especially in Domtar-based communities. To date, First Book has distributed more than 120 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada via its corporate partners.
"We are proud of our past success," First Book states on its website, "and even more excited about the future" as they continue to provide access to new high-quality books for children.
"We appreciate Mrs. Dollarhide for giving us the opportunity to visit her class and read to the students," states Tammy Waters, Manager of Communications and Government Relations at the Domtar-Ashdown Mill. "All of the volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to our next visit to Margaret Daniel Primary."
Reading for the children were Domtar volunteers Linda Harlston, Eric Schott, Joey Wallace, Tammy Waters, Andrea Schott, Johnathan Haltom, Kelley Crouch, Bob Grygotis, and Brandon Ayers.
BELLEVILLE CEMETERY ASSOCIATION HOLDS HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE 12/17/14
Monday, December 22nd and Monday, December 29th, the Belleville Cemetery Association will hold a holiday open house from 6 to 8 p.m. each evening at the historic Belleville Church and association member Dr. Steve Cole said the cemetery association wanted to thank everyone that helped with the renovations from the donors to the construction workers and he mentioned some of the renovations that were needed to restore the church to its 1904 condition.
Dr. Cole stated since the renovations were completed, the association wanted to share the church with the community and they made the church available for special occasions like weddings and reunions.
The open house will be Monday, December 22nd and Monday, December 29th, at the Belleville Church from 6 to 8 p.m. each evening.
ASHDOWN CHRISTMAS PARADE WINNERS 12/17/14
Little River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fonda Hawthorne announced Monday morning the winners of the 2014 Ashdown Christmas Parade from last Saturday.
In the Commercial division, the winner was Main Street Preschool, followed by Southwest Arkansas Equipment and Pleasant Manor Nursing and Rehab.
In the Non-commercial division, the winner was the Jesus Worship Center, followed by the Ashdown Antiques and Merchants Association and the First Assembly of God Church.
The Boy Scouts won the walking division.
Don and Lori Dossey took first place in the Antique Car division, followed by Chris Swint and Paul Anderson.
In the other motorized vehicle category, Tiny Tots King and Queen, Grayson Sanders, Tori Beason and Land O'Lights Talent winner Tatum Beason took first place, followed by State Representative Fonda Hawthorne and "Looking for Santa" with Lenine, Cash and Marlei Helm.
Hawthorne stated the winners may pick up their plaques at the Ashdown City Hall from Elizabeth Foster.
DIERKS SEWER LAGOON PROJECT APPROVED FOR 2015 12/17/14
Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts reported the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality approved the city's submitted correction action plan and the city plans to move forward with the sewer lagoon project the first of 2015.
Mounts said the addition of the new lagoon would allow the city to stay in compliance with the ADEQ for the next 20 to 30 years.
Mounts said aldermen approved the 2015 budget including a raise for city employees and an increase in funding for the city park.
The next Dierks City Council meeting will be January 12th at 6 p.m.
LAW ENFORCEMENT SPREADING SOME CHRISTMAS JOY 12/17/14
Monday afternoon, officers with the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's office, the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission participated in the annual Shop with a Cop program in De Queen.
Children selected bikes, dolls, clothes and gifts for family and friends as they shopped with a cop Monday afternoon.
Children and officers were joined by Santa Claus and a couple of his elves while they shopped and Wal-Mart assistant Manager Santana Smith explained that she had been involved with the Shop with a Cop program since Pete Price of Ashdown started the program in Little River County.
De Queen Police Chief Richard McKinley said children were given a set amount to spend and they could spend it on anything they wanted in the store.
PRIVATE APPLICATOR TRAINING BEING OFFERED IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 12/17/14
Little River County Extension Agent, Joe Paul Stuart, will be offering a class that required for those who need to be re-certified or who are applying for a private applicator restricted use pesticide license.
The private applicator license is good for five years and participates do not have to pre-register.
The training will be held in the Millwood Room which is located at the back of UA Cossatot next to the County Extension Office and is for anyone that does not currently have a private restricted use pesticide license and would like to become certified.
The class will be Thursday, January 8th at 6 p.m. on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot, but for more information call the Extension Office at 870-898-7224.
ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL BUSINESS LAW 12/17/14
The Ashdown High School students in Mrs. Shauna Tipton's Business Law class and Coach Rick Fowler's Civics class learned about proper courtroom procedures through participating in a mock trial. The students practiced necessary procedures for all parties involved in an actual trial, such as the judge, attorneys, witnesses, jurors and observers.
"We actually do two trials a year," says Tipton, "where each student prepares as either a prosecuting attorney or defense attorney. They all write opening statements, witness questions, and closing statements. We then choose the attorneys, jurors, bailiff, and witness parts."
This semester's trial was "The People vs Carter" in which Thomas Wade Carter (enacted by Myles Markle) was charged with two crimes: 2nd Degree Murder (unlawful killing with malice aforethought) and Involuntary Manslaughter (unlawful killing without malice aforethought and intent to kill).
On the final day of enactment, Arkansas State Police Special Agent Hays McWhirter joined the class to authenticate the proceedings. He talked to the students regarding his job of gathering evidence as a Police Investigator.
THOUSANDS TOUR KCS HOLIDAY EXPRESS TRAIN IN DE QUEEN 12/16/14
Approximately 3,000 area residents had the opportunity to take a free tour on the KCS Holiday Train when it made a stop in De Queen on Friday, December 12th. The De Queen/ Sevier County Chamber of Commerce was the local sponsor and contact for the train information.
Though it was misting rain, many children and their parents stood in line for over an hour for their chance to view and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train and visit with Santa and his elves.
Led by KCS’ Southern Belle business train, the Holiday Express train includes a smiling tank car “Rudy”; a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a ginger bread boxcar; a newly remodeled elves’ workshop; the reindeer stable; and a little red caboose. Each car is dressed in lights.
The Holiday Express also has a charitable component. At each scheduled stop, The KCS Charitable Fund makes a contribution of gift cards to the local Salvation Army to provide warm clothing and other necessities for children in need. Over the past 13 years, thanks to the generous contributions of KCS’ employees, vendors and friends, the Holiday Express has donated over $1 million in gift cards to this cause.
Tammy Simmons, representing the De Queen Salvation Army store and Joe Finley, regional representative from the Arkansas-Oklahoma Division of the Salvation Army organization, accepted the gift of fifty $25 gift cards from Grant Elliott on behalf of the KCS Holiday Express Charitable Fund. Simmons said the local store coordinates with area schools to distribute the gift cards to children who have the greatest need.
De Queen Salvation Army Store Manager Tammy Simmons, AR-NE OK Service Unit Representative Joe Finley, KCS Volunteer Grant Elliott (back), as well as two other KCS elves.
November, 2014, Report on Food Ministry 12/16/14
The Chalice Cupboard assisted 45 families in Sevier County last month--195 people, including 105 adults and 90 children. Food distributions totaled 1,213 pounds, based on the number of people in the home.
Supporting organizations of the food ministry last month were: St. Barbara's Catholic Church; Cub Scout Pack 54; First National Bank / KDQN; Sevier County 4-H Program and Sevier County Library; and individuals, including an anonymous giver. All donated items totaled 583 pounds of food.
The bank balance on November 1, 2014, was $1,684.15. Gifts of money totaled $810.00 during the month. $886.15 was spent to replenish food items for the pantry, with items purchased weighing 974 pounds. Total pounds added were 1,557 pounds. The balance on November 30, 2014, was $1,608.00.
Suggested items for food donations are peanut butter, cereal and canned fruit.
ASHDOWN TEACHER RECEIVES GRANT 12/16/14
Ashdown Junior High School math teacher Jeanne Burden has been awarded a grant in the amount of $1000 from the E-Z Mart Jim Yates Foundation. The funds will be used to complete the math portion of the school's new outdoor STEM lab, according to Eliza Simmons, AJHS Instructional Facilitator and grant writer, which will include purchasing materials for a life-sized coordinate plane as well as other math manipulatives.
The E-Z Mart Jim Yates Foundation has allocated funding for Education Grants to the school systems located in the communities in which E-Z MART operates. "The purpose of these grants," states the Foundation's website, "is to assist the educator in acquiring the tools necessary to instruct and lead our children to higher levels of learning with the most current instructional methods."
Last year, E-Z MART contributed $43,065 to teachers wishing to enhance the classroom experience. "In the seven year history of this program," the website concludes, "we have awarded $271,523 to various teachers and school districts."
FORMER DE QUEEN RESIDENT SENTENCED IN HOT SPRINGS 12/16/14
A former De Queen and current Mount Ida resident was recently sentenced after pleading guilty in July to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
According to a press release, Steve Standridge was sentenced to five years in prison, three months of supervised release and restitution totaling seven million, ninety-six thousand, four hundred and seventeen dollars and thirty-five cents.
Standridge had faced a 23 count indictment issued by a Federal Grand Jury in the Western District of Arkansas and a 12 count indictment issued by a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Arkansas.
The indictment alleged that Standridge, who was president of Steve Standridge Insurance arranged for his company to obtain loans from a corporation in Hot Springs by falsely representing that he planed to use the loans to purchase two insurance agencies and Standridge submitted false information to a bank in Hot Springs in an attempt to obtain a loan to another insurance agency.
The indictment alleged there were no agreements to purchase the insurance agencies represented by Standridge and that he used the $2.7 million dollar loans for other purposes.
United States Attorney Conner Eldridge contends that indictment against Standridge followed pleas of guilty by Danny Wood of Idabel, Oklahoma and Gregory Hunt of Russellville, Arkansas.
Wood pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting bank fraud and was sentenced to 30-months in prison.
Hunt plead guilty to aiding and abetting bank fraud and was sentenced to 33-months in prison.
According to the press release, throughout the time period that's set forth in the indictments, Standridge owned, operated and managed various independent insurance agencies in the U.S. and it was through these companies that Standridge provided various types of insurance policies and bonds to Wood and Hunt.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation with the assistance of the Arkansas Insurance Department-Criminal Investigation Division.
Courtesy of DeWayne Holloway, Editor-Montgomery County News
ACCIDENT RESULTS IN CITATION FOR UNAUTHORIZED PERSON DRIVING 12/16/14
Friday afternoon about 4 p.m., Sergeant Chad Bradshaw of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to a two vehicle accident at the intersection of Highway 70 and 9th Street.
When Bradshaw arrived both vehicles had been moved to a parking lot on the east side of 9th street.
James Hemric of De Queen informed Bradshaw that he was crossing 9th Street from the E-Z Mart parking lot into a parking lot on the east side of the street and he didn't see the other vehicle.
Hemric said he almost made into the parking lot when he was struck by the other vehicle.
Valerie Bell of De Queen reported that she was traveling north on 9th Street. She said Hemric pulled across the street in front of her, but she didn't have time to stop.
After conducting an accident investigation, Bradshaw discovered that Hemric did not have a valid driver's license and was cited for driving on a suspended license.
The owner of the vehicle that Hemric was driving, Nelda Fant of De Queen, was cited for permitting an unauthorized person to drive.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL BOARD INFORMED OF SEVERAL GRANTS 12/16/14
During the December meeting of the Ashdown Board of Education, board members were informed that Eliza Simmons had recently secured several grants supporting Literacy, Math, Science and physical education on behalf of the district.
Superintendent Jason Sanders stated the grants will be used to develop well-rounded students in the Ashdown District.
Sanders said the board also heard from the district's architect, Craig Boone, concerning his past work as the board discusses their future plans for the Ashdown campuses.
Board members voted to hire Carinna Snider as a Special Education teacher and Don Nesbitt as the high school Spanish teacher.
MEMORIAL BAPTIST TO HOST CHRISTMAS EVE MEAL 12/16/14
Members of the Memorial Baptist Church of De Queen will be hosting their annual Christmas Eve meal this year at noon and member Jennifer Martin said its free to everyone.
Last year, Memorial Baptist Church served 357 meals and Martin said Friendship Baptist Church held a Thanksgiving Day meal this year and they served about the same, but this year, Memorial Baptist Church hopes to serve about 400 people.
Martin said the church is located on Vandervoort Ave. just past the De Queen City Park swimming pool.
If you would like to reserve a meal, call 642-8387 or 584-2973 by this Thursday.
RECEPTION PLANNED FOR MARY LITCHFORD 12/16/14
Former Sevier County Judge Dick Tallman and County Judge Greg Ray announced Monday morning that there will be a reception honoring retiring Executive Director of the Sevier and Little River County Senior Adult Centers, Mary Litchford.
Tallman said the reception will take place Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the senior adult center in De Queen.
Tallman and Ray announced that the Southwest Arkansas Development Center would be considering applicants for a new director .
Litchford has served the Sevier County Senior Adult Center for over 26 years and everyone is invited to share this moment with her as they celebrate her service to the senior adults of Sevier County.
MISPLACED WALLET RESULTS IN THEFT OF PROPERTY CITATION 12/15/14
December 5th, Dale Pennington of Prescott reported to the Sevier County Sheriffs office that he had left his wallet at the E-Z Mart in Lockesburg and that someone had picked up his wallet and apparently kept it.
Pennington explained that he was distracted by a phone call as he walked into the store and left his wallet setting on the counter after he paid for his items.
Pennington stated the wallet contained about $500 in cash, two bank debit cards, his driver's license, his concealed carry permit card, a spare truck key and several business cards.
Pennington informed the sheriffs office that he had spoken to a woman at the store and she had reviewed the security tape and saw a man pick up the wallet and hand it to another man in the parking lot.
On December 8th, Deputy Brian Hankins followed up on the investigation by speaking with the manager of the Lockesburg store, Jeri Overstreet.
Overstreet reviewed the security tape with Hankins and they witnessed Dustin Terry take the wallet and walk out the store and hand to a man that he thought the wallet belonged to. The tape showed the man take the wallet and leave.
The suspect was described as a medium build white male, wearing a tan/brown long sleeve shirt. The suspect got into a red Ford truck and drove away.
December 9th, Deputy Rodger Ridley was dispatched to the Sevier County Farmer's Co-op in Lockesburg.
Ridley interviewed a Victor Stinson who said he found the wallet by the west door of the Co-op, however, the wallet was empty.
On December 11th, Deputy Chris Wolcott and Investigator Robert Gentry interviewed Donald Curtis concerning the wallet from the E-Z Mart.
Curtis allegedly told the officers that a man handed him the wallet and he took it. He also allegedly stated that he took the cash, cut up the debit cards and discarded them in Nashville and left the wallet at the Co-op.
Curtis was charged with misdemeanor theft of property. Curtis bonded out of jail Thursday night.
DOMTAR ANNOUNCES MAJOR INVESTMENT AT ASHDOWN MILL 12/15/14
Domtar has announced that it will invest $160 million dollars in the Ashdown Mill to convert a paper machine into a high quality fluff pulp line that is used in the absorbent applications such as baby diapers and other similar products.
The conversion is expected to come online by the third quarter of 2015 and will allow for the production of 516,000 metric tons of fluff pulp per year once the machine is in full operation.
The conversion work is expected to start during the second quarter of 2016 and will cost approximately $160 millions dollars of which $40 million is expected to be invested in 2015 and $120 million in 2016.
The company will also invest in a pulp bale line that will provide flexibility to manufacture paper-grade softwood pulp, depending on market conditions.
SOUP KITCHEN BEING ORGANIZED IN MINERAL SPRINGS 12/15/14
A group of community members in Mineral Springs are organizing a soup kitchen.
City Council member Steve Dixon says they are currently working to find a facility to be able to serve those in need. He said the "Community Table" will begin operation in January and will start out serving a meal twice a month.
The dates in January are the 13th and the 27th.
The goal is to get volunteers and organizations to sponsor meals and later be open four times a month. Meals will also be delivered to shut-ins.
Dixon says they would also like to establish a food bank.
Dixon said they are currently seeking the community's support in the effort and hopes it will benefit the area.
MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL BOARD MOVES FORWARD WITH STADIUM RENOVATIONS 12/15/14
The Mineral Springs School Board held a brief meeting this week to approve the start of renovations at Hornet Stadium.
Superintendent Curtis Turner reported that Pilgreen Electric has been approved to start replacing the light poles and stadium lights at the football field.
Turner said the upgrades will solve some of the safety concerns at the stadium.
Work is expected to start in March.
Board members also approved the employment of Rhonda Conway and Kavante Hopkins as special education aides.
HORATIO HIGH SCHOOL REWARDED FOR BEING IN TOP 20 PERCENT IN THE STATE 12/15/14
Horatio School District Superintendent Lee Smith reported that the Horatio Board of Education approved the purchase of a 2016 84-passenger bus, amended the high school student handbook and was rewarded over $17,000 for being a top performing school.
Smith explained to KDQN that the district needed to purchase another bus so they would not be short handed as they were at times this semester.
Board members accepted the transfer of two students from the De Queen School District to the Horatio District and approved a change to the high school's handbook.
Smith said the school board heard a report concerning school security and that the board members elected to seek the assistance of a professional security firm to help upgrade the district's security system.
Smith commended the high school for being designated a top performing school through the Arkansas School Recognition Program.
The program was created by the legislature to provide financial awards to public schools that experience high student performance and student academic growth and for high graduation rates for secondary schools.
The program provides $100 per student for schools in the top 10 percent and $50 per student for schools in the top 20 percent.
HOLIDAY HIGHWAY SAFETY CAMPAIGN 12/15/14
The Arkansas State Police and local police departments and sheriffs offices are working to make Arkansas highways and roads safer during the holiday season.
The "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign is underway and is an initiative that will be implemented during a three-week period encompassing the Christmas and New Year holidays.
More than 10,000 people are killed each year as a result of drunk drivers being behind the wheel and this time of year is especially dangerous due to frequent holiday festivities.
The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office recommends that you plan ahead whenever you expect to consume alcohol and designate a sober driver. If you have been drinking, call a taxi or have a friend or family member drive you. Drivers are encouraged to report any drunk drivers that they observe on Arkansas highways and to always wear a seat belt.
ARKANSAS AG OFFERS SAFETY TIPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS 12/15/14
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is urging Arkansans to make safety a priority as they decorate their homes for the holidays.
McDaniel issued a consumer alert to help residents remain injury free as they string lights on rooftops and light festive candles.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that each year during the months of November and December, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries that are related to holiday decorating. Many of those injures are related to falls while hanging decorations, lacerations from ornaments, strained backs or burns from open-flame candles.
When stringing lights, McDaniel suggests consumers select lights that carry labels indicating they have been safety tested by independent laboratories.
McDaniel also suggests that lighted candles never be used on a Christmas tree.
HOLIDAY EXPRESS STOPPING IN DE QUEEN TODAY 12/12/14
The KCS Holiday Express will be making a stop in De Queen this afternoon at 4 p.m. during its 14th annual run. It will then make a stop in Mena at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Area residents are invited to board the train and visit with Santa and his elves and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train. The event is free and while the KCS Holiday Express is in town they will be making a donation of gift cards to the De Queen Salvation Army.
Over the past 13 years, the KCS has raised over a million dollars for that been donated to the local Salvation Army stores at each scheduled stops.
The local Salvation Army works with the local school district to provide coats and warm clothing to students in need.
The Holiday Express was built on the tradition of the Santa Train, which ran on a segment of the network that was bought by KCS in 1997.
In the year 2000, a group of KCS employees realized that the Santa Train was the only Christmas some kids had, and that some of the kids didn't have coats, hats or gloves, so they expanded the program and in 2001, they transformed a retired freight train into the Holiday Express that brings Santa and his elves to our area on Friday.
The train includes a smiling tank car named "Ruby"; a flatcar carrying Santa's sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a ginger bread boxcar; a newly remodeled elves' workshop; the reindeer stable and a little red caboose and each car is decked out in lights.
HORATIO HIGH SCHOOL NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY PROVIDING CHRISTMAS FOR AREA FOSTER CHILDREN 12/12/14
Members of the Horatio High School National Honor Society are helping the Sevier and Little River County Departments of Human Service make Christmas a little brighter for area foster children.
Stephanie Rivas stated DHS needs your help to make sure they are able to provide gifts for all of their foster children this Christmas.
Audrey Smith said the Horatio National Honor Society would be hosting their second annual Christmas party for the Sevier and Little River County foster children on Thursday, December 18th. She said last year about 30 children attended the event.
Smith said they are also asking area residents to donate to the Sevier County Cherub Fund to help purchase Christmas gifts for foster children.
For more information, contact Gala Irvan at 870-832-4763.
LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL APPROVES 2015 BUDGET 12/12/14
Tuesday night during the Lockesburg City Council meeting, aldermen approved the proposed 2015 budget which included giving two city employees a seven percent salary increase and contracts of services for the Southwest Arkansas Domestic Violence Center, the Sevier County Humane Society and the Lockesburg branch of the Sevier County Senior Adult Center.
Aldermen also approved Christmas bonuses for city employees and approved the amended 2014 operating budget.
Following an executive session, aldermen voted to hire Gene Leathers III as an assistant utility worker at $9 an hour.
Aldermen approved a building permit for a mobile home set up for Zack and Whitley Currence after James Jester who was representing the city's Code Enforcement Department reported that several warning letters had been sent to some residents informing them that they had until January 31st to come into compliance with the city's ordinances before the city council will take additional action against the property owners.
MINERAL SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL APPROVES BUDGET REQUESTS 12/12/14
Council members of the Mineral Springs City Council approved several budget requests during their December meeting.
The 2015 budget includes a two percent cost of living raise for all city employees, the fire chief, city attorney and city recorder/treasurer. Sanitation workers will receive a .75 cent raise from $7.25 an hour to $8 dollars an hour.
Council members also consider budget requests from Mayor-elect Bobby Tullis, including a $500 dollar bonus for all city employees and the fire chief that will be paid by the end of the year.
Tullis also recommended budgeting $25,000 for the street department, $15,000 for the city park for improvements and $10,000 for culvert repairs and drainage improvements throughout the city.
According to the city recorder/treasurer, the final 2015 budget will be presented to the council during their January meeting.
JUNIOR CHAMBER CHRISTMAS WRAPPING & BAKE SALE FUNDRAISER 12/11/14
BROKEN BOW, Okla. – The Broken Bow Junior Chamber Leadership Program will host a Christmas Wrapping Fundraiser/Bake Sale on Saturday, December 13, 2014. To help save you time and money, let the JCLP students handle all of your Christmas wrapping needs.
NO CHARGE FOR WRAPPING DONATIONS ACCEPTED
Gift wrapping will begin at 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. at the Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce building, 113 West Martin Luther King Drive, Broken Bow, OK.
Students participating in JCLP are required to complete 100 hours of community service in order to graduate from the program. Each student who completes the 100 hours will receive a plaque, a chance to participate in next year’s program, receive numerous letters of recommendation for college scholarships and be eligible for a scholarship from the Broken Bow Chamber. All monies raised will be used solely for college scholarships.
If you are interested in making a donation, please contact the Chamber of Commerce at 580-584-3393 or email@example.com.
ASHDOWN CHRISTMAS PARADE THIS SATURDAY 12/11/14
Little River County Chamber of Commerce Director Fonda Hawthorne said the City of Ashdown is getting ready for Christmas and will be hosting several events this Saturday to help put residents in the Christmas mood.
Hawthorne said things will get started Saturday morning at 9 a.m. with Ho-Ho parade followed by the Breakfast with Santa event at the Ashdown Church of Christ.
Hawthorne said the Little River Farmer's Market will be open Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. for residents to do some Christmas shopping and the parade will start at 6.
Hawthorne said this year's Christmas parade theme is "All I Want for Christmas" but for more information or to register a float, contact the chamber office at 870-898-2758.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL CAN FOOD DRIVE 12/11/14
De Queen High School Student Council member Danielle Duggan will be competing in a Miss Teen Arkansas preliminary pageant this January and her platform is to end childhood hunger.
So, Duggan enlisted the help of the other student members to conduct a food drive at the De Queen High School with all of the proceeds being donated to the Chalice Cupboard.
Duggan also stated that parents and grandparents can donate items at the school office.
However, students at the De Queen Elementary School recently helped area residents by collecting cans of soup.
The cans were donated to the food closet of De Queen and was part of a literary unit called "Cooking Up Fun" that included reading texts and writing about food.
The project was kicked off with a presentation by Kathy Johnson of the Food Closet of De Queen and Michael Flowers and Jesus Martinez of the De Queen High School East Lab. The presentation was over the collection and distribution of food through a student-produced video about the Food Closet and a grocery sorting activity.
Students collected almost 400 cans of soup.
LOCKESBURG LIONS CLUB ANGEL TREE 12/11/14
Terri Chapman is the president of the Lockesburg Lions Club and she informed KDQN recently that the club provides the angel trees for families in the Lockesburg community.
Chapman said the Lions Club has two trees. One at the Bank of Lockesburg and the other tree is at the First State Bank of Lockesburg.
Chapman said the club still had some angels that needed to be adopted because they need the gifts returned by Friday.
Chapman said the parents of the angels will be contacted to stop by the Bank of Lockesburg to pick up their gifts.
For more information or to adopt an angel, contact Chapman at 870-289-2871.
LOCKESBURG MAN ACCUSED OF RECEIVING CHILD PORN 12/11/14
A Lockesburg man has been named in a federal complaint alleging that he received child pornography involving a 15-year-old Texarkana girl.
According to a complaint that was filed December 7th in the Texarkana division of the Western District of Arkansas, Nathan Thomas allegedly was communicating with the teen through internet chat rooms, while using the screen name "pr0metheus."
According to the complaint, the teen allegedly informed investigators that she used a application in the chat rooms that included child pornography and admitted to exchanging images with "an unnamed male friend at his request."
The victim provided the investigators with an inactive cellphone that she used to communicate with pr0metheus8 by using WiFi based applications.
The phone contained sexually explicit text conversations allegedly between the girl and Thomas. The girl stated she thought Thomas was a 22 or 23-years-old man that lived near De Queen.
According to the complaint, authorities recovered a cellphone from Thomas during a search of his home on Provo Road in Lockesburg on December 6th.
Thomas' phone allegedly contained several pornographic images of females and at least two of the photos were of the 15-year-old Texarkana girl.
SOUNDS OF THE SEASON 12/11/14
Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin is inviting Arkansan to the annual "Sounds of the Season" holiday program that is currently underway at the state capital through December 19th.
Almost 200 school choirs and vocal groups will spread holiday cheer for all to hear during the event.
This year, as a special feature, the program will be streamed live online. To watch the program, you may visit the Secretary of State's Facebook page.
The Cossatot River High School will perform at 12:40 on Monday, December 15th.
SPECIAL REPORT BY TJ FERGUSON FROM HORATIO HIGH SCHOOL 12/11/14
Horatio High School senior TJ Ferguson provided a special report to KDQN concerning activities on the campus of the Horatio High School.
Ferguson stated the Horatio High School Special Olympics team competed in the bowling competition and will be competing in the track and field event this spring.
Ferguson said the Horatio bands will be performing tonight at 6 p.m. in the practice gym at the Horatio High School.
Ferguson said after graduation he wanted to attend college to become a DJ.
UA COSSATOT TO START RENOVATING OLD LOCKESBURG CAMPUS 12/11/14
Monday night, the De Queen Board of Education signed the warrant deed for the old Lockesburg campus over to the Board of Visitors of UA Cossatot.
UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole thanked the De Queen Board for working with the college and explained to KDQN that the college will now start cleaning up and securing the property of the Lockesburg campus and then they will start renovating the old high school.
Dr. Cole pointed out that the campus was in the center of the UA Cossatot service area and they were looking forward to offering quality education, close to home for the residents of Lockesburg.
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS 12/11/14
Ever since it first appeared on television in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas has been a staple of the holiday season in America. In fact, the show has appeared every year since it aired on either CBS or ABC.
This year the Ashdown High School drama students chose to perform it for all of the students in the district and for the public because of its timeless message -- how the quest for the best gifts or prettiest tree often distracts us from the important things during this time of the year. As Charlie Brown says, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"
Jennifer Walker, AHS drama teacher and play director, and her 35 drama students performed A Charlie Brown Christmas for five different audiences. Written by Charles M. Schulz, the simple premise related by Charlie Brown and other characters of the Peanuts gang came to life on stage for its viewers, both young and old.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL SPELLING BEE FINALISTS 12/10/14
In the L. F. Henderson Intermediate School Spelling Bee, the 18 fourth and fifth grade spellers went through 97 words and 13 rounds before Alexis Johnson correctly spelled carte blanche and Rachel Vice misspelled nihilism (#217 of the 225 words on the Scripps National Spelling Bee School Level Study Words listed in order of difficulty) to determine the first and second place finalists in the local school level of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Other finalists from LFH are Ben Adkison - third, and sisters Allyson Arnold - fourth, and Bethany Arnold - fifth. All five finalists made it to the last 25 words of the study words list.
Five finalists from the Ashdown Junior High School Spelling Bee were named on Dec. 5. They are Kohl Kervin - first; Kiari Robinson - second; Molly Parker - third; Reba Mahaffey - fourth; and T'Nia Washington - fifth.
All five finalists from both schools will compete with other finalists from Little River County schools at the county level spelling bee on January 25 at 2 p.m. in the Little River County Courthouse, where one representative will be sent to the state spelling bee, and ultimately one state winner will compete in May at the 88th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is touted as "the nation's largest and longest-running educational promotion" and includes over 11,000,000 students up to eighth grade who participate in eight countries.
DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT DEEDS LOCKESBURG HIGH SCHOOL TO UA COSSATOT 12/10/14
Monday night, the De Queen School Board met for a short meeting, but Superintendent Bruce Hill said they will make up for it in January.
A future UA Cossatot campus in Lockesburg took another step forward Monday night, when board members signed the warranty deed for the Lockesburg High School campus over to UA Cossatot.
Hill also announced that board member Gloria Caldwell had been named a Master Board Member by the Arkansas School Board Association for earning over 50 hours of training.
Caldwell told KDQN that it was a huge honor to earn the title of Master Board Member.
Board members approved the transfer of one student from the De Queen District to the Nashville School District as a matter of convenience for the student's family.
The next meeting of the De Queen School Board will be Monday, January 12th at 5:30 p.m. in the administration building.
JPs PRESENTED PROPOSED BUDGET FOR 2015 12/10/14
Monday afternoon, the budget committee of the Sevier County Quorum Court presented the proposed 2015 budget. Sevier County Judge Greg Ray stated the proposed budget includes a two percent raise for all county employees.
Budget chairman Michael Archer stated the committee made some decisions concerning the 2015 budget to ensure they don't have to cut county positions in the future.
Archer said they met six times. He also explained the county is allowed to budget 90 percent of its revenue by state law and the other 10 percent is put in a reserve account.
JPs approved an ordinance setting the county's tax levy. Judge Ray said nothing changed, except for the timberland tax.
JPs tabled one appointment and approved the re-appointment of Joe Greer to the airport board and Roger Mills to the library board.
Megan McMahen of Southwest EMS reported that they had installed some new equipment on ambulances and Judge Ray thanked the outgoing Justices of the Peace for their service.
Judge Ray also announced that there would be a reception for outgoing Circuit Clerk Patty Chaney from 10 to noon this Friday in the courthouse conference room and a retirement reception for Mary Litchford on Tuesday, December 16th at the senior adult center in De Queen.
TRAFFIC STOP UNCOVERS A REPEAT OFFENDER 12/10/14
December 8th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon was dispatched to the TJ King area concerning a suspicious vehicle.
According to a caller, a white car was traveling up and down TJ King very slowly.
When Deputy Davignon arrived, he observed the vehicle driving left of the center line. He also noted that the vehicle had a broken passenger side taillight.
Davignon identified the driver as 25-year-old Levi Durham of Lockesburg and he discovered that Durham's driver's license had been suspended for driving while intoxicated.
Davignon reported that Durham had glassy, bloodshot eyes and he noted that Durham failed three field sobriety test.
While searching the vehicle, Davignon discovered an open vodka bottle behind the driver's seat.
Durham was taken into custody and charged with driving while intoxicated number two, driving on a suspended license for DWI and driving left of center.
LFH PLAYGROUND MUCH IMPROVED, THANKS TO HELP FROM MANY 12/10/14
A dozen kids balance on the Pipes of Steel jungle gym. Twice that many are involved in a serious game of football - complete with cheerleaders and field goal kickers. Every swing is occupied, the climbing dome swarms with climbers, the four-square courts and basketball goals are fully occupied. It makes me smile.
If you happen to drive by L. F. Henderson Intermediate School on a weekday between 10:30-11:00 or 11:30-12:00, just pull over and watch for a while. You will see every child involved and enjoying any one of the playground activities now available to them, thanks to the many volunteers and donors who have helped to create a better activity area for the fourth and fifth graders at LFH.
From Dr. Covert's Country Bash that raised several thousand dollars to Eagle Scout candidate Robert Hoover and his Boy Scout Troop 8 who supplied many man hours of labor in the sweltering heat of summer to the Ashdown Lion's Club who made "The Cub Zone" football field possible and to numerous other individual donors who offered up services, labor, materials, and monetary donations for the project, building a better playground for the LFH kids was truly a joint effort and labor of love.
Spearheaded by LFH fourth grade teacher Linda Davis, the playground project has come a long way, but, according to Principal Keith Fricks, future improvements and additions are still in the dream stage. Possibilities that will benefit the students and the school include additional four square courts and perhaps the construction of a covered pavillion on the east side of the playground. Fricks says that such an addition could be used not only for protection from the sun but also as an outdoor classroom on perfect weather days.
AREA PARADE WINNERS 12/9/14
The towns of De Queen, Horatio and Lockesburg held their annual Christmas parades Saturday and announced the winners Monday morning.
The winners of the De Queen Christmas parade included: the Geneva Missionary Baptist Church in the religious category, followed by the Saint Barbara Catholic Church and Crosspoint Cowboy Church. In the non-religious category, the winner was Goin' Showin' 4H Club followed by the Provo Fire Department and the De Queen Rotary Club. In the Commercial category, Smiles of Arkansas Dental was the winner, followed by Southwest Arkansas Equipment and De Queen Dance Academy and the Saint Barbara's Dancers won the marching group division. The favorite antique car was driven by Wayne Smith.
Goin' Showin' 4-H Club won the business division in the Horatio Christmas parade followed by the Evergreen Diamond Service Unit of the Girl Scouts and the Horatio High School Band. Miss Jenn's Happy House won the religious category followed by the Williamson Church and Troy Whitely of Mena took first place in the antique cars.
Goin' Showin' 4-H Club won the non-commercial-organization category in the Lockesburg Christmas parade. They were followed by the Provo Fire Department. B and H Trash won the commercial/business category. Cross Point Cowboy Church won first place in the religious division followed by First Baptist Church of Lockesburg. And, Billy and Wanda McWhorter won the recreational division followed by Lee Polite.
ARKANSAS PRIVATE OPTION ENROLLMENT OPEN 12/9/14
The Arkansas Private Option is helping to keep hospitals open and fuel local economies.
According to a new report by the Arkansas Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the Arkansas Hospital Association, the number of uninsured patients has greatly decreased in the past year.
According to the study, out of about 136,000 hospital admissions from January to June in 2014 and 2013, more than 4,9000 patients were uninsured this year, compared to just over 9,000 in 2013. The reductions are linked to the Arkansas Private Option, which is the state's plan for expanding health insurance to low-income individuals.
The plan has been operational since January 1st. In a six-month span, hospitals cared for fewer uninsured patients in all settings, including patients admitted for inpatient care, those walking into the emergency room and outpatient clinic patients.
The report concluded that hospitals in Georgia and Alabama are buckling under the weight of providing uncompensated care because those states legislators did not expand Medicaid or develop their own private option.
All uninsured Arkansans are being encouraged to visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at healthcare.gov and purchase affordable health insurance from now until February 15th.
FREE WELLNESS SCREENING 12/9/14
Dr. Jason Lofton's Family Clinic along with Legacy Initiatives and the Arkansas Prostate Cancer Foundation will be holding a free wellness screening for men this Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m.
Ricky Williams of Amp Fitness said they will also be giving away an AR 15 rifle.
Dr. Lofton reported that they will be offering the blood prostate cancer screening, cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure and body fat analysis for free.
For more information, contact the Wellness Center at 584-4267.
INFLUENZA ACTIVITY LOW 12/9/14
Influenza activity is currently low in the United States as a whole, but it's increasing in some parts of the country.
This season, influenza A viruses have been reported most frequently and have been detected in almost all states.
The Arkansas Department of Health says there is still time to get the flu vaccine. During past seasons when this strain of the virus has been active, higher overall and age-specific hospitalization rates and more mortality have been observed, especially among older people and younger children.
This year's flu has changed somewhat, however vaccination has been found to provide some protection against drifted viruses. Though reduced, this cross-protection might reduce the likelihood of severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.
You can still contact the Sevier County Health Unit if you'd like to get a flu shot by calling 642-2535.
PESTICIDE APPLICATOR TRAINING HELD IN DIERKS 12/9/14
There have been some changes to the private pesticide applicator training that's provided by the Cooperative Extension Service. In the last several years there have been some funding restrictions by the Environmental Protection Agency for the pesticide applicator training program.
Because of this, the Cooperative Extension Service has started charging private applicators for the certification and re-certification training that required to obtain a pesticide applicators licenses.
The cost is ten dollars per person and you will need to fill out the plant board's license application.
Most people will need to train once every five-years and the next training will be held in Dierks at the JoAnn Walters Elementary School cafeteria on Thursday, December 11th at 5:30 p.m.
If you have any questions, call the Howard County Cooperative Extension Service office at 845-7517.
UPCOMING EVENTS ON THE CAMPUSES OF THE DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT 12/9/14
Monday morning De Queen High School band members Harmony Rich and Destiny Kimmel joined Tammy Whatley to announce a few upcoming events on the campuses of the De Queen School District.
Kimmel and Rich invited parents, grandparents and music lovers to the Middle School and Junior and Senior High band concerts.
The Middle School concert will be this Thursday at 6 p.m. in the De Queen High School auditorium. The junior and senior high band concerts will be Sunday at 2 p.m.
Whatley then mentioned semester test would be the Thursday and Friday before Christmas break and students won’t return to class until January 5th.
For more information about programs on the campuses of the De Queen School District, contact your child's school office or call the administration building at 584-4312.
DE QUEEN ELEMENTARY SOUP DRIVE 12/09/14
Students at De Queen Elementary School had the opportunity to help area residents by collecting cans of soup during the week of December 1-5. The cans will be donated to the Food Closet of De Queen. This project was part of a thematic literacy unit called "Cooking Up Fun" that included reading texts and writing about food over the past few weeks. The project was kicked off by a presentation from Mrs. Kathy Johnson of the Food Closet and Michael Flowers and Jesus Martinez of DHS East Lab. They shared information about the collection and distribution of food through a student-produced video about the organization and a grocery sorting activity. Students showed their holiday spirit by collecting almost 400 items during the week!
CHRISTMAS PARADE WINNERS ANNOUNCED 12/08/14
Christmas parades were held in three Sevier County towns this past weekend. Prizes were awarded as follows:
WAL-MART EMPLOYEE ARRESTED FOR THEFT 12/8/14
Thursday night, De Queen Police Officer James Gilbert was dispatched to Wal-Mart after he was advised that the store manager, Beth Deen, and Mary Powers were speaking to another employee about some money that was missing from her register.
Deen and Powers provided Officer Gilbert with a statement from 19-year-old Gisela Navarrete of De Queen.
According to Navarrete's written statement, she had been loading money from her register onto her personal Visa debt card.
According to store records, Navarrete had put $838 dollars on her debt card.
Navarrete was arrested and has been charged with theft of property.
SHOP LOCAL CAMPAIGN 12/8/14
Friday morning, De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Meagan Smith and chamber member Zebbie Minton encouraged residents to shop locally and enter the drawing for this year's grand prize.
Smith reminded everyone that the KCS Holiday Express will be stopping in De Queen on Friday, December 12 at 4 p.m. According to KCS, the train is a festively-decorated, six-car train that brings Santa and his elves to communities.
The train includes a smiling tank car named Rudy; a flatcar carrying Santa's sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a ginger bread boxcar; the elves workshop; the reindeer stable and a little red caboose.
The Holiday Express was created in 2001 and KCS donates to local Salvation Army stores during their scheduled stops.
Minton also encouraged everyone to support the businesses of Sevier County.
For more information, contact the chamber at 584-3225.
SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE RECEIVING REPORTS OF IRS SCAM 12/8/14
A spokesperson with the Sevier County Sheriff’s office reported that the sheriff’s department has recently received several reports concerning an IRS telephone scam that is targeting taxpayers and recent immigrants.
Sevier County residents are reporting that they have received an automated telephone call from someone claiming to be an IRS agent. The caller informs them that they are subject to a law suit over unpaid taxes and requests a return telephone call.
If a return call is made, a person, usually with a foreign accent, requests personal information. The Sevier County Sheriff’s office is reminding residents not to provide any personal information over the phone.
Or, the caller may be informed that they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a preloaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license and in some cases, the caller may become hostile and insulting.
An IRS commissioner released a statement saying if you receive a call like this, it is a sign that it really didn’t come from the IRS.
They also said the IRS will never demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill. The IRS will never demand that you pay your taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount that they say you owe and they will never require you to use a specific payment method for paying your taxes, like a prepaid debt card.
IRS agents will never ask for a credit or debit care number over the phone and they will never threaten to bring in the local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you receive a call similar to these calls, you are to contact the local sheriff’s office and report the incident to the IRS by calling 1-800-366-4484.
MCCURTAIN COUNTY CHRISTMAS PARADE IS MONDAY 12/8/14
The 44th annual McCurtain County Christmas Parade will be today at 6 p.m. in Broken Bow.
This year’s theme is “All I Want for Christmas” and all entries will be pre-judged in their pre-assigned positions at 5:30 at the Broken Bow High School, if a float is not in position at 5:30 then points will be deducted from their judging sheet.
There will be entries in commercial and non-commercial floats, decorated vehicles, decorated fire trucks, churches, walking groups, including bands, and ATVs, horse riders and carriages.
For more information, contact the McCurtain County Chamber of Commerce at 580-584-3393.
DIERKS CHRISTMAS PARADE 12/8/14
The Dierks annual Christmas parade will be today at 6 p.m. and according to the chamber of commerce President Jerry Mounts, Santa Claus will lead the parade.
After the parade, residents will move to the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church on Fourth Street and children will be able to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. Mounts said the first 120 children 10 and under will receive a free teddy bear.
There will also be drawings for $500 dollars worth of gift certificates from chamber members, as well as two tablets. They will also be holding the drawing for the Ruger American rifle with the Nikon scope.
Chamber members are still selling tickets for $1 each or 6 for $5 from several chamber members and the Dierks City Hall.
If you have a group that is raising funds for a cause, may set up a booth for free. Mounts said there will also be some sound equipment set for groups that want to perform.
Mounts stated all floats will need to line up at the high school at 5:30 p.m.
ELECTRICAL SAFETY TIPS FROM SWEPCO FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON 12/8/14
SWEPCO communications consultant Scott McCloud reported the year’s largest and most festive holiday season is upon us and families should consider when decorating the house.
SWEPCO reported LED string lighting uses about 90 percent less energy than standard incandescent string lights, which means the cost to light a typical Christmas tree with LEDs is about $1 per season. LED lights also generate less heat and are cool to the touch, and may last for up to 10 years.
SWEPCO also recommends that you only use Christmas lights and extension cords are safety-certified. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using tree lights and never attach electric lights to a metal tree.
You should never use indoor lights, outside because they are not designed to be waterproof and could short circuit. Don’t overload wall outlets or extension cords and you should turn all Christmas tree lights off when you go to bed or leave the house.
DE QUEEN RESIDENT REVIEWS DISTRICTS DISCIPLINARY INFRACTIONS CONCERNING GUNS ON CAMPUS 12/8/14
De Queen resident, Victor Rojas Jr., is a member of the states Juvenile Justice Board and he attended the state legislatures Joint Education Committee meeting in November where legislators reviewed a report concerning school safety.
According to federal law, schools are defined as being gun-free zones, but Rojas stated that he noticed that during the 2013-2014 school year, there were 52 gun infractions on Arkansas campuses, but only 11 students were expelled.
De Queen Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton said the De Queen School District policy is an expulsion on the first offense.
Rojas said the state also requires fire and tornado drills, but there is no penalty if a district does not conduct the drills.
De Queen Fire Marshall Dennis Pruitt said De Queen Schools and businesses are required to conduct fire drills and he enforces that law.
Rojas said some schools conduct lock-down drills but they are not mandated by state law.
Rojas stated he has asked state legislators to look into the issue of school safety and work to make Arkansas schools safe for all students.
BE A SAVVY GIFT CARD GIVER 12/8/14
On the hunt for the perfect gifts, many consumers find that gift cards are the best fit. Gift cards are one of the most popular gift items during the holiday season because they are easy to give and to receive.
Gift card recipients can use dollars stored on a gift card like cash to buy what they want from the card issuer, such as a restaurant or department store.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued this consumer alert today to make sure Arkansans are aware of their rights regarding gift cards and gift certificates.
Due to the growing popularity of gift cards, the State of Arkansas enacted the Fair Gift Card Act in 2007 to protect consumers who buy or receive the cards. The act established safeguards for consumers against potential troubles like arbitrary expiration dates and inactivity fees.
Consumers should always be sure to check a gift card’s expiration date, whether the card comes with any fees and whether money stored on the card will lose value or be deducted over time if unused.
State law requires that gift card expiration dates must be disclosed and that inactivity fees not be assessed by card issuers unless the card has been inactive for two full years.
It is also recommended to keep all original receipts and retain the gift card ID number and report any lost or stolen gift cards to the card issuer.
If problems continue with a gift card after contacting the card issuer, contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-482-8982 or go to his website at gotyourbackarkansas.org.
UA COSSATOT CHANCELLOR ATTENDS HARVARD SEMINAR 12/08/14
UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole recently returned from the Experienced President’s Seminar held on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Chancellor Cole was one of twenty-four college and university presidents and chancellors from around the world chosen for this event, which was designed to provide campus leaders with the most recent insights into higher education.
“Just to have the ability to study on the Harvard campus and visit with other presidents from around the world gave me many more tools to do my job even better,” Cole said. “UA Cossatot is always looking for ways to improve our knowledge base and attending workshops, seminars and conferences are just some of the ways we accomplish this.”
During the seminar, presidents and chancellors studied risk management, leading change, leading planning and strategy processes. These breakout sessions were facilitated by Harvard faculty and by the Presidents of DePaul University, Massachusetts System President, and the President of Southern New Hampshire University.
“You’re never too old to learn new things,” said Chancellor Cole. “As a college, we are always willing to learn from our colleagues to improve our processes in order to best serve students.”
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY QUORUM COURT APPOINTS INTERIM COUNTY JUDGE 12/5/14
Members of the Little River County Quorum Court held a special called meeting Wednesday morning to declare a vacancy in the judge's office and to appoint an interim county judge following the death of County Judge Clayton Castleman.
JPs voted 5-3 to appoint former Ashdown mayor, Hoyt Johnson, to serve out Castleman's unexpired term.
Johnson was the mayor of Ashdown from 1994 to 2002. He also served on the Ashdown City Council from 1988 to 1994.
Johnson will serve through December 31st and then county judge-elect Mike Cranford will start serving his term January 1st.
Johnson will be paid $2,897.16 for his service.
HORATIO CHRISTMAS PARADE 12/5/14
The 2014 Horatio Christmas parade will be held this Saturday at 2 p.m.
Floats will line up at the Horatio football field parking lot in front of the stadium off Highway 41 South and all floats and other entries will be judged.
The winners in the float categories will receive $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third and there will be a religious category and a business or organization category.
Parade categories will also include emergency vehicles, antique cars and tractors, motorcycles, ATVs, modern automobiles, pets, horses and golf carts.
The winners of the golf cart and ATV categories will receive either a gift certificate or $25 dollars.
The winning pet will receive either a gift certificate or $10 dollars, and all pets must be controlled on a leash and must be in some sort of Christmas attire.
Residents may also purchase a $1 raffle ticket from the Horatio Museum Association for an opportunity to win a $100 gift certificate from Irvan's Grocery Store.
Tickets may be purchased from businesses in Horatio or you can contact Debbi Neel at 832-3871.
The drawing will be held during the parade at the museum which is located next to the Horatio City Hall. All of the proceeds will benefit the new Horatio Museum.
DIERKS RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING AT WAL-MART 12/5/14
About 11:15 Wednesday night, De Queen Police Officer David Higgins was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to a possible shoplifter.
Higgins was informed that the female suspect was wearing a black jacket and glasses. When Higgins arrived, he noticed a Wal-Mart employee speaking with a woman that matched the description.
The employee reported that a suspect, who was identified as 33-year-old Jessica Melton of Dierks, had pushed a shopping cart full of unpaid merchandise outside of the store. The employee stated Melton then sat down on the curb and smoked a cigarette.
According to the report, Melton informed the employee that she was waiting on someone to bring her some money so she could pay for it and that she had pushed the buggy outside, so she could smoke, while she waited.
According to the report, Melton had a wallet in her possession that contained a large amount of money.
Officers Higgins noted that Melton's pupils were constricted, her speech was slurred and she was having trouble concentrating.
Melton was arrested for shoplifting $1,000 or less for taking $508.29 worth of merchandise outside.
DEADLINE FOR MEDICARE ENROLLMENT IS SUNDAY 12/5/14
Millions of Medicare Advantage customers are facing a deadline when it comes to selecting a coverage plan for 2015.
The annual enrollment window for the privately run versions of the government's Medicare program for the elderly and disabled is this Sunday and this is the main opportunity that most customers have to adjust their health coverage each year.
Current enrollees are encouraged to review their plan because insurers often tweak their plans from year to year.
Almost 16 million people are covered by Medicare Advantage plans and they average about 18 plans to choose from, but most prefer to stick with the plan that they currently have.
Insurance experts say they are seeing more plan consolidation and changes as insurers trim low-quality coverage and adjust to the government funding cuts in the program.
The experts recommend that you consider the coverage and make sure all of your doctors are in the plan's coverage network and check your prescriptions, too, to figure out how much you will have to pay for each refill.
They say the more stars a plan has; the better it is under the government's rating system for Medicare Advantage plans.
They say you should look beyond the premium. A low premium may come with high out-of-pocket costs, which could mean that you have to pay a bigger deductible before most of the coverage starts.
And, find the total out-of-pocket maximum and notice that out-of-network care may not count toward that maximum.
DE QUEEN CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES 12/4/14
This year's De Queen Christmas parade is this Saturday at 6 p.m. around the courthouse square in downtown De Queen and everyone is invited to enter a float using the theme "It's a Magical Christmas."
This year's parade will feature floats, antique cars, tractors, horses, marching bands and of course, Santa Claus.
But, you can also participate in the chamber's Fifth annual Festival of Trees on the courthouse lawn. Event organizer Renee Logan announced Wednesday morning that it's not too late to reserve a tree for $25.
Logan said trees must be decorated by Friday afternoon because the judging will take place prior to the parade.
And, don't forget the Lunch with Santa event at the De Queen Fire Station from noon until 3 p.m. and the Holiday 5K after the parade at 8 p.m. at the De Queen High School Coliseum. Both events are benefits for 4-year-old Myleigh Marshall of De Queen.
De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Megan Smith also mentioned the KCS Holiday Express will be stopping in De Queen on Friday, December 12th at 4 p.m.
Smith also encouraged everyone to shop local and enjoy all of the activities here at home.
For more information, contact Logan at 584-3555.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL APPROVES $6.6 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET 12/4/14
Tuesday night, the De Queen City Council approved the 2015 budget totaling $6.6 million dollars. The budget includes a .45 cent raise for all city employees and several capitol line items, according to Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy.
Aldermen passed a resolution giving Mayor McKelvy the authority to sell a couple of vehicles and equipment that the city does not need.
Aldermen verbally approved the sell of rural fire memberships from the De Queen Fire Department. McKelvy reported that about half of the fire calls that the department responds to, are outside the city limits. The fire membership will cost $50 a year.
McKelvy also reported that the state highway department and KCS Railroad will upgrade the crossing on South Fourth Street.
The council is expected to hold a public hearing on January 6th concerning the condemnation of a house on Harvey Drive.
DE QUEEN STUDENTS PREPARE FOR READING BOARD COMPETITION 12/4/14
De Queen School Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced that De Queen Middle School and Junior High students are participating in a Reading Board competition.
Whatley said students may create a reading board over a fiction or non-fiction book.
Whatley said the winners of the De Queen competitions will then compete with students from other schools at the De Queen-Mena Educational Co-op competition.
Whatley also mentioned that students are currently signing up for the archery team and she encouraged all sixth through twelfth grade students to sign up for archery because it improves a persons hand-eye coordination, which improves a persons reading skills.
HISTORIC WASHINGTON STATE PARK HOSTING ANNUAL CHRISTMAS AND CANDLELIGHT EVENT 12/4/14
Everyone is invited to join the staff of the Historic Washington State Park for the 28th Annual Christmas and Candlelight event which will be held on December 6th and December 13th from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
However, if you want to enjoy the thousands of luminaries and special music, you will want to wait until later in the afternoon to make your visit.
Guests will tour locations and homes that have been adorned in 19th century style decorations including natural handmade wreaths and swags that were tailored by park staff and volunteers the week of the event.
Evening programming and tours will begin at 1 p.m., but the lighting of the luminaries will take place at dark. There will also be music from groups and choirs from throughout the region beginning at 5.
Whether you choose to stroll the boardwalk streets or take a ride on the horse drawn surrey, you won't want to miss an opportunity to experience the Christmas Season the old fashion way at the Historic Washington State Park.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 12. For more information, contact Historic Washington by calling 870-983-2684 or visit their website at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HORATIO RESIDENT ARRESTED ON OUTSTANDING WARRANT 12/4/14
Sunday, November 30th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon observed a Ford F150 pickup with no working tag light and a cracked taillight while patrolling on Thornton Road.
Davignon reported that as he passed the truck, the driver quickly accelerated and headed toward Highway 71 South at an excessive speed.
Davignon was able to stop the vehicle on South Park Avenue and identified the driver as 32-year-old Anthony McNeal of Horatio.
McNeal reportedly had glassy, bloodshot and watery eyes and told Davignon that he had consumed about five beers.
Allegedly, McNeal told Davignon that he didn't need to take the field sobriety test because he knew he was drunk. McNeal also refused to take a breathe test because his driver's license was suspended for driving while intoxicated.
Davignon cited McNeal for driving while intoxicated and arrested him on the active warrant. McNeal bonded out of jail Monday.
PASSENGER CITED FOR DRINKING ON HIGHWAY 12/4/14
Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon reported that he observed a silver Dodge Charger without a working tag light and driving left of center on Saturday, November 29th.
Davignon reported that when he approached the vehicle he noticed a beer cap in the lap of the passenger who was identified at Maria Camarillo.
When Davignon asked the two women if they had been drinking they both said no, so he asked Camarillo about the beer cap. According to the incident report, she finally admitted that she was hiding an open beer in the floorboard.
Davignon gave the driver a portable breathe test, but it proved that she had not been drinking and cited Cararillo for drinking on the highway.
UA COSSATOT MOVING TOWARD CAMPUS IN LOCKESBURG 12/4/14
Last month, during the November General Election, residents of Lockesburg approved a one-quarter cent sales tax that will be used for capital improvements by UA Cossatot on the Lockesburg campus.
UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole said that the reason, Cossatot is expanding onto a new campus is because they want to offer certificates in areas that area companies need, like welding and truck driving.
Tuesday during Cossatot's open house on the De Queen campus, Dr. Cole expressed his appreciation to the residents of Lockesburg for making a commitment to Cossatot. He also stated that Cossatot was committed to moving forward with their plans for a Lockesburg campus.
Cossatot will hold an open house on the Nashville campus Thursday from 9:30 to 11 a.m. in conjunction with the Arkansas Community College Work$ Week, but for more information, contact UA Cossatot at 870-584-4471.
FOUR DE QUEEN SCHOOLS REWARDED FOR HIGH STUDENT PERFORMANCE 12/3/14
Recently, four campuses in the De Queen School District was awarded over $84,000 for high student performance and student academic growth.
The Arkansas School Recognition Program was created by the legislature to provide financial awards to public schools that experience high student performance and student academic growth and for high graduation rates for secondary schools.
The program provides $100 per student for schools in the top 10 percent and $50 per student for schools in the top 20 percent.
Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton explained that all four of the De Queen schools were in the top 20 percent for a combination of student performance and academic growth in the state.
Shelton said the district will form a committee to determine how the funds will be used to continue the district's academic success. He said the district must decide by December 15th how they plan to use the funds.
Shelton said the Middle and Junior High schools earned the reward last year and he said this shows the district is doing a great job educating students.
Shelton also gave all the credit to the teachers and students for this success.
Horatio High School was also rewarded $17,569 for being in the top 20 percent in the state.
ASHDOWN MAN COMPLETES STATE TROOPER SCHOOL 12/3/14
28-year-old Dale Young of Ashdown recently graduated from the Arkansas State Police Trooper School and has been assigned to the Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, in Crittenden County.
Young was among 24 state police recruits who graduated.
Governor Mike Beebe was the guest speaker during the graduation ceremonies that held at the state capitol.
TURKEY DAY HANGOVER 12/3/14
About 12 a.m. Friday, November 28th, Officer David Higgins of the De Queen Police Department observed a vehicle traveling west on Stilwell Avenue that appeared to be traveling in the east bound lane.
Officer Higgins followed the vehicle to a residence on Roller Avenue and made contact with the driver, 46-year-old Aurelio Marrufo of De Queen.
Marrufo allegedly informed Officer Higgins that he had drank two beers, but agreed to take a portable breath test, which he failed.
Marrufo was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.
UA COSSATOT HOLDS OPEN HOUSE ON NEW COLLISION REPAIR FACILITY 12/3/14
UA Cossatot held an open house on the De Queen campus today in association with the Arkansas Community Colleges Association initiative for Community College Work$ Week.
Tuesday morning, UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole stated the renovations to the automotive collision repair facilities were made possible with General Improvement Funds from the state.
Cole said the new building also houses classrooms and the college plans to move the maintenance department to the building in the future, which will free up some more classroom space.
Cole reminded area residents that UA Cossatot will hold an open house on the Ashdown campus Wednesday and explained how Cossatot is making an impact on Southwest Arkansas' economy.
Cole also announced that Cossatot is the only community college that offers pipe welding in the state on the Nashville campus.
UA Cossatot will hold an open house on the Nashville campus on Thursday from 9:30 to 11 a.m. For more information, contact UA Cossatot at 870-584-4471.
UA COSSATOT TO HOST COMMUNITY COLLEGE WORK$ EVENT 12/2/14
UA Cossatot's Public Relations Director Alisha Lewis stopped by the KDQN studios to remind area residents that this is Community College Work$ Week and UA Cossatot will be holding an open house on all three campuses this week.
Lewis explained the event is a statewide initiative of the Arkansas Community Colleges Association to help create awareness of how important community colleges are.
Lewis said the De Queen campus event will feature the new Nursing Simulation Lab on Tuesday, December 2nd.
Lewis reported that UA Cossatot nursing students are among the highest scoring students on the state licensure exams
Lewis said they will feature the new Industrial Technology facilities on the Ashdown campus Wednesday, December 3rd.
And, Cossatot will feature the cosmetology and welding programs on the Nashville campus, Thursday, December 4th.
For more information about the Community College Work$ events, contact UA Cossatot at 870-584-4471.
STARTING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS 12/2/14
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced that it was starting to look a lot like Christmas as the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce prepares for the local Christmas events.
Judge Ray said that the Christmas trees for the chamber's annual Festival of Trees would be placed on the courthouse lawn Monday afternoon.
Chamber member Renee Logan stated you may contact her at Harris Drug to reserve a tree for $25.
Chamber President Megan Smith said the annual chamber Christmas parade and courthouse lighting ceremony will be held this Saturday at 6 p.m., but Christmas activities will begin at noon with Lunch with Santa benefit for Myleigh Marshall at the De Queen Fire Station.
Smith said several chamber members were going to stay open late on Saturday and some groups will have booths on the square.
The First Christian Church will be performing a puppet play at 5 p.m. in the church parking lot entitled "Mary's Christmas Story" and then following the Christmas parade, they will be serving cookies, cider and hot chocolate at the church.
Following the parade, Santa will also be visiting with children in his house on the square.
There will also be a benefit 5K at the De Queen High School Coliseum Saturday night at 8 p.m. for Myleigh Marshall.
Smith also said the KCS Holiday Express will be making a stop in De Queen on Friday, December 12th at 4 p.m.
For more information about the 2014 De Queen Christmas parade or to enter a float, contact Patty Sharp at 642-2446.
LEGACY INITIATIVE AND DR. LOFTON TO HOLD FREE PROSTRATE-BLOOD TEST 12/2/14
Doctor Jason Lofton of the Wellness Center announced Monday morning that his office and the Legacy Initiative will be holding a free prostate specific antigen exam on Thursday, December 11th at the Wellness Center from 4 to 8 p.m.
Dr. Lofton said they will also be testing for blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Dr. Lofton announced his office would also be hosting a women's self-defense call in January, if you need more information, you may contact AMP Fitness at 584-4267 or check out their Facebook page.
FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES CHRISTMAS BONUSES 12/2/14
During the November meeting of the Foreman Board of Education, Superintendent George Kennedy informed the board that he recommended a $350 dollar Christmas bonus for all contracted staff members.
Kennedy reported that he was in contact with BWI of Texarkana concerning an estimate to repair the greenhouse and that a facilities inspection was conducted and he would be presenting a report during a later board meeting.
Elementary Principal Pat Tankersley reported the annual Fall Festival raised an estimated amount of $6,700. She said funds will be used to purchase teacher supplies, some padded chairs and couple storage carts, as well as, to help fund end of the school year field trips.
Tankersley said students raised an estimated $6,000 during their cookie dough sales, and she explained that the funds will be used for behavior incentives, academic trips, and students in need, guest speakers and the annual Santa house.
Board members approved the district’s ACSIP, district’s Programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 7965 and they retired the recommended list of fixed assets for the 2013-2014 school year.
DIERKS RESIDENT CITIED FOR VICIOUS DOGS 12/2/14
A Dierks resident was citied Monday, November 24th for allowing animals to run at large and for allowing vicious dogs inside the city limits.
Dierks Police Chief Brian White reported that about 4:30 Monday afternoon his department was contacted concerning some dogs that were acting aggressively near the intersection of Holly Avenue and 6th Street.
When officers arrived, they discovered several people on top of vehicles and others on a nearby porch trying to fend off four boxer and boxer-labrador mix dogs.
According to the victims, the dogs had attacked some pets and were acting hostile toward people; however, no one had been injured.
Animal control officer Sebron Gregory contained three of the dogs but one dog had to be put down at the scene after it attacked another animal in front of the officers.
The owner of the four dogs, Cody Sitzes, agreed to remove the dogs from the county and received four citations for allowing animals to run at large and four citations for allowing vicious dogs inside the city limits of Dierks.
DE QUEEN RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR POSSESSION OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE 12/2/14
While patrolling on Driver Street Wednesday, November 26th, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department observed 56-year-old Steven Parker sleeping in a car with a beer can next to him.
Browning reported that he thought Parker had a warrant out of the City of De Queen and confirmed the warrant with dispatch before making contact with Parker.
After informing Parker that he had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, Browning stated Parker started walking toward his sister's house.
Browning reported that Parker appeared to be nervous and was attempting to get away from the officer; however, after being informed that he was under arrest and that he was not going into his sister's house, Parker took off his jacket and started walking towards Browning's patrol car.
After putting Parker in the patrol car, Browning retrieved Parker's jacket and went through the pockets.
In one of the pockets, Browning discovered a pill bottle that contained a green leafy substance that was suspected of being marijuana. It also contained some rolling papers.
AMERICAN PICKERS PLANNING TO PICK ARKANSAS 12/2/14
Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz of American Pickers are planning to make stops in Arkansas in search of valuable antiques including motorcycles, classic cars and bicycles to one-of-a-kind vintage memorabilia.
So, if you have a large collection or if you want to refer someone to Mike and Frank, email the show American Pickers at email@example.com and provide your name, number, city, state and a description of your collection. They also suggest providing photos if possible.
According to their press release, they are not looking for farming or agriculture items, tools, glassware, appliances, tractors, stoves or country primitives, but if you have some old toys, vending or slot machines, unusual radios, Civil War antiques or musical instruments, they want to hear from you.
Mike and Frank are also looking for rusty gold. If you and your rusty gold qualify, you could be visited by Mike and Frank and appear on an episode of American Pickers.
But to be considered, you must email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRIMINALS PREPARING TO GO SHOPPING 12/1/14
The holiday season is upon us, and as we prepare to shop for gifts for our friends and family, thieves are preparing to go shopping in our vehicles.
Authorities are reminding drivers that a vehicle is burglarized about every two minutes and stolen about every eight minutes and these crimes escalate during the holiday season when drivers are shopping for gifts and more likely to leave items in their inside the vehicle.
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season may also cause drivers to become more negligent in locking doors and taking keys.
In some jurisdictions, more than half of the vehicles stolen had unlocked doors and keys left inside and authorities suggests the following safety tips to help prevent the theft and burglary of your vehicle during the holiday season.
Drivers should remove belongings from view, secure vehicles and never leave keys inside. Drivers should also park in areas that are well-lit, near surveillance cameras and near heavy foot and vehicle traffic.
DONATE WITH CARE 12/1/14
As Arkansans reflect on their gratitude over the holiday season, many will look for ways to give back, but consumers should give wisely to make sure that their donations will help those in need, not scammers.
Arkansas ranks ninth in the United States for charitable donations according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Arkansans on average donate 6.3 percent of their discretionary income to charity, with an estimated annual median contributions of $3,554 per person per year.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued a consumer alert to remind consumers to donate carefully this holiday season.
State law requires most charitable and professional fundraisers to register with the Attorney General’s Office before soliciting money from Arkansas consumers. Registered groups must provide information about how dollars raised through fundraising are used.
Consumers may visit the website ArkansasAG.gov to verify whether a charity is registered with the State.
For more information about a specific charity, consumers may also call McDaniel’s office at 1-800-482-8982. Charities that are registered with the state are required to report the percentage of money collected that’s used to pay for programming, total administration costs and disclose whether the charity utilized professional fundraisers.
McDaniel offered the following tips to consumers that are planning to make a charitable donation.
Do your research, give thoughtfully, do not donate in cash, check with the charitable organization before giving based on appeals made via email, telephone or door-to-door and be aware of look-alike charities. Scam artists may try to create false charities with titles resembling those of legitimate organizations.
For more information about responsible charitable giving, visit the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division website at gotyourbackarkansas.org or call 1-800-482-8982.
HOLIDAY FIRE SAFETY 12/1/14
The number of house fires increase on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt said the most common fire danger was kitchen fires.
Pruitt said that many fire start as a grease fire and then spreads into a major structure fire.
Pruitt stated outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers are popular during the holidays, but hot-oil fryers can lead to devastating burns, other injuries and the destruction of property.
Pruitt also reminded residents that the De Queen Fire Department has smoke and carbon monoxide detectors available if anyone needs one in their homes.
For a smoke or carbon monoxide detector, contact the De Queen Fire Department at 584-7224.