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FORMER KIRBY STUDENT TO PARTICIPATE IN VANDERBILT INTERNSHIP PROGRAM THIS SUMMER       6/10/16

 

Former Kirby High School student, Hannah Deputy, has been accepted into the Aspirnaut Summer Research Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, this summer.

 

Deputy is currently a biology major at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

 

Deputy explained the intern program provides hands-on and mentored laboratory experiences for undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctorate fellows and primary investigators that are interested in biomedical research. She said she will conduct research on kidney disease and diabetics for 10-weeks this summer.

 

Deputy says she plans to attend graduate school in the medical/biological field after she graduates from Henderson. She said she is also considering medical school, as well as other medical related programs.

 

Deputy will participate in a research project that's valued at $10,000, which includes an educational stipend, room and board and other costs. In addition to the 40-hour work weeks, she will also take part in other campus activities.

 

 

 

STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION MOVES TO DISMISS MINERAL SPRINGS LAWSUIT        6/13/16

 

The State Department of Education, Hempstead County and others have asked that a civil lawsuit that was filed by the Mineral Springs School District be dismissed.

 

Attorneys representing Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key, the Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas State Board of Education have filed a motion to dismiss and a brief in support of that request with the United States Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

 

Attorneys for Hempstead County have also asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, both motions stated the school district failed to state a claim.

 

Court records also show that the Nashville School District was removed from the lawsuit in May.

 

 

RAILROAD OFFICIALS TO HOST MEETING TO DISCUSS OGDEN CROSSING          6/10/16

 

Kansas City Southern Railway officials announced they will meet with area officials next Wednesday in Ogden to discuss spending $350,000 to install new safety measures to help prevent fatal vehicle and train collisions in the future.

 

Representatives from the City of Ogden, the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department and KCS Railway will meet to discuss options for the crossing on Pine Street where two people were killed on January 21st.

 

Railway officials reported the hazard rating for the Ogden Pine Street crossing went up to 164 from 514 out of 2,459 following the incident which claimed the lives of 37-year-old Bobby Burris and 10-year-old Braiden Miller and critically injured 66-year-old Linda Hobbs.

 

Steve Weston of KCS stated it typically costs between $300,000 and $350,000 to install lights with gates at a crossing. He also stated construction could begin in seven months. 

 

 

 

HEALTH DEPARTMENT PLANS TO CATCH AND TEST MOSQUITOES      6/10/16

 

The Arkansas Department of Health is putting up surveillance across the state in an effort to be proactive and test disease carrying mosquitoes.

 

Officials are concerned about the Zika virus and the department is deploying traps to catch and test mosquitoes. They say people should be concerned but not panicked.

 

Arkansas Health Department officials say currently, there are no mosquitoes infected with the Zika virus in Arkansas.

 

Health department officials say they expect to get results from the traps near winter time following mosquito season.

 

 

 

 

ASHDOWN RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR STEALING FROM A CHURCH       6/10/16

 

An Ashdown resident, 28-year-old Chaz Bowles, has been accused of stealing from a church, a cemetery, a pawn-shop and some city-owned buildings in Texarkana.

 

Bowles was identified by a fingerprint that was left on a lock that was on a storage shed at the East Memorial Gardens. According to the incident report, a 5-gallon gas can was missing from the storage building.

 

On April 10th, an officer with the Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department witnessed Bowles drive his blue Dodge pickup behind a closed business and he was arrested for theft by receiving because he allegedly had a stolen Texas license plate and some marijuana in his truck.

 

Officers also found a large pair of bolt cutters and a printer/copier. The Texarkana, Arkansas Police Department reported they had received a report from the Swan Lake Baptist Church on Sugarhill Road that someone had broken into the church and stolen their printer/copier.

 

Bowles is also being accused of breaking into the Texarkana, Arkansas city garage and the Miller County office of emergency management building.

 

Bowles is facing charges of commercial burglary and theft of property in connection with burglary of a storage building at Pawn Express.

 

Bowles is currently being held without bail in the Miller County jail.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS SEEING BENEFITS OF MEDICAID EXPANSION       6/10/16

 

A health-care system in Arkansas and Missouri is an example of the difference between states that have expanded Medicaid and those that have not. Lawmakers in Missouri have not approved a comprehensive expansion plan, but Arkansas has. That failure to expand is leaving a big dent in budgets of hospitals in some communities, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

 

Paul Taylor is the Chief Operating Officer of the Ozarks Community Hospital system and he says Arkansas expanded Medicaid in 2014 and the percentage of uninsured patients being treated dropped to below 10 percent, but in Missouri, the number has increased to between 40 and 45 percent in some emergency rooms.

 

The latest national Gallup poll on health coverage says seven of the 10 states that have done the best jobs of getting more people insured have expanded their Medicaid programs.

 

Jack Hoadley who is the co-author of the Georgetown University report, says states that have expanded Medicaid have seen major reductions in the amount of uncompensated care that being delivered by safety-net institutions.

 

Taylor calls the Ozarks Community Hospital system a "living experiment" when it comes to the expansion of Medicaid.

 

The report also says health-0care facilities in Medicaid-expansion states also see growth in new programs, such as expanding access to specialists, improving care for all patients, particularly in rural areas.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT UPGRADING SOME COMPUTERS       6/10/16

 

Last week, the Ashdown Board of Education held a special called meeting to discuss the district's off-campus Alternative Learning Environment for the 2016-2017 school year. Superintendent Jason Sanders informed the board that the program they approved was no longer a viable option, but no other action was taken on the issue.

 

Board members voted to hire Meyers-Cornerstone Building Services to repair the roof on the Margaret Daniel Primary School at a cost of $36,300. Sanders said the district didn't have to bid out the project because, Meyers-Cornerstone Building Services is a state TIPS-TAPS vendor.

 

Sanders reported the district purchased laptops for the high school computer lab from White River Services in the amount of $20,294.94. He stated students will use the lab for Virtual Arkansas, Credit Recovery and Alternative School. Sanders said they will also replace some teacher laptops at a cost of $13,151.56.

 

Sanders said board members also voted to purchase two sousaphones from the Band House for the Ashdown Purple Pride band.

 

 

Board members also transferred Kathryn Smith from K-5 physical education teacher to a 5th grade classroom teacher and Mandy Moloch from a 5th grade classroom to the K-5 physical education instructor.

 

 

 

HIGHER EDUCATION OFFICIALS PROPOSE NEW FUNDING METHOD IN ARKANSAS        6/10/16

 

The state's higher education leaders have proposed changing funding formulas so they can focus more on completions of certificate of degree programs and less on enrollment.

 

Presidents and chancellors of various institutions got a first look at a draft of the proposed funding method this week and the director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Brett Powell said this method is aligned with the state's master plan for higher education, which seeks to raise the percentage of adult Arkansans who have technical certificates, associate degrees and bachelor's degrees or higher to 60 percent by 2025.

 

The proposal is the result of a committee of education officials led by Glen Jones who is the president of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

 

Higher education leaders now want to use what they are calling an outcomes-based funding formula.

 

Since 2011, 90 percent of a school's funding allocation came from an enrollment formula, while the rest of its funding was determined by weighted measures known as performance-based funding.

 

According to Powell, the new method would provide a clearer picture of the state of Arkansas campuses, and could redirect funds to help students progress toward graduation and curb increases in tuition and fees.

 

The proposed method would use several weighted measures, including credentials from noncredit industry-recognized certifications and training, progression toward graduation and the number of transfer students.

 

Powell said the proposed method, which has a five-year implementation period, may have some unintended consequences like raising admissions standards or reducing academic quality to ensure that all students finish.

 

The state Department of Higher Education will continue to work on the proposal until it presents it to the Higher Education Coordinating Board in July.

 

 

 

LOCAL MCDONALD'S OWNER MAKES DONATION TO UACCH KIDS COLLEGE         6/10/16

 

Celia and Steve Montgomery are the owners of the De Queen, Nashville, and Hope McDonald's and they recently presented a $7,500 check to the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope in Texarkana's for the college’s 2016 Kids College.

 

According to UACCH, the funds will be used for the school's summer enrichment program. Some of the funds will be used to provide scholarships for students in first through sixth grade and to purchase teacher supplies.

 

This year's Kids College will partner with Sciensational Workshops for Kids Inc. to provide the science, technology, engineering and mathematics program for fifth and sixth grade students.

 

The Montgomery's raised the funds by participating in the Ronald McDonald House Charities donation box fundraiser program.

 

For more information, call 870-722-8102. 

 

 

 

TRIAL DATE SET FOR OCTOBER FOR MAN ACCUSED OF SHOOTING AT A COUNTY ROAD CREW TRUCK          5/10/16

 

A Little River County man who has been accused of shooting at the trailer of a country road crew truck had a trial date of October 24th set by Ninth Circuit Court Judge Tom Cooper this week in the Little River County Circuit Court.

 

Twenty-eight year old Chad Russell was arrested for aggravated assault after he fired a shot from a Rossi .454 caliber lever action rifle from the front porch of his home on Little River County Road 51.

 

According to the incident report, Russell told Little River County deputies that he shot the truck when it pulled into his driveway.

 

If convicted, Russell could face up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

 

 

POLK COUNTY MAN DIES IN PLANE CRASH IN JEFFERSON COUNTY      6/9/16

 

A Polk County man died Wednesday when the aircraft he was piloting crashed in a wooded area in southwest Jefferson County near the Grant County line.

 

Arkansas State Police Troopers responded to a call of a downed aircraft at approximately 5 p.m. The initial report indicated the aircraft was a small single-engine plane.

 

Sixty-six year old Philip Sloan of Mena was pronounced dead at the scene. However, a passenger in the aircraft, 19-year-old Ross Goodner of Boles was injured in the crash and was transported from the scene by ambulance and taken to a Pine Bluff hospital where he was admitted in stable condition.

 

The Arkansas State Police secured the crash scene, which is located inside a clear-cut area of timberland. The Federal Aviation Administration will coordinate the investigation to determine the manner and cause of the crash.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT MEDICAL EDUCATION STUDENTS ALSO LEARN TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY          6/9/16

Kim Dickerson is the Division Chair of Medical Education at UA Cossatot and Kay Trotta is the Skill Lab and Simulation Lab Coordinator. This week, they described how UA Cossatot nursing students volunteer in the communities that the college serves.

Dickerson reported UA Cossatot offers several medical related degrees on all three Cossatot campuses. She said the programs in the Medical Education Department are very competitive and applicants must meet all of the college's pre-requisites before they are selected for one of the programs.


Dickerson said students are also required to volunteer for eight-hours in the community. She said students in the OTA program conduct a ramp program every year. She said they build a ramp for someone who needs help getting into their home due to a disability.

 

Trotta stated these community activities help students develop an rapport with patients.


Trotta said the college’s pinning ceremony is scheduled for June 24th at 6 p.m. on the Ashdown campus in the Barbara Horn Civic Center.   

 

 

 

FREE FISHING WEEKEND      6/9/16

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission announced no angler will need a fishing license or trout permit to fish anywhere in Arkansas this weekend from noon on Friday to midnight Sunday night.

The free fishing weekend is an annual tradition that’s sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and approved by Governor Asa Hutchinson. Free fishing days allow Arkansas residents and non-residents to enjoy the amazing fishing that the Natural State has to offer.

Assistant Chief of Fisheries Ben Batten said the commission is always encouraging Arkansans to take someone new fishing, but the price of a license can be a deterrent to someone that doesn’t know if they are going to like fishing. He said this free weekend will allow them to get out and try fishing for themselves without the extra cost of a license.

Batten said this weekend is also a great opportunity to take children who want to learn how to fish. He said children under 16 don’t need a license any time, but parents don’t want to pay the extra money for a license just to find out if their kids are going to enjoy fishing.

Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge is also hosting a youth fishing derby this weekend from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at Little Bell Lake.

 

Little Bell Lake is currently closed to the public until Saturday morning at 9 a.m. The event is for youth under 16 years of age, but they must be accompanied and supervised by an adult 18 years of age or older.

 

The event is free, but prizes will be awarded at the end of the event.

 

For more information, call the Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge office at 870-289-2126.

 

 

COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK ACTIVITIES        6/9/16

 

Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Victoria Carson announced park interpreters will be leading guided kayak tours this Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. She said these tours are for beginners, so it's going to be a leisurely pace.

 

The cost of the kayak tours is $30.94 per person and that includes shuttle transportation, interpretive guide service and the use of a kayak, paddle and lifejacket.

 

Friday, guest can participate in two snorkeling scavenger hunts at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Carson said snorkel equipment and a scavenger list will be provided, but everyone should wear appropriate clothing for swimming.

 

Carson said the park will also be hosting a 5-day teacher workshop starting Monday, June 13th. She said teachers can earn up to 18-hours of professional development.

 

Carson said the park will also be holding a 4-day Ecology Camp for children 5-8 years old from Tuesday, June 21st to Friday, June 24th. Cossatot River will also be hosting a 4-day, 3-night SWAT camp for children 9 to 13 years of age this summer from Monday, June 27th to Thursday, June 30th. She said they will need to pre-register by June 15th.

 

For more information, call the Cossatot River State Park at 870-385-2201.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY FARMER'S MARKET IS OPEN        6/8/16

 

Angela Smith reported Wednesday morning that the Sevier County Farmer's Market opened last week and will now be open every Wednesday and Saturday until the Sevier County Hoo-Rah Days in October. She also mentioned some of the items that have been at the market so far this season.

 

Smith said the market is open from 7:30 to 11 a.m.

 

Smith also mentioned it's not too late to participate in this year's market. She said they have a seasonal rate of $50 and a daily rate of $5.

 

For more information, visit the market's Facebook page at Sevier County Farmer's Market or call 870-642-2718.

 

 

 

DAISY STATE PARK ACTIVITIES       6/8/16

 

Daisy State Park staff will be leading a workshop on snakes in Arkansas this Friday from 2 to 2:30 p.m. at the visitor center, as well as a cast iron cookware demonstration from 4 to 5 p.m. Participants will enjoy some cobbler that's been prepared by Park Superintendent Tamara Lunsford. She will also be sharing the basics of cast iron cooking and how to season and care for your cast iron cookware.

 

The cost of the cast iron cookware demonstration is $2 and Lunsford recommends you register at the visitor center by 11 a.m. on Friday.

 

Saturday and Sunday, the Daisy State Park is offering a scenic tour of Lake Greeson from 10 a.m. to noon. Lunsford said seating is limited, so guests should sign up at the visitor center by 9 a.m. on day of the tour.

 

The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 6 to 12.

 

There's also going to be a nature scavenger hunt from 1 to 2 p.m. and a kayak expedition from 7 to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

 

For more information about the Daisy State Park, call 870-398-4487.

 

 

 

HORATIO SOFTBALL CAMP JUNE 15-17      6/8/16

 

Horatio Head Softball Coach Dustin Bakenhus announced the Horatio Lady Lions will be hosting a softball camp June 15 through the 17th from 10 a.m. to noon at Lady Lion Yard at Lane Fields and the Horatio baseball and softball indoor facility.

 

Bakenhus stated this camp wasn't only for Horatio players, but any young lady in the area between the ages of 8 and 14.

 

Bakenhus said all players should bring their glove and any equipment that they want to use, including a defensive facemask. Players should also bring both cleats and tennis shoes. For more information, Bakenhus stated you may contact him or the Horatio High School.

 

Bakenhus said all campers who pre-register by Friday, June 10th will receive a free camp T-shirt.

 

 

 

 

TEXARKANA RESIDENT KILLED IN TWO VEHICLE ACCIDENT        6/7/16

 

Monday afternoon about 12:50, members of the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, the De Queen Fire Department and Southwest EMS were dispatched to the scene of an accident on U.S. Highway 71 about 4 miles East of De Queen.

 

When emergency personnel arrived, they attempted to extricate the driver of the 1999 Dodge truck, but 29-year-old Wallace Wright of Texarkana, Texas was pronounced dead at the scene by Sevier County Coroner Rusty Williams at 1:56 p.m.

 

According to Trooper Kyle Jones of the Arkansas State Police, Wright and 25-year-old Niki Barndon of De queen were traveling north on Highway 71 when they crossed the centerline and collided with a 2015 Mack truck.

 

Barndon was taken to Christus St. Michaels Hospital in Texarkana by Southwest EMS.

 

CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR MAY 2016    06/07/16

 

The Chalice Cupboard assisted 63 families in Sevier County in May, including 112 adults and 94 children, totaling 206 people. 

 

1,514 lbs. of food was added to the pantry.  This included 1,063 lbs. of purchased food plus donations of 944 lbs.  Saint Barbara Catholic church gave 115 lbs.  Tyson Foods gave 680 lbs. and Farm Bureau Insurance gave 64 lbs.  Individuals donated 85 lbs.

 

The bank balance on May 1, 2016 was $6.016.47.  Deposits for the month totaled $152.00.  During May 2016, $821.34 was spent for food to replenish the pantry supply.  The bank balance on May 31, 2015 was $5,347.13.

 

Individuals living in Sevier county who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 N. 5th Street in De Queen on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 pm until 3:15 pm.  food is given tothose requesting assistance once each three-month period of the year.

 

Suggested non-perishable items for those people who want to make a donation are soup and fruit.  any money donated will be used for the purchase of food.

 

Submitted by Grant Grove

 

 

 

CIVIL WAR MARKER DEDICATED AT BELLVILLE CHURCH DURING HOMECOMING ACTIVITIES           6/7/16

 

Sunday, June 5th, the Belleville Cemetery Association hosted their 71st annual Homecoming celebration at the Historic Belleville Church in Lockesburg. Church board member, Dr. Steve Cole said this is a time for families that are affiliated with the church and/or cemetery to return and discuss the history of the church.

 

During this year's event, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program dedicated a Civil War Historical Marker. Cole described the work that it took to get a marker placed on the Belleville Church and Cemetery grounds.

 

The plaque reads, and I quote, "While no fighting took place in Sevier County during the Civil War, local men served in Confederate units. Men gathered at Belleville Church as part of Pettus' Battalion of State Troops, marching to Arkadelphia under Governor Harris Flanagin's General Order Number 6. Local men fought at Wilson's Creek in 1861. Sevier County men served in the 2nd Arkansas Mounted Rifles, 12th, 19th and 24th Arkansas Infantry, Crawford's Infantry Battalion, 37th Arkansas Militia and the 27th Texas Calvary. The county's mineral wealth also served the Confederacy, yielding lead and iron pyrite," unquote.

 

Cole said the church board was excited to have one of the 75 Civil War commemorative markers placed on the historic grounds of the church and cemetery.

 

The historic Belleville Church and Cemetery is located south of Lockesburg on Highway 317 East. You can view the story of the marker and see more locations of Civil War markers at www.arkansascivilwar150.com/historicalmarkers.

 

 

 

CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK TO HOST SCHOOL'S OUT POOL PARTY          6/7/16

 

This Saturday, June 11th, the Diamond Springs water park at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro will celebrate summer with a School's Out Pool Party from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

 

Park Interpreter Waymon Cox reported they will have decorations, refreshments, games and entertainment by the Joe Ledbetter Band.

 

Cox reported the Diamond Springs Water Park is a 14,700 square feet mining-themed aquatic playground that features a wading pool with spray geysers, water slides and water falls that are surrounded by a spacious deck and pool furniture.

 

Diamond Springs is open daily from noon to 6 p.m. and admission is $6 for anyone over 42 inches tall and $4 for anyone under 42 inches tall. Children under 2 years of age are admitted free and a non-water ticket of $2 is required for visitors who are not utilizing the water, but just observing swimming activities.

 

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

 

 

 

DIERKS KAYAK FESTIVAL IS JUNE 17-19        6/7/16

 

The Dierks Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the Dierks Kayak Festival in cooperation with the Arkansas Kayak group and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, June 17th through the 19th.

 

The event will be held at the Horseshoe Bend campground below the Dierks Lake and the Corps of Engineers has agreed to provide an adequate release of water to have the event.

 

The event will include instructions and safety classes for beginners, a fishing tournament plus races with world class participants. The course will allow spectators to view the entire course.

 

On Friday, June 17th, there will be clinics on general river safety, swift water rescue and introduction to kayaking and canoeing. Saturday events include races, raft and shredder rides for the public and a hunker down tournament. Sunday events will include a kayak bass tournament on the lake and whitewater play day.

 

There will also be food vendors. For more information, contact the Dierks Chamber of Commerce at 870-286-2911.

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE       6/7/16

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported this week that the average family spends an additional $300 a month on food during the summer months. She said working parents know their children are safe, supervised and fed during the school year, but they must make other arrangements for their kids during the summer.

 

According to the Arkansas Department of Education, there are about 280,000 children who are eligible for reduced price meals at school during the school year, but where do they eat during the summer?

 

This summer close to 200 sites are offering meals for children. The meals are paid for by the USDA and must meet certain guidelines to ensure proper nutrition.

 

Parents are not required to sign up in order to get free summer meals for their children, and it does not interfere with other benefits the family may be receiving. Arkansas ranks highest in the nation for food insecurity, according to a Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap report. In that report, it states 19.7 percent of households and 28.4 percent of children were unsure of where they will get their next meal.

 

In our area there are several USDA authorized Summer Meal Sites including: the Horatio Elementary School, the Ashdown High School, the Mineral Springs Elementary, the McCurtain County boys and girls club in Broken Bow and the Idabel High School.

 

 

 

MUNICIPAL ELECTION INFORMATION         6/7/16

 

Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akins announced the first day that municipal candidates were permitted to start collecting signatures was May 1st, but the filing period won't open until July 29th and it will remain open until noon on August 19th.

 

Akins said signatures that are collected more than 90-days before the election will not be counted and petitions should contain the candidate's name, the position they are seeking and the office and/or district before they collect any names. Petitions must also contain at least 10 signatures of registered voters who are residents of an incorporated town and cities of the 2nd class or at least 30 signatures of registered voters who are residents of cities of the 1st class.

 

County residents will be voting on all the aldermen positions in all of the towns and cities of Sevier County and the residents of Horatio and Lockesburg will be voting on the position of Recorder/Treasurer.

 

Akins said candidates must also file an affidavit of eligibility and political practices pledge with the County Clerk's office by noon on August 19th.

 

On August 25th, the County Clerk will certify the candidates to the Election Commission and hold a ballot draw if necessary.

 

Statements of Financial interest are then due to the City Clerk for non-incumbent candidates for municipal offices by August 22nd.

 

Sample petitions and other required forms are available in the County Clerk's Office. If you have any questions or need any of the forms listed above, call the Sevier County Clerk's office at 870-642-2852.

 

If you are interested in serving as an election worker, you should also contact the county clerk's office.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFERING SUMMER PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT BOOK DISTRIBUTION       6/6/16

 

Tammy Whatley announced the De Queen School District is holding a summer parental involvement book distribution program to help keep students reading this summer.

 

Whatley said she will have books for kindergarteners through the 12th grade on Monday, June 13th beginning at 9 a.m.

 

Whatley said the district was trying this program to help student maintain their reading skills over the summer months.

 

Whatley said she is planning a second book distribution in July and parents are invited to join their children in selecting a book or two for them to read.

 

 

AREA BLOOD DRIVES        6/6/16

 

LifeShare Blood Center will host a couple of blood drives in the area this week.

 

LifeShare is having a blood drive on Thursday, June 9th at the Center Point Community Center from 2 to 7 p.m. in the community building. There is also a blood drive on Friday, June 10th in the parking lot of the De Queen Wal-Mart on the LifeShare donor coach from 2 to 7 p.m.

 

LifeShare Blood Centers regularly supplies blood components to 117 medical facilities throughout Louisiana, East Texas and South Arkansas, including De Queen Regional Medical Center, Little River Memorial Hospital and Howard Memorial Hospital.

 

For more information visit the website lifeshare.org or call 903-794-3174.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS PANEL NOT LOOKING AT RAISES FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS       6/6/16

 

The chairman of an Arkansas commission that sets salaries for the state's top elected officials says the panel is not considering any pay hikes since other state employees didn't get a raise this year.

 

Independent Citizens Commission Chairman Larry Ross announced last week that the panel had cancelled a meeting that was planned for later this month, because state employees won't be getting a cost-of-living adjustment for the upcoming year. The commission had initially planned to meet June 14th to hear from state budget officials about the state employee's COLAs.

 

The panel voted to more than double legislator's salaries and granted substantial raises to constitutional officers, judges and prosecutors, last year. The commission was created through a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2014 to review and adjust salaries for the state's top elected officials.

 

 

 

MCKINNEY NAMED VOLUNTEER CHAIR OF THE HEROES OF HOPE PROGRAM        6/6/16

 

The American Cancer Society's Mid-South Division recently named Keisha McKinney as volunteer chair of the Heroes of Hope program. As the chairperson, McKinney will lead, train, and support more than 60 cancer survivors and caregivers from the Mid-South states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

 

The Heroes of Hope program is in its eighth year. Honorees will serve as spokespeople for the American Cancer Society in their communities. Those selected have triumphed over cancer or cared for loved one, made significant volunteer contributions to the American Cancer Society and made an impact in the lives of others.

 

McKinney is an eight-year Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer survivor and volunteered for Relay for Life in Clark County by serving as a team captain for her alma mater's team, sitting on the committee and chairing her local event. In 2011, McKinney was selected to join the Mid-South Heroes of Hope and chaired the program for the next two years. In 2012, she relocated to join the staff of the American Cancer Society in Northwest Arkansas where she served as a community manager, Northwest Arkansas executive director and senior manager of Relay for Life in North Arkansas. Now, back in a volunteer role, McKinney will serve once again as chair of the inspiring group of cancer survivors and caregivers.

 

Heroes of Hope provide a highly visible symbol of personal victory over the disease, plus support and participation in the programs of the Society. The Heroes of Hope represent the courageous struggle of all cancer patients as they deal with the physical and emotional aspects of their experience.

 

 

 

POND CREEK TO HOST YOUTH FISHING DERBY        6/6/16

 

Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge will host a Youth Fishing Derby this Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Little Bell Lake.

 

Little Bell Lake is located along Central Road between Nobles Mound entrance road and the Tram entrance road. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will provide 300 catchable size channel catfish to provide a better opportunity for the fishing derby participates.

 

Little Bell Lake will be closed to the public for fishing from June 8th until 9 a.m. June 11th. Only youth less than 16 years of age will be permitted to participate in the event. Children who are participating in the event must be accompanied and supervised by an adult 18 years of age or older. 

 

The event is free of charge, however all participants are asked to check-in with the refuge staff before the starting fishing. All participants are also asked to comply with state regulations and fish limits and they must bring their own fishing gear.

 

There will be prizes given at the end of the event.

 

Little Bell Lake will be open to the public with a valid fishing license after the youth event. For more information, call the Pond Creek National Wildlife Refuge Office at 870-289-2126.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY LAND AUCTION NETS $36,688.16         6/6/16

 

The recent auction of tax-delinquent properties in Sevier County collected over $36,000 for county and state government, the Commissioner of State Lands announced.

 

The Land Commissioner's office conducted the auction of delinquent properties recently at the Sevier County Courthouse. Twelve bidders participated in the auction, which sold three of the four available parcels for a total of $36,688.16 for Sevier County and state government.

 

The Land Commissioner's office conducts one tax-delinquent land sale per county each year to dispose of land on which the taxes have been past due for over two years.

 

Commissioner John Thurston said his office only auctions off a small percentage of certified tax-delinquent parcels, because in most cases the original owner redeems the delinquent property by paying the back taxes.

 

Thurston noted redemption of property is the preferred method of disposing of tax-delinquent lands, but it's important for his office to return inactive parcels to the tax rolls by conducting land sales.

 

Registered bidders may purchase land at the auctions. Registration to bid at state land sales is free and upon the sale of a tax-delinquent parcel, the Commissioner's office will issue a limited warrant deed to the highest bidder.

 

Thurston's office returns delinquent tax and interest collected, whether through redemption or sale, to the county taxing unit just as if the money had been originally collected.

 

Thurston said last year, his office returned almost $20 million dollars to school districts and county governments. He said Sevier County received almost $30,000 of that amount. Thurston explained that this is an important process, because it provides stable revenue for necessary services including public schools.

 

A list of public auction properties is listed online at www.cosl.org.

 

 

 

TRIAL DATE SET FOR FOREMAN RESIDENT IN ATTEMPTED ESCAPE      6/6/16

 

A trial date of August 22nd was set in the Little River County Circuit Court for 31-year-old Devin Hawkins of Foreman for attempting to escape from the Little River County jail.

 

According to court records, Hawkins attempted to escape from jail while telling jailers that he needed to get out on March 29th.

 

Allegedly, Officers Christian Clark and Britney Perry watched Hawkins push the ceiling tiles up and crawl up into the ceiling. He then crawled over to Dorm B.

 

Hawkins had been arrested for disorderly conduct by Foreman Chief Marshall Chris Snider. Foreman residents also alleged Hawkins had attempted to break-into a residence and was trespassing on their property.

 

After Hawkins served his sentence on the disorderly conduct charge, he was released, but he was arrested on April 14th for discharging an AR-15 rifle within the city limits of Foreman.

 

A federal Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer tased Hawkins has he exited a storage building to end a standoff between Hawkins and the Arkansas State Police and other law enforcement agencies.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT OFFERING EXERCISE CLASSES AND MORE THIS SUMMER          6/6/16

 

Zebbie Launius of UA Cossatot's Continuing Education Program announced the college is offering exercise classes, children's classes and classes to help you find a job this summer.

 

She said you can register for the Ab class, which starts Tuesday at 6 p.m., until 4:30 Tuesday afternoon. Launius said the registration cost is $35 and the instructor is Alisha Lewis.

 

Launius also mentioned several other classes, including a colored pencil class, a concealed handgun class and job training courses.

 

Launius will also be leading a senior adult trip this Friday to the Athens Trade Days. She said for more information, you should contact UA Cossatot at 870-584-4471. A copy of the Continuing Education catalog can be found on the radio stations website, KDQN.net or at CCCUA.edu.

 

 

 

FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION HIRES SEVERAL ELEMENTARY TEACHERS DURING SPECIAL CALLED MEETING       6/3/16

 

Members of the Foreman Board of Education met during a special called meeting on May 23rd to accept the resignation of a special education para-professional and an elementary teacher and they voted to hire two new elementary teachers.

 

According to Superintendent George Kennedy, the board accepted the resignation of Haylie Nelson who was a special education para-professional and Lisa Smith who was an elementary teacher.

 

Board members voted to hire Michelle Maye and Rhonda Boyd. They will both teach at the Oscar Hamilton Elementary School, contingent upon them receiving their standard Arkansas teacher license.

 

 

 

GPS DEVICES BEING DONATED TO AREA FIRE DEPARTMENTS       6/3/16

 

De Queen Fire Chief, Dennis Pruitt reported a group of individuals in the community is donating GPS devices to the volunteer fire departments in Sevier County. He said emergency officials discovered GPS coordinates are more accurate than cellphone triangulation during a medical emergency.

 

Mike Hambrecht is the base pilot supervisor at the Sevier County Air Evac base and he stated the GPS devices will help save valuable time in the case of an emergency.

 

Hambrecht said this is another positive result that came out of a tragic event.

 

Hambrecht also mentioned Air Evac has installed new cockpit glass and auto-pilot systems in their helicopters. He said the new upgrades will help with information management and reduce the workload of the pilots. Hambrecht said this will help the pilots stay focused on situational maneuvers and safety.

 

Hambrecht said residents may also purchase a membership for $65 a year to cover their entire household. Members can also submit their homes coordinates to Air Evac, so flight teams will know where they live if there is every an emergency at their house.

 

 

For more information, contact Anna Bivens at 870-642-4700.

 

 

 

CLICK IT OR GET A TICKET AND MAYBE MORE         6/3/16

 

On Monday, May 30th, Officer J.J. Lopez noticed the passenger in a Ford Taurus not wearing a seat belt.

 

Lopez reported when he pulled the vehicle over, he noticed the driver’s hands were shaky and he appeared to be nervous. He also noticed the smell of raw marijuana coming from inside the vehicle.

 

When the driver was asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, he stated there shouldn’t be and he gave Officer Lopez and Patrolman First Class Levi Browning permission to search the car.

 

When the passenger, 50-year-old Scotty Medlay stepped out of the car he informed Lopez that there was some pot in the backseat where he was sitting and it belonged to him. He also stated the other people in the car didn’t know he had it.

 

Officers found a plastic container containing a small clear bag of suspected weed and a socket that Medlay said he smoked out of.

 

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

 

 

 

PEAK-TO-PEAK POKER RUN       6/3/16

 

Saturday, the Arkansas State Park system is holding the annual Peak to Peak Poker Run from Queen Wilhelmina State Park to Mount Magazine State Park.

 

Bikers will leave Queen Wilhelmina State Park between 9 and 11 a.m. on their way to Mount Magazine State Park and all poker hands must be drawn at the Mount Magazine Lodge by 4 p.m.

 

Riders will travel along the winding roads from the state’s second highest mountain to the highest, through mountains and tall southern forests. There are also many scenic sights just a short distance from the route.

 

At Mount Magazine State Park Lodge, riders will trade the five beads they picked up along the way for cards and a chance to win prizes based on the best hand.

 

First prize is worth $500, second place is worth $200 and other prizes will also be based on the poker hands.

 

The registration fee includes a t-shirt and the chance at a winning poker hand. Registration is $30, plus $20 for each passenger. All vehicles are welcome.

 

For more information, call 1-800-264-2477. A route map will be provided at registration.

 

 

DE QUEEN JUNIOR HIGH RECEIVES HIGH ACHIEVING AWARD FROM OFFICE OF EDUCATION POLICY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS      6/2/16

 

Wednesday afternoon during a regular meeting of the De Queen Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton informed KDQN that the De Queen Junior High School had received a High Achieving Award from the University of Arkansas' Office of Education Policy. Superintendent Bruce Hill stated the junior high was the highest performing school in this region.

 

Board members approved a state mandated increase to the district's lunch prices. Hill said it will cost $1.50 for lunch and a $1.00 for breakfast for the 2016-2017 school year. He said they are also trying to develop a system where parents can pay for their child's meals online.

 

Hill reported the district's maintenance employees will be renovating parts of the old high school cafeteria and the old elementary building this summer.

 

Following an executive session, board members voted to accept the resignation of head basketball coach, Beau Brickel and to hire Jacob Wayne Lee as the new basketball coach. Hill said Lee comes highly recommended to the district.

 

The next board meeting was scheduled for Friday, July 1st at noon in the administration building. Hill said the board will be discussing the district's new drug testing policy.  

 

 

 

COSSATOT RIVER BOARD OF EDUCATION LEASES FORMER VANCOVE HIGH SCHOOL PROPERTY TO THE COSSATOT RIVER FFA/AG BOOSTER CLUB        6/2/16

 

Members of the Cossatot River Board of Education agreed to lease the former VanCove High School baseball field, softball field and Ag barn along with all known acreage surrounding those fields to the Cossatot River High School FFA/Ag Booster Club for $1. The agreement also states the agreement will be renewable annually at a cost of $1 per year, but the booster club is responsible for the upkeep of the property.

 

According to the agreement, the district will provide both water and electricity for the property, but the booster club will be responsible for any improvements made to the property.

 

Board members also stated the booster club can not sublease the property to any entity without the approval of the board and Superintendent Donnie Davis.

 

According to the minutes, the board approved the district's extended sick leave policy. It states the board may grant an employee extended sick leave at the following rate. If an employee has been in the district for zero to five years, they can receive up to 45 days leave; if they have been in the district for six to 15 years, they can receive up to 60 days; and if they have been in the district for more than 16 years, they can receive up to 75 days. However, the substitute’s salary will be deducted from the employee's salary.

 

Board members accepted the resignation of six staff members and voted to hire Staci Nix as a Special Education teacher at the high school and Bryan Richardson as a high school coach.

 

 

 

DUGGAN AWARDED HONORS PROGRAM SCHOLARSHIP FROM ARKANSAS TECH        6/2/16

 

De Queen High School graduate Danielle Duggan has been awarded the University Honors Program Scholarship from Arkansas Tech University in the amount of $50,400; along with the Roger and Carylin Dossey Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,000; the Janice Duggan Memorial scholarship in the amount of $500 and the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship in the amount of $14,000.

 

Duggan was a member of the National Honor Society, the National Society of High School Scholars, Quiz Bowl, Gifted and Talented and the Interact Club. She was the vice-president of Show Choir, FBLA and the senior class. Duggan was the captain of the varsity soccer and basketball teams and ran track and cross country.

 

Duggan was also awarded the 2016 Rotary Crystal Cup and was a Wendy's High School Heisman state finalist. She also represented De Queen High School at Girls State and was the Arkansas Representative on the Youth Leadership Council in Washington, D.C. for the Rural Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas.

 

Duggan is the daughter of Greg and Donna Duggan. She is the granddaughter of Dennis and Kay Duggan and the late Janice Duggan.

 

Duggan plans to attend Arkansas Tech University and pursue a degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Human Resources.

 

 

 

GILLHAM RESIDENT ARRESTED ON ACTIVE WARRANT     6/2/16

 

A Gillham resident was arrested May 31st after deputies with the Sevier County Sheriff’s office received information that he was riding around in Gillham in a white Hyundai car.

 

When Deputy Greg Davignon located the vehicle, he informed the passenger, 36-year-old Justin Price that he was wanted on an active warrant.

 

While searching Price, Davignon found a metal marijuana smoking pipe in his pocket. Price then allegedly told Davignon that he had a meth pipe under the passenger seat in a black case. Davignon reported the pipe contained a white residue that’s consistent with methamphetamine.

 

Price was taken to the Sevier County jail on the active warrant and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

 

MANY CHILDREN NOT GETTING ENOUGH FOOD DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS       6/2/16

 

Eighty percent of the children who get free lunch at school don’t participate in summer meal programs, mostly because their parents and guardians aren’t aware of them, according to the anti-hunger group Hunger Free America.

 

Joel Berg, the group’s CEO, is pushing the message about summer nutrition across the country, and toured several spots in Arkansas Tuesday, including the Afterschool Meals program at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center. Berg says hunger is an issue every state in the nation faces, and it’s especially prevalent in Arkansas.

 

Berg’s group has a nationwide toll free number set up so anyone can call to see where free summer meals are offered in their community. It’s 866-3 Hungry.

 

Berg says there are things states, cities and counties and community groups can do to help end hunger, but it’s really going to need to be addressed on a national level.

 

Berg says one in four Arkansas children deals with hunger issues, with 29 percent living below the poverty level. The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance says an average family spends an additional $300 each month for food during the summer.

 

The Horatio School District is offering a seamless summer lunch program starting Monday, June 6th. Lunches are free to anyone 18 or younger and just $3.25 for anyone over the age of 19.

 

 

 

THREE AUTHORS TO SIGN BOOKS JUNE 11TH AT WINTHROP LIBRARY       6/2/16

 

The Winthrop Public Library will host a book signing for three local authors from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 11th.

 

Mary May who is also known as Beth Heath has published six books, including "On a Prayer," "The Angel Chronicles Series," and the young adult novel "The Red House."

 

May is originally from De Queen but now lives in Foreman. She is the co-owner of the Winthrop Wolfpack store.

 

Kacy Hart who is known as Shelli Hopkins is also originally from De Queen and lives in Foreman. She works at the Little River County jail in Ashdown as a 911 dispatcher.

 

Hart has written two books entitled: "Fighting Fate's Desires" and "Escaping the Darkness."

 

Terrell Polite has also published two books. He wrote "Men Hurt Too" and "Growing in The Lord." He is an assistant youth pastor at the Spirit and Life Fellowship in Ashdown and he works at the Little River Nursing Home.

 

 

 

TRAVELING AT A SNAIL’S PACE         6/2/16

 

On May 28th, Sevier County Deputy Greg Davignon observed a vehicle on Highway 71 that was traveling 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit and had several vehicles backed up behind them.

 

Davignon reported the vehicle swerved several times within the lane and traveled on the right side of the fog line for several seconds at a time before getting back into the traffic lane.

 

Davignon stopped the vehicle in the Lockesburg E-Z Mart parking lot.

 

The driver, 32-year-old Jamie Whatley of Ashdown informed Deputy Davignon that she had not been drinking and that she had not taken any prescription medication, but her eyes were glassy, bloodshot and watery.

 

Whatley reportedly admitted that she had consumed one whiskey drink early in the day. After she failed a series of field sobriety test, Whatley was taken to the Sevier County jail on the suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

 

 

CORDERO AND RODRIGUEZ SELECTED FOR GIRLS STATE       6/1/16

 

Kimberly Cordero and Emily Rodriguez have been selected by the De Queen High School faculty as representatives to the 74th session of Arkansas Girls State, which is held on the campus of Harding University in Searcy from May 29th through June 3rd.

 

Cordero and Rodriguez were chosen on the basis of leadership, character, honesty, scholarship, cooperativeness, community participation and service.

 

Cordero is being sponsored by the Rotary Club and the Lions Club is sponsoring Rodriguez.

 

 

 

HORATIO SOFTBALL CAMP JUNE 15-17      6/1/16

 

Horatio Head Softball Coach Dustin Bakenhus announced the Horatio Lady Lions will be hosting a softball camp June 15 through the 17th from 10 a.m. to noon at Lady Lion Yard at Lane Fields and the Horatio baseball and softball indoor facility.

 

Bakenhus stated this camp wasn't only for Horatio players, but any young lady in the area. He also said players should bring their glove and any equipment that they want to use, including a defensive facemask. Bakenhus also said players should also bring both cleats and tennis shoes.

 

For more information, Bakenhus stated you may contact him at 870-784-1090 or the Horatio High School.

 

Bakenhus said all campers who pre-register by Friday, June 10th will receive a free camp T-shirt.

 

 

 

ONE VEHICLE ACCIDENT RESULTS IN DWI ARREST        6/1/16

 

Just before midnight on May 28th, Sevier County Deputy Thomas Jackson was dispatched to the Beacon Hill Road to a one-vehicle accident.

 

When Deputy Thomas and Deputy Matthew Webb arrived, they discovered a Toyota pickup in the ditch on the north side of the road about 150 feet east of Red Bridge Road.

 

When the deputies arrived, 40-year-old Matthew Ruth of De Queen got out of the pickup and allegedly admitted that he had consumed several beers. He informed the deputies that he hit his head against the windshield when he hit a tree.

 

Southwest EMS was dispatched to the scene, but Ruth refused treatment. He was cited for driving while intoxicated #1.

 

 

 

THOMSON WINS 27TH ANNUAL TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL      6/1/16

 

The 27th Annual Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival was held last Saturday on the De Queen, Dierks and Gillham lakes.

 

The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce paid out over $14,000 in prize money and door prizes were to 349 fishermen from the local and four states area.

 

First place and a prize of $1,500 were won by Josh Thomson of Ashdown on the Dierks Lake with a fish weighing 7.00 lbs. He told De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy, this was the first year he had fished the Tri-Lakes Big Bass Tournament.

 

Vince Strasner of Dierks was second with a fish weighing 6.24 lbs. He caught it on the Dierks Lake. Third place went to Jim Presson of De Queen. He caught a fish weighing 5.98 lbs on the De Queen Lake. Fourth place went to Derek Scott of Nashville. He caught a 5.64 lbs fish on the De Queen Lake and Mark Spears of Nashville caught a 5.63 lbs fish on the Dierks Lake for fifth place.

 

 

 

 

 

THREE MINORS CHARGED WITH COMMERCIAL BURGLARY       6/1/16

 

On May 26th, former Horatio High School football coach Mark King contacted the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office to report that the football field concession stand had been broken into.

 

Deputies Brian Hankins and Andrew Gomez were informed that the concession stand had been broken into about 12:26 a.m. and drinks and food were taken.

 

Deputies reviewed surveillance video that revealed a suspect crawling through a window and then crawl around inside the building. The suspect then opened the door and several other suspects entered the building.

 

A total of four suspects between the ages of 9 to 16 were identified on the video.

 

Deputies then went to the home of one of the subject’s and during an interview, he allegedly admitted to breaking into the concession stand and taking the food and drinks.

 

Three of the four minors have been charged with commercial burglary.

 

 

ASHDOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES PURCHASE OF VIDEO TECH CLASS EQUIPMENT         5/31/16

 

During the May meeting of the Ashdown Board of Education, board members approved the purchase of video equipment for the district's new Video Tech Class. Superintendent Jason Sanders said the equipment cost $26,507.05. He said students will learn how to produce a video broadcast, showcasing the district's new video scoreboard.

 

Sanders reported the district was approved for the 2016-2017 McKinney-Vento homeless student grant.

 

Sanders said the board of education also voted to transition to the Edmentum credit recovery program after using a different program for the past three years.

 

Sanders also announced Linda Davis was selected as the Arkansas Rural Teacher of the Year for 2016. He said she is a fourth grade teacher on the L.F. Henderson campus and she was chosen for the southern part of the state.

 

Board members also voted to hire Loretta Price as the District's Testing Coordinator.

 

 

 

BODY IDENTIFIED AS MISSING DE QUEEN RESIDENT      5/31/16

 

The Arkansas Crime Lab notified Sevier County Coroner Rusty Williams that the body found on May 22nd near the railroad tracks just west of the Herman Dierks Park was identified has 47-year-old Juan Munoz of De Queen.

 

According to the autopsy report, Munoz died by hanging.

 

Munoz's decomposing body was found Sunday, May 22nd by a search party of family members and friends. Munoz was pronounced dead at the scene by Williams.

 

According to the initial incident report, Munoz's family reported him missing on May 5th.

 

The investigation is being conducted by the Arkansas State Police and the De Queen Police Department.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY SNIPPETS       5/31/16

 

Head Librarian of the Sevier County Library System, Johnye Fisher reported the Tri-County Regional Library System has all new computers. She said they were purchased by the regional library system and installed by Jon Chambers of Nashville.

 

Chambers reported the new HP Google Chrome Box computers are cloud based and are a lot faster and more reliable.

 

Chambers also said patrons personal information is not saved on the Chrome Boxes if they log out of the system, so they are safer to use.

 

Fisher said the De Queen Library also has a new Microfilm Reader for the Genealogy Section. She explained the library received a grant from the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District and it was installed on May 19th.

 

Fisher said the De Queen Library also has a signed copy of "Where the Wild Lines Are" by Lewis Leathers who is a 2009 graduate of De Queen High School and is currently attending Henderson State University.

 

All four libraries will be hosting summer reading programs this June and you can call our local library for dates and times.

 

Carolyn Jones of the De Queen Library said the De Queen Library’s first summer reading program is Wednesday, June 1st at 10 a.m.

 

Horatio Library will be hosting story time on Saturday's starting June 4th at 10 a.m. through June 25th.

 

The Lockesburg Library will be holding their summer reading program on Saturday's beginning June 4th at 10 a.m. and the Gillham Library summer reading program entitled "Exercise Your Mind" is scheduled for Saturday, June 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th.

 

 

 

ACM TOP FEMALE VOCALIST SARA EVANS TO PERFORM IN HOPE        5/31/16

 

Multi-platinum RCA recording artist, Sara Evans brings her US tour to Hempstead Hall, in Hope on Friday, June 24th.

 

Many in the country music industry describe Evans as one of the most compelling female vocalists of this generation. She lives up to that reputation with 6 million records sold and five number one country singles including Suds in the Bucket, A Real Fine Place to Start, No Place That Far, A Little Bit Stronger, and Born to Fly. In addition, she was awarded “ACM’s Top Female Vocalist of the Year” and the “CMA Best Video Award for Suds in the Bucket.”

 

Evans’ attention and talent reaches beyond singing. She won the hearts of the national television audience on Dancing with the Stars, she was an author to three best-selling books and was recognized as one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.”

 

Evans says she has never been more excited about her performances. She said she is singing with a ton of confidence and she is striving to sing, write and perform better because she’s very competitive with herself.

 

Tickets are on sale now at hempsteadhall.com or by calling 870-722-8565. Tickets range between $23 and $75 each, but group pricing is available for 10 or more.

 

 

 

LIVE MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT LINEUP ANNOUNCED FOR 39TH ANNUAL LUM AND ABNER FESTIVAL       5/31/16

 

The Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission is proud to announce the live entertainment lineup that will be performing at the 39th Annual Lum and Abner Festival, June 3rd and 4th on the Aleshire Electric Entertainment Stage in Mena’s Janssen Park. Variety is the keyword for this year’s entertainment lineup, with something for everyone including rock, country, blues, gospel, bluegrass and more. Best of all, entry to the festival is free.

 

The live musical entertainment fun will begin on Friday at 12:30 p.m. with Don Thompson and The Talimena Drive. At 2:30 p.m., Gator and Friends Cajun Country and Gospel Band will take the stage, followed by Richie Owens at 4:30. Friday evening, the opening act will be the Crumbs from Fort Smith. They feature Americana, bluegrass, and modern folk music who will take the stage at 6:30. The headliner Friday night will be Billstown, a group that features three generations of band members and music variety. Billstown was named for a small community in Pike County and many of the band members are from and live in the hometown of Glen Campbell. The band was formed in 2008 by reuniting members of the Campbell Family Band along with some new additions.

 

Live music will continue on Saturday, beginning at 12:30 p.m. with the band Dual Carb from Hot Springs. At 2:30, Partners in Christ will take the stage, followed by Highway 31 at 4:30. Lana Gail and Gail Force will be the opening act. Gill is a Nashville Recording Artist. She and her band will entertain the crowd with their unique upbeat treatment of songs from yesterday and today. Headlining Saturday night’s event is Pamela Ward and the Last Call Orchestra.

 

 

CORPS URGES SAFETY THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND - COON CREEK ON GILLHAM LAKE CLOSED       5/27/16

 

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer for many people, and it often kicks off with an outing to a lake or river. Park rangers with the Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District want you and your family to be safe in or around the water.

 

Tiffany Smith of the Tri-Lakes office said the corps encourages everyone to wear a life jacket and to boat sober. She said if you plan to swim or do any boating, always make a plan and let people know where you are going.

 

Each lake has a life jacket loaner station if you happen to forget your life jacket. Statistics say most people who drown never intended to be in the water; they unexpectedly fall from a boat or dock into the water.

 

Smith also reported some areas are still closed due to flooding.

 

In the Tri-Lakes area, which includes the De Queen, Gillham and Dierks lakes, Jefferson Ridge Loop 1 and 2 are closed as well as the day use area on Dierks Lake. On Gillham Lake, Big Coon Creek North is closed and Millwood's Saratoga Landing is closed due to a large amount of debris in the area.

 

Park rangers are urging everyone to obey boating laws and they point out that more than half of all people who drown consume alcohol before their accident, so they suggest you skip the alcohol if you plan to be in or on the water this weekend.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN CITY POOL OPEN MEMORIAL DAY           5/27/16

 

Callie Miller of the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department announced the De Queen City Pool will open Monday, May 30th with the park's annual free swim day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

She said the pool has a maximum capacity of 150 people and if there are more than 150 people wanting to swim Monday, they will rotate every 30-minute, so everyone can enjoy the pool.

 

Public swim times will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Miller said general admission is $3, but area residents may purchase a family pass for $200 or a season pass for $50 from the De Queen park office.

 

Miller said pool parties must be scheduled through the park office and they cost $125 for 2 hours; $250 for 4 hours; and $400 for 6 hours. Parties may be scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; from 5:30 to 7:30 or 8 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and from 3:30 to 5:30, 6 to 8 or 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

 

Senior and adult swim is from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and there is a marathon hour from 6 to 7 p.m. every Monday through Wednesday, but you must have a season pass.

 

Miller said the park will be offering swim lessons Monday through Thursday from 10 to 11:15 a.m. June 6-9; June 13-16; and June 20-23. Night lessons will be from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. June 27-30; July 5-8 and July 11-14. The cost is $30 per child per week.

 

Miller said the De Queen Dolphin Swim team is also currently practicing from 8-10 p.m. and if you would like more information about the swim team, contact the park office at 642-4140.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY      5/27/16

 

Bobby Thompson of Ashdown has organized a Memorial Day Ceremony for this Monday at noon on the Little River County Courthouse lawn. He said this year's speaker is Grannis native, Sergeant First Class Shilo Smith who is a retired Army Ranger.

 

Thompson said the program will start at noon with the band Harmony and the Little Rock Air Force Base Honor Guard will post the colors, retire the colors and hold a three volley salute.

 

Thompson said if it rains, the program will be moved to the fellowship hall of the Central Baptist Church in Ashdown.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS SWIM BEACHES CLOSED DUE TO HEALTH RISKS        5/27/16

 

Several swim beaches have been closed in the state due to health risks like E. Coli.

 

The Arkansas Health Department’s list as of May 26th listed two creeks in Southwest Arkansas. The list includes a total of 20 swim beaches, including Story Creek in Sevier County and Coon Creek in Howard County.

 

According to the Arkansas Health Department, beaches must pass two tests to be deemed safe. Story Creek was closed on April 27th, but is considered safe after passing two tests. Coon Creek was closed on May 3rd and is considered unsafe because it has not passed two tests, as of Thursday, May 26th.

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli is a large group of bacteria. Some kinds of it can cause diarrhea, while others cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia and other illnesses.

 

 

 

CHILDREN MORE AT RISK OF DROWNING IN ARKANSAS      5/27/16

 

Boating season is about to kick into high gear on waterways around the state, and officials are urging Arkansas swimmers and boating enthusiasts to take the proper precautions to stay safe.

 

The Arkansas Infant and Child Death Review Program at Arkansas Children's Hospital says the state ranks 7th in the United States for drowning-related deaths among children, younger than 17, and that rate is 60 percent higher than the national average.

 

Sergeant Al Bavarska works in marine safety law enforcement and he says most people who drown in a boating or personal watercraft accident would be alive if they had been wearing a life jacket.

 

One life jacket is required for each person on a watercraft, and kids younger than age six must be wearing one at all times. On a personal watercraft or Jet Ski, a life jacket is required for those riding or being towed. National Safe Boating Week runs through today.

 

Many boating accidents involve the use of alcohol and Bavarska notes it's illegal for anyone to operate a boat or personal watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

 

Before heading out on the water for the season, he encourages boaters to ensure the equipment on their vessel is operating correctly, including the battery, fire extinguisher and navigational lights.

 

 

 

LIFESHARE BLOOD DRIVE AT PILGRIMS PRIDE THIS FRIDAY      5/27/16

 

LifeShare Blood Center will be hosting a blood drive this Friday at the Pilgrim's Pride plant in De Queen from 2 to 8 p.m. LifeShare officials reported the donor coach will be in the parking lot between the security shack and the main entrance on South 3rd Street.

 

Officials said about one in seven people who enter a hospital will need blood and one blood donation can save up to three lives.

 

LifeShare Blood Centers supplies blood components to 117 medical facilities throughout Louisiana, East Texas and South Arkansas, including the De Queen Regional Medical Center and the Little River County Memorial Hospital.

 

For more information, visit the website lifeshare.org or call 903-794-3173.

 

 

AGFC TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING TONIGHT TO DISCUSS CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE IN HOPE       5/26/16

 

A public meeting will take place tonight at the Hope Fair Park Community Center from 6 to 8 p.m. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission biologists plan to deliver information about chronic wasting disease and proposed regulations that should help combat the spread of the disease.

 

All of the proposals will be voted on in June.

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission heard the first proposals from wildlife management staff on potential regulations concerning deer hunting and management of chronic wasting disease in Arkansas at the May 19th Commissioners meeting.

 

Some of the regulations would establish a chronic wasting disease management zones in counties with known positives and those close to known positives. One would establish a private land chronic wasting disease management program within the chronic wasting disease management zone to allow landowners to take additional deer off their property to reduce deer density and to slow the spread of the disease. One would prohibit the transport of certain portions of carcasses outside the disease management zone. It would allow only deboned meat, cleaned skull plates, hides, teeth and taxidermy products to be transported out of the disease management zone.

 

All chronic wasting disease related proposals will be voted on in June.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS HIGHWAY COMMISSION APPROVES BID FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN SEVIER COUNTY         5/26/16

 

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to a roadway in Sevier County, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department officials.

 

The purpose of this project is to resurface 5.6 miles of County Road 2 near Walnut Springs in Sevier County.

 

The bid was awarded to C & F Construction Company, Inc. of Smackover at $216,332.

 

Highway department officials also awarded another bid to C & F Construction in the amount of $180,986 for the purpose of resurfacing 3.4 miles of County Road 2 near Bright Star in Howard County.

 

Construction on both projects is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in late 2016.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARIES HOLDING SUMMER READING PROGRAMS      5/26/16

 

Carolyn Jones of the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library System announced the library's summer reading program is going to start Wednesday, June 1st at 10 a.m. She said the first program will be led by Linda Goodner of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

 

Jones said they will have snacks, drinks, crafts and some special events this summer. She said the summer reading program is scheduled for every Wednesday through the month of June at 10 a.m.

 

Jones said the Horatio, Lockesburg and Gillham libraries will also be conducting summer reading programs.

 

For more information, call the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library at 584-4364.

 

 

 

DAISY STATE PARK ACTIVITIES       5/26/16

 

Daisy State Park is hosting a critter crunch Friday morning from 11 to 11:30 a.m. at the visitor center. Participates will discover where some of the smaller park critters live and what they like to eat. Friday afternoon, from 1 to 1:30 p.m., park visitors will be reminded not to leave a trace when they leave the park, so other guests can enjoy the park’s undisturbed beauty. Then Friday night, a park interpreter will teach some basic techniques of kayaking from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Area E Boat launch.

 

On Saturday, park staff will discuss the different types of snakes you might encounter in Arkansas from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday afternoon from 2 to 3 p.m. everyone can enjoy some cobbler that's been prepared in cast iron cookware.

 

Sunday, guests can tour Lake Greeson by boat and learn the history of the lake while discovering the natural features of the lake during a scenic lake cruise from 10 a.m. to noon.

 

For more information about the Daisy State Park, call 870-398-4487.

 

 

 

OLYMPIC EXHIBIT CURRENTLY AT CLINTON LIBRARY IN LITTLE ROCK     5/26/16

 

Rebecca Tennille of the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock announced the Clinton Library is offering several programs to encourage children to keep learning this summer.

 

Tennille said the library is currently featuring an exhibit called: American Champions: the Quest for Olympic Glory.

 

The Clinton Presidential Center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for youth and children five and under are free.

 

 

 

SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE FAST APPROACHING       5/26/16

 

With the June 1st deadline fast approaching, Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley is encouraging both traditional and nontraditional students in the state to apply for Lottery-funded scholarships. The Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship is available through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education by applying online at Scholarships.ADHE.edu.

 

Woosley said like the lottery, students won’t be awarded a scholarship if they don’t apply for a scholarship.

 

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Act of 2009 provided for revenue raised by a state lottery to provide for college scholarships that are administered by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. Tens of thousands of scholarships are awarded to Arkansas students across the state annually. 200,000 scholarships have been granted as of this year this year.

 

 

 

TRAIL DATE SET FOR FORMER LITTLE RIVER COUNTY DISPATCHER ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING PRISONER         5/23/16

 

A former Little River County dispatcher who has been accused of sexually assaulting a prisoner had a trial date of September 26th set for the Little River County Circuit Court in Ashdown.

 

Forty-four year old Mary Gibson is accused of fourth-degree sexual assault of a male inmate and furnishing prohibited articles to the same prisoner.

 

The alleged victim, 36-year-old Steven Carmack of Little River County was found hanging from a tree in the woods near the Jack’s Isle community on March 12th.

 

According to court records, Carmack was scheduled to testify during Gibson’s trial.

 

According to the incident report, Gibson would let Carmack out of his cell to smoke cigarettes and kiss while they sat on a bench on the courthouse lawn. She also allegedly brought Carmack food from various restaurants, so they could eat together either in Gibson’s office or on the courthouse lawn.

 

 

 

TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL       5/26/16

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced the Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival will be held Saturday, May 28th on the De Queen, Dierks and Gillham lakes. He said boats checks will begin at 5 a.m. and the fishing tournament will be from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

Ray said this year's event will feature hourly prizes and a grand prize of $1,500.

 

Ray said new this year is a target fish contest.

 

The registration fee is $45 per person through the end of business Friday or $50 per person at the lake on the day of the event. Entry forms may be obtained by calling 584-3225 or from the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's website: www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.com.

 

You can listen to Your Number One Country 92.1 for the official start of the tournament at 6 a.m. and for hourly updates, winners, as well as the winners of the target weight contest every hour.

 

 

 

FOREMAN PUBLIC LIBRARY PRESENTS “ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, READ” SUMMER READING PROGRAM      5/26/16

 

The Foreman Public Library presents “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read” during the summer library program. Tammy Whitlow will lead children in group games, physical challenges, art projects, science and engineering experiments and more.

 

Whitlow said the 2016 Summer Reading Program is open to young people ages preschool through sixth grade.

 

Programs will be lead by officials from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the Little River County Extension office and the Millwood State Park. Programs will begin on Thursday, June 2nd from 10:30 a.m. to noon and will continue every Thursday during the month of June.

 

Registration is open now through June 2nd but for more information, call Whitlow at 870-542-7409.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR ADULT CELEBRATION MOVED TO SEVIER COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS         5/25/16

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray and Sevier County Senior Adult Celebration event organizer Angie Walker announced Friday's 35th annual senior adult appreciation day has been moved to the Sevier County fairgrounds. Judge Ray stated all of the vendors and activities will be under a roof.

 

Ray said they will line up the vendors in the livestock area, but the commercial building will be open if someone needs to cool off.

 

Walker said this is the first time the event has been moved, but they have 15 new vendors for a total of 48 vendors this year.

 

Ray said with all the extra parking and protection from the elements, this year's event may be the best one every.

 

 

 

911 ADDRESSES ARE ESSENTIAL IN SEVIER COUNTY         5/25/16

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray tried to explain this morning how important it is for every house in Sevier County to have a 911 address on it that is visible to emergency workers.

 

Sevier County Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Walter Smith said it’s a problem in the county, but he said there are a lot of houses within the city limits of De Queen, Lockesburg and Horatio that do not have their 911 addresses posted on them, either.

 

Judge Ray said having your 911 address posted on your home and/or mailbox could save valuable time in the case of an emergency.

 

 

 

ASSESS PERSONAL AND COMMERCIAL PROPERTY BY MAY 31      5/25/16

 

The last day for Arkansans to assess cars, boats, and other personal property without a late penalty is Tuesday, May 31st. With the statewide deadline less than a week away, it is important for residents to assess on time to avoid paying a ten percent penalty on their property tax bill and to streamline their car tag renewal process.

 

Arkansas law requires drivers to assess their vehicles, pay property taxes and have current insurance before they can renew their registration.

 

Commercial property can not be assessed over the phone, but you may contact the Sevier County Assessor’s office for more information at 584-3182. In Little River County, contact the assessor’s office at 898-7204.

 

 

TRI-COUNTY REGIONAL LIBRARY SYSTEM INSTALLS NEW COMPUTERS       5/25/16

 

Tri-County Regional Library System director Marilyn Archer reported recently that all 11 libraries in Sevier, Little River and Howard counties have new Chrome boxes for their patrons to use.

 

Archer said Jon Chambers of Chambers IT installed the new computers for the library system.

 

Chambers said he will be able to manage the systems of all 11 libraries remotely, saving time and money. He said patrons will also be able to access their personal information through their Goggle accounts and the information will be erased when they log out of the computer.

 

Archer said the Tri-County Regional Library was excited about the upgrades because all of the libraries are getting ready for their summer reading programs.

 

For more information, contact your local library.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN TEEN SENTENCED TO 45 YEARS IN PRISON        5/25/16

 

An Ashdown teen who shot and killed a Texarkana man and shot his dog in March of this year, was sentenced to 45 years in a Texas prison, Monday afternoon.

 

Eighteen year old Warrick Dunn will not be eligible for parole until he is 40 years old after pleading guilty to killing 27-year-old Deandre Bush on March 30th.

 

According to court records, Bush was killed shortly after midnight as he sat in his car in front of his house in the 2,000 block of West 18th Street in Texarkana, Texas. Bush was shot several times at close range through the driver's side window.

 

Dunn's motive was robbery and he arranged to sell two guns to the mother of a friend for $300. The woman had agreed to buy the .40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun that Dunn used to kill Bush and a Taurus 9mm that Dunn stole from Bush.

 

 

 

PUBLIC MEETING FOR HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN FOR LITTLE RIVER COUNTY       5/25/16

 

A public hearing will be held at 9 a.m. on June 13th at the County Annex building in Ashdown.

 

In the past, federal legislation has provided funding for disaster relief, recovery, but Per FEMA and the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, Section 322 requires local governments; as a condition of receiving certain federal disaster mitigation funds to have a mitigation plan that describes the process for identifying hazards, risks and vulnerabilities, identify and prioritize mitigation actions; encourage the development of local mitigation and provide technical support for those efforts. 

 

The goals of this Hazard Mitigation plan are to 1) reduce the loss of life and reduce property losses in the County due to natural disasters; and 2) provide a framework and coordination to encourage all levels of government and public and private organizations to undertake mitigation to minimize potential disasters and employ mitigation in the recovery following disasters.

 

This public hearing is to inform residents of Little River County of the preparation of the Little River County Hazard Mitigation Plan and provide the residents with an opportunity to review the completed DRAFT copy of the Hazard Mitigation Plan. The DRAFT Plan will be submitted to ADEM and FEMA in the following weeks.

 

Residents in Little River County, neighboring communities, businesses, academia and other interested parties, agencies and persons are encouraged to attend this public meeting.

 

 

SEARCH LEADS TO TWO ARRESTS       5/24/16

 

On May 21st, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office obtained information that lead to the arrest of two De Queen residents on drug charges.

 

Circuit Judge Tom Cooper issued a search warrant for a residence at 401 West Maple Street, Apartment 4 in De Queen and at about 1:34 p.m. officers with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and the De Queen Police Department executed the warrant.

 

Inside the house, officers discovered drug paraphernalia in plain view throughout the home. They also arrested to two occupants, Joey Rymer and Tracey Moncus.

 

After processing the scene, officers collected 13 pieces of evidence and conducted interviews with the suspects at the Sevier County jail.

 

Rymer and Moncus have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

 

FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO INSTALL CAMERAS ON SEVEN BUSES        5/24/16

 

Foreman Superintendent George Kennedy reported Gene Hawk with Gene Hawk Consulting; LLC presented a spreadsheet of the depreciation values of the district's buildings during the May meeting of the Foreman Board of Education. He said the district is starting to consider updating the high school or possibly building a new one.

 

Kennedy said the board accepted the district's school choice applications. He said they approved the applications of five students into the district and five students out of the district.

 

Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory presented some grant information about a school resource officer. Kennedy said the grant would pay about 75 percent of the resource officer's salary for the first year.

 

Kennedy said the board also accepted the bid from KLC Video Security for bus cameras on seven route buses. He said they will cost about $17,000 dollars.

 

Board members also accepted the resignation of Blake Walker the Technology Coordinator and Elementary teacher Samantha Young.

 

 

 

BEACON HILL BIKERS MOTORCYCLE MINISTRY HOLDING A COUPLE FUNDRAISERS        5/24/16

 

Carla Wolcott of the Beacon Hill Bikers Motorcycle Ministry announced they will be holding a benefit bake sale this Sunday starting at 8 a.m. at the Wal-Mart in De Queen. Wolcott said the proceeds will be split between the Jones family and a former teacher at Horatio.

 

Wolcott said the Jones' baby was born pre-mature and has heart problems.

 

She also challenged Ms. Carlson's former students from Horatio to stop by the bake sale and support her in her time of need.

 

Wolcott said the Beacon Hill Bikers will also be hosting a charity ride and potluck on Sunday, June 19th. She said they will leave from the Cossatot Reefs pavilion in Gillham at 2 p.m. Wolcott said all of the proceeds will benefit the Houston Hayes Memorial Fund.

 

For more information, call 682-970-0378 or 870-784-1899.

 

 

 

OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT HOLDS TABLE TOP DISASTER DISCUSSION MONDAY AFTERNOON          5/24/16

 

Monday afternoon, Walter Smith of the Sevier County Office of Emergency Management held a table top discussion concerning disaster response.

 

Members of the De Queen Fire Department, the Horatio Volunteer Fire Department, the Provo Volunteer Fire Department, the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, employees of Southwest EMS, De Queen Regional Medical Center, and employees of the city and county road departments, met with OEM officials from Sevier, Little River, Montgomery, and Polk counties to discuss their responsibilities in an emergency.

 

Jay Litchford of the De Queen Fire Department reported the fire department would immediately take over dispatching duties from the sheriff's office in the case of an emergency and they would start clearing debris from streets and roads.

 

Litchford said the department would set up a mobile command center close to the disaster area and set up barriers around down power lines.

 

He also stated the department would conduct house to house searches in the affected area because public safety is their top priority.

 

Litchford said law enforcement would establish patrols around banks and other sensitive areas, while the fire departments would check on the hospital, nursing homes and areas with a lot of elderly residents.

 

Sevier County OEM Director Smith stated media would be utilized to inform the public and to discourage residents from getting out, just to look around.

 

Smith reported all of the departments in Sevier County work well together and they have been called into action of several occasions, but they will continue to hold disaster preparedness meetings and training to ensure they are ready if and when a disaster strikes the area.

 

 

 

BODY FOUND NEAR RR TRACKS IN DE QUEEN        5/23/16

 

The De Queen Police Department released a statement this morning stating the family of a missing De Queen resident found a decomposed body Sunday morning near the railroad tracks, west of the Herman Dierks Park.

 

Interim Chief of Police Scott Simmons reported the family of 47-year-old Juan Munoz formed a search party this weekend to look for Munoz. Munoz has been missing since May 3rd.

 

The Arkansas State Police were contacted to assist the De Queen Police Department with the investigation and the body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for identification and to determine the cause of death.

 

Memorial Mass service for Mr. Munoz will be held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 26, 2016, in the St. Barbara Catholic Church with Father Juan Manjarrez officiating. A Rosary service will start at 10:00 a.m., Friday with memorial service at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, May 28, 2016, in the “Centro Pastoral” St. Barbara Catholic Church.  Burial will be at a later date in Monterrey, Mexico.
 

 

 

BAND BOOSTER MEETING IS TUESDAY NIGHT       5/23/16

 

De Queen Band director Jeff Attaway announced the band booster club will be holding a planning meeting for next year tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. in the band hall. Attaway explained what all the band booster club does for the band students.

 

Attaway said the band does not hold very many fundraisers, but did sell t-shirts this year to raise money for 15 students who will be attending band camp this summer.

 

Attaway said booster club meetings last about an hour once a month, but if you are interested in the band program, you can follow them on Facebook or visit their website, leopardband.org.

 

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

 

 

 

DE QUEEN PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES VARIANCE FOR NEW BUILDING AT STILWELL HIGH-LIFT STATION        5/23/16

 

Thursday night, May 19th, the De Queen Planning Commission met at the De Queen City Hall to consider a hardship exemption for the construction of metal building at the Stilwell high lift station.

 

Water Department manager, Jeff Brown, informed commissioners that for the past year his department has been updating the city's water system with new pumps. He reported the De Queen City Council approved the purchase of three new high lift pumps and variable frequency drives. However, the new equipment is quite a bit larger than the old equipment and the city wants to build a metal building around the existing building to give more room for the pumps.

 

Brown reported he had been informed by the city's code enforcement officer that the building is located in a flood plain and the city had to have a variance from the planning commission.

 

Brown explained the location of the high lift station was determined by the design of the water system. He said relocating the high lift station out of the flood plain would be impossible without rebuilding the entire water system.

 

Brown then asked the commission for the variance because the existing building has not flooded since it was built and because the new metal building is vital to the livelihood of the city, including residents and businesses. He also stated it would be impossible to relocate the three new pumps, electrical power, water mains and two water storage tanks.

 

Commissioners voted to approve the variance in the interest of public health and safety.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR CITIZENS APPRECIATION DAY IS FRIDAY       5/23/16

 

This Friday, May 27th is the 35th annual Senior Citizens Appreciation Day in Sevier County for senior citizens 55 years of age and older on the Sevier County Courthouse lawn.

 

Event organizer Angie Walker stated this year's theme is the 50's and there's going to be a car show and live music along with the free health screenings. She said they have about 36 vendors signed up for this year's event.

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray stated the event would not be possible without the support of the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce members and lots of volunteers.

 

Judge Ray said there will be extra parking at the former First National Bank and the car wash across the street from the courthouse and he hopes to provide a shuttle service for senior adults who are unable to park around the courthouse.  

 

 

 

TRIAL DATE SET IN DEATH OF LITTLE RIVER RESIDENT        5/23/16

 

A trial date of June 28 and 29th has been set for 23-year-old Aaron Rhodes of Little River County. Rhodes has been charged with second degree murder for the shooting death of Matthew Stewart of Little River County.

 

Twenty year old Courtney Clemensen of Little River County has also been accused of tampering with evidence in the incident.

 

According to the incident report, Little River County deputies were dispatched to the residence of Rhodes and Clemensen about 8:30 p.m. on October 9th of 2015 about a shooting.

 

When deputies arrived, they found the body of Stewart sitting in a chair with a gunshot wound to the head. According to the Arkansas State Police, Rhodes and Clemensen told police that Stewart shot himself.

 

A couple of days later, Rhodes reportedly said he accidentally shot Stewart while playing with a .45-caliber pistol.

 

Rhodes said Stewart was sitting in the chair, texting on the phone. Rhodes said he was smoking marijuana while he was playing with the gun and it accidently went off, striking Stewart on the top of the head.

 

After the shooting, Clemensen reportedly wiped the gun down and she allegedly told police she picked up the shell casing that was ejected from the gun.

 

A trial date for Clemensen has been scheduled with a pre-trial hearing on June 7th and a trial date of June 20th.

 

Rhodes is currently being held in the Little River County jail with a $100,000 bond. Clemensen has been released on bond.

 

 

 

ABOUT 400 SIGNATURES NEEDED TO PUT ALCOHOL PROPOSAL ON BALLOT        5/23/16

 

The Vote for Growth committee in Little River County lacks about 400 signatures to place a proposal to allow alcohol sales in the county on the November ballot.

 

Committee chairman Kirk Babb explained the proposal would allow retail stores to sell beer and wine, except on Sundays.

 

State law requires the collection of valid signatures from 38 percent of the county’s registered voters to place a proposal on the ballot. Little River County had 6,988 registered voters as of May 18th, which means the Vote for Growth committee needs to collect 2,655 signatures.

 

The proposal is being supported by Wal-Mart and E-Z Mart.

 

Babb said the sell of beer and wine in Little River County would be a boost for the local economy. He said they could get sales from Oklahoma because their beer has less alcohol with two percent alcohol, as well as, surrounding counties like, Howard and Sevier.

 

If the proposal is approved by county voters in November, E-Z Mart, Wal-Mart and Brookshire’s and other retail establishments that want to sell beer and wine, would have to apply to get permits from the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

 

Babb said if the proposal passes it could open to the door for the establishment of liquor stores, but the state only allows one liquor store per 5,000 county residents, which means Little River County would only be allowed to operate two liquor stores.

 

According to Little River County Judge Mike Cranford, the last time a local option initiative was on the ballot in Little River County was about 70 years ago.

 

 

 

WIVES THAT WALK THE LINE IN SEVIER COUNTY       5/23/16

 

Last week was National Police Week and a local group called Wives that Walk the Line held a program to honor officers who have died in the line of duty.

 

Tanya Wolcott is the wife of Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Wolcott and she stated the event gave area residents the opportunity to express their appreciation to the local officers.

 

Wolcott said her husband, Chris, has been an officer for over 10 years and the Walk the Line group was formed to help these officers show how much they care about their communities.

 

Wolcott said for more information about the Wives that Walk the Line group, contact her or Dana Gentry.

 

Although National Police Week as ended, we should thank an officer ever chance we get.

 

 

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION IS SUNDAY     5/20/16

 

De Queen School District's Public Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced the De Queen High School graduation is today at 2 p.m. at the Bill Blackwood Leopard Stadium. She also mentioned the school is providing a shuttle service from the junior high to the stadium.

 

Whatley said if it rains the ceremony will be moved to the coliseum.

 

Whatley also mentioned the administration of the De Queen School District wants all children to be in the stands with their parents during the graduation ceremony.

 

The staff of KDQN wants to say congratulations to all the graduating seniors of De Queen High School.

 

 

 

ASP HONORS AREA INVESTIGATOR       5/20/16

 

Arkansas State Police recently honored retired criminal investigator Special Agent Hays McWhirter of Ashdown with the ASP Distinguished Meritorious Service Award.

 

McWhirter was recognized for his career that spanned more than four decades with the Arkansas State Police.

 

McWhirter was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division, Company C in 1985. He opened 1,569 criminal cases over the course of his career.

 

According to McWhirter's case files, 374 of his investigations involved fire and arson and 167 were deaths.

 

One of his cases involved the death of three Hispanic children in De Queen in 2006.

 

Officers found the bodies of the three children lying side by side on a bed in the master bedroom near the rear of a wood-frame home.

 

Later, the mother of the three children confessed to killing her children in retaliation against her husband and she is now serving a life sentence in prison.

 

 

 

DIERKS SCHOOL DISTRICT FULLY ACCREDITED BY THE STATE        5/20/16

 

Dierks Superintendent Holly Cothern informed the Dierks Board of Education the district is fully accredited by the state board of education.

 

Board members also approved a non-recurring bonus of $500 for all school employees and approved an out-of-state trip for FBLA advisor Betsy Mack and FBLA member Kaylynn Brasel who placed 4th in the state's personal finance event during the state convention. Mack and Brasel will attend the national FBLA conference in Atlanta, Georgia June 29th through July 2nd.

 

Board members also voted to accept 13 School Choice transfers. There were four students from the Cossatot River School District, one from Horatio, and four from Nashville and four from De Queen.

 

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS MAN FACING NEW FELONY CHARGE IN FEDERAL COURT       5/20/16

 

A Mineral Springs man who has been accused of writing threatening letters to seven Arkansas mayors last year is now facing a new felony charge in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.

 

Fifty-five year-old Maverick Bryan has been indicted on seven counts of mailing threatening communications to the mayors of Ashdown, Hope, De Queen, Lewisville, Nashville, Prescott and Murfreesboro. Bryan allegedly threatened to hang the mayors from a tree if they didn't remove the Common Core curriculum from the public schools and put prayer and the Ten Commandments back in the classrooms.

 

A new charge of possession of a firearm by a certain person has been added to Bryan's charges.

 

According to court records, when Bryan was arrested in March of 2015, he was allegedly in possession of a 12-gauge shotgun that did not have a serial number on it. Bryan is currently serving a five-year term of probation for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

 

During Bryan's detention hearing, he admitted he penned the letters and he admitted that he authored an advertisement in the Thrifty Nickel seeking a $23 million dollar loan so he could form a Christian army to overthrow the U.S. government.

 

Bryan is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant for arraignment of the new charge on May 27th.

 

 

 

BREATHING DIFFICULT FOR THOUSANDS OF ARKANSANS      5/20/16

 

May is Asthma Awareness Month and, according to the American Lung Association, nearly 26 million people in the United States suffer from the condition, and more than seven million are children.

 

A study by the University of Arkansas found 13 percent of adults in Arkansas have asthma, and the state is currently not funded under the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Asthma Control Program.  Charles Gray, a physician assistant with Peak Vista Community Health Centers, says exposure to ground-level ozone, or smog, can be particularly harmful for people with asthma.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people can prevent episodes by avoiding exposure to other triggers such as tobacco smoke, mold and people with colds and flu. The agency found almost half of all people in the United States with asthma have at least one attack a year, and more children experience attacks than adults.

 

Asthma episodes can also be prevented by using inhalers and other prescribed medicines. Gray says the biggest challenges facing many of the patients he sees are socio-economic; families simply can't afford to pay for health insurance or fill prescriptions.

 

A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children of color and from low-income families have higher rates of asthma and more severe symptoms. They also experience more challenges managing the condition and are at a higher risk for associated academic and behavior problems.

 

 

 

HOPE/HEMPSTEAD COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 20TH ANNUAL FREE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL        5/20/16

 

The Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce's 20th Annual Free Bluegrass Festival is this Saturday at Historic Washington State Park, under the trees of the 1874 Courthouse.

 

Admission is free and the music will start at noon and continue until 8 p.m.

 

Everyone is encouraged to take a lawn chair and enjoy the Hartley Family from Arkadelphia, the Bona Fide String Band from Fayetteville, High Mountain Grass from Magnolia, Buck and Company of Glenwood and the Hempstead County Melody Boys from Hope.

 

If it rains, the music will be moved indoors. For more information, call 870-777-3640.

 

 

 

SUMMER CONTINUING EDUCATION CLASSES AT UA COSSATOT        5/20/16

 

Zebbie Launius announced this week that UA Cossatot will be offering something for everyone this summer through the Continuing Education program, including some new classes.

 

Launius said the college is also offering several courses in job safety and job training.

 

Launius reported they will also be offering several arts and crafts type of classes.

 

Launius said there will also be classes for children and a senior adult trip to the Amity Trade Days event.

 

For more information, visit KDQN.net and CCCUA.edu for a complete list of classes. Launius said registration is always open and if you have questions, contact her at 584-4471.

 

 

AREA LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS PARTICIPATING IN TORCH RUN FOR ARKANSAS SPECIAL OLYMPICS        5/19/16

 

Monte Stringfellow of UA Cossatot announced Wednesday morning that he’s organizing a Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics of Arkansas in Sevier, Little River and Howard counties.

 

Stringfellow explained the 2016 Summer Games Torch Run will kick-off on May 23rd in all four corners of the state and will be carried through varies cities. He said on Wednesday, May 25th all Guardians of the Flame will converge at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Little Rock for the ceremonial lighting of the Final Leg Torch, which will be carried to Searcy on Thursday, May 26th.

 

Stringfellow said this will be the first year, local officers have participated and he said area residents can join the officers at noon on Monday, May 23rd here in De Queen starting at the De Queen Police Station.

 

Stringfellow said officers in Nashville will start at the Nashville City Hall on Tuesday, May 24th at 8 a.m. and the Ashdown officers will run from the college to Anytime Fitness beginning at 10 a.m.

 

Special Olympics of Arkansas has 15,000 athletes across the state and they are no stranger to training or hard work, and Stringfellow said they will inspire you

 

This year's theme for the summer games is "The Hero Within." So, support the local Special Olympic athletes and help them unleash their spirit through the joy of sport.

 

 

 

GILLHAM VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT BBQ DINNER      5/19/16

 

The Gillham Volunteer Fire Department will host their annual BBQ dinner fundraiser this Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Gillham Fire Station. Volunteer fire fighter Karen Russell said they will not only be collecting membership dues, but they also hope to recruit some new volunteers.

 

Russell stated the department currently has 12 members and they need more help. She said the department has a large service area and many of the volunteers are not available during the day because they work outside of Gilham.

 

For more information, call Russell at 784-1142 or Marc Rosson at 584-9434.

 

 

 

CORPS ASKS FOR COMMENTS ON PROPOSED WATER DEVIATION REQUEST FOR DIERKS LAKE      5/19/16

 

The Army Corps of Engineers at the Dierks Project office is asking for public comments on a proposed water deviation request. The request is in conjunction with a kayak festival that has been planned for June 17th through the 19th at the Dierks Lake spillway.

 

If approved, water releases between 300 and 500 cubic feet per second, which is typical for this time of year, would be released through the dam during the festival between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

 

The proposed deviation, if approved, will be contingent upon favorable hydrologic conditions at the time of the event. If these conditions change for the worse, an approved deviation can be canceled.

 

During the festival, whitewater safety classes will be offered to local firefighters, first responders and the general public. There will also be a Disabled Veterans Team River Run benefiting the Wounded Warriors.

 

Comments can be mailed to the Corp's Dierks Field Office at P.O. Box 8, Dierks, AR 71833 or faxed to 870-286-2945. All comments must be received by May 24th.

 

 

 

FREE KIDS' CRAFTS AT THE CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK THIS WEEKEND        5/19/16

 

The school year is almost over, and now is a great time to explore the outdoors and enjoy the beautiful, mild weather that May brings.  This Saturday, kids 12 and younger can mine for real diamonds and make a variety of fun crafts during the Crater of Diamonds State Park's Kids to the Park Day.

 

At 10 a.m. participants will make their own colorful test-tube collections of Crater rocks and minerals.

 

At 11 a.m. children can create boxes to display their favorite thumbnail or palm-sized rocks and minerals. After lunch, at 1 p.m. children will make and decorate bubble wands with wire and beads.

 

Finally at 2 p.m., children can make a bird feeder using natural ingredients.

 

All crafts are free with the purchase of a mine admission, which is $8 for ages 13 and up; $5 for children 6 to 12; and free for anyone 5 and younger. Each craft will continue through the hour, while supplies last. Younger children may require help from an adult with some of the crafts, according to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox.

 

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

 

 

 

TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL       5/19/16

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced the Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival will be held Saturday, May 28th on the De Queen, Dierks and Gillham lakes. He said boat checks will begin at 5 a.m. and the fishing tournament will be from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

Ray said this year's event will feature hourly prizes and a grand prize of $1,500.

 

Ray said there will be a target fish contest this year.

 

Ray said the deadline for a business to sponsor the Tri-Lake Big Bass Festival or to make a donation is Friday, May 20th.

 

The registration fee is $45 per person through May 27th or $50 per person if registering at the lake on the day of the event. Entry forms may be obtained by calling 584-3225 or from the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's website: www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.com.

 

 

 

WORK ON LITTLE RIVER BRIDGE TO START SOON       5/19/16

 

Construction on a bridge that spans the Little River on Highway 41 in Sevier and Little River counties is expected to begin soon.

 

The bridge is expected to be longer and wider and will replace the bridge that has been deemed structurally deficient.

 

The bid for the job was awarded to Jensen Construction at just over $13.9 million and construction is expected to start in June. It's estimated that the project will take about two and a-half years to complete.

 

The new bridge will be constructed directly east of the existing bridge and traffic will remain open.

 

According to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, the existing bridge is about a quarter of a mile long and connects Sevier County to the north with Little River County on the south side. The existing bridge was built in 1961 and about 2,200 vehicles cross the bridge every day.

 

The bridge is still structurally sound, but according to the highway department, it needs to be replaced because of the age of the bridge and deterioration of the structure. It also does not currently meet the department's current design standards.

 

The new bridge will be 1,982 feet long and two feet wider than the existing bridge. It will have a 40-foot road width with two 12-foot lanes and two 8-foot shoulders.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY - A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE        05/18/16

Sevier County continues to grow in population, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Neighboring counties are decreasing.

Submitted by Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy

 

UA COSSATOT IS AWARDED ANCRC GRANT      5/18/16

 

Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council voted on and approved a proposal on Wednesday that was made by the UA Cossatot staff that awarded the college a $175,000 grant. UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole said the college will use the grant to restore the old Lockesburg gymnasium.

 

Through ACT 318 of the 89th General Assembly, public school districts are allowed to donate their closed and consolidated schools to community and technical colleges and UA Cossatot received the old gym, the high school and the middle school on the Lockesburg campus from the De Queen School District.

 

Cole said the plan is to restore the gym while maintaining the historical integrity of the structure. He said there is a lot of the original wood still remaining throughout the building.

 

Cole said the college couldn't thank the ANCRC enough for supporting this project. He said Senator Larry Teague and Representative DeAnn Vaught also provided a lot of support and the college is excited about working with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to restore the building to its original luster.

 

Cole said UA Cossatot wants to continue making investments in the communities that the college serves. He said serving these communities is the heart of the college's mission statement.

 

Cole said this grant will allow the college to expedite offering educational opportunities and a facility for community events in the City of Lockesburg and to the surrounding area.

 

Cole reported the last time the gym was used was in 2009, when retiring Sevier County Judge Dick Tallman was honored at a dinner and roast. Cole said after the renovation, more events are expected to be held in the gym.

 

Cole said restoration is expected to start this summer and be finished by the spring of 2017.

 

 

 

TRIAL SCHEDULED FOR SEVIER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT ON MAY 25TH        5/18/16

 

The trial of a De Queen resident who has been accused of first degree murder, kidnapping and carjacking, has been scheduled for May 25th in the Sevier County Circuit Court.

 

Twenty-year-old Aaron Loving has been charged with the murder of 37-year-old Amado Gallardo of De Queen. Loving is being held in the Sevier County jail on $300,000 bond.

 

According to court records, the Sevier County Sheriff's office received a call about 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 28th stating someone had been shot at a trailer park on Coulter Street in De Queen.

 

When police arrived, they discovered Gallardo on the ground with a .22 caliber gunshot wound to the face.

 

Allegedly, Loving had stayed with Gallardo for a couple of nights and had been asked to leave.

 

While officers were searching for the suspect, McCurtain County officials contacted the Sevier County Sheriff's Department to inform them that a TraShaun Maull of De Queen was at the McCurtain County Sheriff's office reporting he had been carjacked in De Queen and forced to drive to Oklahoma. He also reported Loving had chocked him and kicked him out of the car near Idabel.

 

An officer with the Broken Bow police department located the stolen vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop, but Loving tried to evade police. The chase ended in the parking lot of the McCurtain County Sheriff's office and Loving was taken into custody.

 

 

 

CITY OF DE QUEEN PASSES ORDINANCE ALLOWING THE CITY TO DO BUSINESS WITH AN ALDERMAN AND CITY EMPLOYEE          5/18/16

 

Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the De Queen City Council, aldermen approved an ordinance allowing the city to conduct business with Bunyard Broadcasting and Gary Cunningham Backhoe and Dozer. Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy explained the city had a similar ordinance, but the state auditors felt the city should describe the extent of that authority in a new ordinance.

 

McKelvy reported the city opened the bids for a new steel building at the high-lift station on Stilwell Avenue. He said the bid was awarded to Cossatot Builders in the amount of $34,470.

 

McKelvy also reported the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department did not receive a bid for the city's state aid street paving project. He said the state will re-bid it in the August cycle, but in the meantime, the city is going to proceed with its summer paving program.

 

Sevier County Museum Director Karen Mills spoke to the city council about the Boy Scout Hut. She explained it was in disrepair and needed to be torn down. She suggested using parts of the building to create a Boy Scout display in the museum.

 

Mayor McKelvy said they would plan a de-commissioning ceremony that involves the Boy Scouts if the council elects to tear the building down.

 

If anyone would like to share their opinion about the Scout Hut, they may contact Mills at the museum.

 

Aldermen will also consider some form of action during the June 7th council meeting.

 

 

 

 

39TH ANNUAL LUM AND ABNER FESTIVAL TO BE HELD IN MENA, JUNE 3-4        5/17/16

 

The Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission would like to invite you to join the fun at the 39th Annual Lum and Abner Festival on June 3rd and 4th. The Lum and Abner Festival was voted the Best New Festival in Arkansas in 2006 by the Arkansas Festival and Events Association and one of the Top 20 events in the Southeast in 2010 by the Southeast Tourism Society.

 

The Lum and Abner Car, Truck, Corvette and Motorcycle Show is presented by the Polk County Developmental Center. Registration is from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 4th. No pre-registration is required. Registration fee is $20 and all proceeds go to the Polk County Developmental Center.

 

The All-American Lumberjack Show is Friday, June 3rd beginning at 1 p.m.

 

The Outlaws Gunfighter Group will perform in Janssen Park throughout both days and there will be live music all weekend long.

 

This year's 5K run/walk will start and end at Janssen Park at 8 a.m. on Saturday and registrations will be accepted until 7:30 a.m. on race day. Registration forms are available on line at www.visitmena.com. Early registration is $26 and must be received by May 23rd. After May 23rd, registration is $30.

 

There's also a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, a fishing derby, a softball tournament, a firefighter's challenge, helicopter rides and a kiddie korner.

 

 

DE QUEEN CHURCH OF CHRIST HOSTING A HOMETOWN HEROES LUNCH ON WEDNESDAY       5/17/16

 

The De Queen Church of Christ will be hosting a Hometown Heroes luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Wednesday and Pastor Toney Stowers said all first responders are welcome.

 

For more information, contact the De Queen Church of Christ at 784-2499.

 

  

 

ELECTION INFORMATION FOR UPCOMING SCHOOL ELECTION      5/17/16

 

Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akins announced today that June 12th is the first day candidates who are filing by petition can begin circulating petitions for the Annual School Election. She reported signatures that are collected more than 100 days before the election will not be counted and petitions must contain at least 20 signatures of registered voters in the school district.

 

The School Board position that will be voted on in the De Queen School District is the Zone 3 position, which is currently held by Gloria Caldwell.

 

De Queen School District patrons will also vote on the schools millage of 27.3 mills, which according to Akins is on the ballot every year.

 

Horatio School District patrons will vote on the Zone 1 and Zone 4 positions. They are currently held by Joe Jones and Sherri Hodges. Hodges was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy in 2015.

 

Patrons will also vote on the Horatio School millage of 44.0 mills.

 

The filing period for candidates is from noon on Tuesday, July 5th through noon on Tuesday, July 12th. Candidates must also file a petition of candidacy, an affidavit of eligibility and a political practices pledge with the County Clerk's office.

 

The County Clerk will certify the candidates to the Election Commission and the ballot draw will be held on July 13th.

 

If you have any questions or need any of the forms listed above, contact the Sevier County Clerk's office at 642-2852.

 

Anyone interested in being an election worker should also contact the county clerk's office.

 

 

 

TWO AREA RESIDENTS KILLED ON ARKANSAS ROADWAYS       5/17/16

 

On Thursday, May 12th, 49-year-old Danny Davis of Delight was pronounced dead at the scene a single vehicle accident by Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith on Highway 32.

 

According to the Arkansas State Police, the 2005 Mack truck left the roadway and overturned on its right side, causing the load of logs to shift forward, fatally injuring Davis.

 

On Sunday, May 15th, 31-year-old Joshua Dyas of Lockesburg was killed when the Honda ATV that he was riding overturned when he attempted to turn right onto Highway 24 from Highway 329.

 

Dyas was transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center by Southwest EMS. Doctors pronounced Dyas deceased at 9:45 p.m.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR ADULT CELEBRATION     5/17/16

 

Angie Walker and Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced last Friday that the 35th annual Senior Citizens Appreciation Day will be held on Friday, May 27th. Walker said this year's theme is the 50's and there's going to be a car show, entertainment and prizes will be presented to the county's oldest man, oldest woman and longest-married couple.

 

The event will begin Friday morning at 8 a.m. on the courthouse lawn and a meal will be served at noon.

 

Walker said there will be a variety of health screenings and other senior-related services during the event, including the Arkansas Heart Hospital's Heart Health Checks. She said there are about 30 vendors signed up, but if you would like to participate, your business will need to contact her office by Friday, May 20th to get on the health report card.

 

Judge Ray said extra parking will be available across the street from the courthouse at the car wash and at the former First National Bank building on Third Street.

 

Ray said if any business or individual would like to help during the event, they should contact his office at 642-2425.

 

 

 

TAX DELINQUENT LAND SALE SCHEDULED FOR SEVIER COUNTY      5/17/16

 

A public auction for the sale of tax delinquent land in Sevier County will be held on Thursday, June 2nd, at 10 a.m. at the Sevier County Courthouse, according to John Thurston who is the Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands.

 

Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m.

 

The Commissioner of State Lands offers an online Catalog of Tax Delinquent Lands, which contains the current statues governing the sales, auction dates, times, locations and other pertinent information regarding parcels that are being offered. The catalog can be found on the Commissioner's website at www.cosl.org, providing current information about each parcel of land.

 

Thurston said bidding begins at the amount of taxes and fees that are due on the property. Owners of delinquent parcels should remember that they have only 10 business days to redeem their property if it sells at auction.

 

Delinquent property owners may call the office at 501-324-9422 to request a Petition to Redeem, or they may look up the delinquent parcel on the COSL website and print it from there.

 

 

 

ANNUAL SINGING SCHOOL AT OLD TIME MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH       5/17/16

 

JP Atkins of the Old Time Missionary Baptist Church announced their annual singing school has been scheduled for June 13-17 with classes in the morning and evening.

 

Atkins said the school will be led by Marty Phillips. He said the cost of the singing school is only $10 for the week and students will receive college level instruction.

 

Atkins said students will learn how to read music and they will get to perform Friday night, June 17th.

 

For more information, call Atkins at 584-9557.

 

 

 

CLICK IT OR TICKET CAMPAIGN IS UNDERWAY        5/17/16

 

Law enforcement agencies across Arkansas are once again stepping up enforcement of the state's primary seat belt law. The click it or ticket enforcement plan will cover the next three weeks through one of the most active travel periods for Arkansas motorists.

 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2014 were not using a seat belt.

 

Arkansas state law requires all front seat passengers, not just drivers, to be properly buckled up. It requires all children less than 15 years of age to be properly secured in the vehicle. A child less than six years of age and weighing less than 60 pounds should be restrained in a child passenger safety seat. If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must be properly buckled up.

 

For more information about the Click It or Ticket campaign, call 501-618-8136.

 

 

FORMER DIERKS RESIDENT CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED ASSAULT      5/16/16

 

A former Dierks resident has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with a Bowie County resident’s death.

 

Lee Evan Sharp who now lives in Bowie County was arrested last Wednesday and booked into the Bowie County jail for aggravated assault. His bond has been set at $100,000 in connection with the death of William Pate, who was found dead in the 7,500 block of Farm-to-Market Road 2149 in Maud, Texas.

 

According to an eye witness, Pate may have died after an alleged drunken “wrestling” session.

 

The Bowie County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement: “On May 8th, around 2:40 a.m., Sergeant Curtis Cole and Deputy Damon Lynn were dispatched to a residence on Farm-to-Market 2149 in reference to a subject that was not breathing.

 

According to the statement, when they arrived, members of the Maud Volunteer Fire Department were attempting to resuscitate a white male who was lying in the driveway. Life Net personnel arrived shortly after and took over the attempt to revive the individual, but the efforts were unsuccessful.

 

Robert Autrey has been identified as the owner of the home and he identified the suspect in his driveway as Pate. Autrey informed the officers that he, Pate and Sharp had been visiting and consuming alcoholic beverages. He said Pate and Sharp began wrestling around in a playful manner. Autrey described it as drunk wrestling.

 

Autrey said he went into the house and when he came back outside, he thought he saw Pate falling to the ground. He also saw Sharp with a board in his hands.

 

Autrey and Sharp moved Pate to the garage. They then covered him up to let him sleep it off. Autry then took Sharp home.

 

When Autry got back home, he said Pate wasn’t breathing and he called 911.

 

According to the incident report, Pate had a mark on his face that was consistent with being struck by a board.

 

Sharp voluntarily turned himself in at the Bi-State Building and he was booked for aggravated assault.

 

 

 

CODE ENFORCEMENT IN DE QUEEN       5/16/16

 

Monday morning, De Queen Code Enforcement Officer Ray Sowell stopped by the KDQN studios to ask the residents of De Queen to help keep the city clean.

 

Sowell also reported if a homeowner does not comply with the ordinance, they can be fined. But, he said the city is willing to work with homeowners who are working to keep their property clean.

 

Sowell said businesses look at the community before they decide to open a store in a new area. He also pointed out there several changes are coming to De Queen, including a new Chevy dealership.

 

Sowell encouraged everyone to show their pride in the City of De Queen and help make it look good.

 

 

 

SOUTHWEST EMS HOSTING THIRD ANNUAL COOKOUT       5/16/16

 

Megan McMahan announced the Third Annual Southwest EMS Cookout has been scheduled for Monday, May 23rd from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the pavilion in the Herman Dierks Park.

 

McMahan said this event is a way they can express their appreciation to the county dispatchers, law enforcement agencies, first responders and volunteer fire departments for working so well with them all year.

 

McMahan also reported Southwest EMS's average response time for the first quarter of the year was about eight and a half minutes.

 

McMahan said if you have an emergency call 911, but if you have a non-emergency or if you have questions about a membership, call 642-2611.

 

 

 

FAMILY OF ASHDOWN WOMAN SUES KIAMICHI RAILROAD       5/16/16

 

The family of a woman killed in an accident at the Domtar Plant in Ashdown is suing the Kiamichi Railroad company.

 

Fifty-two year-old Velma Perkins died September 18, 2015 when a railroad car crashed into an overhead structure that collapsed, knocking her onto the tracks, according to a complaint that was filed on behalf of her husband, Ronald Perkins, Jr., and the couple’s three children.

 

The complaint was initially filed in Little River County Circuit Court in March, but last week Kiamichi’s lawyers moved the case to federal court in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.

 

The lawsuit alleges Kiamichi, which contracts with Domtar to provide railroad cars that are used to ship the company’s products, delivered cars, including the one that Perkins was using, which were taller than the railcars that they were previously using at the mill.

 

Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith estimated Perkins had already died when the first call for help was received at 8:10 a.m. on September the 18th. An ambulance arrived 10-minutes after the call, but there was nothing paramedics could do.

 

Perkins was an equipment helper on the switch engine in the shipping department and had worked for Domtar for 14 years.

 

The lawsuit accuses Kiamichi of negligence and seeks to recover damages for wrongful death, compensatory damages including funeral expenses and punitive damages meant to deter future similar conduct.

 

Kiamichi responded in a court filing on April 29th, stating the railroad company denies any wrongdoing. Their answer says Perkin’s death cannot be placed squarely on Kiamichi that if blame is to be assigned, Perkins and Domtar should be found at fault, also.

 

 

 

LEGISLATORS HEADED BACK TO LITTLE ROCK        5/16/16

 

Legislators are heading back to Little Rock today for the start of a special session to address state highway funding.

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught explained this special session has been called so they can meet an important deadline, which will allow the state to receive $200 million dollars from the federal government for the improvement of the state's infrastructure.

 

In December of 2015, the President signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, which will fund surface transportation programs at over $305 billion dollars between 2016 and 2020. Vaught reported this is the first long-term surface transportation authorization bill that's been enacted in a decade.

 

But in order for the state to receive these federal funds, the state must match the amount and they must inform the federal government by mid-August that they have fulfilled their obligation.

 

During this year's Fiscal Session, legislators approved transferring $50 million dollars of the state's surplus to the Governor's Rainy Day Fund. Vaught said these funds could be used for this match.

 

Vaught reported the state could receive up to $2 billion dollars in federal highway money if it provides a $50 million match annually. However, the highway department does not have enough revenue to cover those costs.

 

Vaught reported these funds will be used to widen heavily traveled roads, as well as highway noise reduction projects.    

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER MEMORIAL DAY PROGRAM         5/16/16

 

Bobby Thompson of Ashdown is organizing a Memorial Day program at the Little River County Courthouse on Monday, May 30th starting at noon. He said the Marine Honor Guard from Texarkana will be in attendance and retired Army Ranger Shiloh Smith of Grannis will be the guest speaker.

 

Thompson was involved in the Adopt a Soldier program but had to retire recently, but he said area residents can get involved in some great programs that support our military.

 

Thompson invited everyone in the area to join them on May 30th in remembering those who gave their all in the service of our country.

 

For more information, contact the Little River County courthouse at 898-7275.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS PAYS AT LEAST $100,000 TO 2,722 STATE EMPLOYEES       5/16/16

 

The number of Arkansas state employees whose salaries are at least $100,000 a year increased by 137 to 2,722, this year.

 

Most of the growth occurred at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a teaching hospital based in Little Rock where the number of state employees making at least $100,000 increased by 74 to 1,254.

 

The ranks, of other higher-education institutions increased by 43, to a total of 1,083. Higher-education institutions include two-year and four-year universities.

 

Among employees who work at state agencies other than higher-education institutions, 385 earn six-figure salaries.

 

Funding for state government’s 2,722 highest-earning employees comes from a variety of state, federal and private sources, including tuition, hospital billings and taxes.

 

The highest paid state employee is Bret Bielema, who makes $4.1 million a year as the head football coach at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. His boss, Athletic Director Jeff Long, makes $1 million dollars a year. The University of Arkansas chancellor makes $450,000.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson said each position has to be evaluated separately based upon skill level, private-sector salaries and demand. Hutchinson’s salary is $141,000 a year.

 

 The governor doesn’t have direct control of the state’s higher-education institutions, but he appoints trustees to the universities’ governing boards when terms expire or trustees depart before their terms end.

 

 

 

 

HOPE WILL HOST SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS MEETING ON CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE        5/13/16

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has scheduled 11 public meetings between May 24 and May 26 to discuss chronic wasting disease and the regulations that the commission is proposing in an effort to manage the disease.

 

To date, 82 cases of chronic wasting disease have been found in Arkansas deer and four more cases have been found in elk. Currently, the disease have been detected in four counties. They are Newton, Madison, Pope and Boone.

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has also scheduled a one-hour broadcast on AETN at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 23rd with a panel discussion about chronic wasting disease.

 

The meeting in Hope will be at the Hope Fair Park Community Center from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 26th.

 

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL BOARD HIRES NEW HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL        5/13/16

From KMTB

 

The Mineral Springs Board of Education hired Josh Kessler of Des Arc as their new high school principal to replace Stephanie Rowe, who accepted the position of high school principal in the Horatio School District.

 

Board members continued to prepare for the district’s building project and have purchased some property near the school that will serve as the staging area for the construction company.

 

Superintendent Curtis Turner said he will be meeting with the state department of education in July to receive approval for the construction loan. He said he expects the project to get underway in October and last about 18 months.

 

Board members also approved a high priority school bonus for lower tier employees and in a separate bonus, all classified employees will receive a $750 end of year bonus.

 

 

UA BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO APPROVE TO NEW BOARD MEMBERS FOR UA COSSATOT        5/13/16

 

UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole reported two members of the UA Cossatot Board of Visitors retired during the last board meeting.

 

Cole said Larry Mashburn was the board chairperson and had served for over 22 years. He said John Hearn was the board vice-chairperson and had served for 16 years. He said it will be hard to replace that amount of sage advice.

 

Cole said he will present two new board members for the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees approval during their May meeting on the UA Cossatot campuses.

 

Cole said UA Cossatot will host the UA Board of Trustees on May 25th and 26th on the Nashville and De Queen campuses.

 

The other seven board members are Jay Dooley, Greg Revels and Robert Martinez of De Queen; Kathy Beavert of Murfreesboro; Senator Barbara Horn of Foreman and Dr. Glen Lance and Ricky Keasterson of Nashville.

 

 

BEHIND THE BIG HOUSE PROGRAM TO BE HELD IN HISTORIC WASHINGTON STATE PARK MAY 13 AND 14       5/13/16

 

The Behind the Big House program is a two-day program that moves beyond the "Big House" or stately historic homes, to explore the extant slave dwellings and interpret the experience3s of the enslaved people who inhabited them.

 

This workshop, which will be held at the Historic Washington State Park on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14, will include live historical interpretations, tours and lectures to highlight the important contribution African American made to Arkansas's history.

 

On Friday evening, Preserve Arkansas will hold a Preservation Libations at the Sanders Kitchen from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Libations will be provided by Preserve Arkansas and Joseph McGill will prepare to sleep in the Sanders kitchen and Jerome Bias will prepare a sampling of foods based on enslaved diets. Preservation Libations is free and open to the public.

 

Saturday's program will be held in the 1874 County Courthouse and will feature a tour of Historic Washington as well as sessions on slavery at Historic Washington: The Slave Dwelling Project; African American Heritage Tourism and Stagville State Historic Site Foodways Program; The Archeology of Slavery; and The Challenges and Benefits of African American Heritage Tourism. The on Saturday runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

Teachers can receive three Arkansas Department of Education Professional Development credits for attending the workshop

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOLARSHIP TEA   05/12/16

The annual Ashdown Scholarship Tea was held on Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 2p.m. in the Ashdown High School Cafeteria. Fifty-two scholarships of $ 27,211 were given to 29 Ashdown High School Seniors.

The Scholarship Committee has awarded over 100% of all donated moneys for some time due to investments. We plan to continue this trend and strive both to recognize students’ needs and to reward their hard work and high aspirations.

Last year, we awarded 46 scholarships with a total value of $23,750. This brings the total scholarships to over 529 awarded to 1013 students over the course of our 30-year history. The committee has authorized an alumni fund through which former students of Ashdown High School, businesses, or other individuals may contribute to the program in any amount and at any time. Such contributions may be made in honor or memory of friends and loved ones. Scholarships are tax deductible and may be sent to Ashdown Public Schools, 511 N. 2nd St., Ashdown, AR 71822. You may attention your correspondence to: Ashdown Scholarship Committee. You may call 870-898-3208 if you have any questions.

We would like to thank all of the donors for allowing us to continue honoring our deserving seniors from Ashdown High School. We would also like to encourage businesses, as well as individuals to support the scholarship program.

 

Pictured: (l-r) Front row:

Jammie Cush, Wesley Strange Memorial; Austin Cross, Bishop & Bishop, James E. Sutton, Jr. Memorial; and Vestco; Jaylonia Cook, Delta Kappa Gamma, Shirl & Nancy McCoy Scholarship, and Wesley Strange Memorial; Kennedy Cook, Cecil & Beth Bowman Scholarship and Wesley Strange Memorial; Mia Johnson, Ashdown Alumni Association; Lakia Hargrove, Jackson Auto Mart; Itasia Britt, Little River County Hardwoods and Wesley Strange Memorial; Kyle Kidd, Little River County Farm Bureau; and Savanna Woods, Ashdown Beta Club, Ashdown Rotary Club, Ashdown School Administrators, and Coleman Pearson Memorial

Second Row:

Madeline Chandler, Ashdown Alumni Association; Bradley Isenberg, Little River Farm Bureau and Ashdown Eye Care; Melissa Stanton, Ashdown Band Boosters, Chad & Virginia Trammell and First Guaranty Insurance; Kaitlyn Corbell, Jim & Paula Mounts, Jalen Lewis Memorial and Matt Harris Memorial; Emily Hatridge, Ashdown Alumni Association; Shelby Danielle Ford, Bob Porter Memorial Scholarship; Hunter Mulholland, Domtar & Mil-Way Federal Credit Union; Andy Daniels, Vestco; Briar Reed, Fred C. Jester, Sr. Memorial and Kaufman Memorial; Ty Cobb, Davis Family Scholarship and Dugan Ward Memorial; Levi Harger, Class of 1965

Third Row:

Raven Shankel, Ashdown Alumni Association; Juliana Ormsbee, Sandra East Memorial and Sgt. Charles Edward (Eddy) Withem Memorial; Brittany Dossett, William Coker Memorial; Madison Swilley, Family Medical Associates; Kinley Wright, Jalen Lewis Memorial; Brinlee Ward, Fred C. Jester, Jr. Memorial and William L. & Mary E. Welch Scholarship; Meghan Brown, Bear State Bank and Coca-Cola; Paige Copeland, Ashdown Alumni Association; and Mandi Duncan, Little River County Retired Teachers and Little River County Extension Homemakers

 

 

ADHD PRESCHOOLERS MAY BE TAKING TOO MANY MEDS      5/12/16

 

A new report that was released this week says parents should try behavior therapy before they give their preschoolers drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging parents of preschoolers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD to try behavior therapy first before trying drugs. The CDC also is asking insurance companies to cover the cost of treatment.

 

The CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat says long-term effects of drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin on young brains and bodies haven't had a lot of study.

 

Those side effects include irritability and difficulty sleeping. They can also curb hunger, which can stunt growth. More than 6 million U.S. children have been diagnosed with ADHD and a new report out by the CDC shows 75 percent of those children between the age of 2 and 5 already are taking medication for it.

 

The report has guidelines for parents and health-care providers to try therapy first. Schuchat says not all private health-insurance companies will cover behavioral therapy, but Medicaid typically does

 

The report found 54 percent of children on Medicaid received psychological services each year, while 45 percent of children with private plans did.

 

Dr. Georgian Peacock at the CDC says doctors need to play a role in the decision about trying therapy first. She says it could mean the child can avoid taking the medications altogether, or the age that they start taking them can be postponed.

 

 

CAUDLE RECEIVES FARM CREDIT SCHOLARSHIP       5/12/16

Michaela Caudle is a 2016 Horatio High School graduate and she was one of 20 western Arkansas students who were awarded a $1,000 academic scholarship from Farm Credit of Western Arkansas.

Caudle is pursuing a Pre-Vet degree at Southern Arkansas University. She is the daughter of Jason and Anita Caudle of Horatio.

Farm Credit of Western Arkansas CEO Glen Manchester stated Caudle was selected based on her many academic accomplishments and student leadership. He explained the Farm Credit scholarships support the future of western Arkansas agriculture, agribusinesses and rural communities because many of the recipients have agricultural backgrounds. He said some are pursuing degrees or careers in agri, while others plan to live in a rural community

MINERAL SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL HEARS SAFETY CONCERNS       5/12/16

 

During Monday's meeting of the Mineral Springs City Council, aldermen heard comments from resident, Willie O'Neal about a couple concerns that he had.

 

O'Neal told aldermen that a blinking warning light was needed near the Dollar General Store. He said several kids cross the highway there everyday and it can be dangerous with all the traffic.

 

O'Neal also asked the council to consider more stop signs on North Street because people are driving too fast.

 

Mayor Bobby Tullis reported he would like to burn brush somewhere besides the city park. He said he also wanted to see if there was any interest in creating a fishing pond in the park.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT'S BOND PROPOSAL FAILS     05/11/16

 

Voters in Ashdown rejected the $12.3 million in bonds for miscellaneous improvements. The final tally was 550 in favor, with 588 voting against.

 

 

UA COSSATOT COMMENCEMENT IS SATURDAY       5/11/16

 

UA Cossatot will hold commencement Saturday, May 14th at 11 a.m. at the UA Cossatot Amphitheater.

 

UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole stated this class represents the 40th year of Cossatot graduates and 40-years of student success.

 

Cole said they will celebrate with a picnic after graduation for the graduates, their families, and alumnus at the concession stand.

 

In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the De Queen High School Auditorium and the picnic will be held in the foyer.

 

Over 355 diplomas and certificates have been earned this semester. Students earning their GED will also be honored along with honor graduates and students who are members of Phi Theta Kappa, which is the honor society of two-year colleges.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO MURDER       5/11/16

 

An 18-year-old Little River County resident plead guilty to murder Monday in the Bowie County District Court and may be sentenced to 45-years in prison later this month.

 

Warrick Dunn of Ashdown accepted the plea deal Monday and will be sentenced in two weeks.

 

Dunn was arrested April 1st in the March 30th shooting death of 27-year-old Deandre Bush of Texarkana, Texas.

 

Bush was killed while sitting in his car in front of his house shortly after midnight. Bush was shot multiple times at close range through the driver's side window. Bush's dog was shot once in the chest as it chased Dunn from the scene.

 

Dunn allegedly told investigators the motive in the shooting was robbery.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN VOTERS REJECT MILLAGE INCREASE        5/11/16

 

Voters in the Ashdown School District rejected a proposed 3.9 mill increase for the renovation of the Margaret Daniel Primary and construction of an additional 64,000 for a new elementary school, Tuesday during a special school election.

 

One-hundred and sixty-seven votes were cast against the proposal by early and absentee voting, while 93 votes were cast for it.

 

The final tally was 550 votes in favor of the proposal and 588 against.

 

Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders said the district will respect the voters opinion and will start working on plan 'B' tonight during their May Board of Education meeting.

 

The proposed 3.9 mills would have also increased teacher salaries to help the district attract and retain teachers.

 

Ashdown's school millage is 35.7, which is just under the state average of 37.7 mills.

 

 

 

HORATIO HIRES BENNETT AS NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACH        5/11/16

 

Monday night during the regular meeting of the Horatio Board of Education, board members voted to hire David Bennett from Dierks as the new head football coach. Superintendent Lee Smith said they also hired a high-school math teacher and Laurie Kirkpatrick as a kindergarten teacher and Hannah Topor as a fourth grade teacher.

 

Smith said the board also approved the district's special education budget and they increased the cost of school lunches to $2.25.

 

Smith said he was pleased with the district's report cards, but he said there was still plenty of room for improvement.

 

The next Horatio Board of Education meeting has been scheduled for Monday, June 6th.

 

 

 

THOUSANDS OF ARKANSAS CHILDREN WAITING FOR FOREVER HOME      5/11/16

 

May is National Foster Care Month and advocates hope to bring awareness to the issue so more children can find a permanent home. There are several non-profit groups in Arkansas that try to recruit and work with foster families. One is Project Zero.

 

Christie Erwin heads it up and has also been a foster parent for 19 years. She has permanently adopted two children. Her group holds events to match children in the foster system with potential parents.

 

Project Zero also has three traveling exhibits that are taken around the state with pictures and stories of kids waiting to be adopted. She says that's crucial because once people see a face and not just paperwork, more children find what she calls a forever home.

 

On any given day across the nation there are about a half a million children in foster care. In Arkansas there are over 5,000, but fewer than 1,500 families who can take in kids.

 

Laurie Currier heads up The Call, which is a faith based group that also recruits families, and then helps them work with the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services. She says there are too many children waiting and the best thing for them is to part of a family.

 

The Call is operating in 38 Arkansas' counties and is currently getting established in six others.

 

Erwin says at one of her group's foster events last year a teenage boy started playing the piano. She video taped it and put it on Facebook.

 

The mission of both groups is simple: one waiting child plus one welcoming family equals zero children waiting.

 

 

HILL: "WE ARE NOT A 'C' SCHOOL"        5/10/16

 

Monday night the members of the De Queen Board of Education received a report from Superintendent Bruce Hill about some projects the district hopes to complete this summer, including renovating some restrooms in the old elementary building and a new bus turn-around at the primary.

 

Board members approved the low bid of $13,067 dollars from Hope Fire Services for a new fire alarm system at the primary school. Hill said he's not sure what happened to the current system, but the state fire marshal said it had to be replaced.

 

Board members discussed the district's food service program and decided to use a student/parent survey in an attempt to improve the school meals. Hill said he met with the chef of Culinary Connections and he said he has heard that some districts are out-sourcing their food services.

 

Hill also told board members he did not feel the district's report card grades were accurate, because if the district was average, why were other districts visiting the De Queen campuses to see why students were performing so well on state test.

 

Board members also discussed a program called Anonymous Alerts to help curb bullying and other issues on the junior high campus, but no decision was made.

 

 

 

MCCURTAIN COUNTY DEPUTY A HERO        5/10/16

 

According to a published report, Oklahoma Game Warden Captain Mike Virgin and McCurtain County Sheriff's Deputy Corey Sharrock were investigating a vehicular assault report at a residence north of Broken Bow Friday afternoon, May 6th when the suspect grabbed a semiautomatic rifle and opened fire on the officers.

 

According to the incident report, Captain Virgin was approximately 15 feet from the suspect and had to take cover. Deputy Sharrock returned fire and hit him near the elbow, but the suspect fired back at the deputy, striking him just below his bullet proof vest.

 

Captain Virgin called for backup and Deputy Sharrock was transported to a Texarkana, Texas hospital by helicopter.  

 

Law enforcement officials are hailing Sharrock as a hero because he was able to keep the suspect at bay while Captain Virgin took cover.

 

The suspect who was identified as 43-year-old Charles Brown surrendered to the McCurtain County Sheriff a short time later and was taken into custody with no further incident. He was treated at a local hospital for his injuries and then transferred by helicopter to a hospital in Tulsa.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY JOINS NATIONAL JOINT POWERS ALLIANCE      5/10/16

 

Monday afternoon, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray informed the members of the Sevier County Quorum Court that the county almost lost a bridge during the rain last month during the storm that dropped seven inches of rain in about six hours.

 

Justices of the Peace approved a General Improvement Fund grant for the repair of the final section of the courthouse roof. Ray said the funds came from Senator Jimmy Hickey and Representative DeAnn Vaught.

 

JPs also approved the purchase of a new software system for the County Clerk, Treasure and County Judge’s office. County Clerk Debbie Akin said the program is a cloud based program, but the county will have it's own password, so they can access the information anytime they need it.

 

Ray also asked the Quorum Court to transfer $63,500 from one line item in the Road Department's budget to another for the purchase of two dump trucks.

 

Justices of the Peace also passed a resolution permitting the county to join the National Joint Powers Alliance. Ray explained this membership will save the county money on large equipment purchases.

 

County Assessor Judy Smith reported the last day to assess real and personal property without a penalty is Tuesday, May 31st. 

 

 

 

SENATOR HICKEY AND OTHERS CONSIDER PLAN TO RAISE TAXES FOR HIGHWAYS        5/10/16

 

Four Arkansas senators are working on legislation that would raise the state's gas and diesel taxes to pay for road improvements.

 

A special legislative session is expected to begin May 19th.

 

The state gas tax is 21.5 cents per gallon and the diesel tax is 22.5 cents per gallon. According to the Department of Finance and Administration, the state collected $442 million dollars in motor fuel taxes in 2015.

 

Senator Hickey and the other three senators are proposing increasing the gas tax to 26.5 cents per gallon and the diesel tax to 27.5 cents per gallon. They say that would raise about $100 million dollars for roads in 2018.

 

Their proposal would also increase the fuel taxes another 3 cents a gallon in 2019, which would raise another $60 million dollars a year.

 

Hickey said under this proposal, the tax increases would all expire after four years.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson, however, has proposed a highway funding plan that would not raise taxes, but instead would use state surplus funds and reallocate other funds to increase the state's match for federal highway dollars that are available this fall.

 

 

 

SLOW IT DOWN         5/10/16

 

Saturday afternoon, Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department pulled over a vehicle for speeding.

 

Sawyer identified the driver as 32-year-old Brandon Coulter of De Queen and he suspected Coulter had been drinking due to the smell of alcohol.

 

Coulter informed Sawyer that he was coming back from a bar and he had drunk a few Corona's.

 

Coulter was citied for driving on a suspended license and taken into custody for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

 

 

 

SMELLING THE GRASS AT THE SPORTS PLEX        5/10/16

 

Saturday night, Patrolmen First Class Bucky Sawyer and Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department were on a stationary patrol at the De Queen Sports Plex when they observed a blue car pull into the Sports Plex and park by the pavilion.

 

As Sawyer and Baker approached the vehicle, they noticed two occupants sitting in the car, drinking alcoholic beverages.

 

The driver was identified as 20-year-old Abel Rezendiz and the passenger was identified as 21-year-old Brandon Luna.

 

After speaking with the two subjects, officers decided to have them pour out the alcohol, but officers noticed the smell of marijuana. While searching the vehicle, Officer Sawyer noticed Luna's shoe laces were un-tied, so he asked him to remove his shoes.

 

Luna then admitted he had marijuana in his shoes and handed Sawyer a clear bag containing suspected marijuana.

 

Luna was taken to the Sevier County jail and citied with possession of a controlled substance.

 

 

E-CIGARETTES NOW UNDER FDA AUTHORITY      5/9/16

 

The Federal Drug Administration announced last week that hundreds of e-cigarette brands will have to undergo a lengthy federal review to stay on the market.

 

The FDA also announced the changes will limit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and will require now health warnings.

 

The FDA stated companies will have to submit a pre-market application that will undergo a review process to determine their impact on the public's health. Companies that do not submit the required information or don't meet the federal standards will be removed from the market.

 

Mike and Dee Sanders are the owners of LeCig in De Queen and Mike said several small companies plan to join together to submit one e-cig device for approval.

 

The vaping industry says this review process will be time-consuming and costly, and could put smaller companies out of business.

 

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that turn nicotine into an inhalable liquid vapor. Though nicotine can be addictive, e-cigarettes lack the chemicals and tars of burning tobacco.

 

Dee and Mike Sanders say the vaping industry is worried that big tobacco companies will start adding some of those chemicals.

 

The FDA's action comes five years after the agency first announced its intent to regulate e-cigarettes.

 

The FDA gained the authority to regulate some aspects of cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products under a 2009 law. But, since e-cigarettes do not actually contain tobacco, they were not covered by the original law.

 

 

 

NOTICE OF ADJUSTED POLLING PLACES FOR ASHDOWN SCHOOL ELECTION       5/9/16

 

Ashdown School District patrons will go to the polls tomorrow to consider the passage of a 3.9 mill increase. Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders explained 3 mills will be used to make renovations to the current Margaret Daniels Primary School and construct an additional 64,000 square feet, which house the district's elementary students.

 

Sanders said the other .9 percent of a mill will be used to increase the pay of teachers and staff members in the district.

 

The Little River County Clerk announced last Friday that voters in the community of Ben Lomond will be able to cast their votes at the Ben Lomond Community Center tomorrow in the Special School Election.

 

The other polling places include:

Red River precinct at Richmond Church; Johnson precinct at Ogden Community Building; Burke precinct at Winthrop City Hall; Lick Creek precinct at Oak Grove Baptist Church; Franklin precinct at Millwood Baptist Church; Cleveland precinct at Wilton Schoolhouse; Ashdown Ward 1 precinct at First Baptist Church; Ashdown Ward 2 and Jefferson precinct at Church of Christ; Ashdown Ward 3 precinct at Church of the Nazarene; Arden precinct at Arden Community Building.

 

The County Clerk's office also reported 152 district patrons have cast their votes early at the Little River County Courthouse as of 11 a.m.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR ADULT CELEBRATION        5/9/16

 

Last Friday, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray and Amy Mills of Dr. Randy Walker's office announced the 35th Annual Sevier County Senior Adult Celebration will be on Friday, May 27th from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Sevier County Courthouse lawn.

 

Judge Ray said this year's theme is the 50's and there's going to be a car show on the south side of the courthouse.

 

Mills said there will be vendors offering free health screenings and elder care information. She said if a vendor would like to sign up they can call Dr. Walker's office at 584-3000.

 

Judge Ray said the Sevier County Sheriff's Office will also be holding a Drug Take Back event for anyone that has some expired, unused or unwanted medications that they would like to get rid of.

 

The Argenbright Band will once again be providing the live entertainment. If you would like more information, contact Judge Ray's office at 642-2425.

 

 

 

PICKING UP A FEW THINGS        5/9/16

 

Thursday, May 5th, Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer was dispatched to Wal-Mart after a subject ran out of the store with some razor blades and a razor. The subject was reportedly wearing blue jeans and a red hooded shirt.

 

As Sawyer was driving toward Wal-Mart, he noticed a man running West that matched the subjects description. The subject was identified as 25-year-old Jason Kimberlin of De Queen.

 

When Sawyer made contact he made Kimberlin lay down on the ground, while he placed him in cuffs, because dispatch had informed Sawyer that Kimberlin may be armed.

 

Officers found a Hydro razor and some replacement blades in the grass where Kimberlin had been walking.

 

Kimberlin was cited for shoplifting under $1,000.

 

Later that same day, Sawyer was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to someone who had been trespassed from the store, being inside the store.

 

Sawyer found 46-year-old Kevvy Follis in the produce department and he was escorted out of the store and citied for criminal trespass. 

 

 

 

COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK ACTIVITIES       5/9/16

 

Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Shelly Flanary announced the park will be hosting a boater education class today and Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the visitor center.

 

Flanary reported Arkansas law says anyone who was born after 1985, must take and pass an approved Arkansas Game and Fish Boating Education Course and carry proof that they completed the course in order to operate a motorboat on Arkansas waters.

 

Flanary said attendees must attend all class sessions and pass the test to complete the course. She said the course is free and open to everyone.

 

For more information about the Cossatot River State Park, call 870-385-2201.

 

 

27TH ANNUAL TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL      5/6/16

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced the 27th Annual De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival is set for Saturday, May 28th from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the De Queen, Gillham and Dierks Lakes. Boat checks will begin at 5 a.m.

 

Ray said there's over $14,000 dollars in prize money and door prizes that will be paid out with five hourly prizes on each lake, each hour and Diamond Bank is sponsoring a target fish contest per hour.

 

Ray said this year's grand prize is $1,500 and it will be paid for the largest fish overall, $1,000 for 2nd place, $750 for 3rd place, $500 for 4th place and $300 for 5th place overall.

 

Ray said the registration fee is $45 per person through May 27th or $50 per person if registering at the lake on the day of the event. He said you can pick up an entry form at the KDQN studios or from the chambers website.

 

Entry forms may also be obtained by calling 870-584-3225 or from the chamber website, www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.com.

 

 

 

PARENT INCARCERATED - CHILDREN FEEL THE PAIN     5/6/16

 

A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation looks at how mass incarceration is having a devastating impact on children in Arkansas and around the nation. There are about 61,000 kids in Arkansas who have, or have had, a parent who's been jailed or imprisoned. 

 

The report states that kids who parents are incarcerated are more likely to be homeless, and their families have a hard time making ends meet financially. There's also a lot of emotional stress and strain that's put on a family when a parent is incarcerated.

 

Paul Kelly with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families says it destabilizes the family and leaves a vacuum in the child's life.

 

Kelly says it has a negative impact on a child's development and well being. There are more than 5.1 million children in the United States with a parent who's been incarcerated.

 

Scot Spencer with the Casey Foundation says losing regular involvement with a parent during the formative years can have a lifelong impact on a child. He says many are dealing with the loss at a very young age.

 

Kelly says many of these kids end up with behavioral problems.

 

Spencer says the justice system needs to take into account the impact on families when making sentences decisions.

 

 

 

TRAIN DAYS IS THIS SATURDAY IN HOPE        5/6/16

 

Sharon Caldwell is the co-chairman of the Hope Train Day festival and she explained the event started when Amtrak opened their depot in Hope four years ago.

 

Caldwell said Train Days is free for children and events start at 8 a.m. with a 5K run.

 

Caldwell said there will also be live entertainment throughout the day including several local bands beginning around 5 p.m.

 

Caldwell said Train Days celebrates the history of the railroad in Hope and Hempstead County. She said Hope as been a railroad town for the past 140 years.

 

For more information, contact Caldwell at 870-777-4444.

 

 

CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR APRIL 2016    05/05/16

 

The Chalice Cupboard assisted 80 families in Sevier County in April, including 148 adults and 87 children, totaling 235 people.  1,880 lbs. of food was distributed.

 

1,249 lbs. of food was added to the pantry.  This included 1,108 lbs. of purchased food plus donations of 141 lbs.  St. Barbara Catholic church gave 68 lbs, the Order of the Eastern Star gave 46 lbs. and individuals gave 27 lbs.

 

The Bank balance on April 1, 2016 was $6,866.41.  Deposits for the month totaled $209.00.  During April, 2016, $1058.94 was spent for food to replenish the pantry supply.  The bank balance on April 30, 2016 was $6,016.47.

 

Individuals living in Sevier County who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 N. 5th Street in De Queen on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 pm until 3:15 pm.  food is given to those requesting assistance once each three month period of the year:  January-February-March; April-May-June; July-august-September; October-November-December.

 

Suggested non-perishable items for those people who want to make a donation are peanut butter and fruit. Any money donated will be used for the purchase of food.

 

Submitted by Grant Grove

 

 

ADOPTING A PET SHOULD BE A HAPPY TAIL    5/5/16

 

The Arkansas Attorney General's office has issued a warning for families wanting to adopt a new pet: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge warns families to watch out for scam artists online who offer low prices and make a lot of promises that they don't live up to.

 

Rutledge says the idea of a new puppy in the family can sound like a great idea, but she recommends that you watch out for online breeders who promise a lot of things but don't follow through.

 

Some of these breeders have photos of adorable puppies and guarantee they are up to date on all their vaccinations, but consumers should use caution because it could be a scam artist.

 

Ashley Younger is the director of CARE for Animals and she says Arkansas doesn't have a lot of regulations for breeders, and there are some reputable ones in the state, but there are also what she calls backyard breeders who are just out to make a quick buck.

 

Before getting a new animal, Younger says it's a good idea to do research, because adopting a pet should be a lifelong commitment.

 

Younger says there are too many unwanted animals in Arkansas, but rather than focusing on just how to house them, the smarter approach is through spay and neuter programs.

 

Younger says many communities in Arkansas offer low-cost spay and neuter clinics for pets.

 

Younger says there are a lot of great animals, including full-breed dogs available for adoption in shelters around the state, but if you buy from a breeder, she says ask to spend some one-on-one time with the animal before you take it home.

 

The Attorney General's office says responsible breeders will let you tour their facility. Rutledge also recommends checking a breeders references and pay with a check or credit card so you'll have a receipt.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY SPAY AND NEUTER CLINIC      5/5/16

 

Janelle Gage and Martha Fines of the Sevier County Humane Society announced there will be a low-cost spay and neuter clinic Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week at their new location across the street from Herman Dierks Park on East Haes Street.

 

Fines said 123 pets were operated on during their last clinic in February and they have a waiting list of about 50 pet owners already. She said if you would like to sign-up for this clinic, call 584-9096 and leave a message.

 

Fines said they will start with cats at 7 a.m. and dogs at 8 a.m.

 

The cost is $35 for cats, plus a $5 rabies shot and $60 for dogs. But, Fines said residents of De Queen may apply for a discount.

 

Gage said if you would like to volunteer stop by the clinic Tuesday through Thursday or call 584-9096.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HONORED AT COSSATOT ARTS AND CRAFTS ASSOCIATION ART SHOW         5/5/16

 

De Queen Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced that several De Queen High School students participated in the 45th annual Cossatot Arts and Crafts Show, this past weekend.

 

Ninth grader Chasity Franco earned a red ribbon; while Shau'ri Esquivel won a white ribbon and was given an Honorable Mention award.

 

Tenth grader Patricia Hernandez received a blue ribbon; Monique Jacobo earned a red ribbon and Tori Parker received a Special Merit Award from Revels and Company.

 

Eleventh grader Alexis Rubio earned a red ribbon and Diana Campos won a white ribbon.

 

Twelfth grader DeAnna Johnson was awarded an Honorable Mention award; Krishna Patel earned a red ribbon and Angel Hernandez received two Youth Special Merit Awards from Mrs. Larry Romine and Judy Smith.

 

 

 

LOCKESBURG MAYOR PROCLAIMS HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH       5/5/16

 

Lockesburg Mayor Danny Ruth is among 147 officials in 70 counties who have declared May as Historic Preservation Month and Arkansas Heritage Month according to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Director Frances McSwain.

 

Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst reported this is the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act and they hope Arkansans will take the time to reflect on the importance of the historic sites here in Southwest Arkansas that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Mayor Ruth's proclamation says: Whereas, historic preservation is an effective tool for managing growth, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering local pride and maintaining community character while enhancing livability; and

 

Whereas, historic preservation is relevant for communities across the nation, both urban and rural, and for Americans of all ages, all walks of life and all ethnic backgrounds; and

 

Whereas, it is important to celebrate the role of history in our lives and the contributions made by dedicated individuals in helping to preserve the tangible aspects of the heritage that has shaped us as a people; and

 

Whereas, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and

 

Whereas, "This Place Matters!" is the theme for National Preservation Month and "Arkansas Arts: Celebrating Our Creative Culture" is the theme for Arkansas Heritage Month, cosponsored by the City of Lockesburg, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Mayor Ruth is also calling upon the residents of Lockesburg to join their fellow citizens across the country in recognizing and participating in this special observance.

 

 

 

TRIAL BY JURY EVENT THIS SATURDAY AT HISTORIC WASHINGTON STATE PARK        5/5/16

 

Historic Washington State Park will hold a Trial by Jury event this Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m.

 

Guests will experience justice in 1880 Washington as they take part in a new twist on the popular "Trial by Jury" series. This trial is a re-enactment of an actual murder trial that took place in the 1874 Courthouse.

 

The event also includes a meal. The cost is $25 for adults and $20 for children under the age of 14.

 

For more information, call the Historic Washington State Park at 870-983-2684.

 

 

 

FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS MINERAL SPRINGS MAN BACK TO JAIL        5/4/16

 

U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey has ordered a Mineral Springs man who has been accused of sending threatening letters to seven Arkansas mayors back to jail.

 

Fifty-five year old Maverick Dean Bryan was released from jail following a detention hearing in March, but Hickey announced Monday that she had reviewed the transcript of the detention hearing and decided Bryan should have remained in custody as prosecutors had requested.

 

According to Hickey, Bryan admitted he wrote the letters in January of 2015 threatening the mayors of De Queen, Ashdown, Hope, Lewisville, Nashville, Prescott and Murfreesboro. Bryan allegedly threatened to hang them from a mighty oak on the courthouse lawns if they didn't remove Common Core and put religion back in the local schools.

 

Hickey also pointed out that Bryan has an extensive criminal history involving the possession of firearms.

 

Bryan also admitted during his detention hearing that he was the author of an advertisement in the Thrifty Nickel seeking a $23 million dollar loan, so he could raise a Christian army to overthrow the U.S. government.

 

Bryan is scheduled for trial later this month. If he is found guilty of mailing threatening communications, he could face up to 35 years in prison and a fine up to $1.75 million dollars.

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE          5/4/16

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the House of Representatives continued to pass dozens of appropriation bills last week for various state agencies. She explained an appropriation gives the agency the authority to spend the money when it becomes available and it is effective for one year beginning July 1st.

 

Vaught said the appropriation will specify which agency will receive the money, where the money will come from and what the money will be used for. She said the House will also pass supplemental appropriations which usually add money from an accumulated surplus. She said they also vote on re-appropriations which will allow an agency to spend a balance that is left over from the previous year.

 

Vaught explained that just because the House passes an appropriation, it does not mean that the amount will be funded, until the House passes the Revenue Stabilization Act, which the House will begin voting on today.

 

Vaught said the proposed budget does not include any tax increases or cuts to essential state services, but will include increase funding for education and DHS.

 

Vaught reported soon after the House approves the budget, they will reconvene for a special session to address the highway funding issue.

 

Representatives will review Governor Asa Hutchinson's Working Group on Highway Funding Report, which states the Highway Department needs $110 million dollars over the next three years to address the department's most critical needs.

 

If you would like to watch the House proceedings, visit the website, ArkansasHouse.org.

 

 

 

ADD A CHARGE TO THAT OUTSTANDING WARRANT       5/4/16

 

Sunday, May 1st, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputies Brian Hankins and Greg Davignon were headed back to the sheriff's office following a call in Horatio when they noticed a black man standing in a yard on Everett Street that they thought had an outstanding warrant.

 

When they approached the suspect, he identified himself as 42-year-old James Kelly. Deputies confirmed Kelly had a warrant and asked him to stand in front of their patrol vehicles.

 

Kelly then allegedly told the deputies that he had some marijuana in his pocket along with a pipe.

 

Deputies secured two plastic bags of suspected marijuana and a pink glass pipe that contained suspected meth residue in it.

 

Kelly allegedly said he had just bought the pipe, but had not used it yet.

 

Kelly was booked into the Sevier County jail on the outstanding warrant and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT TO HOST RETIREMENT RECEPTION      5/4/16

 

Five retirees of the Ashdown School District will be honored with a public reception on Monday, May 16th from 4 to 5 p.m. on the lawn of the Little River County Courthouse.

 

The event is being hosted by the Ashdown School District, along with the Little River County Retired Teachers Association.

 

Retirees to be honored include: teachers Debra Ward and Yvonne Bond at the Ashdown Elementary; DeeDee Ward from the L.F. Henderson Intermediate School; and Jim Welchel from the Ashdown Junior High School. Classified staff members who are retiring include: Roger Rose.

 

Everyone is invited to attend and share in extending thanks and congratulations to these school retirees.

 

If it rains, the event will be moved indoors.

 

 

 

FARM BUREAU AG SAFETY POSTER CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED       5/4/16   

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau has announced the winners of its annual safety poster contest, which coincided with Ag Safety Awareness Week. All posters were designed to increase awareness of potential hazards on farms and ranches. The posters also depicted this year's theme, "Caution: Safety is No Accident."

 

Local winners in the first and second-grade category included: Lyndsey Powell who is a second graders at Acorn Elementary School in Polk County, won first place. Powell is the daughter of Jeremy and Amber Powell.

 

In the third and fourth grade category, Lyza Gonzalez, a third grader at Waldron Elementary in Scott County won first place. Fourth-grader Aniyah Muresan of Blevins Elementary in Hempstead County won second place. And, Kyler McKee, a third-grader at Vandervort Elementary school placed third. McKee's parents are Chad and Falicia McKee.

 

 

FOREMAN PLEASED WITH HIGH SCHOOLS GRADE IMPROVEMENT     5/3/16

 

During the April meeting of the Foreman Board of Education, Superintendent George Kennedy reported he was pleased with the district's grades from the state board of education. He stated the Foreman High School received a B and the Oscar Hamilton Elementary received a C.

 

Kennedy said some students took the ACT Aspire recently and he was pleased with the test. He said it tested students on things they are actually studying.

 

Kennedy reported the district plans to have the restrooms throughout the district renovated this summer and they are re-keying the entire district to one Master key to provide better safety, in the event that they ever have to lock-down the campus again in the future.

 

Kennedy said the board also finalized the re-financing of the district's existing bonds. He said this will save the district between $90,000 and $100,000 over the life of the bonds.

 

Board members also voted to re-hire all licensed and classified staff members for the 2016-2017 school year. 

 

 

 

COST OF DOING BUSINESS         5/3/16

 

Sunday night, Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department observed a gray Ford Expedition cross the center line twice after turning onto Ninth Street. Baker reported the vehicle crossed the center line a few more times and he initiated a traffic stop.

 

Baker identified the driver as 24-year-old Michael Peoples of Texarkana, Arkansas by his driver's license, but Peoples could not find a valid insurance card.

 

After conducting a background check, Baker discovered Peoples' license was suspended and he had a history of drug charges on his record.

 

While searching the vehicle, Baker discovered a Crown Royal bag in the center console that contained suspected marijuana, a set of digital scales and multiple unused clear bags.

 

After Peoples was taken into custody, he informed Patrolman First Class James Gilbert that he had a bag of seeds in his sock.

 

At the De Queen Police Station, Peoples and his passenger, 18-year-old Whitney Musgrove of De Queen stated the marijuana, the scales and the unused bags belonged to them and the other one didn't know it was in the vehicle. They both allegedly said they had recently lost their job and that they were selling marijuana to pay their bills.

 

Both were transported to the Sevier County jail and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance with the purpose to deliver. 

 

 

 

HORATIO VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT ANNUAL FISH FRY IS SATURDAY        5/3/16

 

Horatio Volunteer Fire Department Assist Fire Chief Rich Dorsey announced the department will be holding their annual fish fry this Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. at the Horatio First Baptist Church.

 

Dorsey said a portion of the proceeds will be used to purchase smoke alarms for area residents and education supplies for the department’s annual Education Week activities.

 

Dorsey said you can call him at 870-279-2161 if you would like someone to deliver some meals inside the Horatio city limits.

 

 

 

IT'S SCREEN FREE WEEK        5/3/16

 

Parents are being encouraged to turn off the television, computer, and tablets that their kids may be plugged into for Screen-free Week, which runs through Sunday, May 8th. Experts say too much screen time is linked to obesity, sleep disruptions and emotional troubles, especially among children.

 

With all the smartphones, tablets, computers and video games around, it's easy to forget that there is life beyond a screen. This week is Screen-free Week and it's a time to rediscover some of the joys of being unplugged.

 

Josh Golin with the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood says turning off screens can shift the focus to more engaging activities, which can improve a child's well-being and their relationships.

 

While the idea of having their children go screen-free might send some parents into a panic, Golin says they might be surprised with the results.

 

Excessive use of screens is linked to attention problems, poor school performance, sleep problems and emotional difficulties among children.

 

Golin says because kids are always watching their parents, it's important that good habits are practiced in the home.

 

Experts discourage screen time for children under age two and for other kids no more than two hours a day of educational programming. But research shows 8 to 18 year olds spend about seven hours using screen media every day.

 

 

 

MINORS IN POSSESSION      5/3/16

 

About 2 a.m. Sunday morning, Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department observed a vehicle that appeared to be on the wrong side of the street.

 

Baker reported he smelt marijuana as he approached the vehicle and called Patrolman David Higgins to assist him with the traffic stop because there were five males in the vehicle.

 

While searching the vehicle, officers found four marijuana roaches and an open case of Bud Light, along with five open beer cans throughout the vehicle.

 

The five minors were interviewed at the De Queen Police Station and all five were charged with possession of a controlled substance, marijuana and four were charged with minor in possession of alcohol.

 

 

 

RELAY FOR LIFE SURVIVORS RECEPTION IS FRIDAY       5/3/16

 

Sevier County Relay for Life committee member Linda Frachiseur would like to invite all cancer survivors and their caregivers to this year's Survivor's Reception this Friday at the De Queen Church of Christ at 6 p.m.

 

Frachiseur said there will be guest speakers and De Queen High School student Cody Lites will be providing the entertainment.

 

For more information, contact Frachiseur at 870-584-9592.

 

45TH ANNUAL COSSATOT ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW HELD      05/03/16

 Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association ‘s 45th annual Arts and Crafts Show and Sale was held Saturday and Sunday, April 30th and May 1st at the Historic King School Building.  Judging was held and the winners are as follows:

ADULT PURCHASE AWARDS:

 

 

 

 

Cynthia Schanink-Hot Springs Village

Landscape

Falls in Arkansas

Pharr Better Roofing

$700

Sherry Ward-De Queen

Floral

Sunshine

Dr. Cheryl Vogan

$600

Michael Leonard-Ft. Smith

General Photography

The Dungeon 1888

De Queen Abstract/Southern Girls

$600

William Rainey-Mena

General Photography

Splash of Color-Devil’s Den State Park

Southern LP Gas

$500

Brenda Rochelle. Texarkana

Still Life

Tart and Tangy

Chad & Jessical Gallagher

$500

Carol Hale Bybee, Paris, TX

Landscape

Hide Away

Chandler Funeral Home

$350

Michael Leonard

General Landscape

Corroded Leonard

UA Cossatot

$300

Cynthia Schanink, Hot Springs Village

Still Life

Peaches Out of the Bag

Mayor & Mrs. Billy Ray McKelvy

$300

Cynthia Schanink, Hot Springs Village

Floral

Poppy Dance

North Park Pharmacy

$300

Myrtle Sims, De Queen

StillLife

Fall Splendor

The Kirkpatrick Family

$200

Sherry Ward, De Queen

Floral

Clematis

Sevier County Courthouse

$3005

Lowell Thomas, Mena

Landscape Photo

Walkway-Reflection

Baker Sales & Service

$200

Lowell Thomas, Mena

Animal Photo

Resting Pelican

De Queen Medical Center

$200

Judy Griffin, Douglassville, TX

Landscape

Rocky Point

Mr. & Mrs. Melvin Sullivan

$200

Nancy Hall Martin, Texarkana

Still Life

Fallen

Country Girls Café

$150

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADULT ART

SPECIAL AWARDS:

 

 

Donna Gaines, Texarkana

Best of Show

Any Art Category

George

William Rainey, Mena

Walmart Award

Cossatot Country Art

Spring Beauty

Jerri Lynn Rivers, De Queen

Enola Wagnon Merit Award

Landscape

Springtime in Texas

Joy Wheeler

Beuden Animal Award

Animal

Spirit

ANIMAL ART:

 

 

 

Janice Braley

Wake Village, TX

Rooster Cogburn

1st Place

Ron Kidwell

Stonewall

Blue Jay

2nd Place

Donna Gaines

Texarkana

Goose

3rd Place

WESTERN/OLD BARNS:

 

 

 

Carol Hale Bybee

Paris, TX

Rain or Shine

1st Place

Lucretia Walker

De Queen

Jasper’s Barn

2nd Place

Gilda Meyers

Hodgen, OK

Mutton Bustin

3rd Place

Abstract/contemporary:

 

 

 

Nancy Hall Martin

Texarkana

King

1st Place

Carol Hale Bybee

Paris, TX

Leaves

2nd Place

Lena Hall

Texarkana

Up, Up and Away

3rd Place

STILL LIFE:

 

 

 

Sherry Ward

De Queen

Chrysanthemum & Origami

1st Place

Becky Harrison

De Queen

Granny’s Peaches

2nd Place

Sherry Ward

De Queen

Apple & Silver

3rd Place

PORTRAIT:

 

 

 

Donna Gaines

Texarkana

George

1st Place

Laurie Kerr

Texarkana

Sweet Incense

2nd Place

Cynthia Schanink

Hot Springs Village

Smiles of Joy

3rd Place

GENRE:

 

 

 

Cynthia Schanink

Hot Springs Village

Hugs

1st Place

Cynthia Bowen

Texarkana

Market Day

2nd Place

Shirley Bechtold

Texarkana

Let’s Rock

3rd Place

LANDSCAPE:

 

 

 

Carol Hale Bybee

Paris, TX

Hide Away

1st Place

Judy Griffin

Douglassville, TX

Rocky Point

2nd Place

Joy Wheeler

Little Rock

Grandma’s Picket Fence

3rd Place

FLORAL:

 

 

 

Victoria Autrey

De Queen

Ornamental Cabbage

1st Place

Ruby Gildon

Texarkana

White Flowers

2nd Place

Brenda Rochelle

Texarkana

Touch of Pink

3rd Place

COSSATOT COUNTRY:

 

 

 

Lucretia Walker

De Queen

Rowing on the River

1st Place

Stephanie Stone

Texarkana

Solitude

2nd Place

Cynthia Schanink

Hot Springs Village

Walking Trail

3rd Place

 

 

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHY-

 

 

 

SPECIAL AWARDS:

 

 

 

Michael Leonard, Ft. Smith

Best of Show

Cellblock Stairs

 

Kristal Hardin, De Queen

Judges Award

Drifting

 

Patricia Trulock, Mena

Flower Photography

Dahlia II

 

Elizabeth House, De Queen

Pet Photography

Kipi

 

COSSATOT COUNTRY:

 

 

 

Michael Leonard

Fort Smith

Crooked Creek Falls

1st Place

Patricia Trulock

Mena

Cossatot Hiking Trail

2nd Place

William Rainey

Mena

Beside Still Waters

3rd Place

ANIMAL:

 

 

 

Joleen Thomas

Mena

Squirrel Having Breakfast

1st Place

Lowell Thomas

Mena

Resting Pelican

2nd Place

Ann Glenn

Mena

Cocky

3rd Place

LANDSCAPE:

 

 

 

William Rainey

Mena

Embracing the Light-Mt. Magazine

1st Place

Jo Eldridge

Mena

Forgotten

2nd Place

Kristal Hardin

De Queen

Smoke on the Water

3rd Place

GENERAL:

 

 

 

Michael Leonard

Fort Smith

Cellblock Stairs

1st Place

Kristal Hardin

De Queen

Drifting

2nd Place

Jo Eldridge

Mena

Spring Blossoms

3rd Place

 

 

 

 

YOUTH DIVISION

 

 

 

SPECIAL AWARDS:

 

 

 

Kaylee Gafford, Texarkana

Ozella Baker Memorial

Best of Show

I’m Late

Tori Parker, De Queen

Revels & Company

Merit Award

King

Ana Crystal Duran, De Queen

Revels & Company

Merit Award

Wood Duck

Angel Hernandesm De Queen

Mrs. Larry Romine

Special Merit Award

Butterflies

Angel Hernandez, De Queen

Judy Smith

Merit Award

Converse

Lexi Richards, Horatio

De Queen Animal Hospital

(Animal) Award

Happy Hippo

Payton Smith, Texarkana

Nancy Hall Matin

Merit Award

Elephante

TWELFTH GRADE:

 

 

 

Kalee Gafford

Texarkana

We Can Talk

1st Place

Krishana Patel

De Queen

Old Boot

2nd Place

Kasee Moua

Waldron

Tiger

3rd Place

ELEVENTH GRADE:

 

 

 

Amy Parkhurst

Waldron

Nana’s Talent

1st Place

Alexis Rubio

De Queen

Jesus

2nd Place

Diana Campos

De Queen

Crazy Stripes

3rd Place

TENTH GRADE:

 

 

 

Patricia Hernandez

De Queen

My Lip Hurts

1st Place

Monique Jacobo

De Queen

Lion

2nd Place

Samantha Knowles

Texarkana

Blue Heron

3rd Place

NINTH GRADE:

 

 

 

McKenna Caudle

Horatio

Spirit War Pony

1st Place

Chasity Franco

De Queen

Mind Collage

2nd Place

Sha’uri Esquirel

De Queen

Lunar Mandela

3rd Place

EIGHTH GRADE:

 

 

 

Cole Herberg

Wake Village, TX

Test of Time

1st Place

Brandon McFall

Texarkana

Rhythm

2nd Place

SEVENTH GRADE:

 

 

 

Miriam Navarrette

Gillham

Endangered

1st Place

Gillian Knowles

Texarkana

Garden Chair

2nd Place

Jennifer Matamoros

De Queen

Spring Azure

3rd Place

CHILDREN’S DIVISION

 

 

 

SPECIAL AWARDS:

 

 

 

Renzo Garcia, De Queen

Ozella Baker Memorial

Best of Show

Tertle the Turtle

Abigail Gonzalez, De Queen

Mrs. Larry Romine

Merit Award

Red Berry Bird

Aracela Martinez, De Queen

De Queen Animal Hospital

(Animal) Award

Little Elephante

Elaine Tovar, De Queen

Judy Smith

Merit Award

Monkeying Around

La Brayla Robb, Wickes

Iris Saylor

Floral Award

Floral Cat

Jody Cook, Fouke

Nancy Hale Martin

Merit Award

Parroty

Ava Herberg, Wake Village

Nancy Hale martin

Merit Award

Snow Wonderland

SIXTH GRADE:

 

 

 

Jonathon Dill

De Queen

Hank and Friends

1st Place

Angelica Aguilar

De Queen

Wild Life

2nd Place

Oliver Cannon

Wickes

Weaving from my Design

3rd Place

FIFTH GRADE:

 

 

 

Sebastian Ramirez

De Queen

Bunny

1st Place

Armondo Lopez

De Queen

Winter Cardinal

2nd Place

Thomas Herberg

Wake Village, TX

Orange Crush

3rd Place

FOURTH GRADE:

 

 

 

Hudson Marshall

De Queen

The Dotted Fish

1st Place

Mackenzie Noey

De Queen

Owl

2nd place

Armondo Lopez

De Queen

Winter Cardinal

3rd Place

THIRD GRADE:

 

 

 

Riley Cate Carlton

De Queen

Rainbow Yorkie

1st Place

Naomi Gonzalez

De Queen

Tie Dye Tree Frog

2nd Place

Dillon Loving

Wickes

Papa D

3rd place

SECOND GRADE:

 

 

 

Heidi Nueva

De Queen

Hoppy

1st Place

Alexis Smith

De Queen

Lonely Camel

2nd Place

Tegan Gallardo

De Queen

Purple Lizard

3rd Place

FIRST GRADE:

 

 

 

Kaitlyn Klitz

De Queen

Friendly Snowman

1st Place

Ivette San Juan

De Queen

Hooded Merganset

2nd Place

Jose Arrizo

Wickes

Colorful Fish

3rd place

For more information or questions,  contact a Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association member by calling 642-2419 or 642-7170

 

 

 

ASHDOWN MAN ARRESTED SUNDAY FOLLOWING HIGH SPEED PURSUIT        5/2/16

 

Joshua Dixon of Ashdown was arrested Sunday following a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed his vehicle in Miller County.

 

According to Lafayette County officials, Dixon hit a deputy's patrol vehicle several times during the pursuit, which exceeded 100 miles per hour.

 

The pursuit started in Stamps and continued west into Miller County through Genoa and ended in Texarkana, Arkansas when Dixon attempted to cross a ditch off I-49.

 

Dixon is being held in the Lafayette County jail for felony fleeing, aggravated assault and other charges are pending.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL REPORT CARD         5/2/16

 

Last month, the Arkansas Department of Education released the state's report card for every school district in the state and the Ashdown School District received four Cs and one D.

 

Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders said when many people hear the district received four Cs and a D; they think the district is an average performing district. But Sanders said the formula to figure these scores is very complex.

 

Sanders also stated the Ashdown scores were as high as any other district in the area.

 

Sanders said the district is also working to help all students improve their text scores, while offering a diverse curriculum.

 

Sanders also reminded Ashdown School District patrons that early voting is underway at the Little River County Courthouse for the Special School Election, which is Tuesday, May 10th.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN TEEN BEING HELD IN CONNECT TO THE DEATH OF TEXARKANA MAN       5/2/16

 

Eighteen year old Warrick Dunn of Ashdown is being held but has not been charged in connection to the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Deandre Shawn Bush of Texarkana, Texas on March 30th. Dunn has also been accused of shooting Bush's dog.

 

According to an affidavit, Bush was shot multiple times at close range while sitting in his car. Bush's dog was reportedly shot once in the chest while chasing the shooter.

 

Law enforcement officials believe the motive was robbery.

 

According to the police report, a woman whose son is a friend of Dunn's contacted the police and arranged to give them a Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun that Dunn allegedly used to kill Bush, as well as, a Taurus 9 mm that Dunn allegedly stole from Bush after shooting him.

 

Investigators say Dunn agreed to sell the woman the guns for $300.

 

Dunn was arrested on April 1st at an apartment complex on Locust Street in Texarkana, Arkansas.

 

Dunn is being held in the Bowie County jail. His bail has been set at $750,000.

 

 

 

1.80-CARAT DIAMOND FOUND AT CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK       5/2/16

 

Gail Hudson of St. Louis, Missouri found a 1.80-carat diamond within five minutes of her first visit to the park in April. She said she thought it was the shell of a bug, but after scooping it up with her fingers, she knew it was different from anything she had ever seen before.

 

Hudson said it had a different weight to it.

 

Park staff confirmed that Hudson had found a large brown diamond, weighing 1.80 carats. According to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox, the diamond was about the same color as iced tea and about the size of a green pea. He said it has a brilliant shine and rounded facets, which are characteristics of Crater diamonds.

 

Cox said about 15 percent of diamonds that are certified at the park are found on top of the ground. This year, 13 visitors have found diamonds on the surface.

 

Hudson's diamond is the 176th diamond that has been certified by the park staff, this year and it is the largest brown diamond that's been found in more than two years.

 

 

 

DRIVER CITIED AFTER HITTING CALF ON ROADWAY       5/2/16

 

Saturday night, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Jackson was dispatched to B & B Junction after someone reported a calf was on the highway.

 

When Jackson arrived he pushed the calf south on the shoulder of the road, while keeping his spotlight on the calf, so traffic could see it.

 

Jackson reported he was south of the B & B store when a van traveling northbound did not slow down even though Jackson had his emergency lights flashing.

 

Jackson reported he got out of the way of the van, just before it struck the calf.

 

The driver of the van, Arturo Navarrette, was citied for not having a valid driver's license and for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION TO HOLD A FIELD DAY THIS SATURDAY        5/2/16

 

Sevier County Cattlemen's Association President Greg Wright announced they will be holding a field day even on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Sevier County Fairgrounds. He said there will be livestock demonstrations and feeder cattle evaluation.

 

Wright said there will also be a branding demonstration. He said Sevier County Extension Agent Rex Herring will be leading a freeze branding seminar.

 

Wright said freeze branding is considered to be easier on the animal and less stressful.

 

Wright said the event is being hosted by the Sevier County Cattlemen's Association, but anyone can attend.

 

For more information, contact Wright at the Sevier County Cattlemen's Association Facebook page.

 

 

Farm Bureau Ag Safety Poster contest winners announced 05/02/16

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau has announced the winners of its annual safety poster contest. It coincided with Ag Safety Awareness Week March 6 - 12, and was designed to increase awareness of potential hazards on farms and ranches. The posters depicted this year’s theme, “Caution: Safety is No Accident.”

 

Local winners In the first and second-grade category, Lyndsey Powell, a second-grade student at Acorn Elementary in Polk County, won first place. Lyndsey is the daughter of Jeremy and Amber Powell.

In the third and fourth-grade category, Lyza Gonzalez, a third-grade student at Waldron Elementary in Scott County, took first place. Lyza is the daughter of Elizabeth Gonzalez. Fourth-grader Aniyah Muresan of Blevins Elementary in Hempstead County won second place. Aniyah is the daughter of Ruben and Monique Muresan. Kyler McKee, a third-grade student at Vandervort Elementary, was third. Kyler’s parents are Chad and Falicia McKee. 

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT HELD PUBLIC MEETING LAST MONDAY     4/29/16

 

April 25th over 100 Ashdown School District patrons attended a public meeting in the Ashdown High School cafeteria to discuss the district's proposed 3.9 mill increase.

 

Superintendent Jason Sanders said if the millage increase passes, the district will renovate the Margaret Daniel Primary School and they will add another 64,000 square feet. The district will then consolidate the Margaret Daniel Primary, the C.D. Franks Elementary and the L.F. Henderson Intermediate schools onto one campus.

 

Some patrons asked why the buildings, which were built in 1950 and 1971 had been allowed to deteriorate into their current condition. School officials informed the public that the state does not provide money for districts to repair older buildings. Sanders explained the state provides funds for basic upkeep and that budget is based on the age of the buildings.

 

Ashdown's millage is currently 35.7 mills.

 

Early voting started today at the Little River County Courthouse and the Special School Election is Tuesday, May 10th.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH STARTING A CELEBRATE RECOVERY PROGRAM        4/29/16

 

 

Several members of the De Queen First Assembly of God Church have started a Celebrate Recovery Program. The program was started in 1991 at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Today, it is being used in more than 27,000 churches nationwide. It's purpose is to bring the hurting and the broken to the healing power of Jesus Christ.

 

Ashley Edwards of De Queen is helping with the Celebrate Recovery Program and she stated she is new to De Queen, but she's not new to recovery. And, she explained the program will help anyone dealing with life issues.

 

Edwards said the group will meet every Friday night, at 6 p.m.

 

Edwards and Pastor Ray Reynolds said the Celebrate Recovery Program was different from other programs because it uses Biblical principals.

 

Edwards said if you have questions or need more information, you may contact the church or the Program leaders, Joe and Hattie Vance.

 

Tonight is the first meeting and Edwards said it's for anyone with a hurt, a habit or a hang-up.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL ACT SUMMER PROGRAM       4/29/16

 

De Queen High School Counselor Ramona Hill announced this week that the De Queen High School will be hosting an ACT summer program, again this summer.

 

Hill said classes will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 pm. Monday, June 6th to Friday, June 10th and then from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, June 13th through Wednesday, June 15th. She said students will be free for lunch from 11 a.m. to noon.

 

Hill said the district will also offer two refresher course nights prior to the September ACT exam.

 

The cost is $100 for students who did not attend the De Queen School District.

 

Students will need to register by May 20th.

 

For more information, contact Hill at the De Queen High School at 642-4931.

 

 

 

NATIONAL MUSIC WEEK     4/29/16

 

The Foreman Thursday Music Club will be observing National Music Week, May 1st through the 8th and this year's theme is "Music...Notes to the Future."

 

Music lovers will have the opportunity to salute music, which as been the common denominator for people of all nations throughout this century.

 

National Music Week occurs each year during the first complete week in May, and this is the 93rd year for the observance that was begun by Charles Tremaine in 1924.

 

Music has been important throughout history and it exerts a leading influence on our everyday lives and has become a powerful means to deepen our worship, express patriotic fervor, and add a joyous atmosphere to happy occasions.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT IS UNDERWAY AT FOUR FAIR AND RODEO ARENA        4/29/16

 

The sixth annual UA Cossatot College Rodeo is underway at the Four States Fair and Rodeo Arena in Texarkana and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association member Doug Mathis is announcing this year's event.

 

Mathis stated this is the final rodeo of the year for the Ozark Region and college cowboys and cowgirls are trying to qualify for the National Intercollegiate Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.

 

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and children 5 and under are free. For more information, contact UA Cossatot at 870-584-4471.

 

 

DE QUEEN MCDONALD'S UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP       4/28/16

 

Last week, Steve and Celia Montgomery of Steve Montgomery Company Inc. purchased the De Queen McDonalds.

 

Celia Montgomery stated they own six stores in Nashville, Hope, Magnolia, Rock Point, Spring Hill, Louisiana and now De Queen and they have been working with McDonalds for 37 years.

 

Montgomery said all of their restaurants are in small communities and they are very involved in the communities they serve.

 

Montgomery said they will be holding a Teacher Appreciation event on Tuesday, May 3rd.

 

Montgomery stated De Queen residents will see several external changes immediately, but she thinks they'll enjoy the internal changes as well.

 

The new manager is currently accepting applications and Montgomery said she and her husband, Steve are good friends with Bill and Diane Baribeau and they hope to bring back that hometown feeling to the De Queen McDonald's location.

 

 

 

HOT UNDER THE COLLAR        4/28/16

 

Deputies from the Sevier County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a residence on Highway 371 near Lockesburg in reference to shots being fired about 11 p.m. Wednesday night.

 

Deputies Thomas Jackson, Michael Barnes, Matt Webb, Greg Davignon, Johnny Cooke, Chad Dowdle, Robert Gentry and Sheriff Benny Simmons responded to the call.

 

When deputies arrived at the home of Hollis and Trudy Martz, they found a camo Remington 870 Express in a vehicle that was parked in front of the residence, but they could not locate their son, 34-year-old Hollis Devin Martz.

 

Deputy Jackson proceeded to a second residence where Devin Martz allegedly shot the back glass out of a pickup.

 

Jackson interviewed Brooke Walston who reported she and Randall Sims were visiting Thomas and Christina Martz with their two kids when Devin Martz walked into the kitchen and took her cigarettes. She said after she told him not to touch her stuff, he pulled a knife and knocked her and her chair over.

 

Sims reportedly pulled Devin Martz off Walston and then Martz left.

 

Walston said has she was putting her kids in the truck to leave, her daughter started yelling "He has a gun." She said when she looked at Devin, he had a shotgun pointed at her daughter.

 

Thomas Martz then went outside to calm Devin Martz down and a witness reported as Devin pulled the trigger, Thomas pushed the barrel of the gun up in the air and no one was injured.

 

Devin fired a second shot that struck the tailgate and back glass of Sims' pickup, causing about $3,000 worth of damage.

 

A short time later, Devin Martz returned to his mom's house where he was apprehended and taken to the Sevier County jail. He has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault on a family or household member, possession of a firearm by a certain person, terroristic threatening and criminal mischief in the first degree.

 

Devin Marts is currently on probation from the Arkansas Department of Correction for aggravated assault.

 

 

 

REPORT FROM DE QUEEN PUBLIC SCHOOL       4/28/16

 

De Queen School District Public Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced several upcoming events this week, but she started by stating the Rotary Club honored over 30 De Queen High School students during their annual academic awards program on Wednesday.

 

Whatley said the Sevier County Extension Office held a finance program for students recently and REA will be presenting a program on Friday in the old elementary gymnasium.

 

Whatley also reported the district's Science night was a huge success.

 

Graduation is May 22nd and Whatley said now is to the time for donors to contact Ramona Hill if they would like to provide a local scholarship. She said the class of 2015 earned $2.4 million dollars in scholarships last year.

 

Whatley said De Queen students were also displaying their art during the annual Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association art show and sell this weekend at the old King School.

 

Whatley also stated De Queen High School student, Reana Roberson, won an essay contest at Southern Arkansas University with an essay entitled "Hello".

 

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

 

 

12TH ANNUAL SENIOR CITIZENS CELEBRATION AND HEALTH FAIR IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY       4/27/16

 

Little River Health Systems will be hosting the 12th Annual Little River County Senior Citizen Celebration and Health Fair Thursday at the Ashdown City Park.

 

Vicki Keener reported they will start the health screenings at 7 a.m.

 

Keener said lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and everyone is encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and umbrellas.

 

For more information, call 870-898-5011 ext 3135.

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE       4/27/16

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the House passed several appropriation bills for state colleges and universities last week. She said it could take two or three weeks before they will be presented the Revenue Stabilization Act.

 

Under the Revenue Stabilization Law, priorities are set out for the distribution of the General Revenue collections. Vaught explained that as tax dollars are collected, they are distributed first to the funds and proportions that are set out in the A category, then the B category and then the C category, if there is one. Each legislative session starts new and sets the amounts, the categories and the priorities.

 

By law, legislators have three days to review the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act before being asked to vote on it.

 

Vaught said the Department of Workforce Services announced last week that the state's unemployment rate is down to 4 percent. She also pointed out that Sun Paper Industry announced they plan to build a $1 billion dollar pulp mill in Clark County near Arkadelphia.

 

The announcement says construction will begin early next year and they should begin production by the end of 2019. The mill is expected to employ 250 people.

 

The mill is also expected to provide another 1,000 jobs in the logging industry and 2,000 to 2,400 more jobs during the plant's two and a half years of construction.

 

Vaught said you can watch the House proceedings online at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

 

 

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL APPROVES PURCHASE OF NEW STORM WARNING SYSTEM        4/27/16

 

Monday night during a special called meeting of the Lockesburg City Council, aldermen approved the purchase of a new storm warning system at a cost of $44,000 dollars.

 

Mayor Danny Ruth reported the city was awarded a $24,000 dollar federal grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He said the system will cost the city $20,000.

 

Ruth said one of the sirens will be mounted near the Lockesburg campus of UA Cossatot and the Dollar General store. The other siren will be installed at the corner of North Park and Hilltop streets on the west side of town.

 

 

 

DRIVING WITHOUT LIGHTS ON RESULTS IN DRUG ARREST       4/27/16

 

Saturday, April 23rd, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon noticed a Ford SUV on Magnolia Street in Lockesburg without its headlights on.

 

Davignon made a traffic stop and identified the driver as, Maria Whitfield and the passenger as 31-year-old Roy Blankenship of Horatio.

 

Whitfield informed Davignon that her license was suspended and that neither she nor Blankenship owned the vehicle. She also allegedly told Davignon that Blankenship had drugs on him.

 

While searching the vehicle, Davignon found a zipper bag under the passenger seat that contained a set of digital scales and two different small plastic ziploc bags containing suspected methamphetamine residue in them.

 

At the Sevier County jail, jailers found a bag in Blankenship's pants that contained a glass smoking device with meth residue in it and a pink plastic Ziploc bag with clear crystal substance of suspected, methamphetamine.

 

Whitfield was released without charges, but Blankenship was charged with possession of meth with the intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and furnishing prohibited articles into a detention center.

 

 

 

AMERICANS NEED TO DRINK MORE WATER      4/27/16

 

According to a new report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Arkansas residents aren't drinking enough water.  The research indicates certain groups of people need to drink more water just to protect their health.

 

The CDC has followed up on a study that was done about a decade ago that looks at whether Americans are drinking enough water and research shows that women are better at drinking water than men and older Americans need to try harder to stay hydrated. The CDC suggests men get 125 ounces of water a day, while women should be drinking 91 ounces, and that includes not just drinking water, but water from all food sources.

 

Asher Rosinger with the National Center for Health Statistics says the results mirror those in the earlier study. He said senior citizens in particular aren't drinking enough water.

 

The study also looks at hydration based on race and it says Hispanic and African-Americans are also drinking less water then they should.

 

Rosinger says researchers looked at water consumption from all food sources.

 

The study found women get about a third of their daily intake of water from tap or bottled water. For men, it's about 30 percent.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY SNIPPETS        4/27/16

 

Sevier County Head Librarian Johnye Fisher reported the De Queen branch of the county library system has received a new collection of learning and phonics books, including "Bug in a Rug", "Llamas in Pajamas", "Underpants for Ants", and "Muddle and Match" which allows children to change the ending of the book. The library also has the "Big Book of English Words" and the "Big Book of Spanish Words".

 

The De Queen Library will be holding a Mother's Day story and craft time on Wednesday, May 4th at 4 p.m. and the first 30 children will receive a craft and a special surprise.

 

Fisher said the Horatio Library is spotlighting a new author during the month of May for teens and young adults. Fisher said her name is Jenny B. Jones and she is an Arkansas resident and high school teacher. Fisher said Jones is a 4-time winner of the Carol Award and she writes contemporary romance novels with sass and southern charm.

 

For more information about the Horatio Library, call 870-832-6882.

 

Fisher said the Lockesburg Library will be holding a book club meeting on Saturday, May 7th at 10 a.m. to discuss "The Boys in the Boat." She said it is about nine working class boys and their quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

 

The Lockesburg Library will hold a children’s program on Saturday, May 21st at 10 a.m. They will be learning about gardening and healthy eating.

 

For more information, call the Lockesburg Library at 870-289-2233.

 

Fisher said the Gillham Library will hold Crafts for Kids on Saturday, May 14th at 11 a.m. with Dianne Rosson of the Sevier County Extension Homemakers Club.

 

For more information about the Gillham Library, call 870-386-5665.

 

Fisher also mentioned that all four of the county libraries will be holding summer reading programs. She said the De Queen Library will kick-off their program with Linda Goodner of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on Wednesday, June 1st at 10 a.m.

 

For more information about the De Queen Library, call 870-584-4364.

 

 

SEX OFFENDER NOTIFICATION - RODNEY HILL       4/26/16

 

The Sevier County Sheriff's Office and the De Queen Police Department released a statement Monday afternoon notifying the public that Rodney Hill is a level 4 sex offender and is working at Pilgrim's Pride at 401 South 3rd Street in De Queen. According to the De Queen Police Department, this notification is not intended to increase fear, but it is their belief that an informed public is a safer public.

 

This information is available through several resources, including the state's website that is maintained by the Arkansas Crime Information Center.

 

Law enforcement officials also want to remind residents that the abuse of this information by threatening, intimidating or harassing offenders will not be tolerated because such abuse could end law enforcement's ability to share this information with the public.

 

There are four levels of notification. The higher the level assigned, the broader the notification to the community. A level 4 offender is considered a habitual offender or someone who has a serious pattern of offending and are deemed sexual violent predators.

 

This information has been released to the public in pursuant to the Sex and Child Offender Registration and Community Notification Guidelines.

 

Authorities also want to make it clear that Hill was convicted of a crime that requires him to register as a sex offender with the Arkansas Crime Information Center, however, he is currently not wanted by law enforcement.

 

 

 

27TH ANNUAL TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL      4/26/16

 

The 27th Annual De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival is set for Saturday, May 28th from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the De Queen, Gillham and Dierks Lakes. Boat checks will begin at 5 a.m.

 

According to the chamber, there's over $14,000 dollars in prize money and door prizes that will be paid out with five hourly prizes on each lake, each hour. A grand prize of $1,500 will be paid for the largest fish overall, $1,000 for 2nd place, $750 for 3rd place, $500 for 4th place and $300 for 5th place overall.

 

Registration is $45 per person through May 27th or $50 per person if registering at the lake on the day of the event.

 

Entry forms can be obtained by calling 870-584-3225 or from the chamber website, www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.com.

 

 

 

SEVERAL ARKANSAS DRY COUNTIES WANT VOTERS TO DECIDE ON ALCOHOL SALES ISSUE       4/26/16

 

Five Arkansas counties, including Little River County, are collecting signatures in hopes that voters can decide whether alcohol should be sold in their communities, this November.

 

The Vote 4 Growth Little River committee is currently seeking volunteers to collect signatures. The committee must gather signatures from 38 percent of the registered voters in Little River County by July to put the issue on the November ballot. According to the Little River County Clerk, the group must submit 2,815 signatures.

 

Vote 4 Growth Little River's Facebook page states if county residents approve the sale of alcohol; it will help keep local dollars in the county, which would help fund roads, fire and police services.

 

Organizers have also pointed out that county sales tax collections increased by 5.2 percent in Clark County after voters approved a similar measure.

 

According to a published report, Wal-Mart donated $37,000 to the Vote 4 Growth Little River campaign and E-Z Mart of Texarkana, Texas contributed $5,000. The report also states the campaign hired an outside source, Blueprint Action, to gather signatures at a cost of $35,000.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT READIES FOR COLLEGE RODEO       4/26/16

 

Director of the Office of Institutional Advancement, Alisha Lewis, announced Tuesday that the sixth annual UA Cossatot College Rodeo is this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. each evening at the Four States Fair and Rodeo Arena in Texarkana. The rodeo will feature college student athletes from six states vying for points to take them to the finals of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.

 

Nearly 350 contestants will compete this week in bareback riding, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, goat tying, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding.

 

UA Cossatot Rodeo Coach, Valerie Stone said the UA Cossatot College Rodeo is comparable to any professional rodeo that you've ever seen.

She said this year; they will also hold a horseshoe toss. Stone said one lucky spectator will be drawn on Friday and Saturday night for a chance to toss a horseshoe. If they get a ringer, they will win $30,000 dollars.

 

Lewis said Gizmo McCracken was returning to the UA Cossatot Rodeo this year as the rodeo clown. McCracken has been a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for 22 years and he takes pride in the fact that his humor is good, clean, family style comedy.

 

 

J & J Rodeo Company will also be providing the livestock again this year.

 

J & J Rodeo Company works hard at providing championship livestock on both ends of the arena and strives to produce a fast paced professionally ran rodeo.

 

Lewis said Doug Mathis who is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association will be announcing this year's event. She said he is ranked as one of the top announcers in the country. He has been a 6-time finalist for the PRCA's "Announcer of the Year" and appeared in George Strait's "Pure Country" while lending his vocal talent to countless radio spots, television commercials and voice-over gigs.

 

The Ozark Region is one of the most competitive in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, and Coach Stone invites everyone to gone the Cossatot Colts this weekend for there sixth annual College Rodeo.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS TO CELEBRATE TOURISM WEEK MAY 1-7      4/26/16

 

By proclamation of Governor Asa Hutchinson, and in recognition of the positive economic, social and cultural impact of the travel and tourism industry, Arkansas will celebrate May 1st through the 7th as Tourism Week.  In 2015, more than 28 million visitors traveled in Arkansas, spending an estimated $7.2 billion dollars, which generated $374 million dollars in state taxes and $137 million dollars in local taxes.

 

Across the state, communities are planning to salute Tourism Week in a variety of ways. And, here a few local attractions:

 

The Texarkana Welcome Center on Interstate 30, will celebrate on May 3rd and 4th.

 

Resource Raccoon from the Arkansas State Parks will be onsite and Texarkana, Arkansas Mayor Ruth Penney Bell will read a proclamation on May 4th.

 

Other special guests will include the Victory Riders Motorcycle Club, ArkLaHomaTex Corvette Club, and the Arkansas State Police, who will complete child safety seat checks.

 

Entertainment will be provided by the Melody Boys, the Genoa High School Band, Alan Broussard and the Jerry Wright singers.

 

DeGray Lake State Park, the Crater of Diamonds State Park, White Oak Lake State Park, Poison Springs State Park, Historic Washington State Park, Cossatot River State Park and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will all have booths set up and there will be some giveaways.

 

For more information, call 870-772-4301.

 

The Red River Welcome Center on Highway 71 North, will host an event on May 3rd from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

They will be serving BBQ sandwiches, sodas, bottled water and chips. There will be representatives from the Crater of Diamonds State Park and Historic Washington State Park.

 

Roger Tipton of Ashdown will display the craft of wood turning and drawings for gift certificates will be held.

 

For more information, call 870-772-7511.

 

For general information on National Travel and Tourism Week, call the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism at 501-682-1676.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM RECEIVES GRANT        4/26/16

 

Sevier County Head Librarian Johnye Fisher announced the library system has received a $5455 grant from the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District. She said the grant will be used to purchase a new Microfilm Reader for the Genealogy Section of the Library.

 

A Microfilm Reader is used to read documents that have been stored as microform.

 

Microform includes flat film, microfilm, microfiche and ultra fiche. Documents may be stored using open reels or cassettes and is often used as a way of storing a lot of information in a small space. A microfilm reader is used to project and view documents by magnifying the microfilm images into readable proportions.

 

Fisher stated this is especially important for the storage of archived newspapers. She said the Sevier County Library has microfilms dating back to 1897.

 

Fisher said the grant was made possible by the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District, State Senator Jim Hickey and State Representative DeAnn Vaught.

 

 

 

CENTENNIAL BANK ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS AND ONE IS FROM KIRBY     4/26/16

 

Ten high school seniors have been selected to receive a $1,000 college scholarship from Centennial Bank's 2015-2016 Athletic-Community Service Awards Program. Centennial Banks is the named sponsors of all regional and state tournaments conducted by the Arkansas Activities Association.

 

In the boys' division, Lee Carson Whisenhunt of Kirby was named a winner.

 

This is the second year for the Centennial Bank Athletic-community Service Awards Program.

 

Each student-athlete had to meet scholastic requirements of a 7-semester minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher and each student-athlete had to score at least a 21 on the ACT or at least a 900 on the SAT.

 

The other requirements were a senior athlete registered with the AAA; had to display good citizenship in their school and in the community; had to display desirable leadership traits; and had to participate in other school activities.

 

Whisenhunt and the other nine scholarship winners will be honored at a luncheon on Thursday, May 26th at the Holiday Inn Presidential Hotel in Downtown Little Rock at 11:30 a.m.

 

 

 

STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT REPORTS DRINKING WATER IS SAFE IN ARKANSAS      4/26/16

 

Water safety has been a big topic in the United States since the news broke that the Flint, Michigan water system was contaminated with lead and was causing serious health problems. But health officials in Arkansas are saying the water in Arkansas is safe to drink and that kind of crisis they are experiencing in Flint is not likely to happen here in the state.

 

According to state health officials, the city of Flint switched its water source to save money in 2014, and since then, lead has been leaching into home water faucets, causing major health problems, lawsuits and even criminal charges.

 

Jeff Stone with the Arkansas Department of Health says the Natural State has good, clean water coming from rivers, lakes and wells.

 

Stone says they take between 50 to 60-thousand water samples from around the state each year. He said they test for bacteria, herbicides and pesticides, metals and other contaminants.

 

Stone says 95 percent of Arkansas' residents get their water from a public water source and, since the state is small geographically, they've been able to lay water lines to most homes. He said lead contamination isn't a major threat in Arkansas because most of the homes were built after the 1930s.

 

Stone said if they get a test back with a high lead content, there is a specific chain of events in place to work with the water district involved to get the levels back down.

 

 

 

 

THREE RESCUED AT MILLWEE CROSSING       4/25/16

 

Sunday afternoon, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Barnes was dispatched to Millwee Crossing in reference to some kids that were stranded in the river.

 

When Barnes arrived he interviewed Sarah Martin who informed him that 11-year-old Logan Eldridge and 16-year-old Jose Preciado had lost their footing on the edge of the water and had been swept into the current. She said they were stranded on an island in the middle of the river and had been in the water for about an hour and a half.

 

Martin reported 20-year-old Antonio Preciado attempted to swim out and save them, but he was unable to get back to shore.

 

Deputies Chad Dowdle and Greg Davignon arrived to assist Barnes along with Federal Wildlife Officer Brett Bowser and members of the Horatio and Central Volunteer Fire Departments.

 

Bowser, Davignon and Barnes put a boat in the river and were able to rescue the three young men.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN WOMAN'S DEATH RULED SUICIDE      4/25/16

 

The Arkansas Medical Examiner ruled the death of 53-year-old Mary Sue Blair of Ashdown who was run over by a Kansas City Southern train, a suicide, according to 9th Judicial District Deputy Prosecutor Al Smith.

 

According to the Little River County Sheriff's office, the incident occurred on Saturday, April 2nd about 8:44 p.m.

 

Last Monday, Arkansas State Police Trooper Robert Wilson and railroad officials reviewed a video that shows the incident and Smith said he agreed with the medical examiner after watching the video.

 

According to the report, Blair apparently laid down across the tracks in front of the southbound train. The crew spotted Blair, but was unable to stop the train in time.

 

 

 

COSSATOT ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW IS THIS WEEKEND       4/25/16

 

Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association President Lucretia Walker and Vice-President Jerri Lynn Rivers announced the Cossatot Arts and Crafts Show and Sale is this Saturday and Sunday at the Historic King School Building on Highway 71 north.

 

Rivers stated the show is this weekend, but artist must enter their work on Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

 

This is the 45th annual art show and the King School Building is 100 years old. Walker said they have categories for adults, children, and youth, as well as photography.

 

There is no entry fee for children and the entry fee for the youth is $1 per piece. The entry fee for paintings or photos in the adult category is $12 for association members and $15 for non-members.

 

Walker said this year, they will award over $8,000 dollars to the winners and most paintings may be purchased from the artist.

 

Rivers said the association will also have a special memorial display in honor of long-time member Van Ledbetter.

 

For more information or a registration form, stop by the KDQN studios, or contact a Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association member by calling 642-2419 or 642-7170

 

 

 

COSSATOT RIVER SCHOOL DISTRICT RAISING LETTER GRADES AT HIGH SCHOOLS       4/25/16

 

Cossatot River School District Superintendent Donnie Davis reported the Cossatot River Board of Education approved the purchase of the Saxon phonics program for the entire district.  Davis said this will help align the curriculum throughout the district.

 

Davis said the board also voted to update the laptops on the Umpire campuses.

 

According to the Arkansas Department of Education's report, all three of the Cossatot River School District's elementary campuses earned B's on last year's PARRC test, while the high schools earned C's. Davis said the high schools improved a letter grade and he feels the district is on the right path.

 

Davis said he also hopes the state will stick with the ACT Aspire exam.

 

The next Cossatot River Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 12th at 6 p.m. in the administration building.

 

 

 

FOURTH MOST DANGEROUS RAILROAD CROSSING IN THE NATION       4/25/16

 

An Ashdown railroad crossing is considered the fourth most dangerous crossing in the country, according to a Federal Railroad Administration report.

 

The list includes 15 crossings where 10 or more incidents have occurred in the past decade and the Ashdown crossing at Locke Street is ranked number four.

 

According to the report, there have been 16 incidents at the Locke Street crossing with four fatalities and four injuries.

 

The Locke Street crossing is 50 feet off Highway 71 and local officials say they would like to see crossing arms installed at that crossing.

 

In 2015, 244 people died at railroad crossings. Two-hundred and sixty-four people died at railroad crossings in 2014.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

LOUD AND DISORDERLY         4/19/16

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

TOO YOUNG TO HAVE THAT        4/19/16

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Gentry reported there were five beer cans in the car.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT - BUDGET MEETINGS     4/18/16

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

ARKANSAS SCHOLARSHIP LOTTERY REACHES MILESTONE       4/14/16

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Submitted by KMTB

 

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

 

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

  

 

 

BULLFROG SEASON OPENS ON FRIDAY        4/14/16

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT FACULTY ATTEND SYMPOSIUM       4/14/16

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

ALISIA INTO AFRICA FUNDRAISER AT COSSATOT COMMUNITY BUILDING       4/22/16

 

Brettny Smart Lynch of the Central Volunteer Fire Department announced this morning that the Frog Level community will be hosting a fundraiser for Alisia Gonzalez tomorrow beginning at 5 p.m.

 

Gonzalez graduated from Horatio High School and is a student at UALR. And, she is planning to take a mission trip to Ethiopia this summer.

 

Lynch said Pilgrim's Pride helped by providing their cooker and the chicken and the desserts will be provided by local residents and the staff at the Ranch House Cafe.

 

Lynch said if you can not attend the fundraiser, you can still donate by going to Gonzalez' GoFundMe account GoFundMe.AlisiaintoAfrica.com.

 

Lynch said its $5 a plate and they will accept donations.

 

 

 

DIERKS BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES NEW ELEMENTARY PROMOTION AND RETENTION POLICY        4/22/16

 

Dierks Superintendent Holly Cothern reported the Dierks Board of Education voted to enter into a contract with the Excel Energy Group to replace the lighting throughout the district. Cothern said this should save the district about $19,000 a year, but Excel will review the district's energy bills after the first year and adjust their contract fees. 

 

Cothern reported Gym Masters will be renovating the high school gym floor and she said the school board also voted to purchase 90 Chromebooks and three carts.

 

Cothern stated the board also approved a new promotion and retention policy for elementary students. She said the old policy was based on reading scores, but the new policy will consider several other factors.

 

Cothern reported the Dierks Elementary School received a B on the state's report card and the high school received a C. Cothern stated the biggest factor in those scores was the fact the state changed test last year. She said the state needs a stable testing instrument to truly evaluate school districts.

 

Board members also heard the speech that fifth grader, Jenna Bray, will give during an upcoming FBLA public speaking competition.

 

 

 

FREE SKYWARN CLASS TO BE HELD IN ASHDOWN       4/22/16

 

A free Skywarn class will be offered from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26th in the Little River County Courthouse in Ashdown.

 

Little River County emergency management coordinator Don Hale Jr. said area residents can learn more about severe weather and serve the community by reporting severe and hazardous weather to the National Weather Services.

 

The classes will include basic and advanced information.

 

The schedule is listed online at weather.gov/shv/spotter.

 

For more information, call Bill Parker of the Shreveport, Louisiana office of the National Weather Service at 318-631-3669.

 

 

 

PROSECUTORS WANT MINERAL SPRINGS MAN TO REMAIN IN JAIL FOR THREATENING AREA MAYORS       4/22/16

 

Federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey to appeal U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven's ruling to release 55-year-old Maverick Dean Bryan from jail during a detention hearing on March 28th.

 

Prosecutor David Harris argued Bryan is a danger to the community and should be detained while awaiting trial. He said Bryan has a history of violating laws regarding possession of firearms by convicted felons.

 

Bryan has been charged with writing letters to seven Arkansas mayors, threatening to hang them from a tree if they didn't get rid of Common Core and put religion back in the classrooms.

 

Federal agents arrested Bryan after setting up a meeting with Second Lieutenant Gary Owen who advertised in the Thrifty Nickel that he wanted to borrow $23 million dollars to equip and train a Christian militia to restructure the country. Owen turned out to be Bryan.

 

Bryan was convicted in 1987 of interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, as well as for receiving two handguns while under indictment. He was convicted of being a felon in possession of a gun in March 1998 and again in March of 2014.

 

Hickey has not issued a ruling on the detention issue, but Bryan is scheduled for trial next month in Texarkana.

 

If Bryan is found guilty, he could face up to $250,000 fine and up to five years in federal prison, or both on each of the seven counts of mailing threatening communications.

 

 

 

SAVING THE PLANET ONE FARM AT A TIME     4/22/16

 

For the next week, KDQN will feature article concerning ways area farmers, ranchers and timber companies are helping the environment.

 

Today, we'll look at several ways area cattle ranchers are preserving the earth's natural resources.

 

Area ranchers are utilizing rotational grazing. They move livestock from one pasture to another every few days to prevent the livestock from overgrazing a part of their land. They are also protecting open spaces through conservation easement programs.

 

Many ranchers in Sevier and Little River counties work closely with the county extension agents to learn about new research that is being conducted by the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture.

 

Area ranchers are also using biological agents to help control invasive pests, while planting trees that will provide a windbreak for their livestock, other wildlife and the soil. They are also planting grass on highly erodible land, thereby conserving soil.

 

Area cattle ranchers are also allowing livestock to graze and consume more natural and organic forages that will be converted into healthy, nutritious beef.

 

As you celebrate Earth Day, today, thank a cattle rancher for raising beef while working to protect our environment.

 

 

UA COSSATOT'S RELINDA RUTH ATTENDS CONFERENCE   04/22/16

 

UA Cossatot's Director of Educational Resource Relinda Ruth recently attended a conference of the Council of University of Arkansas Research Libraries (CUARL) at the Winthrop Rockefeller Center in Morrilton.

 

Established in 2006, CUARL will change to include the community colleges in the University of Arkansas system. At the request of UA System President Dr. Donald Bobbitt and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Moore, the Council will change the name and include all colleges within the system.

 

The Council is designed to help visitors to the University of Arkansas's Libraries and Educational Resource Centers locate digital projects developed by University of Arkansas campuses and to make these unique materials available online to faculty, staff, students, and the public. The Council recently met to share ideas, tips, and options regarding the implementation of more Open Educational Resources as well as what attendees can do to provide support for faculty regarding those resources.

 

"It was an excellent learning opportunity," said Ruth. "I am excited that UA Cossatot is a part of CUARL. This collaboration will benefit not only college students, but communities statewide as well."

 

 

DE QUEEN SCHOOL OFFICIAL DISCUSSES DISTRICT’S GRADE       4/21/16

 

Last week, the Arkansas Department of Education published its annual school district report cards. The report gives every school in the state of Arkansas a letter grade.

 

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

 

According to De Queen Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton, the De Queen Primary and Elementary schools earned 'B's', while the Middle, Junior and High schools received 'C's'. He said all of the De Queen Schools had 'B's', last year.

 

Shelton said last year the grades were based on state standards, but this year they reflect the results from the PRACC test, which used national norms.

 

Shelton explained he didn't feel the letter grades provided an accurate picture of the district, because last year, the De Queen Junior and Middle schools were honored for being top performers in the state.

 

Shelton said the district is continuing to teach the state standards and working to prepare students for the future. He stated the district does not teach toward a particular test, but is looking forward to creating a curriculum that reflects the material, that students will be tested on.

 

 

Shelton said he likes the ACT Aspire test because it aligns with the ACT college entrance exam.

 

According to the state's report, all of the districts in Sevier and Little River County scored B's and C's.

 

  

 

 

BEASLEY AWARDED UALR CLC SCHOLARSHIP        4/21/16

 

De Queen High School Senior Prince Beasley has been awarded the UALR EAST Scholarship, which is valued at $40,000; the UALR CLC Scholarship, which is valued at $32,000; the Arkansas Rehab Scholarship in the amount of $20,000; and an NAACP Scholarship in the amount of $500.

 

Beasley is the son of Evelyn Beasley and Mark Beasley of Texarkana.

 

Beasley is the Student Council President, a member of the Spanish Club, the Interact Club and the show choir. He is also the co-editor of the Leopard Yearbook.

 

Beasley will be attending UALR in the fall where he plans to pursue a double major in Special Education and Spanish or American Sign Language.

 

 

 

FRIDAY IS EARTH DAY       4/21/16

 

Friday is World Earth Day and people all over the world will celebrate Earth Day to increase the publics awareness about environmental safety as well as take measures to protect the environment.

 

Starting Friday, people will perform outdoor activities that are designed to help save the earth's natural resources. For instance, this year's theme is "Trees for the Earth" and people are being asked to plant a tree to help absorb excess carbon dioxide and help plant 7.8 billion trees over the next five years.

 

Environmentalists report this initiative will serve as the foundation for a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet.

 

Here at KDQN, we will be featuring articles until April 29th about how farmers, cattlemen and timber producers are caring for the environment.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE HOSTING HORSESHOE TOURNAMENT      4/21/16

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

COUNTY GOES PURPLE FOR DECORATION CONTEST 04/21/16

Everyone in Little River County is encouraged to "go purple" for the "In the Center Ring - A Cure for Cancer" decoration contest sponsored by the Relay for Life of Little River County. The weeks of the Paint the County Purple contest are May 2-13. 

Purple is the signature color of Relay for Life and a symbol for all types of cancers. Businesses, county and municipal offices, schools, and residences are encouraged to display the power of purple by participating in the Little River County Relay for Life's fourth annual decorating contest. 

The five categories of competition include business, government (County and City offices in Little River County), schools, residence, and a fifth category new to this year -- a Judge's Choice selected by the area Relay for Life representative Stina Brown.

Each category winner will be presented with a yard sign to display recognizing the win.  In addition, the business category will receive a 2017 Relay for Life Platinum Sponsorship worth $1000 and have their business logo printed on the back of next year's 2017 official Relay shirts.

Along with the yard sign, the government category winner will receive a plaque to display, and the winner of the school category will receive a $50 gift card to be used as the class wishes.  The residence category winner will also receive a $50 gift card.

Decorating may begin at any time but must be completed by May 5 to be eligible for prizes.  Photos of decorated entries should be sent by text to Little River Relay event chairman Linda Fielding at 903-276-5650 by May 5. Fielding will upload the photos to the PAINT The County PURPLE-Relay for Life, Little River AR Facebook page, where the public can view and vote on the entries through May 13. The winners, except Judge's Choice, will be selected by popular votes cast on the Facebook page.

Everyone is invited to show their spirit in the fight against cancer by decorating and voting.  Winners will be announced the night of the Little River County Relay for Life event, Friday, May 13 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ashdown High School Fred Jester Memorial Track.

To connect with PAINT The County PURPLE-Relay for Life, Little River AR, join Facebook today.  Decorate, enter, and, most importantly, vote, vote, vote.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

DE QUEEN PUBLIC SCHOOL REPORT       4/20/16

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

submitted by KMTB

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

JANES RECOGNIZED BY ARKANSAS FARM BUREAU      4/20/16

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The meeting is free and open to the public.

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

DE QUEEN PUBLIC SCHOOL REPORT       4/20/16

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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