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DE QUEEN LEOPARD ALUMNI GAME IS SATURDAY     2/24/17

 

De Queen Leopard Head Baseball Coach Beau McCastlain reminded area baseball fans that the 2017 Leopard Alumni Game is Saturday at Leopard Field. He said two teams of former Leopards will play at 2 p.m. and the winner will play the 2017 Leopards at 6 p.m. following the Hit-a-Thon.

 

McCastlain said players are still selling tickets for a riding lawn mower. He said they will be drawing for the lawn mower prior to the 6 o'clock ballgame.

 

The De Queen Leopards will open their regular season on Monday at Mena. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 and you can catch the game on the Leopard Network - 102.1 The Good Path.

  

 

ACCIDENT RESULT OF DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED        2/24/17

 

February 11th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Kris Hundley was dispatched to the scene of a single vehicle accident on Bellahmine Road.

 

When Hundley arrived First Responders with the Gillham Fire Department had removed the driver from the vehicle and she was lying unconscious on the ground.

 

The reporting party told Hundley that she was traveling west on Bellahmine Road when she noticed a vehicle parked funny in a driveway. She said when she came back later, the vehicle had crossed Bellahmine Road and had struck the fence.

 

The witness contacted her husband to come check on the driver and when he arrived, the driver was unresponsive and appeared to be intoxicated. The witness also reported he noticed a beer can in the console.

 

Hundley said the driver was identified as LaDonna Ward of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. She was charged with Driving While Intoxicated after failing a field sobriety test at the Sevier County jail.

 

 

BOOZMAN INVITES ARKANSANS TO PARTICIPATE IN TELE-TOWN HALL MEETING MONDAY      2/24/17

 

U.S. Senator John Boozman will host a telephone town hall meeting on Monday, February 27th at 7:30 p.m. central time to connect with Arkansans and discuss some topics that are under debate in Washington.

 

This statewide event will allow Arkansans to ask Boozman questions over the phone or listen to the conversation about the issues that will impact them.

 

If you are interested in participating in the tele-town hall meeting should sign up on Boozman's website to be dialed into the call.

 

Boozman said the telephone town hall meetings allow him to connect with Arkansans from all over the state and discuss topics that are important to them.

 

 

 

NATIONAL FFA WEEK - ASHDOWN      2/23/17

 

Ashdown High School FFA Chapter President Madison McAllister told KDQN that even though it's National FFA Week they've been busy competing in Leadership Development and Career Development events three out of five days this week.

 

McAllister said FFA teaches students responsibility and she has enjoyed meeting new people from across the state.

 

McAllister said because the chapter has been so busy this week competing, they are planning to celebrate National FFA Week later this year. She also reminded everyone to make plans to attend their annual FFA Banquet and Auction later this year.

 

The Ashdown FFA advisors are Casandra Welch and Cody Gallagher. And, they said National FFA Week provides us with an opportunity to recognize the importance to agri education in public schools and to realize how it impacts students for a lifetime.

 

 

SLOAN NAMED HEAD LEOPARD        2/23/17

 

Wednesday afternoon, the De Queen Board of Education voted to hire former De Queen graduate Stephen Sloan as the new head football coach of the Leopards.

 

Superintendent Bruce Hill stated Sloan has been very successful as the Junior High Head Football Coach and the Senior High Soccer Coach.  Hill said he and the other administrators felt Sloan deserved the opportunity.

 

Board members also accepted the resignations of Betsy Holder, Justin Kramer, Krista Smith and Genita Whitly. He also stated they will immediately start searching for a new junior high head football coach.

 

Coach Sloan stated Thursday morning that he was very thankful for the opportunity to lead the De Queen Leopard football program.

 

Sloan's junior high teams earned six junior high district championships in the 12 years that he was the head coach. He will replace Coach Justin Kramer who accepted the position of Athletic Director and Head Football Coach of Conway Christian.

 

 

NASHVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT WARNS ABOUT SKiMMERS       2/23/17

 

The Nashville Police Department issued a scam alert on Wednesday informing residents that a skimmer was recovered from a gas pump in Nashville.

 

The Nashville Police Department is currently investigating reports that skimmers have been found on gas pumps in the area and they said one skimmer was recovered from a gas pump in Nashville.

 

A credit card skimmer is a portable device that is attached to a legitimate scanner at a gas pump, ATM, or any other place you would swipe a credit card to make a payment. The skimmer then records your credit card data and thieves then have access to your credit card information. There are different kinds of skimmers and some are almost impossible to detect.

 

The Nashville Police Department is warning the citizens in Nashville and the surrounding area to be cautious when using credit or debit cards and check your accounts on a regular basis. If you discover any unauthorized transactions on your account, you should immediately notify both the card holder and the local police department to make a report.

 

  

DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS TONIGHT     2/23/17

 

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Massey announced it's not too late to get your ticket for tonight's 72nd annual Membership and Awards Banquet.

 

Tickets will be available at the door for $17 and it includes a roast beef dinner and raffle tickets for numerous door prizes.

 

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and visitors will have a chance to bid on a number of items that have donated by chamber members and individuals in the community.

 

The De Queen High School Show Choir will perform and the De Queen High School's Cross Country Team will serve the roast beef dinner prepared by ladies of the high school cafeteria beginning at 6:30 p.m.

 

Greg Davignon of the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and a veteran of the Iraq War, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance, Trina Sison of the De Queen High School Show Choir will sing the National Anthem and Father Juan Manjarrez of the Saint Barbara Catholic Church will provide the invocation.

 

During the event, a number of awards will be presented to businesses and individuals in Sevier County. Call 584-3225 for more information.

 

 

EXECUTIONS CAN RESUME IN ARKANSAS        2/23/17

 

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition by a group of Arkansas death row inmates concerning Arkansas' method of execution, this week.

 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge stated executions can now move forward in Arkansas following the high court's decision. She said families of the victims will now see justice carried out for those who committed heinous crimes against their loved ones.

 

Rutledge said she will immediately provide the Court's order to the Arkansas Supreme Court and once the clerk issues the mandate, the current injunction on executions will be lifted. She also said she will request execution dates from Governor Asa Hutchinson.

 

Hutchinson said he will proceed in accordance with the law, but since the use by date on one of the drugs has expired and it will be necessary for the Department of Correction to make an acquisition.

 

 

HOT SPRINGS BOAT, TACKLE AND RV SHOW THIS WEEKEND      2/23/17

 

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the latest boats, tackle and RVs, all in one place at the Hot Springs Boat, Tackle and RV Show at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

 

Ken Griffin stated this is the last opportunity for people to take advantage of the boat and RV show deals.

 

Griffin said there will be over 200 boats and RVs to look at from several dealers across the state.

 

Griffin said there will be lots to see and do this weekend and they will be giving away a duck boat and trailer, Sunday afternoon.

 

The Hot Springs Boat, Tackle and RV Show is $5 for adults and kids under the age of 12 is free. The show is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

 

SLOAN NAMED IN DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL HEAD FOOTBALL COACH     2/22/17

 

Wednesday afternoon, the De Queen Board of Education held a special called meeting to hire a new head football coach for the high school following the resignation of Coach Justin Kramer.

 

Following a short executive session, board members accepted Superintendent Bruce Hill’s recommendation to promote Junior High Head Football Coach Stephen Sloan to the position of Senior High Head Football Coach.

 

Sloan is a 1991 graduate of De Queen High School and graduated from Henderson State University in December in 1999 with a degree in Physical Education and Health. He earned an Education Administration degree from Harding University in December of 2004.

 

Sloan has one son named, Kerwin.

 

Sloan replaces Kramer who has been named the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach of Conway Christian. Kramer was the head football coach in De Queen for the past three seasons.

 

 

 

NATIONAL FFA WEEK - UA COSSATOT      2/22/17

 

UA Cossatot kicked off National FFA Week last Saturday with the college's annual Colt Classic. UA Cossatot FFA advisor Kelli Harris reported 58 Arkansas FFA chapters with over 1,300 kids participated in this year's event.

 

Harris said 205 students participated in the livestock judging. She also thanked all the area businesses that help make the event a great success.

 

Harris said UA Cossatot has one of only four collegiate FFA programs in the state.  She also stated the UA Cossatot chapter will be hosting several events this week at the Tractor Supply Company store on Collin Raye Drive.

 

This year's National FFA theme is Transform Purpose into Action. So, join the members of the UA Cossatot FFA chapter in celebrating by purchasing a FFA emblem for $1 each.

 

For more information, visit the UA Cossatot FFA Facebook page or call 870-584-4471.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION REVIEWS FACILITY NEEDS DURING FEBRUARY BOARD MEETING       2/22/17

 

Members of the Ashdown Board of Education met earlier this month to review the district's facility needs.

 

Superintendent Jason Sanders said board members reviewed some surveys and faculty input concerning future facility needs and he said six board members toured the district campuses on Valentine's Day to inspect recent renovations.

 

Board members voted this month to use Smith and Mounts Realtor to sale the old support building. Sanders said the district is negotiating with the USDA about leasing the old administration building.

 

Sanders also reported the board approved the purchase a Special Education bus at a cost of $94,725. He said the Special Education department will pay 50 percent of the cost.

 

Board members also accepted the resignation of Janie Isenburg and the retirement of Debra Garrett.

 

Board members approved the transfer of Christy Turner from 7th grade to 8th grade English and Melanie Cobb from East Lab facilitator at the high school to High School Art.

 

 

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL ACCEPTS BID ON WATER PLANT PROJECT      2/22/17

 

Tuesday night, aldermen of the De Queen City Council accepted a bid from Crossland Heavy Contractors in the amount of $105,952 for the replacement of the water plants filter media.

 

Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy informed alderman that the city received six bids. He said the project is expected to begin around the first week of April and be completed in about 60-days.

 

Aldermen voted not to refinance the city's waste water treatment plant loans into one 10-year note. Instead, the city will continue to make additional payments in an attempt to pay off the loans ahead of schedule. The city currently owes $1.2 million dollars on the ANRC loan and $3.2 million dollars on the rural development loan.

 

However, aldermen did vote to give the water department permission to invest in an automated meter reading system. McKelvy reported in his state of the city address that the city made several upgrades to the water department over the past 12 months.

 

McKelvy told the aldermen that the city fire department had 157 calls in 2016, but only 56 were within the city limits.

 

McKelvy also reported he felt the sewer extension project east of town could result in future economic growth in that area.

 

The next De Queen City Council meeting is Tuesday, March 7th at 6 p.m. 

 

 

NOT DRIVING BUT BEEN DRINKING       2/22/17

 

Sunday night, February 19th, Corporal James Gilbert of the De Queen Police Department was patrolling around the De Queen Elementary School when he noticed a pickup truck stopped in the middle of Treating Plant Road.

 

Gilbert reported two individuals were sitting in the truck and when he pulled up behind the truck, the driver, 24-year-old Tony Davis of Foreman started to drive away.

 

When Gilbert approached the truck, he asked Davis if he had been drinking. Davis allegedly said he had been drinking but stopped shortly before he was pulled over.

 

After failing a field sobriety test, Davis was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.

 

 

RECORD ELK HARVEST, INCLUDING ONE IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY      2/22/17

 

Arkansas hunters harvested a record 55 elk during the 2016-2017 hunting season, according to a report provided by Wes Wright of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's elk program during last week's monthly commission meeting. The record tally represented a 15 percent increase in the elk harvest from the 2015 season and was the result of the statewide elk season that was established in 2016 to prevent further expansion of the herd.

 

Wright reported one hunter harvested an elk in Little River County.

 

He said the elk that was harvested in Little River County was most likely an escaped animal from a captive facility, but Wright said DNA samples were taken to verify that it was linked to the Arkansas herd.

 

According to Wright, any deer hunter who happens to see an elk while hunting outside the Core Elk Management Zone may legally take that elk with weapons that are legal for the season they are in.

 

MAYOR McKELVY'S STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS     2/22/17

To the honorable members of the De Queen City Council, city employees and my fellow citizens, I am pleased to report to you on the State of the City of De Queen, Ark. A more detailed report from each department is included with this address.

The City of De Queen continued to make progress in 2016 as major projects in the water department were finally brought to completion. We have had the SCADA system for one full year now and it continues to serve us well. We now have three new pumps at the high lift station on Stilwell Avenue. Each of the pumps is controlled by a variable frequency drive which should result in energy savings. The last two water tanks on Magnolia and Maple Avenue were cleaned and inspected late last year, getting us current with the AWWA standards on tank inspections. All treatment plant operators have their required water licenses and we are in compliance with the Arkansas Department of Health standards on public water systems. We are ready for the bi-annual sanitary survey which will be coming up this spring.

The street department should be ready to take advantage of the State Aid for City Streets program this year. After advertising for bids four times, we are hopeful we will be successful in the April bid letting. In 2016, the street department reworked the “S” curve on north 9th Street to improve safety. They finished some smaller street projects while holding back others for the state aid program. The sanitation department added a brush loader truck last year and it has been very beneficial with the brush collection. Sanitation workers switched from a four-day week to five days per week at the first of this year. That means we have an extra five-person crew one day per week. So far they have concentrated on hauling brush, cutting back the roadsides and trying to improve the look of the city.

The Fire Department had 157 calls last year, which included 56 inside the city and 101 outside the city. The rural fire membership program has about 50 members. Last year the fire departments ISO rating improved from Class 4 to Class 3, a benefit to all property owners in the city. The fire department added a 2007 International 1,500-gallon tanker/pumper truck, which was purchased from a fire department in Iowa. It has more technology and has become the “first-out” truck since it has been in the fleet.

The Parks Department rebuilt the backstop on a second ball field. The Sportsplex parking lot was paved last month and will be ready for the 2017 season. The city swimming pool has continued to be a popular attraction in summer. Redmen Cemetery is getting some attention this year with a new chip-and-seal job for all streets in the cemetery and removal of overgrown brush.

The waste water department completed a sewer extension project on the east side of town out to the new Gentry Chevrolet. This project would not have been possible without access to the sewer system. Two other businesses were added to the sewer The new sewer line sets the stage for future growth in that direction. The city continues to make early payments on the bonds that financed the new waste water treatment plant. Pilgrim’s has improved its pre-treatment program to the point that surcharges will probably be eliminated, setting up a challenge for revenue in the future.

The city is in a good position in all departments. In the next few months, I will present you with a couple of proposals that will improve revenue from the water, sewer and sanitation funds. One of these is switching to a cart system for solid waste that will improve safety for our workers and hopefully, improve the appearance of the city. In the water department, we have the opportunity to install an automated meter reading system that will save time and money for meter reading. New meters will be more accurate and should enhance revenue for water and sewer departments.

The City of De Queen is in good financial condition. A copy of the latest financial information is attached.
It is an honor to serve as your mayor and to be entrusted with the affairs of the City of De Queen. I am honored to serve with the City Council.

May God bless America and the City of De Queen.

 

 

POLICE RESPOND TO ATTEMPTED CHILD ABDUCTION REPORTS     2/21/17

 

De Queen Police Chief Scott Simmons released a statement Tuesday morning after a third parent reported their child was almost abducted at the De Queen Wal-Mart.

 

Chief Simmons said officers have taken three reports of attempted child abductions at Wal-Mart over the past week. He stated each case was investigated by the department and each case was taken very seriously. However, his department does not believe there was any criminal intent on behalf of any of the parties involved.

 

Simmons said after the incidents were investigated it was determined that it was not the same person in each incident and in each case, the reporting parties declined to file any charges against the individuals.

 

Simmons did encourage people to be cautious and aware of their surroundings. He also stated if you witness or experience any suspicious activity to please contact the De Queen Police Department.

 

Simmons also stated that he does not believe there is any reason for any unnecessary concern.

 

 

NATIONAL FFA WEEK - DE QUEEN CHAPTER      2/21/17

 

Members of the De Queen FFA chapter are participating in National FFA week, by hosting a fundraiser to help pay fees for Leadership and Career Development events and by hosting their annual Teacher Appreciation Breakfast on Friday morning.

 

Chapter President Kayla Martin, Vice-President Brandi Frachiseur and Secretary Veronica Rivas stated Tuesday morning that they will be holding a bake sale this afternoon from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Tractor Supply Company, as well as a petting zoo on Thursday.

 

Martin said there are about 70 members in the De Queen chapter and they participate in several Career Development activities like land judging, horse judging, and livestock judging.

 

According to the National FFA website, FFA programs are designed to provide students with opportunities to become community leaders while receiving vocational training.

 

For more information about any FFA events this week, contact Morgan Frachiseur at 870-642-2426.

 

 

NASHVILLE NATIVE TO SPEAK AT TEXARKANA COLLEGE ON THURSDAY      2/21/17

 

The man who was the first black Santa at the Mall of America this past Christmas will share his story about how he became the top African-American jolly old elf during a program this Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the Levi Hall Conference Room in the Business and Computer Technology Building as part of Texarkana College's Black History Month program series.

 

Nashville native, Larry Jefferson has worn the red suit professionally since 1999, and he said he learned about the opportunity at the Mall of America while attending a Santa conference in Branson, this past summer.

 

 

OKLAHOMA LEGISLATOR INTRODUCES LEGISLATION FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA SALES       2/21/17

 

Oklahomans won't vote until next year on whether to legalize medical marijuana, but a state lawmaker has already introduced legislation that would establish the framework if sales of the drug are approved.

 

State Representative Eric Proctor of Tulsa has introduced a measure that's nearly identical to the legislation that is being considered by the Arkansas state legislature.

 

The bill mirrors Arkansas' proposed plan, calling for a maximum $7,500 application fee for anyone wanting to operate a dispensary and a maximum application fee of $15,000 for anyone wanting to cultivate marijuana. It also calls for the creation of a medical marijuana commission.

 

The bill would task the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission with adopting rules governing the oversight, record-keeping, security and other regulations over the drug, if voters choose to legalize it.

 

Proctor stated he introduced the measure so the state is prepared if voters legalize the drug for medical use, next year.

 

 

2017 ASHDOWN COMMUNITY AUCTION RAISES $60,000       2/21/17

 

On February 4th, members of the Ashdown community gathered at the Ashdown High School cafeteria for the 6th annual community auction that's sponsored by the Ashdown Community Foundation and raised over $60,000.

 

According to Little River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fonda Hawthorne, the community auction has raised about $235,000 over the past six years.

 

Hawthorne said funds have been used to build a pocket park just off Highway 71, paint downtown buildings, improve sidewalks and install new street lights. She said they have also used some funds to add horseshoe pits to the city park.

 

Hawthorne said the advisory committee will now review the surveys that were filled out during the auction and determine what project the committee will spend the money on this year.

 

 

TRIAL DATES SET FOR TWO MINERAL SPRINGS BANK ROBBERS      2/21/17

 

Trial dates have been scheduled for two of the alleged suspects that robbed the Diamond Bank in Mineral Springs on July 25th.

 

Eighteen-year-old Tatyana McBee and 30-year-old Byron Coleman of Tulsa, Oklahoma have been scheduled to appear in the Little River County Circuit Court on April 25th. Both suspects were arrested in Tulsa.

 

According to surveillance recordings, the suspects leapt over the counter and filled bags with cash from the teller drawers. They then allegedly discarded the clothing they were wearing during the robbery in the Mineral Springs city park, which is about six blocks from the bank.

 

To deter future robberies, Diamond Bank and the City of Mineral Springs have agreed to move the city police department into the bank building.

 

 

NATIONAL FFA WEEK - HORATIO CHAPTER        2/20/17

 

It's National FFA Week and this year's theme is Transform Purpose into Action. It's also a time for FFA members, alumni and sponsors to advocate for agriculture education.

 

The FFA Mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

 

To accomplish this mission, FFA helps develop competent and assertive leaders, while increasing their awareness of the global and technological importance of agriculture to our well-being. It also builds character and promotes citizenship, volunteerism and patriotism.

 

The Horatio FFA chapter President, Ryan Vaught and Treasurer, Gustavo Perez reported the chapter was organized in the 1930s. Today, they have 184 members and two advisors, Niki Litchford and Terry May.

 

On Tuesday, the Horatio FFA will host their annual Chili Supper and Workday auction. According to Vaught and Perez, everyone is invited to enjoy all the chili they can eat for $7, as well as the silent auction and workday labor auction.

 

Vaught and Perez announced the State FFA president will speak to students on Thursday during two school assemblies. They also mentioned the Kiss a Pig contest. They said the teacher with the most donations will kiss a pig Friday during their FFA playday assembly.

 

For more information, visit the Horatio FFA Facebook page or contact the high school at 832-1940.

 

  

DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANQUET IS THURSDAY       2/20/17

 

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Massey announced it is not to late to get your tickets for the 72nd Annual Chamber Membership and Awards Banquet.

 

Thursday night, chamber members will honor the county Teachers of the Year, the Citizen of the Year and local businesses for their contributions over the past 12-months.

 

Massey also reported the chamber voted to allow him to serve a second-term as chamber.

 

Tickets are $17 each and tables of eight are still available. To purchase tickets or to reserve a table call 642-2446, and ask to speak with Patty Sharp.

 

 

DE QUEEN FIRST ASSEMBLY'S WILD GAME SUPPER IS FRIDAY       2/20/17

 

Pastor Ray Reynolds of the De Queen First Assembly of God Church stated the churches men's ministry will hold their annual wild game cook-off this Friday in the church’s fellowship building at 6:30 p.m.

 

Reynolds said this year's guest speaker is hunter and fisherman Kenny Manus.

 

Ironmen's Ministry Director Willie Adams said several businesses in the area have donated prizes for this year's event including a LED light-bar kit and some handguns.

 

There is no entry fee to enter a wild game dish in the competition, but all entries will need to be at the church by 6 p.m. to be judged. If you plan to enter a dish, contact the church at 584-3435.

 

If you do not plan to enter a dish, be there at 6:30 to eat and enjoy the program.

 

 

LEGACY ACADEMY'S 4H PROGRAM      2/20/17

 

Monday, February 13th, Legacy Academy's 4H Club met for their monthly meeting. Legacy Academy is a private Christian school in De Queen that is committed to providing students with a wide variety of learning experiences.

 

This year, in addition to the 4H program, students have weekly violin lessons, participate in archery and have recently learned how to play Lacrosse.

 

School administrator Jessica Gallagher stated they understand learning is a lifelong skill that must be developed. She said hands-on opportunities and a variety of activities can enhance student learning and create opportunities for the application of learned skills.

 

During Legacy Academy's 4-H meeting, faculty sponsor, Susan Shelton, taught members proper casting techniques and fish identification; in preparation for an upcoming field trip. Afterwards, student Eli Mitchell showed a robot that he recently built and demonstrated how it worked.

 

4H is one of the nation's largest youth clubs. The club empowers young people with the skills to lead for a lifetime. Students complete hands-on projects in areas such as health, science, agriculture and citizenship, in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles.

 

Shelton said the Legacy 4H Club has provided a superb avenue for students to develop and demonstrate leadership skills and to learn how to work together to set and accomplish goals.

 

For more information, call the office at 870-642-8937 or visit the school at 314 Gilson Avenue in De Queen, to request an information packet. Additional material can also be found on the school's website legacyacademyonline.com.

 

 

 

 

 

MOBILE PANTRY TO BRING FOOD TO THOSE IN NEED IN SEVIER COUNTY        2/20/17

 

Harvest Regional Food Bank is returning to Sevier County with its Mobile Pantry on Wednesday, March 15th from 10 a.m. to noon at the Horatio First United Methodist Church.

 

Harvest Regional Food Bank executive director, Camille Wrinkle said there are several communities in the food bank's rural service area that does not have a local partner agency. She said to ensure those areas are being served; the food bank provides services directly to those in need.

 

Harvest Regional Food Bank will distribute pantry boxes and USDA commodities, starting with senior adults over the age of 65.

 

Volunteers are needed to help load boxes into cars. If you can volunteer, call the Harvest Regional Food Bank at 870-774-1398.

 

Recipients must provide a photo ID that verifies their age and their residency in Sevier County. Distribution is limited to one per household and no can pick up items for someone else.

 

USDA commodities will be available for those who meet the income requirements and do not receive commodities at another location.

 

Pantry boxes will include an assortment of canned fruits and vegetables, rice, pasta, fruit juices, spices and other items.

 

 

ROJAS NAMED TRUMAN SCHOLARSHIP FINALIST       2/20/17

 

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation recently announced that Victor J. Rojas of De Queen has been named a 2017 Truman Scholarship Finalist. Rojas is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Education degree through Southern Arkansas University and will travel to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee next month for a panel interview.

 

The Truman Scholarships support the graduate education and professional development of future leaders. Truman Scholars are provided up to $30,000 for graduate study and are required to work in public service for three of the seven years following completion of their graduate education.

 

Rojas is employed by the De Queen Public Schools and is a graduate of De Queen High School and UA Cossatot. He served on the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board after being appointed by Governor Mike Beebe in January 2014. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Arkansas United Community Coalition and was on the platform committee for the Democratic Party of Arkansas in 2016. Rojas has also volunteered on campaigns at the local, state and federal levels.

 

Rojas said it was an honor to be a finalist for the Truman Scholarship. He said he was excited to represent SAU and he was grateful for the support he has received from his faculty representative, family, friends, colleagues and mentors.

 

The 2017 Class of Truman Scholars will be announced in mid-April.

 

 

HORATIO CITY COUNCIL TO MEET IN SPECIAL SESSION TONIGHT     2/17/17

 

Aldermen of the Horatio City Council will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Horatio City Hall to discuss hiring someone to oversee the city's youth baseball program and other unfinished business.

 

Aldermen met last night to discuss the 2017 budget.

 

No other details are available at this time.

 

 

A LOT OF FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS IN COUNTY        2/17/17

 

Sevier County Health Officer Doctor Jason Lofton reported Friday morning that there have been several cases of flu-like symptoms but not many cases of the flu, so far.

 

Lofton said the pollen count is medium-high in the area and many people are suffering from seasonal allergies.

 

Lofton said the CDC is reporting this season's flu vaccine is about 49 percent effective. He said many people have flu-like symptoms but are testing negative for the flu.

 

If you are sick, visit your primary care physician or visit the Sevier County Health Unit at 304 North 4th Street or call 642-2535.

 

 

ARKANSAS HIGHWAY COMMISSION APPROVES $3 MILLION BID FOR HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENTS        2/17/17

 

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a $3.1 million dollar bid for highway and interstate improvements that are aimed at reducing wrong-way accidents.

 

The commission awarded the contract to Ewing Signal Construction of Nixa, Missouri.

 

The project calls for improvements on interstate off-ramps, including sign replacements, lowered signs and other projects that officials hope will cut down on the number of crashes that are caused by people driving the wrong way on ramps.

 

The project includes improvements to 351 off-ramps in the state on interstates and busy highways like U.S. Highway 67 and Highway 70.

 

Construction is expected to begin in the next two to four weeks with completion expected later this year.

 

 

HORATIO FFA CHILI SUPPER AND AUCTION IS FEBRUARY 21ST       2/17/17

 

Members of the Horatio FFA announced the chapter will be hosting it’s annual Chili Supper and Auction on Tuesday, February 21st for National FFA Week.

 

Chapter secretary, Grace Harris said they will start serving chili at 5:30 p.m. She said the cost is $7 and they will have a silent auction and a live auction.

 

Harris said the chapter is also collecting donations for one high school teacher to kiss a pig. She said their history teacher, Desmond Walls, had to kiss the pig last year and Becky Fawcett was the leading contender this year.

 

For more information, visit the Horatio FFA Facebook page or contact the high school at 832-1940.

 

 

DE QUEEN BASEBALL ALUMNI GAME FEBRUARY 25TH       2/17/17

 

De Queen High School baseball coach Beau McCastlain reported the Leopards will open the 2017 baseball season on Tuesday, February 21st with a benefit game against the Horatio Lions. He also mentioned the team's alumni game and hit-a-thon is scheduled for Saturday, February 25th at 2 p.m.

 

McCastlain said the proceeds will help to team participate in a Spring Break tournament in Gulf Shores, Mississippi.

 

McCastlain said players are still selling Sonic cards and tickets for a riding mower that will be given away after the hit-a-thon.

 

For more information, contact the high school at 642-2426.

 

 

HUTCHINSON SIGNS MATERNITY LEAVE BILL INTO LAW      2/17/17

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law this week that will provide paid maternity leave to state employees. Senate Bill 125 was introduced by Senator Missy Irvin and District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught.

 

According to Hutchinson the bill provides four weeks of paid maternity leave for state agency employees.

 

Senator Irvin said by passing Senate Bill 125, Arkansas is leading the nation on this important pro-family and pro-woman issue.

 

Representative Vaught said she was honored to carry Senate Bill 125 because it will benefit the state's dedicated state employees.

 

Now employees may take up to four weeks of paid maternity leave within the first 12-weeks after the birth or adoption of a child. The program requires the employee to have been employed by the state for more than one year and it does not require an employee to exhaust their sick or annual leave prior to being awarded catastrophic leave for maternity purposes.

 

Under the new law, all agency catastrophic leave banks will be eliminated and replaced with a single leave bank for all agencies that will be administered by the Office of Personnel Management.

 

 

ACCIDENT CLAIMS LIFE OF TEXAS RESIDENT        2/16/17

 

Wednesday afternoon about 4 p.m., members of the De Queen Fire Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, the De Queen Police Department and the Arkansas State Police responded to a two-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 70 near the new Gentry Chevrolet dealership.

 

According to the incident report, 67-year-old William Massey of Seagoville, Texas died at a hospital in Texarkana, Texas after the 2006 Ford Escape that he was driving crossed the centerline and struck a 1997 Chevy Blazer that was being driven by 34-year-old Damian Burton of De Queen.

 

Both Massey and Burton were airlifted from De Queen.

 

The accident was investigated by Arkansas State Police Trooper Robert Jones.

 

 

TRAIL SET FOR MOTHER ACCUSED OF INJURING A 2-YEAR-OLD          2/16/17

 

A trial date of April 24th was set by 9th Circuit Court Judge Tom Cooper in the Little River County Circuit Court for a 25-year-old Little River County woman who has been accused of endangering the welfare of a minor.

 

According to the arrest affidavit, Kathryn Louise Adams has been charged with a Class D felony after she allegedly abused her two-year-old baby.

 

According to court documents, an investigation was opened July 7th, 2016 when a two-year-old girl was taken to the Little River Memorial Hospital by her mother. The mother reported the child was vomiting and had not eaten in 24-hours. She also reported the child had fallen off a trampoline.

 

The report states the mother did not witness the fall, but the two-year-old was playing on a trampoline with a six-year-old without any adult supervision.

 

A CT scan revealed a skull fracture and the child was transported to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

 

The child was treated at the hospital for a depressed skull fracture. Nurses also noted bruises that were in various stages of healing on the child's body that were not consistent with a fall.

 

The hospital report also noted the child tested positive for methamphetamine.

 

Adams posted a $20,000 bond and has been released from custody pending the April trial date. The Department of Human Services placed the child into the custody of the parental grandparents.

 

 

DIAMOND BANK OFFERING OFFICE SPACE TO MINERAL SPRINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT         2/16/17

 

On July 25th of last year, the Diamond State Bank in Mineral Springs was robbed by four suspects who were later arrested in Oklahoma. The four suspects have been charged with robbery, but their trials are still pending.

 

Diamond State Bank Market President for Nashville and Mineral Springs, Bob Jamison said the Mineral Springs branch was also robbed in 2004. He said the suspect in that incident was arrested, charged and sentenced to prison.

 

Jamison said the bank board is looking at ways to better protect the bank, the employees and their customers. He said the bank has offered to provide office space for the Mineral Springs Police Department, inside the bank.

 

Jamison made the proposal to the Mineral Springs City Council last Monday.

 

If aldermen accept the Diamond State Bank proposal, the police department would be housed in the former insurance office inside the bank building.

 

Jamison stated, the bank would pay for the police department's utilities and it could save the city about $2,500 a year. He also said they would do the construction of the office at no cost to the city.

 

According to the minutes of the city council meeting, the police would operate out of the building during normal business hours and after hours during the week and weekend.

 

Mineral Springs Mayor Bobby Tullis said Diamond Bank presented an interesting proposal and he said moving the police department to the bank building would not alter police activities.

 

 

ARKANSAS STATE PARKS TO LAUNCH NEW RESERVATION SYSTEM       2/16/17

 

Arkansas State Parks is introducing a new reservation system that is paced with a gamut of user friendly improvements. Starting March 2nd, Active Network will replace the current reservation system. By weaving simplicity and technology together, Active Network has created a reservation system which allows guests to more precisely choose an overnight accommodation that is tailored to their personal needs.

 

Arkansas State Park Director Grady Spann said the new system will give visitors much more information about the state's campsites, cabins and lodges.

 

The new system is used by dozens of other state park systems across the country. And, it is the main reservation system for federal lands including National Parks, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

 

The new site will offer online maps of campgrounds, showing each campsite. It will offer the ability to book specific campsites and it will show all available campsites, cabins and lodge rooms for a particular time period.

 

The site will also list the amenities that are available, photos of the campsites and it will provide faster check-in and check-out.

 

To allow for the integration of the new reservation system, Arkansas State Parks will not be taking reservations from Monday, February 20th until Wednesday, March 1st. Guest with reservations that were made before February 21st will not be affected.

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT PURCHASES 15 ACRES TO EXPAND CAMPUS        2/16/17

 

The Mineral Springs Board of Education approved the purchase of 15 acres off North Street to further expand the district's Mineral Springs campus.

 

The land was purchased from Mike McCullough for $45,000, plus half of the closing costs.

 

Board members said the land may be used for athletic purposes or the FFA program.

 

Board members also approved the 2017-2018 calendar and a couple of stipend changes to the district's salary schedule.

 

Board members then authorized a bonus in the amount of $1,000 for all certified staff members and $500 for all classified staff members to celebrate the high school being removed from the state's academic distress list.

 

Superintendent Curtis Turner said test scores continue to improve and the district will continue to work hard to have high academic standards.

 

Board members also voted to re-hire high school principal Josh Kessler and elementary principal Stacey Gauldin.

 

 

DIERKS PINE TREE FESTIVAL PLANNING MEETING      2/16/17

 

The Dierks Chamber of Commerce will be holding a planning meeting on Monday, February 20th at 6 p.m. concerning this year's upcoming Pine Tree Festival.

 

Mayor Terry Mounts said this will be the 45th Annual Pine Tree Festival, making it one of the longest running festivals in the state. Mounts also encouraged local individuals to get involved in the planning process by attending Monday's meeting.

 

Mounts said they are planning a 3K or 5K run.

 

This year's Pine Tree Festival will take place on the first weekend in August.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY EXTENSION OFFICE ENCOURAGES AREA RESIDENTS TO WALK ACROSS ARKANSAS         2/16/17

 

The Spring Walk Across Arkansas program will kick off on Sunday, February 26th and run through Saturday, April 22nd.

 

Sevier County Family and Consumer Science Agent Janet Cantrell explained the program is an 8-week exercise campaign where you and your team set personal goals for physical activity.

 

Cantrell said you will need to record the number of minutes that you've walked throughout the day with the intent of exercising for at least 10 minutes straight.

 

Cantrell said families, co-workers, teachers, youth, senior adults, or churches can form teams of two or more and then get active.

 

Cantrell said most participates reported they have more energy, sleep better, lose weight, improve their blood pressure and have reduced stress after participating in the Walk Across Arkansas exercise program.

 

For more information, visit the website www.uaex.edu/walk or call the Sevier County Extension Office at 870-584-3013.

McCURTAIN COUNTY SEARCH FOR MISSING PERSON 02/15/17

Authorities in McCurtain County called the weekend search for the remains of a missing person near Eagletown the biggest search they’ve ever conducted.

The search was organized after a dog retrieved a human skull and a femur leg bone on January 20th in a wooded area near Eagletown. A nearby search after that discovery yielded no other remains. So a bigger search was organized for this past weekend, and McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy says the targeted area was a four mile radius of the area where the skeletal remains were found in January.

A mobile command center was set up near Eagletown public schools, and the day-long searches began Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8:00. Search crews were unsuccessful in locating any other remains over the weekend.

But Sheriff Clardy and Laura Imbody Reed from the Clarksville Cue Team decided to give it one more try on Monday, and that was the day that counted. More human remains were found around 9:00 Monday morning.

The McCurtain County Sheriff’s Department has been working on a missing person case since 2015. The remains found are believed to be those of Charlie Osterdock, who went missing during the summer of 2015.

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL REPORT 02/15/17

The Lockesburg City Council met in regular session Tuesday evening at the Lockesburg City Hall.

The Lockesburg Council approved a resolution authorizing chief elected officials to sign an application for Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program funds. Lockesburg conducted a meeting on February 7th to gather public input on the grant request. The Lockesburg Council approved the Citizen Participation Plan for the grant. The Council passed a resolution designating a non-profit agency to be the grant administrator, and authorized opening a bank account for the grant.

Following a twenty minute executive session, the Lockesburg Council voted to raise the Recorder-Treasurer salary to $350 per month retroactive to January 1st, with the stipulation that when the current Recorder-Treasurer leaves office the pay will revert back to $250 per month. The Lockesburg Council voted to purchase a new cell phone for Mayor Danny Ruth at a cost of $575.

In other business the Lockesburg City Council voted to participate in the De Queen Rotary Club Boulevard of Flags. Lockesburg will purchase ten flags for $400 and display them around town at locations like the city park and the fire station during patriotic holidays.

The Council agreed to purchase fireworks for the July 4th event from Air Magic Fireworks for $3,500.

Finally, the January minutes were approved and the January bills were approved for payment at Tuesday evening’s Lockesburg City Council meeting.

POLK COUNTY BURN BAN LIFTED     02/15/17

County Judge Brandon Ellison lifted the burn ban on outdoor burning in Polk County Tuesday afternoon at 3:00. The Mena area received around two inches of badly needed rainfall from Monday Night through Tuesday afternoon.

BROKEN BOW CHAMBER BANQUET     02/15/17

The 62nd annual Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce Membership Banquet will be held Tuesday, February 21st at 6:30 P.M. at the Broken Bow First Assembly of God Family Life Center.

Dinner is being prepared by Pruett's Foods. Tickets are $20 each, and can be purchased in advance or at the door.

A fund-raising Silent Auction will also be held at the Broken Bow Chamber Banquet Tuesday February 21st at 6:30 P.M. at the Broken Bow First Assembly of God Family Life Center.

HORATIO CITY COUNCIL TO MEET IN SPECIAL SESSION     02/15/17

The Horatio City Council will meet in special session on Thursday, February 16th at 6:30 P.M. in the Horatio City Hall. The Horatio Council will discuss the 2017 budget and other matters. The meeting is open to the public.

 

PLANE ALERT     02/14/17

Local authorities responded to the Sevier County Airport Tuesday morning after a report was received that a plane was in distress and would need to make an emergency landing there. However, the plane never landed at the De Queen airport. The Federal Aviation Administration contacted the Sevier County Airport later Tuesday morning, and reported that the plane landed safely in a field near Rattan, Oklahoma and none of the three people aboard were injured.

According to Jim Gregory, a Med-Trans Corporation spokesperson, the plane was a Med-Trans Corporation’s AirMed Regional twin engine King Air 90 based in eastern Oklahoma. Onboard the aircraft was a pilot, nurse, and paramedic. According to Gregory, the plane was heading to Idabel to pick up a patient.

The pilot had told authorities in-flight that the plane lost its electronics system shortly after take-off. The plane was told to divert to the Texarkana airport for an emergency landing. When the plane was near Durant, Oklahoma, the pilot radioed that he had about fifteen minutes of fuel left. The plane was then told to divert to the De Queen airport.

The De Queen Fire Department, the Southwest E.M.S. ambulance crew, and Sevier County Sheriff’s Department responded to the Airport. They lined the runway with red and blue lights flashing to try to assist the pilot in finding the runway.

Several De Queen area residents report having seen a plane flying very low Tuesday morning. However, the plane never landed at the De Queen airport. Instead, it landed safely in a field near Rattan, Oklahoma at around 11:05 Tuesday morning. The NTSB and FAA authorities have been notified and are conducting an investigation.

DIERKS CITY COUNCIL REPORT     2/14/17

The Dierks City Council met in regular session Monday evening at the Dierks City Hall. The Dierks Council approved the purchase of a new city police car. Mayor Terry Mounts says the city tries to purchase a new car for the police department every two years.

Mayor Mounts also reported to the Dierks Council that work on the new sewer lagoon is complete. The lagoon will begin operations on Thursday of this week, and the city public works department will complete final inspections.

Finally, the Dierks City Council approved a resolution to allow the city to make business purchases with police auxiliary officer Kevin Dinger, who owns a local gun store.

BUSY WEEKEND AT COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK    2/14/17

Events featuring birds and owls will highlight the Saturday, February 18th activities at Cossatot River State Park, east of Wickes.

On Saturday from 8:30 to 10:30 A.M., Park Interpreter Victoria Carson will instruct a class on bird voices. The class includes a two mile hike on the Harris Creek Trail. The meeting place at 8:30 Saturday morning is the Harris Creek Trailhead.

In the Visitor Center’s Legacy Room Saturday afternoon at 2:00, there’ll be a one hour session on what special adaptations make owls different from other birds. Then at 3:30, Interpreter Carson will present a one hour program on how to make a bird feeder tree.

All the programs Saturday at Cossatot River State Park are free and open to the public.

LOW BLOOD SUPPLY UPDATE     2/14/17

More blood donors are needed now to increase the blood supply, which remains at a level estimated to last only two days. Blood donations of all types are being used daily by patients. In order to continue to meet patient needs and stabilize the supply, LifeShare Blood Centers report that thousands more blood donors are needed within the next couple of weeks in the area it serves.

Anyone 16 years of age or older may go to Lifeshare.org to find a blood drive or a donation center location and hours. Upcoming blood drives in Southwest Arkansas include:

***Minecreek Healthcare in Nashville Thursday, February 16th from 11 A.M. til 4:00 P.M.

***Horatio Elementary School Thursday, February 16th from 1:00 P.M. til 6:00 P.M.

***Walmart in Nashville will hold a blood drive on the LifeShare Bus Friday, February 17th from 2 P.M. til 6 P.M.

***UA Cossatot De Queen Campus Monday, January 20th from 10:00 A.M. til 4:00 P.M.

***Umpire High School Monday, February 20th from 9:30 A.M. til 2:30 P.M.

HORATIO SCHOOL BOARD RESULTS     02/14/17

The Horatio School Board met in regular session Monday evening in the Horatio High School Library.

In personnel matters, the Horatio board hired Eva Martinez as teacher’s aid. The board accepted the resignation of Elementary School Librarian Tyler Matthews.

The Board approved a request from the Horatio Athletic Booster Club to put a playground in at Lane Fields. The Horatio Board also approved resolutions for Apple computers, policy updates, and routine reports.

Horatio Elementary and High School principals also reported to the Horatio School Board on activities at their schools, as well as future plans they hope to implement.

 

GEORGE WASHINGTON BIRTHDAY BALL     2/14/17

The Washington Vintage Dancers will hold their annual George Washington Birthday Ball on Saturday, February 18th at 7:00 P.M. at the W.P.A. Gymnasium in Historic Washington State Park. The event features group dances from the18th and 19th centuries.

No dance experience is required, and 18th or 19th century dress or Sunday dress attire is suggested.

Admission fee is $10 per person, or $18 per couple. Children age 12 and under are admitted free. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information on Saturday evening’s George Washington Birthday Ball at Historic Washington State Park, call 870-703-8256.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH AT MUSEUM    02/14/17

Sevier County Museum Director Karen Mills says the public is invited to stop by the Historical Museum during the month of February to view a temporary display provided by the Arkansas Humanities Council in celebration of Black History Month. The huge display at the Sevier County Museum will be featured throughout the month of February and is titled “Persistence of the Spirit: The Black Experience in Arkansas”. The display details the history of African Americans in Arkansas between 1721 – 1986.

As part of Black History Month, museum volunteers also collected a variety of information on Sevier County’s African-American community and its more prominent families.

Karen Mills says that visitors will find of particular interest information on the lives and careers of General Calvin G. Franklin and Darrell Brown, the first African-American football player for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks.

The Sevier County Museum in Herman Dierks Park in De Queen is open from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Tuesday and Thursday and 10:00 A.M. til 3:00 P.M. on Saturdays.

 

ANNUAL CHAMBER BANQUET     02/14/17

The 72nd Annual De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce Membership and Awards Banquet will be held Thursday, February 23rd at 6:30 P.M. in the De Queen High School Cafeteria. Some of the awards to be presented include:

Citizen of the Year, Construction awards, and Teachers of the Year.

A roast beef meal will be served. The De Queen Cross Country team will be serving the meals. The De Queen High School Show Choir will be performing.

Get there early to bid on numerous Silent Auction items that have been donated by area merchants.

Tickets are $17 each. Tables of eight are also available. To purchase tickets or to reserve a table call the radio station at 642-2446 or the Chamber Office at 584-3225.

QUORUM COURT SEVIER COUNTY     2/13/17

The Sevier County Quorum Court met in regular session Monday afternoon in the Courthouse Conference Room.

The J.P.’s approved the appointment of Jamie Godwin to the Sevier County Library Board. And, the Quorum Court passed an ordinance amending the payroll policy in the Sevier County Employee Handbook regarding the Criminal Justice Department. The ordinance defines compensatory time off and overtime pay for jailers and deputies.   

The highlight of Monday’s meeting was the designation of Sevier County as a Purple Heart County and the City of De Queen as a Purple Hear City. Three Vietnam Veterans, who are Purple Heart recipients, traveled down from Fort Smith to present certificates of appreciation to County Judge Greg Ray and De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy. The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 as a way for municipalities, highways, and bridges to display visual reminders of those who made sacrifices in battle to ensure the freedoms that Americans enjoy. The Purple Heart is the oldest decorations medal in our country awarded to those who are wounded or killed while serving.

Judge Ray says that work will begin soon on replacing two bridges on county roads. The projects include a 46 foot bridge on Valley Road and a 26 foot bridge on Reynolds Road. Also work should begin soon to widen U.S. Highways 70-71 to four lanes from the Cossatot River Bridge to the Dierks Junction.

Judge Ray says it’ll take a massive amount of fill material and compaction to build the highway up to accommodate four lanes from the Cossatot River to the Dierks Junction. But bids have been accepted, and utility lines have already been moved.

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS BEEKEEPERS MONTHLY MEETING      02/13/17

Southwest Arkansas Beekeepers will be holding its monthly meeting Monday Evening February 11, 2017. The program at this month's meeting will be presented by a special guest, Richard Coy, of Coy's Honey Farm, the largest honey producer in Arkansas. Prior to the program there will be a seed swap hosted by Nashville Demonstration Organic Garden and Miller county master Gardeners. The meeting will be held at UA Cossatot Nashville Campus, room 101. Sign-in, seed swap and pot-luck will begin at 6pm and the meeting with program will begin promptly at 6:30. Anyone interested is invited to attend. For more information, contact Debra Bolding at 870 557 2352.

DIERKS SCHOOL BOARD TO HOLD MONTHLY MEETING     02/13/17

The Dierks School Board will hold their February meeting Monday, February 13th at 6:00 pm in the Dierks High School Library.

McCURTAIN COUNTY SEARCH FOR MISSING PERSONS      02/13/17

Authorities in McCurtain County conducted over the weekend what they're calling the biggest search they've ever done.

McCurtain County Sheriff's deputies set up a mobile command center near Eagletown public schools for a weekend search that began early Saturday morning.

McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy said that on January  20th, a dog retrieved a human skull and another bone near a wooded area in Eagletown. A search was conducted after the discovery that yielded no further remains.

Sheriff Clardy says the searchers were concentrating on an approximate four mile radius of the area where the skeletal remains were found. Sheriff Clardy says that if authorities and volunteers don't find anything, they'll spread their search out from there.

The McCurtain County Sheriff's Department has been working on a missing person case since the summer of 2015. However, it's not known if the skull and remains found belong to the missing man. Sheriff Clardy hopes the search will uncover other items to help identify the remains.

AMAZON TO BEGIN COLLECTING SALES TAX IN ARKANSAS IN MARCH      02/13/17

Amazon announced Friday that it will begin collecting sales tax next month in Arkansas, which lawmakers say could generate as much as $100 million to help lift the state’s lagging revenue and potentially fund future tax cuts.

Amazon said Arkansas will be the latest state where the e-commerce has relented after years of resisting effort to collect taxes in states where it doesn’t have a physical presence.

The decision comes days after Arkansas lawmakers advanced efforts to force Amazon to begin collecting sales taxes. Lawmakers who filed bills say they plan to move forward with them, saying it’s still needed to recover tax funds from other out-of-state companies. Amazon currently collects taxes in 38 states and the District of Columbia, and the e-commerce giant has collected or was preparing to collect sales taxes in every state bordering Arkansas prior to Friday’s announcement.
 

FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD WILD GAME COOK-OFF        02/13/17

The De Queen First Assembly of God Ironmen’s Ministry will hold their annual wild game cook-off on Friday, February 24th at the First Assembly Fellowship Building on West Collin Raye Drive. There’s no entry fee to enter your wild game dish in the competition, and there a several nice prizes that’ll be given away. All entries need to be at the church by 6:00 on February 24th. If you plan to enter a dish, please call First Assembly at 870-584-3435. If you don’t plan to enter a dish, be there at 6:30 to eat and enjoy a good program featuring guest speaker Kenny Mannes. Again, that’s the annual wild game cook-off on Friday, February 24th at the First Assembly of God Church in De Queen.
 

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL TO MEET       02/13/17

The Lockesburg City Council will meet in regular session Tuesday, February 14th at 6:00 at Lockesburg City Hall.

The Lockesburg Aldermen will review details from the February 7th public hearing to identify and prioritize the community needs of Lockesburg in anticipation of applying for an Arkansas Community Economic Development Program grant funds.

The Lockesburg Council will hear Department reports and review the personnel policy. The meeting is open to the public.
 

UA COSSATOT FOUNDATION RECEIVES LEGACY CAMPAIGN DONATION      02/13/17

The Legacy 2020 Campaign, a capital fundraising project of the UA Cossatot Foundation, has received a donation from Dewayne and Janice Mack. As a result of the donation, the Educational Resource Center located on the De Queen campus in the Alison Technology Building will be named the Dewayne and Janice Mack ERC.

UA Cossatot Foundation’s Legacy 2020 Campaign focuses on donars and corporations that wish to invest in the growth of the college on all three campuses. For every donation amount, a naming opportunity exists for donars who wish to leave a legacy for future students.

For more information, contact Dustin Roberts, Coordinator of Development, at 870-584-4471.

 

HUMAN REMAINS FOUND ON RED RIVER IDENTIFIED     02/10/17

On September 8th, 2014, a group of hunters found a human cranium on a sand bar on the Red River near Fulton in Southwest Arkansas. The cranium was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory.

The State Crime Lab forwarded the remains to the Center for Human Identification at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. The cranium was then sent to the Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology on September 30th, 2014.

The findings of the Forensic Anthropologist were released Thursday of this week. The cranium is consistent with a young American Indian male.

The practice of modifying the frontal bones of the skull was common in the Caddo Indians prior to the arrival of the French in the late 17th century. Given this feature and the recovery location within the historic Caddo area, the Forensic Anthropologist summarizes that the cranium is quite possible the remains of a Caddo Indian.

 

JO ANN WALTERS ELEMENTARY STUDENTS 2ND IN QUIZ BOWL     2/10/17

The 5th/6th grade team from Jo Ann Walters Elementary in Dierks competed against 17 other teams at the Murfreesboro Invitational Quiz Bowl Tournament held Thursday February 9th. They eventually met Arkadelphia in the finals and narrowly missed claiming the top spot by just 5 points.

Team members are Sydney Mounts, Rustin Simmons, Captain Mackay Smith, Jenna Bray and Lillian Glass.

ANNUAL COMMUNITY AUCTION BRINGS IN BIG MONIES     02/10/17

The 6th Annual Community Auction sponsored by the community Advisory Team and the Ashdown community Foundation was held on Saturday, Feb 4th in Ashdown. Over 400 people were in attendance and over $60,000 raised for community. This was the largest auction to date. Their 6 auctions have raised over $235,000.

Past monies have been used for projects in downtown Ashdown (Pocket Park, Murals, Facelift on Community Library, Sidewalks, Street Lights, etc.) Also, the City Park (New Pavilion, Restrooms, Horseshoe Pits, Repaint Playground Equipment, etc.)

New money will continue to be used to focus on community development projects in the downtown and city park areas.

The community auctions are a great way for everyone to be able to give back to the community. It's exciting to see what a community can accomplish when they pull together for a cause.

ALLERGY AND FLU UPDATE     2/10/17

It's been warm the past few days, and the extended forecast calls for warm temperatures over the next seven to ten days. Dr. Jason Lofton says the weather conditions have caused allergy problems for several area residents.

Dr. Lofton stresses that allergies don't have to remain a part of your life. He encourages allergy testing. A simple procedure could save you significant monies on medications, and give you some much-needed relief.

Dr. Lofton says he hasn't seen a widespread outbreak of the flu in our area that other parts of the sate have been experiencing.

Sleep, good eating habits, and exercise are all ingredients toward your good health. Dr. Lofton encourages you to make it a family affair and encourage exercise for all ages.

De queen rotary club sponsoring boulevard of flags     2/10/17

Residents of Sevier County can display their patriotism while supporting local community projects through a new program organized by the De Queen Rotary Club. De Queen Rotarians will sell American flags to homeowners, businesses and churches as a way to promote patriotism in the community while
honoring the sacrifices made by military servicemen and women to preserve the nation's freedoms.

Rotarians will provide placement of U.S. flags during five holidays:

Memorial Day (May 29)
Flag Day (June 14)
Independence Day (July 4)
Labor Day (Sept. 4)
Veterans Day (Nov. 11)

After each holiday, the flags will be removed and stored until the next designated holiday. The yearly cost is $50 per flag. For 10 or more flags, cost is $40 each.

To place your order Click here for an application, or for more information, contact Jerry Don Roberts at (870) 279-1175 or (870) 584-7324, or Tammy Huddleston at (870) 584-2550.

pOLK COUNTY UNDER BURN BAN     2/10/17

Just a reminder to our listeners in the northern part of our coverage area, Polk County is under an outdoor burning ban until further notice. The dry weather conditions and occasional gusty winds have combined to create high wildfire damage in Polk County, Arkansas and in Leflore County, Oklahoma. To report a wildfire in Arkansas, dial 800-468-8834 or dial 911. Firefighters in Polk County have responded to numerous grass fires in the past two weeks.

MINERAL SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL OFF THE DISTRESS LIST      2/10/17

The State Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday morning to remove one school district and ten schools from academic distress classification.

Mineral Springs High School was among the ten schools removed from the academic distress list. A school is classified as being in academic stress after 49.5% of their students did not achieve proficient or advanced in math and literacy in the past three years.

The Arkansas Board of Education recommended removing Mineral Springs High School from the distress list Thursday after improvements were made.
 

IDABEL LUMBER AND HARDWARE STORE DESTROYED BY FIRE 2/10/17

More than three dozen firefighters answered the call after flames overtook a lumber and hardware store in McCurtain County Thursday night.

The massive lumber yard fire happened just after 10:00 Thursday night at OK Lumber Company in the 1800 block of Southeast Street in Idabel.

A firefighter says 42 firefighters and 13 rigs were called out to fight the fire.

No injuries were reported. Firefighters say no one was inside the building when the fire started. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Horatio School Board Meets Monday     2/9/17

The Horatio School Board will have their regular monthly meeting on Monday, February 13th at 6:00 pm in the Horatio High School Family and Consumer Classroom. Among the items on the agenda: The Horatio Board will discuss iPads with Sole-Source as the provider. The Board will discuss a Booster Club Playground at Lane Fields. Board policies will be reviewed, and the Horatio School Board will discuss a proposal for a school bus. Following Superintendent Lee Smith's report to the board and a review of enrollment statistics, the Horatio Board will discuss personnel. In personnel matters, the Board will accept a resignation and hire a Special Education Para-Professional. The meeting is open to the public.

albert pike flood consolidated federal lawsuit pending     2/9/17

a consolidated federal lawsuit stemming from a 2010 flood at Albert Pike Recreation Area that killed 20 people is now pending before a judge.

U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey will decide soon if the case will proceed or be dismissed.

The 11 lawsuits, which have been consolidated to one, allege that the government was aware of the risks of camping in Albert Pike when campers were trapped in the 2010 flood. The flood caused Little Missouri River water levels in the Ouachita National Forest to rise from 3 to 23 feet.

The U.S. government argues that the Arkansas Recreational Use Statute prohibits claims for damages unless actual malice or the desire to harm others is present, it motioned to dismiss the case in 2015.

state capital report     2/9/17

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law Wednesday a bill that will tie student progress among the state's college students to higher education funding. The bill will base the state's higher education formula to student progress instead of the current formula, which is based on student enrollment. According to the bill, the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board will create policies for the state's two and four year colleges and universities. Funding will be based on the completion of student educational goals, progression toward students' completion of programs of study, and the differences in missions for colleges and universities. The bill will also work on helping students transfer from two to four year colleges, plus push for more students graduation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields as well as high demand fields.

The Arkansas House has approved legislation that's aimed at recovering million of dollars in tax revenue from Amazon and other online retailers that the state is missing out on each year. The House approved by a 54-26 vote to require out-of-state companies without a physical presence in Arkansas to inform customers from the state that they owe the tax and to provide a list to finance officials about purchases made within the state. The proposal, which now goes to the Senate as Senate Bill 140, is one of two bills aimed at forcing Amazon to begin collecting sales taxes in the state. Arkansas is one of a handful of states where Amazon doesn't have a distribution center or office, and doesn't collect sales taxes.

quorum court meeting scheduled     2/9/17

The Sevier County Quorum Court will have their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, February 13th at 2:00 in the Courthouse Conference Room.

There are two items on the agenda: The J.P.'s will confirm the appointment of Jamie Godwin to the Sevier County Library Board to fill a vacancy. The J.P.'s will also discuss a proposed ordinance amending the payroll policy in the Sevier county Employee Handbook regarding the Criminal Justice Department.

This meeting is open to the public.

BLACK HISTORY DISPLAY AT THE SEVIER COUNTY MUSEUM    2/9/17 - 2/11/17

This week, the Sevier County Museum has a Black History display on loan from the Arkansas Humanities Council. The display is called Persistence of the Spirit and has 48 panels of pictures.

The Museum will be open for showing on Thursday February 9th and Saturday February 11th this week.

The Sevier County Museum is located on Walter Leeper Drive in the Herman Dierks Park in De Queen.

sTART YOUR COUNTY FAIR PROJECTS NOW     2/9/17

even though the Sevier and Little River County Fairs are not until August, now's the time to begin work on what you plan to enter in the Education Building this year. Items can include arts and crafts, food preservation, sewing, photography, quilting, jewelry, weaving, candy, baked goods, pottery and more!

Anyone who lives in Sevier or Little River Counties, from small children to the oldest adults can enter your County Fair. It's always fun to make things with others, so consider asking friends to get together to work on projects for the fair. You might consider making items with children or grandchildren. They usually enjoy creating things they can enter in the fair and maybe even win a ribbon.

So be thinking and planning for what you and your family might enter in your County Fair this August!

ARKANSAS AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT OPENS THE 2017 CENTURY FARM PROGRAM THROUGH MAY    2/9/17

The Arkansas Agriculture Department is now accepting applications for 2017 Arkansas Century Farm Inductees. Century Farm families have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. This program honors Arkansas' rich agriculture heritage, and since the beginning in 2012, has certified 341 farms and families. To qualify, farms must meet the following criteria: The same family must have owned the farm for 100 years by December 31, 2017. The line of ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings, and nephews and nieces, including through marriage and adoption. And, the farm must be at least 10 acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.

Arkansas has over 43,000 farms, across 13 million acres. There is no cost to apply for the Century Farm program. Applications may be obtained at: aad.arkansas.gov or by calling Mary Elizabeth Lea at 501 683 4851. Applications must be postmarked by May 31st to be eligible for designation as an inductee farm this year.

Justin Kramer submits resignation     2/9/17

Justin Kramer submitted his resignation as head football coach of the De Queen Leopards on Wednesday. Coach Kramer has accepted the position of Athletic Director/Head Football Coach at Conway Christian School. In his four years at the helm of the Leopards, Coach Kramer’s teams finished 8-32. Seven of those wins came during the last two seasons. School officials say the search for a new football coach would begin immediately.

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL REPORT     2/8/17

The De Queen City Council met in regular session Tuesday night at the De Queen City Hall. The Council passed a resolution to authorize the signing of an engineering agreement with A.F. Franks Engineering of Texarkana to work on projects at the water treatment plant and at the sewer plant. Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy says that the bid opening for the replacement of a filter media at the water treatment plant will be February 14th. The other project is to replace a screw pump at the sewer plant. Both projects are included in the 2017 City budget.

The month of February is Children’s Dental Health Month. The staff at Smiles of Arkansas Dental Center made a presentation about their operation at Tuesday night’s Council meeting, and Mayor McKelvy issued a proclamation for Children’s Dental Health Month in February.

The Council was introduced to the newest member of the Police Department, Kilo, the drug dog. Kilo’s handler will be Patrolman J.J. Lopez. The dog was acquired from the Howard County Sheriff’s Office. Mayor McKelvy says that Kilo is friendly, can detect several types of drugs, can track, and bite if necessary. Patrolman Lopez will attend two weeks of training exercises with the drug dog in March.

In other De Queen City Council business Tuesday night, the Council amended the Park’s Department Budget to provide an additional $260 to purchase a new truck. The Council also discussed possible uses for the 1940’s House in Herman Dierks Park. No action was taken. Following the Tuesday night meeting, the De Queen City Council held a workshop session to discuss a compensation plan for the Sanitation Department as well as sanitation rates. Again, no action was taken on either item.

UA COSSATOT SPRING ENROLLMENT INCREASES    2/7/17

The student census numbers have been tabulated for the UA Cossatot’s spring semester, and it shows an increase in students compared to the same time a year ago.

UA Cossatot continues to add new programs to help recruit students. A Physical Therapy Assistant program was added in the fall, and the College recently incorporated Instrumentation into the Industrial Electricity curriculum.

Hours of operation have also been extended so that students can build a class schedule to accommodate their work hours. This allowed students with jobs and families some flexibility to increase their skills and education. These efforts netted UA Cossatot a nine percent gain in “working students”.

In some other interesting statistics provided by UA Cossatot: the Spring 2017 enrollment is made up of 64% females. 10% of the UA Cossatot students fully take courses online. The youngest student enrolled is 14 years old, while the oldest student is 77 years old. About 97% of the student body is from Arkansas. However, there is one student who’s a resident of the state of New York!

GOVERNOR TO ATTEND DIVERSITY FEST     2/7/17

The University of Arkansas Cossatot announced Monday that Governor Asa Hutchinson will be attending the annual Diversity Fest event. This year's celebration is scheduled for Saturday, May 6th at the Sportplex and Cossatot Amphitheater on West Collin Raye Drive in De Queen. More details will be available as the event gets closer.

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL MEETING     2/7/17

The De Queen City Council will meet in regular session tonight (Tuesday) at 6:00 p.m. at the De Queen City Hall. The De Queen Council will hear a presentation from Smiles of Arkansas regarding a proclamation for Children's Dental Health Month. The Council will discuss a drug dog for the De Queen Police Department. The Council will discuss possible uses for the 1940's House in Herman Dierks Park. The Council will increase the Park's Department budget by $260 to cover the cost of a new truck that went over budget. Finally, the De Queen City Council will act on a resolution to authorize the signing of an Engineering contract. Following the meeting, the Council will go into a workshop session to discuss a compensation plan for the sanitation department and discuss sanitation rates. The meeting is open to the public

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD REPORT     2/7/17

The De Queen School Board held their regular monthly meeting Monday night in the De Queen School Administration Building.

Following a 31 minute executive session, the De Queen School Board accepted the resignation of Middle School Principal Brenda Leeper, and the Board voted to open up the Middle School Principal’s position to all applicants.
The Board hired Miranda Allen as DI Paraprofessional to finish out the school year.

Finally in personnel matters, the De Queen Board voted to rehire all the current administrators for the 2017-2018 school year.

In other De Queen School Board business, Stefani Jones reported on the progress of the Show Choir fundraising for their March trip to Orlando, Florida. The total cost of the trip is estimated to be $32,200. To date, the students have raised $28,615.67. The De Queen Board voted to contribute $3,600 to finish out the funds needed.

Superintendent Bruce Hill reported that the demolition of the old storage building by the football field is almost completed. Hill also reported that the awning behind the middle school is being replaced starting this week. The De Queen Board was informed about a large sink hole that has been discovered in the parking lot by the coliseum. Repairs are underway to fix that problem.

Superintendent Hill gave an enrollment report stating that there are presently 2,385 students enrolled in De Queen Schools.

The De Queen Board voted to renew the Errors and Omissions insurance policy. The Board approved a Student Council trip to the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock. The Senior Trip to Dallas was approved. The 2015-2016 Legislative audit was approved. And, the January meeting minutes were approved and the January bills were approved for payment.

The next De Queen School Board meeting was scheduled for Monday, March 13th at 5:00 at the School Administration Building.

SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT – JANUARY REPORT    2/6/17

Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry issued his Department's Activity Report for the month of January Monday. Deputies answered 147 complaints, worked 19 traffic accidents, conducted 250 traffic stops, issued 38 citations and 212 warnings, served 36 civil processing papers, and conducted 1,329 building checks and 22 residential checks. During the month of January, Deputies patrolled a total of 24,627 miles, and were on duty 2,355 hours. Total bookings into the Sevier County Jail were 111. And the Department has one deputy enrolled in the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.

Sheriff Gentry has broken down this information into eight areas of Sevier County: Provo, Greens Chapel, and Red Wing; Lockesburg; Ben Lomond; Central area; Horatio; Gillham; Chapel Hill, Beacon Hill, West Line, and Otis areas; and the De Queen area.

In issuing the report, Sheriff Gentry says: “The activity sheet is something I initiated when I took Office. I feel as though I owe it to the taxpayers of Sevier County to show what the Sheriff’s Office is doing. The Deputies have also found that by doing the activity sheet, they are seeing areas that they need to work on as an individual. This will help us serve the County better”, Sheriff Gentry said.

CONTROLLED BURNS PLANNED FOR LAKE GREESON AREA    2/6/17

Lake Greeson Natural Resource Personnel will be conducting a series of controlled burns over the next few months in many of their campgrounds and forested areas. Prescribed burning promotes forest health and improves habitat for wildlife by encouraging new forbs and grasses in the understory of the forest. Careful planning is in place to minimize the impact of smoke on nearby residents and communities. They want to remind hunters that the policy for using hunting stands and ground blinds on Corps property reads just like those on State Wildlife Management areas. Lake Greeson Natural Resource Personnel realize that some hunters may still have hunting stands and ground blinds in the forested areas, and they ask that they be removed quickly, so they aren’t destroyed by the prescribed burn activities.

Driver Charged with Meth Possession After Traffic Accident    2/6/17

On Sunday, February 5th at 10:13 P.M., Sevier County Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Harper was dispatched to a one vehicle accident at the intersection of Dogtown Road and Treating Plant Road, just southwest of De Queen. City of De Queen Police Corporal James Gilbert also responded to the call.

Officers discovered that 37 year old Kerri Ballew of De Queen had wrecked her 2011 Ford Mustang. Ballew told authorities that a deer had run out in front of her, causing her to miss a stop sign, and she slid across the road into the ditch on the east side of the Treating Plant Road. Officers noticed a folded cigarette paper on the ground a few feet away. When they unwrapped the paper, they found a small zip lock baggie containing a substance believed to be methamphetamine.

Ballew was taken into custody, transported to the Sevier County Jail, and charged with possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

HORATIO MAN ARRESTED FOR PUBLIC INTOXICATION AND SHOPLIFTING     2/6/17

Sergeant Greg Davignon of the Sevier County Sheriff’s Department was dispatched to the Dollar General Store in Horatio on Saturday, February 4th at 8:29 P.M. to respond to a report of an intoxicated person falling down and being loud inside the store.

Sergeant Davignon recognized the suspect, 26 year old Clinton Moss of Horatio, and asked him to step outside the store. Sergeant Davigon smelled a strong alcohol odor, and noticed a lump in front of the hoodie that Moss was wearing. When Moss raised the hoodie, there were a couple of items stuffed down in the front of his pants. A Universal Remote and a Christmas music C.D. were recovered with a total value of $18.68.

Moss was transported to the Sevier County Jail and charged with public intoxication and shoplifting.

2016 Super Bowl Squares Winner   2/6/17

After what looked like a sure loss for the 4 time Superbowl Champs, New England Patriots, Tom Brady rallied the team to make up a 25 point deficit to claim the title for a 5th time.

AFC’s New England Patriots      34          NFC’s Atlanta Falcons                28

The icing on the cake for Anita Barfield is the $1,000 prize from Number One Country’s Super Bowl Squares contest.   Nita had 4 for the Patriots and 8 for the Falcons, so she will pick up a check for $1,000 compliments of #1 Country, De Queen Auto Group, H&R Block, Baker's Bargain House, Fat Chance's, Coy Wiles Tire Company, Harris Drug, Ranch House, Southeast Feed, Discount Tire & Alignment, Horatio State Bank,  James Hodge Dodge, Green's Jewelry, First State Insurance, and B&B Junction.

 

 

 

 

VETERANS INVITED TO FEBRUARY 13 PURPLE HEART CEREMONY        2/3/17

 

Local military veterans are invited to attend a ceremony commemorating the City of De Queen being designated as a "Purple Heart City" and Sevier County being designated as a "Purple Heart County" on Monday, February 13th at 3 p.m. following the Sevier County Quorum Court meeting. The ceremony will be held in the Courthouse conference room.

 

De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy and Sevier County Judge Greg Ray recently issued proclamations declaring the city's and county's respective affiliations with the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which is a congressionally-charted veterans' organization.

 

De Queen and Sevier County have been added to the Purple Heart Trail, which is a non-continuous system of counties, cities, highways, bridges and monuments that recognize the men and women who have earned the Purple Heart. The Purple Heart is a U.S. military decoration that's awarded to those who are wounded or killed while serving.

 

Victor Rojas said the Purple Heart designations are a way to honor local veterans, particularly the Purple Heart recipients. He also said it's a way for us to show our appreciation for their great sacrifices, while defending our freedoms.

 

 

HORATIO ELEMENTARY HOLDING A BLOOD DRIVE FEBRUARY 16TH      2/3/17

 

LifeShare Blood Centers and the Horatio Elementary School would like to invite the public to a blood drive on Thursday, February 16th at the elementary school at 205 Isbell Street in Horatio from 1 to 6 p.m. on the LifeShare bus.

 

According to LifeShare Blood Centers, volunteer blood donation is vital to many treatments that are needed by patients, including those with cancer, blood disorders and accident victims.

 

For more information, go to www.lifeshare.org or call 903794-3173.

 

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

 

 

ARKANSAS MAY BE IN STORE FOR A LATE FLU SEASON      2/3/17

 

Sevier County Health Officer Dr. Jason Lofton stated the Center for Disease Control is reporting widespread flu cases across the country, but according to Lofton Arkansas is not considered widespread yet.

 

Lofton said if you have not had a flu shot yet, you can still get one at the Sevier County Health Unit. He said if you catch the flu after getting the shot, the symptoms will be milder.

 

Lofton said the flu is a virus and he encouraged residents to wash their hands regularly and to cough and sneeze into their elbow.

 

Lofton also reported Sevier County is considered one of the unhealthiest counties in the state. He explained people can improve their health by simply cutting back on how much they eat and by getting more active than they are now.

 

For more information about the flu or other health issues, contact the Sevier County Health Unit at 642-2535.

 

 

MAUD RESIDENT ARRESTED IN DE QUEEN ON DRUG CHARGES       2/3/17

 

The De Queen Police Department released a statement Friday morning stating officers with the De Queen Police Department arrested a Maud, Texas resident following a traffic stop at the Exxon Service Station in De Queen.

 

Chief of Police Scott Simmons reported that during the traffic stop, officers discovered several containers in the vehicle that contained a white crystal like substance that was believed to be methamphetamine.

 

The driver was identified as 40-year-old Christopher Brown.

 

Brown was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held in the Sevier County jail on a $20,000 bond.

 

 

DIERKS RESIDENT ARRESTED AT DIERKS LAKE        2/3/17

 

Sunday, January 29th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputies Matt Webb and Kristyn Reed noticed a vehicle parked in a dark area, while patrolling near the boat ramp on the Dierks Lake.

 

According to the incident report, there were two people in the vehicle and when the deputies approached the vehicle, they could smell burning marijuana.

 

After speaking to the two occupants, the deputies found some marijuana under the passenger seat. They also found two grinders with marijuana residue on them and two clothe zipped bags that contained two smoking pipes.

 

The driver, Justin Myers of Dierks allegedly admitted the marijuana and the drug paraphernalia belonged to him. He was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

The female passenger was released.

 

 

OZAN RESIDENT ARRESTED IN SEVIER COUNTY       2/3/17

 

Sunday night, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Wenndall Randell was dispatched to Lockesburg to investigate a suspicious vehicle that was parked in a driveway.

 

According to the reporting party, the driver identified himself as Jonathan Hopson of Eagletown, Oklahoma and he told the property owner that he was lost and trying to get to Horatio.

 

After getting a description of the vehicle, Randell spotted the vehicle traveling north on Highway 71 as it was turning east onto Provo Road.

 

During the traffic stop, Hopson told Randell that they were on their way to the home of Robin Whisenhunt's mom to do some repair work, but they got lost.

 

Randell was then informed that Whisenhunt had an outstanding warrant from the City of De Queen and the other passenger, Jeremy Hill of Ozan had an outstanding warrant out of Hempstead County.

 

Whisenhunt was placed in Randell's car without incident. But, while searching Hopson's vehicle, Randell found a green cloth bag that contained a black case. The case contained a set of digital scales, plastic bags and other items, including two straws that contained suspected methamphetamine. Hill allegedly admitted the items belonged to him and he was booked into the Sevier County jail on the outstanding warrant and then charged with two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of a controlled substance, meth.

 

 

ARCHERY IN THE SCHOOLS REGIONAL TOURNAMENTS FEBRUARY 11TH        2/3/17

 

The Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program's 2017 regional tournaments will be held at a dozen schools throughout the state on February 11th. The program was established by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in 2008.

 

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission program coordinator, Curtis Gray said there are about 550 schools participating in the program throughout the state. He said that's about 50 percent of the schools in Arkansas.

 

Gray said the program's growth spurred a change from one statewide meet a year to regional qualifying tournaments in 2013 because the commission could not handle the volume of students that were competing in the two-day event.

 

This year, two additional tournament locations have been added to accommodate the continued growth. Gray said by the time the last arrow is fired on tournament day, scores will be submitted by nearly 6,000 students.

 

Gray said the first flights will get started at 8:30 a.m. and there are flights scheduled every hour with dozens of schools in each flight. He said there are divisions for elementary, middle school and high school aged archers.

 

The Region 9 tournament will be held at the South Pike County School in Delight.

 

The top three teams in each division from each regional will be invited to the state championship tournament, March 3rd and 4th in Hot Springs. An additional 12 teams representing the host schools of the regional tournaments will be given entry into the state championship tournament.

 

 

ARKANSAS HIGHWAY COMMISSION APPROVES BIDS FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN LITTLE RIVER, SEVIER AND HOWARD COUNTIES      2/2/17

 

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to roadways in Little River, Sevier and Howard counties, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department officials.

 

The purpose of the Little River County project is to resurface 1.3 miles of various city streets in Foreman, including 10th Avenue and 3rd Street; 1.8 miles of various city streets in Ogden, including Elm Street, Pine Street, Oak Street, Grand Street, 4th Street, 3rd Street and 1st Street; and 1.1 miles of various city streets in Wilton, including North Street, Douglas Avenue, 5th Street, Black Street and South Street.

 

This project was awarded to R.K. Hall of Paris, Texas for the amount of $807,923.

 

The purpose of the Sevier County project is to resurface 1.4 miles of various city streets in Ben Lomond, including Wilson Creek Road and North Main Street.

 

The purpose of the Howard County project is to resurface 1.4 miles of various city streets in Tollette, including Oak Street, Pump Station Street, Washington Street, Peach Street, Bradford Loop, Pine Street, Silver Street and Town Hall Drive.

 

Tri-State Asphalt of De Queen was awarded the projects in Sevier and Howard counties for the amount of $498,036.15.

 

Construction is scheduled to begin within the next two to four weeks, and be completed by mid-2017.

 

For travel information on Arkansas highways visit the website IDriveArkansas.com or ArkansasHighways.com. You can also follow the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department on  Twitter @AHTD.

 

 

CITY OF LOCKESBURG TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING      2/2/17

 

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 7th at 6 p.m. at Lockesburg City Hall for the purpose of identifying and prioritizing the community needs in Lockesburg.

 

Mayor Danny Ruth said they will also be determining whether an application for Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program funds should be developed and if so, for what community need. Ruth said projects will be discussed, especially those that will have a possible impact on the community. He said they will also decide whether the city should apply for funding for the project.

 

The ACEDP funds are federal assistance funds that have been received by the state and are being administered by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. These funds will be made available to cities and counties according to need and can be used for housing rehabilitation, community facilities or economic development, but must address one of the following objectives:

1) It must provide a benefit to low and moderate income families.

2) It must aid in the prevention of slum and blight.

Or, 3) It must meet other community needs, which pose a serious, immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community where no other funding is available to meet such needs.

 

All residents of Lockesburg are encouraged to attend the hearing and participate in the community development process.

 

 

DE QUEEN RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR DRUG PARAPHERNALIA      2/2/17

 

Tuesday evening, Sergeant Greg Davignon of the Sevier County Sheriff's office witnessed a vehicle pull out of the parking lot of the North Point Auto Dealership. Davignon reported he started following the vehicle because the owner of the dealership filed a report with the sheriff's office stating several vehicles had been broken into Monday night.

 

Davignon conducted a traffic stop and explained to the driver, 23-year-old Anthony Westbrook of De Queen why he had pulled him over. However, when Westbrook attempted to retrieve his license and proof of insurance, Davignon noticed a red and white straw in the console that Westbrook attempted to hide.

 

After asking Westbrook about the straw, Westbrook allegedly admitted that he had smoked meth a couple of days before, but he had forgotten that the straw was in the console.

 

Westbrook was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

LOCKESBURG RESIDENT CHARGED WITH RETALIATION AGAINST A WITNESS        2/2/17

 

Monday, January 30th, Lockesburg resident Gabe Bell was arrested after he sold some marijuana to a confidential informant for the Sevier County Sheriff's Office.

 

Bell was charged with a misdemeanor count of delivery of a controlled substance and according to jail records, Bell bonded out on Tuesday, January 31st.

 

Later that same day, the informant informed the Sevier County Sheriff's Office that Bell was posting threatening photos and statements on Snapchat.

 

The informant reported she felt Bell may try to harm her because she provided the sheriff's office with information that lead to his arrest.

 

Bell was arrested Tuesday and was charged with a felony count of retaliation against a witness, informant or juror.

 

 

AARP PROGRAM PROVIDES FREE TAX PREPARATION SERVICES      2/2/17

 

The federal income-tax filing deadline is April 18th, and if you can't afford professional help with your tax return, free assistance is available. The AARP Foundation's Tax-Aide Program offers no cost services in Arkansas, preparing federal and state tax returns.

 

Kim Labbate, a training coordinator with Tax-Aide in Little Rock, says you don't need to be an AARP member or even a senior adult to get their help.

 

Labbate says Tax-Aide will be offered at 21 locations in Arkansas this year, including senior adult centers, libraries and community centers. To find a Tax-Aide site in your area, go to www.aarp.org/findtaxhelp or call 1-888-AARPNOW or 1-888-227-7669. Dates and times of operations will vary by site and services will be available through the tax-filing date.

 

Labbate says in 2016, AARP Foundation Tax-Aide volunteers helped more than 24,000 Arkansans file their tax returns, helping them get more than $16 million dollars in refunds and $3.6 million dollars in Earned Income Tax Credits. She says it's important for people seeking assistance to make sure they bring all of the right documents.

 

She adds that while they can prepare most types of returns, there are some tax forms, such as calculating home-office deductions or rental property income that they do not handle. Tax-Aide officials recommend checking with them ahead of time to make sure they can prepare all the forms that you need on your return.

 

 

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL PLANNING ALUMNI GAME FOR FEBRUARY 25TH             2/2/17

 

De Queen High School baseball coach, Beau McCastlain announced he plans to take the De Queen Leopards to Gulf Shores Alabama over the spring break holiday to play in the Gulf South Classic baseball tournament.

 

McCastlain said players are selling Sonic discount cards for $5 each and 250 raffle tickets for $50 each for a lawnmower to raise funds for their trip and other program needs.

 

McCastlain said they are also planning an alumni game this year on February 25th. He said if you are interested in participating in the alumni game, you should call him at 870-279-4479.

 

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

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS AND 10 OTHER SCHOOLS COULD LOSE ACADEMIC DISTRESS LABEL      2/1/17

 

The Arkansas Department of Education is recommending that the Mineral Springs High School and 10 others schools throughout the state be removed from the list of academically distressed schools.

 

The department says the Mineral Springs High School and the other schools have made sufficient gains on state tests to lose the academic-distress label.

 

The 10 schools are: Mineral Springs High School, Belair Middle School in Pine Bluff, Blytheville High School, Dermott High School, J.A. Fair and McClellan high schools in Little Rock, Jacksonville Middle School, Little Rock Preparatory Academy Elementary, Pine Bluff High School and Watson Chapel High School.

 

The State Board of Education will vote on the recommendations on February 9th.

 

SEARCHING FOR DIAMONDS IN THE WINTER IS FUN       2/1/17

 

Crater of Diamonds State Park interpreter Waymon Cox says searching for diamonds during the winter has some perks besides just being cooler. He said summer time is the most popular time that people visit the park and search for diamonds, but it's quieter and more serene during the winter.

 

Cox said the winter rains cause a lot of erosion in the park's plowed search area, which creates a better opportunity to find a diamond. He said if you are planning a trip to the park this winter, you need to remember to be prepared for all types of weather, and he suggested you start by wearing the proper footwear because the search area can be very muddy and hard to navigate.

 

Cox said without the right shoes, your feet will get cold and wet and you will abandon your search. He suggests you wear waterproof boots with thick socks and bring a walking stick or long-handle shovel to help you keep your balance while walking through muddy areas.

 

Cox also stated the diamond search area is fairly flat and has very few trees to block the wind, so, he suggests you wear a coat or jacket with a face mask and gloves to protect your face and hands.

 

Cox said you should also bring a bucket or some other type of container, so you can carry sifted gravel home with you because about half of the diamonds registered at the park are found by visitors after they get at home.

 

The Crater of Diamonds State Park is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for more information call the park at 870-285-3113.

 

 

6th ANNUAL COMMUNITY AUCTION IS THIS SATURDAY       2/1/17

 

The Domtar Community Advisory Team will be hosting their 6th annual Community Auction this Saturday at the Ashdown High School. Little River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fonda Hawthorne stated the event raises money for community improvements. She said it also help bring the community together for a common cause.

 

Last year, the community auction raised about $45,000 and since 2011, the auction has raised around $175,000.

 

Hawthorne said funds have been used to construct a pocket-park in downtown Ashdown, make sidewalk improvements, paint the community library, construct a pavilion at the city park and expand the city park's horseshoe pits. She said they've also purchased banners and street lights.

 

Hawthorne said this year's event will include a live auction, a silent auction, a penny auction, a bake sale and a prize raffle.

 

So far this year, area businesses have donated a drone, a hoverboard, some firearms, Yeti coolers, hunting accessories, Razorback items, gift certificates, Dallas Cowboy items and fire pits. Hawthorne said there's literally something for everyone.

 

Hawthorne said there’ll also have concessions and a children's activity area.

 

The doors will open at 4 p.m. and the event will begin at 6.

 

 

LIBRARY SNIPPETS     2/1/17

 

The head librarian of the Sevier County Library System, Johnye Fisher announced the De Queen branch will host a Valentine Story and Movie time on Wednesday, February 8th at 4 p.m.

 

Fisher said De Queen Librarian, Carolyn Jones will read "Valentine's Day is Cool" and they will watch the movie, "Hurray! It's Valentine's Day." Fisher also stated the first 30 children will receive a goody bag.

 

Fisher also mentioned the De Queen Library is offering an adult activity time on Wednesday's at 10 a.m. She said participates are enjoying coloring, dominos, games, cards and of course books. For more information, call the De Queen Library at 584-4364.

 

Fisher said the Horatio Library currently has 11 of the top 15 listed best sellers on the shelves due the assistance of the Tri-County Regional Library System.

 

February is Black History Month and the Horatio Library wil feature the book, "Ruled by Race" which was written by Grif Stockley. Stockley lives in Arkansas and has worked with the Center for Arkansas Legal Services, the Disability Center and the Arkansas branch of the ACLU.

 

The Horatio Library will also be showing movies every Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

 

Fisher said the Lockesburg Library is offering a "Mom and Me" program. She said moms and toddlers get a chance to interact, play and learn. Organizers are also planning to include a "Mom's Book Club" and discussion group in the "Mom and Me" program.

 

The Lockesburg Library is also offering “Letter of the Week” packets so parents can take them home and use with their preschool children.

 

For more information about the Lockesburg Library call 870-289-2233.

 

Fisher also reported the Gillham Library has a new book on the shelf entitled "The Last Ranch" to get on the reserved reading list call 870-386-5665 or stop the library every Tuesday or Thursday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or on Saturdays from 9 to 2.

 

 

 

VICE PRESIDENT OF LITTLE ROCK BRANCH OF FEDERAL RESERVE BANK VISITS DE QUEEN          1/31/17

 

Monday morning, Senior Vice-President of the Little Rock Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Robert Hopkins visited the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot and spoke to local bankers and citizens about the work of the Federal Reserve.

 

Hopkins stated the Federal Reserve is made up of 12 independent regional reserve banks. He said the Little Rock branch is a part of the 8th District, which is headquartered in St. Louis.

 

Hopkins said the Federal Reserve mandates are to keep the inflation rate low and stable and support the maximum sustainable employment rate.

 

Hopkins also stated that he could not speak directly about the current economic conditions of Southwest Arkansas because the Federal Open Market Committee is meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Washington D.C., but he did answer a few questions.

 

Hopkins was asked about the possibility of less federal regulations for banking institutions. First State Bank President Gary Golden said smaller banks can and are working under the federal regulations, but want the federal government to re-evaluate their effectiveness.

 

Hopkins was invited to De Queen by Little Rock Branch board member, Robert Martinez. 

 

 

 

DIAMOND BANK TO OPEN FULL-SERVICE BANKING BRANCH IN ASHDOWN       1/31/17

 

Diamond Bank, which is headquartered in Glenwood recently announced that they are expanding services for their Ashdown customers with construction of a new branch that will be located at 1710 South Constitution Avenue. The branch is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2017.

 

Diamond Bank entered the Ashdown market in 2014 with an office in the Jackson Square shopwalk, located at 420 East Hamilton Street. Designated by the bank as a "loan production office," the products offered at the location included loans for commercial operations and real estate, agri-loans for real estate, equipment, livestock and poultry, home purchase and consumer loans. The Ashdown office also offers long term fixed in-house and secondary market mortgage loans.

 

Not long after the Ashdown office began operations, Diamond Bank management recognized that there was an opportunity for expansion to a full-service bank and began making plans to build a free-standing branch that could provide a full portfolio of modern banking products and services.

 

When asked about Diamond Bank's decision to expand their services in Ashdown, market president Tyler Davis said they were excited to serve Little River County and Southwest Arkansas. He said Diamond Bank prides itself on bring a community partner and growing in the area. Davis said they will do their best to understand each customer's needs in order to help them. He said he was proud to work and raise his family in his hometown and equally proud that Diamond Bank chose to invest in Ashdown.

 

Customers of the new, full-service branch can expect a continuation of
Diamond Bank's tradition of friendly, courteous service and prompt loan approvals from their neighbors, thanks to the bank's policy of hiring employees from the local community.

 

Additional products and services that will be offered at the new branch on Constitution Avenue will feature a variety of checking accounts for personal and business use, interest-bearing savings accounts, including one designed especially for children, money market accounts, certificates of deposit and more.

 

Ashdown residents can learn more about Diamond Bank by visiting the bank's website are www.diamondbanking.com.

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT - AN EYE FOR DETAIL COULD SPOT A SCAM     1/31/17

 

Scammers are hacking into email accounts of realtors to take money from their clients and the Arkansas Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission have received reports of a scam where a criminal goes through a realtor's email looking for upcoming transactions. The hacker then poses as the realtor or title company representative and emails the hopeful homebuyer with "new" instructions to wire the down payment. But instead of the money going to the title company to secure the home, the money goes straight into the hacker's account.

 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following tips to offer protections against this scam:

 

She said when it comes to financial transactions, be cautious doing business by email. Rutledge suggests you call and have an actual conversation with the realtor, title company or bank that you are dealing with because emails can be hacked.

 

Rutledge said you should never open attachments in emails if you are not absolutely sure of the source and if you weren't expecting the email. The attachment may contain malware that can operate undetected on your computer, leaving you vulnerable to cyberattacks.

 

She said you should utilize a respected malware and virus protection program and keep it up to date.

 

Rutledge said when you are purchasing something online, you should make sure the URL contains "https," which will let you know the web address is secure.

 

She said you should never assume the number a person gives you is the correct phone number. Rutledge said you should look up the number to assure you are communicating with the actual person or business.

 

She also suggested you utilize complex computer and email passwords and change them frequently to avoid computer hacking.

 

Rutledge also reminded consumers that email is not a secure way to send financial information. Emails that request financial information should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission.

 

For more information contact the Attorney General's office 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website www.arkansasag.gov.

 

 

LOCKESBURG RESIDENT ARRESTED ON DRUG CHARGE        1/31/17

 

Monday, Sergeant Greg Davignon of the Sevier County Sheriff's Office arrested a Lockesburg resident for delivery of a controlled substance.

 

According to the incident report, Davignon met a confidential informant to set up the controlled delivery of two grams of marijuana from 19-year-old Gabe Bell of Lockesburg.

 

At the scheduled time and place, Bell walked up to the designated location and approached the CI's vehicle and handed the CI a purple and white cigar pack, while the CI gave Bell $40.

 

After Bell stepped away from the vehicle, Davignon got out of the CI's vehicle and took Bell into custody without incident.

 

Davignon was able to recover the $40 and the cigar pack, which contained suspected marijuana.

 

Bell has been charged with delivery of a controlled substance.

 

 

LEGACY ACADEMY PROFESSIONAL DAY        1/31/17

 

Monday, January 23rd, Ann Bartek of the Weyerhaeuser Company spoke to upper-level students of Legacy Academy at the school's monthly professional day.

 

Bartek thoroughly described her own and various forestry based careers to the students. The discussion inspired students to consider similar careers and to expand their comprehension of forest management.

 

Out of Weyerhaeuser's seven million acres that's located across 12 southern states, only about 3 percent is in the cut state at any one time. The rest are in the various stages of growth.

 

Bartek said Weyerhaeuser actively manages the trees' stages of growth from the planting of the seeds, until it is time to harvest. She said due to better management and replanting after harvesting, there are more trees in the United States now than 100 years ago.

 

Legacy Academy regularly connects their upper-level students with different business owners and professionals in the community to broaden students understanding of various professions and to help students consider different industries for future careers.

 

For more information about Legacy Academy, contact the office at 870-642-8937 or visit the school at 314 West Gilson Avenue in De Queen and request an information packet. Additional material may also be found online at legacyacademyonline.com.

 

 

SORRELS AWARDED BLUE AND GOLD SCHOLARSHIP FROM SAU        1/31/17

 

De Queen High School senior, Aubrey Montana Sorrels, has been awarded the Blue and Gold Scholarship from Southern Arkansas University beginning with the 2017 fall semester.

 

The schlorship has a four year value is $26,400.

 

Sorrels is the daughter of Keith and Charlie Sorrels.

 

Sorrels plays post on the Lady Leopard basketball team and plans to major in Animal Science.

 

 

AHS SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE ENCOURAGING CONTRIBUTIONS      1/30/17

 

The Ashdown High School Scholarship Committee will soon be awarding scholarship to 2017 graduates, as it has since its formation in 1986, and contributors are encouraged to either continue donations as they have in previous years or become new scholarship donors and contribute to the success of new Ashdown High School graduates in their post-secondary endeavors.

 

Ronda Pounds is the committee chairperson and she said last year, the committee awarded 52 scholarships with a total value of $27,211. Pounds said 992 students have received over $373,522 in scholarships over the course of the committee’s 31-year history.

 

Pounds stated 100 percent of all donated monies are awarded every year and all donations are tax deductible.

 

The Scholarship Committee has also authorized an alumni fund through which former students of Ashdown High School and businesses may contribute to the program in any amount and at any time. Contributions may be made in honor of or in memory of family and friends.

 

Scholarship recipients will be announced and scholarships will be awarded at a tea that is sponsored by the committee. This year's tea is Sunday, April 30th at 2 p.m. in the Ashdown High School cafeteria.

 

Pounds said all donors are welcome to attend the tea and they are welcome to participate by presenting the scholarship that they established.

 

Pounds said contributions must be received by April 1st, if you want a 2017 graduate to receive a scholarship. She said donations may be mailed or dropped off at the Ashdown School District's Central Office at 751 Rankin Street in Ashdown.

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY EXTENSION PREPARING FOR FOUR STATE AGRICULTURAL EXPO        1/30/17

 

Little River County Extension Service Agent Sherry Sullivan announced she'll be holding two more Private Pesticide Applicator Training Classes, this year. She said one is February 7th at 6 p.m. and the other one is scheduled for April 13th at 2 p.m. in the Millwood Room on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot.

 

Sullivan said the extension office is also gearing up for the Four States Agricultural Expo at the Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana on February 9th from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

 

Sullivan said the program is free to the public, but if you have any questions call the Little River County Extension Office at 870-898-7224.

 

 

CONGRESSMEN VISIT ARKANSAS NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS      1/30/17

 

U.S. Senator John Boozman and Congressmen Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman visited with members of the Arkansas National Guard at Fort Bliss, Texas last Friday as the soldiers prepare for their oversea deployment.

 

Boozman said it was an honor to join Arkansas National Guard members at Fort Bliss as they finalize their training and prepare for their overseas mission. He said he was proud of the soldiers and that he was pleased to hear about their successful training. Boozman also said his prayers are with the members of the Arkansas National Guard and their families as they deploy and carry out their mission.

 

Womack said as the former commander of the first overseas deployment of a Guard battalion in the wake of September 11, it was an honor to join the brave Guardsman as they finalize their mobilization activities. He also stated that he was proud of them and would be praying for a successful mission and for their families back home.

 

Westerman said keeping America and the world safe from harm through the projection of strength is no easy task, but he wanted to thank the men and women of the Arkansas National Guard for their service.

 

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment of the 39th Infantry Brigade are finalizing their mobilization activities and the congressional delegation attended a historic Casing of the Colors and Patch Ceremony to honor the unit's completion of mobilization and readiness to deploy.

 

Nearly 700 Arkansas National Guard members have been stationed at Fort Bliss since New Year's Day as they complete their stateside training before deployment to the Horn of Africa in support of the U.S. Africa Command.

 

 

WINTER BLUEGRASS SHOW IS SATURDAY IN HOPE      1/30/17

 

The Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce will hold their Winter Bluegrass Show this Saturday, February 4th at the Fair Park Community Center. The program is set for noon to 5 p.m. and admission is free.

 

The show will feature the Hartley's from Arkadelphia and Grand Prairie from Central Arkansas. Other groups will include Buck and Company from Glenwood, High Mountain Grass from Magnolia and the Hempstead County Melody Boys from Hope.

 

The chamber will staff a concession stand with hamburgers, R.C. Colas, moon pies and homemade cookies.

 

The public is invited, but for more information call the chamber at 870-777-3640 or visit the website hopemelonfest.com.

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL BOARD ADDS TO TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT       1/30/17

 

Members of the Ashdown Board of Education voted to purchase three new buses during their January board meeting on a three-year note totaling $94,240.

 

Superintendent Jason Sanders said this will allow the district to rotate some older buses off the daily routes.

 

Sanders also discussed some of the positive things about the district, including its high academic achievement and they offer a variety of electives from theater to sports.

 

Sanders also informed KDQN that Junior High Assistant Principal Tracy Forte is doing a great job with the schools new Gentleman's Club.

 

Board members then voted to accept the retirement of Sarah Hadaway at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE       1/30/17

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the House passed an income tax reduction bill last week for Arkansans who make less then $21,000 a year by a vote of 90-2.

 

She said the legislation will also create a task force that will explore future tax reform. Vaught said the task force will submit their final report by September 1st of 2018. She said the report will contain tax cut and job growth proposals.

 

Vaught said the House passed two other tax-related measures, last week. She said House Bill 1157 says Arkansans can only have one homestead property tax credit per year and House Bill 1156 requires that Arkansas corporate income tax returns be filed by April 15th beginning this year.

 

Vaught said other bills heading to the Senate include House Bill 1147 and House Bill 1185.

 

House Bill 1147 says the driver's license of a military member will not expire while the individual is living out of the state if he or she applies for an extension of the expiration date.

 

House Bill 1185 would allow for a death certificate to be issued for a stillbirth that occurs after 12-weeks gestation. The bill will not require a certificate be issued, but it can be issued if the parents request one.

 

This week, the legislature will consider funding for higher education and tax breaks for retired military members.

 

Vaught said all House committee meetings that are held in the Capitol and all House floor proceedings are streamed live on the House's website www.arkansashouse.org.  

 

 

DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANQUET SET FOR FEBRUARY 23RD          1/27/17

 

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President, Patrick Massey announced the 72nd annual Membership and Awards Banquet will be held on Thursday, February 23rd at the De Queen High School cafeteria.

 

Massey said the banquet will feature a silent auction featuring items donated by chamber members. He said the doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the food will be served at 6:30.

 

Tickets for the banquet are $17 each or businesses may reserve a table of eight or more by calling Patty Sharp at 642-2446. Massey said businesses or organizations that reserve a table are also eligible to enter the table decorating contest.

 

Massey also announced the chamber is also accepting nominations for the Citizen of the Year award, New Construction award, Renovation or Beautification award, Small Business of the Year and Large Business of the Year awards. He said nominations must be turned in by 4 p.m. on Monday, February 6th.

 

Massey also mentioned that he and the chamber board of directors is asking the chamber members to change the by-laws so he can serve a second term as chamber president.

 

Massey said the board felt that by allowing chamber officers to serve consecutive years, it would promote increased institutional knowledge and allow for smoother operation of the chamber in the event of an officer's resignation or if the board felt the chamber would benefit from a second year of leadership by the president.

 

Chamber members need to submit their ballot as soon as possible by faxing them to 870-642-3138 or mailing them to the chamber at PO Box 67 in De Queen.

 

 

SOCK IT TO ME PROJECT       1/27/17

 

The Ashdown Junior High School "Team" Club needs your help. The club will be participating in a project called "Sock It To Me."

 

The "Sock It To Me" project will be collecting socks to give to all the patients at the Pleasant Manor Nursing Home and Rehab facility. There are approximately 75 patients in this facility and the "Team" members are asking for your assistance in meeting their goal.

 

The Team members will be accepting pair of socks or monetary donations to buy socks, which will be taken to the nursing home as well.

 

The Team members are working on this project for community service purposes and kindly thank you for any help you can provide for this cause.

 

Team members will be delivering the socks to the facility on February 11th. Donations may be dropped off at the Ashdown Junior High School's main office.

 

If you have any questions about the project please see Mr. Forte for further details or you may call the school at 870-898-5138 or 903-244-5313.

 

 

ARKANSAS CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS TO VISIT WITH DEPLOYING ARKANSAS NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS AT FORT BLISS     1/27/17

 

U.S. Senator John Boozman and Congressmen Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman are visiting Arkansas National Guard members at Fort Bliss, Texas today.

 

Members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation will meet with soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment of the 39th Infantry Brigade as they finalize mobilization activities. The delegation will also attend a historic Casing of the Colors and Patch Ceremony to honor the unit's completion of mobilization and readiness to deploy.

 

Nearly 700 Arkansas National Guard members have been stationed at Fort Bliss since New Year's Day as they complete their stateside training before a deployment to the Horn of Africa in support of the U.S. Africa Command.

 

 

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY - TEXARKANA ANNOUNCES RECENT GRADUATES        1/27/17

 

Texas A&M University of Texarkana has released the list of students who were awarded diplomas on the undergraduate and graduate levels during the 2016 fall commencement celebration on December 9th.

 

Dr. Emily Cutrer is the president of the university and she conferred the degrees in a ceremony at the historic Perot Theatre in downtown Texarkana. Graduates who completed their degrees in August of 2016 and December of 2016 were honored at the fall commencement ceremony.

 

The fall 2016 graduation list includes the following graduates:

Erica Rachel Lamb of Nashville earned a Master of Business Administration degree. Brandi O'Donnell of Saratoga earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Anthony Nelson of Ashdown earned a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science degree. Shamanda Nelson of Ashdown earned a Master of Science degree. Jami Thompson of Foreman earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Brandon Wilkins of Ogden earned a Master of Science degree. And, Austin Stroud of Mena earned a Bachelor of Science degree.

 

 

BEEKEEPERS MEETING MONDAY IN ADAMS BUILDING       1/27/17

 

Sevier County Extension Agent Rex Herring announced the extension office was helping start a beekeepers club in Sevier County. He said the first meeting is Monday, January 30th at 6 p.m. in the Adams Building on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.

 

Herring also stated the extension office will hold a private applicator training class on March 7th, a Cattlemen's Field Day at the Sevier County Fairgrounds on April 1st, and a 3-day beekeeping course in October.

 

Herring said if you have any questions contact the extension office.

 

The phone number for the Sevier County Extension Service Office is 870-584-3018 and their offices are located in the Adams Building on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.

 

 

AGFC.COM AND ARKANSAS HUNTING PERMIT WEBSITE CLOSING FOR MAINTENANCE ON SATURDAY      1/27/17

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's website and special hunting permit sales site will be closed for upgrades to the system's security at 8 a.m. on Saturday, January 28th. Access to the site will be blocked until the updates are complete, which is expected to occur by 2 p.m. that day.

 

License sales at license vendors across the state will not be affected by this shutdown.

 

The security upgrades are part of a statewide update to the Information Network of Arkansas, the third-party vendor that the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission uses to host their website. The Saturday morning update will allow continued use of all systems during normal business hours for many of the state's systems, but may impact hunters and anglers looking for information, paying for drawn turkey permits or getting their free Sweet 16 Permits.

 

According to a statement from INA, the company is making the upgrade on the weekend when the system usage is at its lowest so there will be minimal downtown and disruptions to the service.

 

Anyone with plans to visit one of Arkansas's Sweet 16 Wildlife Management Areas or to pay for their Wildlife Management Area turkey permit are being encouraged to do that today.

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will notify the public through its Facebook page and Twitter feed when the updates are complete and the system is accessible.

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS MAN WHO THREATENED AREA MAYORS PLEAS GUILTY        1/26/17

 

 A Mineral Springs man who mailed letters to seven Arkansas mayors threatening to hang them if they didn't meet his demands pleaded guilty Wednesday afternoon in a Texarkana federal court.

 

56-year-old Maverick Dean Bryan entered a plea of guilty to seven-counts of mailing threatening communications before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey. Bryan was sentenced to 12 to 18-months in a federal prison and the government dismissed a single count of felon in possession of a firearm charge.

 

Bryan told Judge Hickey that he meant no harm, but admitted he had made a grave mistake.

 

Bryan sent letters to the mayors of De Queen, Ashdown, Hope, Nashville, Lewisville, Prescott and Murfreesboro on January 5th, 2015. In the letters, Bryan said he would hang the mayors from trees on the courthouse lawns if they didn't put prayer and the Ten Commandments back in school and eliminate the Common core curriculum.

 

Bryan will remain in federal custody until he returns to court for his formal sentencing in about three-months.

 

 

UA COSSATOT NAMES NEW STUDENT AMBASSADORS      1/26/17

 

UA Cossatot inducted a new class of student ambassadors last week in Nashville.

 

UA Cossatot Director of Student Services, Justin White said these students represent the College not only to the UA Cossatot student body, but to the College's communities.  He said during their year of representation, they will perform around 1,300 hours of service that will include organizing and facilitating student events, visiting with high school students about college, performing community service projects, and participating in events that develop them professionally and personally.

 

White said the new Cossatot student ambassadors are Te'Kayla Works of Nashville, Angel Hernandez Olgiun of De Queen, Mattie Tallant of Ashdown, Joshua Rodgers of Nashville, Marisol Rodriguez of Horatio, Scout Smith of Smithville, Oklahoma, Ashley Meyers of Ashdown, Kortney Ashley of Ashdown, Shelby Scott of Nashville, Kelsey Hockaday of Nashville, Alexandria Stark of Bigelow, Brayan Feregrino of De Queen, Italia Bustamante of De Queen, Jacob Carpenter of Nashville and Eduardo Medina of Wickes.

 

UA Cossatot Student Ambassador applications are available in October each year on the college's website.

 

 

DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF SEVIER COUNTY ELECTS NEW OFFICERS      1/26/17

 

Wednesday afternoon, 14 members of the Democratic Party of Sevier County meet in the Sevier County Courthouse conference room to elect officers and pass the party's new by-laws and strategic plan.

 

John David Gore was elected Chair Person; Jean Killian was elected Vice Chair Person; and Sandra Dunn was elected secretary/treasurer. Gary Walker was chosen to be the party’s election commissioner.

 

Killian reported all of the state office holders are currently Republican and the majority of the state's Legislature is Republican, but all Sevier County office holders are Democrats.

 

Killian also reported 73 percent of Sevier County voters voted Republican in the Primary Election. She said in the November election, 71 percent of the county voters voted for Donald Trump, while 23 percent voted for Hillary Clinton.

 

Members approved the party’s county by-laws, which according to Killian were based on the state's Democratic Party by-laws, along with the county's strategic plan.

 

According to the strategic plan, the Democratic Party of Sevier County plans to visit person-to-person about the Democratic Party's platform and principles; hold receptions for Democratic candidates; host a beans and bread supper prior to major elections; and to set up booths at the county fair and annual Hoo-Rah Days Festival.

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT INTRODUCES NEW MOBILE APP       1/26/17

 

The Ashdown School District has launched its SchoolWay mobile app. The free app keeps local households connected to students' latest activities, lunch notes, lunch menus, calendars and more.

 

SchoolWay is a simple, secure and reliable way to send protected one-way mobile and web messaging to students and home through SMS/texts.

 

Ashdown School District's Public Relations Coordinator, Ronda Pounds stated the SchoolWay app empowers anyone in the community to stay connected to the school system, right from their mobile devices. She said the district is excited about how the app will lead to a stronger, more connected school community.

 

The SchoolWay app features safety notifications, access to the school calendar, access to the online grade book, a staff directory, lunch menus and will allow the district to send out messages from the district level.

 

SchoolWay is now available to download on Apple or Android devices at myschoolway.com/Ashdown.

 

 

WINNERS OF THE MISS DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL PAGEANT       1/26/17

 

Last Saturday, the De Queen High School junior class held the 2017 Miss De Queen High School pageant in the high school performing arts auditorium.

 

Ponpawee was named the 2017 Miss De Queen High School. She also received the People's Choice Award and the Talent Award.

 

Antonette Worthey was named the First Runner-up and Dennise Tellez was named Second Runner-up and Miss Congeniality.

 

Presli Young won the Little Miss title and Harper Young was named the Mini Miss winner.

 

 

ASHDOWN WOMAN KILLED IN ACCIDENT ON HIGHWAY 71       1/26/17

 

An Ashdown woman was killed in a two-vehicle accident Wednesday morning on U.S. Highway 71 south of Ashdown.

 

According to the accident report, 23-year-old Courtney Jewell was pronounced dead at the scene by Bowie County, Texas, Justice of the Peace Nancy Talley.

 

Troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety responded to the two-vehicle accident about 8:41 a.m. on Highway 71, about 1.5 miles north of Texarkana.

 

The accident report indicates a 2009 Mack truck that was towing a trailer was traveling north in the right lane of Highway 71 when it was struck from behind by a 2007 Honda that was being driven by Jewell.

 

The driver of the tractor-trailer, 34-year-old Glenn Fuller and a passenger, Doug Cochran, both of Texarkana, were not injured.

 

 

LAWSUIT FILED IN CUSTOMER MURDER      1/26/17

 

The family of Jesse Hamilton filed a lawsuit in the Miller County Circuit Court on Wednesday claiming negligent and inadequate security, by the owners and operators of the Raceway convenience store at 4120 North State Line Avenue in Texarkana, Arkansas.

 

The lawsuit was filed by the Cook Law Firm of Little Rock on behalf of Rebecca Jeanes, the mother of Hamilton and his family.

 

According to the lawsuit, Hamilton was shot and killed on the parking lot of the convenience store on September 25th, 2015. According to court documents, Hamilton was the second person to be murdered on the parking lot of the convenience store, in less than a year. The other murder occurred on October 5th of 2014.

 

Hamilton was murdered during an altercation with Marvin Stanton who is a member of the Juggernaut Motorcycle Club because Stanton was upset over a parking space. Stanton was convicted of murder by a Miller County jury in May of 2016 and is currently serving a life sentence plus 15-years in the Cummins Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections.

 

The lawsuit alleges the defendants knew, or should have known, that the probability of a harmful event was foreseeable and likely to happen if reasonable steps were not implemented to prevent the murder of Hamilton based upon the similar violent crimes occurring at the convenience store.

 

The lawsuit claims in the 29 months preceding Hamilton's murder, the City of Texarkana Police Department received, reported, and/or responded to 369 known requests for police service and crimes on the premises, including but not limited to 1 murder, 177 requests for police assistance for loitering on parking lot, 22 assault and battery crimes, six aggravated assault crimes, 52 disturbance calls and 80 suspicious person calls.

 

During a good neighbor violation hearing which was held before the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in January of 2015, the store owner testified that he had known of criminal activities at the store for 14 years and that he had hired two armed security guards to work at the store from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. in response to the October 2014 murder. However, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board found insufficient evidence of a violation against the store owner at the hearing.

 

The lawsuit alleges there were no security guards working at the time of Hamilton's murder. The lawsuit alleges Hamilton was murdered at 10:15 p.m.

 

 

 

 

ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH OFFERING 3RD MMR DOSE CLINIC AT DE QUEEN PRIMARY AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS      1/25/17

 

Sevier County Health Officer Dr. Jason Lofton reported several weeks ago that there were confirmed cases of the mumps in Sevier County and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mumps is a viral illness that is transmitted by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person.

 

Lofton said the mumps is known for painful, swollen glands that show up as puffy, cheeks and swollen jaw. Arkansas Department of Health Public Information Officer Meg Mirivel told KDQN that there is no treatment for the mumps and symptoms usually resolve themselves within a few weeks, but it can include some complications.

 

Mirivel reported over 2,500 individuals in Arkansas have been involved in the mumps outbreak since it began in late August of 2016. She said the Arkansas Department of Health is urging Arkansas residents to make sure they and their loved ones are up-to-date on their Mumps, Measles, Rubella vaccine and to practice infection control by washing their hands regularly and staying home if they suspect they are sick.

 

Mirivel said the MMR vaccine is safe and effective. She said the health department says two doses of the MMR vaccine is 88 percent effective in preventing the mumps. She said the vaccines are available at the local health units, and they may be available at your local doctor's office or pharmacy.

 

Mirivel said the Arkansas Department of Health will also be holding a 3rd MMR dose clinic at the De Queen Primary and Elementary schools on Monday, January 30th.

 

For more information, visit the website www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

 

  

LOCAL OFFICERS RECOVER STOLEN VEHICLE       1/25/17

 

On Monday, January 23rd, Officer Levi Browning with the De Queen Police Department was patrolling on Highway 41 South when he met a white Nissan Frontier traveling Northbound that matched the description of a vehicle that was reported stolen from McCurtain County.

 

Officer Browning turned around, at which time, the vehicle left the roadway at Red Bridge and 41 South. The 2012 Nissan Frontier was confirmed as being the one stolen from Oklahoma.

 

Two of the three occupants were apprehended immediately, but the third suspect fled on foot.

 

The two occupants were identified as Betty Green and James Rather. The third suspect was identified as 23-year-old Codi Stinnett.

 

Stinnett was apprehended within a couple of hours.

 

Officers with the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and the Arkansas State Police assisted in the search.

 

All three subjects were charged with misdemeanor fleeing and felony theft by receiving. Additional charges are pending in Oklahoma.

 

 

CITY OF LOCKESBURG TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING      1/25/17

 

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 7th at 6 p.m. at Lockesburg City Hall for the purpose of identifying and prioritizing the community needs in Lockesburg.

 

Mayor Danny Ruth said they will also be determining whether an application for Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program funds should be developed and if so, for what community need. Ruth said proposed project activities will be discussed, especially those with possible impacts on the community, and they will discuss whether the project should receive funding.

 

The ACEDP funds are federal assistance funds that have been received by the state and administered by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. These funds will be made available to cities and counties according to need and can be used for housing rehabilitation, community facilities or economic development, but the project must address one of the following objectives:

1) It must provide a benefit to low and moderate income families.

2) Aid in the prevention of slum and blight.

Or, 3) Meet other community needs, which pose a serious, immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community where no other funding is available to meet such needs.

 

All residents of Lockesburg are encouraged to attend the hearing and participate in the community development process.

 

 

FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING      1/25/17

 

Members of the Foreman Board of Education have held two meetings this month to discuss the construction of new bathrooms at the baseball and softball fields.

 

Superintendent George Kennedy reported to KDQN that the board has decided to use portable buildings for dressing rooms as a temporary solution until they can build some permanent buildings.

 

Kennedy stated the district also upgraded the district's bus radio system to improve student safety while they are being transported.

 

January is School Board member appreciation month and Kennedy introduced the Foreman Board of Education members: Shane Mears, Will Segraves, Don Way, Elbert Bradley, and Wayne Fry.

 

High School Principal Kim Cody reported the school's first Quiz Bowl team in nine years competed in it’s first tournament in December and students provided Christmas gifts to 50 families through the community Angel Tree program.

 

 

VICE PRESIDENT OF FEDERAL RESERVE TO VISIT DE QUEEN JANUARY 30TH      1/25/17

 

A member of the United State's central banking system will make a visit to De Queen next week for an informative session on one of the country's least understood federal agencies.

 

Robert Hopkins is the senior vice-president and regional executive of the Little Rock Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. And he will speak at UA Cossatot's De Queen campus on Monday, January 30th at 11:30 a.m. in the Weyerhaeuser Room.

 

Hopkins was invited by Robert Martinez of De Queen, who serves on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

 

 

GALLAGHER NAMED TO DEAN'S LIST   01/24/17

 

Hannah Gallagher, daughter of Chad and Jessica Gallagher of De Queen, has been named to the Dean’s List at Ouachita Baptist University for the fall semester. To be named to the Dean’s List, a student must compile at least a 3.5 grade point average and be classified as a full-time student, with a minimum of 12 academic hours.


Gallagher has also been selected to join the Carl Goodson Honors Program at Ouachita Baptist University. The Honors program is for students who maintain a 3.5 grade point or higher. The university says the program was established to further academic excellence and inspire intellectual curiosity for qualified students. Participating scholars pursue 13 hours of academic course work above their regular degree plan in order to explore subjects not offered through standard curriculum.


The honors program provides its members a host of additional student benefits, access to unique mentors, an annual retreat, monthly speakers and lunches, travel grants for independent research, as well as unique trips abroad. Gallagher and other newly invited honor students will be inducted at the Black and White Reception on February 2.


Gallagher, is a freshman at Ouachita and is studying English, art and theater art.

 

FIRST EVER MISS COSSATOT RIVER SCHOOL PAGEANT IS FRIDAY     1/24/17

 

Forty-one young ladies from the Cossatot River School District will be participating in the very first Miss Cossatot River School Pageant this Friday.

 

Special Education teacher and Junior class sponsor Stacy Nix stated when she heard the school did not have a pageant, she knew it would be a great fundraiser for the junior class.

 

Nix said since this was the first Miss CRS pageant, they will focus on the formal wear beauty walk. She said students from the Cossatot River High School, the Wickes Elementary and the Vandervoort Elementary will be participating, this year.

 

Nix said admission is $5 and family and friends can vote for their favorite sweetheart contestant by making a donation when they arrive.

 

Nix said she was overwhelmed by the support of the district administration, teachers, parents and students and she said she was looking forward to many more Miss CRS pageants.

 

 

GROWING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES SUMMIT JANUARY 31 IN HOPE     1/24/17

 

Several state and local organizations are partnering to bring a free Growing Healthy Communities Summit to Southwest Arkansas on Tuesday, January 31st from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Hempstead Hall on the University of Arkansas at Hope campus.

 

The summit will feature sessions for those interested in farmers’ market vendor training, school and community gardens, for employers who wish to improve employee health and for those interested in making their community a better place for walking, biking and other physical activity.

 

The summit will include a free lunch and it will feature a local foods tasting and seed swap event.

 

The Arkansas Agriculture Department will also facilitate local conversations by bringing together local farmers, chefs, grocers and market managers to discuss ways to promote better eating habits.

 

Everyone is welcome to attend the free event, but you must register by Friday, January 27th. You may register online at 2017 GHC Summit Registration or you may call Cindy at 870-784-1944.

 

 

NATIONAL SCHOOL CHOICE WEEK        1/24/17

 

National School Choice Week is underway in Arkansas and there are 236 events planned across the state to raise awareness about K-12 school choice, including a School Choice rally at the state Capitol on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

 

The rally is being led by the Reform Alliance and they plan to feature testimonials from students, parents, teachers and community leaders about student performances.

 

Other events in Arkansas include everything from information sessions and open houses at schools to rallies, policy discussions and movie screenings that have been organized by community groups.

 

Several counties and communities issued official proclamations recognizing this week as "School Choice Week" including the town of Ashdown.

 

National School Choice Week provides families in Arkansas with the opportunity to research and evaluate the K-12 school choices that's available for their children in advance of the 2017-2018 school year. This week is designed to raise awareness of the importance of providing every child with effective education options.

 

According to National School Choice Week's organizers, families in Arkansas can use this week to look for K-12 schools for the 2017-2018 school year. Parents can choose from traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online academies, private schools and homeschooling. In some parts of the state, open enrollment policies allow parents to select the best traditional public school, regardless of where the school is located. The state also has a program allowing qualifying children to receive scholarships to attend private schools, in some cases.

 

 

DE QUEEN POLICE ARREST BOLO SUSPECT      1/23/17

 

The De Queen Police Department expressed their appreciation to the residents of De Queen this morning after they apprehended a suspect that was wanted in connection with a stolen vehicle.

 

Monday morning, De Queen Police Chief, Scott Simmons issued a BOLO for Cody Stinnett of Eagletown, Oklahoma after he eluded officers on Highway 41 in De Queen.

 

About 40 minutes after the BOLO was released, officers located Stinnett with the public’s help and they were able to take him into custody.

 

 

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL UPDATED ON UA COSSATOT - LOCKESBURG CAMPUS PROJECT      1/23/17

 

Aldermen of the Lockesburg City Council voted to approve a resolution that allows the city to collect the 2016 tax donation for UA Cossatot, along with a resolution extending that tax donation through 2017.

 

According to city officials, the city currently collects .75 of one-cent for local sales tax. The city uses .50 of that amount for general revenue and collects one-quarter of one-cent for the college.

 

But, before passing the two resolutions, aldermen heard a progress report from UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole, Mike Kinkade and Barry Reed.

 

Dr. Cole informed KDQN that the UA Cossatot - Bank of Lockesburg Gym project is about 50 percent complete. He said they hope to be finished by March 1st and ready to use the building by this summer.

 

Cole said they have started working on the interior of the building and all of the wood, inside the gym is being cleaned and preserved.

 

Cole said after they finish renovating the gym, they plan to apply for another grant to renovate the old high school. He said they should know by late May if their application has been approved.

 

Aldermen voted to appoint Steven Hill as aldermen of Ward 3 position 2 and they changed their monthly meeting time from 6:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.

 

Aldermen also voted to give a part-time city employee, Melvin Ruth a raise to $10 an hour and they passed a resolution stating the city plans to use the State Aid Street money to pave two-miles of city streets with a 4-inch overlay.

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE       1/23/17

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the Arkansas House of Representatives voted last week on legislation that would use $8.5 million dollars from the state's tobacco settlement fund to help meet the needs of 500 to 900 people on a waiting list that need community-based or in home services.

 

Vaught said the House and Senate passed a bill that would give the Medical Marijuana Commission more time to implement rules for growers and dispensaries. She said the bill is now waiting to be signed by Governor Asa Hutchinson.

 

In November, voters approved the Medical Marijuana Amendment, which gave the commission 120 days to be appointed and for them to create rules and regulations regarding growing and dispensing.

 

The sponsor of the bill said that while rules can be passed quickly, 120 days did not allow enough time for public input and participation in the process. 

 

The new bill will give the commission 180 days to establish rules and regulations. It will also require the commission to begin accepting applications by July 1st, instead of June 1st.

 

Vaught said the House Revenue and Taxation Committee have advanced two tax cut proposals. House Bill 1159 targets tax cuts to those making under $21,000 a year, while House Bill 1161 provides an earned income tax credit for those who already qualify for the federal credit.

 

 

ASHDOWN STUDENTS RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS     1/23/17

 

Several students at Ashdown Junior and High schools have been recognized for their accomplishments, recently.

 

Eight Ashdown High School band students participated in the Four States Bandmasters Convention and earned a place in the conventions first and second bands.

 

Jacob Purifoy, TJ Gist, Ethan Sullivan and Cody Tilley earned First Band honors, while Cole Deloney, Christie Sain, Hunter Billingsley and Isaac Cross earned Second band honors.

 

The Ashdown TARGETS 8th grade Quiz Bowl team placed third in the De Queen Quiz Bowl tournament.

 

The team members include: Will Bishop, Amy Newton, Robin Roy, Kohl Kervin and Cole Sallade.

 

And, Ashdown High School Agri students are currently caring for "ag plant babies" until March 16th. Students will receive a grade based on keeping the plant alive; identifying the scientific name of the plant species, and journaling about activities the "plant baby" goes through, such as watering and transplanting.

 

According to ag teachers, bonus points will be awarded to students who name their plant, create a baby book and have the largest plant baby.

 

 

AREA HUNTERS INVITED TO SHOW OFF THEIR TROPHY BUCK AT THE ARKANSAS BIG BUCK CLASSIC        1/23/17

 

The 27th annual Arkansas Big Buck Classic will be held at the Arkansas State Fairgrounds this year, January 27th through the 29th.

 

Knife-making demonstrations, mechanical bull riding, live snakes and alligators will grab people's attention, but the show's true focus is the trophies from this year's deer season, that will be brought in by hunters from across the state. Local hunters are encouraged to bring their deer's antlers or mounts to be scored and judged for prizes.

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's mobile aquarium and Scales of Justice exhibit trailer will be at the event, and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission staff will be on-hand to answer questions about fisheries and wildlife management and enforcement in Arkansas.

 

The awards presentation begins at 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 29th and there is no charge for parking on the fairgrounds site.

 

Show hours are from 1 to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 27th; from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, January 28th; and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, January 29th.

 

For more information, visit the website www.bigbuckclassic.com.

 

The Agri students are Taylor Schmidt, Jake Day, Evan Medlock, Alex Allen, MacKynze Dollarhide, Quinton Holland, Braden Gibson and Ashley Jones.

 

 

AEP SWEPCO DONATES SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS TO A&M TEXARKANA     1/23/17

 

AEP Swepco recently presented a $2,000 gift to Texas A&M University of Texarkana to provide student scholarship support for the 2017-2018 academic year.

 

The AEP Swepco scholarship is awarded to an incoming freshman who is majoring in electrical engineering, computer science or biology.

 

According to the Associate Vice President for University Advancement LeAnne Wright, AEP Swepco has helped six students fulfill their educational goals over the past three years.

 

 

NEW CASA VOLUNTEER SWORN-IN TO HELP SEVIER COUNTY CHILDREN        1/20/17

 

On November 17th, 2016 Judge Tom Cooper swore in new Court-Appointed Special Advocate volunteer Tara Currence at the Sevier County courthouse.

 

The newly appointed CASA volunteer joined two other dedicated community members who have been trained and are advocating for foster children in the county's juvenile dependency court system. As officers of the court, they ensure that the children's needs are recognized and their best interests are considered both in the courtroom and in the community.

 

CASA volunteers are asked to meet with the child on a regular basis and are authorized to interview people who are in the child's life, such as social workers, attorneys and teachers. They attend court hearings with the child and report their findings to the judge.

 

Cynthia Martin is the director of the CASA of the Ouachita Region and she said CASA volunteers pledge to stay with a child until the case is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. She said the advocate may be the only consistent adult presence in the child's life.

 

Martin said there are no prerequisites for becoming a CASA volunteer other than being at least 21 years of age. She said they must clear an extensive background screening and complete 30-hours of training.

 

The next advocate training session for CASA of the Ouachita Region begins in February and if you are interested in learning more about becoming a CASA volunteer, contact Martin at 479-243-9277.

 

 

COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER REPORT       1/20/17

 

Sevier County Health Officer Dr. Jason Lofton reported Sevier County is one of the most obese counties in the state. Lofton said his goal is to see Sevier County get healthy in 2017.

 

Lofton said residents don't necessarily need to get on a diet, but need to cut back on the amount that they are eating.

 

Lofton also reported there are still active cases of the mumps in Sevier County. He said state health officials are no longer tracking the number of cases, but they are trying to limit the number of new cases in the state.

 

Lofton said it's not hard to get healthier. He said we just need to eat less and get more active.

 

 

DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANQUET SET FOR FEBRUARY 23RD          1/20/17

 

De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President, Patrick Massey announced the 72nd annual Membership and Awards Banquet will be held on Thursday, February 23rd at the De Queen High School cafeteria.

 

Massey said the banquet will feature a silent auction featuring items donated by chamber members. He said the doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the food will be served at 6:30.

 

Tickets for the banquet are $17 each or businesses may reserve a table of eight or more by calling Patty Sharp at 642-2446. Massey said businesses or organizations that reserve a table are also eligible to enter the table decorating contest.

 

Massey announced the chamber is also accepting nominations for the Citizen of the Year award, New Construction award, Renovation or Beautification award, Small Business of the Year and Large Business of the Year awards. He said nominations must be turned in by 4 p.m. on Monday, February 6th.

 

 

A&M - TEXARKANA RECOGNIZES 32 HONOR GRADUATES AT FALL COMMENCEMENT     1/20/17

 

Thirty-two students were recognized as honor graduates by Texas A&M University - Texarkana at the fall 2016 commencement ceremony that was held December 9th at the historic Perot Theatre in downtown Texarkana, Texas.

 

Students graduating in both August and December participated in the ceremony.

 

Students who complete a minimum of 45 hours of their bachelor's degrees at A&M - Texarkana are considered for recognition. Summa cum laude graduates have a 3.9 to 4.0 grade-point average. Magna cum laude graduates have a 3.75 to 3.89 grade-point average and cum laude graduates have an overall grade-point average of 3.5 to 3.74.

 

The following area students were named honor graduates:

Jami Thompson of Foreman and Anthony Nelson of Ashdown earned Magna Cum Laude honors, while Brandi O'Donnell of Saratoga earned Cum Laude honors.

 

 

DIERKS CHAMBER SECURES PROPERTY FOR FUTURE CITY PARK      1/20/17

 

The Dierks Chamber of Commerce has secured some property north of Dierks and the organization is making some big plans for 2017.

 

Chamber Director Jerry Mounts says the current ball fields, that are located in the park, has flooding issues and the chamber wants to secure some funds to construct some baseball and softball fields at the new location.

 

Mounts says it is possible that more than four fields could be placed on the 30-acre site. Preliminary plans have been drawn up and would include a concession stand and restrooms.

 

The chamber will meet the first Monday in February at the community building and everyone is invited to attend the meeting and get involved in this project.

 

If you have any questions, contact Mounts at 870-557-7298.

 

 

VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS WOULD RECEIVE FREE HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSE UNDER PROPOSED BILL         1/20/17

 

The state's volunteer firefighters would be eligible to receive free hunting and fishing licenses, under a bill that was filed Wednesday in the Arkansas legislature.

 

Representative David Branscum of Marshall filed House Bill 1217 at the Capitol and according to the bill, it would amend the state law concerning this issue.

 

A volunteer firefighter would have to "actively engage in fire suppression, rescue, pump operation and other firefighter activity," receive less than $5,000 in compensation a year and complete at least one year of continuous service as a volunteer firefighter in order to be eligible for the free permits. The Arkansas Game and fish Commission would also have to adopt some rules to implement the law.

 

The bill states permits would be renewable for each year of continuous service that the person works as a volunteer firefighter.

 

 

AVOID SUBSTANTIAL PENALTIES AND ENROLL IN THE MARKETPLACE BY JANUARY 31ST         1/20/17

 

Open enrollment for the state's My Arkansas Insurance individual health insurance marketplace is still underway but it ends on Tuesday, January 31st. Arkansans who do not have health insurance may face substantial federally mandated penalties on their 2017 tax returns.

 

Cheryl Gardner is the executive director of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace and she said people need to understand that health insurance coverage is not an option, according to current federal law. She said the penalty for not having insurance could be as much as $695 per person.

 

Individual plans are available at myARinsurance.com through January 31st. Plans include standard benefits such as inpatient care, outpatient services, prescription drugs, and preventative care and screenings.

 

There are a variety of options to fit household budgets and financial assistance is available. And most importantly, there are no lifetime limits and no restrictions for pre-existing conditions. There is also financial help available to pay for the cost of the insurance.

 

To enroll visit the website, myARinsurance.com.

 

Agents, brokers and other licensed experts are located in almost every community in Arkansas to provide assistance, and a hotline is staffed by trained professionals, and is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The number is 1-844-355-3262.

 

 

BAKE SALE TO BE HELD OF DIERKS HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT THIS FRIDAY       1/19/17

 

A Dierks High School student remains in serious condition at the Arkansas Children's Hospital after he was injured in a vehicle accident last Friday.

 

Sam Maxey is the son of Eric and Sheryl Maxey and he is recovering from a head injury, bleeding in his lungs and several facial fractures.

 

Area residents are holding several fundraisers to help the Maxey family. A gofundme account has been setup and it can be accessed by searching "Prayers for Sam Maxey."

 

A bake sale will be held for Maxey on Friday at Ward's Fuel Stop in Dierks at 3:30 p.m. Teachers and students are preparing casseroles and desserts and they will be taking orders for t-shirts. All of the proceeds will go to Maxey and his family.

 

If you would like to donate, contact Adriana Hogg or Crystal Smith.

 

Patrick Frachiseur of Premium Game Calls in Dierks makes duck calls. He said Maxey is a fellow duck hunter and his son, Peyton, played football with Maxey for the Outlaws this season. So, Frachiseur made a Dierks Outlaw blue duck call with the Outlaw emblem at the top and Maxey's number 17 on both sides. 

 

Premium Game Calls is auctioning off the duck call with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Maxey family.

 

Frachiseur said the duck call is on display at the First State Bank in Dierks and you can place a bid at the bank or you can place a bid on Crystal Smith's Facebook page. The winning bid will be announced this Sunday at 2 p.m.

 

 

BEACON HILL BIKERS MINISTRY STARTING MEN'S PRAYER BREAKFAST       1/19/17

 

Beacon Hill Biker's Ministry President, Newman Hance announced he will be leading a men's prayer breakfast this Sunday at 7 a.m. in the gym of the Beacon Hill Seven Day Adventist Church on Beacon Hill Road for all men in the area. He said they will also hold a Bible study after the breakfast.

 

Hance also stated Scarlett Barth will in concert this Saturday at the Beacon Hill Seven Day Adventist Church at 5 p.m.

 

For more information about the Beacon Hill Biker's Ministry, contact Hance at 682-970-0378.

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT: MILLION DOLLAR GIVEAWAY? IT MAY BE A SCAM       1/19/17

 

Scammers are using the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's name to steal money from people across the Natural State. The Arkansas Attorney General's office recently received complaints of Arkansans getting phone calls, often with a Jamaican area code, from someone claiming to be from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

 

The person receiving the call is told they are the winner of a $2.5 million giveaway. The only thing they need to do to claim their winnings is to wire an $850 "processing fee." The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the Arkansas Attorney General's office want Arkansans to know, this is a scam.

 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is offering the following tips for anyone who receives this call or one similar to it.

 

A consumer should never have to pay to receive a free prize. Consumers should be wary of anyone requiring payment in advance to obtain something that you've won.

 

Consumers should be cautious if someone asks for a fee to be paid through a pre-paid credit card or by wiring money to them. If payments are make, the money may never be seen again. Legitimate organizations will accept standard and traceable forms of payment.

 

People who accept these offers often become targets of other scammers because their information is sold or shared with others.

 

You should never provide any financial account information to an unknown person or entity.

 

And, if the call is from a government agency, consider hanging up and calling the agency back on a phone number that can be found on their website.

 

Although the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission does offer small prizes, such as free hunting or fishing licenses or fishing poles, they do not offer cash prizes. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is encouraging Arkansans who receive this call to file a complaint with the Attorney General's office, and if there are any questions, call the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at 501-223-6300.

 

For more information and tips on how to avoid scams, contact the Attorney General's office by calling 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website www.arkansasag.gov.

 

 

DE QUEEN JUNIOR HIGH QUIZ BOWL TEAM HOSTS TOURNAMENT AT UA COSSATOT       1/19/17

 

The De Queen Junior High recently hosted a Quiz Bowl tournament that was organized by several teachers at UA Cossatot on January 13th. Members of the high school quiz bowl team and FCCLA students helped.

 

Fourteen teams participated and first place went to the Greenwood team A. Genoa Central placed second, Ashdown placed third and De Queen took fourth.

 

The De Queen Junior High Quiz Bowl team will compete at Murfreesboro today.

 

Quiz Bowl team members include: Janet Balderas, Caroline Collins, Litzi Flores, Jaclyn Pham, Noah Reed, Luke Reed, Lessley Gonzalez, Jafet Sotelo, Jack Bunyard, Jesus Marrufo, Hannah Phillips, Abigail Barker, Alma Puga, Bhumi Patel, David Serrano, Alexis Ochoa, Edward Sosa, Ismael Montero and David Ortiz.

 

 

UA COSSATOT OFFERS A VARIETY OF COURSES THROUGH ITS CONTINUING EDUCATION DEPARTMENT        1/19/17

 

UA Cossatot's Continuing Education Director Zebbie Launius announced the college is offering some new and fresh ideas during the Spring semester of 2017, while continuing to offer job training courses.

 

Launius informed KDQN that they have job training courses that take anywhere from 12-days to 8-weeks to complete.

 

Launius said UA Cossatot will be offering a floral design class this semester in Ashdown and a bread making course on all three campuses, as well as, mentioned a painting with the girls class and a Quilt Shop Hop trip to Texas.

 

Launius said for more information or to register for a class, call 870-584-4471 or visit the websites www.cccua.edu or KDQN.net. 

 

LOCKESBURG RESIDENT CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF A CONTROL SUBSTANCE         1/18/17

 

Monday, January 16th, Patrolman First Class Justin Gentry of the De Queen Police Department was patrolling on Stillwell Avenue when he noticed a vehicle with a brake light out.

 

When Gentry approached the vehicle, he noticed half of an unknown pill on the dash near the steering wheel.

 

Gentry reported he asked the driver, 32-year-old Amy Torres of Lockesburg, about the pill and she allegedly stated a friend had dropped it in her vehicle sometime last week and she had put it there to remind her to give it to them.

 

Torres also stated that she did not know what type of pill it was.

 

While searching the vehicle, Gentry discovered a whole pill in a pocket on the dash. He also found three other white pills in Torres' purse. Torres allegedly stated that she didn't know what they were. However, she stated she takes Ibuprofen and Tramadol for back pain.

 

After searching the drug markings on his phone, Gentry discovered the pills were two different brands of hydrocodone and another drug that was not a controlled substance.

 

Torres stated she had a prescription for the hydrocodone, but she didn't have any proof or prescription bottles in her possession.

 

Torres was then arrested and charged with one felony count of possession of a controlled substance that is not methamphetamine or cocaine. 

 

 

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL PLANNING ALUMNI GAME FOR FEBRUARY 25TH             1/18/17

 

De Queen High School baseball coach, Beau McCastlain announced he plans to take the De Queen Leopards to Gulf Shores Alabama to play in a Spring Break tournament.

 

McCastlain said players are selling Sonic discount cards for $5 each and 250 raffle tickets for $50 each for a lawnmower to raise funds for their trip and other program needs. He said players will be selling cards and tickets at the De Queen Wal-Mart and Bailey Discount Building Supply this Saturday.

 

McCastlain said they are also planning an alumni game this year on February 25th. He said if you are interested in participating in the alumni game, you should call him at 870-279-4479.

 

McCastlain also introduced several players on the 2017 team. They were Bennen Seymore, Keldon Boyles, Jessie Power, Colton Rogers, Austin Munoz and Carter Rivas.

 

 

DE QUEEN POLICE DEPARTMENT RESPONDED TO OVER 4,600 CALLS IN 2016        1/18/17

 

The regular meeting of the De Queen City Council was postponed Tuesday night due to a lack of a quorum, but Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy provided area media outlets with some stats from the De Queen Police Department.

 

The De Queen Police Department responded to 4,613 calls in 2016, including citations and warnings.

Officers issued 2,458 citations last year. There were 1,038 misdemeanor arrests and 68 felony arrests. Arrests included 123 drug-related cases and 41 shoplifting cases. Police performed 4,300 security checks and had 1,010 calls for assistance.

Police investigated one homicide and assisted the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office in a homicide investigation in another city.

All officers had 23 hours of annual training last year. All officers had training on domestic violence cases and racial profiling. Officers qualified with firearms two times last year.

The animal control officer has been using social media to post pictures of animals that have been picked up. Animals that are not claimed have been offered for adoption. The De Queen Police Department had a change in leadership in 2016. Chief Richard McKinley retired July 1. Scott Simmons was named as the new police chief. The police department has a total of 14 sworn officers, at full strength.

The department has 12 registered sex offenders who are being monitored. Three others are incarcerated.

 

McKelvy stated the council will reschedule their regular council meeting for Tuesday, January 24th at 6 p.m. in the council room. He said he as also scheduled a workshop for January 24th so aldermen can discuss the city's compensation plan and sanitation rates.

 

 

DIERKS CITY COUNCIL SWORN IN DURING JANUARY COUNCIL MEETING      1/18/17

 

Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts reported the city council was sworn-in during their meeting on January 9th and they discussed some property within the city limits that needs to be cleaned up, before the city takes legal action against the property owners.

 

Mounts also stated the city has a community food pantry that was currently helping about 100 families a month. He said they distribute food on the third Saturday of each month at 8 a.m. in the community building.

 

Mounts said the pantry provides boxes of food that's purchased with donated funds, as well as commodity boxes for those who qualify.

 

Mounts said the program is supported by local churches and volunteers.

 

Mounts said if you would like to volunteer, contact his office at 870-286-2332.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY FARM BUREAU MEMBERS ATTEND CONVENTION IN PHOENIX       1/18/17

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau State Board Member and Sevier County Farm Bureau President Bruce Jackson of Lockesburg and his wife, Sandra were among more than 150 Arkansans who attended the 98th Annual Meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

The event, which took place from January 6th through the 11th, provided farm and ranch leaders from across the country an opportunity to network with fellow Farm Bureau leaders, attend the trade show and learn more about current agriculture issues.

 

 

MISS DHS PAGEANT       1/18/17

 

Junior Class Representative Bradi Young asked KDQN to remind area listeners that the 2017 Miss De Queen High School Pageant is this Saturday at 7 p.m. She said the doors will open at 6 for the Little Miss Pageant and tickets are $5 each.

 

Young also introduced the contestants who will be competing for the title of Miss De Queen High School: Lissette Hernandez, Diana Ramirez, Jasmine Montiel, Ponpawee Asawaritdumrong, Karla Angeles, Antonette Worthey, Hanna Murry, Kammie Pollard and Dennise Tellez.

 

Young is also the outgoing Miss De Queen High School and she will also perform before her final walk and the 2017 crowning.

 

The Miss DHS pageant is a fundraiser for the Junior Class to cover Prom expenses.

 

 

ASHDOWN JUNIOR HIGH ESTABLISHES A GENTLEMEN'S CLUB      1/17/17

 

During the January meeting of the Ashdown Board of Education, Ashdown Junior High School Assistant Principal, Tracy Forte reported he had received a grant from E-Z Mart's Jim Yates Foundation to start a program for 25 young men in the sixth through eighth grades. Forte said the Gentlemen's Club is designed to help educate and develop young men by instilling gentleman like qualities.

 

Forte stated he felt led to start the program so he could teach male students to also become young men and the club will reach out to the community through various projects that will demonstrate how young men should conduct themselves in public.

 

During the board meeting, De'James Powell recited the poem, "See It Through" by Edgar Guest. Forte said the poem teaches the reader to persevere.

 

The poem says:

 

"When you're up against a trouble, meet is squarely face to face

Lift your chin, set your shoulders, plant your feet and take a brace.

When It's vain to try to dodge it, do the best that you can do.

You may fail - but may conquer, see it through! 

 

Black may be the clouds about you, and your future may seem grim, But don't let your nerve desert you - keep yourself in fighting trim!

If the worst is bound to happen, spite of all that you can do,

Running from it will not save you, see it through!

 

Even hope may seem but futile, when with trouble you're beset,

But remember you are facing just what other men have met.

You may fail but fall still fighting; don't give up what e'er you do;

Eyes front, head high to the finish. See it through!"

 

 

COSSATOT RIVER SCHOOL DISTRICT APPROVED FOR VIRTUAL REALITY KITS       1/17/17

 

Cossatot River School District Superintendent Donnie Davis stated

board members voted to accept a bid from the Blevins School District for the purchase of two Blue Bird buses during their January school board meeting. Davis said the district received three.

 

Davis reported the district had been approved for three virtual reality kits. He said Cossatot River and Umpire high schools both will receive one along with the district's EAST lab.

 

Davis said he was happy to report the district only had one finding on its 2016 audit.

 

Davis also said the board tabled the approval of the district's telemedicine contract, but he expects they will reconsider it next month.

 

Board members also voted to approve the transfer of a student from the Cossatot River School District to the Dierks School District and they accepted the resignation of Amanda Parks.

 

 

LOCKESBURG RESIDENT PARTICIPATES IN DELEGATE SESSION OF AMERICAN FARM BUREAU CONVENTION         1/17/17

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau State Board member, Bruce Jackson of Lockesburg participated in the delegate session of the 98th annual American Farm Bureau Convention, which was held January 6th through the 11th in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

At the annual meeting, voting delegates, farmers and ranchers set the national organization's policies for the next year. These policies originated and were debated from the grassroots level on up and will help guide the national policy implementation efforts throughout the following year.

 

 

2017 WINTER LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM     1/17/17

 

Southwest Arkansas Development Council will accept applications for the Home Energy Assistance Program in Sevier County each Thursday, starting on January 12th from 9 a.m. until noon at the Church of the Nazarene at 129 Locke Street in De Queen.

 

The program is for regular assistance only that means no shut-ups notices will be accepted and it provides limited benefits to eligible households.

 

Residents who have received a shut-off notice may also apply for crisis assistance beginning in March.

 

All applicants will need to provide I.D., either a driver's license, a birth certificate, a work or school ID or voter registration card, along with social security numbers for all members of the household, proof of the household income for any household member who is 18 and older for the month prior the month of application.

 

Applicants must provide a current gas and electric bill if your home is setup for both, and if not, then just an electric bill. If you do not have a current bill, you must contact your utility supplier and have this information sent to you before you apply or your application will be delayed or denied.

 

Applications will be accepted on a first come basis and while funds are available or the program closes.

 

For more information, contact the Southwest Arkansas Development Council at 870-773-5504.

 

 

6th ANNUAL COMMUNITY AUCTION FEBRUARY 4TH      1/16/17

 

The Domtar Community Advisory Team announced they will be hosting their 6th annual Community Auction on Saturday, February 4th at the Ashdown High School. According to a community advisory team member, the event will raise money for community improvements and help bring the community together for a common cause.

 

Since 2011, the community auction has raised $175,000.

 

Little River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fonda Hawthorne said funds have been used to construct a pocket-park in the downtown Ashdown area, make sidewalk improvements, paint the community library, construct a pavilion at the city park and expand the park's horseshoe pits. She said they also purchased banners and street lights.

 

The doors will open at 4 p.m. and the event will begin at 6.

 

This year's event will include a live auction, a silent auction, a penny auction, a bake sale and a prize raffle.

 

So far this year, area businesses have donated a drone, a hoverboard, some firearms, Yeti coolers, hunting accessories, Razorback items and gift certificates, Dallas Cowboy items and fire pits.

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE       1/16/17

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the legislature has started working on the budget by reviewing the Revenue Stabilization Act

 

Vaught said legislators will consider a tax exemption for retired military who live in the state and other competing tax reduction proposals.

 

Vaught said 54 percent of the state's General Revenue comes from the state's income tax and another 36 percent comes from state sales tax.

 

Vaught reported the current growth rate is 1.5 percent and there is approximately $38.2 million dollars more in revenue this year, than there was at this time last year. She said the July 2017 budget will be for about $5.4 billion dollars.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson has asked legislators to not only support his tax cut proposals, but to support an increase in funding for foster children and for mental health centers in the state.

 

Hutchinson also wants the legislature to redirect a portion of the tobacco settlement to help reduce the number Arkansans who are on the waiting list for disability services.

 

The House will reconvene on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

 

 

ARKANSAS NRCS SOLICITS CONSERVATION INNOVATION GRANT PROPOSALS      1/16/17

 

Mike Sullivan is a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service state conservationist and he announced that approximately $300,000 is available through the Conservation Innovation Grants program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies within Arkansas.

 

Sullivan said all state, tribal, and local governmental entities; non-governmental organizations; and individuals may apply for a grant. He said project proposals are due by March 3rd and should demonstrate the use of innovative technologies or approaches to address a natural resource concern. Sullivan said project results are expected to improve and create conservation technologies, management systems and innovative approaches.

 

Sullivan said the Arkansas NRCS will consider offering grants in the following areas: nutrient and sediment reduction in impaired watersheds; environmental markets for water; high tunnels; organic; invasive species; irrigation; energy-irrigation; livestock watering; soil health; adoption of cover crops in rice rotations; and pollinators. Applications should be for single or multi-year projects, not to exceed 3 years.

 

Selected applicants may receive grants up to 50 percent of the total project cost. Individual grant awards may not exceed $75,000 in the fiscal year 2017. Applicants must also provide non-federal matching funds for at least 50 percent of the project cost.

 

For more information, contact Lori Barker at 870-523-8986 or visit the website, www.grants.gov.

 

 

CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK REPORT      1/16/17

 

In 2016, park visitors registered 501 diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park, which is 34 more diamonds than 2015. Arkansans found 205 diamonds last year, while visitors from 34 other states and three foreign countries registered 296 gems.

 

Park staff certified 339 white, 85 brown and 77 yellow diamonds last year, weighing a total of 96.6 carats. Seventeen of those diamonds weighed more than one carat, and two weighed over two carats. While most diamonds were found by wet sifting, about 10 percent of them were found on the surface of the park's 37.5 acre diamond search area, including three of the year's largest.

 

The third largest diamond was on April 22nd by Gail Hudson of St. Louis. She found the 1.8 carat brown diamond after surface searching for only five minutes.

 

The second-largest diamond was found on October 3rd by Dan Frederick of Renton, Washington. He spotted the 2.03 carat white gem, on top of the ground after about an hour of surface searching.

 

Two months later, Jack Pearadin of Murfreesboro and Doug Nelson of Wisconsin found the fourth-largest diamond while washing gravel at the park.

 

But, the largest diamond wasn't found until December 29th, when a young visitor from Nashville, Tennessee spotted a 2.1 carat white gem sparkling on the surface as she walked through the search area.

 

The best way to plan your own diamond mining adventure is to call the Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2017 at 870-285-3113.

 

 

ARKANSAS DEER HARVEST THIS SEASON MAY BE RECORD        1/16/17

 

Arkansas' deer harvest is winding down and the state is looking at another record harvest, according to Arkansas Game and Fish Private Lands Biologist Jeff Taverner.

 

Taverner said Arkansas held its final firearms hunt this past weekend, but archery season will continue until the end of February. He said the state may have over 200,000 deer kills this season. Taverner said more people are realizing the need to control the number of does in the state's deer population and private landowners are starting to see more bucks on their land.

 

The local total deer harvest numbers as of January 15th were 2,254 in Sevier County and 2,203 in Little River County.

 

 

RACIAL PROGRESS SLOW FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN ARKANSAS      1/16/17

 

A new study shows that African-Americans in Arkansas are behind residents of many other states when it comes to economic and social equality.

 

A new WalletHub survey shows the state has a lot of ground to make up for its black citizens to realize the civil rights leader's dream of equality. Wallethub's Jill Gonzalez says the study measured both the current status of African-Americans, as well as the progress each state has made since 1970.

 

Of the 2.5 million people living in Arkansas, 15.4 percent are African-American. That's significantly higher than the national average of 13.3 percent. The survey rated progress on 16 key indicators of equality and integration across three main categories including - employment and wealth, education and civic engagement and health.

 

Gonzalez says economic factors in Arkansas are responsible for much of the divide.

 

She adds that all the news in Arkansas regarding racial progress is not bad.

 

Gonzalez says states in the deep South have historically done poorly when it comes to integration. However, she says the survey shows several southern states including Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas have made significant progress toward racial equality since 1970.

 

 

MILITARY ALERT: TAX PROTECTIONS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES     1/16/17

 

Each year, many active-duty military families are taken advantage of when filing their taxes because they are not aware of the many protections that are available to them. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act offers safeguards that include tax deferment and state tax relief for qualifying service members and many of those members have called the Attorney General's office to get more details.

 

The following information is about the SCRA tax provisions to remind active-duty military service members of protections that are available to them this tax season:

 

The SCRA provides that a nonresident soldier's military income and personal property are not subject to state taxation if the soldier is present in the state only due to military orders. For example, if your state of legal residence is Arkansas and the military stations you in Colorado, you will not have to pay Colorado's state income tax on military earnings.

 

The SCRA prevents states from using the income earned by a service member in determining a spouse's tax rate when they do not maintain their permanent legal residence in that state.

 

The SCRA has a provision that extends tax protections to military spouses who meet qualifying factors such as accompanying the service member to a duty station state. Income that is earned by the non-military spouse while in the duty station state is not subject to taxation in that state.

 

And, if a service member's inability to pay their taxes was caused by their military service, service members can defer owed taxes for up to 180 days after their release from service.

 

The IRS also provides a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, which offers free tax help to military service members.

 

Arkansas military service members, veterans, and families should file consumer complaints with the Attorney General's office on ArkansasAG.gov or by calling 1-800-482-8982.

 

 

 

 

 

2017 ARKANSAS PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION BOARD ELECTS 9TH JUDICIAL PROSECUTOR AS PRESIDENT       1/13/17

 

The Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association announced its 2017 Board of Directors on Thursday and 9th Judicial West District Prosecuting Attorney, Bryan Chesshir was elected to serve as President of the Board.

 

Blake Batson, the prosecuting attorney for the 9th Judicial District - East, will serve as Vice-President. Kyle Hunter, the prosecuting attorney for the 11th Judicial District - West, will serve as Secretary-Treasurer.

 

Other board members include Scott Ellington, the prosecuting attorney for the 2nd Judicial District, Cody Hiland, the prosecuting attorney for the 20th Judicial District, Ken Casady, the prosecuting attorney for the 22nd Judicial District and Daniel Shue, the prosecuting attorney for the 12th Judicial District.

 

Tom Tatum II is the prosecuting attorney for the 15th Judicial District and he will serve as the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association's board representative for the National District Attorneys Association.

 

 

ANIMAL CRUELTY CASE PICKED UP BY METRO NEWS SOURCES       1/13/17

 

A Sevier County resident that has been charged with eight counts of animal cruelty entered a plea of not guilty through his attorney in the Sevier County District Court this week, made the Dallas Morning News, Thursday morning.

 

Tuesday, Sevier County District Judge Manya Wood set a trial date of March 14th for 25-year-old Brian Moore who has been accused of shooting eight dogs that had been rescued from animal shelters in the Fort Worth area.

 

According to Moore, he and his girlfriend, Whitney Smither would remove the dogs from the shelters to save them from being euthanized. However, Moore told investigators from the Sevier County Sheriff's Office that the dogs had started biting people and had even killed a neighbor's calf.

 

The sheriff's office reported they had received some complaints about some vicious dogs that were running in packs in the Horatio area.

 

According to the arrest affidavit, Moore's girlfriend, Smither moved to another state, and Moore allegedly shot the dogs before they could harm someone or kill another animal.

 

According to the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, the investigation is ongoing.

 

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT HONORS BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBERS       1/13/17

 

The Ashdown School District joined districts across the state this week to celebrate School Board Member Recognition Month. More than 1,500 Arkansas school board members are being honored this month for their service and dedication to their local school districts.

 

Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders said board members assume a crucial role in representing students and advocating for public education. He said the Ashdown District is proud their board and Arkansas School Board Recognition Month is a great time to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments.

 

As elected school officials, school board members set the policies for their respective districts and under state law, they are empowered to hire and evaluate the superintendent, oversee the district's finances, approve the budget, and determine the vision and mission of the district. School boards must also approve the curriculum and ensure the district maintains adequate facilities for teaching and learning.

 

Sanders said in addition to their board duties, state law requires school board members to earn a minimum of six hours of professional development each year in areas that are related to their role and responsibilities.

 

The members of the Ashdown Board of Education are Standing L to R: Ricky Ward, Chuck Davis, Michael Turner, Raymond Latson, Glenda Smedley, Rosa Bowman and Dorothy Henderson.

 

 

DIERKS HIGH SCHOOL RECOGNIZED FOR HIGH GRADUATION RATE       1/13/17

 

Monday night, Superintendent Holly Cothern informed the Dierks Board of Education that the Dierks High School has been recognized by the Arkansas Department of Education through the Arkansas School Recognition Program for being in the six to 10 percent of the statewide graduation rate.

 

Cothern said more students are also taking the ACT exam and scoring a 19 or higher.

 

Cothern also reported elementary counselor Carla Bray was awarded a $1,000 grant from E-Z Mart Jim Yates Foundation for an outdoor classroom.

 

Board members also extended Cothern's contract through the 2018-2019 school term.

 

Head Football Coach Vince Perrin also discussed his plans to upgrade the field-house at the football field.  He said he wants to develop a strength training facility by upgrading the buildings HVAC system and by adding rubberized flooring. Perrin said he also has plans to make the building wind and moisture proof.

 

Board members also asked Perrin to check into ways to safely secure the weights and weight systems.

 

 

MISS DHS PAGEANT      1/13/17

 

Junior Class Representative Brady Young announced the Miss De Queen High School Pageant will be Saturday, January 21st at the De Queen High School Auditorium beginning at 6 p.m.

 

Young said they will hold rehearsal on Wednesday, January 18th at 5:30 p.m. She said there will be one winner, but all participants will receive a medal.

 

Young said the Little Miss pageant is a Natural pageant and the contestants are not allowed to wear make-up. She said they can wear some simple jewelry, but nothing ornate or flashy.

 

Young also stated the Miss DHS pageant is a fundraiser for the De Queen Junior class.

 

 

SENATOR MISSY IRVIN AND REPRESENTATIVE DEANN VAUGHT FILE MATERNITY BILL FOR STATE EMPLOYEES       1/13/17

 

On Thursday afternoon, Senator Missy Irvin and Representative DeAnn Vaught filed Senate Bill 125 to amend provisions of the Uniform Attendance and Leave Policy Act to include leave for maternity purposes under the catastrophic leave bank program. This provision covers all female employees who have been employed by the state for over one year and public school and higher education employees who have been employed by the state for over two years. The new language provides for the birth of a biological child as well as the placement of an adopted child into the employee's home.

 

The catastrophic leave bank program is a program that allows state employees to donate their accrued annual and sick leave into a pool to be used by state employees who need to leave for a period of time due to a catastrophic illness or injury. Under the new provision, state employees are eligible for up to four weeks of maternity leave under the catastrophic leave program if used within the first 12 weeks of a child being born or adopted into the state employee's family.

 

The Arkansas Senate Republican Caucus as well as the Arkansas Republican House Caucus has found a creative way to aid mothers working to support their families that will not place a heavy burden on taxpayers or the state budget. GOP lawmakers are proud to stand with working mothers who are readjusting to life with a new family member and are also proud of the efforts taken to maintain fiscal responsibility towards the citizens of Arkansas.

 

 

USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY OFFERS TEXT ALERTS TO LITTLE RIVER, HOWARD AND PIKE COUNTY PRODUCERS         1/13/17

 

Little River, Howard and Pike county USDA Farm Service Agency County Executive Director Dylan Bowman announced that farmers and ranchers in Arkansas can now receive notifications from their county office through text messages on their cell phones.

 

Whether producers are in the field, on a tractor or even on horseback, this service enables Farm Service Agency customers and stakeholders to receive notification while on the go. Producers will receive text messages regarding important program deadlines, reporting requirements, outreach events and updates.

 

Little River County producers can text ARLittleRiver to 372-669 to subscribe to text message alerts. Howard County producers can text ARHoward to 372-669 to subscribe to text message alerts and Pike County producers can text ARPike to 372-669 to subscribe to text message alerts.

 

Contact your local Farm Service Agency office at 870-898-3611 ext. 2 if you have any questions regarding the Farm Service Agency's email news service or the new text message option.

 

 

HORATIO BOARD OF EDUCATION VERY BUSY IN JANUARY       1/12/17

 

Monday night, Horatio Board of Education members voted to extend the contract of Superintendent Lee Smith through the 2018-2019 school year and they extended the contracts of the district's part-time technology employees to 40-days.

 

Smith reported the board also voted to change the district's suspension policy to read that suspended students will be required to take semester and state mandated tests.

 

Smith said the district also increased the teacher tuition reimbursement amount from $350 to $450. He said the employee must remain with the district for one year following the reimbursement or repay the district.

 

Board members were also informed that the district has been selected to participate in a pilot drone grant program.

 

Smith said the program will help meet the future demands for drone mechanics and pilots in the area.

 

Smith also reported the district is looking at several ways to meet the educational needs of students, including a 4-day school week.

 

Smith said some districts have gone to a 4-day school week to help solve budget problems but that is not the case at Horatio. However, he did mention there were a few drawbacks.

 

Smith said the public is invited to the Horatio Board of Education meetings, but if they are unable to attend, he invited them to enjoy some coffee and a conversation on Tuesday mornings following the board meetings at 8 a.m. You can also follow the discussion on the district's Facebook page at Facebook.com/Horatio Lions.

 

 

PUBLIC MEETINGS SET FOR WORKING LANDS FOR WILDLIFE PROGRAM      1/12/17

 

One of the chief platforms for Arkansas Game and Fish Commission chairman Fred Brown is to lead the restoration of the northern bobwhite in Arkansas. During a recent meeting, Brown and other commissioners were updated by experts from nearby states about how they’ve been successful in re-establishing quail habitat in their states.

 

Quail were once abundant throughout the state, but changes in agricultural practices and growth of urban areas has changed the bird's habitat to where they are rarely seen and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission wants to change that.

 

In the coming days, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host public meetings with interested landowners about its Working Lands for Wildlife program, which will provide a total of $400,000 to landowners who have property in close proximity to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Wildlife Management Areas and who will dedicate part of their holdings to the restoration of quail habitat.

 

Arkansas Game and Fish Wildlife Officer John Partain said you should call the Southwest Research and Extension Center if you want to participate in the Working Lands for Wildlife program in Southwest Arkansas.

 

The public is also invited to a meeting on Thursday, January 19th from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Southwest Research and Extension Center in Hope to learn more about the Working Lands for Wildlife program. If you are interested in attending, please call 870-777-8800 ext. 3 to RSVP.  

 

 

IRS TO DELAY TAX REFUNDS FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES         1/12/17

 

The IRS announced it will be delaying tax refunds for more than 40 million low-income families this year as the agency steps up efforts to fight identity theft and fraud.

 

The delays will affect families claiming the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit. Even though, these tax breaks are geared to benefit the working poor.

 

The tax filing season starts on Monday, January 23rd, but a new law requires the IRS to delay tax refunds for people claiming these credits until Wednesday, February 15th.

 

The delay is designed to give the IRS more time to screen the returns for fraud. The IRS estimates that it issued $3.1 billion in fraudulent tax refunds to identity thieves in 2014.

 

The earned income tax credit is one of the federal government's largest anti-poverty programs and it has been plagued by billions in improper payments each year, including overpayments, underpayments and fraud.

 

In 2014, about 29 million families received more than $72 billion dollars in earned income credits.

 

The additional child tax credit also targets low-income families, because most families with children are eligible for the standard $1,000-a-child tax credit, but they don't owe enough in federal income tax to claim the full credit. So, the additional child tax credit enables eligible families to claim the rest of the credit in the form of a tax refund.

 

In 2014, more than 20 million families claimed $27 billion dollars in these credits.

 

This year, the IRS expects to process more than 153 million tax returns and more than 70-percent of taxpayers are expected to get refunds.

 

The delayed refunds are part of a broader effort by the IRS to fight identity theft and fraud on refunds.

 

 

ASHDOWN CHEERLEADER REPRESENTS AHS IN VARSITY SPIRIT SPECTACULAR       1/12/17

 

Ashdown High School cheerleader, Laiken Newton was one of more than 800 high school cheerleaders and dancers from across the country who participated in the second annual Varsity Spirit Spectacular at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, from December 1st through the 4th.

 

The individuals that were invited to perform in the parade were part of a select group of 10th to 12th grade captains, co-captions, officers and All-American cheerleaders who attended a Varsity Spirit summer camp that was hosted by the Universal Cheerleaders Association, the Universal Dance Association, the National Cheerleaders Association, the National Dance Alliance or the United Spirit Association.

 

Newton performed in an exclusive pre-parade performance through Disney's Magic Kingdom Park before hundreds of fans. She said besides enjoying a sunny trip to Orlando, she had the opportunity to meet cheerleaders and dancers from across the nation and to enjoy the magical holiday season at the Walt Disney World Resort parks.

 

Newton said she was proud to represent Ashdown High School and the state of Arkansas in the Varsity Spirit Spectacular. She said she was so excited because she got to enjoy two of her favorite things at the same time: Disney and cheerleading. Newton also said she's already looking forward to next year's event.

 

 

GOVERNOR ADDRESSED STATE LEGISLATURE ON TUESDAY       1/11/17

 

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson addressed the state legislature Tuesday during a joint session of the 91st General Assembly at the state capitol.

 

During his State of Arkansas Address, Governor Hutchinson said this is an exciting time for Arkansans and it's a time when the members of the 91st General Assembly can create a special moment in history.

 

Hutchinson said the state's population is growing and he expects that number to grow to over 3 million this year.

 

He asked lawmakers to enact his $50 million tax cut for more than 600,000 people who are making less than $21,000 a year, because the state is experiencing economic growth.

 

Hutchinson outlined his agenda for this year's session. He stated his agenda includes funding for foster care, stabilization centers for people going through a mental health crisis and increased funding for both public schools and higher-education institutions.

 

Hutchinson also told legislators that they were not elected to be Democrats or Republicans but to serve all Arkansans.        

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE VAUGHT NAMED HOUSE MANAGEMENT CHAIR      1/11/17

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught was sworn-in to office for her second term on Monday and Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam named Vaught the chairperson of the House Management Committee.

 

Vaught stated she will be working closely with Speaker Gillam and it was an honor to be chosen for the position in only her second term.

 

Vaught will also serve on the Rules Committee, the Insurance and Commerce Committee, the Education Committee and the Joint Budget Committee.

 

Vaught said her appointments will require her to be in Little Rock more because of her leadership roles, but her constitutes in District 4 can contact her by email at deann.vaught@arkansashouse.org if they need assistance with a problem, concern or to simple send her a message of encouragement.

 

 

RACING SEASON OPENS AT OAKLAWN THIS FRIDAY       1/11/17

 

Friday marks the beginning of the 112th season of live racing at Oaklawn in Hot Springs and will continue for 57-days through mid-April.

 

Known as the home of the Racing Festival of the South and the Arkansas Derby, Oaklawn has been a place to see standout champion horses over the years. American Pharoah won the Arkansas Derby in 2015 on his way to the winning the Triple Crown and last year's Arkansas Derby winner, Creator, went on to win the Belmont Stakes.

 

This year, Jose Ortiz, who was the winningest jockey in the country for 2016, is scheduled to ride at the track opening weekend. The bulk of Oaklawn's jockeys from the past years will also be returning to the track, including Ricardo Santana, Jr., who has been the leading rider at Oaklawn for the past four-years and won the Arkansas Derby last year.

 

Oaklawn visitors can also learn more about the sport of horse racing by attending the Dawn at Oaklawn event. Beginning February 18th, Oaklawn will offer this free program from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. every Saturday morning, weather permitting, during the season. The program includes a tour of the barn area, where you can watch the horses train and interact with those close to the sport including jockeys, trainers and owners. The program will be led by Hot Springs native Nancy Holthus, who is a paddock analyst at the racetrack.

 

This year's live racing season runs from January 13th to April 15th. Races run from Thursday to Sunday, with the gates opening every race day at 11 a.m.

 

While at Oaklawn, don't forget to get a corned beef sandwich and this Saturday, corned beef sandwiches will be 50 cents each and soft drinks are only 10 cents.

 

There's also going to be racing on Monday, January 16 and Monday, February 20th, as well as Wednesday, April 12th.

 

For more information, visit Oaklawn.com or call 501-623-4411.

 

 

PARKING IN MIDDLE OF ROAD LEADS TO DRUG ARREST       1/11/17

 

While conducting a traffic stop on South Park Avenue in De Queen, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon noticed a Ford pickup sitting in the middle of the road.

 

When Davignon approached the truck, he identified the driver as Anthony Fondren of De Queen. Davignon said that while he was speaking to Fondren, he smelt raw marijuana.

 

While searching Fondren, Davignon discovered a clear plastic bag of suspected marijuana in a pants pocket. He then found two more clear bags of suspected synthetic marijuana in the truck.

 

Fondren was citied for driving on a suspended license and charged with one count of possession of marijuana.

 

 

LICENSE PLATE LIGHTS ARE OUT; PARTY’S OVER         1/11/17

 

Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Webb reported he observed a tan Chevy pickup traveling south on Melrose Road on Thursday, January 5th that did not have any working license plate lights.

 

Webb identified the driver as William Dildy and the passenger as Leslie Walker.

 

After Webb discovered a 44-caliber black powder only pistol by the console between the driver's and passenger's seats, Webb placed Dildy and Walker in handcuffs because the two men were convicted felons.

 

After conducting a search of the vehicle, Webb walked back to where the two men were standing and noticed a blue smoking pipe that contained suspected methamphetamine on the ground about four-feet from Walker.

 

Both men were taken to the Sevier County jail and Dildy reportedly told Webb that he had borrowed the truck from his brother and neither he nor Walker knew the pistol was in the truck.

 

After interviewing both Walker and Dildy, Walker was charged with felony possession of drug paraphernalia.  

 

 

RATE CHANGES ANNOUNCED BY U.S. POSTAL SERVICE       1/11/17

 

The U.S. Postal Service recently announced its slate of proposed rate changes for mailing and shipping service, these proposed rate changes will go into effect on Sunday, January 22nd.

 

As part of the new 2017 rates, the postage price for one-ounce Metered First-Class Letters is dropping from 46.5 cents to 46 cents, while the postage rate for a one-ounce stamped letter is increasing from 47 cents to 49 cents. According to the postal service, for the first time ever, small businesses will be able to reap a 3-cent savings on metered letters over stamped letters.

 

Other rate changes to First-Class Mail include:

There will be a four-cent increase in the price of First-Class Mail Flats up to 1-ounce from .94 cents to .98 cents. And, there will be increases for Media Mail, Library Mail, Certificate of Mailing, Return Receipt and Signature Confirmation.

 

 

BEST CARE CLASSES BEING OFFERED       1/11/17

 

If you provide care to young children and would like to learn more about researched based information concerning ways to educate and care for young children, you may be interested in training opportunities such as The Best Care.

 

Sometimes it's a struggle to find quality resources that are close to home and affordable. The University of Arkansas, cooperative Extension Service, in partnership with the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education offers 10-hours of professional development training for educators or caregivers of young children. All training opportunities are offered free of charge and are verified through the new Professional Development Registry, which is also known as the Traveling Arkansas' Professional Pathways and support the Better Beginnings quality rating system.

 

The Best Care will begin on Saturday, January 28th at the Howard County Extension Homemakers Educational Center which is located at 425 Second Street in Nashville. The training will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and the class will start at 9. Additional hours will be offered on February 18th. By attending both sessions, participants will receive 10-hours of certification.

 

Topics for this year's The Best Care training will include: Active Play, Disaster Preparedness, Classroom Transitions, Music in  Early Childhood, Two Bite Club, Celebrating Cultures, Infant and Toddler Literacy and Effective Communications Skills.

 

If you are interested in participating in The Best Care, contact the Sevier County Extension Office at 870-584-3013 or e-mail jcantrell@uaex.edu to register. Participates are asked to register by Friday, January 20th.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE LOCATED MISSING TEEN        1/10/17

 

UPDATE AT 11:10AM : THE 15 YEAR OLD HAS BEEN FOUND AND IS SAFE!

 

Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry reported the missing 15-year-old juvenile, Nicholas Crump has been located, safe and sound.

 

According to the Sheriff's office, Crump was last seen about 8 p.m. Monday night at the intersection of Central Road and Fielding Lane. He was then seen around midnight at the intersection of Central Road and Oak Tree Road. Officers located Crump about 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Central Community.

 

 

SNOW FALL CAUSES SEVERAL ACCIDENTS IN SEVIER COUNTY      1/10/17

 

Deputies of the Sevier County Sheriff's Office responded to several accidents last Friday and Saturday as ice and snow caused problems for drivers in the area.

 

Early Friday morning, Deputy Michael Barnes responded to a single vehicle accident on Story Creek Road.

 

When Barnes arrived, he discovered a vehicle in the ditch, turned upside down. The driver, Tiffany McMurtrey of Watson, Oklahoma, reported she was coming around a curve and hit a patch of ice, which caused her to lose control of her vehicle. She said the car hit the right bank of the ditch and overturned.

 

Friday afternoon, Deputy Wendall Randall was dispatched to a single vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 41 about four-miles south of De Queen.

 

Randall reported Michael Elizondo of De Queen lost control of his truck when he drove over a slick spot in the road while going around a curve, causing the truck to run off the road and into an adjacent pasture. The accident also caused the driver's side rear tire to come off.

 

Friday night about 7 p.m., Deputy Matt Webb responded to a single vehicle accident on East Main Street in Lockesburg, near the Big Bellville Creek.

 

The driver, Barbara Bell of Lockesburg, reported she was traveling east when she hit some ice and lost control of her vehicle, causing it to slide into the ditch.

 

Early Saturday morning, Yolanda Cruz-Gomez of De Queen was citied for driving to fast for conditions after her vehicle overturned on Highway 329.

 

Gomez reported she was driving to work, when she came around a curve and lost control of her vehicle on some ice.

 

The accident report states the vehicle crossed the north bound lane and left the roadway. It then skidded through a gravel driveway before crossing both the north and south bound lanes and collided with an embankment before striking two small trees. The report says the vehicle then slid down the embankment and overturned.

 

Then about 10 a.m., Deputy Kristopher Hundley was dispatched to a single vehicle accident on Beacon Hill Road.

 

According to the report, Jacob Taylor of Nashville was driving west on Beacon Hill Road and struck a patch of ice, causing the vehicle to spin 180 degrees, striking the ditch and overturning onto the passenger side.

 

Taylor was citied for not having proof of insurance.

 

 

DE QUEEN BOARD OF EDUCATION RENEWED CONTRACTS OF SUPERINTENDENT AND ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT         1/10/17

 

Monday night during the January meeting of the  De Queen Board of Education, board members voted to renew the contracts of Superintendent Bruce Hill and Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton.

 

Board members also accepted the resignation of Junior High Science teacher, Meagan Strain and they voted to hire Peggy Hill to teach junior high science for the remainder of the year.

 

Hill also announced Governor Asa Hutchinson and the State Board of Education has declared January as School Board Member Recognition Month.

 

Hill also informed the board that the De Queen Board of Education had been awarded the Outstanding Board Award from the Arkansas Department of Education.

 

Hill told the board that the district's audit has been completed, and one of the things the board needed to do was pass resolutions allowing the district to conduct business with the district's Speech Therapist, Alisa Lindsey and Gentry Chevrolet.

 

Board members also passed a policy change concerning the identification process for the district's Gifted and Talented Program. Hill said the policy change was recommended by the district's GT program director, Sara Matlock and approved by the building principals.

 

The next meeting of the De queen Board of Education was scheduled for February 6th at 5 p.m.

 

 

TIME AND DATE SET FOR SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT        1/10/17

 

Members of the Sevier County Quorum Court held their first meeting of 2017 Monday afternoon in the conference room of the Sevier County Courthouse.

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray said the first item on the agenda was to set the times and dates for the quorum court meetings. He said they then selected JP David Wright to serve as their representative to the Arkansas Association of Quorum Courts.

 

JPs also approved the re-appointment of Norman Cox to the Sevier County Airport Board. Judge Ray said the airport board does a good job securing grants for airport improvements.

 

After suspending the rules, JPs voted to remove a 1986 roller from the county's inventory list. Judge Ray said the roller had to be removed from the inventory list, so he could use it as a trade-in on a double roller for the county road department.

 

The next Sevier County Quorum Court meeting is February 13th at 2 p.m. in the Sevier County Courthouse.

 

 

UA COSSATOT FOUNDATION RECEIVES LEGACY CAMPAIGN DONATION      1/10/17

 

The Legacy 2020 Campaign, which is a capital fundraising project of the UA Cossatot Foundation, has received a donation from the Horatio

State Bank.

 

As a result of the donation, room 611 in the Adams Building on the De Queen Campus will be renamed the Horatio State Bank Hall.

 

Foundation Coordinator of Development, Dustin Roberts said Horatio State Bank has been a valuable partner of UA Cossatot for years. He said even before the college was affiliated with the University of Arkansas system, Horatio State Bank was supportive of student needs.

 

Roberts said as the foundation proceeds with its Legacy campaign, the dedication that Horatio State Bank has shown will inspire other small businesses and individuals who want to support economic growth, to donate to the college.

 

UA Cossatot Foundation's Legacy 2020 Campaign is focusing on donors and corporations that wish to invest in the growth of the college on all three campuses. Roberts said for every donation amount, there is a naming opportunity for donors who wish to leave a legacy for future students.

 

Horatio State Bank CEO, Ned Hendrix, said the bank is thrilled to have a room named the Horatio State Bank Hall. He said many of the bank's current and former employees attended classes at Cossatot and the bank is always trying to remove barriers, so community members so they can receive an education.

 

Roberts stated the Legacy 2020 campaign is very flexible. He said businesses and individuals can make a one-time donation or pay out their commitment annually.

 

For more information about the Legacy 2020 Campaign visit Cossatot's website at www.cccua.edu.

 

 

MISSING 15 YEAR MALE     01/10/16

 

UPDATE AT 11:10AM : THE 15 YEAR OLD HAS BEEN FOUND AND IS SAFE!

 

Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry has requested the public's help in locating a missing 15-year-old male in the Central Community.

 

Gentry said Nicholas Crump was last seen around 12:30 - 1 o'clock this morning at 800 Central Road wearing a camo hoodie and blue jeans. Gentry said they suspect he may be headed to a residence on Bradley Chapel Road but has not arrived yet.

 

If you have information as to the whereabouts of Crump, contact the Sevier County Sheriff's Office at 870 642 -2125.

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT RECEIVES OVER $7,000 IN GRANTS      1/9/17

 

Staff members of the Ashdown School District were recently awarded over $7,000 in grants from the E-Z Mart Jim Yates Foundation and Lowe's.

 

Three Ashdown staff members were awarded over $2,700 from the E-Z Mart Jim Yates Foundation.

 

Ashdown Junior High School Assistant Principal, Tracy Forte was awarded a grant to start a "Gentlemen's Club." Forte said young men will learn how to dress for success and how to be talented, educated and achieving men.

 

Ashdown High School teacher, Amy Silva received a grant and will use the money to purchase a "Heart and Lungs Sounds Update for their manikin. It will include a torso overlay with a sensor network that is hidden beneath the skin.

 

Silva said students will be able to hear the appropriate heart or lung sound by using the virtual stethoscope. She said there's also an external speaker so the classroom can hear what the student hears.

 

Ashdown High School theater teacher, Jennifer Walker will use her grant to purchase some professional wireless headsets for future Ashdown High School theater performances.

 

Ashdown Junior High also received a grant in the amount of $4,800 from Lowe's to construct an outdoor classroom and Smith's Ready Mix donated a concrete pad.

 

The Outdoor classroom will be used by all of the staff members and students at the Ashdown Junior High School.

 

Science classes will have weather equipment so they can monitor the weather, EAST and the 8th grade science students plan to create a garden, with a water garden around it and there are plans to create a greenhouse that will have a solar aquaponic garden.

 

According to an Ashdown School District spokesperson, these funds will assist educators in acquiring the tools that are necessary to keep the teaching of students fun, up to date and interesting.

 

 

BENSON SPEAKS TO STUDENTS IN DE QUEEN       1/9/17

 

De Queen Police Chief Scott Simmons and Officer Bobby Bagley recently attended a school assembly at the De Queen High School to show their support for the guest speaker, Michael Benson.

 

Benson spoke to students in the eighth through the twelfth grades on Wednesday, January 4th.

 

Benson is from Nashville and graduated in 1985. He was All-State in football, basketball, baseball and track. He played football for the University of Arkansas under Coach Ken Hatfield and he had ambitions to play professional football.

 

Benson tried out for the Oakland Raiders, but missed the cut by one. He then tried out for the Denver Broncos, but missed the cut by one, again. Eventually, he landed a position on a semi-pro football team in Colorado and the team went on to win the Semi-Pro National Championship.

 

While in Colorado, Benson was with some guys that he thought were his friends. But, that choice of "friends" cost him 24-years of freedom.

 

Benson talked about making good choices and what some of the possible results are from making bad decisions.

 

Benson told students that while he was behind bars, he read a lot of self-help books. He said, "Make up your mind to make great choices. You may have to be a cycle breaker. You may need to break the cycle of what your parents may have done and then apply yourself to become the most successful person you can be."

 

Benson said success is defined by how you handle your trials, tribulations and applications. He said if you make bad choices, you have to deal with the consequences.

 

Benson encouraged students to give themselves the opportunity to succeed, to keep dreaming and to do better for themselves.

 

 

LAWSUIT AGAINST KANSAS CITY RAILROAD FILED IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT        1/9/17

 

A collision between a car and a train last January in Ogden is the subject of a civil lawsuit that is pending in the Little River County Circuit Court.

 

According to the accident report, there were no flashing lights or wooden arms to warn drivers of an approaching train, when a car carrying Linda Hobbs, Bobby Burris and 10-year-old Braden Miller approached the Kansas City railroad crossing at Pine Street on January 21st, 2016. The accident that occurred that day claimed the lives of Burris and Miller and left Hobbs with life-altering injuries.

 

The lawsuit filed by Hobbs and the Miller estate seeks damages from Kansas City Southern Railway Company and Burris' estate. The suit alleges the railway company knew the crossing was dangerous, but failed to upgrade the crossing with safety equipment due to the cost.

 

According to the complaint, Pine Street crosses the track at a skewed angle, limiting the vision of drivers who approach the crossing from the west.

 

On January 21st, it was raining and the vehicle struck a freight train that consisted of four locomotives and 37 cars. The train was traveling a 52 miles per hour as it approached the Pine Street crossing. The complaint also alleges the train's staff did not sound the warning horn.

 

KCS railway denies any wrongdoing. KCS also blames Hobbs for the collision, alleging she was driving the car.

 

The complaint also alleges Burris was driving and he should have known that trains crossed the tracks on a regular basis.

 

A lawyer representing Burris' estate contends he was a passenger and Hobbs was the driver.

 

Burris' estate, the Miller estate and Hobbs are all seeking damages from KCS for allegedly putting profits above the public's safety. Hobbs is also seeking damages for her pain and suffering and for her medical expenses past, current and future.

 

The Miller and Burris estates are seeking wrongful-death compensation, compensation for final expenses and compensation for the pain and suffering that they experienced at the time of the deadly crash.

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REPRESENTATIVE VAUGHT      1/9/17

 

The 91st General Assembly began today at noon and 200 bills have already been filed.

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported legislators received the monthly revenue report, last week and it showed a net available general revenue amount of $2.6 billion dollars for the current fiscal year, which began on July 1st. The report shows revenue is up 1.5 percent over last years numbers, but $8.8 million dollars below what the state forecasted.

 

Vaught said several tax cut proposals have been filed, including one that would lower the income taxes for those receiving military retirement benefits.

 

Vaught said legislators will attempt to balance the tax cut proposals with a request for additional funding for education. In the Education Committee's annual adequacy report, they recommended an increase of $45.6 million.

 

Legislators will also consider a new funding formula for higher education.

 

Vaught said Governor Asa Hutchinson is expected to speak in the House Chamber on Tuesday.

 

All House proceedings in the Chamber and all House committee meetings that are held in the Capitol building will be streamed live on the website: www.arkansashouse.org.

 

 

SEX OFFENDER NOTIFICATION       1/9/16

 

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department is releasing the following information pursuant to Section 13 of Act 989 of 1997, which is the Sex and Child Offender Registration and Community Notification Guidelines. The purpose of this notification is to inform the public of a sex offender’s release when the release of such information will enhance the public’s safety and protection.

 

According to the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, 47-year-old Freddie Stubbs is living at 688 Sycamore Road in De Queen. The Sevier County Sheriff's Office wants to inform area residents that Stubbs is not wanted by the police at this time.

 

According to the Arkansas Crime Information Center, Stubbs has been convicted of an offense that requires him to register as a sex offender and his previous criminal history places him in a classification as a level 3 sex offender and that reflects the potential to be a repeat offender.

 

Sevier County Sheriff Robert Gentry wants to remind area residents that the abuse of this information by threatening, intimidating or harassing Stubbs or other registered sex offenders will not be tolerated. Gentry said this sort of abuse could possibly end law enforcement’s ability to provide community notifications and if that happens, only the sex offenders will win.

 

For more information, contact the sheriff’s office at 870-642-2125.

 

 

 

ATTENTION!!! AREA  CLOSINGS  AND CANCELLATIONS -  

 

UPDATE- Jan 6, 2017

 

 

Bancorp South will be closing at 4pm.

 

Bear State Bank will be closing today at 4pm.

 

The Sevier County Health Department will be closing at 2:30 today.

 

First State Bank, all locations will be closing at 3pm today.
 

The De Queen Jr. High Basketball Tournament, scheduled to begin January 7th has been cancelled in its entirety due to in climate weather.

 

Broken Bow Public School will dismiss at 2pm today.


The Sevier County Courthouse and The De Queen City Hall both closed at 1:00pm


The Department of Human Services and the Sevier County Library will close at 1:30pm.


ACT Prep Academy scheduled for tomorrow 01/07/17 has been cancelled.


Bank of Lockesburg will close at 3pm today due to the in climate weather.


The De Queen Jr. High Basketball Tournament, scheduled to begin January 7th has been cancelled in its entirety due to in climate weather.

 

Ashdown Public School's will dismiss at Noon today. Busses will run. Please make proper arrangements for your children.

 

U A Cossatot will be closing at 10:15 am today and will reopen Monday 01/09/17 and will be open until 7pm Monday for Student Registration.

 

De Queen Parkhill Pre-school will be dismissing at 11:30 am.

 

Dierks Public School will dismiss school at 11:30 am today 01/06/17. Busses will run.

 

Horatio Public School will dismiss school at 11:45 today 01/06/17. Busses will run.

 

De Queen Public School will be dismissing school at @ 11:30 am today 01/06/17. Busses will run, please make preparation for your child.

 

Cossatot River School District

Cossatot River Senior Adult Center

Ashdown - Cossatot River basketball game for Friday, January 6th has been cancelled.

 

Cossatot River School District Superintendent Donnie Davis announced the Cossatot River School District will be closed today due to road conditions north of the high school campus. 

 

Stay tuned to Your #1 Country 92.1 for weather, news and road conditions.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER UPDATES PUBLIC ABOUT MUMPS OUTBREAK       1/6/17

 

Sevier County Health Officer Dr. Jason Lofton reported there are now five confirmed cases of mumps in Sevier County, but health officials expect that number to rise.

 

Lofton said the mumps is a virus and doctors treat the illness with rest and Tylenol.

 

Lofton said you should be watching for swelling under the jaw and if you suspect the mumps, you should be tested either by your primary care physician or at the Sevier County Health Unit.

 

Lofton also stated if you have not been vaccinated against the mumps, you should receive the MMR injection.

 

Lofton also encouraged Sevier County residents to get healthy in 2017. He stated everyone should get active and eat healthier.

 

For more information about the mumps or other health issues, contact the Sevier County Health Unit at 642-2535.

 

 

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL TEAM HOSTING BAKE SALE SATURDAY        1/6/17

 

Four seniors from the De Queen High School softball team announced they will be holding a bake sale Saturday at the De Queen Wal-Mart from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

Meagan Martz, Randee Toye, Josie Vaught and Carlee Sneed reported the team will be raising for funds to attend a softball tournament in Gulf Shores, Alabama over Spring Break.

 

The De Queen Lady Leopards are the defending 5A South Conference champs and this year's senior class will attempt to lead the De Queen Lady Leopards to the state tournament for the third year in a row.

 

 

CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR DECEMBER     1/6/17

 

During the month of December, the Chalice Cupboard assisted 32 families including 49 adults and 36 children, totaling 85 people by distributing 938 pounds of food.

 

A total of 1,381 pounds of food was added to the pantry shelves, including 971 pounds of food that was purchased with donated funds. The First United Methodist Church and the Saint Barbara Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus of the Saint Barbara Catholic Church donated 101 pounds, individuals donated 24 pounds, and organizations including Tyson Foods, the De Queen and Horatio branches of the Sevier County Library donated 285 pounds of food.

 

Individuals living in Sevier County who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 North 5th Street in De Queen on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 to 3:15 p.m. Food is given to those requesting assistance once each three-month period of the year.

 

This month, cupboard volunteers are asking for non-perishable items like jelly and cereal. All monetary donations will be used to purchase food.

 

 

NOT SUPPOSE TO BE IN MY HOUSE        1/6/17

 

On January 4th, Jimmy Carver informed the Sevier County Sheriff's Office that someone was at his rent house in Lockesburg that was not suppose to be there.

 

Carver informed Deputy Wendall Randall that he was evicting Brandi Trussley from his rent house but Donovan Trussley was not suppose to be there and he was loading items from the house into a silver vehicle.

 

Deputy Randall and Deputy Nikki Nealy located the silver car that Trussley was riding in. When Deputy Nealy made a traffic stop, Trussley was taken into custody because he had an active warrant from the City of De Queen and a Probation and Parole White warrant.

 

While searching Trussley, Deputy Randall discovered a capped syringe and Deputy Nealy found a glass smoking devise in the car where Trussley was sitting.

 

After allegedly admitting the syringe and smoking devise belonged to him, Trussley was charged with a felony count of possession of drug paraphernalia. 

 

 

DE QUEEN RESIDENT CHARGED WITH THEFT BY RECEIVING      1/6/17

 

January 4th, Sevier County Deputy Wendall Randall was asked if 29-year-old Terry Bohannon-Follis of De Queen had an active warrant because he was in a green pickup with Louisiana plates at the Horatio E-Z Mart. The caller provided Randall with a description of the truck along with the tag number.

 

After discovering Follis had a warrant, dispatch informed Randall that the truck had been reported stolen from Lincoln Parrish in South Louisiana.

 

Investigator Jeff Walhs and Deputy Nikki Nealy assisted Randall in searching for the vehicle in Horatio. Deputy Randall observed the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed on Bruce Street, but was unable to catch-up to the truck however he found the truck parked in the yard of a residence on Central Road.

 

The resident, Cindy Roberts, initially told Randall that Follis was not there, but eventually gave him and Deputies Chris Wolcott and Brian Hankins permission to take a look around.

 

While searching the home, officers found Follis hiding in a bathroom closet and took him into custody on the outstanding warrant, later he was charged with theft by receiving after he told officers that a man brought the truck to his house and offered to sell it to him.

 

 

LEGISLATURE PUSHING FOR STATE TAKEOVER OF AAA        1/5/16

 

An Arkansas lawmaker is pushing for a state takeover of the Arkansas Activities Association, which is the body that governs things like high school sports, cheerleading and bands.

 

State Senator Jeremy Hutchinson of Little Rock says high school activities are too important for there to be a lack of oversight, but some fear the consequences of the state getting involved.

 

The AAA is no stranger to controversy, whether it's a vacated championship or disqualified players, the consequences for breaking AAA rules have brought heartache to communities across the state.

 

Hutchinson said he wouldn't dare criticize a particular decision that the AAA has made, because he doesn't know all the facts and that's part of the problem.

 

He said it would serves everyone's best interest if they opened up the decision making process and let people quote, "see behind the curtain," unquote.

 

De Queen Head Football Coach Justin Kramer stated the AAA is made up of 525 member schools who are grouped into nine activity.

 

 

Coach Kramer said most people don't feel the AAA knows what they're doing, but the AAA is trying to do what's best for student athletes.

 

Hutchinson's plan would make the AAA a state commission and the board would be appointed by the governor and leaders of the State House and Senate.

 

Kramer said the current board is elected by the nine activity districts.

 

Some coaches worry about the impact of high school activities being governed by political appointees. Kramer said he felt this change would be detrimental to high school athletics.

 

Hutchinson said if the AAA was a state commission it would be subject to more scrutiny, including public comment sessions and legislative review.

 

Lance Taylor is the executive director of the AAA and he says the association is the most democratic association in the state and its current makeup is working, so why change it.

 

 

DE QUEEN STUDENT COUNCIL CHILI FUNDRAISER       1/5/17

 

Emily Rodriguez and Veronica Rivas of the De Queen High School Student Council announced they will be holding their second annual chili fundraiser on Tuesday, January 10th at 5 p.m. in the Leopard Coliseum.

 

Rodriguez and Rivas said they will be serving beef and deer chili with and without beans.

 

Cost is $6 a bowl and all proceeds will go to the De Queen High School Student Council for varies charitable activities. 

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT: FAKE TAX BILLS TRICKING CONSUMERS      1/5/17

 

The Arkansas Attorney General is warning consumers that con artists are sending fake tax bills claiming to be from the IRS. demanding immediate payment and threatening arrest if money is not sent.

 

Consumers are being sent a fraudulent version of a CP2000 form for the tax year 2015 as an email with an attachment or by standard mail requesting personal financial information and asking for payment via gift card, prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge stated the following tips can help Arkansans spot a fake tax bill:

The CP2000 notices appear to be issued from an Austin, Texas, address. The letter or email says the issue is related to the Affordable Care Act and requests information regarding 2014 coverage. The payment voucher lists the letter number as 105C. And, the sender requests that checks be made out to I.R.S. and sent to the "Austin Processing Center" at a post office box.

 

According to the IRS, the form CP2000 does exist, but it is used when income reported from a third-party source does not match the income reported on the tax return. The fake form provides little, if any, instruction to taxpayers about appealing additional money owed, but the real form provides extensive information. And some versions of the scam include a "payment" link within the email, which could be set up to steal personal information, take money or infect the computer with malware. The real notice also requests checks be made out to the "United States Treasury."

 

Consumers who receive this scam via email should forward it to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

 

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumers related issues, visit the website ArkansasAG.gov or call 1-800-482-8982.

 

 

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL SETS TIME AND RULES FOR MEETINGS      1/4/17

 

Tuesday night, aldermen of the De Queen City Council were sworn-in by Sevier County District Judge Manya Wood prior to their first meeting of 2017.

 

Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy reported the council then passed a resolution establishing the meeting time and rules for city council meetings. He stated the council decided that the deadline to have an item placed on the agenda will be noon on the Wednesday prior to a council meeting and council meetings will be held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month at 6 p.m.

 

Aldermen then passed resolutions for contracts of services with the Sevier County Humane Society, the Sevier County Historical Society and the Area Agency on Aging.

 

According to McKelvy, the 2017 budget provides $2,000 for the humane society, so city residents can have their dogs or cats spayed and neutered at a discounted price. The historical society will receive $4,000 to help maintain and support the Sevier County Museum. And, the Area Aging on Aging will receive $10,000 from the city to insure the center continues to offer meals and services to the residents of De Queen.

 

Aldermen also discussed several items of city property. McKelvy stated the city owns some oil tanks that he would like to either scrap or sell; they have some old control panels from the water plant that they would like to give away; and they discussed tearing down an old house that the city owns on First Street.

 

Aldermen also reviewed the city's sanitation rates, along with a new city pay scale. McKelvy said he will present recommendations to the council for their consideration at an upcoming meeting.

 

 

PEDESTRIANS STRUCK IN WAL-MART PARKING LOT       1/4/17

 

Saturday afternoon about 1:30, the De Queen Police Department and Southwest EMS were dispatched to the Wal-Mart parking lot after three pedestrians were reportedly struck by a vehicle.

 

When emergency personnel arrived, they transported a three-year-old male to the emergency room at the De Queen Medical Center, while 44-year-old Kristie Strang and 15-year-old Bristol Strang were transported to the hospital by a personal vehicle.

 

According to the incident report, 36-year-old Amber Williamson of De Queen was driving her Chevy Traverse by the front doors of Wal-Mart when she felt her vehicle bump something. She said she stopped immediately and discovered she had hit three people.

 

According to the report, no citations were issued.

 

 

2017 WINTER LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM     1/4/17

 

Southwest Arkansas Development Council will accept applications for the Home Energy Assistance Program in Sevier County each Thursday, starting on January 12th from 9 a.m. until noon at the Church of the Nazarene at 129 Locke Street in De Queen.

 

The program is for regular assistance only that means no shut-ups notices will be accepted and it provides limited benefits to eligible households.

 

Residents who have received a shut-off notice may also apply for crisis assistance beginning in March.

 

All applicants will need to provide I.D., either a driver's license, a birth certificate, a work or school ID or voter registration card, along with social security numbers for all members of the household, proof of the household income for any household member who is 18 and older for the month prior the month of application.

 

Applicants must provide a current gas and electric bill if your home is setup for both, and if not, then just an electric bill. If you do not have a current bill, you must contact your utility supplier and have this information sent to you before you apply or your application will be delayed or denied.

 

Applications will be accepted on a first come basis and while funds are available or the program closes.

 

For more information, contact the Southwest Arkansas Development Council at 870-773-5504.

 

 

SHREVEPORT VET CENTER'S MOBILE UNIT TO VISIT TEXARKANA       1/4/17

 

The Shreveport Vet Center's Mobile Vet Center will be in Texarkana, Texas for an Outreach Event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 7th at the Texarkana Harley Davidson store on Walton Drive.

 

The Readjustment Counseling Services Mobile Vet Center will be on site to support the event and to offer counseling services. Active duty service members and eligible family members who served in a combat or war zone are now eligible to get counseling at the Shreveport Vet Center, in addition to retired or honorably discharged Combat Veterans and eligible family members.

 

The Shreveport Center offers individual, group and family readjustment counseling to assist active duty service members in making a successful transition from combat, to garrison or civilian life. They offer treatment and help for Post-traumatic stress disorder and other related problems that affect functioning within the family, work, school or other areas of everyday life. And, they offer military sexual trauma counseling for active duty service members of both genders.

 

Service members will be required to provide documentation by their third visit indicating they have served in a combat or war zone to continue counseling. A copy of one of the following documents will meet this requirement including: deployment demobilization order, enlisted record brief, officer record brief, or an award citation indicating service member served in a combat zone.

 

In addition to its regular operating hours of Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the Vet Center has extended hours four nights a week, Monday through Thursday until 7 p.m.

 

Active duty service members or Veterans needing more information should call the Shreveport Vet Center at 318-861-1776.

 

 

A COUPLE OF POLITICAL CHANGES IN SEVIER COUNTY       1/3/17

 

The New Year brought a couple of changes to the political landscape of Sevier County. Former Investigator Robert Gentry was elected Sevier County Sheriff and former prosecutor Manya Wood was elected Sevier County District Judge.

 

Wood's first official act took place Tuesday morning when she put on her new black robe for the swearing-in ceremony at the Sevier County Courthouse where she swore-in the Sevier County Sheriff's Deputies, the city officers who will serve as auxiliary officers for the sheriff's office and county coroner and deputy coroners.

 

Wood stated there may be a few minor changes in the District Court, but she hopes to make a significant change to the county's community service program and she said she will evaluate the county's Amnesty program to ensure that it is effective and benefits the people that need help paying their fines.

 

She also announced the District Court schedule, which is the second and third Tuesdays of each month.

 

If you have an old fine with the Sevier County District Court and would like to agree to a payment plan, call 584-7311.

 

 

ARKANSAS AGRICULTURE HALL OF FAME TO ADD 5 MEMBERS     1/3/17

 

The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame will induct five individuals whose leadership and service have brought distinction to the state's largest business sector.

 

The newest class includes forester Allen Bedell of Hot Springs, former state senator Neely Cassady of Nashville, rice farmer Gary Sebree  of Stuttgart, poultry company executive Mark Simmons of Siloam Springs, and the late Bobby Wells, a renowned plant breeder who developed many varieties of rice that have positively impacted the state's farmers.

 

The group will be honored at the 29th annual induction luncheon on March 3rd at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Little Rock.

 

Butch Calhoun is the chairman of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame committee and he said the collective impact of these five men is felt in every part of the state. Calhoun said agriculture is one of the great success stories of the state. 

 

Cassady was a driving force for the poultry industry in southwest Arkansas, taking over his father's hatchery at the age of 18 and expanding it into a vertically integrated poultry company . He built and sold two such companies that continue today as part of Pilgrim's and Tyson Foods. He was elected to the Arkansas Senate in 1982 and served the people of southwest Arkansas for 14 years, where he was a staunch advocate for agricultural issues. Cassady was president of the Arkansas Poultry Federation, on the Tyson Foods board of directors, and a long-time member of the Central Baptist College board of trustees. He was presented the Poultry Pioneer award by the University of Arkansas, given a lifetime achievement award from the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International.

 

The mission of the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame is to build public awareness of agriculture and to formally recognize and honor individuals whose efforts have led to the prosperity of local communities and the state.

 

For more information about the Hall of Fame luncheon visit the website aghalloffame.arfb.com.

 

 

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL TO MEET TONIGHT       1/3/17

 

The De Queen City Council will meet tonight at 6 p.m. in the Council room and aldermen will be administered the oath of office by Sevier County District Judge Manya Wood just prior to the meeting.

 

Aldermen will be asked pass to resolution establishing the meeting times of the council for the remainder of the year.

 

According to the council's agenda, they will consider declaring three properties that are out of compliance as being public nuisances. Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy reported city workers cleaned up the properties on October 1st.

 

The three properties are at 218 West DeQuincey, 610 West Altena and the old EPI building.

 

Aldermen will also review the city's sanitation rates. De Queen residents are currently paying $8.25 per single family residence, $8.25 per month for each trailer in a trailer park, $8.25 per unit in the Housing Authority, and $8.25 per apartment unit.

 

Sanitation customers outside the De Queen city limits pay $10 per month.

 

Commercial customers pay $16 per month for one pick-up per week if they do not have a dumpster, $39 per month if they have a four-yard dumpster, $54 per month if they have a six-yard dumpster and $69 per month if they have an eight-yard dumpster.

 

Aldermen will also consider resolutions to approve contracts of services with the Sevier County Humane Society, the Sevier County Historical Society and the Area Agency on Aging.

 

 

LOCAL BLOOD DRIVE IS WEDNESDAY        1/3/17

 

LifeShare Blood Centers is having a blood drive on Wednesday at the Wal-Mart in De Queen from 2 to 7 p.m. on the LifeShare Bus.

 

According to LifeShare, about one in seven people entering a hospital will need blood and one blood donation, which is approximately one pint, can save up to three lives.

 

LifeShare Bloods Centers supplies blood components to 117 medical facilities throughout Louisiana, East Texas and South Arkansas, including the De Queen Medical Center, Little River Memorial Hospital in Ashdown, and Howard Memorial Hospital in Nashville.

 

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

 

 

STATE CAPITOL WEEK IN REVIEW      1/3/17

 

When the 91st General Assembly convenes on Monday, January 9th, lawmakers will quickly take up fiscal policy because the outcome of many proposed bills will depend on how much money is available. And, that means one of the major questions for legislators will be how much of a tax reduction is possible, and which types of taxes will be lowered.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson has proposed a drop in individual income taxes that would mainly benefit lower-income and middle-income families, saving them $50.5 million dollars a year.

 

A separate income tax cut that has been proposed by Senate members is broader in scope and would reduce state revenues by about twice as much as the governor's plan.

 

Legislators will also consider an income tax exemption on retirement benefits for the state's military veterans. This tax cut would save them about $13 million dollars a year.

 

In preparation for the session, the legislature began budget hearings in October to review the details of spending requests from all of the state agencies.

 

The Senate Education Committee has recommended a 1 percent increase in funding for public schools and because the state constitution mandates that the state provide an adequate education for all children in Arkansas that increase is likely to be approved.

 

Publicly-supported higher education in Arkansas consists of 10 four-year universities, the campuses at the medical school in Little Rock and 22 two-year colleges around the state. The governor has proposed a $10 million increase in the amount of their state aid, but its conditional on the legislative approval of a new funding formula.

 

The new formula would reduce the current emphasis on raising enrollment and instead would provide financial rewards to institutions that improve their graduation rates.

 

A priority during the 2017 session will be improving education in high-tech fields and expanding job opportunities in those fields. The governor's agenda includes setting up an "accelerator program" to authorize state agencies to partner with private companies in order to create new jobs in the technology sector. The proposed budget for that program is about $2 million dollars.

 

There is also a proposed bill that would set up three stabilization centers for people going through a mental health crisis. The cost would be an additional $5 million in state spending, but the idea has been endorsed by the governor, law enforcement and county officials. According to the bill, the centers would take the place of county jails as the place that would securely house people who are arrested and suffering from a mental illness.

 

The governor has also proposed adding $5 million dollars so schools can expand their computer science offerings. Senate leaders have said that the education and job creation items on the governor's agenda probably won't be controversial.

 

The governor has also proposed restoring funding to county libraries and senior citizen's centers, adding about $3 million dollars to the state's pre-kindergarten programs and hiring more case workers in the foster care and child welfare system.

 

 

ARKANSAS GUARDSMEN DEPLOYED          1/2/17

 

Sunday afternoon, hundreds of soldiers, including several young men and women from the surrounding area, loaded buses at six locations around the state.

 
Around 700 Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment of the 39th Infantry Brigade departed for their deployment to support operations in the Horn of Africa.

The deployment is expected to last just under a year.

According to a military website, the U.S. Combined Task force mission is to conduct "security force assistance, execute military engagement, provide force protection and to provide military support to regional counter-violent extremist organization operations in order to support the aligned regional efforts, ensure regional access and freedom of movement, and to protect U.S. interests."

 

The military operation originated in the wake of the September 11, 2010 terror attacks under Operation Enduring Freedom to combat militant Islamism and piracy in the Horn of Africa.

 

The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in the continent's east region that includes the countries of Ethiopia and Somalia.

 

The Arkansas Guardsmen have spent the past year training for the deployment and will complete several more weeks of additional training at Fort Bliss, Texas before leaving the United States to support operations, exercises and security cooperation programs under U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).

 

 

GENTRY CHEVROLET OPENING NEW LOCATION TUESDAY       1/2/17

 

For the past year, area residents have speculated about when Bud and Jimmy Ray Gentry would build and open a new Chevy dealership. Well, the wait is over. Gentry Chevrolet Finance Director Dave Brewster announced the new dealership will officially open Tuesday, January 3rd at 8 a.m.

 

Brewster stated everyone, including the Gentrys, knows how difficult it was to get in and out of the old location, but now they'll have a new-modern facility that will benefit everyone, whether you need service or a new vehicle.

 

Brewster said the Gentry family has a history of giving back to the community, and they will continue that tradition at their new location.

 

Brewster stated the Gentry's love this town and they feel the new facility will change people's perception of De Queen and the surrounding area. He also invited everyone to stop by and take a tour of the new facility.

 

The new Gentry Chevrolet dealership will officially open on Tuesday, but a Grand Opening will be held at a later date.

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT: SCAMMERS USE UTILITY BILLS TO TARGET SMALL BUSINESSES       1/2/17

 

Scam artists are targeting small businesses and residential customers by altering caller IDs and claiming to be from a utility company and stating the customers have unpaid utility bills and the services will be shut off immediately if they are not paid immediately.

 

Customers who receive these calls should hang up and call their utility company by using the phone number on their bill to verify the information. Customers should never make a payment or give our personal financial information to someone calling unsolicited and demanding immediate payment.

 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following tips to ensure payment is sent to the utility company safely, securely and timely:

Customers should add their utility payment due date to their calendar when they receive the bill; They should drop off the payment at the utility office or at an authorized payment location; They can also pay online on the utility company's website with a credit card or call the company directly; They may also consider participating in an automated draft system, if it is offered; and, they should mail the payment to the company directly.

 

If you have been contacted by one of these scammers, notify the utility company. If you fall victim to one of these phone calls, file a complaint with the Attorney General.

 

For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General's office 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website www. ArkansasAG.gov.

 

 

STATE OFFERING QUICKER ROUTE TO TEACHING LICENSE RENEWAL       1/2/17

 

Teachers inspire their students and push them to their fullest potential and currently, there are over 32,000 dedicated teachers serving the students of Arkansas everyday.

 

But, according to a recent study, fewer and fewer students are entering the state's educator preparation programs and the state may be facing a shortage of teachers in the years to come.

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported to ensure excellence in the state's education system, the Arkansas Department of Education is now offering a quicker route for former teachers to renew their license after leaving the profession.

 

She said the program is available for a limited time for teachers who left the profession and no longer have a current license, for those who received an initial license but did not convert it to a standard license and for those teachers who retired and do not have a current license.

 

Vaught said the Teach Again campaign began in November of 2016 and will last through the end of March.

 

She said while the current rules require 60-hours of professional development, the Teach Again program waives that requirement and allows qualified individuals to complete 36-hours if they do so by the end of March.

 

Former teachers must also complete a licensure application, pay the $75 application fee and complete the required background checks. Interested applicants can also receive free online assistance through Arkansas IDEAS.

 

Vaught said since the campaign began, more than 200 eligible candidates have started the process and 15 have completed the requirements. To get started, fill out the contact form at www.arkansased.gov and the Arkansas Department of Education will send the program application, background check instructions, and the resources that are needed to complete the professional development requirements.

 

Vaught said if you are not a retired teacher, but you're considering a career in teaching; visit the website www.arkansased.gov to learn more about the numerous paths to become a licensed teacher.