Southwest Arkansas Daily
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Local News archives
Counselor Appreciation Week at De Queen Public Schools 02/13/15
Counselors at De Queen Public Schools were celebrated the week of February 2. This was a week of appreciation for the many wonderful things they do. Counselors work with students, teachers, and principals. They also serve as their building’s test coordinator for all state mandated exams. The counselors in grades 6-12 assist students when they are choosing classes to take. They put a schedule together for their entire campus. High school counselors also help seniors acquire scholarships. Pictured are the counselors for K-12.
ARRESTS MADE IN ATTACK ON CLARK COUNTY JAIL PRISONER 02/13/15
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have arrested two Clark County Jail employees who are charged with Battery (2nd degree).
William D. Sayre, 25, of Nashville and Robert L. Williams, 28, of Arkadelphia were taken into custody today following an investigation that began earlier this week at the request of Blake Batson, Clark County Prosecuting Attorney.
On or about February 9, 2015 Syre and Williams are accused of the battery of a jail inmate.
The Arkansas State Police investigation is continuing. Any questions relating to the administrative status of the two jailers should be directed to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.
BE AWARE OF BOGUS IRS CALLS 2/13/15
Tax-return season is well under way in the Natural State and across the country, but with that comes scam artists trying to prey on consumers.
Recently, a number of Arkansans have reported that they have received calls from purported agents with the IRS demanding the consumer share their private information in order to receive a refund or to pay taxes immediately to avoid being arrested.
These con artists commonly alter their phone numbers so it appears that they are IRS agents in an attempt to steal a person's identity or take their money.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said some of these con artists can sound authentic and some are very convincing, as well as demanding, but consumers should pay attention to some red-flags. She stated consumers should also remember that no government entity, including the IRS, will ask for your personal financial information through an unsolicited call or e-mail.
Recently, the IRS reminded consumers that an IRS agent will never demand immediate payment or call about taxes that are owed without first mailing you a bill.
They will also not demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount that they say you owe.
IRS agents will not require you to pay your taxes with a prepaid debit card or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
And, they will not contact the local police to have you arrested for not paying.
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or asking for money are encouraged to call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or the Arkansas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division hotline at 1-800-482-8982.
For more information on the IRS scam or others, visit www.IRS.gov or www.ArkansasAG.gov.
BURGLARY IN HOWARD COUNTY UNDER INVESTIGATION 2/13/15
Howard County law enforcement authorities are investigating a burglary that happened on Tuesday, February 10th at 10484 Highway 278 West.
Terry Spears reported the break-in and informed the Howard County Sheriff's office that a safe had been stolen, along with several thousand dollars and property totaling around $20,000.
A witness stated that they saw a white colored truck drive away from the residence at about 5:30 p.m.
Spears stated there it took at least two people to move the safe because it's so heavy and deputies reported it appeared the safe was taken out of the house through the back door, based on the drag marks on the floor.
Howard County Sheriff Bryan McJunkins is asking for the publics help in identifying the person or persons involved in this incident. If you have any information concerning this incident, contact the Howard County Sheriff's Office at 870-845-2626.
DIERKS COUNCIL TO REVIEW WATER RATE RECOMMENDATION IN MARCH 2/13/15
Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts stated he informed aldermen of the Dierks City Council that he is waiting on a report from the Arkansas Rural Water Association before making a recommendation concerning a water rate increase.
Mounts also reported that work should begin on the street resurfacing and rehabilitation within the next couple of months after the city was approved for funds from the State Aid City Streets Program.
Mounts informed KDQN that they city had ordered a couple of new vehicles for the water and police departments and he's expecting the water and sewer audit to be finished later this week.
Mounts said the state has started the city's legislative audit and the city will be looking for a new sanitation employee after the retirement of Larry House.
Mounts stated the city was doing well and ground work has started on the new Weyerhaeuser mill.
The next meeting of the Dierks City Council will be March 9th in the Dierks City Hall.
UPCOMING EVENTS ON THE DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT CAMPUSES 2/13/15
De Queen School District Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced several upcoming events on the campuses on the De Queen School District this week.
Whatley reported that the De Queen High School FFA hosted the Little River FFA Sub-Area Leadership contest on February 5th and several De Queen Students won a majority of the contests.
FFA members from Ashdown, Foreman and Horatio competed in the contest.
Whatley also mentioned that students at the De Queen Junior High School have volunteered to serve in different areas of the community, like Relay for Life and helping at the Sevier County Museum..
Whatley announced students are now signing up for the High School Show Choir and a Closing the Achievement Gap meeting will be held on February 24th in the administration office at 5 p.m.
Progress reports were sent out on February 6th and Whatley said if you did not receive your child's progress reports, you should contact your child's school office.
For more information about programs on the campuses of the De Queen School District, contact your child's school office or call the administration building at 584-4312.
WINNERS OF THE 2015 MISS FOREMAN PAGEANT 2/13/15
Saturday night, the Foreman High School yearbook staff hosted the 2015 Miss Foreman Pageant and today they announced this year's winners.
In the Miss Tiny Foreman division, Kynlee Barraza was named winner. Carsye Young was the First Runner-up and Aven Rad Eddings was the Second Runner-up.
In the Miss Petite Foreman division, Mallory Abercrombie was named the winner and Skylar Kruse was named the First Runner-up.
In the Miss Young Foreman division, Kylie Forrest was named the winner. Michelle Smith was the First Runner-up and Angela Ridge and Ashley Hickox were named the Second Runners-up.
In the Miss Pre-Teen Foreman division, Ashalin Casper was named the winner and Ashlee Waller was the First Runner-up.
In the Miss Foreman Junior High division, Gabrielle Leon was named the winner. Nicole Scott was the First Runner-up and Marie Wright was the Second Runner-up.
And the 2015 Miss Foreman winner was Samantha Bell. The First Runner-up was Lauren Lovewell. The Second Runner-up was Michelle Anderson. The Third Runner-up was Elizabeth Purtell and the Fourth Runner-up was Laine Reich.
TORNADO SIRENS TO BE TESTED FRIDAY - WEATHER PERMITTING 2/12/15
Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Walter Smith announced Wednesday morning that his office would be testing the counties tornado system this Friday at 3:30 p.m. if the weather permits.
Smith said the test will be canceled if there is a chance of inclement weather in the area Friday afternoon.
OFFICERS LOOKING FOR FUGITIVE FOLLOWING CHASE AND ACCIDENT 2/12/15
A suspect that's wanted for parole violations eluded deputies with the Little River County Sheriff's office Sunday afternoon after crashing his pickup and fleeing on foot.
38-year-old Casey Tallant of Little River County is wanted for parole violations for delivery, possession and manufacturing of drugs or possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of drugs and firearms.
Sunday afternoon, Tallant was spotted while driving a Chevy pickup on Arkansas Highway 234 by Little River County Deputy Jon Butler.
Butler attempted a traffic stop, but Tallant continued to travel toward the Oklahoma border. Butler was joined by Chief Deputy Tim Brown and the pursuit continued for about nine miles to Little River County Road 106.
The pursuit came to an end when Tallant's truck collided with Deputy Butler's patrol vehicle.
Tallant then jumped out of the truck and ran into some nearby woods, leaving his wife and 2-year-old child in the vehicle.
Members of the Little River County Sheriff's Office, the Arkansas and Oklahoma State Police and rangers with the U.S. Forestry Serviced searched the area for Tallant until about 10:30 Monday night, but they did not find any sign of him.
Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory is asking for the publics help in locating Tallant. If anyone has any information regarding Tallant's whereabouts, you should contact the sheriff's office at 870-898-5115.
COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK EVENTS 2/12/15
Park Interpreter Shelley Flannery of the Cossatot River State Park informed KDQN that the park would be hosting a Sweetheart Couples Hike this Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Flannery said the park was also going to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count this year and the public is invited to help them count the birds that call the Cossatot River State Park home.
Flannery said the park was attempting to catalog the birds so they can ensure the proper habitat is available for the birds.
Flannery said the Great Backyard Bird Count is held every February and thousands of people of all ages participate to help create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds.
For more information about programs and events at the Cossatot River State Park, call 870-385-2201.
UPCOMING EVENTS FOR THE SEVIER COUNTY EXTENSION OFFICE 2/12/15
Wednesday morning, Sevier County Extension Agent Rex Herring informed the KDQN listeners that the extension office was conducting its annual Coggins Clinic this month. Herring said you can call the De Queen Animal Hospital to make an appointment or call the extension office for more information.
Herring also mentioned the extension office would be conducting a basic tree pruning workshop at the Horatio High School on Thursday, February 26th at 1 p.m.
And, then coming up later this spring, Herring said they are planning a grazing school in April and a Basic Horse Owner workshop in May.
For more information about any of the extension programs, contact the Sevier County Extension Office at 870-584-3013.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR ANNUAL COLTS CLASSIC 2/12/15
Friday, February 20th , over 1,000 high school FFA students from Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma will be on the UA Cossatot campus competing in the annual Colts Classic Judging Contest.
Students will be competing in land judging, horse judging, vet science, electricity and more and UA Cossatot is needing some volunteers to help with the contest.
UA Cossatot Public Relations Director Alisha Lewis said you do not have to have any knowledge of the events to help because they need all kinds of volunteers, even if its only serving pizza.
If you are interested in volunteering, contact Kelli Harris at UA Cossatot by calling 870-584-4471.
DE QUEEN BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO RE-HIRE ALL ADMINISTRATORS 2/11/15
Monday evening during the February meeting of the De Queen Board of Education, board members heard a report concerning renovations on the old elementary building from Superintendent Bruce Hill.
Hill reported Dayco had completed their work on the old elementary building, but the district’s going to paint the building and make a few changes.
Board members upheld the expulsion of one junior high student and Hill explained why they approved the transfer of two students to Horatio and one student to Nashville.
Hill stated all district administrators were all re-hired.
Troy Cravens with presented a "Friend of the District" plaque in recognition of his service to the school district.
The next meeting of the De Queen Board of Education will be Monday, March 9th at 5:30 p.m.
SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT APPROVES SHERIFF'S LINE OF SUCCESSION AND REPORT FROM SOUTHWEST EMS 2/11/15
Monday afternoon, the Sevier County Justices of the Peace meet in the Sevier County Courthouse and appointed David Wright as their delegate for the Arkansas Association of Quorum Courts.
JPs approved an appropriation of $1,000 from the Sevier County Assessor Judy Smith's Amendment 79 fund to upgrade a computer in her office.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray asked the members of the Quorum Court to re-allocate $2,882 in the county Road Department Budget and he explained to KDQN what those funds will be used to purchase a truck bed with mud flaps for a 2009 truck that the county owns but does not have a bed on it.
Ray also talked about the county sheriff's line of succession. If Sheriff Bennie Simmons is incapacitated in any why, Chief Deputy Chad Dowdle, Jail Administrator Kim Culp or Investigator Robert Gentry would secede him.
JPs heard a report from Megan McMahen of Southwest EMS and she informed them of several upgrades that are coming in the near future including a new facility and a new ventilator for one of the ambulances.
She said the ventilators were being purchased with grant money for all of the Southwest EMS operations.
McMahen reported response time increased in October, but they have had a lot more calls over the last couple of months.
Several weeks ago Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Walter Smith asked area residents to put numbers on their homes, McMahen mentioned to the Quorum Court the importance of those numbers being large enough for them to see especially after dark.
Judge Ray also announced that Dollar Tree would be opening in the old Wal-Mart building next to the Tractor Supply Company and that Troy Cravens is the new juvenile intake officer for the area. He said this is the first time that a juvenile intake officer had been stationed in Sevier County.
2015 ARKANSAS HENRY AWARDS IN TEXARKANA 2/10/15
Coming up this March, the 2015 Arkansas Henry Awards Banquet will be held in Texarkana March 8th, 9th and 10th at the Texarkana Arkansas Convention Center.
Arkansas Travel Blogger Kim Williams stated there will several different categories in which awards will be presented during the event, including the Arkansas Heritage Award, the Grand Old Classic Special Event Award, the Tourism Special Achievement Award, the Outstanding Volunteer Award, Community Tourism Development Award, and the Natural State Award.
Williams said this year's Media Support Award was special because two of the finalists are from Arkansas. One of the finalist is Jay Lindly of the Morning Brew on KDQN in De Queen.
Williams said for more information, you can go to the website www.Arkansas.com/governors-conference.
The Governor's Banquet will be Tuesday, March 10th and during the Henry Awards ceremonies, the inductees into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame and the Tourism Person of the Year will be announced.
ARKANSAS HIGHWAY COMMISSION APPROVES BID FOR IMPROVEMENTS IN HOWARD AND LITTLE RIVER COUNTIES 2/10/15
The Arkansas State Highway Commission approved a bid for improvements to roadways both in Howard and Little River counties, according to officials with Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.
The purpose of the projects is to resurface and rehabilitate 1 mile in the city of Dierks and 1.6 miles in the city of Ashdown.
Both projects are being funded through the State Aid City Streets Program that was approved by lawmakers in 2011 and voters in 2012. This program provides $20 million dollars annually from the state motor fuels tax to assist cities with projects that are selected by a nine-member panel of Arkansas mayors.
C & F Construction of Smackover was awarded the two contracts. The bid for the Dierks project was $203,579.50 and the bid for the Ashdown project was $289,525.50.
They will be resurfacing Fourth Street in Dierks from Missouri Ave. to Main Street; Front Street, which is Old Highway 70 from Highway 70 to the city limits and Old Highway 70 North from Highway 70 to the city limits.
They will be resurfacing North Beech Street from Bryan Ave. to Main Street; Belmont Drive from Peacock to near Shadow Lane; Frisco Street from Fulton Street to Main Street; Gordon Drive; Lakewood Drive from Crestview Ave. to Greenview Street and Rufus Torrance Drive from Foster Street to Highway 32.
Construction is expected to begin in two to four weeks and should be completed by this spring.
HOWARD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT 2/10/15
During the February 4th session of the Howard County Circuit Court, 24-year-old Aljawaun Cole of Mineral Springs plead guilty to residential burglary and theft of property for breaking into a couple of homes on Blue Bayou Road in September of 2014.
Cole was also charged with domestic battery in the third degree and was sentenced to 13 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
And, 34-year-old Jessica Melton of Dierks plead guilty to driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to one year in the department of corrections.
STOLEN FIREARM RECOVERED IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 2/10/15
A firearm that was reported stolen in Sevier County was recovered February 5th when members of the Little River County Sheriff's office, the South Central Drug Task Force and the Arkansas State Police executed a warrant in Little River County.
On February 2nd, Deborah Akin contacted Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Hankins and informed him that she had discovered her handgun missing on January 29th.
Akin stated she kept the handgun in the glove compartment in her vehicle and that the only time the vehicle hadn't been locked was when she had the oil changed at a Toyota dealership and that the only other person that had access to her vehicle was her son, 18-year-old Hunter Hughes of Ashdown.
After taking Akin's report, Hankins notified NCIC that the gun had been stolen.
After the firearm was recovered in Little River County, Hughes was interviewed by Deputy Hankins at the Sevier County Sheriff's Office concerning the stolen gun.
Hughes reportedly informed Hankins that he was staying with him mom during the Thanksgiving holiday and took the pistol. He also stated that he had planned to sell the gun, but the guy he was going to sell it to, wouldn't give him the money.
Hughes was arrested and charged with theft of property.
2015 POLAR PLUNGE 02/10/15
It's time to be freezin' for a reason! The 2015 Polar Plunge participants will jump into the really cold winter water of the outdoor pool at Minton's Sportsplex in Texarkana, Texas, on Saturday, February 21. BRRR!
Plungers, both individuals and in teams, take the annual daring dip in support of Special Olympics Arkansas and to raise money for and awareness of the mission Special Olympics represents. Also known by the acronym SOAR, Special Olympics Arkansas works to provide year round sports training and Olympic-type competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Arkansas.
Currently, more than 14,000 Special Olympics athletes participate in training and compete in a year-round program of 20 different sports, including aquatics, track and field, gymnastics, soccer, basketball, tennis, golf, powerlifting, and other sports at the local, regional, state and international levels. SOAR states that "the vision of Special Olympics Arkansas is to transform communities by changing lives through sports. Our athletes are training for life itself."
Registration for the 2015 Polar Plunge in Texarkana is at 10:00 a.m., with awards at 10:45 and the icy plunge at 11:00. Awards will be presented to the individual and team with the best costumes, as well as to those who raised the most money.
A $50 minimum donation per plunger allows the individual to plunge and own an official Plunge t-shirt. In addition, collected donations of $250 adds a beach towel, $500 earns all of that plus a 60"x 50" fleece sherpa blanket, and $1000 also adds a 32-can rolling cooler.
Special Olympics is more than medals or winning. It's the special athletes who are at the heart of the movement. Anyone interested in donating or bravely showing support by "taking the plunge" can contact Ann Hudson at 501-993-7610 or email@example.com.
In Ashdown, contact Elisha Stone at 870-898-4420/4410 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make checks payable to Special Olympics Arkansas.
FATHER & DAUGHTER WINTER WONDERLAND 02/10/15
Over 77% of the young ladies who attend Margaret Daniel Primary School in Ashdown were escorted by handsome fathers or grandfathers to the Father & Daughter Winter Wonderland on the evening of January 29. The special event was one of the parent nights planned throughout the year by the MDP staff.
The school was filled with beautiful little princesses as the girls, all dressed for the evening, led their charming escorts through ten literacy/math stations with such titles as "Symmetry Snowmen" and "Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?" Every station was decorated with the Winter Wonderland theme, including the stage for the father/daughter "Snowflake Dance" and the photo booth where the young ladies and their gentlemen posed for photos with Princess Elsa and Olaf.
By popular demand from the young men of MDP, the staff is now brainstorming ideas for a Mother & Son parent night in the near future.
DE QUEEN FIRE DEPARTMENT BATTLE ANOTHER CHIMNEY FIRE 2/9/15
Earlier Friday morning, 17 members of the De Queen Fire Department responded to a chimney fire on Elm Lane.
Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt said a woodstove was apparently the cause of the fire that originated in the a separate building from a trailer at 137 Elm Lane. The property belongs to Sherry Miller, but Alicia Mitchell was living in the structure.
Pruitt said the fire spread from the structure to a vehicle close to the building and the corner of the trailer also caught on fire, but firefighters were able to use the city's form system to extinguish the blaze.
Pruitt said the De Queen Fire Department was assisted by the Gillham Volunteer Fire Department and the Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department was on stand-by with two tanker trucks.
Pruitt said he recommended not only having your chimney cleaned, but have it inspected also.
Pruitt also mentioned the De Queen Fire Department is collecting fire dues from residents outside the city limits that are in the De Queen Fire District and that he would be willing to conduct fire safety classes.
For more information about the fire dues or the fire safety classes, contact the De Queen Fire Department at 584-7224.
FRIENDS OF THE NRA BANQUET 2/9/15
JP Atkins of the Cossatot Friends of the NRA announced the 2015 Friends of the NRA Banquet will be held Saturday, March 7th at 5:30 p.m. in the De Queen High School cafeteria.
Atkins said the cost is $30 per person or you can purchase special packages and this year they will be giving away fewer door prizes so they don't expect the banquet to last as long as it has in the past.
Atkins mentioned that they also had table packages available along with an early bird registration drawing for those who register before March 1st.
Atkins explained the Cossatot Friends of the NRA help several local groups with the proceeds from their yearly banquet.
For more information or to register for the Friends of the NRA banquet, call Monte Bartek at 279-3239 or Atkins at 584-9557. You can also stop by Bakers Bargain House.
JOANN WALTERS ELEMENTARY QUIZ BOWL CHAMPS 2/9/15
The JoAnn Walters Elementary Quiz Bowl team won the De Queen-Mena Educational Cooperative Quiz Bowl which was held on January 30th.
Team members included Kamry Kelley, Macy Eckert, Kaden Helms, Emily Gordon, Jason Eudy, Kohl Kersey, Kai Oglesby and Darci Jones.
The team is coached by the elementary Gift and Talented Specialist, Dana Ray.
PARK VISITOR FROM LOUISIANA FINDS 2 CARAT DIAMOND 2/9/15
Dean Filppula of Shreveport, Louisiana said he learned the diamond search area had recently been plowed, which loosens the diamond-bearing soil and the rains came, which helps bring more diamonds to the surface during his recent vacation to the area. So, he visited the park to try his luck and it paid off because he found a 2.01 carat diamond Tuesday afternoon.
Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said the diamond is a light, yellow stone in the shape of a wedge and about the size of an English pea.
Cox noted conditions are perfect of diamond hunting right now, following the plowing and rain. He said diamonds are a bit heavy for their size, and they lack static electricity, so rainfall slides the dirt off the diamonds that are on the surface of the search field leaving them exposed. He said when the sun comes out, they'll sparkle and get noticed.
PREPPING FOR TAX PREPARATION 2/9/15
Many times what makes Tax Day stressful is the procrastination of waiting to prepare those returns until the day they are due. Consumers should decide now on how they will go about preparing their tax returns, either by preparing them themselves or by seeking assistance from a professional tax preparer.
Every year there seems to be more regulations and forms related to tax filing. Some Arkansas consumers may choose to seek assistance with their tax preparations rather than crunching number and reviewing documents themselves.
So, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a consumer alert to encourage Arkansans to plan in advance on how they will file their returns and to inform them about some of the free tax preparation options that are available to them.
The IRS offers free e-filing to all tax payers through brand name software and online. Taxpayers who earned less than $58,000 in adjusted income in 2014 are eligible to receive free online filing help at www.irs.gov.
The IRS also offers free, in-person tax filing and preparation assistance through the Tax Counseling for the Elderly and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance programs. For more information, visit www.AARP.org or call 1-888-227-7669.
Consumers who chose to pay for help should shop around for the best price and its recommended that you choose a well-qualified and reputable tax preparer.
After having your taxes prepared, you should read, review and ask questions. You should also check and see if they have a Preparer Tax Identification Number that's been issued by the IRS, and ask if their business is open year round.
For more information on tax preparation, contact the Attorney General's office at www.ArkansasAG.gov or call 1-800-482-8982.
TRANSITION FAIR IN HORATIO 2/9/15
Cindy Frachiseur of the Horatio School District announced this week that they would be hosting several events on Thursday, February 12th beginning at about 2 p.m. at the Horatio Elementary.
Frachiseur said they will also be holding the Elementary Art Show along with Pre-K and Kindergarten registration at the same time.
Frachiseur said the district would be hosting a Financial Aid workshop at the high school at 6 p.m.
During the Financial Aid Workshop, parents and students will learn about the requirements for the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship, financial aid deadlines and other scholarships.
Frachiseur also mentioned that parent/teacher conferences will also be held from 2 to 7 p.m.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL FUTURE BUSINESS LEADERS OF AMERICA 02/09/15
Students from De Queen High School competed at the District 4 FBLA competition in Hope on February 4. Nineteen students and two teachers attended the event. District 4 covers Sevier, Little River, Miller, Howard, Lafayette, Montgomery, Garland, Saline, Hot Springs, Hempstead, Columbia, Nevada, Clark, and Pike counties. Cody Lites was elected as Reporter for District 4 for the 2015-2016 school year. Students that placed and will progress to state are.
1st Place- Emerging Business Issues- Jessica Rogers and Anna Grace Cauley
1st Place- Electronic Career Portfolio- Jessica Miller
2nd Place- Securities and Investments- Jacob Bunyard
3rd Place- Public Speaking- Cody Lites
3rd Place- Marketing- Shane Blankenship and Tara Montgomery
4th Place- Public Speaking II- Danielle Duggan
4th Place- Insurance and Risk Management- Habram Martinez
Pictured on the front row right to left are Anna Grace Cauley, Margaret Parker, Elizebeth Downs, Tara Montgomery, Abigail Angeles, and Alexandra Martinez. Students on the middle row are Habram Martinez, Jessica Rogers, Harmoney Rich, Morgan Sweeden, Mallory Miller, Montie Hennard, and Mrs. Jennifer Collier. On the back row are Mr. Chad Lites, Jessica Miller, Cody Lites, Jacob Bunyard, Shane Blankenship, Paige Morphew, Danielle Duggan, and Tanner Lipsey.
Report on the January 2015 Chalice Cupboard Ministry 02/06/15
As this monthly report is made, it makes twenty years of food ministry by the Chalice Cupboard, as food assistance began in February 1996.
In January, the Chalice Cupboard assisted 78 families in Sevier County, with 133 adults and 57 children, totaling 190 recipients of food. Distribution of food last month totaled 1,671 pounds from donated and purchased food.
Sources of donated food in January totaling 188 pounds were Saint Barbara Catholic Church (55 pounds), KDQN (41 pounds), individuals (8 pounds) and anonymous (84 pounds). Purchases of food in January were $916.74.
Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Inc. gave Chalice Cupboard a grant of $2,975.00 to provide food for recipients at Chalice Cupboard, and a $25 fee for membership in the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Inc.
Residents in Sevier County may receive foods in their need as the Chalice Cupboard at 315 North 5th Street in De Queen on Tuesday or Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:15 pm. Note: food distributions are given only once every three month period yearly: January-March, April-June, July-September, October-December.
Items suggest for donation this month are crackers and soup.
AMNESTY PROGRAM STARTED IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY 2/6/15
The Little River County Sheriff's Office and the Ashdown Police Department has started a county and city warrant amnesty program, which will allow persons with old warrants or fines to pay without penalties until March 7th.
According to the Little River County Sheriff's Office, anyone who has an outstanding warrant or a payment plan and has fallen behind can contact the district court clerk's office and the clerks will assist them.
Anyone with old fines is eligible to have the failure to pay warrant penalty fees dropped if the fines are paid by March 7th.
According to a spokesperson with the Ashdown Police Department, the program was designed to assist citizens by dropping the penalties that have been assessed, while collecting fines and eliminating warrants, so citizens can pay their fines without the fear of being arrested.
For additional information, call the Little River County Sheriff's office at 870-898-5115 or the Ashdown Police Department at 870-898-5640.
HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT ACCREDIT TED BY ADVANCED ED 2/6/15
Wednesday afternoon, members of the Horatio Board of Education, administration and school staff gathered to hear the exit report from the Advanced Ed accreditation team.
Those gathered were informed about the district's strengths and weaknesses, but in the end, they were informed that the visiting team would recommend that the Horatio School District be fully accredited by Advanced ED.
Horatio Superintendent Lee Smith explained the team had been on campus since Monday.
Smith said the district began preparing for their visit at the beginning of the school year.
Smith reported that the Advanced Ed team agreed with the district's review committee concerning their strengths and weaknesses.
Smith said this visit followed a district review by the state's Education Standards Board late last year.
Smith said the district will receive the Advanced Ed team's final report in about 30-days.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM DEANN VAUGHT 2/6/15
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported Wednesday evening that bills that would impact public employees and local municipalities are moving toward the floor of the House and the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced a bill that would protect public employees from discipline or retaliation for using the state's Freedom of Information Act.
Vaught said the committee voted for a bill that would clarify the control of county election commissions in the event that a political party does not hold a majority of statewide offices. The bill will allow the use of vote totals to determine the control of the commission.
Vaught reported the City, County and Local Affairs committee advanced seven bills and among those bills was one that would allow cities to enter into a contract with an existing certified fire department in lieu of establishing its own department.
They also voted in favor of a bill that would establish guidelines for how a governmental body can determine water rates for residents.
REWARD OFFERED FOR THE KILLING OF BALD EAGLE 2/6/15
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are seeking information concerning the shooting of a bald eagle in Pulaski County and the Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward up to $7,500 for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible.
On January 31st, a bald eagle was found dead on Highway 10. It had a large caliber bullet entrance and exit wound. According to evidence recovered at the scene, a vehicle stopped on the shoulder of the highway near the eagle. Enforcement officers reported they believe the shooter was not alone and witnesses may have seen the vehicle stopped on the side of the road.
Although bald eagles are no longer listed under the Endangered Species Act, they are still federally protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The maximum fine for killing a bald eagle is $100,000 with possible imprisonment up to one year.
Anyone with information should call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 501-772-8010 or the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission at 1-800-482-9262.
SEND A VALENTINE TO A PATIENT AT THE ARKANSAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL 2/6/15
The Arkansas Children's Hospital Foundation is asking everyone to send a Valentine to a patient at the Arkansas Children's Hospital.
Foundation Spokesperson Jennifer Pyron said they started this program last year and were amazed at how many Valentine’s they received from folks all across the country and from around the world.
Pyron said this year; they’re hoping to receive 150,000 Valentines.
She said to send a Valentine, all you have to do is go to www.giving.archildrens.org/valentine and follow the instructions.
So help put a smile on the face of child and send a Valentine this week to the Arkansas Children's Hospital.
SINGLE PARENT SCHOLARSHIP FUND - VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH 2/6/15
The Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund helps low-income single parents who are pursuing a post-secondary degree and is administered by affiliate organizations and volunteers in each county of Arkansas.
Every month, the organization selects a volunteer of the month and Ira McDaniel was of Sevier County was selected as the Volunteer of the Month for February.
Jamie Marshall is the field director for Southwest Arkansas and she expressed her appreciation for Mac's dedication and hard work. Marshall also stated that if you would like to volunteer with the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund, you can contact Mac at 642-2960.
Marshall said the program helps single parents earn a degree and she explained that students could use this scholarship for books, tuition or even gas to get to and from school.
Marshall announced the Single Parent Scholarship Fund would be working with UA Cossatot during the college's Dollars for Scholars events in Ashdown on March 10th, in Nashville on March 12th and in De Queen at the UA Cossatot Library on March 17th.
If you are interested in applying for a single parent scholarship, Marshall said you should check out their website. The deadline to apply for a Single Parent Scholarship is May 1st in Sevier County and March 20th in Howard and Little River counties.
For more information, call Marshall at 479-287-8213.
DISTRICT IV LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE 02/06/15
Horatio FBLA had thirty-five students attend the District IV Spring Leadership Conference held at University of Arkansas Community College at Hope on February 4th. District IV is comprised of forty-eight FBLA chapters from 14 counties in Southwest Arkansas.
Nine students from the Horatio chapter received awards for their outstanding performance at this district competition.
• Cassady Rankin - 1st place - Intro to Information Technology
• Laney Baker - 2nd place - Intro to Business Communications
• Adilene Arellano - 2nd place - Networking Concepts
• Adriana Gonzalez - 2nd place - Database Design
• Gustavo Perez - 3rd place - Business Math
• Raya Lemons - 3rd place - Securities & Investments
• Eleuterio Sanchez - 4th place - Agribusiness
• Reece Black - 5th place - Cyber Security
• Kelsey Rodriguez - 6th place - Business Procedures
These nine students will represent Horatio as they compete against other winners from all seven districts at the State Leadership Conference on April 13-14 in Little Rock.
FBLA is a national vocational student organization for students in high schools and middle schools who are interested in business or business education careers. Over 13,000 students in more that 300 high school chapters and over 4,000 students in 120 middle level chapters participate in Arkansas FBLA. Benefits of membership are leadership skills, business competencies, community responsibilities, and self-confidence.
ARKANSAS HIGHWAY COMMISSION APPROVES BID FOR HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENTS 2/5/15
The Arkansas State Highway Commission approved a bid in the amount of $3,441,766.12 from Surface Preparation Technologies of Pennsylvania for highway improvements in southern Arkansas.
The purpose of the project is to create shoulder and centerline rumble strips on selected sections of highways.
Construction is scheduled to being in two to four weeks and it should be completed in late 2015.
Area highways included in the project are: Highway 27 in Howard and Sevier counties; Highway 32 in Hempstead and Little River counties; Highway 41 in Sevier and Little River; Highway 71 in Little River, Miller and Sevier counties; and Highway 371 in Columbia, Hempstead, Howard, Nevada and Sevier counties.
More information you can check out IDriveArkansas.com or ArkansasHighways.com.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL HEARS STATE OF CITY ADDRESS 2/5/15
Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the De Queen City Council, aldermen approved the 2013 Water, Sewer and Sanitation audit, approved the purchase of a water pump and heard the state of the city address from Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy.
McKelvy informed the council the 2013 Water, Sewer and Sanitation audit was ancient history, but it had to be passed for agencies that needed copies of it.
Water Superintendent Jeff Brown informed the aldermen that a 100-hp pump went out last week and needed to be replaced. He reported that he could get a pump delivered from Malvern by the end of this week and installed for about $5,800.
McKelvy informed KDQN that aldermen voted not only to replace the pump, but to purchase a backup also.
Following the council meeting, McKelvy held a new alderman workshop for Aldermen David Krantz and Lawrence Wishard.
McKelvy also informed the council that De Queen would be hosting an asphalt maintenance meeting this month on the Sevier County campus of UA Cossatot.
DE QUEEN POLICE CHIEF UPDATES COUNCIL ON RESIDENTIAL BREAK-INS 2/5/15
Tuesday night at the conclusion of the De Queen City Council's new aldermen workshop, Police Chief Richard McKinley provided aldermen with an update on an investigation concerning a series of residential burglaries.
McKinley reported his department was investigating five residential burglaries that took place over the past several weeks.
McKinley stated no arrest has been made in the case, but they were searching for a person of interest. He also informed the council that patrols had been beefed up throughout the city in an effort to apprehend the suspect.
McKinley also stated that if anyone has information concerning these burglaries to contact his office at 870-642-2213.
FISHERMAN RESCUED ON MILLWOOD LAKE 2/5/15
According to the Little River County Office of Emergency Management, two stranded fisherman whose boat engine wouldn't start were found due to the help of a fading campfire.
George Bateman of Arkadelphia and Mason Lewis of Little Rock became stranded in an area known as mud lake on the northwest side of Millwood Lake after their boat motor quit working and would not restart.
According to the incident report filed with the Little River County Sheriff's office, the two men contacted the sheriff's office with their cell phone about 2 o'clock in the morning on Saturday, January 31st.
Volunteers Rudy Hatridge and Vynn Stuart followed the directions that the two men had given to the sheriff's office and found the men by using a 16-foot flat-bottom boat to travel upriver.
According to Dan Hale Jr. the emergency management team coordinator, the volunteers were given the number of bends in the river and followed directions on a map until they discovered the campfire.
They then towed the fishermen's boat back to Jack's Isle dock. Hale said the rescue effort ended at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM DEANN VAUGHT 2/5/15
Tuesday evening, Representative DeAnn Vaught reported that a bill that would establish a task force to study the future of health care reform in Arkansas will now head to the floor of the House after the Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee voted in favor of the bill Tuesday morning.
Vaught said the bill would require the task force to make recommendations regarding the future of Medicaid in the state by the end of December. She said the full House may vote on the bill as early as Thursday.
Vaught reported that the Education Committee approved a bill that would ensure every high school in Arkansas offers a computer science course.
She said it was reported in the committee hearing that by the year 2020, there will be 1.4 million jobs in the field of computer science in the United States and at that rate, only 400,000 students will graduate with a degree in that field.
The Education Committee also approved sending a bill to the full House that would decrease the number of professional development days for teachers from 10 to six.
Tuesday afternoon, House members voted to bar Arkansas highest-level sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a church or house of worship.
Level 4 sex-offenders are designated as sexually violent predators, which is the most severe designation by the state.
Sex offenders currently living near a church would be grandfathered in under the proposal. Level 4 sex offenders currently can legally live near a school, public park, youth center or day care.
Members also voted in favor of a bill that would include crimes committed while operating a motorboat as a criminal offense of battery in the second degree, and, a bill that will allow law enforcement agencies to award a pistol that was carried by an officer to be awarded to his or her spouse in the event of their retirement or death.
MINERAL SPRINGS WORKING ON DRAINAGE, WATER IMPROVEMENTS 2/5/15
Mineral Springs Mayor Bobby Tullis reported the city is looking at installing some water valves throughout the city that would isolate sections of the city, so the entire city's water system didn't have to be shut down to fix a leak. He said the cost of the project would cost about $30,000 and could be completed in about 30 days.
Tullis is collecting bids on that project and the council will discuss the matter during their February meeting.
Residents have also been providing a list of drains that need to be unclogged and ditches that need to be dug out and Tullis said the city is still receiving complaints about dogs that are roaming loose around town. He said the city had purchased an animal trap that he hoped would supplement the city’s animal control program.
The council also voted to give a $500 dollar bonus to Eric Marks for earning his sewer operator's license and they voted to borrow $16,500 to purchase a 2011 Crown Vic patrol car.
4TH ANNUAL COMMUNITY AUCTION A GREAT SUCCESS 2/4/15
Little River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fonda Hawthorne informed KDQN Tuesday morning that the Fourth Annual Community Auction was a huge success.
Hawthorne reported that the event surpassed the organizing committees expectations by raising over $42,000 and the funds will be used to build a pocket park just off Highway 71 South in the downtown area.
Hawthorne said the committee will be holding a meeting this Thursday to evaluate this year's event and start planning on next year's auction and start discussing future projects.
AARP VOLUNTEERS MAKE TAX TIME LESS TAXING 2/4/15
In 2015, AARP Foundation is again providing free tax assistance and preparation for taxpayers with low to moderate income through the AARP Foundation Tax-aide program and you do not have to be an AARP member or a retiree to use this free service.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide sites in Arkansas will be open from now until April 15th and will operate on a first come, first served basis; some sites offer appointments. Each site's opening date will depend on the days of the week on which to operate.
For more information on documentation that's required for tax filing, or to locate an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide site, visit www.aarp.org/findtaxhelp or call 1-888-AARP-NOW or 1-888-227-7669.
HOWARD COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SEEKING INFORMATION 2/4/15
The Howard County Sheriff's Office is seeking the public's assistance in identifying some individuals who are persons of interest in connection with a felony forgery case.
On Wednesday, January 28th, a white male driving a red, Ford extended cab pickup with a pressure washer in the back, stopped at a residence near Center Point and power washed a home for a resident.
He negotiated a price with the owner of the home but then altered the check that was given to him and cashed it at the Center Point Store and he is now wanted for felony forgery.
The unknown white male was accompanied by another unknown white male.
The driver is described as being short, with a medium build, short, dark hair and approximately 50 to 60 years of age.
Howard County Sheriff Bryan McJunkins stated that he is concerned that this person may have made similar deals with other area residents and his office is seeking information that could help identify these two individuals.
In you have any information concerning this incident, you are being asked to contact the Howard County Sheriff's office at 870-845-2626.
JACKSON ENCOURAGES ARKANSANS TO CELEBRATE FARM BUREAU WEEK 2/4/15
Bruce Jackson of Lockesburg is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation and he recently represented the state of Arkansas during the national convention in San Diego.
Jackson said during their state meetings, Farm Bureau established their list of priorities for the 90th General Assembly. Jackson said their priorities include funding for veterinary students at Mississippi State University, additional measures to prevent metal theft and funding for career and technical education under the Department of Career Education, as well as others like providing high-speed and affordable internet service.
Jackson mentioned that Arkansas is number one in the nation in rice production and he stated there were nine Discovery Farms in the state that is studying water quality before its used on the farm and after it is used on the farm.
Jackson said Farm Bureau was hoping to add some Discovery Farms in Southwest Arkansas to help study the state's water quality issue.
Jackson said the U.S. has only seven percent of the world's cattle, but produces over 20 percent of the red meat that is consumed in the world. He stated this was the result of American producers being great stewards of the land.
For more information about Farm Bureau, contact the local office at 584-3911.
JUDGE SIDES WITH STATE, ORDERS CREDIT-REPAIR AGENCY TO CEASE OPERATION 2/4/15
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced last week that a Pulaski County Circuit Court judge has granted the Attorney General's petition to enforce a civil investigative demand against a Texas company, known as CMCS Services from operating in Arkansas.
CMCS Services was involved in credit repair services in violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the federal Credit Repair Organizations Act.
Judge Chris Piazza granted an injunction and the business is prohibited from doing business in Arkansas until the company complies with the court order.
Rutledge stated the company used flashy signs and slogans to take advantage of Arkansans by promising to quickly fix consumers credit scores after they paid hundreds of dollars in advance.
Rutledge said consumers should beware of any credit-repair agency that requests fees upfront.
Arkansans can obtain a copy of their credit report by visiting the website, www.annualcreditreport.com.
MISS DHS PAGEANT WINNERS 2/4/15
Josie Vaught was named Miss De Queen High School 2015 Saturday night during the 38th annual Miss DHS pageant that was sponsored by the De Queen junior class as a fundraiser for the Junior/Senior prom.
Marjle McClelland was the First Runner-up and Justyce Brown was the Second Runner-up.
Evelyn Escammilla was the talent winner and Miriam Dominguez was named Miss Congeniality.
In the Mini Miss contest, Kathryn Milam was named the winner and Harper Young was named the First Runner-up and Lynli Liggin was named the Second Runner-up.
In the Little Miss contest, Landri Liggin was named Little Miss DHS, while Laura Figueroa was named the First Runner-up and Liliana Cruz was named Second Runner-up.
DOLLARS FOR SCHOLARS 02/04/15
Ashdown High School seniors and their parents are invited to attend Dollars for Scholars at Ashdown High School on Tuesday, March 10 from 5-7 p.m. Seniors and parents from other area schools are welcome to attend as well.
Dollars for Scholars is a Parent Night offered through area schools and Cossatot Community College as a community partnership. Ashdown's Dollars for Scholars night is a joint effort of Nikki Evans from CCCUA along with Sandy Bishop, Linda King, and Quincey Rayfield from Ashdown High School.
Parents need to bring their 2014 completed tax returns with them to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). All information will be confidential. The FAFSA has to be completed to receive Arkansas Scholarships such as the Arkansas Challenge/ Lottery Scholarship.
Please meet in the AHS library for instructions and move to the computer lab after that.
FAMILY LOSES EVERYTHING IN EARLY MORNING FIRE 2/3/15
Firefighters from the De Queen Fire Department, the Gillham Volunteer Fire Department and the Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department battled a house fire Monday morning on De Queen Lake Road, but the home was a total loss according to De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt.
About 8:27 a.m. Jeanetta Adams awoke and discovered a chimney fire that got into the attic. Pruitt said when the fire reached the attic the wood frame house began to burn quickly.
Pruitt said 15 members of the De Queen Fire Department responded with four trucks and a tanker, and were assisted by Gillham and Cossatot who brought their tanker to help battle the blaze.
Pruitt explained the most difficult thing about fighting a fire in a rural area is the lack of water. He said departments have to shuttle water from the nearest source.
Firefighters returned to the fire station around 10:45 a.m.
Pruitt said no one was injured, but the family of Willie Adams lost everything. Donations are being accepted at the De Queen First Assembly of God Church where the couple attends.
ARKANSAS PANEL WOULD MORE THAN DOUBLE LEGISLATORS' PAY 2/3/15
An independent commission wants to more-than-double legislative salaries and give raises to most of Arkansas' constitutional officers and judges.
The Independent Citizens Commission voted to gave approval to new salaries Monday and a final vote is expected to occur March 5th.
The panel is recommending increasing legislator's pay from $15,869 a year to $39,400. However, the panel suggests eliminating $14,000 in reimbursements that lawmakers can currently receive.
The panel also wants to increase salaries for all constitutional officers except for the lieutenant governor. The governor would see a pay jump from $87,759 to $141,000. Many judges and all of the Supreme Court justices would see a raise, too.
Voters created the pay commission as part of a constitutional amendment extending term limits and imposing tougher ethics rules.
MISSING HSU STUDENT FOUND DEAD 2/3/15
Authorities in Oklahoma say they found the body of a missing Henderson State University student around 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning in Latimer County, Oklahoma.
According to LeFlore County Sheriff Rod Seale, the vehicle of Callie Morris was found by a Buffalo Valley firefighter, overturned in a creek with the body still inside.
Authorities had been searching for Morris since she was reported missing on Friday.
According to the missing person report, Morris went missing Thursday night, after leaving Hot Springs on her way to McAlester, Oklahoma. Authorities searched by ground and air on Friday and over the weekend, the search also extended towards Mena after authorities used cell phone data to trace her possible route from Hot Springs to Oklahoma.
Henderson State University Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Tonya Smith stated Sunday that the thoughts and prayers are with the Morris family and friends and they are committed to providing support for their students, faculty and staff as needed.
THIRD SUSPECT IN CLARK COUNTY CONVENIENCE STORE ROBBERY-HOMICIDE ARRESTED IN LITTLE ROCK MOTEL 2/3/15
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police and U.S. Marshals have arrested the third suspect that was wanted in connection with the murder of an Arkadelphia convenience store clerk.
24-year-old Craig Wade of Pine Bluff was taken into custody without incident shortly after 2 p.m. on Sunday at a southwest Little Rock motel.
Wade was identified from a photograph that was circulated through a State Police news release last week.
Wade is being charged with capital murder and aggravated robbery. 36-year-old James Gray, Jr., and 27-year-old Edward Williams both of Pine Bluff, were arrested by State Police last week and both Gray and Williams are facing similar charges.
The three are being accused of the robbery of the Jordan Kwick Stop Shell in the Caddo Valley area of Arkadelphia and the murder of 24-year-old Christopher Brown of Arkadelphia. Brown was the lone clerk inside the store when the three entered about 4:40 a.m.
Wade has been transported to the Clark County jail in Arkadelphia where Gray and Williams are also being held.
STATE TROOPER RECRUIT APPLICANTS NEEDED 2/3/15
State Police Recruiters have begun the search for qualified applicants who want to become Arkansas State Police Troopers.
The recruiters are encouraging applicants to submit their medical assessment waiver and initial contact form as soon as possible, but no later than the close of business on February 13th.
Recruit applicants can download the medical assessment waiver and initial contact form at the Arkansas State Police website.
No initial contact form will be considered without a medical assessment waiver from the applicant's personal physician stating the applicant is sufficiently healthy to pass the physical assessment test.
Applicants may also contact their nearest State Police Headquarters or call the recruiting hotline at 1-800-340-4255.
Applicant testing to identify a pool of applicants for recruit positions is already underway and recruits who are hired will be part of the May 2015 Troop School and will graduate in September.
Applicants must be 21 years of age, a U.S. citizen, have a valid driver's license, a high school graduate or equivalent, not have any felony convictions or ever been convicted of domestic violence, no visible tattoos and must pass the initial screening exam.
Starting salary is $34,500 and will be raised to $36,000 upon graduation.
UA COSSATOT BOARD OF VISITORS MEETING 2/2/15
During the January meeting of the UA Cossatot Board of Visitors, board members heard several updates from Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole and other vice-chancellors.
Dr. Cole reported on the need for trade programs that will better serve the needs of local industries and the college. He said programs that do not serve local industries are placed on an inactive status or cancelled.
Cole said rather than wasting resources when they are scarce, the college redirects those resources into programs that’s believed to produce a better graduating class and a better workforce.
Cole reported the college had expanded the truck driving program and they had started a new Physical Therapy Assistant Program at Ashdown.
Vice Chancellor of Business and Finance Charlotte Johnson reported that the colleges revenues were down from this time last year, but the schools expenditures were also low.
Vice Chancellor of Academics Dr. Maria Parker reported that the post-secondary enrollment was down by about 90 students.
Vice Chancellor of Facilities and Planning Mike Kinkade reported that the Automotive Collision repair and Ashdown campus renovations were completed and the next main project was the renovation of the Lockesburg campus.
Kinkade said work has begun on the exterior and the ground at Lockesburg and the appraisal of the Murfreesboro property came in lower than expected, but he had requested another appraisal to ensure that everything was included in the first.
TWO SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH CLARK COUNTY STORE ROBBERY - MURDER 2/2/15
Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division arrested two Pine Bluff men Thursday in connection with the robbery and murder inside a Caddo Valley store early Sunday morning.
24-year-old Christopher Brown of Arkadelphia was working as a store clerk when he was shot at about 4:40 a.m. inside Jordan's Kwick Stop Shell.
36-year-old James Gray and 27-year-old Edward Williams, both of Pine Bluff, were arrested on charges of Capital Felony Murder and Armed Robbery.
Both Gray and Williams were taken into custody without incident Thursday in Pine Bluff and are being held in the Clark County jail in Arkadelphia.
PROPOSED SOCIAL MEDIA BILL 2/2/15
A proposed social media bill could give employers more access to current and potential employees’ social media accounts.
Representative Nate Bell of Mena says the bill would grant an employer more access to an employee’s social media accounts if it pertains to the hiring process.
According to Bell, this bill is quite a contrast to a bill that was passed during the 2013 General Assembly. That bill was sponsored by former State Representative Nate Steel of Nashville.
Steel’s bill prohibited employers from obtaining information like passwords or requiring current or potential employees to give their employers access to their social media pages.
Bell says the intent of his bill is to protect the employer. For example, if an employee makes slanderous statements about their employer, that the employer has the right to know.
LOTTERY SCAM FINDS WAY TO SEVIER COUNTY 2/2/15
A spokesperson from the Sevier County Sheriff's office informed KDQN Friday morning that a lottery scam has been reported in the county.
Friday morning a Gillham resident presented the sheriff's office with a check and a letter from the Multi-State Lottery Association, informing the recipient that they had won two million, five hundred thousand dollars and they were sending them a check in the amount of six thousand, four hundred and fifty dollars and 80 cents to pay the insurance and lawyer fees.
The letter informs the recipient to deposit the check in their account and then contact the claims manager for more information.
It also informs them not to discuss their prize with anyone.
A member of the Sevier County Sheriff's office called the number on the letter but call was transferred to an answering service.
Residents in other parts of the state and country have received similar letters and checks from Multi-State Lottery Association and they are listed on a lottery scam list on the internet.
Residents are reminded that no legitimate lottery program will notify it's winners in this manner and if you receive a similar letter or email to please contact the local law enforcement agency.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM DEANN VAUGHT 2/2/15
Friday morning, state Representative DeAnn Vaught informed KDQN that she had a lot to learn when she started serving District 4 this month, but it's been a lot of fun and she is sponsoring three bills.
Vaught said this week, she will be presenting two bills on the floor of the Arkansas House on behalf of Senator Jimmy Hickey.
Friday morning, Vaught was sworn-in by Sevier County Judge Greg Ray for a position on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Board.
Vaught also reported that the House passed Senate Bill 6. She said the bill will impact Arkansans who make between $21,000 and $75,000 dollars a year.
Vaught said if you want daily updates from Little Rock, you can follow her on Facebook.com/Representative DeAnn Vaught.
HUMANE SOCIETY OF SEVIER COUNTY 2/2/15
Dr. Floyd Gonzales of the Humane Society of Sevier County announced Friday morning that they would be holding a spay and neuter clinic at the Sevier County Fairgrounds on February 10th, 11th and 12th.
Gonzales explained that they were changing the name from the Sevier County Humane Society to the Humane Society of Sevier County and he thanked the community for supporting the society.
Gonzales said to make an appointment for the spay and neuter clinic, you should call 642-8640.
If you would like to volunteer during the spay and neuter clinic or if you would like to make a donation to the humane society call Dr. Gonzales' office at 642-8640.
DE QUEEN WOMAN'S CONVICTION UPHELD 2/2/15
The Arkansas Court of Appeals issued an opinion this week upholding to conviction of a De Queen woman who was sentenced to 20-years in prison after her son was born with meth in his system.
38-year-old Melissa McCann-Arms admitted to using meth the day before her son was born in November of 2012 during her trial in the Polk County Circuit Court and nurses testified the infant was jittery and shaky from suffering from withdrawals from methamphetamines.
In her appeal, McCann-Arms and her defense attorney argued that the charge against her, introducing a controlled substance into the body of another person, did not apply to unborn children.
In the opinion of the Court of Appeals, it states that even assuming the statute does not apply to an unborn child, the conviction was not reversible because McCann-Arms’ fluids continued to flow through the umbilical cord to her son for a period of time after he was born.
McCann-Arms’ lawyer argued that there was no reference to unborn children in the statue and the Arkansas law does not define an unborn child as a person except in the cases of homicide.
Judge Phillip Whiteaker has asked the state Legislature to amend the law to make the statue clearer if it applies to an in utero transfer of a controlled substance from a mother to a child.
McCann-Arms was sentenced on January 14th, 2014 to 240 months in prison and is currently being held in the Wrightsville Unit.
BEWARE OF REFUND-ANTICIPATION PRODUCTS 2/2/15
Paying off bills, setting money aside for a future vacation or building up your savings are just a few examples of what many consumers plan to do with a tax refund, if they expect to receive one. Few, if any, have carved out plans to give a large portion of the refund right back to a tax preparer or financial institution.
Unfortunately, millions of American taxpayers do exactly that each year when they obtain rapid refund products such as a Refund Anticipation Checks or Bonus Deposit Checks.
Refund Anticipation Checks are essentially high-interest loans which must be repaid by your actual tax return and in many instances are deducted directly from a taxpayers refund proceeds.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a consumer alert so Arkansans will beware of refund-anticipation products.
Refund Anticipation Checks may be offered under other names, such as instant refund or fast refund. Some also include an option for a taxpayers refund to be loaded on a prepaid debit card.
Companies that offer these products are required to comply with the Arkansas Refund Anticipation Loan Act, which requires tax preparers to make some specific disclosures if they offer refund-anticipation product services.
Those tax preparers must also display a schedule of fees for the products and they must provide consumers with a printed notice that lists any and all conditions related to the repaid refund.
If consumers are looking to expedite their refund, they should consider e-filing. Taxpayers who e-file usually receive their refund within eight to 21 days and their refund is deposited directly into their bank account.
For more information on rapid refund products or help with tax preparation, visit www.irs.gov or go to the Attorney General’s website at www.ArkansasAG.gov. or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division hotline at 1-800-482-8982.
AREA BLOOD DRIVES 2/2/15
LifeShare Blood Centers will be hosting a couple of blood drives next week in Sevier County.
On Monday, February 2nd, UA Cossatot will hold a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, February 3rd, at the Lockesburg Baptist Church on South Camellia Street from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
According to LifeShare about one in seven people who enter a hospital will need some type of blood product and one blood donation or approximately one pint of blood, can save up to three lives.
LifeShare Blood Centers supplies blood components to 117 medical facilities throughout Louisiana, East Texas and South Arkansas, including the De Queen Regional Medical Center, the Little River Memorial Hospital and the Howard County Memorial Hospital.
31 FLU DEATHS REPORTED IN ARKANSAS 2/2/15
The Arkansas Department of Health has reported that 31 people have died from flu-related illness since September 2014, however, no victims have been children this season.
Twenty-four of those who have died were over the age of 65, five where between the ages of 45 and 64 and two were between 25 and 44.
According to the most recent report from the Department of Health, there have been more than 13,800 cases of the flu across the state, with about 60 percent of those cases being among children.
Department of Health Spokesperson Kerry Krell pointed out that the number doesn't provide the full picture of flu cases in the state because not everyone who gets the flu goes to the doctor and not every doctor tests their patents for the flu.
Krell said she still recommends everyone getting a flu shot to help cut down on the length of time you suffering from the flu.
De Queen Regional Medical Center Media Spokesperson Rhonda Blanton reported the De Queen Medical Center treated 91 cases of the flu in December, but that number declined to just 16 cases in January.
SOCIAL MEDIA DO'S AND DONT'S 02/02/15
Carol Robinson from the Arkansas Attorney General's office will be in the Ashdown School District on February 12 to speak to interested students and parents about "Social Media -- Dos and Don'ts."
The public is invited to hear Robinson at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 12 at the Ashdown New Tradition (ALE) campus (the old high school building at 751 Rankin Street) and be part of an informative discussion about the advantages and dangers of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
Social networking has exploded in popularity among Americans of all ages in recent years and can serve as a valuable resource for connecting with friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately those same sites can also be prime targets for identity thieves and scam artists.
Robinson and the AG office want to offer guidance to avoid falling victim to criminals on the internet by providing helpful Do's and Don'ts for social networking users. More information about the topic can be found at http://www.ag.arkansas.gov/programs/schools-educators-and-communities/social-media-dos-and-donts/.
LEHIGH HANSON DONTES TO MARGARET DANIEL PRIMARY 02/02/15
Margaret Daniel Primary School recently received a generous gift from LeHigh Hanson Aggregates, a North American construction materials company with a local aggregates (crushed rock, sand and gravel) distributory in Ashdown.
Ed Warnken with LeHigh Hanson presented Tami Cross of MDP with a check for $1500 to help support the MDP Family Night Library program, as well as help add and replace books in the school media center.
"We are thankful for this community sponsor and appreciate their generous donation," states MDP Principal Kay York. Becky McGraw with LeHigh Hanson contacted York requesting to contribute to the school and its needs, resulting in the monetary support.
The Family Night Library program at Margaret Daniel Primary has been successful in both improving student reading levels and increasing parental involvement for the school and its kindergarten and first grade students. It is funded entirely from community donations.
The MDP staff has set a goal of at least 80% of MDP students reading at or above grade level by May DRA testing time. The percentile is already above 76%, with expectations to exceed the 80% goal soon and go beyond. Support from the parents and community are important contributions to reaching student success.
Attached photo: Ed Warnken with LeHigh Hanson Aggregates presents Tami Cross with a check for $1500 to be used to support the Margaret Daniel Primary School Family Night Library program, as well as to help add and replace books in the MDP media center.
SEVIER COUNTY SALES TAX FIGURES 01/30/15
Here are the latest sales tax figures for Sevier County, De Queen, Horatio and Gillham.
This represents two complete calendar years of sales tax revenue.
Billy Ray McKelvy, Mayor
City of De Queen, Ark.
UTILITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS THROUGH THE SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL 1/30/15
Earlier this month, the Southwest Arkansas Development Council announced that they had started their winter utility assistance program along with their crisis intervention program.
Joyce Short of the development council said applications will be taken for both programs Tuesday through Thursday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. each week until the funds are depleted. However, she said this is a one-time payment program.
Short stated that all applicants should bring proof of household income for the previous month, social security numbers for all household members and a copy of all your utility bills.
For more information, call 584-3995.
TRI COUNTY SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION 1/30/15
Registration is underway for the Tri-County Softball Association and Carmen Santiago mentioned that girls ages 4 to 14 can sign up on Sunday, February 15th and Sunday, February 22nd at the community building in the Herman Dierks Park from 2 to 4 p.m.
Santiago said teams compete against teams from the surrounding area and some team compete is area tournaments.
Santiago also stated that several teams from De Queen have won state tournaments and have even competed in and won World Series titles.
Santiago said if you have any questions about the teams to contact her at 584-6516.
CHANNEL 7 BACK ON LOCAL CABLE SYSTEM 1/30/15
During the January 6th meeting of the De Queen City Council, Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy informed the aldermen that he had been informed by Vyve Broadband, the city's cable provider that Vyve was dropping the Little Rock stations because they were a duplication of the area's designated market stations in Shreveport.
McKelvy stated that he had contacted Vyve and encouraged them to reconsider this move, because most local cable subscribers wanted the Little Rock stations for Arkansas news and sports.
Thursday morning, Mayor McKelvy informed KDQN that Vyve Broadband had reinstated KATV Channel 7 on the local cable line-up for the cities of De Queen and Horatio as of Wednesday. However, he did report that it is unlikely that the other Little Rock stations will return to the local line-up.
ARKANSAS AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES 2015 CENTURY FARM PROGRAM 1/30/15
The Arkansas Agriculture Department is accepting applications for the 2015 Arkansas Century Farm program.
The Century Farm program recognizes Arkansas' rich agricultural heritage and honors families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. The program is voluntary and places on restrictions on the land.
Since the program's inception in 2012, 240 farms have been certified as Arkansas Century Farms.
To quality, farms must meet the following criteria: The same family must have owned the farm for 100 years by December 31st, 2015 and the line ownership from the original settler or buyer may be through children, grandchildren, siblings and nephews or nieces, including through marriage or 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 Governor Asa Hutchinson stated, "the family farm is an Arkansas tradition, representing a way of life for generations of hard-working people. He said in honoring those families, the Arkansas Century Farm Program recognizes the historical relevance of the family farm and its important place in Arkansas's future.
Nationally, over 96 percent of all agricultural operations are family farms and Arkansas currently has over 44,600 farms on 13.8 million acres with the average farm being 309 acres.
Qualified applicants will be presented a personalized metal sign and a certificate.
There is no cost to apply for the Arkansas Century Farm program, and applications may be obtained from the Arkansas Agriculture Department by calling 501-683-4851. Applications must be postmarked by May 31st, 2015 to be eligible for designation in 2015.
AGFC TO HOLD SERIES OF PRESCRIBED BURN WORKSHOPS 1/30/15
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's private lands biologists have scheduled a series of free workshops to teach landowners the proper and safe use of prescribed burns to improve wildlife habitat.
According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission fire can be used to shape the landscape and improves habitat for wildlife by encouraging germination of beneficial plants, while controlling undesirable plants, reducing the wildfire danger and opening forests to allow for the growth of grasses in the understory.
Central Arkansas Regional Private Land Biologist Clint Johnson explained wildlife like deer, turkey, quail and a host of nongame species benefit from and thrive on habitats that are maintained by fire.
Johnson reported the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission strongly believe in the benefits of properly-used control burns.
Johnson said during the prescribed burn workshops will educate participates about those benefits and the mechanics of a prescribed burn. He stated they will cover planning; firing strategy and equipment, fire weather, proper safety considerations, Arkansas fire laws, as well as, other topics.
Seating is limited and landowners must register to attend. For more information, contact Johnson at 877-470-3650.
The Southwest Arkansas workshop will be Saturday, March 21st at the University of Arkansas Research Station in Hope.
ARREST MADE IN PHARMACY BURGLARY 1/29/15
A Foreman resident has been arrested after the Walgreens pharmacy in Ashdown was broken into Monday night.
33-year-old Lashonda Bromsy was arrested about 10:30 p.m. Monday night at her home in Foreman.
Bromsy was charged with breaking into the pharmacy and taking about 3,000 Hydrocodone pills and a bottle of Diazepam.
According to the police report, Bromsy was a former employee of the pharmacy and she allegedly used a hammer to break the glass in the drive-thru window and then crawled through the window to gain access to the building.
According to the Ashdown Chief of Police, Mark Ardwin, the pills have a street value of $3 to $10 each.
The incident is still under investigation by the Ashdown Police Department.
23-YEAR-OLD ARRESTED FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT OF 15-YEAR-OLD 1/29/15
Following a call to the Arkansas Department of Human Services Crimes Against Children Hotline, a 23-year-old Pike County man was arrested and charged with sexual assault. He is being held in the Pike County jail on a $50,000 bond.
Kelly Harris of Murfreesboro was arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old female over the New Year holiday.
According to an investigator with the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division, the girl did not report the incident because she was afraid of getting into trouble.
According to the arrest records, Harris allegedly stated that he was not aware that the girl was 15 and underage.
AREA MOM PUSHING FOR TOUGHER LAWS CONCERNING DRINKING AND BOATING 1/29/15
Nearly two years after her son was killed in a boating accident in Oklahoma, a Texarkana mom is encouraging Arkansas lawmakers to change the law concerning the penalties of boating while under the influence of alcohol.
In May of 2013, Sandy Varner's son, Trey, was killed when he went boating with some friends in Oklahoma.
She says they weren't in the boat, 10-minutes before the boat they were in hit a docked boathouse on the Grand Lake in Grove, Oklahoma.
According to investigators, excessive speed, alcohol and operator inattention were the causes of the accident.
The driver of the boat was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but 14 of those years will be served on probation.
Varner is attempting to make the penalties for boating while intoxicated the same as driving under the influence.
State Senator Jimmy Hickey of Texarkana has filed the bill in the state senate and Varner plans to testify before the committee concerning the need for this law.
Similar legislation is expected to be presented to the Oklahoma legislature.
BLACK BEAR WORKSHOP AT COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK 1/29/15
Cossatot River State Park will be hosting an advance black bear workshop this Saturday and Park Interpreter Shelley Flanary mentioned the workshop will be hands-on. Participants will make plaster casts of black bear tracks and develop teaching material to use concerning black bears.
Flanary said the program is also approved for Professional Development hours through the Arkansas Department of Education.
According to Flanary, the workshop is free, but participates will need to bring their own lunch.
On Sunday, park guests can help feed the park critters from 2 to 3 p.m. at the park's visitor center.
For more information about programs at the Cossatot River State Park, go the station's website, KDQN.net and click on the upcoming events tab or you can call the park at 870-385-2201.
DRUG RAID RESULTS IN FOUR ARREST IN PIKE COUNTY 1/29/15
Four suspects were arrested Sunday morning during a raid on three residences between Murfreesboro and Delight.
During the raid, law enforcement officials confiscated over $3,000 dollars in cash, a .25-caliber pistol, about 20 grams of methamphetamine that was packaged for sale with a street value of $2,000 and various items of drug paraphernalia.
Pike County Sheriff's Department Investigator Clark Kinzler reported that they arrested 51-year-old Pamela McKinnon and 58-year-old Gerald McKinnon for maintaining a drug premise, along with 20-year-old Jeremy Smith and 48-year-old Clyde Brown.
Smith is being charged with simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, possession of a controlled substance-meth with the purpose to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a drug premise.
Brown was charged with possession of controlled substance-meth with the purpose to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a drug premise.
According to court records, officers from the Pike County Sheriff's office, the South Central Drug Task Force, the Murfreesboro Police Department and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission entered the three buildings simultaneously and arrested the four suspects who are being held in the Pike County jail.
SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS ELECTRIC TO SPONSOR ESSAY CONTEST FOR TRIP TO WASHINGTON D.C. 1/29/15
Two high school juniors from the Southwest Arkansas Electric REA service area will have an opportunity to win an all-expense-paid trip to Washington D.C., in June.
Wayne Whitaker is the cooperative's president and CEO and he said the winner of the essay contest will participate in the June 10th through June 18th trip, which is part of the National Rural Electric Youth Tour.
To be eligible to win the trip, the student must be a high school junior enrolled in a local high school, and the student's family must be a member of the electric cooperative.
Contest winners will be required to submit a 500-word essay discussing the "top five greatest engineering achievements of the United States during the 20th-century" and explain "which engineering achievements affect your life the most."
Essays will be judged on the basis of knowledge of the subject, originality, composition, neatness and grammar.
The deadline to submit an essay is March 27th.
This is the 25th year the local cooperative has sponsored the trip, according to Whitaker.
While in Washington, students will be part of a group of 1,500 young people from 37 states.
Students will visit several national monuments, the Smithsonian Institute and other historical sites, as well as special programs that have been developed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
To learn more about the trip or the essay contest, contact the Southwest Arkansas Electric REA in Texarkana at 870-772-2743 or visit youthtour.coop.
CITY OF FOREMAN WITHOUT WATER 01/28/15
The City of Foreman has had an 8" main water main cut by contractors. There is no water service for City of Foreman residents. Crews are working on repairing the line. It is estimated that it will take 4 to 6 hours to repair. City officials say everything should be back to normal between 8 and 10 pm.
ASHDOWN COMMUNITY AUCTION 1/28/15
Little River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fonda Hawthorne announced Monday that the Fourth Annual Community Auction would be held this Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. at the Ashdown High School cafeteria.
Hawthorne explained the annual auction is a fundraiser that helps fund community projects and it has continued to grow by about $10,000 per year.
Hawthorne also wanted to remind everyone that this year's event will not be on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot but will be at the high school and will feature several auctions including a silent auction, a live auction, a penny auction and there will be a special raffle.
For more information contact the Little River County Chamber of Commerce at 870-898-2758.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY WOMAN FOUND GUILTY IN FEDERAL COURT 1/28/15
A Little River County woman who is serving probation for several counts of theft of a firearm plead guilty in federal court in Texarkana, last week for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
34-year-old Michelle Reo was sentenced to two years of probation in Little River County on the original charges in May of 2013 and then last week, she appeared before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey and entered a plea of guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon.
According to court records, Reo was in possession of a Marlin model 336 .30-30 caliber rifle on August 12th, 2013. This incident occurred just months after she plead guilty to four counts of theft of property and firearms in the Little River County Circuit Court in May.
Reo faces up to 10 years in federal prison and could be fined up to $250,000, or both.
SEVIER COUNTY PAROLE OFFICER FOUND GUILTY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT 1/28/15
A Sevier County parole officer was found guilty of attempted sexual assault of a female parolee last week by a Sevier County jury and was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $7,500.
38-year-old Anthony Lawrence of Hot Springs was found guilty following a two day trial in the Sevier County Courthouse.
Lawrence was a parole officer with the Arkansas Department of Community Correction Parole and Probation.
The jury found Lawrence guilty of sexual assault in the fourth degree and he was sentenced to one year in prison and a $5,000 fine. The jury also found him guilty of attempted sexual assault in the third degree and sentenced him to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
According to the incident report, the incidents occurred on December 18th and 20th in the Sevier County Courthouse.
Lawrence was accused of attempting to have sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with a female parolee, who was under his supervision as a probation officer.
Following the incident, the victim's mother contacted the South Central Drug Task Force about her daughter being sexually harassed by her parole officer.
An investigation was then conducted by the drug task force, the De Queen Police Department and the Arkansas State Police.
STOLEN VEHICLE RECOVERED FOLLOWING PURSUIT 1/28/15
Saturday, January 24th, Sergeant Chad Bradshaw of the De Queen Police Department was advised by Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon of a vehicle that had been stolen out of Oklahoma was headed toward the city of De Queen.
Bradshaw reported he located the vehicle on Highway 70 West at the west end of Johnson Bridge Road and started pursuing the vehicle until he got up with the truck near Cane Creek Bridge.
Deputy Davignon advised the McCurtain County authorities that they were in pursuit of the stolen vehicle.
According to Sergeant Bradshaw's report, the pursuit continued into Oklahoma.
In Eagletown, the suspect almost wrecked the vehicle after attempting to make a left turn onto a side street, but went through a gravel parking lot and then back onto Highway 70.
According to the incident report, Officers with the Oklahoma State Patrol set up two sets of stop sticks, west of Eagletown.
The pursuit finally ended at Bailey's on Highway 70.
The suspect, 25-year-old Michael James was taken into custody by the Oklahoma State Troopers.
According to Sergeant Bradshaw, James' vehicle reached speeds over 100 miles per hour while passing vehicles in no passing zones and while going up hills. Bradshaw said, James crossed the center line several times and had to jerk the vehicle back quickly to avoid hitting other vehicles.
DE QUEEN ELEMENTARY TEACHER OF THE YEAR 01/23/15
Mrs. Brenda Clowers is the De Queen Elementary School’s teacher of the year. Mrs. Clowers is the librarian and works with every child in third, fourth, and fifth grade. She also uses the computer lab to teach research skills as well as computer skills. Clowers also does a lot of the behind the scenes work. Pictured with Mrs. Clowers are Kamina Monna, Payne Thornton, Kane Faulkenberry, and Emily Garcia.
De Queen Elementary School will have their annual Book Fair January 26-30. Parent night is on January 27, 4-6 p.m.
MARKETING SEMINAR FOR SMALL BUSINESSES 01/23/15
UA Cossatot has partnered with Henderson State University and the Arkansas Small Business And Technology Development Center to present "Marketing Techniques for Small Businesses". This seminar will be held Monday, January 26th from 3 until 5 pm.
A small marketing budget doesn't have to mean restricted resources for your small business. Get an overview of general marketing techniques, accompanied by suggestions for small businesses with small budgets. Topics include how to create a marketing plan and calendar, determining your target markets, low cost marketing tools, and much more!
for this seminar.
Call 870-230-5184 or David Sirmon at
UA Cossatot to register.
Members of Arkansas Delegation Push for Level Playing Field for Arkansas Rice 01/23/15
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Bruce Westerman (AR-04) joined colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to encourage Iraq to purchase more American produced rice.
The letter asks for diplomatic assistance to improve trade relations with the Iraqi Grain Board (IGB) because of the decreased purchases of American produced rice. In recent years, the IGB has bought rice from other nations over lower cost American rice. The letter asserts that the IGB has not indicated that American rice is deficient in quality, grade or price.
Arkansas leads the nation in rice production. Rice is the top agricultural export for the Natural State. Nationwide, rice production generates approximately $34 billion in economic activity annually, creating thousands of jobs in rural America.
“We recognize Iraq’s prerogative to make these types of decisions, but it serves no purpose to discriminate against competitively-priced U.S. rice in favor of rice produced elsewhere. As an example, on November 6, 2014, the Iraqi Grain Board announced its intent to purchase 170,000 metric tons (mt) of rice. The IGB purchased 80,000 mt from Thailand, 60,000 from Uruguay, and 30,000 from Brazil. No rice was purchased from the United States, despite offers of U.S. rice that were of similar quality but nearly $24 per mt below the prices from competitors from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Iraqi authorities have provided no explanation for this type of decision,” the letter states.
Click here to read the letter in its entirety.
The IGB is expected to begin accepting bids on a new tender to buy 30,000 metric tons of rice soon.
The letter was also signed by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), David Purdue (R-Ga.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Members of the House of Representatives signing the letter include Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Brian Babin (R-Texas), Charles Boustany (R-La.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), John Fleming (R-La.), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), Jason Smith (R-Mo.), Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), David Valadao (R-Calif.) and Randy Weber (R-Texas).
FOREMAN SCHOOL BOARD REPORT 01/23/14
The Foreman Board of Education met in regular session on January 20, 2015. Mr. Bradley presented a certificate of appreciation to Mrs. Leon and the Key Club for their help with the Kiwanis pancake breakfast this past weekend.
Mrs. Tankersley, elementary principal, reported:
Formal and informal
observations are going on, all the teachers have embraced the new
teacher evaluation and I am
DMEC Reading Fair starts
tomorrow. We had local Reading Fair in December, the winners of the
local will go to compete
We are gearing up for the PARCC
assessment, the math teachers went to a PARCC update at the co-op
and came back
· We will have about fifteen Texas teachers from Region 8 schools to observe our K-6 literacy classes
Mrs. Cody, high school principal, reported:
· Myself, Mrs. Whisenhunt, and Alice Young attended a Math PARCC workshop at the co-op
· Ms. Gauldin took her 9th grade English class on January 7th to visit Central High and the Capitol in Little Rock
· TAMUT in Commerce and the Armed Services have visited with our seniors in preparation for their future plans
· The Leadership Team is continuing to have meetings twice per month
The professional development
topic on January 14th was “Praise”, which is one of our
areas of Focus for School
· Night school began tonight for those in need of credit recovery
· Student Council will have a blood drive tomorrow
The high school was recognized
as a high achieving Middle School and High School, Beating the Odds,
Mrs. Cody and Mrs. Whisenhunt presented Interim Measurable Objectives (IMO) for all four quarters as a result of high school being on Focus School status. Results in meeting each IMO were also discussed for the first and second quarters.
· Mr. Kennedy presented certificates of appreciation for each board member for Board Appreciation month
· The audit is finished and will report the findings later once we have our final exit conference
· An estimate of the greenhouse repairs were given to each board member
· The fence at the softball field is complete
Mr. Kennedy reported there were not any expenditures over $10,000 for this month.
Mr. Kennedy recommended tabling the approval of Arkansas School Boards Association School Board Legal Liability Policy until the February board meeting. The company was not able to send us the policy before our board meeting.
The board adjourned to executive session at 7:05 p.m. for the discussion of the superintendent’s yearly evaluation.
The board returned to open session at 8:00 p.m.
Mr. Bradley made a motion to extend Mr. Kennedy’s contract one more year, until June 30, 2018. Mr. Way seconded the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Bradley made a motion to approve the minutes of December 16, 2014. Mr. Segraves seconded the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Kennedy reported the current enrollment is 509; elementary has 258 students and high school has 251 students.
Mr. Segraves made a motion to approve the December financial reports as presented by the superintendent. Mr. Bradley seconded the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
Mr. Segraves made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Bradley seconded the motion. Motion passed 5-0.
The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
BENEFIT ACCOUNT SET UP FOR TARA KITCHEN BAILEY 01/23/15
A benefit account has been opened at First State Bank of De Queen for Tara Kitchens Bailey, daughter of Cleatis and Barbara Kitchens. She is a single mom that is battling cancer. Funds are to help with medical bills and loss of income.
Also donations may be made for a drawing on a king size Razorback quilt (94 x 98"). $2.00 donation enters your name in drawing 1 time' $10 donation enters your name in drawing 6 times. Donations may be made at any First State Bank location.
Benefit for Ricky Stanford family 01/23/15
Local musicians, Daryl Argenbright and Johnny Reed, stopped by KDQN studios Thursday morning to and invite everyone to a benefit for Ricky Stanford family on Saturday, January 24th at the Sevier County Fairgrounds.
Ricky was from Horatio and ran a construction company for many years. He lost his battle with cancer in December and his friends are holding a benefit to assist his family with medical bills and final expenses.
A Soup & Chili Supper with all the fixing served will be served by donation. David Shipman will have his crew ready to conduct a silent auction of items that have been donated. Items include everything from baked goods to loads of gravel.
If you cannot make it to the benefit Saturday night, an account has been set up at First State Bank of De Queen. For more information contact Marcell McMillian at (870) 584-9199
Three Women Arrested for Allegedly embezzling from college bookstore 01/23/15
Arkansas authorities say three women have been arrested for allegedly embezzling $280,000 from the campus bookstore at UACC in Hope.
Brandy Harvel, age 26, and Tammy Williams, age 49, both of Hope were arrested around 1 pm Wednesday and were each charged with theft over $25,000.
Previously, on January 16th, Heather Langston, age 27, of Hope was arrested on theft of property charges for allegedly stealing funds from the bookstore.
The three women were employees of the Texas Book Company Book Store located on the UACC campus in Hope. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.
FOSTER PARENTS NEEDED 01/23/15
Judy Huff with the Arkansas Department of Human Services informed KDQN that her office will be hosting a foster parent inquiry meeting on Tuesday, January 27th in Lockesburg.
Huff stated there's currently a shortage of foster homes in Southwest Arkansas. She explained they needed more foster homes to help keep children in their communities when they are removed from their parents home.
Huff said they are needing foster parents who are willing to take children of all ages.
Huff stated that if you are unable to attend next week's meeting, you can contact the Department of Human Services if you would like to serve as a foster parent.
The Sevier County Department of Human Service phone number is (870) 642-2623.
FILMING OF "MENA" MAY START IN FEBRUARY 01/23/15
Barry Seals is a well-known name to those familiar with the history of the city of Mena and he is the focus of a new movie script that was sold to Universal Studios for a reported $1 million dollars.
Seals allegedly ran drugs across state lines while operating out the Mena Intermountain Municipal airport in the 19080s.
The story alleges that Seals transported guns and drugs for the CIA and a Mexican cartel. Seals was ultimately shot to death by a member of the Mexican cartel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but a lot of his illegal activities took place at the Mena airport.
Tom Cruise reported has agreed to star in the new movie that will be filmed in and around the Mena area.
Proposed AR bill would remove Robert E. Lee from MLK Day
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Robert E. Lee's birthday would no longer be celebrated on the same day as Martin Luther King Day under a bill introduced by an Arkansas lawmaker.
Republican Rep. Nate Bell's bill would remove Lee's birthday from the designations of state and school holidays. It would keep Martin Luther King's birthday as a state holiday on the third Monday of January.
Bell introduced the bill Wednesday.
Arkansas is one of three states, along with Alabama and Mississippi, that jointly celebrate King and Lee.
The practice has been criticized by civil-rights advocates who say it doesn't make sense to recognize a black civil-rights leader on the same day as a white Confederate general.
Address comments to Representative Bell by calling 479-234-2092 or Email: Nate@NateBell4Arkansas.com
Lucky for Life™ Lottery Draw Game Arrives in Arkansas on January 27!
LITTLE ROCK - On Tuesday, January 27, nearly 2,000 Lottery retailers across Arkansas will begin sales of “Lucky for Life™,” the new multi-state draw game. Tagged as "The Game of a Lifetime™,” Lucky for Life features a top prize of $1,000 a day for life as well as a second prize of $25,000 a year for life, and twice-weekly drawings.
The “Lucky” game was introduced in 2009 in Connecticut. Three game changes since then have included an extension to the five additional New England states, and now to Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, and South Carolina. Because of the steady population expansion, the game has grown from a top prize of $2,000 a week for life, to a $1,000 a day for life top prize, a patented second “for life” prize, and additional prize levels that resonate with players. With Lucky for Life, a true “for life” win opportunity in a draw game is available. Both the top prize and second prize are payable for the entire of a winner’s natural life.
“This win style holds great attraction for Arkansas Lottery players. Because when we say ‘for life,’ we mean it,” said Bishop Woosley, Director of the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery. “We believe that winning a prize that can be paid on an on-going basis is tremendous incentive for consumers to purchase the game and that is part of the reason the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is excited to bring Lucky for Life to our players.”
Features that make Lucky for Life a unique addition to Arkansas Scholarship Lottery game portfolios include:
1. A top prize of up to $1,000 a day for life, payable as an annuity or lump sum.
2. A second prize of up to $25,000 a year for life, payable as an annuity or lump sum.
3. “For Life” prizes are payable for the length of a winner’s
natural life. At minimum, 20 years of payments are guaranteed;
4. Twice a week drawings will be held in Connecticut (the
drawing host state) every Monday and Thursday at 9:38pm
5. Following each drawing, players will be able to view the
drawing via upload on
www.LuckyforLife.US, and on participating
6. Tickets cost $2 each.
7. Eight prize levels besides the two “for life” levels are available to win, with a minimum prize of $3.
8. Overall odds are similar to scratch game odds, and are set at 1 in 7.8.
Top prize odds offer a life changing experience but with odds more
familiar to lotto style games, and are set at 1 in
COALITION MEETING SET 01/22/14
The Sevier County Coalition will be meeting on Tuesday, February 10th at the Sevier County Health Unit. You are invited to attend a networking lunch at noon and the meeting will be from 12:30-1:30p.
The goal of the meeting is to bring new partners to the table to emphasize the importance of local participation in the coalition and to discuss 2015 Coalition programs.
Please bring a new community member to the meeting and be prepared to discuss programs you feel are important for the coalition to work together on in 2015.
MISS HORATIO SCHOOL PAGEANT ANNOUNCED 01/22/14
The Miss Horatio School Pageant will be held on Saturday, February 21, 2015. Entry forms may be picked up at all school offices. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, February 10.
Competition will be for Baby Miss (1-2 years old), Tiny Miss (3-4 years old), Tiny Mister (1-4 years old), Miss Horatio Primary (Pre-K, K, 1st grade), Miss Horatio Elementary (2nd, 3rd grades), Miss Horatio Middle School (4th, 5th, 6th grades), Miss Horatio Junior High (7th, 8th, 9th grades), Miss Horatio High School (10th,11th, 12th grades). All participants must live in the Horatio School District or attend school in Horatio.
For more information, contact Ashley Elmore at 832-1900 or email@example.com. You may also go to Horatio School Events on Facebook for updates and questions.
De Queen City Council meeting 01/22/15
The De Queen City Council approved four contracts for services and designated one of its members as an authorized check signer during the regular council meeting Tuesday evening, January 20, 2015.
Council members approved resolutions authorizing contracts for services to four organizations in the following amounts: Sevier County Historical Society Museum, $5,000; Sevier County Senior Citizens Center, $10,000; Sevier County Humane Society, $1,500 and Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center, $7,500. The council amended the resolutions to specify that the payment for the contracts would be paid quarterly, except for the Humane Society, which is the smallest. It will be paid in one payment.
The council selected Alderman Walter Smith as an authorized check signer for all city accounts. The city has four authorized signatures. The other three are the mayor, city clerk-treasurer and accounts payable clerk.
The meeting opened with a presentation by the staff of Smiles of Arkansas Dental Center concerning National Children’s Dental Health Month in February. Dr. Robert Carter and Reese Sheffield of Smiles clinic, said the clinic has seen almost 10,000 patients since it opened in 2009. The Smiles staff is working to educate children and parents on the importance of good dental health.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy provided the Smiles staff with copies of a proclamation marking February as National Children’s Dental Health Month in De Queen.
In other business, the mayor said the city needs to reverse the sale by sealed bid of a Ford brush loader truck because the city cannot provide a title for the vehicle. The truck was sold in 2014 for a bid price of $4,260. The truck was purchased at an auction from the City of West Monroe, La. after the 2000 ice storm. Records indicate that the title was to be mailed but it was apparently never received. The buyer of the truck did not want to have a bonded title, which is the only alternative. The mayor said they have negotiated with the buyer and offered to reverse the sale and buy the truck back for the bid price. This was approved by a unanimous voice vote. The truck will be offered for sale again with no title, or sold for scrap metal.
Finally, the mayor said he has been talking with Pilgrim about their interest in having the city abandon four sections of street that are inside the Pilgrim plant. The mayor said he will ask the company to make the request and set a public hearing on the proposal. The hearing will be well publicized to give anyone affected to make comments before a decision.
BEST CARE CLASSES DEADLINE APPROACHING 01/21/14
If you are an early childhood professional, foster parent, or early childhood educator and want to learn more about caring for young children, you may be interested in The Best Care. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, in partnership with the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Association, is offering training for early childhood professionals. Classes are offered free of charge and is verified training through the Traveling Arkansas’ Professional Pathways (TAPP) and supports the Better Beginnings Program.
The Best Care will begin Monday, January 26, 2015 at the Howard County Extension Homemaker Center located at 425 N. Second Street in Nashville. The training will begin with registration at 5:45 and class starting at 6:00 p.m. Additional hours will be offered February 2, 9, and 16. By attending all four sessions, participants will receive 10 hours of certification.
Topics for this year’s The Best Care training will include More Money in Your Pocket: Making the Most of Tax Credits, Making the Most of Your Health Care Dollar, Health Care: Private Option, Infectious Diseases in Early Childhood, Best Nutrition Practices for Healthy Kids, Arkansas Nutrition Myth Busters, Outdoor Learning Environments, Infant Care in Early Childhood, and Your Blueprint for Happiness.
If you are interested in participating in The Best Care, contact the Sevier County Extension Office at (870) 584-3013 to register. Please register by January 23, 2015.
The Health Care Law - Getting Ready to File Your Tax Return 01/21/14
It’s always a good idea to prepare early to file your federal income tax return. Certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act – also known as the Health Care Law – will probably affect your federal income tax return when you file this year.
You or your tax professional should consider preparing and filing your tax return electronically. Using tax preparation software is the easiest way to file a complete and accurate tax return. There are a variety of electronic filing options, including free volunteer assistance, IRS Free File for taxpayers who qualify, commercial software, and professional assistance.
Here are five things you should know about the health care law that will help you get ready to file your tax return.
The Affordable Care Act requires that you and each member of your family have qualifying health insurance coverage for each month of the year, qualify for an exemption from the coverage requirement, or make an individual shared responsibility payment when filing your federal income tax return.
Most taxpayers will simply check a box on their tax return to indicate that each member of their family had qualifying health coverage for the whole year. No further action is required. Qualifying health insurance coverage includes coverage under most, but not all, types of health care coverage plans. Use the chart on IRS.gov/aca to find out if your insurance counts as qualifying coverage.
For a limited group of taxpayers -those who qualify for, or received advance payments of the premium tax credit - the health care law could affect the amount of tax refund or the amount of money they may owe when they file in 2015. Visit IRS.gov/aca to learn more about the premium tax credit.
You may be eligible to claim an exemption from the requirement to have coverage. If you qualify for an exemption, you will need to complete the new IRS Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions, when you file your tax return. You must apply for some exemptions through the Health Care Insurance Marketplace. However, most of the exemptions are easily obtained from the IRS when you file your tax return. Some of the exemptions are available from either the Marketplace or the IRS.
If you receive an exemption through the Marketplace, you’ll receive an Exemption Certificate Number to include when you file your taxes. If you have applied for an exemption through the Marketplace and are still waiting for a response, you can put “pending” on your tax return where you would normally put your Exemption Certificate Number.
Individual Shared Responsibility Payment
If you do not have qualifying coverage or an exemption for each month of the year, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment when you file your return for choosing not to purchase coverage. Examples and information about figuring the payment are available on the IRS Calculating the Payment page.
Premium Tax Credits
If you bought coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement from your Marketplace by early February. Save this form because it has important information needed to complete your tax return.
If you are expecting to receive Form 1095-A and you do not receive it by early February, contact the Marketplace where you purchased coverage. Do not contact the IRS because IRS telephone assistors will not have access to this information.
If you benefited from advance payments of the premium tax credit, you must file a federal income tax return. You will need to reconcile those advance payments with the amount of premium tax credit you’re entitled to based on your actual income. As a result, some people may see a smaller or larger tax refund or tax liability than they were expecting. When you file your return, you will use IRS Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit (PTC), to calculate your premium tax credit and reconcile the credit with any advance payments.For more information about the Affordable Care Act and your 2014 income tax return, visit IRS.gov/aca
CAREER DAY AT L.F. HENDERSON INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL 01/21/14
Nine career professionals recently spent an afternoon with the fourth and fifth graders of L. F. Henderson Intermediate School, informing them of the requirements of their jobs and encouraging the students to begin preparing themselves for the careers they might choose in the future. Sponsored by Learning for Life, an organization that offers seven programs that focus on character and career education for preparing youth to be successful in handling the complexities of their futures, the speakers included medical professionals, engineers, law enforcement professionals, and other representatives from the fields of law, culinary arts and personal stylists who own and operate their own businesses. Students were able to interact, ask questions and receive solid advice from representatives of their own community.
Linda Willis, Learning for Life Director through the Caddo Area Council of Boy Scouts of America in Texarkana, has been bringing such programs to schools in the area for a number of years and enriching the communities through teaching children quality character traits and practical life skills through these programs. Learning for Life, with its PreK-12 integrated academic and character development curriculum, is based on values and ethics very similar to the traditional Scouting program that Willis represents.
Willis, with the help of school partners, recruits community and career speakers as classroom guests who encourage students to embrace education and realize its necessity. By involving local business, civic and community members in the lives of the young people, a kind of partnership is forged that is needed to make a profound difference in the lives of children.
Leading group sessions with the LFH students were pharmacist Angela Adkison, registered nurse Cindy Metzger, stylist Devona Powell, chef James Powell, chemical sales representative Darren Adkison, Ashdown Police Chief Mark Ardwin, Patrolman Glen Hankins, attorney Thad Bishop, and electrical engineer David Davis.
In the Caddo Area Council, Learning for Life serves over 5600 young people. To learn more about the Learning for Life program and how you may utilize it, contact Willis at linda.willis@LFLmail.org or call her at 903-793-2179.
Shown above: (l to r) Area Learning for Life Director Linda Willis, Ashdown Chief of Police Mark Ardwin, Ashdown Police patrolman Glen Hankins, Little River Memorial Hospital Registered Nurse Cindy Metzger, Attorney Thad Bishop, Ash Grove Cement electrical engineer David Davis, Chef James Powell, stylist Devona Powell, Kemira Chemical sales representative Darren Adkison, and Brookshire's pharmacist Angela Adkison.
Henderson State University Presidential Scholarship awarded 01/21/15
De Queen High School senior Mc Kenzie Jones has been awarded the Henderson State University Presidential Scholarship valued at $40,000 over 4 years. She is the daughter of Donna Jones and Max and Stefani Jones.
Mc Kenzie is a member of the National Honor Society, Lady Leopard basketball and soccer teams, the show choir and is enrolled in concurrent classes at UA Cossatot. She is a member of First Baptist Church in De Queen.
Mc Kenzie will attend Henderson State University in the Fall where
she plans to pursue a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
POK-TA-POK ANYONE??? 01/21/15
Students in Mrs. Karina Tun’s Spanish I class participate in a re-creation of the ancient Mayan ball game Pok-ta-Pok.
Submitted by Karina Tun, De Queen Junior High School
LOCKESBURG WATER PROJECT UNDERWAY 01/21/14
A project to overhaul the City of Lockesburg’s raw water system is now underway, with contractors already placing several miles of water line within the city.
Goslee Construction of Bonnerdale won the bid to replace all 14 miles of the city’s water line, and began work on the project last week.
Water quality has been a serious issue in Lockesburg for years, with crews constantly working to patch the 60-year old water system in town and the regular issuing of boil orders. Tree roots grow into the line, busting whole sections of it, and thousands of gallons of water regularly leak from the aging water system. But that will change once construction is completed later this year. Mayor Danny Ruth said the city was informed in 2014 that, after several years of applying, it had finally received a low-interest loan and grant from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to replace the water lines. The total cost of the project is around $2.2 million.
The funding includes a $1.2 million grant, with the city having to pay back the additional $1 million on a 20 year loan with an interest rate of 2.2 percent. To qualify for the $1.2 million grant, the city will have to contribute the other $1 million on its own.
Ruth said the city qualified for the funding after it was determined that Lockesburg was losing up to 40 percent of its water through old and leaky lines, which date to the 1950s and 1960s.
"They're old and they give us a lot of trouble," said Ruth. The city water crew regularly has to patch up leaks and repair sections of the lines. "I haven't been able to leave town for years without worrying about our water lines."
Ruth said once the new lines are in place, water leaks will become a very rare occurrence. Water quality, he said, will increase, too. “This is going to cut out our problems tremendously,” Ruth said. “It’ll be a really good thing for our town once it’s done.”
The project is expected to take around 300 days to complete.
Ruth said the city is continuing to work on collecting easements so it can begin another infrastructure project - one to replace over 11,000 feet of sewer main, 36 manholes and two lift station pumps.
This project will be paid for through a $380,000 USDA grant as well as $400,000 in city funds.
Ruth said the investments, while putting the city in debt, are long over due and will benefit the town greatly. Last November, Lockesburg residents approved a half-cent sales tax measure to help pay off the loans in a quicker timeframe.
"I'm hoping that renewing some of our infrastructure will make our town more attractive to residents, businesses and maybe even an industry. We just want to keep Lockesburg moving in the right direction,” Ruth said.
By Patrick Massey, De Queen Bee Editor
BROKEN BOW CHAMBER BANQUET 1/20/15
The Broken Bow Chamber of Commerce will be holding their 60th Annual Chamber Banquet on Tuesday, February 24th at the Broken Bow Assembly Family Life Center at 6:30 p.m.
The chamber will be presenting several awards including Citizen of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Large Business of the Year, Organization of the Year, the Heritage Award and Community Appreciation Awards.
A silent auction will be held with the proceeds helping with the operating expenses of the chamber.
Banquet tickets are $20 each and may be purchased from any board member or at the Broken Bow Chamber office. The 2015 board members are Derek Warren, Wenda Blankenship, Patrick Williams, Revica Fisher, Jia Johnson, Ray Gaston, Tommy Julian, Karla Queen, Sharon Payne, Chyrel Fortner, Steve Dollarhide and Evelyn Warren.
For more information, contact the chamber at 580-584-3393.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL TO MEET TUESDAY 1/20/15
Aldermen of the De Queen City Council will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the council room of the De Queen City Hall.
Aldermen will consider four resolutions concerning contracts of services with non-profit entities in Sevier County.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy explained that the amounts for the contracts of services were approved in the 2015 budget, but the council needed to approve a resolution for each contract.
Aldermen approved $5,000 for the Sevier County Historical Society to help with the upkeep of the Sevier County Museum and to provide residents with an opportunity to observe historical artifacts and to learn about historical events that are significant to this area.
Aldermen allocated $10,000 to the Sevier County Senior Citizens Center and have agreed to waive rental fees for the use of the facility, which saves the center about $32,000 in rent.
According to the contract of service, the funds will be used to provide senior citizens with meals and other services.
The Sevier County Humane Society was allocated $1,500 to provide spaying and neutering clinics for dogs and cats to help control the number of animals within the city limits.
The humane society also shelters unclaimed animals that are not adopted after the city's animal control officer picks them up.
And, $7,500 was budgeted for the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center to provide services to the residents of De Queen.
Mayor McKelvy also informed the council that Smiles of Arkansas Dental has asked for them to designate February as National Children's Dental Health Awareness Month in the city.
He explained this is an annual promotion by the American Dental Association and is to help raise dental health awareness in the community.
McKelvy also reported that the city water department installed the new streaming current meter and it is working the way it was designed and benefiting the water department.
DHS BAND MEMBERS SELECTED FOR FOUR STATES BAND 1/20/15
De Queen High School band director Jeff Attaway reported that three senior band members were selected to represent the De Queen band to participate in the 2015 Four States Band Conference, this past weekend.
Shayde Kitchens plays the clarinet and D.J. Lee plays the saxophone and they were selected by audition to the Four States Concert Band.
Ryan Whitley auditioned and placed second out of all of the participating tuba players and earned a second chair placement in the Four State Symphonic Band.
All three students performed alongside students from Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
The concert was held Saturday at the Sullivan Performing Arts Center in Texarkana, Texas.
DIERKS MAN KILLED IN SINGLE VEHICLE ACCIDENT 1/20/15
Arkansas State Police reported a Dierks man was killed Saturday afternoon during a single vehicle accident on Green Plains Road in north Howard County.
According to the report, about 5 p.m. Saturday, a 2001 Mack truck overturned and caught fire. By the time emergency crews arrived on the scene, the truck was completely engulfed in flames, trapping the driver 51-year-old John Kirby inside.
Kirby was pronounced dead by Howard County Coroner John Gray.
Members of the Dierks Police Department, the Howard County Sheriff's office and the Arkansas State Police arrived at the scene of the accident, along with volunteers fire fighters from Dierks and Nathan and the Howard County Ambulance Service.
According to the accident report, the road conditions were clear and dry at the time of the accident.
Howard County Emergency Management Coordinator Sonny Raulerson reported Kirby was a long time fire chief of the Umpire Volunteer Fire Department.
[Courtesy of Jonathon Canaday, KMTB]
DIERKS SCHOOL BOARD EVALUATES SUPERINTENDENT 1/20/15
Members of the Dierks Board of Education met last week to make a few policy changes and to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Holly Cothern.
Cothern spoke with KDQN and mentioned the board provided her with a positive evaluation and she encouraged the board to conduct yearly performance evaluations.
Cothern provided the board with the district's financial report and stated the district's tax revenue is up and the finances are better this year than this time last year.
Cothern reported the board made a couple of changes to some district policies and they approved for two out-of-state trips for the Outlaw baseball team.
According to the board minutes, the board also approved added Sabrina Kuykendal and Carol Sharp to the substitute teachers list.
NEW BRIDGE IS SLATED FOR LITTLE RIVER 1/20/15
State Highway Department officials have announced that a new bridge will be built to replace Highway 41 bridge that connects Little River County on the south side and Sevier County on the north side after it was labeled structurally deficient, however, the highway department says the bridge is still structurally sound.
The current Highway 41 bridge was built in 1961 and has a traffic count of about 2,200 vehicles per day and should begin sometime in 2016 and take about two to three years to complete.
According to the highway department, the project will cost about $1.2 million dollars. The cost will be split 80-20 between the federal government and the state.
Highway department engineers stated the bridge has been classified as structurally deficient, but there is no danger of the bridge falling down. They explained the bridge needs to be replaced based on it age and because the bridge does not meet current design width standards.
The new bridge will be 1,982 feet long, which is two feet longer than the existing bridge, and significantly wider.
9th WEST DISTRICT PROSECUTING ATTORNEY SELECTED TO SERVE ON ASSOCIATION BOARD 1/19/15
Members of the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney's Association met earlier this week to elect the 2015 Board of Directors.
9th West District Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir was elected secretary/treasurer, 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley will serve as the new President, while 23rd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham was elected vice-president.
Other boards members will include: Blake Batson of the 9th East Judicial District, Scott Ellington of the 2nd Judicial District, David Gibbons of the 5th Judicial District and Cody Hiland of the 20th Judicial District. Tom Tatum II, of the 15th Judicial District will serve as the board's representative to the National District Attorney's Association.
AAA ANNOUNCES REGIONAL AND STATE TOURNAMENT SITES 1/19/15
The Arkansas Activities Association announced Thursday afternoon the locations of the 2015 spring sport tournament sites.
Cossatot River High School will host the 3A state basketball tournament and Kirby will host the 1A state basketball tournament in Nashville.
Mena will host the Class 4A state baseball tournament.
In soccer, the De Queen Leopards and Lady Leopards will travel to Hope for the 5A state tournament.
ASHDOWN HONORS SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS IN JANUARY 1/19/15
Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders announced that January has been designated as School Board Member Recognition Month.
Sanders introduced the members of the Ashdown School Board and said the district presented the board members with letters from kindergarteners and the city of Ashdown declared January as School Board Member Recognition Month.
Sanders reported that board member Chuck Davis had been honored by the Arkansas School Boards Association with Honor, Outstanding and Master Board member and he received the ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2008.
Dorothy Henderson is also Honor, Outstanding and Master Board Member and received her ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2002.
Rosa Bowman is a Honor, Outstanding and Master Board member and received her ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2012.
Raymond Latson is a Honor, Outstanding and Master Board member and received his ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2010.
Michael Turner is an Outstanding and Master Board member and Bradley Day is the newest elected member.
During the meeting, Sanders informed the board members that the lawsuit with a district contractor had been settled and the board hired two new personnel members and reviewed the district's financial report.
ASHDOWN TEACHER ACCUSED OF SELLING SHOOTING SPORTS GUNS 1/19/15
An Ashdown School District Agri teacher was arrested Thursday for allegedly selling or trading two guns at a pawn shop that belonged to the district's shooting sports team.
41-year-old Terry Simmons was charged with two counts of theft of property for allegedly selling or trading guns that were owned by the district's skeet shooting team.
Simmons was the district's skeet shooting club coach and sponsor.
Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory contacted the Arkansas State Police on January 12th about the alleged thefts, after Debbie Greathouse took over as the director of the shooting sports team and asked to inventory the guns, which are stored in a safe at the sheriff’s office.
Allegedly, on January 3rd, 2014, Simmons went to Davis and Jones Pawn in Ashdown and sold or traded three guns and a 20-gauge shotgun. Reportedly, Simmons got a Winchester 270 model 70 for the four guns.
Then on March 27th, 2014, Simmons reportedly went back to Davis and Jones Pawn and sold or traded one rifle and a shotgun for a Bar Browning 243 rifle.
According to the arrest affidavit, a state police investigator went to the pawn shop and met with Dylan Davis on January 12th.
Simmons has been placed on a leave of absence from the district by Superintendent Jason Sanders.
ASHDOWN WINNERS OF DISTRICT READING FAIR 1/19/15
Eighteen L.F. Henderson Intermediate School students were chosen as winners of the annual Reading Fair competition, recently. First, second and third place winners were chosen from both the fourth and fifth grade entries in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction and Technology. The top two places in each category will represent Ashdown in the district Reading Fair competition at the De Queen-Mena Educational Cooperate in Gillham, January 21st and 22nd.
Jace Jackson and Demarcus Duncan advanced in the fourth grade, nonfiction category; Ali Mills and Rachal Vice advanced in the fourth grade, technology category; Lilly House and Allison Garner advanced in the fourth grade fiction category.
Jaxon Jester and Lindsey Miller advanced in the fifth grade, nonfiction category; Caylee Turner and Spencer Patterson advanced in the fifth grade, technology category and Jaelyn Wolf and Landon Wright advanced in the fifth grade, fiction category.
Students who entered the fiction and nonfiction categories created eye-catching visual displays using trifold boards on which they presented information about the books that they had chosen.
The students who chose to present their book in the technology category used computer programs, such as the cloud-based Prezi or Microsoft PowerPoint, to create an interesting informative report about their book.
DE QUEEN MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE GREAT KINDNESS CHALLENGE 1/19/15
De Queen Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley informed KDQN last week that Middle School Counselor Linda Quinn would be leading students to participate in the Great Kindness Challenge during the week of January 25th through the 31st.
Quinn explained that a friend told her about the program and she researched it on the website, greatkindnesschallenge.org.
According to the program's website, greatkindnesschallenge.org, last year, 554,486 students produced over 27 million acts of kindness.
Quinn said the website also provides suggests on the type of acts students can do, but she's hoping they will get creative.
Quinn said she wanted the Middle School students to participate because there are so many negative stories in the news about young people.
Quinn also challenged the residents of De Queen to conduct acts of kindness.
Quinn is hoping students and adults will impact their communities by treating each other with kindness and respect.
PSEUDORABIES OUTBREAK IN SEVIER COUNTY 1/19/15
A pseudorabies outbreak has been confirmed near De Queen in Sevier County and has claimed the lives of 10 hunting dogs after they encountered some feral swine. The dogs were being used to chase feral swine away from some livestock when an infected hog was caught and mauled by the dogs.
Soon after consuming the meat, the dog's showed signs of mad-itch, which is a common side effect of the viral infection. The symptoms were reported to the proper authorities and samples of the hog and dogs were collected and analyzed by researchers at Iowa State University.
According to experts, the virus is fatal to pets and livestock, but the Arkansas Department of Health says the virus is not transmissible to humans, however, feral swine can carry several viruses, parasites and bacteria that can lead to severe illness.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission uses large-scale trapping as an efficient and economical means of reducing the feral swine population.
Sport hunting of feral hogs has been more of a hindrance to hog removal than a benefit and it is illegal to relocate hogs for hunting purposes.
In 2013, the Arkansas Legislature passed a law prohibiting the possession, sale or transporting of any live feral hog, except to Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission approved terminal facilities by licensed individuals. The intent of the law is to limit the spread and impact of feral swine, as well as the diseases they carry.
BEAR STATE BANK 1/16/15
First National Bank will be officially changing its name to Bear State Bank at the beginning of February, this according to the Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Retail of Bear State Financial Shelly Loftin.
Loftin stated the name change will also bring about several system upgrades and the reason for the change was to create a better banking experience for their customers.
According to Loftin, current First National Bank customers will be receiving notification of this change in the mail or by email sometime this week and only the name will changing.
Loftin said the signage should be coming in February and she expects everyone will love the new design.
If you have any questions about the re-branding of First National Bank, contact your local office.
COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK ACTIVITIES FOR THIS WEEKEND 1/16/15
Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Shelley Flanary stated the park is offering several activities this weekend to encourage area residents to get out and experience nature.
This Saturday, guests are invited to join Interpreter Andrew Rawlings on a hike through the park as he shares the history of the Cossatot River State Park.
The hike will begin at Brushy Creek at 10 a.m.
Then from 2 to 3 p.m., Rawlings will lead a one hour hike over the River Corridor Trail to show guests some of the most beautiful areas of the park during the winter.
The hike will begin at the Low Water Bridge which is just below the visitor center.
On Sunday, Rawlings will lead a hike in search of our nation’s symbol of freedom, the bald eagle from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Guests will hike the Harris Creek Trail to Goat’s Bluff so they can get an excellent view of the eagles that are visiting the park.
Then from 2 to 3 p.m., park guests can help feed the park critters in the visitor center. Rawlings will also talk about the animals and their eating habits.
For more information about the activities at the Cossatot River State Park, visit our website at KDQN.net or call 870-385-2201.
HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT HONORS MEMBERS OF THEIR BOARD OF EDUCATION 1/16/15
Members of the Horatio Board of Education met Monday night and after evaluating Superintendent Lee Smith, they voted to renew his contract for the 2015-2016 school year.
Board members approved Becky Pendergraft’s contract through the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year as the district’s speech therapist and hired Cathy Day to be a long-term sub for a teacher who will be taken maternity leave.
They also accepted the transfer of one student from the Foreman School District and adopted the district’s school bus safety plan.
Smith informed KDQN that the district also recognized the years of service by the members of the Horatio Board of Education. Smith said board President Pollyanna Smith had served on the board for the past 15 years, while Vice-President Elizabeth Walker had served four. Jeff Irvan has been on the board for nine years and is currently serving as the board secretary.
The other board members include Joe Jones who has served for five years and Greg Litchford, Troy Allen and Dana Vance who have all served for two years each.
Smith said the district is planning several events throughout the month to honor the board members.
Smith said the district was excited in joining districts from across the state in celebrating School Board Member Recognition Month and to honor Horatio’s school board for their service and dedication to the education of Horatio’s students.
IDABEL POUND CONDITIONS UNDER SCRUTINY 1/16/15
The conditions of the Idabel, Oklahoma pound are the topic of an online petition following the release of an online video.
The video which surfaced on the internet Tuesday, shows a dog in the shelter eating the bloody remains of another dog.
Abe Thomas made the video says the kennels are completely open to the elements. He said there is no heat in the winter or air conditioning in the summer.
Idabel Mayor Tina Foshee-Thomas said the recorded incident has been investigated and the animal control officer, Cecil Richards, had informed her that he had been at the pound earlier that morning and had cleaned out the dog pens, sanitized them along with feeding and watering the dogs.
Foshee-Thomas said it is possible that the dog died from natural causes or the dogs may have gotten into a fight, but she admitted that she didn't know exactly how the dog died.
The online petition has over 2,500 signatures calling for Richards to be fired.
Foshee-Thomas also invited anyone who wants to help with the animal control program to volunteer their time to help care for the animals.
MINERAL SPRINGS DISTRICT RECEIVES GOOD AUDIT NEWS 1/16/15
A recent audit of the Mineral Springs School District only turned up one small issue, according to Superintendent Curtis Turner, Monday night during the district’s monthly Board of Education meeting.
Turner said the finding stemmed from a laptop purchase that was made during the summer in which the school was billed for 30 laptops, but only received 26.
The company that sold the laptops to the district, repaid the difference, however, auditors still flagged the error during their review.
Turner said other than that, the audit turned out very good and he hoped the next one would be even better.
The board approved the district’s master plan and hired Kenneth Green as a social studies teacher for the spring semester.
SPENCERVILLE, OKLAHOMA MAN ARRESTED IN SEVIER COUNTY FOLLOWING HIGH SPEED PURSUIT 1/16/15
On the afternoon of January 14th, McCurtain County deputies and members of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol pursued a grey Chevy pickup that was pulling a white cargo trailer into Arkansas on U.S. Highway 70.
According to court papers, the pursuit turned north onto Stateline Road and up to the intersection of Bellahmine and Pine Ridge Road. At that point, the driver made a U-turn and attempted to ram a McCurtain County patrol unit.
The pursuit continued onto Kellum Road and an Oklahoma Highway Patrol vehicle left the road and came to rest next to a fence near the intersection of Kellum and Mountain Roads.
At the intersection of Kellum and Deer Road, the driver attempted another U-turn, but was stopped when the truck was struck by a McCurtain County deputy’s vehicle.
Sevier County Deputies Chad Dowdle and Chris Wolcott arrived at the scene about the time the two occupants in the truck were taken into custody.
The driver was identified as 42-year-old Clay Denny and the passenger was identified as Rhonda McCombs.
After searching Denny, deputies discovered a clear bag that contained suspected methamphetamine, a syringe; an Altoids can with two pills inside it and a Scan disk SD card, $59, and a cell phone.
According to the report, Denny informed Wolcott what he had in his pocket before he was searched.
Allegedly, Denny admitted the trailer was stolen and that it contained other stolen items.
Deputies found another loaded syringe in the passenger seat and a glass smoking devise in the driver's side floor.
Denny is being charged with possession of a controlled substance-methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and theft by receiving, under $5,000 and felony fleeing.
Deputies inventoried the trailer and discovered items reportedly stolen from Little River and Lafayette counties in Arkansas and Bowie and Cass counties in Texas.
JIM HARRIS NAMED TREASURY CHIEF OF STAFF 01/16/15
Little Rock, Ark --Arkansas State Treasurer Dennis Milligan has named Jim Harris of Bryant as his new chief of staff.
Harris, 61, is the grandson of the late George and Leona Lewis of De Queen. He was born in De Queen General Hospital.
He served as Milligan’s chief of staff while Milligan was Saline County Circuit Clerk from 2011 until the end of 2014.
“Jim was instrumental in helping to implement many of the changes we made in the circuit clerk’s office during my four years there. He has a wealth of experience in working in the local, state and federal government levels that will be invaluable in the Treasurer’s office.” Milligan said.
In 2011-12, Harris served on the Arkansas Secretary of State Review and Implementation Committee that made recommendations on improving that office to Secretary of State Mark Martin.
Before coming to work for Milligan, he was director of communications for the Beth Anne Rankin for Congress campaign in 2010.
Harris was the governor’s representative for the recovery operation
in Arkadelphia when that town was devastated by a tornado on March
1, 1997. He began advising the governor on emergency management
issues in June 1997 and worked on Homeland Security policy
issues after Sept. 11, 2001.
In 1992, he took a sabbatical from the Texarkana Gazette to serve as
press secretary for the Mike Huckabee for U.S. Senate campaign.
He is married to the former Pat Huckabee and they have two grown children and three grandchildren.
PHOTO: Jim and Pat Harris at the "A New Day In Arkansas 2015 Inaugural Ball” in Little Rock Tuesday night
UA COSSATOT AMBASSADORS MEET WITH SENATOR BOOZMAN OFFICIALS 01/15/15
ASHDOWN- The Student Ambassadors from UA Cossatot recently met with representatives from Senator John Boozman’s office to discuss educational needs in his district
Students and Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole met with Stacy McClure, Boozman’s State Director and Chase Emerson, Boozman’s Regional Representative. They discussed the accessibility of Boozman’s office to everyone but specifically students and encouraged the ambassadors to consider an internship for elected officials.
Cole expressed a deep appreciation for the Senator’s involvement in handling affairs for UA Cossatot and cited his willingness to be an advocate for Arkansas.
Pictured are: (left to right) Alex Curry of Nathan, Brettny Lynch of Horatio, Walter Dean of Nashville, Ashley Scott of Nashville, Kelsie Emerson of Nashville, Chase Emerson, Regional Representative for Sen. Boozman, Dr. Steve Cole, Chancellor for UA Cossatot, Stacy McClure, State Director for Sen. Boozman, Jessica Rios of De Queen, Clayton Alspaw of De Queen and Isaac Alvarado of De Queen.
DPD INVESTIGATING AGGRAVATED ROBBERY AT SONIC 1/15/15
On Friday, January 9th at approximately 11:50 p.m., the De Queen Police Department responded to an aggravated robbery at the Sonic Drive-In.
The closing manager reported that he had exited the store when an unknown male subject approached him and demanded the money. The suspect was wearing dark clothing and had a knife.
The incident is still under investigation and the De Queen Police Department is asking the public to contact them if they have any information by calling 870-642-2213.
13 DEFENDANTS CHANGE PLEAS IN SEVIER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT 1/15/15
Thirteen defendants changed their pleas to guilty during the January 8th session of the Sevier County Circuit Court.
Levi Durham changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to 10-years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections along with $1,490.13 in restitution for his participation in the burglary and theft of property from the First Baptist Church in De Queen and $120 dollars restitution for his part in the burglary at Benito’s Car Lot in De Queen.
Trenton Hamm received three-years probation after he plead guilty to abuse of an adult at the Brookewood Nursing and Rehab.
Tresa Burris was sentenced to 5-years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to delivery of a controlled substance.
Edward Williams changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to 26-years and over $28,000 in restitution. Williams was found guilty to three counts of theft of property and three counts of breaking and entering along with one count of battery in the second degree.
Barry McKinney was sentenced to 10-years in prison for theft by receiving, delivery of a controlled substance-meth and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms.
Brett Hall plead guilty to disorderly conduct, two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a scheduled I or II controlled substance that’s not meth or cocaine and was sentenced to 15-years in prison with five suspended.
Cody Nava was sentenced to three-years in prison for possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a drug premises.
Eric Hammer plead guilty to delivery of a controlled substance-Xanax and was sentenced to 6-years with three suspended.
Jennifer Martinez was sentenced to 10-years with 6-suspended for delivery of a controlled substance-meth.
James Culp was sentenced to five-years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections for the manufacturing of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance, maintaining a drug premises, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a firearm by a certain person and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms.
Raylon Brown was sentenced to 15-years in prison for possession of drug paraphernalia, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and possession of meth with the intent to deliver.
A trial date of March 18th was set for Michael Wester, Karla Pacheco and Laken McWhorter.
A trial date of May 20th for Maria Mosqueda on the charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, maintaining a drug premises, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms and trafficking a controlled substance-meth.
And, failure to appear warrants were issued for Kenneth Wells on the charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of meth or cocaine.
BOIL WATER NOTICE FOR NHRWA 1/15/15
The Department of Health has issued a boil order notice for the North Howard County Rural Water Association.
The order was issued as a precautionary measure due to the possibility that contaminated water entered the distribution system as a result of a complete loss of normal system pressure due to a water main break the weekend of January 10th.
Under the boil water notice, all affected customers are advised that water may be unsafe for human consumption, and water used for drinking or food prep must be boiled briskly for one minute prior to use. All ice cubes should be discarded and only boiled water used for the making of ice.
The order will be lifted when water samples indicate that the water is free of bacterial contamination and an adequate disinfectant level is established throughout the distribution system.
CONTRACTS FOR SUPERINTENDENT AND ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT EXTENDED 1/15/15
Monday, during the January meeting of the De Queen Board of Education, board members voted to extend the contracts of Bruce Hill the superintendent of the district and assistant superintendent Paul Shelton.
Board President Randy Hedge informed KDQN they extended Hill’s contract for 3-years and Shelton’s contract for 1-year.
Board members will be reviewing the contracts of the campus administrations next month and teachers and staff in the upcoming months.
MLK PROGRAM THIS SUNDAY AT UA COSSATOT - LITTLE RIVER CAMPUS 1/15/15
A commemorative service will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot.
The guest speaker will be Bob Nash, who served as a special advisor to former President Bill Clinton as the White House director of personnel.
Nash grew up in Texarkana and served in several positions when Clinton was the governor of Arkansas.
For more information, contact Brenda Tate at 870-898-6405 or Shirley Jackson at 870-898-2954.
NEW ANIMAL CONTROL POLICY WORKING IN DE QUEEN 1/15/15
During the January 6th meeting of the De Queen City Council, Police Chief Richard McKinley reported on the department’s new animal control program.
McKinley reported that the new animal control officer, Matt Robinson, was interested in pet adoption instead of euthanizing the animals, they are posting pictures of the dogs on the department’s Facebook page. If you find you dog there will be a $25 dollars fee if you have proof that the dog has had its shots and $35 dollars if you don’t have proof. After 5-days, dogs can then be adopted.
McKinley said the program was going well so far with all of the animals being adopted.
McKinley said that the department is also planning to purchase a chip reader to help find the owners of dogs that are running loose in De Queen. He said they are also planning to upgrade the dog pens at the county shop. McKinley said they have also received donations of blankets and dog food to help care of the animals.
McKinley told aldermen that he would like to see some changes made to the city’s current animal control ordinances to make it easier for residents to understand.
For more information, check out their Facebook page at Facebook.com/De Queen Police Department or call the department at 584-2213.
SCHOOL BOARD RECOGNIZED FOR SERVICE IN JANUARY 01/15/15
Ashdown School District joins districts across the state to celebrate School Board Member Recognition Month in January. More than 1400 Arkansas school board members are being honored for their service and dedication to public education.
“Our board members assume a crucial role in representing our students and advocating for public education,” said Ashdown School Superintendent Jason Sanders. “We are very proud of our members, and Arkansas School Board Recognition Month is a great time to recognize them and celebrate their accomplishments.”
Seven elected members serve on the Ashdown School Board. President of the board is Chuck Davis, who has represented Zone D for 28 years now. In his sixth term, Davis, a Little River County farmer and feed store owner, has been honored by the Arkansas School Boards Association with Honor, Outstanding, and Master Board Member recognitions in 1996-97 and with the ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2008.
Board vice-president Dorothy Henderson, a public educator, was elected in 1991 to represent Zone A. Now in her 23rd year, Henderson was recognized as an Honor Board Member in 1994, Outstanding Board Member in 1995, and Master Board Member in 1996, and received her ASBA Pinnacle Award in 2002.
Rosa Bowman, Ashdown Board Secretary serving Zone G, was elected to the board in 2006 and is now in her second term. A school teacher herself, Bowman has been selected as a member of the Arkansas State Board of Directors and a region director. Her ASBA Honor, Outstanding, and Master Board Member recognitions came in 2006-07-08 and her Pinnacle Award in 2012.
Board member Raymond Latson was elected in 1992 to represent Zone B and is now in his 22nd year. Recently retired from Domtar, Latson received his three Honor, Outstanding, and Master Board Member awards in 1995-1997 and his Pinnacle Award in 2010.
A contract logger and water superintendent for the city of Ogden, board member Ricky Ward began his service for Zone E in 1999 and is now starting his fourth term or 16th year. His Honor, Outstanding, and Master Board Member awards were presented in 2000-01-02 and his Pinnacle Award in 2009.
Elected in 2010 to represent Zone C, Michael Turner is a senior technical analyst for Domtar. In his first term, Turner has already earned Outstanding and Master Board Member recognition from the ASBA.
Board member Bradley Day is the newest elected member, serving Zone F since 2011. He is a self-employed contractor.
During January's School Board Recognition month, the board members were honored with a proclamation set forth by Ashdown Mayor James Sutton and individual recognition certificates sent down from the Arkansas School Boards Association, both presented at the regular meeting of the Ashdown School Board on January 12. Every member also received a packet of hand-written notes and pictures from the kindergarten and first grade students of Margaret Daniel Primary School, along with fresh baked bread from appreciative district personnel.
As publicly elected school leaders, Arkansas school board members set policy for their respective districts. Under state law, they are empowered to hire and evaluate the superintendent, oversee district finances, approve the budget, and determine the vision and mission of the district. School boards must also approve the curriculum and ensure the district maintains adequate facilities for teaching and learning.
In addition to their board duties, state law requires Arkansas school board members to earn a minimum of six hours of professional development each year in areas related to their role and responsibilities.
CORRECTION: IN THE CASE OF JEFFERY BURLESON 1/14/15
KDQN incorrectly reported that 48-year-old Jeffery Burleson of De Queen was arrested after selling suspected methamphetamine to a confidential informer who was working with the South Central Drug Task Force at the Sevier County Courthouse.
However, according to the arrest affidavit, Burleson actually sold the meth to a CI in the parking lot of the De Queen Wal-Mart.
On December 18th, a CI arranged for the purchase of 1.75 grams of methamphetamine from Burleson who was employed as a maintenance man at the Sevier County Courthouse.
According to a sworn statement from a member of the drug task force, Burleson picked up the CI and drove them to a parking spot and that is where the transaction took place.
A small Ziploc bag of suspected methamphetamine was purchased for $125 and then placed into evidence.
On December 22nd, Assistant Chief Scott Simmons of the De Queen Police Department served an arrest warrant for delivery of meth on Burleson as he was leaving work at the courthouse.
Officers discovered a clear plastic bag that contained a clear crystal like substance of suspected methamphetamine in Burleson's front pocket.
Officers also received verbal consent to search Burleson's vehicle.
Inside the vehicle, officers discovered a clear bag that contained eight-Hydrocodone pills, a working set of digital scales and several clear plastic bags of suspected meth.
Burleson was arraigned in the Howard County Circuit Court last week and charged with one count of possession of meth with the purpose to deliver, one count of possession of Hydrocodone, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of meth.
If convicted Burleson could face over 40 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections and fines of over $35,000.
Burleson is being held in the Howard County jail on a $50,000 bond because he was previously a 309 inmate in the Sevier County jail.
Burleson was previously convicted of possession of methamphetamine and served time in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
This incident was investigated by members of the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's office, the South Central Drug Task Force and the Arkansas State Police.
A NEED FOR 911 ADDRESSES 1/14/15
Tuesday morning, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray, Sevier County Office of Emergency Management Director Walter Smith and De Queen Fire Marshall Dennis Pruitt explained the importance of 911 addresses being on homes throughout the area.
Smith asked all residents, even those in the surrounding counties, to put their 911 address on their homes and mailboxes.
Smith explained it would help first responders and other emergency service personal by ensuring your safety and the safety of your family.
Smith said emergency volunteers are putting their lives in danger to help others and all they want you to do, is put your 911 address up where it is visible.
Judge Ray explained that it is critical for county residents to have their 911 address visible because houses are so far apart in parts of the county.
Pruitt stated that in an emergency every second counts and emergency workers don't need to spend a lot of time looking for an address.
Pruitt also stated that the De Queen Fire Departments smoke and carbon monoxide detector program is going great, but they are only able to provide detectors for residents inside the De Queen fire district.
Smith also pointed out that the address stickers are not expensive and it doesn't take long to put them up. So, area residents are being asked to put up their address as soon as possible, for everyone's sake.
DE QUEEN DISTRICT FINANCIAL REPORT - INCREASING BALANCE 1/14/15
De Queen Superintendent Bruce Hill reported that the De Queen School District's ending balance was over $800,000 more this quarter than last year, however, one area of concern is the professional development fund, which according to Hill was cut by $43,000 dollars.
Hill also reported that the district's food service program was still operating in the black and the district was accomplishing that feat, in spite of stricter nutrition standards.
Members of the De Queen School Board of Education approved Hill's recommendation concerning the purchase of lockers for the new baseball/softball locker room.
Hill said the board accepted the bid from Superior Lockers because they could guarantee the date of delivery.
Hill also stated that January was School Board member appreciation month and he mentioned how fortunate the district for its current school board members.
Board members Randy Hedge, Skip Bell and Sandy Huntsberger had earned the certification of Master, Honorary and Outstanding board members, while Gloria Caldwell earned her Master board member certification this year.
Board members also approved the transfer of three students to the Horatio School District and Hill explained that he felt these transfers were what was best for the students.
DIERKS MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN HOWARD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT 1/14/15
A Dierks man plead guilty to possession of a firearm by a certain person in the Howard County Circuit Court.
Forty-one year old Samuel Rogers was convicted of felony theft in 1994 and therefore lost his right to possession a firearm, however, in October of 2014, authorities were notified that he kept several firearms inside his residence on Old Highway 70.
Rogers was sentenced to one year in the Arkansas Department of Corrections and he had to forfeit four firearms.
SCHOOL BOARD RECOGNIZED FOR SERVICE IN JANUARY 01/14/15
Horatio School District joins districts across the state to celebrate School Board Member Recognition Month in January. More than 1400 Arkansas school board members are being honored for their service and dedication to public education.
“Our board members assume a crucial role in representing our students and advocating for public education,” said Lee Smith, Superintendent. “We are very proud of our members, and Arkansas School Board Recognition Month is a great time to recognize them and celebrate their accomplishments.”
The members serving on the Horatio School Board are Pollyanna Smith, President – 15 years of service; Elizabeth Walker, Vice President – 4 years of service; Jeff Irvan, Secretary – 9 years of service; Greg Litchford, Member – 2 years of service; Troy Allen, Member – 2 two years of service; Joe Jones, Member – 5 years of service; and Dana Vance, Member – 2 years of service.
As publicly elected school leaders, Arkansas school board members set policy for their respective districts. Under state law, they are empowered to hire and evaluate the superintendent, oversee district finances, approve the budget, and determine the vision and mission of the district. School boards must also approve the curriculum and ensure the district maintains adequate facilities for teaching and learning.
In addition to their board duties, state law requires Arkansas school board members to earn a minimum of six hours of professional development each year in areas related to their role and responsibilities.
BEST CARE CLASSES BEING OFFERED 1/13/15
If you are an early childhood professional, foster parent, or early childhood educator and want to learn more about caring for young children, you may be interested in the Best Care classes that are being presented by the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, in partnership with the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Association.
Classes are free of charge and is a verified training through the Traveling Arkansas' Professional Pathways and supports the Better Beginnings Program.
The Best Care classes will be Monday, January 26th at the Howard County Extension Homemaker Center, which is located on Second Street behind the Howard County courthouse.
Registration will begin at 5:45 and the class will start at 6. Additional hours will be offered on February 2nd, 9th and 16th. If participates attend all four sessions, they will receive 10 hours of certification.
Instructors will cover topics like, 'more money in your pocket: making the most of tax credits', 'making the most of your health care dollar', health care: private option, infectious diseases in early childhood', best nutrition practices for healthy kids', 'Arkansas nutrition myth busters', 'outdoor learning environments', 'infant care in early childhood', and 'your blueprint for happiness.'
If you are interested in participating in The Best Care classes, contact the Sevier County Extension Office at 870-584-3013 to register. Everyone is asked to register by January 23rd.
CHAMBER ANNOUNCES DATE FOR 70TH ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP AND AWARDS BANQUET 1/13/15
The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's 70th Annual Membership and Awards Banquet will be held on Thursday, February 19th at the De Queen High School cafeteria.
A variety of business and community service award honorees will be recognized, new officers for 2015 will be introduced and you may shop for bargains at the huge silent auction when the doors open at 5:30 p.m.
The De Queen Show Choir will perform and the De Queen High School Cross Country team will serve the roast beef dinner that will be prepared by the ladies of the high school cafeteria beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets for the banquet are $17 each and are available by calling Patty Sharp or Bonita Smith at the KDQN radio station at 642-2446. Reservations are being taken for tables of eight and are eligible to enter the table decorating contest.
DE QUEEN DISTRICT HONORED FOR BEATING THE ODDS 1/13/15
Last week, De Queen School District Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley reported the De Queen Junior High had been honored with an award from the University of Arkansas for Education Policy.
Today, Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton explained to KDQN that the Junior High was honored with a Beating the Odds Award for its work with underprivileged students in the district.
Shelton said the district is accomplishing this feat on all campuses.
Whatley informed KDQN that the De Queen High School had completed the installation of the Virtual Computer Lab and Shelton explained the district had to build the lab to be in compliance with a state law.
Whatley stated the new state law is part of the graduation requirements for this year's ninth grade class.
Shelton also mentioned that the district had received a waiver from the state concerning some End-of-Course testing in Algebra II and Literature.
Shelton said the district was excited about the awards but was more concerned about educating students who are college and career ready following graduation.
GUIDE TO THE 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION 1/13/15
The Arkansas Legislature convened today for its regular legislative session and here is a rundown on what you can expect during this session.
Of course, the biggest question that lawmakers face this session revolves around the future of the state's private option Medicaid expansion, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.
The program was crafted two years ago as an alternative tot he Medicaid expansion that was envisioned under the federal health care overhaul.
Reauthorizing the program for another year will require a three-fourth vote from the House and Senate and it may be a difficult hurdle to clear after anti-private option legislators were elected in November.
Two years after controlling the Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans expanded their majorities in both the House and Senate.
The GOP holds 64 of the 100 seats in the state House and 23 of the 35 seats in the Senate.
Senate officials have reported that this year's session will cost about $13,200 a day, while the House estimates it will cost about $18,698 each day, and the session will last at least 60-days, according to the Arkansas constitution, unless two-thirds of the House and Senate approve an extension. The 2013 regular session lasted 100 days.
District 4 is represented by newly elected Representative DeAnn Vaught and Senator Jimmy Hickey.
To follow bills and legislative activity, go to the General Assembly website at arkleg.state.ar.us. and you can watch House broadcasts online at arkansashouse.org.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY GENEALOGY SOCIETY MEETING 1/13/15
Roxie Jones of the Little River County Genealogy Society announced this week that Bo Bean of Ashdown will be the featured speaker of this month's meeting in the Millwood Room on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot.
Jones explained that Bean was formerly of Texarkana and was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution-South West Trails Chapter and has been involved in family history research for many years.
Jones said Bean will chronicle the history of the Van Dalsen family from 1720 to the present and will illustrate how family lore that's handed down from generation to generation, can be erroneous and how he got to the truth regarding his family.
Bean will also display documents naming battles that his family Patriots fought in during the American Revolutionary War.
The Little River County Genealogy Society will meet Tuesday at 5:30 for refreshments and visitation, but the meeting will start at 6.
All members are urged to attend and visitors are welcome, but if you have any questions, contact Jones at 870-898-7224.
TRAFFIC STOP RESULTS IN DRUG CHARGE 1/13/15
About 10:45 p.m. Friday night, Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department observed a red pickup traveling west on Collin Raye Drive with a driver's side tail light not working.
Baker conducted a traffic stop at TJ's and asked the driver roll down the back window because the tint was to dark to see inside the vehicle.
Baker reported that as the window went down, he immediately smelled marijuana coming from the truck.
23-year-old Bilmar Cervantes was identified as the driver and he allegedly admitted to smoking pot about a half-hour before.
Baker then searched the truck and found half a marijuana blunt in the center console.
Officers JJ Lopez and Sergeant Chad Bradshaw assisted in the search and they uncovered a pill bottle in the center console that contained a small amount of marijuana.
Cervantes was citied with a misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance - marijuana.
WARRANTS ISSUED FOR MAN FOR ALLEGEDLY RAPING TWO GIRLS 1/13/15
Arrest warrants have been issued for 31-year-old Pedro Escobedo for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting two girls in a Blevins home.
The arrest warrants were issued Friday by the Hempstead County circuit Court for rape and sexual assault in the fourth degree, according to Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton.
The warrants are based on incidents that occurred on October 24th, 2014 in a Blevins residence, where Escobedo allegedly raped and sexually assaulted two girls, ages eight and 11.
Escobedo had been living with the family of the two girls and his last known address was in Nashville.
The Hempstead County Sheriff's office announced they have received information that Escobedo has fled the state, but they are seeking information regarding his whereabouts. If you have any information, as to the whereabouts of Escobedo, you should contact the Hempstead County Sheriff's office at 870-777-6727.
UA COSSATOT NAMES STUDENT AMBASSADORS 01/13/15
UA Cossatot recently named the students selected to serve as Ambassadors for the college.
Students were chosen to represent UA Cossatot after going through a challenging selection process. Student Ambassadors are required to serve the college at events and functions as ambassadors of the student population. They also serve as recruiters and mentors to students with less college experience.
The Student Ambassadors were honored with an induction reception held in the home of Justin White, Director of Student Services.
Front row: Walter Dean of Nashville, Alex Curry of Nathan, Isaac Alvarado of De Queen
Middle Row: Ashley Scott of Nashville, Kelsie Emerson of Nashville
Back Row: Brettny Lynch of Horatio, Clayton Alspaw of De Queen, Jessica Rios of De Queen
DANGERS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING 1/12/15
De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt stopped by the KDQN studios to mention how dangerous carbon monoxide is and he explained that it comes from anything that burns.
Pruitt said carbon monoxide is found in combustion fumes, such as from cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal, heating units, gas ranges and fireplaces.
Carbon monoxide is a hidden danger in homes because it is an odorless and colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and even death.
Pruitt said carbon monoxide is called the silent killer and officials recommend that residents have their heating units checked by a qualified technician at least once a year, but if you suspect that you have a carbon monoxide leak, Pruitt said you should contact the fire department.
Pruitt also explained his department was offering free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. So, if you need a smoke or carbon monoxide detector or if you suspect you have a carbon monoxide leak, call the De Queen Fire Department at 584-7224.
DEER CHECKS PASS 200,000 WITH ARCHERY HUNTING STILL OPEN 1/12/15
For the third straight season, deer checked by hunters in Arkansas have pushed past 200,000 and there are seven more weeks of archery hunting left. The high mark was set during the 2012-2013 season with 213,487 deer checked.
With modern gun and muzzle-loader hunting ended, far fewer sportsmen are in the woods, thus making the conditions favorable for those who want to hunt with a compound bows, conventional bows and crossbows, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
The archery deer hunt will run through February 28th on private land and on most wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges, statewide, but some public areas will close earlier.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission encourages hunters to properly identify their target during these last season hunting opportunities because bucks are beginning to cast off their antlers, which makes identifying the sex of the animal difficult.
In Sevier County, 1,025 antlered bucks were harvested as off January 8th, along with 976 in Little River County, 1,441 in Howard County and 1,272 in Polk County.
DISTRICT COURT ADDING NEW SERVICE FOR FINE PAYMENTS 1/12/15
District Court Judge Steven Tedder announced Friday morning that people who have a fine from the Sevier County District Court will soon be able to pay their fines by using their debit or credit card.
Tedder explained the court has contracted with a national law organization that provides the service, which will give residents another way to pay their fines on time.
Tedder stated he signed 49 warrants last week for people who failed to pay their fines. Tedder said he thought this was going to be a good service.
If you have any questions about a fine, you can contact the District Court Clerk's office at 584-7311.
FLU DEATHS UP TO 11 1/12/15
Arkansas public health officials say the number of reported deaths due to the flu has risen to 11 since the flu season began in September.
The Health Department has said this flu season could more severe than in 2013-2014 when there were 76 flu-related deaths in the state.
More than 200 people were hospitalized with the flu last week bringing the seasonal total to 667.
The H3N2 strain is predominantly circulating this flu season and has been associated with the increase in hospitalizations and deaths in older adults and young children.
In addition, approximately two-thirds of the H3N2 viruses that have been tested by the Center for Disease Control is genetically different from the H3N2 vaccine virus and therefore is less effective, but officials still recommend getting a flu shot to help decrease the intensity of your flu symptoms.
HAYLAGE/NUTRITIONAL SEMINAR 1/12/15
Sevier County Extension Agent Rex Herring stated the extension office would be co-hosting a haylage/nutritional seminar Monday in Nashville and Tuesday in Mena.
Herring said speakers will talk about the forage fermentation process and the benefits of rolling the hay at higher moisture levels.
Herring said there will be two sessions, and the seminar will be led by Bernard Adam of Canada and Stuart Norman of Georgia.
Herring said the program is being sponsored by the extension offices of Pike, Howard, Polk, Clark, Montgomery, as well as, Sevier. For more information, contact the extension office at 584-3013.
ON MISSION TO HEAL 1/12/15
Terry Brackett is an Algebra teacher at the De Queen Junior High School and this past year she faced the most difficult situation that any parent will ever experience.
Following the death of her youngest son, Austin, Brackett decided that the best way she could heal was to share her story to others. So, for the past few months she has been sharing with others about how God's glory was and still is being revealed to her.
She said everyone is either going through a storm or will go through a storm and she talks about how they can find peace in the midst of those storms.
Brackett said by sharing others, its helping her heal.
Brackett has shared her testimony nine times and this summer she will be speaking at a church camp, but she is willing to speak anytime, anywhere.
WINTER SAFETY AND ENERGY-SAVING TIPS FROM SWEPCO 1/12/15
AEP/SWPECO's service area could experience the impact of snow, sleet, ice, freezing rain and extremely cold temperatures during January and February, making energy-saving tips and a home emergency kit a good idea during winter weather.
For economy, set the thermostat for 68 degrees and leave it alone.
Check and install clean filters every month and have your heating system inspected and service once a year.
Air leakage through small cracks and holes in a home's exterior is a major reason for heat loss, so install weather-stripping around doors and windows to prevent air leaks.
It's recommended to open curtain and blinds on the sunny side of the house to allow the sun help heat the home.
Since heat rises, it's a good idea to inspect the attic and check the duct insulation for tears and when the fireplace is not in use, the damper should be closed tight and the glass fireplace doors closed.
And, home owners should keep blankets, flashlights, bottled water, a portable radio and a fresh supply of batteries on hand in case the power should go off due to inclement winter weather.
DE QUEEN BASEBALL BANNER PROGRAM 1/9/15
De Queen Head Baseball Coach Beau McCastlain recently announced that they would be continuing the teams fence banner fundraiser to help fund projects and trips for the 2015 Leopard baseball team.
McCastlain explained that the program supplements the district's baseball budget to help make upgrades to the field and program.
McCastlain talked about the new indoor netting system that the team will use for indoor hitting practice that was purchased as a result of 22 businesses and individuals participating in last year's banner fundraiser.
McCastlain said the team would also like to make some upgrades to the outfield if the funds become available.
Donations are needed by February 15th to ensure the banners are displayed in time for the teams benefit game against the Horatio Lions and the Leopards 3rd Annual Hit-A-Thon.
For more information, contact McCastlain at 870-279-4479.
585 DIAMONDS FOUND AT CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK IN 2014 1/9/15
The Crater of Diamonds State Park had a fantastic year of diamond finds during 2014.
By the close of business on December 31st, 585 diamonds had officially been registered, weighing a total of 121 carats. According to the park staff, that is 130 more diamonds and nearly 25 more carats than the total of registered diamonds in 2013.
Arkansans were responsible for finding 213 of last year's diamonds, while visitors from 36 states and five foreign countries registered 372 diamonds.
The largest diamond was found on April 15th by David Anderson of Murfreesboro. It's a 6.19 carat white diamond that is also the 9th largest white diamond that's ever been found at the park.
For more information, visit craterofdiamondsstatepark.com.
ENID WOMAN INJURED AFTER HITTING TRACTOR-TRAILER 1/9/15
An Enid woman was injured early Wednesday morning when the car she was driving hit a tractor-trailer that was hauling military-grade explosives in Choctaw County, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
The accident caused the delay of classes at the Grant School and closed U.S. Highway 271 about five miles south of Hugo, overnight.
21-year-old Delany Jones of Enid was taken to the Plano Medical Center in Plano, Texas with injuries to her legs, and she was listed in stable condition.
According to the report, Jones was driving south on U.S. Highway 271 when a tractor-trailer that was be driven east by 61-year-old Renntta Williams of Malvern attempted to turn onto U.S. 271 to go north.
Jones' car hit the rear tires of the tractor-trailer.
Williams and her passenger, 76-year-old John Williams were not injured.
Bomb technicians from Fort Sill responded to ensure that the explosives were safe before crews unloaded the tractor-trailer.
LOTTERY MARKS 12% INCREASE IN INSTANT SALES 1/9/15
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is ringing in the New Year with a continuing increase in sales of its scratch-off tickets, and lottery officials are hoping a new line of games will ignite new excitement during these cold winter months.
After a five-month upswing in instant ticket sales, December saw those sales jump to almost $28 million dollars, which is a 12 percent increase over instant sales the previous December.
One new addition to the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery portfolio is the new $20 dollar, 5th Anniversary Millions instant ticket, which celebrates the lotteries five years of raising revenues of funding the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship.
UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT 1/9/15
Thursday morning, De Queen School District Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced a couple of exciting things on the campuses of the De Queen School District.
Whatley said the De Queen Junior High School received an award from the University of Arkansas for Education Policy for outstanding student performance on last year's End-of-Course Algebra exam and the End-of-Course Geometry exam.
Whatley also announced that the district had completed the installation of the district's Virtual Computer Lab, which will be used by students to take mandatory online courses as part of their graduation requirements.
For more information about programs on the campuses of the De Queen School District, contact your child's school office or call the administration building at 584-4312.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL OFF TO FAST START IN 2015 1/8/14
Aldermen of the De Queen City Council made a change to their meeting time for the first time in years, Tuesday night during their first regular meeting of 2015.
Newly elected alderman David Krantz informed the other members of the council that he did not get off work until 5:30 during the summer, so, aldermen voted to set the meeting time at 6 p.m., the first and third Tuesdays of each month.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy informed aldermen that Vyve Broadband was currently not carrying the Little Rock stations because they were a duplication of the Shreveport stations. McKelvy told KDQN that he spoke with Vyve and asked them to reconsider the change.
Vyve sent a letter to Mayor McKelvy in November explaining that they were increasing local cable bills by $2.25 to help cover the rising cost of broadcasters' contract fees.
Water Superintendent Jeff Brown reported that the streaming current analyzer was not working and asked the council to approve the purchase of a new one.
McKelvy explained the piece of equipment was critical to the water departments operation.
Aldermen also approved a resolution condemning a house on Harvey Drive during a public hearing, Tuesday night.
Aldermen heard reports from Police Chief Richard McKinley concerning the city's animal control program, Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt about this past weekend's flooding and officials from the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center.
Aldermen tabled the Water, Sewer and Sanitation audit, but will consider passing a resolution accepting it during their January 20th meeting.
I DON'T WANT TO TAKE A BREATH TEST 1/8/15
Monday evening about 9:30, Patrolman Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department stopped a red Jeep Cherokee after observing it drive left of the center line.
Sawyer reported that the driver, 34-year-old Michael Whisenhunt, appeared confused while he was looking for his insurance card after he gave Sawyer his driver's license.
Sawyer said that when he asked Whisenhunt where he was coming from, he said De Queen. Whisenhunt was informed that he was in De Queen and Sawyer asked him where he was coming from a second time.
Whisenhunt then said he was going to the Villas and Sawyer asked him where he was coming from for a third time. This time, Whisenhunt stated that he was coming from the De Queen E-Z Mart.
Following their conversation, Sawyer asked Whisenhunt to get out of the vehicle and take a field sobriety test, which he failed.
Sawyer then placed Whisenhunt into custody and transported him to the Sevier County jail, where he refused to submit to a breathe test.
Whisenhunt was cited for driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to test, driving left of center and for having no proof of insurance.
MINOR CITED FOR DWI 1/8/15
Sunday morning, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon observed a silver Chrysler 300 traveling east on Highway 70 West cross the center line on a couple occasions.
Davignon pulled the vehicle over at the intersection of Highway 70 West and Highway 70 B and identified the driver as 18-year-old Erica Martinez of Mount Pleasant, Texas.
Martinez and her passenger informed Davignon that they had not been drinking, but Martinez failed a field sobriety test and blew .08 on a portable breath test.
She was then cited for driving while intoxicated.
NEW MINERAL SPRINGS MAYOR ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR CITY 1/8/15
New Mineral Springs Mayor Bobby Tullis announced several projects that he's planning to start this year after being sworn-in January 1st.
Tullis says he plans to make several improvements to the city park and cleanup around town. He stated the city was also looking forward to the completion of the new Dollar General store.
Monday during the first meeting of the Mineral Springs City Council, aldermen approved budgeting $2,500 for repairs to the council room and appropriated $10,000 for repairs to the historic town depot, however, there was no discussion on how the depot will be used.
Aldermen approved Tullis' request to put the district court fine money in a separate account that will be used for the purchase of a new patrol car and 11 nominees were approved for the city park commission.
Aldermen did not vote to condemn the laundromat after the owner promised that they would board up the building.
SECURITY CHECK RESULTS IN THREE ARRESTS 1/8/15
On January 3rd, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon noticed a silver Dodge van setting on the side of Highway 70 East about five miles east of De Queen that had it's hazard lights on.
Davignon stopped to check on the occupants and found three men apparently sleeping with an open bottle of beer in the center console.
After waking the man in the driver's seat, Davignon began questioning 58-year-old Wilbert Jackson of Ashdown.
Jackson told Davignon that he needed a ride home, but he didn't know the other two men and he didn't know who the van belonged to.
Since Jackson was sitting in the driver's seat with the key in the ignition, Davignon asked him if he would take a field sobriety test. Jackson allegedly responded by saying he wasn't driving and he wasn't going to take a test. He also allegedly informed Davignon that he had been in jail before for driving under the influence.
After placing Jackson in his patrol car, Davignon woke up 46-year-old William Clark of Hope.
Davignon asked him how he was doing and Clark said he was doing ok but he was having a long day.
The other passenger was identified as 32-year-old Justinian Jones of Texarkana, Texas.
Sevier County Deputy Michael Barnes assisted Davignon in searching the van and they discovered five empty cans of beer and an open 30-pack that contained only seven cans.
Jackson was citied for driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to test and driving on a suspended driver's license, while Clark and Jones were citied for public intoxication.
TAKE SOME COLD WEATHER PRECAUTIONS 1/8/15
As temperatures continue to drop in Arkansas, the American Red Cross is reminding residents to take some cold weather precautions.
The Red Cross suggests that you avoid unnecessary exposure to the cold, but if you must go outside to remember to wear something on your head because, you lose most of your body heat through your head.
You should also dressing in layers to help retain your body heat and wear waterproof, insulated boots to help avoid frostbite.
Many families around the area may result to using alternative heating sources either out of necessity or to avoid the rising cost of heating fuel, so, the Red Cross cautions residents with portable space heaters.
Space heaters should be placed at least three feet away from anything combustible and you should never leave a space heater operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed.
All homes should have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. If you do not have a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm, contact the De Queen First Department at 584-7224 and they will install one for you.
To keep your pipes from freezing, the Red Cross suggests opening kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow the warmer air in the room to circulate around the plumbing and to let the cold water drip from the faucets to help prevent the pipes from freezing.
Residents should also keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night.
UA COSSATOT REGISTRATION OPEN UNTIL JANUARY 13 1/7/15
UA Cossatot student recruiter and admissions advisor, Ericka Buenrrostro, announced Tuesday morning that new students may register until January 13th and she said students should contact the school to find out documents students will need to bring when they register.
Buenrrostro mentioned that UA Cossatot will hold a new student orientation for new spring semester students on the De Queen campus this Thursday from 10 to 12.
Classes will begin Monday, January 12th and students can register online at www.cccua.edu or they can call the Office of Admissions at 584-4471.
A HOT TRUCK 1/7/15
About 11 a.m. Saturday morning, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Rodger Ridley was notified that there was an abandoned truck on Mize Crossing Road that had been burnt recently.
Ridley reported that he discovered a four-door Chevy pickup sitting on blocks because the tires and wheels had been removed.
Ridley noted the truck was still smoldering and that the metal had lost its structural integrity due to the intense heat.
When Arkansas Game and Fish Officer David Hall arrived on the scene, he was able to remove the license plate and discovered the truck was registered to a Kristy Randall of Horatio.
After checking with dispatch, the officers discovered the truck had been reported stolen in McCurtain County, Oklahoma.
Officer Hall then contacted the McCurtain County Sheriff's Office to notify them that the stolen vehicle had been recovered in Sevier County.
The case remains under investigation, but if you have any information concerning the theft of this truck, you should contact the Sevier County Sheriff's Office at 642-2125.
OKLAHOMA RESIDENT ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFTING IN DE QUEEN 1/7/15
Saturday, January 3rd, Sergeant Gary Cunningham of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to a possible shoplifter.
Cunningham reported that before he arrived at Wal-Mart, he witnessed a white male run across Collin Raye Drive with two Wal-Mart employees pointing at him.
Cunningham stopped the suspect and the man who was identified as Terry Bruce of Broken Bow, Oklahoma told him that he hadn't taken anything and he hadn't been shoplifting.
Cunningham placed Bruce under arrest and transported him to the Sevier County jail. Cunningham then returned to Wal-Mart and interviewed the store manager.
The manager stated that he watched the suspect for about eight minutes and when the man went thru the door, he asked if he could see his receipt and that is when the man started pushing the cart away and ran through the parking lot.
On January 5th, Lieutenant Sonny Kimmel received information from Wal-Mart's asset protection manager that Bruce had been identified as being the person that had stolen items on three other occasions.
Bruce was cited for four counts of shoplifting of $1,000 or less.
RESOLVE TO HELP FOSTER CHILDREN FIND PERMANENT HOMES - BECOME A CASA VOLUNTEER 1/7/15
"Out with the old and in with the new" is a phrase often used by those who make a list of resolutions at the start of every New Year. Some of those resolutions are to kick a bad habit like smoking or eating junk food; others, however, may want to lose weight or spend less money.
Resolutions are different for everyone, but they all serve the same objective, to make life changes for the better.
If you're looking for anew way to make changes, resolve to help others in need. More than 150 children in the local foster care systems need caring adults to speak up for their best interests They need a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer to help get them through the foster care system as quickly as.
Executive Director of the Texarkana Region, Leigh Harris explained that Child Protective Service workers usually handle two to three dozen cases and each of them can involve multiple children and as a result, many children stay in foster care longer than necessary and may not receive the help they need to begin to heal.
Harris said CASA volunteers help get foster children the services they need, but they need more volunteers to help all of the children in the Texarkana Region, which includes Hempstead, Howard, Little River, Lafayette, Nevada and Miller counties.
In 2014, CASA for Children has served approximately 400 children in its eight county service area. Currently, there are 81 children in foster care in Miller County, 18 in Hempstead County, 11 in Howard County, 12 in Lafayette County, 6 in Nevada County and 16 in Little River County. And, unfortunately, more than half of those children do not have a CASA volunteers to assist them through the process.
Harris said the Texarkana Region will be holding an information session next week on Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. each day.
Harris said interested parties may choose the one session that is convenient for your schedule and attend to learn more about the role of a CASA volunteer or you can call 903-792-1030.
YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST 1/7/15
Monday evening about 9:30, Sergeant Chad Bradshaw of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to the De Queen Regional Medical Center because of an unwanted visitor.
Bradshaw was informed by a member of the nursing staff that 24-year-old Jeremy Wheeler of De Queen was attempting to visit a patient that had a visitor restriction and Wheeler was not on the list.
The staff explained to Bradshaw that Wheeler had been told by a nurse that he could not visit the patient because the only people on the patient's list was their father and brother.
Bradshaw was informed that Wheeler had left but came back again trying to visit the patient and had even asked members of the nursing staff what room the patient was in.
Bradshaw advised Wheeler that he could not visit the patient and for him to leave the hospital and if he came back, he would be arrested.
According to Bradshaw, Wheeler left, but came back before he left the nurses station. When Wheeler came through the Emergency Room entrance, he had his phone to his ear and told Bradshaw that he was speaking with the patient and they told him, he could visit.
Bradshaw then placed Wheeler under arrest and charged with disorderly conduct.
BATTERY IN FIRST DEGREE UNDER INVESTIGATION 1/6/15
January 2nd, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon was on patrol when he was advised that someone had their throat cut on Bellahmine Road and that he had been dumped out of a black truck and that the truck had left the scene. However, on the way to the scene, dispatch advised officers that a suspected drunk driver was driving a white Ford pickup and had just left the scene.
When officers stopped the white truck, the driver was wet and reportedly had blood on his face and shirt, according to the incident report. Officers also noted that the driver appeared drunk and asked him to exit the vehicle.
While searching the vehicle, officers discovered blood on the passenger side door, the dashboard, the steering wheel and the driver's side door.
The driver of the white truck was identified as Michael Cowling.
Cowling reported that a Michael Guire had beat him up and had tried to kill him. Cowling allegedly informed officers that he had cut Guire.
When Deputy Kristopher Hundley arrived at the scene, he witnessed Deputy Davignon applying pressure to a large laceration on the side of Guire's neck.
Southwest EMS transported Guire to the De Queen Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Cowling was cited for driving under the influence, refusal to submit to test, driving left of center and expired registration.
A Sheriff's Department spokesperson said the battery is still under investigation.
ARGUMENT LEADS TO ARREST 1/6/15
New Year's Eve, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Barnes was dispatched to a residence on Highway 71 north of De Queen in reference to a verbal argument between roommates.
When Deputy Barnes arrived he interviewed 56-year-old Paula Goggans who said she and 55-year-old Beth Walling were roommates and that they had gotten into an argument.
Goggans said that Walling and Bobby Davis were at the house earlier that night and that Walling didn't like for Goggans to be around Davis. Goggans started Walling started acting aggressive toward her and they started arguing.
Goggans informed Barnes that Walling then started cooking something in one of her pans and when she asked Walling when she was going to get it back. Walling threw the pan at her and hit her on the foot and that is when Goggans called the police.
Walling was arrested and charged with battery in the 3rd degree.
Barnes noted in his report that both women were intoxicated at the time of the incident.
COSSATOT ARTS AND CRAFTS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES TOP ARTIST OF THE YEAR 1/6/15
The Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association announced the winners of the Artist and Photographer of the Year awards during their annual Christmas party.
Jerri Rivers of De Queen was named the Artist of the Year for her painting entitled "Red Poppies." Shrley Tipton of Horatio was the second place winner with her painting "Maumelle Ghost" and Van Ledbetter was third and Iris Saylor was fourth.
The winning paintings will be on display at area banks during the month of January, while the winning photograph will be on display at the De Queen Regional Medical Center.
Iris Saylor was named the Photographer of the Year for her picture "Trumpets at Dusk."
The next Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association meeting will be Friday, January 16th. During that meeting, members will start work on the 44th Annual King Art Show, which will be held in May.
For more information about the King Art Show or the Cossatot Art and Craft Association, call 642-2419 or 642-7170.
DELIGHT MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN DEATH OF 12-YEAR-OLD 1/6/15
The Delight man that was driving a Ford Explorer when it hit and killed a 12-year-old girl after she got off a school bus, plead guilty Monday to misdemeanor negligent homicide.
88-year-old Dwight Moody plead guilty in the Pike County Circuit Court and Judge Charles Yeargan accepted the plea and sentenced him to one year probation and a fine of $2,500. Moody also lost his driver's license for the remainder of his life.
According to Prosecutor Bryan Chesshir's office, as part of the accident investigation, Moody's vision was tested and he failed.
The misdemeanor negligent homicide charge was filed Friday at the request of the family of Jazmin Hernandez of Glenwood who died October 27th from injuries that resulted from being hit by Moody's SUV.
Hernandez was a seventh grader in the Kirby School District and was a passenger on a school bus that had stopped on U.Sl Highway 70 near Salem to let students off.
According to the state police report, the buses emergency lights and signals were activated at the time of the accident.
Hernandez was taken by helicopter to the Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, where she died.
DRUNK IN PUBLIC 1/6/15
New Year's Day, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Barnes was dispatched to the Arkansas/Oklahoma state line in reference to a woman staggering down the side of the road.
When Deputy Barnes arrived, he discovered a woman laying on the side of the road. The woman was identified as 24-year-old Niki Brandon of De Queen.
When Barnes got Brandon to sit up, he noticed her eyes were bloodshot and watery. He noted her speech was slurred and he could smell the odor of alcohol.
Brandon reportedly informed Barnes that she was walking home from the Blue Bar because her friend had left her at the bar. She also allegedly informed him that she was drunk.
Brandon was arrested and charged with public intoxication.
EXTRA CHARGES FOR WANTED SUSPECT 1/6/15
January 3rd, Sevier County Sheriff Deputy Greg Davignon reported that he witnessed a Ford SUV pull out of the Lockesburg E-Z Mart without its headlights on.
Davignon followed the vehicle to the intersection of Highway 71 and Provo Road and made a traffic stop because the driver never turned their lights on.
Davignon made contact with the two passengers, Hunter King and Brett Denton along with the driver Dakota King.
Davignon was informed by dispatch that Denton had an active felony warrant out of Oklahoma.
After Deputy Davignon asked for consent to search the vehicle, Denton said he didn't want him to search the vehicle, so Davignon contacted the county's K-9 handler, Deputy Travis Turner for his assistance.
After conducting an open air search outside the vehicle, "Kilo" gave a positive alert to the passenger side of the vehicle.
Denton then allegedly informed the deputies that he had a bag of marijuana inside the vehicle along with a smoking pipe.
The driver, Dakota King was issued a warning and he and Hunter King were released.
Denton was arrested on the active warrant and then charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE TAKES EFFECT IN STATE 1/6/15
With the start of the new year, an estimated 40,000 Arkansans will be getting a pay raise.
The state's voter-approved new minimum wage increased from $6.25 per hour to $7.50 per hour as off January 1st. Nearly 66 percent of Arkansas voters approved the increase by passing a state constitutional amendment during the November election.
According to the nonprofit group, the Economic Policy Institute, about 40,000 Arkansas workers received the pay increase and about another 17,000 who currently earn just above the minimum wage will most likely receive a pay raise as well.
Most employers with four or more employees are required to pay the state minimum, with some exceptions, such as agricultural industries and some public teaching positions.
The amendment also requires the minimum to rise to $8 an hour on January 1st, 2016 and to $8.50 an hour on January 1st, 2017.
WOMEN'S SELF-DEFENSE CLASS THIS SATURDAY 1/6/15
The Wellness Center and AMP Fitness in De Queen will be hosting a women's self-defense class this Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the Weyerhaeuser Room on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.
Cindy Lofton informed KDQN that she and her husband, Dr. Jason Lofton, decided to offer the class after several members of AMP Fitness asked them to offer a women’s self-defense course.
Lofton explained the program is designed to educate and empower women to become more efficient in the context of an attack within one arms reach.
Lofton said Tiffany Lopez would be helping lead the class so local women will not have to be afraid of being attacked.
During a phone interview, Lopez explained why she and Tyler Grant started the Not A Victim workshops and how it can benefit women of all ages and fitness levels.
Lopez said the goal of the one-day class is to teach women to fight back and she said students will discover what the body does naturally in an attack and how defensive physical skills will be incorporated with what the body does naturally.
Lopez also mentioned there will be several other components during the class besides just simple hand to hand combat moves, like the dynamics of an attacker, pre-contact cues and the mindset of attackers.
Lofton stated the class is for women 12 and older and the cost is $50 for one-person, $80 for two and $105 for three.
To sign up or for more information call 584-4267.
SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT HOLDS FIRST MEETING OF THE YEAR 1/5/15
Friday morning at 10 a.m., members of the Sevier County Quorum Court met to set the date and time of their monthly meetings after being sworn in at 8 a.m.
Members of the Quorum Court will meet the second Monday of each month at 2 p.m. in the courthouse conference room.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray mentioned that all of the improvements to the Sevier County airport were done with the help of federal grant money.
Then, during the Quorum Court meeting, Justices of the Peace confirmed the appointment of Susan Fitzsimmons to the airport board.
JPs passed a resolution amending the county's employee handbook concerning Sevier County jailers working 12-hour shifts. Judge Ray said the change should save the county money.
Newly elected District 4 Representative, DeAnn Vaught, addressed the court and informed them that she would be available to them if they need to contact her.
Vaught will represent a portion of Sevier County and all of Little River County, along with the city limits of Dierks during the upcoming Legislative session.
Vaught told Curtis Coleman on his television program that she is for open carry laws when it comes to firearms and that she discovered during the campaign that most of her constituents are opposed to the state's private option.
Today's meeting of the Quorum Court was the first meeting for newly elected JPs Angie Walker, Roger Whitmore and David Wright.
SEVIER COUNTY SWEARING IN CEREMONY 1/5/15
Friday morning, Sevier County elected officials and sheriff's deputies were sworn in by Sevier County District Court Judge Stephen Tedder in the county courtroom.
Elected officials included the newly elected Sevier County Circuit Clerk, Kathy Smith, along with County Treasurer Rita Krantz, County Assessor Judy Smith, County Clerk Debbie Hughes and County Judge Greg Ray.
Aldermen from De Queen, Gillham, and Ben Lomond were sworn in as well as Danny Ruth, the mayor of Lockesburg and Lester Overturf, Jr., the mayor of Gillham.
Rusty Williams was sworn in as the county coroner along with four deputy coroners.
Dick Tallman and Kim Culp were sworn in as constables and Judge Tedder announced that he will attend the Tuesday, January 6th De Queen City Council meeting to swear in the remaining aldermen.
FIRST FLU DEATHS REPORTED IN STATE 1/5/15
The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting the first two flu-related deaths in the state.
One victim was between the ages of 25 and 44, while the second victim was over the age of 65. The department also reported that 451 people have been hospitalized with the flu since the season started in September, that's almost twice has many as last year at this time when 76 people died due to the illness.
The report says there have been more than 5,400 positive flu tests, but health officials say not everyone who gets sick goes to the doctor and not everyone who goes to a doctor is tested for the flu.
Health officials are predicting that flu activity may increase when schools resume next week following the holiday break.
The Center for Disease Control has declared the flu an epidemic and healthcare officials are urging everyone to use preventive measures, such as hand washing and avoiding contact with people who are sick.
Officials stated this year's flu strain has mutated, but doctors say getting a flu shot is still the best defense against the flu.
FISHER CHOPPED WALNUTS AND PECAN COOKIE PIECES RECALLED 1/05/15
Fisher chopped walnuts and pecan cookie pieces are being voluntarily recalled after a routine sampling program by the Food and Drug Administration revealed a package contained Salmonella.
The products affected are the Fisher Chopped Walnuts and Pecan Cookie Pieces that were sold in eight-ounce plastic bags in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas and online. The recall involves products with the best by dates of October 31st, 2015, November 1st and November 3rd, 2015 on the chopped walnuts and November 3rd, 2015 for the pecan cookie pieces.
The best by date is located on the back of the bags.
Customers of this product are advised not to consume this product and instead return it to the store of purchase for a full refund or replacement.
Customers with questions about the recall should contact JBSS customer service at 1-800-874-8734.
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes it can cause a fatal infection in young children, elderly people and others with weak immune systems.
People infected with Salmonella often experience fever; diarrhea, with may be bloody; nausea; vomiting and abdominal pain.
TWO MORE JOIN BID TO REVISE RED RIVER DISCHARGE 1/2/15
Two southwest Arkansas businesses have joined two others and two cities in petitioning the state for an increase in the levels of minerals that can be discharged into bodies of water.
SWEPCO, which owns and operates the John W. Turk Power Plant in Fulton is seeking permission to increase the concentration of minerals that it deposits in the Red River from the mouth of the Little River to the Louisiana state line and have the designation of un-used drinking water removed from the same area
SWEPCO is also seeking permission to increase the temperature of the water in the Little River from Millwood Lake to the Red River from 86 degrees to 89.6.
According to SWEPCO, this will allow them to operate the Turk Plant in a more efficient manner.
Domtar in Ashdown is asking to be allowed to increase the concentration of minerals in the Red River from the Oklahoma state line to the mouth of the Little River along with the concentration of sulfate from the mouth of the Little River to the Louisiana state line.
Domtar reportedly is not planning to increase the amount of minerals that it discharges, but they say they are worried about the parameters of its permit changing when it reapplies for one in the future.
Both companies say the increase in minerals wouldn’t be detrimental to the quality of the water; instead it would provide the companies with more lenient standards that are similar to neighboring states.
The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission will be holding a public meeting in Ashdown on January 26th concerning Domtar’s proposed changes.
The City of Huntsville and Fayetteville along with Tyson Foods and Lion Oil Company are the other entities that are trying to finalize their new standards with the state.
DE QUEEN RESIDENT INVOLVED IN ROLLOVER ACCIDENT 1/2/15
Sunday night a De Queen resident was involved in a rollover accident on Highway 27 west of Mineral Springs.
According to a report by the Arkansas State Police a Chevy HHR rolled over about 8:15 Sunday night.
According to the report, the driver, Lexie Bimansha of De Queen crossed the center and over-corrected causing the vehicle to leave the roadway on the south side of the highway. The HHR then rolled over at least one time and came to rest on its roof.
Neither Bimansha nor her minor passenger was injured.
Members of the Mineral Springs Police Department, the Mineral Springs Fire Department, the Howard County Ambulance Service and the Howard County Sheriff’s office were also on the scene of the accident.
LANDFILL REVIEWS TIRE SHREDDING PROGRAM 1/2/15
Board members of the Upper Southwest Regional Solid Waste Management District discussed the landfill’s new tire shredding program during their quarterly meeting this month.
The executive director of the regional landfill, Max Tackett, reported that the process of shredding tires at the site was going slower than expected. He reported they had shredded just over 50,000 tires since October.
Tackett explained that the conveyor belt system was prone to stoppages because of magnets that are designed to remove metal from the shredded tires. He suggested redesigning the conveyor out of stainless steel and moving the magnets may help prevent the stoppages.
Board members gave Tackett permission to start gathering bids for the construction of a new conveyor belt system from area companies.
Tackett also presented a proposed budget to the board that included a three percent raise for the landfill employees.
Tackett said this was the first raise since 2009.
Board members approved the budget including the raises.
Board members then elected officers for the upcoming year. Howard County Judge Kevin Smith was elected president, De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy was elected vice-president and Nashville Mayor Billy Ray Jones was elected secretary/treasurer.
The next meeting of the Upper Southwest Regional Solid Waste Management District board will be March 24th.
LIBRARY SNIPPETS 1/2/15
Head Librarian Johnye Fisher of the Sevier County Library System announced the new library hours for the New Year, this week. She said the De Queen Library will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.
Fisher explained that the new hours were at the request of library patrons. She also stated the library has WIFI and it’s free.
Fisher said they can also scan documents, offer Notary Public services, do color copying and they have free Department of Motor Vehicle practice tests for an Arkansas permit, Commercial Driver’s License and motorcycle license.
The book, “Unbroken” is now available at the Horatio Library. It’s the true story of a young man who went from the Berlin Olympics to being a Japanese prisoner during World War II. It’s a story of survival, resilience and redemption and yes, it has been made into a movie.
The adult book club will meet and discuss “Sarah’s Key” on Saturday, January 10th at 10 a.m. at the Lockesburg Library and on Saturday, January 17th, the library will host its second kids’ book club by reading the book, “Frozen.”
Fisher said they are planning some games and other activities for the kids on the 17th.
The Ben Lomond Library will take advantage of their close proximity to the Pond Creek National Refuge by reading about and discovering migratory birds during the month of January.
Fisher said Pond Creek is dominated by hardwood forest land and its an outstanding habitat for birds particularly neo-tropical migratory song birds. She said these birds use the refuge as a resting spot to help replenish their energy for their long journey to and from their wintering areas in Central and South America.
ROADSIDE SHOOTING INCIDENT CLAIMS LIFE OF FUGITIVE 1/2/15
A 44-year-old man who was wanted by the Houston Police died today at Wadley Regional Medical Center in Hope from what law enforcement witnesses report was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Special agents with the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are continuing to investigate the incident.
The incident occurred about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday morning during a traffic stop by an Arkansas State Police trooper near the 45 mile marker on the eastbound side of Interstate 30.
A woman and three children who were in the car at the time of the traffic stop were taken from the scene by the Arkansas State Police and were reportedly uninjured.
The youngest of the children was believed to be the subject of a Texas Amber Alert that was issued by the Houston Police after the child’s mother, Angel Jackson was found dead Tuesday morning.
The shooting victim was identified as 44-year-old Tumetheus Pack and is believed to be the biological father of the youngest child that was the subject of the Texas Amber Alert.
The incident is still under investigation.
SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT PASSES 2015 BUDGET 1/2/15
Monday afternoon the members of the Sevier County Quorum Court voted to pass the proposed 2015 budget which included a two percent cost of living raise for all county employees.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray explained that the bulk of the budget is appropriated to the county jail, county road and the solid waste funds.
Judge Ray and Justice of the Peace David Wright commended the budget committee for their work this year. JP Michael Archer stated that he's served on the budget committee for the past 18 years.
JPs amended the 2014 County Road Department's budget by transferring $50,000 from two accounts to the county's gravel, dirt and sand account.
Judge Ray said the county has twice has many gravel roads as it does paved roads and the county has over 133 miles of paved roads.
JPs approved an appropriation for $15,250 concerning the completion of the Deed and Mortgage Records Grant Project. Judge Ray stated this was going to make searching the county records much easier.
Monday was also the final Quorum Court meeting for JPs Bill Jackson and Carol Cobb. Judge Ray presented them with plaques.
SWEPCO TURK PLANT RECEIVES AWARD 1/2/15
Southwestern Electric Power Company's John Turk Power Plant in Fulton has been honored with a Clean Coal Award.
The award recognizes the best environmental performance achieved among U.S. coal power plants in 2013 based on key emission rates.
The Turk Plant is a 600-megawatt ultra-supercritical power plant that went into service in 2012. According to SWEPCO, it is the most fuel-efficient coal plant in the country.