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VEHICLE, TRAIN COLLISION CLAIMS TWO LIVES     1/22/16

 

Two people were killed when a vehicle was struck by a Kansas City Southern train Thursday evening in Ogden.

 

According to the accident report, the KCS train was northbound and collided with a 2007 Hyundai that was traveling east on Pine Street at the intersection of Pine and the railroad tracks at about 5:27 p.m.

 

The passengers, 37-year-old Bobby Burris of Ogden and a student from the Ashdown School District, were killed in the accident, while the driver, 66-year-old Linda Hobbs was transported to Christus St. Michael Hospital in Texarkana, Texas in critical condition.

 

Members of the Ogden Volunteer Fire Department and Little River County first responders provided emergency care and removed the victims from the vehicle.

 

Superintendent Jason Sanders of the Ashdown School District asked everyone to keep the family, the school district and the Ashdown community in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. He said, “The Ashdown School District is saddened by the news of the tragic automobile and train accident that occurred yesterday. This is a very a difficult time for the school district and it will be an extra emotional time for our students due to the fact that one of those involved in the fatal accident was one of our students. We will be providing extra counselors for our students, as long as needed.”

 

The accident is being investigated by the Arkansas State Police.

 

 

 

CONTINUING EDUCATION AT UA COSSATOT      1/22/16

 

UA Cossatot's Continuing Education Coordinator Zebbie Launius announced the college will be offering a couple of new classes this semester including one for conflict resolution and ag welding.

 

Launius said they are also offering classes that will help prepare students for the workforce, like forklift operator and safety and truck driving.

 

Launius stated the Continuing Education Services department will also be taking a quilt shop hop trip to the Dallas area and they will be offering several for fun or profit classes.

 

Launius also stated the deadline to register for a continuing education class is usually about a week before the class starts. For more information or to register for a class, visit the UA Cossatot website at www.cccua.edu and click on the continuing education tab. She said you may also call the college at 584-4471 and ask to speak to the continuing education department.

 

 

DE QUEEN LEOPARD BANNER PROGRAM      1/22/16

 

De Queen Leopard Head Baseball Coach Beau McCastlain announced its time for area businesses and individuals to sign up for the team's outfield fence banner program. He explained the program helps fund improvements for the baseball program. He said donors can have their banner placed on the centerfield fence or out in left or right field.

 

McCastlain said the baseball program has been able to make several improvements with funds raised through the banner program, like the new infield tarp. He said they are hoping to use this year's funds to purchase some Turface Infield Conditioner Mix that they will add to the new infield skin. He also hopes that they will eventually be able to renovate and level the outfield and add a French drain system.

 

McCastlain said players are also gathering pledges for their annual Hit-a-Thon, which will be just before the start of the season.

 

For more information or to purchase a banner, call McCastlain at 870-279-4479 or contact the high school and leave a message.

 

 

 

Milligan Announces First Year Results    1/22/16

 

Little Rock, AR- Since taking office on January 13, 2015, Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan has never accepted the attitude of “this is the way we have always done it.”  He challenged his team to get creative, innovative and find better and more efficient ways to serve the people of Arkansas.  There were four areas that quickly became the immediate focus of Milligan during his first year: Investments, the Arkansas 529 program, transparency and financial literacy.

 

 “I am excited and proud to release this data from our first year in office, which will lay a solid foundation for a more efficient, effective and responsive Treasurer’s office for the hardworking taxpayers of Arkansas.” Milligan stated.

 

 In 2015, Milligan was able to receipt into the State Treasury $28.2 million from revenue earned on investments.  This is on average an increase of $7.7 million over what previous Treasurers had receipted since 2012.

 

 “From day one I challenged my investment team to take a more active role in managing the State’s investments.  I want to thank the State Board of Finance for their willingness to work with me and give my team the tools necessary to be better stewards of the taxpayers’ money.”  Milligan added.

 

 We started by taking short term monies that were invested in overnight money market accounts and invested them into higher earning commercial paper.  Then we reviewed the longer term investments and moved lower performing long bonds into higher yielding mortgage-backed securities.  The average increase of $7.7 million was experienced without any increase in interest rates, except for the one increase in December.

 

“We will continue to be diligent in our efforts to secure the highest rate of return possible for the taxpayers of Arkansas while ensuring the security of the investments.”  Milligan continued.

 

Milligan also ushered in a renewed focus and energy to the Arkansas 529 program, our state’s official college savings program.

“We are all concerned and understand the importance of a college education, and the impact a college degree can have in a person’s life.  When I ran for this office I was amazed at the number of people who did not know about the Arkansas 529 program.  I promised then that if I were elected I would do all I could to promote and raise awareness about this important savings program.”  Milligan stated.

 

 During 2015, the Arkansas 529 program experienced a 30 percent growth in total contributions growing from $29.8 million in 2014 to $38.7 million in 2015.  There was a 6 percent growth in the number of new accounts opened going from 22,420 in 2014 to 23,781 in 2015.  There was a 7 percent growth in the number of Arkansas only accounts owners growing from 8,990 to 9,663.  Furthermore as a true measure in the growth of the program, there was a 36 percent increase in the net number of new funded accounts in 2015 growing from 1,003 to 1,361.  There was a 51 percent growth in the contributions into AR 529 GIFT accounts by friends and family with an increase from $285,492 in 2014 to $431,034 in 2015.  Finally, there was 3 percent growth in the total assets under management for the year growing from over $306 million to over $314 million.

 

 “All of these statistics show a great trust and faith that participants have with the AR 529 program as well as a tremendous amount of growth in a difficult investing time period.  As Arkansans learn about this wonderful opportunity to invest in their child or grandchild’s future, we continue to see the rise in participation.  Paying for college should not be a road block for a child to attend college, and with this great tax deferred savings program we are making college more attainable and more affordable for the average Arkansan.”  Milligan continued.

 

 Milligan also took note that when he entered office there was not much information available for the public online about the financial operations of the office.  Since taking office Milligan has dedicated a section of the office website, “Inside the Vault”, to post monthly reports of the activity of the office from the investments, financial and turn back functions.

 

“It was important to me as quickly as I could shine a light on the financial operations of this office.  We will continue to put as much information as possible in the most user friendly manner available on our website.”  Milligan added.

In 2015, Milligan expanded upon the previous efforts by his predecessors to emphasize the importance of financial literacy by launching AR Finance. AR Future.  This program is now in 36 schools since starting in September of 2015.  2,473 students have completed 8,283 learning modules for 4,142 hours of learning.

 

“This is an essential life skill that will lay the foundation for freedom and independence as adults.  I am grateful to the schools, teachers and parents who have partnered with us since September.  I am excited to add more schools to the AR Finance. AR Future program.  When we have a generation of leaders in Washington, DC who cannot balance a check book, we need to ensure we teach this next generation how to.  This program is also a key component to breaking the cycle of poverty.  If you do not know how to write a budget, manage your money or understand how interest and loans work you cannot pull yourself out of poverty.” Milligan continued.

 

“It has been a remarkable first year, and I am humbled by the opportunity to serve the state and people I love.  We will continue to move forward always looking for more innovative and better ways to serve the taxpayers of Arkansas, and never settle for ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it.’”  Milligan stated.

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY RESIDENTS INVITED TO TAKE THE BIGGEST LOSER COMMUNITY CHALLENGE      1/22/16

 

Producers of the NBC TV series The Biggest Loser has issued a challenge to communities all across the country to get fit by taking the Biggest Loser Community Challenge.

 

Businesses are being asked to sign up teams of four by January 31st to compete in some unique challenges that will focus on wellness not weight loss, over the course of eight weeks.

 

Little River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fonda Hawthorne announced she and area businesses in Little River County have accepted the challenge.

 

To sign up visit the website, www.biggestlosercommunity.com and sign up. The cost is $100 per team or just $25 per person.

 

 

JANUARY 24-30 IS NATIONAL SCHOOL CHOICE WEEK      1/21/16

 

National School Choice Week is January 24th through January 30th and according to National School Choice Week President Andrew Campanella, many families across the national will select the school they want to educate their children.

 

De Queen School District Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton started school choice gives Arkansas parents the opportunity to select the best learning environment for their children.

 

Campanella said School Choice Week puts a spotlight on effective education options in the area.

 

Shelton said schools are based on test scores here in Arkansas and parents can compare school districts by visiting the Arkansas Department of Education’s website or visit the website greaterschools.org.

 

Shelton said there are some limitations, but parents should look at the De Queen School District’s performance before transferring their child in or out of the district.

 

If your family is looking for a new school or education environment, Shelton recommends parents research area districts and visit the campuses for yourself next week during National School Choice Week.

 

 

 

DIERKS CITY COUNCIL MOVING FORWARD ON SEWER POND PROJECT      1/21/16

 

Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts reported the Dierks City Council is moving forward with the new sewer pond project and he explained Stephens Inc., in Little Rock was finalizing the financing information. Mounts said when construction begins, it should take about three to four months to complete.

 

Mounts reported an engineer with Weyerhaeuser informed him, construction work on the new mill was about three months behind schedule, but area residents should start seeing buildings going up in the next few months.

 

Mounts stated the city park flooded again after the recent rainfall, but he promised the park will be ready for spring baseball and softball programs.

 

The next meeting of the Dierks City Council was set for Monday, February 8th.

 

 

 

ASSOCIATION FOR A GREATER YARBOROUGH MEETING       1/21/16

 

The Association for a Greater Yarborough will hold a home owners meeting Monday, January 25th at 6 p.m. in the Yarborough Community Center.

 

Association member Frank Cooper stated Monday's meeting will be the associations quarterly meeting. He said they will discuss several grants to help make improvements to the Yarborough community, as well as plans to reinstall the fishing pier that was damaged during the recent flooding in Little River County.

 

Little River County, Justice of the Peace Bobby Furlow will also give an update from the Quorum Court concerning roads maintenance in the Yarborough community. 

 

 

 

ACTIVITIES AT THE COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK       1/21/16

 

Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Shelley Flanary reported an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission bear biologist will join park interpreters for an advanced black bear workshop this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Flanary said the black bear workshop is approved for six hours of Professional Development from the Arkansas Department of Education.

 

On Sunday, Flanary will teach a class about how owls are different from other birds in the area from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.

 

On Saturday, January 30th, the Cossatot River State Park will host a morning stroll along the Waterleaf Trail from 10 to 11 a.m. Park Interpreter Tori Carson will then lead in a search for animal tracks from 2 to 3 p.m.

 

Flanary said she will be leading a seminar called beaks, feet and feathers-fantastic flying machines on Sunday, January 31st from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m. in the visitor center's classroom.

 

For more information about the activities at the Cossatot River State Park, visit the website arkansasstateparks.com or call 870-385-2201.

 

UA COSSATOT ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE   01/21/16

UA Cossatot Financial Aid Director Denise Hammond has announced the deadline for scholarships is Friday, April 1, 2016. 

“This is the first year that all of our scholarship applications should be completed online,” said Hammond.  “Students, who are expecting to enroll for the academic year in August 2016, should also complete not only the scholarship application, but also the admission application and Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).”    

The scholarship application can be found at https://cccua.awardspring.com.  Completing the application by the deadline ensures the student can apply for all available scholarships.  

The financial aid department offers three workshops in March called Dollars for Scholars.  Dollars for Scholars is designed to offer free support for students and parents who need help completing the FAFSA.  On Tuesday, March 8, UA Cossatot staff will be on the campus of Nashville High School.  On Thursday, March 10, they will be on the campus of Ashdown High School.  On Tuesday, March 15, the staff will host students and parents on the UA Cossatot De Queen Campus.  All three events are scheduled from 5 pm until 7 pm.  Students and parents are encouraged to bring a completed copy of their 2015 income tax forms. 

“Even if students haven’t firmly committed to a college,” said Hammond.  “I would like to encourage them to complete the scholarship application and take advantage of the Dollar for Scholars events and maximize their every opportunity.”

 

DE QUEEN ALDERMEN APPROVE NEW VFD STARTERS FOR NEW WATER PUMPS       1/20/16

 

Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the De Queen City Council, aldermen approved the purchase of three Variable Frequency Drive starters for the new water pumps in the Stilwell high lift station.

 

Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy stated the VFDs will cost more up front but will last longer and save the city money over time. Water Superintendent Jeff Brown reported the new VFDs and installation will cost approximately $40,000.

 

McKelvy also reported Sevier County Judge Greg Ray issued a decree of annexation for some property east of De Queen that is owned by K&J Rental, LLC. McKelvy said the city council is expected to vote to annex the property during their February 16th meeting.

 

Aldermen also approved four resolutions for contracts of services with the Sevier County Senior Adult Center, the Sevier County Humane Society, the Sevier County Historical Society and the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center.

 

The next regular meeting of the De Queen City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, February 2nd at 6 p.m. in the De Queen City Hall.

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REPRESENTATIVE VAUGHT       1/20/16

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported its estimated that Americans use the highway system to make 90 percent of all trips and close to 70 percent of all our nation's goods are transported by trucks on those same highways.

 

Vaught said making sure the state's infrastructure can support the state's growing needs is a costly endeavor. She said currently, the majority of highway funding in Arkansas is supported by fuel taxes. But, fuel consumption is declining due to more efficient vehicles. She said roadway funding is also provided from severance taxes on natural gas exploration and fees for driver's licenses.

 

Vaught said citizens will likely be hearing more about the state's current shortfall in highway funding over the next several weeks, because Governor Asa Hutchinson has announced he plans to call a special session to address the highway funding needs, as well as healthcare reform issues.

 

Vaught said residents can review the findings of the working group that Hutchinson created last summer. She said the working group on highway funding is composed of members of the House and Senate transportation committees, designees from state agencies and commissions and individuals with knowledge of the transportation and finance industries.

 

In the group's final report, they recommended a variety of options to increase revenue. Vaught said these recommendations included everything from raising fuel taxes to redirecting existing general revenue to highways.

 

According to the working groups report, the state needs $110 million dollars over the next three years to address the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department's most critical needs. The report also states the highway department needs an additional $150 million dollars in six to nine years to address localized traffic congestion and reduce the number of weight restricted bridges and highways.

 

If you are interested in watching the House meetings, visit the website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY SPAY AND NEUTER CLINIC THIS FEBRUARY      1/20/16

 

Jauannelle Gage and Martha Fines announced the Sevier County Humane Society will be holding a spay and neuter clinic February 9th, 10th and 11th.

 

Fines said they are also conducting a membership drive for the local humane society. She said an individual membership is $10 and a family membership is $15.

 

Gage reported she hopes their building will be moved before the February clinic, but the humane society will announce the location of the spay and neuter clinic prior to February 9th.

 

They also announced the humane society is selling chances on a Valentine's Day gift package for $5 each and all of the proceeds will remain in Sevier County to support the local humane society. Gage said there is a voucher for a one-night stay at an Arkansas State Park, roses, chocolates and a stuffed bear.

 

To schedule your pet for the clinic or to purchase a membership or raffle ticket, call 584-9096.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL TO MEET TONIGHT AT 6 P.M.         1/19/16

 

De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy announced the De Queen City Council will be meeting tonight at 6 p.m. in the council room of the De Queen City Hall.

 

According to the agenda, aldermen will consider the passage of four contracts of services with the Sevier County Senior Citizens Center, the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center, the Sevier County Historical Society and the Sevier County Humane Society.

 

McKelvy will also update the council on several water department projects. He said Water Superintendent Jeff Brown will be in attendance to answer any questions aldermen may have concerning the water system.

 

 

 

COSSATOT RIVER EAGLE CHEERLEADER CHEER AT CITRUS BOWL      1/19/16

 

All-American cheerleaders from Cossatot River High School had the opportunity to cheer at the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on January 1st in Orlando, Florida.

 

Kristin Mayo, Brooke Howell, Karlie Tinkes, Caylee Mitchell, Ashley Watts, Alissa Miles, Kaylee Kesterson, Karli Underwood and Sarah Johnson were treated to a trip to Disney World and Universal Studios.

 

The Cossatot River cheerleaders are coached by Janelle Howell.

 

Howell said the trip would not have been possible without the support of the Cossatot River School Board, the Cossatot River Eagles Nest Foundation, their parents and donors.

 

 

 

DIERKS SUPERINTENDENT CONTRACT EXTENDED       1/19/16

 

Monday night during a regular meeting of the Dierks Board of Education, board members voted to re-new and extend Superintendent Holly Cothern's contract through the 2017-2018 school year.

 

Board President Todd Moore informed KDQN that the board voted to extend Cothern's contract based on her outstanding leadership.

 

Board members also heard from four high school students who asked the board to allow them to start a high school fishing team. Superintendent Cothern reported the board approved their request.

 

Elementary Principal Carla Byrne reported the school ranked in the top 25 percent of all elementary schools in the state based on their PRACC scores. Cothern gave credit to the elementary teachers for doing a great job preparing students for the PRACC exam.

 

Byrne also reported Weyerhauser awarded the school a $9,000 grant for the purchase of Chromebooks. Cothern said the school will now have Chromebooks for every third through sixth grade classroom.

 

Cothern also announced there will be a parent’s meeting January 28th concerning the district's new shooting sports team.

 

Board members also voted not to file an application with the state's facilities board concerning the construction of a Fine Arts Building following a recommendation from the district's facility consultant Gene Hawk. According to Cothern, Hawk said the district would be responsible for about $2 million dollars of the project if it was approved.

 

The next board meeting of Dierks Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, February 8th at 6 p.m.

 

 

 

MICROSOFT OFFICE CERTIFICATION BEING OFFERED TO ASHDOWN 9TH GRADERS       1/19/16

 

Ninth grade students in the Computerized Business Classes of Shauna Tipton and Melissa Kilgore now have the opportunity to earn a Microsoft Office Specialist certificate by scoring proficient on a Microsoft exam in Microsoft Word 2013, Excel, Powerpoint and Access.

 

Microsoft Office Specialist certification is the leading IT certification in the world with more than 1 million MOS exams taken every year in over 140 countries. The certification is universal and demonstrates that students have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to productively use Microsoft Office applications. MOS certification enables students to understand the full features and functions of the Microsoft Office system.

 

Tipton said the MOS certification also looks great on scholarship applications and resumes.

 

Arkansas Career and Technical Education in a partnership with the Department of Education offers business programs in Arkansas schools through a resource called IT Academy to help prepare students use Microsoft programs. In addition, the Ashdown School District uses a program called Gmetrix to prepare students for the exam.

 

The Ashdown High School business department has been selected to receive a Site License so they can offer students the test for free.

 

 

 

NEW BABE RUTH LEAGUE IN AREA        1/19/16

 

Randy Farley of Idabel announced the youth baseball and softball leagues in McCurtain County are transitioning from Dixie Youth to Babe Ruth, so they can provide leagues for more young people.

 

Farley said he is the Babe Ruth Commissioner for Southeast Oklahoma and wanted to invite area teams from Southwest Arkansas to participate in the new league. But, he said they were not trying to take teams away from local leagues.

 

Farley said there will be a coaches meeting Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in the Broken Bow Library.

 

For more information, contact Farley at 580-236-9400.

 

 

 

ROLLOVER ACCIDENT RESULTS IN DWI ARREST     1/19/16

 

Sunday, January 17th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Barnes was dispatched to Kornegay Road in reference to a single motor vehicle accident involving a 1997 Honda Accord that had overturned and was partially submerged in water.

 

According to the accident report, 37-year-old David Smith of De Queen was traveling south on Kornegay Road when he left the roadway on the west side of the road and overcorrected, causing the car to cross the centerline. The vehicle left the roadway a second time and struck a culvert causing the vehicle to overturn and land in the ditch on it's top.

 

Horatio First Responders were on the scene when Barnes arrived, trying to get Smith out of the vehicle. After Smith was loaded into the ambulance, first responders informed Barnes that they could smell the odor of alcohol.


Smith was then transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center by Southwest EMS and treated for his injuries.

 

At the hospital, De Queen Police Sergeant Chad Bradshaw asked Smith to take a portable breath test, but he refused. Barnes then attempted to read Smith his DWI rights, but Smith repeatedly interrupted Barnes and would not let him finish.

 

While conducting a background check, Barnes discovered Smith's license had been suspended for driving while intoxicated.

 

Smith was taken to the Sevier County jail and charged with DWI #2, driving on a suspended license for DWI and refusal to submit to chemical test.

 

 

BEN CARSON READING ROOM TO OPEN ON L.F. HENDERSON CAMPUS IN ASHDOWN       1/18/16

 

Through the generosity of Domtar Paper Company, the Carson Scholars Fund has announced that the L.F. Henderson Intermediate School in Ashdown has been selected to receive funding to create a Ben Carson Reading Room. The purpose of a Ben Carson Reading Room is to create a literacy enriched environment for children to develop their reading skills and to promote the importance of everyday leisure reading.

 

The school is expected to host a ribbon cutting ceremony when the reading room opens in May.

 

The Ben Carson Reading Project is an initiative of the Carson Scholars Fund. The fund was founded by retired world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Candy. The reading project is dedicated to promoting reading as a key to unlocking a child's full potential.

 

Dr. Carson credits reading as being a catalyst to his success. He said when he was a child, reading allowed him to discover all of the opportunities that the world has to offer. Carson went on to say, there are endless possibilities for students when they discover the joy of reading and learning. He said if children will challenge themselves by soaking up all the information they can, they will be able to reach their goals and achieve their dreams.

 

L.F. Henderson Principal Keith Fricks said the district was excited and felt fortunate to have been selected to participate in this program. He said he felt the students will benefit from the Ben Carson Reading Room and the school will also promote Carson's idea of "Thinking Big" by encouraging students to reach their full potential.

 

Currently there are 138 Ben Carson Reading Rooms, serving students in 17 states.

 

 

 

COSSATOT RIVER SCHOOL DISTRICT APPLYING FOR FUNDING FOR NEW ELEMENTARY       1/18/16

 

Cossatot River Superintendent Donnie Davis reported the Cossatot River School District Board of Education voted to approve the construction of a new elementary campus during their January board meeting.

 

Davis said the district's facilities consultant Gene Hawk informed the board that there are some hindrances that may keep the district from getting the project approved and funded.

 

Davis announced the 5th grade Science class at the Umpire Elementary was awarded a "Most Improved" award for their scores from last year.

 

Davis also reported the district will be making some renovations on the Umpire campus, cleaning up around the high school and he said the district is going to re-apply for funding for a safe room.

 

Davis also stated the district is going to re-evaluate the way they select valedictorians and salutatorians.

 

Davis also reported the board voted the table the renewal of his contract at his request.

 

The next meeting of the Cossatot River Board of Education is scheduled for Thursday, February 18th at 6 p.m. in the administration building. 

 

 

 

FOREMAN RESIDENTS KILLED ON U.S. 71         1/18/16

 

Police have released the name of a Foreman man that was killed Friday night while attempting to cross North State Line Avenue and U.S. Highway 71 at Sugar Hill Road.

 

52-year-old Jimmy Kent apparently walked into oncoming traffic just after 6 p.m. Friday and was struck by a northbound 2004 GMC Yukon, according to an Arkansas State Police report.

 

According to Texarkana, Arkansas Police spokeswoman Corporal Kristi Bennett reported a nurse was on the scene and tried to resuscitate Kent, but authorities believe he was killed instantly.

 

According to police, Kent parked his car in a lot on the Texas side of North State Line Avenue and was struck as he attempted to cross the five-lane highway on foot.

 

According to Bennett, the driver of the Yukon was not issued a citation because police did not find her to be at fault for the accident.

 

Bennett also said it is important for pedestrians to take responsibility when entering the roadway on foot.

 

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS MAYOR PROVIDES UPDATE ON CITY'S PROGRESS        1/18/16

Courtesy of KMTB 

 

Mineral Springs Mayor Bobby Tullis informed the city council that the city recently paid off a fire truck and all of the water and sewer audits are up to date.

 

Tullis reported the Arkansas Highway Department enlarged access to Sherman Street off Highway 27 and to North Street off Highway 355, by putting in new culverts and widening the road. He also reported state aid road program funds were used to pave almost two miles of city streets in 2015.

 

Tullis said the city paid off its million dollar sewer bond, made improvements to the city park and remodeled city hall, in 2015. He said the city library also moved across the street into the renovated town depot and the police department moved into the former library space.

 

Tullis said he hopes to repair water and sewer lines in 2016, along with cleaning up the lots of two condemned properties.

 

During the regular Mineral Springs City Council meeting, Police Chief Jeff Witherspoon announced Francisco Mercado had been promoted to full-time officer.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT OFFERING FREE US CITIZENSHIP CLASSES       1/18/16

 

The Adult Education Department on the Howard County campus of UA Cossatot will host a free U.S. Citizenship Class for anyone interested in becoming a naturalized citizen.

 

The classes will begin February 1st and will run through February 25th. A class will be offered at noon on Mondays and Wednesdays and evening class will be available from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

 

For more information, call 584-1318 or stop by the Howard County campus of UA Cossatot at 1558 Highway 371 West in Nashville.

 

 

 

FOUR STATE TROOPERS RECOMMENDED FOR PROMOTION TO RANK OF SERGEANT      1/18/16

 

Four Arkansas State Troopers were recommended for promotion during a regular meeting of the Arkansas State Police Commission. The recommendations were presented by Colonel William Bryant who is the Director of the Arkansas State Police.

 

Corporal Robert Wilson of Ashdown was promoted to the rank of sergeant. He will serve as a post supervisor assigned to the department's Highway Patrol Division, Troop G, headquartered in Hope.

 

Wilson is a 12-year veteran of the department.

 

Corporal Brian Williams of North Little Rock, Corporal Darrell Astin of Forrest City, and Corporal Matthew Toon of Greenbrier were also promoted to the rank of sergeant.

 

Williams will serve as a post supervisor assigned to the department's Highway Patrol Division, Troop A in Little Rock. Astin will serve as a post supervisor assigned to the department's Highway Patrol Division, Troop D in Forrest City. And, Toon will serve as a post supervisor assigned to the department's Highway Patrol Division, Troop H, headquarter in Fort Smith.

 

HORATIO SCHOOL BOARD EXTENDS SUPERINTENDENT'S CONTRACT      1/15/16

 

Horatio Superintendent Lee Smith reported the Board of Education voted to renew his contract for two-years and to hire Terry Maye as an additional agri instructor for the 2016-2017 school year during the January meeting of the Horatio Board of Education.

 

Smith stated Shelly Crenshaw presented an overview of the district's dyslexia program and Tammy McAlister reviewed the district's PARCC test scores with the members of the school board.

 

Smith said the district performed at or above the state averages. He said the scores reflected the fact that the PARCC test was a tougher assessment.

 

Smith said members of the FBLA and FCCLA organizations gave reports concerning their community projects. He said the FFA team and officers presented their opening and closing ceremonies.

 

The next meeting of the Horatio Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, February 8th.

 

 

 

AREA STUDENTS INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN DIVERSITY IMPACT 2016       1/15/16

 

The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville is inviting students to attend Diversity Impact 2016 February 25th through February 27th.

 

During Diversity Impact, students will have a chance to explore life at the University, tour the campus, meet current students, speak with faculty and learn more about the scholarship and financial aid opportunities that's available to them.

 

Space is limited, so, students should complete an application by January 27th. Along with the application, students will need to submit an essay on: "What would you consider to be your societal responsibility as an educated person, once you complete your degree?"

 

Applications may be submitted online or printed and mailed to the Office of Admissions.

 

Housing will be provided for students in on-campus residential facilities, however, housing will not be provided for parents or guardians.

 

For more information, contact the University of Arkansas by calling 479-575-5346.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT INFORMATION       1/15/16

 

De Queen Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley informed KDQN that the district will not have school on Monday, January 18th in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but the district is offering tutoring for students who are having difficulties in any class.

 

She stated report cards were mailed out, but if parents do not receive them soon, they should contact their child's school office.

 

Whatley also informed the parents of junior and senior high students that they have research papers and book reports due this semester.


Last year, students in Arkansas took the PARCC assessment test, but this year, they will take the ACT Aspire exam. Whatley said Jill Kramer is the district's testing coordinator and she is doing a great job, staying updated on all of the changes that are taking place in the state.

 

Whatley also mentioned, the De Queen Leopard Booster Club will be selling tacos Saturday night during the finals of the De Queen Junior High basketball tournament from 5 to 8 p.m. She said proceeds will benefit the booster club and help purchase championship rings for the 2015 5A state Soccer champs.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION WILL MEET JANUARY 25TH      1/15/16

 

The Sevier County Election Commission will meet on Monday, January 25th at 10 a.m. in the Sevier County Clerk's office. This meeting is to conduct Logic and Accuracy Testing of equipment for the February 9th Special School Election.

 

Early voting for the De Queen School District Special School Election will begin on Tuesday, February 2nd and run through Monday, February 8th in the county clerk's office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each week day.

 

Anyone wanting to vote absentee in the special school election may contact the county clerk's office at 642-2852 and request an absentee application.

 

The Arkansas Primary Election will be March 1st will also be discussed during the January 25th meeting.

 

The Election Commission will meet again on Tuesday, February 2nd to do Logic and Accuracy testing for the March 1st, 2016 Primary Election. This meeting will be held in the Sevier County Courthouse Conference Room at 10 a.m.

 

Both meetings are open to the public, but for more information contact the County Clerk's office at 642-2852.

 

  

 

OAK GROVE BOAT RAMP OPEN     1/15/16

 

The Army Corps of Engineers announced the Oak Grove boat ramp is open, but everyone is encouraged to use extreme caution and to watch for debris in the water.

 

 

 

AGFC TO HOST LANDOWNER WORKSHOP AT MCCASKILL FEBRUARY 20     1/15/16

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will be sponsoring a landowners workshop in McCaskill on Saturday, February 20th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the McCaskill Community Center.

 

Arkansas Game and Fish biologist and other fire experts will educate landowners on the use of prescribed fires as a habitat management tool. Landowners will be introduced to information regarding the planning and implementation of a prescribed burn, as well as how to be an educated consumer of prescribed fire vendor services.

 

Workshop leaders will explain how to use fire as a tool, pre-burn planning, equipment and safety gear, burn plan writing, weather, ignition techniques, and legal concerns.

 

The class is limited to 35 participants and lunch will be provided. The class is free of charge, but you must register to secure your meal.

 

For more information, contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Southwest Region office in Perrytown, by calling 870-777-5580.

 

 

DE QUEEN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER AND DE QUEEN THERAPY AND LIVING CENTER ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP        1/14/16

 

Administrators from the De Queen Regional Medical Center and the De Queen Therapy and Living Center announced Thursday morning that they have agreed to work together to offer area residents the highest quality of care and therapy.

 

De Queen Regional Medical Center Administrator Jerramy Icenhower announced the hospital will now be working with the nursing home to provide services here on a local level.

 

Stacy Clay is the new administrator of the De Queen Therapy and Living Center. She joined the nursing home staff about three-weeks ago after working as the Director of Nurses at Pleasant Manor Nursing Center in Ashdown for five-years. She said this agreement will ensure patients are receiving the highest quality care at both facilities.

 

Icenhower explained this agreement will also allow both facilities to pool their resources.

 

Icenhower said local doctors and nurse practitioners will be able to provide their patients lab and radiology results within an hour in most cases.

 

If you have any questions, contact the hospital at 584-4111 or the De Queen Therapy and Living Center at 642-3562.

 

 

 

ACTIVITIES AT THE COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK       1/14/16

 

Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Shelley Flanary announced some upcoming events at the park that will help the general public participate in the Great American Bird Count this February, but Flanary said this weekend, she will be teaching a nature journaling workshop on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Visitor Center's classroom.

 

Flanary said the workshop will help participates see the world around them in a different way, by creating a nature journal to remind them of the things they’ve seen in nature. She said everyone will be encouraged to slow down and observe, reflect and embrace their natural surroundings.

 

The cost of the workshop is $25.

 

On Sunday, Flanary will teach a class about frozen critters and how they outwit sly predators from 3:15 to 4 p.m. in the Visitor Center.

 

On Saturday, January 23rd, Park Interpreters will be joined by an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission bear biologist for an advanced black bear workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, Flanary will teach a class about how owls have adapted to their surroundings to become effective predators.

 

Coming up on Sunday, January 31st, Flanary will lead a seminar called beaks, feet and feathers-fantastic flying machines. During the workshop she'll explain how a bird's beak, feet and feathers help them to fly, keep warm and procure food.

 

For more information about the activities at the Cossatot River State Park, visit the website arkansasstateparks.com or call 870-385-2201.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT LPN STUDENTS HOLDING RAFFLE TO RAISE FUNDS FOR NCLEX EXAMS       1/14/16

 

UA Cossatot students in the LPN class announced Thursday morning that they are selling raffle tickets to raise funds for their NCLEX exams this summer.

 

Sarah Vanhoose and Kendra Stevens said tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20 and there will be several winners.

 

The Razorback basketball tickets are for the March 5th game against South Carolina and the baseball tickets are for the March 26th game against the Auburn Tigers.

 

Tickets are being sold by all of the LPN students and if you would like to purchase some, Vanhoose and Stevens said you can contact the UA Cossatot, Medical Education Department at 584-4471.

 

The drawing will be held at the end of February.

 

 

DE QUEEN PD SEEKING THE PUBLICS ASSISTANCE IN LOCATING SUSPECT     1/13/16

 

Investigators with the De Queen Police Department are seeking the public's assistance in identifying the suspect who authorities say robbed the Plaza 66 gas station in De Queen, last week.

 

According to information released, by the De Queen Police Department, the man approached the store's cashier around 6 a.m. on January 7th and stole an undisclosed amount of the store's money. The cashier told investigators she was robbed while loading her vehicle with money bags to be dropped off at the bank's night box.

 

No weapon was used in the robbery and the robbery occurred outside the gas station where no surveillance cameras were present, according to investigators. The suspect has been identified as medium height and build. He was believed to be wearing a pullover hoodie and dark-colored jogging pants.

 

After stealing the money, the suspect fled on foot behind Burger King and Tiger Mart.

 

Anyone with information is advised to contact the De Queen Police Department at 870-642-2213.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN SCHOOL BOARD SETS DATE FOR PUBLIC MEETING      1/13/16

 

Tuesday night at the conclusion of the regular meeting of the De Queen Board of Education, board members scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, January 27th at 5 p.m. in the De Queen High School cafeteria.

 

Board members also renewed the contracts of Superintendent Bruce Hill and Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton. Hill stated he appreciated the confidence the board showed in their leadership. He also stated he felt Shelton is doing a great job handling the district's federal funding.

 

Hill informed the board, the district's finances are better this year, than they were last year and the district is headed in the right direction.

 

Board members also passed a general disclosure statement to allowing the district to conduct business with the brother of Coach Brian Van Winkle. Hill stated all purchases will still be approved by the athletic director Bob Sikes.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson and the State Board of Education proclaimed January as School Board Appreciation month and the district presented Randy Hedge, Sandy Huntsberger, Skip Bell, Kenny Martin and Gloria Caldwell certificates of appreciation.

 

The next regular meeting of the De Queen Board of Education will be held on Wednesday, February 10th at 5:30 p.m. in the administration building.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN SOCCER COACH NAMED STATE COACH OF THE YEAR       1/13/16

 

De Queen High School Soccer Coach Stephen Sloan was named the 2015 Coach of the Year at the state level b the National Federation of State High School Coaches Association.

 

Sloan's award announcement stated the award was based on Coach Sloan's contributions on behalf of high school athletics and he said this award meant a great deal to him, because he received it as a result from the success of the school’s soccer team.

 

De Queen High School has fielded a soccer team for the past nine years and Coach Sloan has been the only coach and he gives the players all the credit for the six state championships, but he accepts responsibility for all the losses.

 

Sloan also seemed especially proud of the fact that more and more of his players are going to college and some of them are even playing soccer on the collegiate level.

 

When asked about this upcoming season, Sloan said the Leopards will be young, but they will be ready.

 

The National Federation of State High School Associations has led in the development of education-based interscholastic sports and activities that help students succeed in their lives, since 1920.

 

 

 

AREA STUDENTS NAMED HENDERSON STATE UNIVERSITY DEANS LIST                1/13/16

 

Dean Undergraduate:

Ashdown:

Dakota Davis

 

De Queen:

Javier Gonzalez

 

Foreman:

Jessica Stephens

 

Mineral Springs:

Elizabeth Bowman

 

Newhope:

Anna Davis  

 

Honor Graduate:

Ashdown:

Glennon Bobo

 

Mineral Springs:

Philip Worthen

 

Honor Undergraduate:

Ashdown:

Alan Burns

Mardi Burns

Samantha Deloney

Madison Newton

Rachel Pounds

 

Cove:

Charles Raines

 

De Queen:

Paige Henry

Jasmine Spear

Fernando Balderas

 

Dierks:

Lucero Chavez

 

Foreman:

Erica Burrow

Shae Rogers

 

Lockesburg:

Marshall Fry

K'leeh Thompson

 

Umpire:

Mikayla Feemster

 

Wickes:

Monica Gonzalez

 

Dean Graduate:

De Queen:

Chelsea Stewart

 

Dierks:

Jesse Edge

Alvarene Welch

 

NEEDED TO CHARGE MY CELL PHONE       1/13/16

 

Monday evening, Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to a suspected shoplifter who ran West from the store on foot into a wooded area with a young child.

 

Baker was assisted by Sergeant Chad Bradshaw and Arkansas Game and Fish Wildlife Officer Bernie Soliz in walking a fence line and wooded area.

 

A short time later, Baker located a white female along with a one-year-old toddler lying down next to the East most fence of Bailey Discount Building Supply's lumber yard.

 

The suspect was identified as 22-year-old Ashley Strong of Horatio and she reportedly told the officers she took a portable cell phone powerbank from Wal-Mart, but threw it away. Sergeant Bradshaw later located a portable powerbank about 10-feet from where Strong was hiding.

 

The toddler was released into the custody of Strong's mother and she was charged with shoplifting less than a thousand dollars.

 

DE QUEEN AIR EVAC PERSONNEL CELEBRATE MILESTONES  01/13/16

Four members of the De Queen, Ark., Air Evac Lifeteam crew recently celebrated milestones in their careers. Pilot and Base Safety Office David Beaumont and flight nurse Sara Branch recently received their 100th flight wings, while Base Pilot Supervisor Michael Hambrecht and flight nurse Amanda Pannell received their 250th flight wings. The wings represent the number of patient flights each crew member has completed.

Senior Program Director Michael Perrin said he could not be more proud of the four employees.

“These people, along with all of our crew members, work day in and day out to provide access to a higher level of emergency healthcare,” he said. “It’s not an easy job, and I am proud of them for the many ways they positively impact the lives of others.”

About Air Evac Lifeteam

Air Evac Lifeteam, headquartered in O’Fallon, Mo., is the largest independently owned and operated air medical service provider in the United States, with 125 air medical bases across 15 states. Air Evac is the preeminent provider of helicopter emergency medical services to communities in need of rapid medical transport to advanced emergency healthcare.

Flight crews, consisting of a pilot, flight nurse and flight paramedic, are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to the scene of an emergency, or provide transportation between medical facilities. For more information, please visit www.lifeteam.net, or like us on Facebook.

De Queen, Ark., Senior Program Director Michael Perrin recently presented new flight wings to four members of the Air Evac Base.

Flight Nurse Amanda Pannell receives 250 flight wings.

Base Safety Officer David Beaumont receives 100 flight wings.

     Base Pilot Supervisor Michael Hambrecht receives 250 flight wings.

Flight Nurse Sara Branch receives 100 flight wings.

 

DOWNTOWN DE QUEEN WITHOUT POWER TUESDAY MORNING     1/12/16

 

Tuesday morning, almost 700 AEP/SWEPCO customers found themselves without power, including those in the downtown area of De Queen, around 9:47 a.m.

 

According to SWEPCO Media Relations Spokesperson, Peter Mayne, all of the customers were on one circuit out of the De Queen sub-station and crews were able to restore power by 11 a.m.

 

Mayne said crews inspected the line and are hoping to make any necessary repairs by this afternoon.

 

 

 

ROLLOVER MVA      1/12/16

 

Friday, January 8th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Barnes was dispatched to Red Bridge Road in reference to a rollover motor vehicle accident.

 

When Barnes arrived, he discovered a 2008 Toyota Yar overturned in the ditch. The driver, 18-year-old Josie Richard of Horatio, stated she had left her bracelet at work and was turning around to go back and get it, when she got into some gravel. She said the car then left the roadway and overturned in the ditch.

 

Richard didn't report any serious injures.

 

 

SENATE HOPEFUL VISITS DE QUEEN       1/12/16

 

Former county prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge hosted a meet-and-greet campaign stop in De Queen on Monday afternoon.

 

Eldridge visited with members of the Sevier County Democratic Party and answered questions like, why is he running for the U.S. Senate.

 

Eldridge told KDQN that he is running to give Arkansas an independent voice in Washington and he will work to create jobs, push for higher wages and defend Social Security and Medicare.

 

Eldridge also stated he will use his experience as a prosecutor and U.S. Attorney to help keep Arkansas and the nation safe.

 

Eldridge said the job description for the office of U.S. Senate is the Constitution and he will be a strong and new voice in Washington to defend the rights of all Americans under that Constitution.

 

To learn more about Eldridge, visit his website at www.connerforarkansas.com.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY JUDGE PROVIDES UPDATE ON DISASTER DECLARATION      1/12/16

 

Following the Sevier County Quorum Court meeting Monday after, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray provided an update on the disaster declaration in Sevier County. Ray informed KDQN that FEMA is scheduled to have a representative in Southwest Arkansas on Wednesday, January 20th.

 

During the Quorum Court meeting, Justices of the Peace officially appointed Norman Cox to the Sevier County Airport Board. Ray said the board is planning to make some improvements to the airports taxiway this summer.

 

Justice of the Peace David Wright was appointed to represent the Sevier County Quorum Court at the 2016 Quorum Court Association meeting.

 

John Hickel also addressed the quorum court concerning his opposition to the De Queen School District's proposed millage increase.

 

In a written handout, Hickel stated the new 8 mills would generate almost $18 million dollars. The handout says the cost of a new high school has been estimated at $12 million dollars and the district would tear down the old high school; spend $600,000 to repair the Middle School roof; provide $1 million dollars for the construction of a new P.E. facility for the Primary school; $1 million dollars for the construction of four more classrooms for both the Primary and Elementary; $1 million dollars for a multi-purpose athletic building; $500,000 for new bleachers at the football field; $500,000 for a school farm; $100,000 for air conditioning at the gym and $1 million dollars for artificial turf on the football field.

 

Hickel also noted in his handout that according to the Arkansas Department of Education, the reason the district's 2015-2017 Project Funding Cycle request was disapproved by the state was an incomplete application.

 

Hinkel stated he had no objection to improving the school system, however, he said he could support a smaller increase if it dealt with actual needs of the district.

 

 

 

SPRING SEMESTER ABOUT TO START AT UA COSSATOT      1/12/16

 

Erika Buenrrostro and Kelly Reynolds of UA Cossatot announced classes will start on Tuesday, January 19th on all three Cossatot campuses.

 

Buenrrostro explained the application process. She said potential students don't need ACT or other test scores to enroll at Cossatot.

 

Buenrrostro also mentioned Cossatot's new book program. She said most classes at Cossatot do not require a textbook, but if a textbook is required, students may rent them from the college.

 

Reynolds said new student orientation is this Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon, on all three campuses.

 

For more information about UA Cossatot, call 1-800-844-4471 or visit the website www.cccua.edu.  

 

 

 

NEEDING A NAP        1/12/16

 

Saturday, January 9th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon was patrolling on Highway 70 when he noticed a GMC pickup setting on the shoulder of the road with the engine running and the headlights on.

 

When Davignon approached the vehicle he discovered 27-year-old Benjamin Mooneyham of De Queen slumped over the console, asleep.

After being unable to wake Mooneyham up, Davignon turned off the engine.

 

When Mooneyham finally woke up, Davignon said he was confused about where he was and when Davignon asked Mooneyham how much he'd had to drink. Mooneyham allegedly said he knew he had to much to drink because he didn’t remember pulling off the road and falling asleep.

 

The results of Mooneyham’s portable breath test were .14 and he was arrested for driving while intoxicated.

 

 

BOIL WATER NOTICE LIFTED FOR THE HORATIO WATER WORKS SYSTEM       1/11/16

 

The Department of Health has released the boil water notice that was confirmed on December 28th, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. for the entire Horatio Waterworks System.

 

The order was issued as a precautionary measure because of the possibility that contaminated water may have entered the distribution system as a result of the loss of the system’s high service pumps.

 

Water samples that were taken on Thursday, January 7th were found to be safe and a satisfactory disinfectant level has been established throughout the distribution system. The water is therefore considered safe for human consumption and the boil water notice is hereby lifted.

 

This boil water order was due to the loss of the system's high service pumps.

 

 

 

ALL BOXED UP       1/11/16

 

On Sunday, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Hankins was dispatched to a residence on Simms Road in reference to a female subject attempting to commit suicide. However, before he arrived, he was informed the suspect had left the scene in a white 4-door car and she was in possession of a firearm.

 

Reserve Deputy Troy Cravens reported he met the described vehicle traveling south on North 9th Street at a high rate of speed. Deputy Hankins then observed the vehicle turn onto Fort Towson and he was able to stop the vehicle on 7th Street.

 

Deputy Hankins and De Queen Police Department Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker were then able to take the suspect, 25-year-old Jessica Hall of De Queen, into custody without any further incident.

 

Officer Baker reported he noticed a rifle sitting next to the center console, but the rifle was not loaded.

 

De Queen Police Officer Levi Browning reported he found a multi-colored glass smoking device along with a white container that contained suspected marijuana in the console.

 

After speaking with Hall, Officer Browning found a shoe box in the back seat that contained several pill bottles. They also discovered a Pelican Storm box that contained a black box that Hall referred to as a "weed box."

 

The weed box contained another smoking device and dryer sheets along with a wooden box that had a hidden compartment in it. Inside the hidden compartment there was another smoking device that looked like a cigarette, a glass jar with suspected marijuana residue in it and a tin bowl.

 

The tin bowl contained a metal smoking device, suspected marijuana, a razor blade, a lighter, rolling papers and a pair of scissors.

 

Hall was charged with possession of a controlled substance - hydrocodone, possession of a controlled substance - marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY SOLID WASTE TRANSFER STATION NOW OPEN ON SATURDAYS      1/11/16

 

Little River County Judge Mike Cranford announced the county transfer station is now open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon as of January 9th. Cranford said the transfer station was closed for over 18 months due to significant budget constraints.

 

The Little River County transfer station is located at the intersection of Little River Highway 11 and Arkansas Highway 108. The stations hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

 

The transfer station was closed on Saturdays in 2014 to offset shortfalls in the solid waste budget.

 

Cranford stated he had been planning to re-open the facility on Saturdays as soon as the county's financial situation improved. He said through the implementation of a variety measures by the Little River Quorum Court and the frugality of the department heads, the county is starting to see a little light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Cranford also stated that he appreciated the patience and understanding of the county residents during the Saturday closure.

 

For more information, contact the Little River County Judges office at 870-898-7202.

 

 

 

COTHERN REPORTS NEW ABSENTEE POLICY IS WORKING AT DIERKS HIGH SCHOOL        1/11/16

 

Dierks Superintendent Holly Cothen reported the Dierks Board of Education approved the district's financial statement during their December board meeting. She said the district's finances are improving and the board approved a bid for the construction of a new softball hitting facility in the amount of $11,172.

 

Cothern stated the elementary music teacher received a $1,000 grant from EZ-Mart and several senior high students qualified for the state STAR events and attendance at the high school has improved this year.

 

Cothern said the January board of education meeting will be Monday, January 18th at 6 p.m. in the high school library.

 

 

 

DIDN'T I ARREST YOU LAST YEAR?      1/11/16

 

Sunday morning, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department witnessed a suspect driving a silver Chevy Camaro whom he arrested last year on a failure to appear warrant, which suspended his license.

 

Browning pulled the vehicle over in the Tractor Supply parking lot and spoke with the driver, 18-year-old Gustavo Luna of Horatio.

 

When Officer Browning asked Luna why he hadn't obtained his driver's license, Luna stated he was working on it. While the two were speaking, Officer Browning noticed the smell of burnt marijuana. When Browning asked Luna about the smell, he reportedly stated he had a few roaches in the car. He also admitted he had a set of digital scales in the glove box.

 

Luna was then cited for driving without a driver's license and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

 

200,000 DEER HARVESTED IN 2015     1/11/16

 

For the fourth straight season, Arkansas hunters harvested more than 200,000 deer. With seven weeks of archery hunting remaining, hunters have taken 208,951 deer. The record harvest was set during the 2012-2013 season with 213,487 deer being logged.

 

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission deer program coordinator, Cory Gray said Arkansas hunters usually harvest around 3,500 deer statewide during January and February.

 

Gray pointed out that the consistent harvest numbers over the past several years indicate a solid deer population and season structure.

 

Gray reported the season started well, with about 3,000 deer being harvested ahead of the record pace until Thanksgiving, but heavy rains kept many hunters out of the woods during the Thanksgiving weekend, which hurt the harvest pace.

 

Gray said about 3,000 deer are checked daily during the Christmas hunt, but thunderstorms, rain and tornadoes prevented a large harvest those days.

 

Arkansas' archery season will run through February 29th statewide on private land and on most wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges.

 

 

 

CONGRESSMAN WESTERMAN SAYS UNFAIR TRADING CONDITIONS HURT A LOCAL INDUSTRY      1/11/16

 

U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman testified recently before the International Trade Commission on the topic of unfair trade practices and his testimony focused mainly on the impact that unfair trading practices have on the Domtar Paper Company, which owns and operates an integrated pulp and paper mill in Ashdown.

 

In December 2014, Domtar announced its "Number 64" machine at the Ashdown facility would be permanently converted from manufacturing paper to manufacturing "fluff pulp," which is a material used as the absorbent material in baby diapers and other similar products. According to Domtar, the conversion cost the region 100 high-paying manufacturing jobs.

 

Westerman said the 4th Congressional District has lost paper production at several sites over the recent past. He said by allowing foreign producers to have unrestricted access to the open market of the United States, some of these producers are knowingly defrauding the U.S. by dumping undervalued products.

 

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT: REFUND ANTICIPATION LOANS COULD BE COSTLY        1/11/16

 

As tax season begins, Arkansans will see offers for tax refund anticipation loans or checks. These offers of immediate cash are often attractive to consumers who are experiencing a difficult financial situation, but these products could ultimately reduce the total amount of the consumer's refund and may even cost them extra money.

 

Refund anticipation loans and refund anticipation checks are high-interest loans that must be repaid by the actual tax return proceeds, so, essentially consumers are borrowing their own money. And, if the actual tax refund amount is less than estimated, the tax payer is on the hook for the difference.

 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a consumer alert to warn Arkansans about these products.

 

Rutledge said consumers should consider the free or low-cost options such as the online IRS Free File program or the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. She said electronically filed returns can be deposited in a tax payers bank account in as few as eight days and the IRS can provide refunds checks or prepaid debit cards. But if you plan to apply for a refund anticipation loan, you should get a written list of fees before entering into any agreement or have your taxes prepared.

 

Many Arkansans can obtain free tax preparation services. The IRS provides a Free File program online that is a federal tax preparation and electronic filing program for approximately 70 percent of taxpayers who earn less than $62,000 in annual adjusted gross income.

 

Some Arkansans may be eligible to receive free help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. And, seniors can contact AARP to learn more about the tax preparation services they provide.

 

For more information visit the website ArkansasAG.gov or call 1-800-482-8982. 

 

 

 

GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON PROCLAIMS JANUARY AS ADULT LITERACY MONTH     1/11/16

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson proclaimed January as Adult Literacy Month for Arkansas to help bring awareness to the often overlooked or hidden crises in the state.

 

Low literacy skills in adults are a major contributor to poverty, and it is the number one factor in determining childhood literacy rates. According to one government website 45 percent of adults read at or below basic levels and most do not have the reading skills that are necessary to succeed in the workplace; address their health care needs; read to their children; help with homework; talk to their teachers or read schedules, labels or billboards.

 

Children in families with incomes below the poverty line are less likely to be read to aloud everyday than are children in families with incomes at or above the poverty line.

 

The benefits of Adult Literacy affect this generation as well as the generations to follow. The relationship between parent involvement with the school and reading comprehension levels of 4th grade classrooms is proven. Adults who can read proficiently are more likely to lift themselves out of poverty, breaking the cycle for themselves and their children.

 

 

SENATE HOPEFUL CONNER ELDRIDGE TO VISIT DE QUEEN NEXT WEEK      1/8/16

 

Former county prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge, who is running for the U.S. Senate, will host a public meet-and-greet at Papa Pablano's in De Queen on Monday, January 11th at noon.

 

According to Eldridge's campaign staff, he was born in Fayetteville, but grew up in Augusta and Lonoke. After attending law school, Eldridge moved to Arkadelphia where he worked as a community banker and served as a special deputy prosecutor for Clark County. Eldridge moved to Fort Smith following his unanimous confirmation by the U.S. Senate in 2010 to become a U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.

 

Eldridge announced in September 2015 that he was challenging Republican Senator John Boozman.

 

 

 

467 DIAMONDS FOUND IN 2015 AT THE CRATER OF DIAMOND STATE PARK       1/8/16

 

Crater of Diamond State Park Interpreter Waymon Cox announced 467 diamonds were registered at the park in 2015, totaling 98.81 carats. Arkansans found 220 diamonds, while visitors from 33 other states, the District of Columbia and two foreign countries found 247.

 

287 of the diamonds were white, 84 were brown, and 96 were yellow. About 15 percent of the diamonds were found on the surface of the search area, including all four of the year's largest finds.

 

The largest diamond was an 8.52-carat white stone found on June 24 by a visitor from Colorado. It was also the largest diamond ever found at the park.

 

 

 

ACTIVITIES AT THE COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK       1/8/16

 

Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Shelley Flanary announced some upcoming events at the park as they prepare for the Great American Bird Count in February.

 

Flanary said she will be leading a workshop about raptors on Saturday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the visitor center and then, she will lead a hike along the Harris Creek Trail on Sunday at 3:15 in search of eagles.

 

Sunday, January 24th, Flanary will teach a class about what makes owls such effective predators and on Sunday, January 31st, Flanary will lead a seminar about beaks, feet and feathers.

 

For more information about the activities at the Cossatot River State Park, visit the website arkansasstateparks.com or call 870-385-2201.

 

 

 

DAISY STATE PARK HOLDING CAST IRON COOKWARE WORKSHOP THIS WEEKEND      1/8/16

 

Daisy State Park in Kirby will be hosting two cast iron cookware workshops this weekend from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

 

Cast iron cookware has been used throughout history for outdoor cooking and it's a great way to bring family and friends together around a campfire. Park staff will lead the hands-on class and participates will learn everything you will need to know about seasoning, cleaning and cooking with cast iron.

 

All of the cookware, ingredients and utensils will be provided by the park, but cast iron cookware and accessories will be on sale at the park.

 

Admission to the cast iron cookware workshop is $15.

 

Daisy State Park staff will also be leading a seminar about Arkansas snakes from 2 to 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday in the interpretive center.

 

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

 

 

 

ATTENTION, EARLY CHILDHOOD PROFESSIONALS      1/8/16

 

If you are an early childhood professional, and want to learn more about caring for young children, you may be interested in the Best Care program that will be presented by the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, in partnership with the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Association on Saturday, January 30th and Saturday, February 27th at 9 a.m. both days.

 

These classes are being offered free of charge for early childhood professionals through the Traveling Arkansas' Professional Pathways and supports the Better Beginnings Program.

 

The Sevier County Cooperative Extension Service is offering these classes to early childhood professionals and others who are interested in learning more about young children. Classes will be held at the Howard County Extension Homemaker's Building in Nashville.

 

The program is called the Best Care and is 10 hours of lessons which will be offered in a classroom setting on topics like: kids and money; money savvy nutrition; feeding practices for infants; and other topics.

 

Interested individuals need to pre-register by January 25th by contacting the Sevier County Extension Service at 584-3013.

 

 

 

NOW IS THE TIME TO JOIN THE SEVIER COUNTY CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION      1/8/16

 

Newly elected Sevier County Cattlemen's Association president, Greg Wright, reported Thursday morning that area residents don't have to own cattle to be a part of the Cattlemen’s Association.

 

Wright said association members help support the beef industry while enjoying a meal and program on the second Monday of every month in the Adams building on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.

 

For more information or to join the Sevier County Cattlemen's Association, contact Wright at 584-9479.

 

 

LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN SPECIAL SCHOOL ELECTION IS MONDAY       1/7/16

 

Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akin announced Thursday morning that persons must be registered by Monday, January 11th, in order to vote in the special school election on February 9th, however, they can transfer their voter registration from another county until Friday, February 5th.

 

Early voting will begin on Tuesday, February 2nd and run through Monday, February 8th in the county clerk's office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each week day.

 

Anyone wanting to vote absentee may call the county clerk's office at 642-2852 to request an absentee application.

 

For more information about voter registration deadlines, contact Akin at 642-2852.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS GAME AND FISH COMMISSION MAKES CHANGES TO HUNTER AND BOATER EDUCATION PROGRAMS       1/7/16

 

Linda Goodner of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is the Southwest Arkansas Regional Education Coordinator for 10 counties including Sevier, Little River, Howard and Pike and she reported the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has changed the way it will advertise and report information about the state's hunter and boater education classes.

 

Goodner said if anyone would like to take a hunter or boater education class, they should visit the website www.agfc.com.

 

Goodner also promotes several other programs and if any 4-H, Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop needs a program, the group leader may contact her at 501-912-4355.

 

 

 

BOIL WATER NOTICE LIFTED FOR LITTLE RIVER RDA       1/7/16

 

The Department of Health has released the boil water notice that was confirmed on December 22nd, 2015 at 2 p.m. by Eddie Smith for the entire Little River RDA water system.

 

The order was issued as a precautionary measure because of the possibility that contaminated water may have entered the distribution system as a result of repairs to the water treatment plant.

 

Water samples that were taken on Wednesday, January 6th were found to be safe and a satisfactory disinfectant level has been established throughout the distribution system. The water is therefore considered safe for human consumption and the boil water notice is hereby lifted.

 

This boil water order was due to repairs at the Little River RDA water treatment plant.

 

 

 

DOES IT HELP THAT I'M REALLY SORRY       1/7/16

 

New Year's Day around 9 a.m., Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department witnessed a vehicle fail to stop at a stop sign and turn west onto Stilwell Avenue without using a turn signal.

 

The driver informed Officer Baker that she did not have a driver's license on her and she could not locate a valid insurance card. She also told Baker that her name was Yesenia Torralba and dispatch informed him that she had an active warrant for failure to appear.

 

At the Sevier County jail, she informed Officer Baker that her real name was Miriam Martinez and that she was sorry for giving him a false name. She also had a Tyson Food ID with her picture on it along with a pay stub with the name Veronica Naranjo on it.

 

Martinez was cited for failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to provide proof of insurance, for not having a driver's license and for obstruction of governmental operations.

 

 

 

FORMER LOCKESBURG RESIDENT SERVES AS WRITER FOR NBC TELEVISION SHOW         1/7/16

 

Christy Lowery is the daughter of De Queen Middle School Math teacher Robbie Sanders and he informed KDQN that Lowery is an assistant writer for the new NBC television series, Shades of Blue.

 

Sanders said Lowery attended Arkansas Tech to study Math, but started writing and when a series that she was working on was purchased by a production company, she was hooked. Then four years ago, Lowery and her husband moved to California.

 

Sanders said his daughter has worked her way up to assistant writer, and she has several future writing opportunities.

 

Shades of Blue will premier tonight on NBC at 9 p.m.

 

 

 

HERE, YOU LOOK FOR IT        1/6/16

 

About 9 p.m. New Year's Day, Patrolman Nicole Nealy pulled over a white Pontiac that she witnessed make a left turn without using a turn signal.

 

When Nealy asked the driver for his driver's license and proof of insurance, he handed her his license and then he handed Nealy his wallet. The driver was identified as 55-year-old Michael Brown and he continued to hand Officer Nealy several different cards but he never provided her with an insurance card.

 

After writing Brown a warning, Nealy asked him if he had been drinking. Brown allegedly said he had been at work and had not been drinking. The results of Brown's portable breath test were .124.

 

Brown was then taken into custody on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

 

 

CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR DECEMBER 2015    01/06/16

 

The Chalice Cupboard assisted 45 families in Sevier County in December, including 80 adults and 68 children, totaling 148 people.  They received food distributions totaling 1,133 pounds.

 

1,640 pounds of food was added to the pantry.  This included 849 pounds of purchased food plus donations of 791 pounds.  St. Barbara Catholic Church gave 94 pounds.  Anonymous individuals gave 58 pounds.  organizations contributed 639 pounds.  These included the De Queen high School Student Council, UA Cossatot and Stephen's Olde Tyme Mill.

 

The Bank Balance on December 1, 2015 was $6,441.64.  Deposits for the month totaled $513.00.  During December $657.17 was spent for food to replenish the pantry supply.  The bank balance on December 31, 2015 was $6,297.47.

 

Individuals living in Sevier County who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 North 5th Street in De Queen on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. until 3:15 p.m.  Good is given to those requesting assistance once each three month period of the year:  January-February-March, April-May-June, July-August-September, and October-November-December.

 

Suggested non-perishable items for those making a donation are cereal and canned soup.  Any money donated will be used for the purchase of food.

 

Grant Grove

 

 

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES SALARIES FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS       1/6/16

 

Aldermen of the De Queen City Council met Tuesday night and spent some time discussing starting salaries for elected officials.

 

A couple of aldermen had asked to put the topic on the council's agenda. They stated that they didn't feel a newly elected mayor or city clerk should come into office making what current Mayor, Billy Ray McKelvy or City Clerk Donna Jones makes after serving the city for the past several years.

 

McKelvy informed aldermen that according to state law, the salary of elected officials could not be reduced while someone is holding the office, but any future mayor or city clerk would have the same responsibilities that he and Jones has from day one.

 

No action was taken, but it was pointed out that the two new aldermen, who were elected to the council during the last election, make the same amount as aldermen who have been serving for the past several years.

 

McKelvy also reported divers will be in De Queen this week to inspect and clean three of the city's water tanks and he asked the council to approve some funds to allow the city to have any minor repairs made that are revealed by the inspection.

 

McKelvy informed aldermen that the Arkansas National Guard is closing three armories in the near future and he asked them what they wanted the city to do if the National Guard announces they are closing the De Queen armory.

 

McKelvy also reported Pilgrim's Pride purchased 141 acres from Weyerhaeuser about eight miles north of Nashville and Pilgrim's Pride is planning to build a new feed mill.

 

According to Pilgrim's Pride, the new mill will serve approximately 275 contract growers within the Nashville/De Queen complex.

 

Aldermen also passed a resolution setting their monthly meetings on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. in the city council room.

 

 

 

ADEQ MEETING SET AT NASHVILLE ON PROPOSED LANDFILL EXPANSION       1/6/16

 

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will hold an informal public meeting at Nashville on Thursday, January 21st to discuss the proposed expansion of the Upper Southwest Regional Solid Waste Management District Landfill in Howard County. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Green Room at the Nashville City Park.

 

The District is proposing a lateral expansion of its existing Class 1 landfill totaling approximately 43.5 acres, which will increase both the size and capacity for the facility. The landfill is located about 10 miles north of Nashville on Landfill Road, off state Highway 369. ADEQ has determined the District's pre-application for expansion is administratively complete, which allows the pre-application process to go forward.

 

The facility currently is permitted to accept non-hazardous household, commercial, and industrial waste as defined by Regulation 22 of the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission.

 

The purpose of the meeting is to provide interested persons with the opportunity to meet with ADEQ staff and informally discuss the agency's solid waste permitting process, as well as the proposed expansion of the landfill. Since the meeting is not a formal event, no prepared statements are necessary, and the proceedings will not be recorded. After the pre-application process, if the district develops and submits a full application, additional public notices and formal comment periods will be provided before a final permit decision is made.

 

For more information, contact ADEQ at 501-682-0606.

 

 

 

CELEBRATING THE NEW YEAR      1/6/16

 

About 4:30 in the morning New Year's Day, Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department conducted a traffic stop after witnessing a vehicle turn onto Ninth Street without using a turn signal.

 

Sawyer reported he smelt alcohol coming from the vehicle while he was speaking with the driver, 24-year-old Brittany Godsby of De Queen. When Officer Sawyer asked Godsby when was the last time she had something to drink, she said about two hours earlier. The results of Godsby’s portable breath test were .065.

 

After taking a series of field sobriety test, Godsby was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

 

 

 

CHARGES DISMISSED AFTER EVIDENCE IS MISPLACED        1/6/16

 

Charges against 35-year-old Jonathan Roberts of Texarkana were dismissed this week because the evidence had been missing, but was later found in the Little River County Sheriff's evidence room. Ninth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Charles Yeargan dismissed the charges in the Little River County Circuit Court in Ashdown in accordance with a plea agreement between the defendant and the prosecuting attorney's office.

 

Court-appointed attorney Mickey Buchanan filed the motion to dismiss the charges after he was informed that there were no lab results because the drugs had not been sent to the crime lab. He was later informed the drugs were lost and there was no log showing the chain of evidence.

 

After being told about the incident, Ninth Judicial District Prosecutor Bryan Chesshir asked the Arkansas State Police to look into the incident.

 

According to the original incident report, Roberts was arrested July 27th during a traffic stop on Highway 71 near the Domtar paper mill.

 

According to the report, Roberts was driving on a suspended license and was a convicted felon. During a search of the vehicle, officers found a loaded 9 mm pistol and two syringes, a set of digital scales, and about 1.5 grams of suspected methamphetamine.

 

Although the charges of possession of a controlled substance were dropped, Roberts was sentenced to 10 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a firearm by a certain person.

 

 

 

WAR ROOM     1/6/16

 

First Baptist Church of Lockesburg will be screening the movie War Room this Sunday at 5:30 p.m.

 

According to Linda Quinn, War Room was created by Alex and Stephen Kendrick who also wrote the Christian films, Courageous and Fireproof.

 

The movie's website says War Room is a compelling faith drama that explores the power; prayer can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships and every other part of life.

 

The film opened nationwide in theaters on August 28th, but area residents can enjoy War Room for free this Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Lockesburg.

 

 

CONSUMER OF THE YEAR  01/06/15

A De Queen woman was recognized with the Consumer of the Year award by Department of Human Services at the De Queen Lions Club meeting on Tuesday noon at Fat Chance’s Restaurant.

Mary Hicks of De Queen was presented with the crystal award by Sherrie Walston-Friday, who represented the Division of Services for the Blind for DHS. Walston-Friday said the agency assisted Hicks by arranging for cataract surgery which allowed her to continue working as hairdresser.

Walston-Friday said each district in the DHS Division of Services for the Blind, selects a consumer of the year. A state-wide consumer of the year is chosen from among the district representatives.

Walston-Friday said Hicks was a good representative of the goals of the office, which is to enable people to return to employment and self-sufficiency.

Hicks was accompanied to the meeting by her husband, Chuck and her daughter, Cara Hicks.

Bethany Howell, president of the Little Rock Founders Lions Club, was on hand for the presentation.

Photo caption

CONSUMER OF THE YEAR -- Sherrie Walston-Friday of the Department of Human Services, left, presented Mary Hicks, Center with the Consumer of the Year award for the Division of Services for the Blind.  Pictured at right is De Queen Lions President Shelia Wilson.

 

 

ASHDOWN JR. HIGH  01/06/15

Ashdown Junior High Teacher, Virginia Spain's Career/Development Classes were given a hands-on experiential simulation that gave the young people the opportunity to experience their future in a financial decision-making mode.  The students were encouraged to make wise financial lifestyle choices similar to those that adults face each month.  As the students moved from station to station they made decisions based on their family size and affordability.  The sessions included financial management lessons, a personal finance simulation and a follow-up/evaluation discussion.

 

 

Program Objectives:

            Students gain knowledge about personal financial management

            Students obtain skills in check writing, debit card, online banking and in balancing a transaction register

            Students become aware of the taxes and other deductions taken from their gross income to make the net deposit.

            Students learn how to manage a monthly budget in lifestyle scenarios

            Students understand how educational level affects occupational opportunity

            students become aware of how occupation and family matters affects lifestyle

Photo - Back row:  Dayna Guthrie, April Green, Jessica Ballard, Angie Lewis, Samantha Butler, Becky Reynolds, Barry Reed, Suzanne Ward, and Danny Young

Front row:  Jona Brewer, Charlotte Burnett, Claire Davis, Celeste Scarborough

 

UA COSSATOT ANNOUNCES STAFF CHANGES  01/06/15

Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole has announced several staffing changes for UA Cossatot.

Crystal Sims, former Biological Science Instructor, was named the Division Chairperson for the General Education Department.  Sims has 12 years of experience in the classroom and worked at UA Cossatot for 11 years.  She earned her Bachelors of Science in Education and her Masters of Natural Sciences both from Delta State University.  Sims is married to Brandon and they have two children, Penelope, 9 and Landry, 5.  

Shawna Stinnett, former Scholarship Coordinator, was named Financial Aid Analyst.  She earned her Associate of Arts degree from UA Cossatot and her Bachelors in Human Resource Development from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville.  Stinnett is married to Cody and has two children, Raeleigh, 2 and Carson, 4 months. 

Katy Garcia, former Financial Aid Receptionist, has been named Scholarship Coordinator.  She earned her Associate of Arts from UA Cossatot and is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree from UA Fort Smith.  Garcia is married to Carolos Pallares.    

Tommi Cobb, former Coordinator of Admissions, was named the Coordinator of RAMP (Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Project).  Cobb earned her Associate of Arts from UA Cossatot and her Bachelors of Science in Education and her Masters of Science in Adult Education both from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville.  She has four years of experience with UA Cossatot.  She is married to Jerry and has two sons and a daughter-in-law, Cody and Hailie Unruh and Nick Unruh. 

Alisha Lewis, former Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Branding, has been named Director of the Office of Intuitional Advancement.  She received her Bachelors of Arts in Public Relations from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg and her Masters in Science in Operational Management from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville.  She has 5 years of experience with UA Cossatot and over 15 years of experience in Public Relations.  Lewis is married to Mark and they have three sons, Carter, 13, Clark 10, and Cooper 8.    

Kellie Reynolds, former Administrative Specialist for Academic Services, has been named Coordinator of Admissions.  She received her Bachelors of Science in Education from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and has worked for UA Cossatot for 5 years.  Reynolds is married to Johnathan and they serve as Youth/Young Adults Pastor at De Queen First Assembly of God Church.  They have two daughters, Regan, 5 and Aubree, 2.

Jackie Walters, former Fiscal Support Specialist, has been named the Payroll Specialist.  She has over 16 years of experience with UA Cossatot and earned her Associate of Applied Science from UA Cossatot.  Walters is married to Kevin and has two daughters, Mallory and Morgan, a son and daughter-in-law Payne and Katrina. She also has two grandchildren Nora, 3 and Liam, 1 month.     

ACCIDENT MONDAY AFTERNOON CLAIMS LIFE OF LOCKESBURG RESIDENT       1/5/16

 

Emergency personnel from the Sevier County Sheriff's office, the Cossatot Volunteer Fire Department, Southwest EMS, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the De Queen Fire Department responded Monday afternoon about 3 p.m. to an accident on Highway 70/71 near the Cossatot River Bridge.

 

Arkansas State Police Trooper Corporal J.D. Jones reported a 2007 Ford Explorer that was being driven by 62-year-old Katherine Stegall  was traveling north on Highway 71 when it crossed the center line and traveled into the south bound lane hitting the rear axle of a trailer that was being pulled by a 2015 Mack truck.

 

Stegall was pronounced dead at the scene, however, the passenger, 63-year-old Larry Stegall was injured and had to be transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center. The driver of the Mack truck was not injured in the accident.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL MEETING TONIGHT AT 6      1/5/16

 

De Queen City Council will meet today at 6 p.m. in the City Council room in the De Queen City Hall for their first meeting of the new year.

 

Aldermen will pass a resolution to establish the monthly meeting times and dates for 2016 and discuss the starting salary of elected officials, in the case an officeholder changes.

 

Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy will also update the council on the installation of the water department's new SCADA system. McKelvy reported in a letter to the aldermen that he would like to sell the city's old filter control panels to the City of Amity with their approval. He said Amity is having some new equipment installed and could use the city's old control panel.

 

McKelvy also reported in his letter that a local company is interested in purchasing the city's 2003 International sanitation truck and he asked the aldermen to consider passing a resolution, which would allow the city to skip the competitive bidding process and sell it directing to the local company.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES 6 YEAR MASTER PLAN      1/5/16

 

Members of the Ashdown Board of Education approved the district's 6-Year Master Plan during their December board meeting and Superintendent Jason Sanders mentioned the district's facility consultant Gene Hawk and the district's architect Craig Boone helped him prepare the master plan.

 

Sanders said the board approved the master plan which includes a new elementary school. Sanders stated the master plan says the district will start the elementary project within the next six-years.

 

Sanders reported the board also approved the district's financial participation of any project that’s listed on the master plan and he said they will discuss when the elementary project will start during their regular scheduled meeting later this month.

 

Sanders said the board also approved the purchase and installation of a new heating and air unit for the junior high school gym. Sanders said the new unit was purchased from Ashdown ACE Heating and Air at a cost of $19,682.33.

 

Sanders said the board also heard a presentation concerning the district's FFA and county 4-H programs.

 

The Ashdown Board of Education will meet today during a special called meeting at 6 p.m. in the Support Services Building.

 

 

 

BENEFIT FISH FRY THIS SATURDAY FOR MICHAEL SIRMON      1/5/16

 

Many people don't think about organ transplants until someone they know is informed they need a transplant, but thousand of people wait everyday to receive an organ that could save their life. Approximately 20 people die everyday waiting for an organ transplant and many of people are not placed on organ lists due to financial reasons. Patients going through the transplant work-up and process must prove they can afford the expenses associated with a transplant or they cannot proceed with the process.

 

Michael Sirmon of Sevier County is at that point and he needs to raise funds to help pay for housing, living and medical expenses to live two hours from home for up to three months after a liver transplant. According to Sirmon's family, once he can show that he has adequate funding, he can continue the transplant process.

 

So, Danny Power and his wife have organized a benefit fish fry this Saturday to help Sirmon raise the needed funds. Power said the benefit will be held at the Senior Adult Center in Horatio beginning at 11 a.m.

 

According to a transplant website, the average liver transplant costs approximately $600,000 including the first year medical expenses. It stated depending on the patient's insurance, their out-of-pocket cost could be about $120,000 and that does not include housing.

 

Sirmon is married with two daughters and they are not only asking for donations, but asking area residents to register to be a organ donor and to get involved in the local donor network to help save lives.

 

All of the funds raised will be deposited into Sirmon's medical expense account. For more information about Saturday's benefit fish fry, call 582-2791 or for more information about being an organ donor, visit the website: transplant.org or helphopelive.org. 

 

 

 

SMOKING IN THE GIRLS ROOM      1/5/16

 

New Year's Eve, employees at the Tiger Mart in De Queen contacted the De Queen Police Department to report that they could smell marijuana around the store's public restrooms where two women were standing.

 

Patrolman Nikki Nealy of the De Queen Police Department arrived and found one of the women standing outside the restroom. When the second woman came out of the restroom, Nealy asked them if they had been smoking anything.

 

Nealy reported she could also smell what she thought was marijuana and asked the older female if she could look in her purse. According to Nealy, the woman who was identified as 36-year-old Amy Huston of Bella Vista, Arkansas started walking toward the restroom.

 

Nealy informed Huston that she had probable cause to search her purse because of the strong marijuana smell and according to Nealy, the women got agitated. After Sergeant Chad Bradshaw and Patrol First Class Wayne Baker arrived, Huston informed the officers that she had a firearm in her purse. She said she had a concealed carry permit, but didn't have it with her.

 

Bradshaw removed the gun from Huston's purse and handed the bag to Nealy to search.

 

Nealy reported she found a pill bottle containing suspected marijuana and Huston was taken into custody. At the Sevier County jail, jailers discovered a purple smoking device and a small piece of burnt paper and a ring that contained a white colored powder.

 

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

 

 

 

YOU HIT SOMEONE ELSE'S STUFF        1/5/16

 

About 10:30 New Year's Eve, Officer J.J. Lopez of the De Queen Police Department was informed that a driver had hit a parked vehicle and drove off on Sunset Drive.

 

When Lopez arrived, he was informed by Amy Torres that her boyfriend, 28-year-old Joan Ramirez had gotten into her 2011 GMC Yukon and hit a parked vehicle as he was leaving. She also told Officer Lopez that Ramirez had been drinking.

 

About 45-minutes later, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Wolcott made traffic stop on a vehicle that was driving across the center line and discovered the vehicle had been involved in a hit and run accident.

 

Ramirez was given a series of field sobriety test and taken into custody on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. He was also cited for driving without a driver's license, leaving the scene of a property damage accident and refusal to submit to test.

 

 

LEVEL 3 SEX OFFENDER  1/05/16

James William Tucker (Level 3 sex offender)

606 West Fort Towson Avenue

De Queen, Arkansas 71832

THIS OFFENDER IS NOT WANTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AT THIS TIME.

This notification is not intended to increase fear. It is our belief that an informed public will be safer. Information is available through many resources, including the state website maintained by the Arkansas Crime Information Center. More information is available from resources listed on the back of this flyer. Citizen abuse of this information to threaten, intimidate or harass offenders will not be tolerated. Such abuse could potentially end law enforcement’s ability to share this information with the public. If notification ends, the offender will win since they derive power through secrecy.

Four community notification levels apply. The higher the level assigned, the broader the notification to the community. Level 1(low) warrants minimal notice to the community (usually other law enforcement and/or members of the offender’s household only). Level 2(moderate) warrants limited notice to specific groups. Level 3 (high) warrants notification of all community members likely to encounter the offender. Level 4 is reserved for offenders who have a habitual or serious pattern of offending and are deemed sexual violent predators.

The De Queen Police Department and Sevier County Sheriff’s Office are releasing information pursuant to section 13 Act 989 of 1997, known as the Sex and Child Offender Registration and Community Notification Guidelines. This act authorizes law enforcement to inform the public of a sex offenders presence when the release of such information will enhance public safety and protection. Individuals appearing on these notifications have been convicted of an offense requiring registration with the Arkansas Crime Information Center.

 

 

FATHER AND SON BUSINESS      1/4/16

 

Sunday evening, Howard County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Turner made traffic stop on Highway 355 near Mineral Springs.

 

According to the Howard County Investigator John Gildwell, Turner reported he could smell raw marijuana when he approached the vehicle and placed the two occupants, 57-year-old Joseph Sauls of Leavenworth, Kansas and his son, 33-year-old Joseph Robert Sauls of Hope under arrest.

 

Turner and his K9 partner, Kilo, discovered 62 pounds of suspected marijuana and $8,250 in cash hidden in a secret compartment in the trunk of the 2007 Honda Accord.

 

Both men are being held in the Howard County jail and are being charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance in the intent to deliver.

 

 

 

JUST TAKING A LITTLE WALK       1/4/16

 

Clayton Yates stated he found the lock on his deer lease cut along with a red Chevy extended cab truck on Friday, January 1st, so he contacted the Sevier County Sheriff's Office about a possible trespasser.

 

When Deputy Brian Hankins arrived, he and Yates walked into the area looking for the driver of the truck. Hankins reported they searched for about two hours and after they didn't find anyone, Yates had the vehicle towed.

 

The following day, the owner of the truck, Eva Jones, went to the sheriff's office to recover the truck. She also had the individuals with her who were identified as the three occupants of the vehicle when it was discovered on Yates property.

 

32-year-old Jason Brooks, 35-year-old Leah Ann Punneo and 20-year-old Tyler Ginn, all of De Queen reported they were out riding around and walking in the woods down towards the river and did not know Deputy Hankins was looking for them. They also said they didn't cut the lock, but all three were cited for criminal trespass.

 

 

 

NOT FEELING TO GOOD NOW        1/4/16

 

Sunday, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Barnes was sent to 1635 Red Bridge Road to assist members of the Southwest EMS with an individual that was being uncooperative.

 

When Barnes arrived, EMTs had 42-year-old Wendy Lee of De Queen in the ambulance about to transfer her to the emergency room at the De Queen Regional Medical Center. At the hospital, paramedics informed Barnes they thought Lee was under the influence of a controlled substance.

 

While Barnes was interviewing Lee, she allegedly told him that she had used meth earlier that day. She also gave him permission to search her purse and he found a syringe. Lee allegedly told Barnes that she had loaded the syringe but wasn't able to get the drugs to come out, so she took the needle off and shot it directly into her mouth.

 

After being treated at the hospital, Lee was transported to the Sevier County jail where she was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Barnes also discovered that Lee was wanted on a white warrant for violating the conditions of her parole.

 

 

 

ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER      1/4/16

 

On Thursday, December 31st, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Barnes was dispatched to a possible domestic dispute along with Deputy Kristopher Hundley, but while they were enroute, they were informed that the individual who had allegedly hit the caller was headed toward Horatio in a gold Chevy Trailblazer.

 

When Barnes entered Horatio, he noticed a vehicle matching the description at the EZ-Mart.

 

Deputy Barnes reported he stopped the suspect from leaving the store by blocking him in with his patrol vehicle and asked 50-year-old Thomas Alexander to step out of the vehicle, so he could speak to him.

 

Barnes noted Thomas then asked if he could run in and pay for his gas. When Thomas came back outside, he asked if he could leave and he was informed that he could not leave until Deputy Hundley finished interviewing the reporting party.

 

After Hundley contacted Deputy Barnes, Thomas was taken into custody for domestic battery. As Barnes was placing Thomas in his patrol car, dispatch informed him that the EZ-Mart clerk and contacted them and said when Thomas went into the store, he put some drugs behind the counter and asked her to hold on to them for him.

 

Barnes went into the store and retrieved a marijuana cigarette and a cigarette pack that contained a plastic bag of suspected methamphetamine.

 

Thomas was also charged with possession of controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

 

 

ROJAS TO ATTEND STATE OF UNION ADDRESS      1/4/16

 

Victor Rojas of De Queen will be attending President Barak Obama's final State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, January 12th as a guest of U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman.

 

Rojas explained each member of Congress is allowed to invite one guest and those guest have a reserved seat in the U.S. Capitol's House Gallery. Rojas is a student at UA Cossatot; works for the De Queen Public School District; and serves on the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board.

 

Rojas said he was honored that Congressman Westerman invited him to attend the State of the Union address as his guest. He said he expects President Obama to address some significant challenges facing the nation during his address and he is looking forward to being in the nation's capitol for this once in a lifetime experience.

 

 

 

SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS REGIONAL ARCHIVES TO HOLD MEETING IN ASHDOWN      1/4/16

 

The Little River County Historical Society is hosting a meeting on Tuesday, January 12th at 6 p.m. in the Millwood Room in the Barbara Horn Civic Center on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot.

 

Melissa Nesbitt is an archival assistant with the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives in Washington, Arkansas and she will present a program entitled, "Enhancing Family History through Photographs." The presentation will focus on the identification, documentation and preservation of photographs.

 

Refreshments will be served from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and parking is available behind the Civic Center.

 

The Little River County Historical Society was formed in 2003 with the objective of preserving, protecting and sharing Little River County's genealogical and historical resources, through research, collection, and publication of ancestral, genealogical and historical data and make this information available for public use.

 

The Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives were founded in 1978 and has been a branch of the Arkansas History Commission for over 10 years.

 

For more information, call 870-898-2974.

 

 

 

YELLING IN THE NEW YEAR     1/4/16

 

January 1st, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Jackson was dispatched to a motor vehicle accident on Crosstrails Road.

 

When Deputy Jackson arrived, he reported the truck apparently was east bound on Crosstrails Road when it left the roadway in a curve and ended up in the ditch on its side. De Queen Police Officer J.J. Lopez was try trying to get the driver, 55-year-old Dale Owens of Mount Ida, to get off the truck, but Owens was yelling obscenities at Lopez and trying to help his girlfriend, Patricia Crow, out of the truck.

 

Officers were finally able to get Owens down from the side of the truck, but he continued to be verbally abusive.

 

De Queen Police Officer Justin Gentry and Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Kris Hundley helped Owens up the hill, but Owens became very aggressive and started resisting their assistance. Owens was then arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

 

While searching the vehicle, officers found a bottle of Vodka.

 

Crow had to be removed from the truck by members of the De Queen Fire Department and she was transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center by Southwest EMS.

 

Owens refused to be treated at the hospital and was charged with driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to test, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and careless and prohibited driving.  Deputies also reported, Owens was wanted on an outstanding warrant for felony assault from Louisiana.

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT - RESOLVING TO GET FIT       1/4/16

 

The holiday season is in the rearview mirror, and now it's time to put our sights on 2016 and New Year's resolutions. Holiday meals, parties and sweets often disrupt healthy eating and fitness routines, but now is the time many individuals resolve to get back on track to a healthy lifestyle. A recent study showed Arkansas has the highest adult obesity rate, at almost 36 percent, followed closely by Mississippi and West Virginia.

 

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released a consumer alert aimed at helping Arkansans choose a gym to start or enhance a fitness regimen in 2016.

 

She suggested consumers visit a gym during the hours you would normally use it to see if it is overcrowded; consider the hours of operation; ask if the facility provides personal trainers or instructors; find out if the membership includes fitness classes and childcare; inquire about the fees and schedule and if the facility requires a contract and auto-draft payments and ask about trail periods.

 

Many gyms offer incentives to join during this time of year, but be cautious of high pressure sales tactics or opportunities that seem too good to be true. Do the math to ensure the monthly and annual costs are affordable. And make sure everything discussed with the sales representative is stated in the written contract before signing on the dotted line.

 

The office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion encourages adults to do aerobic physical activity about 30 minutes, five-times a week, and muscle and strength training at least two days a week.

 

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

 

 

CORPS OF ENGINEERS ANNOUNCES CHANGES IN RECREATION DAY USE FEES      1/4/15

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced beginning January 1st, the recreation day use fees will change to a simpler fee structure and this includes Millwood Lake along with the Tri-Lakes of Dierks, De Queen and Gillham. The fee for a Corps annual pass to these facilities will also change and some locations may also see a change in camping fees and the fee for a special use permit, which cover events, facilities and activities.

 

The Corps reported the last time the day use fees were changed was in 2002.

 

Last year, the Corps conducted a review of its fee structure and determined that fee changes were needed to ensure the Corps' fees remain comparable and fair to those charged by other local providers of similar facilities and services. A minimum day use fee of $5 will be charged per private non-commercial vehicle and an annual day use pass may be purchased for $40.

 

Payment of the day use fee entitles the user to launch a boat or use any developed swimming beach at a Corps-operated recreation area for that day. For information on the new fee structure, visitors should contact their local Corps recreation project office.

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REPRESENTATIVE DEANN VAUGHT    1/4/16

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported according to a recent study, weight loss is the most common New Year's resolution year after year. And, for the state of Arkansas, she reported the state as a 10-year plan to encourage and enable Arkansans to develop a healthier lifestyle.

 

Healthy Active Arkansas is the framework of research based strategies to guide efforts in reducing obesity. The plan was released by the governor's office and the Arkansas Department of Health, earlier this year.

 

According to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health, the obesity rate in Arkansas continues to rise and in 2013 Arkansas was the third most obese state in the nation. In 2014, Arkansas became the most obese state.

 

Health officials say reducing the average BMI by only 5 percent could lead to health care savings of more than $2 billion dollars over the next 10 years and $6 billion over the next 20, while helping prevent thousands of cases of stroke, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and cancer.

 

The Healthy Active Arkansas plan is meant to be used by businesses, education centers, religious organizations, restaurants, and city planners. If also provides recommendations for child care facilities on how to introduce new foods to children and reduce sugar intake. And, employers may also find useful information on how to create a healthier work environment.

 

The Healthy Active Arkansas plan can be found on the health department's website at www.healthyactive.org.

 

Vaught said while making personal goals, Arkansans should realize that Arkansas is a place where healthy lifestyles are achievable, due to the abundance of state parks and recreation opportunities.

 

 

 

RUTLEDGE REACHES SETTLEMENT WITH TEXARKANA PAWN SHOP     1/4/16

 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Tri-State Pawn of Texarkana have reached a settlement to resolve allegations that consumers were charged excessive interest rates on title loans, which is a violation of Arkansas law.

 

The consent judgment, which was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, prohibits Tri-State Pawn from charging or collecting from consumers on auto pawns or title loans and all outstanding auto pawns or title loans entered into by the pawn shop with Arkansans have been voided. $8.697 will be paid to the Attorney General's office and those funds will be distributed to consumers who were affected by the pawn shop's unlawful actions. Tri-State will also pay $108,000 to the Attorney General's office to be deposited into the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund.

 

The first complaint was filed in 2013 and it stated that Tri-State Pawn seized a vehicle of a borrower prior to the due date of the borrower's payment and was charging an interest rate that was equivalent to a 240 percent annual rate.

 

An auto-title loan, which is known as a title loan, is a short-term, high-interest loan which the borrower provides the lender with the title and a key to their vehicle as collateral for the loan, but the borrower retains possession of the vehicle.

 

 

 

SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS FOOD DRIVE PROVIDES MEALS FOR MORE THAN 16,000 FAMILIES      1/4/16

 

More than 16,000 families throughout Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas received a week's worth of food this holiday season through Brookshire Grocery Company's 34th annual Spirit of Christmas Food Drive.

 

From November 18th to December 22nd, participating BGC stores, which includes Brookshire's and Super 1 Foods stores, collected donations of non-perishable food items and also sold pre-assembled grab bags and scan coupons for cash contributions. All donations stayed within each store's community.

 

This year's grab bag sales increased by 20 percent while the scan coupon sales, which are used to purchase additional food items, increased by 70 percent. The food is donated to local service organizations and food pantries for distribution to families in need. Along with a box of food, each family also received a coupon for a free roasting hen.

 

BGC Chairman and CEO Brad Brookshire said it was their goal to provide 15,000 families a week's worth of meals and thanks to the generosity of their customers; they were able to surpass that goal and make it the most successful Spirit of Christmas Food Drive in the company's history.

 

The Spirit of Christmas Food Drive began in Tyler, Texas in 1982 with the Rose City Kiwanis Club, providing assistance to approximately 90 families in the Tyler area. In 2014, the food drive assisted more than 16,000 families in BGS's operating area.

 

 

LOCKESBURG APPROVED FOR $250,000 IN STATE AID     1/1/16

 

Lockesburg Mayor Danny Ruth announced Thursday morning that he has been informed by the Arkansas State Aid Street Committee that the City of Lockesburg has been approved for a $250,000 grant for street paving projects.

 

Ruth stated David Mayo from the State Aid Division of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department would formally qualify the project in the spring of 2016 by visiting Lockesburg and inspecting the city's street improvement needs.

 

According to a letter that Mayor Ruth received the project is scheduled to be funded in 2017.

 

Ruth said the street paving project will start after the completion of both the new water and sewer line projects.

 

 

 

SEVERAL NEW LAWS TAKE EFFECT JANUARY 1      1/1/16

 

Several pieces of legislation that was passed during the 2015 General Assembly went into effect today, January 1st and they will impact everything from the state’s minimum wage to restaurant menus and tax brackets.

 

January 1st, Arkansas' minimum wage will increase to $8 per hour after Arkansas voters passed a ballot initiative in 2014. The Act raised the Arkansas minimum wage at graduated intervals between 2015 and 2017. The minimum wage was increased from $6.25 to $7.50 an hour in 2015 and it will increase to $8.50 on January 1st, 2017.

 

The Arkansas Minimum Wage Act applies to employers who employ four or more employees.

 

New legislation will also require healthcare plans that are provided under the Affordable Care Act will provide the minimum benefits for pediatric oral health. Act 934 will go into effect January 1st and it says a physician cannot perform an abortion on a minor unless she obtains notarized consent from one of her parents or legal guardians.

 

Act 1191 requires catfish that was not raised in the United States be labeled imported. The catfish industry in Arkansas is the third largest in the nation and legislation required a distinction to be made in packaging if it includes catfish or catfish-like products.

 

This tax season, some will see the impact of a recent tax cut after the legislature passed Act 22 as part of Governor Asa Hutchinson's Middle Class Tax Relief initiative. The income tax rate will be reduced by 1 percent for those making between $21,000 and $75,000 a year. The reduction became effective at the beginning of 2015, so you will notice it when you file your taxes. However, the 6.9 percent top rate that was adopted during the 2013 session has been restored for taxpayers with taxable incomes above $75,000 beginning January 1st and farmers and ranchers will receive an income tax exemption for payment from an agricultural disaster program.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY JUDGE DECLARES INDIVIDUAL DISASTER     1/1/16

 

Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced Wednesday afternoon that he had declared Sevier County an individual disaster to help county residents who suffered a loss during the recent storms and flooding.

 

Judge Ray said he hopes the disaster declaration will help county residents obtain low-interest loans to rebuild. He also provided the phone for the American Red Cross in case someone needed their assistance.

 

Judge Ray said a few roads are still closed in the county, but they’re making repairs and re-opening them as quickly as possible.

 

Judge Ray explained the flooding of the Little River was unavoidable because of the amount of rain that fell to the north of Mena. He also said he had never seen the Little River get this high before.

 

For more information about the disaster declaration, contact the county judge’s office at 642-2425.

 

 

 

SHOPLIFTING MAKES ME HUNGRY       1/1/16

 

December 30th, Patrolman Nikki Nealy of the De Queen Police Department was informed that a shoplifting suspect had left Wal-Mart and was driving west on Collin Raye Drive in a white SUV.

 

Nealy reported a white SUV drove past her on Collin Raye Drive and she turned around and followed the vehicle into the McDonald parking lot.

 

When Nealy ordered the occupants to get out of the vehicle, the driver ran around the SUV and started reaching for something, while the passenger got out and stood next to the vehicle.

 

When Patrolman Justin Gentry and Sergeant Chad Bradshaw arrived to assist, the driver, 32-year-old Robert Gonzalez of De Queen was trying to explain what had happened. When officers looked in the vehicle to see what Gonzalez was trying to hide, they found a piece of pink glass that looked like it could be a part of a smoking device. Officers then found a pink colored glass pipe containing suspected methamphetamine residue in it in the console wrapped up in a white washcloth. They also found a spoon that looked like it had burn marks on the bottom of it.

 

The passenger, 38-year-old Usvaldo Gonzalez, told officers that he did not go to Wal-Mart with Robert. Robert Gonzalez allegedly admitted to stealing a tire plug kit from Wal-Mart, but both men said the pipe belonged to a woman that they had given a ride to before they went to Wal-Mart.

 

Both men were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Robert Gonzales was also charged with criminal trespass and shoplifting.