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PRESIDENT DECLARES DISASTER FOR ARKANSAS 6/30/15
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the state of Arkansas and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding during the period of May 7th to June 15th.
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals and households in Howard, Little River, Miller, Sevier, Crawford, Garland, Jefferson, Perry and Sebastian counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is also available to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in Hempstead, Howard, Little River, Miller, Pike, Polk, and Sevier counties along with 21 other counties.
Governor Asa Hutchinson announced he applauded the FEMA's decision to issue a major disaster declaration for the state and now residents and local communities can receive help financial assistance as they continue their recovery efforts.
Hutchinson said additional designations may be added to the declaration if requested by the state and warranted by results of further damage assessments.
Little River County Judge Mike Cranford stated the declaration means the federal government will pay for 75 percent of the clean-up cost.
Cranford said it took awhile for the declaration to be made because the individual lose threshold had to be met.
Cranford said Red River is receding but another 2-inch rain could do even more damage.
Cranford said he plans to set up a meeting with all of the agencies involved to provide information to area residents
For information about assistance for both individuals and business owners call 1-800-621-FEMA or visit the website wwww.DisasterAssistance.gov.
REMEMBER TO CELEBRATE THE FOURTH SAFELY 6/30/15
When you think about the Fourth of July, you think of fireworks and large public firework displays, but you should also think about safety and local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety suggests that you read the cautionary labels and performance description before igniting fireworks and only light one firework at a time.
Children should be supervised by an adult and fireworks should be disposed of by soaking them in a bucket of water.
Residents should also obey all local laws concerning fireworks. De Queen Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy reported fireworks may only be ignited in the city on July 3rd, 4th and 5th, between the hours of 11 a.m. and midnight.
McKelvy said violators may be fined up to $200 and sentenced up to 10 days of community service for violating the city’s ordinance.
This past weekend, officers with the De Queen Police Department issued a warning to a resident after neighbors complained about the noise.
DISTRICT 4-H O'RAMA 6/30/15
Eleven Sevier County 4-H'ers competed in the Ouachita District 4-H O-Rama held in Gurdon on June 16th. For 4-H'ers to be able to compete in the District O'Rama, the 4-H'er must have competed in the county O'Rama and be at least 9-years-old on January 1st of the current year.
Blake Sawyer placed second in the Bicycle Junior Division, Aaron Morris placed fourth in Animal Sciences Senior Division, Hunter Frachiseur placed fourth in Wildlife Junior Division, Attalee Frachiseur placed fourth in Fashion Revue-Purchased Casual Junior Division, Amber Morris placed first in Food Fair Junior Division, Aubrey Seymour placed first in Human Development Junior Division, Brennen Seymour placed second in Baitcasting and Game Fish ID Junior Division, Brayden Frachiseur placed first in Reel into Sportfishing Junior Division, Sabrina Rivas placed second in Forestry Senior Division, Marcus Rosson placed second in Gun Safety Junior Division, and Brody Smith placed first in Gun Safety Senior Division.
Seniors who placed in the top seven are eligible to compete in the State O'Rama competition this July at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
DRINKING ON HIGHWAY 6/30/15
Early Saturday morning, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department observed a car on the overpass traveling east at a high rate of speed.
Browning turned around but was unable to catch up with the vehicle.
Browning said he then observed a maroon colored vehicle drive left of center and continued to straddle the center line for a little while. Browning conducted a traffic stop in the Farm Bureau parking lot and made contact with the driver, 26-year-old Martin Martinez-Marrufo.
Martinez-Marrufo informed Browning that he had drank one or two. After conducting some field sobriety test, officers discovered a partially drank Bud Light bottle behind the driver's seat.
Martinez-Marrufo was citied for drinking on the highway, driving left of center and for having no driver's license.
MILLER NAMED SAU SCHOLAR ATHLETE OF THE YEAR 6/30/15
Southern Arkansas University announced former De Queen Leopard John Miller and Sarah Higginbotham were nominated for the Great American Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.
Miller and Higginbotham were named the 2014-2015 SAU Scholar-Athletes of the Year in April.
Higginbotham is a native of Bedford, Texas and graduated from SAU with a 3.91 cumulative GPA in Biological Science. Higginbotham was named to the Capital One Academic All-America Second-Team and was a two-time GAC All-Academic Team selection.
Miller is majoring in Engineering and Physics and currently has a 3.8 GPA. He was named to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-District Three First-Team. Miller has been a two-time All-GAC Offensive Lineman for SAU.
PJ MINOR WINS 26TH ANNUAL TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL 6/30/15
Saturday morning, the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce held their 26th Annual Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival on the De Queen, Dierks and Gillham lakes and this year's overall winner was P.J. Minor of De Queen.
Minor won $1,600 dollars while fishing on the De Queen Lake. The second place winner was Bill Huddleston, third place went to Jason Sparks, fourth place went to Robin Daniel and fifth place went to Ronnie Cogburn.
Minor and Huddleston were fishing on the De Queen Lake, while Sparks and Daniel were both on the Gillham Lake. Cogburn won the hourly big bass prize during the seventh hour on the Dierks Lake.
This year, the tournament had 196 entries.
SEVIER COUNTY WATER NOT HARMFUL 6/29/15
An official with the Sevier County Water Association reported they are having a problem with the magnesium and iron levels in the water. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, the magnesium levels are elevated due to the recent rainfall and lake turnover.
Officials at the water association stated their system was not able to properly treat the magnesium level effectively; however, the water is safe to drink although customers may notice a dingy, dirty looking color and a slight odor.
Health department officials recommend using bottled water for the making of baby formula and to be careful when washing light colored clothing.
Sevier County Water Association employees are working to correct the problem, but it may take some time due the recent rainfall.
IT’S HARD TO STOP A TRAIN 6/29/15
Friday morning, an 18-wheeler hauling train wheel axles lost its load at the intersection of Collin Raye Drive and 9th Street, a little after 10:30.
According to a Walter Smith of the Sevier County Office of Emergency Management, the driver of the truck said he was considering driving thru the yellow light, but a small vehicle pulled out in front of him from 9th Street, so he shut the truck down, which caused the load to dislodge.
Members of the De Queen Police Department and the De Queen Fire Department closed down the two east bound lanes and directed traffic through the turn lane, until the truck could be reloaded.
According to the De Queen Police Department, no one injured in the accident.
39TH ANNUAL HOPE WATERMELON FESTIVAL 6/29/15
The Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the U of A Hope-Texarkana Foundation to bring Sammy Kershaw and Buddy Jewell to the 39th Annual Hope Watermelon Festival on Saturday, August 8th.
Kershaw will be performing his number one hit “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful” along with several of his 10 Top Ten hits.
Jewell’s self-titled Columbia Records album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Album chart and was certified gold and garnered two back-to-back top five hits with “Sweet Southern Comfort” and “Help Pour Out the Rain.”
This year’s Watermelon Festival will include a Friday night concert featuring the Beatle’s Tribute Band, the Liverpool Legends. The band will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Legion Field.
Advanced tickets for Saturday night will be $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 4 to 10. The day of the show, tickets will be $20. There will also be a Friday and Saturday night concert combination general admission ticket for just $15 and Friday night tickets are just $5.
Tickets are available at www.uacch.edu, or you may contact, the UACCH Foundation at 870-722-8516.
SEVIER COUNTY CLERK OFFERS GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT UPCOMING SCHOOL ELECTIONS 6/29/15
Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akin announced the 2015 School Elections will be held on Tuesday, September 15th.
The filing period for the De Queen and Horatio School Board elections will be from 8 a.m., June 30th until noon on July 7th.
Akin said the positions that will be running for election this year, include the Zone 5 position in De Queen, which is currently held by Randy Hedge and the Zone 3 position in Horatio, which is currently held on Jeff Irvan.
Akin also encouraged Sevier County residents to register to vote. She said the deadline to register to vote in this election is August 17th, but if you are a registered voter in another Arkansas county, you can transfer your registration to Sevier County by September 11th and still vote in the School Board elections.
Akin said residents may need to update their registration if their name or address has changed.
Absentee voting is available for qualifying applicants and residents may contact the County Clerk’s office to obtain an application.
Early voting will be conducted in the County Clerk’s office only September 8th through the 14th from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Akin said you have any questions; you may contact her office at 870-642-2852.
CONSUMER ALERT – AVOIDING VACATION SCAMS 6/29/15
School is out for the summer, and many Arkansans are taking vacations. These trips can be great for relaxation and fun, but consumers should take precautions to protect themselves from scams and con artists.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a consumer alert to help Arkansans keep their guard up and avoid being scammed before or during their vacations.
Rutledge offered these tips on how you can recognize a scam: a legitimate company will not require payment for a prize; if a travel agency will not provide the phone number or address of all or some of the arrangements it has made; high-pressure sales tactics could be a sign of a scam; be wary of wiring money as it is the same as sending cash, once sent, there is no way to get it back; and travelers should pay by credit card as much as possible because it is easier to dispute the charges if a service is not provided.
Rutledge also encourages travelers to make copies of credit cards, passports and driver’s licenses, along with emergency contact information in case any of these documents are stolen.
All travel scams should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission, local law enforcement and the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-482-8982 or ArkansasAG.gov.
FAULKNER COUNTY GRANTS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LICENSE AFTER SUPREME COURT LEGALIZES GAY-MARRIAGE 6/29/15
The Faulkner County Human Resource Officer Whitney Doolittle announced this morning that a same-sex couple received a marriage license in Conway shortly after the United State Supreme Court ruled the Constitution allows gay-marriage.
The attorney for same-sex couples who challenged Arkansas' gay marriage ban says she's thrilled with the ruling and believes all Arkansas County Clerks should begin issuing licenses immediately.
Cheryl Maples represented the couples who challenged in both federal and state courts a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment and earlier Arkansas law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Maples said the state Supreme Court will still need to decide whether voters can change an inalienable right in the constitution, which she says is what the 2004 gay marriage amendment does.
President of the Arkansas Family Council, Jerry Cox said this decision now creates more questions. He stated he believes the court will now have to re-define marriage.
Cox's group spearheaded the campaign in 2004 for the amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
PARK VISITOR FINDS 8.52 CARAT WHITE DIAMOND 6/29/15
An 8.52-carat white diamond was found June 24th by a Colorado resident at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
The clear white and icicle shaped gem is the fifth largest diamond found by a park visitor since the park was established in 1972.
According to Bobbie Oskarson of Longmont, Colorado, she found the gem within 20-minutes of her search in a couple of scoops of dirt.
Park Interpreter Waymon Cox said Oskarson and her boyfriend, Travis Dillon saw the Crater of Diamonds State Park on an Arkansas highway map while visiting Hot Springs and decided to visit the park.
This is the 227th diamond that's been certified by the park staff this year. Cox noted more than 30 other diamonds have been found on the surface of the search area so far this year.
For more information about the Crater of Diamonds State Park call 870-285-3113 or visit the website: craterofdiamondsstatepark.com.
STATEMENT FROM GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE RULING 6/29/15
Governor Asa Hutchinson released the following statement concerning the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage:
"The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision requires the State of Arkansas to recognize same-sex marriage. This decision goes against the expressed view of Arkansans and my personal beliefs and convictions. While my personal convictions will not change, as Governor I recognize the responsibility of the state to follow the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result of this ruling, I will direct all state agencies to comply with the decision.
It is also important to note that the Supreme Court decision is directed at the states to allow and recognize marriage between two people of the same sex. It is not a directive for churches or pastors to recognize same-sex marriage. The decision for churches, pastors, and individuals is a choice that should be left to the convictions of conscience."
THAT’S SOME STORY 6/29/15
Early Friday morning, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police reported he was in the turning lane about to pull into the De Queen Auto Group to make a security check when he noticed a vehicle in the turning lane with its left blinker on. Browning stated the vehicle continued to drive straight toward him and he pulled into the dealership to avoid an accident.
Browning reported he conducted a traffic stop in the Peppercorn Creek Plaza and witnessed the two occupants switch seats.
The occupant sitting in the driver's seat was identified as Darrell Moser. When Browning asked Moser to exit the vehicle, he noticed some open beer cans in the backseat.
Moser allegedly informed Browning that he and the other occupant, 36-year-old Don Crabtree were going camping, but he didn't provide an answer when asked, why they switched seats.
When Browning and Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker questioned Crabtree, he stated he did not have a driver's license.
Browning reported Crabtree had blood shot eyes and when asked if he had been drinking, Crabtree allegedly stated that he had been swimming all day. When Crabtree was asked where they were going, he stated he was planning to turn onto the old Lockesburg Highway, but decided he wanted a sandwich, so he pulled into Subway.
Later, Crabtree said the reason he pulled over was so Moser could drive.
After getting permission to search Crabtree's vehicle, officers found seven empty Keystone Light cans and one unopened can. They also discovered a cooler in the truck that was nearly full of more beer.
Crabtree was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated #2, refusal to submit to test, driving left of the center line and driving on a suspended license.
New Principal at De Queen High 06/27/15
Bryan Blackwood is the new De Queen High School principal for 2015-2016. Former principal, Roger Busse retired this month. Mr. Blackwood is a 1990 graduate of De Queen High School and a former Leopard athlete. Blackwood graduated from Henderson State University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Social Science, coaching endorsement, and certification to teach math courses 7-12. Later, Blackwood graduated from Texas A&M-Texarkana with a master’s of Education Administration along with a superintendent’s certification.
In 1996, Mr. Blackwood accepted his first teaching position at Lockesburg High School where he taught math courses. The following year Blackwood was hired by De Queen Public Schools. He taught middle school math courses, coached junior high boys’ basketball, senior girls’ track, and was the junior high assistant football coach.
I asked Mr. Blackwood, “What influenced you to pursue a master’s degree in administration?” Blackwood’s reply, “I just knew that I always wanted to be an administrator. It’s been my career goal for as long as I can remember.”
Mr. Blackwood just completed his twelfth year as an administrator. When asked about the changes he has seen over the past years, he replied, “I can say the core of education is the same now as it was twelve years ago. Testing, curriculum, and other things have certainly changed, but it’s still about teachers and students who prepare, work hard, and push themselves to be the best they can be.”
Blackwood stated that his biggest challenge over the past twelve years was to balance being the disciplinarian of the school and still being someone that students feel like they can come talk to if they have a problem. You have to show the students that you care even when you’re having to discipline them.
I asked, “What do you look forward to during your first year as DHS principal?” His reply, “I look forward to working with the staff and students. To me, that is what this is all about. We have a tremendous staff that cares about our students. Our students will rise to the level of our expectations.”
Mr. Blackwood also said, “We are trying to do some things a little different this year concerning registration. We are having registration at 6:00 P.M. in an effort to make it easier for parents to be involved. Mrs. Ramona Hill is going to send information to the parents about what will be covered during registration. Mrs. Hill is going to meet with all the parents and go over what all will take place during the coming school year. She wanted to do this because we have so many parents that don’t know what is going on at school. We hope getting this information out to parents will help to get more of them involved throughout the school year. We also encourage teachers to stay in touch with parents either through calling them or by email. We understand that two-way conversations between a teacher and parent is the best way to achieve positive results. Teachers will be asked to keep a log of these discussions.”
Article by Tammy Whatley
TRI-LAKES BASS TOURNAMENT IS STILL ON 06/26/15
The 26th annual Tri-Lakes Bass Tournament will be held on Saturday, June 27th. Early registration is still open until Friday at 6 pm. Forms may be turned in at the KDQN Studios, Baker's Bargain House, or their will be someone at the Chamber Office Downtown from 10 am - 5 pm on Thursday and from 10 am - 6 pm on Friday. Late Registration and Boat Check will begin at 5 am Saturday at the Lakes.
*If you plan to fish on Gillham Lake, Boat check and late registration has been moved to Cossatot Point (by the dam). Cossatot Point will be the only ramp open for launch. Both Big Coon & Little Coon ramps will be closed; however, fish weigh in WILL be held at Big Coon.
*If you plan to fish Dierks, the boat ramp at Blue Ridge will be closed. All others will be open.
*On De Queen Lake, Rolling Fork ( Bellahmine) Boat Ramp will be closed. The ramps at Oak Grove (by the old bait shop) Campground & Swim Beach will be open for Launch. Late Registration and Boat Check will be at Oak Grove.
ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK AT COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK 6/26/15
Cossatot River State Park will be offering guided kayak tours this weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The tours will begin in the Visitor Center classroom and will conclude after participates kayak down the pristine Cossatot River about 3 p.m.
The cost of the tour is $30.94 and includes shuttle transportation, interpretive guide service along with the kayaks, paddles and life jackets.
The tour is for beginners, so the pace will not be very fast pace. Of course, weather is an issue and the route may change or the park staff may have to re-schedule if the water levels are to low or too high on the day of tour.
Saturday afternoon from 2 to 3 p.m. Park Interpreter Shelley Flanary will lead a program to demonstrate how fish can affect its environment and the adaptations that emerge for these suspicious creatures, plus the group will take a closer look at a few of the unique fish from the Cossatot River.
Saturday night, guest can join the great American backyard campout from 6 p.m. until 8 a.m.
Flanary said the Cossatot River State Park is a perfect place to enjoy this American tradition by getting outside and connecting with nature. The campout cost $16 if you need camping gear, like a tent and sleeping bag and you will need to provide your own breakfast.
Sunday afternoon, guests can feed the park critters from 2 to 3 p.m. in the visitor center and then they can identify animals by the color of light that’s reflected by their eyes, while taking an easy half-mile walk.
For more information about the programs at the Cossatot River State Park, call 870-385-2201.
ARKANSAS DELEGATION SUPPORTS GOVERNOR'S REQUEST OF DISASTER DECLARATION 6/26/15
U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman, sent a letter to President Obama supporting Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson's request for a federal disaster declaration for 33 Arkansas counties following recent severe storms and flooding.
The letter states that since May 7th, the state has experienced a continuing pattern of destructive storms, severe flooding and tornadoes that's resulted in three fatalities and damage to hundreds of homes.
The Arkansas delegation is seeking assistance for the state through the Robert Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, along with Public Assistance, Individual Assistance, including the Individuals and Households Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Disaster Case Management, Disaster Legal Service, Crisis Counseling, Small Business Administration disaster loans and Hazard Mitigation Statewide.
The letter explains that Arkansas communities are still working to clean-up and rebuild. Resources from the Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Forestry Commission and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department are being used, but the recent series of disasters has exceeded the local government’s ability to respond.
If approved, the declaration would include, Hempstead, Howard, Little River, Miller, Pike, Polk and Sevier as well as, 26 other counties.
CHRISTIANS IN ACTION TO HOLD MONTHLY TEEN REVIVAL 6/26/15
Terry Brackett and members of the Christians in Action groups at the De Queen Junior High will be hosting another teen revival this Monday at the Kern Heights Baptist Church at 6 p.m.
Brackett said the turnout last month was great and they were hoping to reach more young people since students are out of school for the summer.
Brackett said for more information, you may call her at 870-784-4215 or the pastor of Kern Heights, Jordan Hodge at 816-263-1618.
DE QUEEN CHURCH OF CHRIST INVITES AREA RESIDENTS TO BREAKFAST EVERY TUESDAY AND THURSDAY 6/26/15
Stacy Faulkenberry is a teacher in the De Queen School District and sees hunger up close and personal everyday at work and he realizes some students aren't able to have a healthy breakfast during the summer, so he and members of the De Queen Church of Christ have decided to serve breakfast every Tuesday and Thursday during the month of July.
Faulkenberry stated the church offers other ministries to help those in need, and realizes there are several similar programs in the area. But, he and others felt this was a need that had been overlooked.
The church is located at 1305 W. Collin Raye Drive and is across the street from the hospital. If you have any questions, call the church at 870-584-3226.
DIERKS SCHOOL DISTRICT UPDATED ON WEYERHAEUSER PILOT PROGRAM 6/26/15
Dierks Superintendent Holly Cothern informed KDQN that she updated the Dierks Board of Education concerning the Payment In Lieu Of Taxes agreement that the City of Dierks had entered into with Weyerhaeuser.
Cothern stated the district is currently holding an ACT school and the board approved the purchase on new textbooks.
Cothern mentioned the Arkansas School Board Association had recommended several policy changes but the board voted to table those issues until next month, however, they did approve an increase in the school lunch prices.
Cothern said the district added another person to the district's substitute teacher list, but they are still accepting applications for a literacy teacher and a basketball coach.
Board members also approved the transfer of eight students into the district and one out of the district.
QUEEN WILHELMINA STATE PARK LODGE SET TO REOPEN JULY 1ST 6/26/15
Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge on Rich Mountain will reopen on July 1st following a $9.6 million renovation, according to State Parks Director Greg Butts.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge sets on Arkansas’ second highest peak at 2,681-foot.
Butts said, the improvements to this lodge that opened by the state of Arkansas in 1975 should receive rave reviews when it reopens. He noted the lodge will feature all new windows that will give park visitors a more wide open view from all the lodge’s public rooms, including the restaurant and all the guest rooms.
The exterior of the lodge features shingles and stonework. The lodge was expanded from 25,881 square feet to 37,029 square feet to include the addition of a new heath room with a wood-burning fireplace, two additional guest rooms increasing the total to 40, and more space within all the rooms.
The guest rooms on each floor at the west end include gas fireplaces and spa tubs.
The upstairs meeting facility increased in size and includes a balcony overlooking the south view from the mountain. An elevator was added to the lodge, as well as more stairwells. A wrap-around porch on the building’s south side will provide visitors with comfortable outdoor space. A new porch was added at the west end. And a new fire protection system covers the entire building.
Other improvements include a new energy efficient heating and air-conditioning system, energy saving lighting throughout, solar hot water, and other such features. A new laundry will serve that housekeeping staff.
The project was funded by Amendment 75, Arkansas’s Conservation Fund, grant monies from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council and State Parks Funds.
Today’s lodge is the third hostelry to grace the same site. The first inn was opened in 1898 by the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad and was designed as a resort retreat for passengers on the line.
The resort was named in honor of the Netherlands’ young Queen Wilhelmina. Known as the “Castle in the Sky,” the inn closed in only three years.
The second Queen Wilhelmina inn was built by the Arkansas State Parks and operated by the state of Arkansas in 1963 and was destroyed by a fire in the fall of 1973.
Today’s Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge opened in 1975. Visitors and guests can contact the lodge when it opens on July 1st to make reservations by calling 1-800-264-2477 or by visiting the website: QueenWilhemina.com.
This Week's News:
4-H CLOVERBUD AND JUNIOR DAY CAMP 6/25/15
On June 9th, Sevier County 4-H held its annual Cloverbud and Junior Day Camp at the Cossatot Reefs State Park. This year's them was "Wild About the Outdoors" and 24 4-H'ers showed up to learn about outdoor living.
Harrell Sherwood is with the Arkansas Forestry Commission and he taught 4-H'ers to ID trees, while Robin Stacy from the Natural Resource Conservation Service taught them how to use two sticks to "fiddle for worms."
Sevier County Extension agent Rex Herring taught 'baitcasting" and 4-H program assistant, Dawn Leeper, taught them how to identify wild animal tracks and their furs.
County Extension agent Janet Cantrell taught the 4-H'ers to make their own lunch. Each 4-H'er had the opportunity to season their own hamburger patty and then add a variety of vegetables to a foil packet to be cooked on the grill.
If you would like more information about the Sevier County 4-H program, contact the extension office at 870-584-3013.
AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS TO COMPETE DURING ANNUAL FIELD DAY 6/25/15
Amateur radio operators, Dale Janes and Bill Lee, stopped by the KDQN studios to invite the public to their Field Day this Saturday at the pavilion in the De Queen Sportsplex beginning at 1 p.m.
Lee explained Field Day is a contest that actually last until Sunday at 1 p.m.
Lee said there are 37 licensed amateur radio operators in Sevier County, but they will be set up to give the HAM radio operator test on Saturday to anyone who is interested in HAM radio.
Other HAM radio operators from McCurtain County, Oklahoma and the surrounding Arkansas counties have also been invited to participate during their annual Field Day.
For more information, call Janes at 870-642-2062.
Janes explained that HAM radio operators never say goodbye, but only sign-off by saying 73, which means I’ll see you later.
FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES UPDATES TO HANDBOOKS AND SCHOOL POLICIES 6/25/15
Members of the Foreman Board of Education voted not to approve a recommendation from the Arkansas School Board Association that would allow board members to attend meetings remotely.
However, Superintendent George Kennedy reported the board approved several changes to the elementary and high school handbooks that were recommended by the Arkansas School Board Association, as well as raising the cost of school lunches to $2 per student.
Kennedy also reported the district was also having some carpet installed in the band room, preschool classrooms and high school counselor’s office.
Kennedy mentioned Lisa Frady resigned, but the district will not be replacing her, however, they are still advertising for some coaches and bus drivers.
Kennedy said the district was busy this summer getting ready for the 2015-2016 school year.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT MOVING 3RD GRADE TO L.F. HENDERSON CAMPUS 6/24/15
Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders announced this week that the Ashdown School System will be moving the 3rd grade onto the L.F. Henderson campus beginning with the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.
L.F. Henderson will now be composed of grades 3rd through 5th grades and Keith Frick will still be the L.F. Henderson principal.
There will also be some minor changes to the elementary campuses.
The Margaret Daniel and C.D. Franks buildings will still be named the same, but they will now be collectively known as the Ashdown Elementary. The Ashdown Elementary will be made up of grades Pre-K through 2nd grade. Teresa Wake will be the Ashdown Elementary Principal.
Sanders explained there were two reasons for these changes.
Sanders stated by making this change the district will be able to reduce the number of principal positions in the district and by moving the 3rd grade to the L.F. Henderson campus, each principal will be responsible for three grades each.
Sanders said, if they did not make this move, then one principal would have been responsible for four grades and the other would have been responsible for two.
Sanders said this move will make the schools run more efficient.
The other reason for the move is the district is planning to undertake some major renovations on the Ashdown Elementary campus in the future and by moving the 3rd grade out of the C.D. Franks building, it will be easier for the district to make those renovations.
If parents have any questions or concerns, they make contact either campus or the superintendent’s office.
DE QUEEN DISTRICT RENEWS CONTRACT WITH FIRST SECURITY 6/24/15
During a special called meeting of the De Queen Board of Education, board members approved the proposed budget of expenditures for the 2016-2017 school year and agreed to renew the district’s agreement with First Security Beardsley Public Finance to be the district’s financial advisor.
Hill stated First Security would also help the district if they ever needed to ask for a millage increase.
The agreement with First Security is for three-years.
SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS FLOOD RECOVERY MEETING SET FOR JULY 2ND 6/24/15
Crop and livestock experts from the Extension services in Arkansas and Texas will be holding a meeting on Thursday, July 2nd from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ag Learning Center at the Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana, Arkansas.
The meeting is to help provide flood recovery tactics for farmers and ranchers in the Red River basin.
There is no cost to attend, but attendees are being asked to RSVP by the close of business on Wednesday, July 1st, so they will have a head count for dinner. To RSVP call 870-779-3609, text 903-293-2097 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Speakers will discuss crop options and varieties as well as soil fertility; insects, diseases and weed control; government programs; herd health and what ranchers should vaccinate their cattle for; and hay and pasture recovery options.
For more information about flood recovery, contact the Sevier County Extension office at 870-584-3013.
TAKING A NAP IN A HOTEL PARKING LOT 6/24/15
Saturday morning about 11 a.m. Patrolman Justin Gentry and Patrolman J.J. Lopez of the De Queen Police Department were dispatched to the Palace Motel parking lot in reference to a woman that appeared to have passed out in her vehicle.
When the officers arrived, they discovered 41-year-old Lynwood Jennet asleep in the driver’s seat of her Pontiac G6. According to the incident report, the car was running, but Jennet was unresponsive.
After Jennet woke up, she informed Officer Lopez that she had driven to the Palace from Idabel, Oklahoma. She allegedly smelt like alcohol; had bloodshot eyes and her speech was slurred.
Officers also noticed two open beer cans in the center console of the vehicle with a lit cigarette sitting on top of them.
After failing a series of field sobriety test, Jennet was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.
TEXARKANA MAN CITIED FOR MISDEMEANOR POSSESSION 6/24/15
Saturday night about 10:30 p.m. Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department pulled over a vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot for not having a license plate.
Browning reported the driver, 24-year-old Trent Thomas of Texarkana, had blood shot eyes, however, he did not smell any alcohol.
Thomas was then issued a warning for not having a license plate and was asked about his bill of sale and title.
Browning asked Thomas why his eyes were bloodshot and if he had been smoking any marijuana recently. Thomas allegedly stated that he had smoked some earlier and he had some in the vehicle.
Thomas allegedly retrieved a clear bag that contained suspected marijuana from the center console and handed it to Browning. Thomas was issued a misdemeanor citation for possession of a controlled substance, marijuana and released.
Browning reported that the reason Thomas was not taken to jail was because he was dispatched to assist another officer with a different traffic stop.
UA COSSATOT UPGRADING PHONE SYSTEM 6/24/15
UA Cossatot's director of marketing, Alisha Lewis, announced Tuesday morning that along with the new text book program and several college-wide improvements, UA Cossatot is also upgrading its phone system.
Lewis stated Windstream would be converting the De Queen campus today and the Nashville and Ashdown campuses would be upgraded next week.
Lewis said if anyone needs any information about UA Cossatot, while the De Queen campus’s phone system was down, they will still be able to contact the Nashville and Ashdown campuses directly.
The number to the Nashville campus is 870-845-2454 and the Ashdown campus number is 870-898-4733.
Lewis explained the communication system upgrade will allow UA Cossatot to better serve the students and the communities that they represent.
ASHDOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES SCHOOL LOGO AND COLORS 6/23/15
Members of the Ashdown Board of Education approved some renovations to the old Ashdown High School. Superintendent Jason Sanders reported the district plans to convert the old high school into the new administration building.
Board members voted to purchase computer lab equipment from White River in the amount of $46,099.69 and Sanders said they hired Gene Hawk of the De Queen-Mena Educational Co-op as a facility consultant.
Sanders stated the board voted to promote Kay York from the Margaret Daniel Primary principal to high school principal.
Sanders also explained that the district did not change the school's logo or colors but voted to make all logos and colors, uniform throughout the district.
Board members also accepted several bids to remove some portable buildings that were not being utilized by the district.
FOUR MEN IN A TRUCK TWO GO TO JAIL 6/23/15
Friday evening about 6:30, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department reported he noticed a tan truck on Highway 70 West with one occupant close to falling out of the moving truck.
Browning made a traffic stop and spoke with the driver, Eric Dockins, while speaking with Dockins, Browning asked for id's from the other three men. Browning stated all three appeared to be shaking and one suspect, 22-year-old Michael Richbourg, stated he did not have his driver's license but it was valid in Oklahoma.
Browning stated that he noticed Richbourg's eye's were blood shot and watery and smelt like alcohol. Browning also reported he noticed the odor of marijuana coming from inside the truck.
After receiving permission to search the vehicle, Browning discovered an open Keystone Light beer can and a small clear bag containing suspected marijuana. Richbourg was then placed into custody because the items were found under the passenger seat where he was sitting.
Richbourg allegedly admitted the beer was his, but stated he didn't know who the marijuana belonged to.
Richbourg was then informed that since the marijuana was within two inches of the beer that it was his and Richbourg was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, marijuana.
After asking the other occupants of the truck if the marijuana was theirs, an occupant in the bed of the truck, 35-year-old Michael Willis, allegedly admitted that it was his.
Willis also allegedly admitted to drinking about 12 beers and some whiskey.
Willis was charged with possession of a controlled substance, marijuana and public intoxication.
LITTLE RIVER COUNTY JUDGE ISSUES RED RIVER ADVISORY 6/23/15
Little River County Judge Mike Cranford announced that based on the current forecast of river levels by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that he has issued a continuing advisory for those who reside or own property near the Red River and the Little River in Little River County.
Cranford stated that he didn't expect the degree of flooding that the area experienced recently, but he suggested residents relocate livestock and equipment to higher ground and away from the low lying areas.
Cranford also said residents who live near the river should be ready to relocate if the rivers continue to rise as predicted by the National Weather Service and that those who rent or lease property that is near the rivers contact their lessees and advise them of potential flooding.
Cranford said the Little River County office of emergency management will continue to monitor the situation and if necessary communicate with those who have the potential to be affected by rising water levels.
Cranford said if you have any questions or additional concerns that you should contact his office at 870-898-7202.
NON-VIOLENCE YOUTH SUMMIT IN DE QUEEN SUNDAY 6/23/15
Du Shun Scarbrough of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission announced they will be holding a non-violence youth summit in De Queen on Sunday, June 28th from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Herman Dierks Park.
Scarbrough explained the commission works with the assistance of the Arkansas Department of Human Services to coordinate the non-violence program.
The program is designed to encourage youth ages 10 to 18 to engage in positive leadership development and roles within the community. The event is free to the public and it will include a vendor showcase, an exhibition soccer game and a family fun festival atmosphere.
The Arkansas MLK, Jr. Commission works directly with youth by encouraging them to embrace racial and cultural diversity through one of the commission's area partners in education. The summit is designed to help youth achieve Dr. King's dream of understanding and acceptance of nonviolence and human equality through building common unity among all Arkansans.
THREE RESCUED DONKEYS SURVIVE 6/23/15
Three donkeys who survived the Red River flood in Little River County, continue to recover with the care of local veterinarian Dr. Kenneth Martin and other volunteers.
According to the original report, seven donkeys were found June 5th standing in about 4-feet of Red River floodwaters. The donkeys were rescued by Little River County law enforcement officers and volunteers by using ropes and boats to herd them to safety.
Four of the donkeys have died.
The surviving donkeys were placed on the property of a private citizen.
Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory reported his office was attempting to find the person or persons who abandoned the donkeys.
The donkeys were originally found under a large tree that was down the hill from the command center on U.S. Highway 71 near Odgen.
BIG BASS BONANZA IS RESCHEDULED FOR JULY 17-19 6/22/15
The Arkansas Big Bass Bonanza has been rescheduled for the weekend of July 17 through 19, due to excessive water flows on the Arkansas River.
All current tournament registrations will be honored for the new dates, and the tournament rules and prize pay-out arrangements will remain the same. Anglers who are already registered and plan to participate in July won't need to do anything else, except show up on the days they are registered.
Contestants who have registered and are unable to participate in July may receive a refund of their entry fees. For a refund request form, contact the Arkansas Hospitality Association at 501-376-2323. Refund requests must be postmarked by Friday, June 26th.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray reported earlier this week that the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce Big Bass Festival is still scheduled for Saturday, June 27th, but it still depends on how much rain we get between now and this weekend.
Judge Ray said the chamber will hold the tournament if the boat ramps that they use for the weigh-ins are open.
The tournament is scheduled for 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. on the De Queen, Gillham and Dierks Lakes.
The registration fee is $45 and but it will go up to $50 on Friday, June 26th at 6 p.m. An early "late" registration will be held at the chamber office from 4 to 6 p.m. on the 26th.
Judge Ray said you should stay tuned to KDQN for any updated information.
CITY OF DE QUEEN PREPARING FOR LET FREEDOM RING CELEBRATION 6/22/15
Chris Hale of the De Queen Parks and Recreation Department announced this year's annual "Let Freedom Ring" celebration will be on Friday, July 3rd at the De Queen Sportsplex.
Hale said groups may set up a booth to raise funds, but all vendors will need to sign up in the park office and space is limited.
This year's "Let Freedom Ring" event will feature the Midnight Hurricanes. However, this year, they are planning to have a talent hour for local residents at 7:30. Each person or group will have about 10 minutes to perform and according to Hale there's only one spot remaining to be filled.
Hale said last year's event was a huge success, but if you have any questions, you can contact the park office at 642-4140.
The grand finale will once again be a giant firework show and the event is free to the public.
CONSUMER ALERT: BOATING SAFETY 6/22/15
Arkansans are looking for ways to cool down during the long summer days and many will head to one of the state's beautiful lakes or rivers.
With more than 200,000 boats registered statewide according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, many residents spend a lot of time boating to beat the heat, but boaters need to remember to be cautious on the water.
Recently, a 14-year-old girl was killed in Arkansas in a jet ski accident and a Missouri man was killed a few days ago after being struck by lightning in his boat.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a consumer alert to caution Arkansans about the potential dangers of boating.
Last year, 72 boating accidents were reported by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, with operator inattention being the number one cause. Alcohol was another contributing factor in eight of those accidents.
Attorney General Rutledge released these tips to boating safety: check local weather conditions before departure and if you notice darkening clouds, volatile or rough winds or a sudden drop in temperatures, stay off the water; create and follow a pre-departure checklist; have a first aid kit, signaling devices, a boat anchor, marine radio and a cell phone on board in the case of an emergency; be alert at all times and stay clear of large vessels that may experience difficulty turning or stopping; designate an assistant skipper in case the primary navigator is injured; inform family and friends of your plans; make sure everyone is assigned a proper-fitting life jacket and avoid alcohol while boating.
Arkansas law requires children 12 and under to wear a life jacket at all times while boating or swimming.
Arkansas lawmakers also recently increased the penalties for boating while intoxicated to match those of driving while intoxicated. It is also illegal to operate or physically control a boat if the individual is under the influence of alcohol and that means a first offense could land someone in jail for up to one year, a $1,000 fine and their driver's license suspended for six months.
For more information, visit the websites of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
COUNTY JUDGE ANNOUNCES MELROSE ROAD WILL BE CLOSED BEGINNING JUNE 25 6/22/15
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced this morning that Melrose Road will be closed next week beginning on Thursday, June 25th so contractors can replace some culverts.
Judge Ray said the culverts are located about one mile north of the intersection of Central Road and Melrose Road and about two and half miles south of Highway 71 on Melrose.
Judge Ray said signs will be up and the road will be closed until the project has been completed, which could be anywhere from two weeks to a month.
STATE OFFICIALS SUBMIT JUVENILE JUSTICE PLAN 6/22/15
The Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board is responsible for overseeing the distribution and use of federal juvenile justice funds to support youth development programs and improvements to the state's juvenile justice system. In order for the state to receive federal juvenile justice funds, the state is required to develop a comprehensive three-year plan.
According to Victor Rojas of De Queen who serves on the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board, the State of Arkansas has submitted a plan to the federal government and will focus on the following program areas: School programs, Juvenile Re-entry and Aftercare Services and Juvenile Justice Systems Improvements.
The plan calls for specialized training to be provided to school resource officers.
The state will work to expand and enhance community-based mental health and substance abuse services and mentoring programs will be established to help at-risk and underserved youth.
In May, the Juvenile Justice Board approved the distribution of over $500,000 in federal grant funds to community-based programs that are aimed at preventing juvenile delinquency. The programs are designed to encourage community service, develop leadership skills and increase employability skills.
Rojas stated these programs are expected to serve thousands of young Arkansans.
Rojas said residents can rest assured that their taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely on services that produce positive outcomes for Arkansas families.
ARREST MADE IN LOCKESBURG BURGLARY 6/19/15
On June 12th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Wendall Randall took a report concerning a break-in at Jim's Boot Shop.
The owner of Jim's Boot Shop, James Graves, informed Deputy Randall that when he arrived at his shop on the 12th that he discovered a window broken out on the north side of his building. Graves reported about $100 in cash was missing from the cash register.
Deputy Randall also took a report from David Conaster who is an employee at the Lockesburg store of the Sevier County Co-op.
Conaster reported that when he arrived at work, he noticed the glass in the front door was broken and the door was unlocked, but he didn't find anything missing from the store.
Deputy Randall then obtained video footage from the EZ-Mart store.
After reviewing the video, deputies identified a white Ford F-150 pickup drop off a male subject at the Co-op about 12 a.m. Friday morning; however, the driver continued to EZ-Mart and purchased gas.
Deputies identified the driver as 19-year-old Robert Wallace Jr. After purchasing gas, Wallace drove back to the Co-op and picked up the other suspect.
While being interviewed on June 16th at the Sevier County Sheriff's office, Wallace reportedly stated that he was coming home from work Friday morning and saw a friend, 18-year-old Gabriel Bell, walking towards Lockesburg and picked him up to give him a ride.
Allegedly, Bell gave Wallace money for gas and he dropped Bell off at the Co-op. Bell allegedly was going to get some money from his aunt or grandmother.
After Wallace got his gas, he said they went to his house on North Park Avenue.
On June 17th, deputies interviewed Bell at the Sevier County Sheriff's office and allegedly, Bell confessed to breaking into the Sevier County Co-op and Jim's Boot Shop.
Bell has been charged with commercial burglary and criminal mischief in the 2nd degree, while Wallace has only been charged with criminal mischief in the 2nd degree.
COSSATOT RIVER BOARD OF EDUCATION ACCEPTS ROOFING BID 6/19/15
Earlier this week, the Cossatot River Board of Education accepted a bid to re-roof the Umpire High School at a cost of $70,231. Superintendent Donnie Davis reported some of the funds will come from the state's facility committee.
Davis stated the board also voted to rescind the purchase of 33 computers that was approved last month and accepted a new bid in the amount of $19,058.33.
Two teachers, Susan Brewer and Lakyn Cowart, were reassigned and the board accepted the resignations of Tonya Robb and Sharrell Pearce. Davis stated the district hired Raisa Whisenhunt and David Donica, but still have some positions open.
A salary in the amount of $57,100 was a approved for high school assistant Principal Mickey Ford and the board approved the transfers of one student to the De Queen School District and one from the Horatio School District.
DEEPER THAN SKILLS FOOTBALL CAMP 6/19/15
De Queen High School graduate Greg 'Fatty' White will be hosting a Deeper than Skills Football Camp next week in the Herman Dierks Park for athletes entering 3rd-12th grade.
White said several college players will be in attendance to speak with players during the camp and players will participate in Pro Day like exercises.
White said he hopes young athletes will develop their skills, but he also wants to drive home the point that it takes more than athleticism to succeed. He said it takes commitment, staying healthy and living a good lifestyle. White explained that a good lifestyle meant no drinking, no smoking and no drugs.
White said he never had the opportunity to attend this type of camp when he was growing up here in De Queen, but he earned a full scholarship to the University of Missouri and graduated in the fall of 2013 and is currently working on a masters in Human Performance Science.
The camp will be broken down into three groups. The first group is for 7th, 8th and 9th graders and they will meet from 8 until 10 a.m. each day. The second group will be 3rd through 6th grades and they will meet from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and the 10th, 11th and 12th grade athletes will meet from 2 to 4 p.m.
For more information, call White at 870-557-6051 or the De Queen Park and Recreation Department at 642-4140.
IMPROVEMENTS BEING MADE TO FOREMAN WATER SYSTEM 6/19/15
City of Foreman water department officials reported Wednesday afternoon that for the next several days, water in certain areas of the city would be turned off while crews tie-into the city's new water lines.
They reported they expected water to be shut-off from about 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. everyday for about the next week.
Officials stated they appreciated the patience and understanding of the Foreman residents.
UA COSSATOT COLTS PERFORMING WELL AT NATIONAL FINALS RODEO 6/19/15
The UA Cossatot Colts team roping duo of Brody Braden and Tanner Caudle are performing well in the first three rounds of the 2015 College National Finals Rodeo this week in Casper, Wyoming.
Braden and Caudle were in the 23rd spot after the first round, but moved up to number 19 after the second round and then claimed the number one spot following the third round with a time of 5.5 seconds.
Whitney DeSalvo is also competing well. She is currently in 35th place after two rounds in the Breakaway Roping competition with an average time of 14.7 seconds.
The College National Finals Rodeo is the Rose Bowl of college rodeo and Saturday night the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association will crown individual event champions in saddle bronc riding, bare back riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and goat tying.
National team championships will also be awarded to both men's and women's teams.
Over 400 cowboys and cowgirls from over 100 universities and colleges are competing in Casper.
The finals on Saturday night will also be taped and televised at a later date.
AFTER RECORD CREST, CORPS OF ENGINEERS BEGINS PROCESS OF LOWERING MILLWOOD LAKE 6/18/15
The Army Corps of Engineers of the Little Rock District began larger releases from Millwood Lake after flood waters downstream receded.
Millwood crested June 14th at 282.9 feet, a new pool of record elevation. The Corps will continue to increase releases from Millwood, as channel capacity allows, until the lake elevation is back down to 259 feet, which is the top of its conservation pool.
Currently, 38,500 cubic feet of captured flood water is being released from Millwood Lake. This amount will change as the Red River conditions change in accordance with the Millwood Lake water control plan.
Engineer Aaron Short reported they were coordinating with the Tulsa and Vicksburg districts to ensure that the Millwood releases wouldn't increase the risk of flooding downstream. He also stated Millwood Lake was doing its job of holding storm runoff until they can release it in a controlled manner once they have the channel capacity downstream.
ALDERMEN VOTE TO ABANDON A PORTION OF JANSSEN STREET 6/18/15
Tuesday night members of the Kern Heights Baptist Church asked the De Queen City Council to abandon a portion of Janssen Street just east of 9th Street.
Since there was no opposition to the request, aldermen voted to close the portion of street that runs between 9th and 7th streets. Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy stated he had been informed the church as future plans to build a new building.
Pastor of Kern Heights, Jordan Hodges, expressed his appreciation to the council and said the closing of Janssen Street will allow the church to better serve the City of De Queen.
Aldermen tabled a request for utility assistance from the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library.
Head Librarian Johnye Fisher explained that the library's funding was being cut next year and was hoping the city would help pay the libraries utility bills. She said the Cities of Horatio, Lockesburg, Ben Lomond and Gillham, pay the utilities for their branches of the county library.
McKelvy reported the city had hired a electrician to repair the lights in the downtown De Queen area, but about a third of the 80 lights are still not working.
After hearing a request from Legacy Initiatives to make the De Queen City Parks tobacco-free, aldermen asked to see some signs that stated the parks were tobacco-free. Mayor McKelvy informed KDQN that he felt this was a good idea, but was concerned about the enforcement of any new policy.
McKelvy also reported the city had picked up storm debris from all across the city, but was now picking up brush at homes that are calling the De Queen City Hall.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL ACT SUMMER PREP SCHOOL 6/18/15
Applications are being accepted at the De Queen High School for their summer ACT prep classes which will be held July 20th through the 23rd and July 27th through the 30th from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day.
De Queen students may attend for free, but the cost for students from other school districts is $100. De Queen students who attend every day will be able to take the September 12th ACT exam for free.
Students will also be able to attend two refresher nights on Tuesday, September 1st and Tuesday, September 8th from 5 to 7 p.m. prior to the September 12th ACT.
Applications should be turned in at the De Queen High School office by Thursday, July 9th in order for teachers to plan for the correct number of materials.
For more information, call the De Queen High School at 642-2426.
KIAMICHI OWA-CHITO GOSPEL NIGHT 6/18/15
The 2015 Kiamichi Owa-Chito festival Gospel singing will be this Friday, starting at 6 p.m. in the Broken Bow City Park. There will be four groups performing this year, including the Jerry Times Band, Red Roots, Victory Life of Broken Bow Praise Team and the featured group, Debra Black Ministry.
Debra Black grew up in a Christian home and her new single, "Bright," is an upbeat song encourages believers to be a light in the darkness. Debra said it’s her desire to be a beacon of hope to people.
The Red Roots have a stage persona that's as fiery as their blazing red locks. These triplets, Nika, Natalie and Nicole will engage the crowd with their story through real life lyrics and rolling banjos intertwined with rocking guitars.
In 2014, the Red Roots released their third album and it was recently nominated for a Dove Award in the category of "Country Album of the Year."
LARRY GATLIN AND THE GATLIN BROTHERS CONCERT IS A BENEFIT 6/18/15
Many people talk about the generosity of Sevier County residents. Folks around this area are always willing to help and this Saturday, they will not only have the opportunity to help their communities, but will have the chance to hear one of country music's amazing families perform.
On Tuesday afternoon, Collin Raye Benefit Concert Committee members, Bonita Smith and Patty Sharp, said the concert started after the City of De Queen named Highway 70/71 after him. Smith said, Raye was touched by the city’s actions and decided to form the benefit concert committee to give back to the community.
They also stated, the college, local schools, 4-H, boy and girl scouts and other local organizations have benefited from Collin Raye Benefit Concert grants.
This year's concert will start at 6:30 p.m. at the UA Cossatot Amphitheater, which the committee provided funds to help build, with the Midnight Hurricanes followed by Larry, Steve and Rudy Gatlin.
Smith stated if you want to help your community, all you have to do is purchase a ticket. Advance tickets are still available and general admission tickets are only $15, while reserved seats are $25. To purchase tickets, stop by the KDQN studios at 921 Collin Raye Drive, call 870-642-2446 or visit the website: www.southwestarkansasconcerts.com.
SUMMERTIME DIAMOND MINING 6/18/15
Summer is one of the busiest seasons for the Crater of Diamond State Park with thousands of people visiting the park during the months of June, July and August. However, precautions should be taken to limit sun exposure and to prevent heat-related illness while diamond mining or participating in any other outdoor activities during this time of year.
During any physical activity, our bodies sweat as a way to cool off and prevent overheating. However, sweating also reduces the amount of water that is in our bodies.
Dehydration can result when our bodies don't have enough water to carry on its normal functions.
Preventing dehydration begins before you ever go outside. On days that you plan to be outdoors for an extended period of time, you should begin drinking water when you first wake and while outdoors, you should take a break about every 15 minutes to cool off and drink more water.
You should also limit your exposure to the sun and try to stay cool, by wearing a hat and lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. It's also recommended that you apply sunscreen to exposed skin to help prevent sunburn.
The Crater of Diamond State Park search area features trees, covered picnic tables and washing pavilions where visitors can escape the sun and cool off during the hottest times of the day.
Even after taking proper precautions, heat related illness can be a major concern during the summer. Muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, and nausea are symptoms of heat exhaustion that, if left untreated, can worsen and become heat stroke.
Pay close attention to children, seniors, and anyone with health problems, as they may be especially prone to heat-related illness.
For early treatment of heat-related illness, move to a cool location, lie down, and loosen any tight clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of the body as possible and sip cool, not cold, but cool water.
You should seek immediate medical attention in the case of vomiting.
The Crater of Diamond State Park is open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily during the summer, and many visitors choose to limit their diamond searching activities to early mornings or late afternoons, when temperatures are somewhat cooler.
For more information about the Crater of Diamonds State Park, visit their website at craterofdiamondsstatepark.com or call 870-285-3113.
SWEPCO EMPLOYEE RECOVERING FROM ACCIDENT 6/18/15
Last Friday morning, a SWEPCO employee from Nashville was injured while working in De Queen on an underground power line on Dawn Ave.
De Queen Police Officers J.J. Lopez and Nikki Nealy where close by and began CPR. A few minutes later, De Queen Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt arrived and also administered CPR until LeAnn Pitchford and Southwest EMS arrived.
Scott McCloud of SWEPCO reported, the employee was taken by helicopter to the burn center at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.
McCloud said the employee was released from the Arkansas Children's Hospital on Sunday and was recuperating in Texarkana.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray expressed his appreciation to those who helped save this man's life.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy informed De Queen aldermen that he was pleased with the quick response by members of the De Queen Police and Fire Departments.
De Queen Police Chief Richard McKinley reported Tuesday night during the De Queen City Council meeting that the man was home and recovering from his injures.
COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK 6/17/15
Cossatot River State Park will be hosting a Cossatot River Weekend Adventure this Saturday and Sunday.
Park interpreters will lead an overnight adventure on the Cossatot River. Participates will enjoy kayaking, backpacking, fishing, hiking, camping, Dutch oven cooking, snorkeling and evening programs.
For more information about the weekend adventure call the park at 870-385-2201. The cost is $95 and covers the kayak and tent rental, food, guides and equipment needed for the tour.
Participates will meet at the park's visitor center at noon on Saturday and they will return the center about 2 p.m. on Sunday.
June 23 through June 25th, the park will host a Wild Wonders day camp for children 5 to 8 years old.
The registration fee is $35 for all three days and includes all supplies, snacks and field trips and park staff announced this morning that they still have spots available. You can pick up a registration form at the Cossatot River State Park visitor center.
For more information about these programs at the Cossatot River State Park, call 870-385-2201.
FIELD DAY 2015 6/17/15
Recent listings of the Federal Communications Commission show 37 licensed amateur radio operators in Sevier County.
The HAM radio operators will be holding their annual Field Day on Saturday, June 27th at the De Queen Sportsplex, across from the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.
Starting about noon on the 27th, HAM radio operators will be setting up antennas, radio communication equipment and emergency power supplies at the Sportsplex pavilion. The public is invited to visit and observe the communication potential that HAM radios can provide in times of crisis, when other means of communications may fail.
Several local HAM operators are certified weather spotters and can serve in this capacity in emergencies.
Field Day also provides HAM radio operators practice for times of emergencies, a camp-out, a picnic, informal contest and most of all fun.
Those interested in becoming a HAM radio operator, or just want to visit, are invited to come out and see the local operations. Invitations have also been extended to HAM radio operators in McCurtain, Oklahoma and neighboring Arkansas counties. For more information, call Mark at 870-582-2166 or Dale Janes at 870-642-2062.
KIAMICHI OWA-CHITO BATTLE OF THE BANDS 6/17/15
The 2015 Kiamichi Owa-Chito festival's Battle of the Bands will be on Thursday, June 18th, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Beavers Bend State Park Amphitheatre. This year, there will be three bands competing. They are Mud Feather, 2 Gun Justice and Jeff Smithhart.
Mud Feather was established five years ago and they strive to have a diverse sample of all genres of rock from classic to alternative to modern.
2 Guns Justice is a five-piece band from Southeast Oklahoma. All five band members are 2nd and 3rd generation musicians that have been playing music most of their lives. So, whether it's classic rock, classic country, pop to Top 40, they can play it.
Jeff Smithhart is a Texas native singer/songwriter who draws no boundaries. He is a seasoned entertainer who has performed for the past 30 years and has developed a strong and loyal Texas fan base that enjoys his high energy yet down to Earth shows.
The Grand Prize winner will win $1,000 and be the opening act for the Saturday night headliner, Mac Powell on June 20th.
LARRY GATLIN AND THE GATLIN BROTHERS CONCERT INFO 6/17/15
Saturday night the Collin Raye Benefit Concert Committee will host Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers during their 17th benefit concert at the UA Cossatot amphitheater at 6:30 p.m.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray is a member of the concert committee and he discussed parking for the concert with KDQN Tuesday morning.
Ray said there will be parking at the Sportsplex, First Assembly of God Church and UA Cossatot, but there will also be remote parking next to Chandler Funeral Home and in the South Park Shopping Center.
Ray said members of the De Queen Fire Department will be directing traffic around the De Queen Sportsplex and providing assistance for concert goers who need help getting from their vehicles to the concert venue.
Tickets are still available for the discounted price of $25 for reserved seats and $15 for general admission.
To purchase tickets stop by the KDQN studios at 921 West Collin Raye Drive or visit the website, www.southwestarkansasconcerts.com. Debit or credit card tickets purchases will cost a dollar extra.
For more information, call 870-642-2446.
SEVIER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE REPORT 6/17/15
As of June 15th, the Sevier County Relay for Life has raised $24,262.16. However, Sevier County Relay for Life teams are not officially finished yet.
As of June 15th, the De Queen Junior High School Relay for Life team raised $8,450 by working the concession stands at athletic events, holding luncheons, selling snacks and by selling chicken dinners.
The De Queen Junior High team started taking donations in August of 2014 and they will continue to accept donations through the end of July.
Due to the bad weather and local power outages that hit the area during their Relay for Life event in May, they have decided to hold a Relay for Life Celebration on Saturday, July 11th at 5 p.m. in the Herman Dierks Park in De Queen.
At 6 p.m., they will honor Sevier County cancer survivors and hold the Survivor Walk on the shaded walking trail in the park.
The luminary ceremony will take place at 9 p.m. and all of the luminaries that were previously purchased will be lit, but if you would like to purchase a luminary in honor of a loved one that is still fighting or in memory of a loved one, you can contact anyone Sevier County Relay for Life team member.
If you would like to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society, you do not have to be a part of a team; simply contact Emmy Bailey at 870-784-3053 for more information.
LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL APPROVES BUILDING PERMIT 6/16/15
During the June meeting of the Lockesburg City Council, aldermen approved a building permit for Jason Roberts so he can set up a double wide mobile home on West Pine Street.
Aldermen then approved water adjustments for Keith Friday, Roy Austin and Jessie Durham totaling $634.21.
Aldermen also moved $100 from the supply line item to the mileage line item in the city's Street Fund.
HORATIO BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO FUND A RESOURCE OFFICER 6/16/15
During the June meeting of the Horatio Board of Education, board members accepted the resignations of Kerry Bartholomew, Magan Dorsey, Misty Gentry, Natasha Click and Shirley Tipton. Superintendent Lee Smith reported the board also voted to hire Melissa Patrick, Sharrell Pearce, Elizabeth Bollinger and Jennifer West.
Smith said board members also voted to fund a resource officer through the 2020-2021 school years.
Smith explained the board approved the request from the Sevier County Quorum Court for a vote assuring the court that the district would be funding the position, even if the district was not approved for the COPS grant.
Smith said board members passed a resolution to hold the Horatio School Board election by early and absentee voting only if the candidate is unopposed.
Board members also approved a student transfer to the Cossatot River School District.
LOCAL PHARMACISTS UPDATES PUBLIC ON PBM LEGISLATION 6/16/15
Harris Drugs and Gifts owner, Renee Logan, spoke with KDQN about a piece of legislation that is set to become law on July 1st that is expected to help independent pharmacist cover the cost of certain medications.
Logan stated that she attended the committee hearings earlier this year in Little Rock in support of a bill that would help regulate PBMs or Pharmacy Benefit Management groups.
Logan explained PBMs determine what pharmacies will be paid for medications and she stated one of the main problems was the fact that PBMs did not publish their formulas for pharmacy repayments.
Logan stated it will take some time for the issue to be resolved, but she and other independent pharmacists are hoping it will get better soon.
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught also reported that legislators gathered last week in Little Rock to announce a new campaign that they hope will lead to more leads in the 20-year old kidnapping case of Morgan Nick.
Nick was kidnapped from a baseball field in Alma and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has also released a new age-progressed photo of Morgan.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, they have a list of 20 Arkansans who are currently missing.
For more information about missing person cases in Arkansas, you can visit the website: www.arkansashouse.org.
FOREMAN WATER TO BE SHUT OFF 6/16/15
An official with the water department of City of Foreman announced Monday afternoon that water to the city of Foreman will be shut off on Tuesday, so water crews can tie-in the new lines.
TOO DRUNK TO USE SIGNAL 6/16/15
Saturday morning, De Queen Police Department Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker observed a blue pickup make a turn without using a turn signal on 9th Street.
The driver, Liobardo Munoz-Lopez, only had a Mexico ID and smelt like alcohol.
Baker stated Lopez failed a series of sobriety test and was placed into custody for driving while intoxicated and for not having a driver's license.
Then on Sunday night, officers were dispatched to a residence on 12th Street concerning a fight that was in progress.
Patrolman First Class Levi Browning reported when he arrived he witnessed a male subject sitting on the tailgate of a truck who was bleeding from his mouth and eye with another male subject standing next to him.
The two men were identified as Dwaine Jewell and his son, James Jewell.
The two men informed Officer Browning that they had been in a fight with Joseph Sparks who was still in the house. At that time, Officer Browning reported that he heard screaming coming from inside the house and drew his service weapon after hearing a female scream, "He has a knife."
When Browning entered the house, he reported the man did not have anything in his hands and came outside towards Browning. Browning said he holstered his weapon and pulled out his taser and informed the man to settle down.
The suspect then ran back into the house and Officer Browning was assisted by Sergeant Chad Bradshaw.
At that point, the officers reported the man wrestled with officers until they could place into custody.
The subject was identified as 46-year-old Joseph Sparks of De Queen.
Sparks was charged with two counts of domestic battery in the third degree and resisting arrest. Sparks was then transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center for observation.
DOMTAR EMPLOYEES PARTNER WITH HARVEST TEXARKANA TO PROVIDE WEEKEND SNACK PACKS FOR CHILDREN IN ASHDOWN SCHOOLS 06/16/15
It started with an "Adopt a BackPack" campaign in the clock alley of Domtar-Ashdown Mill and just grew from there. In less than eight weeks, generous Domtar employees had donated a total of $5200, enough to fill weekend backpacks with food for 52 Ashdown youngsters in grades K-3 for the entire 2015-16 school year.
The idea originated with Anna McFarland, Domtar pulp maintenance planner who is a member of SWAT (Safety, Wellness, Action Team) of Domtar, as part of the new initiative of the team to perform community projects quarterly. After coordinating with Camille Wrinkle, Executive Director of Harvest Texarkana, McFarland and her teammates set up an "Adopt a BackPack" center in the employee clock alley of the mill, where a $100 donation funded a Weekend Snack Pack for a child, and broadened the challenge by conducting a "bucket drive" for additional donations.
The BackPacks for Kids program has been operating in the Ashdown Schools since about 2001 and was originally coordinated through the Arkansas Rice Depot. The school district's counselors now work with Harvest Texarkana because of its proximity and available resources, as well as Harvest's commitment to the welfare of kids in this region's elementary schools.
According to Harvest Texarkana's 2015 Spring newsletter The Dish, "The backpack program currently reaches over 700 children on 22 different campuses in 10 school districts, ensuring the most vulnerable students in our public schools have access to enough food for their mental, emotional and physical development." Through this program, Harvest is serving the highest number of students on record, according to The Dish.
Margaret Daniel Primary School counselor Yvonne Bond states that the Weekend Snack Packs go to children who have been identified as economically disadvantaged and in need of additional nutrition when school lunches are not available. "Snack Packs include non-perishable items," Bond continues, "such as breakfast bars or cereal, pudding, juice boxes, pasta meals, etc."
Ashdown School District and its youngsters thank the Domtar employees and Harvest Texarkana for showing such support and commitment to helping those in need. Other companies and organizations are encouraged to do the same thing for hungry kids by contributing non-perishables for Harvest Texarkana pantries or by calling 870-774-1398.
(l to r) Teresa Wake, C. D. Franks Elementary Principal ; Yvonne Bond, Margaret Daniel Primary Counselor ; Loretta Price, CDF Counselor; Camille Coker, Executive Director of Harvest Texarkana ; Bob Grygotis, General Manager of Domtar-Ashdown Mill ; Anna McFarland, Domtar Pulp Mill Maintenance Planner ; and Kim Horn, Domtar Safety Administrator.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GYM NAMED AFTER BELOVED TEACHER 06/16/15
Over 4500 elementary students remember Mrs. Evelyn Bell as an energetic, dedicated and inspiring physical education teacher during her almost 40 years with the Ashdown School District, so it is quite appropriate that the elementary gymnasium located on the C. D. Franks Elementary/Margaret Daniel Primary Schools' campus be officially given the name "Evelyn Bell Gym." The official naming ceremony, a surprise for Mrs. Bell, took place on May 29 as the kick-off event for the schools' annual Field Day for students, which can also be attributed to Bell's efforts while a P.E. teacher for the district.
Beginning as a math/science teacher, Bell initiated the physical education program for elementary-age children in the Ashdown School System on the Burke Street Elementary campus and later at what is now CDF/MDP, transitioning completely to a health/P.E. teacher. She believed that being physically fit was a very worthwhile part of a student's total education and served on the state committee to rewrite the P.E. curriculum in the early '80s.
Mrs. Bell's P.E. program wrapped around the entire school and community, and everyone looked forward to the half-time performances she choreographed for her students during high school home basketball and football games. The home side attendance was greatly increased, and she used this venue to enhance her P.E. program and its curriculum as the elementary students brought physical fitness to the forefront.
In the early '90s, Bell helped to establish the Presidential Youth Fitness Program in Ashdown Schools, which involved a pre- and post-test for the students and encouraged them to set personal goals and work toward them all year. She also organized various activities and challenges for the staff, inspiring everyone to become more physically fit.
In addition, Mrs. Bell organized the very first L. F. Henderson Intermediate School Olympics event after being inspired by the 1996 Olympics held in Atlanta, Georgia. The LFH Olympics, where every homeroom adopts a country and learns about it prior to competition day, have since educated many youngsters about foreign countries and their part in the World Olympics, in addition to the full day of Olympic-style events and contests.
The gym now named "Evelyn Bell Gym" was built in 1981 after Bell, with the help of then high school coach and P.E. teacher Helen Parker, pleaded that she needed a place "to get the students out of the rain." Before then, Mrs. Bell taught students wherever she could find a place -- often in a crowded classroom. She campaigned for the building, getting the message out that the youngest Panthers needed a place to have physical education too.
Evelyn graduated from Little River County Training School in Ashdown in 1962 and then from A.M.&N. (now UAPB) in Pine Bluff and went to work for Ashdown School District immediately as a junior high math/science teacher before becoming an advocate for children's physical fitness. Mrs. Bell was named Teacher of the Year in 2003, and retired in 2006. Her contributions to church and community also demonstrate her commitment to others. Since the age of 12, she has been active in the St. Luke Baptist Church and later the Cedar Missionary Baptist Church, where she has served as Sunday School teacher, choir member, and member of Women's Auxiliary and Program Committee.
In her community, Bell has served on the American Heart Association board, Secretary of the Ashdown YMCA, Little River County Hospital Board, United Way Board of Directors, and Detachment Committee for the Arkansas Athletics Association.
The daughter of the late Buster and Bennie Nelson, Evelyn married Joe Bell in 1966, who has been there supporting her work and helping out whenever needed. Their children are Darhyl DeWayne, Monica Mariea, and Sedren Stephon.
CITY OF LOCKESBURG BOIL ORDER LIFTED 06/15/15
The Department of Health has released the “Boil Water” Notice confirmed on 6/9/2015 9:53:53 AM by Danny Ruth for the Entire System. This order was issued as a precautionary measure because of the possibility that contaminated water may have entered the distribution system as a result of complete loss in normal system pressure.
Bacteriological samples taken on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 were found to be free of bacterial contamination 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.
LOCAL AUTHOR JAMES BABB RECEIVES STATE AND NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS 6/15/15
The historical fiction adventure series by local author James Babb continues to receive recognition for "The Devil's Backbone" and "The Devil's Trap."
Babb was recently awarded the Susannah DeBlack Award at the Arkansas Historical Association conference in West Memphis for his middle grade/young adult novel, "The Devil's Backbone." This award honors "the best book in Arkansas history for young readers." The award is the only one given at the Arkansas Historical Association conference for a work of fiction, and was established through the generosity of Thomas, Susan and Susannah DeBlack.
Shortly after returning home, Babb received notification that "The Devil's Backbone" and "The Devil's Trap" were top five finalists for the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, which is the largest not-for-profit book awards program for independent publishers and self-published authors.
Babb and his wife, Suzanne, traveled to New York City to attend the gala reception and received his awards.
Both books are part of a three-volume adventure series that Babb originally wrote for reluctant readers, but has discovered that wider audiences of all ages are enjoying them.
The story centers around Brody Martin, a 14-year-old farm boy who’s determined to help his family survive in post civil war Arkansas.
For more information about the Brody Martin series, go to jamesbabb.wordpress.com. His books are also available at the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million and Amzaon.com.
DOMTAR PARTNERS WITH FIRST BOOK TO GIVE BOOKS TO ASHDOWN STUDENTS 6/15/15
Domtar employees once again visited classrooms at the Margaret Daniel Primary School in Ashdown to share the joy of reading with students.
Through a partnership with First Book, nine Domtar-Ashdown Mill employees came to the first grade classes of Amber Fleming and Katrina Williamson and brought new books for everyone.
Each student received his or her very own copy of "The Grouchy Ladybug" by Eric Carle, in addition, several new titles were added to the classroom libraries.
First Book provides access to new books for children whose schools meet the requirements of serving children from low-income families. To date, First Book has distributed more than 125 million books and educational resources, to help transform the lives of children and elevate their quality of education.
FCI WARDENS TALK TO STUDENTS AS PART OF LEARNING FOR LIFE PROGRAM 6/15/15
Scott Young is a warden at the Federal Correctional Institution of Texarkana, Texas, and his executive assistant Danon Colbert spoke to all of the 4th and 5th graders at the L.F. Henderson Intermediate School in Ashdown about choices, both good and bad, and why rules and laws are important.
Young and Colbert presented their job descriptions as part of the Learning for Life career and character education youth program, which is a subsidiary of the Boy Scouts of America.
Both provided detailed accounts of the daily lives of incarcerated individuals and how the FCI officials work with prisoners.
Young stated that his job boils down to "Helping someone become a better person." Both, Young and Colbert, encouraged students to get serious about their education and to listen to their parents and teachers.
Colbert summed up his advice to students by saying, "Pull your pants up. Tuck your shirt in. Turn your hat around and listen."
Learning for Life utilizes programs designed for schools and community-based organizations that are designed to prepare youth for future success and to enhance their self-confidence, motivation and self-esteem in their future careers.
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