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TODAY'S NEWS:  

 

TODDLER SHOT IN HEAD REMAINS IN INTENSIVE CARE       6/24/16

 

A 2-year-old New Boston, Texas, boy remains in the intensive care unit at Arkansas Children’s Hospital after an accidental shooting.

 

Jett Osburn is the son of Morgan Leigh Brinkley formerly of Foreman. Jett accidently shot himself in the head Friday, June 17th at a home in Texarkana, Arkansas.

 

Jett is in critical condition and remains in a medically induced coma.

 

According to the Pray for Jett Osburn Facebook page, Jett found a .22 handgun while his mother was visiting a friend. According to the page, Jett fired the gun and a bullet hit him between his eyes and exited the top left side of his head.

 

Jett was airlifted to Christus St. Michael Hospital and then transferred to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock by LifeNet.

 

A GoFundMe account and medical expense accounts have been set up at Regions Bank and the TEXAR Federal Credit Union to help with the family expenses.

 

The Regions account number is No. 219458835 and the TEXAR account number is No. 232440.

 

Vintaj Cowgirl boutique is selling t-shirts to raise funds as well. The shirts are $15 and $18. For more information visit the Facebook page Vintaj Cowgirl. 

 

 

 

LET FREEDOM RING, JULY 2ND IN DE QUEEN         6/24/16

 

Chris Hale of the De Queen Park's and Recreation Department announced the 15th annual Let Freedom Ring program is scheduled for Saturday, July 2nd at the UA Cossatot Amphitheater starting at 6 p.m.

 

Hale said this year the park department is allowing 12 local vendors to set up and sell one item each, but they need to contact the park office at 642-4140 to reserve a spot. Hale said as of the end of this week, they only have three spots left

 

Hale said the Midnight Hurricanes will provide the entertainment, but they're bringing back the local talent show this year at 7 p.m. He said if you are interested in performing a couple of songs, you should contact him at the park office.

 

New this year, the park will set up a cannon sprinkler system and Hale suggests everyone wear something that they won't mind getting wet.

 

Hale said this year, Shane Haarmeyer of 102.1 the Good Path will MC the event and sing the National Anthem at the start of the fireworks display.

 

The City of Lockesburg will hold their Fourth of July celebration on Monday, July 4th in the Lockesburg City Park and the Texarkana Park's Department will hold Sparks in the Park at the Four State Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 25th starting at 6 p.m.

 

 

 

DRUNK PASSING             6/24/16

 

On June 15th, Sevier County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Barnes was contacted by the residents of 1011 Provo Road because there was a truck in their driveway with a man passed out in it.

 

When Barnes arrived he discovered 54-year-old Jerry Harder of Lockesburg sleeping in his truck. However, the vehicle was turned off and the keys were not in the ignition.

 

Barnes also found an empty beer can in the driver’s side floorboard and a 30-pack of Busch beer in the passenger floorboard, but it only contained 10 full cans.

 

Harder was arrested and charged with public intoxication and criminal trespass, because he didn’t have permission to be parked in the driveway.

 

 

 

GILLHAM SCHOOL HOMECOMING AND REUNION           6/24/16

 

This Saturday, the Gillham Alumni Association Board of Trustees and Officers will host the 41st Annual Gillham School Homecoming and Reunion at the Gillham School Building.

 

Activities will start at 9 a.m., lunch will be served at 11 a.m. and the annual business meeting will begin at 1 p.m.

 

At 1:30 a drawing will be held for a homemade quilt and afghan. Chances for the queen size quilt and/or afghan will be $1 each or six for $5. Chances will be sold in the rear of the auditorium where the quilt and afghan will be displayed.

 

The quilt was donated by Christine Yancey Morris and Gwen Vann Underwood donated the King size multicolored handmade afghan.

 

 

PRE-CIVIL WAR HOME COMPLETED AT HISTORIC WASHINGTON STATE PARK       6/24/16

 

Historic Washington State Park recently finished the restoration of a pre-Civil War home, dating back to 1850.

 

The Mission Statement of Old Washington emphasizes the cultural, architectural and restoration history of the park. Historic Washington State Park officials say although this house does not look like it did originally; it was restored to look like it did when it was donated to the park over 20 years ago.

 

According to park officials, the frame of the house is the only thing left that is original, but the house provides a more accurate view of life in Washington around the Civil War. The original building was built in the Greek revival style and had external chimneys, a front porch that extended the full width of the house. But, one of the most unusual features was the asymmetry of the windows.

 

The house was originally built by the Carrigan family but it was purchased by John Williamson around 1903. John Williamson was a former slave of Presbyterian minister Samuel Williamson and after Reconstruction; John Williamson founded the Haygood Seminary whose main focus was to educate African Americans for teaching and pastoring.

 

The house was restored by Historic Washington Carpenters in the park and took over three-months to complete.

 

 

 

REPORT: HIGHER SNAP BENEFITS WOULD MEAN HEALTHIER DIETS      6/24/16

 

New research shows giving low-income families in Arkansas a little more money to spend on food would lead to healthier meals and free up funds for other necessities, such as housing and transportation.

 

Dottie Rosenbaum with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the group that commissioned the study, says increasing SNAP or food-stamp benefits by $30 dollars per person, per month, also would help families prepare more meals at home.

 

Researchers used the $30 dollar figure because that's the average amount low-income households have said is needed to make a difference in feeding a family. Rosenbaum hopes the findings will help prompt the U.S. Department of Agriculture to update the SNAP program, which currently assumes families can get by on $1.40 per person, per meal. Arkansas' food insecurity rate tops 19 percent, according to the group Feeding America.

 

The report found raising benefits also would help reduce food insecurity, the term for not being able to afford food at some point during the year. Rosenbaum notes these households are disproportionately headed by people with disabilities, women and people of color. She adds most people who rely on benefits live in working families.

 

She says the study points to a growing body of research showing that investing now to make sure children get healthy food pays off down the road.

 

 

GHOSTS SIGNS OF ARKANSAS        6/23/16

 

In most seasons, the Arkansas Capitol's lower-level gallery features selected images from the construction of the building. This summer, however, Capitol visitors can enjoy a rediscovery of sorts: a well-remembered but long-unseen exhibit documenting a distinctive public art form once found in every corner of the state.

 

Beginning in the mid-Nineteenth century and continuing into the Twentieth, a new kind of graphic blossomed across America: outdoor advertising, in the form of signs painted on building walls or roofs or even natural features. Many of these advertised local concern but also were "privilege" signs, ones promoting regional or even nationally branded products such as Coca-Cola, patent medicines, tobacco products, or cigars. Painted with care and stylistic flair by lettering artists who earned the appellation "wall dogs," these signs boomed the products and enterprises of a growing diversifying American economy.

 

Such signs once covered almost any flat building side. With the spread of billboards and other advertising media, the vogue for wall signs faded; many signs were obscured as new buildings went up, others were covered over with paint or plaster and many were simply left to fade away. The wall dogs did good work, though, across Arkansas and the nation, these graphics, many created using tenacious lead based paint, survive as 'ghost signs," persistent reminders of our business past.

 

In the 1990s, the Arkansas Historic Preservation program, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, began documenting Arkansas' ghost signs. This project led to "Ghost Signs of Arkansas: Off-The-Wall relics," an exhibit which made its debut at the Old State House Museum in 1994. The exhibit featured photographs by Jeff Holder and text by Cynthia Haas, both of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. The images recorded fading wall signage from Trumann, Fordyce, Conway, Pine Bluff, Prescott and other towns across the state; many of the signs had outlasted the products they publicized.

 

In 1997, the University of Arkansas Press issued Ghost Signs of Arkansas, in which Haas and Holder expanded on the exhibit. The exhibit itself graced the offices of the Arkansas Senate for many years, then went into storage.

 

This summer, however, Capitol visitors will be able to enjoy these "ghosts" once more. Ghost Signs of Arkansas is on view in the Capitol's lower-level gallery through August. The images are more than two decades old and the survival rate of the signs depicted is unknown, so for this outing the exhibit is doubly "ghostly": the signs recorded were shades of their original selves, and their images may virtually reserve the shades of things that have disappeared altogether.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN LION'S CLUB YOUTH FISHING DERBY IS THIS SATURDAY        6/23/16

 

De Queen Lions Club member Billy Ray McKelvy announced the club will be hosting a youth fishing derby this Saturday at the De Queen Lake spillway from 9 to 11 a.m. as a community service project.

 

McKelvy said the first 100 kids to register will get a free t-shirt and they must be accompanied by an adult.

 

McKelvy said the Arkansas Game and Fish is also tagging 20 fish and if a young person catches a tagged fish, they will receive a prize. He said if you need more information, you can call him or the De Queen City Hall.

 

Registration for the youth fishing derby is Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m.

 

 

 

WHEELIN AND DEALIN               6/23/16

 

June 18th, Sevier County Sheriff Deputy Greg Davignon observed a white Dodge Charger traveling at a high rate of speed on Highway 71.

 

When Davignon made contact with the driver, 20-year-old Kewaun French, he noticed the smell of marijuana. French allegedly stated he had smoked some earlier in the day.

 

When Davignon asked French to step out of the vehicle, he noticed a lump in the front pocket of French’s pants. When Davignon asked how much was in his pocket, French allegedly stated a lot.

 

Davignon reported French was in possession of a white plastic bag that contained three clear plastic bags.

 

French said he had picked up the marijuana for a friend. He was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

 

 

 

ACTIVITIES AT THE DAISY STATE PARK         6/23/16

 

This Friday, guests to the Daisy State Park will enjoy a nature scavenger hunt from 1 to 1:45 p.m. starting at the visitor center. At 2:30 p.m., park staff will lead a workshop about snakes. And then Friday night at 7 p.m. first time kayakers will enjoy a kayak expedition at the Area E Boat Launch. The cost of the kayak expedition is $14 for adults, $7 for children 6 to 12 and children under 6 are free but will kayak in tandem with an adult.

 

Saturday and Sunday will begin with a scenic lake tour at 10 a.m. Participates will tour Lake Greeson by boat and learn about the history and natural features of the lake. Registration is required for the lake tour and the cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 12.

 

At 6 p.m. Saturday evening, park guests will learn the basics of cast iron cooking, as well as, how to season and care for this type of cookware. Guests will also enjoy a warm treat that’s been prepared in a Dutch oven.

 

Pre-registration is required at the visitor center by 1 p.m. Cost is $2 per person.

 

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

 

 

FARMER'S MARKET OPEN WEDNESDAYS & SATURDAYS      06/22/16

De Queen Bee Staff 

 

The Sevier County Farmer's Market is again open with a wide variety of fresh produce, handmade items, baked goods and other selections. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Produce in the Park. The market is held each Wednesday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., or until sold out. Make sure to stop by early because items are going fast!

Anyone wishing to sell produce or items can do so for $5/day or $50 for a season pass. For the first time, the market is also hosting a hospitality table for area businesses and organizations. Businesses can set up during the market to share information or serve refreshments.

Patrick Massey, 2016 President of the De Queen/ Sevier County Chamber of Commerce, reminds you that if you have visitors to the area, let them know about our farmer's market, it may be something they don't want to miss!
 

 

DE QUEEN MAYOR UPDATES ALDERMEN ON SEVERAL PROJECTS       6/22/16

 

Tuesday night during a meeting of the De Queen City Council, Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy updated aldermen on several projects that will benefit the city of De Queen.

 

But first, aldermen passed a resolution accepting the city's 2014 Water, Sewer and Sanitation audit. Aldermen were informed everything was in order and the auditors did not list any findings in the internal control report. McKelvy explained the city had to change auditing firms this year.

 

McKelvy reported the new metal building for the Stilwell high-lift station should be delivered by Friday and the city council approved an expansion to the city shop building.

 

McKelvy said the city received one bid for the city's street paving project and it was from Tri-State Asphalt in the amount of $94.90 per ton.

 

McKelvy also reported the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department agreed to extend their Highway 71 widening project further east to the B & B Junction.

 

City Clerk Donna Jones informed the council that the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission recently completed an audit of the city's water and sewer systems. She said the audit revealed no exceptions to the city's procedures.

 

McKelvy also announced the City Planning and Zoning Committee will meet this Thursday at 6 p.m. in the city council room of the De Queen City Hall.

 

 

 

SIMMONS PLEADS GUILTY TO THEFT OF PROPERTY; SENTENCED TO PROBATION       6/22/16

 

Forty-one year old Terry Simmons of Little River County plead guilty to theft of property and was sentenced to four years of probation.

 

Simmons changed his plea to guilty on two counts of theft of property this week before Ninth Circuit Court Judge Tom Cooper in the Little River County Circuit Court.

 

Simmons will be required to pay a $2,000 fine and $1,428.86 in restitution to the Ashdown School District.

 

According to the prosecutors file, Sheriff Gary Gregory contacted the Arkansas State Police on January 12th, 2015 concerning some shotguns that were missing from a gun safe at the sheriff's office.

 

According to the affidavit, the two guns were valued at less than $2,500.

 

The guns were originally purchased in 2008 from Gander Mountain in Texarkana, Texas with money from an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission grant.

 

In late 2014, Debbie Greathouse took over as the director of the Ashdown shooting sports team and asked to inventory the district's 10 shotguns that were being stored in a safe at the sheriff's office. However, when Greathouse and Simmons opened the safe, it only contained three shotguns.

 

According to the incident report, Simmons brought three shotguns to the sheriff's office from his vehicle and he stated they had been at his house.

 

According to the Arkansas State Police investigation, Simmons went to Davis and Jones Pawn in Ashdown on January 3rd, 2014 and sold or traded four guns for a Winchester 270 Model 70.

 

On March 27th, 2014, Simmons went back to the pawn shop and sold or traded a rifle and a shotgun for a Browning .243 rifle.

 

Investigators were able to confirm that the shotguns that Simmons had sold or traded belonged to the Ashdown School District.

 

 

 

RESTRICTED AREA        6/22/16

 

June 16th, deputies with the Sevier County Sheriff's office were dispatched to Jefferson Ridge Road at the Dierks Lake in reference to some suspects that were reportedly seen inside a restricted area at the Dierks Dam.

 

According to the affidavit, Gary Janes informed Investigator David Shelton that he saw a silver 1-ton Dodge pickup with a trailer with loading ramps parked next to the fence at the Dierks Dam Control building. He stated he witnessed two individuals inside the fence and two outside the fence.

 

The suspects left the scene before deputies arrived, but they were discovered at the Jefferson Ridge camping area.

 

Deputies Michael Barnes and Kris Hundley were contacted to transport the four suspects to the Sevier County jail for suspected trespassing.

 

Two suspects, 33-year-old Robert Marshall Martinez and 24-year-old Reynoldo Trevino, both of San Antonio, Texas were placed in Barnes' patrol vehicle.

 

According to the report, when the suspects were removed from Barnes' vehicle, he noticed some broken glass in the back floorboard. After searching the backseat, deputies found the remains of a glass smoking device that contained meth residue in it, under the seat.

 

Both Martinez and Trevino denied the device belonged to them.

 

Martinez and Trevino were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal trespass and possession of a criminal use prohibited weapon. The other two suspects were released.

 

Martinez is being held in the Sevier County jail on a $15,000 bond.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT'S MARKHAM NAMED TO ARKANSAS 40 UNDER 40 LIST       6/22/16

 

A Sevier County resident has been named to the 23rd annual Arkansas Business class of 40 Under 40 honorees.

 

Maria Markham is the vice chancellor for academic affairs at UA Cossatot and she is among the 42 honorees.

 

Markham was named the chief academic officer of the college by the age of 30 and she credits the late Charles Dunn who was the president of Henderson State University while she was an undergraduate studying marketing with introducing her to higher education as a career when he hired her to work in his office.

 

Markham earned her MBA from Henderson and taught business classes at Henderson before applying for a teaching position at UA Cossatot. She was named the vice chancellor of academic affairs in 2010.

 

Markham is involved in the local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club and Junior League, but her passion is a nonprofit organization called Charlie's Angels that she started in honor of her son to help families with autistic children raise money for service animals.

 

This year's class was selected from more than 300 nominations.

 

Markham and the other honorees were recognized during a luncheon in Little Rock.

 

 

 

DRIVER LEAVES THE SCENE         6/22/16

 

June 9th, deputies with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to Johnson Bridge Road in reference to a vehicle that had overturned in the ditch.

 

According to the accident report, deputies reported it appeared the vehicle was traveling east on Johnson Bridge Road and went off the shoulder in a sharp left hand curve and then traveled through a ditch and ran through a fence. It then overturned and came to a rest on its top.

 

Deputies were unable to find the driver, but discovered the vehicle was registered to David Smith of De Queen.

 

Deputies interviewed Smith on June 15th and he allegedly admitted he was driving the Chevy Lumina at the time of the accident.

 

Smith was citied for not having proof of insurance, driving on a suspended driver's license for DWI and leaving the scene of a property damage accident.

 

 

 

SARA EVANS TO PERFORM THIS FRIDAY IN HOPE        6/22/16

 

The excitement in Hope just got a "A Little Bit Stronger" and the biggest performance ever at Hempstead Hall just got a whole lot bigger. 

 

Multi-platinum RCA recording artist, Sara Evans brings her U.S. tour to Hempstead Hall, in Hope this Friday.

 

Many in the country music industry describe Evans as one of the most compelling female vocalists of this generation.

 

Evans lives up to that reputation with 6 million records sold and five number 1 country singles including, Suds in the Bucket, A Real Fine Place to Start, No Place That Far, A Little Bit Stronger and Born to Fly. In addition, Evans was awarded "ACM's Top Female Vocalist of the Year" and the "CMA Best Video Award for Suds in the Bucket."

 

Evan's attention and talent reaches beyond singing. She won the hearts of the national television audience on Dancing with the Stars, she is also the author of three best-selling books and was recognized as one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People."

 

Tickets are still available at hempsteadhall.com, but for more information, contact Dolly Henley at 870-722-8565.

 


 



 
 

 

 
This Week's News:

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT EVENT IN SEVIER COUNTY        6/21/16

 

Sevier County Investigator and Sheriff-elect Robert Gentry announced area law enforcement agencies will be hosting a National Night Out event in conjunction with local volunteer fire departments, churches and business on Tuesday, August 2nd from 6 to 9 p.m. at the De Queen Sportsplex.

 

Gentry said this is the 37th year for the National Night Out program. He said it is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships that help create safer communities in which to live.

 

Gentry said this is the first year the event will be held in De Queen. He said they started working on the event last week and already have partnerships with the De Queen Police Department, Smiles of Arkansas Dental and Pilgrim's Pride.

 

Gentry said it's going to be a lot of fun, while allowing area residents to mingle with local law enforcement officers.

 

If you or your business or organization would like to participate in the event, contact the Sevier County Sheriff's Office at 642-2125 or the De Queen Police Department at 642-2213.

 

  

 

COUNTY EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES IN ARKANSAS REPORT       6/21/16

 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report last week showing the number of county residents that are employed and what the average weekly wage is for all 75 Arkansas counties.

 

Area counties are considered small, due to the fact they have an employment level of less than 75,000 people.

 

Sevier County has 4,839 people employed; while Little River has 3,521; Howard has 7,004; and Polk County has 5,927.

 

All 72 of Arkansas' smaller counties reported weekly wages below the national average of $1,082 a week during the fourth quarter of 2015. Among the smaller counties, the highest weekly wages were in Calhoun County at $1,028 and Little River County at $978, while the lowest weekly wage was in Newton County where the average weekly wage is $492.

 

Sevier County's average weekly wage is $610; Howard County's is $615; and the average weekly wage in Polk County is $604.

 

Twelve Arkansas counties reported an average weekly wage under $600, 30 reported wages from $600 to $699, 23 had wages from $700 to $799 and 10 averaged $800 or more per week.

 

  

WALKER RECOGNIZED BY FARM BUREAU FOR HER 22 YEARS OF SERVICE      6/21/16

 

Mildred Walker of Sevier County was recognized for her 22 years of service to Farm Bureau members as a member service representative for the Sevier County Farm Bureau.

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau Vice President Rich Hillman and Executive Vice President Warren Carter presented Walker and 79 other secretaries an award of appreciation for their service during the 2016 Arkansas Farm Bureau Member Service Representative Conference.

 

The 80 secretaries receiving awards represented 2,031 years of total service to the counties, ranging from five years of service to 48 years.

  

  

IT'S CALLED A SPLASH AND GO IN NASCAR         6/21/16

 

Last Thursday, a clerk at the Murphy’s fuel station in front of Wal-Mart informed Corporal Bobby Bagley of the De Queen Police Department that a black vehicle had pumped over $23 dollars worth of gas and then left in a hurry, without paying for the gas.

 

The clerk provided Bagley with the license plate number and dispatch informed him that the vehicle belonged to 21-year-old Christy Walston-Pruitt of Hatfield.

 

After informing the Polk County Sheriff's Office of the incident, Bagley was informed that a Grannis Police Officer had stopped Pruitt. She was then ordered to meet Bagley at the De Queen Police Department.

 

While Bagley was interviewing Pruitt, the Polk County Sheriff's Office informed him that Pruitt had fueled up and left without paying for the gas on several occasions. A dispatcher also reported, they had received three other complaints about Pruitt stealing gas in Sevier County.

 

Pruitt was then charged with theft of motor fuel and processed at the Sevier County jail. She was also advised that she was hereby trespassed from Murphy's in De Queen.

 

  

CONSUMER ALERT: TIMESHARE RESALE TROUBLES        6/21/16

 

Some Arkansans may have previously decided to invest in a timeshare. They had been sold on a guaranteed vacation location, upscale lodging accommodations and the ability to exchange shares for other properties. But, now they may be strapped by expensive annual maintenance fees, difficulty exchanging weeks and locations and finding that the property value they assumed would remain steady or even increase has remained the same or decreased.

 

A timeshare is a type of property in which an owner buys the right to use it for a designated period of time. Timeshares are most often condominium units at a popular destination and usually have a number of owners.

 

After timeshares gained popularity in the 70’s and 80’s, the market was overdeveloped, resulting in a flood of properties that now have depressed values, which has made resale difficult.

 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a consumer alert to encourage Arkansans considering selling their share of a timeshare to do research to find a reputable seller.

 

Rutledge said Arkansans should beware of timeshare resellers who contact you unsolicited with a promise to resell our timeshare. She said if they say they have willing buyers, it is probably a lie. Rutledge said you should never pay a substantial advance fee for resale assistance, and you should get an independent appraisal from a licensed appraiser before agreeing on any resale assistance contract.

 

Unfortunately, there are a number of operations that exist that will try to take advantage of owners who are desperate to sell by offering assistance with selling your timeshare or by offering relief from the burden of the continuing costs of ownership. Rutledge said they often collect hundreds or thousands of dollars in so-called deed transfer or marketing fees but never complete the sale.

 

For more information about traveling and other consumer related issues, visit the Attorney General’s website at ArkansasAG.gov or call 1-800-482-8982.

 

 

 

DOCTORS SAY ASTHMA APPS FOR CHILDREN CAN SAVE LIVES      6/21/16

 

A team of doctors has developed the first mobile app that's designed to help children and teens with asthma that is supported by a peer-reviewed pilot study. That scientific backup is especially important because doctors say not all medical apps deliver what they promise.

 

Dr. David Stukus at the National Children's Hospital says every 20 seconds someone in this country, and it's usually a child, is rushed to an emergency room because of asthma.

 

The AsthmaCare app sends reminders to take medications and allows patients to create and store an emergency plan. It has a symptom diary, and provides links to area pollen stations, to make users aware of allergen levels in the air. The app is free for downloading from the National Children's Hospital website, for iPad, iPhone and Android devises.

 

Stukus says there are a lot of asthma apps, but he warns parents to make sure they're actually giving legitimate advice.

 

A University of Arkansas report says about 13 percent of adults in the state have asthma, compared to a national rate of just over eight-percent. The report also states about 25 percent of Arkansas children also suffer from this chronic lung condition.

 

 

SWEPCO PLANS POWER OUTAGE FOR DIERKS AREA        6/20/16

 

SWEPCO officials notified Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts that they plan to conduct a scheduled power outage for Dierks area customers on Tuesday at 10 p.m.

 

Mounts said SWEPCO will be updating some equipment in the Dierks substation. He said the outage should last about three-hours.

 

For more information, contact the Dierks City Hall at 870-286-2671.

 

Mounts also announced the precautionary boil water notice has been lifted by the Arkansas Department of Health.

 

 

 

LOCAL AUTHOR SIGNS BOOK DEAL       6/20/16

 

Local author James Babb has written four books. He said the first two of a three-book series were published, independently, but, he recently signed a book deal and hopes "The Devil's Den" will be released in the spring of 2017.

 

Babb said he signed a book deal with Plum Street Publishers. He explained Plum Street creates books that celebrate literature, history and culture for young reluctant readers.

 

Babb said he didn't work with a publishing company on the first two books because an editor suggested too many changes to his second book, "The Devil's Backbone." So, Babb decided to publish "The Devil's Backbone" and "The Devil's Trap" through Word Press.

 

Babb said he had been interested in writing since he was in college, but he didn't have time to start writing until 2008.

 

Babb's first two books, "the Devil's Backbone" and "the Devil's Trap," are currently being used by some Arkansas School Districts as a part of their literary curriculum. 

 

 

 

LEGISLATURE LOOKING AT SEXUAL ASSAULT ON ARKANSAS CAMPUSES        6/20/16

 

According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly one in five women and one in 71 men has reported experiencing a sexual assault at some time in their lives. And, over a third of the victims reported being assaulted either on a college campus or during their college age years.

 

According to the CDC, the goal of sexual violence prevention is simple, to stop it from happening in the first place. But, the solutions are as complex as the problem.

 

Legislators are attempting to understand the campus climate issues, such as students' knowledge about reporting policies and resources for victims.

 

The Arkansas Legislative Council Subcommittee for Higher Education has asked to hear from the state's top higher education officials about the current climate on Arkansas college campuses and about what is being done at the local level.

 

The director of the Arkansas Department of Education, Dr. Brett Powell, referred the committee to a recent survey that was conducted by the association Everfi. The survey was taken by students from over 100 colleges and universities, including students from Arkansas.

 

Of the survey respondents, 46 percent who indicated they had been victims of sexual assault or sexual misconduct did not report it, because they thought they would be blamed for what happened.

 

On a question measuring knowledge of campus resources, 64 percent reported that they know where to go to get help regarding sexual assault at school, but only 35 percent said they understood their schools procedures.

 

The University of Arkansas testified they are expanding their training for freshman who are enrolling this fall.

 

Last year, the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 952, which requires a unit on dating violence to be taught in grades 7 through 12 as part of the health curriculum. The unit will focus on healthy relationships and teach students the warning signs of dating violence and abusive behavior.

 

For a list of online resources to prevent sexual violence, visit the website for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center at www.nsvrc.org.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN LION'S CLUB YOUTH FISHING DERBY IS THIS SATURDAY        6/20/16

 

De Queen Lions Club member Billy Ray McKelvy announced the club will be hosting a youth fishing derby this Saturday at the De Queen Lake spillway from 9 to 11 a.m. as a community service project.

 

McKelvy said the first 100 kids to register will get a free t-shirt and they must be accompanied by an adult.

 

McKelvy said the Arkansas Game and Fish is also tagging 20 fish and if a young person catches a tagged fish, they will receive a prize. He said if you need more information, you can call him or the De Queen City Hall.

 

Registration for the youth fishing derby is Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m.

 

 

 

AGFC MODIFIES PROPOSALS FOR CWD MANAGEMENT      6/20/16

 

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission heard modified proposals to help slow the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease during its June meeting.

 

Regulations concerning Chronic Wasting Disease were presented during the Commission's May meeting, but since that time Arkansas Game and Fish Staff has gathered public comments through 11 public meetings, and a statewide call-in show on AETN.

 

The following modified proposals will be voted on during Friday's special meeting of the Commission:

 

The commission will consider establishing a Chronic Wasting Disease management zone consisting of Boone, Carroll, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Pope, Searcy and Yell counties.

 

The commission will also prohibit the feeding of wildlife within the Chronic Wasting Disease management zone, except for baiting between October 1st and December 31st for hunting.

 

The Commission will also consider issuing extra deer tags to landowners within the Chronic Wasting Disease management zone, to help decrease deer density.

 

All deer and elk killed within the Chronic Wasting Disease management zone must remain within the zone, except for deboned meat, cleaned skull plates, hides, teeth and taxidermy products.

 

The commission will also consider a proposal to prohibit scents and lures containing natural deer urine and prohibit rehabilitation of deer statewide.

 

All elk harvested statewide must be submitted for Chronic Wasting Disease testing.

 

And they plan to create a non-commercial hunting enclosure permit for all high-fence deer facilities where the commission will require Chronic Wasting Disease samples from all deer that die in these facilities; require annual inspections; require the facilities to maintain accurate harvest records; and the commission will not issue any new permits after July 1st, 2017.

 

The Commission is expected to take an official vote on these regulations during a special called meeting this Friday. The Commission will continue to accept public comments on these proposed regulations via online survey at www.agfc.com.

 

 

 

THE TALLEYS IN CONCERT IN NASHVILLE        6/20/16

 

The Talleys are one of Christian music's most beloved and respected families and their commitment to excellence and creativity in music have been their trademark since their career began.

 

The Talleys began in 1984, but following a three-year hiatus, the Talleys began performing with the current line up of Roger, Debra and Lauren in 1996.

 

The Talleys have enjoyed 11 number one songs, and have received numerous Singing News Fan Awards and Dove Award nominations. They frequently appear on the Gaither Homecoming video series and concert tour, as well as In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley and John Hagee Ministries. They have appeared on RFD-TV's "The Music City Show," and have toured overseas to Norway, Northern Ireland, Italy and South Africa. The Talleys consistently perform hundreds of concerts in churches of all sizes.

 

The Talleys are a self-described normal family, but whether they grace a concert hall, a church platform or enjoy a ball game on TV at home, they are dedicated to God and family.

 

The Talleys will be performing on Friday, June 24th at 7 p.m. at Ridgeway Baptist Church in Nashville. The church is located at the corner of Peachtree and Hearn streets or the Prescott Highway.

 

Admission is free, but a love offering will be taken. If you need more information, call the church at 870-845-1386.

 

 

LET FREEDOM RING, JULY 2ND IN DE QUEEN         6/17/16

 

Chris Hale of the De Queen Park's and Recreation Department announced the 15th annual Let Freedom Ring program is scheduled for Saturday, July 2nd at the UA Cossatot Amphitheater starting at 6 p.m.

 

Hale said this year the park's department's allowing 12 local vendors to set up and sell one item each, but they need to contact the park office at 642-4140 to reserve a spot.

 

Hale said the Midnight Hurricanes will provide the entertainment, but they're bringing back the local talent show this year. He said if you are interested in performing a couple of songs, you should contact him at the park office.

 

Hale said this year, Shane Haarmeyer of 102.1 the Good Path will MC the event and sing the National Anthem at the start of the fireworks display.

 

The City of Lockesburg will hold their Fourth of July celebration on Monday, July 4th in the Lockesburg City Park and the Texarkana Park's Department will hold Sparks in the Park at the Four State Fairgrounds on Saturday, June 25th starting at 6 p.m.

 

 

 

AGFC TO CONSIDER NEW HUNTING REGULATIONS JUNE 24TH      6/17/16

 

Arkansas deer hunters continue to discuss proposed regulations for the upcoming season and are concerned about some of the changes that are being proposed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

 

Arkansas Game and Fish Biologist Eley Talley said the commission recently held a public meeting to address some of those concerns. He said most of the changes address the issue of Chronic Wasting Disease that is affecting the state’s deer herd in northwest Arkansas, but Talley said one proposal would affect southwest Arkansas, as well.

 

Talley said one of the proposals is to prohibit the feeding of wildlife statewide, however, hunters would still be able to use bait from October through December 31st.

 

Talley said there are still a lot of questions about how Chronic Wasting Disease is spreading and whether or not the commission will limit the harvesting of deer.

 

A survey of the proposed regulations can be found on the game and fish website at agfc.com. The regulations will be voted on at a special called commission meeting on June 24th.

 

 

 

FORMER VOICE CONTESTANT HEADLINING KIAMICHI OWA-CHITO FESTIVAL OF FOREST THIS SATURDAY         6/17/16

 

The 2016 Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival of Forest is currently underway with activities all day today and Saturday at the Beavers Bend State Park in McCurtain County.

 

Saturday, events will begin with the 5K run at 8 a.m. But, Saturday night, former Voice contestant and Bixby, Oklahoma native, Corey Kent White, will take the stage at 8:30 p.m.

 

White said he has family in the Broken Bow area and spent a lot of time in McCurtain County. He said Saturday night’s is going to be a high energy event.

 

Talent show winners, the winner of the Battle of the Bands competition, Twisted Whiskey and White will perform Saturday night starting at 6:20 on the Beavers Bend Amphitheater stage.

 

For more information, visit the festival's Facebook page at Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival.

 

 

 

HISTORIC WASHINGTON TO HOLD FAMILY FUN DAY AND MUSIC IN THE PARK THIS SATURDAY        6/14/16

Historic Washington State Park will hold a family fun day and music in the park event on Saturday.
Guests can spend the day having fun from the 19th century.

Children’s games, surrey rides, town ball, which is an early form of baseball, and interactive demonstrations, will celebrate the first official weekend of summer. These demonstrations are all free, plus tours of the many historical homes and buildings of Washington and surrey rides are available at regular price.

Then, enjoy an evening on the lawn of the 1874 Courthouse at Historic Washington listening to live music from the past to the present. Bring your lawn chair because, this year’s annual summer concert series is entitled, “Music in the Park” with the theme “Sounds of Quartets.”

A free concert will be held on the third Saturday of June, July and August beginning at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public. The first performance of the series will be this Saturday, featuring the Texarkana String Quartet.

If it rains, activities will be moved inside the 1874 Courthouse.

Fun day events are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with music in the park from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

For more information, call the park at 870-983-2684.

 

 

 

OGDEN CROSSING TO GET LIGHTED WARNINGS      6/17/16

 

A memorial cross stands near the Pine Street crossing in Ogden where two people were killed in a vehicle/train collision in January. A reminder of why Arkansas Highway and Transportation officials and Kansas City Southern Railway officials met this week to discuss ways to make the crossing safer.

 

After a diagnostic meeting, KCS crossing coordinator, Steve Weston announced the crossing qualifies for lighted crossing arms and bells.

 

Officials estimate the project will cost about $350,000 and KCS will use federal transportation funds to pay for the project.

 

Thirty-seven year old Bobby Burris and 10-year-old Braiden Miller were killed January 21st when the vehicle they were riding in was struck by a northbound train at about 5 p.m.

 

According to the incident report, the road was wet from rain and the train was traveling at 53 miles per hour.

 

 

HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT IMPLEMENTS 1 TO 1 TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM       6/16/16

 

Monday night during the regular meeting of the Horatio Board of Education, board members voted to use National School Lunch funds to enter into a lease with Apple for iPad Pros and accessories for every student in the seventh through twelfth grades. Superintendent Lee Smith said the district is trying to level the playing field among students when it comes to their access to technology.

 

Smith said there are a lot of district's in the state using 1 to 1 programs, but he hopes Horatio will benefit from the other district's experiences.

 

Horatio High School was also awarded the High Achieving High School for the Region Award in the overall, Math and English, Language Arts categories, the Beating the Odds High School in the overall, Math and ELA categories and the Beating the Odds for the Region in Math and ELA from the Office of Education Policy from the University of Arkansas. Smith said everyone, including the students deserve the credit for those achievements.

 

Smith said he is excited about the district's new hires and expects they will help continue the district's recent success.

 

Smith reported the board also approved a new purchasing card system.

 

He said the district is also helping the Horatio baseball team raise funds for their state championship rings.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN COMMUNITY LIBRARIES TO HOST A SUMMER READING PROGRAM        6/16/16

 

The Ashdown Community Library’s announced they will be holding a summer reading program, starting the first Tuesday in July. This year’s summer reading program theme is “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read.”

 

Children between the ages of 3 through the 6th grade will register at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 28th.

 

Programs will be offered every Tuesday during the month of July and participates will receive a chart to record the titles of the books that read, as well as how much time they spent reading.

 

Children 3 to 6 years old will meet at the Ashdown Community Library from 10:30 until 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday in July. First through 6th graders will meet at the library from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

 

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT TO ASK VOTERS RESTRUCTURE BONDS          6/16/16

 

The Mineral Springs School Board of Education discussed financing options for their proposed school construction project this week during their monthly meeting.

 

Board members then authorized Superintendent Curtis Turner to restructure the district’s existing bond debt with a principal amount of $19 million dollars, which will mature over a period of 32 years for the construction of a new school and for the refunding of the district’s outstanding bonds.

 

Any surplus revenue produced by the millage would be used by the district for other school purposes.

 

Turner informed the board that the voters of the Mineral Springs School District would need to approve the restructuring of the district’s bond debt in September, but he also pointed out there would be no increase in the district’s millage.

 

The Mineral Springs School District’s millage is currently 34 mills and would not increase if approved by the district patrons.

 

The district’s bonded debt payment would be around $1.3 million dollars a year.

 

Board President William Dixon and Ray Hawkins then inquired about how much the district as spent on legal fees. Turner reported the district has paid their attorney John Walker $142,947, but he felt that would be the bulk of the expense.

 

The Mineral Springs School District filed a lawsuit against the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key, the Arkansas State Board of Education and Hempstead County alleging tax revenue from the SWEPCO Turk Plant that has been diverted from the district for the past two years.

 

 

 

IT’S NOT FAIR TIME YET; SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE       6/16/16

 

About midnight, June 15th, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department noticed some tail lights at the south entrance of the Sevier County fair grounds.

 

When Browning investigated the situation, he didn't find anybody in the truck, but he found an empty pistol case sitting on the driver’s seat.

 

After Browning announced his presence, he noticed two men walking toward him with a flashlight. After asking them to show him their hands, they informed him that there was another man with them.

 

When Browning asked where the gun was, they said there wasn't a gun, just the empty case.

 

Officer Justin Gentry then arrived to assist Browning and when Browning went into the building that the three had come out of, he noticed the smell of burnt marijuana. About that time, 21-year-old Jacob Morgan of Lockesburg informed Browning that there was a pistol and told him where he could find it.

 

Morgan allegedly admitted the gun belonged to him and he and the other two suspects, 21-year-old William May of De Queen and 21-year-old Jackson Vallee of De Queen, had allegedly been smoking marijuana.

 

All three men were transported to the Sevier County jail and processed for criminal trespass and possession of a controlled substance.

 

 

 

DAISY STATE PARK TO HOLD BOATER EDUCATION CLASS      6/16/16

 

Daisy State Park will hold a boater education course this Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Participates will learn about Arkansas’ safe boating laws and practices in the six-hour class. The class is required for anyone born on or after January 1st, 1986 and of legal age to operate a boat on Arkansas waterways. This includes operators of sailboats and personal watercraft, like jet skis.

 

The course teaches the fundamentals of safe boating that are necessary to reduce the loss of life, personal injury and property damage, while increasing the boating enjoyment for outdoor enthusiasts.

 

Instructors will cover boat classifications, registration, lifesaving equipment, navigation aids, rules of the water, maintenance, courtesy and more.

 

After participates pass the test, they will receive a boater education card.

 

This weekend, the Daisy State Park will also be hosting its’ annual Lake Greeson Days.

 

Saturday, the park will host its 27th annual children’s fishing derby from 8 to 11 a.m. The event is free and there’s going to be a lot of prizes, including a prize for the biggest fish, the smallest fish and first fish caught.

 

Participates must be 15 and younger and they must bring their own bait and tackle.

 

From 9 to 11 a.m. guests can take the kayaking challenge and then enjoy a warm treat that was prepared in a cast iron Dutch oven from 2 to 3 p.m. The cost for the cast iron cookware demonstration is $2 and guests must pre-register by 1 p.m. on Saturday.

 

Sunday, the park will be offering a scenic lake cruise from 10 a.m. until noon. The cost for the lake cruise is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 6 to 12.

 

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

 

 

 

MONEY ON ITS WAY TO HELP FIGHT HUNGER AND OBESITY IN ARKANSAS        6/16/16

 

Almost $17 million dollars is grants are heading to organizations that help feed the hungry with the goal of getting low-income residents to eat healthier. The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance has been awarded $94 thousand dollars for a pilot program to let SNAP recipients double their benefits at farmers markets.

 

Kevin Concannon is with the USDA and he says a family could spend $20 dollars on fresh food and get $40 dollars worth. He says it's a way to combat the hunger and obesity problem in Arkansas.

 

One in four Arkansas children deals with hunger issues, with 29 percent living below the poverty level. According to the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, families spend on average an additional $300 a month on food during the summer.

 

Concannon says the idea is to get residents, especially children, to always have healthy food choices available. He says that's not happening now because healthy food tends to cost more.

 

Arkansas' obesity rate in 2014 was nearly 36 percent. Concannon says if families can afford to buy fresh food that number would come down.

 

TYSON FAMILY FUN DAY    06/16

 

The Grannis Plant hosted a Family Fun Day for Team Members from the Plant, Complex Office and Truck Shop on Saturday, June 4, 2014 at the Grannis City Park. They enjoyed several inflatables for the kids, which was a big hit; nachos, soft pretzels and hot dogs. Several members of management also sat in the dunking booth and gave Team Members the opportunity to dunk them --- what a great time!! They were also served a meal of grilled chicken, potato salad, baked beans and a roll. And even though there were a couple of rain showers, everyone had a good time.

The Management of the Grannis Plant want to send out a big Thank You to all our Team Members for the hard work and dedication they exhibit every day. We truly appreciate all that you do.

They would also like to thank the Umpire FFA and CRHS Cheerleaders for coming out and working the games and helping to cook and serve lunch so that all our Team Members could enjoy the day. They did an excellent job and worked tirelessly to ensure we enjoyed the day.   (More photos)

 

 

STILWELL AVE WILL BE CLOSED ON FRIDAY       6/15/16

 

Interim De Queen Police Chief Scott Simmons announced Tuesday afternoon that Stilwell Avenue will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, June 17th.

 

Simmons reported Kansas City Southern Railway will be working on the railroad crossing on Stilwell and motorists will need to take an alternative route.

 

 

 

CORPS CLOSES JEFFERSON RIDGE CAMPGROUND ENTRANCE DURING CULVERT REPLACEMENT       6/15/16

 

The Army Corps of Engineers, Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office will close the entrance road into Jefferson Ridge Campground at 7 a.m. on Thursday, June 16th to replace a culvert on the main entrance road.

 

The road will be closed to traffic until the culvert is replaced. It is expected that the project will be completed by 4 p.m. on Friday, June 17th.

 

Officials at the Army Corps of Engineers, Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office regret any inconvenience this may cause and are asking the public to cooperate during the closure.

 

For more information, contact the Dierks Project Office at 870-286-2346.

 

 

 

COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK ACTIVITIES        6/15/16

 

Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Victoria Carson stated she'll be leading an electronic treasure hunt this Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. as she introduces park guest to one of the fastest growing outdoor hobbies in Arkansas, Geocaching.

 

Carson said she'll explain how to use a GPS unit and then participates will attempt to find a cache that's located in the park.

 

Sunday, families are invited to celebrate Father's Day by learning how to snorkel from 10 to 11 a.m. Carson said snorkel equipment will be provided by the park, but guest should wear appropriate clothing for swimming.

 

Carson said the park will host a 4-day Ecology Camp for children 5-8 years old from Tuesday, June 21st to Friday, June 24th and a 4-day, 3-night SWAT camp for children 9 to 13 years of age from Monday, June 27th to Thursday, June 30th.

 

Carson also stated you can still sign up for a guided kayak tour for Saturday, June 25th by calling the park. She said they will start in the Visitor Center classroom at 9 a.m. and then get off the river around 4 p.m.

 

The cost $30.94 but that includes a shuttle service to the river, a kayak, paddles, lifejacket and an interpretive guide service.

 

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

 

 

 

DIERKS KAYAK FESTIVAL IS JUNE 17-19        6/15/16

 

The Dierks Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the Dierks Kayak Festival in cooperation with the Arkansas Kayak group and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Horseshoe Bend Day-Use area below the Dierks Lake and the Corps of Engineers has agreed to provide an adequate release of water so the chamber can host the event.

 

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

 

On Friday, June 17th, there will be clinics on general river safety, swiftwater rescue and an introduction to kayaking and canoeing.

 

Saturday events include races that will start at 11 a.m. and a Hometown Throw Down competition at 2 p.m. There will be raft and shredder rides for the public at 5 p.m. The raft and shredder rides are free to American Canoe Association members, but will cost non-members $5.

 

Ryan Sauders will perform at 7:30 during a fundraiser for Heros on the Water, to benefit the Wounded Warriors project.

 

Sunday, the kayak bass tournament will start at safe light and go until 1 p.m. on the Dierks Lake.

 

For more information, contact the Dierks Chamber of Commerce at 870-286-2911.

 

 

 

IMPROVING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES       6/15/16

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the director of the state’s largest agency presented a plan designed to ensure that the 1.2 million Arkansans who are being served by the Department of Human Services are getting the best care in the most efficient way. Vaught said the plan was presented to the Arkansas Health Reform Legislative Task Force, last week.

 

According to the Department of Human Services, the department pays for 64 percent of the babies born in Arkansas and care for 69 percent of the state’s nursing home patients through a blend of federal and state Medicaid funds.

 

The department also protects children and the elderly who have been abused; finds adoptive homes for foster children; funds home-delivered meals to the elderly; regulates nursing homes and childcare facilities; serves youth in the juvenile justice system; oversees services for the blind; runs residential facilities for people with developmental disabilities; manages the Arkansas State Hospital and the Arkansas Health Center; and supports nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations that depend on volunteers to continue programs that are vital to our communities.

 

During the taskforce meeting, DHS Director Cindy Gillespie reported the agency is implementing a new organizational structure that’s aimed at creating more accountability for each functional role. She stated the reorganization will initially cost an additional $266,536, but it will eventually allow the agency to turn back $597,583 to the state by operating more efficiently.

 

Gillespie also reported the agency is reviewing $174 million dollars worth of contracts and she said she is committed to identifying $25 million dollars in savings within the next fiscal year.

 

Gillespie said the agency is on track to implement some recent changes that were approved by the Legislature.

 

And, according the DHS, there are more than 283,000 Arkansans receiving coverage through the Private Option and another 634,000 residents are receiving benefits through traditional Medicaid.

 

 

 

FEDERAL COURT BACKS FCC'S TREATMENT OF INTERNET AS UTILITY       6/15/16

 

A federal court has upheld the FCC's decision to treat the Internet like a utility, which is a victory for consumers who are advocating for net neutrality. The two-to-one ruling was handed down this week from the U.S. Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C.

 

Marty Newell is a member of the Rural Broadband Policy Group and he says the court ruling is "part of the march" to treating broadband the same way we treat telephone service.

 

The cable and telecom industries and their allies have argued that the FCC's rule is overreaching and would stifle investment and customer choice. But Newell and other advocates says web users need more protections from providers.

 

Newell says the ruling is especially important in rural areas of the country that are underserved by broadband. He said take Kentucky for example, about one out of every four households does not have access to broadband services.

 

The Rural Broadband Policy Group says of the 19 million Americans who don't have broadband, more than 14 million live in rural parts of the country. Noting a lot of money is at stake, Newell says he knows the legal challenges will continue something that the industry giants have promised.

 

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL APPROVES PURCHASE OF ADDITIONAL SEWER PUMP       6/15/16

submitted by KMTB 

 

The Mineral Springs City Council approved the purchase of an additional sewer pump to help prevent manholes from overflowing during their regular meeting Monday night.

 

Water Superintendent Jonathan Holden reported the addition of a third pump would increase the treatment volume of the plant to about 900 gallons per minute. He said a lot of water runs through the sewer system and bottlenecks before it reaches the sanitation pond following heavy rainfall. Holden said a larger pipe would also help with the issue, but he suggested they replace the pipe at a later date.

 

Mayor Bobby Tullis said the sewer system was installed in the 1960’s and was not designed to handle the city’s current population. He said the system needs some overall upgrades.

 

Tullis stated they plan to perform another smoke test this summer.  Holden said they will never be able to find all of the cracks and issues, but they will make repairs and update the line when they find a problem.

 

Aldermen then voted to use funds from the sanitation truck account to pay for the new pump.

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY QUORUM COURT APPROVES CONTRACT OF OBLIGATION WITH ADEQ         6/14/16

 

Monday afternoon during the regular meeting of the Sevier County Quorum Court, Justices of the Peace were provided a list of items that have been removed from the county's inventory list, including several computers from the Sevier County Library system.

 

JPs approved a request to transfer some funds within the county sheriff's budget. They also approved a request for an additional $75 in the Veterans Services' budget for postage. County Judge Greg Ray explained the amount was inadvertently left out of the 2016 budget.

 

The court then re-appointed Velma Owens and Mildred Walker to the Sevier County Equalization Board and Teresa Brewer to the Sevier County Housing Authority Board.

 

Judge Ray mentioned the Housing Authority Board is vital because the county has housing in De Queen, Lockesburg and Horatio.

 

JPs also passed a resolution to enter into a Contract of Obligation with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality concerning the county's class 4-landfill. They also approved an additional $2,071.20 to cover the cost of that contract.

 

Ray said the county now has $159,455.80 set aside for the closure and post-closure of the county landfill and transfer station.

 

 

 

HORATIO AND CENTRAL VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS TO HOLD A COOK-OFF THIS SATURDAY AT FROG LEVEL        6/14/16

 

Rich Dorsey of the Horatio Volunteer Fire Department and Brettny Lynch of the Central Volunteer Fire Department announced their departments will be holding a pulled pork and chicken dinner this Saturday at the Central Community Building in Frog Level starting at 5 p.m.

 

Lynch said the two departments will split the proceeds 50/50.

 

Dorsey explained the two departments work well together and thought this would be a cool way to help one another raise some needed funds. He also announced the Bill Powers Band will be performing at 5.

 

Both, Dorsey and Lynch stated their departments are also looking for a few volunteers.

 

For more information, contact members of the Central or Horatio Volunteer Fire Departments.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY HOLDING JULY 2ND FUNDRAISER       6/14/16

 

The president of the Sevier County Humane Society, Juanelle Gage announced this week that the society is selling tickets for a Holland Freedom grill as a fundraiser. She said tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20.

 

Martha Fines is the treasurer for the Humane Society and she said they will be selling tickets at Wal-Mart from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 2nd. She said they will draw the winning ticket at 4 p.m. Fines also mentioned that the next county spay and neuter clinic is going to be in September.

 

Fines said a humane society membership is $10 for an individual or $15 for a family and society members help with the clinic as well as help get animals adopted by loving families.

 

For more information or to purchase a ticket, call 870-584-9096.

 

 

 

CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK CELEBRATING DIAMOND MINERS THIS WEEKEND         6/14/16

This Saturday, June 18th, the Crater of Diamond State Park will celebrate diamond miners with games, prizes and diamonds during the 6th annual Prospector’s Gemboree.

There will be lots of games and activities for all ages including a digging contest, bean bag toss, relay race and there will treasure hunt prizes hidden throughout the diamond search area.

Park guests can pick up a schedule at the visitor center throughout the day.

The park will also host the 10th annual Famous Crater Diamonds Exhibit between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the Diamond Discovery Center. Park guests will hear the stories behind the diamond finds; during this rare display of diamonds that were found in Arkansas. Guests will also meet Crater diamond finders and collectors including: Susie Clark who found the 3.69 carat white Hallelujah Diamond. Kenny and Melissa Oliver, who are regular visitors to the park, have found several diamonds including the 2.44 carat white Silver Moon Diamond. And, Terry Staggs is also a regular visitor to the Crater of Diamonds State Park and he found the 2.95 carat brown Patriot Diamond.

All games and activities are free with the purchase of a mine admission. Admission is $8 for anyone 13 and older; $5 for anyone 6 to 12 and children five and under are free.

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

 

 

 

CONSUMER ALERT: GET EDUCATED WITH THE GI BILL        6/14/16

 

The GI Bill has grown and changed since it was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1944, but the goal of the bill remains the same, help service members learn a skill or attend college.

 

In 2008, the GI Bill was updated and is now called the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This update provided more resources to cover educational expenses, a monthly housing allowance, up to $1,000 a year for books and supplies and a one-time relocation allowance for veterans who served on active duty for 90-days or more since September 10th, 2001. The bill also provides tuition assistance and a book stipend to current active duty service members.

 

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a consumer alert to educate veterans and military families about the various benefits available under the GI Bill.

 

Rutledge stated the GI Bill will help veterans earn an undergraduate and graduate degree; obtain vocational and technical training; apprenticeships; receive reimbursement for licensing and certifications; reimbursement for national testing; as well as, training for entrepreneurship, flight and correspondence; and work-study programs, tuition assistance and tutoring assistance.

 

Benefit payments are provided in tiered amounts based on the amount of active duty service. In order to eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, service members must have served at least 30-days of continuous active duty and be discharged because of a service connected disability or served an aggregate of 90-days of active duty and received an honorable discharge. Service members who meet this criteria have 15 years to use the assistance.

 

Benefits are also transferable to family members, including a spouse or child.

 

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

 

 

 

BOIL WATER ORDER ISSUED FOR DIERKS WATER WORKS SYSTEM     6/13/16

 

A precautionary boil water notice has been issued for residents of the City of Dierks, due to the loss of water pressure that was caused by a water main break.

 

Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts reported city crews were called out about 10:30 p.m. Sunday night and started trying to repair the leak. He said they hope to have water service restored by this afternoon.

 

All affected customers are advised that when water service is restored the water may be unsafe for human consumption and water used for drinking, cooking, making of ice, brushing teeth, or washing dishes should be boiled for one minute prior to use.

 

This precautionary boil water notice will remain in effect until an adequate disinfectant level is established throughout the distribution system and water tests reveal the water is safe to drink.

 

If you have any questions, contact the Dierks City Hall at 870-286-2671.

 

 

 

HONOR RIDE SCHEDULED FOR FATHERS DAY BY THE BEACON HILL MOTORCYCLE MINISTRY        6/13/16

 

Beacon Hill Motorcycle Ministry President Newman Hance announced this morning that they will be hosting a honor ride this Sunday, June 19th in memory of Houston Hayes. He said all of the proceeds will benefit the Milwee Cemetery fund in honor of Mr. Hayes.

 

Hance said the ride will start at the Cossatot Reefs pavilion at 2 p.m. and travel north to Wickes, then over to Umpire and down to Dierks then back to the Cossatot Reefs through De Queen.

 

Carla Wolcott said they will start serving a potluck meal at 11 a.m.

 

She also mentioned the motorcycle ministry members will be holding a multi-family garage sale at the armory, July 7th and 8th.

 

Hance said they will use the funds to help people in the community without having to host a fundraiser. He said they also hope to purchase a van or bus for a children's ministry.

 

Hance said the motorcycle ministry is also planning to hold a bike show this fall.

 

For more information about the Beacon Hill Motorcycle Ministry or the honor ride this Sunday, call 682-970-0378.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN SHOOTING SPORTS GUN THEFT TRIAL SET      6/13/16

 

A trial date of June 20th has been set for 41-year-old Terry Simmons of Little River County. Simmons has been charged with two counts of theft of property for allegedly selling or trading shotguns that belonged to the Ashdown School District's shooting sports team.

 

According to court records, the investigation started in January of 2015, when Debbie Greathouse asked for an inventory of the district's 10 shotguns that were being stored in a gun safe at the Little River County Sheriff's office.

 

According to the original report, Simmons brought three shotguns to the office from his vehicle, but only one of the guns was a Benelli brand like the ones that the district had purchased from Gander Mountain in Texarkana, Texas with a grant that was supplied by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

 

Arkansas State Police investigators allege Simmons went to Davis and Jones Pawn in Ashdown and sold or traded three guns on January 3rd in 2014 and sold or traded a rifle and a Benelli shotgun at Davis and Jones Pawn on March 27th.

 

If convicted, Simmons could be sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined up to $20,000.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS PARENTS STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE        6/13/16

 

A group that's worked for more than two decades to get parents more involved in their children's education says a lot of work needs to be done across the country, to beef up communication. Project Appleseed is made up of mostly volunteers who are trying to get parents, grandparents and guardians involved in the classroom.

 

The group's president, Kevin Walker, says there's a huge communication gap between schools and parents in some states, but progress is being made in Arkansas.

 

Project Appleseed asks parents and guardians to sign a pledge to volunteer in their child's school and to read to them for a minimum number of hours per week.

 

Walker says many parents never have any communication with their child's teacher outside of the parent-teacher conference, and some don't attend those either. Walker said he backs a plan where all schools send texts and emails to parents.

 

Walker's group also is pushing for legislation to provide better internet access for families. He says some will argue that affordable broadband just allows people to surf the web or watch videos.

 

Walker wants the federal government to expand the Lifeline program, which was set up in the 80's to make telephone service affordable. It also would give those below the federal poverty level a subsidy to pay for an internet connection.

 

 

 

BRINKLEY FAMILY OF GRANNIS NAMED DISTRICT FARM FAMILY OF THE YEAR        6/13/16

 

The eight district winner in the 69th annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program have been selected, representing the diversity of Arkansas agriculture, which is the state's largest industry.

 

The district winners will now be judged to determine a state winner which will be announced December 8th during the Farm Family of the Year luncheon in North Little Rock.

 

The district winners are:

Chris and Nesha Smith of Sercy in the East Central District. Fred and Dorothy Sue Denison of Batesville in the North Central District. The Stacy Family Farms of Wynne in the Northeast District. The Peach Pickin' Paradise of Clarksville in the Northwest District. Jim and Dina Hubbard of Marvell in the Southeast District.

 

Stephen and April Allen of Lewisville in the Southwest District. The Allens raise poultry, cattle, timber, wheat and hay on 660 acres. They also own a lawn care business and a construction business.

 

Joe and Jill Brinkley of Grannis in the Western District. The Brinkleys raise broilers, cattle and hay on 645 acres. Additionally, they have a land-clearing and poultry litter service.

 

Joel and Amanda Whisenhunt of Nashville in the West Central District. They Whisenhunts raise poultry, cattle and hay on 368 acres. They also raise and train purebred Border Collies for working cattle.

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau President, Randy Veach, says the Farm Family of the Year program is a great way to shine a spotlight on the great farm families of Arkansas.

 

The Farm Family of the Year program begins each year with the selection of the top farm families in each county and culminates with the selection of the state Farm Family of the Year who will then represent the state of Arkansas at the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year. All winners are judged on their farm production, efficiency, management, family life and rural/community leadership.

 

Mollie Dykes is the coordinator of the Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program and she stated these are the backbone of the state and they are recognized not only for their farms, but also on the impact they make in their communities.

 

 

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