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This Week's News:
DE QUEEN SCHOOL DISTRICT ANNOUNCES TEACHERS OF THE YEAR 2/8/16
De Queen School District Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced Monday morning that the De Queen School District mailed Progress Reports last Friday.
Whatley also announced the De Queen School District's Teachers of the Year for each campus. De Queen High School – Stefani Jones; De Queen Junior High – Carol Hall; De Queen Middle School – Amanda Hibbs; De Queen Elementary – Maralyn Faulkenberry; De Queen Primary School – Natalie Dean.
Whatley also reported there will be no school on Friday, February 12th or Monday, February 15th.
For more information about the events in the De Queen School District, contact your child's school office.
FREEMAN SPEAKS TO STUDENTS AT ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL 2/8/16
World renowned speaker, Ken Freeman, spoke to the students and faculty of the Ashdown High School on February 3rd about the choices they make.
Freeman has been a professional speaker for over 30 years, speaking at conferences, retreats, camps, concerts and events of all kinds. He has done over 20,000 assemblies in schools
According to Freeman's website, his approach to public speaking allows him to grab the attention of his audience through humor and his down to earth personality. His message is delivered in a fresh, easy to understand manner. Freeman's ability to be versatile allows him to communicate well in any setting, whether traditional or contemporary, school auditorium or business staff meeting, a large convention or an intimate retreat.
Freeman spoke for an hour and after he grabbed their attention through humor, he told his story of having a childhood that was filled with abuse and neglect, and how he overcame those odds with one choice that changed his life.
Freeman told students, "You’re always one choice away from a different life." He also told them that the choices they make today will affect their family and their future.
MEETING ON PROPOSED LANDFILL EXPANSION RESCHEDULED 2/8/16
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality will hold an informal public meeting in Nashville on March 10th, to discuss the proposed expansion of the Upper Southwest Regional Solid Waste Management District Landfill in Howard County. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Green Room at the Nashville City Park.
The original meeting for the issue was scheduled for January 21st had to be canceled due to inclement weather.
The District is proposing a lateral expansion of its existing Class 1 landfill totaling approximately 43.5 acres, which will increase both the size and capacity for the facility. The landfill is located about 10 miles north of Nashville on Landfill Road, off state Highway 369.
ADEQ has determined that the District's pre-application for expansion is administratively complete, which allows the pre-application process to go forward.
The facility is currently permitted to accept non-hazardous household, commercial and industrial waste.
The purpose of the meeting is to provide interested persons with the opportunity to meet with ADEQ staff and informally discuss the agency's solid waste permitting process, as well as the proposed expansion of the landfill.
Since the meeting is not a formal event, no prepared statements are necessary, and the proceedings will not be recorded. After the pre-application process, if the District develops and submits a full application, additional public notices and formal comment periods will be provided before a final decision is made.
PRESIDENT DECLARES DISASTER FOR ARKANSAS 2/8/16
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 and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of December 26th, 2015 to January 22nd, 2016.
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Little River and Sevier 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 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, straight-line winds and flooding in Little River, Pike, Polk and Sevier counties.
Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures throughout the state.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by visiting the website, www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
ASHDOWN BOARD OF EDUCATION SPECIAL CALLED FACILITY WORKSHOP MEETING 2/5/16
Wednesday, January 27th, members of the Ashdown Board of Education met with several district advisors during a facility workshop to discuss the cost and scope of any future facility projects.
Superintendent Jason Sanders said the workshop allowed the board to talk about the pros and cons of a future elementary project. However, he said the board did not make a decision, but they will continue to discuss the new elementary project during future meetings.
Sanders also reported the board approved the purchase of some Chromebooks for the Ashdown Junior High School at a cost of $15,387. He said the Chromebooks will be paid for out of NSLA funds.
The Ashdown Board of Education will meet on Monday, February 8th at 6 p.m. in the Support Services Building for their regular monthly meeting.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS BEGIN NEW FINANCIAL LITERACY PROGRAM 2/5/16
EverFi Southern Region Schools Manager, Aaron Harris, visited the De Queen High School's Banking and Finance Principles class to introduce students to the First State Bank of De Queen's Financial Scholars Program. The program is sponsored by De Queen First State Bank and gives students the opportunity to take the EverFi Financial Literacy course free of charge.
Topic areas include saving, banking, payment types, credit scores, higher education, renting vs. owning, insurance and taxes, consumer protection and investing. Each module provides bite-sized, instructional animations to make each topic approachable and relatable to students. In EverFi, students are immersed in real-life financial scenarios and documentation. Complicated processes, like buying a car or filling out the FAFSA form, are broken down in an easy-to-understand way.
At the end of the semester, after students score a 70 percent or better on all nine module post-assessments, participants will become "EverFi Financial Literacy Certified" and receive a certificate from the First State Bank of De Queen's Financial Scholars Program.
For more information, contact Harris at 501-940-7697 or the De Queen High School Banking and Finance Principles teacher, Sandra Baker at 642-2426.
ANTICOAGULATION THERAPY WORKSHOP 2/5/16
Angie Walker and Emily Vaught from Dr. Randy Walker's office announced they will be hosting a class on Friday, February 19th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. concerning diet and education as it relates to anticoagulation therapy.
Vaught said several things can keep a person's blood from coagulating, like, diet, other medications and antibiotics. Walker said certain foods will also increase your coagulation numbers.
Vaught said if you would like to attend the class, contact Dr. Walker's office at 584-3000.
FOSTER GRANDPARENT TRAINING CONFERENCE 2/5/16
De Queen/Mena Educational Cooperative Foster Grandparent program Director Terri Williams announced the Foster Grandparent Programs of southeast, southern, southwest and western Arkansas will be holding a summer conference for the program's senior volunteers this May 31st through June 2nd at the Lake DeGray State Park.
Williams said foster grandparents spend over 258,000 hours annually volunteering in south Arkansas schools and early childhood centers. She said this saves school districts about $3.5 million dollars a year.
Williams said the summer conference helps volunteers earn 24 of the 48 hours of required training that they need to serve in the Foster Grandparent Program.
Williams said senior volunteers will participate in training workshops. She said there will also be a game night, banquet and the annual summer conference award presentation.
Williams said she is also asking area businesses and individuals to sponsor a foster grandparent, so they can attend the event. For more information about the foster grandparent program or if you would like to become a sponsor, call Williams at 870-386-2251.
CASTLEMAN FAMILY DONATES 02/05/16
Two framed posters of Arkansas legislators were recently donated to
Ashdown Jr. High School's Social Studies Department by Carolyn
Castleman and Amanda C. Kiser, wife and daughter of former Little
River County Judge Clayton Castleman.
The posters will be hung in Mrs. Jean Ann Jefferies' room at Ashdown
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL FBLA 02/05/16
The De Queen High School FBLA traveled to the UA-Hope campus Wednesday, February 3, to compete in the FBLA District IV Spring Conference. Nineteen members competed in many business related events. Fifteen members qualified to compete at the FBLA State Conference, which will be April 4-5 in Little Rock. There were over 40 High Schools that participated in the District IV Spring Conference. De Queen High School Junior Cody Lites was elected at the Conference as the FBLA District IV President and State Vice President for the upcoming school year. The following members qualified for the State Conference:
1st Place Haylee Rich – Agribusiness
1st Place Danielle Duggan – Electronic Career Portfolio
1st Place Cody Lites – Public Speaking II
Place Jeffrey Davis, Krishna Patel, and Prince Beasley
Place Anna Grace Cauley and Jessica Rogers – Emerging
Place Edgar Espinoza and Noah Sherry – Intro to
3rd Place Tara Montgomery and Alec Lowrey – Marketing
4th Place Joey San Juan – Personal Finance
Place Josie Vaught and Jessica Williams – Sports and
FBLA Members who attended the District IV Spring Conference: Prince Beasley, Anna Grace Cauley, Jeffrey Davis, Danielle Duggan, Tara Montgomery, Krishna Patel, Haylee Rich, Jessica Rogers, Joey San Juan, Karla Angeles, Molly Buss, Cody Lites, Alec Lowrey, Josie Vaught, Edgar Espinoza, Misty Goings, Abraham Martinez, Noah Sherry, and Jessica Williams.
The De Queen High School FBLA Advisers are Jennifer Collier and Chad Lites.
Front Row - Karla Angeles, Tara Montgomery, Anna Grace Cauley, Krishna Patel, Molly Buss
Middle Row - Edgar Espinoza, Noah Sherry, Misty Goings, Jessica Rogers, Josie Vaught, Jessica Williams, Danielle DugganBack Row - Abraham Martinez, Cody Lites, Haylee Rich, Joey San Juan, Alec Lowrey, Jeffery Davis, Prince Beasley
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS BEGIN NEW FINANCIAL LITERACY PROGRAM 02/05/16
EverFi Southern Region Schools Manager, Aaron Harris, visited De Queen High School’s Banking and Finance Principles class to introduce students to the First State Bank of De Queen Financial Scholars Program. This program is sponsored by De Queen First State Bank and gives students the opportunity to take the EverFi Financial Literacy course free of charge.
Topic areas include saving, banking, payment types, credit scores, higher education, renting vs. owning, insurance and taxes, consumer protection and investing. Each module provides bite-sized, instructional animations to make each topic approachable and relatable to students. In EverFi, students are immersed in real-life financial scenarios and documentation. Complicated processes – like buying a car or filling out the FAFSA form – are broken down in an easy-to-understand way.
At the end of the semester, after students score a 70% for better on all 9 module post-assessments, participants will become “EverFi Financial Literacy Certified” and receive a certificate from the First State Bank of De Queen Financial Scholars Program.
For more information, contact Southern Regions manager, Aaron Morris, at 501-940-7697 or De Queen High School Banking and Finance Principles teacher, Sandra Baker, at 870-642-2426.
CHARGES NOT FILED IN DEATH OF LITTLE RIVER COUNTY TEEN - YET 2/4/16
Charges have not been filed yet against a Little River County woman who reportedly shot a 17-year-old girl at a birthday on January 23rd.
According to court records, Ashdown attorney Mickey Buchanan, who is representing 40-year-old Tracie Dierks, is planning to ask for a mental evaluation prior to charges being filed in the shooting death of 17-year-old Caitlin Caskey who was an 11th grader at Foreman High School.
According to the incident report, the shooting occurred at a birthday party at Dierks' home in the Wallace community around 9:30 p.m.
State Police investigators have interviewed about 25 people who were in the house at the time of the shooting and investigators say alcohol was being served at the birthday party of Dierks' 16-year-old daughter.
During Dierks' first appearance last week in the Little River County Circuit Court, state police investigators reported Dierks was allegedly greeting the guests at the door with an AR-15 rifle, asking them if their parents knew where they were and if they were going to tell the police she was serving alcohol.
Investigators say Dierks picked up the rifle while Caskey and a male friend were near the door and the rifle discharged, striking Caskey in the upper body and piercing the jacket of the teenage boy.
Prosecuting Attorney Bryon Chesshir has stated it doesn't appear the shooting was intentional but criminal charges will probably be filed.
Dierks is being held in the Sevier County jail. Her bond has been set at $100,000.
DE QUEEN/SEVIER COUNTY CHAMBER BANQUET 2/4/16
The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 71st year of service to the community during its annual Membership and Awards Banquet which will be held on Thursday, February 25th at the De Queen High School cafeteria.
A variety of business and community service award honorees will be recognized, new officers for 2016 will be introduced, and visitors will have a chance to shop for bargains at the huge silent auction when the doors open at 5:30 p.m. New chamber president Patrick Massey will also be officially installed during the ceremony. He will replace outgoing president Susan Alspaw.
The De Queen Show Choir will perform and De Queen High School's Cross County Team will serve the roast beef dinner that will be prepared by the ladies of the high school cafeteria beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Around 400 business owners, community leaders and members of the public turned out last year for the banquet to honor local businesses and individuals for their efforts to make Sevier County a better place to live.
Tickets for the banquet are $17 and are available by calling Patty Sharp or Bonita Smith at 870-642-2446. Reservations are being taken for tables of eight and are eligible to enter the table decorating contest.
VOTE FOR GROWTH IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY CAMPAIGN COMMUNITY WILL START GATHERING SIGNATURES NEXT TUESDAY 2/4/16
A group of community leaders and business owners has formed a campaign committee aimed at giving Little River county residents the opportunity to vote for growth.
According to the Vote 4 Growth in Little River Facebook page, committee members will begin collecting signatures to place a local alcohol sales measure on the November ballot on Tuesday, February 9th. Supports say by allowing the sale of beer, wine and spirits in Little River County would not only provide residents the convenience of more options, but it would be a big boost for the local economy.
Kirk Babb is the chairman of the Vote for Growth in Little River County committee and he said as a dry county, Little River sends tons of tax dollars down the road to neighboring communities. He said that money could be benefiting the citizens of Little River County, by funding things like fire and police services and road improvements.
Babb said it's also a matter of convenience. He said county residents should have the choice of buying alcoholic beverages in their own community instead of driving to another county.
State law requires the collection of valid signatures from 38 percent of the county's registered voters in order to place the measure on the November ballot. The committee has until early July to submit the 2,825 signatures that are needed to qualify for the November ballot to the county clerk for verification.
Little River County Judge Mike Cranford stated county residents have the right to decide whether to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages in their own communities. He said it's an important issue, and it has the potential to create jobs and economic growth for the county.
The last time a local option initiative was on the ballot in Little River County was over 70 years ago.
For more information on the campaign, visit www.Facebook/Vote4GrowthLittleRiver.
ACCIDENT REPORTS FROM SEVIER COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE 2/4/16
On Wednesday, January 27th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Webb was dispatched to a single motor vehicle accident on Highway 329 near Red Cut Road.
When Webb arrived, Amy Evans of De Queen informed him that she was driving toward De Queen when she saw a horse on the highway. She said she swerved to avoid hitting the horse and the lost control of her vehicle.
According to the incident report, Evans' vehicle went into the ditch on the east side of the road.
About five-minutes to 1 in the morning, Webb was dispatched to a rollover accident on Central Road near the Central Store.
When Webb arrived, he discovered a pickup truck on its side in the ditch on the west side of the road, but he could not locate the driver. Webb reported he did find a beer can and a box of several beers outside the vehicle.
According to registration records, the truck belonged to Josh Martz of Horatio.
Martz contacted the sheriff's office on Sunday and said he didn't contact the authorities after the accident because he didn't have a cellphone at the time and he had walked to his sister's where he called his mom.
About noon on Sunday, the sheriff's office was notified of an accident on Silver Ridge Road.
The driver, Wendall Smart of Lockesburg told the authorities that he was driving south on Silver Ridge Road when he swerved to avoid hitting a deer. He said he lost control of the vehicle and it left the roadway on the west side of the road and went off a culvert causing the vehicle to overturn.
No injures were reported in the accident.
ARKANSAS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION REQUESTING FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE FOR 38 COUNTIES 2/4/16
U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton, along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman are urging President Barack Obama to support Governor Asa Hutchinson's request for a major disaster declaration for Arkansas.
From December 22nd, 2015 through January 23rd, 2016, Arkansas experienced a pattern of destructive storms, severe flooding and tornadoes that resulted in three fatalities and severe damage to hundreds of homes across the state. According to Hutchinson's office, Arkansans have reached out to help their neighbors, but the damage surpassed the state government's ability to respond. State and community agencies are working to assist citizens and begin the process of cleaning up and ultimately rebuild. Hutchinson said state resources including the Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Forestry Commissions and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department are being fully utilized, but greater assistance is needed to help communities recover.
For that reason, Arkansas' congressional delegation said they support Governor Hutchinson's request for a major disaster declaration for the 38 counties including: Little River, Montgomery, Pike, Polk, and Sevier
ARKANSAS REPUBLICANS LOOKING AT OTHERS AFTER HUCKABEE LEAVES RACE 2/4/16
Top Republicans in Arkansas say they're trying to determine which White House hopeful to back now that former Governor Mike Huckabee has ended his second bid for the GOP presidential nomination.
Governor Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday he's not ready to announce an endorsement in the crowded race. Huckabee dropped out of the race Monday after a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses, which he had won during his unsuccessful presidential bid eight years ago.
Hutchinson said he was honored to support Huckabee early, and a spokesman for the governor said he'll make a decision closer to the state's March 1 primary.
However, two Arkansas congressmen and the state's lieutenant governor announced they will endorse Marco Rubio on Wednesday.
Rubio's campaign announced U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford and Steve Womack along with Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin endorsed him Wednesday after Huckabee dropped out on Monday.
Crawford's district represents east Arkansas, while Womack's represents northwest Arkansas.
Several GOP hopefuls have campaigned in Arkansas, including Donald Trump who was in Little Rock on Wednesday.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED ON DRUGS 2/4/16
On Friday, January 29th, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Wendall Randall was patrolling on U.S. Highway 24, west of Horatio when he observed a maroon SUV cross the centerline on a couple of occasions.
Randall conducted a traffic stop and discovered the driver Tonya Miller, a passenger Brandon Cornett and Miller's 12-year-old son sitting in the backseat.
When Randall asked Miller for her license and proof of insurance, she started going through some money that she had folded up, like she was counting it. When she finally provided Deputy Randall with her license and insurance card, the insurance card was expired.
Deputy Randall then received permission from Miller to search the vehicle. However, while Randall was searching the vehicle, Miller reportedly told Deputy Chris Wolcott that Cornett had some meth in his pants.
Deputies found a small red Ziploc bag that contained what appeared to be methamphetamine.
Miller also allegedly admitted to smoking meth about an hour before being pulled over and she was arrested for driving while intoxicated on drugs.
Cornett was charged with possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine.
PUBLIC BLOOD DRIVE FEBRUARY 8TH 2/4/16
LifeShare Blood Center is having a blood drive on Monday, February 8th on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the Lifeshare donor coach.
According to LifeShare, about one in seven people who enter a hospital need blood. One blood donation, which is approximately one pint of blood, can save up to three lives.
For more information, go to www.lifeshare.org or call 903-794-3173.
LifeShare Blood Centers regularly supplies blood components to 117 medical facilities throughout Louisiana, East Texas and South Arkansas; including the De Queen Regional Medical Center, the Little River County Memorial Hospital and Howard Memorial Hospital.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL TO STUDY STOP SIGN SITUATION 2/3/16
Tuesday night during a monthly meeting of the De Queen City Council, aldermen discussed the need for stop signs at three intersections, including Third Street and De Queen Avenue.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy reported there wasn't a good place to put a stop sign on Third Street at the intersection. Aldermen also heard a report from the De Queen Police Department that said there had been two accidents at each of the three intersections in the past five years.
McKelvy said both Police Chief Richard McKinley and Mike Van Houton of the street department announced they will be retiring this year.
McKelvy also reported the De Queen Fire Department will be conducting some training on Saturday, February 20th, by burning an old building that is across the street from the school administration building.
McKelvy said the water department also plans to install a new 100 horsepower pump in the Stilwell lift station, over the Valentine's Day weekend.
McKelvy proclaimed February as Children's Dental Health Awareness and Prevention Month. Dr. Lareeca Woods of Smiles of Arkansas Dental thanked the council for adding fluoride to the city's water supply.
The next meeting of the De Queen City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, February 16th at 6 p.m. in the De Queen City Hall.
EXPIRED TAG LEADS TO DRUG ARREST 2/3/16
Tuesday night, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon observed a black Honda Civic on Highway 71 south of Lockesburg with expired tags.
During the traffic stop, Davignon identified the driver as William Redfern and the passenger identified himself as Christopher Bryant. While speaking with the two men, Davignon reported he smelt marijuana coming from the vehicle.
While searching Bryant, Davignon felt the bulb of a glass pipe in Bryant's pocket. The pipe contained a white residue that's consistent with smoking meth. He then discovered a clear plastic bag that contained suspected methamphetamine.
After taking Bryant into custody and reading him his rights, Bryant admitted he had given Davignon a fake name. He said his real name was Christopher Alton.
Redfern then told Davignon that Alton had put a backpack in the trunk. Davignon searched the backpack and discovered a partially smoked marijuana cigarette and a container with two different kinds of pills in it.
Alton was charged with possession of a controlled substance - methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He also had two warrants out of Miller County.
GILLHAM RESIDENT KILLED IN ACCIDENT LAST FRIDAY 2/3/16
Arkansas State Police Trooper J.D. Jones investigated a motor vehicle accident on January 29th that claimed the life of a Gillham man.
According to the accident report, 54-year-old Lawrence Tugman was traveling west across U.S. Highway 71 from King Road to Bellah Mine Road in a 1996 Chevy pickup and drove into the path of a Peterbuilt tractor-trailer that was traveling south on Highway 71.
Tugman was airlifted to St. Michael's Hospital in Texarkana where he was pronounced dead by Doctor Harris at 6:01 p.m.
PAROLEE ARRESTED FOR TRESPASSING 2/3/16
On January 26th, Arkansas Parole Officer William Ball informed the Sevier County Sheriff's Office that one of his parolees, Dwight Humble of Horatio had been trespassing on the property of the Sevier County Housing Authority in Horatio.
Ball reported Humble was wearing a leg monitor and the GPS system showed Humble had been on the housing authority property several times in the past couple of weeks.
Deputies from the sheriff's office and Officer Ball went to Humble's residence in Horatio, but they were informed that he had walked to the EZ-Mart and would be back later. Deputies discovered Humble walking down Henderson Street and he was taken into custody without incident.
Humble is being charged with criminal trespass.
WIRE CRAFTING WORKSHOP AT CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK 2/3/16
Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and the Crater of Diamonds State Park will be hosting a fun and unique hands-on workshop for crafty couples and friends on Saturday, February 13th.
Wire crafting is the ancient practice of making sculptures and other ornamental figures out of wire and components. Crafters often incorporate outdoor elements into their designs to create captivating pieces.
Participants are invited to meet at the Crater of Diamonds State Park from 2 to 4 p.m. to learn about the art of wire sculpture and make a 6 inch tree out of copper or brass wire, jasper beads and a conglomerate or agate base from the park's diamond search area.
Attendees may also bring their own beads or other decorations to add to their creations. Each pair may choose to make trees together or individually.
Cost is $30 per tree and that includes a non-refundable $15 registration fee that is due by Friday, February 5th. The remaining $15 will be due on the day of the workshop. Materials are limited, and a minimum of four participants is required.
For more information or to register, call the Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3113 by Friday, February 5th.
CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR JANUARY 2016 02/02/16
The Chalice Cupboard assisted 60 families in Sevier county in January, including 118 adults and 80 children, totaling 198 people.
1825 lbs. of food was added to the pantry. This included 1554 lbs. of purchased food plus donations of 271 lbs. Churches (St. Barbara Catholic and Kinds of the Kind of First United Methodist Church) gave 178 lbs. Anonymous individuals gave 13 lbs. KDQN radio station gave 80 lbs.
The bank balance on January 1, 2016 was $6,297.47. Deposits for the month totaled $877.00. during January $1195.34 was spent for food to replenish the pantry supply. The bank balance on January 31, 2016 was $5979.13.
Individuals living in Sevier County who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 North 5th Street in De Queen on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 pm until 3:15 pm. food is given to those requesting assistance once each three months period of the year: January-February-March; April-May-June; July-August-September; and October-November-December.
Suggested non-perishable items for those people who want to make a donation are cereal and canned tomatoes. Any money donated will be used for the purchase of food.
ROAD CLOSED IN LOCKESBURG 2/2/16
Lockesburg Mayor Danny Ruth announced Monday afternoon that heavy equipment has arrived and work has begun to bore underneath the railroad tracks on North Park Avenue to finish up the city’s water line project.
The South end of North Park Avenue where it meets Highway 2 North will remain closed for the remainder of this week.
ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING AT GILLHAM LAKE INJURES MENA RESIDENT 2/2/16
An accidental shooting at Gillham Lake, last Friday, resulted in a Mena man being air lifted to a Hot Springs hospital.
According to the Howard County Sheriff's office, they received a 911 call reporting a man had been accidentally shot at a boat ramp on Gillham Lake. Investigator Jade Hughes responded and met two men, Joseph Green and 44-year-old David Echols of Mena who were at the boat ramp launching their boat.
Echols reported he had gathered some items to put in the boat including two handguns. He said he dropped the .22 caliber revolver as he was carrying it and it discharged when it hit the ground.
Echols suffered a gun shot wound to his left forearm.
Southwest EMS transported Echols to the Gillham Fire Department, where he was met by an Air Evac team.
FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES MASTER PLAN 2/2/16
During the January meeting, the Foreman Board of Education approved the district's Six-Year Master Plan and Superintendent George Kennedy said the district hopes to build a new high school, someday.
During the meeting, Kristie Smith and Shannon Way announced the district had been awarded a $4,000 grant from Lowe's for the purchase of some playground equipment for the preschool students on the Oscar Hamilton Elementary. Kennedy said the grant will also allow the district to upgrade the preschool playground.
Kennedy reported the board approved the purchase of 25 computers for the high school, at a cost of $16,992.19, which will be paid for with National School Lunch Act funds.
Kennedy said the board also voted to bid out the installation of a new internet line that will run from the high school to the elementary building.
Kennedy also reported the district would like to donate its greenhouse to another district, because they have decided to go in a different direction in the Ag department.
Following an executive session, board members took no action on the superintendent's contract, but Kennedy's current contract will remain in place.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REPRESENTATIVE VAUGHT 2/2/16
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught said since most Arkansans will be filing their taxes over the next few months; she wanted to remind the residents of Southwest Arkansas about some legislation that was passed to help protect them from unnecessary fees and fraud.
Vaught said in 2009, the General Assembly passed Act 1402 which was known as the Refund Anticipation Loan Act. Act 1402 requires tax preparation services to post any fees associated with a refund anticipation loan.
A refund anticipation loan is a high-interest loan that’s provided by a third party against the expected tax refund for the duration of time that it takes the IRS or state to pay the refund.
The Refund Anticipation Loan Act also prohibits companies from requiring you to enter into a loan agreement in order to complete a tax return.
Vaught said offers of extra cash or immediate tax refunds are often attractive to consumers, who are in a difficult financial situation, but Refund Anticipation Loans usually reduces the amount of the refund that the tax payer was going to get and it may even cost extra money. The Attorney General's office advises Arkansans not to borrow their own money. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said if your tax return is less than estimated, you will be on the hook for the difference, including the high interest rate.
Vaught said before entering into a Refund Anticipation Loan agreement: Arkansans should consider filing their taxes electronically, which means their refund will be deposited into their account in as few as eight days.
Vaught said if you do not have a bank account, the Internal Revenue Service can provide your refund by check or on a prepaid debit card.
Vaught said if you plan to get a Refund Anticipation Loan, tax payers should get a written list of fees before entering into any agreement or having any tax preparation services performed.
Vaught said many Arkansans can utilize the IRS's Free File program, which is a web-based program that offers free federal tax preparation and electronic filing programs for approximately 70 percent of all taxpayers who earn less than $60,000 in annual gross income.
To find out if you are eligible for Free File, visit the website, www.irs.gov.
LET'S GET MOVING 2/2/16
Do you want to try something that will help you get in a habit of exercising? Well, Walk Across Arkansas is a physical activity campaign that is designed to get Arkansans moving. Each spring, individuals gather a team, put on their exercise shoes and get active for eight-weeks and this year, it will be from February 15th to April 10th.
The idea behind Walk Across Arkansas is simple, over eight-weeks one develops the habit of exercising. Over the years, the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service has heard that Walk Across Arkansas has help lead people down the road to regular physical activity and better health.
Also, you don't have to walk. Any activity counts like; jumping rope, swimming, climbing, hiking, riding a bicycle or walking. As long as the physical activity increases your heart rate or you break a sweat for at least 10 minutes, it counts.
Taking part is easy. Sign up by February 15th and record the number of minutes you walk or exercise for eight weeks. Walkers are encouraged to form teams of 2 to 10 people to keep the enthusiasm high.
To register, go to www.uaex.edu/WalkAcrossArkansas or click the Walk Across Arkansas icon on the homepage. Then start walking through April 10th, recording your minutes as you go. Everyone is encouraged to participate online, but, forms are available at the Sevier County Extension office.
For more information about taking steps to lifestyle changes, visit www.uaex.edu or contact the Sevier County Extension Office at 870-584-3013. The county extension office is located in the Adams Building on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.
MAYBE, IT'S MAYBELLINE 2/2/16
On Friday, January 29th, Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to Wal-Mart in response to a reported shoplifter.
According to the incident report, Officer Sawyer and a member of the Wal-Mart Asset Protection Team waited on the suspected shoplifter outside the store. When the suspect, 25-year-old Heather Hill exited the store, the Wal-Mart employee informed Hill that she had left the store without paying for some merchandise and asked Hill to follow her to the store office.
Once in the office, Hill removed several items from her purse that she allegedly did not purchase. According to the report, Hill had taken a hair brush, sunglasses, a package of lighters, Orajel, a bottle of Pantene hair spray, lipstick, three markers and some Covergirl makeup.
Hill was then taken to the Sevier County jail and charged with shoplifting less than $1,000
MCCURTAIN COUNTY AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATING AN ASSAULT ON A RETIRED PASTOR 2/2/16
McCurtain County authorities are reporting a retired pastor was beaten and drug behind a pickup last Saturday in the Oak Hill area.
Authorities say 74-year-old Neil Jackson was assaulted by 23-year-old Byron Duncan and 21-year-old Konner Mitchell.
Duncan and Mitchell are currently being held without bond in the McCurtain County jail. Both men have been charged with aggravated assault and battery.
DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY NIGHT 2/1/16
Aldermen of the De Queen City Council will meet Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in the council room of the De Queen City Hall.
Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy reported during the January 19th council meeting that he was asked to proclaim February as Children's Dental Health Awareness and Prevention Month and he said James Jackson of Smiles of Arkansas Dental will be in attendance to talk about the importance of dental health.
Aldermen will also consider putting a stop sign at the intersection of Third Street and De Queen Avenue. McKelvy reported there was a sign at that intersection several years ago, but it was removed because several drivers hit the sign because it was a sign post welded to an old brake drum that set in the middle of the street.
McKelvy said the police department will present a report on the number of accidents at that location.
McKelvy said he also plans to discuss two other intersections that need stop signs.
Aldermen are also going to set a date for public hearing to certify the amount of a lien that will be filed against a property that was cleaned up by the city on Harvey Drive, last year.
EARLY VOTING STARTS TUESDAY IN DE QUEEN SCHOOL SPECIAL ELECTION 2/1/16
Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akin announced this morning that early voting starts tomorrow at 8 a.m. on the proposed 8-mill increase for the De Queen School District.
Akin said early voting will be held in her office in the Sevier County Courthouse from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. She said county residents can still vote absentee, but they should contact her office at 642-2852 to ensure their ballot is returned to her office before the election.
Akin reported her office has mailed about 52 absentee ballots.
Akin said the only polling place for the special school election will be the De Queen Church of Christ and the polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9th.
Akin also wanted to remind county residents that today is the last day to register if you plan to vote in the March 1st Presidential Primary Election.
Early voting for the March 1st primary election will begin Tuesday, February 16th until Monday, February 29th. She said early voting will be held in her office in the courthouse from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 20th and 27th.
For more information, contact the County Clerk's office at 642-2852.
FARM BUREAU ADVOCATING FOR ARKANSAS 2/1/16
Sevier County resident Bruce Jackson is the President of the Sevier County Farm Bureau Federation and he serves on the State Farm Bureau Board. Jackson announced the Sevier County Farm Bureau will be honoring Sevier County law enforcement agencies, area EMTs and Sevier County fire departments with a cookout this Friday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m at the De Queen Farm Bureau office.
Jackson said its not to early for Sevier County high school seniors to apply for the Sevier County Farm Bureau scholarships.
On a state level, Farm Bureau is promoting a pamphlet that was prepared by the University of Arkansas Medical Center, entitled Plain Talk.
Jackson said Farm Bureau is encouraging Arkansans to be aware of a new allergy that is transmitted by ticks, called alpha-gal. He said it causes people to have an allergic reaction after eating beef, pork, lamb and venison.
Jackson said people should take precautions to avoid ticks.
For more information about Farm Bureau, contact Jackson at 582-2471.
LOCAL COUPLE WINS $1,000 FROM H&R BLOCK 2/1/16
A Sevier County couple won $1,000 from H&R Block during their 1,000 win $1,000 dollars daily event during the first week of filing season at the De Queen H&R Block office.
According to H&R Block Manager Sheila Chandler, Jody and Trista Bailey of Horatio stopped by the first week of the filing season and the local office was able to help them get his W2 offline, so they could file their tax return as soon as possible.
Chandler stated the Bailey’s were excited when they were informed that they had won $1,000 because they are currently in the process of buying their first home and they’re planning to use their refund as a down payment on their home.
SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY SNIPPETS 2/1/16
Sevier County Head Librarian Johnye Fisher announced February is Black History Month and area patrons should stop by the De Queen branch to see the library's display commemorating African-American history.
Fisher also mentioned the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care will be hosting a meeting Tuesday in the Dailey Room from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. for people who have questions about Arkansas Medicaid or ARKids First benefits.
On February 10th, the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library will host a Valentine's event at 4 p.m. Fisher said there will be a story time and crafts.
Fisher reported the De Queen branch is also looking to expand its audio/video center by asking for donations of audio books on CD and DVD movies. She said if you have any CDs or DVDs that you would like to donate call the library at 584-4364.
The Horatio branch of the Sevier County Library will be spotlighting DVD's that pertain to the 1960's Civil Rights Movement, as well as, books related to the 1957 integration of schools in Arkansas.
The Lockesburg branch will host an Adult Coloring Day on Saturday, February 13th. For more information, call 289-2233.
And, Dianne Rosson will host a crafts for kids’ event on Saturday, February 6th at 11 a.m. at the Gillham branch of the Sevier County Library. For more information, call 386-5665.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR EARNS SCHOLARSHIP FROM LYON COLLEGE 2/1/16
De Queen High School senior Esmeralda Verdin has been awarded one of the highest academic recognitions made to a freshman by Lyon College.
According to De Queen High School Counselor Ramona Hill, Lyon College awarded Verdin a four-year scholarship that is valued at $100,160.
Verdin is the daughter of Florencio and Maria Verdin. She is the secretary of the high school student council, a member of the National Honor Society and a member of the high school quiz bowl team.
Verdin plans to study pre-law.
GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON SUBMITS REQUEST FOR FEDERAL DISASTER ASSISTANCE WITH DECEMBER STORMS 2/1/16
Governor Asa Hutchinson recently submitted a request for federal disaster declarations from President Barack Obama for 37 Arkansas counties, including Sevier and Little River counties.
According to a release from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, these disaster declarations are for the flooding, severe storms, and tornadoes in late December 2015.
The request "is for Public Assistance services and Individual Assistance services from the federal government," which could include "direct funding for affected counties and/or individuals, hazard mitigation funds, and Small Business Administration disaster loans."
Preliminary damage assessments estimate there was more than $17 million dollars in damages throughout Arkansas.
HORATIO STUDENTS PARTICIPATED IN DE QUEEN/MENA COOP READING FAIR 2/1/16
Horatio Elementary teacher Leslie Ray announced several Horatio students participated in the De Queen/Mena Educational Cooperative Reading Fair along with several other school districts.
Ray said Hunter Frachiseur won first place in the Non-Fiction category and he also won the Best Interview contest. Frachiseur is a sixth grader at Horatio.
Fourth graders, Raylee Van Voast and Sahela Nelson, won first place in the fiction category and fifth grader Brooklyn Roberts won first place in the technology category.
Cadee Glasgow and Emma Ray are fourth graders at Horatio and they won second place in the fiction category and Mallori Marshall and Kate Baker earned third place honors in the non-fiction category.
LOCKESBURG RESIDENT SENTENCED TO DRUG COURT IN HOWARD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT 2/1/16
25-year-old Logan Arter of Lockesburg plead guilty to the charge of possession of methamphetamine and was sentenced to drug court and a $1,000 fine in the January 27th session of the Howard County Circuit Court.
Arter was informed if he does not complete drug court; he will be sentenced to five-years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
41-year-old William Weaver of Prescott is currently being held in the Howard County jail on a $25,000 dollar bond. He has been charged with possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.
23-year-old Chase Scoggins is being held on a $15,000 dollar bond on the charge of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine.
Both, Weaver and Scoggins, are scheduled to return to court on Wednesday, February 3rd.
SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS ELECTRIC REA TO SPONSOR WASHINGTON, D.C. TRIP 2/1/16
High school juniors from Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative service area will have an opportunity to win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June, according to REA President and CEO Wayne Whitaker.
The Cooperative is sponsoring an essay contest and as many as two winners may be selected from the submissions.
The trip, which is part of the National Rural Electric Youth Tour, is slated for June 8th through June 16th. While in Washington, the area winners will join 1,500 youth from 37 states. Activities will include a visit to numerous national monuments, the Smithsonian Institute, sites of historical interest and special programs developed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national organization of electric cooperative that coordinates the Youth Tour.
To be eligible to win, the students must be a high school junior, enrolled in a local high school and the students' family must be a member of the Electric Cooperative.
Contest entrants will be required to submit a 500 word essay on "The Future of Rural America." Essays will be judged on the basis of knowledge of the subject, originality, composition, neatness and grammar.
The deadline to submit essays is March 25.
This is the 26th year the local Cooperative has sponsored the Washington trip.
The tour began as a suggestion in 1947 from then Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas. He urged the electric cooperatives to take their young leaders to Washington, D.C. for a close-up look at the nation's Capitol and its leaders.
Youth who are eligible for the Youth Tour may contact Kelly or Rhonda at Southwest Arkansas Electric REA, 870-772-2743, for additional information. To learn more about the Youth Tour, visit www.youthtour.coop.
UA COSSATOT ANNOUNCES STUDENT AMBASSADORS 02/01/16
The new student ambassadors for UA Cossatot’s Spring 2016 semester have been named and inducted.
Last week, the new ambassadors were inducted at a reception at the home of Justin White, UA Cossatot’s Director of Student Services. These students represent the College not only to the UA Cossatot student body, but also to the College’s communities. During their year of services, they will perform around 1,300 hours of service that will include organizing and facilitating student events, visiting with high school students about college, performing community service projects, and participating in events that develop them professionally and personally.
“These students pass a series of interviews and meet stringent criteria before being selected to be UA Cossatot’s ambassadors,” said UA Cossatot Dr. Steve Cole. “We are proud of all of our students but these students represent the best of UA Cossatot.”
The Student Ambassadors are: Mayra Hilario of De Queen, Kortney Ashley of Ashdown, Madison Woodruff of Ashdown, Clayton Alspaw of De Queen, Arwen McDaniel of Texarkana, Mowery Santana of Foreman, Abi Bahena of De Queen, Jessica Rios of De Queen, Lizz Garza of De Queen and Brettny Lynch of Falls Chapel.
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