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Ruston Reynolds and members of the 4 C Cowboys Church youth group announced that they will be hosting their 2nd Annual 'From the Manger to the Cross' Christmas program this weekend.


Reynolds stated the youth group is called the "CREW" because Christ Renews Everyone Willing and he talked about how moving the Christmas program is going to be.


Reynolds said the event will take place round the churches circle drive. He said the church is located just west of the Sevier County Airport on Highway 70 from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday night.


For more information, contact the 4 C Cowboy Church.






In an effort to prevent a blood supply shortage, LifeShare Blood Centers will be conducting a couple blood drives in the area.


This Saturday, the LifeShare Bloodmobile will be parked in the De Queen Wal-Mart parking lot from 1 to 6 p.m. and the bloodmobile will be at the De Queen Regional Medical Center on Monday, December 22nd from noon to 4 p.m.


Rhonda Blanton of the De Queen Medical Center reported the hospital has set a goal of 30 units of blood.


LifeShare Blood Center also wants to remind residents that the blood products that patients need can only be provided by blood donors.


LifeShare is also giving a holiday t-shirt to every donor.


Tina Hooper of the LifeShare Blood Center said everyone is busy during the holiday season, doing their shopping and going to Christmas gathering, but the need for blood donations doesn't stop, just because we're all busy. She said typically donations drop during the holidays and it creates a shortage in late December and early January.


Hooper is asking area residents to take an hour and stop by the local blood drives and give blood now, so LifeShare can make sure that no one suffers from a lack of blood being available this season.






The clock is ticking on federal funding that helps struggling parents with young children. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program is set to expire in March, unless Congress takes action.


A coalition of 750 organizations, including six in Arkansas, has sent a letter asking that the program continue as it has for decades.


Karen Howard at "Zero to Three" explains the home visiting idea has always had bi-partisan support, and research has shown that voluntary home visits, usually conducted by nurses or social workers, can prevent serious problems and learning deficits.


There's also a pay-off. Howard points to the RAND Corporation report that found home visiting programs saved up to around six dollars for every dollar invested.


Howard says many parents are very young, experienced abuse or neglect as children, are disconnected from their parents or have aged out of the foster system. The home-visiting professionals offer non-judgmental support.


The American Academy of Pediatrics, Prevent Child Abuse America and Salvation Army are among the national organizations that signed the letter. Among the Arkansas groups signing: the Invest Early Coalition, and Parents as Teachers at Fort Smith Public Schools.


Funding nationally has been as about 400 million dollars a year.






Congress is set to consider updating a decades-old law that guides states on the custody and care of juveniles in the criminal justice system. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act was introduced late last week and one big change would be providing incentive to states to lock up fewer children.


Investigative journalist Nell Bernstein says locking kids up is expensive for states. She said it costs the state about $300 dollars per day, per inmate in Arkansas, and can cause harm that follows kids for the rest of their lives.


Her research into juvenile justice has focused on lawsuits related to guards abusing kids in custody. She also claims guards are rarely punished, and that kids are afraid to speak up or don't have safe ways to file grievances.


Bernstein advocates for closing most juvenile detention facilities, saying treating the underlying issues that are closer to the kids' homes has been proven to be more effective. Plus, she believes that the "acting out," "mouthing off," skipping school and shoplifting that often leads to kids being put behind bars is a developmental phase.






Each year, there are more than 3,000 law enforcement incidents on Arkansas public school campuses, but the majority of the children involved in these incidents are arrested for nonviolent offenses.


Across the county, millions of students are being removed from their classrooms for minor misconduct.


A new report by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families looks at the school-based arrests across the state between 2013 and 2014.


The report shows that the total number of arrests has increased by 13 percent since 2011.


The study reveals that getting arrested is another risk factor for students who are either vulnerable or high-need children and further endangers that future opportunities. It showed that students who are pushed out of the school and into the juvenile justice system face increased risk of chronic absenteeism, failing classes, dropping out, abusing drugs and alcohol, being arrested again and longer-term incarceration.


Authors of the report suggests educators should consider alternative disciplinary strategies that focus on positive reinforcement and restorative justice, which according to the study reduces police involvement by 68 percent and out of school suspensions by nearly 40 percent in some districts.


The report recommends the state develop a task force to review existing district discipline policies, train off-campus officers on how to respond to students, expand the use of preventative measures to reduce school misconduct, and to require law enforcement agencies to report arrests that are made on school grounds.






Park interpreters at the Daisy State Park announced some upcoming events at the park in January.


Park interpreters will be leading a First Day Hike on January 1st to celebrate the new year. Adults and children are invited to get started on their New Year resolutions for a healthier lifestyle in 2015 by exploring nature and engaging in some physical activity, while have a fun family outing.


Hikers are reminded to dress for the weather and to bring plenty of water.


The hike will consist of one mile, beginning at 1 p.m. outside the visitor information center.


Admission is free and the hike should take approximately one hour.


Park staff will also host a cast iron cookware workshop on Saturday, January 17th from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. The workshop will include a hands-on class about cooking with Cast Iron.


The unique cookware has been used throughout history for outdoor cooking and is still a great way to bring family and friends together around a campfire.


During the workshop, participates will learn everything they need to know about seasoning, cleaning and cooking with cast iron cookware.

All cookware, ingredients and utensils will by supplied by the park.


Cost of the Cast Iron Cookware Workshop is $15 per person.


Class size is limited so if you are interested in the class contact the park at 870-398-4487. Cast Iron Cookware including the Lodge Dutch Ovens and accessories will be available for purchase at a discounted price in case you get hooked on cooking with cast iron.



This Week's News:






Tuesday night's De Queen City Council meeting was the last for outgoing aldermen Pat Minor and Sterling Daniel and Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy recommended the council appoint Daniel as mayor pro tem for his final council meeting.


Daniel served on the De Queen City Council for over 15 years and Minor served over six. Daniel was defeated by Lawrence Wishard for his position on the council during the November General Election, while David Krantz will fill Minor's position after she did not seek re-election.


Mayor McKelvy presented Daniel and Minor a plaque in appreciation for their service to the City of De Queen.


De Queen Police Chief Richard McKinley reported to the council concerning the Shop with a Cop program. He stated 25 kids shopped with officers from his department, the Sevier County Sheriff's office, the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.


CPA Richey McCullough presented his independent audit of the city's water, sewer and sanitation accounts. He reported the departments were in good shape, but the city would need to address a drop in revenue in two of the three accounts.


City Clerk/Treasurer Donna Jones reported the city had received one finding on the city's legislative audit concerning how the city was handling travel expenses and she explained to KDQN that the city would be making a change to its travel expense policies to come into compliance with the state’s recommendations.


Aldermen passed a resolution allowing the fire department to sell rural fire memberships for $50 a year. If someone outside the city limits of De Queen would and they live in the De Queen Fire Department's fire protection area, they can go to the fire station and purchase a membership.


McKelvy announced Richard Robinson had been hired as the city's new Animal Control officer.


Chief McKinley said the department was working to change it policies in an effort to get dogs adopted and not have to euthanize them. He said they will be posting photos of dogs that are picked up by the animal control officer on their Facebook page Queen Police Department.






Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced this week that he will notify expected recipients of reparations from the state's Crime Victims Reparations Program that funding for their claims may be delayed indefinitely as a result of a significant budget shortfall.


Current state and federal funding levels will be insufficient to pay claims awarded by the Crime Victims Reparations Board, possibly as early as February, according to the attorney general.


McDaniel warned crime victims' advocates and legislators in June about funding problems and his efforts to preserve the program through the current fiscal year. However, stopgap measures to ensure full funding of awards will not be enough to offset a consistent decrease in payments from the state Administration of Justice Fund, which is the primary source of revenue for the program.


McDaniel announced that he had informed Governor Mike Beebe, Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General-elect Leslie Rutledge that he had secured enough to pay claims and avoid layoffs until February.


The Crime Victims Reparations Board awarded $3.91 million dollars to Arkansans in 2013.


State law provides for claims to be paid in the order in which they were submitted, but the law states that if there is insufficient funding for the program, claims will not be paid.


McDaniel said his office will continue to process claims as usual, regardless of the budget situation, and claims will be paid as funding becomes available.

McDaniel is encouraging hospital administrators, prosecutors, victim advocates and reparations recipients to contact their legislators in the coming weeks and ask them to look for ways to correct the problem.






During the month of November, the Chalice Cupboard assisted 45 families in Sevier County by distributing 1,213 pounds of food to 105 adults and 90 children.


Donations were made by the St. Barbara Catholic Church, Cub Scout Pack 54, First National Bank and KDQN, the Sevier County 4-H program and the Sevier County Library.


The Chalice Cupboard received $810 dollars during the month from several donors and had an ending balance of $1,604.


This month, volunteers are seeking donations of peanut butter, cereal and canned fruit.


The Chalice Cupboard is located on 5th Street in De Queen and is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 to 3:30 p.m.






Wednesday morning, De Queen School District Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced several upcoming events this week involving students of the district.


Whatley stated the De Queen Primary second graders will be performing at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and Parkhill will be holding their secondary AL graduation this Thursday at 6 p.m.


Whatley said she also wanted to remind parents that sixth through twelfth grade students will be taking semester test today and Friday.


And, Whatley invited everyone to support the De Queen High School Show Choir this weekend as they continue to raise money for a trip to Orlando, Florida for a choir event during the Lace Lane Festival of Lights on Friday night at 6 p.m. and at the Sevier County Museum on Saturday night at 6 p.m. for the reading of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”


For more information about programs on the campuses of the De Queen School District, contact your child's school office or call the administration building at 584-4312.



Nine Domtar employees delivered books, read to students, and brought smiles to kids' faces on Dec. 11 as part of the partnership between Domtar and First Book aimed at ending illiteracy and supporting schools.

The eighteen students of Mrs. Lonni Dollarhide's kindergarten class were divided between eight Domtar representatives and one Domtar employee who read to Shonda Wrinkle's entire class.  The adult readers shared a book with their group and assisted in the presentation of each child's copy of Kindergarten Rocks! to take home.  

Thanks to Domtar and First Book, a non-profit organization established in 1992 in Washington, D.C. dedicated to providing access to books for children, "the kids will get one new book today," says Dollarhide, "one wrapped book for a Christmas gift, and their own copy of First Grade Here I Come at the end of their kindergarten year this year."  The book each child will receive for Christmas is a beautiful hard-bound copy of Disney's Christmas Storybook Collection, a treasury of 18 tales.

"When I told them Domtar was coming to bring books, they were thrilled," continued Dollarhide, "especially when I told them they would get books to take home!" 

 In addition to the books of the day, Dollarhide has also ordered books to go along with Common Core Standards as read-alouds for every kindergarten teacher, in all totaling almost 150 books.  "Subjects such as black history, science, life cycles, and nature are included in the non-fiction selections to go along with study units throughout the year," she says.

For several years now, Domtar and First Book have partnered together to provide thousands of free books to classrooms nationwide and especially in Domtar-based communities.  To date, First Book has distributed more than 120 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada via its corporate partners.

"We are proud of our past success," First Book states on its website, "and even more excited about the future" as they continue to provide access to new high-quality books for children.

"We appreciate Mrs. Dollarhide for giving us the opportunity to visit her class and read to the students," states Tammy Waters, Manager of Communications and Government Relations at the Domtar-Ashdown Mill.  "All of the volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the experience and look forward to our next visit to Margaret Daniel Primary."

Reading for the children were Domtar volunteers Linda Harlston, Eric Schott, Joey Wallace, Tammy Waters, Andrea Schott, Johnathan Haltom, Kelley Crouch, Bob Grygotis, and Brandon Ayers.


Bob Grygotis, General Manager of Domtar's Ashdown Mill, reads a story about Pinocchio to two Margaret Daniel Primary kindergartners as one of the volunteers to share First Books with local students.

Linda Harlston, secretary in the Domtar Quality, Environmental, Technical, and IT Department, shares a book about the importance of colors with Ms. Shonda Wrinkle's kindergarten class.


Domtar employees enjoy their morning as volunteer readers in Mrs. Lonni Dollarhide's kindergarten class.  Each of the students shows off his own new book Kindergarten Rocks!   The Domtar readers, from left to right, are Andrea Schott, Joey Wallace, Johnathan Haltom, Kelley Crouch, Eric Schott, Bob Grygotis, Brandon Ayers, and Tammy Waters. 




Monday, December 22nd and Monday, December 29th, the Belleville Cemetery Association will hold a holiday open house from 6 to 8 p.m. each evening at the historic Belleville Church and association member Dr. Steve Cole said the cemetery association wanted to thank everyone that helped with the renovations from the donors to the construction workers and he mentioned some of the renovations that were needed to restore the church to its 1904 condition.


Dr. Cole stated since the renovations were completed, the association wanted to share the church with the community and they made the church available for special occasions like weddings and reunions.


The open house will be Monday, December 22nd and Monday, December 29th, at the Belleville Church from 6 to 8 p.m. each evening.






Little River County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fonda Hawthorne announced Monday morning the winners of the 2014 Ashdown Christmas Parade from last Saturday.


In the Commercial division, the winner was Main Street Preschool, followed by Southwest Arkansas Equipment and Pleasant Manor Nursing and Rehab.


In the Non-commercial division, the winner was the Jesus Worship Center, followed by the Ashdown Antiques and Merchants Association and the First Assembly of God Church.


The Boy Scouts won the walking division.


Don and Lori Dossey took first place in the Antique Car division, followed by Chris Swint and Paul Anderson.


In the other motorized vehicle category, Tiny Tots King and Queen, Grayson Sanders, Tori Beason and Land O'Lights Talent winner Tatum Beason took first place, followed by State Representative Fonda Hawthorne and "Looking for Santa" with Lenine, Cash and Marlei Helm.


Hawthorne stated the winners may pick up their plaques at the Ashdown City Hall from Elizabeth Foster.






Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts reported the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality approved the city's submitted correction action plan and the city plans to move forward with the sewer lagoon project the first of 2015.


Mounts said the addition of the new lagoon would allow the city to stay in compliance with the ADEQ for the next 20 to 30 years.


Mounts said aldermen approved the 2015 budget including a raise for city employees and an increase in funding for the city park.


The next Dierks City Council meeting will be January 12th at 6 p.m.






Monday afternoon, officers with the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's office, the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission participated in the annual Shop with a Cop program in De Queen.


Children selected bikes, dolls, clothes and gifts for family and friends as they shopped with a cop Monday afternoon.


Children and officers were joined by Santa Claus and a couple of his elves while they shopped and Wal-Mart assistant Manager Santana Smith explained that she had been involved with the Shop with a Cop program since Pete Price of Ashdown started the program in Little River County.


De Queen Police Chief Richard McKinley said children were given a set amount to spend and they could spend it on anything they wanted in the store. 






Little River County Extension Agent, Joe Paul Stuart, will be offering a class that required for those who need to be re-certified or who are applying for a private applicator restricted use pesticide license.


The private applicator license is good for five years and participates do not have to pre-register.


The training will be held in the Millwood Room which is located at the back of UA Cossatot next to the County Extension Office and is for anyone that does not currently have a private restricted use pesticide license and would like to become certified.


The class will be Thursday, January 8th at 6 p.m. on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot, but for more information call the Extension Office at 870-898-7224.



The Ashdown High School students in Mrs. Shauna Tipton's Business Law class and Coach Rick Fowler's Civics class learned about proper courtroom procedures through participating in a mock trial. The students practiced necessary procedures for all parties involved in an actual trial, such as the judge, attorneys, witnesses, jurors and observers.

"We actually do two trials a year," says Tipton, "where each student prepares as either a prosecuting attorney or defense attorney.  They all write opening statements, witness questions, and closing statements.  We then choose the attorneys, jurors, bailiff, and witness parts."

This semester's trial was "The People vs Carter" in which Thomas Wade Carter (enacted by Myles Markle) was charged with two crimes: 2nd Degree Murder (unlawful killing with malice aforethought) and Involuntary Manslaughter (unlawful killing without malice aforethought and intent to kill). 

On the final day of enactment, Arkansas State Police Special Agent Hays McWhirter joined the class to authenticate the proceedings.  He talked to the students regarding his job of gathering evidence as a Police Investigator.

AHS Business Law student Spencer Johnson gives his opening statements as the Attorney for the Prosecution Team during the mock trial proceedings in Shauna Tipton's class.  Seated in the background are Tipton (acting as judge for the mock trial) and AHS Civics teacher Rick Fowler.

Arkansas State Police Special Agent Hays McWhirter observes the courtroom proceedings during the student-enacted mock trial in Shauna Tipton's Business Law classroom.

Seated during the mock trial of The People vs Carter is Business Law student Myles Markle, who portrayed Thomas Wade Carter, the defendant charged with the crimes of 2nd Degree Murder and Involuntary Manslaughter.  Questioning him is "Prosecuting Attorney" Spencer Johnson, and watching over them both is "Bailiff" Demarious Taylor.



Approximately 3,000 area residents had the opportunity to take a free tour on the KCS Holiday Train when it made a stop in De Queen on Friday, December 12th.  The De Queen/ Sevier County Chamber of Commerce was the local sponsor and contact for the train information. 

Though it was misting rain, many children and their parents stood in line for over an hour for their chance to view and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train and visit with Santa and his elves.

Led by KCS’ Southern Belle business train, the Holiday Express train includes a smiling tank car “Rudy”; a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a ginger bread boxcar; a newly remodeled elves’ workshop; the reindeer stable; and a little red caboose. Each car is dressed in lights.

The Holiday Express also has a charitable component. At each scheduled stop, The KCS Charitable Fund makes a contribution of gift cards to the local Salvation Army to provide warm clothing and other necessities for children in need. Over the past 13 years, thanks to the generous contributions of KCS’ employees, vendors and friends, the Holiday Express has donated over $1 million in gift cards to this cause.

Tammy Simmons, representing the De Queen Salvation Army store and Joe Finley, regional representative from the Arkansas-Oklahoma Division of the Salvation Army organization, accepted the gift of fifty $25 gift cards from Grant Elliott on behalf of the KCS Holiday Express Charitable Fund.  Simmons said the local store coordinates with area schools to distribute the gift cards to children who have the greatest need.

De Queen Salvation Army Store Manager Tammy Simmons, AR-NE OK Service Unit Representative Joe Finley, KCS Volunteer Grant Elliott (back), as well as two other KCS elves.

More photos courtesy of De Queen Bee Staff


November, 2014, Report on Food Ministry 12/16/14

The Chalice Cupboard assisted 45 families in Sevier County last month--195 people, including 105 adults and 90 children.  Food distributions totaled 1,213 pounds, based on the number of people in the home.

 Supporting organizations of the food ministry last month were: St. Barbara's Catholic Church; Cub Scout Pack 54; First National Bank / KDQN; Sevier County 4-H Program and Sevier County Library; and individuals, including an anonymous giver.  All donated items totaled 583 pounds of food.

 The bank balance on November 1, 2014, was $1,684.15.  Gifts of money totaled $810.00 during the month. $886.15 was spent to replenish food items for the pantry, with items purchased weighing 974 pounds.  Total pounds added were 1,557 pounds. The balance on November 30, 2014, was $1,608.00. 

Suggested items for food donations are peanut butter, cereal and canned fruit.



Ashdown Junior High School math teacher Jeanne Burden has been awarded a grant in the amount of $1000 from the E-Z Mart Jim Yates Foundation.  The funds will be used to complete the math portion of the school's new outdoor STEM lab, according to Eliza Simmons, AJHS Instructional Facilitator and grant writer, which will include purchasing materials for a life-sized coordinate plane as well as other math manipulatives.

The E-Z Mart Jim Yates Foundation has allocated funding for Education Grants to the school systems located in the communities in which E-Z MART operates. "The purpose of these grants," states the Foundation's website, "is to assist the educator in acquiring the tools necessary to instruct and lead our children to higher levels of learning with the most current instructional methods."  

 Last year, E-Z MART contributed $43,065 to teachers wishing to enhance the classroom experience. "In the seven year history of this program," the website concludes, "we have awarded $271,523 to various teachers and school districts."



A former De Queen and current Mount Ida resident was recently sentenced after pleading guilty in July to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.


According to a press release, Steve Standridge was sentenced to five years in prison, three months of supervised release and restitution totaling seven million, ninety-six thousand, four hundred and seventeen dollars and thirty-five cents.


Standridge had faced a 23 count indictment issued by a Federal Grand Jury in the Western District of Arkansas and a 12 count indictment issued by a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Arkansas.


The indictment alleged that Standridge, who was president of Steve Standridge Insurance arranged for his company to obtain loans from a corporation in Hot Springs by falsely representing that he planed to use the loans to purchase two insurance agencies and Standridge submitted false information to a bank in Hot Springs in an attempt to obtain a loan to another insurance agency.


The indictment alleged there were no agreements to purchase the insurance agencies represented by Standridge and that he used the $2.7 million dollar loans for other purposes.


United States Attorney Conner Eldridge contends that indictment against Standridge followed pleas of guilty by Danny Wood of Idabel, Oklahoma and Gregory Hunt of Russellville, Arkansas.


Wood pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting bank fraud and was sentenced to 30-months in prison.


Hunt plead guilty to aiding and abetting bank fraud and was sentenced to 33-months in prison.


According to the press release, throughout the time period that's set forth in the indictments, Standridge owned, operated and managed various independent insurance agencies in the U.S. and it was through these companies that Standridge provided various types of insurance policies and bonds to Wood and Hunt.


The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation with the assistance of the Arkansas Insurance Department-Criminal Investigation Division.


Courtesy of DeWayne Holloway, Editor-Montgomery County News






Friday afternoon about 4 p.m., Sergeant Chad Bradshaw of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to a two vehicle accident at the intersection of Highway 70 and 9th Street.


When Bradshaw arrived both vehicles had been moved to a parking lot on the east side of 9th street.


James Hemric of De Queen informed Bradshaw that he was crossing 9th Street from the E-Z Mart parking lot into a parking lot on the east side of the street and he didn't see the other vehicle.


Hemric said he almost made into the parking lot when he was struck by the other vehicle.


Valerie Bell of De Queen reported that she was traveling north on 9th Street. She said Hemric pulled across the street in front of her, but she didn't have time to stop.


After conducting an accident investigation, Bradshaw discovered that Hemric did not have a valid driver's license and was cited for driving on a suspended license.


The owner of the vehicle that Hemric was driving, Nelda Fant of De Queen, was cited for permitting an unauthorized person to drive.






During the December meeting of the Ashdown Board of Education, board members were informed that Eliza Simmons had recently secured several grants supporting Literacy, Math, Science and physical education on behalf of the district.


Superintendent Jason Sanders stated the grants will be used to develop well-rounded students in the Ashdown District.


Sanders said the board also heard from the district's architect, Craig Boone, concerning his past work as the board discusses their future plans for the Ashdown campuses.


Board members voted to hire Carinna Snider as a Special Education teacher and Don Nesbitt as the high school Spanish teacher.






Members of the Memorial Baptist Church of De Queen will be hosting their annual Christmas Eve meal this year at noon and member Jennifer Martin said its free to everyone.


Last year, Memorial Baptist Church served 357 meals and Martin said Friendship Baptist Church held a Thanksgiving Day meal this year and they served about the same, but this year, Memorial Baptist Church hopes to serve about 400 people.


Martin said the church is located on Vandervoort Ave. just past the De Queen City Park swimming pool.


If you would like to reserve a meal, call 642-8387 or 584-2973 by this Thursday.






Former Sevier County Judge Dick Tallman and County Judge Greg Ray announced Monday morning that there will be a reception honoring retiring Executive Director of the Sevier and Little River County Senior Adult Centers, Mary Litchford.


Tallman said the reception will take place Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the senior adult center in De Queen.


Tallman and Ray announced that the Southwest Arkansas Development Center would be considering applicants for a new director .


Litchford has served the Sevier County Senior Adult Center for over 26 years and everyone is invited to share this moment with her as they celebrate her service to the senior adults of Sevier County.





December 5th, Dale Pennington of Prescott reported to the Sevier County Sheriffs office that he had left his wallet at the E-Z Mart in Lockesburg and that someone had picked up his wallet and apparently kept it.


Pennington explained that he was distracted by a phone call as he walked into the store and left his wallet setting on the counter after he paid for his items.


Pennington stated the wallet contained about $500 in cash, two bank debit cards, his driver's license, his concealed carry permit card, a spare truck key and several business cards.


Pennington informed the sheriffs office that he had spoken to a woman at the store and she had reviewed the security tape and saw a man pick up the wallet and hand it to another man in the parking lot.


On December 8th, Deputy Brian Hankins followed up on the investigation by speaking with the manager of the Lockesburg store, Jeri Overstreet.


Overstreet reviewed the security tape with Hankins and they witnessed Dustin Terry take the wallet and walk out the store and hand to a man that he thought the wallet belonged to. The tape showed the man take the wallet and leave.


The suspect was described as a medium build white male, wearing a tan/brown long sleeve shirt. The suspect got into a red Ford truck and drove away.


December 9th, Deputy Rodger Ridley was dispatched to the Sevier County Farmer's Co-op in Lockesburg.


Ridley interviewed a Victor Stinson who said he found the wallet by the west door of the Co-op, however, the wallet was empty.


On December 11th, Deputy Chris Wolcott and Investigator Robert Gentry interviewed Donald Curtis concerning the wallet from the E-Z Mart.


Curtis allegedly told the officers that a man handed him the wallet and he took it. He also allegedly stated that he took the cash, cut up the debit cards and discarded them in Nashville and left the wallet at the Co-op.


Curtis was charged with misdemeanor theft of property. Curtis bonded out of jail Thursday night.






Domtar has announced that it will invest $160 million dollars in the Ashdown Mill to convert a paper machine into a high quality fluff pulp line that is used in the absorbent applications such as baby diapers and other similar products.


The conversion is expected to come online by the third quarter of 2015 and will allow for the production of 516,000 metric tons of fluff pulp per year once the machine is in full operation.


The conversion work is expected to start during the second quarter of 2016 and will cost approximately $160 millions dollars of which $40 million is expected to be invested in 2015 and $120 million in 2016.


The company will also invest in a pulp bale line that will provide flexibility to manufacture paper-grade softwood pulp, depending on market conditions.






A group of community members in Mineral Springs are organizing a soup kitchen.


City Council member Steve Dixon says they are currently working to find a facility to be able to serve those in need. He said the "Community Table" will begin operation in January and will start out serving a meal twice a month.


The dates in January are the 13th and the 27th.


The goal is to get volunteers and organizations to sponsor meals and later be open four times a month. Meals will also be delivered to shut-ins.


Dixon says they would also like to establish a food bank.


Dixon said they are currently seeking the community's support in the effort and hopes it will benefit the area.






The Mineral Springs School Board held a brief meeting this week to approve the start of renovations at Hornet Stadium.


Superintendent Curtis Turner reported that Pilgreen Electric has been approved to start replacing the light poles and stadium lights at the football field.


Turner said the upgrades will solve some of the safety concerns at the stadium.


Work is expected to start in March.


Board members also approved the employment of Rhonda Conway and Kavante Hopkins as special education aides.






Horatio School District Superintendent Lee Smith reported that the Horatio Board of Education approved the purchase of a 2016 84-passenger bus, amended the high school student handbook and was rewarded over $17,000 for being a top performing school.


Smith explained to KDQN that the district needed to purchase another bus so they would not be short handed as they were at times this semester.


Board members accepted the transfer of two students from the De Queen School District to the Horatio District and approved a change to the high school's handbook.


Smith said the school board heard a report concerning school security and that the board members elected to seek the assistance of a professional security firm to help upgrade the district's security system.


Smith commended the high school for being designated a top performing school through the Arkansas School Recognition Program.


The program was created by the legislature to provide financial awards to public schools that experience high student performance and student academic growth and for high graduation rates for secondary schools.


The program provides $100 per student for schools in the top 10 percent and $50 per student for schools in the top 20 percent.






The Arkansas State Police and local police departments and sheriffs offices are working to make Arkansas highways and roads safer during the holiday season.


The "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign is underway and is an initiative that will be implemented during a three-week period encompassing the Christmas and New Year holidays.


More than 10,000 people are killed each year as a result of drunk drivers being behind the wheel and this time of year is especially dangerous due to frequent holiday festivities.


The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office recommends that you plan ahead whenever you expect to consume alcohol and designate a sober driver. If you have been drinking, call a taxi or have a friend or family member drive you. Drivers are encouraged to report any drunk drivers that they observe on Arkansas highways and to always wear a seat belt.






Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is urging Arkansans to make safety a priority as they decorate their homes for the holidays.


McDaniel issued a consumer alert to help residents remain injury free as they string lights on rooftops and light festive candles.


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that each year during the months of November and December, more than 14,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to injuries that are related to holiday decorating. Many of those injures are related to falls while hanging decorations, lacerations from ornaments, strained backs or burns from open-flame candles.


When stringing lights, McDaniel suggests consumers select lights that carry labels indicating they have been safety tested by independent laboratories.


McDaniel also suggests that lighted candles never be used on a Christmas tree.





The KCS Holiday Express will be making a stop in De Queen this afternoon at 4 p.m. during its 14th annual run. It will then make a stop in Mena at 4 p.m. on Saturday.


Area residents are invited to board the train and visit with Santa and his elves and tour the inside of three cars of the festive six-car train. The event is free and while the KCS Holiday Express is in town they will be making a donation of gift cards to the De Queen Salvation Army.


Over the past 13 years, the KCS has raised over a million dollars for that been donated to the local Salvation Army stores at each scheduled stops.


The local Salvation Army works with the local school district to provide coats and warm clothing to students in need.


The Holiday Express was built on the tradition of the Santa Train, which ran on a segment of the network that was bought by KCS in 1997.


In the year 2000, a group of KCS employees realized that the Santa Train was the only Christmas some kids had, and that some of the kids didn't have coats, hats or gloves, so they expanded the program and in 2001, they transformed a retired freight train into the Holiday Express that brings Santa and his elves to our area on Friday.


The train includes a smiling tank car named "Ruby"; a flatcar carrying Santa's sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a ginger bread boxcar; a newly remodeled elves' workshop; the reindeer stable and a little red caboose and each car is decked out in lights.



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