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De Queen Police Chief Richard McKinley stated a Wal-Mart employee reported the store was the victim of a quick-change scam Wednesday, February 10th.


Area businesses are being informed to take extra precautions when customers purchase an inexpensive item with a large bill. Law enforcement agencies say an individual will target less experienced cashiers and then try to confuse them with a series of speedy money exchanges.


McKinley said if a cashier is given a large bill and the customer claims the cashier didn't them the right amount of change. The cashier should stop, close their cash drawer and call for a manager. He even suggested contacting a manager and counting down the cash drawer before another transaction is conducted, if necessary.


McKinley said the De Queen Police Department is currently working on identifying the suspects involved in the Wal-Mart incident, but wants all business owners to be aware of this type of scam.


If you become the victim of a change scam, contact the local police along with a detailed physical description of the suspect. The De Queen Wal-Mart provided photos of three suspects and authorities need your assistance in identifying them.


If you have any information concerning this incident, contact the De Queen Police Department at 642-2213.





Sevier County Office of Emergency Services Director Walter Smith announced Friday morning that FEMA officials are currently in Sevier County and are evaluating storm damage in the area.


Smith said anyone with flood damage should contact FEMA as soon as possible at 1-800-621-3362 or go to the website He said they are currently visiting with residents along the Little River, but will be here for the next two or three days assessing the damage.


Smith said anyone with storm damage should contact FEMA concerning individual assistance from the federal government.






Horatio Superintendent Lee Smith reported the district honored the members of the Horatio Board of Education with a gourmet dinner, Monday night during their February board meeting.


Smith said board members heard a presentation from the Horatio band director, Daniel Dunn and several band members. Smith said the district is very pleased with the progress of the band program.


Smith reported board members approved bids for some safety enhancements around the elementary buildings and they also voted to replace the roof over the elementary cafeteria.


The next meeting of the Horatio Board of Education is Monday, March 14th.






Sevier County Extension Agent, Rex Herring will conduct two Private Applicator Training sessions on Thursday, February 25th at 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. at the Adams Building on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.


Anyone whose Private Applicator Training license has expired or those who do not have a license and need to be certified to purchase restricted products for farm or ranch use should attend one of the meetings. For more information, call the Sevier County Extension office at 584-3013. You do not need to pre-register to attend.






Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts reported the city council voted to accept the construction bid from Walker Sand and Gravel of Lockesburg in the amount of $350,000 Monday night during their regular monthly meeting.


Mounts said there will be a public meeting Monday, February 22nd in the Dierks Municipal Building concerning a bond issue for the wastewater treatment plant project. He said the council will also discuss water and sewer rate increases.


Mounts said if you have any questions or concerns, residents may also contact city hall at 870-286-2332.


Mounts reported Tres Agaves has opened a new restaurant in the old Hilltop Restaurant building and he said the owner plans to expand the business in the near future. Mounts also stated steel is going up at the new mill.


Mounts said the council also voted to destroy some old city records, but if anyone has any questions to contact his office.






Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is continuing her push to raise awareness of domestic violence, sexual assault and dating violence by teaming up with Break the Cycle, a leading national nonprofit organization providing comprehensive dating abuse programs, to offer workshops across Arkansas on healthy relationships and dating abuse. The three-hour training course will delve into the youth experience of dating abuse, including the health and academic impacts and how it differs from the adult experiences.


Rutledge said if we can teach teenagers how to handle dating violence and to create healthy relationships, it will help curb the constant cycle of teen dating violence that leads to domestic violence.


Act 952 was passed by the General Assembly in 2015. It requires students in grades 7th through 12th receive instruction on dating violence awareness as a component of health courses. This training will give teachers the resources they need to comply with the act, and the Attorney General's office is committed to supplying schools with dating violence awareness materials.


Participants will learn some foundational knowledge about dating abuse, methods for intervention and instruction on how to implement a Healthy Relationships 101 session with their students or youth group. Using pop culture and media clips that are familiar to teens, the workshops will include discussions to help teens recognize abuse and become critical thinkers on how these images can affect teens' views on healthy relationships.


Registration information can be found at


The workshop will be held at the Southwest Educational Service Cooperative at 2501 South Main in Hope on Monday, February 22nd.


For more information, contact the Attorney General's office at 501-682-2007.



Arkansas Tourism named Grand Prize Winner by North American Travel Journalists Association     02/11/16

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism has been selected as the grand prize winner for destination marketing organizations by the North American Travel Journalists Association. The designation signifies the department’s work as “the best of the best in destination marketing for 2015,” according to NATJA.

ADPT received the award in recognition of its social media campaign and online photo contest called “Barkansas.” The campaign also received a separate “gold” award from NATJA.

Developed in collaboration with interactive agency Aristotle Inc., ADPT launched Barkansas in August 2015 to engage traveling pet owners. The Natural State is the number one state for dog ownership in the U.S., according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Barkansas encouraged residents and visitors alike to share photos of their dogs having adventures across the state. Submissions to Barkansas began August 3 and lasted until August 27, 2015. Weekly winners were chosen by ADPT with grand prize winners voted on by the public via Facebook “likes.”

To view the 2015 winners and find out more about pet-friendly destinations in Arkansas, visit


district fbla award winners   02/11/16

The following Ashdown High School students placed in FBLA District IV Competitive events at UACCH and qualified for State Competition in Little Rock in April.

Alex Simmons 1st place, Intro to Financial Math
Isaac Thomas, 1st place, Public Speaking I
Gregory Shumake, Peyton Reed, Casey Thompson, 2nd place, Entrepreneurship
Trey Northcross, Jammie Cush, Chris Oglesby, 3rd place Emerging Business Issues
Isaac Cross, 3rd place, Business Law
Kai Donato, 5th place, FBLA Principles and Procedures

Isaac Thomas was elected Vice President of FBLA Dist IV for the 2016-2017 School year.







State and Federal officials are encouraging Arkansas residents in the 11 counties that were hit the hardest by the severe storms of late 2015 and January 2016 to register for disaster assistance with FEMA as soon as possible.


Residents in Little River and Sevier counties that suffered damage from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding December 26th, 2015 to January 22nd, 2016 may be eligible for federal disaster assistance.


The first step is to register by calling 1-800-621-3362 or go to the website


The toll free telephone lives operated from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week.


Officials say to speed up the process, you should have the following information available: a current phone number; your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are staying now; your social security number; a general list of damages and losses; and if insured, the insurance policy number or the agent and company name.


Federal disaster assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-interest loans to cover underinsured or uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.






The Cossatot Conservation District is offering a scholarship to a young person in the county. This person will have the opportunity to win up to $500 towards college expenses when they choose a conservation-related course of study at an accredited Arkansas college or university.


The district is offering awards to first, second and third place winners. For more information please contact the Cossatot Conservation District at 870-584-3111 ext. 3 or stop be the office at 309 West Collin Raye Drive in De Queen.


This is a program that is sponsored by the local conservation district in an effort to assist young people who are interested in a career in the conservation of our natural resources. 






Monday night about 8 p.m., Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon witnessed a vehicle merge into traffic from the Lockesburg Hardware Store, almost causing an accident and then drive left of the center line on a couple of occasions.


Davignon pulled the vehicle over on McWhorter Road just off Highway 371 and noticed the vehicle's tag had been altered to make it look like it expired in 2016.


When Davignon approached the vehicle, the passenger, 36-year-old Michael Nicholson of Horatio appeared to be hiding something under his seat.


Davignon reported he could smell marijuana and Nicholson reportedly said he had smoked some weed earlier that day and was still wearing the same clothes. When Davignon asked Nicholson to exit the vehicle, Nicholson reached under the seat again before he got out of the vehicle.


While Davignon was searching the driver, 34-year-old Curtis Ayers of Horatio, he found a glass marijuana pipe. While searching the vehicle, Davignon found a pack of L&M cigarettes that contained a clear plastic bag with suspected marijuana in it under the seat where Nicholson was sitting.


Davignon also found another clear plastic bag, but it contained suspected methamphetamine along with a large open knife.


Both men were arrested. Ayers was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and Nicholson was charged with two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of possession of meth.






Wednesday night, the De Queen Board of Education met to discuss the results of the Special School Election, in which, the voters of the De Queen School District voted down a proposed 8-mill increase by a vote of 1,208 to 704.


Board President Randy Hedge thanked everyone who supported the effort. He also stated the district still needs a new high school and a roof on the middle school. He also stated the district will tighten its belt and move forward. Hedge also encouraged the administrators to go back to work and do what's best for the students.


Superintendent Bruce Hill informed KDQN that the district has filed an application with the state board of education for partnership funds for the construction of a high school, roof for the middle school, a P.E. facility for the Primary school and four classrooms. He said the district will be informed later this year, if their projects have been approved. He also stated they won't know if the projects will be funded until April of 2017.


Board members voted to rehire all of the district's administrators. The district administers are: High School – Principal Bryan Blackwood and Assistant Principal Murray Neely; Junior High – Principal Bill Huddleston and Assistant Principal Jeff Holcombe; Middle School – Principal Brenda Leeper and Assistant Principal Lance Pinkerton; Elementary – Principal Terriann Phillips and Assistant Principal Sharon Pigeon; and Primary – Principal Terri Hill and Assistant Principal Joe Coulter.


Hill also reported the board approved $5,000 to go toward the high school's show choir trip to Orlando, Florida. Show Choir leader Stefani Jones reported the choir has raised over $27,000. She said the total cost of the trip was about $32,000.


Hill also mentioned the district recently received the trap shooting equipment and will soon start a trap shooting team.


Wednesday's meeting was attended by several patrons of the De Queen School District. The next meeting of the De Queen Board of Education was scheduled for Monday, March 7th at 5:30 p.m. in the administration building.






Greg Wright of the First Christian Church of De Queen announced Thursday morning that the church will be hosting the Melton Family Singers this Sunday for their Valentine's Day program at 4:30 p.m.


The Melton Family Singers began performing in 1973 as a duet, but as their children grew up, they joined their parents. As the children grew up, some of them settled down, but David continued to and in 2008, David and his wife, Krista were joined by their son, Kenny.


Wright stated if you enjoy traditional gospel music, you will love the Melton Family. He said the church will also be serving a potluck meal after the concert and everyone is welcome to join them.


The First Christian Church is located at 423 West Stilwell Avenue.







Six defendants changed their pleas to guilty last week during a session of the Sevier County Circuit Court.


Paul Barrera Jr. was sentenced to the Arkansas Department of Corrections for five years for possession of meth with the purpose to deliver and five years for possession of drug paraphernalia.


Shane Branscum changed his plea to guilty and was sentenced to 12 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections for delivery of a counterfeit substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.


Megan Duncan received six years probation and a $2,000 fine for possession of meth with the purpose to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia. Derek Kennedy received three years probation and a $1,500 fine for theft of property. Mary Spears was sentenced to six years probation and a $2,000 fine. And, James Winship received three years probation for possession of drug paraphernalia.







Forty-two year old Nolan Allen of Mineral Springs plead no contest to two counts of delivery of a scheduled II controlled substance and was sentenced to six years in the Arkansas Department of Correction during last week's session of the Howard County Circuit Court in Nashville.


Forty-seven year old George Gitchell plead true to theft by receiving, residential burglary and possession of a firearm by a certain person in two separate cases. He was sentenced to a total of five years in the department of corrections.


Kyle Ward of Dierks was sentenced to two years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections on burglary and theft charges.






Local residents are invited to join birders from across the country this Friday, February 12th through Monday, February 15th for the Great Backyard Bird Count, by recording your bird-watching results to help scientists discover trends and changes in migrations and populations of birds.


The Great Backyard Bird Count was started in 1998 as a project that used non-biologists to collect massive amounts of data on wild birds and display the results in near real-time. Scientists then combine the data from the Great Backyard Bird Count with other citizen-based counting projects, like the Christmas Bird Count, Project Feeder Watch and eBird program to get a big picture of what is happening to the bird population across the nation.


Arkansas Game and Fish Commission nature centers have bird-watching stations with feeders that are close to indoor viewing areas. Field guides are also available to identify the birds at the feeders.


For more information about the Great Backyard Bird Count visit the website, or visit




Special School Election results from the Sevier County Courthouse   02/10/16


Absentee Ballots:

Total              77

For                 18

Against           59


Early Voting:

Total              875

For                 296

Against           573


Total absentee and early vote:

Total              952

For                 314

Against           632


All ballots in and counted:  

Total            1,927

For                704  / 36%

Against         1,208 / 63%


Under votes  15 - means someone cast a ballot, without voting.

De Queen School millage fails by 504 votes.





De Queen High School senior Haylee Rich has been awarded the Henderson State University Distinguished Freshman Scholarship, which is valued at $58,000 over a period of four years.


Rich is the daughter of Ramona Driver and Kelly Rich. She participates in softball, band, archery, golf, trap shooting, FFA, National Honor Society, the Interact Club and FBLA. She is also the Leopard mascot and a member of the color guard.


In the fall, Rich plans to attend Henderson State University and begin earning a degree in education.






Relay for Life of Little River County is kicking off its 2016 campaign to benefit the American Cancer Society and is enlisting sponsors for the event, which is scheduled for May 13 at the Fred Jester Memorial Track on the campus of the Ashdown High School, from 6 p.m. to midnight.


Relay for Life is the world's largest and most impactful fundraising event to end cancer, Relay for Life unites communities across the globe for a night to celebrate people who have battled cancer, to remember loved ones who lost their battle, and to take action to help finish the fight once and for all. But, success of the event depends on sponsors and participants who make the night's celebration possible, as well as contribute to the continuing fight against a disease that has taken too much.


Relay for Life sponsors make a meaningful contribution in the fight to end cancer, and a variety of sponsorship levels are available to choose from. There is the Platinum Sponsorship of $2,000. These sponsors receive a plaque and their company logo is printed on the back of the official Little River Relay for Life t-shirt. A Silver Sponsorship is $1,000; a Gold Sponsorship is $750; a Bronze Sponsorship is $500 and a Signature Sponsorship is $250. These sponsors will also receive a plaque and have their company logo or names on the back of the t-shirt with recognition of their contribution levels.


Any individual who donates $100 will be recognized as a t-shirt Tail Sponsor. Donors may also contribute an item for a silent auction to raise additional funds. Sponsors and donors will be given a window-cling to display, showing their contribution to Relay for Life.


Sponsors not only are making a meaningful contribution in the fight to end cancer while supporting their local Relay for Life event, but they are also sending a message to the community, their employees and customers that they care about the well-being of thousands who have fought, will fight and will serve as caregivers in the face of this disease.


Anyone wishing to be a sponsor for the Relay for Life of Little River County may contact Linda Fielding at 903-276-5650 or go to their website at






De Queen First Assembly of God Minister Johnathan Reynolds announced the church's annual Wild Game Cook-off is Friday, February 26th at 7 p.m.


Reynolds said Lee McBride will be the guest speaker men can either enter their best wild game dish for a chance to win a prize or they can attend and simply enjoy the fellowship.


To sign up for the cook-off or for more information, call the De Queen First Assembly Church at 584-3435.






JP Atkins of the Cossatot Friends of the NRA announced the 2016 Friends of the NRA Banquet and Auction will be held on Saturday, March 5th in the De Queen High School cafeteria and encouraged area residents to purchase their early bird tickets before March 1st.


Atkins explained the Friends of the NRA banquet raises money to support several different programs and organizations, like the 4-H Shooting Sports team and the Eddie Eagle program.


Atkins said the Friends of the NRA has also been the only organization to donate funds to promote a new school safety program here in Arkansas.


Tickets are $25 for one person or $40 for a couple. Tables of eight are also available. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Baker's Bargain House at 584-7719 or you may contact Atkins at 584-9557.





Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders announced Monday afternoon the district will be testing its RAVE Panic Button System this Friday. Sanders said the RAVE System is used to indicate an emergency situation on the campuses of the Ashdown School District and the district elected to conduct the test on Friday, because students will not be attending school.


Sanders said the safety of the students and personnel of the Ashdown School District is very important and the district is working with city and county officials to create a protective environment for everyone.


Sanders said area residents should remember, this is only a test this Friday.





This Week's News:





Sevier County Judge Greg Ray informed the members of the Sevier County Quorum Court that President Barack Obama declared 37 Arkansas counties disaster areas and residents in Sevier County were eligible for individual assistance.


Ray said about 17 houses were totally flooded on the Little River and they will be able to apply for assistance through FEMA.


Justices of the Peace voted to remove a winch from the county's inventory and appropriated an additional $2,030 to the county's Worker's Compensation line item due to an increase in the county's Workman's Comp account.


Ray said the Arkansas Department of Highway and Transportation plans to replace the Little River Bridge. He said the project is expected to go to bids this March. The highway department says the project should take about three years to complete.


Ray said he was informed last week that bids to replace the Highway 70/71 bridges at the Dierks Junction should go out to bid in September.






During the January meeting of the UA Cossatot Board of Visitors, board members approved several changes to college policies, including some changes to the grading system and graduation requirements.


Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole reported the college's current graduation rate is 37 percent, which is one of the best rates in the state among two year colleges. He also informed KDQN that UA Cossatot is transitioning to a spring commencement only.


Cole told board members the PTA program is ahead of schedule, because of the college's 'Can Do' attitude.


Cole also said area residents, businesses; current and former students should take advantage of the college's virtual career center, which is on school's website at


Vice-Chancellor Mike Kinkade reported the college is working with their architects on a new student commons area and they are currently installing lights and cameras on the Lockesburg campus.


Kinkade said Weyerhaeuser had awarded a grant to the school for a new computer lab on the Nashville campus and they hope to complete that project before the end of the spring semester.  






Registration for the 2016 season of the Sevier County Dixie Youth Baseball Association is underway. This year, the association president is Clayton Yates.


Barry Reed is the director of the 6 and Under league and he informed KDQN that the association was transitioning from machine pitch to coach pitch in the 8 and Under and 6 and Under leagues.


Reed said the last day to sign up is Sunday, February 28th during the draft, which will be held at 2 p.m. at the Sportsplex.


Reed said they are also seeking coaches and umpires.


For more information, call Yates at 784-4718.






Sunday morning, Sevier County Deputy Matt Webb was dispatched to a single vehicle accident at the 70/70B intersection.


When Webb arrived he discovered a white Toyota SUV in the Southeast ditch on the one-lane of Highway 70B.


The driver Joe Hendrix of Mineral Springs suffered a broken leg about 4-inches above his ankle and the passenger, Ashley Strong of Horatio was trapped under the passenger side dash.


Both occupants were extricated from the vehicle and Hendrix was transported to St. Michael's Hospital in Texarkana by Southwest EMS. Strong was air lifted by Air Evac to St. Michael's with a broken hip and broken ankle.


According to the accident report, Hendrix said he missed his turn and the vehicle struck the ditch on the west side of the road, causing the vehicle to go air borne. The vehicle then went into the ditch on the east side of the road and finally came to a stop in the west side ditch facing northwest.






Friday afternoon, the interim director of the state's Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation, Terry Granderson, spoke with KDQN about the process of funding school facilities.


After the interview aired on KDQN Monday, Granderson felt he needed to clarify a couple of statements that he felt may have been misunderstood.


Granderson said he felt his statement that an 8 mill increase was on the high side could possible be taken out of context because there are a lot of variables that would need to be considered.


Granderson also clarified his statement that the state would help the district out, if the millage increase fails. He explained that he was talking about a district that is in facility distress and there was no special fund that the state could tap into to build a high school for the district if the millage increase failed. However, he did say the state could take over a district if they determined it was in facility distress.


KDQN was also informed Monday afternoon that a record number of early votes had been cast in the Special School Election.


Tune into KDQN 92.1 and KILX 102.1 tonight for the results of today's vote.



De Queen Primary School’s faculty chose Mrs. Natalie Dean as their Teacher of the Year.  She has taught 19 years for De Queen and currently teaches kindergarten.  Natalie received a Bachelor of Early Childhood from Henderson State University.   Mrs. Dean said, “I love teaching because of the feeling of accomplishment seeing my students grow in knowledge and confidence.  I enjoy being able to help children achieve their best.”




De Queen Elementary School’s faculty chose Mrs. Maralyn Faulkenberry as their Teacher of the Year. She has taught 15 years for De Queen and teaches third grade.   Maralyn earned a Bachelor of Education at Arkansas Tech University and Master of Building Level Administration through Harding University.  Mrs. Faulkenberry stated, “Ultimately, I love teaching because I love working with children.  I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to create relationships with my students and their families, and strive to contribute to making their futures bright and productive.  My goals are to touch the lives of my students, make connections that will last a lifetime, and provide them with inspiration and an education in a safe learning environment that will take them places in their lives.”


Mrs. Amanda Hibbs is Teacher of the Year for De Queen Middle School.  She has 15 years of experience with 10 at De Queen.  Mrs. Hibbs teaches reading.  Amanda earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Henderson State University and a Master of Educational Leadership at Arkansas State University.  Mrs. Hibbs said, “My students constantly motivate me to be better.  I see how my students grow in knowledge, confidence, and skills throughout a school year.  This gives me great pride in knowing that these young people will become our future leaders.  This is why I love to teach.”




De Queen Junior High selected Mrs. Carol Hall as their Teacher of the Year.  She has twenty-one years of experience at De Queen Schools and teaches eighth grade science.  Carol earned a Bachelor of Medical Administration at Louisiana Tech University and a Master of Educational Leadership through Harding University.  Mrs. Hall said, “I love seeing kids get excited about learning, and when kids in high school come back to compete in science competition, it makes me feel like I have made a difference in their lives.”




De Queen High School’s faculty chose Mrs. Stefani Jones as their Teacher of the Year.  She has taught for 23 years with 16 at De Queen.  Jones teaches music, choir, and the show choir.  Mrs. Jones earned a Bachelor of Elementary Education at Southeastern Oklahoma University and a Master of Educational Administration at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.  Mrs. Jones said, “I am blessed to be able to do each day what I’ve wanted to do since I was six years old.  I love students.  I love making connections with them as well as with their families.  I love seeing them mature and grow into young adults.  I love watching them set goals and then succeed at a wide variety of levels.  I love feeling like I’ve made a difference, even to one child.”


De Queen Schools will announce the district teacher of the year at the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce’s banquet later this month.




Friday afternoon, the interim director of the state’s Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation, Terry Granderson, visited with KDQN about how districts finance construction projects.

Mr. Granderson started by saying district finance facility through foundation funding and school millages.

Granderson said when districts traditionally plan to start a construction project; they file a Master Plan followed by an application for state partnership funds, based on the projects that they list on their Master Plans. He said state partnership funds are based on a districts wealth index number. Granderson said the wealthiest districts receive .005, but there is one district in the state that receives about 82 percent state funding.


De Queen’s wealth index is 62 percent.

Granderson also stated most districts seek a millage increase to finance their construction projects.  He said the average millage increase is 5 to 6 mills. Granderson said he thought an 8 mill increase was a little on the high side, but he had seen proposed millage increases as high as 10 or 11 mills.

Granderson told KDQN that the state will review the De Queen School District’s application and they will be working with the district if the millage increase does not pass, to see how they can help.

According to County Clerk Debbie Akin's office, over 650 district residents have cast their vote either by absentee or early voting as of Friday afternoon. She said the polling place at the De Queen Church of Christ will open Tuesday morning at 7:30 and close at 7:30 p.m.


KDQN and KILX will have the results of the Special School Election live Tuesday night as soon as the votes are counted.






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.






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.







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.






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, 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.





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.






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.







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.






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.





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.

At the start of his tenure, Judge Castleman had the frames specially made for the posters and they hung in his office at the courthouse.  Upon placing the new posters in the frames, it was found that posters from 2005, the beginning of his judgeship, still in the frames.  Each biennium a new set of posters were added to the frames.  One poster shows the state's Senators for the biennium, with picture, district number and name.  The second poster depicts the state's members of the Arkansas House of Representatives.


The posters will be hung in Mrs. Jean Ann Jefferies' room at Ashdown Junior High.

Pictured (r to l):  AJHS Student Council Officers - Makayla Dixon (Secretary), Delrae Smith (President), Rileigh Day (Vice-President) and Carolyn Castleman




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

1st Place               Jeffrey Davis, Krishna Patel, and Prince Beasley – Digital
                           Video Production

2nd Place              Anna Grace Cauley and Jessica Rogers – Emerging Business

2nd Place              Edgar Espinoza and Noah Sherry – Intro to Business

3rd Place               Tara Montgomery and Alec Lowrey – Marketing

4th Place               Joey San Juan – Personal Finance

5th Place               Josie Vaught and Jessica Williams – Sports and          
                           Entertainment Management


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.

Pictured above:

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 Duggan

Back Row - Abraham Martinez, Cody Lites, Haylee Rich, Joey San Juan, Alec Lowrey, Jeffery Davis, Prince Beasley



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 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.






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.






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.






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.






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






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.






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.






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 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.





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.






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.






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.






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.






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.





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.





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.






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.






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.






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,




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 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 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 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.






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.






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.






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.






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 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 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 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 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. 






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.






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




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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