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TODAY'S NEWS:  

 

ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT HELD PUBLIC MEETING LAST MONDAY     4/29/16

 

April 25th over 100 Ashdown School District patrons attended a public meeting in the Ashdown High School cafeteria to discuss the district's proposed 3.9 mill increase.

 

Superintendent Jason Sanders said if the millage increase passes, the district will renovate the Margaret Daniel Primary School and they will add another 64,000 square feet. The district will then consolidate the Margaret Daniel Primary, the C.D. Franks Elementary and the L.F. Henderson Intermediate schools onto one campus.

 

Some patrons asked why the buildings, which were built in 1950 and 1971 had been allowed to deteriorate into their current condition. School officials informed the public that the state does not provide money for districts to repair older buildings. Sanders explained the state provides funds for basic upkeep and that budget is based on the age of the buildings.

 

Ashdown's millage is currently 35.7 mills.

 

Early voting started today at the Little River County Courthouse and the Special School Election is Tuesday, May 10th.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD CHURCH STARTING A CELEBRATE RECOVERY PROGRAM        4/29/16

 

 

Several members of the De Queen First Assembly of God Church have started a Celebrate Recovery Program. The program was started in 1991 at the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Today, it is being used in more than 27,000 churches nationwide. It's purpose is to bring the hurting and the broken to the healing power of Jesus Christ.

 

Ashley Edwards of De Queen is helping with the Celebrate Recovery Program and she stated she is new to De Queen, but she's not new to recovery. And, she explained the program will help anyone dealing with life issues.

 

Edwards said the group will meet every Friday night, at 6 p.m.

 

Edwards and Pastor Ray Reynolds said the Celebrate Recovery Program was different from other programs because it uses Biblical principals.

 

Edwards said if you have questions or need more information, you may contact the church or the Program leaders, Joe and Hattie Vance.

 

Tonight is the first meeting and Edwards said it's for anyone with a hurt, a habit or a hang-up.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL ACT SUMMER PROGRAM       4/29/16

 

De Queen High School Counselor Ramona Hill announced this week that the De Queen High School will be hosting an ACT summer program, again this summer.

 

Hill said classes will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 pm. Monday, June 6th to Friday, June 10th and then from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, June 13th through Wednesday, June 15th. She said students will be free for lunch from 11 a.m. to noon.

 

Hill said the district will also offer two refresher course nights prior to the September ACT exam.

 

The cost is $100 for students who did not attend the De Queen School District.

 

Students will need to register by May 20th.

 

For more information, contact Hill at the De Queen High School at 642-4931.

 

 

 

NATIONAL MUSIC WEEK     4/29/16

 

The Foreman Thursday Music Club will be observing National Music Week, May 1st through the 8th and this year's theme is "Music...Notes to the Future."

 

Music lovers will have the opportunity to salute music, which as been the common denominator for people of all nations throughout this century.

 

National Music Week occurs each year during the first complete week in May, and this is the 93rd year for the observance that was begun by Charles Tremaine in 1924.

 

Music has been important throughout history and it exerts a leading influence on our everyday lives and has become a powerful means to deepen our worship, express patriotic fervor, and add a joyous atmosphere to happy occasions.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT IS UNDERWAY AT FOUR FAIR AND RODEO ARENA        4/29/16

 

The sixth annual UA Cossatot College Rodeo is underway at the Four States Fair and Rodeo Arena in Texarkana and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association member Doug Mathis is announcing this year's event.

 

Mathis stated this is the final rodeo of the year for the Ozark Region and college cowboys and cowgirls are trying to qualify for the National Intercollegiate Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.

 

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and children 5 and under are free. For more information, contact UA Cossatot at 870-584-4471.

 

 

DE QUEEN MCDONALD'S UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP       4/28/16

 

Last week, Steve and Celia Montgomery of Steve Montgomery Company Inc. purchased the De Queen McDonalds.

 

Celia Montgomery stated they own six stores in Nashville, Hope, Magnolia, Rock Point, Spring Hill, Louisiana and now De Queen and they have been working with McDonalds for 37 years.

 

Montgomery said all of their restaurants are in small communities and they are very involved in the communities they serve.

 

Montgomery said they will be holding a Teacher Appreciation event on Tuesday, May 3rd.

 

Montgomery stated De Queen residents will see several external changes immediately, but she thinks they'll enjoy the internal changes as well.

 

The new manager is currently accepting applications and Montgomery said she and her husband, Steve are good friends with Bill and Diane Baribeau and they hope to bring back that hometown feeling to the De Queen McDonald's location.

 

 

 

HOT UNDER THE COLLAR        4/28/16

 

Deputies from the Sevier County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to a residence on Highway 371 near Lockesburg in reference to shots being fired about 11 p.m. Wednesday night.

 

Deputies Thomas Jackson, Michael Barnes, Matt Webb, Greg Davignon, Johnny Cooke, Chad Dowdle, Robert Gentry and Sheriff Benny Simmons responded to the call.

 

When deputies arrived at the home of Hollis and Trudy Martz, they found a camo Remington 870 Express in a vehicle that was parked in front of the residence, but they could not locate their son, 34-year-old Hollis Devin Martz.

 

Deputy Jackson proceeded to a second residence where Devin Martz allegedly shot the back glass out of a pickup.

 

Jackson interviewed Brooke Walston who reported she and Randall Sims were visiting Thomas and Christina Martz with their two kids when Devin Martz walked into the kitchen and took her cigarettes. She said after she told him not to touch her stuff, he pulled a knife and knocked her and her chair over.

 

Sims reportedly pulled Devin Martz off Walston and then Martz left.

 

Walston said has she was putting her kids in the truck to leave, her daughter started yelling "He has a gun." She said when she looked at Devin, he had a shotgun pointed at her daughter.

 

Thomas Martz then went outside to calm Devin Martz down and a witness reported as Devin pulled the trigger, Thomas pushed the barrel of the gun up in the air and no one was injured.

 

Devin fired a second shot that struck the tailgate and back glass of Sims' pickup, causing about $3,000 worth of damage.

 

A short time later, Devin Martz returned to his mom's house where he was apprehended and taken to the Sevier County jail. He has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault on a family or household member, possession of a firearm by a certain person, terroristic threatening and criminal mischief in the first degree.

 

Devin Marts is currently on probation from the Arkansas Department of Correction for aggravated assault.

 

 

 

REPORT FROM DE QUEEN PUBLIC SCHOOL       4/28/16

 

De Queen School District Public Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced several upcoming events this week, but she started by stating the Rotary Club honored over 30 De Queen High School students during their annual academic awards program on Wednesday.

 

Whatley said the Sevier County Extension Office held a finance program for students recently and REA will be presenting a program on Friday in the old elementary gymnasium.

 

Whatley also reported the district's Science night was a huge success.

 

Graduation is May 22nd and Whatley said now is to the time for donors to contact Ramona Hill if they would like to provide a local scholarship. She said the class of 2015 earned $2.4 million dollars in scholarships last year.

 

Whatley said De Queen students were also displaying their art during the annual Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association art show and sell this weekend at the old King School.

 

Whatley also stated De Queen High School student, Reana Roberson, won an essay contest at Southern Arkansas University with an essay entitled "Hello".

 

For more information about activities on the campuses of the De Queen School District, contact your child's school office.

 

 

12TH ANNUAL SENIOR CITIZENS CELEBRATION AND HEALTH FAIR IN LITTLE RIVER COUNTY       4/27/16

 

Little River Health Systems will be hosting the 12th Annual Little River County Senior Citizen Celebration and Health Fair Thursday at the Ashdown City Park.

 

Vicki Keener reported they will start the health screenings at 7 a.m.

 

Keener said lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and everyone is encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and umbrellas.

 

For more information, call 870-898-5011 ext 3135.

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE       4/27/16

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the House passed several appropriation bills for state colleges and universities last week. She said it could take two or three weeks before they will be presented the Revenue Stabilization Act.

 

Under the Revenue Stabilization Law, priorities are set out for the distribution of the General Revenue collections. Vaught explained that as tax dollars are collected, they are distributed first to the funds and proportions that are set out in the A category, then the B category and then the C category, if there is one. Each legislative session starts new and sets the amounts, the categories and the priorities.

 

By law, legislators have three days to review the proposed Revenue Stabilization Act before being asked to vote on it.

 

Vaught said the Department of Workforce Services announced last week that the state's unemployment rate is down to 4 percent. She also pointed out that Sun Paper Industry announced they plan to build a $1 billion dollar pulp mill in Clark County near Arkadelphia.

 

The announcement says construction will begin early next year and they should begin production by the end of 2019. The mill is expected to employ 250 people.

 

The mill is also expected to provide another 1,000 jobs in the logging industry and 2,000 to 2,400 more jobs during the plant's two and a half years of construction.

 

Vaught said you can watch the House proceedings online at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

 

 

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL APPROVES PURCHASE OF NEW STORM WARNING SYSTEM        4/27/16

 

Monday night during a special called meeting of the Lockesburg City Council, aldermen approved the purchase of a new storm warning system at a cost of $44,000 dollars.

 

Mayor Danny Ruth reported the city was awarded a $24,000 dollar federal grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He said the system will cost the city $20,000.

 

Ruth said one of the sirens will be mounted near the Lockesburg campus of UA Cossatot and the Dollar General store. The other siren will be installed at the corner of North Park and Hilltop streets on the west side of town.

 

 

 

DRIVING WITHOUT LIGHTS ON RESULTS IN DRUG ARREST       4/27/16

 

Saturday, April 23rd, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Greg Davignon noticed a Ford SUV on Magnolia Street in Lockesburg without its headlights on.

 

Davignon made a traffic stop and identified the driver as, Maria Whitfield and the passenger as 31-year-old Roy Blankenship of Horatio.

 

Whitfield informed Davignon that her license was suspended and that neither she nor Blankenship owned the vehicle. She also allegedly told Davignon that Blankenship had drugs on him.

 

While searching the vehicle, Davignon found a zipper bag under the passenger seat that contained a set of digital scales and two different small plastic ziploc bags containing suspected methamphetamine residue in them.

 

At the Sevier County jail, jailers found a bag in Blankenship's pants that contained a glass smoking device with meth residue in it and a pink plastic Ziploc bag with clear crystal substance of suspected, methamphetamine.

 

Whitfield was released without charges, but Blankenship was charged with possession of meth with the intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and furnishing prohibited articles into a detention center.

 

 

 

AMERICANS NEED TO DRINK MORE WATER      4/27/16

 

According to a new report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Arkansas residents aren't drinking enough water.  The research indicates certain groups of people need to drink more water just to protect their health.

 

The CDC has followed up on a study that was done about a decade ago that looks at whether Americans are drinking enough water and research shows that women are better at drinking water than men and older Americans need to try harder to stay hydrated. The CDC suggests men get 125 ounces of water a day, while women should be drinking 91 ounces, and that includes not just drinking water, but water from all food sources.

 

Asher Rosinger with the National Center for Health Statistics says the results mirror those in the earlier study. He said senior citizens in particular aren't drinking enough water.

 

The study also looks at hydration based on race and it says Hispanic and African-Americans are also drinking less water then they should.

 

Rosinger says researchers looked at water consumption from all food sources.

 

The study found women get about a third of their daily intake of water from tap or bottled water. For men, it's about 30 percent.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY SNIPPETS        4/27/16

 

Sevier County Head Librarian Johnye Fisher reported the De Queen branch of the county library system has received a new collection of learning and phonics books, including "Bug in a Rug", "Llamas in Pajamas", "Underpants for Ants", and "Muddle and Match" which allows children to change the ending of the book. The library also has the "Big Book of English Words" and the "Big Book of Spanish Words".

 

The De Queen Library will be holding a Mother's Day story and craft time on Wednesday, May 4th at 4 p.m. and the first 30 children will receive a craft and a special surprise.

 

Fisher said the Horatio Library is spotlighting a new author during the month of May for teens and young adults. Fisher said her name is Jenny B. Jones and she is an Arkansas resident and high school teacher. Fisher said Jones is a 4-time winner of the Carol Award and she writes contemporary romance novels with sass and southern charm.

 

For more information about the Horatio Library, call 870-832-6882.

 

Fisher said the Lockesburg Library will be holding a book club meeting on Saturday, May 7th at 10 a.m. to discuss "The Boys in the Boat." She said it is about nine working class boys and their quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

 

The Lockesburg Library will hold a childrenís program on Saturday, May 21st at 10 a.m. They will be learning about gardening and healthy eating.

 

For more information, call the Lockesburg Library at 870-289-2233.

 

Fisher said the Gillham Library will hold Crafts for Kids on Saturday, May 14th at 11 a.m. with Dianne Rosson of the Sevier County Extension Homemakers Club.

 

For more information about the Gillham Library, call 870-386-5665.

 

Fisher also mentioned that all four of the county libraries will be holding summer reading programs. She said the De Queen Library will kick-off their program with Linda Goodner of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on Wednesday, June 1st at 10 a.m.

 

For more information about the De Queen Library, call 870-584-4364.

 

 

SEX OFFENDER NOTIFICATION - RODNEY HILL       4/26/16

 

The Sevier County Sheriff's Office and the De Queen Police Department released a statement Monday afternoon notifying the public that Rodney Hill is a level 4 sex offender and is working at Pilgrim's Pride at 401 South 3rd Street in De Queen. According to the De Queen Police Department, this notification is not intended to increase fear, but it is their belief that an informed public is a safer public.

 

This information is available through several resources, including the state's website that is maintained by the Arkansas Crime Information Center.

 

Law enforcement officials also want to remind residents that the abuse of this information by threatening, intimidating or harassing offenders will not be tolerated because such abuse could end law enforcement's ability to share this information with the public.

 

There are four levels of notification. The higher the level assigned, the broader the notification to the community. A level 4 offender is considered a habitual offender or someone who has a serious pattern of offending and are deemed sexual violent predators.

 

This information has been released to the public in pursuant to the Sex and Child Offender Registration and Community Notification Guidelines.

 

Authorities also want to make it clear that Hill was convicted of a crime that requires him to register as a sex offender with the Arkansas Crime Information Center, however, he is currently not wanted by law enforcement.

 

 

 

27TH ANNUAL TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL      4/26/16

 

The 27th Annual De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival is set for Saturday, May 28th from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the De Queen, Gillham and Dierks Lakes. Boat checks will begin at 5 a.m.

 

According to the chamber, there's over $14,000 dollars in prize money and door prizes that will be paid out with five hourly prizes on each lake, each hour. A grand prize of $1,500 will be paid for the largest fish overall, $1,000 for 2nd place, $750 for 3rd place, $500 for 4th place and $300 for 5th place overall.

 

Registration is $45 per person through May 27th or $50 per person if registering at the lake on the day of the event.

 

Entry forms can be obtained by calling 870-584-3225 or from the chamber website, www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.com.

 

 

 

SEVERAL ARKANSAS DRY COUNTIES WANT VOTERS TO DECIDE ON ALCOHOL SALES ISSUE       4/26/16

 

Five Arkansas counties, including Little River County, are collecting signatures in hopes that voters can decide whether alcohol should be sold in their communities, this November.

 

The Vote 4 Growth Little River committee is currently seeking volunteers to collect signatures. The committee must gather signatures from 38 percent of the registered voters in Little River County by July to put the issue on the November ballot. According to the Little River County Clerk, the group must submit 2,815 signatures.

 

Vote 4 Growth Little River's Facebook page states if county residents approve the sale of alcohol; it will help keep local dollars in the county, which would help fund roads, fire and police services.

 

Organizers have also pointed out that county sales tax collections increased by 5.2 percent in Clark County after voters approved a similar measure.

 

According to a published report, Wal-Mart donated $37,000 to the Vote 4 Growth Little River campaign and E-Z Mart of Texarkana, Texas contributed $5,000. The report also states the campaign hired an outside source, Blueprint Action, to gather signatures at a cost of $35,000.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT READIES FOR COLLEGE RODEO       4/26/16

 

Director of the Office of Institutional Advancement, Alisha Lewis, announced Tuesday that the sixth annual UA Cossatot College Rodeo is this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. each evening at the Four States Fair and Rodeo Arena in Texarkana. The rodeo will feature college student athletes from six states vying for points to take them to the finals of the National Intercollegiate Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming.

 

Nearly 350 contestants will compete this week in bareback riding, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, goat tying, team roping, barrel racing and bull riding.

 

UA Cossatot Rodeo Coach, Valerie Stone said the UA Cossatot College Rodeo is comparable to any professional rodeo that you've ever seen.

She said this year; they will also hold a horseshoe toss. Stone said one lucky spectator will be drawn on Friday and Saturday night for a chance to toss a horseshoe. If they get a ringer, they will win $30,000 dollars.

 

Lewis said Gizmo McCracken was returning to the UA Cossatot Rodeo this year as the rodeo clown. McCracken has been a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for 22 years and he takes pride in the fact that his humor is good, clean, family style comedy.

 

 

J & J Rodeo Company will also be providing the livestock again this year.

 

J & J Rodeo Company works hard at providing championship livestock on both ends of the arena and strives to produce a fast paced professionally ran rodeo.

 

Lewis said Doug Mathis who is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association will be announcing this year's event. She said he is ranked as one of the top announcers in the country. He has been a 6-time finalist for the PRCA's "Announcer of the Year" and appeared in George Strait's "Pure Country" while lending his vocal talent to countless radio spots, television commercials and voice-over gigs.

 

The Ozark Region is one of the most competitive in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, and Coach Stone invites everyone to gone the Cossatot Colts this weekend for there sixth annual College Rodeo.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS TO CELEBRATE TOURISM WEEK MAY 1-7      4/26/16

 

By proclamation of Governor Asa Hutchinson, and in recognition of the positive economic, social and cultural impact of the travel and tourism industry, Arkansas will celebrate May 1st through the 7th as Tourism Week.  In 2015, more than 28 million visitors traveled in Arkansas, spending an estimated $7.2 billion dollars, which generated $374 million dollars in state taxes and $137 million dollars in local taxes.

 

Across the state, communities are planning to salute Tourism Week in a variety of ways. And, here a few local attractions:

 

The Texarkana Welcome Center on Interstate 30, will celebrate on May 3rd and 4th.

 

Resource Raccoon from the Arkansas State Parks will be onsite and Texarkana, Arkansas Mayor Ruth Penney Bell will read a proclamation on May 4th.

 

Other special guests will include the Victory Riders Motorcycle Club, ArkLaHomaTex Corvette Club, and the Arkansas State Police, who will complete child safety seat checks.

 

Entertainment will be provided by the Melody Boys, the Genoa High School Band, Alan Broussard and the Jerry Wright singers.

 

DeGray Lake State Park, the Crater of Diamonds State Park, White Oak Lake State Park, Poison Springs State Park, Historic Washington State Park, Cossatot River State Park and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will all have booths set up and there will be some giveaways.

 

For more information, call 870-772-4301.

 

The Red River Welcome Center on Highway 71 North, will host an event on May 3rd from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

They will be serving BBQ sandwiches, sodas, bottled water and chips. There will be representatives from the Crater of Diamonds State Park and Historic Washington State Park.

 

Roger Tipton of Ashdown will display the craft of wood turning and drawings for gift certificates will be held.

 

For more information, call 870-772-7511.

 

For general information on National Travel and Tourism Week, call the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism at 501-682-1676.

 

 

 

SEVIER COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM RECEIVES GRANT        4/26/16

 

Sevier County Head Librarian Johnye Fisher announced the library system has received a $5455 grant from the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District. She said the grant will be used to purchase a new Microfilm Reader for the Genealogy Section of the Library.

 

A Microfilm Reader is used to read documents that have been stored as microform.

 

Microform includes flat film, microfilm, microfiche and ultra fiche. Documents may be stored using open reels or cassettes and is often used as a way of storing a lot of information in a small space. A microfilm reader is used to project and view documents by magnifying the microfilm images into readable proportions.

 

Fisher stated this is especially important for the storage of archived newspapers. She said the Sevier County Library has microfilms dating back to 1897.

 

Fisher said the grant was made possible by the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District, State Senator Jim Hickey and State Representative DeAnn Vaught.

 

 

 

CENTENNIAL BANK ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS AND ONE IS FROM KIRBY     4/26/16

 

Ten high school seniors have been selected to receive a $1,000 college scholarship from Centennial Bank's 2015-2016 Athletic-Community Service Awards Program. Centennial Banks is the named sponsors of all regional and state tournaments conducted by the Arkansas Activities Association.

 

In the boys' division, Lee Carson Whisenhunt of Kirby was named a winner.

 

This is the second year for the Centennial Bank Athletic-community Service Awards Program.

 

Each student-athlete had to meet scholastic requirements of a 7-semester minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher and each student-athlete had to score at least a 21 on the ACT or at least a 900 on the SAT.

 

The other requirements were a senior athlete registered with the AAA; had to display good citizenship in their school and in the community; had to display desirable leadership traits; and had to participate in other school activities.

 

Whisenhunt and the other nine scholarship winners will be honored at a luncheon on Thursday, May 26th at the Holiday Inn Presidential Hotel in Downtown Little Rock at 11:30 a.m.

 

 

 

STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT REPORTS DRINKING WATER IS SAFE IN ARKANSAS      4/26/16

 

Water safety has been a big topic in the United States since the news broke that the Flint, Michigan water system was contaminated with lead and was causing serious health problems. But health officials in Arkansas are saying the water in Arkansas is safe to drink and that kind of crisis they are experiencing in Flint is not likely to happen here in the state.

 

According to state health officials, the city of Flint switched its water source to save money in 2014, and since then, lead has been leaching into home water faucets, causing major health problems, lawsuits and even criminal charges.

 

Jeff Stone with the Arkansas Department of Health says the Natural State has good, clean water coming from rivers, lakes and wells.

 

Stone says they take between 50 to 60-thousand water samples from around the state each year. He said they test for bacteria, herbicides and pesticides, metals and other contaminants.

 

Stone says 95 percent of Arkansas' residents get their water from a public water source and, since the state is small geographically, they've been able to lay water lines to most homes. He said lead contamination isn't a major threat in Arkansas because most of the homes were built after the 1930s.

 

Stone said if they get a test back with a high lead content, there is a specific chain of events in place to work with the water district involved to get the levels back down.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
This Week's News:
 

 

THREE RESCUED AT MILLWEE CROSSING       4/25/16

 

Sunday afternoon, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Barnes was dispatched to Millwee Crossing in reference to some kids that were stranded in the river.

 

When Barnes arrived he interviewed Sarah Martin who informed him that 11-year-old Logan Eldridge and 16-year-old Jose Preciado had lost their footing on the edge of the water and had been swept into the current. She said they were stranded on an island in the middle of the river and had been in the water for about an hour and a half.

 

Martin reported 20-year-old Antonio Preciado attempted to swim out and save them, but he was unable to get back to shore.

 

Deputies Chad Dowdle and Greg Davignon arrived to assist Barnes along with Federal Wildlife Officer Brett Bowser and members of the Horatio and Central Volunteer Fire Departments.

 

Bowser, Davignon and Barnes put a boat in the river and were able to rescue the three young men.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN WOMAN'S DEATH RULED SUICIDE      4/25/16

 

The Arkansas Medical Examiner ruled the death of 53-year-old Mary Sue Blair of Ashdown who was run over by a Kansas City Southern train, a suicide, according to 9th Judicial District Deputy Prosecutor Al Smith.

 

According to the Little River County Sheriff's office, the incident occurred on Saturday, April 2nd about 8:44 p.m.

 

Last Monday, Arkansas State Police Trooper Robert Wilson and railroad officials reviewed a video that shows the incident and Smith said he agreed with the medical examiner after watching the video.

 

According to the report, Blair apparently laid down across the tracks in front of the southbound train. The crew spotted Blair, but was unable to stop the train in time.

 

 

 

COSSATOT ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW IS THIS WEEKEND       4/25/16

 

Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association President Lucretia Walker and Vice-President Jerri Lynn Rivers announced the Cossatot Arts and Crafts Show and Sale is this Saturday and Sunday at the Historic King School Building on Highway 71 north.

 

Rivers stated the show is this weekend, but artist must enter their work on Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

 

This is the 45th annual art show and the King School Building is 100 years old. Walker said they have categories for adults, children, and youth, as well as photography.

 

There is no entry fee for children and the entry fee for the youth is $1 per piece. The entry fee for paintings or photos in the adult category is $12 for association members and $15 for non-members.

 

Walker said this year, they will award over $8,000 dollars to the winners and most paintings may be purchased from the artist.

 

Rivers said the association will also have a special memorial display in honor of long-time member Van Ledbetter.

 

For more information or a registration form, stop by the KDQN studios, or contact a Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association member by calling 642-2419 or 642-7170

 

 

 

COSSATOT RIVER SCHOOL DISTRICT RAISING LETTER GRADES AT HIGH SCHOOLS       4/25/16

 

Cossatot River School District Superintendent Donnie Davis reported the Cossatot River Board of Education approved the purchase of the Saxon phonics program for the entire district.  Davis said this will help align the curriculum throughout the district.

 

Davis said the board also voted to update the laptops on the Umpire campuses.

 

According to the Arkansas Department of Education's report, all three of the Cossatot River School District's elementary campuses earned B's on last year's PARRC test, while the high schools earned C's. Davis said the high schools improved a letter grade and he feels the district is on the right path.

 

Davis said he also hopes the state will stick with the ACT Aspire exam.

 

The next Cossatot River Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 12th at 6 p.m. in the administration building.

 

 

 

FOURTH MOST DANGEROUS RAILROAD CROSSING IN THE NATION       4/25/16

 

An Ashdown railroad crossing is considered the fourth most dangerous crossing in the country, according to a Federal Railroad Administration report.

 

The list includes 15 crossings where 10 or more incidents have occurred in the past decade and the Ashdown crossing at Locke Street is ranked number four.

 

According to the report, there have been 16 incidents at the Locke Street crossing with four fatalities and four injuries.

 

The Locke Street crossing is 50 feet off Highway 71 and local officials say they would like to see crossing arms installed at that crossing.

 

In 2015, 244 people died at railroad crossings. Two-hundred and sixty-four people died at railroad crossings in 2014.

 

 

LOCKESBURG CITY COUNCIL INFORMED OF POSSIBLE CHARTER SCHOOL COMING TO TOWN       4/19/16

 

Aldermen Matt Webb reported Dr. Michelle Burgess held a public meeting early this month to discuss establishing a charter school in the City of Lockesburg, during the April meeting of the Lockesburg City Council.

 

Webb reported Burgess plans to start the Lockesburg STEM Academy. He said she can start the school with a few as 30 students, but the charter needs the approval of the Arkansas Department of Education. He said the department of ed, should announce their decision in November. He reported the school would serve Kindergarten through the eighth grade, but has a five-year plan to include all grades through the 12th grade.

 

Aldermen approved the city's 2014 and 2015 water and sewer audits with no findings. Mayor Danny Ruth reported that according to new state regulations, no new water service could be approved until the customer provides approval from the Department of Health.

 

Ruth also reported city employee James Maish had presented his letter of resignation effective April 15th.

 

Aldermen then voted to approve a stop sign at the intersection of West Avenue and West Walnut Street.

 

Mayor Ruth updated aldermen on the progress of the city's storm siren grant and the council reviewed a 50/50 grant for new lighting at the Ida Margaret Coulter Stone Park ballfields.

 

Park Director Shelia Ruth reported ballgames are being held at the city park every Tuesday and Thursday through the month of May and teams are also using the field for practice.

 

According to Ruth, Marlon Sharp has agreed to perform during the city's Fourth of July celebration and aldermen approved a bid of $3,100 dollars from Air Magic for the fireworks.

 

 

CRATER OF DIAMOND STATE PARK HOSTING FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT, APRIL 30TH         4/19/16

 

Saturday, April 30th, area residents can enjoy an evening under the stars at the Crater of Diamonds State Park campgrounds for the park's first family movie night at 8 p.m.

 

That evening, the park will host a special outdoor screening of the Lorax.

 

Tickets are $4 per person and concessions will be available. Bench seating is limited, and everyone is encouraged to bring their lawn chairs or a blanket.

 

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

 

 

LOUD AND DISORDERLY         4/19/16

 

Monday night about 10 p.m., Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department was sent to Sixth Street in reference to a verbal dispute between 19-year-old Kevin Bell and 49-year-old Gwendolyn Bell.

 

Patrolman Sawyer was assisted by Patrolman J.J. Lopez and Sergeant Chad Bradshaw. When the officers arrived they witnessed the two subjects walking away from the residence hollering at each and calling each other names while walking down the middle of the street.

 

Officers separated the two so they could speak to them, but neither one would stop yelling at the other, so both were citied for disorderly conduct and taken to the Sevier County jail.

 

 

TOO YOUNG TO HAVE THAT        4/19/16

 

Friday afternoon about 1 p.m., Patrolman Justin Gentry of the De Queen Police Department pulled over a vehicle because the driver was not wearing a seat belt.

 

According to Gentry's report, the driver, 18-year-old Erik Camacho did not have a driver's license and the passenger, 19-year-old Alexander Churchwell appeared to be nervous.

 

When asked if there was anything illegal in the vehicle, Camacho reportedly stated he had some beer in the car. Since, both Camacho and Churchwell were under the age of 21, they were arrested and citied for being minors in possession of alcohol.

 

Gentry reported there were five beer cans in the car.

 

 

UA COSSATOT FFA CRAWFISH BOIL IS THURSDAY        4/19/16

 

UA Cossatot Collegiate FFA member TJ Newton announced their chapter will be holding a crawfish boil fundraiser, this Thursday beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Cossatot Amphitheater concession stand. She said they will be selling platters of 3 lbs of crawfish, 2 corn, 4 potatoes and a drink for $17.

 

Newton stated all of the proceeds will be used for chapter trips and scholarships.

 

Newton said they are still selling plants and vegetables at the greenhouse every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. She said they will also be open on Saturday, May 7th.

 

For more information, contact Kelli Harris at 584-1218.

 

 

ASHDOWN CONTRACTS WITH K-12 CULINARY CONNECTION FOR THEIR FOOD SERVICES       4/18/16

 

During the April meeting of the Ashdown Board of Education, board members agreed to enter into a contract with K-12 Culinary Connection for the 2016-2017 school year.

 

Superintendent Jason Sanders said traditionally districtís only had two options for their food service programs, but consultants like Justin Mills are providing district's with a third option.

 

Sanders said this agreement should save the district money, while serving more meals.

 

Sanders said he visited with Horatio Superintendent Lee Smith about Culinary Connection because the Horatio District was using them this year.

 

Sanders said Domtar recently purchased a switch engine painted in Ashdown colors and logo to show their Ashdown pride.

 

Board members also voted to re-hire the district's classified staff and they named James Smith the Athletic Director, while Matt Richardson will serve as the Football Athletic Director.

 

 

 

 

AREA BIKERS RAISE ALMOST $1,000 FOR SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS CRISIS AND RESOURCE CENTER        4/18/16

 

April 17th, members of the Beacon Hill Bikers Ministry hosted a benefit bike ride and chicken dinner for the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center. President of the Beacon Hill Biker's Ministry, Newman Hance, reported they raised $980 for crisis center.

 

Hance said they hope to hold an annual benefit ride for the center.

 

Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center executive director, Courtney White stated the center appreciated the group for shining a spotlight on the center this month because it's National Child Abuse Awareness Month.

 

White explained the crisis center is supported financially by several different sources including contracts of services with the city of De Queen and Sevier County and grants, but this was a great gesture by the Beacon Hill club members.

 

If you need information about the Crisis and Resource Center, contact White at 870-642-2141.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS' FIRST BEN CARSON READING ROOM TO OPEN THIS FRIDAY ON THE L.F. HENDERSON CAMPUS IN ASHDOWN        4/18/16

 

Through the generosity of Domtar and their suppliers, the Carson Scholars Fund has announced they will be opening the first Ben Carson Reading Room in Arkansas on the L.F. Henderson campus of the Ashdown School District this Friday with a grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m.

 

The Ben Carson Reading Project is an initiative of the Carson Scholars Fund to help create a literacy enriched environment for children, so they can develop their reading skills. He said the reading project and the Ashdown School District are dedicated to promoting reading as a key to unlocking a child's full potential.

 

L.F. Henderson Principal Keith Fricks stated the district appreciates the support of Domtar and their vendors in the school's effort to encourage students to think big.

 

The Ben Carson Reading Room in Ashdown is the first of 10 reading rooms that will be opened through Domtar's partnership. The other nine reading rooms are slated to open in May and early fall.

 

 

 

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PUBLISHES SCHOOL REPORT CARDS       4/18/16

 

The Arkansas Department of Education published its annual school district report cards late last week. The report provides information about each school and school district in the state, including information about teacher qualifications and discipline. It also gives each school a letter grade from A to F.

 

This year, 19 schools received a grade of 'F', while 10 schools earned an 'A'.

 

According to the report, the De Queen Primary and Elementary schools earned 'B's', while the Middle, Junior and High schools received 'C's'. All of the De Queen Schools received 'B's', last year.

 

Horatio High School received a 'B' and the elementary received a 'C'.

 

The Ashdown School District received 'C's' for the Margaret Daniel Primary, the CD Franks Elementary, the LF Henderson Intermediate School and the Ashdown High School.

 

Foreman High School earned a 'B' and the Oscar Hamilton Elementary received a 'C'.

 

According to state education officials, the decrease in the number of A's and B's and the increase in C's was due to the change in the state's testing program.

 

Last year, the state moved away from the Arkansas Benchmark and End-of-Course exams and required district's to give the PARCC exams in math and English.

 

Throughout the state only one in three students scored at the desired Levels of 4 and 5 in English and only one in four scored at the desired levels in math.

 

According to the state a score of 4 meant students were at their grade level and a 5 meant they had exceeded expectations and tested above their grade level.

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT - BUDGET MEETINGS     4/18/16

 

Members of the state legislature convened last week to begin working on the 2016-2017 budget.

 

District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the outcome of the budget will depend upon the passage of Senate Bill 121, which is the appropriation bill of services and operating expenses for the Department of Human Service Division of Medical Services.

 

She said SB 121 includes appropriations for long-term facilities, ARKids First, and hospital and medical services. Vaught explained SB 121 also funds the services provided by Arkansas Works, which is the state's version of the private option. Arkansas Works will use federal funds to purchase healthcare insurance for low-income residents.

 

Vaught reported the bill failed by two votes on the Senate floor last week, and was sent back to the Joint Budget Committee, which is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. The full House is expected to meet Tuesday afternoon at 1:30.

 

 

 

STANDOFF IN FOREMAN ENDS WITH NO ONE BEING HURT       4/18/16

 

A Foreman resident was arrested Friday about 2:15 p.m. after a standoff with police started Thursday night about midnight.

 

A federal Game and Fish Commission wildlife officer tased 31-year-old Devin Hawkins Friday afternoon after he walked out of his home waving a handgun. Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory reported no one was injured during the incident.

 

According to the Little River County Sheriff's office, Hawkins reportedly started discharging an AR-15 rifle Thursday night. Authorities reported Hawkins was living in a storage building that set behind his house that burned down about a month ago.

 

Hawkins allegedly told some family members that he would not be taken alive, so local authorities asked for assistance from the Arkansas State Police SWAT team.

 

According to Sheriff Gregory, Hawkins had been released from the Little River County jail recently after serving a sentence on a disorderly conduct charge. He said Hawkins suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. 

 

Charges have not been filed at this time, but Hawkins is being held in the Little River County jail.

 

 

 

ASHDOWN HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE PRESENTS UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE, APRIL 24TH AND 25TH        4/18/16

 

Ashdown High School theater students would like to invite the public to their spring production of Up the Down Staircase, which is based on the work of Bel Kaufman.

 

Theater goers will be invited to imagine the first day of high school, as students pour into the classroom, cautious, testing, and challenging. The first words to greet the new teacher, Sylvia Barrett is "Hey, Miss."

 

Soon afterwards, Barrett finds herself the most involved person in the school. She started a romance and she's involved in a battle with a discipline-micro-managing administrator. But, mostly, she is involved in the unexpected, sometimes heartbreaking problems of her students.

 

Performances will be held at the Ashdown High School auditorium on Sunday, April 24th at 2 p.m. and on Monday, April 25th at 10 a.m.

 

Admission is $3 for students and $5 for adults.

 

For more information, contact the Ashdown High School at 898-3562.

 

 

 

FORMER DE QUEEN DOCTOR PASSES AWAY IN SEARCY         4/18/16

 

Dr. Eugene Joseph, formerly of De Queen, passed away April 11th at his home in Searcy.

 

Dr. Joseph lived in De Queen for 12 years before moving to Searcy and starting the Joseph Clinic. He along with Bill Blackwood and the late Bobby Holcombe developed the JoHoWood residential area behind Tires Plus.

 

Dr. Joseph graduated from Sacred Heart Academy in Helena and attended the University of Arkansas and graduated from the University of Arkansas Medial School in 1961.

 

A memorial service was held for Dr. Joseph in Searcy on Friday, April 15th at the First United Methodist Church.

 

 

HORATIO SCHOOL DISTRICT DISCONTINUES ADVANCE ED MEMBERSHIP       4/15/16

 

Monday night during a regular meeting of the Horatio Board of Education, board members voted to renew their contract with K-12 Culinary Connection, which has been the district's food service provider for the past school year. Superintendent Lee Smith said K-12 Culinary increased the number of meals the district served while saving the district money.

 

Smith said the board also voted to purchase new band instruments for the band program.

 

During the Superintendent's report, Smith informed the board that the state increased the district's internet bandwidth, but the district has to install a system that will connect the high school to the elementary school.

 

Smith also reported the board voted to discontinue the district's Advance Ed membership. Smith stated the board felt the district wasn't benefiting by participating in the Advance Ed accreditation process.

 

Smith reported the board hired Stephanie Rowe as the new high school principal during a special called meeting, Thursday afternoon. She is currently the principal of the Mineral Springs High School and she will replace, James Dobbins, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

 

 

 

BENEFIT BIKE RIDE THIS SUNDAY FOR CRISIS AND RESOURCE CENTER      4/15/16

 

The Beacon Hill Bikers Club will be hosting a benefit ride and chicken dinner for the Southwest Arkansas Crisis and Resource Center, this Sunday with the first bike leaving the Town North Shopping Center at 10 a.m.

 

Courtney White of the crisis center stated April is Child Abuse Awareness month and all forms of abuse are intertwined. She said not everyone who is abused or witnessís abuse becomes an abuser, but most abusers were or witnessed abuse as a child.

 

White explained the crisis center is supported financially by several different sources but expressed her appreciation to the Beacon Hill Bikers Club for supporting the center's work.

 

For more information about the crisis center call 870-642-2141 or Newman Hance at 692-930-0378.

 

 

 

DE QUEEN AIR EVAC LIFETEAM HOLDS TRAINING FOR OZAN VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT        4/15/16

 

The De Queen Air Evac Lifeteam crew of pilot Robert Parrish, flight nurse Amanda Pannell and Base Clinical Lead Justin Kinkade recently conducted a Landing Zone and Helicopter Safety class for the members of the Ozan Volunteer Fire Department.

 

The class included instruction on interacting safely with helicopters, selecting landing zone sites, guiding the helicopter to the ground and patient loading.

 

Parrish said the class gives Lifeteam members the opportunity to educate volunteers about what Air Evas does and how they work with other responders at the scenes of medial emergencies. He said the landing zone class is very important because they want everyone involved in an emergency situation to be safe around the helicopter.

 

Parrish explained that by demonstrating and explaining how the helicopter operates, Air Evac lessens the fears of volunteers while heightening their awareness, which will allow Air Evac to fly directly to the scene of a medical emergency, thus decreasing the amount of time that it takes to residents of the surrounding area to receive critical, life-saving care.

 

 

 

DONKEY BASKETBALL GAME AT COSSATOT RIVER SATURDAY NIGHT    4/15/16

 

The 2nd annual Cossatot River Donkey Basketball game is set for 5 p.m. Saturday night at the Cossatot River High School gym. According to Ag Booster club member Kristy Frachiseur, the event is a fundraiser for both the Ag and Athletic Booster Clubs.

 

Frachiseur said proceeds will be used to cover fair expenses for Ag students and new equipment for the athletic department.

 

There's going to be a concession stand and funnel cakes. She said they will also be playing musical donkeys and Ďwhere's the dressí at halftime.

 

The athletic team members are Sheriff-elect Scott Sawyer, Mike Salinas-the Grannis Chief of Police, Brian Richardson, Marcelo Trinidad, John Newlin, E.J. Tena and Raymond Jewell.

 

The Ag Booster team includes: Clint Bell, Hunter Johnson, Ag teacher Mr. Morgan, Jamie Bailey, high school principal Mr. Ford, Reed Bowen and Cullen Hopper.

 

Advance tickets are still available at the Union Bank for $6 or you can call Frachiseur at 870-784-1903.

 

 

 

LOCAL 4H MEMBERS ASSIST WITH GRAND OPENING OF TRACTOR SUPPLY IN ASHDOWN       4/15/16

 

Seven local 4-H members assist the new Tractor Supply with their official Grand Opening on April 2nd in Ashdown. They served popcorn and assisted customers with coupons, passed out Tractor Supply hats, and helped customers sign up for door prizes on iPads.

 

Tractor Supply is also conducting its annual Paper Clover program through April 23rd. Little River County Extension Agent Sherry Betty-Sullivan said all of the money raised through the event supports 4-H programs at the local, state and national levels.

 

For more information about the Little River County 4-H, contact the Little River County Extension Office at 898-7225. 4-H is open to all youth ages 5 through 19.

 

 

 

MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL BOARD LOOKS AT NEW BUILDING FLOOR PLANS      4/15/16

 

The Mineral Springs School Board gave approval to move forward with preliminary plans for the new school construction during Mondayís board meeting.

 

Architect Craig Boone presented the most recent floor plan to board members and said that he had met with the newly hired construction manager, Kinco. He said the building will be 118,000 square feet and will include a new dining hall and gymnasium. Boone reported the plans are still be tweaked, but he would like to be taking bids by July or August, so the project could start in October.

 

According to Superintendent Curtis Turner, the district's finances are about 1.6 million dollars ahead of last year.

 

Board members voted to re-hire the district's classified staff and accepted the resignations of Agri teacher Rick Hart, band director Angela Dunn and secondary math teacher Sherry Laymon. Carmen Wise was hired to fill the secondary math position.

 

 

ASHDOWN COMMUNITY CLEAN UP IS THIS SATURDAY       4/14/16

 

The Ashdown Community Spring Cleaning event is this Saturday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., but Kayla Wood of Bear State Bank said things will get started at the bank at 8.

Wood said if you have any questions, you can contact her at Bear State Bank by calling 898-2761 or 898-2758.

The annual event is sponsored by the Little River County Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 

DIERKS CITY LAGOON PROJECT ABOUT TO GET UNDERWAY        4/14/16

 

Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts reported work on the city's new sewer lagoon should be getting underway in the near future. He said they will be holding a pre-construction meeting Friday morning at city hall. He said work can start anytime after Friday, but it must be completed by December 31st.

 

Mounts reported aldermen of the Dierks City Council voted to enter into a franchise agreement with Rich Mountain Electric for 4-percent, which will be paid quarterly.

 

Mounts said he also informed aldermen that he plans to get with the city's animal control officer and try to capture some of the dogs that are wandering around town.

 

Mounts also announced the city may start issuing citations to property owners that do not clean up their property.

 

The next meeting of the Dierks City Council is Monday, May 9th.

 

 

 

LOCKESBURG RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY IN CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CASE      4/14/16

 

Forty-one year old Nolen Reece Baker of Lockesburg entered a guilty plea to using a computer to access child pornography Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey.

 

Baker was serving a five-year term of probation since September 2013 in Dallas County. He had been convicted of internet stalking a child and ordered to register as a sex offender.

 

In April of 2014, a Sevier County probation officer conducted a home visit and found several suspected child pornography sites listed in the computer's browsing history. The computer was confiscated by the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and turned over to the U.S. Secret Service for forensic analysis.

 

As part of the plea agreement, Baker also forfeited the computer he was using.

 

Baker will return to court at a later date, but faces up to 10 years in federal prison, a fine up to $250,000, or both.  Hickey reported with the prior conviction that was related to child pornography, Baker could face a mandatory sentence of at least 10 years with a maximum sentence of 20 years.

 

Baker is also arguing that he cannot afford a lawyer, but the court records show he has two Certificates of Deposit that mature in 2017.

 

 

 

ARKANSAS SCHOLARSHIP LOTTERY REACHES MILESTONE       4/14/16

 

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has reached a milestone in its mission to provide scholarships to Arkansas students. As of this academic year, the Lottery has provided funding for 200,000 scholarship recipients across the state.

 

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Director Bishop Woosley says the state has one of the lowest percentages of citizens with advanced degrees and some students would not be able to go to college at all without the lottery scholarship.

 

Woosley said he encourages both traditional and non-traditional students in the state to apply for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education before the June 1st deadline.

 

Since lottery sales started in Arkansas in 2009, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery has provided more than $573 million dollars in net proceeds for scholarships, lottery players have won nearly $2 billion in prizes and lottery retailers have earned more than $162 million dollars in commissions. More than 92 cents of every dollar of lottery revenue goes to prizes, scholarships and retailer commissions in the state.

 

To learn more about the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery or to apply, visit the website www.adhe.edu.

 

 

CITY OF MINERAL SPRINGS RECEIVES GOOD REPORT ON 2015 WATER SEWER AUDIT        4/14/16

Submitted by KMTB

 

The Mineral Springs City Council was informed Monday night that the city's 2015 water and sewer audit came back with no exceptions, but it did reveal a slight deficit in funds.

 

Aldermen approved a resolution allowing Mayor Bobby Tullis to seek short term financing for future council approved expenditures. They also voted to transfer $500 from the city's general fund to the park's account to pay some maintenance and custodial work.

  

 

 

BULLFROG SEASON OPENS ON FRIDAY        4/14/16

 

April 15th is usually one of the most stressful days of the year, but this year, it also marks the kickoff one of the most exciting summer pursuits in Arkansas bayous. Friday is opening day of bullfrog season.

 

Bullfrogs can be found all across the state, but the heaviest concentrations are usually found along ponds, slow-moving streams and fish farms in Eastern Arkansas.

 

Some froggers don waders or rubber boots to ease along the banks as quietly as possible, but many slide along in aluminum johnboats or kayaks to get close to the easily spooked amphibians.

 

Arkansas Game and Fish officials say it's possible to catch a bullfrog or two during the day, but it's at night when the real action takes place. Officials stated the eyes of a bullfrog will reflect the light of a spotlight and daze them just long enough for froggers to stab them with a gig or grab them with their hands.

 

 Arkansas Game and Fish officials say frog gigging is more like hunting than fishing, but you still need an Arkansas fishing license to participate. There is also an 18 frog limit per day, which runs from noon to noon. Frogs may also be taken by a hand net, hook and line, spear or bow and arrow. Firearms and air guns are not allowed.

 

 

 

UA COSSATOT FACULTY ATTEND SYMPOSIUM       4/14/16

 

UA Cossatot staff recently attended a symposium concerning the use of Open Educational Resources in the University of Arkansas System schools.

 

Crystal Sims is the Division Chair of the General Education Department and she served as a panelist for the discussions. Faculty members Ashley Doughterty and Lynze Greathouse also attended the meeting.

 

UA Cossatot recently completed the second semester after adopting a new textbook policy last summer calling for more Open Educational Resources to be implemented in courses. Some courses still require a textbook but the college offers them at a low cost rental thereby reducing the student's textbook expenses to a minimal cost. Because of the implementation of the program, Sims was asked to serve on the panel discussion while other faculty members of eVersity, the University of Arkansas' Online College, participated in a conversation that allowed questions and comments from the panelists.

 

Sims explained Open Educational Resources have a place in face-to-face classes, as well as, in online environments.

 

During an afternoon session, eVersity staff members talked about the copyright laws and how to best use these open resources in class without breaking licensing laws.

 

Sims said it was rewarding to be asked how UA Cossatot's experience has been while using Open Educational Resources. She said it's another way Cossatot is helping students be successful in their quest for a higher education degree.

ALISIA INTO AFRICA FUNDRAISER AT COSSATOT COMMUNITY BUILDING       4/22/16

 

Brettny Smart Lynch of the Central Volunteer Fire Department announced this morning that the Frog Level community will be hosting a fundraiser for Alisia Gonzalez tomorrow beginning at 5 p.m.

 

Gonzalez graduated from Horatio High School and is a student at UALR. And, she is planning to take a mission trip to Ethiopia this summer.

 

Lynch said Pilgrim's Pride helped by providing their cooker and the chicken and the desserts will be provided by local residents and the staff at the Ranch House Cafe.

 

Lynch said if you can not attend the fundraiser, you can still donate by going to Gonzalez' GoFundMe account GoFundMe.AlisiaintoAfrica.com.

 

Lynch said its $5 a plate and they will accept donations.

 

 

 

DIERKS BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES NEW ELEMENTARY PROMOTION AND RETENTION POLICY        4/22/16

 

Dierks Superintendent Holly Cothern reported the Dierks Board of Education voted to enter into a contract with the Excel Energy Group to replace the lighting throughout the district. Cothern said this should save the district about $19,000 a year, but Excel will review the district's energy bills after the first year and adjust their contract fees. 

 

Cothern reported Gym Masters will be renovating the high school gym floor and she said the school board also voted to purchase 90 Chromebooks and three carts.

 

Cothern stated the board also approved a new promotion and retention policy for elementary students. She said the old policy was based on reading scores, but the new policy will consider several other factors.

 

Cothern reported the Dierks Elementary School received a B on the state's report card and the high school received a C. Cothern stated the biggest factor in those scores was the fact the state changed test last year. She said the state needs a stable testing instrument to truly evaluate school districts.

 

Board members also heard the speech that fifth grader, Jenna Bray, will give during an upcoming FBLA public speaking competition.

 

 

 

FREE SKYWARN CLASS TO BE HELD IN ASHDOWN       4/22/16

 

A free Skywarn class will be offered from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26th in the Little River County Courthouse in Ashdown.

 

Little River County emergency management coordinator Don Hale Jr. said area residents can learn more about severe weather and serve the community by reporting severe and hazardous weather to the National Weather Services.

 

The classes will include basic and advanced information.

 

The schedule is listed online at weather.gov/shv/spotter.

 

For more information, call Bill Parker of the Shreveport, Louisiana office of the National Weather Service at 318-631-3669.

 

 

 

PROSECUTORS WANT MINERAL SPRINGS MAN TO REMAIN IN JAIL FOR THREATENING AREA MAYORS       4/22/16

 

Federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey to appeal U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven's ruling to release 55-year-old Maverick Dean Bryan from jail during a detention hearing on March 28th.

 

Prosecutor David Harris argued Bryan is a danger to the community and should be detained while awaiting trial. He said Bryan has a history of violating laws regarding possession of firearms by convicted felons.

 

Bryan has been charged with writing letters to seven Arkansas mayors, threatening to hang them from a tree if they didn't get rid of Common Core and put religion back in the classrooms.

 

Federal agents arrested Bryan after setting up a meeting with Second Lieutenant Gary Owen who advertised in the Thrifty Nickel that he wanted to borrow $23 million dollars to equip and train a Christian militia to restructure the country. Owen turned out to be Bryan.

 

Bryan was convicted in 1987 of interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, as well as for receiving two handguns while under indictment. He was convicted of being a felon in possession of a gun in March 1998 and again in March of 2014.

 

Hickey has not issued a ruling on the detention issue, but Bryan is scheduled for trial next month in Texarkana.

 

If Bryan is found guilty, he could face up to $250,000 fine and up to five years in federal prison, or both on each of the seven counts of mailing threatening communications.

 

 

 

SAVING THE PLANET ONE FARM AT A TIME     4/22/16

 

For the next week, KDQN will feature article concerning ways area farmers, ranchers and timber companies are helping the environment.

 

Today, we'll look at several ways area cattle ranchers are preserving the earth's natural resources.

 

Area ranchers are utilizing rotational grazing. They move livestock from one pasture to another every few days to prevent the livestock from overgrazing a part of their land. They are also protecting open spaces through conservation easement programs.

 

Many ranchers in Sevier and Little River counties work closely with the county extension agents to learn about new research that is being conducted by the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture.

 

Area ranchers are also using biological agents to help control invasive pests, while planting trees that will provide a windbreak for their livestock, other wildlife and the soil. They are also planting grass on highly erodible land, thereby conserving soil.

 

Area cattle ranchers are also allowing livestock to graze and consume more natural and organic forages that will be converted into healthy, nutritious beef.

 

As you celebrate Earth Day, today, thank a cattle rancher for raising beef while working to protect our environment.

 

 

UA COSSATOT'S RELINDA RUTH ATTENDS CONFERENCE   04/22/16

 

UA Cossatot's Director of Educational Resource Relinda Ruth recently attended a conference of the Council of University of Arkansas Research Libraries (CUARL) at the Winthrop Rockefeller Center in Morrilton.

 

Established in 2006, CUARL will change to include the community colleges in the University of Arkansas system. At the request of UA System President Dr. Donald Bobbitt and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Moore, the Council will change the name and include all colleges within the system.

 

The Council is designed to help visitors to the University of Arkansas's Libraries and Educational Resource Centers locate digital projects developed by University of Arkansas campuses and to make these unique materials available online to faculty, staff, students, and the public. The Council recently met to share ideas, tips, and options regarding the implementation of more Open Educational Resources as well as what attendees can do to provide support for faculty regarding those resources.

 

"It was an excellent learning opportunity," said Ruth. "I am excited that UA Cossatot is a part of CUARL. This collaboration will benefit not only college students, but communities statewide as well."

 

 

DE QUEEN SCHOOL OFFICIAL DISCUSSES DISTRICTíS GRADE       4/21/16

 

Last week, the Arkansas Department of Education published its annual school district report cards. The report gives every school in the state of Arkansas a letter grade.

 

This year, 19 schools received a grade of 'F', while 10 schools earned 'A's'.

 

According to De Queen Assistant Superintendent Paul Shelton, the De Queen Primary and Elementary schools earned 'B's', while the Middle, Junior and High schools received 'C's'. He said all of the De Queen Schools had 'B's', last year.

 

Shelton said last year the grades were based on state standards, but this year they reflect the results from the PRACC test, which used national norms.

 

Shelton explained he didn't feel the letter grades provided an accurate picture of the district, because last year, the De Queen Junior and Middle schools were honored for being top performers in the state.

 

Shelton said the district is continuing to teach the state standards and working to prepare students for the future. He stated the district does not teach toward a particular test, but is looking forward to creating a curriculum that reflects the material, that students will be tested on.

 

 

Shelton said he likes the ACT Aspire test because it aligns with the ACT college entrance exam.

 

According to the state's report, all of the districts in Sevier and Little River County scored B's and C's.

 

  

 

 

BEASLEY AWARDED UALR CLC SCHOLARSHIP        4/21/16

 

De Queen High School Senior Prince Beasley has been awarded the UALR EAST Scholarship, which is valued at $40,000; the UALR CLC Scholarship, which is valued at $32,000; the Arkansas Rehab Scholarship in the amount of $20,000; and an NAACP Scholarship in the amount of $500.

 

Beasley is the son of Evelyn Beasley and Mark Beasley of Texarkana.

 

Beasley is the Student Council President, a member of the Spanish Club, the Interact Club and the show choir. He is also the co-editor of the Leopard Yearbook.

 

Beasley will be attending UALR in the fall where he plans to pursue a double major in Special Education and Spanish or American Sign Language.

 

 

 

FRIDAY IS EARTH DAY       4/21/16

 

Friday is World Earth Day and people all over the world will celebrate Earth Day to increase the publics awareness about environmental safety as well as take measures to protect the environment.

 

Starting Friday, people will perform outdoor activities that are designed to help save the earth's natural resources. For instance, this year's theme is "Trees for the Earth" and people are being asked to plant a tree to help absorb excess carbon dioxide and help plant 7.8 billion trees over the next five years.

 

Environmentalists report this initiative will serve as the foundation for a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet.

 

Here at KDQN, we will be featuring articles until April 29th about how farmers, cattlemen and timber producers are caring for the environment.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY RELAY FOR LIFE HOSTING HORSESHOE TOURNAMENT      4/21/16

 

Relay for Life of Little River County has announced they will be hosting a horseshoe tournament on Saturday, April 23rd in the Ashdown City Park.

 

According to event organizer, Willie Booth, the tournament will include three age categories: 11 and under, 12 to 18 years of age and 18 and older. The single elimination tournament will begin at 10 a.m. and feature 21-point games with a 30-minute time limit. First, second and third place winners will be awarded prizes.

 

Booth said the entry fee is $10 per person for pre-registration or $12 per person the day of the event.

 

Little River County Relay for Life Director Linda Fielding stated the county committee will be serving hot dogs and sodas for $3 and all of the proceeds will benefit the county Relay for Life.

 

To register or for more information, call Booth at 870-898-3908 or Fielding at 903-276-5650. 

 

COUNTY GOES PURPLE FOR DECORATION CONTEST 04/21/16

Everyone in Little River County is encouraged to "go purple" for the "In the Center Ring - A Cure for Cancer" decoration contest sponsored by the Relay for Life of Little River County. The weeks of the Paint the County Purple contest are May 2-13. 

Purple is the signature color of Relay for Life and a symbol for all types of cancers. Businesses, county and municipal offices, schools, and residences are encouraged to display the power of purple by participating in the Little River County Relay for Life's fourth annual decorating contest. 

The five categories of competition include business, government (County and City offices in Little River County), schools, residence, and a fifth category new to this year -- a Judge's Choice selected by the area Relay for Life representative Stina Brown.

Each category winner will be presented with a yard sign to display recognizing the win.  In addition, the business category will receive a 2017 Relay for Life Platinum Sponsorship worth $1000 and have their business logo printed on the back of next year's 2017 official Relay shirts.

Along with the yard sign, the government category winner will receive a plaque to display, and the winner of the school category will receive a $50 gift card to be used as the class wishes.  The residence category winner will also receive a $50 gift card.

Decorating may begin at any time but must be completed by May 5 to be eligible for prizes.  Photos of decorated entries should be sent by text to Little River Relay event chairman Linda Fielding at 903-276-5650 by May 5. Fielding will upload the photos to the PAINT The County PURPLE-Relay for Life, Little River AR Facebook page, where the public can view and vote on the entries through May 13. The winners, except Judge's Choice, will be selected by popular votes cast on the Facebook page.

Everyone is invited to show their spirit in the fight against cancer by decorating and voting.  Winners will be announced the night of the Little River County Relay for Life event, Friday, May 13 at 6:00 p.m. at the Ashdown High School Fred Jester Memorial Track.

To connect with PAINT The County PURPLE-Relay for Life, Little River AR, join Facebook today.  Decorate, enter, and, most importantly, vote, vote, vote.

 

DE QUEEN CITY COUNCIL APPROVES MORE UPGRADES FOR WATER DEPARTMENT        4/20/16

 

Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the De Queen City Council, aldermen voted to allow Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy and Water Superintendent Jeff Brown to seek bids for a metal building for the high lift station on Stilwell Avenue. McKelvy said they are planning to build around the existing building.

 

McKelvy also informed aldermen that the city water department had earned the 2014 Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the Arkansas Department of Health. He said De Queen was one of 46 water systems that earned this honor.

 

McKelvy also reported Kansas City Southern Railroad has announced they will be making some improvements to the tracks between Page, Oklahoma and Blanchard, Louisiana this June. McKelvy said this is a part of a $20 million dollar project by KCS.

 

Council members agreed to finish the undeveloped portion of Archer Street, but they will need to repeal an ordinance dealing with undeveloped but platted and dedicated lots and streets during their next council meeting.

 

McKelvy also addressed the location of manufactured homes within the City of De Queen. He said the federal Affordable Housing Accessibility Act requires city's to allow manufactured homes in at least one zone. McKelvy said in De Queen manufactured homes are allowed in R2 zones.

Aldermen also voted to sell three trucks and a tractor on GovDeals.com.  

 

 

 

2016 COUNTY FARM FAMILIES OF THE YEAR      4/20/16

 

County winners for the 69th annual Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program have been selected. The county winners will be judged June 6th through 8th to determine the eight district winners. The district winners will be announced June 14th.

 

The district winners will be judged again by a different set of judges July 11th through the 14th to determine the state winner, which will be announced December 8th during the Farm Family of the Year luncheon.

 

The local county winners include: Brett and Teresa Fawcett of Ashdown in Little River County; Joe and Jill Brinkley of Grannis in Polk County; and Phillip and Patricia Maben of De Queen in Sevier County.

 

The Fawcett Ranch is in the Southwest District; the Brinkley farm is in the Western District; and the Maben farm is in the West Central District.

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau President Randy Veach said all of the county Farm Family's of the Year represent the pillars of the state.

 

The Farm Family of the Year programs begins each year with the selection of the top farm families in each county and culminates in December with the announcement of the state Farm Family of the Year who will then represent Arkansas at the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year event.

 

 

DE QUEEN PUBLIC SCHOOL REPORT       4/20/16

 

De Queen School District's Public Relations Director Tammy Whatley wants to remind parents, grandparents and family members of De Queen fifth graders that the elementary school Science Night is this Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

 

Whatley said local merchants donated money, supplies and door prizes for the event.

 

For more information about events on the campuses of the De Queen School District, contact your child's school office.

 

 

 

FOREMAN RESIDENT MAKES FIRST COURT APPEARANCE FOLLOWING STANDOFF         4/20/16

 

Thirty-one year old Devin Hawkins appeared before Ninth Circuit Court Judge Tom Cooper Tuesday in the Little River County Circuit Court after being arrested last Friday. No formal charges have been filed, but Hawkins may be charged with misdemeanor obstructing government operations, resisting arrest and attempted escape.

 

Hawkins was arrested following an alleged standoff with police on Friday.

 

Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory reported Hawkins was living in a storage building since his house burned down about a month ago. He said Hawkins was a combat veteran and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

 

A felony charge of attempted escape in the third-degree is being considered against Hawkins for another incident that's not related to Friday's standoff.

 

Judge Cooper set Hawkins bond a $15,000 and ordered him to return to court on May 10th.

 

 

 

NASHVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT LISTED AS DEFENDANTS IN MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL DISTRICT LAWSUIT         4/20/16

submitted by KMTB

 

A federal civil rights lawsuit that was filed by the Mineral Springs School District has been amended and lists the Nashville School District, the Nashville Board of Education and Nashville Superintendent Doug Graham as defendants.

 

According to court records, the amended lawsuit was filed April 6th.

 

Graham reported he had not been served as of Monday, but Hempstead County Judge Haskell Morse reported he has contacted the county's lawyers in Little Rock and Hot Springs to handle the matter. Morse said the lawsuit is over 300 pages long.

 

Attorney John Walker filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Mineral Springs Superintendent, Curtis Turner, Jr. and the members of the Mineral Spring Board of Education. The members of the Mineral Springs School Board include: Mike Erwin, William Dixon, Dorthy Vaughn, Shelia Jackson, Ray Hawkins, Jamie Jackson and Zemera Newton.

 

The lawsuit alleges revenue from the SWEPCO Turk Plant was diverted from the district and sent to the Hope School District. The lawsuit also includes several allegations, including that state officials encouraged white students and black athletes to transfer from the Mineral Springs School District to the Nashville School District.

 

 

 

JANES RECOGNIZED BY ARKANSAS FARM BUREAU      4/20/16

 

Stacy Janes of De Queen was recognized during the Farm Bureau's statewide agents and agency managers meeting, March 10th and 11th in Little Rock for her total performance during 2015.

 

Janes was presented the Million Dollar Ring award for her outstanding insurance production.

 

 

 

LITTLE RIVER COUNTY GENEALOGY SOCIETY TO STUDY MEANINGS OF COMMON TOMBSTONE SYMBOLS AND ICONS       4/20/16

 

If you are like most people, you've wandered through a cemetery and wondered about the meanings of the designs that are carved onto old gravestones. There are thousands of different religious and secular symbols and emblems that have adorned tombstones through the ages. Symbols also can indicate attitudes towards death and the hereafter. There are symbols of fraternal and social organization membership and even indications of a person's trade, occupation or even ethnic identity.

 

While many tombstone symbols are fairly easy to interpret, sometimes it is not easy to determine their meaning and significance.

 

Saturday, April 23rd, the Little River County Genealogy Society will hear a presentation by Genealogist Nancy Tribbey of Texarkana concerning cemetery symbolism. The program will begin at 10 a.m. in the Millwood Room on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot.

 

The meeting is free and open to the public.

 

For more information, contact Jennie Stone at 870-898-2974.

 

 

ASHDOWN PUBLIC SCHOOL TO HOLD PUBLIC MEETING FOR PROPOSED MILLAGE INCREASE        4/19/15

 

Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders announced the district will be hosting a public meeting on Monday, April 25th to discuss the proposed 3.9 mill increase.

 

Sanders said the district wants to renovate the Margaret Daniel Elementary School and add about 64,000 square feet and consolidate the three elementary campuses into one.

 

Sanders reported 3 mills would raise the $12 million dollars that needed for the construction project and .9 mills would be used to provide a two to three percent raise for teachers. Sanders said this would help the district recruit and retain qualified teachers.

 

The public meeting is Monday, April 25th at 6 p.m. and early voting will start on Friday, April 29th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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