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SENIOR CITIZEN APPRECIATION DAY ACTIVITIES HAVE BEEN MOVED TO SEVIER COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS
SEARCH LEADS TO TWO ARRESTS 5/24/16
On May 21st, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office obtained information that lead to the arrest of two De Queen residents on drug charges.
Circuit Judge Tom Cooper issued a search warrant for a residence at 401 West Maple Street, Apartment 4 in De Queen and at about 1:34 p.m. officers with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office and the De Queen Police Department executed the warrant.
Inside the house, officers discovered drug paraphernalia in plain view throughout the home. They also arrested to two occupants, Joey Rymer and Tracey Moncus.
After processing the scene, officers collected 13 pieces of evidence and conducted interviews with the suspects at the Sevier County jail.
Rymer and Moncus have been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
FOREMAN BOARD OF EDUCATION VOTES TO INSTALL CAMERAS ON SEVEN BUSES 5/24/16
Foreman Superintendent George Kennedy reported Gene Hawk with Gene Hawk Consulting; LLC presented a spreadsheet of the depreciation values of the district's buildings during the May meeting of the Foreman Board of Education. He said the district is starting to consider updating the high school or possibly building a new one.
Kennedy said the board accepted the district's school choice applications. He said they approved the applications of five students into the district and five students out of the district.
Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory presented some grant information about a school resource officer. Kennedy said the grant would pay about 75 percent of the resource officer's salary for the first year.
Kennedy said the board also accepted the bid from KLC Video Security for bus cameras on seven route buses. He said they will cost about $17,000 dollars.
Board members also accepted the resignation of Blake Walker the Technology Coordinator and Elementary teacher Samantha Young.
BEACON HILL BIKERS MOTORCYCLE MINISTRY HOLDING A COUPLE FUNDRAISERS 5/24/16
Carla Wolcott of the Beacon Hill Bikers Motorcycle Ministry announced they will be holding a benefit bake sale this Sunday starting at 8 a.m. at the Wal-Mart in De Queen. Wolcott said the proceeds will be split between the Jones family and a former teacher at Horatio.
Wolcott said the Jones' baby was born pre-mature and has heart problems.
She also challenged Ms. Carlson's former students from Horatio to stop by the bake sale and support her in her time of need.
Wolcott said the Beacon Hill Bikers will also be hosting a charity ride and potluck on Sunday, June 19th. She said they will leave from the Cossatot Reefs pavilion in Gillham at 2 p.m. Wolcott said all of the proceeds will benefit the Houston Hayes Memorial Fund.
For more information, call 682-970-0378 or 870-784-1899.
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT HOLDS TABLE TOP DISASTER DISCUSSION MONDAY AFTERNOON 5/24/16
Monday afternoon, Walter Smith of the Sevier County Office of Emergency Management held a table top discussion concerning disaster response.
Members of the De Queen Fire Department, the Horatio Volunteer Fire Department, the Provo Volunteer Fire Department, the De Queen Police Department, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, employees of Southwest EMS, De Queen Regional Medical Center, and employees of the city and county road departments, met with OEM officials from Sevier, Little River, Montgomery, and Polk counties to discuss their responsibilities in an emergency.
Jay Litchford of the De Queen Fire Department reported the fire department would immediately take over dispatching duties from the sheriff's office in the case of an emergency and they would start clearing debris from streets and roads.
Litchford said the department would set up a mobile command center close to the disaster area and set up barriers around down power lines.
He also stated the department would conduct house to house searches in the affected area because public safety is their top priority.
Litchford said law enforcement would establish patrols around banks and other sensitive areas, while the fire departments would check on the hospital, nursing homes and areas with a lot of elderly residents.
Sevier County OEM Director Smith stated media would be utilized to inform the public and to discourage residents from getting out, just to look around.
Smith reported all of the departments in Sevier County work well together and they have been called into action of several occasions, but they will continue to hold disaster preparedness meetings and training to ensure they are ready if and when a disaster strikes the area.
This Week's News:
BODY FOUND NEAR RR TRACKS IN DE QUEEN 5/23/16
The De Queen Police Department released a statement this morning stating the family of a missing De Queen resident found a decomposed body Sunday morning near the railroad tracks, west of the Herman Dierks Park.
Interim Chief of Police Scott Simmons reported the family of 47-year-old Juan Munoz formed a search party this weekend to look for Munoz. Munoz has been missing since May 3rd.
The Arkansas State Police were contacted to assist the De Queen Police Department with the investigation and the body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for identification and to determine the cause of death.
BAND BOOSTER MEETING IS TUESDAY NIGHT 5/23/16
De Queen Band director Jeff Attaway announced the band booster club will be holding a planning meeting for next year tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. in the band hall. Attaway explained what all the band booster club does for the band students.
Attaway said the band does not hold very many fundraisers, but did sell t-shirts this year to raise money for 15 students who will be attending band camp this summer.
Attaway said booster club meetings last about an hour once a month, but if you are interested in the band program, you can follow them on Facebook or visit their website, leopardband.org.
For more information, contact the De Queen High School at 642-2426.
DE QUEEN PLANNING COMMISSION APPROVES VARIANCE FOR NEW BUILDING AT STILWELL HIGH-LIFT STATION 5/23/16
Thursday night, May 19th, the De Queen Planning Commission met at the De Queen City Hall to consider a hardship exemption for the construction of metal building at the Stilwell high lift station.
Water Department manager, Jeff Brown, informed commissioners that for the past year his department has been updating the city's water system with new pumps. He reported the De Queen City Council approved the purchase of three new high lift pumps and variable frequency drives. However, the new equipment is quite a bit larger than the old equipment and the city wants to build a metal building around the existing building to give more room for the pumps.
Brown reported he had been informed by the city's code enforcement officer that the building is located in a flood plain and the city had to have a variance from the planning commission.
Brown explained the location of the high lift station was determined by the design of the water system. He said relocating the high lift station out of the flood plain would be impossible without rebuilding the entire water system.
Brown then asked the commission for the variance because the existing building has not flooded since it was built and because the new metal building is vital to the livelihood of the city, including residents and businesses. He also stated it would be impossible to relocate the three new pumps, electrical power, water mains and two water storage tanks.
Commissioners voted to approve the variance in the interest of public health and safety.
SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR CITIZENS APPRECIATION DAY IS FRIDAY 5/23/16
This Friday, May 27th is the 35th annual Senior Citizens Appreciation Day in Sevier County for senior citizens 55 years of age and older on the Sevier County Courthouse lawn.
Event organizer Angie Walker stated this year's theme is the 50's and there's going to be a car show and live music along with the free health screenings. She said they have about 36 vendors signed up for this year's event.
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray stated the event would not be possible without the support of the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce members and lots of volunteers.
Judge Ray said there will be extra parking at the former First National Bank and the car wash across the street from the courthouse and he hopes to provide a shuttle service for senior adults who are unable to park around the courthouse.
TRIAL DATE SET IN DEATH OF LITTLE RIVER RESIDENT 5/23/16
A trial date of June 28 and 29th has been set for 23-year-old Aaron Rhodes of Little River County. Rhodes has been charged with second degree murder for the shooting death of Matthew Stewart of Little River County.
Twenty year old Courtney Clemensen of Little River County has also been accused of tampering with evidence in the incident.
According to the incident report, Little River County deputies were dispatched to the residence of Rhodes and Clemensen about 8:30 p.m. on October 9th of 2015 about a shooting.
When deputies arrived, they found the body of Stewart sitting in a chair with a gunshot wound to the head. According to the Arkansas State Police, Rhodes and Clemensen told police that Stewart shot himself.
A couple of days later, Rhodes reportedly said he accidentally shot Stewart while playing with a .45-caliber pistol.
Rhodes said Stewart was sitting in the chair, texting on the phone. Rhodes said he was smoking marijuana while he was playing with the gun and it accidently went off, striking Stewart on the top of the head.
After the shooting, Clemensen reportedly wiped the gun down and she allegedly told police she picked up the shell casing that was ejected from the gun.
A trial date for Clemensen has been scheduled with a pre-trial hearing on June 7th and a trial date of June 20th.
Rhodes is currently being held in the Little River County jail with a $100,000 bond. Clemensen has been released on bond.
ABOUT 400 SIGNATURES NEEDED TO PUT ALCOHOL PROPOSAL ON BALLOT 5/23/16
The Vote for Growth committee in Little River County lacks about 400 signatures to place a proposal to allow alcohol sales in the county on the November ballot.
Committee chairman Kirk Babb explained the proposal would allow retail stores to sell beer and wine, except on Sundays.
State law requires the collection of valid signatures from 38 percent of the county’s registered voters to place a proposal on the ballot. Little River County had 6,988 registered voters as of May 18th, which means the Vote for Growth committee needs to collect 2,655 signatures.
The proposal is being supported by Wal-Mart and E-Z Mart.
Babb said the sell of beer and wine in Little River County would be a boost for the local economy. He said they could get sales from Oklahoma because their beer has less alcohol with two percent alcohol, as well as, surrounding counties like, Howard and Sevier.
If the proposal is approved by county voters in November, E-Z Mart, Wal-Mart and Brookshire’s and other retail establishments that want to sell beer and wine, would have to apply to get permits from the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
Babb said if the proposal passes it could open to the door for the establishment of liquor stores, but the state only allows one liquor store per 5,000 county residents, which means Little River County would only be allowed to operate two liquor stores.
According to Little River County Judge Mike Cranford, the last time a local option initiative was on the ballot in Little River County was about 70 years ago.
WIVES THAT WALK THE LINE IN SEVIER COUNTY 5/23/16
Last week was National Police Week and a local group called Wives that Walk the Line held a program to honor officers who have died in the line of duty.
Tanya Wolcott is the wife of Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Chris Wolcott and she stated the event gave area residents the opportunity to express their appreciation to the local officers.
Wolcott said her husband, Chris, has been an officer for over 10 years and the Walk the Line group was formed to help these officers show how much they care about their communities.
Wolcott said for more information about the Wives that Walk the Line group, contact her or Dana Gentry.
Although National Police Week as ended, we should thank an officer ever chance we get.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION IS SUNDAY 5/20/16
De Queen School District's Public Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced the De Queen High School graduation is today at 2 p.m. at the Bill Blackwood Leopard Stadium. She also mentioned the school is providing a shuttle service from the junior high to the stadium.
Whatley said if it rains the ceremony will be moved to the coliseum.
Whatley also mentioned the administration of the De Queen School District wants all children to be in the stands with their parents during the graduation ceremony.
The staff of KDQN wants to say congratulations to all the graduating seniors of De Queen High School.
ASP HONORS AREA INVESTIGATOR 5/20/16
Arkansas State Police recently honored retired criminal investigator Special Agent Hays McWhirter of Ashdown with the ASP Distinguished Meritorious Service Award.
McWhirter was recognized for his career that spanned more than four decades with the Arkansas State Police.
McWhirter was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division, Company C in 1985. He opened 1,569 criminal cases over the course of his career.
According to McWhirter's case files, 374 of his investigations involved fire and arson and 167 were deaths.
One of his cases involved the death of three Hispanic children in De Queen in 2006.
Officers found the bodies of the three children lying side by side on a bed in the master bedroom near the rear of a wood-frame home.
Later, the mother of the three children confessed to killing her children in retaliation against her husband and she is now serving a life sentence in prison.
DIERKS SCHOOL DISTRICT FULLY ACCREDITED BY THE STATE 5/20/16
Dierks Superintendent Holly Cothern informed the Dierks Board of Education the district is fully accredited by the state board of education.
Board members also approved a non-recurring bonus of $500 for all school employees and approved an out-of-state trip for FBLA advisor Betsy Mack and FBLA member Kaylynn Brasel who placed 4th in the state's personal finance event during the state convention. Mack and Brasel will attend the national FBLA conference in Atlanta, Georgia June 29th through July 2nd.
Board members also voted to accept 13 School Choice transfers. There were four students from the Cossatot River School District, one from Horatio, and four from Nashville and four from De Queen.
MINERAL SPRINGS MAN FACING NEW FELONY CHARGE IN FEDERAL COURT 5/20/16
A Mineral Springs man who has been accused of writing threatening letters to seven Arkansas mayors last year is now facing a new felony charge in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.
Fifty-five year-old Maverick Bryan has been indicted on seven counts of mailing threatening communications to the mayors of Ashdown, Hope, De Queen, Lewisville, Nashville, Prescott and Murfreesboro. Bryan allegedly threatened to hang the mayors from a tree if they didn't remove the Common Core curriculum from the public schools and put prayer and the Ten Commandments back in the classrooms.
A new charge of possession of a firearm by a certain person has been added to Bryan's charges.
According to court records, when Bryan was arrested in March of 2015, he was allegedly in possession of a 12-gauge shotgun that did not have a serial number on it. Bryan is currently serving a five-year term of probation for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
During Bryan's detention hearing, he admitted he penned the letters and he admitted that he authored an advertisement in the Thrifty Nickel seeking a $23 million dollar loan so he could form a Christian army to overthrow the U.S. government.
Bryan is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant for arraignment of the new charge on May 27th.
BREATHING DIFFICULT FOR THOUSANDS OF ARKANSANS 5/20/16
May is Asthma Awareness Month and, according to the American Lung Association, nearly 26 million people in the United States suffer from the condition, and more than seven million are children.
A study by the University of Arkansas found 13 percent of adults in Arkansas have asthma, and the state is currently not funded under the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Asthma Control Program. Charles Gray, a physician assistant with Peak Vista Community Health Centers, says exposure to ground-level ozone, or smog, can be particularly harmful for people with asthma.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people can prevent episodes by avoiding exposure to other triggers such as tobacco smoke, mold and people with colds and flu. The agency found almost half of all people in the United States with asthma have at least one attack a year, and more children experience attacks than adults.
Asthma episodes can also be prevented by using inhalers and other prescribed medicines. Gray says the biggest challenges facing many of the patients he sees are socio-economic; families simply can't afford to pay for health insurance or fill prescriptions.
A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children of color and from low-income families have higher rates of asthma and more severe symptoms. They also experience more challenges managing the condition and are at a higher risk for associated academic and behavior problems.
HOPE/HEMPSTEAD COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 20TH ANNUAL FREE BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL 5/20/16
The Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce's 20th Annual Free Bluegrass Festival is this Saturday at Historic Washington State Park, under the trees of the 1874 Courthouse.
Admission is free and the music will start at noon and continue until 8 p.m.
Everyone is encouraged to take a lawn chair and enjoy the Hartley Family from Arkadelphia, the Bona Fide String Band from Fayetteville, High Mountain Grass from Magnolia, Buck and Company of Glenwood and the Hempstead County Melody Boys from Hope.
If it rains, the music will be moved indoors. For more information, call 870-777-3640.
SUMMER CONTINUING EDUCATION CLASSES AT UA COSSATOT 5/20/16
Zebbie Launius announced this week that UA Cossatot will be offering something for everyone this summer through the Continuing Education program, including some new classes.
Launius said the college is also offering several courses in job safety and job training.
Launius reported they will also be offering several arts and crafts type of classes.
Launius said there will also be classes for children and a senior adult trip to the Amity Trade Days event.
For more information, visit KDQN.net and CCCUA.edu for a complete list of classes. Launius said registration is always open and if you have questions, contact her at 584-4471.
AREA LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS PARTICIPATING IN TORCH RUN FOR ARKANSAS SPECIAL OLYMPICS 5/19/16
Monte Stringfellow of UA Cossatot announced Wednesday morning that he’s organizing a Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics of Arkansas in Sevier, Little River and Howard counties.
Stringfellow explained the 2016 Summer Games Torch Run will kick-off on May 23rd in all four corners of the state and will be carried through varies cities. He said on Wednesday, May 25th all Guardians of the Flame will converge at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Little Rock for the ceremonial lighting of the Final Leg Torch, which will be carried to Searcy on Thursday, May 26th.
Stringfellow said this will be the first year, local officers have participated and he said area residents can join the officers at noon on Monday, May 23rd here in De Queen starting at the De Queen Police Station.
Stringfellow said officers in Nashville will start at the Nashville City Hall on Tuesday, May 24th at 8 a.m. and the Ashdown officers will run from the college to Anytime Fitness beginning at 10 a.m.
Special Olympics of Arkansas has 15,000 athletes across the state and they are no stranger to training or hard work, and Stringfellow said they will inspire you
This year's theme for the summer games is "The Hero Within." So, support the local Special Olympic athletes and help them unleash their spirit through the joy of sport.
GILLHAM VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT BBQ DINNER 5/19/16
The Gillham Volunteer Fire Department will host their annual BBQ dinner fundraiser this Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Gillham Fire Station. Volunteer fire fighter Karen Russell said they will not only be collecting membership dues, but they also hope to recruit some new volunteers.
Russell stated the department currently has 12 members and they need more help. She said the department has a large service area and many of the volunteers are not available during the day because they work outside of Gilham.
For more information, call Russell at 784-1142 or Marc Rosson at 584-9434.
CORPS ASKS FOR COMMENTS ON PROPOSED WATER DEVIATION REQUEST FOR DIERKS LAKE 5/19/16
The Army Corps of Engineers at the Dierks Project office is asking for public comments on a proposed water deviation request. The request is in conjunction with a kayak festival that has been planned for June 17th through the 19th at the Dierks Lake spillway.
If approved, water releases between 300 and 500 cubic feet per second, which is typical for this time of year, would be released through the dam during the festival between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
The proposed deviation, if approved, will be contingent upon favorable hydrologic conditions at the time of the event. If these conditions change for the worse, an approved deviation can be canceled.
During the festival, whitewater safety classes will be offered to local firefighters, first responders and the general public. There will also be a Disabled Veterans Team River Run benefiting the Wounded Warriors.
Comments can be mailed to the Corp's Dierks Field Office at P.O. Box 8, Dierks, AR 71833 or faxed to 870-286-2945. All comments must be received by May 24th.
FREE KIDS' CRAFTS AT THE CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK THIS WEEKEND 5/19/16
The school year is almost over, and now is a great time to explore the outdoors and enjoy the beautiful, mild weather that May brings. This Saturday, kids 12 and younger can mine for real diamonds and make a variety of fun crafts during the Crater of Diamonds State Park's Kids to the Park Day.
At 10 a.m. participants will make their own colorful test-tube collections of Crater rocks and minerals.
At 11 a.m. children can create boxes to display their favorite thumbnail or palm-sized rocks and minerals. After lunch, at 1 p.m. children will make and decorate bubble wands with wire and beads.
Finally at 2 p.m., children can make a bird feeder using natural ingredients.
All crafts are free with the purchase of a mine admission, which is $8 for ages 13 and up; $5 for children 6 to 12; and free for anyone 5 and younger. Each craft will continue through the hour, while supplies last. Younger children may require help from an adult with some of the crafts, according to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox.
For more information, contact the Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3113.
TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL 5/19/16
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced the Tri-Lakes Big Bass Festival will be held Saturday, May 28th on the De Queen, Dierks and Gillham lakes. He said boat checks will begin at 5 a.m. and the fishing tournament will be from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Ray said this year's event will feature hourly prizes and a grand prize of $1,500.
Ray said there will be a target fish contest this year.
Ray said the deadline for a business to sponsor the Tri-Lake Big Bass Festival or to make a donation is Friday, May 20th.
The registration fee is $45 per person through May 27th or $50 per person if registering at the lake on the day of the event. Entry forms may be obtained by calling 584-3225 or from the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce's website: www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.com.
WORK ON LITTLE RIVER BRIDGE TO START SOON 5/19/16
Construction on a bridge that spans the Little River on Highway 41 in Sevier and Little River counties is expected to begin soon.
The bridge is expected to be longer and wider and will replace the bridge that has been deemed structurally deficient.
The bid for the job was awarded to Jensen Construction at just over $13.9 million and construction is expected to start in June. It's estimated that the project will take about two and a-half years to complete.
The new bridge will be constructed directly east of the existing bridge and traffic will remain open.
According to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, the existing bridge is about a quarter of a mile long and connects Sevier County to the north with Little River County on the south side. The existing bridge was built in 1961 and about 2,200 vehicles cross the bridge every day.
The bridge is still structurally sound, but according to the highway department, it needs to be replaced because of the age of the bridge and deterioration of the structure. It also does not currently meet the department's current design standards.
The new bridge will be 1,982 feet long and two feet wider than the existing bridge. It will have a 40-foot road width with two 12-foot lanes and two 8-foot shoulders.
SEVIER COUNTY - A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE 05/18/16
Sevier County continues to grow in population, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Neighboring counties are decreasing.
Submitted by Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy
UA COSSATOT IS AWARDED ANCRC GRANT 5/18/16
Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council voted on and approved a proposal on Wednesday that was made by the UA Cossatot staff that awarded the college a $175,000 grant. UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole said the college will use the grant to restore the old Lockesburg gymnasium.
Through ACT 318 of the 89th General Assembly, public school districts are allowed to donate their closed and consolidated schools to community and technical colleges and UA Cossatot received the old gym, the high school and the middle school on the Lockesburg campus from the De Queen School District.
Cole said the plan is to restore the gym while maintaining the historical integrity of the structure. He said there is a lot of the original wood still remaining throughout the building.
Cole said the college couldn't thank the ANCRC enough for supporting this project. He said Senator Larry Teague and Representative DeAnn Vaught also provided a lot of support and the college is excited about working with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program to restore the building to its original luster.
Cole said UA Cossatot wants to continue making investments in the communities that the college serves. He said serving these communities is the heart of the college's mission statement.
Cole said this grant will allow the college to expedite offering educational opportunities and a facility for community events in the City of Lockesburg and to the surrounding area.
Cole reported the last time the gym was used was in 2009, when retiring Sevier County Judge Dick Tallman was honored at a dinner and roast. Cole said after the renovation, more events are expected to be held in the gym.
Cole said restoration is expected to start this summer and be finished by the spring of 2017.
TRIAL SCHEDULED FOR SEVIER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT ON MAY 25TH 5/18/16
The trial of a De Queen resident who has been accused of first degree murder, kidnapping and carjacking, has been scheduled for May 25th in the Sevier County Circuit Court.
Twenty-year-old Aaron Loving has been charged with the murder of 37-year-old Amado Gallardo of De Queen. Loving is being held in the Sevier County jail on $300,000 bond.
According to court records, the Sevier County Sheriff's office received a call about 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 28th stating someone had been shot at a trailer park on Coulter Street in De Queen.
When police arrived, they discovered Gallardo on the ground with a .22 caliber gunshot wound to the face.
Allegedly, Loving had stayed with Gallardo for a couple of nights and had been asked to leave.
While officers were searching for the suspect, McCurtain County officials contacted the Sevier County Sheriff's Department to inform them that a TraShaun Maull of De Queen was at the McCurtain County Sheriff's office reporting he had been carjacked in De Queen and forced to drive to Oklahoma. He also reported Loving had chocked him and kicked him out of the car near Idabel.
An officer with the Broken Bow police department located the stolen vehicle and attempted to make a traffic stop, but Loving tried to evade police. The chase ended in the parking lot of the McCurtain County Sheriff's office and Loving was taken into custody.
CITY OF DE QUEEN PASSES ORDINANCE ALLOWING THE CITY TO DO BUSINESS WITH AN ALDERMAN AND CITY EMPLOYEE 5/18/16
Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the De Queen City Council, aldermen approved an ordinance allowing the city to conduct business with Bunyard Broadcasting and Gary Cunningham Backhoe and Dozer. Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy explained the city had a similar ordinance, but the state auditors felt the city should describe the extent of that authority in a new ordinance.
McKelvy reported the city opened the bids for a new steel building at the high-lift station on Stilwell Avenue. He said the bid was awarded to Cossatot Builders in the amount of $34,470.
McKelvy also reported the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department did not receive a bid for the city's state aid street paving project. He said the state will re-bid it in the August cycle, but in the meantime, the city is going to proceed with its summer paving program.
Sevier County Museum Director Karen Mills spoke to the city council about the Boy Scout Hut. She explained it was in disrepair and needed to be torn down. She suggested using parts of the building to create a Boy Scout display in the museum.
Mayor McKelvy said they would plan a de-commissioning ceremony that involves the Boy Scouts if the council elects to tear the building down.
If anyone would like to share their opinion about the Scout Hut, they may contact Mills at the museum.
Aldermen will also consider some form of action during the June 7th council meeting.
39TH ANNUAL LUM AND ABNER FESTIVAL TO BE HELD IN MENA, JUNE 3-4 5/17/16
The Mena Advertising and Promotion Commission would like to invite you to join the fun at the 39th Annual Lum and Abner Festival on June 3rd and 4th. The Lum and Abner Festival was voted the Best New Festival in Arkansas in 2006 by the Arkansas Festival and Events Association and one of the Top 20 events in the Southeast in 2010 by the Southeast Tourism Society.
The Lum and Abner Car, Truck, Corvette and Motorcycle Show is presented by the Polk County Developmental Center. Registration is from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 4th. No pre-registration is required. Registration fee is $20 and all proceeds go to the Polk County Developmental Center.
The All-American Lumberjack Show is Friday, June 3rd beginning at 1 p.m.
The Outlaws Gunfighter Group will perform in Janssen Park throughout both days and there will be live music all weekend long.
This year's 5K run/walk will start and end at Janssen Park at 8 a.m. on Saturday and registrations will be accepted until 7:30 a.m. on race day. Registration forms are available on line at www.visitmena.com. Early registration is $26 and must be received by May 23rd. After May 23rd, registration is $30.
There's also a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, a fishing derby, a softball tournament, a firefighter's challenge, helicopter rides and a kiddie korner.
DE QUEEN CHURCH OF CHRIST HOSTING A HOMETOWN HEROES LUNCH ON WEDNESDAY 5/17/16
The De Queen Church of Christ will be hosting a Hometown Heroes luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Wednesday and Pastor Toney Stowers said all first responders are welcome.
For more information, contact the De Queen Church of Christ at 784-2499.
ELECTION INFORMATION FOR UPCOMING SCHOOL ELECTION 5/17/16
Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akins announced today that June 12th is the first day candidates who are filing by petition can begin circulating petitions for the Annual School Election. She reported signatures that are collected more than 100 days before the election will not be counted and petitions must contain at least 20 signatures of registered voters in the school district.
The School Board position that will be voted on in the De Queen School District is the Zone 3 position, which is currently held by Gloria Caldwell.
De Queen School District patrons will also vote on the schools millage of 27.3 mills, which according to Akins is on the ballot every year.
Horatio School District patrons will vote on the Zone 1 and Zone 4 positions. They are currently held by Joe Jones and Sherri Hodges. Hodges was appointed to the board to fill a vacancy in 2015.
Patrons will also vote on the Horatio School millage of 44.0 mills.
The filing period for candidates is from noon on Tuesday, July 5th through noon on Tuesday, July 12th. Candidates must also file a petition of candidacy, an affidavit of eligibility and a political practices pledge with the County Clerk's office.
The County Clerk will certify the candidates to the Election Commission and the ballot draw will be held on July 13th.
If you have any questions or need any of the forms listed above, contact the Sevier County Clerk's office at 642-2852.
Anyone interested in being an election worker should also contact the county clerk's office.
TWO AREA RESIDENTS KILLED ON ARKANSAS ROADWAYS 5/17/16
On Thursday, May 12th, 49-year-old Danny Davis of Delight was pronounced dead at the scene a single vehicle accident by Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith on Highway 32.
According to the Arkansas State Police, the 2005 Mack truck left the roadway and overturned on its right side, causing the load of logs to shift forward, fatally injuring Davis.
On Sunday, May 15th, 31-year-old Joshua Dyas of Lockesburg was killed when the Honda ATV that he was riding overturned when he attempted to turn right onto Highway 24 from Highway 329.
Dyas was transported to the De Queen Regional Medical Center by Southwest EMS. Doctors pronounced Dyas deceased at 9:45 p.m.
SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR ADULT CELEBRATION 5/17/16
Angie Walker and Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced last Friday that the 35th annual Senior Citizens Appreciation Day will be held on Friday, May 27th. Walker said this year's theme is the 50's and there's going to be a car show, entertainment and prizes will be presented to the county's oldest man, oldest woman and longest-married couple.
The event will begin Friday morning at 8 a.m. on the courthouse lawn and a meal will be served at noon.
Walker said there will be a variety of health screenings and other senior-related services during the event, including the Arkansas Heart Hospital's Heart Health Checks. She said there are about 30 vendors signed up, but if you would like to participate, your business will need to contact her office by Friday, May 20th to get on the health report card.
Judge Ray said extra parking will be available across the street from the courthouse at the car wash and at the former First National Bank building on Third Street.
Ray said if any business or individual would like to help during the event, they should contact his office at 642-2425.
TAX DELINQUENT LAND SALE SCHEDULED FOR SEVIER COUNTY 5/17/16
A public auction for the sale of tax delinquent land in Sevier County will be held on Thursday, June 2nd, at 10 a.m. at the Sevier County Courthouse, according to John Thurston who is the Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands.
Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m.
The Commissioner of State Lands offers an online Catalog of Tax Delinquent Lands, which contains the current statues governing the sales, auction dates, times, locations and other pertinent information regarding parcels that are being offered. The catalog can be found on the Commissioner's website at www.cosl.org, providing current information about each parcel of land.
Thurston said bidding begins at the amount of taxes and fees that are due on the property. Owners of delinquent parcels should remember that they have only 10 business days to redeem their property if it sells at auction.
Delinquent property owners may call the office at 501-324-9422 to request a Petition to Redeem, or they may look up the delinquent parcel on the COSL website and print it from there.
ANNUAL SINGING SCHOOL AT OLD TIME MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH 5/17/16
JP Atkins of the Old Time Missionary Baptist Church announced their annual singing school has been scheduled for June 13-17 with classes in the morning and evening.
Atkins said the school will be led by Marty Phillips. He said the cost of the singing school is only $10 for the week and students will receive college level instruction.
Atkins said students will learn how to read music and they will get to perform Friday night, June 17th.
For more information, call Atkins at 584-9557.
CLICK IT OR TICKET CAMPAIGN IS UNDERWAY 5/17/16
Law enforcement agencies across Arkansas are once again stepping up enforcement of the state's primary seat belt law. The click it or ticket enforcement plan will cover the next three weeks through one of the most active travel periods for Arkansas motorists.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2014 were not using a seat belt.
Arkansas state law requires all front seat passengers, not just drivers, to be properly buckled up. It requires all children less than 15 years of age to be properly secured in the vehicle. A child less than six years of age and weighing less than 60 pounds should be restrained in a child passenger safety seat. If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must be properly buckled up.
For more information about the Click It or Ticket campaign, call 501-618-8136.
FORMER DIERKS RESIDENT CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED ASSAULT 5/16/16
A former Dierks resident has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with a Bowie County resident’s death.
Lee Evan Sharp who now lives in Bowie County was arrested last Wednesday and booked into the Bowie County jail for aggravated assault. His bond has been set at $100,000 in connection with the death of William Pate, who was found dead in the 7,500 block of Farm-to-Market Road 2149 in Maud, Texas.
According to an eye witness, Pate may have died after an alleged drunken “wrestling” session.
The Bowie County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement: “On May 8th, around 2:40 a.m., Sergeant Curtis Cole and Deputy Damon Lynn were dispatched to a residence on Farm-to-Market 2149 in reference to a subject that was not breathing.
According to the statement, when they arrived, members of the Maud Volunteer Fire Department were attempting to resuscitate a white male who was lying in the driveway. Life Net personnel arrived shortly after and took over the attempt to revive the individual, but the efforts were unsuccessful.
Robert Autrey has been identified as the owner of the home and he identified the suspect in his driveway as Pate. Autrey informed the officers that he, Pate and Sharp had been visiting and consuming alcoholic beverages. He said Pate and Sharp began wrestling around in a playful manner. Autrey described it as drunk wrestling.
Autrey said he went into the house and when he came back outside, he thought he saw Pate falling to the ground. He also saw Sharp with a board in his hands.
Autrey and Sharp moved Pate to the garage. They then covered him up to let him sleep it off. Autry then took Sharp home.
When Autry got back home, he said Pate wasn’t breathing and he called 911.
According to the incident report, Pate had a mark on his face that was consistent with being struck by a board.
Sharp voluntarily turned himself in at the Bi-State Building and he was booked for aggravated assault.
CODE ENFORCEMENT IN DE QUEEN 5/16/16
Monday morning, De Queen Code Enforcement Officer Ray Sowell stopped by the KDQN studios to ask the residents of De Queen to help keep the city clean.
Sowell also reported if a homeowner does not comply with the ordinance, they can be fined. But, he said the city is willing to work with homeowners who are working to keep their property clean.
Sowell said businesses look at the community before they decide to open a store in a new area. He also pointed out there several changes are coming to De Queen, including a new Chevy dealership.
Sowell encouraged everyone to show their pride in the City of De Queen and help make it look good.
SOUTHWEST EMS HOSTING THIRD ANNUAL COOKOUT 5/16/16
Megan McMahan announced the Third Annual Southwest EMS Cookout has been scheduled for Monday, May 23rd from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the pavilion in the Herman Dierks Park.
McMahan said this event is a way they can express their appreciation to the county dispatchers, law enforcement agencies, first responders and volunteer fire departments for working so well with them all year.
McMahan also reported Southwest EMS's average response time for the first quarter of the year was about eight and a half minutes.
McMahan said if you have an emergency call 911, but if you have a non-emergency or if you have questions about a membership, call 642-2611.
FAMILY OF ASHDOWN WOMAN SUES KIAMICHI RAILROAD 5/16/16
The family of a woman killed in an accident at the Domtar Plant in Ashdown is suing the Kiamichi Railroad company.
Fifty-two year-old Velma Perkins died September 18, 2015 when a railroad car crashed into an overhead structure that collapsed, knocking her onto the tracks, according to a complaint that was filed on behalf of her husband, Ronald Perkins, Jr., and the couple’s three children.
The complaint was initially filed in Little River County Circuit Court in March, but last week Kiamichi’s lawyers moved the case to federal court in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas.
The lawsuit alleges Kiamichi, which contracts with Domtar to provide railroad cars that are used to ship the company’s products, delivered cars, including the one that Perkins was using, which were taller than the railcars that they were previously using at the mill.
Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith estimated Perkins had already died when the first call for help was received at 8:10 a.m. on September the 18th. An ambulance arrived 10-minutes after the call, but there was nothing paramedics could do.
Perkins was an equipment helper on the switch engine in the shipping department and had worked for Domtar for 14 years.
The lawsuit accuses Kiamichi of negligence and seeks to recover damages for wrongful death, compensatory damages including funeral expenses and punitive damages meant to deter future similar conduct.
Kiamichi responded in a court filing on April 29th, stating the railroad company denies any wrongdoing. Their answer says Perkin’s death cannot be placed squarely on Kiamichi that if blame is to be assigned, Perkins and Domtar should be found at fault, also.
LEGISLATORS HEADED BACK TO LITTLE ROCK 5/16/16
Legislators are heading back to Little Rock today for the start of a special session to address state highway funding.
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught explained this special session has been called so they can meet an important deadline, which will allow the state to receive $200 million dollars from the federal government for the improvement of the state's infrastructure.
In December of 2015, the President signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, which will fund surface transportation programs at over $305 billion dollars between 2016 and 2020. Vaught reported this is the first long-term surface transportation authorization bill that's been enacted in a decade.
But in order for the state to receive these federal funds, the state must match the amount and they must inform the federal government by mid-August that they have fulfilled their obligation.
During this year's Fiscal Session, legislators approved transferring $50 million dollars of the state's surplus to the Governor's Rainy Day Fund. Vaught said these funds could be used for this match.
Vaught reported the state could receive up to $2 billion dollars in federal highway money if it provides a $50 million match annually. However, the highway department does not have enough revenue to cover those costs.
Vaught reported these funds will be used to widen heavily traveled roads, as well as highway noise reduction projects.
LITTLE RIVER MEMORIAL DAY PROGRAM 5/16/16
Bobby Thompson of Ashdown is organizing a Memorial Day program at the Little River County Courthouse on Monday, May 30th starting at noon. He said the Marine Honor Guard from Texarkana will be in attendance and retired Army Ranger Shiloh Smith of Grannis will be the guest speaker.
Thompson was involved in the Adopt a Soldier program but had to retire recently, but he said area residents can get involved in some great programs that support our military.
Thompson invited everyone in the area to join them on May 30th in remembering those who gave their all in the service of our country.
For more information, contact the Little River County courthouse at 898-7275.
ARKANSAS PAYS AT LEAST $100,000 TO 2,722 STATE EMPLOYEES 5/16/16
The number of Arkansas state employees whose salaries are at least $100,000 a year increased by 137 to 2,722, this year.
Most of the growth occurred at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, a teaching hospital based in Little Rock where the number of state employees making at least $100,000 increased by 74 to 1,254.
The ranks, of other higher-education institutions increased by 43, to a total of 1,083. Higher-education institutions include two-year and four-year universities.
Among employees who work at state agencies other than higher-education institutions, 385 earn six-figure salaries.
Funding for state government’s 2,722 highest-earning employees comes from a variety of state, federal and private sources, including tuition, hospital billings and taxes.
The highest paid state employee is Bret Bielema, who makes $4.1 million a year as the head football coach at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. His boss, Athletic Director Jeff Long, makes $1 million dollars a year. The University of Arkansas chancellor makes $450,000.
Governor Asa Hutchinson said each position has to be evaluated separately based upon skill level, private-sector salaries and demand. Hutchinson’s salary is $141,000 a year.
The governor doesn’t have direct control of the state’s higher-education institutions, but he appoints trustees to the universities’ governing boards when terms expire or trustees depart before their terms end.
HOPE WILL HOST SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS MEETING ON CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE 5/13/16
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has scheduled 11 public meetings between May 24 and May 26 to discuss chronic wasting disease and the regulations that the commission is proposing in an effort to manage the disease.
To date, 82 cases of chronic wasting disease have been found in Arkansas deer and four more cases have been found in elk. Currently, the disease have been detected in four counties. They are Newton, Madison, Pope and Boone.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has also scheduled a one-hour broadcast on AETN at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 23rd with a panel discussion about chronic wasting disease.
The meeting in Hope will be at the Hope Fair Park Community Center from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 26th.
MINERAL SPRINGS SCHOOL BOARD HIRES NEW HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL 5/13/16
The Mineral Springs Board of Education hired Josh Kessler of Des Arc as their new high school principal to replace Stephanie Rowe, who accepted the position of high school principal in the Horatio School District.
Board members continued to prepare for the district’s building project and have purchased some property near the school that will serve as the staging area for the construction company.
Superintendent Curtis Turner said he will be meeting with the state department of education in July to receive approval for the construction loan. He said he expects the project to get underway in October and last about 18 months.
Board members also approved a high priority school bonus for lower tier employees and in a separate bonus, all classified employees will receive a $750 end of year bonus.
UA BOARD OF TRUSTEES TO APPROVE TO NEW BOARD MEMBERS FOR UA COSSATOT 5/13/16
UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole reported two members of the UA Cossatot Board of Visitors retired during the last board meeting.
Cole said Larry Mashburn was the board chairperson and had served for over 22 years. He said John Hearn was the board vice-chairperson and had served for 16 years. He said it will be hard to replace that amount of sage advice.
Cole said he will present two new board members for the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees approval during their May meeting on the UA Cossatot campuses.
Cole said UA Cossatot will host the UA Board of Trustees on May 25th and 26th on the Nashville and De Queen campuses.
The other seven board members are Jay Dooley, Greg Revels and Robert Martinez of De Queen; Kathy Beavert of Murfreesboro; Senator Barbara Horn of Foreman and Dr. Glen Lance and Ricky Keasterson of Nashville.
BEHIND THE BIG HOUSE PROGRAM TO BE HELD IN HISTORIC WASHINGTON STATE PARK MAY 13 AND 14 5/13/16
The Behind the Big House program is a two-day program that moves beyond the "Big House" or stately historic homes, to explore the extant slave dwellings and interpret the experience3s of the enslaved people who inhabited them.
This workshop, which will be held at the Historic Washington State Park on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14, will include live historical interpretations, tours and lectures to highlight the important contribution African American made to Arkansas's history.
On Friday evening, Preserve Arkansas will hold a Preservation Libations at the Sanders Kitchen from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Libations will be provided by Preserve Arkansas and Joseph McGill will prepare to sleep in the Sanders kitchen and Jerome Bias will prepare a sampling of foods based on enslaved diets. Preservation Libations is free and open to the public.
Saturday's program will be held in the 1874 County Courthouse and will feature a tour of Historic Washington as well as sessions on slavery at Historic Washington: The Slave Dwelling Project; African American Heritage Tourism and Stagville State Historic Site Foodways Program; The Archeology of Slavery; and The Challenges and Benefits of African American Heritage Tourism. The on Saturday runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Teachers can receive three Arkansas Department of Education Professional Development credits for attending the workshop
ASHDOWN SCHOLARSHIP TEA 05/12/16
The annual Ashdown Scholarship Tea was held on Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 2p.m. in the Ashdown High School Cafeteria. Fifty-two scholarships of $ 27,211 were given to 29 Ashdown High School Seniors.
The Scholarship Committee has awarded over 100% of all donated moneys for some time due to investments. We plan to continue this trend and strive both to recognize students’ needs and to reward their hard work and high aspirations.
Last year, we awarded 46 scholarships with a total value of $23,750. This brings the total scholarships to over 529 awarded to 1013 students over the course of our 30-year history. The committee has authorized an alumni fund through which former students of Ashdown High School, businesses, or other individuals may contribute to the program in any amount and at any time. Such contributions may be made in honor or memory of friends and loved ones. Scholarships are tax deductible and may be sent to Ashdown Public Schools, 511 N. 2nd St., Ashdown, AR 71822. You may attention your correspondence to: Ashdown Scholarship Committee. You may call 870-898-3208 if you have any questions.
We would like to thank all of the donors for allowing us to continue honoring our deserving seniors from Ashdown High School. We would also like to encourage businesses, as well as individuals to support the scholarship program.
Pictured: (l-r) Front row:
Jammie Cush, Wesley Strange Memorial; Austin Cross, Bishop & Bishop, James E. Sutton, Jr. Memorial; and Vestco; Jaylonia Cook, Delta Kappa Gamma, Shirl & Nancy McCoy Scholarship, and Wesley Strange Memorial; Kennedy Cook, Cecil & Beth Bowman Scholarship and Wesley Strange Memorial; Mia Johnson, Ashdown Alumni Association; Lakia Hargrove, Jackson Auto Mart; Itasia Britt, Little River County Hardwoods and Wesley Strange Memorial; Kyle Kidd, Little River County Farm Bureau; and Savanna Woods, Ashdown Beta Club, Ashdown Rotary Club, Ashdown School Administrators, and Coleman Pearson Memorial
Madeline Chandler, Ashdown Alumni Association; Bradley Isenberg, Little River Farm Bureau and Ashdown Eye Care; Melissa Stanton, Ashdown Band Boosters, Chad & Virginia Trammell and First Guaranty Insurance; Kaitlyn Corbell, Jim & Paula Mounts, Jalen Lewis Memorial and Matt Harris Memorial; Emily Hatridge, Ashdown Alumni Association; Shelby Danielle Ford, Bob Porter Memorial Scholarship; Hunter Mulholland, Domtar & Mil-Way Federal Credit Union; Andy Daniels, Vestco; Briar Reed, Fred C. Jester, Sr. Memorial and Kaufman Memorial; Ty Cobb, Davis Family Scholarship and Dugan Ward Memorial; Levi Harger, Class of 1965
Raven Shankel, Ashdown Alumni Association; Juliana Ormsbee, Sandra East Memorial and Sgt. Charles Edward (Eddy) Withem Memorial; Brittany Dossett, William Coker Memorial; Madison Swilley, Family Medical Associates; Kinley Wright, Jalen Lewis Memorial; Brinlee Ward, Fred C. Jester, Jr. Memorial and William L. & Mary E. Welch Scholarship; Meghan Brown, Bear State Bank and Coca-Cola; Paige Copeland, Ashdown Alumni Association; and Mandi Duncan, Little River County Retired Teachers and Little River County Extension Homemakers
ADHD PRESCHOOLERS MAY BE TAKING TOO MANY MEDS 5/12/16
A new report that was released this week says parents should try behavior therapy before they give their preschoolers drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging parents of preschoolers with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD to try behavior therapy first before trying drugs. The CDC also is asking insurance companies to cover the cost of treatment.
The CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat says long-term effects of drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin on young brains and bodies haven't had a lot of study.
Those side effects include irritability and difficulty sleeping. They can also curb hunger, which can stunt growth. More than 6 million U.S. children have been diagnosed with ADHD and a new report out by the CDC shows 75 percent of those children between the age of 2 and 5 already are taking medication for it.
The report has guidelines for parents and health-care providers to try therapy first. Schuchat says not all private health-insurance companies will cover behavioral therapy, but Medicaid typically does
The report found 54 percent of children on Medicaid received psychological services each year, while 45 percent of children with private plans did.
Dr. Georgian Peacock at the CDC says doctors need to play a role in the decision about trying therapy first. She says it could mean the child can avoid taking the medications altogether, or the age that they start taking them can be postponed.
CAUDLE RECEIVES FARM CREDIT SCHOLARSHIP 5/12/16
Michaela Caudle is a 2016 Horatio High School graduate and she was one of 20 western Arkansas students who were awarded a $1,000 academic scholarship from Farm Credit of Western Arkansas.
Caudle is pursuing a Pre-Vet degree at Southern Arkansas University. She is the daughter of Jason and Anita Caudle of Horatio.
Farm Credit of Western Arkansas CEO Glen Manchester stated Caudle was selected based on her many academic accomplishments and student leadership. He explained the Farm Credit scholarships support the future of western Arkansas agriculture, agribusinesses and rural communities because many of the recipients have agricultural backgrounds. He said some are pursuing degrees or careers in agri, while others plan to live in a rural community
MINERAL SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL HEARS SAFETY CONCERNS 5/12/16
During Monday's meeting of the Mineral Springs City Council, aldermen heard comments from resident, Willie O'Neal about a couple concerns that he had.
O'Neal told aldermen that a blinking warning light was needed near the Dollar General Store. He said several kids cross the highway there everyday and it can be dangerous with all the traffic.
O'Neal also asked the council to consider more stop signs on North Street because people are driving too fast.
Mayor Bobby Tullis reported he would like to burn brush somewhere besides the city park. He said he also wanted to see if there was any interest in creating a fishing pond in the park.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT'S BOND PROPOSAL FAILS 05/11/16
Voters in Ashdown rejected the $12.3 million in bonds for miscellaneous improvements. The final tally was 550 in favor, with 588 voting against.
UA COSSATOT COMMENCEMENT IS SATURDAY 5/11/16
UA Cossatot will hold commencement Saturday, May 14th at 11 a.m. at the UA Cossatot Amphitheater.
UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole stated this class represents the 40th year of Cossatot graduates and 40-years of student success.
Cole said they will celebrate with a picnic after graduation for the graduates, their families, and alumnus at the concession stand.
In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the De Queen High School Auditorium and the picnic will be held in the foyer.
Over 355 diplomas and certificates have been earned this semester. Students earning their GED will also be honored along with honor graduates and students who are members of Phi Theta Kappa, which is the honor society of two-year colleges.
ASHDOWN RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO MURDER 5/11/16
An 18-year-old Little River County resident plead guilty to murder Monday in the Bowie County District Court and may be sentenced to 45-years in prison later this month.
Warrick Dunn of Ashdown accepted the plea deal Monday and will be sentenced in two weeks.
Dunn was arrested April 1st in the March 30th shooting death of 27-year-old Deandre Bush of Texarkana, Texas.
Bush was killed while sitting in his car in front of his house shortly after midnight. Bush was shot multiple times at close range through the driver's side window. Bush's dog was shot once in the chest as it chased Dunn from the scene.
Dunn allegedly told investigators the motive in the shooting was robbery.
ASHDOWN VOTERS REJECT MILLAGE INCREASE 5/11/16
Voters in the Ashdown School District rejected a proposed 3.9 mill increase for the renovation of the Margaret Daniel Primary and construction of an additional 64,000 for a new elementary school, Tuesday during a special school election.
One-hundred and sixty-seven votes were cast against the proposal by early and absentee voting, while 93 votes were cast for it.
The final tally was 550 votes in favor of the proposal and 588 against.
Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders said the district will respect the voters opinion and will start working on plan 'B' tonight during their May Board of Education meeting.
The proposed 3.9 mills would have also increased teacher salaries to help the district attract and retain teachers.
Ashdown's school millage is 35.7, which is just under the state average of 37.7 mills.
HORATIO HIRES BENNETT AS NEW HEAD FOOTBALL COACH 5/11/16
Monday night during the regular meeting of the Horatio Board of Education, board members voted to hire David Bennett from Dierks as the new head football coach. Superintendent Lee Smith said they also hired a high-school math teacher and Laurie Kirkpatrick as a kindergarten teacher and Hannah Topor as a fourth grade teacher.
Smith said the board also approved the district's special education budget and they increased the cost of school lunches to $2.25.
Smith said he was pleased with the district's report cards, but he said there was still plenty of room for improvement.
The next Horatio Board of Education meeting has been scheduled for Monday, June 6th.
THOUSANDS OF ARKANSAS CHILDREN WAITING FOR FOREVER HOME 5/11/16
May is National Foster Care Month and advocates hope to bring awareness to the issue so more children can find a permanent home. There are several non-profit groups in Arkansas that try to recruit and work with foster families. One is Project Zero.
Christie Erwin heads it up and has also been a foster parent for 19 years. She has permanently adopted two children. Her group holds events to match children in the foster system with potential parents.
Project Zero also has three traveling exhibits that are taken around the state with pictures and stories of kids waiting to be adopted. She says that's crucial because once people see a face and not just paperwork, more children find what she calls a forever home.
On any given day across the nation there are about a half a million children in foster care. In Arkansas there are over 5,000, but fewer than 1,500 families who can take in kids.
Laurie Currier heads up The Call, which is a faith based group that also recruits families, and then helps them work with the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services. She says there are too many children waiting and the best thing for them is to part of a family.
The Call is operating in 38 Arkansas' counties and is currently getting established in six others.
Erwin says at one of her group's foster events last year a teenage boy started playing the piano. She video taped it and put it on Facebook.
The mission of both groups is simple: one waiting child plus one welcoming family equals zero children waiting.
HILL: "WE ARE NOT A 'C' SCHOOL" 5/10/16
Monday night the members of the De Queen Board of Education received a report from Superintendent Bruce Hill about some projects the district hopes to complete this summer, including renovating some restrooms in the old elementary building and a new bus turn-around at the primary.
Board members approved the low bid of $13,067 dollars from Hope Fire Services for a new fire alarm system at the primary school. Hill said he's not sure what happened to the current system, but the state fire marshal said it had to be replaced.
Board members discussed the district's food service program and decided to use a student/parent survey in an attempt to improve the school meals. Hill said he met with the chef of Culinary Connections and he said he has heard that some districts are out-sourcing their food services.
Hill also told board members he did not feel the district's report card grades were accurate, because if the district was average, why were other districts visiting the De Queen campuses to see why students were performing so well on state test.
Board members also discussed a program called Anonymous Alerts to help curb bullying and other issues on the junior high campus, but no decision was made.
MCCURTAIN COUNTY DEPUTY A HERO 5/10/16
According to a published report, Oklahoma Game Warden Captain Mike Virgin and McCurtain County Sheriff's Deputy Corey Sharrock were investigating a vehicular assault report at a residence north of Broken Bow Friday afternoon, May 6th when the suspect grabbed a semiautomatic rifle and opened fire on the officers.
According to the incident report, Captain Virgin was approximately 15 feet from the suspect and had to take cover. Deputy Sharrock returned fire and hit him near the elbow, but the suspect fired back at the deputy, striking him just below his bullet proof vest.
Captain Virgin called for backup and Deputy Sharrock was transported to a Texarkana, Texas hospital by helicopter.
Law enforcement officials are hailing Sharrock as a hero because he was able to keep the suspect at bay while Captain Virgin took cover.
The suspect who was identified as 43-year-old Charles Brown surrendered to the McCurtain County Sheriff a short time later and was taken into custody with no further incident. He was treated at a local hospital for his injuries and then transferred by helicopter to a hospital in Tulsa.
SEVIER COUNTY JOINS NATIONAL JOINT POWERS ALLIANCE 5/10/16
Monday afternoon, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray informed the members of the Sevier County Quorum Court that the county almost lost a bridge during the rain last month during the storm that dropped seven inches of rain in about six hours.
Justices of the Peace approved a General Improvement Fund grant for the repair of the final section of the courthouse roof. Ray said the funds came from Senator Jimmy Hickey and Representative DeAnn Vaught.
JPs also approved the purchase of a new software system for the County Clerk, Treasure and County Judge’s office. County Clerk Debbie Akin said the program is a cloud based program, but the county will have it's own password, so they can access the information anytime they need it.
Ray also asked the Quorum Court to transfer $63,500 from one line item in the Road Department's budget to another for the purchase of two dump trucks.
Justices of the Peace also passed a resolution permitting the county to join the National Joint Powers Alliance. Ray explained this membership will save the county money on large equipment purchases.
County Assessor Judy Smith reported the last day to assess real and personal property without a penalty is Tuesday, May 31st.
SENATOR HICKEY AND OTHERS CONSIDER PLAN TO RAISE TAXES FOR HIGHWAYS 5/10/16
Four Arkansas senators are working on legislation that would raise the state's gas and diesel taxes to pay for road improvements.
A special legislative session is expected to begin May 19th.
The state gas tax is 21.5 cents per gallon and the diesel tax is 22.5 cents per gallon. According to the Department of Finance and Administration, the state collected $442 million dollars in motor fuel taxes in 2015.
Senator Hickey and the other three senators are proposing increasing the gas tax to 26.5 cents per gallon and the diesel tax to 27.5 cents per gallon. They say that would raise about $100 million dollars for roads in 2018.
Their proposal would also increase the fuel taxes another 3 cents a gallon in 2019, which would raise another $60 million dollars a year.
Hickey said under this proposal, the tax increases would all expire after four years.
Governor Asa Hutchinson, however, has proposed a highway funding plan that would not raise taxes, but instead would use state surplus funds and reallocate other funds to increase the state's match for federal highway dollars that are available this fall.
SLOW IT DOWN 5/10/16
Saturday afternoon, Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer of the De Queen Police Department pulled over a vehicle for speeding.
Sawyer identified the driver as 32-year-old Brandon Coulter of De Queen and he suspected Coulter had been drinking due to the smell of alcohol.
Coulter informed Sawyer that he was coming back from a bar and he had drunk a few Corona's.
Coulter was citied for driving on a suspended license and taken into custody for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
SMELLING THE GRASS AT THE SPORTS PLEX 5/10/16
Saturday night, Patrolmen First Class Bucky Sawyer and Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department were on a stationary patrol at the De Queen Sports Plex when they observed a blue car pull into the Sports Plex and park by the pavilion.
As Sawyer and Baker approached the vehicle, they noticed two occupants sitting in the car, drinking alcoholic beverages.
The driver was identified as 20-year-old Abel Rezendiz and the passenger was identified as 21-year-old Brandon Luna.
After speaking with the two subjects, officers decided to have them pour out the alcohol, but officers noticed the smell of marijuana. While searching the vehicle, Officer Sawyer noticed Luna's shoe laces were un-tied, so he asked him to remove his shoes.
Luna then admitted he had marijuana in his shoes and handed Sawyer a clear bag containing suspected marijuana.
Luna was taken to the Sevier County jail and citied with possession of a controlled substance.
E-CIGARETTES NOW UNDER FDA AUTHORITY 5/9/16
The Federal Drug Administration announced last week that hundreds of e-cigarette brands will have to undergo a lengthy federal review to stay on the market.
The FDA also announced the changes will limit the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and will require now health warnings.
The FDA stated companies will have to submit a pre-market application that will undergo a review process to determine their impact on the public's health. Companies that do not submit the required information or don't meet the federal standards will be removed from the market.
Mike and Dee Sanders are the owners of LeCig in De Queen and Mike said several small companies plan to join together to submit one e-cig device for approval.
The vaping industry says this review process will be time-consuming and costly, and could put smaller companies out of business.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that turn nicotine into an inhalable liquid vapor. Though nicotine can be addictive, e-cigarettes lack the chemicals and tars of burning tobacco.
Dee and Mike Sanders say the vaping industry is worried that big tobacco companies will start adding some of those chemicals.
The FDA's action comes five years after the agency first announced its intent to regulate e-cigarettes.
The FDA gained the authority to regulate some aspects of cigarettes and other traditional tobacco products under a 2009 law. But, since e-cigarettes do not actually contain tobacco, they were not covered by the original law.
NOTICE OF ADJUSTED POLLING PLACES FOR ASHDOWN SCHOOL ELECTION 5/9/16
Ashdown School District patrons will go to the polls tomorrow to consider the passage of a 3.9 mill increase. Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders explained 3 mills will be used to make renovations to the current Margaret Daniels Primary School and construct an additional 64,000 square feet, which house the district's elementary students.
Sanders said the other .9 percent of a mill will be used to increase the pay of teachers and staff members in the district.
The Little River County Clerk announced last Friday that voters in the community of Ben Lomond will be able to cast their votes at the Ben Lomond Community Center tomorrow in the Special School Election.
The other polling places include:
Red River precinct at Richmond Church; Johnson precinct at Ogden Community Building; Burke precinct at Winthrop City Hall; Lick Creek precinct at Oak Grove Baptist Church; Franklin precinct at Millwood Baptist Church; Cleveland precinct at Wilton Schoolhouse; Ashdown Ward 1 precinct at First Baptist Church; Ashdown Ward 2 and Jefferson precinct at Church of Christ; Ashdown Ward 3 precinct at Church of the Nazarene; Arden precinct at Arden Community Building.
The County Clerk's office also reported 152 district patrons have cast their votes early at the Little River County Courthouse as of 11 a.m.
SEVIER COUNTY SENIOR ADULT CELEBRATION 5/9/16
Last Friday, Sevier County Judge Greg Ray and Amy Mills of Dr. Randy Walker's office announced the 35th Annual Sevier County Senior Adult Celebration will be on Friday, May 27th from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Sevier County Courthouse lawn.
Judge Ray said this year's theme is the 50's and there's going to be a car show on the south side of the courthouse.
Mills said there will be vendors offering free health screenings and elder care information. She said if a vendor would like to sign up they can call Dr. Walker's office at 584-3000.
Judge Ray said the Sevier County Sheriff's Office will also be holding a Drug Take Back event for anyone that has some expired, unused or unwanted medications that they would like to get rid of.
The Argenbright Band will once again be providing the live entertainment. If you would like more information, contact Judge Ray's office at 642-2425.
PICKING UP A FEW THINGS 5/9/16
Thursday, May 5th, Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer was dispatched to Wal-Mart after a subject ran out of the store with some razor blades and a razor. The subject was reportedly wearing blue jeans and a red hooded shirt.
As Sawyer was driving toward Wal-Mart, he noticed a man running West that matched the subjects description. The subject was identified as 25-year-old Jason Kimberlin of De Queen.
When Sawyer made contact he made Kimberlin lay down on the ground, while he placed him in cuffs, because dispatch had informed Sawyer that Kimberlin may be armed.
Officers found a Hydro razor and some replacement blades in the grass where Kimberlin had been walking.
Kimberlin was cited for shoplifting under $1,000.
Later that same day, Sawyer was dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to someone who had been trespassed from the store, being inside the store.
Sawyer found 46-year-old Kevvy Follis in the produce department and he was escorted out of the store and citied for criminal trespass.
COSSATOT RIVER STATE PARK ACTIVITIES 5/9/16
Cossatot River State Park Interpreter Shelly Flanary announced the park will be hosting a boater education class today and Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the visitor center.
Flanary reported Arkansas law says anyone who was born after 1985, must take and pass an approved Arkansas Game and Fish Boating Education Course and carry proof that they completed the course in order to operate a motorboat on Arkansas waters.
Flanary said attendees must attend all class sessions and pass the test to complete the course. She said the course is free and open to everyone.
For more information about the Cossatot River State Park, call 870-385-2201.
27TH ANNUAL TRI-LAKES BIG BASS FESTIVAL 5/6/16
Sevier County Judge Greg Ray announced 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.
Ray said 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 and Diamond Bank is sponsoring a target fish contest per hour.
Ray said this year's grand prize is $1,500 and it 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.
Ray said the registration fee is $45 per person through May 27th or $50 per person if registering at the lake on the day of the event. He said you can pick up an entry form at the KDQN studios or from the chambers website.
Entry forms may also be obtained by calling 870-584-3225 or from the chamber website, www.dequeenchamberofcommerce.com.
PARENT INCARCERATED - CHILDREN FEEL THE PAIN 5/6/16
A new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation looks at how mass incarceration is having a devastating impact on children in Arkansas and around the nation. There are about 61,000 kids in Arkansas who have, or have had, a parent who's been jailed or imprisoned.
The report states that kids who parents are incarcerated are more likely to be homeless, and their families have a hard time making ends meet financially. There's also a lot of emotional stress and strain that's put on a family when a parent is incarcerated.
Paul Kelly with Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families says it destabilizes the family and leaves a vacuum in the child's life.
Kelly says it has a negative impact on a child's development and well being. There are more than 5.1 million children in the United States with a parent who's been incarcerated.
Scot Spencer with the Casey Foundation says losing regular involvement with a parent during the formative years can have a lifelong impact on a child. He says many are dealing with the loss at a very young age.
Kelly says many of these kids end up with behavioral problems.
Spencer says the justice system needs to take into account the impact on families when making sentences decisions.
TRAIN DAYS IS THIS SATURDAY IN HOPE 5/6/16
Sharon Caldwell is the co-chairman of the Hope Train Day festival and she explained the event started when Amtrak opened their depot in Hope four years ago.
Caldwell said Train Days is free for children and events start at 8 a.m. with a 5K run.
Caldwell said there will also be live entertainment throughout the day including several local bands beginning around 5 p.m.
Caldwell said Train Days celebrates the history of the railroad in Hope and Hempstead County. She said Hope as been a railroad town for the past 140 years.
For more information, contact Caldwell at 870-777-4444.
CHALICE CUPBOARD REPORT FOR APRIL 2016 05/05/16
The Chalice Cupboard assisted 80 families in Sevier County in April, including 148 adults and 87 children, totaling 235 people. 1,880 lbs. of food was distributed.
1,249 lbs. of food was added to the pantry. This included 1,108 lbs. of purchased food plus donations of 141 lbs. St. Barbara Catholic church gave 68 lbs, the Order of the Eastern Star gave 46 lbs. and individuals gave 27 lbs.
The Bank balance on April 1, 2016 was $6,866.41. Deposits for the month totaled $209.00. During April, 2016, $1058.94 was spent for food to replenish the pantry supply. The bank balance on April 30, 2016 was $6,016.47.
Individuals living in Sevier County who need food may receive help at the Chalice Cupboard at 315 N. 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 month period of the year: January-February-March; April-May-June; July-august-September; October-November-December.
Suggested non-perishable items for those people who want to make a donation are peanut butter and fruit. Any money donated will be used for the purchase of food.
Submitted by Grant Grove
ADOPTING A PET SHOULD BE A HAPPY TAIL 5/5/16
The Arkansas Attorney General's office has issued a warning for families wanting to adopt a new pet: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge warns families to watch out for scam artists online who offer low prices and make a lot of promises that they don't live up to.
Rutledge says the idea of a new puppy in the family can sound like a great idea, but she recommends that you watch out for online breeders who promise a lot of things but don't follow through.
Some of these breeders have photos of adorable puppies and guarantee they are up to date on all their vaccinations, but consumers should use caution because it could be a scam artist.
Ashley Younger is the director of CARE for Animals and she says Arkansas doesn't have a lot of regulations for breeders, and there are some reputable ones in the state, but there are also what she calls backyard breeders who are just out to make a quick buck.
Before getting a new animal, Younger says it's a good idea to do research, because adopting a pet should be a lifelong commitment.
Younger says there are too many unwanted animals in Arkansas, but rather than focusing on just how to house them, the smarter approach is through spay and neuter programs.
Younger says many communities in Arkansas offer low-cost spay and neuter clinics for pets.
Younger says there are a lot of great animals, including full-breed dogs available for adoption in shelters around the state, but if you buy from a breeder, she says ask to spend some one-on-one time with the animal before you take it home.
The Attorney General's office says responsible breeders will let you tour their facility. Rutledge also recommends checking a breeders references and pay with a check or credit card so you'll have a receipt.
SEVIER COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY SPAY AND NEUTER CLINIC 5/5/16
Janelle Gage and Martha Fines of the Sevier County Humane Society announced there will be a low-cost spay and neuter clinic Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week at their new location across the street from Herman Dierks Park on East Haes Street.
Fines said 123 pets were operated on during their last clinic in February and they have a waiting list of about 50 pet owners already. She said if you would like to sign-up for this clinic, call 584-9096 and leave a message.
Fines said they will start with cats at 7 a.m. and dogs at 8 a.m.
The cost is $35 for cats, plus a $5 rabies shot and $60 for dogs. But, Fines said residents of De Queen may apply for a discount.
Gage said if you would like to volunteer stop by the clinic Tuesday through Thursday or call 584-9096.
DE QUEEN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HONORED AT COSSATOT ARTS AND CRAFTS ASSOCIATION ART SHOW 5/5/16
De Queen Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley announced that several De Queen High School students participated in the 45th annual Cossatot Arts and Crafts Show, this past weekend.
Ninth grader Chasity Franco earned a red ribbon; while Shau'ri Esquivel won a white ribbon and was given an Honorable Mention award.
Tenth grader Patricia Hernandez received a blue ribbon; Monique Jacobo earned a red ribbon and Tori Parker received a Special Merit Award from Revels and Company.
Eleventh grader Alexis Rubio earned a red ribbon and Diana Campos won a white ribbon.
Twelfth grader DeAnna Johnson was awarded an Honorable Mention award; Krishna Patel earned a red ribbon and Angel Hernandez received two Youth Special Merit Awards from Mrs. Larry Romine and Judy Smith.
LOCKESBURG MAYOR PROCLAIMS HISTORIC PRESERVATION MONTH 5/5/16
Lockesburg Mayor Danny Ruth is among 147 officials in 70 counties who have declared May as Historic Preservation Month and Arkansas Heritage Month according to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Director Frances McSwain.
Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst reported this is the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act and they hope Arkansans will take the time to reflect on the importance of the historic sites here in Southwest Arkansas that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mayor Ruth's proclamation says: Whereas, historic preservation is an effective tool for managing growth, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering local pride and maintaining community character while enhancing livability; and
Whereas, historic preservation is relevant for communities across the nation, both urban and rural, and for Americans of all ages, all walks of life and all ethnic backgrounds; and
Whereas, it is important to celebrate the role of history in our lives and the contributions made by dedicated individuals in helping to preserve the tangible aspects of the heritage that has shaped us as a people; and
Whereas, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and
Whereas, "This Place Matters!" is the theme for National Preservation Month and "Arkansas Arts: Celebrating Our Creative Culture" is the theme for Arkansas Heritage Month, cosponsored by the City of Lockesburg, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Mayor Ruth is also calling upon the residents of Lockesburg to join their fellow citizens across the country in recognizing and participating in this special observance.
TRIAL BY JURY EVENT THIS SATURDAY AT HISTORIC WASHINGTON STATE PARK 5/5/16
Historic Washington State Park will hold a Trial by Jury event this Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m.
Guests will experience justice in 1880 Washington as they take part in a new twist on the popular "Trial by Jury" series. This trial is a re-enactment of an actual murder trial that took place in the 1874 Courthouse.
The event also includes a meal. The cost is $25 for adults and $20 for children under the age of 14.
For more information, call the Historic Washington State Park at 870-983-2684.
FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS MINERAL SPRINGS MAN BACK TO JAIL 5/4/16
U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey has ordered a Mineral Springs man who has been accused of sending threatening letters to seven Arkansas mayors back to jail.
Fifty-five year old Maverick Dean Bryan was released from jail following a detention hearing in March, but Hickey announced Monday that she had reviewed the transcript of the detention hearing and decided Bryan should have remained in custody as prosecutors had requested.
According to Hickey, Bryan admitted he wrote the letters in January of 2015 threatening the mayors of De Queen, Ashdown, Hope, Lewisville, Nashville, Prescott and Murfreesboro. Bryan allegedly threatened to hang them from a mighty oak on the courthouse lawns if they didn't remove Common Core and put religion back in the local schools.
Hickey also pointed out that Bryan has an extensive criminal history involving the possession of firearms.
Bryan also admitted during his detention hearing that he was the author of an advertisement in the Thrifty Nickel seeking a $23 million dollar loan, so he could raise a Christian army to overthrow the U.S. government.
Bryan is scheduled for trial later this month. If he is found guilty of mailing threatening communications, he could face up to 35 years in prison and a fine up to $1.75 million dollars.
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 5/4/16
District 4 Representative DeAnn Vaught reported the House of Representatives continued to pass dozens of appropriation bills last week for various state agencies. She explained an appropriation gives the agency the authority to spend the money when it becomes available and it is effective for one year beginning July 1st.
Vaught said the appropriation will specify which agency will receive the money, where the money will come from and what the money will be used for. She said the House will also pass supplemental appropriations which usually add money from an accumulated surplus. She said they also vote on re-appropriations which will allow an agency to spend a balance that is left over from the previous year.
Vaught explained that just because the House passes an appropriation, it does not mean that the amount will be funded, until the House passes the Revenue Stabilization Act, which the House will begin voting on today.
Vaught said the proposed budget does not include any tax increases or cuts to essential state services, but will include increase funding for education and DHS.
Vaught reported soon after the House approves the budget, they will reconvene for a special session to address the highway funding issue.
Representatives will review Governor Asa Hutchinson's Working Group on Highway Funding Report, which states the Highway Department needs $110 million dollars over the next three years to address the department's most critical needs.
If you would like to watch the House proceedings, visit the website, ArkansasHouse.org.
ADD A CHARGE TO THAT OUTSTANDING WARRANT 5/4/16
Sunday, May 1st, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputies Brian Hankins and Greg Davignon were headed back to the sheriff's office following a call in Horatio when they noticed a black man standing in a yard on Everett Street that they thought had an outstanding warrant.
When they approached the suspect, he identified himself as 42-year-old James Kelly. Deputies confirmed Kelly had a warrant and asked him to stand in front of their patrol vehicles.
Kelly then allegedly told the deputies that he had some marijuana in his pocket along with a pipe.
Deputies secured two plastic bags of suspected marijuana and a pink glass pipe that contained suspected meth residue in it.
Kelly allegedly said he had just bought the pipe, but had not used it yet.
Kelly was booked into the Sevier County jail on the outstanding warrant and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT TO HOST RETIREMENT RECEPTION 5/4/16
Five retirees of the Ashdown School District will be honored with a public reception on Monday, May 16th from 4 to 5 p.m. on the lawn of the Little River County Courthouse.
The event is being hosted by the Ashdown School District, along with the Little River County Retired Teachers Association.
Retirees to be honored include: teachers Debra Ward and Yvonne Bond at the Ashdown Elementary; DeeDee Ward from the L.F. Henderson Intermediate School; and Jim Welchel from the Ashdown Junior High School. Classified staff members who are retiring include: Roger Rose.
Everyone is invited to attend and share in extending thanks and congratulations to these school retirees.
If it rains, the event will be moved indoors.
FARM BUREAU AG SAFETY POSTER CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED 5/4/16
Arkansas Farm Bureau has announced the winners of its annual safety poster contest, which coincided with Ag Safety Awareness Week. All posters were designed to increase awareness of potential hazards on farms and ranches. The posters also depicted this year's theme, "Caution: Safety is No Accident."
Local winners in the first and second-grade category included: Lyndsey Powell who is a second graders at Acorn Elementary School in Polk County, won first place. Powell is the daughter of Jeremy and Amber Powell.
In the third and fourth grade category, Lyza Gonzalez, a third grader at Waldron Elementary in Scott County won first place. Fourth-grader Aniyah Muresan of Blevins Elementary in Hempstead County won second place. And, Kyler McKee, a third-grader at Vandervort Elementary school placed third. McKee's parents are Chad and Falicia McKee.
FOREMAN PLEASED WITH HIGH SCHOOLS GRADE IMPROVEMENT 5/3/16
During the April meeting of the Foreman Board of Education, Superintendent George Kennedy reported he was pleased with the district's grades from the state board of education. He stated the Foreman High School received a B and the Oscar Hamilton Elementary received a C.
Kennedy said some students took the ACT Aspire recently and he was pleased with the test. He said it tested students on things they are actually studying.
Kennedy reported the district plans to have the restrooms throughout the district renovated this summer and they are re-keying the entire district to one Master key to provide better safety, in the event that they ever have to lock-down the campus again in the future.
Kennedy said the board also finalized the re-financing of the district's existing bonds. He said this will save the district between $90,000 and $100,000 over the life of the bonds.
Board members also voted to re-hire all licensed and classified staff members for the 2016-2017 school year.
COST OF DOING BUSINESS 5/3/16
Sunday night, Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department observed a gray Ford Expedition cross the center line twice after turning onto Ninth Street. Baker reported the vehicle crossed the center line a few more times and he initiated a traffic stop.
Baker identified the driver as 24-year-old Michael Peoples of Texarkana, Arkansas by his driver's license, but Peoples could not find a valid insurance card.
After conducting a background check, Baker discovered Peoples' license was suspended and he had a history of drug charges on his record.
While searching the vehicle, Baker discovered a Crown Royal bag in the center console that contained suspected marijuana, a set of digital scales and multiple unused clear bags.
After Peoples was taken into custody, he informed Patrolman First Class James Gilbert that he had a bag of seeds in his sock.
At the De Queen Police Station, Peoples and his passenger, 18-year-old Whitney Musgrove of De Queen stated the marijuana, the scales and the unused bags belonged to them and the other one didn't know it was in the vehicle. They both allegedly said they had recently lost their job and that they were selling marijuana to pay their bills.
Both were transported to the Sevier County jail and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance with the purpose to deliver.
HORATIO VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT ANNUAL FISH FRY IS SATURDAY 5/3/16
Horatio Volunteer Fire Department Assist Fire Chief Rich Dorsey announced the department will be holding their annual fish fry this Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. at the Horatio First Baptist Church.
Dorsey said a portion of the proceeds will be used to purchase smoke alarms for area residents and education supplies for the department’s annual Education Week activities.
Dorsey said you can call him at 870-279-2161 if you would like someone to deliver some meals inside the Horatio city limits.
IT'S SCREEN FREE WEEK 5/3/16
Parents are being encouraged to turn off the television, computer, and tablets that their kids may be plugged into for Screen-free Week, which runs through Sunday, May 8th. Experts say too much screen time is linked to obesity, sleep disruptions and emotional troubles, especially among children.
With all the smartphones, tablets, computers and video games around, it's easy to forget that there is life beyond a screen. This week is Screen-free Week and it's a time to rediscover some of the joys of being unplugged.
Josh Golin with the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood says turning off screens can shift the focus to more engaging activities, which can improve a child's well-being and their relationships.
While the idea of having their children go screen-free might send some parents into a panic, Golin says they might be surprised with the results.
Excessive use of screens is linked to attention problems, poor school performance, sleep problems and emotional difficulties among children.
Golin says because kids are always watching their parents, it's important that good habits are practiced in the home.
Experts discourage screen time for children under age two and for other kids no more than two hours a day of educational programming. But research shows 8 to 18 year olds spend about seven hours using screen media every day.
MINORS IN POSSESSION 5/3/16
About 2 a.m. Sunday morning, Patrolman First Class Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department observed a vehicle that appeared to be on the wrong side of the street.
Baker reported he smelt marijuana as he approached the vehicle and called Patrolman David Higgins to assist him with the traffic stop because there were five males in the vehicle.
While searching the vehicle, officers found four marijuana roaches and an open case of Bud Light, along with five open beer cans throughout the vehicle.
The five minors were interviewed at the De Queen Police Station and all five were charged with possession of a controlled substance, marijuana and four were charged with minor in possession of alcohol.
RELAY FOR LIFE SURVIVORS RECEPTION IS FRIDAY 5/3/16
Sevier County Relay for Life committee member Linda Frachiseur would like to invite all cancer survivors and their caregivers to this year's Survivor's Reception this Friday at the De Queen Church of Christ at 6 p.m.
Frachiseur said there will be guest speakers and De Queen High School student Cody Lites will be providing the entertainment.
For more information, contact Frachiseur at 870-584-9592.
45TH ANNUAL COSSATOT ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW HELD 05/03/16
Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association ‘s 45th annual Arts and Crafts Show and Sale was held Saturday and Sunday, April 30th and May 1st at the Historic King School Building. Judging was held and the winners are as follows:
For more information or questions, contact a Cossatot Arts and Crafts Association member by calling 642-2419 or 642-7170
ASHDOWN MAN ARRESTED SUNDAY FOLLOWING HIGH SPEED PURSUIT 5/2/16
Joshua Dixon of Ashdown was arrested Sunday following a high-speed chase that ended when he crashed his vehicle in Miller County.
According to Lafayette County officials, Dixon hit a deputy's patrol vehicle several times during the pursuit, which exceeded 100 miles per hour.
The pursuit started in Stamps and continued west into Miller County through Genoa and ended in Texarkana, Arkansas when Dixon attempted to cross a ditch off I-49.
Dixon is being held in the Lafayette County jail for felony fleeing, aggravated assault and other charges are pending.
ASHDOWN SCHOOL REPORT CARD 5/2/16
Last month, the Arkansas Department of Education released the state's report card for every school district in the state and the Ashdown School District received four Cs and one D.
Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders said when many people hear the district received four Cs and a D; they think the district is an average performing district. But Sanders said the formula to figure these scores is very complex.
Sanders also stated the Ashdown scores were as high as any other district in the area.
Sanders said the district is also working to help all students improve their text scores, while offering a diverse curriculum.
Sanders also reminded Ashdown School District patrons that early voting is underway at the Little River County Courthouse for the Special School Election, which is Tuesday, May 10th.
ASHDOWN TEEN BEING HELD IN CONNECT TO THE DEATH OF TEXARKANA MAN 5/2/16
Eighteen year old Warrick Dunn of Ashdown is being held but has not been charged in connection to the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Deandre Shawn Bush of Texarkana, Texas on March 30th. Dunn has also been accused of shooting Bush's dog.
According to an affidavit, Bush was shot multiple times at close range while sitting in his car. Bush's dog was reportedly shot once in the chest while chasing the shooter.
Law enforcement officials believe the motive was robbery.
According to the police report, a woman whose son is a friend of Dunn's contacted the police and arranged to give them a Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun that Dunn allegedly used to kill Bush, as well as, a Taurus 9 mm that Dunn allegedly stole from Bush after shooting him.
Investigators say Dunn agreed to sell the woman the guns for $300.
Dunn was arrested on April 1st at an apartment complex on Locust Street in Texarkana, Arkansas.
Dunn is being held in the Bowie County jail. His bail has been set at $750,000.
1.80-CARAT DIAMOND FOUND AT CRATER OF DIAMONDS STATE PARK 5/2/16
Gail Hudson of St. Louis, Missouri found a 1.80-carat diamond within five minutes of her first visit to the park in April. She said she thought it was the shell of a bug, but after scooping it up with her fingers, she knew it was different from anything she had ever seen before.
Hudson said it had a different weight to it.
Park staff confirmed that Hudson had found a large brown diamond, weighing 1.80 carats. According to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox, the diamond was about the same color as iced tea and about the size of a green pea. He said it has a brilliant shine and rounded facets, which are characteristics of Crater diamonds.
Cox said about 15 percent of diamonds that are certified at the park are found on top of the ground. This year, 13 visitors have found diamonds on the surface.
Hudson's diamond is the 176th diamond that has been certified by the park staff, this year and it is the largest brown diamond that's been found in more than two years.
DRIVER CITIED AFTER HITTING CALF ON ROADWAY 5/2/16
Saturday night, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Jackson was dispatched to B & B Junction after someone reported a calf was on the highway.
When Jackson arrived he pushed the calf south on the shoulder of the road, while keeping his spotlight on the calf, so traffic could see it.
Jackson reported he was south of the B & B store when a van traveling northbound did not slow down even though Jackson had his emergency lights flashing.
Jackson reported he got out of the way of the van, just before it struck the calf.
The driver of the van, Arturo Navarrette, was citied for not having a valid driver's license and for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.
SEVIER COUNTY CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION TO HOLD A FIELD DAY THIS SATURDAY 5/2/16
Sevier County Cattlemen's Association President Greg Wright announced they will be holding a field day even on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Sevier County Fairgrounds. He said there will be livestock demonstrations and feeder cattle evaluation.
Wright said there will also be a branding demonstration. He said Sevier County Extension Agent Rex Herring will be leading a freeze branding seminar.
Wright said freeze branding is considered to be easier on the animal and less stressful.
Wright said the event is being hosted by the Sevier County Cattlemen's Association, but anyone can attend.
For more information, contact Wright at the Sevier County Cattlemen's Association Facebook page.
Farm Bureau Ag Safety Poster contest winners announced 05/02/16
Arkansas Farm Bureau has announced the winners of its annual safety poster contest. It coincided with Ag Safety Awareness Week March 6 - 12, and was designed to increase awareness of potential hazards on farms and ranches. The posters depicted this year’s theme, “Caution: Safety is No Accident.”
Local winners In the first and second-grade category, Lyndsey Powell, a second-grade student at Acorn Elementary in Polk County, won first place. Lyndsey is the daughter of Jeremy and Amber Powell.
In the third and fourth-grade category, Lyza Gonzalez, a third-grade student at Waldron Elementary in Scott County, took first place. Lyza is the daughter of Elizabeth Gonzalez. Fourth-grader Aniyah Muresan of Blevins Elementary in Hempstead County won second place. Aniyah is the daughter of Ruben and Monique Muresan. Kyler McKee, a third-grade student at Vandervort Elementary, was third. Kyler’s parents are Chad and Falicia McKee.
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