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During a special called meeting of the Dierks Board of Education, board members approved some changes to the student handbook for the upcoming school year. The board also voted to not allow any transfers in or out of the district after September 15th of the fall semester and January 15th of the spring semester.


Changes to the student handbooks include an addition to the dress code section that states tights and leggings must be worn with a shirt, shorts or skirt with a hem no shorter than four inches from the bend of the knee.


Dierks High School registration is Thursday, August 4th and Jo Ann Walters Elementary will be hosting their annual Back to School Open House on August 11th at 6 p.m. in the elementary gym. All parents and students are encouraged to attend and meet their teachers.


The first day of school is Monday, August 15th.






Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders announced the district approved a new season ticket program this year. He said it's the district intent to help patrons by offering season tickets at a discounted price while generating some revenue for the athletic programs,


Sanders said Family Passes and Super Booster Passes will go on sale August 1st at the Superintendent's Office at 511 North 2nd Street,


Sanders said they will also be offering student passes for all Kindergarten through twelfth grade students and student athlete passes for any student enrolled in a sport, cheer, spirit or band in the sixth through twelfth grades.


The passes are good for all home events, but may not be used for benefit or state sponsored events. Individual game prices are $5 for high school and junior high events and $3 for junior varsity and seventh grade events.






According to a just released nationwide study, only about one in three Americans is financially literate, with a basic understanding of financial concepts such as budgeting, credit and decision-making when it comes to money.


The results did not surprise J. Michael Collins, who directs the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He says so many people struggle to get by in part because they really don't know much about money, credit and banking. At particular risk are minorities and young people, who were never taught the basics,


The study surveyed more than 27,000 Americans, measuring their grasp of concepts such as budgeting planning ahead, financial knowledge and financial decision-making.


According to Collins, it's not that difficult to learn the basic concepts involved in managing income, but some people shy away from it because it involves basic math.  He says improving financial literacy is critical to surviving. He thinks one reason two-thirds of Americans are financially illiterate is that the topic of money is often taboo,


Collins says improving financial management is grounded in having a system and paying regular attention to simple financial management tasks such as paying bills on time and saving for retirement. He says improving financial literacy is like diet or exercise: Step one is paying attention and making it a priority.






Dierks Chamber of Commerce member Stacy Janes named the competitors that will be participating in this year's No Holds Barred Free Style Bull Fight Thursday morning on the Morning Brew. He said the chamber also added $5,000 cash to the pot for the 4th Annual Ultimate Challenge Bull Riding contest.


Janes said things will get started Friday night with the Tuff-N-Nuff miniature bull riding.


Janes said anyone under the age of 18 can sign up to participate in the mini rodeo, but they will need to contact Johnny Hopkins Monday, August 1st at 515-571-6922.


Saturday night, Janes said some of the best bull riders in the country will stop by the Pine Tree Festival and try to win a Bob Burg Buckle and take home all that added prize money.


Janes also mention his son and a couple of Texans will be competing in the free style bull fighting contest.


This year's Pine Tree Festival will also feature a parade on Saturday morning at 10, food and craft vendors, various timber and logging activities and competitions and mutton busting Saturday night at 6.


Janes said if you want to compete in the Mini Rodeo or the Ultimate Challenge Bull Riding contest, you need to call this Monday when the books open. For the mini rodeo call Hopkins at 515-571-6922 and for the Ultimate Challenge Bull Riding, contact Janes at 870-784-3043.


Admission to Friday night's mini rodeo is $5 for anyone over the age of 18 and everyone else is free. Admission to Saturday night's event is $10 for anyone 13 and older, $5 for anyone 7 to 12 years of age and free to anyone 6 and younger.





A Little River County man has been arrested and charged with two counts of rape and child pornography.


Little River County deputies apprehended 44-year-old Michael Friday of Foreman after receiving complaints of the sexual assault allegations involving two minors.


Investigators stated some of the evidence that they collected in the case includes pornographic videos of the victims.


Prosecutors said more charges may be filed against Friday. He's currently being held in the Little River County jail on a $350,000 bond.






Cossatot River School District Superintendent Donnie Davis reported the Cossatot River Board of Education voted to purchase a new Big-Tex Trailer for the FFA department to transport their livestock animals. He also informed KDQN that the FFA Booster Club was renovating the old show barn on the Cove campus so students could house their livestock.


Davis also updated board members on the renovation project at the Wickes Elementary cafeteria.


Board members also approved the reassignment of Principal Jana Richardson from the Vandervoort Elementary to the Wickes Elementary and Judy Joiner was promoted to Vandervoort Principal.


Davis said board members also accepted the resignation of board member Rick Frachiseur who has been serving as the vice-president of the board. Davis said they have 30-days from July 14th to appoint a new board member.


Members of the Cossatot River Board of Education also approved a five percent raise for the classified staff in accordance with ACT 1120.






Little River County Clerk Deanna Sivley certified the signatures turned in by the Vote 4 Growth Little River Committee to place a measure on the November ballot that if passed will allow the sale of alcohol in the county.


For the first time in 70 years, voters will have the opportunity to decide whether to allow alcohol sales in Little River County.


The county clerk's office certified the 2,661 signatures that were needed to place the wet/dry measure on the general election ballot in November.


Kirk Babb is the chairman of the Vote for Growth in Little River County committee and he said they turned in over 4,000 signatures last week.


State law requires the collection of valid signatures from 38 percent of the county's registered voters in order to place a measure on the ballot that will allow alcohol sales. The committee had until August to gather the signatures.


Babb said it's been decades since Little River County residents have been able to weigh in on this issue and the committee will continue to work hard over the next few months to get the word out concerning how big an impact alcohol sales will have on the local economy.






The Arkansas Department of Higher Education director search committee will recommend UA Cossatot Vice-Chancellor Maria Markham as the new director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.


The search committee met earlier this month and interviewed three candidates for the position: the other two candidates included MacGregor Stephenson who was the former deputy chief of staff to former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Jon Townsend who is the associate vice chancellor of workforce development for Tennessee’s board of regents.


The search committee is expected to recommend Markham for the position at the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board meeting this Friday.


The current director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Brett Powell, resigned in May. He will begin his new position as vice president for finance and administration at Henderson State University on August 1st




DRIVING IN THE DARK            7/28/16


Early Monday morning, Officer David Higgins of the De Queen Police Department witnessed a vehicle pull out of the EZ-Mart parking lot at the 70/71 intersection without its headlights on. 


Officer Higgins followed the vehicle to the Smith’s Quick Lube parking lot and asked the driver, 18-year-old Alexander McDonald of Shreveport, Louisiana, for his license. Higgins also told McDonald that he could smell marijuana and asked him where it was. McDonald allegedly told Higgins that the marijuana was under the driver’s seat.


Officer Higgins discovered some marijuana and a smoking device laying in the driver’s side floor board, along with two pieces of rolled up tin foil that appeared to have been used as a smoking device in the rear driver’s side floor board.


Officer Bucky Sawyer assisted in the search and found a jar containing a lighter, three packs of rolling papers and a smoking device in the front passenger floor board.


McDonald was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.




IT MAY BE THE MUNCHIES          7/28/16


On Friday, July 22nd, Patrolman Nicole Nealy of the De Queen Police Department was dispatched to the Sonic Drive-in after officers were informed that Sonic employees thought a customer was high on drugs.


When Nealy approached the vehicle, she noticed a Dr. Pepper can, an empty blue cigar wrapper and some tobacco remains outside the passenger door.


According to Nealy’s report, there were three people in the car, including the driver 25-year-old Jessica Lininger and passengers Rodney Taylor and Jeffery James.


When Nealy asked about the trash, the occupants informed her that the trash was there when they pulled in, but Sonic employees told her there was no trash in that lane before they arrived.


Nealy then interviewed Lininger and she allegedly informed Nealy that there was some marijuana in the Sonic bag and it was all hers. Nealy discovered some suspected marijuana in the Sonic bag and a grinder behind the passenger seat.


Lininger was charged with possession of a controlled substance.






Former Dierks High School graduate, Caleb Shepherd, was one of nine undergraduate students from the University of Arkansas Department of Animal Science that competed in the American Meat Science Association’s Meats Quiz Bowl Competition in Texas.


Shepherd and the other students spent the past year learning about all aspects of meat science to help prepare them for the annual quiz bowl competition.


U of A officials say the event provides great networking opportunities and allows students to see all aspects of the meat industry.


Shepherd graduated from Dierks High School in 2013 and he’s a former Howard County 4-H member.



The Board of Directors of the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce (DQSCCC) is pleased to announce the kick off of the revamped Yard of the Month award program to show its appreciation and to recognize homeowners and business owners who demonstrate superior effort in maintaining their property, and who, as a result, positively contribute to the overall appearance of Sevier County and its communities.

"We think this is a cool way to recognize the folks who help make our community look good," said DQSCCC President Patrick Massey. "We hope too that this program will encourage more people - such as myself - to put more effort towards their yards."

The program will award winners each month for landscaping and holiday decorations. Each monthly winner, in both the residential and business categories, will receive recognition in the local media, a $25 gift card to Bailey's Discount Building Supplies in De Queen, and the honor of displaying the official DQSCCC "Yard of the Month" lawn-sign in their yard that identifies their property as the Yard of the Month winner.

Program Guidelines

Judging for the award will be provided by a committee on the chamber board of directors.

The award term lasts from the first day to the last day of a calendar month.

The same property cannot receive more than one award in the same rolling 12 month calendar period.

The property of all current residents of Sevier County, both owner-occupied and rental, are automatically eligible to participate in the program.

All businesses in Sevier County are automatically eligible to participate.

The occupants of a Yard of the Month winning home will receive the gift card award.

The upkeep of the yard can reflect the efforts of the residents themselves or that of a professional landscaper.

During the reign as Yard of the Month, winners are expected to maintain their yard in the same manner that allowed them to win the title.

Yard of the Month candidates are judged solely on the exterior appearance of their property as viewed from the street. Yards will be judged on neatness, landscaping and color.

For more information on the program, including tips to keep your yard looking good, visit or see the De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce on Facebook.


submitted by KMTB


Authorities were back in Mineral Springs Tuesday as the investigation continues into Monday’s armed robbery of the town's Diamond Bank branch.  Police were sent to the Mineral Springs Park, after a city worker found several articles of clothing.  Authorities believe the articles of clothing were discarded by the suspects, Monday afternoon.


Chief Deputy John Eric Glidewell of the Howard County Sheriff's Office said the items have been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab.


Four people entered the bank Monday afternoon displaying at least two firearms and ordered the tellers and a customer to lie down of the floor as they took an undisclosed amount of cash. Officials said the suspects were in the bank for less than two minutes and then left in a black or dark blue vehicle.


If you have any information about Monday’s robbery, you’re asked to contact the Howard County Sheriff’s Department at 845-2626.




The deadline to enter the 2016 Rodeo Queen Contest during the Sevier County Fair and Rodeo is Saturday, August 6th at noon, fair board member Michelle Sawyer stated someone will be at the fair grounds August 6th from 9 a.m. to noon to accept registration forms. The competitions will be held at the Sevier County Rodeo Arena on August 13th at 7:30 p.m.


Sevier County Fair Board member Linda Frachiseur stated contestants may contact Patricia Maben at 784-1740 or Sawyer at 784-8931for more information.


Contestants will compete in the following age groups if there are two or more entrants in each category: Rodeo Queen category will be from 14 to 21 years on or before August, 1st; Rodeo Princess category will be 9 to 13 years of age as of August 1st; and the Rodeo Little Miss category will be 8 years of age and younger as of August 1st.


Sawyer also announced there will be a stick-a-roo contest for both boys and girls 5 and under. She said contestants must ride a stick horse and if a contestant does not have a stick horse, the fair board will provide one.


If there are not enough entrants for a queen and princess contest then all of the contestants will automatically be put into a single category of up to the age of 21 for the title of Rodeo Queen.


Entrants must be residents of Sevier County or attend a school in Sevier County and the entry fee is $45.

The winners will be announced during the rodeo on Saturday night, August 20th and the winning contestant must be present Saturday night for the crowning or she will forfeit the title.






Memorial Baptist Church pastor Jason Carlton is volunteering this week in Madison, Wisconsin with about 150 high school students, but high schoolers from around the state of Arkansas are in De Queen to participate in Memorial's Fourth Annual Day of Service.


Carlton reported the students are attending Bogg Springs camp this week and volunteers to help out with several local projects in De Queen. He said they will be helping at the De Queen Nursing and Rehab, landscaping in the De Queen City Park, washing De Queen Police Department vehicles and De Queen School District buses and cleaning up around the courthouse.


Carlton said the reason Memorial Baptist is conducting another Day of Service event, is so they can meet people and invite them to church.






A motion to dismiss the Mineral Springs School District civil rights lawsuit has been rejected by a federal judge.


According to the latest docket filing, Judge D. P. Marshall, Jr. denied a Motion to Dismiss after state defendants in a previous filing said the lawsuit failed to state a claim. But, the judge did allow the lawsuit to be amended to include two new State Board of Education members.


A similar motion by Hempstead County has yet to be ruled upon.


Superintendent Curtis Turner and the Mineral Springs School District filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas on February 29th against Hempstead County, Arkansas Education Commissioner Johnny Key, the State Board of Education and the Arkansas Department of Education.





The Shelter 13 and Under and the Shelter 14 and Under baseball teams won the state titles recently and will be representing Arkansas during the Dixie Boys World Series Baseball Tournaments in Pineville, Louisiana, August 5th.


The teams are coached by Jeff Woods and he is assisted by Jamie Williamson, Anthony Worthey, Michael Williamson, Charlie Marshall, Bret McKiever and Jamie Ralls and the 14 and Under team consists of Jack Rich, Will Athey, Brennen Seymour, Isaiah Williamson, Connor Gammon, Mayson McKiever, Logan Williamson, Mack Carver, Quinshawn Bennett-Hale and CJ Whitfield. The 13 and Under team consists of Carson McKiever, Mason Marshall, Gage Woods, Easton Leonard, Brentley Morris, Xander Worthey, Nathaniel Socash, Blake Pickett, Dayton Ralls and Garet Wilson.


The teams will be practicing and holding several fundraisers from now until August 5th for the purchase of uniforms, food and lodging.


Seymour said they will be holding several fundraisers, starting this Friday.


Chicken dinners will be sold for $8 a plate on Wednesday, August 3rd from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and they will deliver to area businesses, to place an order call 582-3340.





Early Sunday morning, Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department witnessed a black Ford truck cross the intersection at Robinson Road and Highway 71 North at a high rate of speed. After running the tags of the vehicle, Browning discovered they belonged on a gold Ford truck.


When Browning approached the vehicle, he identified the driver as 20-year-old Guillermo Benitez of De Queen whom he had spoken to earlier in the night.


Officer Justin Gentry assisted Browning during the traffic stop and made contact with a minor female passenger who also appeared to be intoxicated.


According to the incident report, officers were asked to walk through the EZ Mart at the four-way intersection between the hours of 2 and 3:30 a.m. whenever possible, because store employees reported several intoxicated juveniles were visiting the store between those hours on Sunday mornings.


At 2:30 a.m., Browning walked through the store and discovered Benitez intoxicated in the store.


When Browning stopped Benitez around 3, Benitez was citied for being a minor in possession and public intoxication.


The female minor was released into the custody of her father.






Members of the Falls Chapel Church in Lockesburg will be hosting a hot dog and Popsicle supper this Saturday at 6 p.m. and Brettny Lynch announced everyone is welcome to attend their little shindig.


Lynch said they'll have face painting, arts and crafts, as well as, games for everyone to play, like the Oreo Challenge. She said the church is located seven miles south of Lockesburg and you can contact her at 870-784-0786, if you have any questions.




The Army Corps of Engineers, Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office is temporarily closing the Okay Landing boat ramp because of low lake levels. The current lake levels are not high enough to safely launch boats and navigate around the Okay Landing ramp and access area.

The Corps began drawing down Millwood Lake July 18 to allow for bank stabilization work at Cottonshed Park.  The drawdown is scheduled to continue for the next three weeks.

Officials at the Army Corps of Engineers Millwood Tri-Lakes Project Office regret any inconveniences this may cause and ask the public to exercise caution while boating.

Corps rangers reminds all boaters to wear a lifejacket.  For more information contact the Millwood Project Office 870-898-3343.



This Week's News:







The Howard County Sheriff's Office is searching for at least four suspects who robbed the Mineral Springs branch of the Diamond Bank Monday afternoon.


The sheriff's department says the incident occurred shortly after 3 p.m., when three men and a woman stormed into the bank. Authorities say at least two of the suspects were armed with semi-automatic handguns and ordered the clerks and a customer to lie down on the floor.


The suspects then jumped over the counters and took money from the clerk's drawers, leaving the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash.


Howard County Sheriff Brian McJunkins reported no shots were fired, however, the suspects are being considered armed and dangerous.


Investigators are reviewing surveillance, but the suspects covered their faces with masks or bandanas, but law enforcement are hoping someone will recognize their builds and or mannerisms and help them identify and apprehend the suspects.


Police are also working on getting a better description of a possible getaway vehicle, which is being described as a mid-sized 4-door sedan, possible dark blue or black, with temporary or paper tags. It may also have black rims and tinted windows.


Anyone with information that could help police identify and locate the suspects in this armed robbery is being asked to contact the Howard County Sheriff's Office at 870-845-2626.


The case is being investigated by the Howard County Sheriff's Office, the Mineral Springs Police Department and the Arkansas State Police.






Earlier this month, UA Cossatot was awarded a $175,000 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council to help restore the old Lockesburg gym.


UA Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole informed KDQN that Cossatot plans to restore the old gym to its 1952 condition.


Cole explained they plan to remove the newer lobby and expose the old windows, renovate the old restrooms that are under the stands and restore the stage to a useable condition.


Cole said when the project is finished he plans to list the old gym on the Arkansas Historical Registry.


Cole said the UA Cossatot Board of Visitors held a reception during their July 11th meeting in honor of Judy Johnson's retirement. He said Johnson worked for Cossatot since 1975 when it was called Cossatot Vo-Tech.


Cole also invited area residents to visit with Congressman Steve Westerman Wednesday morning from 10 to 11 during a Community Coffee in the Barbara Horn Civic Center on the UA Cossatot, Ashdown campus.


For registration information about UA Cossatot, call 1-800-844-4471.






We live in a digital world, but there are still a lot of people who haven't mastered all of the new devices that are available, so AARP is offering some workshops to help senior adults adapt. The idea is to teach people to feel more comfortable with all this modern technology.


According to the director of outreach and education for AARP Arkansas, Lou Tobian, there are several free classes being offered, ranging from beginning courses to more advance sessions on how to use Apps. He said it's easy to lose touch with friends and family if you aren't able to use a computer, smart phone or tablet.


Tobian says there's a beginning and intermediate courses because new technology is being developed all of the time.


The workshops also include information on how to stay safe online. 





On July 22nd temperatures hovered around 100 degrees at the Crater of Diamond State Park and because of the heat the family of 9-year-old Grace Houston almost didn't return to the park on July 23rd for a second day of searching for diamonds.


But, Houston was determined to find a diamond and she declared that she wanted to go back, even if she had to go alone.


Knowing how much she enjoyed geology, her family planned their trip to the Crater of Diamond State Park about six months ago and they didn't tell Houston until a few days before they left on their trip to Murfreesboro.


The trip, however, will be one that Houston and her family will never forget, after she discovered a 1.53 carat white diamond while wet sifting alongside her grandmother.


When asked if she was going to make her diamond into a necklace, Houston said no. Her family also suggested she save it until she gets older and place it in an engagement ring. But, Houston said no to that idea also and said she plans to keep the diamond in it's natural state.






Student-athletes experience mental-health issues at about the same rate as the general student body, which is around 30 percent of students. About a third of those students will get help, but only 10 percent of their athlete counterparts will.


Health providers at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City are trying to find a way to identify those student-athletes who are at risk.


Dr. Shayla Sullivant says the Sports Medicine Department started administering suicide screenings for teenage patients. She says you can't look at a young person and assume that because they're fit and active that they don't have any issues that could lead them down a terrible path.


Several organizations are taking steps to address athlete suicides, including the NCAA, the National Athletes Trainers Association and universities, with programs such as "Athletes Connected."


Sullivant says there can be an attitude in sports that you need to stay tough, and that helps a person push through some difficulties, but she says it can also be a problem.


Sullivant says knowing that a young person is struggling is the first step, and the priority needs to be getting patients professional help.





The Dierks Pine Tree Festival is Friday, August 5th and Saturday, August 6th at the Dierks City Park and Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts said there's going to be a mini rodeo on Friday night.


John Hopkins is the executive director of the Tuff-N-Nuff Miniature Rodeo Association and he explained young people 18 and younger can sign up to ride a miniature bull or miniature bronc. He said the MRA works to instill confidence in children, one ride at a time.


Hopkins said anyone under the age of 18 can participate. He said the books will be open Monday, August 1st from 6 to 10 p.m. or they can call Stacey Janes at 870-784-3043.


Hopkins said the event will be similar to a PRCA rodeo, except the main attraction Friday night is the kids.


Mayor Mounts said there will be also be mutton busting, a parade, food and craft vendors, a carnival, timber competitions and more.


For more information, contact the Dierks Chamber of Commerce.






The Arkansas Petroleum Storage Tank Advisory Committee will meet Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Headquarters in North Little Rock to discuss the financial status of the Petroleum Storage Tank Trust Fund and to consider requests for reimbursements for cleanup operations in De Queen, Malvern, Jonesboro, England and Little Rock.


The committee advises and assists the ADEQ and the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission concerning administration of the state's Regulated Storage Tank Program.






Arkansas Congressman Bruce Westerman will be attending a chamber coffee Wednesday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Barbara Horn Civic Center on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot and the public is invited to meet Westerman.


Westerman and his staff will also tour the UA Cossatot campus in Ashdown from 11 to about 11:45.


For more information, contact Fonda Hawthorne at the Little River County Chamber of Commerce at 870-898-2758.






De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Massey announced Monday morning that the chamber plans to re-establish the Yard of the Month program beginning next month.


Massey said this will give the chamber the opportunity to recognize the pride of county residents and businesses.


He said area residents should come out and support the National Night Out event. Students will receive a backpack from Smiles of Arkansas Dental and school supplies that have been donated to the Sevier County Sheriff's Office.    


Massey said if you are interested in joining the chamber, you can call the chamber at 584-3225 or stop by the De Queen Bee to speak with Massey or the KDQN studios to speak with Patty Sharp.






In February of this year, students and teachers experienced a frightening situation when a gun was found on campus at a school in Marion. However, within minutes the school was on lockdown, students found a safe location and police secured the building. No shots were fired and no one was hurt.


That quick reaction was set in motion when the principal activated the Rave Panic Button.


The Rave Panic Button technology was developed after the 90th General Assembly passed the School Safety Act, last year.


As parents prepare to send their children back to school next month, the legislature wants to remind parents about this technology that's available to every school in the state.


The Panic Button is a mobile app that allows authorized employees of school district and businesses to not only contact 9-1-1- when an emergency is taking place, but also to notify their co-workers of the incident simultaneously. The Panic Button also enhances first responders' ability to aide during the emergency response by providing critical campus information to 9-1-1.


Every school in Arkansas has implemented the Panic Button system, protecting over 495,000 students.


One month after the Panic Button was introduced, it helped save the life of a school employee in Blytheville, when the employee suffered a life-threatening medical situation while at school. The school nurse assessed the situation and then pressed the Panic Button and was connected to 9-1-1.


School personnel and 9-1-1 call centers in the state have received training and support through webinars, regional onsite training, continuous online support and the presence of the state's director.





Eighteen year old Destiny Kimmel, a Girl Scout from De Queen, completed Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Rainforest, River and Reef Destination during a seven-day tropical rainforest trek, cultural immersion with traditional Costa Rican families and adventure activities.


Kimmel said the course exceeded her expectations.


Kimmel and her group hiked their way through untouched rainforest to the remote village of Piedras Blancas, passing waterfalls and cloud forests. In the village, the group stayed with local families, practicing their Spanish skills and learning about traditions through hands-on activities such as harvesting sugar cane. Kimmel also tested her tenacity by rappelling over an 80-foot waterfall.


After a rich cultural experience, the group headed to the famed Manuel Antonio National Park, where they learned about the local wildlife and enjoyed the beach. They finished the course with a day of rafting whitewater rapids on the Pejibaye River, a zipline canopy tour in the rainforest, and a visit to the vibrant artisan market of San Jose.


Since 2006, Outward Bound Costa Rica has been partnered with the Girl Scouts of the USA to offer unique and exciting Girl Scouts Destinations trips to Costa Rica and Panama. These trips provide young girls the opportunity to see the world, meet fellow Girl Scouts from across the nation and challenge themselves through adventure in unfamiliar settings.






The 40th annual Hope Watermelon Festival is set for August 11th, 12th and 13th in Hope’s Fair Park.


The festival officially opens at noon Thursday, August 11th and most of the arts and crafts booths will be open along with the concessions. Highlights of the day will include the Kiwanis Bar B Que chicken dinner from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Fair Park Community Center.


Entertainment Thursday night will include the Watermelon Idol Preliminary contest at 6 p.m. on the stage in front of the coliseum and the group, “God’s Purpose” will be performing inside the coliseum. Rudy Preston and Friends will perform at 6 p.m. and the Night Hawk Band will take the stage at 7.


The festival opens on Friday at 9 a.m. and the annual Lion’s Club Fish Fry is set for 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Fair Park Community Center.


Friday night’s entertainment will feature Dave Almand in front of the coliseum at 7 p.m. There’s also going to be a dog show and performances by the Washington Vintage Dancers.


Saturday will feature the Watermelon Festival Car Show from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., as well as, the Melon Mile Fun Run at 9 a.m.


The melon judging and auction will take place at 10 a.m. followed by the politically correct watermelon eating contest and then the regular watermelon eating contest.


Saturday night, the Oak Ridge Boys will perform at 8:30 p.m. Advance general admission tickets are on sale for $15 at the chamber office. Tickets will be $20 on the day of the event. Reserved seat tickets are on sale for $40 at


Ice cold watermelon will be served by the slice all three days on the north side of the park during the 40th annual Hope Watermelon Festival August 11th, 12th and 13th.






Early Sunday morning, Patrolman Justin Gentry of the De Queen Police Department observed a car partially stopped in the outside east bound lane at the Seal and Hodge Insurance parking lot. The vehicle then quickly accelerated backwards into the parking lot and suddenly stopped. The driver then accelerated forward and stopped just before entering the roadway.


The driver, 33-year-old Victor Villaobos of De Queen, informed Gentry that he was having car trouble.


Gentry reported he could smell alcohol, but Villaobos stated he hadn't been drinking.


Gentry was assisted by Patrolman First Class Levi Browning and they found an empty beer can and a full can of beer on the passenger side of the vehicle.


Villaobos was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated and citied for not having a driver’s license.






The 2016 Summer Olympics are coming up, and many Arkansans are eagerly waiting to watch the events from the comfort of their own home. Even though many of us are not making the trip to Rio de Janeiro, con artists are still looking for ways to scam fans.


Scammers are using phishing attacks to solicit sensitive, personal information through email. At first it appears to be a legitimate advertisement, even using terms like "Rio" or "Rio2016," but do not click on any links or open any attachments in unsolicited emails because they could contain malware, which can steal log in information, as well as expose you to identity theft.


Meanwhile, some scammers are sending fake emails saying the recipient has won the Olympics lottery, including a grand prize trip to Brazil to watch the summer games. But remember it is a scam if you never entered the contest. You cannot win a lottery you never entered.


Another scam that could reach those Olympic fans staying stateside is counterfeit merchandise. Scammers try to capitalize on Americans' desire to show their team spirit by advertising clothing or Olympic souvenirs. You should always make sure the website is a legitimate Olympic retailer, and use a credit care instead of a debit card to make any online purchases because it offers additional protections.


Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a consumer alert to help Arkansans to not fall victim to any of these scams.


Rutledge released the following tips to help you spot fake websites and emails about this summer's Olympic Games: she recommends you check the page for bad grammar and spelling mistakes; do not move forward with the transaction if they only take payment through online currency or wire transfers; use caution if the offer sounds too good to be true; review the site's privacy policy before submitting any personal or financial information; and read the comments and reviews section and take note of negative feedback.


For more information on steps to take if your identity has been stolen and other consumer related issues or to file a consumer complaint, contact the Attorney General's office call 1-800-482-8982 or visit the website






The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at Henderson State University will help small businesses create a free website during a workshop on Tuesday, July 26th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the De Queen campus of UA Cossatot.


Businesses will learn step-by-step how to create a free account and an attractive, five-page website using Weebly.


The workshop is free because it is being sponsored by First State Bank of De Queen.


To register, call 870-230-5184.






Republican and Democratic party platforms this year address trade, gun violence, even pornography, but neither party is addressing one of the country's biggest killers, traffic accidents.


Last year, traffic accidents killed more than 38,000 people and seriously injured 4.4 million others, according to the National Safety Council.


Consumer Affairs news site founder Jim Hood says people in the United States die from gun violence and in cars at about equal rates each year. However, one of those issues receives much more attention from politicians.


In Arkansas traffic deaths declined between 2000 and 2014, but then went up last year. Nationwide, deaths increased by 8 percent, making it the deadliest year on the road since 2008.


Hood says the interests of the auto industry could account for some political apathy on the issue.


The campaign finance tracking site Open Secrets notes that candidates from both parties have received $15 million dollars from the auto industry over the past year. That's $2 million dollars more than the parties received from gun-rights groups, according to the site.


Hood says one way to combat some of the auto industry's influence could be through public awareness campaigns.


The National Safety Council urges people to avoid driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs or drowsiness. The Council also warns against distracted driving, saying that even hands-fee devices can distract a driver and threaten their safety.




Ashdown Superintendent Jason Sanders announced Wednesday afternoon that the district approved a new season ticket program this year. He said it's the district intent to help patrons by offering season tickets at a discounted price while generating some revenue for the athletic programs.

Sanders said Family Passes and Super Booster Passes will go on sale August 1st at the Superintendent's Office at 511 North 2nd Street.

Sanders said they will also be offering student passes for all Kindergarten through twelfth grade students and student athlete passes for any student enrolled in a sport, cheer, spirit or band in the sixth through twelfth grades.

The passes are good for all home events, but may not be used for benefit or state sponsored events. Individual game prices are $5 for high school and junior high events and $3 for junior varsity and seventh grade events.

Submitted by KMTB

The Pike County Quorum Court has approved some assistance for the Glenwood sawmill project, which will be opening soon.

Caddo Forest Products will be investing $50 million dollars into the operation and has received some federal and state grants to assist in opening the mill. One of the grants if for $1 million dollars and will be used for a 14-inch water main for fire protection, plus to widen the turn lane on the highway.

The City of Glenwood is contributing $25,000 towards the project.

The Quorum Court approved a request from the Intermodal Authority to put up $150,000 dollars, which will be repaid to the county after the grant funding is received. If the grant funds come in prior to the contractors bills are due, they would not need to use the county's funds.


Heat is one of the top weather-related killers in the nations, and the middle part of the country, including Arkansas, will be part of a "heat dome" over the next few days that can include heat indexes well above 100 degrees.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Spokesperson Rafael Lamaitre says heat kills more people than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods.

Temperatures will range from the mid 90s to low 100s through most of the weekend in Arkansas. Humidity will make it fell well above 100.

Lemaitre says Arkansas residents should act now to prepare their families and communities by reviewing important safety information and downloading the FEMA smartphone app.

Lemaitre says it's a good idea to postpone outdoor games and activities and limit exposure to the sun. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine, limit alcoholic beverages, and dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. It's also a good idea to spend the warmest part of the day in temperature-controlled buildings.


Sevier County 14 and Under, 13 and Under and 12 and Under all-star teams won state titles recently and earned the right to represent the state of Arkansas at their respective Dixie World Series.

Kyle Willis reported Wednesday morning that the 12 and Under All-stars would be holding several fundraisers over the next several weeks to raise funds for their trip to Laurel, Mississippi for the Dixie World Series. He said the first fundraiser is this Saturday at the First State Bank from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Willis said they will also host a co-ed softball tournament at the De Queen Sportsplex on the 30th of July beginning at 8 a.m. He said the cost is $140 a team, and the deadline to sign up is July 27th.

Willis said the team will also be selling chicken dinners for $8 a plate during the tournament.

Willis said if you are interested in making a donation to the team or if you would like to purchase a ticket to win that 30-quart Yeti cooler, contact him at 870-784-1716.


The 10th annual Red River Heritage Symposium is this Saturday, July 23 from 1 to 8 p.m. at the Historic Washington State Park.

The cost of the symposium is $30 and that includes lunch.

There will also be a teacher’s workshop at the 1914 Schoolhouse on Friday and Saturday. The cost is $40 for just the workshop or $60 for the workshop and symposium.

There will be presentations on the 19th century history of the Great Bend Region of the Red River, during the teacher’s workshop.

A bus tour of the Reading Railroad Engine is being offered for $15.

For more information, contact the Historic Washington State Park at 870-983-2684.





Teresa Bunyard announced Tuesday that she will seek re-election to a ninth term as Alderman, Ward Two, Position One on the De Queen City Council in November.


Bunyard earned a B.S. degree in secondary education from East Texas State University in 1987, a master’s degree in 1993, and passed the C.P.A. exam receiving her license. After being employed for two years as the Office Manager at the Sevier County Farmers Co-operative, Bunyard worked for seven years as Chief Fiscal Officer at Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas. She is certified to teach both math and English at the high school level and business and accounting at the college level. She and her husband, Jay, own and operate radio stations in Arkansas, including KDQN AM-FM and KILX-FM in De Queen.


Alderman Bunyard has two sons, Jacob, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas, and Jack, an eighth grader at De Queen Jr High School. The Bunyards are active members of the First Assembly of God Church.


Prior to serving on the City Council, Bunyard served for three years on the City’s Planning and Zoning Variance Board from 1995-1998.


In announcing her candidacy, Alderman Bunyard made the following statement: “It has been an honor and privilege for me to serve you on the City Council. My educational background and business experiences have prepared me well to work with budgets and administer grants, as well as understand revenues and expenditures in state and local government. Feel free to call me at 642-3104, as I always pledge to be accessible to listen to your concerns and suggestions. I humbly ask for your vote and continued support.”






The Department of Health has released the boil water notice that was issued on July 8th at 11 a.m. by Stephen Youngblood for all of the Little River RDA connections north of Foreman, including the Foreman Water System and the Winthrop Water System.


This order was issued as a precautionary measure because of the possibility that contaminated water may have entered the distribution system as a result of a complete loss of normal system pressure.


Bacteria samples that were taken on Monday, July 18th were found to be safe and a satisfactory disinfectant level has been established throughout the distribution system. The water is therefore considered safe for human consumption and the boil water notice is hereby lifted.


The boil water order was due to the loss of disinfection.






Sevier County Fair Board member Linda Frachiseur announced Wednesday morning that the 79th Annual Sevier County Fair and Rodeo is scheduled for August 13th through the 20th. She said the 2016 Sevier County Fair Pageant and Talent Contest will be held on Saturday, August 13th at 10 a.m.


Pageant categories include: 0-12 months - Little Miss Tiny Baby and Little Mr Tiny Baby, 13-23 months - Little Miss Baby and Little Mr Baby, 2-3 years - Little Miss Petite and Little Mr Petitie, 4-5 years - Little Miss and Little Mister; the Little Miss winner will represent Sevier County at the District Fair in Hope; 6-8 years - Young Junior Miss, 7-12 years - Junior Miss, 13-16 years - Princess and 17-21 years - Queen. The winners of the Princess and Queen competitions will represent Sevier County at the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock.


Frachiseur said there will be a junior and senior division in the talent contest. She said the winners will represent Sevier County in the State fair in Little Rock and the runner-up winners will represent Sevier County at the District fair in Hope.


Frachiseur said contestants can register at the fair grounds on August 1st. She said you can download an entry form at KDQN (see below) or First State Bank.


Frachiseur said for more information, you may contact a fair board member. She said their names and numbers are listed on the board's Facebook page, Sevier County Fair DeQueen Arkansas.


This year, the carnival rides will be provided by Johnson's Rides and Concessions from El Dorado, Arkansas and the annual rodeo will be held on Friday, August 19th and Saturday, August 20th.


 Little MISS and MR         Young JR MISS & JR MISS          Princess & Queen         Youth Talent Contest

  Ages 0-5yrs                        Ages 6 - 12                         Ages 13-21


GET RID OF IT              7/20/16


Saturday night about 8 p.m., a caller reported a reckless driver was traveling west on Collin Raye Drive and tossing beer cans out the window.


Patrolman First Class Levi Browning of the De Queen Police Department located the vehicle speeding near the De Queen Regional Medical Center.


After initiating a traffic stop, Browning reported he could smell raw marijuana coming from the car.


Browning asked the four occupants to get out of the car and asked them if anyone had marijuana on their person. All four occupants stated they did not have any marijuana.


The owner of the vehicle, 23-year-old Michael Amason of Texarkana, Texas finally admitted that he had two grams of marijuana in the glove box.


Amason was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance, marijuana.






Dierks High School Principal Jody Cowart announced registration has been set for Thursday, August 4th, to issue class schedules in the high school office for the upcoming year. Cowart said these schedules reflect the courses that students selected last spring during the CAP conference.


New students to the district will create a schedule when they register.


Seventh grade orientation will be held on August 4th, in the high school cafeteria, beginning at 8:30 a.m. All seventh grade students and parents are encouraged to attend the meeting. Students and parents will be able to tour the high school campus, receive their class schedules, pay any fees, and address any other questions.


Eighth and ninth grade students will register from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and tenth through twelfth grades will register from noon to 1:30 p.m.






It’s time to enter the 2016 Rodeo Queen Contest during the Sevier County Fair and Rodeo. The deadline to enter is at noon on August 6th. The competition will be held at the Sevier County Rodeo Arena on August 13th at 7:30 p.m.


Sevier County Fair Board member Linda Frachiseur stated the rules and information were established by the contest committee but for a complete list of the rules and regulations, contact Patricia Maben at 784-1740 or Michelle Sawyer at 784-8931.


The Rodeo Queen will be required to hand out ribbons during the 2016 Livestock Show.


Contestants will compete in the following age groups if there are two or more entrants in each category: Rodeo Queen category will be from 14 to 21 years of age on or before August, 1st; Rodeo Princess category will be 9 to 13 years of age as of August 1st; and the Rodeo Little Miss category will be 8 years of age and younger as of August 1st.


If there are not enough entrants for a queen and princess contest then all of the contestants will automatically be put into a single category of up to the age of 21 for the Queen’s honor.


Entrants must be residents of Sevier County or attend a school in Sevier County.


The entry fee is $45.


The winners will be announced during the rodeo on Saturday night, August 20th and the winning contestant must be present Saturday night for the crowning or she will forfeit the title.





Whitney Tatum of the Wellness Clinic announced Tuesday morning that Dr. Jason Lofton and his staff would be hosting the 3rd Annual Community Health Clinic and Prostate PSA testing on September 15th.


Tatum explained the PSA test is a simple blood draw for men, but the Wellness Clinic has applied for a grant to provide free lab work for both men and women.


Tatum stated you do not have to be Dr. Lofton's patient. She said they will send the results to your primary care physician.


Tatum said this year; they are hoping to bring the Mammo Van from St. Vincent's Hospital in Hot Springs to De Queen to provide digital mammograms to women. She said they have 18 slots available and you can call St. Vincent's to sign up.


Tatum said they are hoping to host a block party again this year, like they did in 2015, but if you need more information, call the Wellness Clinic at 642-4000 extension 12.






Saturday night, Sergeant Wayne Baker of the De Queen Police Department and two other officers were dispatched to the scene of a rollover accident near the health department on Fourth Street.


When Baker arrived on the scene, he noticed a vehicle partially on its side in the alley that runs from 3rd to 4th street between Vandervoort and Heynecker Avenue. He also noticed a Hispanic male walking toward him.


Thirty-one year old Jesus Martinez of De Queen informed Baker that he lost control of the vehicle and he allegedly admitted that he had been drinking.


While Baker was speaking to Martinez, he put his hands on his head and started walking off. Baker took Martinez by the arm and escorted him back to his vehicle.


Martinez allegedly told Baker that he didn’t want to take the field sobriety test because he was drunk.


Martinez was charged with driving while intoxicated.





A benefit auction and spaghetti supper will be held this Saturday, July 23rd at the Green's Chapel Church from 4 to 7 p.m. to help with the funeral expenses for DeWayne Barnes who lost his battle with cancer on July 4th.


Local businesses and individuals from De Queen, Dierks and Nashville have donated items for the auction. Volunteers will auction off a $175 rental from Moyer Equipment, a Hewlett Packard tablet, a case of Rotella oil, a front-end alignment, an oil change, some camping cookware, a turkey call, a spotlight, wooden benches, some fishing items, a bicycle, homemade quilts and afghans, and a Razorback fire pit.


The Bill Powers Band will provide the entertainment.


The church is located about 5.4 miles west of Dierks, but for more information, call Dana Stringfellow at 870-582-3056, Rose Jackson at 870-286-3186 or Tammy Smith at 870-584-8050.  






Registration has been scheduled for De Queen Junior and Senior High students beginning Monday, July 25th. High school students will also have their pictures taken on the day they register in the auditorium.


Seniors will need to call 642-2426 to make an appointment between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Juniors will have their pictures taken from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 28th and Sophomores will have their pictures taken on Monday, August 1st between 1 and 5:30 p.m.


Juniors and Sophomores should make plans to arrive as early as possible to avoid waiting in line.


Twelfth grade students will register on Monday, July 25th at 6 p.m. Juniors will register on Thursday, July 28th at 6 p.m. Tenth grade students will register on Monday, August 1st at 6 p.m.


Eighth grade students will register from 8 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2nd and ninth graders will register from 1 to 4:30 p.m.


Sixth grade students will register from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, August 2nd and seventh grade students will register from 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, August 2nd.


A complete list of school supplies for De Queen Elementary and Primary students is listed on the website.






Orville and Cheryl Murphy of the Board Camp and Crystal Mine in Mena announced the band Harmony from Wickes would be headlining the 2016 Crystal Music Festival this Saturday, July 23rd,


Lynn Smith of Harmony said this is the fourth year for the music festival and the Murphy's are trying to make it into one of the premier music events in the area.


Smith said Harmony opened for Buddy Jewell two years ago and they’re honored to be the featured act this year.


Smith said the event is family-friendly and there's going to be food, fun and even crystal digging for just $10. He said visitors can dig for crystals from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. At 5, there's going to be a program honoring fallen and standing heroes and Harmony will take the stage about 7.


Smith said Harmony has been through some changes but headlining the Crystal Music Festival is truly a blessing.


For more information about the Crystal Music Festival call 479-243-0771.  




IMPAIRED ON DRUGS           7/19/16


Patrolman Justin Gentry of the De Queen Police Department was patrolling on Stilwell Avenue about 2 a.m. Saturday morning when he observed a vehicle drive left of the centerline.


The driver, 50-year-old Connie Strong of Horatio, informed Gentry that she was driving around looking for her boyfriend who may have been walking in the area and that was why she crossed the centerline.


Gentry was then informed by a dispatcher that Strong’s license had been suspended. Gentry then asked Strong for permission to search her car.


While searching the vehicle, Gentry found four loose pills in the pocket of Strong’s purse. Two of the pills were white and round; one was a white oval shaped pill; and the other pill was oval and pink in color. Strong stated the pills were Tylenol 3’s with codeine, Hydrocodone and Paxil.


Strong allegedly told Gentry and Patrolman First Class Levi Browning that she did have a prescription for the Hydrocodone at one time, but she currently didn't have a prescription for any of the medications that the officers found in her purse.


Strong was taken into custody and charged with possession of a schedule I or II controlled substance that was not meth or cocaine and possession of a scheduled III controlled substance.





According to a legislative report, most families will spend an average of $630 this year to get their children ready to head back to school. That estimate includes what families plan to spend on clothes, supplies and electronics.


That substantial cost to families, this time of year, is why the General Assembly passed Act 757 in 2011. Act 757 provides a sales tax holiday, the first weekend of August. The holiday means state and local taxes are not collected or paid on the purchase of certain items.


Sponsors of the bill noted that neighboring states already had a sales tax holiday, so legislative members passed the bill, hoping Arkansans would shop at home.


Arkansas is now one of 18 states across the country that offers a sales tax holiday.


This year's sales tax holiday will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, August 6th and end at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 7th.


Currently, the state sales tax is 6.5 percent and city and local sales taxes vary across the state. The local sales tax is 3.375 for a total of 9.875.


During the sales tax holiday, retailers will not be allowed to collect sales tax on clothing and footwear if the sales price is less than $100 per item; clothing accessories and equipment if the sales price is less than $50 per item; school supplies; school art supplies; and school instructional materials.


For more information, contact a customer service representative by phone Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 501-682-7104.


Get a a complete list of eligible purchases by clicking here or visit


Educators also recommend that parents start putting their child to bed at a regular bedtime and keep a routine for a few weeks before school starts.  






The first ever Sevier County National Night Out event has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 2nd at the De Queen Sportsplex and the Sevier County Sheriff-elect Robert Gentry announced it will be from 6 to 9 p.m. and there is no charge.


Gentry said several businesses and organizations are helping with the event and he said there will be several activities for both kids and adults.


Dr. LaResea Woods of Smiles of Arkansas Dental invited area show-offs to participate in the Lip Sync Battle at 7 p.m. She said you will have to provide your own music and show off your best moves.


Woods also announced Smiles of Arkansas Dental will be handing out backpacks that kids can fill with school supplies during the event.


For more information or to register a booth, contact Beth Hughes at 870-584-8227 or Dana Gentry at 870-279-0499.






Arkansas State Parks has a history of embracing the latest technology to encourage Arkansans and others to visit the state parks. The park staff stays connected to visitors through various social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the website uses the latest design features to make it usable on most computer, smartphone and tablet platforms.


In 2008, Arkansas State Parks began the ParkCache Program which placed geocaches in all 52 state parks and created a challenge of finding all of them to get clues to find a 53rd geocache and a prize.


Last week, the park system began embracing a new game, Pokemon Go, which is an augmented reality game that allows smart phone and tablet users to search for and collect virtual Pokemon characters. So far, the park system has seen numerous characters along with Pokestops and other features showing up in Arkansas State Parks.


Arkansas State Park Director Grady Spann said, park staff are excited about greeting players and he encouraged Arkansans to visit the local state parks and enjoy the beautiful outdoor spaces.


Spann said while you are in the park, remember park interpreters are there to help keep you safe, as well as preserve the state's natural, cultural and historical resources.


He said before going to a park, you should check the park hours. You should stay on marked trails and pathways while in the park. You should carry water and wear the proper shoes.


Spann said you should also be aware of your surroundings. He said while looking at the screen on your electronic device, you may not see uneven footing, real wildlife on the trail, other hikers, mountain bikers or other potential hazards.


Players should also be respectful of solemn areas, such as cemeteries, monuments and museums and be respectful of other park visitors.


Spann even suggested you tag your Pokemon Go photos or any photos taken in the parks with #ARStateParks. He said you may find yourself featured in the park system's social media or their website.


So, go catch them all in an Arkansas State Park.






Two bills that would renew childhood nutrition programs are currently being debated by Congress, and advocates say if approved it could become harder for schools to offer free meals to low-income students. Under the microscope is the Community eligibility Provision, which permits school districts to proved free meals to all students if they are a district with a high level of poverty.


Legislation in Congress, House Bill 5003, the "Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016," would tighten the rules in order for schools to qualify. Jessica Hewins with the Food Research and Action Center says that means across the nation, more than 7,000 schools serving 3.4 million students would have to reapply for the program. She said it would impact 44 schools in Arkansas.


Those in favor of changing the program say free meals should be given to those who need it most, and say the funding could be used in other areas such as summer food programs.


Zoe Neuberger with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says there's a chance the bill in the House will be modified before it's approved.


The Senate version of the legislation doesn't include changes to the Community Eligibility Provision.


Hewin says schools that offer free food to all students see an increase in the number of kids eating breakfast and lunch, regardless of their family's income.






One dirty truth, about child rearing is the high cost of diapers. They cost families from $70 to $80 dollars a month per child.


Congress is currently considering legislation that would fund pilot programs in states such as Arkansas to help low-income families afford diapers. Currently, no federal program meets that need, says Alison Weir with the National Diaper Bank Network.


T-A-N-F, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, is the only program that provides money that could be used for diapers, but in Arkansas that benefit is limited to $185 dollars a month for a household with one parent and two children.


Missouri recently opted to fund diaper banks there and California is considering a voucher to offset the cost of children enrolled in subsidized day care. The federal bill has been referred to a House sub-committee for consideration.


Weir says the pressure to provide diapers often forces parents to make tough choices. She said it's a fact that illustrated by a survey from Feeding America in which parents shared some surprising confessions.


There are about 115,000 children under the age of three in Arkansas, and according to the National Diaper Bank Network, about one in three are in a family that earns less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level.







There's a country song that says if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. In God's Not Dead 2, a high school teacher, Grace Wesley played by Melissa Joan Hart, is asked a question in class about Jesus, however, her answer lands her in hot water. So, Wesley defends her faith all the way to court.


First Assembly of God minister Johnathon Reynolds stated everyone is invited to watch this movie with a message this Sunday at 5 p.m.


The movie stars Robin Givens, Pat Boone and Sadie Roberson, along with Hart.


Pastor Ray Reynolds said the movie is free and everyone is welcome to attend. For more information, call the church at 870-584-3435.






Wednesday evening, Members of the De Queen Police Department were dispatched to a residence on Treating Plant Road in reference to a violent domestic situation.


When Patrolman Justin Gentry arrived he interviewed the victim 29-year-old Jessica Chandler who informed him that her boyfriend, 36-year-old Justin Ford was in their apartment asleep and that he had been beating her all day.


Chandler reported Ford had stayed the night and when he woke up he starting yelling and hitting her. She said he also put a knife up to her throat and threatened to kill her slowly.


Chandler said Ford put his hands around her neck but did not cut off her airway. She told Officer Gentry that Ford would not let her leave the apartment and anytime she opened the door he would begin hitting her again.


Chandler stated when Ford went to sleep around 6 p.m., she left and ran to her mothers house and called the police.


Officers Wayne Baker and Jim Kight arrived and helped Gentry wake Ford up and placed him under arrest for Domestic Battery in the 3rd degree.


Officers Baker and Kight noted Chandler had bruises on her arms, a red mark on her throat, a black eye, a large bump on her head and bruised and swollen knees.


Ford was charged with kidnapping, 3rd degree domestic battery, aggravated assault on a household or family member and 1st degree terroristic threatening.


Officers noted Ford has been convicted of 3rd degree domestic battery in 2013, which enhanced the new charge to a class D felony.





The Department of Health has confirmed a boil water notice that was issued by Eddie Smith for the entire the Little River County RDA water system, the Foreman Waterworks system, and the Winthrop Water system. This order was issued as a precautionary measure because of the possibility that contaminated water may have entered the distribution system as a result of the absence of disinfection.


Under the boil water order, all affected customers must be advised that the water may be unsafe for human consumption and water used for drinking or food prep must be boiled briskly for one minute prior to use.


This precautionary boil water notice will remain in effect until the problem has been corrected, an adequate disinfectant level is established throughout the distribution system and a bacteria survey shows the water is safe to drink.


This boil water order covers the Little River County RDA water system, the Winthrop Water system and the Foreman Water system.





Submitted by KMTB


Search and rescue operations increase during the summer months as more southwest Arkansas residents take part in outdoor activities.


Vynn Stuart is the K-9 handler for the Little River County Sheriff's Office and she works with other area law enforcement agencies, even traveling to neighboring states to assist in search and rescue operations.


Stuart says her work can range from finding lost children to rescuing drowning victims. She said the best advice she can give someone that's participating in outdoor activities, is to be aware of their surroundings and stay safe while participating in whatever summer activity their engaging in.


Stuart said this advice is as important for adults as it is for kids. She said a couple of Texas residents were recently injured at the Albert Pike blue hole while diving off the cliffs.


Stuart says you should always wear the appropriate gear for hiking and to make sure you have backup supplies. She said stay aware of the heat and to watch for the signs of dehydration and heat stroke.


Stuart's K-9 is trained in all types of weather and situations ranging from buildings to vehicles and she conducts instructional programs for the public.


Stuart said she conducts one program that teaches children what to do if they get lost. She said kids should not wander around when they're lost, but they should stay put until someone finds them.


For more information, contact Stuart at 903-826-5094.





Submitted by KMTB


The Mineral Springs School District continues to move forward with preparations for the construction of a new school building, which is expected to begin later this year.


Superintendent Curtis Turner informed the Mineral Spring Board of Education that the district is working to remove any barriers that could add extra expenses to the project. He said school maintenance employees were cutting down trees, removing fences and moving playground equipment.


Turner reported the ACB Head-Start and the Pre-School programs were being moved from the Mineral Springs campus to the Saratoga campus. He said they have already moved the administration offices to Saratoga.


Turner said the district is working everyday to make the new building project happen, while not costing the Mineral Springs taxpayers anything extra.


Turner said the project will go before the state board of education for final approval in August.


Turner said the architect fees have reached $260,000, but the district's year-to-date finances were up two and half-million dollars over last year.






Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts reported he informed the Dierks City Council that the city's audits were underway and the audits for the city's water, sewer and sanitation accounts will begin soon.


Mounts also reported work has started on the city's new sewer lagoon.


Mounts said the Dierks Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Pine Tree Festival on Friday, August 5th and Saturday, August 6th in the city park.


Mounts said this year's festival will feature a mini rodeo on Friday night and the festival will conclude with the 4th annual Ultimate Challenge Bull Riding and freestyle bull fighting event.


Mounts said they will also have other events and vendors throughout the two day festival.


The next Dierks City Council meeting has been scheduled for Monday, August 8th in the city hall conference room.





The City of De Queen reminds citizens that City has an ordinance concerning garage and yard sale signs within the city limits.


Ordinance number 839 states garage and yard sale signs can't be any larger than eight square feet and only one sign per sale may be placed at any intersection.


No garage or yard sale signs can be place, affixed, stapled, glued, or taped to any utility pole, street sign, tree, stop sign or fence within the city limits. He said garage and yard sale signs cannot be placed on public property before 6 p.m. the night before the sale and they must be picked up within one hour after the sale or by 7 p.m., whichever one comes first.


Area residents should also remember that they can only have one (2-day) garage or yard sale per quarter of the year, that means one garage sale every three months at a particular address.


The City of De Queen would like to thank the citizens of De Queen and the surrounding communities for helping keep De Queen and the county clean.






Wednesday night during the regular July meeting of the Ashdown Board of Education, Superintendent Jason Sanders stated he hopes to hold the January board meeting in the old high school building after the renovation project is finished.


Sanders also reported the district was renovating six Kindergarten classrooms on the elementary campus and, they’re making some cosmetic upgrades on other campus as well.


Wednesday night, board members heard a presentation from Kyle Miller who is the on-site manager of Renke Janitorial Services of Shreveport, Louisiana.


Board members approved Sanders recommendation to hire Renke for one-year at $8,416 a month. Sanders emphasized no school employees will lose their jobs and the contract is only for the academic areas in the high school, at this time.


Board members also approved a recommendation to change their landline phone system to a Voice-over IP system. Sanders said an internet phone server will be installed at the high school and will connect the district's 120 extensions.


Sanders reported the district was in good financial shape and they were able to transfer over $350,000 to the district's building fund on June 30th.






Sevier County Clerk Debbie Akin announced Wednesday afternoon that there are no contested races in the De Queen or Horatio School Districts.


Akin said the only candidate to file for the De Queen School District Zone 3 position was incumbent, Gloria Caldwell.


The only candidate to file for the Horatio School District Zone 1 position was incumbent, Joe Jones Jr. and the only candidate to file for the Horatio School District Zone 4 position was incumbent. Sherri Hodges.


All three candidates will serve a five-year term.


Akin said the September School elections will be conducted by Absentee and Early Voting only.


For more information, contact the Sevier County Clerk's office at 870-642-2852.






Angela Smith of the Sevier County Farmer's Market reported the market has been having some special vendors this summer at the farmer's market and they've been offering all kinds of fruits and vegetables and they've also been having a wide variety of baked goods and homemade items.


Smith said the market is open from 7:30 to 11 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday and it's not to late to participate during this year's market.


For more information, visit the market's Facebook page at Sevier County Farmer's Market or call 870-642-2718.





A spokesperson with the Sevier County Sheriff's Office reported a Lockesburg resident has been charged with rape following an incident that was reported on June 14th.


According to the incident report, Sandra Denning reported her 13-year-old daughter had been raped by 36-year-old Barry Smith of Lockesburg Monday evening, June 13th at her home, which is located at 122 Peck Street in Lockesburg.


Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Matt Webb interviewed the victim at the De Queen Regional Medical Center emergency room on the 14th of June.


The victim told Webb that Smith entered her bedroom between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and took off her clothes before getting in bed with her and then raping her. She said she texted a friend after he left and told him what had happened.


Later that day, Smith was interviewed by Sevier County Investigator and Sheriff-elect Robert Gentry at the sheriff's office. According to the arrest affidavit, Smith denied the allegation, however, it was noted that Smith had been investigated by the Arkansas Department of Human Services for sexual assault of the same victim, last year.


The DHS case was reportedly unfounded and closed.


Smith is being charged with rape, which is a class Y felony. If convicted, Smith could face up to 40 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.






Last week during a meeting of the De Queen City Council, Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy informed aldermen that the city has started getting calls from door-to-door solicitors inquiring about the city’s policies.


McKelvy informed aldermen that city ordinance 927 regulates the activities of solicitors, peddlers, hawkers, itinerant merchants and transient vendors of merchandise, goods and services.


McKelvy explained the ordinance does not apply to city residents who are selling fruits, vegetables, or farm products which were produced on land which is owned by the resident.


It also does not apply to solicitations made by charitable, educational or religious organizations which operate on a not-for-profit basis.






The Dierks Pine Tree Festival is about four weeks away and the Dierks Chamber of Commerce is busy scheduling all kinds of activities.


Jerry Mounts is the Director of the Dierks Chamber and he said this year’s Pine Tree Festival will be held Friday, August 5th and Saturday, August 6th at the Dierks City Park.


Mounts said the featured event Friday night will be a mini rodeo and Saturday night will feature the 4th annual Ultimate Challenge Bull Riding and freestyle bull fighting event. Mounts said there will be also be mutton busting, a parade, food and craft vendors, a carnival, timber competitions and more.


For more information, contact the Dierks Chamber of Commerce.






A concerned citizen addressed the Mineral Springs City Council Monday night during their regular monthly meeting concerning internet access within the city.


Jon Mays informed the council that he has internet through the town’s only provider, Walnut Hill Telephone Company. He stated he pays $96.88 a month for two mbps speed service. Mays told the council that internet service through Walnut Hill is very expensive on families that are seeking services like email and entertainment.


Walnut Hill officials reported they have no plans to make any changes to the services that they are currently offering.


Mayor Bobby Tullis stated the city has a franchise agreement with Walnut Hill for telephone service, but the internet services are unregulated.


Mays stated AT&T officials informed him that they might be interested in offering internet services to Mineral Springs if there is enough demand.


Council members gave Mays permission to circulate a petition and to seek signatures from residents.


The council then passed an ordinance to close the Park General Fund. Tullis reported the park maintenance expenses were already being paid out of the city’s general account. He said the state auditors also informed him that the city was not required to maintain the account. Tullis explained it basically deletes an extra step when they pay park expenses.






Crater of Diamonds State Park Superintendent, Caleb Howell, has granted special permission to allow park visitors access to the diamond search field on Saturday, July 29th for a star party. He said because of the large open space, park visitors will enjoy a great view of the sky.


Rick Floyd of Murfreesboro will provide telescopes for viewing the visible planets and constellations. Floyd will also be leading the event and share his knowledge of the night sky.


Star gazers will meet at the gate between the Visitor Information Center and Diamond Springs Water Park by 9 p.m. The program is expected to last approximately two-hours.


Guests should wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water. Guests may also bring a lawn chair, flashlight and binoculars.


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





Sevier County Sheriff's Investigator Robert Gentry revealed the identities of the two victims in Saturday's double homicide in Horatio.


Gentry said they were 66-year-old Deborah Johnson and 70-year-old Don Brown.


According to the sheriff's office both bodies were found in a field outside a home on Cottage Hill Road. The victims were the mother and uncle of the suspect, 40-year-old Andre Johnson.


Andre Johnson was shot and killed by Oklahoma law enforcement following a pursuit in Broken Bow. The pursuit ended on a dead-end street and Johnson was shot after he started shooting at the officers.


Johnson was transported to the McCurtain County Hospital in Idabel where he died.






Monday afternoon, members of the Sevier County Quorum Court received several requests for funding from the Sevier County jail, for the purchase of a copier, mattresses and commercial laundry equipment.


Sheriff Bennie Simmons asked the JPs to approve $3,470.60 for the purchase of new mattresses. Sevier County Judge Greg Ray reported the court approved the purchase of 74 clear mattresses.


Judge Ray stated the court moved some funds from one line-item to another in the sheriff's budget to purchase a copier and they voted to allow the sheriff to spend up to $13,000 for the purchase of a commercial washer and dryer.


JPs also voted to upgrade the jail's fire detection and cooling systems.


Teresa Morris of the State Health Department introduced the new full-time administrator at the Sevier County Health Office, Deborah Hedge and the quorum court voted to purchase the county health department's phone system for one dollar. Judge Ray explained this was part of the lease agreement that the county signed about two-years ago.


The next Sevier County Quorum Court meeting is scheduled for August the 6th at 2 p.m. in the Sevier County Courthouse conference room.






Early Monday morning, Patrolman First Class Bucky Sawyer noticed a truck without a license plate traveling south on Fourth Street.


Officer Sawyer asked the driver who was identified as 21-year-old Justin Myers of Dierks for his license, registration and proof of insurance. Myers allegedly stated he did not have insurance and that he had not been able to register the truck since he bought it.


While interviewing Myers, Officer Sawyer asked him if there was anything illegal in the truck. Myers allegedly told Sawyer that there was a grinder and a glass bong in the truck.


While searching the vehicle, Officer Sawyer and Patrolman Nikki Nealy found the grinder and the bong in a black backpack in the back seat.


Myers was taken into custody and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also cited for failure to register his vehicle for over 60-days and for not having proof of insurance.






The Arkansas Department of Higher Education has notified UA Cossatot that it's received a Regional Manufacturing Partnership (R.A.M.P.): Building the Pipeline grant.


Tommi Cobb is the Director of Cossatot's R.A.M.P. program and she said this grant will allow so many opportunities for UA Cossatot and the Southwest Arkansas Community College Consortium partners to introduce area students to the possibilities of a career in the many fields that are found within Southwest Arkansas' Advanced Manufacturing sector.


Cobb explained the grant was submitted on behalf of a consortium of colleges, including SouthArk, SAU-Tech, UA Hope-Texarkana and UA Cossaot, as the fiduciary agent. She said this grant will provide over $800,000 which will be shared between the four colleges.


Cobb said each community college will focus on the industrial needs in their area.


Cobb said these schools will be able to work side-by-side with area industries and secondary schools, so that a concentrated effort will be made to provide educational opportunities for students, professional development for educators and help bring awareness to students, their parents and our communities.


Cobb said the schools will be able to equip potential employees with skillsets that are targeted towards specific industrial needs. She said the homegrown workforce will be strengthened and the future of all Southwest Arkansas residents will be much brighter. She said the grant will also help provide professional development to local high school faculties and establish educational programs in industrial technology, allow for the purchase of equipment that will supplement these educational programs and to host activities that will expose young students to careers that in the advanced manufacturing field here in Southwest Arkansas.


Cobb said they are building a pipeline from high school and college to careers. She said the phrase Building a Pipeline is often referenced by the Governor's Workforce Cabinet that refers to creating an educational pipeline for students to gain skillsets that ultimately leads to jobs, which will create a successful economic climate in Arkansas by preparing and encouraging local graduates to pursue high demand jobs, including but not limited to, those stemming from industry recognized credentials, career and technical certificates, associate degrees and bachelor's degrees.






Flight nurse Jackie Wright recently celebrated a milestone in her career with her 750th patient flight. Wright is a flight nurse for the De Queen Air Evac Lifeteam base.


Wright started working as a flight nurse for Air Evac in March of 2009 and has also taught nursing and history at UA Cossatot.


Wright said her co-workers are an important reason why she loves working for Air Evac. She also credits her husband and her parents with encouraging throughout her career.





A spokesperson from the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office has reported that the suspect in a double homicide in Horatio was shot and later died Saturday night following a pursuit involving McCurtain County Oklahoma law enforcement agencies.


Officials say 40-year-old Andre Johnson exchanged gunfire with Broken Bow police officers, a McCurtain County Sheriff's deputy and a officer with the Choctaw Nation Tribal Police around 10 p.m. Saturday night. Broken Bow Police Chief Richard Wiggins said Johnson was shooting at the officers and officers returned fire.


Johnson was transported to a local hospital where he died.


The officer involved shooting in Oklahoma is being investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.


Sevier County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a residence on Cottage Hill Road in Horatio, Saturday afternoon about 3 p.m. When deputies arrived, they found a fire in a field behind the house. Firefighters extinguished the fire and they discovered the bodies of a man and a woman. Deputies say they died from apparent gunshot wounds.


Authorities reported they saw Johnson leaving the scene as they were arriving. Deputies followed Johnson, but he was able to elude the authorities in a silver Chevy Avalanche.


The case is still under investigation by the Sevier County Sheriff’s Office, the Arkansas State Police and the De Queen Police Department.





The Army Corps of Engineers will begin a drawdown on July 18th on Millwood Lake for bank stabilization work at Cottonshed Park.


The lake will be gradually drawn down to an elevation of 257.2 feet, which is two foot below the normal pool elevation. This will take about five days, depending on rainfall. The drawdown will last until August 15th at which time the lake will be allowed to refill to its normal pool elevation of 259.2 feet.


After the drawdown begins, boaters should exercise extra caution because more shallow areas and other unknown hazards may appear. Also, boaters should be cautious when launching boats during the drawdown.


For more information call the Millwood Lake Project Office at 870-898-3343.





A car show was held in the Ida Margaret Stone Coulter Park in Lockesburg during the town’s Fourth of July celebration and the winners were announced Friday afternoon.


In the truck category, Mike Mullins won the 1939 and older with his 1923 Ford T; Jarrett Brewer won the 1940-1949 division with his 1949 Ford F100; Joyce Banes won the 1950-1959 division with her 1954 Chevy pick-up; Perry Rice won the 1960-1969 division with his 1965 El  Comino; Kevin Merrell won the 1980-1999 division with his 1990 Toyota; and Dakota Baker won the 2000 and newer division with his 2003 Chevy Silverado.


In the car category, Michael Lafferty won Class A with his 1934 Ford Coupe; John Gore won the B Class with his 1949 Mercury Sedan; Ann and Dean Runnels won the C Class with their 1956 Crown Victoria; Tammy Smith won the D Class with her 1967 Chevy Camaro; Torrey Barber won the E Class with his 1973 Volkswagen Beetle; Eddie Polk won the F Class with his 1995 Cadillac De Ville and Keith Smart with the G Class with his 2004 Cadillac XLR.


Jeff Blake won the Corvette C3 division with his 1976 Corvette Stingray; Freddie Horne won the C5 division with his 2004 Corvette Convertible; and Jessie and Kay Smith won the C7 division with their 2016 Corvette Z51.


Jimmy and Rita Fitzgerald won the Rat Rod Class A division with their 1921 Ford T and John Cates won the Class E division with his 1974 Ford pickup.


Tammy Smith’s 1967 Chevy Camaro won the Kids Choice Award and Kenny Horn’s 1966 Chevy Chevelle won the People’s Choice Award and the Best of Show award. 





The state of Arkansas ended the fiscal year with $177.4 million dollars left in the bank and state legislators will determine how to spend that money during the 2017 Regular Session.


Currently, legislators are reviewing how the state performed over the past 12 months.


In the fiscal year 2016, gross collections which included all state taxes and fees totaled $6.4 billion dollars. This amount is $19.2 million dollars less than last year, but $42.6 million dollars more than what the state predicted it would collect.


Governor Asa Hutchinson portrayed the boost in revenue last week as validation of the $102 million income tax cut that he advocated for and that the legislature approved last year. He also started campaigning for some more tax cuts that he plans to propose during next year’s legislative session.


But, Hutchinson’s critics say the $5.3 billion dollar budget that the legislature approved for this year doesn’t reinstate the one percent cut that some state agencies say last year and doesn’t include additional funding for the state’s pre-kindergarten program or for cost-of-living raises for state employees.





Scammers are adapting as technology continues to advance. While card reader fraud has been around for a number of years, these con artists are finding new ways to steal your money, like placing a skimmer on a credit and debit card reader.


A skimmer is a malicious card reader that goes over the existing card reader and is designed to steal data off the card’s magnetic stripe. These readers are small and can be installed anywhere there is a card reader, including ATMs and at the gas pump. The thief then clones the cards for his or her own use.


Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a consumer alert to educate Arkansans about this scam and provide tips to avoid falling victim to skimming.


Rutledge suggests you check for obvious signs of tampering, like a different color or material or graphics that are not aligned correctly. You should wiggle everything, including the card reader and cover your hand while entering your PIN number. She suggests using ATMs in busy locations because scammers need time to install the skimming equipment and are less likely to take that risk if there are people around. Rutledge said you should monitor your bank account and credit card transactions and to us a credit card whenever possible because credit card transactions can be halted and reversed at any time.


For more information, visit the website or call 1-800-482-8982.





A new study offers a simple solution for getting kids to drink more water in schools and child-care settings, it suggests we should make drinking water more convenient. 


Researchers did a study in 12 middle schools. They gave some schools cold water pitchers and some a cold water dispenser, and those two came with cups, signage and announcements. The rest just had their normal drinking fountains. Results showed, 20 percent more kids drank water in schools where it was served cold, with cups.


Dr. Anisha Patel of the University of California says it's an important finding, since most children don't drink enough water.


Water also helps fight obesity and cavities. A study done five years ago showed very few schools offer free water apart from their drinking fountains.


Patel says a recent federal law requires all school cafeterias to offer water free of charge. She hopes this study helps districts help their students make a healthier choice.


Patel says many schools around the country are now opting to install filling stations for reusable water bottles.



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