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Foreman Superintendent George Kennedy reported the Foreman Board of Education passed a new grading policy for the Kindergarten classes during their November meeting.


According to the new policy, parents or guardians will be kept informed concerning the progress of their student. The policy states parents or guardians may request a meeting with their child's teacher, as well as, attend regular scheduled parent-teacher conferences.


Kennedy said if a students progress is unsatisfactory in a subject, the teacher may also attempt to schedule a meeting with the child's parents or guardians.


During parent-teacher conferences, teachers will explain the reason for the student's difficulties and work to develop a plan for remediation along with the parents to enhance the probability of the student's success.


Kennedy said the district will also send timely progress reports to keep parents and guardians informed of their student's progress.


The new grading scale for the Oscar Hamilton Elementary School Kindergarten classes will be as follows: Satisfactory means the student is on or above grade level; Needs Improvement means the student is approaching grade level; and, Unsatisfactory means the student is below grade level.


Board members were also informed that five Oscar Hamilton teachers presented during the Arkansas Curriculum Conference in Little Rock during the month of November and six teachers attended the Arkansas Reading Conference last week.






During a special called meeting of the Dierks Board of Education, board members approved the purchase of a 2010 modular building from the Horatio School District for $10,000.


According to Superintendent Holly Cothern, the building will house two classrooms and has two restrooms in it.


Board members also accepted the resignation of Samantha Manasco as a high school teacher as of December 18th and they approved a non-recurring bonus of $500 for all certified and classified staff members.






Saturday morning about 1:45, Officer J.J. Lopez of the De Queen Police Department was patrolling West on Highway 70B near Highway 399 when he noticed a vehicle traveling on the shoulder of the road at a high rate of speed.


Lopez attempted to pull the vehicle over for careless and prohibited driving near the Kings Gate apartments, but the vehicle turned South onto 9th Street and then attempted to cut the corner and turn East on De Queen Ave. Lopez noted the driver ran over the curb and almost lost control of the vehicle. The driver finally stopped at the intersection of 8th Street and De Queen Ave.


When Lopez approached the vehicle, he asked the driver, 26-year-old J.S. Joseph why he was driving so recklessly and why it took him so long to pull over. Joseph allegedly responded that he was in a hurry and he didn't notice the lights.


Lopez reported he noticed a Keystone beer can in the passenger floor board and he asked Joseph if he had been drinking. Joseph said it was an old beer can and he had not been drinking. When Lopez said he could smell beer, Joseph allegedly admitted to drinking one beer


Lopez then performed a portable breath test and a series of field sobriety test on Joseph, which he failed.


Joseph was placed into custody. He was cited for driving on a suspended license, drinking on the highway, careless and prohibited driving and driving while under the influence.






Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a letter of intent on investment cooperation with the Chinese based Sun Paper to pursue a $1.3 billion dollar pulp mill to be located in south Arkansas.


The agreement moves forward efforts between Sun Paper and Arkansas economic development officials for a fluff pulp factory, which would primarily create materials for baby diapers and other products. If the plant moves forward, it would be Sun Paper's first North American operation.


The letter of intent sets a May 1st, 2016 date to finalize a site for the project, which would create hundreds of direct jobs and result in significant indirect jobs in the logging and timber industry in south Arkansas.


farm bureau leaders participate in state resolutions committee meeting   11/24/15


Bruce Jackson of Lockesburg was among the 73 Farm Bureau leaders participating in the State Resolutions Committee meeting Nov. 4-5 at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock.

The committee refined and consolidated policy proposals into a set of formal recommendations to be considered by voting delegates during the business session of the Arkansas Farm Bureau State Convention, Dec. 2-4 at the Marriott Hotel in Little Rock.






Mary and Marty Center in De Queen received a check for $1,000 to assist with food insecurity needs in their service area from the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.  Representative DeAnn Vaught recommended Mary & Martha's, acknowledging the outstanding work they do to assist those in need.

Arkansas ranks near the top in the country in food insecurity for seniors, children and individuals and families.  Kathy Webb, executive director of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, said that "the efforts of Representative DeAnn Vaught are important in the fight against hunger.  We appreciate her support of Mary & Martha Center's programs, as well as her support of the regional food banks and the Alliance.  Many families in the state are helped because of her support."  The Alliance is the statewide voice for hunter relief, with over 500 members, including the six Feeding America food banks and hundreds of pantries.


UA Cossatot Promotes Economic Prosperity     11/24/15

For many years, economists have shown the correlation between people who complete a college degree and the tendency for them to earn more than people who have not attended any college. Yet, the individual benefits are not the only considerations. 

According to a study conducted by Jonathan Rothwell, the college earnings advantage also leads to greater economic activity, fueling prosperity at the regional and national levels. Rothwell is a fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings. His research focuses on labor market economics, social mobility, access to education, and the sources of economic growth. With these earnings benefits in mind, he concluded the following: 

The average bachelor’s degree holder contributes $278,000 more to local economies than the average high school graduate through direct spending over the course of his or her lifetime; an associate degree holder contributes $81,000 more than a high school graduate.

The quality of colleges greatly affects the size of these benefits. High value-added four-year colleges contribute $265,000 more per student to local economies than low-value added four-year colleges. The contribution is $184,000 for high value-added two-year colleges.

Sixty-eight percent of alumni from two-year colleges remain in the area of their college after attending, compared to 42 percent of alumni from four-year colleges.

UA Cossatot has awarded 3,349 degrees and certificates since joining the University of Arkansas system in 2001.  UA Cossatot is the only college in Arkansas that is partially supported by four separate sales taxes and in turn, UAC endeavors to support not just the educational needs of the region, but community needs as well.  According to the results from Rothwell’s study, state and local governments, as well as their taxpayers, have a very strong incentive to boost college attendance and completion. 

“I have held a long-term belief that the things we do, not just at UA Cossatot, but at community colleges across the nation, make a huge impact on the economy,” said Dr. Steve Cole, Chancellor for UA Cossatot.  “Of course we pride ourselves on student success.  But it’s also rewarding to be an economic engine for our region, as well.”

An associate degree holder will spend $81,000 more on average over his or her lifetime, including an additional $9,000 in state and local taxes.  The state and local tax estimates here should be regarded as incomplete for a number of reasons. These estimates do not consider the reduction in government spending as a result of education (e.g. lower health bills, welfare, or crime costs); more broadly, the estimates do not account for multiplier effects that for every additional dollar spent, some fraction will be spent again by the next person. For these reasons, it is very likely that a policy that resulted in one extra associate degree holder at an upfront cost of more than $9,000 to state and local taxpayers would still pay for itself in the long run.  The City University of New York has experimented with one such policy, which was able to double graduation rates while spending an additional $5,000 per student per year. After including some of these other considerations, scholars at Columbia University determined that the CUNY ASAP program generates $146,000 in lifetime benefits to taxpayers.

Even in more rural areas such as the area that UA Cossatot serves, the estimates of state and local benefits are also affected by whether or not alumni remain in the area. To the extent that the area is a net loser in the migration of college attendees, local and state benefits will dissipate accordingly and be captured by the areas where the alumni relocate. Using data from LinkedIn alumni profiles, the author and a colleague Sid Kulkarni was able to calculate the percentage of alumni from roughly 1700 colleges who work in the same area as their college. Overall, 68 percent of two-year attendees remain in the same area after graduating, compared to 42 percent of four-year attendees.   

Rothwell claims his student is not a comprehensive assessment of the public benefits to the economy of education.  There was no attempt at considering how education affects government savings, through channels such as criminal behavior or health.  Nor was an attempt made for estimating the role of education in entrepreneurship and innovation, which is likely very large and valuable. Nonetheless, these estimates provide some sense of a minimum benchmark for how education affects a local economy

Alisha Lewis-Director of Public Relations, Marketing, and Branding
Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas




Sevier, Howard, and Polk County Extension Services held an Estate Planning Workshop on November 2 and 5 with over three dozen people in attendance.

Lisa B. Shoalmire, Elder Law Attorney with Ross & Shoalmire in Texarkana, Texas was very informative with her presentation on probates, trusts, and wills. Several participants from the workshop have already begun to plan their future needs based on what they learned.

Laura Hendrix, Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service talked about “Getting Started on an Estate Plan”. It is never too early to start planning your estate. The important thing to remember is to HAVE an estate plan so your property will be divided based on your wishes and not the state’s guidelines.

Howard County Family and Consumer Sciences agent, Jean Ince, talked about “Transfers of Non-titled Property” which would include personal items. One option of deciding which family member gets the quilt that grandma made or the family Bible, etc. is to ask the family members to choose something they would like. If they can’t decide, you can draw straws or whatever clever option you may think of. By getting these decisions out in the open and upfront, it may avoid conflict later.

Sevier County Family and Consumer Sciences agent, Janet Cantrell, told how to keep all your papers organized in a notebook and in the event of your untimely death, a family member left to deal with the aftermath could have everything they need at hand to pay bills and make decisions.


Over 3 dozen people attended the Estate Planning Workshop held as a collaborative effort of Sevier, Howard, and Polk County Extension Services.

Elder Law Attorney, Lisa B. Shoalmire with Ross & Shoalmire out of Texarkana presented information on probates, trusts, and wills.




Ashdown Police Department and the Little River County Sheriff’s Office will join forces this Christmas to sponsor the Pete Price Memorial Shop-With-A-Cop program.


Ashdown Police Chief Mark Ardwin said the program helps needy and underprivileged children receive gifts for Christmas. He said officers will raise funds through a donation drawing and a bake sale.


Officers from both departments will solicit funds from area businesses, organizations and private citizens to fund the project, according to Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory.


Applications for children who want to participate can be picked up at the police department or sheriff’s office. The Arkansas Department of Human Services will also help select children and will coordinate the program between the families in need and the officers.


The deadline to fill out an application is November 30th, and the Shop-With-A-Cop date is December 12th at the Wal-Mart and Dollar General stores in Ashdown.


Last year, the program collected $16,000 and helped about 145 children.


Price coordinated the program while he was an auxiliary officer with the Ashdown Police Department. He was also a retired Cooper Tire employee.


Price passed away November 29th, 2013, after being treated for kidney failure.


For more information, call the Ashdown Police Department at 870-898-5640 or the Little River County Sheriff’s Office at 870-898-5115.






Area schools, including the De Queen Public School, are out for their Thanksgiving break, but De Queen Media Relations Director Tammy Whatley reported several events will held this December including the Junior High, Senior High and Show Choir concerts at the high school auditorium on Sunday, December 6th at 2 p.m.


The De Queen Middle School choir concert is Thursday, December 3rd at 10 a.m. in the auditorium. De Queen Elementary School’s Razzle Dazzle group will tour De Queen singing Christmas carols at various locations on Monday, December 7th.


The De Queen Middle School band concert is Thursday, December 10th at 10 a.m. in the high school auditorium and the junior and senior High band concerts will be Sunday, December 14th at 2 p.m.


On Wednesday, December 16th, the De Queen second graders will present their musical "Toys" at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.






A 41-year-old Lonoke man died Saturday evening after he was hit by a vehicle on Arkansas Highway 32 near Ashdown, according to an Arkansas State Police report.


According to the report, Mario Rodriquez Villanueva was struck by an eastbound 2015 Chevy pickup while attempting to run across the highway at about 6:44 Saturday night.


Villanueva was pronounced dead at the scene by Little River County Coroner Roddy Smith.


The name of the driver has not been released. The accident was investigated by Trooper Ernesto Echevarria.






December 7th is the last day for Medicare's Part D annual open enrollment and area residents are 65 or older, they will need to select their Part D supplement.


Here locally, Linda Steward of Helping Hands helps area residents select the plan that will save them the most money because drug cost, including premiums, deductibles and formularies change every year, and if you are not happy with your current plan, Steward can help you select a new one.


Steward's office is located next to the De Queen Health and Wellness Pharmacy in De Queen on Collin Raye Drive and all of the Helping Hands services are free to the public.


Anyone 65 and older is eligible for Medicare. People, who have received disability benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board for at least 24 months, are able to select a Medicare part D supplement until December 7th. Steward said she is willing to review current policies with area seniors and help them select the best plan available for their needs.


If the open enrollment period is missed, individuals can enroll from January 1st to March 31st, but a late enrollment penalty of 10 percent will apply for each year that someone could have enrolled and didn't.


For more information about Medicare in Arkansas, call the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Arkansas at 870-234-7410 or call Helping Hands in De Queen at 870-642-2400 and ask to speak with Steward.




The Occupational Therapy Assistant students from UA Cossatot assisted the Kiwanis of Texarkana with the Texarkana Ramp Project. The students provide labor each year for a service project and hands-on experience for adaptive measures for people with disabilities. This was a milestone for Texarkana Ramp project as it was their 10,000th ramp constructed.

Shown right are:
OTA student Aaron Wharton
OTA Arwen McDaniel
OTA Kelly Caver
OTA Jennifer Causey
OTA Joey Mills
OTA Megan Scott
OTA Kacie Hardy
OTA Brittany Sowers
OTA Laura Frachiseur
OTA Allie Ray
OTA Haley Micheal
OTA Cheyenne Vanhoose
OTA Taylor Meyers
OTA Marley Gilbert
Kiawanis Rachel and Tommy Scott
Kiawanis Lauren Layne
Kiawanis Joe Morris
Kiawanis Maxie Johnson
Boy Scout Rex Harrison

OTA student—Joey Mills

 Arwen McDaniel, Joey Mills, Aaron Wharton & Taylor Meyers



This Week's News:







Members of the Arkansas Coalition for Juvenile Justice Board were recently presented with information concerning status offenders and according to board member and De Queen resident Victor Rojas, a status offense involves conduct that would not be a crime if committed by an adult. He said a typical status offense includes truancy, running away from home, violating curfew or underage use of alcohol.


In 1980, the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act was amended to include the Valid Court Order exception. Judges were given the option to locking up youth who commit status offenses if they violated a valid court order.


Rojas was informed by board member and Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wiley Branton that some judicial districts in Arkansas have chosen not to place status offenders in detention, based on research that shows confinement fails to address the underlying causes of status-offending behavior.


Rojas suggests Arkansas redirect resources from incarceration to prevention and treatment. He said this approach is more effective and less costly. Rojas stated detention does not resolve the underlying factors that led some juveniles to commit status offenses. He said he supported expanding community-based services that address these factors and reserving secure confinement for youth who pose a threat to the public's safety.


Rojas was also informed by Division of Youth Services officials that specialized training will be provided to school resource officers in the near future. School resource officers are members of the law enforcement community who counsel and protect the school community.


Rojas said officers should receive specialized training to prepare them for the unique challenges and demands of working with children. He said properly trained school resource officers play a vital role in creating a school community where young people learn and thrive.






Thursday afternoon, De Queen Medical Center Administrator Jerramy Icenhower discussed a recent article published by our sister station KMTB concerning the Howard Memorial Hospital opening a radiology department in the De Queen Walk-in Clinic.


Icenhower stated he has met with the doctors and advance nurse practitioners of De Queen and they’re all pleased with the radiology services being provided at the De Queen Medical Center.


Icenhower said the radiology department is one of the busiest departments at the hospital and area residents benefit from the hospital having a board certified radiologist on staff.


Icenhower stated getting an x-ray is serious and this issue is not about market share, it's about providing quality care to the residents of Sevier County.


Icenhower went on to say if anyone has any questions about their radiology results, they can contact the hospital at 584-4111.





The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a draft Habitat Management Plan and Environmental Assessment and the initial deadline for comments was set for November but will now extend that period through the end of December.


The proposed plan will benefit migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, resident wildlife, bottomland hardwood, wetland and upland forest. A key purpose of the Habitat Management Plan is to refine and revise management objectives and strategies. Successful conservation strategies will recognize he dynamic nature of bottomland and upland forested systems as a continuing, on-going condition. The plan also addresses significant issues associated with water management of the Felsenthal pool, moist-soil and sanctuary management, red-cockaded woodpecker management, nuisance animal management and water quality. Three different management alternatives are evaluated.


For comments to be considered, they must be submitted by December 31st. Comments may be submitted to the refuge office at 5531 Highway 82 West, Crossett, Arkansas or by email at






Brian Walker of Horatio was among the 73 Farm Bureau leaders participating in the State Resolutions Committee meeting November 4th and 5th at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock.


The committee refined and consolidated policy proposals into a set of formal recommendations to be considered by voting delegates during the business session of the Arkansas Farm Bureau State Convention, December 2nd through the 4th at the Marriott Hotel in Little Rock.






Kirk Bell of Mineral Springs was among the 73 Farm Bureau leaders participating in the State Resolutions Committee meeting November 4th and 5th at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock.


The committee refined and consolidated policy proposals into a set of formal recommendations to be considered by voting delegates during the business session of the Arkansas Farm Bureau State Convention, December 2nd through the 4th at the Marriott Hotel in Little Rock.






The Arkansas State Police is joining state and local law enforcement agencies this Thanksgiving holiday period to encourage all holiday travelers to buckle up, every trip, every time.


In addition, State Troopers along Interstate 40 from Barstow, California to Wilmington, North Carolina have committed to create a chain of law enforcement presence at least every 20 miles. Arkansas State Troopers have joined in the I-40 Challenge with the goal of keeping I-40 travel a safe experience. The I-40 Challenge will be active on Wednesday, November 26th between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. and again on Sunday, November 29th between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


The heavily-traveled Thanksgiving weekend is typically one of the most dangerous and deadliest times of the year on America's roadway. During the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday reporting period, 301 passenger vehicle occupants died in motor traffic crashes nationwide.


Regular safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration.






Sevier County Relay for Life committee member Linda Frachiseur announced last week that the Sevier County Relay for Life teams were participating in the Arkansas Lights of Hope on Thursday, December 3rd at 6 p.m.


Frachiseur said Relay for Life will display luminaries at the De Queen Church of Christ, or you can display it at your home or business. But, she said if you display your luminary at home, Relay for Life would like for you to take a picture and post it on social media, using the hashtag #ArkansasLights.


Frachiseur said luminaries are $5 each and all survivors are being asked to attend a reception on December 3rd at the Church of Christ.


According to the American Cancer Society, they provide services to over 5,000 patients and families in Arkansas each year. On December 3rd, they are asking Arkansans to light up 5,000 luminaries all across the state to help create an image to reflect the number of services that the Society provides.






Tractor Supply Company, in partnership with the National 4-H Council, recently announced the results from the 2015 Paper Clover Campaign.


Tractor Supply Company raised $893,817 during the 11-day national in-store fundraiser. With more than $1.8 million dollars raised during the 2015 Spring and Fall campaigns, Tractor Supply has now raised nearly $8.3 million dollars for 4-H programs across the country through the Clover Campaigns over the past five years.


Shoppers at Tractor Supply Company stores purchased paper clovers between October 7th through 18th for $1 each. Seventy percent of the funds raised will benefit state and local 4-H youth development programs, such as local camps and after-school programs, and provide scholarships for 4-H members in the communities served by Tractor Supply Stores. The remaining 30 percent is donated to the National 4-H Council to help connect more young people to the high-quality 4-H youth development programs.



Each year, the Office of Education Policy at the University of Arkansas creates a report entitled the Outstanding Educational Performance Awards highlighting the highest-performing schools in Arkansas.

 Foreman High School won a “High-Achieving School” award for performance on the End-Of-Course Biology exam that was taken in the 2014-15 school year by 10th grade students under the direction of Kamille Davis.  Foreman was ranked #5 in the Southwest region of the state and #20 in the entire state with 72% of the students scoring proficient or advanced.

Foreman also was awarded a “Most Improved” OEP award for performance on the EOC Biology exam.  These awards are given to schools that have shown the greatest improvement in science performance over a five-year period. 

These awards are based on the OEP-created “school GPA,” calculated on the basis of the percentage of students that perform at the particular level on the Benchmark or End-of-Course exam (advanced, proficient, basic, and below basic).




Sevier County 4-H Leaders Association member Linda Frachiseur announced Thursday morning that the 2015 Tour of Homes will be Sunday, December 6th from 2 to 5 p.m.


Frachiseur said tickets are $10 each and all of the proceeds benefit the Sevier County 4-H program. If you are interested in purchasing advanced tickets, stop by the KDQN studios or the First State Bank.


Frachiseur also announced it’s not too late to join a 4-H club in Sevier County.


For more information about 4-H or the Tour of Homes, contact the Sevier County Extension Service Office at 584-3013.






Cossatot River Board of Education approved the district's 2016 Master Plan during their November meeting and Superintendent Donnie Davis said the board discussed the possibility of constructing a new elementary building near the high school.


Davis said the district will continue trying to secure funding for a safe room.


According to Davis, the board also approved the district's financial portion for the installation of cyber-optic lines to improve the district's broadband service.


Davis said the board also approved a $750 Christmas bonus for all school employees.


Davis said board members also pasted three resolutions acknowledging the service of three teachers.


The next regular meeting of the Cossatot River Board of Education is Thursday, December 10th at 6 p.m. in the administration building.






Tuesday night during a regular meeting of the De Queen City Council, aldermen approved an early loan payment on the city's sewer loan. City Clerk/Treasurer Donna Jones reported the city has paid almost one million dollars in early payments.


Jones reported aldermen also approved the purchase of a house that sets adjacent to the De Queen City Hall. She said Mayor Billy Ray McKelvy reported Tuesday night that the homeowners informed him the house was in probate and they had to sell it for the appraised value of $25,000.


According to McKelvy's letter to the council, the house will be used for storage.


McKelvy's report also noted the city has been notified that the State of Arkansas will be depositing $32,602.50 into the city's account.  He said that amount was 75 percent of the cleanup cost from the Memorial Day storm.






Early Sunday morning, Patrolman J.J. Lopez of the De Queen Police Department was running a radar station near the First Baptist Church when he observed a vehicle traveling west on Highway 70 at a slow rate of speed.


Lopez reported when he pulled out behind the vehicle, the driver seemed to be having a hard time keeping the vehicle in its lane and when it turned South onto Highway 399, he crossed the center multiple times.


When Lopez conducted a traffic stop, the driver informed him that he did not have a driver's license, but the driver told Lopez his name was Margarito Marrufo and his date of birth was December 12th, 1994.


After exiting the vehicle, Marrufo admitted to drinking a couple of beers at a party. Marrufo failed a portable breath test and failed a series of field sobriety test.


Marrufo was taken into custody and cited for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, for not having a driver's license and for driving left of center.




Chamber of Commerce hosts Tour de Queen Bike Ride      11/19/15
Patrick Massey-De Queen Bee

The De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce held its fifth annual Tour de Queen Bike Ride on Nov. 7. The ride featured various routes up to 47 miles in length and took riders through scenic areas of De Queen and the surrounding area.

Twenty-two bike riders participated in this year's event, including participants from Texarkana and Fayetteville.
"Bringing in people from out of town is one of the goals we shoot for with this event," said Patrick Massey, vice-president of the chamber and chairman over the Tour de Queen Bike Ride. "Several of the riders stayed at local hotels, ate at local restaurants and did some local shopping as well. We hope events like this benefit not just the participants, but the local economy as well."

Participation was lighter than in previous years, probably due to the weather. The bike ride, originally scheduled for Oct. 24, had to be postponed due to heavy storms on event day. Nov. 7 threatened more bad weather, but organizers were thankful when the rain stopped just minutes before the bike ride started.

Plans are already underway for next year's bike ride. Organizers hope to attract even more riders, especially among local and out-of-town youth.

"Everyone seems to enjoy this ride, and even the folks from Fayetteville said this is one of the prettiest routes they ride," said Massey. "We hope we can turn this into an even bigger event next year."

Volunteers who assisted during the bike ride included Denise Wax, Susan Alspaw, Shane Haarmeyer, Tyler Massey, and Caitlyn and Patrick Massey.



A Sevier County jury of five men and seven women sentenced a Horatio resident to 30 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections after finding him guilty of the rape of his step-daughter.


Jurors listened to over 9 hours of testimony Wednesday in the Sevier County Circuit Court before Ninth District Circuit Court Judge Charles Yeargan.


Jurors heard testimony from the now 14-year-old victim, law enforcement officers, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, the victim's mother and the defendant Lazar Figueroa.


According to testimony, Figueroa engaged in sexual intercourse or deviant sexual activity with the victim from the time she was 8-years-old until she was 13.


The victim notified her mother in February of this year and the Arkansas Division of Crimes Against Children open an investigation after the mother of the victim called the state's abuse hotline number.


According to the SANE Nurse who examined the victim on March 9th, her findings were consistent with the type of abuse that the victim described.


Figueroa will serve at least 21 years before he is eligible for parole and will then be deported to Mexico because he is not a legal citizen of the United States.






A severe thunderstorm moved through the region Tuesday morning and caused the lights in the Little River County Courthouse to go out, forcing the 9th District Court to take a recess.


Judge Tom Cooper asked the courthouse maintenance staff to find a solution so he would not have to re-schedule.


Maintenance workers brought in about 200 feet of heavy-duty gauge electrical power cords that they plugged into a generator at the Little River County jail and hooked up a couple of flood lights.


Power was restored to the courthouse at about 12:30 p.m.


23-year-old Aaron Rhodes and 20-year-old Courtney Clemensen were formally charged Tuesday and are expected to be back in court on December 8th to enter their pleas.


Rhodes and Clemensen are accused of being involved in the fatal shooting of Matthew Stewart.


Rhodes was charged with manslaughter and Clemensen was charged with tampering with evidence.


The arrest affidavit states Little River County deputies were dispatched to a residence at 2094 Highway 32 West about 8:30 p.m. October 9th in reference to a shooting.


When deputies arrived, they found the body of Stewart sitting in a chair with a fatal gun shot wound to the head.


Deputies were told by Rhodes and Clemensen that Stewart had shot himself. However, during an interview with the Arkansas State Police, Rhodes changed his story and said he accidentally shot Stewart while playing with a gun.


According to court records, Clemensen picked up the shell casing and wiped the gun clean, so investigators couldn't get any fingerprints off the weapon.


Rhodes is being held in the Little River County jail, while Clemensen is being held in the Sevier County jail.


40-year-old Stacy Simpson was charged with fleeing and five-counts of first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor after leading police on a high speed chase November 4th. Judge Cooper gave Simpson an arraignment date of December 8th to enter her plea.


Simpson was stopped by Arkansas Highway Police Officer Justin Smith for having expired tags on her vehicle and after Smith learned Simpson was wanted on felony warrants out of Texarkana for interference with child custody, she drove off.


Officers pursued Simpson north on Highway 71 into Sevier County at speeds over 100 miles per hour, before turning around and heading back into Little River County.


Officers were able to use a rolling roadblock to stop Simpson in the city of Ashdown.


Simpson's five children were in the vehicle during the pursuit. The child's age ranges from 1 to 12. She is being held in the Sevier County jail on a $100,000 bond.






Dierks Mayor Terry Mounts reported he updated the Dierks City Council on the new sewer lagoon project. He said Stephens in Little Rock should be ready to sell the bonds after the first of the year.


Mounts also reported there will be no increase to the city's employee insurance this year and the council has scheduled a budget meeting for November 30th.


The Dierks Christmas parade is Monday, December 7th at 6 p.m. Mounts said after the parade everyone is invited to the First United Methodist Church parking lot for some chamber fun and games.






Misty Burke of the Friendship Baptist Church announced it's not to late to place an order for a Thanksgiving Day plate.  She said about 200 area residents have contacted the church but they will accept orders until Thanksgiving Day to make sure everyone has a meal this holiday.


Burke said several area businesses and individuals have donated items or volunteered to help make deliveries.


Burke said this ministry started four years ago and continues to grow and is as much a blessing to the church members as it is to the residents that they serve. Four years ago, they served about 63 people and last year that number was up to over 350 and this they are planning to serve 400.


If you would like a Thanksgiving plate, contact the church at 870-279-0507 or 931-981-0970.






Bruce Jackson of Lockesburg was among the 73 Farm Bureau leaders participating in the State Resolutions Committee meeting November 4th and 5th at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock.


The committee refined and consolidated policy proposals into a set of formal recommendations to be considered by voting delegates during the business session of the Arkansas Farm Bureau State Convention, December 2nd through the 4th at the Marriott Hotel in Little Rock.






A Howard County jury found 39-year-old Gary Brian Cogburn guilty of several drug charges, during a trial on Tuesday.


Cogburn of Umpire had been arrested in April for charges including manufacturing a controlled substance, two counts of possessing a controlled substance and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia, after 50 marijuana plants were found at his residence. A large quantity of bagged marijuana was also discovered.


The jury deliberated for almost 30 minutes before delivering a guilty verdict on all four counts. Following another 38 minutes, the jury sentenced Cogburn to 13 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.


de queen high school dismissing early thursday 11/19/15


The De Queen High School will let out at 12:35 pm on Thursday, November 19th for the funeral services of Layne Woods. The buses will run a regular schedule for any student that does not have a ride home.


All other campuses will let out at normal time. Any student who would like to attend the service will be given an excused absence.




Payton Hibbs, of De Queen, was inducted October 24 into the Arkansas Purple Circle Club in Little Rock. Hibbs had the Grand Champion Fullblood Boer Buck at the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show. Rodney Baker, Arkansas Farm Bureau executive vice president, presented the award.

The club is an awards program recognizing junior livestock exhibitors who earned championship honors at the Arkansas State Fair. It is sponsored by Arkansas Farm Bureau. Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private farm and rural advocacy organization of more than 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.






Ashdown High School Senior, Austin Cross signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Henderson State University.
Austin is a 3 year letterman in baseball and basketball and Honorable Mention All Conference in baseball his freshman year, 2nd team All Conference and Honorable Mention All State in basketball his junior year, and All Conference and All State baseball his junior year.

During Austin's freshman year, he had 4 wins, 1 loss, 4 saves, 1.80 era, pitched a 1-0 shutout at Pleasant Grove; sophomore year: 7 wins, 2 losses, 1.44 era, pitched a 1-0 shutout against Arkadelphia (State Champions that year); junior year: 8 wins, 2 losses, 1.00 era, pitched a complete game in a 4-1 victory over Ozarks in the State Tournament with 12 strikeouts. Austin also played summer ball for two years with Lights Out in San Antonio. He had 12 wins and 0 losses.

Academically, Austin is involved in Beta Club, National Honor Society, Vice President of Student Council, Arkansas Boy's State representative, President of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and mentor at L.F. Henderson Intermediate School.

Pictured are (back row) Ashdown Coaches, Chuck Cross and Josh Fleming
(front row) Tami Cross, Austin Cross and Jim Cross




De Queen School District Superintendent Bruce Hill announced Tuesday morning that the De Queen High School will dismiss at 12:35 p.m. Thursday afternoon so students, facility and staff may attend the funeral of Layne Woods at the De Queen Church of Christ at 2 p.m.


Hill said the decision to let the high school out Thursday was made Tuesday morning following a meeting of the district administrators.


Hill said the district also had extra counselors on hand Monday to speak with students.


Hill announced the district will still host its annual Thanksgiving luncheon Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m. in the Elementary cafeteria.


As a reminder, the De Queen High School will dismiss at 12:35 Thursday, but all the other schools will run their regular schedule.






The Arkansas Parole Board has unanimously denied parole for an Ashdown man who was convicted of murder.


Timothy Howard was denied parole for the next two years based on three reasons: the seriousness of the offense, death involved and the age of the victims.


The Board also ordered Howard to complete a 1,440 hour vocational training course before the next time he appears before the board.


Howard was originally convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in the 1997 killings of Brian and Shannon Day, as well as the attempted capital murder of the couple's 7-month old son. The conviction was overturned and he was convicted in May of this year of the lesser charges of second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. He was sentenced to 38 years in prison.


Howard is serving his sentence at the Cummins Unit in Lincoln County.






A free public information meeting has been scheduled in Ashdown by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission to discuss the "Working Draft Lower Little River Watershed Management Plan" associated with voluntary efforts to reduce nonpoint source pollution.


Farmers and other watershed landowners, county and municipal officials, community leaders and representatives of groups and agencies interested in the watershed are encouraged to attend.


The meeting will be Wednesday, December 9th on the Ashdown campus of UA Cossatot in the Millwood Room. It will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude around noon.


the development of the working draft plan began about nine months ago, and the public meetings have been held in the watershed during the process. The Arkansas Natural Resources Commission is developing a voluntary watershed-based management plan, with the assistance of watershed stakeholders that’s designed to help reduce nonpoint source pollution.


The purpose of the plan is to provide a framework for landowners, communities and qualifying organizations that want to voluntarily participate in the watershed management program and undertake projects. The watershed plan is scheduled to be completed in January.






During a recent meeting of the De Queen City Council, Fire Chief Dennis Pruitt asked the council to authorize him to purchase carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms with some funds that were donated by the De Queen Fred's Department Store.


Pruitt said carbon monoxide is produced by anything that burns and he said the batteries need to be changed twice a year.


Pruitt stated the department conducts fire safety workshops at the local schools and every year after the workshops, children encourage their parents to contact the fire department and install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.


For more information or to request a carbon monoxide detector or a smoke alarm, call the De Queen Fire Department at 584-7224.






Saturday morning at about 12:20 a.m., Patrolman Justin Gentry of the De Queen Police Department observed a vehicle traveling south on Treating Plant Road drive left of center on several occasions.


Gentry pulled the vehicle over in the De Queen School parking lot and identified the driver as 42-year-old Don Noel Jr. of Horatio.


As Gentry approached the vehicle, Noel opened his door and stated his window would not roll down and asked if he could exit the vehicle. Gentry allowed Noel to exit the vehicle but asked permission to pat him down.


Gentry was then informed by dispatch that Noel's driver's license had been suspended and he didn't have any proof of insurance.


Patrolman J.J. Lopez assisted Gentry on the traffic stop and asked Noel to take a portable breath test. Noel allegedly stated he had drank a beer about 9 o'clock.


Noel gave the officers permission to search the vehicle and they discovered a 9mm handgun with a loaded magazine inserted in it.


Officer Lopez then detained Noel while Officer Gentry ran a criminal history. The check confirmed that Noel was a felon and he was then charged possession of a firearm by a certain person.


Officers also discovered a clear plastic bag with suspected methamphetamine residue inside it in the glove box along with several empty Bud Light containers in the back seat.


Noel was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.      





The 2015 De Queen Polar Plunge is Saturday, December 5th a little after noon at the Oak Grove Beach on De Queen Lake.


Organizers are seeking sponsors for the event. Area businesses and individuals are invited to help make a difference in the lives of Special Olympics Arkansas athletes and help increase their level of social responsibility and community involvement by partnering with Special Olympics.


Companies and individuals are invited to make a one-time gift. The Glacier sponsorship is $2,500. The company’s logo will be displayed on the De Queen Polar Plunge web page and their banner will be displayed during plunge.


Special Olympics will waive the minimum donation amount for the first four plungers on the company’s team and they will receive an invitation for four representatives to a VIP ceremony at the 2016 Summer Games in Searcy.


There is also an Iceberg Sponsorship for $1,000, and Arctic Ice Sponsorship for $500 and a Snowflake Sponsorship for $250.


Awards will be presented to the individual and team with the best costumes and to the individual and team that raises the most money.


For a minimum donation of $50, each plunger will receive an official plunge t-shirt; for $250, the plunger will receive a t-shirt and a beach towel; for $500, the plunger will receive a t-shirt, a beach towel and at fleece blanket; and for $1,000, the plunger will receive a t-shirt, beach towel, fleece blanket and a 32-can rolling cooler.


The Morning Brew Crew will have a team and if you have ever wanted to tell them to go jump in the lake, here is your chance. We will be accepting donations until Friday, December 4th at the KDQN station.


Help us support the Special Olympics. Their goal is to bring people with intellectual disabilities into the mainstream of society in Arkansas under conditions where they are accepted, respected and given the opportunity to become positive citizens.


For more information, contact Elizabeth Tompkins at 784-3822.






Carolyn Jones of the De Queen branch of the Sevier County Library announced last week that the library will be collecting sweaters and other items of warm clothing until November 30th, while they participate in the Mr. Rogers’ Sweater Drive. Head Librarian Johyne Fisher challenged the Morning Brew Crew to donate 10 items each, which they accepted and then challenged all of the churches in Sevier County to donate 10 items to the Mr. Roger’s Sweater Drive.


Jones said the library’s new meeting room is open and if you would like to reserve the space, you should contact the De Queen library.


Jones said the library will be holding a Thanksgiving Story Time on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and Pruitt’s Food has donated cookies and juice for all of the children.


For more information, contact the library at 584-4364.






De Queen/Sevier County Chamber of Commerce President Susan Alspaw and Zebbie Launius announced the 2015 Christmas Shop Local campaign is underway.


Launius said there are 57 chamber members participating in this year’s shop local campaign. She said the chamber will draw for $2,000 cash and prizes on December 18th.


Alspaw reminded area families the 2015 Christmas parade is scheduled for Saturday, December 5th and she invited area businesses, churches, organizations and individuals to decorate a tree for the Festival of Trees on the Sevier County Courthouse Square.


For more information, call 584-3225.






The National Weather Service confirmed an EF1 tornado in McCurtain County, Oklahoma on November 5th near the Bokhoma community with winds estimated between 95 to 105 miles per hour.


A preliminary reported released last week states a line of thunderstorms moved across Southeast Oklahoma produced the tornado south of Haworth near Bokhoma.


The damage primarily consisted of snapped and uprooted pine trees. One house suffered some minor roof damage.


According to the National Weather Service, the tornado had a path of a little over four and a half miles long and 256 yards wide, and they estimated it lasted about 12 minutes, from 9:18 to 9:30 p.m.






Saturday night, Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Jackson was patrolling the Dike Road on the De Queen Lake, when he observed a vehicle coming off Dike Road after hours.


Deputy Jackson identified the driver as Michael Brady and the passenger as Charles White, when Jackson checked with dispatch, he was informed that Brady was wanted on an outstanding warrant from the City of De Queen and White had an outstanding warrant out of Little River County.


Both men were placed into custody and while Jackson was inventorying the vehicle, he discovered a small yellow bag that contained a clear white substance of suspected methamphetamine.


At the jail, two jailers discovered a green leafy substance of suspected marijuana in White's boot, along with a small pink bag of suspected meth and a glass smoking pipe with reside inside it.


White allegedly admitted that the drugs in the vehicle were his and he was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and for furnishing, possessing or using prohibited articles in the Sevier County jail.






Prior to the November meeting of the Lockesburg City Council, Lockesburg Mayor Danny Ruth swore in Matt Webb as a new alderman. Webb was appointed to the council last month after Gayle Gathright resigned because she moved out of the City of Lockesburg.


During the regular meeting, Fire Chief Doug Currence gave the results of the fire department’s pump test. He also mentioned some maintenance work that need’s to be done on one of the department’s trucks.


Alderman approved a $2 an hour raise for JoAnna Giusti and a 10 percent raise for Justin Ruth. Aldermen voted to re-evaluate Paul Maish after his 90-day probation period.


City Attorney Erin Hunter addressed the council about the progress of a land purchase and some permits from the railroad company.


Aldermen approved the purchase of road base for North Azalea Street, which is between the EZ-Mart store and the Sevier County Farmer’s Coop building, but they tabled a vote on a road closure.


Aldermen also discussed the city’s annual Christmas parade, which will be held on Saturday, December 5th.  



Two students from De Queen High School became part of the Purple Circle Club that was created in 1952.  Trent Gentry earned the Division 2 Grand Champion Steer at the Arkansas State Fair.  Brandi Frachiseur earned the Division 1 Grand Champion Steer and won the overall Reserve Grand Champion.

Trent and Brandi, along with others, know this is a long process to reach the Purple Circle Club.  They have been supported by their parents along with Mr. Morgan Frachiseur, Mr. John Frachiseur, and Mr. Ryan Hanney.  The three Agri teachers from De Queen Schools worked with the students during the summer break.

In May, Brandi and Trent’s steers were nominated by exhibitors.  After much care and feeding, the exhibiting began in late August at the county level.  If you have ever been to the Sevier County Fair, you’ve seen students caring for their livestock for long hours. When the county fair was over, students moved their steers to the District and 4-States level.  The Arkansas State Fair is usually the culmination of the project. 

Only three steers in Arkansas are sold at the Arkansas State Fair premium sale.  To qualify, the student must win one of three divisions.  Brandi and Trent’s steers won two of the three divisions.  This qualified their steers for the premium sale and a spot in the Purple Circle Club.  The club recognizes youth exhibitors that achieve championship honors with their livestock projects.  Arkansas Farm Bureau sponsors the Purple Circle Club.  Bruce and Sandra Jackson presented the awards to Brandi and Trent on November 10 at De Queen High School.




The Sevier County Sheriff's Office responded to a reported shooting at a cabin on the Cossatot River just northwest of Lockesburg, Saturday morning.


When Deputy Brian Hankins arrived he noted Southwest EMS was on the scene and treating a 17-year-old male with a small caliber gun shot wound to the head. The young man who was identified as Layne Woods of De Queen was airlifted to the Arkansas Children's Hospital by Air Evac. Woods passed away Sunday morning from his injuries.


According to the incident report, Woods and his younger sibling were shooting at crows and Woods was accidentally shot in the head at close range with a 22 caliber pistol. The investigation has been closed and ruled an accidental death.


Sheriff Bennie Simmons, Investigator Robert Gentry, and Deputies Chad Dowdle, Hankins, and Rodger Ridley responded to the call, along with De Queen Police Department Assistant Chief of Police Scott Simmons and Sergeant Chad Bradshaw. Arkansas State Trooper JD Jones and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Wildlife Officer David Hall also investigated the incident.


Woods was a sophomore at De Queen High School and was a member of the De Queen Leopard football and baseball teams.


Funerals services are pending and will be announced later.





Monday night during the monthly meeting of the Ashdown Board of Education, board members discussed the facility needs of the district during a public meeting.


Superintendent Jason said the district needs to consider a new Intermediate School due to the increase in enrollment and the age of the L.F. Henderson campus.


During the meeting, Sanders also pointed out what other districts in the area have done to address facility needs and he said the district’s facility consultant Gene Hawk will attend the December board meeting to make facility recommendations.


During the monthly board meeting, board members approved the district’s Child Internet Protection for E-Rate funding policy. They also approved the purchase of some computer programs.


Board members voted to move $500,000 from the district’s operating fund to the building fund. Sanders explained the funds will be used to renovate Old Main. 






Arkansas cattle producers will have the opportunity to catch up on new developments in the business at the Four States Cattle Conference on December 8th at the Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana. The conference will run from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.


The conference is sponsored by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, the LSU Ag Center, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Oklahoma State University Extension, Farm Credit and Mix 30. Registration is $30 person, $50 per couple or $15 for 4-H and FFA students. To register, contact Jerry Clemons at 870-246-2281.


Sherry Beaty-Sullivan is the Howard County extension agent and she said participation has continued to grow, as they add topics that cattle producers have requested. She said it is also a great way to network with other producers and vendors at the ever expanding trade show.


Presentations at the conference will feature sessions on: the cattle market outlook by Ross Pruitt of the LSU Ag Center; what feeders and packers want in cattle by Tom Brink of JBS Five Rivers Cattle in Colorado; feeder cattle grading by James Ward of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division; managing winter hay feeding by Dave Lalman of Oklahoma State University; why vaccines don’t work by John Richeson of West Texas A&M University; herd health program by Dee Griffin of the University of Nebraska; and program wrap-up by Brian Triplett of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.






The Dierks Christmas Parade will be held on Monday, December 7th at 6 p.m. According to the Dierks Chamber of Commerce, there will be several parade categories, including civic, religious and business and all floats will need to line up at the Dierks High School at 6 p.m. for registration.


Following the parade, there will be singing, a cash giveaway and vendors in the First United Methodist Church parking lot. The Dierks Chamber will be giving away two cash prizes of $100 and you must be present to win.


Anyone can set up a booth free of charge and Santa will be there. Santa will give stuffed animals to the first 150 children.


If you are interested in singing or setting up a booth call 584-9431 or the Dierks City Hall.






Earlier this month, the Little River County Chamber of Commerce announced the cities of Ashdown and Foreman would be switching Christmas parades dates, since the KCS Holiday Express Christmas train would be stopping in Ashdown on Saturday, December 5th. So, the Ashdown Christmas parade will be held on Saturday, December 5th and the Foreman Christmas parade will be held on Saturday, December 12th.


The theme for this year’s Christmas parades is “A Christmas Story.”


The LF Henderson Parent-Teacher Organization will also be hosting an “All I Want for Christmas” Bazaar on Saturday, December 5th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


A concession stand will be serving hot chocolate, fresh baked cookies, and more.


Everyone can shop for all kinds of goodies that will be suitable as gifts and decorations and there will also be door prizes.


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



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