KAWX News

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

There are now more than 460,000 students enrolled in Arkansas public schools. And an additional 18,000 attend an open enrollment charter school.

 

School districts range in size from less than 300 students to nearly 22,000 students. Charter schools range from about 60 students to more than 3,000.

 

How we fund education in our ever growing schools and provide for changing needs is through a process that begins in Education Committee meetings.

 

The House and Senate Education Committee met this week to begin that process for the next biennium.

 

Arkansas schools received many different types of funding totaling nearly 5.9 billion in 2017-18. Generally speaking, about half of school district/charter school operating revenue comes from state sources, about 40% is generated locally and about 10% comes from the federal government.

 

Foundation Funding primarily consists of local property tax revenues and the state aid portion of foundation funding. To determine the amount of foundation funding, Arkansas uses a specific formula, known as the matrix. The matrix calculates the per-student funding based on the cost of personnel and other resources needed to operate a prototypical school of 500 students.

 

Legislators involved in the biennial Adequacy Study determine the resources included in each line of the matrix and the dollar amount needed to fund it.

 

In the most recent legislative session, we increased the per-student funding from $6,713 to $6,899 per student for the 2019-2020 school year.  It increases funding to $7,018 per student the following school year.

 

The committee was also presented with information on student outcome measures. In 2016, the state began administering the ACT Aspire assessment. The 2018 ACT Aspire scores show a decrease in 4th grade students scoring ready or above in math and an increase in the 8th grade math scores.

 

Arkansas’s high school graduation rate has increased since 2011 to 88% of high school students. While the overall increase mirrors the national trend, Arkansas has consistently achieved higher 4-year graduation rates than the national rates.

 

The committee is scheduled to meet again on August 19. You can watch all Joint Education Committee meetings online at www.arkleg.state.ar.us.

 

6-14-19 5:07 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Creating Regulatory Certainty for Farmers & Landowners

Creating Regulatory Certainty for Farmers & Landowners

 

Arkansas agricultural producers feed and clothe the world. They need certainty and predictability in order to successfully operate their businesses, but too often federal regulations place unnecessary burdens on the industry. What our state’s farmers and ranchers want are simple, commonsense rules that are easy to understand so they can comply with the law and be good stewards of their land.

 

In a recent Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) hearing, my colleagues and I examined how one particular regulation –  known as theWaters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule –  has caused hardships for farmers and ranchers.

 

An interpretation by the previous administration told agriculture producers that their ditches, ponds and puddles are navigable waters. This put Washington in control of almost every body of water in Arkansas.

 

This definition resulted in inconsistent implementation and undue burdens falling on the agriculture community.

 

For example, farmers were told that they would not be subject to the WOTUS rule unless they were performing a new farming activity; any continued farming would be exempted. However, a Senate report conducted by the Senate EPW Committee found examples proving this is not the case.

 

In 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) told a landowner that changing the use of a field from growing alfalfa to orchards would constitute a land use change that would allow Corps regulators to pursue enforcement action if plowing the field to plant trees involved a discharge to wetlands. The Corps regulator informed the landowner that despite an extensive farming history, orchards were never planted on the ranch so they are not the same kind of farming and might not be considered a normal farming activity.

 

Arkansas agricultural producers understand this is a common practice. When federal regulations prevent a farmer from engaging in sensible crop rotation and land management, that ultimately hurts their ability to properly manage their land. 

 

That’s why I fought against the broad interpretation and encouraged the Trump administration to redefine the WOTUS rule.

 

Within a month after taking office, President Trump issued an executive order directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Corps to review and revise the WOTUS rule. Last December, the administration proposed new rules that would provide more regulatory certainty to agricultural producers and all landowners.

 

I am encouraged by the proposed rule that rolls back the Obama-era policy and establishes reasonable definitions that are clear and consistent.

 

The June hearing was the first the EPW committee convened on WOTUS since the Trump administration published its definition of the rule. Providing an opportunity for stakeholders to share their input on the proposed rule will help ensure the regulation will protect our water while simultaneously providing regulatory certainty. I will be closely following the rulemaking process to make sure there are no unintended consequences for landowners.

 

6-14-19 4:48 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The First-ever National Computer Science Summit

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The First-ever National Computer Science Summit

 

To listen to the Governor's radio address, click anywhere on this line, then click on the play button, or you can read the text below.

 

LITTLE ROCK – This week Arkansas hosted the first-ever National Computer Science Summit for State Leaders at the Governor’s Mansion, and today I’d like to share a bit about our event.

 

More than thirty states and Canada sent representatives to the summit, which was designed to encourage and educate people nationally about computer science education in schools. Our guests also included state representatives and senators, and commissioners and superintendents.

 

Our keynote speakers were Hadi Partovi, co-founder with his twin brother, Ali, of Code.org; and two governors who are among those who have led the way in computer science education in their states – Kim Reynolds from Iowa and Henry McMaster from South Carolina.

 

We also debuted The Arkansas Story, a video that tells how we launched the computer science initiative in Arkansas at the start of my administration in 2015.

 

The video told two success stories, including the work of Tate Rector, who changed careers from coaching football at Beebe High School to teach computer science. He was a special guest at the summit.

 

Computer science, and computer coding, remain an excellent career choice as technology grows more sophisticated. The statistics show that there are far more jobs than there are people to fill them. Nationally, there are over 500,000 computer science jobs available, and there are only 64,000 graduates to fill those jobs. A Gallup survey found that nine out of 10 parents want their children to study computer science but that only 35 percent of our schools offer a class.

 

Of course, all the public high schools in Arkansas offer the course, but we want more students to sign up, because fifty-eight percent of new STEM jobs are in computing, and only 10 percent of STEM graduates are in computer science.

 

I am proud to report that Arkansans have caught the computer-science vision. When I became governor, only 1,100 students were enrolled in a computer science class in Arkansas. In the fall of 2018, our enrollment had increased by 620 percent to more than 8,000 students. The number of girls taking a computer science class increased from 220 to over 2,400, an increase of more than one-thousand percent. The number of teachers who are teaching computer science courses has grown from 20 to over 370. This includes 184 fully certified and 188 alternatively credentialed computer science teachers.

 

Gerri McCann is one of those teachers. She had been teaching French at Manila High School when she decided to expand to computer science. She was one of our panelists on Monday. She told how her computer science program grew from seven students and one class to four classes, which required her to reduce the number of French classes she taught. She’s seen a lot of students go on to college to major in computer science or engineering. But she also told of the student who didn’t have support at home and often missed school. Everything changed when he discovered computer science. For the first time, she saw hope for this student.

 

There is a great need for a computer-literate workforce, which presents a great opportunity for our young people. We have come a long way in Arkansas, but our mission won’t be complete until every child in every nook and cranny in Arkansas is aware of the opportunities to study computer science and the benefits that come with that.

 

6-14-19 4:41 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Drivers Cautioned to Be Aware of Military Convoys

LITTLE ROCK (6-14) – The Arkansas National Guard’s annual training season has arrived, and motorists may notice more military vehicles on Arkansas’ highways.

 

Annual training is an organized event, usually conducted at a military installation that Service Members of the Arkansas National Guard complete each year. Convoys, a group of military vehicles traveling together, are utilized to transport necessary personnel and equipment to the training site.

 

 

Seeing a military convoy during annual training season is to be expected and no cause for alarm. Drivers are encouraged to be cautious around military convoys. Convoys travel up to 55 miles per hour on the interstate, significantly less than most vehicles. Military trucks accelerate slower than commercial vehicles and are built for combat, not comfort. It is discouraged for civilian vehicles to travel in between military vehicles involved in a convoy.

 

Arkansans can expect increased convoy traffic through the end of June. Routes are coordinated with the Arkansas State Police prior to movements.

 

6-14-19 4:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

June 14, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – Flooding has caused more than $100 million in damage to infrastructure in Arkansas, according to the governor’s request for federal relief.

 

Also, cleanup and removal of debris will cost local governments more than $8.5 million. State officials estimate that $27 million is needed for temporary housing, replacement housing and repairs to existing houses.

 

After a tour of flooded areas, the governor called for a renewed effort to assess the stability of the state’s levee systems.

 

Fortunately, that effort is already under way, thanks to a Senate bill enacted by the legislature during a 2016 special session.

 

Parts of Arkansas experienced flooding in 2015. Senators immediately began work on a plan to modernize the state’s system of levees, many of which were in bad condition. They used a legislative audit as a starting point, and concluded that it was time for a thorough re-organization of the levee system.

 

Legislators learned that it was impossible to accurately determine how many levees needed improvements, because local levee districts were not required to issue reports.

 

Although the governing boards of many levee districts are dedicated and responsible, many boards had faded out of existence. Others were ineffective due to a lack of membership, one reason being that they did not have a mechanism for replacing members who had died or resigned.

Those failings were corrected by Act 7 of the May special session of 2016.

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers inspects levees if the local board joins a federal program. The Corps identifies where maintenance is needed, but has no power to mandate that maintenance be done.

 

The Corps can re-write flood zone maps to indicate areas that are prone to flooding due to inadequate levees. However, in order for necessary improvements to be made, a functioning local board must be in place.

 

Before Act 7, if a governing board had ceased to operate, there was no body to apply for and accept available grants and appropriations. Now, there is a process to replace vacancies and restore the ability of local boards to oversee maintenance of levees.

 

Lottery Scholarships

 

In May, lottery sales generated $8.3 million for college scholarships, which is about $360,000 more than was generated in May of 2018.

 

Lottery officials reported to legislators on an oversight committee that in May public interest was amplified by enormous jackpots in Mega Millions and Powerball games. They are known as draw games. In May, revenue from draw games increased by $2.3 million.

 

However, in May revenue from scratch off games went down by $1.6 million. Lottery officials attributed some of the decline to flooding and bad weather.

 

The fiscal year will end on June 30, and the sales of lottery tickets are on a pace to beat last year’s record of $502.4 million in total sales. Most of that amount was returned to players in the form of prizes, and $91.9 million was set aside for college scholarships.

 

With a month left in this fiscal year, lottery ticket sales have generated $84.9 million for scholarships. The record for a single fiscal year was set in 2012, when $97.5 million was set aside for scholarships. More than 34,000 students have received a scholarship this year.

 

6-14-19 9:59 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekend Activities at QWSP Near Mena, June 14th and 15th

 

Friday, June 14th Activities at Queen Wilhelmina State Park


Wonder House Tour starting at 2:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes at the Wonder House
Do you ever wonder what the Wonder House is about? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and step back into history to see one of the first vacation homes built in the 1930’s.


Arkansas Symbols starting at 3:00 pm and lasting abiout 30 minutes at the Amphitheater
Do you know the symbols of Arkansas? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and find out our state drink, cooking vessel, bird and much more!


Black Bears starting at 4:00 pm and lasting around 30 minutes at the Amphitheater
Do we have bears here at Queen Wilhelmina State Park? Join Park Interpreter Melissa to find out if these once almost extinct animals live near the park.


Sunset Hike starting at 8:15 pm and lasting arounf 45 minutes Beside the telescopes
Join Park Interpreter Melissa, for an easy stroll to watch the sunset. Feel free to bring your camera to take photos of this beautiful view.

 

Saturday, June 15th activities at Queen Wilhelmina State Park Activities 

 

Reservoir Hike starting at 10:00 am and lasting about 1 hour at the Reservoir Trailhead

Join Park Interpreter Melissa on a hike to what used to be the old water system for the 1898 hotel.

 

Wonder House Tour starting at 2:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes at the Wonder House

Do you ever wonder what the Wonder House is about? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and step back into history to see one of the first vacation homes built in the 1930’s.

 

Butterflies starting at 3:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes at the Amphitheater

Join Park Interpreter Melissa as she guides you through a hands-on experience where you’ll learn about nature and create something you can take home. Materials are provided.

 

Volleyball starting at 4:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes at the Volleyball Court

Join Park Interpreter Melissa in an afternoon game of volleyball. No experience needed. Just come and have fun.

 

6-13-19 6:42 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments June 10th

All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes: 

 

State of Arkansas Vs.Isiaha Taylor Sipe, W/M, age 21, Count I: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony.

 

6-13-19 9:06 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for June 12 2019. If there is a body of water youl would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk

 

For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geoloical Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt

 

For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality.

 

6-12-19 10:05 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Mena Police Report for June 2nd - June 8th

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of June 2, 2019 through June 8, 2019

 

June 2, 2019

 

Joni McKee, 38, was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She was also issued an Ordinance citation for being in a park after hours.

 

Curtis Parnell, 34, was arrested on a warrant at a residence.

 

Wayne Johnson, 58, was arrested for Theft of Property by Deception after a call to a department store.

 

Heather Weir, 30, was arrested for Shoplifting after a call to a department store.

 

June 3, 2019

 

A theft complaint was taken from a department store. The case is under investigation.

 

A fraud complaint was taken. The case is under investigation.

 

A harassment complaint was taken.

 

June 4, 2019

 

A complaint was taken of a dog running at large. The case is transferred to animal control.

 

A complaint was taken of a dog running at large. The case is transferred to animal control

 

Kacey Murray, 33, and Zach Cochran, 22, were arrested on warrants after a traffic stop.

 

June 5 and 6th, 2019

 

Officers responded to a disturbance in front of a residence. No charges are filed at this time.

 

June 7, 2019

 

Wesley Weeks, 29, was arrested for Public Intoxication at a business parking lot.

 

Kenneth Bodwell, 50, was arrested on a warrant at a government office.

 

A complaint was taken of a vehicle being vandalized while parked at a business.

 

June 8, 2019

 

A complaint was taken of a dog running at large. The case is transferred to animal control.

 

A complaint was taken of a residence being broken into and items taken. The case is under investigation.

 

Officers responded to a disturbance at a nursing home. No charges have been filed at this time.

 

A theft of a vehicle was taken at a business. The case is under investigation.

 

A complaint was taken of a dog running at large. The case is transferred to animal control.

 

6-12-19 10:21 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Lottery Ticket Sales Total Almost $43 Million In May

Sales for the so called education lottery in Arkansas totaled $42,818,363.50 in May.

 
The highest sales were in Pulaski County at $8,078,139.00.

The lowest sales were in Montgomery County at $35,232.50.
 
Polk County sales were $181,979.50.
 
According to the Arkansas Family Council, the most recent information from the Lottery Commission suggest that only about 16.5% of the gross revenue goes to scholarships.
 
6-11-19 5:23 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report For June 3rd - 9th

SHERIFF’S   LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of June 3 - June 9, 2019.  The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts.  Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.


June 3, 2019
Report of a suspicious vehicle on Highway 88 East near Mena led to the arrest of Karson B. Crawford, 26, of Mena, on Charges of Possession of Meth/Cocaine, Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance, Possession of a Schedule IV/V Controlled Substance, Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and DWI-Drugs.
Report from complainant on Polk 76 West near Mena of an individual that had taken a vehicle without permission then refused to return it.  The vehicle was located and returned to the owner.  A Citation for Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License was issued to Renee D. Veal, 47, of Hatfield.


June 4, 2019
Report of a disturbance on Highway 8 West near Mena.  Deputies responded.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Natasha S. N. Drager, 20, of Mena, on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.


June 5, 2019
Report from complainant on Butler Circle in Hatfield of damage done to a vehicle window.  Deputy responded.
Report from a Mena woman of being harassed by an acquaintance.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


June 6, 2019
Report from complainant on Highway 71 South near Cove of the theft of a rocking chair, valued at $75.00.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 63 in Board Camp of unauthorized persons in their residence.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Freddy Sappington, 42, of Grannis, on Warrants for Terroristic Threatening 1st Degree and Terroristic Threatening 2nd Degree.


June 7, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 267 near Cove of a break-in to their residence.  Investigation continues.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Jessica P. Medina, 36, of Dequeen, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.


June 8, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 117 near Mena of the theft of a fence charger and wire.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Kenneth J. Chaney, 24, of Mena, on a Warrant for a Parole Hold.


June 9, 2019
Traffic stop on Highway 71 South led to the arrest of Isiaha T. Sipe, 21, of Mena, on a Charge of Possession of Methamphetamine.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked one vehicle accident this week.

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 24 Incarcerated Inmates , with 7 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00420

 

6-10-19 12:33 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Sheriff Sawyer On Missing Hiker Rescue, Audio Of First Contact By Rescuers

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer commented in a press release about the almost week long search for a missing hiker in the Caney Creek Wilderness area of Polk County, and the dramatic rescue that thousands listened to live on a stream of the two way radio channel used by rescue workers provided by KAWX Radio. (To listen to the rescue recording, click anywhere on this line, then click on the play button.) Lost or injured hikers are not unusual in the area, but one missing for almost a week is, and the search and eventual rescue of Josh McClatchey caught the attention of the country with news outlets all over the United States and even abroad reporting on it.

McClatchey being loaded into a waiting SW EMS ambulance for transport to Mena regional Health Systems. 
 
The Press Release is below.
 
Press Release
 
6/9/19
 
Polk County Sheriff's Office

Ref: Josh McClatchey
 
Missing hiker Josh McClatchey (age 38) was located by Polk county Search teams late Friday night 6/7/19. McClatchey had been missing since Saturday 6/1/19 in the Caney Creek Wilderness when he became lost of the Buckeye Trail in the wilderness south east of Mena, Arkansas.
 
McClatchey was spotted by an Arkansas National Guard helicopter with the aid of FLIR technology. Sheriff Scott Sawyer said "The aircrew first located him about 1 mile south of the Caney Creek trail at about 9:00 p.m. He was heading north. Once he was spotted Chief Deputy Randy Jewell, USFS Joe Liles, and Arkansas Game and Fish Officer Ray Hines gathered up a team and we guided then towards McClatchey from the air. They sprinted 2.7 miles down a very treacherous trail in about 45 minutes. It was very impressive watching them from the air."
 
The helicopter had to leave to refuel before McClatchey was located. It was off scene for approximately 25 minutes before returning. "McClatchey was still moving north when we returned and it took about 30 minutes for us to reacquire him from the helicopter. Once we spotted him again, the search teams had to scale a steep ridge in the dark to locate McClatchey."
 
Rescuers finally made contact with McClatchey at around 11:30 p.m. Friday night. It toll about 3 1/2 hours to get him off the mountain and then carry him back to the trailhead. From there McClatchey was reunited with his family and transported to Mena Regional Health Systems.

Sheriff Sawyer stated "The team work, the dedication, and the effort pit out by these Rescue teams was truly remarkable. I'd like to thank my Deputies, the Polk County Judge and OEM, The USFS, the Arkansas Game and Fish, the Arkansas State Parks, the Grant County and other SAR teams, ADEM, the Arkansas National Guard, Governor Hutchinson, the Mena Fire Department, and SW EMS for their hard work and professionalism".
 
McClatchey was treated at Mena Regional Health Systems for dehydration and a cut on his head and released.
 
6-10-19 9:53 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena City Council Will Meet June 11th

The Mena City Council will meet Tuesday, June 11, 2019, for their regular monthly meeting. The meeting will be at Mena City Hall and is open to the public.

 
On the agenda is routine business, official reports from the City Clerk / Treasurer, Water and Sewer Commission, Department Heads, and Committees.
 
New business items on the agenda include:
 
Consideration of a Resolution to authorize Mayor Seth Smith and Clerk / Treasurer Linda Rexroad to submit a grant application to the Arkansas Parks and Tourism's Commission Outdoor Recreation Grant Program
 
Consideration of a Resolution to authorize Mayor Seth Smith and Clerk / Treasurer Linda Rexroad to submit a grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration in the amount of $149,400.00 for runway 17-35 rehabilitation (Design Only)
 
Consider quotes received for the purchase of two dump trucks for the Mena Street Department
 
Consider an ordinance to provide for the waiver of competitive bidding in an exceptional situation for the purchase of necessary Street Department equipment; declaring an emergency to exist; and for other purposes
 
Consider cost-share project with Polk County to resurface Fairgrounds Road
 
Council approval for expenditures from the Special County Sales Tax Fund to assist Mena Water Utilities with costs for manhole repairs.
 
The elected Mena City Council consists of Andy Brown, Dwight Douglas, Ed Gibson, Mary Alice Head, Terri Neugent, and James Earl Turner.
 
City Hall is located at 520 Mena Street.
 
6-10-19 6:59 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Gov. Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Historic Flooding Doesn't Dampen Arkansas's Spirit

 
LITTLE ROCK – I have written to President Trump to request that he declare the Flood of 2019 a major disaster and provide the federal assistance that we will need to get back on our feet. My letter outlines the extensive destruction and loss along the Arkansas River and its tributaries from the Oklahoma border to Tennessee.
 
I made this request after I determined that the cost of recovery from the storms and flooding since May 21 is beyond the capacity of the state and local governments. It is important to note that I made the request while we are still under water. We won’t know the full extent of the loss until the water recedes. Early estimates show that nearly 900 homes in eight counties sustained major damage or have been destroyed.
 
I requested individual assistance for those eight counties. We are estimating that our losses will exceed $100 million in terms of public damage. Fortunately, Arkansans have heeded the advice to evacuate and to avoid driving through high water, and only one person has died in the flood.
 
For all the loss we’ve seen, it’s not as bad as it might have been because of the remarkable way Arkansans have pitched in to help – from the 6-year-old in Faulkner County to high school students to senior citizens.
 
People cooked meals for volunteers and delivered meals to those whose health or circumstances prevented them from going to the food sites. Volunteers staffed the shelters for people who had to leave home. And everywhere you looked from the Oklahoma-Arkansas line to the other end of the Arkansas River, people were filling sandbags.
 
Thousands of Arkansans have filled tens of thousands of bags. Six-year-old Collin Bradshaw and his 10-year-old brother, Spencer, were two of the youngest volunteers to shovel sand into bags. They were at the Conway Transportation Department in Faulkner County with their mother, Lindsay, a teacher with Conway Public Schools. She told the Log Cabin Democrat that she was proud to see many of her students helping others when they could have been out enjoying their summer break.
 
Tracy Touts was another teenager bagging sand. The 14-year-old lives near Tucker Creek. He was working at the Beaverfork Fire Department. His work could protect his own home as well as others, he told the Conway newspaper, and he encouraged others to help.
 
High school athletes turned out in big numbers. There’s no way to know how many teams volunteered, but I’m aware of a few – the Wampus Cat football players from Conway, Panthers football players from Greenbrier, Eagles from the Vilonia football team, Charging Wildcats basketball players from North Little Rock High, and a college baseball team, the Oklahoma City Ambassadors, which was in the state for a tournament.
 
Bobbie Peterson was another person who did what needed to be done. This wasn’t her first flood. She’s lived in the Dixie community in North Little Rock for more than 50 years. In the 1990 flood, the water was waist deep, she told a reporter. Bobbie, who is in her 70s, helps deliver meals, and then she goes back to filling bags.
 
The pictures and the video we’ve seen tell us this has been a bad flood. The weather watchers tell us we’ve never seen another one like it, and we’ve only just begun to count the cost. What I love about Arkansas is that I’ve never seen a catastrophe that’s bigger than our people. Thank you, Arkansas, for always rushing to help.
 
6-7-19 6:00 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 4 of adults in the United States have some type of disability. In Arkansas, that number climbs to 1 in 3.

 

In the most recent legislative session, there were a number of acts passed to help better ensure that everybody has the same opportunities to participate in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities.

 

Act 59 amends the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program.  This program allows Arkansans with disabilities to save up to $15,000 in an account without impacting eligibility for many public benefits.  Act 59 ensures that in the event of a death, the money in that savings account cannot be seized by Medicaid but can instead be transferred to a designated beneficiary.

 

Act 825 allows individuals to deduct up to $5,000 in contributions to the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program.

 

We also passed legislation addressing mental health for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

 

Act 644 states a certified mental health professional shall offer culturally affirmative mental health services and linguistically appropriate mental health services to a client in the client’s primary communication method. It also states the Division of Aging, Adult and Behavioral Health Services of DHS shall do the same. The division is also instructed employ a coordinator to ensure linguistically appropriate mental health services are available and accessible statewide.

 

To protect our most vulnerable students, we passed Act 557. This legislation states that a school district shall not use corporal punishment on a child who is intellectually disabled, non-ambulatory, non-verbal, or autistic.

 

We also passed laws addressing how we write or speak about people with disabilities. It is important to put the person first. Catch-all phrases such as “the blind”, “the deaf” or “the disabled”, do not reflect the individuality, equality or dignity of people with disabilities.

 

Act 1035 amends laws regarding treatment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This legislation ensures that respectful language is used within the Arkansas code including changing the term mental retardation to intellectual and developmental disabilities.

 

Act 236 concerns special license plates and certificates for persons with disabilities.  It states the special license plate issued by the DFA should contain the international symbol of access and not display the word "disabled".

 

Together, we can create inclusive communities where people with disabilities can be healthy and lead full, active lives. To find out what your community can do, visit www.cdc.gov.

 

6-7-19 5:36 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Commemorating the Turning Point of WWII

Commemorating the Turning Point of WWII

 

The late Thurlow Fernandez, a WWII veteran who called Sherwood, Arkansas home, recalled during an interview in the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project (VHP) how a medical condition he suffered from on June 6, 1944 prevented him from participating in the invasion of Normandy, France. He said it’s unlikely that he would have come home if he hadn’t been hospitalized because all of his shipmates were killed. More than 6,000 Americans died on D-Day, but their sacrifice and heroism marked the beginning of the end of World War II.

 

I was honored to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in a ceremony with President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and my congressional colleagues. We reflected on the sacrifices that were made on the hallowed ground where American and Allied troops landed and where thousands of individuals gave their lives.

 

The Allied forces’ assault on the German-held French coastline during World War II is the largest amphibious invasion in history. It remains one of our nation’s greatest military achievements. The courage, strength and determination of members of the Greatest Generation who were called to defend freedom on D-Day will forever serve as an inspiration for future generations of Americans.

 

Many of these heroic individuals are buried at the Normandy American Cemetery. The graves of brave Americans dot the landscape where these courageous liberators fought and died. The crosses and Stars of David that mark their places of rest shine in the sun light on the cliffs of Normandy, giving hope for peace and reminding us of the costs of war.

 

The Normandy American Cemetery is the jewel of American Battle Monuments Commission sites. Approximately one million visitors each year pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the D-Day invasion and the battles that followed.

 

The cemetery and visitor center recognize the sacrifice of members of the Armed Forces who served at this turning point of the war, including the story of Private First Class Harold Eugene Sellers of Jonesboro, Arkansas.

 

Sellers was a member of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. As a pathfinder, his mission was to lead the invasion by parachuting behind enemy lines into Normandy and setting up radar and lights for C-47s, which had been loaded with additional paratroopers the night before the amphibious landing. He jumped over France and was targeted by German gunfire. Sellers landed in a tree not far from Utah Beach, where he was killed. He was one of the first American casualties of D-Day.

 

As a co-chair of the Senate French Caucus, I was honored to introduce the Senate-passed resolution recognizing the 75th anniversary of this operation and acknowledging the courage and sacrifice of the Allied troops who came to the aid of those oppressed by the Nazi and Fascist regimes.

 

As we have just marked another anniversary of this historic and momentous occasion, let us resolve to reflect on the sacrifice and heroism displayed on behalf of our nation and the cause of freedom, and let us also commit to let it influence us in ways that challenge us to pursue the same devotion and service to America as the generation that stormed the beaches of Normandy in 1944.

 

6-7-19 12:15 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

June 7, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission distributes funds to seven public health programs. According to an independent evaluation, they’re meeting an overwhelming majority of their goals.

 

The independent evaluation was by a team from the University of Central Arkansas at Conway. In its most recent report to the Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor, the UCA team found that the seven programs had met, or were making progress toward meeting, 78 of 80 “indicator” goals.

 

One of the unmet goals was in the Medicaid Expansion Program paid for with tobacco settlement money. According to the independent evaluators, in late 2018 there was a slight decrease in the number of people getting coverage for hospital care under the program.

 

The other unmet goal was in the UAMS East Regional Campus program for assistance with paying for prescription medicines.

 

It was unmet because the program was discontinued for lack of need for its services, due to the availability of prescription drug coverage under the national Affordable Care Act. For that reason, future evaluation teams will no longer measure the UAMS programs effectiveness in reaching the “indicator” goal.

 

In 2000 the legislature created the Tobacco Settlement Commission and the programs it administers. Arkansas and other states had settled a lawsuit against major tobacco companies, in which the states sought compensation for the costs of treating illnesses caused by smoking.

 

Unlike those of many other states, Arkansas legislators decided to use all of the state’s share of the tobacco settlement to pay for health-related programs, as well as anti-smoking efforts.

 

For example, the UAMS East Campus and the Minority Health Initiative provided health screenings for 8,543 Arkansans at health fairs and wellness events where they work.

 

A portion of the tobacco settlement revenue pays for Medicaid coverage for people who otherwise may not have qualified. Last year 259 people with development disabilities were helped with Medicaid funding paid by the settlement. In all, 7,083 people received Medicaid services paid for by the tobacco settlement. They include pregnant women, senior citizens and eligible adults.

 

Settlement revenues pay for research at the UAMS College of Public Health, such as how to prevent and treat birth defects. Revenues also pay for 206 research projects at the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, which combines teams from Arkansas State University, the University of Arkansas, the U. of A. Division of Agriculture and UAMS.

 

Settlement revenue pays for geriatric care provided by the UAMS Center on Aging, which is working to improve the quality of life and expand the availability of health care of the growing number of seniors in rural areas. The program helps elderly people plan healthier diets, understand the effects of dementia, control their blood pressure and manage diabetes, among other services.

 

The settlement revenue also funds a Prevention and Cessation Program, with the goal of reducing the number of Arkansans who smoke or use tobacco. To measure its successfulness, the program set the baseline as 2013, when 32 percent of young people smoked or used tobacco products. According to its surveys, that rate has decreased to 26.2% in 2015 and to 23.1 percent in 2017.

 

6-7-19 12:00 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments May 31st, June 3rd and 4th

All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes: 

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Joni L. McKee, W/F, age 38, Count I: Possession of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Karson B. Crawford, W/M, age 26, count I: Possession Of A Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count IV: Possession Of A Schedule IV or V Controlled Substance, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. Count V: Possession Of A Schedule I Or II Controlled Substance. Count VI: Driving While Intoxicated, a an Unclassified Misdemeanor. 


State of Arkansas Vs. David Chase Egger, W/M, age 29, Count I: Failure To Comply With Sex And Child Offender Registration And Reporting Requirements, a Class "C" Felony. NOTICE-The State of Arkansas hereby notifies the defendant that it intends to pursue enhanced penalties pursuant to Arkansas Code Ann. 5-4-501 due to the fact that he has been convicted of more than one (1) felony but fewer than four (4) felonies. 

 

State of Arkansas Vs. David Chase Egger, W/M, age 29, Count I: Delivery Of Methamphetamine or Cocaine, a Class "C" Felony. Count II: Delivery Of Methamphetamine Or Cocaine, a Class "C" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Ashley Cain, W/F, age 24, Count I: Probation Violation, a Class "D" Felony. (Original Offense Count I: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.) Bond was set at $5,000.00.

 

6-6-19 1:43 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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City Announces Street Closures, Handicapped Parking During Lum & Abner Festival

The following street closures will begin Thursday morning around Janssen Park in Mena for the safety of Lum & Abner Festival Attendees and Lum & Abner 5K participants. Please drive with care as many people, including small children, will be in the area around the park and downtown!


Thursday, June 6 - Saturday, June 8 No Parking on Janssen Avenue along the street beside the park from 7th to 9th Street during the festival.

 

Closed from 6 pm on Thursday (June 6) to 10 pm on Saturday (June 8): circle drive in Janssen Park. The drive is only open to pedestrian traffic during this time.

 

Closed from 6 pm on Thursday (June 6 to 10 pm on Saturday (June 8): 7th Street from Janssen Avenue to Port Arthur Avenue (includes being closed at Maple Avenue)

 

Festival Parking June 7 – June 8: handicapped & vendor parking off 8th Street by First Baptist Church.

 

Friday, June 7 - Saturday, June 8: Closed from 7 am on Friday (June 7) to 10 pm on Saturday (June 8): Port Arthur Avenue from 7th Street to 9th Street and Port Arthur at 8th Street and 8th Street from the two parking entrances to First Baptist Church to Port Arthur Avenue.

 

Saturday, June 8: Closed from 6 am to 10 pm on Saturday (June 8): 9th Street from Janssen Avenue to Port Arthur Avenue and Maple Avenue at 9th Street.

 

6-5-19 10:27 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Fishing Report

Weekly Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for June 5, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. mls= mean sea level. cfs=cubic feet per second.

 

Click here for this week's fishing report.

 

Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk

 

For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt

 

For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality.

 

6-5-19 5:00 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Sheriff Identifies Lost Hiker, Search Ongoing In Polk County

Searchers in the rugged Caney Creek Wilderness area of southeast Polk County are in their fourth day without results searching for a lost hiker. In addition to multiple searchers on the ground, aircraft has also been used. Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer issued the the following this afternoon.

 

POLK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Sheriff D. Scott Sawyer

June 4, 2019

On the afternoon of Saturday, June 1, 2019, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a lost hiker on the Buckeye Trail in the Caney Creek Wilderness Area east of Mena.  The Caney Creek Wilderness area is a remote and rugged mountainous area southeast of Mena.  It has numerous hiking trails.

The hiker, Joshua McClatchy (37 year-old male from Texas) reported to the caller that he was lost somewhere on the Buckeye Trail.  The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Forest Service sent a team in on the Buckeye Trail but were unable to locate him.  His car was located at the Buckeye Trailhead.

On Sunday, June 2, 2019, teams from the Sheriff’s Office, Forest Service, OEM, Arkansas Game & Fish, and the Mena Fire Department conducted a more extensive search of the Buckeye and Caney Creek trails.

Teams were back in the area on Monday and an aerial search was also conducted.

More searchers from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas Game & Fish, U.S. Forest Service, and Arkansas State Parks were brought in to replace fatigued volunteers on Tuesday morning as the search continued.  Sheriff Sawyer stated that the focus of Tuesday’s search was Short Creek, an area just north of the Buckeye Trail.

“We will do whatever it takes to find Mr. McClatchy and get him home to his family.  We will continues searching and we will find him.  The area we are searching today is extremely tough to negotiate.  It’s rocky, it’s steep, and it’s thick”.

Sheriff Sawyer stated that while lost hikers are common in the area, most are located within a few hours.

 

Click here for our earlier article on the lost hiker.

 

6-4-19 3:39 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for May 26th - June 1st

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of May 26, 2019 through June 1, 2019 

 

May 26, 2019

 

Officers took a theft complaint from a local residence.

 

Patricia Jackson, 51, was arrested for criminal trespassing at a local department store.

 

May 28, 2019

 

Kacey Murray, was arrested on a warrant after a traffic stop

 

May 29, 2019

 

Vicky Franz, 55, was arrested for public intoxication and criminal trespass after a call to a local residence.

 

Patricia Mcallister, 49, was charged with theft of property after a complaint was made from a local department store.

 

A theft report was taken from a local department store. The case is under investigation.

 

May 30, 2019

 

A theft complaint was taken from a man at a local convenience store. Due to the man not wanting to press charges, the case is closed.

 

A theft complaint was taken from a local department store. The case is under investigation.

 

Christopher Ridley, 56, was charged with public intoxication after a call to a disturbance.

 

Ashley Cain, 24, was arrested on a warrant at a local business.

 

May 31, 2019

 

Monica Quillin, 37, was arrested on a warrant at a local residence.

 

Karson Crawford, 26, was arrested for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and careless or prohibited charges after officers responded to an accident on Highway 71.

 

Harold Ingram, 67, was arrested for DWI, careless or prohibited driving, and no vehicle license after officers responded to an accident on Highway 71.

 

A theft report was taken at a local residence. The case is under investigation.

 

June 1, 2019

 

A report of fraudulent use of a debit/credit card was taken. The case is under investigation.

 

Robert Pierce, 40, was arrested for driving on a suspended license and no liability insurance after a traffic stop.

 

Joshua Wilson, 39, was charged with theft of property after a complaint was made from a local department store.

 

6-4-19 8:35 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report For May 27th - June 2nd

 

SHERIFF’S LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of May 27 - June 2, 2019.  The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts.  Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.


May 27, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 141 near Cove of the theft of a pressure washer, valued at $250.00.  Complainant called the next day to advise that their property had been returned.


May 28, 2019
Report from complainant on Race Lane near Mena of an incident that had occurred at an earlier date.
Report from complainant on Polk 78 near Potter of the theft of a vehicle.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Saddler Drive in Wickes of the violation of an Order of Protection.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from complainant on Polk 76 West near Mena of an attempted scam.
Report from complainant on Polk 57 near Nunley of a domestic disturbance that had occurred earlier.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


May 29, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 130 near Rocky of damage done to two vehicle tires.  Investigation continues.


May 30, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 54 near Mena of an abandoned wrecked vehicle on their property.  Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on East Street in Cove of the break-in to a vacant property.  Investigation continues.
Report of a disturbance on Polk 168 near Potter.  Deputies responded.
Arrested was Shawn M. Leach, 27, of Mena, on Charges of Battery 1st Degree and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and a Warrant for Probation Violation.


May 31, 2019
Report from a Mena man of problems regarding child custody exchange.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Highway 71 North near Mena led to the arrest of Natasha S. N. Drager, 20, of Mena, on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.
Report from complainant on Sunset Lane near Vandervoort of a missing family member.  Deputy responded.  The individual was later located.
Report from a Cove man of a disturbance involving juveniles.  Deputy responded.  Information has been forwarded to the Polk County Juvenile Office.


June 1, 2019
Arrested by an officer with Arkansas Probation/Parole was David C. Egger, 29, of Mena, on a Warrant for a Parole Hold.

June 2, 2019
Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 671 near Mena.  Deputy responded.  Suspect fled the scene before deputy arrived.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked one vehicle accident this week.

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 24 Incarcerated Inmates , with 6 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00408

 

6-3-19 5:27 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Search Underway For Missing Hiker In Polk County

Multiple agencies are involved in a ground and air search for a missing hiker in the Buckeye Trail area which is in the Caney Creek Wilderness area located in southeast Polk County.

 
The hiker, a 37 year old man from Texas, started his hike Saturday, June 1st before noon, and around 5:00 p.m. notified his mother by cell phone that he was lost and needed help. 
 
Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer said that a ground search was conducted Saturday evening and again Sunday, and that an air search and more ground searching was conducted Monday with no sign of the hiker.
 
The search involves the Polk County Sheriff's Office, US Forest Service, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Polk County Office of Emergency Management, and firefighters from area fire departments. 
 
6-3-19 3:07 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Dale D.C. Spencer Honored With Street Named For Him

The street going into Tapley Park in Mena has been renamed "Dale D.C. Spencer Lane" in honor of the late Mr. Spencer, who was the Resident Engineer for the almost four year project of the “Talimena Scenic Drive” – Previously known as The Ouachita Skyline Drive, and who brought Aubrey Tapley Park into existence. He was also responsible for an unlimited number of freeways, highways and byways; bridges, railroad lines and waterway draining systems. 

 

Mena Mayor Seth Smith and other city officials hosted a ceremony Monday morning with the Spencer family present to formally re-name the street.

Mr. Spencer died earlier this year. 

 

6-3-19 12:04 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

 

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Mena Weather