KAWX News Archives for 2018-06

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Blockchain Technology Could Revolutionize Arkansas Agriculture

 
LITTLE ROCK – A roomful of business leaders gathered at Mosaic Templars in Little Rock this week to explore the possibilities of a new technology that is changing the way the world does business.
The technology is called blockchain. It is a system that can record and track data in an immutable ledger for government and business – from the mining and sale of diamonds to property records to medical records and almost any other product or service you can name.
 
In Arkansas, we are studying the potential for blockchain in agriculture. The technology can track a crop from the moment it’s planted to the moment someone eats it – from farm to table.
The recent case of E. coli that killed five people and made dozens of people sick eventually was traced to romaine lettuce that was grown in Yuma, Arizona. The search took days, a delay in which even more people ate contaminated lettuce. But even after investigators discovered the source, they couldn’t identify the farm that shipped the contaminated lettuce.
 
If the data had been stored in a blockchain, the Centers for Disease Control could have discovered the source in a matter of seconds. That would have reduced the number of people sickened and possibly saved lives.
 
This is a significant technology for Arkansas, where agriculture is our Number 1 industry. We ship food all over the world, and blockchain technology would allow consumers to develop a higher degree of trust in the crops we export.
 
Tim and Robin Ralston, who were among those who attended the workshop on Wednesday, see blockchain as a obvious step in the future of agriculture. Their family, which came from Scotland, has worked the land for ten generations.
 
The Ralstons already track their rice from the field to your fork. At Ralston Family Farm in Atkins, they grow, harvest, mill and package their rice, documenting it at every stop on paper and with computers. Their attention to these details makes blockchain technology a logical progression.
 
The benefits of blockchain to Arkansas farmers and to agriculture generally are immense. Anytime you can move record keeping from paper and pencil and ledger to digital, you have improved efficiency.
 
If Arkansas is going to lead the way with blockchain in the food-security industry, we must upgrade our rural broadband service, which is essential for our farmers and rural communities.
 
Blockchain is another key to growing the technology part of our economy and providing great jobs for Arkansans. I am grateful to IBM for participating in the summit on Wednesday, and I am eager to see how blockchain will add to our future.
 
6-29-18 7:22 p.m. kawx.org 

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Arkansas Residents Urged to Use Caution with Outdoor Burning throughout July 4th Holiday

Arkansas Residents Urged to Use Caution with Outdoor Burning throughout July 4th Holiday

 

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Dry conditions and weather forecasts for high temperatures, little rain and dry air will create moderate wildfire danger across Arkansas throughout the July 4thholiday. With firework displays planned between now through the following weekend, the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC) advises residents to use caution and closely monitor for outdoor burning and sparks from firework displays.

 

The Arkansas Agriculture Department (AAD) Dispatch Center is operational 24 hours every day, including holidays.  Residents can report wildfires to the Dispatch Center by calling 1-800-468-8834. 20 Arkansas counties in central and southwest areas are currently under moderate wildfire danger; all other counties remain under low wildfire danger at this time. There are currently no active Arkansas Burn Bans.  Stay updated on wildfire danger and burn bans, which are declared by county judges, at www.arkfireinfo.org.

 

“We want Arkansans to enjoy July 4th celebrations across the state, but to pay close attention to sparks from firework displays and flames from outdoor burning,” says State Forester Joe Fox. “Conditions vary across counties but in some areas the heat and lack of humidity are drying out grasses and forests.  We are asking all Arkansans to be mindful of their surroundings and be extra careful to extinguish embers remaining from fireworks and campfires. Our crews are ready to assist in all areas of the state in any way that we can to ensure a safe, fun holiday for everyone.”

 

Thus far in 2018, 17,150 acres have burned in 790 wildfires.  In June, 1,473 acres have burned in 90 wildfires. Last year, a total of 1,566 wildfires burned 27,549 acres. The most recent highest wildfire frequency year was in 2012 when 2,148 wildfires burned 34,434 acres.

 

“While we hope for a relaxing 4th of July holiday for all Arkansans we have personnel and equipment located throughout the state that are ready to respond at a moment’s notice,” says Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward. “Keeping Arkansans and our natural resources safe is a primary part of our mission. We appreciate everyone taking additional precautions during fireworks ceremonies and other holiday celebrations in the coming weeks.”

 

The AFC is an agency of the Arkansas Agriculture Department (AAD). The AAD is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation.  Visit www.agriculture.arkansas.gov.

 

6-29-18 4:54 p.m. kawx.org 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Working Toward a Fair & Equitable Farm Bill

 

America’s farm economy is in a much different place than it was last time Congress passed a Farm Bill. Farmers and ranchers are experiencing the most fragile farm economy since the 1980’s farm crisis.

 

Farm bankruptcies are up by 39 percent since 2014. Financing is becoming more expensive. Input costs are rising and the trade outlook is volatile and uncertain. Farmers across the country—regardless of where they call home or which crops they grow—are hurting.

 

This is a particularly troubling trend for a state like Arkansas, where 95 percent of the state’s land resources are devoted to agriculture and forestry. Agriculture is a driving force of the Natural State’s economy, adding around $16 billion to our economy every year and accounting for approximately one in every six jobs.

 

That is why Senate passage of a bipartisan Farm Bill was an important step forward. With the current Farm Bill set to expire at the end of September, we must pass a new one in a timely manner to provide certainty and predictability to the folks who feed and clothe our nation and the world.

 

Programs authorized by the Farm Bill are vital to making sure that, as a nation, we do not become dependent on other countries for our food supply. These programs allow our nation’s family farms to compete in a high-risk, heavily subsidized global marketplace.

 

Along with providing key risk management tools for our farmers, the Farm Bill also helps our rural communities by authorizing key economic development and job creation programs. It helps rural Arkansans with everything from home financing to internet access to small business loans.

 

The Agriculture Committee, under the leadership of Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), approved a fair and equitable Farm Bill with overwhelming bipartisan support. I was particularly pleased to see that the committee-passed mark maintained strong farm policy for producers of all stripes. Ensuring that producers across the nation have options that meet their specific needs when those needs are so varied is a delicate balance to strike, but the Chairman and the Ranking Member achieved it.

 

I was pleased to see the process move forward with consideration and passage of the bill by the full Senate. However, I have serious concerns about provisions that were included at the last minute that have the potential to negatively impact farmers in Arkansas and across the country.

 

One provision in particular, aimed at bolstering small family farms, will in fact hurt family farms across the country. USDA estimates that Arkansas will be the third-most impacted state behind Texas and Illinois. Iowa will be the fourth-most impacted state. This provision does not discriminate against regions, it discriminates against farmers and those who feed and clothe this nation.

 

I am committed to working with my colleagues to address these concerns so that the final bill ensures all farmers and ranchers are able to compete on a level playing field in the global marketplace. We can provide our farmers and ranchers with the certainty and predictability they need to succeed if the final Farm Bill is free of provisions that undermine the delicate balance we struck at the committee level.

 

6-29-18 4:37 p.m. kawx.org 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, summer months are the most dangerous time of year to be on the road.

 

There are more young people behind the wheel, more construction zones, and more cars on the road.

 

In fact, during the upcoming July 4th holiday period, nationwide projections indicate the number of Americans who plan to travel fifty miles or more away from home could top 47-million travelers.

 

Arkansas State Police are attempting to keep our roads safer in a number of ways.

 

First, the agency is increasing saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints this week as part of its Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

 

Statistics from the 2016 Fourth of July reporting period reveal that 188 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Compared to 2015, this is a 28 percent increase.

 

Second, the agency is also cracking down on drivers improperly using the left lane.

 

In the past 12 months, troopers have stopped about 1,100 drivers cruising in the left lane.

 

Driving in the left lane for anything other than passing can make other cars slow down and create a traffic backup.

 

Safety officials point to studies showing driving 5 mph slower than surrounding traffic is just as likely to cause an accident as speeding.

 

In 2013, the General Assembly addressed this by passing Act 965. It states:

“Motor vehicles shall not be operated continuously in the left lane of a multilane roadway whenever it impedes the flow of other traffic.”

 

This not only help ease congestion, it also provides a clear path for emergency vehicles.

 

And as a reminder, in 2017, the General Assembly voted to increase the penalty for texting and driving.  The fine is $250 for the first offense. The legislation also clarifies that reading or posting on social media while driving is prohibited.

 

If you’d like to learn more about traffic laws in our state, we encourage you to follow the Arkansas State Police Facebook page where they frequently post traffic tips and safety guidelines.

 

6-29-18 1:46 p.m. kawx.org

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JULY 4th REMINDER: DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER

Arkansas Police & Deputies On The Lookout For Drunk Drivers
 
    (LITTLE ROCK) – During the upcoming July 4th holiday period, nationwide projections indicate the number of Americans who plan to travel fifty miles or more away from home could top 47-million travelers, according to the American Automobile Association.
 
    Law enforcement records show a pattern of increased consumption of alcohol by many drivers during the summer holiday period.
 
    Statistics from the 2016 Fourth of July reporting period reveal a fateful fact that 188 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.  Compared to 2015, this is a 28 percent increase.
 
   The Arkansas State Police and local law enforcement agencies will assign additional personnel to saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints beginning June 28 through July 9.  This effort is part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign designed to educate, identify and apprehend drunk drivers. 
 
    “No matter your age, if you’ve been drinking or may be impaired in any manner, you should find a safe and sober ride to your destination or face the likelihood of being arrested,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “We will show no tolerance and accept no excuses in our dedication to protect travelers, not only during the holiday, but all year long.”
 
   The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office recommends these alternatives to drinking and driving:
 
  • It’s never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to your destination safely. Plan a safe way home before you leave.
  • If you’ve been drinking, call a taxi or someone who is sober to get you home.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road call 911.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.
  • Buckle up, always.  Your seat belt is your best defense against the drunk driver.
   
For more information on the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. Information about Arkansas' ongoing "Toward Zero Deaths" campaign to eliminate preventable traffic deaths can be found at www.TZDarkansas.org.
 
6-29-18 9:42 a.m. kawx.org 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

June 29, 2018

 

LITTLE ROCK – School officials are still hammering out the details of a new law that grants charter schools a right of access if they want to purchase facilities that are unused or under-utilized by the local school district.

 

A specific source of disagreement is the definition of “under-utilized.” School district officials expressed concern that buildings used for storage could be categorized as under-utilized if they were not full throughout the year.

 

One school official questioned how many events had to occur at a school auditorium to prevent it from being categorized as underutilized. The proposed rules were clarified to ensure that an auditorium continues to serve its purpose even if it used only a few times a semester.

 

The law is Act 542 of 2017. It clarifies the right of first refusal of charter schools wishing to buy or lease unused or under-utilized school district property. Its passage was opposed by some educators who had concerns about the impact it would have on local public schools.

 

In the Senate the bill passed by a vote of 25-to-4, with six senators not voting. In the House, the bill failed the first time it was voted on, but its sponsors eventually won sufficient support for it to pass by a vote of 53-to-32.

 

As with most new laws, passage of the bill did not officially complete the process. The next step was for officials in the state Education Department, at the Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation, to put the law’s provisions into a new set of rules.

 

Last week the Commission that oversees the division voted to add some new language to the proposed rules. Next there will be a period of public comment on the changes.

It will be the third public comment period on implementation of Act 542.

 

During the first public comment period, the superintendent of a small, rural district said the rules should allow for reciprocal treatment of charter school property and equipment.

 

He suggested that the rules should allow traditional schools to use charter school facilities if they are under-utilized. His suggestion was not put into the rules.

 

A legislative sponsor of Act 542 voiced concerns that during the drafting of the rules, legislators were not contacted to ask them their intent when they filed the bill.

 

The difficulty in finalizing the rules reflects how strongly people these days feel about public education, and how administrators should accommodate parents’ wishes for expanded school choice.

 

Just as rapid developments in technology are changing the workplace, they also are driving much of the debate on charter schools, because some charters rely heavily on innovative techniques.

 

Officials of traditional school districts point out that they cannot choose their students. They must educate children with special needs, children from low-income families and children who do not speak English as their native language.

 

Some areas of Arkansas have few if any charter schools, but Act 1066 of 2017 outlines how parents can transfer their children to school districts other than the one in which they live.

Charter schools are public schools, but they are not held to the same set of regulations with which traditional schools must comply.

 

In exchange for being allowed to experiment with innovative teaching methods, they must sign a charter, which is basically a performance contract, with the state Education Department.

 

6-29-18 9:21 a.m. kawx.org

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Mena Downtown Gets Grant From The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program

LITTLE ROCK—The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, has awarded $2,963,781 in grants for projects in 58 Arkansas counties through its County Courthouse Restoration Grant, Historic Preservation Restoration Grant and Main Street Downtown Revitalization Grant programs.

 

       DAH Director Stacy Hurst said, “These grants help protect our state’s historic resources, encouraging community revitalization, civic pride and quality of life. We are proud to partner with these entities and protect the best of authentic Arkansas.”  

 

       Twenty-four counties shared $1,755,986 in County Courthouse Restoration Grants, which are financed through Real Estate Transfer Tax funds distributed by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council for rehabilitation of historic county courthouses across Arkansas. Funding requests totaled $6,912,992.

 

       Counties receiving courthouse grants were Arkansas, $5,280; Boone, $56,510; Bradley, $36,000; Cleburne, $40,000; Cleveland, $29,500; Crittenden, $20,000; Dallas, $47,500; Desha, $235,430; Hot Spring, $100,000; Independence, $54,600; Johnson, $37,510; Lafayette, $40,000; Lawrence, $215,730; Lee, $100,000; Lincoln, $66,498; Little River, $127,000; Madison, $57,153; Monroe, $16,577; Montgomery, $24,000; Pike, $82,500; Prairie, $74,269; Stone, $111,929; Van Buren, $102,000, and Washington, $76,000.

 

       Twenty-nine projects shared $874,795 in Historic Preservation Restoration Grants (HPRG), which distribute funds raised through the Real Estate Transfer Tax to rehabilitate buildings listed on the Arkansas or National Registers of Historic Places and owned by local governments or not-for-profit organizations. Grant requests totaled $2,279,416.

 

       HPRG recipients, the amount of their grants, and the properties to be restored, were Bradley County Historical Museum, $10,540 for roof and siding restoration at the John Martin House in Warren;  City of Arkadelphia, $19,333 for roof restoration at the Missouri-Pacific Depot; City of Eureka Springs, $9,999 for documentation and restoration work at the Eureka Springs Cemetery; City of Highfill, $20,000 for roof restoration at the Highfill Community Center; City of Little Rock, $63,333 for roof and masonry restoration at the Oakland and Fraternal Cemetery Mausoleum; City of Nashville, $10,000 for restoration work at the American Legion Building; City of Osceola, $39,757 structural frame restoration at the Coston Building; City of Paris, $10,000 for HVAC and electrical upgrades at the American Legion Hut; City of Paragould, $20,000 for roof restoration at the Linwood Mausoleum; City of Rogers, $16,667 for window restoration at the Victory Theater; City of Stephens, $67,000 for wood-deck restoration on the Arkansas Highway 57 Bridge; City of Warren, $50,000 for HVAC and to make the former Warren and Ouachita Railway Station accessible to all; Drew County Historical Society and Museum, $94,265 for roof restoration at the Garvin Cavaness House in Monticello; Fort Smith Museum of History, $18,000 for masonry restoration at the Atkinson-Williams Warehouse that houses the museum; Garland County, $79,333 for roof restoration at the former National Guard Armory; Huntsville School District, $19,667 for moisture control and restoration work at the St. Paul School in St. Paul; Little River County Training School Alumni Association, $20,000 for an accessible bathroom at the Home Economics Building near Ashdown; Mount Salem School/Church, $10,000 for roof and front entrance restoration at the school near Paris; Nevada County Industrial Development and Charitable Foundation, $8,985 for monument conservation and vegetation control at the Moscow Cemetery near Prescott; People Helping Others Excel by Example (P.H.O.E.B.E), $30,964 for structural repair at the John L. Webb House in Hot Springs; Perry County Historical Museum, $12,000 for window and door restoration at the former American Legion Hut; Prairie County, $36,371 for window restoration at the former First Presbyterian Church in Des Arc; Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, $19,435 for a condition assessment of the Fitzgerald Station and Homestead in Springdale; Singleton Cemetery Association, $4,000 for restoration work at the Singleton Cemetery in Charleston; St. John’s Episcopal Church, $50,221 for restoration work at the church in Fort Smith; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, $51,678 for basement, window and roof restoration at the church in Batesville; Trumann Community House, $10,000 for an accessible bathroom at the Poinsett Community Club in Trumann; Valley Springs School District, $41,712 for window restoration and other work at the Ole Main Building, and Women’s Literary Club of Van Buren, $31,553 for restoration work at the former First Presbyterian Church.

 

       Twenty-one Main Street Arkansas programs shared $315,000 in Downtown Revitalization Grants, which are funded through the state Real Estate Transfer Tax and are available to accredited Main Street programs for building rehabilitations, parks, streetscape improvements and other design-related projects that will have major long-term impacts in the local Main Street area.

       Main Street programs in Batesville, Blytheville, Dumas, El Dorado, Eureka Springs, Helena-West Helena, Osceola, Ozark, Paragould, Rogers, Russellville, Searcy, Siloam Springs, Texarkana, West Memphis, the Conway Downtown Partnership, Downtown Little Rock Partnership, Downtown Jonesboro Association, Southside Main Street Project, Pine Bluff Downtown Development and the Argenta Downtown Council in North Little Rock each received $15,000 grants through the program.

 

       An additional $18,000 in Downtown Revitalization Grants was awarded to cities involved in Main Street’s Arkansas Downtown Network. Grants of $1,000 each were awarded to the programs in Arkadelphia, Clarksville, Forrest City, Fort Smith, Hardy, Heber Springs, Hope, Malvern, Mena, Monticello, Morrilton, Newport, Paris, Pocahontas, Prairie Grove, Rector, Warren and Wynne.

 

       For more information on the AHPP’s grant programs, write the agency at 1100 North Street, Little Rock, AR 72201, call the agency at (501) 324-9880, send e-mail to info@arkansaspreservation.org or visit www.arkansaspreservation.org.

 

       The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is the division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other divisions are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.

 

6-28-18 11:33 a.m. kawx.org 

      

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Lake Wilhelmina Dam Upgrades Underway

MENA - Anglers who frequent Lake Wilhelmina in Polk County have seen a little less of the lake than usual this year. The lake has been 5 feet low throughout spring and summer, waiting for upgrades to water-control structures.

 

“The lake has been 5 feet low since December, when it was drawn down to its normal winter level,” said Jason Olive, assistant chief of fisheries management for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “We had planned to upgrade the structures that maintain water levels during the drawdown, but have been unable to finish work on them so far. With such a large watershed, these upgrades are extremely important to regulate water control on Wilhelmina and prevent flood issues. The lake can rise or fall quickly because of the many feeder creeks that flow into it during a rain.”

 

The two water-control structures that regulate water levels on this 200-acre lake have been in place since 1958. The upgrades are necessary to prevent any catastrophic failures due to age and deterioration, which would require the lake to be drained to repair.

 

Although unsightly for the moment, the lake is still an excellent place to wet a line. Brett Hobbs, regional fisheries supervisor in the AGFC’s Hot Springs office, says recent electrofishing surveys indicate the largemouth bass population is as healthy as it’s ever been.

 

A courtesy dock at Lake Wilhelmina completely out of the water during the 5-foot drawdown. “Many people will look at a lowered lake and think the fish in it have been decimated,” Hobbs said. “But in reality, a short-term lack of water can help a fishery. Some grasses can grow on the shoreline, which will then offer some cover and help put some nutrients back into the water as they decompose when the lake is flooded. It’s not a major impact, but it will help the lake’s fertility.”

 

All upgrades are scheduled to be complete by the end of June, at which time the water-control structures will be closed to trap rainwater and refill the lake to normal level. Although construction has lasted into the typically drier part of the year, the lake’s large watershed may be a benefit.

 

“That same condition of fast-rising water that makes it essential to upgrade the lake’s infrastructure may help us out,” Hobbs said. “It doesn’t take long to fill this lake once the rain comes.”

 

6-28-18 8:26 a.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 27, 2018. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com 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.

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. 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

 

6-28-18 8:22 a.m. kawx.org 


 

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Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge Applauds SCOTUS Ruling Protecting Public Employees' First Amendment Rights

Rutledge Applauds SCOTUS Ruling Protecting Public Employees’ First Amendment Rights

 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge applauded the Supreme Court of the United States decision in Janus v. AFSCME.

 

“The United States Supreme Court has once again stood up for the First Amendment and against forcing public employees to pay money to unions that promote political messages and workplace policies with which those employees disagree,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I was pleased to submit an amicus brief to the Court on this significant case and was very glad to learn the Court agreed with our arguments.”

 

6-28-18 7:23 a.m. kawx.org 

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules State Can't Force Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortion

U.S. Supreme Court Rules State Can’t Force Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

 

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law that required pregnancy resource centers to tell pregnant women that low-cost and publicly funded abortion is available in California, and to give the women a phone number to call.

 

Family Council President Jerry Cox issued a statement, saying, "This is a really good ruling. California, Illinois, and Hawaii have passed laws that effectively require pregnancy resource centers to do abortion referrals. Pregnancy resource centers exist to help women choose options besides abortion. Forcing them to promote abortion goes against their very purpose. I’m glad the U.S. Supreme Court understood that and struck down California’s law today."

 

Cox said the ruling is good for pregnancy resource centers in Arkansas. "Legislators in Arkansas haven’t tried to regulate pregnancy resource centers the way politicians in other states have, but this court decision still helps Arkansas’ pregnancy resource centers. The ruling protects Arkansas’ pregnancy resource centers just as much as it does the centers in California. The court’s decision does not call into question any of the good laws that Arkansas has passed in recent years requiring abortion facilities to give women all the facts about abortion—including its risks, consequences, and alternatives. The ruling reaffirms that the government cannot force people to violate their deeply-held religious convictions. All in all, that’s good for everyone."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerry Cox, President

Family Council 

 

6-26-18 11:03 a.m. kawx.org 

 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For June 18th Through June 24th

SHERIFF’S LOG
 
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of June 18, 2018 – June 24, 2018.  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 18, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 15 near Hatton of a reckless driver.  Deputy responded.
Report of a disturbance on Polk 286 near Hatfield.  Deputies responded.  Both parties refused to press charges.
Arrested was Zackery A. Pelz, 27, of Mena, on a Warrant for Battery 3rd Degree.
 
June 19, 2018
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Jennifer Beke, 27, of Wickes, on a Montgomery County Warrant.
Arrested was Chad A. Aucion, 34, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.
 
June 20, 2018
Report of a disturbance on Polk 121 near Mena.  Deputies responded.
Report from complainant on Highway 8 West near Rocky of the theft of an antique doll and three firearms.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Highway 71 South near Cove of a battery.  Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Isaac L. B. Cain, 24, of Mena, on a Warrant for Bond Revocation.
 
June 21, 2018
Report of an ATV accident near Highway 246 West near Hatfield.  Deputies responded.
Arrested by an officer with Arkansas Probation/Parole was Ava M. Dixon, 24, of Gillham, on a Probation/Parole Hold.
 
June 22, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 37 near Potter of a vehicle on fire.  Deputies responded.
Issued Citations for Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia was Katie D. Flood, 19, of Vandervoort.  Additional information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Bobby B. Huber, 25, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with Offender Reporting Requirements.
Arrested was Joshua B. Bolton, 41, of Mena, on a Warrant for Delivery of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance.
 
June 23, 2018
Report from complainant on Highway 8 East near Big Fork of the theft of a boat & trailer, fishing items, tools and camping items, all valued at $2,370.00.  Investigation continues.
 
June 24, 2018
Report of a disturbance on Polk 75 near Mena led to the arrest of Kasi Dollarhyde, 35, and Donnie R. Dollarhyde, 44, both of Mena, each on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.
Arrested was Rusty J. Stine, 22, of Mena, on Charges of DWI and No Vehicle License.
 
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked three vehicle accidents this week.
 
Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 20 Incarcerated Inmates, with 5 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.
 
PC18-00391
 
6-25-18 4:12 p.m. kawx.org 

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Mena Bearcat Justin Dean Represented Mena On West All-Star Football Team

Dean Represents MHS on West All-Star Football Team

By Andy Philpot

 

Justin Dean, 2018 Mena High School graduate, took part in the 2018 Arkansas High School Football All-Star Game this past Saturday night, which was held at the University of Central Arkansas campus in Conway. Dean was one of 44 players named to the West team, which defeated the East squad by a score of 52-21.

 

Dean, who played on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball as a member of the Mena Bearcats football team from 2015-2017, was part of the defensive line and special teams of the West All-Star team on Saturday night.

 

Dean’s senior season with the Bearcats was cut short due to a broken hand, but his time on the field was impressive and successful enough to gain the attention of other coaches around the Arkansas High School Coaches Association to be selected as a football all-star, after initially being nominated by Mena Head Coach Tim Harper. High School All-Stars for any of the sports must be student athletes who have just completed their senior year of high school.

 

While Dean may have played his final football game representing the Mena Bearcats, his football career isn’t over yet. Dean signed his Letter of Intent to play college football for the Ouachita Baptist University Tigers beginning this fall.

 

Dean was the first Mena Bearcat football player to be named an All-Star since Malachi McGee was an All-Star in 2013.

 

6-25-18 4:04 p.m. kawx.org 

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Polk County Treasurer Tanya Fretz Releases Sales And Road Improvement Tax Information for June 2018

The Polk County Sales Tax is 1% and the Polk County Road Improvement Tax is 1%. Increased revenue for Polk County from the sales tax and special road tax would suggest that local retailers are seeing increased sales. Some online retailers, like Amazon, are now collecting and remitting taxes which helps municipalities. 

 

In June 2018, they each generated $122,545.00

 

The year-to-date total for each is $757,060.00, for a total of $1,514,120.00.

 

The total collected to date is $96,694.00 more than for the same period (January thru June) in 2017. 

 

6-25-18 3:39 p.m. kawx.org 

 

 

 

 

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Mena Police Department Report for June 17th - 23rd

Mena Police Department Reports for weeks of June 17, 2018 through June 23, 2018 follows:
 
June 17, 2018
 
Report was made of a possible battery against a local man.  Case is pending further investigation and interview of all parties involved.
 
June 18, 2018
 
Officers responded to a call at the local hospital regarding a patient who had become unruly and had damaged a door.  Case was forwarded to the prosecuting attorney for review and possible issuance of a warrant.
 
Report was made of a customer at a local store being verbally abusive and swearing at employees and customers.  Case was sent to the prosecuting attorney for possible issuance of a warrant.
 
June 19, 2018
 
Kaitlen A. Cairns, 27, of Mena, and Chelsea Dawn McKiski, 25, of Waldron were each charged with hindering apprehension after officers responded to a call regarding a possible fugitive at a local residence.
 
A 15-year-old Mena youth was cited for cruelty to animals after officers investigated an incident at a local residence.
 
Jammie Yandell, 36, of Mena was arrested on a warrant from Scot County.
 
June 20 & 21, 2018
 
Kevin Grahn, 24, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Polk County.
 
A local woman reported that on or near these dates someone had been sending inappropriate text messages to her daughter.  Case is under investigation.
 
A local man reported that he is having issues with the parties from whom he is buying a house.  No charges at this time.
 
June 22 & 23, 2018
 
Officers responded to a report of a man lying in a ditch near a local street.   The man was able to converse with officers, but was incoherent.  He was taken by ambulance to the local hospital.
 
6-25-18 8:58 a.m. kawx.org 

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All Aboard! - Queen Wilhelmina Train Ride May Be Open For Fourth of July

Popular Miniature Train Ride Attraction At Queen Wilhelmina State Park Given New Life

 

The very popular miniature train at Queen Wilhelmina State Park near Mena has been closed since last year, and for sometime it appeared would not be reopening due to a dispute between the state parks department and the owner of the private concession. The train had been on Rich Mountain for decades, having first been placed into operation before the state park even existed by Mena businessman and former State Senator Landers Morrow.


When word got out that the train would not be reopening and instead a walking trail would be placed in the space the tracks used, thousands of people from not only the Mena area, but from all over the United States and even Canada, voiced their displeasure with the decision by calling and emailing Arkansas Parks Director Grady Spann, members of the Parks and Tourism Commission, as well as legislators and the Governor.

 

After a great deal of negotiating, the Parks and Tourism Commission voted this week to approve a new lease with concession owner Ronnie Waggoner of Norman, Arkansas. 

 

Waggoner says the train is being readied and that he hopes to be open by the Fourth of July.

 

The train will be open for rides Tuesdays through Saturdays, seasonally, from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. tickets will be $6.50 each.

6-23-18 7:33 a.m. kawx.org 

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Governor Hutchinson Weekly Radio Address: One Man's Legacy is a New Generation's Opportunity

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

 

LITTLE ROCK – I helped cut the ribbon on yet another Arkansas tech education school on Wednesday, this one at the South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado.

The Charles A. Hays Advanced Manufacturing Training Center is the most recent addition to Arkansas schools that offer training and certification in skills such as welding, diesel maintenance, nursing, aviation, and information technology.

When I was elected governor, 58 school districts were unserved by secondary career centers. We have now cut that number to 21 unserved school districts. We will continue to make progress.

The business leaders in Union and Calhoun counties expressed their need to beef up the local workforce with highly-trained employees for the increasingly sophisticated equipment at their plants.

As a result, the Hays center came to life through contributions from private businesses, and grants from government agencies. Public-private partnerships such as these have accelerated Arkansas’ economic development.

One company that donated to the school is The Systems Group, which the late Charles A. Hays founded in El Dorado. Mr. Hays, who was cut from the same cloth as many of our state’s other successful entrepreneurs, was born in Calion in a house with dirt floors. As a teenager, he worked at a full-service gas station, and washed and waxed cars after hours. Mr. Hays’ son jokes that his father’s customers didn’t realize his compensation included joy rides in their automobiles.

Along the way, Mr. Hays was a bricklayer, a pipefitter, a welder and an air-conditioning installer. His ambition to own his own company led him to convince the owner of the concrete company where he started out to sell the company to him and to finance it. He scraped together money to buy 13 coin-operated laundries. He started bidding small construction jobs, expanded his services, and enlarged his territory to include pipefitting at steel mills. Now his business conducts business all over the world.

Mr. Hays’ generosity, his kindness, his cooperative spirit, and his creative thinking are characteristics that have made Arkansas a great place to do business. The Advanced Manufacturing Training Center and its staff embody his work ethic and ingenuity, which will inspire everyone who trains there.

Mr. Hays worked with his hands, and he cherished those who followed in his footsteps. This training center will give those who follow him a head start that he didn’t have. For all that Charles Hays accomplished in his life, imagine what he might have accomplished if he could have studied at one of our workforce training centers when he was 18.

 

6-22-18 6:36 p.m. kawx.org

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column-Protecting America, Our Allies and Our Interests

Protecting America, Our Allies and Our Interests

 

Several of my colleagues and I recently visited American military posts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The trip gave us an opportunity to check in on American troops—including several Arkansans—serving abroad and find out what we can be doing to ensure that they can safely and successfully complete their important missions. Meeting with our military leaders at these bases, and talking with the service members under their command, gives me great confidence in the ability of our Armed Forces to deter, prevent and respond to threats and provocations against the United States and our allies.

 

These brave men and women are working to protect our national security interests amid growing concerns about the activities of countries including Russia and Iran, as well as non-state actors like ISIS, Boko Haram and other radical groups. The work being done by our military personnel at these posts ensures that our nation is prepared to meet any crisis or challenge to ourselves or our allies head on.

 

The trip was timely given the Senate debate on legislation to provide our troops with the necessary resources, equipment and training began upon our return. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes $716 billion for our nation’s defense to ensure our military is prepared to address the wide range of threats the U.S. and our allies face in the world today. It also authorizes a 2.6 percent pay raise for our troops—the largest pay raise for our service members in almost a decade. This extra money in their paychecks will improve the quality of life for the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms.

 

The Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill. Now both chambers of Congress will address the differences in our two versions of the NDAA before sending the approved compromise legislation to the president. As members merge the two bills, there is one very important provision in the Senate version that should remain intact—my amendment to require the Pentagon to conduct an assessment of the need for combat enablers while it determines whether we should permanently station a U.S. Army brigade combat team in Poland.

 

When I visited with our military leadership in Poland, they stressed it was critical that the U.S. maintain forces in Europe to serve as a deterrence to Russian aggression. The underlying text of the Senate-passed NDAA included language that would require the Secretary of Defense to conduct an assessment of the feasibility and advisability of permanently stationing a U.S. Army brigade combat team in Poland. Military leadership on the ground there emphasized the importance of having combat enablers—such as engineers, electronic warfare and intelligence experts—to support the brigade combat team’s efforts to deter aggression by Russia and execute contingency plans.

 

Combat enablers are the essential non-combat force that help to maintain our defense posture around the globe. They can help us prepare for the serious threats Russia poses to our allies and interests in Eastern Europe. If we are going to maintain forces in Poland, we should set them up to succeed by stationing combat enablers with them.

 

The feedback I’ve received from our military leaders tells me that we have to be strategic and clear-eyed about the situation developing in Eastern Europe. Combat enablers in Poland would be key to upholding our commitment to give our servicemen and women all the tools and resources needed to see their missions through to a safe completion.

 

6-22-18 5:23 p.m. kawx.org 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Doctors at Arkansas Children’s Hospital see the most burn cases every year between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  And nationwide, more than 10,000 people are burned every year by fireworks.

 

Over the years, the legislature has passed several laws regarding the use and sale of fireworks. For as long as Americans can remember, we have celebrated the birth of our nation with shows in public squares and smaller displays at home. We want to ensure that continues while at the same time make common sense decisions to protect Arkansans.

 

So this week, we’d like to remind you about a few of the laws on the books regarding fireworks.

 

Licenses or permits from state police are required for individuals to manufacture, distribute, import, distribute, sell wholesale or retail, or shoot a combination of fireworks within the state of Arkansas.

 

It is unlawful to sell any fireworks to children under twelve years of age or to any person known to be intoxicated or irresponsible.

 

Fireworks may only be sold at retail stands to Arkansas residents from June 20th to July 10th and from December 20th to January 5th

 

During the most recent regular session, the legislature passed Act 1093 which allows a business to apply with state police for permission to sell fireworks year round if they have a permanent physical location. 

 

Municipalities can also regulate or prohibit the sale or use of fireworks independently so double check with your local laws concerning the use and sell of fireworks this holiday season.

 

We also want to remind you of a law we passed in 2013 which prohibits the sale and use of sky lanterns. Also known as floating lanterns or Chinese lanterns, these devices have been known to cause structure fires and wildfires.

 

We hope all of you have a very happy and safe 4th of July. 

 

6-22-18 5:16 p.m. kawx.org 

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Arkansas State Highway Commission Releases Statewide Transportation Improvement Program for Public Comment

Arkansas State Highway Commission Releases Statewide Transportation Improvement Program for Public Comment

 

LITTLE ROCK (6-22) – The Arkansas State Highway Commission is pleased to announce the release of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) for Federal Fiscal Years 2019-2022.

 

The public is invited to review and comment on the contents of this document through July 25, 2018. The STIP may be downloaded from the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) web site at: http://www.ardot.gov.

 

The STIP may also be reviewed at the ARDOT’s Central Office or District Offices, the State Clearinghouse, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Offices, or the local Planning/Economic Development District Offices.

 

The projects listed are the State's overall highway and transit programs and encompass all areas of the State. With respect to urban areas greater than 50,000 in population, MPOs have included individual projects in their Transportation Improvement Programs. For additional information on projects located within an MPO area, the MPO may be consulted.

 

This Program is consistent with the State's long range plan and includes roadway, bridge, safety, intersection improvement, and transit projects. This document is prepared in response to Title 23 United States Code, Section 135 – Statewide Planning Requirements, as continued by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Copies of the Draft STIP are also available by mail when requested through ARDOT’s Program Management Division at (501) 569-2262.

 

All comments regarding the STIP should be submitted in writing to:

Kevin Thornton

Assistant Chief Engineer – Planning

Arkansas Department of Transportation

P.O. Box 2261

Little Rock, Arkansas 72203.

 

6-22-18 9:42 a.m. kawx.org 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague-Arkansas Teacher Pay Ranked 42nd In The Nation, 22nd With Cost Of Living Adjustment

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

June 22, 2018

 

LITTLE ROCK – Last year the average teacher salary in Arkansas was $48,304, which ranked 42nd in the country. New York teachers had the highest annual salaries.

 

However, if a cost of living adjustment is applied to average salaries, Arkansas teachers rank 22nd and Michigan is considered the state with the highest teacher salaries.

 

There are 16 states in the Southern Regional Education Board, an organization that works to improve public education from kindergarten through the doctoral level. Teacher salaries in Arkansas rank twelfth among the SREB’s 16 member states. The top three states are Maryland, Delaware and Georgia.

 

Florida, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Mississippi are the Southern states in which teacher salaries are less than in Arkansas.

 

Another perspective on Arkansas teacher salaries is to compare them with the six states on our borders. Texas has the highest average salaries, followed by Tennessee, Louisiana and Missouri.

 

Oklahoma and Mississippi are the neighboring states where teacher salaries are lower, on average, than in Arkansas.

 

Legislators also keep an eye on teacher salary rankings within the state. The state Constitution mandates that the state provide an adequate and equitable public education to all children in Arkansas, regardless of where they live.

 

In the Lake View school funding lawsuit, court rulings cited comparatively low teacher salaries and great disparities in wages among the school districts in Arkansas.

The challenge for legislators is to write a school funding formula that provides equal opportunities in all parts of the state, whether they are prosperous or poor.

 

Since 2012, the gap between the highest and the lowest average salaries in Arkansas school districts has been greater than $20,000 a year. The Springdale School District consistently had the highest average salary, and this year it is $59,814.

 

In 165 districts the average salary for all teachers was below the minimum salaries paid by Springdale, which was $47,016 for a beginning teacher with a bachelor’s degree.

The state’s school funding formula is based on student enrollment. Aid is distributed on a per pupil basis. The foundation funding amount is $6,713 per student. That amount can go up depending on other factors, such as the number of special needs students in a district.

 

Of the foundation amount, teacher pay accounts for about 65 percent of the total. Of the $3.1 billion in total statewide foundation funding for public schools in Arkansas last year, about $2 billion was for teacher salaries.

 

The legislature sets minimum teacher salaries. Currently, the minimum is $31,400 for a beginning teacher with a bachelor’s degree, and $36,050 for a beginning teacher with a master’s degree. The minimum annual salary goes up by $450 for each additional year of teaching experience. For example, the minimum for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and 10 years’ experience is $35,900.

 

Individual districts can set their own minimum salaries, as long as they comply with the state minimums. Of the 235 school districts in Arkansas, 30 districts set their minimum at the state level.

 

The average teacher salaries at charter schools last year was $42,300. Just as there is a gap between salaries at traditional public schools, so there is at charters. The salaries at the highest paying charter school average $53,447 annually, which is $19,408 more than at the lowest paying charter school, which averages $34,039 a year.

 

6-22-18 9:27 a.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 20, 2018. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com 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.

 

Central Arkansas

 

Noth Arkkansas 

 

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. 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

 

6-20-18 4:10 p.m. kawx.org 

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Federal Judge Again Blocks Pro-Life Law in Arkansas

Federal Judge Again Blocks Pro-Life Law in Arkansas

Little Rock – Late Monday afternoon U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued a temporary restraining order against Arkansas’ 2015 Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act.

The law requires abortion-inducing drugs to be administered according to FDA protocols and ensures clinics that perform drug-induced abortions contract with a physician who has hospital admitting privileges to handle any complications from the abortion. In May the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear arguments over a 2016 order Judge Baker issued against the law, allowing it to go into effect. Judge Baker’s latest restraining order once again blocks the law in Arkansas.

Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement saying, “Judge Baker’s decision to block this law means women who experience complications from abortions will have to drive themselves to the nearest emergency room, where they will be seen by doctors and nurses who know nothing about their medical history. This law passed with strong support in the Arkansas Legislature, and it has already survived one round of legal challenges in federal court. It protects the health and safety of pregnant women in Arkansas. Judge Baker’s decision undermines the health and safety of Arkansans.”

Cox dismissed Baker’s claim that the law created an undue burden. “Arkansas has about 6,000 licensed physicians, and a majority of them have admitting privileges with one or more hospitals. It is not unreasonable for the State to require abortion clinics to contract with a doctor who has hospital admitting privileges.”

Cox said he is confident the law will be upheld on appeal. “Ultimately, this question is going to end up in a higher court. Attorney General Rutledge’s office has done an excellent job defending this law. Her team won some big victories in federal court last year, and I believe this law will be upheld on appeal.”

 

6-20-18 8:33 a.m. kawx.org 

 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For June 11th Through June 17th

POLK COUNTY SHERIFF’S LOG
 
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of June 11, 2018 – June 17, 2018.  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 11, 2018
Report of a disturbance on Coon Hound Lane near Cove led to the arrest of Taylor D. Dees, 25, of Cove, on Charges of Terroristic Threatening 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm by Certain Persons, Domestic Battery 3rd Degree, Resisting Arrest and two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Minor.
 
June 12, 2018
Report from a Mena woman of the theft of a vehicle, valued at $5,000.00.  The vehicle was recovered and returned to the owner.  Additional information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Carlos Hernandez-Abarca, 20, of Glenwood, on Charges of Speeding , No Driver’s License and Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance.
Arrested was Charles L. Houser, 62, of Wickes, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
 
June 13, 2018
Arrested was Rachel D. Crow, 38, of Mulberry, on three Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
 
June 14, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 51 near Mena of financial identity fraud using prepaid cards, totaling losses at $350.00.
Arrested was Dana M. Davis, 56, of Wickes, on Warrants for DWI and Reckless Driving.
Arrested was Eric T. Cannon, 26, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
 
June 15, 2018
Report of a disturbance on Polk 121 near Mena led to the arrest of Matthew P. Owen, 22, of Mena, on Charges of Public Intoxication, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Mischief, Theft of Property and Obtaining a Controlled Substance by Fraud.
Request for welfare check on Highway 246 West near Hatfield.  Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Polk 54 near Mena of the theft of keys, knife, flashlight and jewelry, all valued at $215.00.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Mena of the theft of aluminum items.  Investigation continues.
 
June 16, 2018
Report of a disturbance on Highway 71 South near Wickes led to the arrest of Herbert O. Aikin, 39, of Cove, on Charges of Disorderly Conduct and Assault 2nd Degree.
 
June 17, 2018
Report from Mena Regional Health System of an assault victim.  Deputy responded.  Victim refused to press charges.
Report from complainant on Polk 269 near Hatton of the break-in to a vacant residence.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Joseph W. Bond, 49, of Cove on a Warrant for Failure to Pay Fines.
 
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked two vehicle accidents this week.
 
Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 17 Incarcerated Inmates, with 5 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.
 
PC18-00380
 
6-19-18 3:27 p.m. kawx.org 

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Mena Police Department Report June 10th Through The 16th

Mena Police Department Reports for weeks of June 10, 2018 through June 16, 2018 follows:
 
June 10, 2018
 
A Polk County woman reported that she is being harassed by her soon to be ex-husband.  Case is pending.
 
John Howard, 54, of Mena was charged with disorderly conduct after officers responded to a call at a local residence.
 
June 11, 2018
 
Report was taken of someone breaking into a local shop and taking several items.  Case is pending further investigation.
 
Evelyn Wexler, 59, was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.  Also charged in the incident with theft of property (shoplifting) was a 15-year-old Mena girl.
 
A Mena man turned in two counterfeit fifty dollar bills to authorities.  He had found them near train tracks in Mena. 
 
June 12, 2018
 
Renee Deann Veal, 46, of Hatfield was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers responded to a complaint at a local store.
 
June 13, 2018
 
A local woman reported that she is being harassed by her children’s father.  Case pending.
 
A Mena man reported that he is being harassed by an acquaintance.  Case is pending location and interview of suspect.
 
Bruce Merrill Huber, 30, of Mena was arrested on several outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines and court costs and for probation violation.
 
June 14, 2018
 
Isaac Cain, 24, of Mena was arrested and charged with violation of an order of protection, resisting arrest, and fleeing after they responded to a complaint and conducted an investigation.
 
A local man reported that his former girlfriend had damaged his vehicle.  Case is pending.
 
June 15 & 16, 2018
 
Report was made of vandalism and theft to several campaign signs throughout Mena.  Case is pending further investigation.
 
6-18-18 9:10 a.m. kawx.org

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Attorney General Warns Of "Grandchild Scam"

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: The Favorite Grandchild Scam

 
LITTLE ROCK – A panicked phone call from a person claiming to be a relative needing money right away to get him or her out of some sort of trouble pulls at the heartstrings of elderly Arkansans, but this is more than likely a scam. Con artists continue to disguise themselves as close relatives or favorite grandchildren caught in serious trouble and in need of money wired immediately, often to a location out of the country. With wire transfers similar to cash, the money cannot be retrieved.
 
“These criminals are ruthless and will stop at nothing to take advantage of innocent Arkansans,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “The favorite grandchild scam is common and scary. Protecting the elderly is a priority of my office and it is important to educate all Arkansans about this issue.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge recommends the following strategies to avoid falling victim to the “favorite grandson” scheme:

  • Resist pressure to act quickly.
  • Never give or wire money based on any unsolicited phone call.
  • Verify the family member’s location by directly calling another family member or the grandchild.
  • Do not send money to an unknown account or entity.
  • Ask the caller for his or her name, and if they cannot provide it, hang up immediately.
  • Have a plan in place when family members are traveling to easily identify whether or not a need is genuine. 

For more information and tips on how to avoid a scam, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

6-16-18 2:34 p.m. kawx.org 

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Law Enforcement Cracking Down On Illegal Dumping

Agriculture Law Enforcement Officers Stop Illegal Dumping

 

STATEWIDE, ARK. –  A restored dumping site in Columbia County is the most recent success story of Arkansas Agriculture Department (AAD) law enforcement officials, who worked with the local Sherriff’s Office to remove dumped debris and track down the individuals responsible. In 2017, 43 illegal dump sites were fully removed from property across the state. Arkansas residents can report illegal dumping to AAD Law Enforcement Officers by completing an online complaint form, here.

 

“A dump site is a problem that no landowner should have to deal with. The discarding of trash on another person’s property is illegal and there is no excuse for it,” says Law Enforcement Officer Chris Ludwig. “We work with local officials and community partners to ensure that when an illegal dump is discovered, landowners understand their options for removing debris and restoring the area. This isn’t only about prosecuting those that commit these crimes, it’s also about protecting Arkansas’s natural resources.” 

 

AAD Investigators work with state, local and county law enforcement officers to investigate crimes and prosecute when necessary. The Columbia County dump was removed after Ludwig and Columbia County Ranger Scott Morehead worked with local officials and private landowners to establish consistent surveillance of the area. Violators were identified after capturing footage through surveillance from multiple devices, and by connecting individuals to the site by items dumped there. In this case, the individuals responsible for dumping items were given the option to clean up the site or face prosecution. The site was cleaned up, as pictures (attached) show.

 

AAD Law Enforcement officers are fully certified, but specialize in the investigation of agricultural crimes. Common cases include wildfire arson, timber theft, livestock theft, agricultural and forestry equipment theft or vandalism, illegal dumping, and enforcement of an array of AAD regulations. More than $167,000 in restitution was returned to Arkansas landowners involved with cases like these last year. Learn more about AAD Law Enforcement and the investigation of agricultural crimes, here.

 

“This is one of many success stories that demonstrate why it is so important to have dedicated law enforcement officers with expertise in responding to crimes that affect our state’s largest industry,” says Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward. “The needs of Arkansas landowners and agricultural producers are our top priority. Our three fully certified officers and 12 part-time officers make sure all corners of the state are covered in order to keep our industry strong and successful into the future.”

 

The Arkansas Agriculture Department is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation.  Visit www.agriculture.arkansas.gov  

 

Below are pictures of an illegal dump site before and after it was cleaned up.

 

 

6-16-18 2:25 p.m. kawx.org 

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Governor Hutchinson Weekly Radio Address: Lifting + Handle = Father, Son Success

 
LITTLE ROCK – This was a big week at Walmart’s headquarters as entrepreneurs from around the country pitched their products at the company’s fifth Made in America event. It is an open call where new products are presented to Walmart with the goal of creating new manufacturing jobs in the United States.
This annual gathering is a celebration of America’s love of innovation and Americans’ unrivaled vision for improving the world. And the event puts some hard-working dreamers on the path to success.       
The story of Brad and David Hill, father and son physical therapists in Bentonville, illustrates what can happen when creators find a way into the system. It is also a terrific story of a home-grown family company that has grown to include other Arkansans, who created a company of their own to take over the manufacture and sale of The Landle.
 
Brad and his dad invented The Landle, which is shorthand for the lifting handle, an idea that came to Brad in a dream. It is a heavy duty, extra wide strap with plastic handles that minimizes the strain and the risk of injury when you lift heavy or hard-to-handle articles such as couches, dressers, large boxes, and landscaping materials.
 
Over the next ten years, the Hills built a prototype, showed it around, refined the design, and found a manufacturer. Their first clients included DIY Network. It became a family business. Brad’s young children helped him box up the straps, label the boxes, and ship them.
 
Last year, the Hills presented The Landle at the fourth open-call, and Walmart picked up their product.
 
Suddenly, they found themselves with a Walmart-size order. Brad contacted childhood friends Weston Geigle and Michael Rateliff, whose education and experience were in business and mass retail. Weston and Michael bought the Hills’ company, and founded 12 Stone Brands through which they produce and market The Landle.
 
The Landle is made entirely in the United States. An injection molding company in Bentonville manufactures the handles. A company in Pryor, Oklahoma, sews it together.
 
The Landle is in more than 1,700 Walmart stores. QVC has shown it twice. It’s available on Amazon, and several other retailers have shown interest in The Landle. Brad attended this year’s open-call to pitch a new version of The Landle.
 
The Landle story has so many interesting elements, and it’s the kind of story a governor loves to tell because it embodies so many things that I think are important to making a state great.
 
There is the obvious entrepreneurial spirit that led to the creation of a product and two companies. There is a faith-based element: Weston and Michael took the name of their company from the story in the Bible in which God instructed Joshua to build an altar with twelve stones as a reminder of what God had done. There is the family element – a grandfather, son and grandchildren working together.
 
With Father’s Day on Sunday, I thought it would be appropriate to mention the special relationship between Brad and David Hill. From the first time Brad mentioned his dream, his father was supportive. His father’s positive reaction was all he needed to pursue his dream. Brad tells people that without his dad, The Landle would not exist.
 
Congratulations to the Hills and to 12 Stone Brands. And thanks to Walmart, a company that constantly expands the vision of Sam Walton. These are the elements that have combined to make Arkansas a great place to live and work.
 
6-15-18 6:55 p.m. kawx.org 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Rep. Matthew Shepherd is now the Speaker of the Arkansas House.
 
We convened for a special House Caucus Friday morning.  The House voted by acclamation  to name Shepherd as Speaker for the remainder of the 91st General Assembly.
 
Rep. Matthew Shepherd is serving his fourth term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He is from El Dorado and represents District 6, which includes part of Union County.
 
He was previously elected as Speaker-designate and expected to be confirmed as Speaker for the 92nd General Assembly which begins in January.
 
Rep. Shepherd is serving his second term as chair of the House Judiciary Committee.
 
Last week, Speaker Jeremy Gillam submitted his resignation letter to Governor Asa Hutchinson as he announced he has accepted an employment opportunity at the University of Central Arkansas.
 
Although we are not expected to go back into session for the remainder of the year, it is still essential that the House addresses this leadership position.
 
The Speaker is also in charge of overseeing all House management functions throughout the year. 
 
During session, his or her duties include supervising and directing the daily order of business, recognizing Members to speak, preserving order in the House, deciding all questions of order, certifying all measures passed, assigning committee leadership, and naming members to committees. 
 
Speaker Gillam was the 5th person in Arkansas history to serve two terms as Speaker. He says the years he served have been the greatest honor of his professional life. Speaker Gillam addressed members before stepping down saying, “I leave here knowing they will continue to bring out the best in Arkansas.
 
I want to thank them for allowing me to serve as the Speaker.  I also want to thank the people of District 45 who elected me to represent our district.  It has been an honor.”
 
The caucus meeting can be found online at www.arkansashouse.org.
 
6-15-18 6:45 p.m. kawx.org 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Countering the Role of Opioids in the Veterans’ Mental Health Crisis

 

This is the final in a series of columns on efforts to help veterans struggling with mental health issues. Read the first entry on veteran suicides here, the second one on PTSD here and the third one on homelessness here.

 

It is clear that our nation is in the throes of a deadly and dangerous epidemic. Widespread abuse of opioids has fueled a major spike in overdoses across the United States, both accidental and intentional. Our veterans’ population is not immune to this horrific trend.

 

Veterans, particularly those from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, often return home with high levels of chronic pain. Frequently, they were prescribed a pain management routine during active duty that placed a heavy emphasis on opioids. For far too long, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) followed suit with a reliance on opioids to help veterans continue to cope with chronic pain. This is a dangerous road to continue down.

 

Several large studies have shown an increased risk of suicides among Americans, including veterans, addicted to opioids. For example, one National Institutes of Health (NIH) study which examined five million veterans struggling with substance use disorders found women were eight times as likely as others to be at risk for suicide, while men face a twofold risk.

 

The question this study, and others like it, have not been able to answer is whether this trend is the result of underlying mental health issues or if an opioid addiction triggers a mental health crisis for an individual. Equally as hard to pin down is an accurate number of intentional versus unintentional opioid overdose deaths. What is clear is that opioid addicts struggling with despair have the means by which to carry out suicide at the ready and we should be doing more to reduce that tragic ending.   

 

For its part, VA is making strides, albeit belatedly. Earlier this year, VA became the first health-care system in the country to publicly post information on its opioid prescribing rate. At the time of the announcement, the administration called it “an innovative way to raise awareness, increase transparency and mitigate the dangers of over-prescribing.” This effort, along with others to address over-prescribing, has helped the VA reduce its opioid prescription rate by 41 percent over the past five years.

 

Among those other efforts is a program to educate VA providers on best practices related to pain management and the optimal use of opioids. This is welcome news. I have long advocated that VA needs to “think outside the box” and seek alternatives to opioids as part of its comprehensive pain management practices. Treatments such as physical therapy, acupuncture and yoga are now among the therapies VA considers for veterans to manage chronic pain.

 

This is not to say there isn’t a need for medication in VA’s pain management treatment practices, but that must be moderated given the mounting evidence of the dangers of long-term opioid use. Mental health concerns aside, VA’s data suggests veterans are twice as likely to die from an accidental overdose compared to the rest of the population. That alone would be enough to trigger concern about prescription rates. Add to it the link between opioid abuse and suicide, and you have reason to sound the alarm.

 

I am pleased to see the VA taking steps to turn the corner. These efforts will clearly help us save lives. I am committed to working with the VA to build on this progress and help our veterans recover from their physical ailments without putting their mental health in jeopardy.

 

6-15-18 4:53 p.m. kawx.org 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

June 15, 2018

 

LITTLE ROCK – In the first six months of this fiscal year, the state Office of Child Support Enforcement suspended drivers’ licenses of 4,344 non-custodial parents who had fallen behind on their legal obligation to help with financial support for their children.

 

That represents a 14 percent increase in suspended drivers’ licenses over the previous year.

 

The office also suspended 1,343 hunting and fishing licenses during the first six months of this fiscal year, a 17 percent increase over last year.

 

Also, the office suspended 778 professional and business licenses, a 71 percent increase over last year, and 664 motor vehicle tags, a 13 percent increase.

 

Total collections of child support through the office were about $137 million, a drop of 1/5 percent from the previous year.

 

The Office of Child Support Enforcement is required by law to report on its activities every six months, and it made its semi-annual report at the June meeting of the Legislative Council. The report covered July 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017.

 

Act 1184 of 1995 made sweeping changes in the Arkansas child support enforcement system and gave the office broader powers to locate deadbeat parents and collect overdue payments.

When the legislature enacted the law, one of their motivations was to hold down growth in the costs of welfare and food stamp programs. Research indicated that children were more likely to need public assistance if their non-custodial parents failed to keep up with financial support.

 

In 1993 the Office set up a paternity acknowledgement program, with the goal of teaching mothers the long-term benefits of establishing paternity. Under the program, hospital staff helps the mother fill out paperwork that acknowledges the father of the newborn.

 

In the first six months of this fiscal year, 5,305 paternity acknowledgements were submitted to the office. That information will help the office in any future attempts to locate and collect child support from non-custodial parents.

 

Lottery Revenue

The Arkansas lottery, which provides money for the state’s most popular college scholarship program, is on pace to have its best year since 2013.

 

Revenue in May was about $40 million, up from about $38 million for May of last year. That’s the most collected in lottery revenue for May since 2013.

 

For the first 11 months of this fiscal year, which ends on June 30, revenue is about $463 million. Of that amount, more than $78 million will go towards college scholarships. That is the most since 2013, when $81 million for scholarships was generated during the first 11 months of the fiscal year.

 

It appears likely that revenue for scholarships this fiscal year will exceed the official estimate of $83.6 million for Fiscal Year 2018.

 

In addition to revenue from the lottery, scholarships are funded with state general revenue from tax collections.

 

Theories for the growth in lottery ticket sales include heightened interest created by enormous jackpots in Powerball and Mega Millions games, new advertising campaigns and new scratch off games. Also, the legislature voted to allow players to buy tickets with debit cards.

 

6-15-18 4:48 p.m. kawx.org 

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ANNUAL STATE POLICE AWARDS CEREMONY: TROOPER LEVI FLEMING RECEIVES TOP HONORS, LOCAL TROOPER BEN HARRISON HONORED

 (LITTLE ROCK) – Trooper Levi Fleming, 26, of Brinkley, was presented the prestigious Arkansas State Trooper of the Year Award today during the annual state police awards ceremony.
 
  Trooper Fleming was among a group of more than 30 Arkansas State Police personnel recognized today for cumulative work or assignments involving particular incidents during the 2017 calendar year.
The recipient of the Trooper of the Year Award personifies the highest standards of public service and has demonstrates a record of esteemed law enforcement action.
 
  Trooper Fleming, a four-year veteran of the department, was specifically recognized for his January 21, 2017 action in response to a disturbance call at a DeValls Bluff residence.  An intoxicated individual had forced his way into the residence, armed himself with a shotgun, and doused a portion of the garage and himself with gasoline.  While Trooper Fleming was present, the individual then ignited a fire which consumed the individual and a portion of the garage.
 
  Trooper Fleming armed himself with a fire extinguisher, activated the device and entered the garage, successfully extricating the victim who had sustained serious burns across more than forty percent of his body.
 
  Trooper Fleming was also among eight state troopers today to receive the department’s life saving award.
 
  Kim McJunkins, 55, of Hempstead County, was presented the Arkansas State Police Civilian Employee of the Year Award.  McJunkins joined the department twenty-eight years ago and serves today as an administrative specialist for the Criminal Investigation Division, Company C, headquartered at Hope.
 
  McJunkins was recognized for her cumulative record of service, in particular for her work in case research, management of the administrative duties within Company C, and her most recent training assignments related to the implementation of the division’s new records/case management system. 
  Other award recipients recognized today are:
 
  Distinguished Meritorious Service – (The highest award presented by the department for meritorious service or clearly outstanding achievement.)
 
  Special Agent (Sergeant) Larry J. Carter, 44, of Atkins, was presented the Distinguished Meritorious Service Award for his efforts on May 11, 2017 in Yell County when he negotiated with a man suspected of killing three individuals, including a sheriff’s deputy.  S/A Carter was able to arrange the release of a hostage during the encounter and the eventual surrender of the suspect to state troopers and local authorities.
 
  Special Agent (Corporal) Becky Vacco, 43, of Flippin, was presented the Distinguished Meritorious Service Award for her cumulative work across three north Arkansas counties between September 21, 2017 – February 1, 2018 involving the murder of a 23-month old child and the battery of two other infant children.  S/A Vacco successfully closed the cases with the conviction of the individuals responsible for the crimes.
 
  Trooper’s Cross – (*Presented to a trooper or civilian employee who demonstrates extraordinary courage.)
 
  Trooper Justin Williams, 37, of Pine Bluff, was presented the Trooper’s Cross for his valiant effort to save a woman whose vehicle had been engulfed by fire following a collision.  Without regard for his own life as flames ignited part of his uniform, Trooper Williams persisted in finding a means to eventually pull the woman from the burning car.
 
  Lifesaving – (*Presented to a trooper or civilian employee who through direct personal intervention, sustains another person’s life.)
 
  Sergeant David Williams, 44, of DeValls Bluff, received a lifesaving award for his aid to a fellow trooper who had entered a burning garage to save an armed intruder.
 
  Sergeant Jeff Plouch, 37, of Benton, received a lifesaving award for his rapid response after noticing the passenger in a vehicle he had stopped was unresponsive and appeared to be in cardiac arrest, possibly from a heroin overdose.  Sergeant Plouch administered a lifesaving drug (Naloxone) and began chest compressions to assist the victim until emergency personnel arrived.
 
  Corporal Benjamin Harrison, 51, of Pencil Bluff, received a lifesaving award for his response to assist another law enforcement agency and their officers who had encountered an individual who appeared to be unconscious from a drug overdose.  Trooper Harrison administered Naloxone to the individual and was able to revive the victim while awaiting the arrival of emergency medical personnel.
 
  Corporal Brandon Cook, 53, of Malvern, received a lifesaving award for his response to an attempted suicide in Garland County.  Upon his arrival he entered a lake, swimming nearly sixty yard to rescue the woman who had jumped into the lake.
 
  Corporal David Outlaw, 41, of Monticello and Trooper Lukas Tankersley, 24, of Lake Village both received life saving awards for saving the life of a Monticello gunshot victim.  Both troopers used their training to stop the loss of blood from the victim and provide medical care until the arrival of emergency medical personnel.
 
   Trooper First Class Chris Aaron, 35, of Almyra, received a lifesaving award for his assessment of an Arkansas county man who had sustained an accidental gunshot.  Realizing that waiting for emergency medical assistance may further endanger the life of the victim, Trooper Aaron exercised his training to control the loss of blood and stabilize the victim, then transported to individual to a local hospital.
 
   Official Commendations (*Presented for acts of exemplary service and awarded before the Arkansas State Police Commission during the course of 2017 prior to the today’s ceremony.  Supporting information available upon request.)
 

Major Forrest Marks 

Highway Patrol Division, Western Region Commander
  
Special Agent (Corporal) Mark Brice

Criminal Investigation Division, Company E 
  
Corporal Todd Harris

Highway Patrol Division, Troop C (Greene County)
  
Special Agent (Corporal) Jackie Stinnett

Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
  
Special Agent (Corporal) David Small

Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
  
Special Agent (Corporal) Tony Haley

Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
  
Corporal Michael Bowman

Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Crawford County)
  
Trooper First Class Kurt Ziegenhorn

Highway Patrol Division, Troop D (Woodruff County)
  
Trooper First Class Corey Skarda

Highway Patrol Division, Troop D (Prairie County)
  
Trooper First Class Andy Metcalf

Highway Patrol Division, Troop C (Greene County)
  
Trooper First Class Derek Nietert

Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Franklin County)
  
Trooper First Class Matt Price

Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Crawford County)
  
Special Agent (TFC) Buster Rinks

Criminal Investigation Division, Company E
  
Trooper First Class Mark Blackerby

Highway Patrol Division, Troop A (Lonoke County)
  
Trooper Ben Ibarra

Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Franklin County)
  
Trooper James Taylor

Highway Patrol Division, Troop D (Prairie County)
  
Trooper Gabe Monroe

Highway Patrol Division, Troop A (Pulaski County)
  
Trooper Jason Fagan

Highway Patrol Division, Troop C (Poinsett County)
  
Trooper Matthew Schanzlin

Highway Patrol Division, Troop F (Ouachita County)
  
Trooper Steven Payton

Highway Patrol Division, Troop D (Crittenden County)
  
Trooper Matthew West

Highway Patrol Division, Troop D (Saint Francis County)
  
Trooper Josh Elmore

Highway Patrol Division, Troop H (Crawford County)
  
Trooper Andrew Pannell

Highway Patrol Division, Troop B (White County)

 

Daniel Baker

(administrative headquarters, auto shop mechanic)

 
Distinguished Service Award – (*Presented to local citizens at large or law enforcement officers of another agency who have rendered aid to Arkansas State Troopers during the course of their duties.)
 
   Clifton Cabaness, Sr. and Clifton Cabaness Jr., both of Fort Smith received Distinguished Service Awards for stopping to assist an Arkansas State Trooper and their effort to seize one suspect and render aid to the trooper who had been met with resistance by a second suspect.
 
  Joe Johnson, of Lonsdale, received the Distinguished Service Award for his roadside stop and assistance to a state trooper being met with resistance by a suspect being taken into custody.
 
  Terry Davis, of Pine Bluff, received the Distinguished Service Award for coming to the aid of an Arkansas State Trooper who battled fire that had engulfed a damaged car and its driver trapped inside the vehicle.
 
  Ranotta Moser, of Batesville, received the Distinguished Service Award for her heroic life saving measures following a shooting incident that left a Batesville police officer critically wounded.
 
6-13-18 3:37 p.m. kawx.org 

 

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Arkansas, DU Canada Mark 50 Years of Waterfowl Conservation

SASKATCHEWAN, Canada – Under a perfect windswept day in the Allan/Dana Hills of Saskatchewan, Ducks Unlimited Canada last week unveiled a monument dedicated to 50 years of support from Arkansas waterfowlers and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. 

 

The landscape produces waterfowl and other migratory birds that winter in and migrate through Arkansas.


The 160-acre tract was purchased with funding support from the AGFC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited Inc., Ducks Unlimited Canada, the government of Canada and the province of Saskatchewan.

 

The Prairie Pothole region of Saskatchewan geologically has little in common with the Mississippi Alluvial Plain of eastern Arkansas, yet millions of waterfowl rely on both.

 

Steve Cook, chairman of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said the area is crucial to Arkansas’s hunters. “All of this habitat that’s being protected wouldn’t have occurred without the waterfowl hunters of Arkansas. We wouldn’t have the wonderful duck hunting without their help,” he added.

 

The area is dotted with ponds gashed by glaciers illustrates the difficulty any waterfowl would have creating a nest, producing eggs and nourishing fledglings to the point they’re strong enough to fly 2,000 miles during winter migration.

 

AGFC Director Pat Fitts noted that the area has plenty of water and that bodes well for Arkansas duck hunters. “There are a lot of ducks harvested in Arkansas that are banded in Saskatchewan. This is the core of Arkansas’s waterfowl. Everything’s looking good for Arkansas’s waterfowl season.”

 

Located in the heart of the province, the Allan/Dana Hills is one of the most productive areas for waterfowl on the continent. The unique landscape boasts waterfowl breeding densities up to 100 pairs per square mile and has been a primary work area for Ducks Unlimited Canada.

Dave Kostersky, manager of state grants for Ducks Unlimited Canada, says the broad landscape of wetlands and grasslands is needed to give a ducks a chance at survival. “Every duck nest has about an 85 percent chance of failing.”

 

DU Canada and partners in the U.S., including the AGFC, are dedicated to maintaining or creating every acre of habitat possible. It’s a monstrous task that gets more foreboding each year.

 

“The Prairie Pothole region holds about 70 percent of the birds’ brooding waterfowl; it’s an absolutely critical area,” Kostersky said. “The Allan Hills are like the diamond in the middle of that whole thing. You’ve got this area that’s got this extremely high wetland density.”

 

During a good production year, it’s easy to overlook the problems waterfowl and DU Canada face. Saskatchewan is almost five times the size of Arkansas, yet has about a third of the state’s population; Saskatoon and Regina account for almost half the province’s 1.1 million people. About 40 percent of all field crops in Canada grow in Saskatchewan, including wheat, canola, flax, oats, peas, lentils and barley. Saskatchewan also holds the second-largest cattle herd among Canada’s provinces.

 

Kostersky highlights the challenge by posing a question: “How do we make a difference? We put more grass on the ground. We put the right types of habitat on the ground. We work with landowners and make a landscape change that really results in sustainable habitats for waterfowl up here in Saskatchewan.”

 

DU Canada’s goal doesn’t sound unreasonable until the rest of the picture is revealed. These wetlands that nurse ducks are a nuisance for farmers. Any wrinkle in the land makes their job tougher, which means sloughs and ponds are liabilities.

 

“Wetland drainage is something that’s real in this province,” Kostersky said. “We don’t have wetland policy that really protects wetlands. We have landowners that are trying to make another dollar on their farm – you can’t blame them for that – but they drain the wetlands, which loses the productivity of the landscape for waterfowl. We want to provide incentives. We want to work on ecological goods and services for landowners.”

Incentive and habitat programs run on money, and partners are vital to DU Canada, which began in 1938, a year after Ducks Unlimited was founded in the U.S. When the North American Wetlands Conservation Act passed in 1989, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in the U.S. set goals for matching funds from member states.

 

“The state dollar gets matched by DU, then by NAWCA,” Kostersky said. “It comes to Canada and Canadian partners like DU match it. It results in conservation on a large scale.”

6-13-18 2:42 p.m. kawx.org

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Be A Hero, Give Blood-Annual Boots and Badges Blood Drive In Mena June 25th

Local firefighters and law enforcement officers team up once a year for a great cause, encouraging residnets to donate blood. Donated blood saves lives daily, so by donating you really are a hero! The annual Boots and Badges Blood Drive will be Monday, June 25th, from noon until 6:00 p.m. in Classrom #1 at the National Guard Armory on North Morrow in Mena.Donors will get some special gifts, inlcuding a limited edition Boots and Badges T shirt. For additional information, see any local firefighter or law enforcement officer. To schedule an appointment to donate, call Christina at (479) 652-2364. 

 

6-13-18 2:17 p.m. kawx.org

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POLK COUNTY SHERIFF'S LOG FOR JUNE 4TH THRU JUNE 10TH

SHERIFF’S LOG

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of June 4, 2018 – June 10, 2018. 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 4, 2018

Report of a disturbance in the Polk County Courthouse led to the arrest of Shane R. Venters, 25, of Mena, on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

Report of a structure fire on Highway 88 East near Ink. Deputy responded.

June 5, 2018

Report from complainant on Polk 67 near Cherry Hill of the break-in and theft of an ATV and a firearm, totaling losses at $3,200.00. Investigation continues.

Request for a welfare check on Medlin Lane near Hatfield. Deputies responded. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

June 6, 2018

Report from complainant on Napier Lane near Mena of the break-in and theft of clothing. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 290 near Cove of the theft of a dryer, valued at $250.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 125 near Rocky of the discovery of a firearm. Investigation continues.

June 7, 2018

Report of an assault on Dove Lane near Hatfield. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

Report from complainants on East Hornbeck Avenue in Hatfield of the break-in and theft of several household items. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

June 8, 2018

Report from complainant on Frontier Lane near Potter of vandalism done to a tractor. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 50 near Mena of being harassed by an acquaintance. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant of being struck by another vehicle, while traveling in their vehicle, on Polk 121 near Mena. Investigation continues.

Arrested was Jeffrey D. Dollarhyde, 30, of Mena, on a Body Attachment Warrant.

Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Robert W. Terry, 70, of Grannis, on a Charge of DWI.

June 9, 2018

Report from complainant on Highway 71 South near Vandervoort of the break-in and theft of jewelry, cash, Iphone and medication, all valued at $11,800.00. Investigation continues.

June 10, 2018

Report of an ATV accident on Polk 40 near Potter. Deputies responded.

Traffic stop on Highway 71 near Mena led to the arrest of Michale B. Kelley, 25, of Mena, on Charges of DWI 2nd and Careless/Prohibited Driving.

Report of a disturbance on Highway 8 West near Rocky led to the arrest of Allen W. Brown, 30, and Makayla J. Smith, 26, both of Mena, each on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked three vehicle accidents this week.

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 21 Incarcerated Inmates, with 11 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC18-00367

6-11-18 4:11 p.m. kawx.org

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Mena Police Department Report For June 3rd thru June 9th

Mena Police Department Reports for weeks of June 3, 2018 through June 9, 2018 follows:
 
June 3, 2018
 
Jeffrey Dollarhyde, 30, of Mena was charged with driving on a suspended driver’s license, having no proof of insurance, having expired tags, and running a stop sign.
 
Brandon Everett, 27, of Mena was arrested on seven outstanding warrants.
 
June 4, 2018
 
Isaac Counts, 19, of Wickes, was arrested on several warrants for failure to pay fines and court costs and failure to appear.
 
Charles Edward Downing, 41, of Hatfield was arrested on an outstanding warrant from LeFlore County, Oklahoma.
 
June 5, 2018
 
Report was made of a local woman being harassed by her children’s father.  Case pending.
 
June 6, 2018
 
Report was taken of a man being harassed by his girlfriend’s children’s father.  Case is pending.
 
June 7, 2018
 
Officers responded to a spill on Highway 71 in Mena.  A tractor/trailer rig hauling chicken bi-products.  The area was treated by the highway department, and city employees cleaned the spill.
 
June 8, 2018
 
Officers responded to an altercation at a local residence.  After an investigation, the complaining party decided that they did not wish to press charges.
 
Richard Lee Smiley, 60, of Mena was charged with public intoxication after a call to a local restaurant.
 
June 9, 2018
 
After having responded to several complaints by various retail businesses and the local hospital, Richard Lee Smiley, 60, of Mena was charged with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report.
 
Samantha Coleman, 25, of Hulbert, Oklahoma was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers were called to a local retail store.
 
Johnny Howard, 54, of Mena was charged with disorderly conduct after officers were called to a residence in Mena.
 
6-11-18 4:05 p.m. kawx.org 
 

 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: LumoXchange's 'Venture' to Arkansas

 
LITTLE ROCK – Maf Sonko, who was born in Gambia, traveled many miles and lived in many places on his way to settling in Little Rock to launch his company here.
Maf’s choice of Arkansas affirms that the economic development initiatives we have undertaken in Arkansas are working.
 
Maf officially launched LumoXchange this week in a ceremony at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. He describes his company as hotels.com for cross-border currency exchange.
The idea for LumoXchange occurred to Maf when he was sending money to Gambia. The cost for sending the funds could be as much as 20 percent of the amount he was sending. There was no easy way to compare the fees of one company to another or to find the best rate of exchange for U.S. dollars.
 
Through LumoXchange’s website, you can shop for the best rates, and the cost is as much as 50 percent less than alternatives in the marketplace.
 
Although Maf’s company makes the transaction simple, the path to his grand opening was fraught with challenges. He was able to leap those barriers through his own determination, which was undergirded by the spirit of cooperation in Arkansas that you don’t find everywhere.
 
LumoXchange’s journey to Arkansas was made possible eleven years ago when local leaders created a Technology Park Authority. In 2014, a group of entrepreneurs and business leaders opened The Venture Center.
 
The Venture Center partnered with FIS, which produces financial technology – or FinTech, as it is called – for companies around the world.
 
Then to help attract entrepreneurs, my administration set aside funds for the Accelerator program, which is designed to accelerate the growth of technology-based startups and enlarge the stable of high-tech talent in Arkansas.
 
While all of this was happening in Arkansas, Maf was in New York City, working his day job as a Supply Chain Operations Manager with PepsiCo while building his money-exchange platform by night.
In 2016, The Venture Center and FIS chose LumoXchange to participate in its first class of 10 startups. On Wednesday, many of the mentors and partners who helped make this happen gathered for Maf’s announcement that LumoXchange was up and running in five countries.
 
Maf could have picked any number of places in which to start up LumoXchange, but few offered the intangibles that he found in Arkansas, such as the cooperative spirit, the quality of people, the relationships that are so easy to form, and our excellent quality of life.
 
One of our state’s many strengths is the diversity of opportunity. Agriculture and tourism are our top two industries, followed by retail and manufacturing. But technology is crucial to our economy, and we have made great strides in preparing our young people with our statewide computer-science initiatives.
 
When people ask me what I’m doing as governor to prepare for the future, I say that we are training a new generation of coders and entrepreneurs, which creates a talent pool that will attract businesses to Arkansas.
 
I am proud of the success of the Venture Center, which provides, the content, connections, and capital to help entrepreneurs move quickly and grow here in Arkansas.
 
This program is one of the ways we attract innovators such as Maf Sonko and his six-foot-eight chief technology officer, Daniel Pollock. This is part of our future.
 
6-8-18 6:08 a.m. kawx.org 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Time, Bipartisanship, Good Faith: The Recipe for Government Funding

 

I’ve been calling for Congress to break the cycle of continuing resolutions and omnibus spending deals for quite some time. For too long, we’ve relied on these short-sighted solutions to fund the government rather than approving the 12 individual appropriations bills. I’m pleased to see that there is a renewed commitment to return to this regular process.

 

In his announcement canceling the August in-state work period, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his “goal of passing appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year.” As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I believe this is a worthwhile and attainable goal.

 

Continuing resolutions prevent Congress from reining in spending and wasting taxpayer dollars, because they maintain current funding levels for outdated and inefficient programs and restrict agencies from launching new initiatives since they are required to operate under last year’s priorities. 

 

For months, the Senate Appropriations Committee has held hearings with agency officials about the funding needs for the next fiscal year which starts in October. My colleagues and I have spent countless hours crafting appropriations bills that reflect today’s priorities and return predictability to agency leaders.

 

In early June, committee members advanced funding bills for transportation infrastructure development, housing assistance and community development as well as military construction and veterans’ programs.

 

As chairman of the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Subcommittee, I am proud of the bill we crafted that supports critical housing, infrastructure and facilities for U.S. military forces and their families and provides increased funding for veterans’ health care and benefits.

 

Keeping the promise we made to our veterans is an important responsibility of the federal government. Just as essential is that we ensure our military has the infrastructure it needs to defend our nation and its allies. This bill reflects these priorities by increasing resources to prevent veteran suicide, increasing rural access to healthcare, supporting critical mental health programs, preventing veterans homelessness and providing robust funding for innovative medical research. 

 

This is particularly important as it also initiates funding to support reforms to the VA’s healthcare delivery system that was signed into law by President Trump this month. This will provide our veterans with more choices and fewer barriers to care.

 

Four appropriations bills, including those that support federal agriculture and nutrition programs and our energy and water infrastructure, have been approved by the committee and are ready to be considered on the Senate floor. I am pleased that Leader McConnell intends to put the appropriations bills at the top of the Senate's to-do list for the summer. I look forward to debating the MilCon-VA bill and other appropriations bills in the coming weeks.

 

Debating and passing these funding bills is a basic responsibility of the federal government that provides accountability and transparency. Having the ability to amend these bills before the full chamber allows all senators a voice in the spending process, regardless of whether or not they serve on the Appropriations Committee.

 

Before signing the Fiscal Year 2018 spending bill in March, President Trump made it clear that he would not approve another last-minute funding package. Having more time this summer to advance appropriations bills will ease that concern.

 

6-8-18   5:11 p.m  kawx.org

 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Although budget hearings for the next fiscal year do not begin until the fall, we frequently review revenue reports to ensure our budget is on track.  This week, we received the General Revenue Report for May showing net available general revenue totals for the year at $4.9 billion.

 

After 11 months into the 2018 fiscal year, revenue is $159.9 million or 3.3% above this time last year.  It is also $44.2 million more than had been previously forecasted.

 

July 1st is the beginning of a new fiscal year for state government in Arkansas.  As we approach that date, state officials pay close attention the revenue forecast for the previous year and where our current budget stands in relation to that forecast.  This gives insight into what they might expect for the upcoming fiscal year.

 

Arkansas’s two largest sources of general revenue are collected from a portion of the state sales/use tax and from the Arkansas individual income tax.  Other general revenue sources include: taxes on alcohol and tobacco products; gaming and pari-mutuel betting on horse and dog racing; severance taxes on oil, minerals, gravel, and natural gas; corporate franchises and corporate income; and real estate transfers.

 

So far this year, individual incomes taxes and sales tax have generated more revenue than the previous year.  Corporate incomes taxes are down.

 

Our unemployment rate now stands at 3.8%.  The national rate is 3.9%. We rank 20th in the nation for the lowest level of unemployment.  When more Arkansans are working, our economy strengthens. This is positive news as we approach the next year.

 

Our Tax Reform Task Force has been diligently studying ways to reform our tax structure.  They are in the final months of drafting their recommendations.  Positive revenue reports and unemployment rates help guide our decision making process.  We will continue to update you on the progress.

 

6-8-18 4:48 p.m. kawx.org 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

June 8, 2018

 

LITTLE ROCK – Legislators and business leaders have made it a priority to encourage more Arkansas students to graduate from college with a degree or a certificate proving that they have learned a core set of job skills.

 

The overall prosperity of a state depends in large part on the educational level of its citizens.

 

That was one of the reasons the legislature changed the funding formula for state colleges and universities last year. State aid to higher education will no longer rely so much on enrollment, and instead will be based more on the number of graduates who successfully complete their studies.

 

After changing the method of funding colleges and universities, the legislature then added $10 million to state aid during the fiscal session earlier this year. The hope is that additional state aid will allow institutions to hold down tuition increases.

 

In a letter to presidents and chancellors of Arkansas universities, the governor noted that tuition at their institutions had gone up from 3 percent to more than 6 percent a year over the past 10 years. He challenged universities to freeze tuition next year, and he challenged two-year colleges to hold any increase to the level of inflation.

 

According to a report by the Southern Regional Education Board on the affordability of higher education in Arkansas, “Tuition and fees at both public four-year and public two-year institutions in Arkansas have been growing much more rapidly than either inflation or family income.” That report described tuition increases from 2006 through 2014.

 

Research indicates that one of the important reasons that students don’t finish college is that they have problems paying for it. Even for students with financial aid, tuition and fees eat up a high percentage of their family’s income.

 

In the past few weeks, the boards of trustees of higher education institutions have been meeting to set tuition and fees for the 2018 fall semester. The universities have accepted the challenge and held tuition to this year’s levels, but they have increased mandatory fees.

 

Tuition will remain unchanged at the five four-year campuses in the University of Arkansas system. They are in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Little Rock, Monticello and Pine Bluff. However, fees will go up at all the campuses. Tuition for the system’s seven two-year colleges will go up, but by less than 2.1 percent.

 

Arkansas State University in Jonesboro will also hold tuition to current levels, although fees will go up. The ASU system has four two-year colleges, and fees will go up slightly at three of them. ASU Mid South in West Memphis will not raise either tuition or fees.

 

Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas Tech in Russellville and the University of Central Arkansas in Conway will do the same.

 

State Revenue Report

The state fiscal year ends on June 30. The May report from the Department of Finance and Administration indicates that for the first 11 months of the fiscal year, revenue collections are on a pace to generate a budget surplus of $44 million.

 

Net general revenue for the year-to-date is about $4.9 billion, or 3.3 percent more than last year.

 

6-8-18 7:55 a.m. kawx.org 

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Free Fishing Weekend In Arkansas For Everyone, Five Free Fishing Derbies for Kids

This weekend marks Free Fishing Weekend in Arkansas, as proclaimed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. And as part of the big weekend, five AGFC hatcheries throughout the state will be hosting free fishing derbies for children ages 15 and under on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., so it's a great opportunity for parents (or grandparents, or aunts and uncles) to introduce fishing to the kids. And on this weekend, NO ONE NEEDS A LICENSE.


Free Fishing Days begins at noon Friday, June 8, and runs through midnight Sunday night. No angler will need a fishing license or trout permit to fish anywhere in Arkansas.


At Saturday's free derbies, each child must be supervised by an adult. Kids can catch and keep up to three catfish (or three trout at the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery). Along with fishing, participants can compete in casting contests and win prizes for fish caught.


Contact the hatchery nearest you for details on its derby: Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery, Hot Springs, 877-525-8606; Charlie Craig State Fish Hatchery, Centerton, 877-795-2470; William Donham State Fish Hatchery, Corning, 877-857-3876; Joe Hogan State Fish Hatchery, Lonoke, 877-676-6963; and the Jim Hinkle Spring River State Fish Hatchery, Mammoth Spring, 877-625-7521. 

 

6-7-18 6:22 a.m. kawx.org

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Apps Allow Teens to Hide Photos from Parents

With kids home for the summer, parents need to know about dangerous phone apps available that allow their kids to actively conceal information, photos and texts from their parents. These apps can easily be downloaded onto any mobile device and have unassuming icons designed to mislead a casual observer and veil their secretive nature. One popular application or app appears to be a calculator. It even functions as a calculator, until the user enters a specific code. The app then opens up to a secret vault of photos and videos that can be stored in the app for sharing, without being detected in the phone’s photo album.
 
“The world of secret apps is scary for parents across Arkansas,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Parents should dig deeper into their child’s phone and ask questions about new apps that have been downloaded. The best way to educate our children about internet safety is to be educated ourselves.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge and Common Sense Media shared the following tips for parents to consider when discussing this topic with their children.

  • Talk to teens about using phones responsibly and respecting privacy. 
  • Remind teens that taking and/or sharing embarrassing or revealing pictures often comes back to haunt people, so resist the temptation.
  • Consider that kids might not be trying to hide photos from parents but from nosy friends. If that is the case, try to find out why.
  • Do a spot check to see which apps have used the camera. This will reveal any camera apps disguised as something else. (On iPhones go into Settings -> Privacy -> Camera)


There are also apps available to help parents monitor their child’s device. Apps like SecureTeen Parental Control or Parental Control Board are helpful to parents to know who kids are texting, what music they are buying and many other things.
 
The Attorney General’s office also produces materials for students of all ages, along with parents and guardians to learn more about online and internet safety.
 
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

6-6-18 8:12 p.m. kawx.org 

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Lake Ouachita Fisheries Management Plan Update Meetings June 7 and 26, 6-9 p.m.

Lake Ouachita reigns as one of the best fisheries in Arkansas. Its crystal clear waters accommodate many species of fish that anglers of all types enjoy. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is undergoing its scheduled review and revision process for the lake’s fisheries management plan, and would like to hear directly from the anglers who use this treasured resource.

 

At the first meeting, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. June 7 at the Hot Springs Convention Center, biologists will talk about the lake’s booming largemouth bass fishery and information on the latest genetic testing that is one method biologists are using to evaluate the success of experimental stocking of Florida largemouth bass that took place from 2007 to 2014. They also will cover the results of the most recent angler mail surveys and boat ramp surveys on the lake, as well as the components of striped bass and crappie management activities on Ouachita. Biologists covering each topic will be available for one-on-one discussion during the first hour of the meeting.

 

Once the presentations are over, all attendees will be able to participate in focus groups where they will be able to identify the things most important to them as the AGFC moves forward in fisheries management on Ouachita. The biologists will collect the results of these group findings and incorporate them into a revised plan.

 

The second meeting, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., June 26 at the Hot Springs Convention Center, will be held to review a draft of the revised plan, with opportunity for additional input on some issues.

 

All interested parties, especially Lake Ouachita anglers, should plan to attend both meetings in June. Your voice will help shape the new plan that will serve as a guideline for the management of the Lake Ouachita fishery for the next five years.

 

6-6-18 5:47 p.m. kawx.org 

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WMA Deer Hunt Permit Application Period Open

 If you want to hunt on some of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s most popular deer-hunting destinations this fall, you’ll want to apply for a special WMA deer hunt from June 1 until July 1.  

Wildlife management areas developed and cultivated by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission offer some of the best opportunities to bag your deer during hunting season, but popular hunting areas can become crowded or overhunted without special restrictions. The AGFC conducts special draw hunts on WMAs prone to overcrowding to maintain healthy deer herds and high-quality hunting experiences.

Applicants for WMA Deer Hunt Permits must provide a $5 nonrefundable processing fee at the time of their application. If successful, they will receive their permit without the need for any additional fees. If any hunts have more permits available than applicants, those will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in late July for the same $5 processing fee.

Each hunter may submit one application for each type of permit hunt: youth hunt, archery, muzzleloader and modern gun. Hunters who are not able to apply online may visit any AGFC regional office to apply in person.

Hunters must be at least 6 years old, and hunters applying for youth hunts must be at least 6, but no older than 15, the day the hunt begins.

Call 501-223-6440 or 501-223-6359 for more information on AGFC permit hunts.

6-6-18 5:32 p.m. kawx.org 

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Life jackets ticket to sweet rewards

Wildlife officers throughout Arkansas will be looking to hand out some of the sweetest citations an angler could ask for this summer. Thanks to Sonic Drive In, AGFC wildlife officers will be armed with 10,000 special “ice cream citations” for youths on Arkansas waters when they’re caught wearing their life jackets.

According to AGFC Boating Law Administrator Stephanie Weatherington, these special tickets entitle youth who receive them to a small ice cream cone from their local Sonic restaurant.

“We’ve been able to offer this program for the last six years,” Weatherington said. “Some officers have a few already, and we’ll really ramp things up as we get closer to Independence Day weekend.”

Weatherington says adults with those kids may even get a special citation if the wildlife officer sees them leading by example.

“It’s important that everyone wears a life jacket,” Weatherington says. “Even people who think they can swim well can fall victim to drowning if they are tossed overboard far from shore or fall into the water unconscious.”

Many people drown because they fall out of a boat and are not wearing a fitted life jacket, Weatherington says.

“Some don’t believe they need one because they can swim. Others may wear one that has dry rot or is not the right size. The most important thing about riding in a boat is to wear a life jacket,” she said. “By law, anyone 12 or younger must wear a life jacket while in a boat. Also, all vessels must have at least one approved, wearable life jacket for every person on board. There must also be a throwable device on any vessel 16 feet or longer,” she explained. “We hope this will also encourage the parents to also wear their life jacket, so everyone can have great memories of a day on the water,” Weatherington added.

6-6-18 5:28 p.m. kawx.org 

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State Report Shows Arkansas Abortions Remain Near Record Lows

On Tuesday the Arkansas Department of Health published its annual report on the number of abortions performed in Arkansas. The report shows abortion remained near record lows last year, with 3,249 abortions performed in Arkansas in 2017.

Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement saying, “3,249 abortions were performed in Arkansas last year, slightly up from 2016 to 2017, but overall, the number has fallen by more than a thousand since 2014, and it is less than half of what it was in the early 1990’s. For two years in a row, abortion in Arkansas has remained at its lowest levels since 1977, and Arkansas is now the second most pro-life state in the U.S., according to Americans United for Life. Arkansans are winning the fight to protect unborn children.”

Cox credited a series of pro-life laws passed in recent years with much of the decline in abortion. “In 2015 Arkansas passed one of the best informed-consent laws in the nation. It ensures women are given all the facts about abortion up front, including information about abortion’s risks, consequences, and alternatives. According to state reports, over the past two years more than seven hundred women have chosen not to have abortions after being given that information. Last year the legislature improved this pro-life law and passed more than half a dozen others.”

Cox said abortion in Arkansas could decline even more in the future thanks to last week’s U.S. Supreme Court decision. “In 2017 921 drug-induced abortions were performed in Arkansas. Three years ago Arkansas passed a law requiring abortion facilities that do drug-induced abortions to contract with a physician who has admitting privileges at a hospital. Federal courts have upheld that law, and last week the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to hear a legal challenge against it. As a result, Planned Parenthood has chosen to stop doing drug-induced abortions in Arkansas for the time being. The Arkansas Legislature has passed good, pro-life laws. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is defending those laws successfully in court, and the lives of unborn children are being saved as a result.”

Cox also praised the work of Arkansas’ pregnancy resource centers. “Pregnancy resource centers help women with unplanned pregnancies. They provide everything from ultrasounds and adoption information to maternity clothes, diapers, and baby formula free of charge. Pregnancy resource centers give women real options besides abortion. That’s why Family Council is working on a program to help provide funding for these centers. We hope to have that program in place within the next year.”

Cox said Family Council will continue working to end abortion in Arkansas. “While we are glad the number of abortions is near historic lows, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of the abortions performed last year were on healthy women carrying healthy babies. Abortion is a tragedy. We intend to continue working to end abortion in Arkansas.”

Family Council is a conservative education and research organization based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

6-5-18 9:38 a.m. kawx.org 

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PCSO Releases Statement On Drowning, Victim Was From Nashville, AR

At approximately 11 AM on Saturday, 06/02/2018, the Polk County Sheriffs Office received a report of a drowning victim at the Mt. Fork River on Polk 37 at the old iron bridge. Officers from the Polk County Sheriffs Office, Arkansas State Police, SouthWest EMS, and area fire department personnel responded. The victim, a 10-year-old girl from Nashville, Arkansas, was visiting relatives in the area at the time of the accident. The victim was transported to Mena Regional Medical Center, where she passed away at 12:56 PM. The thoughts and prayers of the Sheriffs Office are with the family in this time of need.

 

6-5-18 12:22 p.m. kawx.org 

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Sheriff's Log For May 28th thru June 3rd

SHERIFF’S LOG

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of May 28, 2018 – June 3, 2018.  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 28, 2018

Report from complainant on Polk 22 near Cove of possible harassment via the phone.  Investigation continues.

 

May 29, 2018

Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Jennifer K. Pierce, 36, on Charges of Possession of Meth/Cocaine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and a Warrant for Child Support.

 

May 30, 2018

Traffic stop on Highway 71 South near Potter led to the arrest of Lori-Ann Barber, 43, of Hatfield, on Charges of DWI and Defective Equipment.

 

May 31, 2018

Report from complainant on Highway 8 West near Mena of a family member that had possibly been scammed.  Investigation continues.

Report of a disturbance on Highway 71 South near Mena.  Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 199 near Cherry Hill of fraudulent activity regarding a phone account, totaling losses at $2,500.00.  Investigation continues.

Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Leslie N. Gillaspy, 40, of Wickes, on a Warrant for Theft by Receiving.

Arrested was Billie C. Jennings, 57, of Mena, on a Warrant for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of Meth/Cocaine.

 

June 1, 2018

Report from complainant on Polk 659 near Board Camp of damage done to a vehicle.  Investigation continues.

Arrested by an officer with the U.S. Forest Service was Domingo P. Perez, 29, of Pine Bluff, on a Parole Hold.

Arrested was Stetson Bissell, 22, of Mena, on a Warrant for Battery 3rd Degree.

 

June 2, 2018

Arrested was Daniel R. Parnell, 40, of Gillham, on Warrants for Probation Violation and Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

 

June 3, 2018

Report of suspicious behavior led to a 17-year-old male being issued a Juvenile Citation for Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.

Report from complainant on Gaze Lane near Cherry Hill of unauthorized person(s) on their property.  Investigation continues.

Arrested was Gary D. McLellan, 36, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Harassing Communications.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked four vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 24 Incarcerated Inmates, with 9 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC18-00349

 

6-4-18 8:56 p.m. kawx.org 

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NRB Praises Supreme Court's Affirmation of Religious Liberty in Masterpiece Cakeshop Case

WASHINGTON (NRB) – National Religious Broadcasters praised today’s Supreme Court decision overturning Colorado’s discrimination against Jack Phillips for upholding his religious convictions in the practice of his business, Masterpiece Cakeshop.

"The Supreme Court was absolutely correct to overturn the clear religious discrimination perpetrated by the state of Colorado against Jack Phillips,” said Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, president & CEO of NRB. “A 7-2 ruling is a strong affirmation of the central importance of religious liberty to our nation. This decision affirms Americans’ freedom to believe, to speak, and to live their faith. Politicians who are still intent on currying favor with the well-funded radical Left should take a hard look at this case and correct their course of intolerance before they further trample on America’s fundamental freedoms. I thank Jack for fighting on the front lines for us all. I also commend NRB member Alliance Defending Freedom for yet another victory before the highest court in our land.”

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, was ordered by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to create custom cakes for same-sex ceremonies even though they communicated a message in violation of his religious beliefs. The commission also included in its order a requirement for Phillips to file quarterly compliance reports demonstrating that he had re-educated his staff about state nondiscrimination law. That ruling was ultimately upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court, which the U.S. Supreme Court overruled today.

Since its founding nearly 75 years ago, National Religious Broadcasters has steadfastly championed freedom of speech and religious liberty. During the 2018 annual convention, NRB’s Board of Directors, a body of approximately 100 key leaders among Christian communicators, unanimously adopted a resolution, “Urging Respect for the Freedom to Believe,” that asserted the federal government “must faithfully preserve, protect, and defend the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee that all citizens are free to speak and free to exercise the tenets of their faith in daily life.”

6-4-18 10:47 a.m. kawx.org 

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Mena Police Department Report May 27th - June 2nd

Mena Police Department Reports for week of May 27, 2018 through June 2, 2018 
 
 May 27, 2018
 
Cheryl Smith, 28, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant .
 
May 28, 2018
 
Zachary Watts, 24, and Britney Watts, 20, both of Mena were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after officers responded to a call of a verbal dispute at a local store.
 
Gray Lynn Berg, 59, of Mena was charged with public intoxication after officers were called to a local neighborhood.
 
May 29, 2018
 
Report was made regarding an attempt by unknown persons to gain entry to the back of a local business.  Entry was not made.  Case is pending.
 
May 30, 2018
 
John Howard, 54, of Mena was charged with criminal trespass after a call to a local residence.
 
May 31, 2018
 
Officers traveled to Sebastian County and brought Ashley Nicole Laughter-King, 28, of Mena to the Polk County jail on outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines and court costs.
 
June 1, 2018
 
Neisha Fay Wikel, 25, of Cove was arrested on five outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines and court costs.
 
June 2, 2018
 
Jamie Odom, 25, of Mena was charged with theft of property and possession of drug paraphernalia after officers were dispatched to a local apartment complex.
 
A 32-year-old Mena man lost control of his bicycle on a steep downhill grade on a local street.  He eventually crashed onto the pavement with several injuries to his head.  A motorist saw the wreck and notified dispatch.  When officers arrived, the man was unconscious.  He was taken by ambulance to the local hospital, stabilized, and then air lifted to a hospital in Hot Springs.
 
6-4-18 10:27 a.m. kawx.org 
 

 

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Taking It to the Schools III: Community Experiences in Fine Arts

Taking It to the Schools III: Community Experiences in Fine Arts
 
In partnership with the Arkansas Arts Council and Arkansans for the Arts, the Arkansas Department of Education offers its third summer of the popular Taking It to the Schools: Community Experiences in Fine Arts professional development workshop series.

Teachers, teaching artists, and community arts participants are invited to attend one-day trainings which focus on the potential collaborations between school arts programs and community arts organizations. Participants will take away a series of instructional modules developed by the team of trainers. These modules will provide arts educators with rich resources that are specific to the artistic discipline they teach and aligned to the Arkansas Fine Arts Academic Standards.
Registration is open for classroom teachers with accounts through escWorks (search ‘All’ co-ops and enter ‘Community Experiences’. Registration is open for all other interested parties at this link:https://goo.gl/forms/FvelRVPMg6sCJOFn2
 
Taking It to the Schools III: Community Experiences in Visual Art
Presenters: Joy Schultz (Episocopal Collegiate) and teaching artist Jeri Hillis (AAC Arts in Education) will combine a look at collage artists and making collage art with a discussion of choice-based art.

Host:  Mena Art Gallery in Mena on June 14 from 9am to 4 pm.
 
6-3-18 8:27 p.m. kawx.org 

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Celebrate Arkansas Statehood June 9 at Old State House Museum 2nd Friday Art Night on June 8 will feature music from 106th Army Band

Old State House Museum will host a free family-friendly event June 9 from noon to 5 p.m. to celebrate the 182nd anniversary of Arkansas becoming a state. The actual date of Arkansas Statehood is June 15, 1836,

 

This year’s theme is Work and Play. Visitors will learn what industries and trades were in Arkansas in 1836, the worth of goods and services and what pastimes were pursued by early Arkansans. Some of the characters that visitors will meet that day include a carpenter, a basket-weaver, a quilter, a teacher, a drover, a land surveyor, a preacher, a snake oil salesman, a dry goods proprietress and a tavern-keeper.

 

There will be period games like faro, checkers, skittles and graces for kids — and those who are young at heart — to play that day. In addition, the Arkansas Pioneers Association will be on hand to serve refreshments.

 

Prior to the June 9 event, the Old State House Museum will put guests in the Statehood spirit during 2nd Friday Art Night (2FAN), 5-8 p.m. on June 8. The 106th Army Band will play period music to transport guests back in time on the lawn of the Old State House Museum.

 

The Old State House Museum is located at 300 W. Markham in Little Rock. Admission is free and open to the public; the museum can validate parking at the DoubleTree hotel. Metered marking near the museum is free on weekends and after 6 p.m. on weekdays. For more information, call (501) 324-9685 or visit www.oldstatehouse.com.

 

The Old State House Museum is a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and shares the goal of all eight Department of Arkansas Heritage divisions, that of preserving and enhancing the heritage of the state of Arkansas. The divisions are are Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum.

 

6-2-18 11:44 a.m. kawx.org

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column-Working Together for Rural Arkansas

Washington is working together to help our rural communities, which is good news for the forty-two percent of Arkansans who live outside our urban areas. When we work together in a bipartisan manner, we can get a lot accomplished that will help rural America, and in turn rural Arkansas, continue to grow.

 

Infrastructure investment is one way to bring enormous benefits to our rural communities. Not only do smart infrastructure investments boost our economy and create immediate jobs, but they produce long-term positive results as well. The quality of a state’s infrastructure is near the top of the list of factors that business owners consider when deciding where to locate a business or enterprise. Sensible, productive investments in our state’s infrastructure will foster economic development in rural Arkansas.

 

Those benefits are easy to see with the traditional three R’s of infrastructure—roads, runways and rails. But we are working to broaden the scope of traditional infrastructure investment to also include water and broadband, both of which are vital to rural Arkansas’s future and can earn bipartisan support.

 

Recently we scored a major bipartisan victory with the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee’s unanimous approval of a comprehensive bill to address shortfalls in our nation’s water infrastructure.

 

The bill includes a provision I authored that proposes an innovative solution to updating our water and wastewater infrastructure in a way that communities of all sizes can afford. By including my bill in the committee’s comprehensive water infrastructure bill, state and local governments will be able to more effectively meet underserved or unmet infrastructure needs.

 

On the broadband front, we are working on bipartisan solutions to close the digital divide in rural America. The bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, of which I am a co-chair, is leading the charge to encourage President Trump to include initiatives to promote the deployment of high-speed, reliable broadband for all Americans as part of the conversation for our nation’s overall infrastructure plans.

 

The Farm Bill is another area where we can typically find bipartisan agreement to help rural America. Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, adding around $16 billion to our economy every year and accounting for approximately one in every six jobs, so this legislation is extremely important to the economic livelihood of rural Arkansas.

 

The current Farm Bill is set to expire at the end of September so I am working with my colleagues on the Senate Agriculture Committee to write a new one that is fair, equitable and addresses the key needs of farmers and ranchers. Programs authorized by the Farm Bill are vital to making sure that, as a nation, we do not become dependent on other countries for our food supply.

 

The legislation is responsible for much more than just risk management tools for our farmers. The Farm Bill also helps our rural communities by authorizing key economic development and job creation programs. It helps rural Arkansans with everything from home financing to internet access to small business loans.

 

There is a consensus building around this legislation in the Senate and it is my hope that it will be the next bipartisan victory for rural Arkansas. Working together is the strategy we need to continue to follow to create opportunities for our rural communities to succeed. If our rural communities are prosperous, the entire state of Arkansas will see the benefits.

 

6-1-18 5:20 p.m. kawx.org 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Once a year, we get an incredible opportunity to see the future leaders of our state in action.

 

That opportunity took place this week as we greeted the participants of Boys State and Girls State in our Capitol.

 

The National American Legion established the Boys State program in 1935.  The American Legion Auxiliary established Girls State in 1937. 

 

Arkansas Boys State and Girls State is an immersive program in civics education designed for high school juniors across the state.  More than 20 of our current members participated in Boys State or Girls State the summer before their senior year.

 

Upon arrival, each participant is assigned a mock political party, city, and county. Throughout the week, delegates administrate this mock government as if it were the real government.

 

By week’s end, Boys State and Girls State have created their own state government including their own governor and staff of state officials.  They establish their own Supreme Court and legislature.

The mock legislative session is held in the Capitol with many of our members assisting the students through the bill presentation and voting process.

 

The bills they present always give insight into the issues important to this generation.  This year, Girls State presented bills aimed at combating opioid overdoses, preventing school shootings through mental health training for teachers, and implementing toll roads.  Participants of Boys State presented mock legislation to require law enforcement officers to complete sensitivity training and a bill to increase the legal age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21.

 

Boys State and Girls State provides our students with an opportunity to learn how our government operates without using a text book.  It teaches them through a real-life experience they will never forget. 

 

       If you know a young man or woman interested in serving, encourage them to visit with their high school guidance counselor who can provide information on how to participate in next year’s program. 

 

6-1-18 5:15 p.m. kawx.org 

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Planned Parenthood Has Stopped Performing Abortions in Arkansas

Planned Parenthood has stopped performing chemical abortions in Arkansas, leaving only one abortion facility in the state.  The number of women seeking help at Little Rock’s pro-life crisis pregnancy center is up so much that they have issued a call for more volunteers to help.  Planned Parenthood’s abortion doctors say they can’t find a hospital or any other doctors who will help them meet the requirements of a new law requiring them to have admitting privileges at a hospital or have a contract with someone who does.
 
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge by Planned Parenthood against a pro-life law passed by the Arkansas Legislature in 2015.  On Thursday, the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order that law must be enforced. This is great news on the pro-life front.  This means that the ruling by the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the law will stand. This law, championed by Rep. Charlene Fite (R), Van Buren and Sen. Linda-Collins Smith (R), Pocahontas passed the Arkansas Legislature with only 12 dissenting votes.  Signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchinson, it requires doctors who perform drug-induced abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital or have a contract with a doctor who has admitting privileges.  Presented with evidence that drug-induced abortions are more dangerous than surgical abortions, the Arkansas Legislature found that to protect the health and safety of women, a law was needed to require doctors who perform abortions to operate by the same standards that most doctors already follow. 
 
Now that his law is in effect, the two existing Planned Parenthood facilities in Arkansas have stopped performing chemical abortions.  According to Planned Parenthood, their doctors have been unable to find a hospital that will grant them admitting privileges and they say no doctor who has admitting privileges will contract with their doctors to help them follow the law.  Arkansas has about 6,000 licensed physicians and a majority of them have admitting privileges with one or more hospitals.
 
Little Rock’s Caring Hearts Pregnancy Center, a pro-life organization that helps women with unplanned pregnancies, reported on Thursday that the number of women seeking their help had increased.  This increase has been attributed to the burning of the Little Rock Pregnancy Resource Center and changes at Planned Parenthood.    
 
The ACLU and Planned Parenthood are now building their case for another legal challenge in Federal Court.  We expect them to try to present evidence that enforcement of this law is creating an “undue burden” to a woman seeking an abortion. 
 
With the help of Americans United for Life, Family Council worked with the Arkansas Legislature to draft this law and Family Council staff members Charisse Dean and Ken Yang led the lobbying effort for the bill’s passage.  This was a team effort made possible by scores of people all working together. 
 
It is important to note that several other good pro-life bills from Americans United for Life and Family Council are pending in the courts.  If these laws are upheld, Arkansas will be taking giant steps toward being the most pro-life place in the nation. 

Jerry Cox is the founder and president of Family Council and the Education Alliance.  Between fundraising, public speaking, leading the staff, lobbying, and writing, Jerry maintains an active role in ensuring that Family Council continues to serve the people of Arkansas as it has since 1989. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.

 

6-1-18 5:09 p.m. kawx.org 

 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The New Work Requirement for Arkansas Works

As many of you know, we’ve wanted to establish a work requirement in Arkansas Works for a long time. We were unable to garner support for this reform under the previous administration in Washington, but the Trump Administration is encouraging states to pursue this important innovation. As a result, we secured federal approval in March, and today, Arkansas has become the first state in the nation to implement a Medicaid work requirement.
Under this new requirement, certain able-bodied working-age adults in Arkansas Works will be required to work, train, volunteer, or go to school at least 80 hours a month in exchange for Medicaid benefits. To put it another way, Arkansas is requiring participants in its Medicaid program to engage in their communities and enjoy the satisfaction of self-sufficiency, while linking them to the work that will help them pursue their independence.
Those who fail to meet the minimum 80 hours per month for three months in a calendar year will lose Medicaid coverage for the rest of that year. We hope affected individuals will take the steps necessary to keep their coverage, and the Department of Human Services and the Department of Workforce Services are working hard to inform enrollees of the new requirement.
I have often said that Arkansans understand the dignity of work, and I believe that. One of the core objectives of the Medicaid program is to help individuals achieve independence. The ability to work full-time is fundamental to self-sufficiency. A healthy, well-trained workforce will attract greater investment in Arkansas and help sustain long-term growth. With our historically strong state economy, now is the right time to prepare these individuals for full-time, year-round work. 
A fundamental goal of the work requirement is to help people escape from poverty. Even at minimum wage, a person who works full-time for a full year will earn his way above the federally established poverty level.
With this development, Arkansas has become a national leader in rethinking the delivery of public assistance. Although Arkansas’ work requirement is one of the most stringent in the nation, it is not designed to be punitive, but to better serve the needs of Arkansans by creating incentives for individuals to take steps toward financial independence.
The requirement to work presents an opportunity to learn new skills, broaden horizons, overcome current challenges, experience the dignity of work, build for the future, and give back to the community. The benefit of work is far greater than earning a paycheck. Work has a positive influence on an individual’s physical health, mental health, and general well-being. People who work are healthier and live longer. 
People in Arkansas want to work, but they may be hampered by inadequate training and opportunities. A work requirement is designed to increase opportunity, and as I said, the purpose is not punitive.
With the new waiver, Medicaid coverage for adults in Arkansas is more than just access to medical services. It offers a path out of poverty and a path to the dignity of self-sufficiency and achievement. 
6-1-18 2:37 p.m. kawx.org 

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Mena Art Gallery Announces 16th Annual Photography Show

6-1-18 12:21 p.m. kawx.org 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

June 1, 2018

 

LITTLE ROCK –Each year there are more babies born in Arkansas with illegal drugs in their systems.

 

The state Division of Children and Family Services has been keeping records since the legislature enacted Garrett’s Law in 2005. It is named after a child who was born in 2004 with crystal methamphetamine in his body, and who lived only a few months.

 

The law expanded the legal definition of child neglect to include causing a newborn child to be born with illegal substances in his or her body, as a result of the mother knowingly using illegal drugs.

 

Although the presence of drugs is sufficient to substantiate an allegation of neglect, under Garrett’s Law the mother’s name is not automatically placed on the state’s Child Maltreatment Registry, because of concerns that a listing would prevent the mother from getting a job.

 

In 2006 there were 416 reported instances in Arkansas of babies being born with drugs in their bodies. The number has steadily gone up each year, by an average of seven percent until 2011. From 2012 through 2017 it went up more sharply, at an average growth rate of 14 percent a year. Last year there were 1,241 babies born in Arkansas with illegal drugs in their bodies.

 

For the past four years, marijuana has been the most commonly reported illegal drug found in newborns. Each year about two thirds of the filings made under Garrett’s Law indicate marijuana use by the mother, either by itself or in combination with other drugs.

 

The second most widely abused drug among pregnant mothers, at a rate of 25 percent, was methamphetamine or amphetamine. Opiates were abused by 18 percent of the mothers, based on the drugs found in their babies. Opiates include heroin, morphine, codeine and oxycodone. Ten percent had tranquilizers and five percent had cocaine.

 

The median age of the mother is 26, and over 90 percent of the mothers are under the age of 30. Those percentages have has been consistent over the past several years.

 

Last year 70 percent of the newborns did not have any reported health problems. That is an improvement over the previous two years, when 60 percent to 65 percent had health problems.

About 14 percent of the newborns needed treatment in a neonatal intensive care unit, and about 13 percent had respiratory distress or other breathing problems. About five percent suffered from withdrawal symptoms related to the presence of addictive drugs in their bodies.

 

The mortality rate last year was about a third of a percent, or 0.3 percent. That is the same as in 2016 and an improvement over 2015, when one percent of the newborns died.

The babies born with cocaine in their bodies had the highest rate of health problems (47 percent), followed by those born with tranquilizers (41 percent), with opiates (38 percent) and with methamphetamines (37 percent).

 

The least likely to be born with health problems were those born with marijuana in their bodies (27 percent).

 

Newborns whose mothers used cocaine were more likely to require treatment in intensive care (31 percent), followed by those born with methamphetamines (15 percent).

 

After the Division looked into the 1,241 cases reported under Garrett’s Law in 2017, about 18 percent of the babies were removed from their mothers’ homes. If the trend from the previous year holds steady, we can expect that 37 percent of those babies will be returned to their mothers within a year.

 

More than 38,000 babies were born in Arkansas during 2017, according to the U.S. Census.

 

6-1-18 12:09 p.m. kawx.org 

 

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Chism Maye Receives Arkansas Tech Scholarship

 

 

Arkansas Tech University is pleased to announce that Chism Maye has received a Transfer Scholarship for the fall 2018 semester.  This $2000 scholarship is awarded on academic merit and has a total potential value of $12,000 over three years.

 
Parents:  Vicky Maye and Bryan Maye
 
Chism's honor and awards include the following:
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Conservation Scholarship ($1500 per semester)
  • 2016 University of Arkansas Rich Mountain President Scholarship 
  • Arkansas Challenge Scholarship
  • General Studies Degree from UARM, Mena, AR
  • Works as technician assistant for the Rich Mountain Conservation District Office, Mena, AR
  • Will pursue Agriculture Business Degree at Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, AR-Fall, 2018.

 

6-1-18 7:37 a.m. kawx.org

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Acorn School Announces Honor Rolls

Acorn High School

2nd Semester Honor Roll

All A’s

2017-2018

 

7th Grade:

Cora Bell

Brookelyn Goss

Kaelin Harding

Michael Laing

Reed McGee

Rachael Miller

Jayden Willborg

 

8th Grade:

Kiersten Larucci

Jacob Lyle

Justice Neufeld

Raeghan Weddle

 

9th Grade:

Corryn Holland

Halli Holland

Sarah Wallace

 

10th Grade:

Makenna Goss

Kacey Head

Brady Lyle

 

11th Grade:

Makayla Anderson

Tessa Kesterson

 

12th Grade:

Makenzie Goss

Elizabeth Hachtel

Josey Webb

 

Acorn High School

2nd Semester Honor Roll

A’s & B’s

2017-2018

 

7th Grade:

Charish Hill

Olivia Maechler

Lori Richardson

Rachael Weddle

 

8th Grade:

Damian Bohlman

Sunshine Butterfield

Abigail Nance

 

9th Grade:

Hunter Davasher

Emmy Goss

Jayden Miller

Trysten Richey

Harlee Rodgers

Tyler Smedley

Kimberly Strasner

Autumn Strother

 

Acorn High School

2nd Semester Honor Roll

A’s & B’s

2017-2018

 

10th Grade:

Matthew Nance

Justin Richmond

Haley Sandoval

Brody Webb

 

11th Grade:

Kendra Branson

Mekinzie Kyle

Christian Marschall

Rachel Murr

Haley Richardson

Braxlie Strother

 

12th Grade:

Faith Hill

Bridgette Magness

Ashley Sides

 

Acorn High School

4th Nine Weeks Honor Roll

All A’s

2017-2018

 

7th Grade:

Cora Bell

Brookelyn Goss

Kaelin Harding

Reed McGee

 

8th Grade:

Kiersten Larucci

Raeghan Weddle

 

9th Grade:

Emmy Goss

Corryn Holland

Halli Holland

Autumn Strother

 

10th Grade:

Makenna Goss

Kacey Head

Brady Lyle

 

11th Grade:

Makayla Anderson

Tessa Kesterson

Braxlie Strother

 

12th Grade:

Makenzie Goss

Elizabeth Hachtel

Josey Webb

 

Acorn High School

4th Nine Weeks Honor Roll

A’s & B’s

2017-2018

 

7th Grade:

Cora Bell

Michael Laing

Rachael Miller

Addyson Prewett

Lori Richardson

Rachael Weddle

Emily Whorton

Jayden Willborg

 

8th Grade:

Sunshine Butterfield

Kayla Curry

Jacob Lyle

Abigail Nance

Justice Neufeld

 

9th Grade:

Hunter Davasher

Jayden Miller

Harlee Rodgers

Tyler Smedley

Kimberly Strasner

Sarah Wallace

 

Acorn High School

4th Nine Weeks Honor Roll

A’s & B’s

2017-2018

 

10th Grade:

Corinne Branson

Sophie Jackson

Matthew Nance

Haley Sandoval

Brody Webb

 

11th Grade:

Kendra Branson

Mekinzie Kyle

Rachel Murr

Haley Richardson

Jeb Willborg

 

12th Grade:

Faith Hill

Bridgette Magness

 

6-1-18 7:30 a.m. kawx.org

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Public meetings to update fisheries management on Lake Ouachita, June 7 and 26

 Lake Ouachita reigns as one of the best fisheries in Arkansas. Its crystal clear waters accommodate many species of fish that anglers of all types enjoy. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is undergoing its scheduled review and revision process for the lake’s fisheries management plan, and would like to hear directly from the anglers who use this treasured resource. 

At the first meeting, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. June 7 at the Hot Springs Convention Center, biologists will talk about the lake’s booming largemouth bass fishery and information on the latest genetic testing that is one method biologists are using to evaluate the success of experimental stocking of Florida largemouth bass that took place from 2007 to 2014. They also will cover the results of the most recent angler mail surveys and boat ramp surveys on the lake, as well as the components of striped bass and crappie management activities on Ouachita. Biologists covering each topic will be available for one-on-one discussion during the first hour of the meeting. 

Once the presentations are over, all attendees will be able to participate in focus groups where they will be able to identify the things most important to them as the AGFC moves forward in fisheries management on Ouachita. The biologists will collect the results of these group findings and incorporate them into a revised plan.

The second meeting, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., June 26 at the Hot Springs Convention Center, will be held to review a draft of the revised plan, with opportunity for additional input on some issues.

All interested parties, especially Lake Ouachita anglers, should plan to attend both meetings in June. Your voice will help shape the new plan that will serve as a guideline for the management of the Lake Ouachita fishery for the next five years.

6-1-18 7:17 a.m. kawx.org

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