KAWX News Archives for 2018-09

Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column - Bipartisanship is Not Dead

Bipartisanship is Not Dead

 

Given the intense acrimony surrounding the Supreme Court confirmation hearings, it would be understandable if you missed all that Republican and Democrat senators have been able to accomplish by working together. The list has grown recently and deserves to be highlighted.

 

The return to regular order for appropriations bills is a perfect place to start. Passing the 12 bills that fund the government had become unmanageable given the years-long buildup of gridlock in Congress. Washington has come to the verge of government shutdown repeatedly for the past decade.

 

Now, under the leadership of Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Vice-Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), all 12 of the spending bills have been reported favorably out of the Appropriations Committee at the fastest pace in thirty years. Half of these bills have now become law.

 

I am pleased the bill I authored, which determines allocations for military construction projects and veterans' benefits, was among the first ones President Trump signed into law. My bill, in coordination with the legislation that funds the Department of Defense becoming law, marks the first time Congress has funded our military on time, through regular order, in a decade.

 

The bipartisan work isn’t focused solely on funding bills either. The Senate has come together to pass a number of measures that will help Americans get ahead in today’s economy, keep our communities safe and deliver on promises to our veterans.

 

That last point, working to keep our promises to our veterans, is a particular point of pride for me. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees our veterans’ programs, I have long noted how these committees are unique in the manner in which members put aside partisan issues to help our veterans. This commitment extends to the full Senate, which approved a landmark bill that improves the Department of Veterans Affairs current healthcare delivery system by providing veterans with more choices and fewer barriers to care.

 

During the 115th Congress, the Senate has also passed bipartisan legislation that will help our economy continue to grow, including enacting a law that invests in career and technical education programs to help Americans get the skills they need to succeed in a modern economy, as well as passage of critical bills to reauthorize the Farm Bill and the Water Resources Development Act.

 

Republicans and Democrats have come together to pass legislation to strengthen the federal response to our nation’s opioid crisis by expanding prevention efforts, empowering law enforcement and increasing access to treatment. We have taken threats from Iran, North Korea and Russia head-on with tough sanctions and also enacted a new law to combat sex trafficking.

 

We’ve worked together to address issues in our health care system, reauthorizing an essential program that provides low-cost health coverage to children and passing legislation to prevent health insurers and drug companies from masking the lowest possible cost of prescription drugs.

 

The country is divided. Media coverage of the Senate reflects that in many ways, but the stories you don’t see as often paint a different picture. We can get a great deal accomplished when we work together. I hope we continue to proceed in that direction.

 

9-28-18  6:00 p.m.  kawx.org

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Governor Hutchinson Weekly Radio Address

To listen to Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address click anywhere on this line, or read the text below.

 

Governor Hutchinson Weekly Address: Save 8. Donate: The Importance of Organ Donation

 

LITTLE ROCK – A hundred folks gathered in the rotunda at the capitol this week as the Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency launched “Save 8. Donate," its campaign to encourage Arkansans to sign up as an organ donor.

The name is perfect for the cause. One donor can save up to eight lives with the donation of kidneys, lungs, heart and other vital organs. Even more, the donation of your tissue can improve or enhance life for up to 200 people.

Audrey Coleman, of the Regional Organ Recovery Agency, tells the story with numbers: 114,000 Americans are on the waiting list for an organ; 20 of them will die each day; 95 percent of adults say they support the idea of organ donations, but in Arkansas, only 56 percent are registered.

But you understand the story when you hear from the people who are alive because someone donated their organs, or from the people whose loved one was a donor.

Paul Owen told us about his daughter, Melissa, who had checked the box on her driver’s license as a teenager. On December 24, 2013, an aneurysm took Melissa’s life. She was 38.

One of Melissa’s kidneys went to New York, the other to Arizona. Then Paul said: “And who would have known, two miles away from us, a heart went to our new daughter, Yolanda.”

On Christmas Day 2013, a representative from the transplant center at Baptist Hospital called Yolanda Harshaw to tell her a heart was available. She lived about two miles from Paul and Becky Owen.

Yolanda was at the capitol, too. That was a moving moment, to see Melissa’s parents hug the woman who is alive because of their daughter’s gift.

If it were one of your children, or your spouse, in need of an organ, you would donate an organ without a second thought. You would appeal to strangers to donate, if that would save your loved one. You don’t need me to remind you that the people on the waiting list are someone’s children or spouse, and one of us might be that stranger who could save that life by registering as a donor.

Save 8. Donate. One donor can save up to 8 lives.

What a great name for this campaign. It says it all.

You can sign up at a motor vehicle office or online. It’s easy.

In fact, it’s so easy, even a governor can do it. I’ve checked the box on my driver’s license.

Donovan Tucker has written a song of gratitude to the person whose donation of an organ saved his life. To hear the song, YouTube “The Gift” by Donovan Tucker.
 

9-28-18  5:51 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

September 28, 2018

 

LITTLE ROCK – An advisory committee has spent the past year studying the efficiency of how the state pays for improvements to public school facilities.

 

The advisory panel is made up of educators, contractors, engineers and architects. It recommended to the legislature’s Education Committees that the state provide $90 million next fiscal year. This amount would provide incentives for local school districts and continue the progress that Arkansas schools have made since 2005 in upgrading school campuses.

 

Lawmakers on the Senate and House Education Committees will take up the recommendation, although a final decision on the amount of facilities funding will be up to the entire General Assembly.

 

Legislative budget hearings begin in October, in preparation for the regular session that begins in January.

 

Some elected officials believe that current funding amounts for school facilities cannot be sustained over the long term. Others say that the state is obligated to comply with its constitutional mandate to provide adequate academic facilities for all children in Arkansas, regardless of where they live.

 

That mandate in the Constitution was a reason why the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of plaintiffs in the Lake View school funding lawsuit, and ordered the state to correct inequalities in school funding. In response, in 2005 the General Assembly authorized a massive spending program that has contributed to tremendous improvements in school facilities throughout the state.

 

Since 2004, the state and local school districts have spent more than $6 billion on facilities construction and improvements. Of that amount, 81 percent came from local sources, 15 percent came from the state and 4 percent from the federal government.

 

The national average of states’ share of facilities costs is 18 percent. There are 12 states that contribute nothing directly to the cost of local schools capital campaigns, and two states that cover all of their capital costs.

 

More than 1,500 old school buildings have been retired. For example, in 2004 there were more than 500 school buildings in use in Arkansas that were built before 1950. That number has been reduced by half.

 

Since 2000, more than 1,600 new structures have been built and more than 22 million square feet of academic space has been added to Arkansas schools. In a survey of principals, 65 percent said their facilities were about the right size and 4 percent reported that they had more space than they needed. The other 30 percent reported that their school space was inadequate, or was poorly distributed.

 

On average, local districts exceed the minimum effort required by state law to maintain and operate facilities, which is 9 percent of their foundation funding. Last year that 9 percent amounted to $375 million statewide. However, local schools actually spent $475 million, or 11.4 percent of foundation funding, on maintenance and operations.

 

Another political battle could take place if the legislature considers changing the wealth index, a formula that determines the percentage of state funds that go into individual construction projects. The advisory committee heard concerns about the fairness of the index, especially how it treats small districts that have seen enrollment go down.

 

9-28-18 12:38 p.m. kawx.org

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Arkansas and in the United States.  Breast cancer continues to be one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in Arkansas.  Today, one in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.

 

In 2015, there were 2,168 new cases of female breast cancer in Arkansas. That same year, 394 women died of the disease.

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. 

 

There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer. But there are things you can do that might lower your risk such as exercise and reducing alcohol intake.

 

Finding breast cancer early and getting state-of-the-art cancer treatment are the most important strategies to prevent deaths from breast cancer.

 

In 2017, we passed legislation in hopes of increasing the accessibility of new technology that could help save lives. Act 708 requires insurance companies to cover the cost of a breast ultrasound or 3-D mammogram without charging a co-pay or deductible.  While traditional mammograms are effective for many women, the ultrasound can detect changes in women with dense breast tissue.  

 

 

States that have demanded that insurance companies treat ultrasounds and 3-D mammograms the same as traditional mammograms have seen a reduction in deaths and the number of biopsies needed.  

 

American Cancer Society screening recommendations for women at average risk are as follows:

 

·      Women between 40 and 44 have the option to start screening with a mammogram every year.

·      Women 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

·      Women 55 and older can switch to a mammogram every other year, or they can choose to continue yearly mammograms.

 

The Arkansas BreastCare program provides breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services for eligible Arkansas women. If you qualify, you can receive services at no cost to you.  Visit www.arbreastcare.com to learn more.

 

9-28-18 8:37 a.m. kawx.org 

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CORPS TO CONDUCT YOUTH DEER HUNT AT DIERKS LAKE

The Army Corps of Engineers is taking applications from hunters ages 6-15 who want to participate in a special youth deer hunt Nov. 3 at Dierks Lake. 

 

Three permits will be issued to youth hunters who seek to experience the outdoors and have a great place to hunt that is normally closed to hunting.


Applicants must submit a completed application form to the Corps by Oct. 12.  A random drawing will be held Oct. 15 to select the three hunters.

  
Applicants must have parental permission, and be accompanied by an adult assistant at least 21 years old on the day of the hunt. Also, youth must be skilled enough to safely operate the firearms they bring to the hunt.  


This hunt will provide a great opportunity for youth hunters to hunt near food plots without pressure from other hunters in the woods.  Hunting blinds will be provided. 


Surveys have been conducted to ensure resources are properly conserved and public safety is considered.  Hunters must provide their own firearms. 

 

Application forms may be obtained at the Corps Dierks Project Office at 246 Jefferson Ridge Road, Dierks, Arkansas or by calling 870-286-2346.

 

9-27-18 10:16 a.m. kawx.org 

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Arkansas Fall Color Updates Now Available

Want to know the latest about Arkansas’s fall color? Or attractions to visit for the best viewing? You’ll find all this information – and more – on Arkansas.com. You can also receive updates via email at bit.ly/arfallcolor.

Updated fall color reports are sent to email subscribers and posted to the Fall Attractions page each Thursday. Using social media, the department browses hundreds of visitors' photos each day and hand-selects the most stunning shots to be displayed on the site. This information is then summarized into the report that is posted each week. The gallery on the site is updated throughout the week.

Want your pictures featured in our fall color gallery? Simply use #ArkansasFall when you post to Instagram or Twitter – and don't forget to tag or mention your location!

In addition to the leaf report, you’ll find information on various scenic drives across the state, popular fall color destinations and travel deals and packages to help in planning your trip.

Some of the state’s more popular scenic drives are nationally designated routes. These include the Talimena National Scenic Byway, which traverses the top of Rich Mountain in western Arkansas; Crowley’s Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway and the Great River Road National Scenic Byway, both which cut through the colorful hardwoods of the St. Francis National Forest in eastern Arkansas. There are also US Forest Service Scenic Byways with impressive natural vistas. Five of these are in the Ozark National Forest: Mount Magazine(Ark. 309 from Paris across Mount Magazine to Havana), "Pig Trail" (Ark. 23 north of Ozark to its junction with Ark. 16), Ozark Highlands (Ark. 21 north out of Clarksville to the Buffalo National River), Highway 7 (Ark. 7 from El Dorado north through the Ozark National Forest into Harrison), and Sylamore (Ark. 5 and 14 from Calico Rock and Allison, which provides a peaceful and beautiful approach to Blanchard Springs Caverns).

Other Arkansas scenic byways include: the I-530 State Scenic Byway, which roughly follows Bayou Bartholomew (the longest bayou in the world) around the cities of White Hall and Pine Bluff; the West-Northwest Scenic Byway, a 261-mile interconnected route that stretches through both the Ouachita and Ozark National Forests; and the Boston Mountain Loop, offering two very different options to travel from Alma to Fayetteville in the northwest corner of the state.

For more information, visit Arkansas.com/things-to-do/attractions/fall-attractions.

 

9-27-18 9:29 a.m. kawx.org 

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Flood-Damaged Vehicles Make Their Way to Arkansas

While the damage from Hurricane Florence was mostly concentrated to the Carolinas, the effects may be felt across the country as bad actors line their own pockets by selling water-damaged items and vehicles.
 
“Unfortunately Arkansas has some unscrupulous car dealers who may not follow Arkansas law by providing the proper documentation when selling water-damaged vehicles,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is common for these sellers to try to take advantage of consumers by selling damaged out-of-state vehicles without proper disclosure.”
 
Consumers should review a vehicle’s title for any flood damage reports. Arkansas law requires dealerships to place a separate disclosure in the window of cars for sale that have previously been submerged, but consumers should be careful if purchasing a vehicle through a private sale. Although the private seller is required by Arkansas law to notify the buyer of any flood damage, a posted disclosure is not mandatory for this type of transaction.
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for Arkansans to consider before purchasing a new or used vehicle that could have been involved in the recent flooding.

 

  • Ask the seller if the car has been damaged by hail or flood waters, and always check the car’s title history
  • Inspect the vehicle for water stains and mildew in the vents and behind the dashboard. Also look under the hood for signs of oxidation
  • Flood damaged cars may look fine because of cosmetic repairs, but they may have defective electrical systems, steering problems, faulty
  • computers, faulty air bag systems and persistent mold problems.
  • Have the car inspected by your own mechanic before you decide to buy.
  • If the car has experienced significant damage and is considered a salvage vehicle, a buyer’s notification should be posted, and the price should be much lower than the price of a similar car with a clean title. Consider that you may have difficulty later selling a salvage vehicle and its value will be compromised.

Consumers who believe they have been sold a flood-damaged item that was not advertised as such should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.
 
For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

 

9-26-18 7:18 p.m. kawx.org 

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Weekly Fishing Report

Weekly Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Sept. 26, 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.

 

9-26-18 5:53 p.m. kawx.org 

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Quadruple Homicide Suspect In Polk County Court Wednesday

Sheriff Scott Sawyer announded this afternoon that Polk County quadruple homicide suspect Brian B. Travis, age 39, appeared in the Polk County Circuit Court today, September 26, 2018. The purpose of today's hearing was to finalize the dates for Travis' upcoming Capital Murder Trial.

 

Polk County Circuit Court Judge Jerry Ryan has Travis' trial set to begin in March of 2019. In addition to setting the trial date, Judge Ryan also set dates for several administrative hearings for the upcoming trial.

 

Brian B. Travis is charged with four counts of Capital Murder in the April 2017 deaths of Bethany Wester, age 43, Steven J. Payne, age 66, Acelynn C. Wester, age 2, and Reilly J. Scarbrough, age 9.

 

Travis is currrently housed in the Varner Unit of the Arkansas Department of Corrections in Grady, Arkansas, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.

 

9-26-18 2:11 p.m. kawx.org 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For September 17 - 23

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of September 17, 2018 – September 23, 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.


September 17, 2018
Report from a public water company of vandalism to their equipment, causing damages of $15.00. Investigation continues.


September 18, 2018
Report of a disturbance on Polk 34 near Hatfield. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 14 near Wickes of the theft of $200.00 in cash. Investigation
continues.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Patricia D. Williams, 41, of Gillham, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.


September 19, 2018
Arrested was Richard L. Young, 52, of Mena, on a Body Attachment Warrant.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Kenneth R. Weisinger, 29, of Smackover, on Charges of Domestic Battery 3 rd Degree, Public Intoxication, Disorderly Conduct, Criminal Mischief 2 nd Degree, Terroristic Threatening 2 nd Degree and Interference with Emergency Communications, and a Body Attachment Warrant.


September 20, 2018
Report from complainant on Highway 270 in Acorn of an unauthorized person on their property. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Kelly W. McCarley, 39, of Wickes, on two Warrants for Failure to Appear.


September 21, 2018
Report of a disturbance that had occurred earlier in the day led to the arrest of Joshua A. Graham, 28, of Mena, on Charges of Domestic Battery 3 rd Degree and Escape 3 rd Degree.
Arrested was Isiaha T. Sipe, 21, of Mena, on two Warrants for Failure to Appear.


September 22, 2018
Traffic stop led to the arrest of Nicole C. Renard, 39, of Mena, on Charges of DWI and Driving Left of Center.
Report from a business on Highway 71 South in Cove of the receipt of a possible counterfeit $100 bill. Deputy responded.
Report from a Mena man of a missing family member. The individual was later located.
Report from another law enforcement agency of a possible stolen motorcycle being located in Polk County. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


September 23, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 10 in Wickes of damage done to a vehicle window, totaling losses at $250.00. Investigation continues.
Report from a Vandervoort man of issues regarding child custody exchange.
Report from a business on Highway 71 South in Cove of an employee being threatened by an individual. The subject was advised to not return to the property.
Report from a business on Highway 71 South in Cove of damage done to the property by an unknown individual, totaling losses at $20,000.00. Investigation continues.


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


Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 19 Incarcerated Inmates, with 4 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC18-00637

 

9-24-18 4:35 p.m. kawx.org 

 

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Mena Police Department Report for September 9th - 22nd

Mena Police Department Reports for September 9th, 2018 through September 22nd, 2018
 
September 9, 2018
 
Donna Hulbert, 47, of Mena was charged with DWI II.  The arrest followed a call to an accident on a city street.
 
Matthew Cannon, 38, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant from the Polk County sheriff’s office.
 
September 10, 2018
 
Melissa Hartin, 42, of Mena was charged with third degree battery and resisting arrest after officers responded to a call at a local residence.
 
Andy Ryan Sebren, 37, of Mena was charged with theft of property and public intoxication after a call from a Mena resident.
 
September 11, 2018
 
Report was made of a verbal altercation between two Mena residents.  Neither wished to press charges.
 
September 12, 2018
 
Rennee Rose Bruce, 32, of Wickes was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failure to pay fines and court costs.  The warrant was from the Polk County sheriff’s office.
 
Katie Danielle Flood, 20, of DeQueen was served an outstanding warrant from the Polk County sheriff’s office for failure to pay fines and court costs.
 
September 13, 2018
 
Kimberlina Upton, 19, of Mena was arrested on a warrant from Scott County.
 
A 17-year-old Mena youth was charged with assault on a family member and disorderly conduct following a call from a local citizen.  Case has been referred to juvenile authorities.
 
Kia Cottman, 32, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Mena police department for failure to pay fines and court costs.
 
September 14, 2018
 
Shannon Shaw, 38, of Mena was charged with theft by receiving.  The arrest followed a call from a Mena resident.
Joshua Graham, 28, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) following a
call from a local retail store.
 
Audra Cogburn, 28, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) following a call from a local retail store.  She was also served five outstanding warrants.
 
September 15, 2018
 
Jack Allen Curry, 38, of Hatfield was charged with driving on a suspended driver’s license.
 
September 16, 2018
 
A local woman reported that she is being harassed by an acquaintance.  Case is pending receipt of further information and location and interview of suspect.
 
September 17, 2018
 
Report was made of a Mena man being harassed by a former employee.  Case has been sent to the prosecutor’s office for possible issuance of a warrant.
 
September 18 & 19, 2018
 
Report was made of harassment and threats being made to a local resident.  Case is pending.
 
September 20, 2018
 
A 13-year-old Mena boy was charged with curfew violation when he was reported missing and subsequently located after midnight.  Case has been referred to juvenile authorities.
 
September 21 & 22, 2018
 
Megan Casey, 20, of Hatfield, was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.
 
Kamara Dowdy, 25, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant Mena police department for failure to pay fines and court costs.
 
Benjamin Frost, 18, of Hatfield was charged with theft of property (shoplifting.)  The arrest followed a call to a local retail store.
 
Amber C. Lee, 22, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after a call from employees at a local retail store.
 
9-24-18 12:41 p.m. kawx.org 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address Arkansans Answer the Call for Help

 
LITTLE ROCK – From a distance, we have all watched the devastation and flooding caused by Hurricane Florence. While the destruction was far away, I am proud of the way Arkansas has helped the recovery effort. Let me share a few examples of what we have done to help.
 
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management has sent four people east – three to Richmond, Virginia, and one to Atlanta.
 
Arkansas Air National Guard is contributing 18 airmen from the 188th Wing in Fort Smith. And one soldier from the 39th Infantry Brigade has been deployed to the National Guard Bureau at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
 
The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas have sent 118 linemen to assist in restoring power, and Entergy sent 100.
 
The Arkansas cooperatives have also sent approximately 100 pieces of equipment including bucket trucks, digger derricks, pickups, and pole trailers.
Tyson Foods plans to send 100,000 pounds of food and water, and several employees from Arkansas have volunteered to help prepare meals.
 
Sixteen members of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention’s Flood Recovery and Chainsaw teams are leaving for Bayboro, North Carolina, on Monday.
 
ADEM was able to deploy its four employees because of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a mutual aid agreement that allows states to send personnel, equipment, water, food and other items that other states need during a disaster.
 
Once a governor declares an emergency, he or she can request assistance through EMAC. The compact eliminates issues of liability and cost, and it allows a state to honor credentials, licenses, and certifications from other states.
 
Jordan Abshire of Cabot is operations branch manager at ADEM and has been in Atlanta for the past week serving as our liaison. She has been monitoring requests for assistance, answering questions about EMAC deployments, submitting daily reports and participating in daily teleconferences.
 
Of those deployed from the 188th Wing, 15 are working for FEMA from their home site in Fort Smith. They collect video feeds and photographs from satellites, Google Earth and social media to assist the people in the disaster zone to know more precisely the conditions in the area.
 
They can alert rescuers to flooded roads and the possibility that floodwaters may top a dam. To put it in a technical term, they provide situational awareness.
 
Disasters tend to bring out the best in people, as we have seen in Arkansas when neighbors turn out to help neighbors. I’m grateful for the Arkansans who are willing to leave their families to help others.
 
As the folks at ADEM say, disasters don’t respect state borders. And with government pacts such as EMAC in place, and private companies and faith-based organizations, we don’t have to worry about state borders, either, when our neighbors need help.
 
9-22-18 8:16 a.m. kawx.org 
 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Early voting for the upcoming election begins statewide on October 22. We encourage you to begin making plans to vote.  The first step is to make sure you are registered.

 

If you are not already a registered voter, you have until October 9 to mail in your voter registration form.

 

To register in Arkansas you must fill out a paper Voter Registration Application.

 

You can find an application at the following:

 

  • Your local county clerk.
  • The Arkansas Secretary of State Elections Division: 1-800-482-1127.
  • Local revenue or DMV office.
  • Public library.
  • Disability agency.
  • Military recruitment office.

 

We have posted a link to download a registration application on our website www.arkansashouse.org .

 

Never assume you are registered to vote until you have received your voter registration card from the county clerk.

Feel free to call your county clerk and inquire about the status of your application or you can check your registration status online at www.voterview.org.

 

You can also find your polling place on www.voterview.org.  

 

In most counties, early voting is conducted at the county clerk’s office. In counties with off-site early voting, local newspapers will publish the designated sites.

 

During a preferential primary or a general election, early voting is available between the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, ending at 5 p.m. on the Monday before the election. Off-site early voting hours may vary by county; watch your local newspaper or contact your county clerk for information.

 

If your name or address has changed, you may update your information at the early voting site.

 

Voter turnout during a mid-term election is typically much lower than during a presidential election year.

 

However, the results of mid-term elections have an enormous impact on our state.  On this ballot, Arkansans will decide the outcome for the office of the governor, attorney general, and state representative just to name a few.  Depending on the outcome of ongoing legal challenges, there could be up to 5 ballot issues before voters.  We have also posted a link to a guide explaining the ballot issues in detail at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

You can find sample ballots including local races by contacting your county clerk.

 

9-21-18 5:06 p.m. kawx.org 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column - Transparency Will Help Drive Down Health Care Costs

Transparency Will Help Drive Down Health Care Costs

 

Our health care system is in desperate need of some sunlight. Patients are kept in the dark about the true cost of their care, which often unnecessarily leads them to accept higher costs without question. That needs to change.

 

Senate passage of the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act— which will prevent health insurers and drug companies from masking the lowest possible cost of prescription drugs—is a good place to start.

 

The bill takes on the health plans and pharmacy benefit management service providers that include “gag clauses” in contracts. This practice prohibits pharmacists from telling patients when a prescription drug would cost less if they paid out of pocket rather than using their health insurance.

 

Overpayments for prescription drugs happen far more often than one would think. A recent study published the Journal of the American Medical Association found that nearly one in four patients paid too much for their prescriptions. The study cast a large net, and found 2.2 million instances of overpayments in the 9.5 million claims that were analyzed. According to its findings, patients pay more than they need to approximately 23 percent of the time they pick up a prescription.

 

Karen Van Nuys of the University of Southern California, the study’s lead author, said she was shocked by "how common these overpayments appear to be."

 

The fact that agreements to conceal the true cost of medication are legal is upsetting—especially considering that insurance is supposed to save consumers money. The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act will ensure that health insurance issuers and group health plans do not prohibit pharmacy providers from delivering drug price information to enrollees.

 

Transparency is a key component of a free market, and more reforms that usher it into the health care marketplace are desperately needed. Empowering patients with information will encourage accountability and fairness in the system.

 

While Washington seeks additional ways to promote transparency, we can be proud that Arkansas was the first state to sign price transparency into law. This leadership from Little Rock helps increase Arkansans’ understanding of the true cost of health care procedures and services.

 

Arkansas is one of fifteen states to maintain an All-Payer Claims Database (APCD). APCDs are large-scale databases that systematically collect and analyze medical and pharmacy claims from private and public payers. Cost and quality data become available to consumers through APCDs which, in turn, raises public awareness of price differences and makes lower-cost options more visible to consumers.

 

Research supports the notion that the transparency provided by APCDs helps make health care more affordable. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association documents the benefits of employer-sponsored private price transparency platforms. After detailing its impact on three common medical services, researchers established that the “use of price transparency information was associated with lower total claims payments.”

 

It is clear that simple, commonsense approaches to promote transparency can effectuate positive change in the system. Eliminating barriers that prevent Arkansans from fully understanding the costs of their health care is a mechanism that will force market changes. We must continue to do more to make health care costs transparent, sensible and fair.

 

9-21-18 5:01 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

September 21, 2018

 

LITTLE ROCK – Enrollment at Arkansas colleges and universities is down slightly from last year.

 

All institutions must submit a preliminary report on enrollment to the state Department of Higher Education on the 11th day of classes. Those figures will change as the semester progresses, because of transfers and dropouts. However, from one year to the next they present a snapshot of higher education rates in Arkansas.

 

Keeping track of the number of students in college is not merely an academic exercise. It’s an economic issue for civic and business leaders, who understand that college graduates will be the future economic foundation of the state.

 

These days, corporate executives say that there are numerous highly paid jobs available, but a lack of skilled workers to fill them. This scenario presents a new and different set of challenges for policy makers than what they faced a generation ago, when the problem was to create enough well paid jobs to keep our brightest young people in the state.

 

Now, legislators and educators are working to increase graduation rates. A new higher education funding formula was approved by the legislature last year. Rather than rewarding enrollment growth, the new funding model rewards institutions that retain students and graduate them.

 

The effect of the new funding formula is reflected in the enrollment figures submitted by Arkansas colleges and universities.

 

Total numbers are down slightly at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (-0.6 percent) and the University of Central Arkansas at Conway (-1.5 percent).

 

Growth is slower than usual at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (0.8 percent). Over the past five years growth at Fayetteville is up 9.6 percent.

Officials at all the campuses pointed out the high academic standards of the incoming freshman class.

 

The freshmen at ASU scored an average of 24 on the ACT and their composite grade point average in high school was 3.56. At Fayetteville the average ACT score for freshmen is 26.2 and their high school GPA was 3.69. At UCA the composite ACT score for freshmen is 24.4 and the high school GPA is 3.55.

 

Enrollment at Southern Arkansas University at Magnolia was down 3.8 percent this year, but over the past five years it has grown by 31.3 percent. At the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith it was down 0.9 percent. At the University of Arkansas at Little Rock it was down 9.5 percent. At the University of Arkansas at Monticello it was down 13.2 percent.

 

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff has growth of 0.3 percent, Arkansas Tech at Russellville 2 percent and Henderson State at Arkadelphia 18.9 percent.

 

ASU emphasized improvement in the retention rate of last year’s freshmen. A record 76.6 percent of last year’s freshmen returned to campus this fall. ASU also noted the increase in minority students in this year’s freshman class. More than 10 percent of the class is African-American, and the number of African-Americans in the class jumped by 23 percent over last year.

 

The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville reported a 3.1 percent decrease in the total number of African-American students on campus, even though this year’s freshman class had an increase over last year. African-American students now make up 4.6 percent of the entire student body.

 

9-21-18 11:45 a.m. kawx.org 

 

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Research Charities When Giving to Hurricane Florence Victims

LITTLE ROCK – Scenes of destruction left by Hurricane Florence in North Carolina and South Carolina have left many Arkansans wanting to find a way to help. But Arkansans should use caution and take time to research, ensuring their donations are actually used toward helping our fellow Americans. Following natural disasters, the Attorney General’s Office often receives reports of unscrupulous “charities” targeting the kind and generous spirit of Arkansans wanting to assist those in need.
 
“Scammers often create fake organizations by selecting a name and logo similar to an existing, legitimate organization that actually helps those in need,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “These scammers provide limited information, while still trying to tug at the heartstrings of potential donors to convince them the ‘charity’ is legitimate. Arkansans must remain vigilant and do research to know how their money will be used.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to help consumer give to only legitimate charities:

 

  • Do not fall prey to high-pressure sales tactics as they are often the first sign of an unscrupulous and fraudulent charity.
  • Before getting out a checkbook or credit card in response to a phone solicitation, make attempts to determine the validity of the organization by conducting research.
  • Get the organization’s name, address, website and phone number, or give directly to a known nonprofit of your choice. Make sure the nonprofit organization is registered with the Arkansas Secretary of State.
  • Use GuideStar.org to compare nonprofit organizations and to get more information.
  • Ask the organization how it will spend your donation.
  • Watch out for similar but different organization names as some con artists will use names like those of existing, reputable nonprofits in order to trick consumers.
  • Do not give out financial or personal information over the phone or through email to an unknown entity. This information could fall into the wrong hands, or the scammers could use it to steal your money or identity.
  • Never send cash. Make check or credit card payments for increased security and tax purposes.
  • If donating via text message, verify the organization’s number prior to sending information. 

Also be wary of charities that pop up quickly in response to Hurricane Florence and other emergencies. Even if they are legitimate, they oftentimes do not have a system in place to get donations to those in need. Consider giving to an established organization which helps disaster victims in the area.
 
For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov orfacebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

 

9-20-18 8:51 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 Sept. 19, 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.

 

9-19-18 3:26 p.m. kawx.org 

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Mena's Healthy Connections To Receive $285,000 Grant To Combat Opioid Addiction

Arkansas Community Health Centers Awarded Nearly $3 Million to Combat Opioid Addiction

 

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators John Boozman and Tom Cotton along with U.S. Representatives Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman announced that Arkansas is the recipient of nearly $3 million for Community Health Centers to advance substance abuse and mental health treatment. The funds are awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Expanding Access to Quality Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services program.

 

“Community Health Centers have long been on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. Throughout this escalating crisis, they have played a vital role in addressing the mental and behavioral health needs of those seeking treatment, no matter the circumstances. In spite of the growing number of patients with opioid use disorder, they have expanded services to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Their efforts to implement effective treatment, recovery and prevention methods are critical in addressing this crisis. This funding will support the implementation of care that will help turn the tide of opioid epidemic,” Boozman said.

 

“Improving access to treatment and recovery services must be a component in our strategy to defeat opioid addiction in Arkansas. This welcome funding will allow our Community Health Centers to continue administering critical treatment for substance abuse and often-associated mental health problems,” Cotton said.

 

"Opioid addiction is a nationwide crisis that knows no geographic or demographic boundary. Addiction treatment is often difficult to access and administer in rural America due to lack of infrastructure and funding. Our Community Health Centers serve some of our most vulnerable populations and this critical grant will bolster and expand the work they are already doing to battle this epidemic,” Crawford said.

 

“Across Arkansas, tearful families have told me their stories about how the opioid crisis has personally affected them, which is why I’m especially pleased to hear that our Arkansas Community Health Centers will receive more funds to combat this epidemic. We can’t let another Arkansas family be devastated by this crisis, and with legislation and community-wide effort, we can help fight this tragedy hurting the ones we love,” Hill said.

 

“The opioid abuse epidemic knows no boundaries. This deadly crisis requires aggressive action on all fronts, and these grants will support those struggling with addiction to find recovery. By equipping our local, on-the-ground experts with the resources they need to implement treatment and rehabilitation programs, we will help save lives and end this scourge,” Womack said.

 

“Access to treatment and recovery is vital in our fight against the opioid epidemic in the Natural State. These grants to Community Health Centers across Arkansas help meet the needs of patients in all corners of the state, saving lives and giving those suffering with addiction hope for a brighter future,” Westerman said.

 

Facilities in the following Arkansas communities are recipients of funding:

  • Augusta - ARcare                                                                      $298,250
  • Clarendon - Mid-Delta Health Systems, Inc.                            $284,904
  • Corning - 1st Choice Healthcare, Inc.                                        $285,000
  • Hampton - Cabun Rural Health Services, Inc.                          $285,000
  • Marshall - Boston Mountain Rural Health Center, Inc.            $285,000
  • Mena - Healthy Connections, Inc.                                             $285,000
  • Pine Bluff - Jefferson Comprehensive Care System                 $110,000
  • Portland - Mainline Health Systems, Inc.                                  $285,000
  • Ratcliff - River Valley Primary Care Services                          $285,000
  • Springdale - St. Francis House NWA, Inc.                                $285,000
  • West Memphis - East Arkansas Family Health Center, Inc.    $285,000.

 

9-19-18 11:40 a.m. kawx.org 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For September 10 - 16

SHERIFF’S LOG

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of September 10, 2018 – September 16, 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.

 

September 10, 2018

Report from complainant on Polk 282 near Hatfield of the theft of a license plate.

Report of a disturbance on Polk 75 near Mena. Deputy responded. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Arrested was John K. Robertson, 43, of Mena, on Warrants for Fleeing on Foot, Failure to Appear and Felony Failure to Appear.

 

September 11, 2018

Arrested was Christopher Eslager, 47, of Mena, on a Warrant for Probation Violation.

 

September 12, 2018

Report from complainant on Highway 270 near Acorn of the theft of prescription medication, valued at $60.00.

Report of a disturbance on Polk 24 near Cove led to the arrest of Elizabeth A. Seman, 48, of Cove, on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.

Arrested was Jennifer S. Hale, 24, of Oden, on five Warrants for Failure to Appear.

 

September 13, 2018

Report of a disturbance on Highway 8 East near Board Camp. Deputies responded. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from a Mena man that his 14-year-old daughter was missing. The juvenile was later located.

 

September 14, 2018

Report of a disturbance on Highway 375 East near Mena led to a Citation for Disorderly Conduct being issued to Tommy Earhart, 62, of Mena.

 

September 15, 2018

Report of a single-vehicle accident on Highway 88 East in Ink led to the arrest of Kenneth R. Deramus, 62, of Mena, on Charges of DWI and Careless/Prohibited Driving.

Arrested was David E. Hart, 47, of Miami, OK, on a Warrant for Probation Violation.

Arrested was Jack R. Cannon, 24, of Mena, on three Warrants for Violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law.

 

September 16, 2018

Report from complainant on Highway 270 near Acorn of being threatened by an acquaintance. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Rock Creek Lane near Potter of a reckless driver. Deputy responded. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Arrested was Debra L. Herring, 54, of Mena, on a Warrant for Probation Violation.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 24 Incarcerated Inmates, with 14 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC18-00623

 

9-17-18 4:40 p.m. kawx.org 

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Nationwide WEA and EAS Tests September 20th-What You Need To Know

There is a lot of media coverage about the upcoming nationwide tests of the Wireless Emergency Alert System and the Emergency Alert System. The tests will be conducted at 1:18 p.m. and 1:20 p.m. on Thursday, September 20, 2018.

 

The Wireless Emergency Alert or "WEA" system is a nationwide system that is designed to send emergency information specific to your area, or nationwide if warranted, to your smartphone. As many of you know, the system has not functioned well and is less than dependable. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On September 20th, your smartphone will hopefully receive the "Presidential Alert". If it doesn't, notify your cell company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are listening to AM or FM radio or watching TV, you should hear the test as well as see text about the test on TV.

 

The purpose of the test is to give broadcasters, who are First Informers, an opportunity to make sure the system functions properly, and if not, learn why not and what corrections need to be made. This is not the first nationwide test. The addition of the WEA test just prior to the EAS test has resulted in increased media attention. 

 

The Emergency Alert System, in one form or another, has been around for decades. Originally it was the CONELRAD system, developed during the Truman administration in 1951, which was replaced by the Emergency Broadcast System or "EBS" in 1963, and finally the current system, the Emergency Alert System or "EAS" came about in 1997. In addition to being much more dependable, the EAS system uses local radio, TV, and cable systems, all of which must participate, and they are the sources in most communities for emergency information and followup information when needed. We are discussing an upcoming test here, but everyone should have a battery operated AM-FM radio on hand at all times to use to get news and official information during and after an emergency, and a NOAA Weather Radio with backup batteries for weather warnings. If I could emphasize any one thing about being informed before, during, and after an emergency-whether local, regional or nationwide-it would be to look to local radio and TV. These "First Informers" are much more likely to be able to keep you informed than any other media, including the internet. 

 

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to specific areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The FCC, in conjunction with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service (NWS), implements the EAS at the federal level. The President has sole responsibility for determining when the EAS will be activated at the national level, and has delegated this authority to the director of FEMA. FEMA is responsible for implementation of the national-level activation of the EAS, tests, and exercises. The NWS develops emergency weather information to alert the public about imminent dangerous weather conditions.

 

The FCC's role includes prescribing rules that establish technical standards for the EAS, procedures for EAS participants to follow in the event The EAS is activated, and EAS testing protocols. Additionally, the FCC ensures that the EAS state and local plans developed by industry conform to FCC EAS rules and regulations.

 

9-16-18 5:29 p.m. kawx.org 

 

About The Author

Chris Daniel is a broadcaster, broadcast technical and compliance consultant, and the chairman of the Arkansas Emergency Communications Committee which is responsible for the "EAS" system for radio, TV, and cable in Arkansas, and is certified by the Society of Braodcast Engineers as a Braodcast Technologist and Radio Operator. Chris also serves on the board of directors of the Arkansas Broadcasters Association, and is an Emergency Coordinator for the American Radio Relay League. Chris holds the highest FCC commercial radio license (GROL) with a Radar Endorsement, and is a licensed amateur (ham) radio operator (W5AWX). 

 

 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

From 1999 to 2016, the suicide rate in half of all U.S. states increased by more than 30.  Arkansas was one of those states.

 

Last year, suicide was the leading cause of violent death in Arkansas.  There were 621 Arkansans who died by suicide in 2017.

 

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time to share resources and shed light on this highly stigmatized topic.

 

While suicide is often associated with mental illness, more than half of all people who die by suicide have no known mental health condition, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Researchers agree that multiple factors can affect an individual’s level of risk, such as economic hardship, relationship problems, substance use disorders, physical health problems, recent crises and a host of other factors.

 

Rural communities and communities with distressed economic conditions also show higher rates of suicide.

 

 

In the last legislative session, the General Assembly passed Act 811 which created the Arkansas Lifeline Call Center.  This call center is housed in the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and answers calls to the national hotline that are made in Arkansas.

 

An average of over 1,000 Arkansans call the lifeline each month. Callers in crisis are able speak to someone here in Arkansas who has a strong understanding of the resources available in the state. This number is available for many reasons - whether a person is contemplating suicide or is having feelings of anxiousness, depression, hopelessness, or they just want to talk.

 

 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Veterans can access the Veteran Crisis Line by calling the national line and pressing 1. Anyone can also text the crisis line by sending TALK to 741741, or chat online at www.chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

 

The ADH Injury and Violence Prevention Section works to prevent suicides through education, resources, and awareness. To learn more about the trainings and resources that are available for your group, business, or school, visit http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/suicide-prevention.

 

9-14-18  5:15 p.m.   kawx.org

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column-Acting to Prevent Suicides and Treat Mental Health Crises

This year, the reality that many Americans face serious crises of mental health and wellness has been impossible to overlook or ignore. Not only have several high-profile celebrities tragically taken their own lives, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the suicide rate in Arkansas increased by about 37 percent from 1999 to 2016.

 

This is sobering, but the good news is that our state and the country are taking steps to confront the challenges of mental illness and suicide head-on. Through a variety of treatment programs and public awareness campaigns, we’re turning our attention and resources toward solutions that help address this crisis and save lives.

 

Earlier this year, I toured the new Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) in Sebastian County. The first of four CSUs scheduled to open across Arkansas, this facility is equipped to provide services to Arkansans experiencing mental health crises. In the past, such individuals would have been transported to county jails that are already experiencing overcrowding in addition to being unsuited to diagnose, treat and respond to those who find themselves in need of specialized care relating to mental health.

 

Intervention and treatment are the keys to avoiding outcomes like suicide and helping individuals feel supported and find hope. The central Arkansas CSU began accepting patients in July and two more CSUs will open their doors in northwest and northeast Arkansas to help our loved ones, friends and neighbors in need of these life-saving services.

 

It’s not just CSUs that are helping confront mental health issues and prevent suicide. Congress and the federal government are acting as well. This year, Congress passed the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act. The president signed the bill into law, requiring the Federal Communications Commission to evaluate the effectiveness of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and study the feasibility of creating a three-digit phone number – akin to 911 – intended to be a resource for those in a mental health crisis.

 

Mental health struggles and suicidal thoughts or feelings reach across every demographic, but one group that is particularly susceptible is our veteran population.

 

We know that 20 veterans commit suicide each day. In Arkansas, veterans account for about 20 percent of all suicides. Congress is working to provide the personnel, services and tools to help veterans facing mental illness struggles by improving the Veterans Crisis Line and enhancing screening and assessment of those at risk.

 

Arkansas ranked 14th in the nation for deaths by suicide in 2016. Our response to this problem cannot be delayed or downplayed. Governor Hutchinson has proclaimed September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and state agencies are working together to provide resources and treatment.

 

These are all indications that suicide prevention is now a priority. Arkansans in need of mental health treatment and support are depending on us to treat this situation with the seriousness, empathy and action it requires. Together, we can support those at risk of suicide and help them believe that tomorrow is worth living for.

 

9-14-18 4:56 p.m. kawx.org 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address Arkansas's Work and Community Engagement Requirement Update

 
LITTLE ROCK – On June 1, Arkansas became the first state to implement a work requirement for able-bodied Medicaid recipients who are of working age with no dependents at home. The goal is to identify and provide worker training to those who need employment and to improve their opportunity to get a good-paying job.
 
Since the reporting period opened, we have worked diligently to make sure those subject to the work requirement had the information they needed to show they are working or to seek an exemption.
 
Our Department of Human Services has sent 136,000 letters and emails, and made more than 150,000 phone calls.
 
They posted the message on social media sites, sent thousands of text messages and even knocked on doors to spread the information.
 
DHS staff members conducted more than thirty webinars, and offered other training and information sessions for advocacy groups. They distributed thousands of educational postcards in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms.
 
In addition, DHS created a way help those without computers or internet access to report in. Registered reporters were allowed to complete the process for beneficiaries by telephone.
 
And every DHS county office in the state also has staff on hand to assist those who need it. 
 
More than 43,600 enrollees complied with the requirement.
 
Despite all this effort, about 4,300 able-bodied Arkansans did not meet the state’s work requirements, which means they will lose the coverage for the remainder of the year.
 
There are a couple of things important to note about that number.
 
First, each of those people had three months to contact the state. We didn’t close cases because someone didn’t contact DHS the first month.
 
And the number doesn’t necessarily represent 4,300 people who are suddenly without insurance coverage. It could mean that for any number of reasons, some of the people in that number no longer needed the insurance. They may have found work, moved onto a spouse’s insurance, or moved out of state without notifying DHS. Some simply chose not to comply.
 
Personal responsibility is important. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure those who qualify for the program keep their coverage, but it is equally important that we make sure those who no longer qualify are removed. This not only allows the state to concentrate its limited resources on those who need it the most, but the work requirement is geared toward helping Arkansans find a job and move up the economic ladder.
 
In fact, we have already heard success stories about people who have taken the encouragement and decided to earn their GED and start vocational school. Through assistance from the Department of Workforce Services, some have started nursing school and made other decisions about picking a career.
 
This work and community engagement requirement reflects a balance of important Arkansas values such as compassion, work and responsibility.
 
9-14-15 4:19 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

September 14, 2018

 

LITTLE ROCK – The state Department of Human Services announced that 4,353 Arkansans were no longer eligible for Medicaid benefits because over the past three months they failed to comply with work requirements.

 

Another 43,655 people met the work requirement and will retain their health coverage under Medicaid.

 

The news was the latest development in the long-running political struggle over the extent to which Arkansas should expand Medicaid, as required by federal mandates.

 

The federal law was enacted in 2010. It took several years and a number of lawsuits for the 50 states to implement its provisions.

 

Arkansas took a unique approach by making private health providers an integral part of the expanded Medicaid program. Lawmakers have adjusted our version of the health care act in each legislative session since the federal mandate was imposed. Currently, the program is known as Arkansas Works and it requires enrollees to either work, consistently look for work or attend classes that will teach job skills.

 

Two state agencies were present when the announcement was made – the Human Services Department because it administers Medicaid, and the Workforce Services Department because it provides the job hunting services required of enrollees.

 

For three months the 4,353 people who were removed from the Medicaid rolls failed to report their attendance at class, or their job schedules or any volunteer work that would have brought them in compliance.

 

Department officials announced that more than 5,000 people are in jeopardy of losing their benefits at the end of September because they have gone two months without complying with the work requirements.

 

Critics say that the requirements place too much of a burden on Medicaid recipients. For example, many recipients probably don’t have a computer, a smart phone or Internet access that is necessary to meet the requirements.

 

DHS officials defended their efforts to notify recipients of the requirements, and to help them respond. They sent 136,000 letters and made more than 150,000 phone calls. They sent text messages and in some cases visited people’s houses. They conducted training sessions and posted materials in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms.

 

Recipients who lack Internet access could get help by calling their insurance carrier, or visiting a county DHS office for help.

 

The people who lost coverage will be ineligible until the end of 2018, but they might qualify in other categories of Medicaid if their circumstances worsen, or if they are pregnant or have a disability.

 

Currently, the work requirement applies to enrollees from 30 to 49 years of age. They must work 80 hours a month, or take vo-tech classes. Up to 39 hours a month can be spent looking for work or attending a job search training class at a local Arkansas Workforce Center. Up to 20 hours in a year can be spent taking health education classes. Each hour spent volunteering counts as an hour of work.

 

It’s important to contact DHS when your economic circumstances change. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep in contact with DHS when people move in or out of your house, if a family member is discharged from a nursing home, or if you decide to claim a child as a dependent.

 

9-14-18 9:28 a.m. kawx.org 

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Family Council Publishes "Pro-Life Champions 2018" List

Little Rock, Ark. —  On Friday Family Council published its Pro-Life Champions 2018 list highlighting past and present elected officials who have championed pro-life legislation in Arkansas over the past five years.

 

Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement saying, “Arkansas is the second most pro-life state in the nation thanks to several great members of the Arkansas General Assembly who have championed pro-life legislation over the past five years as well as Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.  Family Council has worked with every one of these individuals along with our friends at Arkansas Right to Life to protect the sanctity of innocent human life in Arkansas. It is important that Arkansans know who these pro-life champions are.  They deserve tremendous thanks from the people of our state.  I hope Family Council’s Pro-Life Champions 2018 list helps do that.”

 

Cox said the laws Arkansas has passed in recent years are saving lives. “Legislation sponsored by these lawmakers has helped reduce the number of abortions in Arkansas to a forty-year low.  Laws passed by these champions have already saved the lives of thousands of children, and they will continue to save the lives of children for many years to come.”

 

Current state legislators listed in Pro-Life Champions 2018 are Representative Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville); Representative Sonia Barker (R – Smackover); Representative Mary Bentley (R – Perryville); Senator Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers); Representative Charlie Collins (R – Fayetteville); Senator Linda Collins-Smith (R – Pocahontas); Representative Charlene Fite (R – Van Buren); Senator Scott Flippo (R – Bull Shoals); Representative Kim Hammer (R – Benton); Senator Jim Hendren (R – Gravette); Senator Bart Hester (R – Cave Springs);  Senator Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View); Senator Blake Johnson (R – Corning); Representative Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs); Representative Andy Mayberry (R – Little Rock); Representative Aaron Pilkington (R – Clarksville); Senator Jason Rapert (R – Conway); Representative Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro); and Senator Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch).

 

Cox said he hopes Arkansans will thank the elected officials in the Pro-Life Champions 2018 list. “We have provided contact information for each of lawmaker as well as Governor Hutchinson and Attorney General Rutledge.  I hope Arkansans will contact all of them and express their gratitude. They are doing tremendous work to stand up for the sanctity of human life in Arkansas.”

 

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

 

9-14-18 9:21 a.m. kawx.org 

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Scammers Stealing Arkansans' Social Security Numbers

LITTLE ROCK – Consumers should be on alert for persons calling and claiming to be government officials. The Attorney General’s Office has received complaints of callers claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service and even the Attorney General’s Office. And now Arkansans are reporting receiving calls from someone claiming to be with the Social Security Administration and requesting social security numbers and bank account information.
 
“The government will never call consumers requesting financial information,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “If the caller is requesting personal or financial information and claiming to be a government agency, hang up, find the phone number from an official source and call the agency directly. It is important for Arkansans to know who they are talking to at the other end of the phone line.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge and the Federal Trade Commission released the following tips for Arkansans who may be dealing with a government imposter:

 

  • Never give out or confirm sensitive information, such as bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers, unless the caller is trusted and his/her identity has been confirmed.
  • Be cautious of callers using organization names similar to existing agencies. Scammers use internet technology to spoof area codes, so although it may seem the call is from Washington, D.C., it could originate from anywhere in the world.
  • The Social Security Administration and other government agencies have warned about these scams and suggest contacting the agency directly.

The Social Security Administration can be contacted at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the reason for the contact and the person’s identity prior to providing any information to the caller.
 
To report this scam to the Social Security Administration, contact its Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271, or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
 
For more information about other common scams and consumer-related issues, please call the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov orfacebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

 

9-13-18 8:57 p.m. kawx.org 

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AHPP OFFERS CEMETERY PRESERVATION LECTURE, DEMONSTRATION AT CHERRY HILL

LITTLE ROCK–The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program will present “Bringing It Back: Cemetery Monument Preservation, Maintenance and Restoration” at the Cherry Hill United Methodist Church at 4014 Polk County Road 70 at noon on Saturday, September 22.

 

AHPP Special Projects Historian Holly Hope will offer information on cleaning and documenting gravestones, as well as safety, repair and straightening techniques, materials and tools, and landscaping issues. The lecture will be followed with a gravestone cleaning demonstration at Cherry Hill Cemetery on Cherry Hill Lane.

 

For more information on the free lecture, contact Hope at (501) 324-9148 or holly.hope@arkansas.gov or Kathy Rusert at (479) 394-4176.  

 

The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage division 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 Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.

 

9-13-18 4:55 p.m. kawx.org 

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AHPP TO HOST CEMETERY PRESERVATION PROGRAMS IN DELIGHT

 

 

LITTLE ROCK–The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program will host a free cemetery preservation lecture and hands-on cemetery preservation workshop in Delight October 12-13.

 

       A free lecture by veteran gravestone conservator Jonathan Appell of Atlas Preservation, Inc., will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 12, at the Delight School Campus Gymnasium at 623 Cherry Street. Appell will address the evolution of gravestone architecture in the U.S., gravestone materials and repair techniques. The lecture is co-sponsored by the East Delight Homemakers Club and the Pike County Cooperative Extension Service.

 

       Appell will lead the free workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, at Delight Cemetery on Arkansas Highway 19. The workshop will focus on how to clean, re-set and repair tombstones, as well as instructions on cemetery maintenance, suitable cleaning products and proper techniques to use. Registration is limited to 40 people.

 

        To register for the workshop, or for more information, contact Holly Hope at (501) 324-9880, write her at 1100 North Street, Little Rock, AR 72201, or send an e-mail message to her at holly.hope@arkansas.gov.

 

        The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage division 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 Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.

 

9-12-18 5:01 p.m. kawx.org

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Zero hunting-Related Fatalities Last Year In Arkansas, Hunters Reminded To Stay Vigilant

 

 

LITTLE ROCK - Last year was one of the few years on record that Arkansas did not have a fatality due to a hunting accident, but hunters should be mindful to keep up their guard. 

 

The news comes from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Annual Hunter Incident Report, which was released last week to Hunter Education instructors throughout Arkansas. The report summarizes all hunting-related incidents from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, and gives instructors and other hunting safety advocates information on areas where improvements can be made.

 

“Still, by and large, falls from treestands make up the largest portion of hunting accidents,” said Joe Huggins, Hunter Education coordinator for the AGFC. “Fifteen of the 23 reported accidents last year were falls from stands.”

 

Huggins says treestand falls spanned all ages of hunters last year, from a seven- and an eight-year old, to two 75-year old veterans of the deer woods. 

“Some were from 10 feet and some were from as high as 25 feet,” Huggins said. “Some even had safety harnesses on but weren’t connected to the tree at the time of the fall.”

 

Many falls occur when people are transitioning from a ladder or steps into a stand, and Huggins suggests setting up a vertical rope and prussic knot to always stay connected to the tree.

 

“If someone’s searching for details about the device, the brand Hunter Safety Systems calls it a Life Line, but other brands sell comparable safety ropes,” Huggins said. “The whole idea of the system is to always have your harness attached to the tree from the time you leave the ground until the time you return after the hunt.”  

Huggins says that the report only shows incidents that were reported, either from the hunters, hospitals or first-responders. It also shows only incidents when the person was directly involved with hunting at the time.

 

“We know of other incidents that occurred while people were getting a duck boat or deer stand ready, that don’t fall under the report,” Huggins said. “And there are a lot of twisted ankles, cuts and minor injuries that occur that people never report.”

 

Even with 23 incidents being reported, hunting is one of the safest recreational activities available. More than 318,500 licensed hunters participated last year, so less than 0.007% of hunters experienced a hunting-related injury.

 

“The percentage of injuries is way lower than most high school sports like football,” Huggins said. “We have about the same rate of injury as table tennis.”

Huggins says a Hunter Education course is one of the best resources available for hunters to remain safe in the woods. In addition to some basic hunting knowledge and general regulations, instructors focus on everyone coming home to share stories after the hunt is concluded.

 

“Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1968, is required to have hunter education to hunt without a mentor,” Huggins said. “Hunters younger than 16 and hunters who obtain a deferred hunter education code through the AGFC licensing system may hunt under the direct supervision of a licensed hunter who is at least 21.  The mentor must be within arm’s reach of them during the hunt.” 

 

9-12-18 2:44 p.m. kawx.org 

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Weekly Fishing Report

 

 

Weekly Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Sept. 12, 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.

 

9-12-18 2:38 p.m. kawx.org

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For September 3rd - September 9th

 

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of September 3, 2018 – September 9, 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.

 

September 3, 2018

Report of damage done to a phone cable by a vehicle on Polk 37 near Potter, creating a hazard in the roadway. Deputies responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 38 near Hatfield of fence being cut. Investigation continues.

Report from a Hatfield woman of problems regarding custody exchange.

Arrested was Tony P. Foster, 32, of Cove, on two Warrants for Failure to Appear.

Arrested was Staci R. Weinert, 31, of New Boston, TX, on a Warrant for Felony Failure to Appear.

 

September 4, 2018

Report from complainant on School Street in Cove of damage done to a vehicle and a door, and the theft of a camera. Investigation continues.

Report of a disturbance on Polk 57 near Nunley led to the arrest of Stanley M. Ainsworth, 60, of Mena, on Charges of Disorderly Conduct and Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.

Report from a business on Highway 71 North near Mena of rental property that had not been returned, totaling losses at $5,000.00. Investigation continues.

Report of a disturbance on Cearley Lane near Mena. Deputies responded.

 

September 5, 2018

Report of a disturbance on Polk 227 near Hatton. Deputies and Grannis officers responded.

 

September 6, 2018

Report of suspicious persons on Polk 18 near Vandervoort led to the arrest of Cody R. L. James, 18, of Mena, on a Charge of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and a Warrant for Delivery of a Schedule II Controlled Substance.

Report of a 10-year-old male being threatened led to a 17-year-old female being issued a Juvenile Citation for Disorderly Conduct. The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.

Report of disturbances on Waters Lane and Morgan Street in Mena. Deputies responded. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Arrested was Cheyenne Smith, 24, of Cove, on three Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

 

September 7, 2018

Report from complainant on Polk 625 near Mena of the theft of a weather vane, valued at $400.00. Investigation continues.

Report of a vehicle fire on Highway 71 South in Hatton. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Elizabeth A. Seman, 48, of Cove, on two Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

Arrested was Gwyn I. Dowler, 43, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

 

September 8, 2018

Report from complainant on Polk 121 near Mena of an unauthorized person on their property that had caused damage to a door, totaling losses at $100.00. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from a Mena man of issues regarding child custody exchange.

 

September 9, 2018

Report from complainant on Highway 4 West near Cove of an individual that refuses to return a borrowed vehicle. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report of a vehicle pursuit in the area of Cove. Both subjects fled on foot. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 111 near Acorn of an unauthorized person on their property. Deputy responded.

Report of a disturbance on Polk 49 near Shady Grove led to the arrest of Greg A. Cunningham, 58, of Mena, on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

Report from complainant on Highway 375 near Mena of the theft of $230.00 cash. Investigation continues.

Arrested was Dennis R. Stinson, 40, of Mena, on a Charge of Criminal Trespass.

 

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 28 Incarcerated Inmates, with 13 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC18-00613

 

9-11-18 11:18 a.m. kawx.org 

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US and Arkansas Flags To Fly Half Staff September 11th for Patriot Day and National Day of Service

 

In remembrance of the victims of the attack on September 11, 2001, flags are ordered to be flown at half-staff at the Arkansas State Capitol and all State-owned buildings from dawn to sunset on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson's proclamation for Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance can be found HERE.

 

God Bless America! 

 

9-10-18 7:58 p.m. kawx.org

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Mena Police Department Report for September 2 - 8

September 2, 2018
 
Report was made of a break-in at a local residence.  Case is pending.
 
Employees at a local retail store reported that someone had walked out of the business with merchandise that had not been purchased.  Case is pending identification, location, and interview of suspects seen in a surveillance tape.
 
Wesley Seals, 39, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Montgomery County.
 
September 3 & 4, 2018
 
Benjamin D. Farley, 19, of Mena was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.
 
Bailee Christian Cook, 19, of Mena was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
 
September 5, 2018
 
A local man reported the theft of a cell phone.  Case is pending location and interview of suspect.
 
Deanna Pate, 35, of Glenwood was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Mena Police Department.
 
Report was made of the theft of campaign towns from local areas.  Case pending.
 
September 6, 2018
 
Employees at a local fast food restaurant reported that someone had lost a bicycle from the back of a vehicle. Officers retrieved the bike and took it to the police department for safe keeping.  The owner later came to the police station and recovered the bicycle.
 
September 7, 2018
 
Asa Reid Dixon, 20, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant.
 
Levi R. Cottman, 28, of Mena was arrested on a warrant from the Polk County Sheriff.
 
September 8, 2018
 
Blake Edward Caldwell, 32, of Mena was charged with drinking in public after a complaint from a local resident.
 
9-10-18 9:32 a.m. kawx.org 

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Flags Should Be Flown At Half Staff Tuesday, September 11th, For Patriot Day

The President of the United States of America has declared September 11th each year a day of national mourning to be honored with all American Flags at half staff from sunrise to sunset on that day.

9-10-18 7:32 a.m. kawx.org 

 

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Alarm System Scams

 

 

LITTLE ROCK – Consumers should be on the alert for door-to-door sales people using scare tactics to sell home alarm systems. The Attorney General’s Office receives complaints against home alarm systems and monitoring services for violations of the Home Solicitations Sales Act, including high pressure sales, misrepresentations of products, failure to provide a copy of the contract and others.
 
“Arkansas law provides specific protections for consumers purchasing items from a door-to-door salesperson,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “My office is here to protect consumers with education and awareness. At times, this requires legal action to respond to bad actors trying to take advantage of Arkansans.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge provided the below tips for consumers to help spot an unscrupulous door-to-door salesperson:

 

  • Consumers have a right to review the contract outside the presence of the sales agent, and cancel the contract without obligation within three days of the home solicitation sale. The sales agent must provide the consumer written notice of this right to cancel along with the proposed contract.
  • High-pressure tactics are rarely employed by companies whose business depends on providing quality customer service.  A legitimate company will allow consumers to weigh options and will review the system details and notification procedures.
  • The solicitor may suggest the existing security system needs an “upgrade,” when the salesperson actually represents a different company.  This may lead a homeowner to believe the system must be “upgraded” just to remain reliable.
  • The salesperson offers “free installation.” The homeowner may think it is a bargain, but many “free installation” offers are coupled with long-term, high-cost monitoring contracts. In the long run, the “free” offer may be the most expensive of all.

 

Arkansans who may have been victimized by these practices are encouraged to contact the Public Protection Department of the Attorney General’s Office.

 
Last week, Rutledge filed a lawsuit against Alert America LLC for violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Alert America sold third-party alarm monitoring services, and many of its contracts included prepaid service contracts. When Alert America closed its business, it failed to remit payments to the third party, leaving Arkansans with discontinued services they had prepaid. The Attorney General’s Office has discovered at least 67 affected Arkansans. Some consumers reported losing more than $1,000.


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.

 

9-8-18 8:28 a.m. kawx.org

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address - Texarkana: Two Cities With One Goal

 
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – The leaders of the twin cities of Texarkana, Arkansas, and Texarkana, Texas, are setting aside all rivalries in order to shore up the economy on both sides of the state line.
 
They have created the Arkansas-Texas Regional Economic Development Incorporated, or AR-TX REDI. It is an organization that will recruit new business and strengthen the economy so that existing companies will stay and expand.
 
Fifteen-hundred folks from both states stood in the ninety-degree heat on Tuesday as I joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott to announce the creation of AR-TX REDI in front of the federal courthouse that straddles the Arkansas-Texas state line.
 
The last time Arkansas and Texas showed this much togetherness was in 1975 when the Hogs, the Aggies and the Longhorns tied for the Southwest Conference Championship.
 
I didn’t remind the crowd that the University of Arkansas “out-Aggied the Aggies” that year and crushed A&M’s hope for an undefeated season.
 
But that is football. We were in Texarkana to capitalize on the assets we have in common. We were celebrating cooperation between the cities and the states that will fortify the region with new jobs and new business.
 
During my brief trip to the southwest corner of our state this week, I met people who work in Arkansas and live in Texas. Texans travel to Arkansas to shop or to see a doctor. The state line is symbolic and not divisive. This new level of cooperation won’t require much adjustment for Texarkansans.
 
The payoff will be new and expanding businesses, more jobs, and an emphasis on strengthening the workforce through improved educational opportunities. Uniting for economic development is the right thing to do.
 
I like one of the slogans they use in Texarkana: “Two cities that are one of a kind.”
 
AR-TX REDI will suggest ways to combine the workforces of the two Texarkanas. This will produce better opportunities. Together, we will be more successful.
 
Regardless of the part of the state you live in, we should remember that we can do more together by combining our regions to work together for economic development. And your growth and success will be your history and your legacy.
 
9-7-18 5:41 p.m. kawx.org 

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NRB to Big Tech: 'It's Go-Time for Free Speech'

 

 

WASHINGTON (NRB) – Following a congressional hearing yesterday at which Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was grilled on concerns of censorship and bias, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, president & CEO of National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), is calling for immediate action – ideally by the tech companies themselves – to address the problem of online censorship of Christian and conservative viewpoints.

 

“Now – right now – it’s go-time for free speech. That is the message Silicon Valley must take away from yesterday’s hearing,” said Johnson. “Fix yourself or someone will try to fix you.”

 

Johnson added, “NRB has for years suggested a free speech charter based on First Amendment jurisprudence as the basis for an industry-crafted code of conduct. I urge Jack Dorsey and his fellow Big Tech executives to assemble together immediately to fix the undeniable viewpoint suppression problem themselves.”

 

Numerous ideas have been floated by public officials and others by which the government may address the growing censorship problem. Among these are the imposition of new transparency requirements, a re-evaluation of the Good Samaritan clause of the Communications Decency Act’s powerful Section 230, and possibly more heavy-handed measures against ubiquitous tech giants. The U.S. Department of Justice announced yesterday it’s also looking into this matter of viewpoint suppression – to see if tech titans “may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.”

 

Earlier this year, the NRB Board of Directors, a body of approximately 100 key leaders among Christian communicators, unanimously approved a resolution that noted, “NRB has urged caution about new regulatory regimes and has lauded the value of free enterprise.” However, it also highlights NRB’s documentation of religious viewpoint censorship by Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other edge providers. Indeed, NRB’s Internet Freedom Watch initiative shows examples of censorship in a timeline dating back to Apple’s 2010 discrimination against the late Chuck Colson’s Manhattan Declaration app. The NRB Board resolution urges a “light touch” on the internet by the U.S. government, but also urges such tech giants “to honor First Amendment values as refined by centuries of American jurisprudence and to faithfully apply those principles in their policies and practices.”

 

“It may or may not be intentional, but there is well-documented censorship, and that cannot be ignored forever by the people’s representatives in Congress,” declared Johnson. “We need to be very careful not to stifle innovation or, worse, to open the door to Big Brother or an internet Fairness Doctrine. However, light touch doesn’t mean no touch.”

 

Johnson concluded, “I agree with Rep. Morgan Griffith when he told Dorsey yesterday that the ideal is for the industry leaders – not the government – to take action on responsible standards, but that there is a problem and somebody has to do something. We at NRB stand ready to help however we can, but Big Tech executives must act now.”

 

Of note, Dorsey responded to Rep. Griffith (R-Va.), “It’s a great idea.”

 

Find here a relevant letter to Dorsey sent last December at the launch of Internet Freedom Watch. Similar letters were sent to other Silicon Valley executives seeking dialogue, but all have so far gone unanswered.

 

9-7-18 3:52 p.m. kawx.org 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Supporting Arkansas Sportsmen and Wetlands Conservation

 

 

Arkansas, with its abundant natural resources, offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy nature. Hunting – a favorite tradition of Arkansans – also attracts people from around the globe to our state. Earlier this month, sportsmen and women kicked off the annual dove hunting season, and following on its heels will be duck hunting season. These pastimes are important to our state’s economy and play a crucial role in conservation efforts. This is why I’m proud to serve as a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission and fight to protect and preserve habitats that are integral in fostering a healthy ecosystem that benefits both wildlife and sportsmen.

 

The commission doesn’t receive a lot of media attention, but the work it does is vital to the conservation of wetlands for waterfowl in Arkansas. Nationally, it strengthens the environment that sportsmen and women rely on for some of their favorite recreational activities while simultaneously improving local economies. At the commission’s biannual meeting earlier this month, we approved funding to restore nearly 135,000 acres of wetlands and habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife.

 

Established in 1929, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission was created to acquire wetlands and other areas for purchase or easement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), as well as establish new waterfowl refuges. Since the commission's establishment, more than 5.6 million acres have been acquired by FWS and added to the National Wildlife Refuge System. In recent years the commission authorized the addition of more than 1,800 acres to Arkansas’s Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, which is popular among duck hunters. 

 

Serving on the commission allows me to be a voice for Arkansas wetlands. As a duck hunting destination, it’s critically important that we protect waterfowl habitats in Arkansas so we can continue attracting sportsmen and women to our state. In 2016, the commission approved $1 million in grant funding to protect, restore and enhance nearly 2,000 acres of critical wetlands and floodplain habitat in the basin of the Lower White and Cache Rivers to benefit waterfowl including redhead and wood ducks.

 

As good stewards of the environment, duck hunters have proven their commitment to the preservation of waterfowl habitat. One way the commission obtains funding to expand conservative efforts is through the sale of the Duck Stamp. Duck hunters in Arkansas are familiar with this successful initiative since it’s a requirement of their annual license, but any outdoor enthusiasts can also voluntarily purchase a Duck Stamp. For every dollar spent on Duck Stamps, FWS estimates that 98 cents go toward protecting the National Wildlife Refuge System.

 

I’m pleased to partner with our hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts to protect the resources that enhance and enrich our state. Arkansas is nicknamed “The Natural State,” and by working together we can ensure that our wildlife and environmental resources continue helping us live up to that standard.

 

9-7-18 3:42 p.m. kawx.org 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

 

 

Half of all the rice grown in the United States, is grown right here in Arkansas. With more than 9 billion pounds of rice produced each year, Arkansas grows more rice than any other state.

 

September is National Rice Month, a time to celebrate the harvest of the small but mighty grain that has been growing in our state since 1910.

 

Several Arkansas farmers experimented with rice in the early twentieth century, but William H. Fuller of Carlisle is known as the father of the Arkansas rice industry.  He was on a hunting trip in Louisiana when he first saw rice being cultivated.  Noting similarities between the Louisiana soil conditions and those of the Grand Prairie, he resolved to experiment with rice on his own land.

 

Today, rice grows in more than 40 counties in Arkansas.  There are 2,300 rice farms in our state.  Of those farms, 96% are family owned and operated.

 

The annual Arkansas rice crop contributes billions to the state’s economy and accounts for approximately 25,000 jobs, crucial to rural communities.

 

Arkansas rice farmers are decreasing their use of natural resources.  Collectively, the industry is using more than 30% less land and energy than it did 20 years ago.  During that same time span, farmers have reduced water usage by half.  The industry also gives 100,000 pounds of rice annually to fight food insecurity in Arkansas.

 

Consuming Arkansas-grown rice helps support our neighbors who continue to produce a quality food supply. One half cup of rice contains only 100 calories.  It’s naturally sodium, cholesterol and gluten free. And at 10 cents at serving, its budget friendly.

 

If you are looking for ways to incorporate more Arkansas rice in your diet or if you are looking for recipes, try searching the hashtag #nationalricemonth on social media.

 

9-7-18 3:32 p.m. kawx.org  

 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

 

 

LITTLE ROCK – Legislators convened a special meeting to ask tough questions of prison officials after five inmates died of suspected drug overdoses within a few days.

 

The cause of their deaths is not official because autopsies have not been completed. However, it is widely believed that K2, a synthetic drug that mimics marijuana, was a factor. Prison systems throughout the country are trying to control the influx of K-2.

 

For example, in Arkansas prisons a new policy is in effect: mail is photocopied and shown to inmates because letters and correspondence can be laced with K-2.

 

The new mail policy was implemented after testing done by the state Crime Lab indicated that K2 confiscated at Arkansas prisons was on paper, not tobacco or marijuana. Someone outside prison had sprayed the chemicals on a letter or magazine, which inmates smoked or ate.

 

K2 is a variation of numerous chemicals and testing is expensive, and it’s challenging to keep up with the changes in its chemical composition. Sometimes a drug test or an autopsy does not point to K2, even though other evidence does.

 

Visitors to some units are not allowed contact with inmates. Also, prison officials told lawmakers, this year nine employees of the Correction Department have been terminated for trafficking.

 

The legislature’s Charitable, Penal and Correctional Institutions subcommittee asked for a report on the suspicious deaths, and prison officials told lawmakers that the number of confiscations of K-2 in 2018 is actually on pace to be 37 percent lower than last year.

 

Last year prison officials counted 1,136 incidents with K2, such as the drug being discovered and confiscated or an inmate getting sick or dying from an overdose. This year, if the number of incidents holds steady, there will be an estimated 712 incidents.

 

In addition to enhancing security and inspection measures, prison officials have expanded education programs both for inmates and their visitors, with the purpose of warning them of the dangers of K2.

 

Some officials would like to have authority to jam cell phone signals on prison property, because cell phones facilitate the delivery of all kinds of contraband.

 

It is commonly referred to as a synthetic form of marijuana, because of its effect on particular parts of the brain. As a result, drug users tend to use it as they would marijuana, and they fail to appreciate its toxicity. Some of the chemicals that have been discovered in K2 include nail polish remover and bug poison.

 

The Senate co-chairman of the subcommittee repeated her call for a thorough and independent auditing of prison procedures and policies, saying that the problems are not new.

 

The recent inmate deaths is notable for the number of men who died within a short period of time, but is part of a trend that is cause for concern among lawmakers. Last year there were 13 inmate deaths attributable to K2 and so far this year there have been six, not counting the recent spate of five deaths.

 

Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are among many other states where prison officials are working to solve the problems caused by K2.

 

9-7-18 10:04 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 Sept. 5, 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

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas (no report this week for West-Central Arkanasas) 

 

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

 

9-7-18 7:55 a.m. kawx.org 

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Join The Great Arkansas Cleanup September 8th

 

 

Each fall, Arkansas volunteers and organizers improve their communities by participating in the Great Arkansas Cleanup. Keep Arkansas Beautiful is encouraging Arkansans to organize their own community cleanup or participate in a cleanup of their choice.

 

Last year’s Great Arkansas Cleanup featured 215 community events across the state involving more than 6,700 Arkansans, who picked up more than 130,500 pounds of litter and collected over 823,200 pounds of bulky waste from roughly 1,117 miles of roadway and more than 727 miles of waterway.

 

“With the assistance of volunteers and cleanup organizers, we can aid in the cleanliness and beauty of communities across Arkansas,” said Liz Philpott, volunteer program manager at KAB. “We encourage Arkansans to participate in a local Great Arkansas Cleanup event and help us improve the places we care about in The Natural State.”

 

Those who would like to organize an event in a local community or volunteer for a local event can email info@keeparkansasbeautiful.com or call toll-free 888-742-8701.

 

Visitwww.keeparkansasbeautiful.com/events/2018-09-08/ for a list of cleanups organized under the effort.

 

KAB will provide cleanup materials and supplies, such as T-shirts, trash bags, gloves and safety vests, to many of these local events.

 

For more information, visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com.

 

9-5-18 1:05 p.m. kawx.org

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For August 27th - September 2nd, 2018

 
 
SHERIFF’S LOG
 
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of August 27, 2018 – September 2, 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.
 
August 27, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 62 near Big Fork of the break-in to a residence. Investigation continues.
 
Report of a disturbance on Medlin Lane near Hatfield that had occurred earlier in the day. Deputy responded.
 
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Ashley R. Evans, 28, of Idabel, OK, on a Charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance.
 
Arrested was Amanda L. Dominguez, 33, of Council Bluff, IA, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.
 
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Derant D. Whisonant, 43, of Dardenelle, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
 
Arrested was Timothy D. Burchett, 54, of Mena, on a Warrant for Forgery 1 st Degree.
 
August 28, 2018
Report of a missing juvenile that was located on Highway 270 near Acorn. The case was forwarded to juvenile authorities.
 
Report from complainant on Polk 282 near Hatfield of the break-in and theft of clothing and a serge machine. Investigation continues.
 
Arrested was Melissa Stanley, 39, and Jason W. Busby, 45, both of Hatfield, each on a Charge of Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver.
 
Request for welfare check on a Mena woman.
 
Arrested was Daniel J. May, 22, of Mena, on Warrants for Probation Violation and two counts of Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
 
August 29, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 46 near Mena of an attempted break-in, causing substantial damage to a door. Investigation continues.
 
Report from a 17-year-old juvenile of being harassed by an unknown individual. Investigation continues.
 
Report of a disturbance on Polk 710 near Potter. Deputy responded.
 
August 30, 2018
Request for welfare check on Highway 71 South in Wickes.
 
Report of a disturbance on Polk 48 near Potter. Deputies responded.
 
Report from complainant on Trailwood Lane near Mena of the theft of fuel, valued at $46.08. Investigation continues.
 
Arrested was Floyd P. Evans, 59, of Grannis, on a Warrant for Felony Failure to Appear.
 
August 31, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 67 in Big Fork of the break-in and theft of copper wire, causing damage to buildings and machines. Investigation continues.
 
Arrested was Ashton A. Elledge, 21, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
 
September 1, 2018
Report from a Mena man of a disturbance that had occurred earlier in the day. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
 
Report of a vehicle fire on Polk 76 East near Mena. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.
 
Report from complainant on Polk 18 near Cove of the break-in and theft of a television, valued at $500.00. Investigation continues.
 
Arrested was Jewell S. Irons, 33, of Wickes, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
 
September 2, 2018
Traffic stop on East Barton Street in Cove led to the arrest of Kara L. Bone, 32, of Cove, on a Charge of Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance. Additional information has been
provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
 
Report of a disturbance on Medlin Lane near Hatfield. Deputies responded. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
 
Report of a disturbance on Highway 71 South in Wickes led to the arrest of Herbert O. Aikin, 39, of Cove, on Charges of Disorderly Conduct, Communicating a False Alarm and Possession
of Firearm by Certain Person.
 
Report of a disturbance on Polk 44 near Mena led to the arrest of Eric T. Cannon, 26, of Mena, on a Charge of Assault on a Family Member 1 st Degree.
 
Vehicle pursuit on Polk 54 near Mena led to the arrest of Conner J. Hendricks, 19, of Mena, on Charges of Fleeing in a Vehicle, Fleeing on Foot, Faulty Equipment, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Schedule IV/V Controlled Substance with Purpose to Deliver, Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance, Simultaneous Possession of Drugs & amp; Firearms and Resisting Arrest. Also arrested was Brittany L. Foster, 28, of Broken Bow, OK, on Charges of Fleeing in a Vehicle, Fleeing on Foot, Possession of Firearm by Certain Person, Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Schedule IV/V Controlled Substance with Purpose to Deliver and Simultaneous Possession of Drugs & amp; Firearms.
 
Report of a battery on Polk 117 near Mena. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
 
Arrested was Andy R. Sebren, 37, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
 
Arrested was Jerry L. Hopper, 42, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.
 
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Luis H. Arias, 18, of Grannis, on Charges of Possession of Intoxicating Liquor by a Minor, Terroristic Act and Terroristic Threatening 1 st Degree.
 
Arrested was Thomas L. Kidwell, 39, of Mena, on a Warrant for Theft of Property.
 
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked five vehicle accidents this week. Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 27 Incarcerated Inmates, with 11 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.
 
PC18-00591
 
9-4-18 3:40 p.m. kawx.org 

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Mena Police Department Reports for week of August 26, 2018 - September 1, 2018

 
 
August 26 & 27, 2018
 
Report was made of a theft (shoplifting) from a local retail store.  Case is pending review of surveillance tapes.
 
A counterfeit $50.00 bill was submitted to officers.  It had been received at a local business.  Case is pending.
 
Report was made of an ongoing issue between two neighbors.  No charges have been filed at this time.
 
August 28, 2018
 
Employees at a local retail store reported that a man was trespassing on their property.  He had been previously banned from the business, and was back inside the store.  He was warned to stay away from the premises in future.  No charges were filed at that time.
 
August 29 & 30, 2018
 
Lacie Luzetta Howell, 42, of Mena was charged with disorderly conduct after officers responded to a call at a local residence.
 
August 31, 2018
 
Report was made of an altercation between a local woman and her child’s father.  The case has been referred to the prosecuting attorney for possible issuance of an arrest warrant.
 
A Mena woman reported that several items have been taken from her residence.  Case is under investigation pending interview of suspect.
 
Zachary JoDale Cochran, 22, of Mena was charged with criminal trespass after officers responded to a call from employees at a local business.
 
September 1, 2018
 
Report was made of a local couple arguing and causing a disturbance.  No charges were filed.
Anna May Weber,42, of Prairie Grove was arrested and charged with public intoxication after officers were called to a local residence.
 
Benny Lee Anderson, 45, of Mena was arrested on three outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines and court costs from the Mena Police Department.
 
9-4-18 3:29 p.m. kawx.org 

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