Bill filing for the 2019 Regular Session began this week. Eight bills and two proposedconstitutional amendments were filed on the first day.
In recent sessions, more than 2,000 bills were ultimately considered.
You can review the bills as they are being filed with a link we have provided on our website www.arkansashouse.org.
Another development at the Capitol this week was the presentation of the Governor’s balanced budget proposal.
Governor Asa Hutchinson told members his proposal provides funding for 24 new State Troopers and an increase in starting teacher salaries.
His proposal for teacher salaries mirrors the recent recommendation of the Education Committee to raise the minimum salary by $1,000 each year. He is also proposing the creation of a $60 million program to address funding needs of school districts below the new minimum.
Other proposed increases include $68 million for Department of Human Services, $4.1 million for higher education, $2.3 million for Arkansas State Police, $2.5 million annually for the state’s Crisis Stabilization Centers; $1.13 million increase for the Division of Ag; and a $1.55 million increase for UAMS.
The Governor’s proposal also includes a tax cut of $111 million over the next two years.
The budget anticipates an additional $20 million will be collected next year in Internet sales tax. The United States Supreme Court recently upheld the ability of states to compel out-of-state sellers with no physical presence in the state to collect state sales and use taxes. A bill addressing the tax collection has already been filed.
The executive branch is required to submit a balanced budget proposal. However, the budget is ultimately approved by the legislature. It is our job to review the new recommendations. We will also be reviewing the research and recommendations of the Tax Reform and Relief Task Force.
We will continue to update you as we approach the session. The 2019 Regular Session begins on January 14.
11-16-18 5:18 p.m. kawx.org
Dorothy Lea Dollarhyde
December 21, 1929 - November 15, 2018
Dorothy Dollarhyde, age 88, of Mena, Arkansas, died, Thursday, November 15, 2018 at the Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab in Mena. She was born on Saturday, December 21, 1929 to William and Nancy Lee Ketcher Russell in Miami, Oklahoma.
Dorothy loved her family and spending time with them. She was a homemaker and loved to sew for her family and cook. Some of her family's favorite dishes were her cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving and her chocolate gravy and hot biscuits in the morning. Dorothy loved going to church and was of the Pentecostal faith. Dorothy was a loving mother, grandmother, aunt and friend and will be missed by all who knew her.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Roy Dollarhyde; five sons, Donald Dollarhyde, Mark Dollarhyde, Roy Dollarhyde Jr., Ross Dollarhyde, and Jody Dollarhyde; two daughters, Nancy lane and Rebecca Dollarhyde; and fourteen brothers and sisters which included five sets of twins, Jessie and Jasper, Paul and Pauline, Alice and Dallas, Pearl and Earl, Lee and Leona, as well as William, Gracie, Helen, and Maxine.
Dorothy is survived by her son, Matthew Dollarhyde of Alabama; her daughter, Michelle Rosson of Mena; twenty seven grandchildren, sixty two great grandchildren; twenty-four great-great grandchildren; several nieces and nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
A graveside service will be Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. at the Elm Cemetery in Leach, Oklahoma under the direction of Bowser Family Funeral Home in Mena. Visitation will be general.
Online Guestbook: www.bowserffh.com
11-16-18 4:18 p.m. kawx.org
LITTLE ROCK – This week I presented to the Legislative Joint Budget Committee my proposed balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2020, and it reflects my commitment to public safety, teachers and education, and tax cuts.
This balanced budget plan, which the General Assembly will consider when members convene for the 92nd Session on January 14, increases the budget for the Arkansas State Police by $2.3 million. This new funding is necessary and will allow the agency to hire 24 new State Troopers over the next two years and will establish an annual trooper school. My budget also includes $900,000 for the new Northwest Arkansas Crime Lab in Lowell.
Another of my priorities is an increase in the minimum salary for starting teachers, which is essential if we are to compete with our neighboring states for the best teachers. I have proposed to raise the starting pay by $1,000 a year over four years until we reach a $36,000 annual salary. That will be a higher starting salary than any of the surrounding states.
The cost of that increase is $60 million. In addition to increasing overall education funding, I have submitted a budget letter
requesting a transfer of $60 million from the Educational Adequacy Fund to be set aside for the sole purpose of funding the increase.
Since I took office in 2015, my administration has cut taxes by more than $160 million. Legislators share my desire to further reduce taxes, which we will do incrementally with the 2-4-5.9 plan. That will cut our top marginal tax rate from the current 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent over four years.
The plan will simplify tax tables and brackets, and provide a sizable increase in standard deductions.
Other items in my proposed budget include $2.5 million annually for the state’s Crisis Stabilization Centers, a pilot program to address mental health issues in our communities. It is now going into its second year. Also, we are providing a $1.1 million increase for the Division of Agriculture and a $1.5 million increase for University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
The budget also adds money to the state’s Long Term Reserve Fund and continues funding for my computer science initiative.
Now that we have put the budget together, the real work of passing it and implementing it begins. I have every confidence that we’ll get there, as we always do.
Gabbie, a 10-year-old Bentonville resident, has been raising money for the last three years for Alzheimer’s and dementia research. She recently wrote to me about her dedication and support in the quest to find a cure for her father’s dementia. Her tremendous efforts are inspiring and I am proud to say that Washington is supporting the search for a cure. This Congress, we dedicated record-level funding to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease research in hopes of helping Gabbie and others whose loved ones have been devastated by this cruel disease.
More than 50,000 Arkansans are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It is estimated that just as many are living with the disease but are undiagnosed. This is our nation’s deadliest and most expensive disease, costing $277 billion a year including $186 billion to Medicare and Medicaid. Without a breakthrough, it’s projected that by 2050 the cost will balloon to more than $1 trillion a year to treat the 16 million Americans predicted to be diagnosed with the disease.
As a member of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, I’m fighting to reverse this trend. In September, Congress increased funding for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health to $2.34 billion. I was proud to support the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill that prioritizes investments in medical research to fight Alzheimer’s. This funding level is above the $2 billion goal established for research by the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease and will allow for expanded research to develop prevention, treatment and a cure.
Additionally, this Congress I was proud to support the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, introduced by Sen. Susan Collins, Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee. This legislation would create a public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer’s disease similar to the successful framework that has helped us prevent once-deadly communicable diseases. Replicating this comprehensive approach is a step in the right direction.
The bill would establish Centers of Excellence in Public Health Practice dedicated to promoting effective Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving interventions, as well as educating the public on the disease. These centers would implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Aging Public Health Road Map and empower communities to improve the quality of life for patients and caregivers as well as aid social services on the frontlines of this battle. There is an urgent need to respond to this crisis. It’s clear that more assistance is necessary.
President Ronald Reagan first announced November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Month in 1983. Sadly, this disease robbed him of his memories and his independence, and today too many Americans are facing the same prognosis.
It’s likely that we all know someone who is touched by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. I am committed to providing resources and creating policies that will help find a cure and help provide families like Gabbie’s hope for a bright future.
11-16-18 2:49 p.m. kawx.org
Randy Ort, the Assistant Chief Administrator for the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT), will be conducting a meeting to discuss past and future highway projects in Polk and Montgomery counties on Monday, November 19th in Mena. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be at 10:00 a.m. in the Ouachita Center on the campus of UARM. Ort told KAWX News that he had recently been invited to participate in a similar meeting by State Representative DeAnn Vaught of Horatio. Vaught suggested to other representatives that they do the same. Ort said he was invited to Mena by Stare Representative John Maddox.
11-16-18 1:43 p.m. kawx.org
State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague
November 16, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – During legislative budget hearings, the governor presented his balanced budget plan for the next biennium, Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021.
The highlights of the proposed budget include a cut in income taxes, an increase in minimum teacher salaries and the hiring of 24 additional State Troopers and 30 parole officers.
The state would add $30.8 million to the Public School Fund, an increase of 1.4 percent over this year. The governor also proposed increasing the Public School Fund by 2.5 percent in the second year of the biennium, Fiscal Year 2021.
Providing adequate funds for public schools is the single, largest category of expenditure of state tax revenue. Human Services is the second largest category, and it is supplemented by much greater amounts of federal matching funds.
In the second year of the biennium, state government would reap about $7.5 million in savings under his plan to reduce the number of cabinet agencies from 42 to 15, the governor said. The details of the proposed restructuring must be approved by the legislature.
The governor proposed an income tax reduction that would provide about $111 million in tax relief after they take effect. His administration worked closely with the Tax Reform and Relief Legislative Task Force on the tax cut plan. The top rate would go from 6.9 percent to 6.5 percent next year, and 6.3 percent the following year. The plan would simplify the state’s income tax tables and also lower taxes by increasing the standard deduction.
The minimum teacher salary in 174 school districts would gradually go up to $36,000 over the next four years, under a proposal by the governor. The state minimum is now $31,800, but many districts pay more than that. The cost for the teacher pay raise is an estimated $60 million a year, which the state would provide.
The Department of Community Correction now employs 489 parole officers with an average caseload of 98. Adding 30 officers would lower the average to 90, the director of the department said. Last year the department supervised more than 57,000 offenders on probation or parole.
The administration also presented its official forecast for next fiscal year. An indication of the good general health of the Arkansas economy is that the state’s gross general revenue is expected to grow by 2.9 percent, according to economists at the Department of Finance and Administration.
The current fiscal year began on July 1 and will end on June 30, 2019. If the economy continues in its current state, growth this year will be 2.8 percent over last year.
Legislators will use the proposal as a framework on which to build a spending plan for state government. They are holding budget hearings in preparation for the regular session that convenes on January 14, and will continue working on state agency spending requests throughout the session.
An official state budget for next fiscal year won’t be complete until the session’s final days, likely in late March.
Under the Constitution, the legislature has the duty of appropriating state revenue for the operations of state agencies, and for providing state services such as education.
11-16-18 9:47 a.m. kawx.org
LITTLE ROCK – On Wednesday morning, Governor Asa Hutchinson presented his balanced budget for the next biennium to the Joint Budget Committee of the General Assembly.
In his remarks, Governor Hutchinson highlighted several key aspects of his budget, including his commitment to raise the minimum salary for teachers by $4,000 over the next four years. This would make Arkansas’s minimum teacher salary the highest among neighboring states.
The estimated cost of this proposal is $60 million. In addition to the increase in adequacy funding through general revenue commitments, Governor Hutchinson today released a budget letter requesting that $60 million be transferred from the Educational Adequacy Fund to the Public School Fund for the sole use of implementing the teacher salary increases. To view a copy of the letter, click HERE
The Governor also emphasized his commitment to public safety by increasing the budget for the Arkansas State Police by $2.3 million. This new funding will allow for 24 new State Troopers over the next two years and will establish an annual trooper school in order to maintain troop strength. His budget also includes $900,000 for the new Northwest Arkansas Crime Lab in Lowell.
Governor Hutchinson underscored his and the legislature’s shared commitment to further reduce the state’s income tax rate. His budget allocates $111 million in tax cuts over the biennium for the 2-4-5.9 plan developed in partnership with the Legislative Tax Reform and Relief Task Force. This plan would reduce the state’s top marginal rate from 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent over four years; simplify tax tables and brackets; and provide for a sizable increase in standard deductions.
The 2-4-5.9 plan, if passed, would be the third major income tax cut of Governor Hutchinson’s administration. This includes the $100 million middle class tax cut of 2015 and the $50 million tax cut for low-income Arkansans in 2017.
Additional items of note in the Governor’s budget include: $2.5 million annually for the state’s Crisis Stabilization Centers; $1.13 million increase for the Division of Ag; $1.55 million increase for UAMS; additional savings to the state’s Long Term Reserve Fund; continued funding of the Governor’s computer science initiative; and estimated savings of $7.5 million from transformation efforts in year two of the biennium.
Governor Hutchinson issued this statement following his presentation:
“This budget reflects a number of shared priorities between the Executive and Legislative branches of government. It reflects a strong commitment to teachers and education needs, as well as public safety. It reflects our continued commitment to tax cuts; continued savings through the Long Term Reserve Fund; and increased funding to the Division of Agriculture. Tools to spur economic growth also remain a top priority in this budget.
“This budget decreases spending in some agencies and reduces our reliance on one-time funding for ongoing budget needs,” added Governor Hutchinson. “Furthermore, in year two of the biennium, it recognizes estimated savings from my proposed plan to transform state government. This responsible approach meets the important needs of our state and supports our collective priorities. I look forward to working with the legislature on the details of this budget in the 2019 session.”
You can view the Governor’s balanced budget presentation to the legislature HERE
. To view a copy of the Governor’s Balanced Budget Letter, click HERE
If you would like a copy of the Governor’s balanced budget, please contact Scott.Hardin@dfa.arkansas.gov
at the Department of Finance and Administration.
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of November 5, 2018 – November 11, 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.
November 5, 2018
Report from complainant on Treasure Lane near Acorn of threatening messages from an acquaintance. Investigation continues.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 53 near Mena. Deputy responded. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from complainant on Highway 88 East near Mena of an unauthorized person on their property. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Traffic stop on East Depot Street in Cove led to the arrest of Windal D. Loyd, 37, of Mena, on Charges of DWI and Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License.
Arrested was Norman R. Morgan, Jr, 22, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
November 6, 2018
Report from complainant on Little Bear Lane near Mena of issues regarding a neighbor. Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Highway 88 East in Cherry Hill of being threatened by an acquaintance. Deputy responded.
Request for assistance with a 17-year-old female. Deputy responded.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 284 near Hatfield. Deputies responded.
November 7, 2018
Report from a business on Highway 980 near Mena of fraudulent activity, resulting in losses of $9,351.72. Investigation continues.
Arrested was Kristian D. Manley, 31, of Hatfield, on a Drug Court Sanction.
Arrested was Julian L. Craig, 35, of Mena, on a Drug Court Sanction.
Arrested was Katelyn E. Enyeart, 25, of Fort Smith, on a Drug Court Sanction.
November 8, 2018
Report from complainant on Highway 71 South near Hatfield of the theft of a vehicle, valued at $37,123.11. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 194 near Acorn of problems with a neighbor regarding livestock.
Report from a Mena woman of problems with a 17-year-old male. Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Hilydily Lane near Potter of an attempted scam.
Arrested was Stanley E. Dreyer, 66, of Mena, on a Charge of Hindering Apprehension.
Arrested was Jeffrey A. Fisk, 30, of El Dorado Springs, MO, on a Vernon County, Missouri Warrant for Failure to Appear.
November 9, 2018
Report from the Polk County Treasurer’s Office of a fraudulent check, totaling losses at $362.32. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 34 near Hatfield of the theft of a television and an ATV, all valued at $1,700.00. Investigation continues.
Arrested was Joshua R. Neer, 33, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
November 10, 2018
Report from complainant on Rodgers Street in Cove of the theft of a package from a mailbox, valued at $8.00.
Report from complainant on West Johnson Street in Hatfield of damage done to a vehicle, totaling losses at $100.00. Investigation continues.
Report of a vehicle in the ditch on Highway 71 North near Mena led to the arrest of Lorne D. Edwards, 47, of Mena, on a Charge of DWI 2.
November 11, 2018
Traffic stop on Highway 71 South near Hatfield led to the arrest of Jackie Gearhart, 51, of Shepherd, TX, on Charges of DWI, No Driver’s License, Open Container and Refusal to Submit.
Report from complainant on Raccoon Ridge Lane near Mena of a suspicious fire. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of being threatened by an acquaintance. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 24 near Cove. The subject fled the residence before deputies arrived. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Nathan W. Donelson, 20, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked five vehicle accidents this week.
Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 25 Incarcerated Inmates, with 5 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.
11-13-18 4:49 p.m. kawx.org
The Arkansas State Police will be working alongside law enforcement agencies across the state during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday period (November 19 – 25) looking for motorists who are not using their vehicle safety belts. State troopers, local police officers and sheriff’s deputies are reminding all motorists to “Click It” or risk getting a ticket.
The Thanksgiving holiday is typically one of the more dangerous and deadliest times for highway or local street travel. Whether the trip is across town or across the county, distance makes no difference, safety belts and child restraints save lives.
During the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday period (November 23rd – 28th), 341 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide. Nearly 50 percent of those killed were not buckled-up.
“Unfortunately too many people need a reminder and that’s why city, county and state law enforcement officers will be working overtime this Thanksgiving with a strong Click It or Ticket mobilization effort,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “Our state troopers will be out in full force to ensure drivers and passengers alike are buckled up as they travel to their destinations.”
An intensified enforcement emphasis will be noticed along Interstate 40 during the most heavily traveled hours of the Thanksgiving holiday and violators will be ticketed.
“The Arkansas State Police will partner with several other states including Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas in an additional enforcement effort designed to protect motorists along the I-40 corridor,” Colonel Bryant stated. “Each state plans to assign a trooper to every 20 mile segment of Interstate 40 during peak traffic hours.”
Arkansas state law requires that all front seat passengers, not just drivers, be buckled up. It requires all children under fifteen years of age to be properly secured in the vehicle. A child who is less than six years of age and who weighs less than sixty pounds shall be restrained in a child passenger safety seat. If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must be properly buckled up.
Regular seat belt use is the single most effective way to protect people and reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Research has shown that when lap and shoulder belts are used properly, the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers is reduced by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent.
For more information about highway safety during Thanksgiving, please visitwww.trafficsafetymarketing.gov
or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDArkansas.org
Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of November 4, 2018 through November 10, 2018
November 4, 2018
Employees at a local retail store reported that a local woman was seen in their establishment after she had been warned in writing to stay out. Report was sent to the prosecuting attorney for possible issuance of a warrant charging the suspect with criminal trespass.
A local woman reported that her purse had been stolen from a cart at a local retail store. Surveillance tapes from the incident have been reviewed, and a suspect has been located and the report was forwarded to the prosecuting attorney for a warrant for the suspect.
November 5, 2018
Report was taken regarding individuals using a self-checkout lane at a local retail store and failing to scan all items. Tapes have been reviewed and suspects will be located and interviewed.
November 6, 2018
Officers responded to a dispatch call regarding a verbal altercation between two men at a local park. The complainant reported that the men were yelling obscenities at one another. When officers arrived at the scene, one of the men had left the area. No charges have been filed at this time.
Employees at a local retail store reported that two people had used a self-checkout lane and that tapes show that they did not scan all items. The case is currently being reviewed to identify suspects.
Tyra Ann Alley, 57, of Mena was cited for theft of property (shoplifting) after an investigation into a complaint made by employees at a local retail store.
November 7 & 8, 2018
A local man reported that an unknown woman came to his home and told him she was there to purchase drugs. He informed her that she needed to leave his property. He notified authorities so that they could be aware of the incident.
November 9, 2018
A Mena woman reported that she is being harassed by an acquaintance. No charges have been filed at this time.
A local woman reported that someone had broken into her house and had stolen approximately $400.00 worth of food. Case is pending location and interview of suspect.
Julian Craig, 35, of Mena was issued a citation for theft of property (shoplifting) after officers investigated and earlier incident from failing to scan items at a local retail store.
Kimberly Huff, 25, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) for failing to scan items at a self-checkout lane at a local retail store.
Cord Olson, 32, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after an investigation into an earlier incident from a local retail store regarding individuals failing to scan items when using the self-checkout lane.
The Arkansas House continued a long standing tradition to hold a House Caucus the Friday after the election. The freshmen members drew for seniority positions and then all members chose their seat in the chamber for the duration of the next two years.
This is the first opportunity many of us have to meet our new colleagues.
The House will have more women and more minorities serving next year. In fact, records have been broken for the legislature.
There will be 25 women serving in the House. This ties the record for the House set in 2009. However, with 7 women serving in the Senate, there will be more women serving collectively in the legislature in the history of our state. This record is broken on the same year we will be celebrating the centennial of Arkansas ratifying the 19thAmendment.
We also have more minorities serving in the House than ever before. There will be 13 African Americans serving in the House next year.
Members will have more experience in the House than the previous two decades.
We have 10 members who will come into the chamber serving their 5th term.
- 21 members will be serving their 4th term.
- 27 members serving their 3rd term.
- 20 members beginning their 2nd term.
- 22 members are incoming freshman.
The political make-up is 24 Democrats and 76 Republicans.
In years past, membership for standing committees has been determined on the same day as the caucus. The House voted in favor of a rule last year to allow the Speaker to select the membership of all committees. Those announcements will be made on the first day of session.
The Regular Session begins January 14. Bill filing begins next week.
We will continue to update you. In the meantime, be sure to check our website and social media posts for more information about the 92nd General Assembly.
11-9-18 5:18 p.m. kawx.org
Ten years ago, the global financial crisis roiled the economy in the United States and elsewhere. The way our economy is performing right now means it might be easy to forget how dire the situation was then, but reflecting on this contrast helps us appreciate how far we’ve come and how we got here.
October’s jobs report was widely celebrated, and for good reason. The economy exceeded expectations and added 250,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remains at a nearly 50-year low.
Wages grew by 3.1 percent – the best year-over-year gain since 2009. Additionally, real disposable personal income is up 3.5 percent so far in 2018.
The U.S. economy grew by 4.2 percent in the second quarter and by 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2018, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. We’re growing the economy at the fastest pace in nearly four years.
These are all positive indicators that our economy is healthy and that federal policy is helping to create a climate where businesses are positioned to capitalize and flourish.
When I travel across Arkansas speaking with business people and local leaders, I hear an unmistakable sense of optimism and excitement in their voices as they explain how businesses feel empowered to grow and expand. This didn’t happen by accident or coincidence. It’s the result of thoughtful, deliberate policies that are designed to boost confidence, relieve unnecessary burdens and spur growth.
Tax reform is at the top of the list of reasons why our economic indicators are moving in the right direction. Reforming America’s tax code for the first time in 31 years was long overdue and something that businesses were desperate for in order to make them more globally competitive. The changes we made to the tax code not only sought to help individuals and families, but by lowering the tax rate for pass-through businesses to 21 percent we’ve incentivized them to use their resources to hire new employees or invest further in their operations.
More than 1.8 million jobs have been created since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law.
We have also used the Congressional Review Act to roll back harmful regulations from the Obama era. I, like most Arkansans, agree that there are some regulations and safeguards that we need in place to ensure safety and fairness. At times, though, the federal government tends to create regulations for regulation’s sake which often hinder businesses, forcing them to divert resources to comply with overburdensome rules that stifle growth and hiring.
By removing excessive red tape, Republicans in Congress and this administration have saved Americans at least $50 billion in regulatory costs in the last 1.5 years.
These policies are working for Americans and for our economy. Consumer confidence is now at a 17-year high. Optimism from small business owners is at historic levels. Business investment is up. Median household incomes are at an all-time high and the percentage of Americans living in poverty is at the lowest level since 2006.
We are moving in the right direction and people across Arkansas and America can feel it. They know that when Washington gets out of the way and frees businesses and entrepreneurs to do what they are capable of doing, the benefits reach far and wide.
We’ve seen the results for ourselves. Now we must commit to keep working toward solutions that help build on the strong fundamentals of this economy and improve the lives of people across our state and throughout the country.
11-9-18 4:56 p.m. kawx.org
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) has officially approved a new massage therapy program to begin in January 2019 at UA Rich Mountain, making the local college the first and only Arkansas public college to offer such program. Dr. Maria Markham, Director of ADHE stated, “Part of the mission of Arkansas community colleges is to be responsive to industry and economic needs. I applaud UA Rich Mountain’s creation of a program in response to regional demand. Massage therapy is being recommended by physicians for its many wellness benefits and being the first public higher education institution in the state to offer this program shows the dedication UA Rich Mountain has to not only students but also the health of the community.”
Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Dr. Krystal Thrailkill, who has worked extensively advocating for the new program the last year, explained that the program will save students almost two-thirds of the cost of a private program and financial aid will be available to qualified students.
Massage therapy is manual manipulation of soft body tissues (muscle, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) to enhance a person's health and well-being. There are dozens of types of massage therapy methods (also called modalities). In Arkansas, the average median income for a licensed massage therapist is just over $45,000.
The program hours will be Monday – Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and will be housed within the UA Rich Mountain Cosmetology facility currently located inside the Northside Shopping Center. Minor modifications were made to the cosmetology facility to accommodate the additional program.
The instructor for the massage therapy program will be Tammy Parnell, a licensed master massage therapist certified in medical massage.
UA Rich Mountain Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson said this is another example of the college’s responsiveness to interests in the community, “The public’s input on our programs is critical to us and we appreciate hearing from them. The new massage therapy program is an excellent example that we are willing to pave new roads in the realm of higher education to make it available to our students. New programs don’t happen overnight but when we know there is a high enough interest, we work diligently to make those happen. We are in the early stages of developing a criminal justice program so we encourage you to always communicate your interests with our staff throughout the communities we serve. Your feedback is important to our mission.”
Registration will open November 12th and financial aid will be available to qualified applicants. There are only 15 slots available for the program so interested students are encouraged to apply online at UARichMountain.edu, text RICHMTN to 34166, contact Dr. Thrailkill by email or calling 479-394-7622 ext. 1300.
Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson said the college is committed to being responsive to the needs and interests of the community and is continuously working to develop additional programs.
11-9-18 4:36 p.m. kawx.org
UA Rich Mountain is pleased to announce its next author talk & book signing will feature Elizabeth Griffin Hill, who is an independent researcher and writer specializing the history of Arkansas women. Her newest book, Faithful to Our Tasks: Arkansas’s Women and the Great War, provides the context for women’s actions and reactions during World War I.
The United States was a vital, if brief, participant in the Great War, spending only 18 months fighting in World War I. But that short span marked an era of tremendous change for women as they moved out of the Victorian 19th century and came into their own as social activists during the early years of the 20th century.
Hill superbly incorporates the mitigating factors and experiences of American women in general and compares Arkansas women’s Progressive Era actions with those of other southern women. The contextual underpinnings provide a rich tapestry as we attempt to understand our grandmothers and great-grandmothers’ responses to wartime needs.
Primary records of the World War I era, accessed in archives in central Arkansas, reveal that the state’s organized women were suddenly faced with a devastating world war for which they were expected to make a significant contribution of time and effort. “Club women” were already tackling myriad problems to be found in abundance within a poor, rural state as they worked for better schools, a centralized education system, children’s well-being, and improved medical care.
Under wartime conditions, their contributions were magnified as the women followed a barrage of directions from Washington, DC, within a disconcerting display of micromanagement by the federal government. The important takeaway, however, is that the Great War created a scenario in which Arkansas’s organized women – as well as women throughout the nation – would step forward and excel as men and governments stood up and took notice. After the war, these same organized women won the right to vote.
Elizabeth Griffin Hill is an experienced author, holding a Master of Arts degree in rhetoric and writing, also penning A Splendid Piece of Work, a history of Arkansas’s home demonstration and Extension Homemakers clubs.
She will be speaking on Monday, November 12, Noon - 1:30 p.m. in the Ouachita Center of the UA Rich Mountain campus. The event is free and is open to all members of the community.
11-9-18 4:23 p.m. kawx.org
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas has become a national leader in computer science education, and the increase in this year’s enrollment numbers suggest we’ll remain at the front of the pack.
Eight-thousand-and-forty-four (8,044) students are enrolled in computer science classes for the 2018-2019 school year. That is an increase of 1,860 students over last year, which is a 30 percent jump. That is an increase of 620 percent since 2014. Another measure of how well we are faring is those 8,044 students are enrolled in over 9,000 classes, which means many of our students are taking more than one class.
We already are ahead of our own schedule. In 2015, the Department of Education set a goal of enrolling 7,500 students in a computer science class within five years. We achieved that within four years.
This is an amazing improvement in the numbers since I became governor in 2015, and this report confirms my confidence that Arkansans are ready to have technology as part of our future – both in terms of our economy and education.
The year before I took office, the number of students enrolled in a computer science class was about 1,100. I took office in January 2015, and the first law I signed as governor required all high schools in Arkansas to offer at least one course in computer science.
In addition, we have built coding into the curriculum of our K-8 grades.
In the fall of 2015, the number of students enrolled rose from 1,100 to almost 4,000, which is an increase of 260 percent. Enrollment has grown every year.
Another one of our goals was to increase the number of young women who were taking computer science classes, and we have achieved that in spectacular fashion. The number of girls has increased from 220 in 2014 to over 2,400 in this school year. That is an increase of over 1,000 percent over four years.
We have achieved this growth through the leadership of Education Commissioner Johnny Key and Anthony Owen, director of computer science education. But as important as their leadership is, we couldn’t have done this without the enthusiasm of our principals and teachers, many of whom had to attend a summer term to learn how to teach coding.
Under this initiative, the number of teachers who are teaching computer science courses has grown from 20 to over 370. This includes 184 fully certified and 188 alternatively credentialed computer science teachers.
This is a great start, but we have more to do.
Yesterday Governor Hutchinson told reporters that passage of Issue 4 on Tuesday is going to create a $40 million budget shortfall for the state.
Talk Business reports,
Hutchinson was asked about the passage of Issue 4 legalizing casinos at Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs, Southland Park Gaming & Racing in West Memphis, and in Pope and Jefferson counties. Hutchinson said he had voted against the amendment. It passed with 54% of the vote.
“My first budget meeting today showed a $40-plus million gap because that amendment passed,” he said. “That reduced the tax rate [for Oaklawn and Southland], and so we have to adjust for that down the road.”
Hutchinson said he didn’t know what the amendment’s long-term effects would be.
Under Issue 4, Oaklawn and Southland will pay less money in taxes for their casino games than they currently do for their so-called “electronic games of skill.”
Overall, casinos in Arkansas will pay some of the lowest taxes of any casinos in America, and the State Legislature will not be able to raise the taxes on casino revenue.
Instead of boosting Arkansas’ economy and providing more tax revenue, it seems Issue 4 is going to be a drain on the state from Day One.
11-9-18 11:35 a.m. kawx.org
On Sunday, November 11, bells across Arkansas will ring 11 times at 11 a.m. in commemoration of the end of World War I. Ever since November 11, 1918, we’ve set aside this day to celebrate the men and the women who selflessly served in our nation’s uniform.
Veterans Day is an important time to pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces, who have stood in defense of our nation, our cherished values, and our way of life. As our servicemembers have risked their lives to protect the interests of our nation, so must we honor our commitment to support them.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and chairman of the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, I continue to fight for improvements to veterans’ benefits and services, and will remain a strong a voice for those who selflessly served our country.
The Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame recently celebrated its class of 2018 inductees in Hot Springs. I was honored to join Congressman Bruce Westerman to recognize this distinguished group of men and women who have demonstrated selflessness in uniform and continued service to their communities.
We made great progress this year with landmark legislation President Trump signed into law to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs’ current health care delivery system and provide veterans with more choices while reducing barriers to care. The VA Mission Act streamlines and strengthens VA community care programs to ensure veterans receive efficient, timely and quality care. We’ll be closely monitoring its implementation in the coming year to ensure veterans are getting the treatment and care they earned.
Our Armed Forces are made up of patriots from all corners of our nation who are called to a higher service in defense of our freedoms. I encourage all Americans to use this day as a time to thank our veterans for their courage, commitment and honor. It’s because of their dedication and sacrifice that we are the greatest, freest country in the world.
To all of our veterans, thank you and may God bless you, your families, and the United States of America.
11-9-18 11:19 a.m. kawx.org
LITTLE ROCK – When the Arkansas legislature convenes in regular session in January for the state’s 92nd General Assembly, the 35-member Senate will have 26 Republicans and nine Democrats. That ratio did not change after this year’s elections.
The Senate will have seven women and three African-Americans.
Political and demographic influences shape the philosophies of individual senators, but also of importance are their personal backgrounds. As it has been since the state’s inception, the General Assembly in Arkansas is a citizen legislature.
The 2019 regular session will last about three months, then the senators will return to their hometowns, their jobs and their businesses. They are not professional politicians.
Ten senators run their own businesses and four work in economic development. Four senators are farmers, two are bankers and two have experience in the insurance industry and financial services. Three senators have worked in the medical field or long term care.
Three senators are in real estate and development. Four are retired or former teachers. One has a background in forestry, another in accounting. Two have backgrounds in electronics. One senator is in graphic arts and design, another is in the marketing field and another is a chaplain and pastor in hospice care.
The expertise the 35 senators will bring to public policy issues covers the spectrum of the social and economic levels of Arkansas.
One senator played football for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks; another played baseball for the Razorbacks. Another senator rode bulls in the rodeo for four years.
The major budget issues the legislature determines in every session include funding of public schools and institutions of higher education, highway and bridge maintenance, health services and state prisons.
According to the results of the most recent census, each member of the state Senate represents about 83,300 people.
The 2019 regular session will convene on the second Monday of the year, January 14, and will last for at least 60 days. Under the state Constitution, the legislature may extend it, and in recent decades regular sessions usually last 80 to 90 days.
State budget officials reported that in October, revenue collections exceeded forecasts. That is an accurate gauge of the Arkansas economy, because tax rates have remained unchanged and thus any increase in tax revenue is due to an increase in economic activity.
The state fiscal year began on July 1, and revenue has exceeded forecasts for each of the first four months of the fiscal year. Two specific categories point to economic health; sales tax collections were up, meaning that consumers were confident and purchasing more, while the growth in individual income taxes indicates more people are working.
This year the state will collect more than $6.7 billion in state taxes that will go into its general revenue fund. The state will receive more than $7.5 billion in federal funds, and although the federal government has broad authority in how those funds are directed, state officials administer the spending of it.
The state will spend special revenue from taxes dedicated for specific purposes, such as motor fuels taxes for highway repairs. Also, the state has revenue from cash funds, such as college tuition payments. Last fiscal year, total state expenditures were more than $25 billion.
11-9-18 11:14 a.m. kawx.org
NOTE-there is a permanenet drop off box for unused / unneeded medication at the Polk County Sheriff's Offcie in Mena.
LITTLE ROCK – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge Justin King, joined by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, announced that 26,529 pounds of medication was collected as part of the semi-annual Prescription Drug Take Back held on Saturday, October 27.
“The Prescription Drug Take Back days are an important piece of my collaborative approach to combatting the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “By safely disposing more than 26,000 pounds of old, expired or unused prescription medications we are ensuring these lethal drugs are kept off the streets and out of the hands of our friends and neighbors.”
“The people of the state of Arkansas should be proud of their efforts during the recent Drug Take Back which resulted in the collection and destruction of 26,529 pounds of potentially dangerous, expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge King. “Arkansas continues to lead other states in the region in the volume of drugs collected during Take Back, which is a testament to the outstanding efforts of everyone involved. We would like to thank everyone who participated in this critical event which makes our homes and communities safer, while raising awareness of the opioid epidemic threatening the people of Arkansas.”
Semi-annually a Prescription Drug Take Back Day is held with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, DEA, FBI, Office of the State Drug Director and over 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, community organizations and public health providers.
Event sites are held at various locations across the State but year-round locations are also available and can be found at ARTakeBack.org. The Attorney General’s office also hosts take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since the program began, more than 72 tons of medication have been collected in Arkansas, which is an estimated 201 million individual pills.
11-9-18 8:11 a.m. kawx.org
Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer announced this afternoon the arrest of Jeffery A. Fisk, age 30, of El Dorado Springs, Missouri. Fisk was wanted by the Vernon County, Missouri Sheriff's Office for Armed Criminal Action, Domestic Assault 2nd, Burglary 1st, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Theft, and Failure to Appear. The warrant listed Fisk as Dangerous with extremely violent tendencies.
Fisk was arrested at a residence east of Mena at approximately 1:00 p.m. Thursday, November 8, 2018. Sheriff Sawyer stated that his office developed information that Fisk was in the area on the morning of November 8, 2018. The Polk County Sheriff's Office raided a residence on Amber Lane and located Fisk hiding in a back bedroom. Fisk was arrested without incident and transported to the Polk County Detention Center. He is currently awaiting extradition to Vernon County, Missouri.
Sheriff Sawyer stated "I am extremely happy to have Fisk off the streets and locked up. He is a dangerous and desperate individual. Polk County is a safer place with him in jail".
In honor of the victims of the tragedy in Thousand Oaks, California, President Trump has ordered that the United States flag fly at half-staff until sunset, November 10, 2018. The Arkansas state flag also is to fly at half-staff for that period.
HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGEDY IN THOUSAND OAKS, CALIFORNIA
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As a mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence perpetrated in Thousand Oaks, California, on November 7, 2018, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, November 10, 2018. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.
DONALD J. TRUMP
11-8-18 12:06 p.m. kawx.org
Planned Parenthood Agrees to Follow Arkansas Law
Says, ‘After challenging this requirement for three years and claiming it could not comply, Planned Parenthood has finally agreed to obey this common sense law’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a motion in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to vacate a federal district court’s order preliminarily enjoining Arkansas’s contract-physician requirement. The State’s motion followed Planned Parenthood’s announcement that they will comply with the state’s contract-physician requirement after claiming for three years they could not comply with it.
“The removal of the preliminary injunction will allow Arkansas law to take effect, ensuring that women have access to reliable emergency healthcare following complications associated with medication abortions,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “After challenging this requirement for three years and claiming it could not comply, Planned Parenthood has finally agreed to follow this common sense law. Protecting women’s health and the unborn is an important Arkansas value that I will defend for all Arkansans.”
In December 2015, Planned Parenthood sued to enjoin the contract-physician requirement on the grounds that it could not comply, and a federal district court in Little Rock agreed, preliminarily enjoining that requirement. Arkansas appealed that decision to the Eighth Circuit where the court unanimously vacated the district court’s preliminary injunction. Last December, Planned Parenthood then asked the United States Supreme Court to review the case, and the Supreme Court—without dissent—declined. The case returned to the district court, where Planned Parenthood once again claimed that it could not comply, and the district court issued a new preliminary injunction. Arkansas again appealed the district court’s decision to the Eighth Circuit.
11-8-18 8:41 a.m. kawx.org
(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin is proud to introduce the 2018 Arkansas State Capitol Christmas Ornament for the upcoming holiday season. This year's ornament depicts the Arkansas Vietnam Veterans Memorial which sits on the Arkansas State Capitol's front lawn at the corner of Woodlane and 7th Streets in Little Rock.
This ornament's design fits in with the upcoming Capitol Christmas Lighting Ceremony, which will honor veterans and members of the military. Many service members do not get to be home with their families during the holidays. Some never come home. This is a small way to honor their service and sacrifice.
These collector's item ornaments are available for purchase online or in the Arkansas Capitol Gift Shop, located on the first floor of the Capitol building.
About the Arkansas Vietnam Veterans Memorial
In 1983, the Arkansas 74th General Assembly enacted Act 394 authorizing the construction of a memorial to Arkansas’s Vietnam Veterans on the Arkansas State Capitol grounds. Arkansas Secretary of State Paul Revere was provided authorization to appoint a design selection committee. He chose the concept for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial submitted by Steven K. Gartman, an Architecture student from the University of Arkansas.
The design features 175 light-gray granite uprights, arranged in two outer and one inner section. The names of Arkansas’s 669 known Vietnam casualties are engraved on the sixteen French Creek granite panels. The engravings are placed toward the inside of the plaza where a bronze statue of a Vietnam-era infantry soldier, mounted on a 5 sided granite plinth, stands. Local Little Rock artist, John Deering created the statue which was named “Going Home”.
The memorial was dedicated on March 7, 1987, in a ceremony which brought more than 5,000 people to view a parade that passed through downtown Little Rock on its way to the memorial site at the southeast corner of the State Capitol grounds.
A few notable parade marchers included retired Army General William Westmoreland, former commander of U.S. Troops in Vietnam along with Chad Colley of Barling, Arkansas, former National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans who was pushed through the parade lines by General Westmoreland. At the Arkansas Vietnam Veterans site, crowds heard speeches from General Westmoreland and Governor Bill Clinton before the memorial, draped in a camouflage cover, was unveiled. The unveiling was followed by a single bugler sounding “Taps” as the crowd was silent.
11-8-18 8:21 a.m. kawx.org
Voters are no longer required to vote at a specific polling location with the advent of "Vote Centers". You'll still be voting on the same issues and for the same candidates, but with the convenience of doing so at any one of the eight "Vote Centers" in the county.
Tuesday, November 6th, is the Mideterm General Election, and the "Vote Centers", or "polls" as most will continue to call them, will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Be sure and take a government issued phot ID with with, like a driver's license or ID card.
While Issues 1 and 3 will appear on the ballot, they will not be counted since they have been struck down by the Arkansas Supreme Court.
We will be posting returns on KAWX socail media accounts as they are available Tuesday night.
Polk County's Vote Centers are listed below.
Vote Center #1 Polk County Office Complex (old hospital) 606 Pine Street in Mena
Vote Center #2 9th Street Ministries building 306 9th Street in Mena
Vote Center #3 Acorn High School 143 Polk Road 196 in Acorn
Vote Center #4 Concord Baptist Church 3467 Hwy 88 East in Ink
Vote Center #5 Salem Baptist Church 115 Polk Road 56 in Nunley
Vote Center #6 Hatfield Town Hall 115 Town Hall Park in Hatfield
Vote Center #7 Cove Town Hall 5568 Hwy 71 South in Cove
Vote Center #8 Grannis Town Hall 132 Frachiseur Road in Grannis
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of October 29, 2018 – November 4, 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.
October 29, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 71 near Yocana of the theft of a vehicle. Investigation continues.
Traffic stop on Highway 8 West near Shady Grove led to the arrest of Jessica C. Glenn, 35, of Cove, on Charges of DWI and Driving Left of Center.
October 30, 2018
Report of a disturbance on Polk 151 near Hatfield. Deputies responded. One of the subjects left the residence for the night.
Report from complainant on Polk 36 near Hatfield of identity fraud. The complainant refused to press charges.
Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Oscar Ramirez, 47, of Cove, on Warrants for Failure to Appear and Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
October 31, 2018
Report of a disturbance on Polk 50 near Mena. Deputies responded.
Report from a business on Highway 71 North near Mena of the theft of a trailer, valued at $2,500.00. The trailer was later located.
Report from complainant on School Street in Cove of damage done to a vehicle and a camper. Investigation continues.
November 1, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 277 near Vandervoort of a vehicle on fire. Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on School Street in Cove of a break-in and damage done to an article of clothing. Investigation continues.
Report from a business on Highway 88 East in Cherry Hill of a fraudulent check, totaling losses at $163.00. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Sheila M. Akers, 40, of Cove, on a Warrant for Felony Failure to Appear.
Arrested was Amanda K. Harvey, 30, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
Arrested was Thomas E. Fall, 38, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.
Arrested was Kimberly J. Bailey, 58, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.
Arrested by an officer with Arkansas Probation/Parole was Derek W. Tarkinton, 26, of Mena, on a Probation/Parole Hold.
November 2, 2018
Report from a business on Highway 71 South in Cove of a shoplifter led to the arrest of Neisha F. Wikel, 26, of Cove, on a Charge of Theft of Property.
Report of an abandoned vehicle on Town Hall Park Drive in Hatfield. Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of an unauthorized person on their property. The subject was transported from the premises.
Arrested by an officer with the Drug Task Force was Leatha L. Robey, 46, of Cove, on Charges of Fraudulent Use of a Communication Device, Warrants for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and a Parole Hold.
November 3, 2018
Traffic stop on Highway 375 West near Mena led to the arrest of Rosie R. Arthur, 45, of Cove, on three Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order, and Warrants for Theft of Property, Breaking or Entering and Forgery 1st Degree.
November 4, 2018
Traffic stop on Cemetery Road near Hatfield led to the arrest of Jade A. Buck, 30, of Hatfield, on Charges of Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance.
Report from complainant on Highway 71 South near Potter of the break-in and theft of several tools, equipment and auto parts, totaling losses at $500.00. Investigation continues.
Report of a vehicle on fire on Polk 166 near Mena led to the arrest of Thomas L. Kidwell, 39, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked four vehicle accidents this week.
Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 25 Incarcerated Inmates, with 4 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.
11-5-18 3:55 p.m. kawx.org
Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of October 28th through November 3rd
October 28, 2018
A Mena man reported that a former girlfriend had taken utilities out in his name without his permission. Case pending.
Report was made of someone trying to pass a counterfeit $100.00 bill at a local convenience store. Case is pending location and interview of suspect.
A local man reported that someone had destroyed his mailbox, possibly with a vehicle. Case pending.
Dennis Stinson, 40, of Mena was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal mischief after an incident at a local residence.
October 29, 2018
Report was made of a local woman being followed and harassed by a neighbor. This is an ongoing altercation, and is under investigation.
A woman who owns a house in Mena reported that someone had taken out a telephone using her name and the address of the local property. The house is vacant, and she did not authorize the transaction. Case is pending.
Luke Stockton, 45, of Mena was charged with DWI, second offense and speeding after a routine traffic stop.
October 30, 2018
A woman reported that she had had prowlers at her residence, and that some damage had been done to a fence on the property. Case is pending further investigation.
Several items were stolen from a two local businesses, including two riding lawnmowers, a go-cart, and a push-mower, as well as several smaller items. Case is pending, and suspects are being identified.
October 31, 2018
Employees at a local convenience store reported a gas-skip. No suspects were identified. Case pending receipt of further information.
November 1, 2018
A local woman reported that an acquaintance had stolen cash from her purse. Case is pending interview of suspect.
Tonya L. Henry, 43, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers were dispatched to a local retail store.
A Mena woman reported that someone had gained access to her banking account and charged approximately $4,000.00 to her account. Case is pending further investigation.
Vandalism was done to the restrooms at a local park. Case is pending further investigation.
Levi Cottman, 28, of Mena was arrested on a body attachment warrant for failure to pay child support.
Melissa Turpin, 44, of Mena was arrested on two outstanding felon warrants from Sebastian County.
November 2 & 3, 2018
A Mena woman reported that someone had stolen her checkbook from her purse as she was shopping at a local store. Case is pending review of surveillance tapes from the business.
Almost 2,700 people voted early in Polk County, Arkansas for the midterm general election according to Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison.
Early voting started Monday, October 22nd, and after the the polling locations closed today, November 3rd, 2,690 voters had voted early, or 22.5% of the county's registered voters.
The daily breakdowns are below.
Early voting will continue on Monday, November 5th, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Polk County Office Complex (old hospital) on Pine Street in Mena.
Tuesday, November 6th is Election Day and the Vote Centers in Polk County will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Registered voters will be able to vote at any of the eight Vote Centers in the county.
Vote Center #1 Polk County Office Complex (old hospital) 606 Pine Street in Mena
Vote Center #2 9th Street Ministries building 306 9th Street in Mena
Vote Center #3 Acorn High School 143 Polk Road 196 in Acorn
Vote Center #4 Concord Baptist Church 3467 Hwy 88 East in Ink
Vote Center #5 Salem Baptist Church 115 Polk Road 56 in Nunley
Vote Center #6 Hatfield Town Hall 115 Town Hall Park in Hatfield
Vote Center #7 Cove Town Hall 5568 Hwy 71 South in Cove
Vote Center #8 Grannis Town Hall 132 Frachiseur Road in Grannis
There a few updates this week from the Capitol. Budget hearings continue. A new revenue report was released. We have new recommendations for funding education. And there are several important dates ahead leading to the next legislative session.
The latest General Revenue Report shows October revenue at $435.4 million. That is 5% more than October 2017 and 5.9% above forecast.
Four months into the fiscal year, net available general revenue is now $114.6 million above year ago levels.
This week, the Education Committee presented the Speaker with recommendations for funding education in the next two fiscal years.
The committee spends more than a year reviewing every component of public education to determine what areas need increased funding. This is referred to as the Educational Adequacy Study.
Currently, the state provides schools with $6,781 per student for the school year. The recommendation from the committee is to increase that to $6,880 per student next year. The recommendation for Fiscal Year 2021 is $6,985 per student.
Included in report is a recommendation to increase the minimum teacher salary by $1,000 each year.
This will bring the minimum salary for teachers with a BA to $33,800 and for teachers with an MA to $38,450 by Fiscal Year 2021.
There are several important dates ahead. On the Friday after the election, November 9, the newly elected and returning members will convene for a House Caucus.
The newly elected members will draw for seniority positions. Then all members, in order of their seniority, will chose their seat in the chamber for the duration of the 92ndGeneral Assembly.
Budget hearings began October 16 and will continue through mid-November. The Governor’s balanced budget proposal will be presented to members on November 14.
From December 3-6, members will return to the chamber for the Legislative Institute. This is a 4 day behind the scenes look at the law making process designed primarily for freshman members.
Members can begin filing bills on November 15 . The 2019 Regular Session begins January 14.
Be sure to check our website www.arkansashouse.org.
11-2-18 4:28 p.m. kawx.org
LITTLE ROCK – Students from the Bismarck School District gave up their first day of fall break to travel to the capitol this week for a news conference in which we celebrated their academic achievement.
Bismarck schools achieved Award status in the Arkansas School Recognition Program, which honors schools whose academic achievement is in the top 10 percent in the state. The state provided awards of about $7 million to the top schools. In Bismarck, the elementary, middle, and high schools all achieved that ranking for the second straight year.
The program also rewards the schools whose growth in achievement on the ACT Aspire tests is in the top 10 percent.
The program gives financial rewards to the high-achieving schools. This year, 175 schools made the Top 10 percent list.
The largest single checks went to Bryant and Cabot high schools. Bryant High qualified for $133,000 and Cabot High will receive $104,000. Their awards recognize them for academic growth and improved graduation rates.
But that wasn’t all for the Cabot district, which had six campuses on the list. The district was awarded a grand total of $353,000.
Each of the winning schools will create a committee that will decide how to spend this windfall. They can give money to faculty and staff as a bonus, and schools can buy equipment and books.
It was a pleasure for Department of Education Commissioner Johnny Key and me to meet the folks from Bismarck and to present the oversize ceremonial checks to them.
It is gratifying to know that educators are working so diligently to teach our students, and that our students are responding by growing academically.
It’s not all about the money, of course, but the financial reward is a real-life lesson for students who learned that hard work can pay off with a good paycheck.
Congratulations to all the Award schools.
Commemorating the End of WWI
On November 11, bells across Arkansas will ring 11 times at 11 a.m. in commemoration of the end of World War I.
It’s been a century since men were fighting in the Great War, or the “war to end all wars.” We remember the Arkansans who played an integral part in this tremendous conflict. Some served in uniform; others provided care to heal the wounded; and many more supported home front efforts to supply our troops with the weapons, clothing and food necessary to accomplish their mission. Nearly 72,000 Arkansans served in uniform during WWI and 2,183 of them paid the ultimate sacrifice.
I recently commemorated the life of Arkansan and WWI soldier Robert Jack with members of the Van Buren VFW post named in his honor. Jack was 23-years-old when he was killed by shrapnel on September 22, 1918, during the fourth day of the famous allied drive of St. Mihiel.
Jack’s service to our country is a piece of the long and proud history Arkansans have written in support of our nation’s military. He was a member of the Arkansas National Guard’s 142nd Field Artillery and the 39th Infantry Brigade. As active combat teams today, the men and women who wear the insignia of the 142nd and the 39th can be proud of the legacy of those who served before them in defense of our nation’s ideals no matter the price they may pay.
While our countrymen and women made important contributions to the Allied victory, it is important to remember that victory came at a considerable cost. One of the mothers of a WWI soldier who gave his life channeled her energy to support others who experienced the loss of a loved one in military service.
This year we recognize the 90th anniversary of the founding of that organization, American Gold Star Mothers —an exclusive group that no one seeks to join. The group was named after the Gold Star that families hung in windows in honor of their deceased soldier. Its members are all too familiar with the pain of losing someone close to their heart. Their continued strength serves to comfort one another as well as other families in their time of need.
In 2013, Congress created the WWI Centennial Commission to commemorate the end of the Great War. One way the commission has seen fit to honor and memorialize WWI soldiers is with the creation of a national WWI monument in our nation’s capital. Arkansas native and 2013 graduate of the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, Joseph Weishaar, submitted a design for the memorial competition, which was ultimately selected by the commission. There is still a long way to go to complete the memorial, but we can be proud of Arkansas’s connection to this project.
WWI changed the world and helped establish our nation’s place in it. Commemorating WWI is important to honoring the service and sacrifice of the soldiers who gave their lives, those who were wounded in action and each and every service member who played their part at home or abroad. We also express our deep gratitude to the families who sent their loved ones to serve in uniform. The centennial is a time to reflect on the sacrifice of the men and women who fearlessly served the greater cause of democracy and freedom and the families who supported them.
11-2-18 1:38 p.m. kawx.org
State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague
November 2, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas has 1,034 public schools and each one recently received a letter grade, from A to F, to give parents an easy method of evaluating them.
The release of school report cards usually occurs in April, and it creates quite a bit of discussion among principals, administrators, elected officials and of course, parents.
This year, the state Education Department worked with extra diligence to produce the report card six months earlier than usual. One reason was that school staff had requested more timely reports, so that they could more quickly use the information in the report cards to improve their schools.
Failing schools can apply for support from state and federal sources, and the sooner they apply the sooner their students will reap the benefits of added resources. They can use the information in the reports to improve this school year, and not have to wait until next year.
This year, the number of schools that received an A grade fell from 163 to 152. However, the number of schools that got a D grade also dropped, from 170 to 145. The number of failing schools that got an F increased from 33 in the 2016-2017 school year to 44 in the 2017-2018 school year.
Both this year and last year, a little more than a third of all Arkansas schools received a C grade. Last year 384 got a C and this year 380 got a C.
The number of schools receiving a B went up strongly, from 290 to 313.
The letter grades are based on numerous factors, including standardized test scores, student attendance, graduation rates and the proportion of students who read at their grade level.
The school report cards were released at the same time as a much more complex indicator of school success, the ESSA Index.
ESSA stands for the Every Student Succeeds Act, a 2015 federal law that took the place of controversial federal education standards known as the No Child Left Behind Act. Under the old federal standards, consistently getting low grades meant that a school could be penalized.
Schools that received low grades will not be penalized, the state Education Commissioner said. They will be offered extra help from the state Education Department.
The most recent ESSA School Index and school report card can both be found online at the Education Department’s My School Info page. It is at this web address: https://myschoolinfo.arkansas.gov/.
You can find the page with an Internet search engine, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, by typing in My School Info and Arkansas.
The web page has search features so that you can look up specific reports for your children’s school. It also has instructional videos, on the right side of the page under a headline of “What’s New.” One of the videos will show you how to navigate the numerous links on the Education Department website that contain reports and comparisons.
The legislature approved Act 696 in 2013 to direct the Education Department to begin issuing school report cards, to make it easier for parents to evaluate their children’s schools. The first report cards were for the 2014-2015 school year.
Under Act 696, the Education Department considers schools that get an A as exemplary. B schools are “achieving,” C schools “need improvement, D schools “need improvement – focus” and F schools “need improvement – priority.”
11-2-18 12:50 p.m. kawx.org
Polk County Treasurer Tonya Fretz released the monthly report showing sales and road improvement tax collections for Polk County. Both the taxes are one percent.
The October report shows that in September 2018 the county sales and road improvement taxes generated $125,320 each, which is an increase of $1,862 for each.
To date the county has collected $2,540,826 which is $131,965 more than for the same period last year, suggesting growing retail sales.
The taxes collected have increased each month this year compared with the same month last year.
The county sales tax money is used for many things including law enforcement, jail costs, and other county services. The road improvement tax is used only for county roads.