Scammers are targeting Polk County residents claiming to represent the IRS and making threats according to Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer.
"We’ve had several reports of the IRS scammers calling Polk County residents today. It is a scam. The IRS does not do business over the phone. They will not threaten to send the Sheriff to arrest you. They do not take overdue payments in the form of green dot or Google play cards. If they call you don’t give them any information and hang up on them."
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge provides more information on common scams on the Attorney General's website.
1-22-19 8:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG
Senator Jason Rapert (R – Conway) has filed a bill to make abortion illegal except in cases of medical emergency, such as when the mother’s life is at stake.
If passed, the bill would not take effect immediately. This is what is commonly called a “trigger law,” because it stipulates that the law will take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision is reversed or changed by the courts. Until federal law or the courts give states more leeway, it will lie dormant.
This bill is in preparation for the day when states can once again make their own abortion laws.
We are pleased to partner with Senator Rapert and our friends in the legislature to work for the passage of this good law.
Please call your state senator and your state representative and encourage them to vote for S.B. 149.
The number for the Arkansas Senate switchboard is 501-682-2902.
The number for the Arkansas House switchboard is 501-682-6211.
You can reach an operator to leave a message only during business hours.
Announce this in your church, and ask your friends to call as well. We will keep you posted as other good pro-life legislation is filed.
You can read S.B. 149 by clicking here.
You can reach Senator Rapert to thank him at Jason.Rapert@Senate.AR.gov or 501-336-0918.
Jerry Cox is President of FamilyCouncil
1-22-19 7:33 a.m. KAWX.ORG
The Polk County Quorum Court met for their first meeting of the new year Tuesday night. All eleven Justices of the Peace were present, as well as other elected officials a citizens. County Judge Brandon Ellison called the meeting to order and after the invocation and pledge to the flag welcomed the newest member of the Quorum Court, Chris Daniel. The JPs quickly took care of the agenda items. Minutes from last month's meeting and the treasurer's report were approved. An ordinance setting the time and place of the monthly meeting was approved. Quorum Court meetings will continue to be on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in the Quorum Court Meeting Room, which in in the Polk County Office Complex on Pine Street in Mena. In addition to other routine business, JP Tawana Gilbert was elected to serve as the Delegate to the Arkansas Quorum Court Association. JP Terry Terrell recognized local law enforcement and the Polk County Sheriff's Department for their sacrifices and excellent work. Retiring Polk County Extension Agent Carla Vaught thanked the Quorum Court for their years of support to her. The next Quorum Court meeting will be February 26th at 6:00 p.m. Quorum Court meetings are open to the public.
1-22-19 7:14 p.m. KAWX.ORG
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of January 14, 2019 – January 20, 2019. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.
January 14, 2019
Report of a dog bite victim while walking on Polk 138 near Cove.
Report of a single-vehicle accident on Highway 8 East led to a Citation for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia being issued to Kaitlin M. Whorton, 19, of Mena.
January 15, 2019
Traffic stop on Racetrack Road near Mena led to the arrest of Eric D. Revels, 34, of Mena, on a Charge of Theft by Receiving.
Arrested was Jerrin H. Vaught, 23, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Battery 2nd Degree.
January 16, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 282 near Hatfield of three fraudulent checks. Investigation continues.
Arrested was Juston M. Wikel, 34, of Cove, on a Warrant for Probation Violation.
January 17, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of the discovery of stolen items on their property. Items were returned to the owner. Investigation continues.
Arrested was Justin Dees, 31, on Charges of Theft of Property, Fleeing in a Vehicle and Possession of a Firearm by Certain Persons.
Report from complainant on Polk 77 near Acorn of being harassed by an acquaintance. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 113 near Mena of the theft of a cargo trailer and its contents, all valued at $2,950.00. The trailer was recovered and returned to owner. Investigation continues.
Arrested was Stacie L. Shores, 28, of Hot Springs, on a Warrant for Delivery of Meth.
January 18, 2019
Report from complainant on Council Drive in Wickes of a previous disturbance. Deputies responded.
Report from complainant on Polk 16 near Wickes of the theft of documents, checks and a key. Investigation continues.
January 19, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 53 near Mena of the theft of a stein, jacket, medication and firearm, all valued at $625.00. Investigation continues.
Report of a disturbance on Highway 8 East near Board Camp. Deputies responded.
Report of a single-vehicle accident on Highway 71 South near Potter. Deputy responded.
Report of a hit-and-run accident on Polk 18 near Cove led to Citations for No Driver’s License, No Proof of Insurance and Striking an Unattended Vehicle being issued to Juston M. Wikel, 34, of Cove.
January 20, 2019
Report from a Cove man of a person with borrowed equipment, valued at $1,200.00, that refuses to return the property. Investigation continues.
Report of a disturbance on Polk 195 near Ink. Deputies responded.
Report from complainant on Highway 71 North near Mena of the theft of a mailbox, valued at $30.00.
Report of a vehicle on fire on Polk 482 near Hatton. Deputies responded.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked four vehicle accidents this week.
Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 23 Incarcerated Inmates, with 7 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.
1-22-19 1:15 p.m. KAWX.ORG
The 2019 Arkansas Legislature is underway, and we are calling all prayer warriors to join our prayer network for the legislative session.
We're looking for friends who will agree to pray with us when the need arises. Whenever we have a prayer request, we will send you a special email asking for prayer.
By partnering with us in prayer, you can help us remain faithful to the calling God has given us and enable us to promote, protect, and strengthen traditional family values in Arkansas.
If that's something you would like to be part of, please email Erin on our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us know if you have any questions or if there is anything we can do for you. Thank you for standing with us!
Jerry Cox is the president of Family Council
1-22-19 9:11 a.m. KAWX.ORG
Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of January 13, 2018 January 19, 2019
January 13 & 14, 2019
Report was made of a local man violating an order of protection. Case is pending further investigation
January 15, 2019
Brittni McWilliams, 20, of Mena was charged with possession of a schedule VI controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Report was made of damage to two mailboxes in a local neighborhood. The responsible party came forward and made restitution. No charges were filed.
January 16, 2019
A Mena woman reported that she is being harassed by a former boyfriend. Case is pending interview of suspect and further investigation.
A complaint was made concerning custody of a juvenile. Parties were advised that custody is a civil matter, and that they needed to contact their attorneys.
Report was made of items being stolen from a local residence. Case is pending receipt from complainant of further information.
January 17, 2019
Adam Matthew Green, 26 of Mena was arrested on four outstanding warrants from the Mena Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s office.
January 18, 2019
Employees at a local convenience store reported a gas-skip. Case is pending further investigation and identity of suspect.
Report was made of a local man being bitten by a dog. Case was referred to the animal control officer.
January 19, 2019
Kenneth Wayne Carey, 39, and Brandi Deann Gilmore, 33, both of Gillham, were charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.
Report was made of the theft of a bicycle from a local residence. Case is pending.
Matthew Paul Owen, 22, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding body attachment warrant from the Polk County Sheriff.
1-22-19 9:04 a.m. KAWX.ORG
The Polk County Quorum Court will meet for the first time in 2019 Tuesday, January 22, 2019, at 6:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the Quorum Court Meeting Room at the Polk County Office Complex (old hospital) on Pine Street in Mena.
The agenda includes approval of the minutes from the December 2018 meeting, treasurer's report, committee reports, old business, a required ordinance establishing the time and place of the monthly Quorum Court meeting, the election of a Justice of the Peace to serve as a Delegate to the Arkansas Quorum Court Association, and other routine business.
The Quorum Court is made up of elected Justices of the Peace and are: Chris Daniel, Jim Neugent, Harold Coogan, Margarett "Margo" Kimp, Troy Lunsford, Terry Terrell, Tommy Floyd, Terry L. Scott, Basil Kesterson, Mitchell Tidwell, Tawana Gilbert.
Sky gazers were treated to a rare lunar eclipse known as a "super blood wolf moon" Sunday night, in which sunlight passing through Earth's atmosphere lit the celestial body in a dramatic fashion and turned it blood red.
People in North and South America, parts of Europe and western Africa, were there were clear skies, saw a total lunar eclipse.
Mena, Arkansas businessman and photographer John Titsworth took this stunning picture.
Photo courtesy of John Titsworh
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the January full Moon was dubbed the “wolf” Moon by native Americans because it occurred at a time of year when wolves would be howling with hunger.
The next total lunar eclipse will be May 26, 2021.
LITTLE ROCK – Monday is the day we remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As we honor Dr. King’s memory in the month of his birth, I’d like to share a little of what “the pen of history” has recorded about his awareness of Little Rock.
Dr. Martin Luther King never led a march in Little Rock, but he knew the city well. In a letter to President Dwight Eisenhower about the Central High crisis, Dr. King noted that the “the pen of history” will record that the president had acted properly.
Dr. King addressed the president before and after the Little Rock 9 challenged segregation at Central High School in the fall of 1957. Failure to address the situation in Arkansas, Dr. King wrote, “would set the process of integration back fifty years. This is a great opportunity for you and the federal government to back up the longings and aspirations of millions of people of good will and make law and order a reality.”
After President Eisenhower ordered federal troops into Little Rock, Dr. King wrote a letter of appreciation.
“I wish to express my sincere support for the stand you have taken to restore law and order in Little Rock. …”
We all are aware of the cruel irony that the man who fought injustice through peaceful resistance died violently at the hand of an assassin.
Nearly 62 years have passed since the Little Rock stand-off. Fifty-one years have passed since he died on the balcony just down the interstate in Memphis. Dr. King would have been 90 on January 15, but in our memory, he is still 39 and marching the streets in search of the good he believed he would find.
We still have a way to go before we reach the promised land of Dr. King’s dreams, but thanks to his example, the destination is in sight.
As evidence of our progress in Arkansas, this is the second year that Dr. King will have his birthday to himself, as he should.
It was a privilege for me participate in the statewide effort that created the legislation to give Dr. King a day in his honor – and in his honor alone. It was a long time coming, but when the moment arrived, we did it in a way that was true to Dr. King’s ideals. We worked across political and racial lines in a way that revealed the best in our humanity.
The letters Dr. King wrote to President Eisenhower were not his last show of support for Little Rock. Dr. King was in the audience in May 1958 when Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock 9, became the first black student to graduate from Central High.
That was early in Dr. King’s work, and he probably understood that things would get worse before they got better. Perhaps, though, as he sat in Little Rock that night and watched that bit of history march across the stage, he recognized more fully the potential of his own dreams.
In a speech Dr. King gave the night before he died, he said God had allowed him to climb the mountain. “And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land.”
We haven’t arrived at the Promised Land, but we, too, have seen it. He encouraged us to take the higher road of compassion, and the echo of his words still call us to take that road.
Highway funding, tax cuts, teacher salaries, and transforming state government are just a few of the many issues before us this session.
So far, more than 200 bills have been filed in the House. More than 130 bills have been filed in the Senate.
These bills, and the hundreds yet to be filed, will all be thoroughly vetted in the committee process.
Minutes after we took the oath of office on January 14, Speaker Matthew Shepherd announced committee assignments.
Each of us serves on one “A” standing committee and one “B” standing committee. The “A” standing committees will meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10am. The “B” standing committees will meet on Wednesday mornings at 10am. The committees can also meet anytime at the call of the chair. We’ve posted the list of committee members and committee chairs on our website, www.arkansashouse.org.
House committees have already advanced three bills to the House floor. HB1013 adds podiatrists to the list of healthcare providers subject to rules regarding schedule II narcotics. Schedule II narcotics include most opioid prescriptions.
HB1016 reduces the waiting period that a court may grant a petition to seal a criminal record. The legislation reduces that period from 90 to 30 days. Also making its way to the House is HB1124. This bill creates certifications for veterinary technologist and technician specialist.
On the second day of the session, the Governor addressed the legislature outlining his agenda for this session.
He called for a third phase of tax cuts he referred to as the “2-4-5.9 plan”. It would lower income tax rates to 2% for people who earn up to $8,000 a year, 4% for those who earn between $8,001 and $18,000 a year and 5.9% for people who earn more than $18,000 a year. He is also asking the legislature to increase public safety funding for more state troopers and increase minimum teacher salaries by $1,000 a year.
The full House will convene at 1:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays. On Thursdays, we will convene at 10am. Schedules are always subject to change, but you can find schedule updated daily on our website. We also live stream every meeting and archive the meetings on the website.
1-18-19 5:14 p.m. kawx.org
Compromise Could End the Shutdown and Advance Border Security
Washington is unfortunately on new ground as the existing partial government shutdown has now, regrettably, become the longest in U.S. history. The sense of urgency that lingered in previous shutdowns doesn’t exist because some government agencies were funded months ago, while others were first funded on a short-term basis before being shut down in the absence of a larger funding agreement. It’s past time for the White House and leaders of both parties of Congress to come to the table and reach a deal to open the government and eliminate the existing uncertainty that federal employees, Arkansans and all Americans who rely on shuttered agencies are experiencing.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees have missed a paycheck. President Donald Trump recently signed into law legislation that approves back pay for government workers, but they will not be compensated until the agencies employing them are funded. Other federal employees are working now and don’t know when they will be paid.
In an effort to minimize the disruption, the United States Department of Agriculture reopened Farm Service Agency offices for three days to assist farmers and ranchers with existing loan services. The Internal Revenue Service is recalling nearly 60 percent of its employees to handle tax returns and refund payments. Elsewhere, the financial stress is taking a toll on Transportation Security Administration agents who, according to agency officials, are increasingly calling out of work because of financial concerns.
Congress was set to adjourn the fourth week of January for an in-state work period, but that has rightfully been canceled because of the deadlock in Washington. I am hopeful we can use this week to negotiate and reach a compromise to fully open the government. However, the recent request by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to delay the president’s State of the Union Address, scheduled for January 29, until the government reopens is not acting in good faith to reach a successful deal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he won’t bring a government funding bill to the floor that President Trump won’t sign. The exercise in the House to advance bills that the president won’t sign is not a solution to this problem. To resolve this impasse, compromise is necessary.
I agree with the president’s call for increased resources to defend our border. We must provide the funds for increased manpower, technology and infrastructure—including roads for access, electronic devices for surveillance and fencing for deterrence. These measures will help reduce the number of illegal immigrants coming across our border in addition to combatting drug and human trafficking. An increase in resources had bipartisan support from Senate Appropriations Committee members for Fiscal Year 2019. It’s time to act on that.
I will continue working with the president and my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to find a solution to end this uncertainty.
1-18-19 4:47 p.m. kawx.org
MENA, Ark. Experienced, energized, accomplished, and driven only begin to describe Mena’s UA Rich Mountain new Head Soccer Coach Brian Byrd.
Athletic Director Morris Boydstun admitted that he was a bit ‘concerned’ about the caliber of applicants the college would receive because of it being a new program and the time of year. He sent out the job posting to every head and assistant coach within the region including Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi, and Kansas. “What I expected was an assistant coach that was looking for the next step. What I got… was a lot better. And from that, Byrd was easily the best candidate we had.” Boydstun said he was pleasantly surprised when a coach with multiple trips to divisional and state play offs plus four state championship cups was interested in the position.
Lef to right UARM AD Morris Boydston, Coach Brian Byrd, and UARM Recruiter Jerod McCormick.
Byrd is a multisport accomplished athlete who began coaching club teams when he was a teenager. His impressive resume includes D/FW Tornado’s Soccer Club and nine seasons at the University of Dallas, among multiple camps.
Byrd comes to Mena from Coastal Bend College in Beeville, Tex., where they had only won one game in 14 years prior to Byrd’s arrival. Under his leadership, he advanced to regional semi or finals all five years along with beating several nationally ranked opponents. “There were a lot of things that factored into me reaching out to Morris. I’m a single guy with no kids, I’m pretty fluid. Nothing really keeps me in one place. I had built a very good program where I was… after five years.” Byrd went on to explain that Hurricane Harvey destroyed everything he had. “When I saw the job, it was a new challenge and a lot closer to my home… by about two hours… Dallas/Fort Worth. If I’m not going to live on the beach, why not live in the mountains?”
Byrd is well impressed with the plans UA Rich Mountain has for its athletics program. “The five-year plan is what sold me. I know the first year is going to be hard. It is what it is. The vision here is very structured and that will make it more successful going forward. The leadership has a good firm grip and good communication.”
UA Rich Mountain understands the challenges for recruiting for Fall 2019, when most players signed with a team on November 1, but Byrd’s previous coaching experience demonstrates his ability to deliver in the most challenging circumstances. Morris said that Byrd’s contacts within the sport are vast and in his first week alone, he had already made over 120 contacts, “He hit the ground running.”
Byrd explained that with a new program, it’s about creating a certain culture. “I want to get the best we can our first year. Anytime I have an outfit of players and we start practicing, I’ll never let them have anything less than a winning outlook. If we can make a conference tournament our first year, I think that will be a success.”
Byrd’s commitment to the athlete’s academic success is no different. Approx. 98% of his soccer athletes from Coastal Bend, also a community college, went on to 4-year universities on scholarship. He explained that one of the disadvantages with a soccer program is that the season is almost done before grades come out, but he has an academic policy that he holds his athletes to, and has always been appreciated by parents. GPAs within 3.2-3.6, athletes are required to attend a mandatory study hall one time a week, anything below 3.2, athletes are required to attend study hall twice a week. We will make it our goal to win the highest GPA award within the athletic department. That’s a goal I recruit them on.”
Byrd says he is looking forward to evaluating local and regional talent but also embraces the opportunity soccer athletic programs present in recruiting international students, explaining that out of forty young men on his soccer team at Beeville, they represented fifteen different countries.
Byrd, aside from being impressed with the Bucks’ five-year plan, said that his first impression of the campus was the small size, “…but knowing the changes that are coming, we will have the best facilities in the JC, and that alone, will be a huge recruiting tool.” Byrd added that the student life at UA Rich Mountain will be a plus to the athletic program, “The sheer beauty of the campus… the ponds really intrigue me, the disk golf, the walking trails through the woods… that is stuff that is going to stimulate the student athletes. We don’t want them to get bored. They can play disk golf, and in the off season, they can fish, they can hike, they can go to the lake, it’s a great atmosphere.”
Byrd plans to hit the road this week. Knowing he’s technically ‘behind’ in the recruiting process, Byrd’s strategy is simple and straightforward, “pure hard work,” as well as utilizing his vast contacts in the sport. “I contacted FC Dallas already, which is the big premiere club in Dallas, the Major League Soccer. I talked to their recruiter and he’s putting a list together of potential athletes that he thinks would be a good fit for our program. I’ve contacted Kansas City sporting director… all of these Major League Soccer Clubs have youth academies and they’re ‘Under 19s’. If you make that list, you’re a solid player. Hopefully, they aren’t all committed yet but I’m reaching out, making those contacts. I’ve heard we have tons of local community support so I’m really excited about seeing what local and regional talent we have. We’re doing local tryouts February 17 so I encourage everyone to follow ‘Bucks Athletics’ on social media to stay informed on those.”
Byrd is looking forward to becoming involved in the local community. “I want to help build the soccer community from the grass roots level up. I’ll be working with the youth every opportunity I’m given. I will even offer a Soccer 101 class for the entire community.” He’s also looking forward to taking full advantage of all of the outdoor sports the area is known for, including fishing, jet skiing on local lakes, white water rafting on the Cossatot, and, “I have a beautiful husky named Macy. We’ll go hiking up in these mountains.”
Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson said he is incredibly pleased with the progress that Athletic Director Morris Boydstun and Assistant Director Jerod McCormick are making in a very short and demanding timeframe and in conjunction with the other hats the two gentlemen wear, “It’s their passion and their ability to recruit a soccer coach of Coach Byrd’s caliber is proof of that.”
Byrd is located in the Abernathy Building on the Mena campus. He can be reached at 479-394-7622 ext. 1661.
1-18-19 12:09 p.m. kawx.org
State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague
January 18, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – The 92nd General Assembly began with the traditional combination of ceremonial activities and then immediately getting down to business.
Newly elected senators took the oath of office, administered by the chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The governor addressed a joint session of the Senate and the House, laying out his legislative agenda.
Legislators filed more than 300 bills and referred them to committee for debate and to get input from the public.
HB 1145 would raise minimum teacher salaries over the next four years, from $31,400 to $36,000 a year. For teachers with a master’s degree, the minimum salary would go from $36,050 to $40,650.
The bill also would raise minimum salaries for other teachers. For example, the minimum salary for a teacher with eight years’ experience would go from $35,000 to $36,400 a year in the 2019-2020 school year.
HB 1145 is sponsored by the chairman of the House Education Committee, to which it was referred for initial consideration.
Two other bills, HB 1165 and HB 1166, would implement a broad restructuring of state government, in order to reduce the number of cabinet level agencies from 42 to 15. They were referred to the House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs.
Senate Bill 17, to reduce by half the fees for permits to carry a concealed handgun, was referred to the Senate Committee on City, County and Local Affairs.
SB 4 would create a task force of legislators on issues affecting veterans, with a special focus on preventing suicides and improving access to mental health care. The bill was sent to the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Senate Joint Resolution 1, also referred to the Senate State Agencies Committee, would place on next year’s ballot a proposed amendment to repeal fiscal sessions of the legislature.
The first substantive bill approved by the legislature is the General Appropriation Act. Under Article 5 of the state Constitution, the legislature must enact the measure before it passes any other budget bill.
The Constitution mandates that it be passed by a three-fourths majority before any other appropriations are voted on, otherwise they will not be lawful.
In 1989 the legislature had to meet in emergency special session, called by then-Governor Bill Clinton, to hurriedly re-enact about 300 appropriations that had been ruled unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.
That was necessary because during the regular session earlier in the year, the General Appropriation Act was passed but without a 75 percent supermajority. A lawsuit resulted in the Supreme Court striking all the budget measures.
Lawmakers met in a late June special session. They first enacted the General Appropriations Act by a three-fourths majority and then they enacted appropriations for all state agencies, higher education and public schools.
That special session convened on June 22, 1989, which gave the legislature only a week to complete its work on hundreds of bills by the end of the fiscal year, which was June 30.
1-18-19 10:01 a.m. kawx.org
The nationally known Melton Family Singers are going to be presenting their ministry and music in Mena on Sunday, January 20th at First Christian Church, 1010 Port Arthur at 6:00 p.m. The public is cordially invited. The program is free of charge and is sure to be spiritually uplifting.
The group will also be ministering at the Zafra Church of Christ in Zafra, Oklahoma Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m.
1-18-19 6:58 a.m. kawx.org
Barnes, Moore to be inducted into Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame
Bill Barnes, president of the Tri-Pennant Family of Resorts, and Robert Moore, a farmer and politician, will be inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame during a noon luncheon Monday, Feb. 25, during the 45th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The conference will be held in Hot Springs on Feb. 24-26, 2019.
The Hall of Fame honor is presented annually to an individual or individuals who have been actively involved in tourism for many years and who have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the industry as a whole.
Born in Wyoming in 1948, Barnes graduated from Hot Springs High School and studied hotel and restaurant management at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, at Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma, and at Forest Park College in Missouri.
Since 1971, he’s been active in the management of Mountain Harbor Resort, which his father Hal started in 1955 just outside of Hot Springs in Joplin, Ark. He helped Mountain Harbor Resort transition from a small fishing outpost into one of the top resorts in Arkansas. Barnes developed Harbor East, the only privately owned condominium development on Lake Ouachita and Harbor South, a private residential development adjacent to Mountain Harbor Resort and Lake Ouachita. Today, Harbor South is a thriving development with 160 homes and more new homes under construction.
Additionally, Barnes developed and operates with partners Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina and Self Creek Lodge & Marina. Those resorts, along with Harbor House on the River, are the members of the Tri-Pennant Family of Resorts.
His career accomplishments also include building and operating the largest in-land marina in the Mid-South United States, housing approximately 1,200 boats. He also formed a volunteer fire department and first response team for the Joplin area. Today, the department provides emergency medical and fire response on Lake Ouachita, as well as covering the eastern end of Montgomery County. Barnes has served as fire chief for 37 years.
He also serves as a member of the State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission, president of the Lake Ouachita Association, and member of the Arkansas Forestry Commission Boat Committee. He has been on numerous boards of directors including the Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce, Diamond Lake Travel Association, Arkansas Travel Council, and numerous civic and community committees. He also founded the Montgomery County Military Museum and founded the statewide annual Arkansas Forestry Commission Fire Boat Training. He is coxswain certified and an officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15-9.
During his long career, Barnes has been honored as Arkansas Tourism Person of the Year and has received the Arkansas Hospitality Association Gold Key Award for Lodging, Arkansas Times Readers Choice Award for Best Marina for nine years in a row, Hernando DeSoto Award, Arkansas Hospitality Association President's Award, Silver Cup for Tourism, Best Friend Award from the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce and Employer of the Year Award from the Mount Ida Chamber of Commerce. He was inducted into the Arkansas Hospitality Hall of Fame in 1999.
An Arkansan who loves music, writing, bicycling and outdoor recreation, Moore was born in Dumas in 1945. He graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and obtained a degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville. He served in the U.S. Army Infantry and the Vietnam War. He currently resides in Arkansas City.
Moore has a vast political career and his contributions to the tourism industry have been significant as well.
In 2013, Moore was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe to a 10-year term on the Arkansas State Highway Commission.
Moore’s previous experience in public service includes serving as a three-term member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, representing District 12 and serving as Speaker of the House for the 88th General Assembly. He served as a member of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee, served on the Joint Budget Committee, the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee and the Arkansas Legislative Council. He is a former Assistant Attorney General. Gov. David Pryor appointed Moore as Chairman of the Arkansas Transportation Commission in 1977.
His tourism endeavors include working with Ruth Hawkins and Delta Scenic Byways to secure the National Scenic Byway recognition for Arkansas Highway 4 through Arkansas City. He worked with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in the late '90s for acquisition of 10,000 acres surrounding Arkansas City now known as Choctaw Island Wildlife Management Area. Moore sponsored and passed the GeoTourism Tax Credit legislation and the Historic Buildings tax credit legislation.
He worked with Arkansas State Parks for the extension of the Delta Heritage Trail from Rohwer to Arkansas City and with the help of Gov. Beebe secured major funding for completion of the paved levee trail. He also worked with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to secure funding for a new scenic overview and boat ramp on the Mississippi River joining the extension of the Delta Heritage Trail.
Moore and his wife, Beverly, donated property to Arkansas City, Desha County and Arkansas State Parks for establishment of city, county and state parks. They also founded the LeveeFest event in Arkansas City that ran for 10 years. Preservation is important to the couple. They purchased five historic buildings in Arkansas City in various states of disrepair, rehabilitated them, and successfully had all five listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In addition to his public service, Moore owned a private law practice from 1981 to 1985 and is currently the owner/operator of Moore Farms. He also served two decades as director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board before being elected to the House. He is a member of the American Legion, Arkansas City Baptist Church, the Arkansas City Chamber of Commerce, vice chairman of the Desha County Historic Preservation Society, and vice chairman of the John H. Johnson Cultural and Entrepreneurial Center Board.
For information on the Hall of Fame Awards, contact Leigha Jones at 501-682-1676.
For information on the 45th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism or to register to attend, contact the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism at 501-682-1926.
1-17-19 7:49 p.m. kawx.org
[MENA, Ark.] The UA Rich Mountain Board of Visitors held its first meeting of 2019 on Wednesday in the Board Room on the Mena Campus. As the first order of business, Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson welcomed newest board member, Michael Wood. Wilson told members that Wood had been incredibly supportive of all of the College’s efforts since the announcement of its athletic program, “We are very grateful to have him.” Wood is a Physical Therapist at Mena Regional Health System.
After reviewing the financial reports with the Board, Vice Chancellor of Administration and Athletic Director Morris Boydstun provided an update on the developing athletics program, including welcoming new Head Soccer Coach Brian Byrd.
Boydstun also shared that he and Dr. Wilson had recently attended a meeting of the Division 2 NJCAA, comprised of Oklahoma and Arkansas colleges. Boydstun noted that the UA Rich Mountain was one of very few Arkansas colleges represented, “It was observed that Arkansas attendance was light but Dr. Wilson and I believe that building these relationships within the NJCAA, staying connected and well informed is essential to us building a successful athletics program.”
The inaugural ladies Bucks cross country team is eligible to be recognized as an Academic All American Team and all qualified as individual Academic All American athletes as well.
Before introducing Coach Byrd to the Board, Boydstun noted that grade has been shot at the proposed soccer field site at Tapley Park to begin field work. The first season of Fall 2019 will be played at Bearcat stadium per an agreement negotiated with Mena Public Schools.
Byrd shared about his previous coaching experience and what led him to Mena after learning about the new soccer program. He explained that he had already signed three international players, which will bring diversity to the campus and that he, Boydstun, and Assistant Athletic Director Jerod McCormick would be attending the College of the South Showcase in Little Rock to continue the recruiting process. His contacts within the sport are vast and has been actively working those relationships in identifying student athletes that will be a good fit for UA Rich Mountain. The Board was particularly impressed with his commitment to academic performance from his athletes and that 100% of his graduate athletes at Coastal Bend went on to 4-year universities to continue playing and pursuing their education.
Vice Chancellor Chad Fielding reported to the Board that enrollment numbers are still fluid at this point so early in the semester but that administration was pleased to see numbers maintaining in three key areas of ‘Returning Students,’ ‘Transfer Students,’ and ‘First-Time Freshman.’ Community College enrollments continue to trend downward as is customary when unemployment rates are very low. When jobs are available, people prefer to be working. Dr. Wilson credited ‘case management’ and the individualized relationships that UA Rich Mountain has always maintained as its standard as the key ingredient to success in maintaining these numbers.
Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Dr. Krystal Thrailkill reported that the new Massage Therapy program began on Monday. UA Rich Mountain is the state’s first and only public college approved by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education to provide such a program, which essentially costs students one-third of the same program at a private school.
Dr. Thrailkill also reported that a new certificate, technical, and associate degree in Criminal Justice will be added in the Fall of 2019, which is a program that has been in very high demand locally. She also said that through a partnership established with the Criminal Justice Institute, progress is being made for local students to be able to earn their Bachelor’s degree locally by classes being provided through CIV.
Dr. Thrailkill also reported that the EMT Basic course was full and that discussions are underway for the possibility of adding a paramedics program.
At the conclusion of the reports, the Board elected new officers for two year terms: Al Gathright, Chair; Sue Cavner, Vice-Chair; and Linda Rowe, Secretary.
From L-R: Dr. Carlos Rocha; Michael Myers; Al Gathright, Chair; Michael Wood; Sue Cavner, Vice-Chair; Linda Rowe, Secretary; Gar Eisele; and UA Rich Mountain Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson.
1-17-19 6:02 p.m. kawx.org
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, in cooperation with Quail Forever and the Arkansas Forestry Association, will be hosting special workshops for land managers on how and when to use fire to promote better wildlife habitat on their property. Workshops are scheduled for Malvern, Mountain View and Ash Flat in the next few weeks, and more will be scheduled as the year goes on.
Many Arkansans grew up with Smokey Bear preaching the dangers of uncontrolled fire in the forest, but given the right conditions and supervision, fire can be one of the greatest tools a landowner has to increase valuable wildlife habitat on his or her property.
“Many species of early grasses and plants that produce abundant food for wildlife need fire to remain established,” said Jason Honey, private lands biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “Some of these plants have seeds which require fire to become active; in other cases fire activates the plants by removing leaves and other debris from the ground and allowing sunlight to penetrate to the soil.”
Honey says landowners who attend one of these workshops will not only learn why they should use controlled fire on their property, but how to use it to properly establish high-quality habitat for quail, turkeys, deer and a variety of other wildlife species.
“Most areas of Arkansas historically were exposed to periodic, low-intensity fires,” Honey said. “These smaller fires kept food on the ground for wildlife and prevented larger, catastrophic wildfires.”
During the workshop landowners also will be able to meet with private lands biologists in their area and learn about some of the programs available to assist them in their wildlife management goals.
“There are available programs for landowners meeting certain criteria to receive assistance in planning and conducting a burn, as well as programs to enroll land into conservation easements for a small compensation.,” Honey said. “We can work with you to help achieve many wildlife management goals from there.”
The workshops all will be held in a classroom setting, and lunch will be provided to all attendees who register in advance. The following workshops are being sponsored by the AGFC, Quail Forever, and the Arkansas Forestry Association.
Feb. 14, 2019
Malvern 4H Center
1407 MLK Blvd., Malvern AR 72104
Register at www.eventbrite.com/e/learn-to-burn-tickets-malvern
Jan. 26, 2019 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Intersection of Warren Street and Park Ave.
Mountain View, AR 72560
Register at http://learn-to-burn-mtview.eventbrite.com
Jan 29, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
64 College Drive
Ash Flat, AR 72513
Register at http://learn-to-burn-ash flat.eventbrite.com
1-17-19 8:20 a.m. kawx.org
All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes:
State of Arkansas Vs. Cheyene Smith W/F, age 25, Count I: Possession of Methamphetamine With The Purpose To Deliver, a Class "B" felony, Count II: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" felony.
State of Arkansas Vs. Eric D. Revels W/M, age 25, Count I: Theft By receiving, a class "C" felony.
State of Arkansas Vs. Jerrin Heath Vaught W/M, age 23, Count I: Battery In The Second Degree, a Class "D" Felony, Count II: Battery In The Second Degree, a Class "D" Felony.
1-16-19 7:22 p.m. kawx.org
Lottery ticket sales for December 2018 in Arkansas totaled $43,361,812.50.
Polk County sales were $163,640.00.
The highest sales were in Pulaski County and totaled $8,024,950.00, and the lowest in Montgomery County at $31,398.50.
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson delivered his State of the State Address to the members of the 92nd General Assembly in the House Chamber at the Arkansas State Capitol this morning. He also delivered his Inaugural Address at noon on the front steps of the Capitol.
In his speeches, the Governor outlined the state’s successes since 2015 and reaffirmed his intent to reduce the tax burden on Arkansans; transform state government; raise teacher pay; develop a long-term highway plan; and implement a growth agenda for Arkansas that includes more and better-paying jobs; increased attainment levels in higher education; a strong diversified economy and competitive tax rates.
You can view the video of the Governor’s State of the State Address HERE
and the full transcript of his speech HERE
. Photos can be found HERE
You can view the video of the Governor’s Inaugural Address HERE
and the full transcript of his speech HERE
. Photos can be found HERE
Media outlets are welcome to use photos and video. Please attribute credit to the Governor's Office.
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of January 7, 2019 – January 13, 2019. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.
January 7, 2019
Report of a disturbance in the Polk County Detention Center led to a Citation for Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree being issued to Thomas L. Kidwell, 39, of Mena.
Report from a Mena man of financial identity theft, totaling losses at $344.18. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 42 near Mena of unwanted persons on their property, causing damage to a rental property. Deputy responded. Subjects were advised to not return to the property.
Report from complainant on Polk 280 near Cove of problems with neighbors regarding dogs. Deputy responded.
Arrested was David T. Sinyard, 43, of Mena, on Warrants for Failure to Appear and three counts of Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
January 8, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 93 near Rocky of several missing items, all valued at $893.00. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Cardinal Lane near Mena of being bitten by a neighbor’s dog. The owner was advised to quarantine the animal for ten days.
Report from complainant on Ouachita Avenue in Mena of the discovery of his missing trailer at a residence on Reine Street in Mena. Deputy responded.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Joseph A. Stubbs, 42, of Mena, on Charges of two counts each of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of a Controlled Substance.
Arrested was Dustin D. Horn, II, 22, of Little Rock, on Warrants for Violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law and Failure to Appear.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Justin W. Kinsey, 23, of Mena, on Charges of Failure to Appear, No Vehicle License, No Proof of Insurance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and two counts of Possession of Controlled Substance.
January 9, 2019
Report of a truck stuck in Lion’s Park in Hatfield led to the arrest of Dustin B. Skaggs, 18, of Hatfield, on Charges of Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance and Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree.
Report of a vehicle on fire on Highway 84 near Wickes. Deputy responded.
Arrested was Monica L. Quillen, 37, of Mena, on a Drug Court Sanction.
Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Shannon K. Shaw, 38, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
January 10, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 402 near Vandervoort of the break-in and theft of several items, including cash and electronics, all valued at $450.00. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 89 near Mena of the theft of a debit card, totaling losses at $1,500.00. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Highway 71 South near Hatfield of the theft of a freezer, valued at $200.00. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from complainant on Polk 116 near Mena of the theft of tools, firearms and electronics, all valued at $2,760.00. Investigation continues.
Report from a Mena woman of problems with her 15-year-old daughter. Deputies responded.
Arrested were Andre L. Smith, 36, and Karen E. Smith, 41, both of Hatfield, each on a Warrant for Shoplifting.
January 11, 2019
Arrested was Colby A. Miles, 29, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
January 12, 2019
Report of a stuck vehicle on Highway 71 North near Mena led to the arrest of William J. Hanselman, 61, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order. Citations for Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License and No Vehicle License were issued to Keith E. Ashlock, 57, of Pine Ridge.
Report of a one-vehicle accident led to the arrest of Charles V. Brown, 38, of Mena, on Charges of DWI3, Careless/Prohibited Driving and Refusal to Submit.
Report from complainant on Polk 34 near Hatfield of the theft of prescription medication.
Report from complainant on Kodiak Lane near Mena of an unauthorized person on their property. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration
Report from Polk County Detention Center of the discovery of contraband led to the arrest of Cheyenne N. Smith, 24, of Cove, on Charges of Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Deliver and Furnishing Prohibited Articles.
January 13, 2019
Report of a death on Highway 270 near Acorn. Deputy responded.
Report of a disturbance on Polk 18 in Vandervoort. Deputies responded. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Chad B. Voelkel, 38, of Mena, on a Warrant for Rape.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked three 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.
1-15-19 3:44 p.m. kawx.org
US Veterans who are 100% total and permanently disabled are exempt from personal and real estate property taxes in Arkansas. Letters are sent to these citizens and the letter needs to be presented a the Polk County Tax Collector's Office in the Polk County Courthouse.
If you qualify and don't get your letter in the mail, contact the Polk County Veteran's Office at (479) 394-8147.
Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of January 6, 2018 January 12, 2019
January 6 & 7, 2019
A local woman reported that someone had entered her apartment when she was out and had stolen medication. No suspects at this time.
A motorist called officers to a local highway regarding a briefcase they found in a ditch. Officers retrieved the item, but there was not identification located. It was placed into evidence.
Billy Joseph Fletcher, 32, of Mena was charged with disorderly conduct after officers responded to a call at a local park.
January 8, 2019
Employees at a local convenience store reported a gas skip in the amount of $40.00. Case is pending.
A Mena man reported that his cell phone had been stolen from his place of business. He later advised that he had located the phone in his home.
January 9, 2019
John Joe Mejia, 43, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant for burglary from Nacogdoches, Texas authorities.
January 10, 2019
Report was made by a local woman regarding abuse she suffered at the hands of her boyfriend. Case has been forwarded to juvenile authorities, as the suspect is a minor.
January 11 & 12, 2019
Heather Johnson, 36, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers were called to a local retail store.
Report was taken of someone witnessing a drug exchange on a local parking lot. Case is pending.
1-14-19 9:56 a.m. kawx.org
Pine Crest Gardens, Inc., the parent organization of Mena's Pine Crest Cemetery, also known as Pinecrest Memorial Gardens, annual meeting will be held at the cemetery on Monday, January 21, 2019 starting at 5:00 p.m., according to Chris Daniel.
The bylaws of the organization require the annual meeting, mainly for the purpose of electing board officers and adding new board members. The board also meets monthly on the third Monday at 5:00 p.m. to conduct routine business.
Annual and monthly meetings are open to the public.
Pine Crest Cemetery is maintained year-round and is financed by cemetery space sales and tax deductible donations. Pine Crest Cemetery receives no assistance from any tax money or governmental entity.
The current board of directors and officers:
Chris Daniel, President
Joe Bunch, Vice President
Jimmy Rackley, Secretary
Moppy Billingsley , Treasurer
Randolph Emerson, Member
Tim Masters, Member
Judith Roberson, Member
Wingo Johnson, Member
Randy Turner, Member.
Anyone who would be interested in serving on the board should contact one of the existing board members.
For additional information about the cemetery, space sales and availability, or the upcoming meetings, email email@example.com, or contact one of the board members.
1-13-19 10:23 a.m. kawx.org
LITTLE ROCK – As we enter the fourth week of the partial federal government shutdown, which is the longest in the nation’s history, it is important to understand what is at stake and to note how this impacts all of us as Americans.
In Arkansas, as a result of the federal shutdown, 17 state employees — seven from the State Crime Lab and 10 from the Department of Finance and Administration — were sent home but have since returned to work. This means that as of today, no state employees are on furlough in Arkansas.
It also means, more importantly, that the services these employees provide can continue uninterrupted. For the employees at the crime lab, that means top-notch DNA analysis and the criminal investigations can continue. And at DFA, it means federal grants that support women’s shelters and local police stations can still be administered and those funds provided where they are needed most.
As for the federal government, one of the agencies that is not funded at the moment is our Homeland Security. This is an essential service, so the agents and personnel must show up for work, but they are working without pay. This impacts our border security, our airport security, and even our Coast Guard, which protects lives and serves our nation every day.
The unfunded services include our Justice Department, which means that many federal courts are not fully functioning. Even though the federal government is only partially unfunded, the impact on our nation and our people is very significant.
It seems the dispute is over $5 billion that the President has requested for funding a border wall. I have served in the Bush Administration as Undersecretary of Border Security, so I know how important it is to secure our borders and to protect our country. The President has done the right thing to insist upon additional national efforts to protect our borders.
Members of the opposition say they will invest more in border security, but they have vigorously opposed the wall and have been unwilling to compromise, which is what has led to the shutdown. In recent years, many of those who oppose the wall have said that illegal immigration is a problem that must be solved. This gives the debate the appearance of a political fight rather than one based on the merits of border security.
In the end, we absolutely must do more to protect our borders, but it is necessary that both sides be more flexible in the application of border-security funding. We need to work together to accomplish common goals, and we need to put our government workers back to work so they can serve the American public and protect our country.
I want to express my appreciation to the members our federal delegation, who have done all they can to support increased border security, and they have been voices of reason in the debate. It is my hope that our leaders in Washington will come together to resolve this and fully fund our government services.
This is important for Arkansas, for our families, and yes, for the security of our nation.
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson will deliver his State of the State Address and Inaugural Address at the Arkansas State Capitol on Tuesday. The Governor's Inaugural Address will be on the front steps of the Capitol and open to the public.
Having a diverse membership helps the House of Representatives more effectively serve the people of Arkansas. For the 92nd General Assembly, the House membership will be diverse in age, gender, race, and careers.
Our members will range in ages from 28 to 81. Women will make up 25% of the House, tying a record set in 2009. And there will be 13 African-American legislators serving in the House.
Arkansas’s legislature is considered a part-time citizen legislature. Most House members have a full-time career in addition to their legislative obligations. Members come from a wide range of professional backgrounds.
The House will have more health care professionals serving than in previous years. We have nine members who either currently work or previously worked in the health care industry. The professions include doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
There will be 10 members who are currently teachers or former educators.
The state’s largest industry is well represented as 9 members bring an agricultural background to the House.
Although not all are currently practicing attorneys, 13 members of the House have a Juris Doctorate degree.
Another 13 members are small business owners. Other professions include real estate agents, engineers, consultants, a television producer, and a pastor just to name a few.
We are proud to say that 11 of our members have served in the Armed Forces.
This body also brings a range of legislative experience. There are 22 freshman and 11 members are serving their 5th term.
All of us look forward to updating you during the session on our progress. As a reminder the session begins at noon on January 14. We stream all meetings at arkansashouse.org.
1-11-19 5:06 p.m. kawx.org
I’m disappointed that differences in funding priorities has resulted in a partial government shutdown. Republicans and Democrats must come to the table to find a solution so we can end this partial shutdown and allow all federal agencies to provide the service Arkansans and all Americans expect and deserve. I’ve received many phone calls, letters and emails about the partial shutdown and I want to share a few answers to some of the frequently asked questions.
Why is this called a partial government shutdown?
Congress approved and President Donald Trump signed into law five spending bills that fund federal agencies in advance of Fiscal Year 2019, which began in October. The remaining seven appropriations bills that fund the Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State, Treasury and Justice were operating under a short-term spending bill that expired on December 21, 2018. The Senate advanced, with my support, a bill that would have avoided this partial shutdown, but the president said he would not sign it because there was not enough funding to improve border security. While the House of Representatives passed a bill that included the president’s newly requested level of funding for border security, the Senate was unable to move forward with the bill.
Do you think we should shut down the government until we address this crisis?
I agree with the president’s call for increased resources to defend our borders. I am hopeful we can find a solution that expands investments in border security and resume government operations among federal agencies.
I am a member of the Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Immigration Caucus and have visited our southern border on numerous occasions. I believe we need increased funding to protect our borders. National security is the federal government’s highest responsibility and we must allocate resources in support of border protection in order to accurately reflect this priority. I supported the president’s original budget request for border security funding in the Fiscal Year 2019 Senate Homeland Security Appropriations bill when it passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and I will continue advocating for increased resources for manpower, technology and infrastructure —including roads for access, electronic devices for surveillance and fencing for deterrence–– in order to reduce illegal border crossings.
I will continue working with the president and my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to find a solution that is agreeable to all parties and end the instability created by this partial federal government shutdown, but I do not believe such a disruption in services and uncertainty for federal employees is in the best interest of Arkansans, or the American people. Federal employees should never be in the unfortunate position where they worry when they will receive their paycheck.
What happens to federal workers employed at agencies that are not funded?
Many federal employees are furloughed. Others who work in public safety fields —such as FBI agents, border security personnel, TSA agents and Coast Guard employees —are working without pay. The Senate and House have both recently passed legislation that would compensate federal employees once the partial shutdown has ended, so all federal employees within the affected agencies will be compensated. The president has indicated that he will sign this bill.
How can a government shutdown be avoided in the future?
Working in good faith to use regular order to pass the 12 individual appropriations bills prior to the end of the fiscal year is the way to avoid government shutdowns. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I was proud that we passed all of the bills out of the committee for Fiscal Year 2019. Unfortunately, only five of those passed the full Senate and were approved by the House of Representatives and signed into law. We must do better in the future in order to avoid this result. We can secure our borders and keep our government running at the same time because both things are necessary in order for our nation to thrive.
1-11-19 4:04 p.m. kawx.org
All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes:
State of Arkansas Vs. Matthew Hackworth, age 35, W/M Count 1: Probation Violation. (original offense Count 1: Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Personal Injury, a class "D" Felony). Bond was set at $5,000.00.
State of Arkansas Vs. Joseph A. Stubbs, age 45, W/M Count 1: Possession of A Schedule II Controlled Substabnce - Methamphetamine - a Class "D" Felony, Count 2: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia a class "D" Felony, Count 3: Possession of a A Schedule VI Controlled Substance -Marijuana - a Class "A" Felony, Count 4: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a class "A" Misdemeanor.
1-11-19 3:40 p.m. kawx.org
Last month the Arkansas Lottery released its financial report for the month of November.
The report shows the Arkansas Lottery took in $37.7 million, but paid out $6.8 million for scholarships — about 18 cents out of every dollar the Arkansas Lottery made in November.
This is nothing new. Since Day One, the Arkansas Lottery has failed to budget a meaningful amount of money for college scholarships, even though Arkansans were promised that a statewide lottery would provide at least $100 million in scholarship funding each year.
As of right now, the Arkansas Lottery is on track to pay out roughly $85 million in college scholarships in Fiscal Year 2019.
Below is a breakdown of lottery revenue and scholarship proceeds so far this fiscal year.
||Gross Lottery Revenue
||Paid to Scholarships
||% Gross Revenue
1-11-19 10:11 a.m. kawx.org
State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague
January 11, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – The regular session of 2019 will be remembered for the number of far-reaching and significant issues that legislators resolved.
At the top of the list is a package of tax bills developed by legislators on the Tax Reform and Relief Legislative Task Force. They have been working on a list of tax relief and fairness bills since the 2017 regular session. Of all the bills in the task force’s list of recommendations, the one with the highest profile is a proposed reduction in state income taxes. It also would simplify the income tax tables.
Legislators and tax officials are calling the proposal the “two – four – five point nine” plan. That’s because it would phase in rates for all taxpayers of 2 percent, 4 percent and 5.9 percent.
The governor is proposing an income tax reduction that closely aligns with the recommendations of the legislative task force. His proposal would save Arkansas taxpayers more than $111 million a year.
Increases in the minimum teacher salary will garner public attention. The legislature’s Committees on Education have voted on a school funding bill that calls for an increase in minimum salaries of $1,000 in each of the next two years.
That is similar to the governor’s proposal to set aside $60 million for gradual increases in teacher salaries over the next four years, to bring the minimum from its current $31,800 to $36,000 a year.
The governor has proposed reducing the number of state agencies from 42 to 15. By 2021 the savings from efficiency would be $15 million a year, and likely would grow over time.
Bills to implement the reorganization will be referred to the Senate State Agencies Committee.
State Agencies already is one of the busiest committees because it considers proposed constitutional amendments to refer to the ballot. In each regular session, legislators may refer up to three proposed amendments for voters to decide in the statewide election. Amendments proposed this session will be on the ballot in November, 2020.
There likely will be legislation to strengthen ethics laws and improve transparency. For example, two separate senate bills have been filed, SB 52 and SB 53, which would prohibit elected officials from collecting retirement benefits if they are convicted of a felony arising from their actions as an elected official.
The Arkansas Department of Human Services administers the Medicaid program, a health care plan for people with disabilities, senior citizens in long term care facilities and low-income families. In every session there is vigorous debate as legislators make changes to eligibility criteria.
Any changes in Medicaid have ramifications throughout state government, because Medicaid represents such a large portion of the state’s total expenditures. Increases in Medicaid spending make it difficult to increase funding for schools, higher education and prisons.
Also this session, legislators will work on a highway funding program, which may be referred to voters in a statewide election. It is a higher priority for legislators in certain areas of the state where highway improvements have not kept up with population growth.
Legislators will spend much of their time writing budgets for state agencies for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. The state general revenue fund, which is the major source of legislators’ discretionary spending, will be about $5.75 billion next fiscal year.
1-11-19 9:43 a.m. kawx.org
Little Rock — On Thursday Americans United for Life released its 2019 Life List ranking all 50 states from best to worst on how well their laws protect human life. This year Arkansas is ranked in second place, right behind Arizona.
Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement saying, “This is something Arkansans should be proud of. Our state is the second most pro-life state in the country. That is something to celebrate.”
Cox said the ranking is the result of the hard work of pro-life Arkansans. “Arkansans work very hard to protect innocent human life from conception until natural death. Volunteers across the state help women with unplanned pregnancies choose options besides abortion, and our lawmakers have consistently passed good legislation that protects unborn children. The fact that Arkansas is ranked the second most pro-life state in America shows all that hard work is paying off.”
Cox said Americans United for Life is a leading expert when it comes to surveying state pro-life laws. “AUL has been at this for years. When their attorneys analyze state laws, they look at everything from abortion policies to protections for pregnant women to end-of-life laws. If they say we’re the second most pro-life state in America, you can count on it.”
Cox said his team is developing a legislative package that he believes will help make Arkansas the most pro-life state in the nation. “Right now Arkansas is in second place. We want to be in first place. We’ve talked to attorneys from Americans United for Life, and we have put together a list of laws that we believe can help make Arkansas the best state in the nation when it comes to upholding the sanctity of human life. We look forward to working with our friends in the Arkansas Legislature and at Arkansas Right to Life to help make Arkansas the most pro-life state in America.”
1-10-19 5:07 p.m. kawx.org
LITTLE ROCK — Outdoors enthusiasts are known to wear their hearts on their sleeves, now they may have a little extra badge of honor to display their passion. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s new Outdoors Skills Program rewards beginning and veteran hunters and anglers with a special patch for their accomplishments in the outdoors.
The outline of the program is simple. When a person attends one of many workshops the AGFC’s Education Division provides, they become eligible to receive an attractive patch to place on their favorite piece of outdoors clothing. The initial patch labels them a beginner in one of 10 outdoor disciplines. From there, participants can complete different tasks for each discipline to “level up” through intermediate, advanced and expert rankings, each with its own rocker to accompany the initial patch.
Patch categories include archery, conservation leadership, fishing, game-calling, hunting, paddle sports, rifle marksmanship, shotgun marksmanship, trapping and watchable wildlife. Some of the categories crossover and lead into others, while some are independent of the rest.
Eric Maynard, AGFC assistant chief of education, says the new program will be available through all AGFC education centers, nature centers and regional educators this year.
“I’ve been thinking about doing this for a few years,” Maynard said. “Obviously there are scouting programs that have patches, but I really modeled this after the National Rifle Association’s Winchester Marksmanship Program, which has been around for 50 years and focuses on shooting sports.”
Maynard says the AGFC devotes a lot of time and effort into reaching out to introduce the outdoors to youths and newcomers, and the numbers are impressive. According to the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas had 478,318 students enrolled in public schools from Kindergarten through high school in 2018. During Fiscal Year 2018, the AGFC’s Education Division held 1,900 programs at nature centers and another 900 programs within the schools to reach out to just under 199,000 participants.
“Some of those participants may be repeats from multiple trips,” Maynard said. “But this only counts the formal workshops and not the thousands of spur-of-the-moment visits we get from individuals or small groups.”
Although the AGFC does an excellent job of giving people a taste of the outdoors through fishing derbies, workshops and classroom visits to schools, Maynard says there’s a need to bridge the gap between the first exposure and creating a passion for the outdoors.
“Our traditional programs are great at getting people’s attention and introducing them to the outdoors,” Maynard said. “But we can only give you the basic tools and knowledge, then cross our fingers and hope you take what you’ve learned and apply it. The new program gives some incentive to get to the next step.”
The concept falls right in line with the many efforts by educators across the nation to recruit new hunters and anglers. According to Matt Dunfee, director of special programs for the Wildlife Management Institute, repeated exposures to a pursuit are essential in having a prospective outdoors enthusiast move from their first trial to adoption of the pursuit without further support. If a person decides they want to move forward with an outdoors pursuit, they likely will need to learn an entirely new set of skills and gather the needed equipment to do so. Otherwise they may see the workshop as a nice one-time adventure and never really adopt the outdoors pursuit on their own.
“The requirements to get your next patch aren’t just a goal, but are a blueprint in what you need to learn more about that particular outdoor activity, Maynard said.
The Outdoors Skills Program also gives parents and other mentors an opportunity to foster a love of the outdoors and spend time with budding conservationists, even if they are new to the pursuit themselves.
“I used the NRA’s program when I was working with my own son on shooting sports to introduce him and keep his enthusiasm high,” Maynard said. ““We always see fathers, mothers and other relatives bring young hunters to our workshops and use it as a time to learn together. Even some veteran hunters will quietly sit in the back of the room and take a few mental notes. It’s a great way to have a shared experience everyone will look back at and smile.”
Many steps to attain a new level require participants to go on their own or with friends and come back with photos or notes from the trip.
“We can’t be there every time you go out fishing or hunting, but we do want to share the experience with you and foster your journey any way we can,” Maynard said. “You can come to one of our nature centers or talk to one of our educators throughout the state to show off your success, and they’ll be able to get you the rocker to put on your patch celebrating you meeting that goal.”
Maynard says the large volume of people going through all of the AGFC’s programs will prevent staff from just handing out the patches at every workshop offered. Instead, participants of most courses will get a voucher to take to a nature center and claim their patch. There they can learn more about how to progress and all of the workshops and classes offered through the center and AGFC educators.
Visit www.agfc.com/outdoorsskills or visit your local nature center for more information.
1-9-19 7:45 p.m. kawx.org
Brian Travis, age 39, pled guilty to four counts of Capital Murder in Polk County Circuit Court today. Travis admitted guilt in the April 2017 deaths of Bethany Wester, age 43, Acelynn Wester, age 2, Reilly Scarbrough, age 9, and Steven Payne, age 66. Travis was sentenced to 4 Life without the Possibility of Parole sentences.
Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer said "He will spend the rest of his life in prison and after today I will never mention his name again. Though this case was initially pursued as a death penalty case, ultimately Prosecutor Andy Riner allowed Travis to plead guilty to 4 Life w/o sentences. There are many reasons why Mr. Riner made this decision, which by the way I support 100%, but ultimately this is the sentence that the family of the victims requested. Travis was transported to ADC Varner Supermax after being sentenced. Please remember our victims and their wonderful family in your prayers".
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of December 31, 2018 – January 6, 2019. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.
December 31, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 117 near Mena of being threatened by an unknown individual. Investigation continues.
January 1, 2019
Report from complainant on Highway 88 West near Rich Mountain of vandalism done to a building, causing damage to two doors. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Knighten Lane near Cove of a death. Deputy responded. The body was released to the Polk County Coroner.
Report of a disturbance at a business on Highway 71 North near Acorn led to the arrest of August E. Hollins, 26, of Mena, on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.
Report of a disturbance on Polk 76 East near Mena. Suspect fled the scene before deputies arrived. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a disturbance that had occurred earlier on Highway 8 West near Rocky. Investigation continues.
January 2, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 188 near Acorn of the theft of an engine and two jacks, totaling losses at $1,630.00. Investigation continues.
Report from a Mena woman that her adult daughter was missing. The family member was later located.
January 3, 2019
Report from complainant on East Boundary near Mena of an individual that refuses to return a vehicle to the owner. Investigation continues.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 121 near Mena led to the arrest of Matthew P. Owen, 22, of Mena, on a Charge of Public Intoxication.
Report from complainant on Highway 88 East near Cherry Hill of financial identity theft, totaling losses at $1,000.00. Investigation continues.
Arrested was Sean T. Henry, 25, of Cove, on three Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
January 4, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 414 near Hatfield of an unauthorized person on their property. The suspect was advised to never return to the property.
Report of a dog bite on Crystal Lane near Mena. Owner was advised to quarantine the animals for ten days.
Arrested was Leslie N. Gillaspy, 41, of Wickes, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
January 5, 2019
Report of suspicious behavior on Highway 8 West near Mena led to the arrest of Thomas L. Kidwell, 39, of Mena, on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.
Report of an unattended death on Polk 284 near Hatfield. Deputy responded.
January 6, 2019
Report of a disturbance at the Polk County Detention Center. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a disturbance at the Polk County Detention Center. Deputies responded.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked three vehicle accidents this week.
Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 26 Incarcerated Inmates, with 4 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.
1-7-19 3:00 p.m. kawx.org
A northbound 18 wheeler loaded with wooden pallets left the roadway and overturned early Monday morning on US 71 just south of the Scott County Line in Polk County. The driver was injured and taken by ambulance to Mena Regional Medical Center.
Crews were still working close to noon Monday to get the truck and lost load cleaned up, and at least one lane has had to be closed at times since the accident.
According to Kris Lyle of the Polk County Office of Emergency Management, Polk County Deputies, Arkansas State Police, Polk County OEM, Acorn Fire Department, Mena Fire Department, and Southwest EMS all responded to the accident which happened around 2:30 a.m.
Mena Police Department Reports for the Weeks of December 16, 2018 through January 5, 2019
December 16 & 17, 2018
Alton Roy Self III of Mena was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Kaylie Marie Stroud, 22, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. She was also served two outstanding warrants.
Kimberly A. Huff, 25, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Mena Police Department for failure to appear.
December 18, 2018
Jennifer Hale, 24, of Pine Ridge was arrested and served five outstanding warrants from the Polk County Sheriff and Mena Police.
Zakary Cochran, 22, of Mena was served two outstanding warrants from Mena Police.
December 19 & 20, 2018
Lawrence Barber, 59, of Mena was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after an incident in Mena.
December 21 & 22, 2018
Bridgette Crawford, 39, of Smithville was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Polk County Sheriff.
December 23 & 24, 2018
Employees at two local banks reported they had received a counterfeit $100.00 bills. Cases pending.
Michael J. Harper, 40, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Polk County Sheriff.
December 25 ,26, & 27 2018
Report was made that someone had stolen an adult tricycle from a local porch. Case is pending.
Stephanie Elizabeth Thomas, 42, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.
Report was taken of several counterfeit bills being received at a local fast food restaurant. Case is pending further investigation.
December 28 & 29, 2018
Julie Golden, 42, of Hatfield was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.
Rosie R. Arthur, 45, of Mena was charged with criminal trespass after a call to a local retail store.
Jason Wayne Busby, 49, of Hatfield was served an outstanding warrant for failure to appear.
December 30 & 31, 2018
Torrey S. Drager, 26, of Mena was charged with DWI, third offense. He was also served an outstanding warrant.
David Chaney, 23, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant for violation of an order of protection.
January 1 & 2, 2019
Abram Abernathy, 22, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after officers were called to a local fast food restaurant regarding someone harassing customers.
A local man found several counterfeit bills on a Mena street. The case is pending further investigation.
January 3 & 4, 2018
A local woman reported that she was being verbally harassed by an acquaintance. The offender agreed to cease his activity. No arrests were made.
Sarah Mitchell, 25, of Mena was charged with theft of property after a call from a local retail store.
A Mena woman reported that an unknown man had been prowling on the carport of her residence. Case is pending.
Matthew Hackworth, 34, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Polk County Sheriff’s office.
Brenda Gebhardt, 45, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant for failure to pay fines and court costs,
January 5, 2018
Charles Daniel Miner, 45, of Mena was charged with battery III, terroristic threatening, obstructing governmental operations, third degree assault, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The arrest followed a call to a local residence.
A Mena woman reported that an acquaintance had changed a tire for her. She later discovered some tools missing from her vehicle and asked him about them. He denied taking the tools, threw a hammer at her, and caused a gash in her hand. She reported that an 82-piece tool kit was missing. Case has been sent to the prosecuting attorney for possible issuance of a warrant.
Thomas Lee Tidwell, 39, of Mena was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing governmental operations after officers responded to a call at a local fast food restaurant.
1-7-19 8:56 a.m. kawx.org
Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address - An Update on Medical Marijuana in Arkansas
LITTLE ROCK – When I was administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, I never dreamed I would be governor with the responsibility of implementing the dispensing of medical marijuana. But the voters approved medical marijuana, and I am committed to make it work.
Voters in nine states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. In Arkansas, however, the legal sale and use of marijuana is strictly limited to treatment of the 18 specific medical conditions.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has proceeded carefully as it has moved from voter approval to putting the system in place.
While some have complained that the process has taken too long, the commission took the time it needed to get this right; and also, a state judge stopped the implementation for a long period of time. Now the independent commission is back on track.
The commission’s first task was to select five companies to grow marijuana. Commissioners have granted those licenses and that process is complete.
Next week, the five commissioners will review an evaluation of the 200 applicants who are competing for one of the 32 dispensary licenses that the law allows.
The Arkansas Department of Health has certified nearly 7,000 patients who have at least one of the 18 medical conditions that qualify for treatment with medical marijuana.
The department anticipates that it will begin to issue the medical marijuana cards to certified patients in mid-February.
The first medical grade marijuana may be available in Arkansas by April.
Some misguided advocates of medical marijuana have suggested that patients who don’t want to wait for the marijuana to be available here could bypass Arkansas’s law and obtain it more quickly by traveling to Oklahoma.
A newspaper reported this week that Oklahoma officials will give temporary certificates to out-of-state patients who are certified to purchase medical marijuana in another state.
That opens the door for certified Arkansans to travel to Oklahoma to buy marijuana.
But I’d like to remind those who are considering that option that the purchase may be legal in Oklahoma, but the Arkansas amendment only permits the purchase of marijuana from a dispensary that is licensed in this state. If you buy marijuana in Oklahoma and bring it to Arkansas, you would be breaking not only state law, but federal law as well. Federal law prohibits the transportation of marijuana across the state line. Possession of marijuana remains a federal crime.
As the members of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission complete this initial phase of implementing the law, I would like to thank them for the thought and care they brought to the task.
Their work means that Arkansas will do this in a way that is best for all Arkansans.
THE GOSPEL GREATS radio program, after nearly four decades on the air, remains the best-known and most widely-respected syndicated Southern Gospel music radio program of its type, airing on great radio stations across the United States, in Canada, and through broadcasters worldwide.
THE GOSPEL GREATS program is a fast-paced, entertaining, encouraging and uplifting two hours each week of music and music-related news and features, produced and hosted by America's best-known Southern Gospel radio personality, Paul Heil, an inductee into the prestigious Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Fast-paced in-person interviews with the artists and songwriters are a trademark of this multi-award-winning program, as listeners get to know them personally, hearing their heart for ministry through their music.
THE GOSPEL GREATS program has, in fact, won more top industry and fan awards than any other syndicated Southern Gospel music radio program in history!
More information about the program and its host is available by exploring the links found to the left.
THE GOSPEL GREATS program spreads the Gospel through the positive and changeless Gospel message found in today's best Southern Gospel music — with integrity and class.
The Gospel Greats will be on KAWX in Mena three times every weekend. Saturdays from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m., Sundays from 5:00 until 7:00 a.m. and again from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. You can listen to KAWX and The Gospel Greats locally on 93.1 or 94.9 FM, anywhere in the world at kawx.org, with a free KAWX app available at the App Store or Google Play, on any smart device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo.
1-4-19 8:42 p.m. kawx.org
Starting Sunday, January 6th, a recent sermon of Brother Russell Threet, pastor of Mena's First Baptist Church, will be heard on KAWX at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday.
Listen locally on 93.1 or 94.9, anywhere in the world at kawx.org
, with a free KAWX app available at the App Store or Google Play, on any smart device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo.
First Baptist Church
is located at 811 Port Arthur Street in Mena. For more information about the church, services times, or ministries, visit their web site
or call the church at (479) 394-2541.
A Positive Outlook for the 116th Congress
Political pundits welcomed the 116th Congress with think pieces on a divided Congress. Can we work together? Can we get things accomplished for the American people? Will there be constant gridlock?
It is understandable that Americans are pessimistic about the chances of much getting done, especially in light of the fact that the new Congress has inherited an ongoing partial government shutdown. Even with that, I believe there are plenty of reasons to remain optimistic.
We all want to see the partial shutdown ended sooner rather than later, so we can move forward with the work the American people sent us to do without the specter of a funding battle hanging over the legislative branch. The crisis at our southwest border, however, cannot be ignored. The president’s insistence that Congress provide funding to address it is not an unreasonable demand.
A bipartisan majority of members of Congress have long agreed that in order to secure our homeland we need more infrastructure—including roads for access, electronic devices for surveillance and fencing for deterrence—at our southwest border. The issue has been avoided for too long in Washington. I support the President’s commitment to securing our border and his insistence that Congress follows through with the resources to accomplish this task.
The partial shutdown, however, cannot prevent Congress from completing other important responsibilities. The to-do list for the 116th Congress is long and we must move forward with checking important tasks off it while working to resolve the impasse over border security funding.
My colleagues and I are committed to continuing to build off what we delivered for the American people in the 115th Congress. Over those two years, we passed historic tax reform, rolled back needless regulation and implemented improvements to help Main Street lenders and job creators. We passed a new farm bill that is fair and equitable to the diverse needs of producers across all regions of the country, which will help bring certainty and predictability to farmers and ranchers across the country. We also approved an upgrade to our nation’s water infrastructure, help for families struggling with opioid abuse and a number of bills that will help our veterans.
The majority of these accomplishments were completed in a bipartisan manner, which is why I remain confident that we can continue down that path despite the fact that two different parties control the House of Representatives and the Senate. Those looking for an example of how to find common-ground should look no further than the important work Congress does for our veterans. The Veterans Affairs’ Committee in both chambers of Congress is traditionally the most bipartisan in Washington. I anticipate that will continue to be the case in the 116th Congress.
I believe the bipartisan spirit exemplified by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee exists in Congress as a whole. There is a great deal on which Republicans and Democrats can find agreement. Which is good news as there is plenty of work to be done. From implementation of the farm bill to major upgrades of our infrastructure, there are big ticket items ripe for bipartisan passage ahead of us.
I am familiar with serving during a time of divided government throughout the majority of my time in Washington. There have certainly been disagreements and challenges, but we were able to get quite a lot accomplished for the American people during those years. I believe we can continue to move our country forward during the 116th Congress.
1-4-19 5:06 p.m. kawx.org
State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague
January 4, 2019
LITTLE ROCK – Legislators have begun pre-filing bills in anticipation of the regular session that begins January 14.
So far, 93 House bills and 40 Senate bills have been introduced. Those numbers will continue to go up each day. In the most recent regular session of 2017, legislators filed 1,280 House bills and 789 Senate bills. Of those, 1,127 became law.
Tax reform bills will get a lot of attention this year, mainly because a task force has worked for two years to build a consensus on a package of bills that will simplify and lower state income taxes.
Three high-profile bills that have already been pre-filed are HB 1070, HB 1071 and HB 1072. They have the support of the governor and they would reduce the number of cabinet-level agencies in state government from 42 to 15.
Another high-profile bill is HB 1002. It would authorize the state to collect sales taxes on purchases made over the Internet. A United States Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for states to collect sales taxes from out-of-state merchants who don’t have a physical presence in the state.
HB 1034 would increase the homestead property tax credit from $350 to $375.
Every regular session includes a long list of bills affecting education. So far, bills have been filed to update and strengthen training requirements for school board members, and to add a journalism requirement for Arkansas high schools. Another bill adds penalties for motorists who pass a stopped school bus that is picking up or dropping off students.
SB 17 reduces the license fee for a permit to carry a concealed firearm, from $100 to $50. For people over 65, the bill would lower the fee from $50 to $25. Renewal fees would go down from $35 to $25.
Roughly half of the bills introduced so far are sponsored by the Joint Budget Committee and are appropriations for various state agencies, boards and commissions. By the end of the session, an estimated 250 to 300 separate appropriation bills will be filed.
Legislation to raise minimum teacher salaries has not been introduced as yet, but can be expected soon. The governor and Senate and House Committees on Education have expressed support for pay raises of $1,000 a year.
HB 1007 would allow school districts to consider years of classroom experience in other states when they set teacher salaries.
In preparatory work leading up to the session, the Senate and House committees differed on how much the state should pay for districts’ special education programs.
Also, there will be discussion of changing how the state pays for transportation costs. Now, the state provides $321 per student to school districts for transportation. The cost of running school buses varies among different districts, depending on their geographic size, terrain and quality of roads.
A Senate Joint Resolution has been filed to allow Arkansas voters to change the state Constitution to repeal fiscal sessions, which are held in even-numbered years. If the legislature refers SJR 1 to the ballot, it would be decided by voters in the general election in November of 2020.
Until 2010 the Arkansas legislature met every two years. There were no fiscal sessions before then, and appropriations were effective for two years.
1-4-19 2:46 p.m. kawx.org
This is the year for legislative action. The elections are past and it is now time for newly elected and re-elected state officials to begin the 2019 term in office, as the 92nd General Assembly. The Arkansas State Constitution requires the General Assembly to meet in regular session on the second Monday in January of each odd-numbered year. Therefore, the 92nd General Assembly will convene at noon on Monday, January 14th, 2019. The Arkansas Senate and the House of Representatives will meet in respective chambers at the State Capitol.
On the House side of the Capitol, the Secretary of State will announce the election results for each of the 100 districts. Shortly thereafter, the duly elected members will be sworn in to office by Chief Justice Dan Kemp of the Arkansas State Supreme Court. The House of Representatives will then elect a member to preside as Speaker of the House. The Speaker will announce committee membership, including committee chairs and vice chairs. After organizational details are finalized, the House of Representatives will notify Governor Hutchinson and the State Senate that the House is organized and ready for business. Upon notification, pre-filed bills will be read and assigned to respective committees – where the bills will be debated and voted on at a later date.
On the second day of the General Assembly, Tuesday, January 15th, the Arkansas House and Senate will meet in a joint session at 10:30 am. After the 2018 Arkansas general election results are announced the duly elected state constitutional officers will be sworn in to office by the Chief Justice. The order of the swearing-in ceremony is: (1) Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin; (2) Secretary of State, John Thurston; (3) Treasurer of State, Dennis Milligan; (4) Auditor of State, Andrea Lea; (5) Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge; and (6) Commissioner of State Lands, Tommy Land. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House then call the Governor into the chamber to be sworn-in and to deliver his inaugural address to the joint session. The Governor then proceeds the steps of the Capitol building where he publicly delivers the inaugural address. After the pomp, circumstance, and speeches of the swearing-in ceremonies are over, the state’s elected officials will get to the business of enacting legislation and appropriating necessary funds to operate the state for the next fiscal year.
1-4-19 2:38 p.m. kawx.org
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of December 24, 2018 – December 30, 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.
December 24, 2018
Report from complainant on Polk 646 near Mena of an attempted scam involving a secret shopper.
December 25, 2018
No reports were filed.
December 26, 2018
Report of a disturbance on Polk 671 near Mena led to the arrest of Karson B. Crawford, 26, of Mena, on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.
Report from a Wickes woman of inappropriate behavior regarding children that had occurred in another jurisdiction. The information was forwarded to the proper authorities.
Report from complainant on Polk 659 near Board Camp of the break-in and theft of antique furniture, valued at $900.00. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 21 in Cove of the theft and forgery of several checks, totaling losses at $3,200.00. The money was returned to the complainant. The case was forwarded to the proper authorities.
Report from complainant on Heritage Lane near Hatfield of the violation of an Order of Protection. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
December 27, 2018
Report of a dog bite on Polk 42 near Mena. Owner provided proof of rabies vaccination.
Report from complainant on East Boundary Avenue in Mena of an individual that refuses to return a vehicle to the owner. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 66 near Board Camp of several forged checks. Investigation continues.
December 28, 2018
Traffic stop on Highway 71 South near Cove led to the arrest of Brandon D. Stowe, 21, of Hatfield, on Charges of Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Arrested was Bradley M. Verba, 21, of Mena, on a Warrant for Delivery of Methamphetamine and Fraudulent Use of a Communication Device.
Arrested was Landon S. Thacker, 25, of Mena, on Charges of DWI and Careless/Prohibited Driving.
December 29, 2018
Report from complainant on Frachiseur Road in Grannis of aggressive behavior from a dog. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 32 near Cove of the theft of a tree stand, valued at $100.00. Investigation continues.
December 30, 2018
Traffic stop on Martin Street in Hatfield led to the arrest of John B. Loyd, 49, of Watson, OK, on Charges of DWI 2, Careless/Prohibited Driving and Driving Left of Center.
Report from complainant on Polk 47 near Rocky of several missing items, including a firearm, household items, a horse and a trailer. Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Oscar P. Garcia, 39, of Wickes, on Charges of DWI, Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License and Interlock Device Penalties.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked one vehicle accident this week.
Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 19 Incarcerated Inmates, with 4 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.
1-4-19 11:12 a.m. kawx.org