KAWX News Archives for 2019-02

Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments February 22nd, 25th

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 VsOmar J. Arellano H/M, age 40, Count I: Sexual Assault In the Fourth Degree, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Sexual Assault In The Fourth Degree, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. 

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Trinna E. Myers W/F, age 39, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony. Count II: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Randall D. Burkett, Jr. W/M, age 27, Count I: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.

 

2-28-19 2:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Fishing Report

Weekly Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 27, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

2-27-19 5:25 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Quorum Court Holds February Meeting

The Polk County Quorum Court met for their February 2019 meeting Tuesday evening in Mena.

 
All eleven Justices of the Peace were present, as well as other elected officials.
 
The JPs approved two routine appropriation ordinances, reviewed the annual hot check report from the Prosecuting Attorney, and unanimously approved the re-appointment of Rodney Bowen to the Polk County Housing Authority Board for a five year term.
 
JPs approved approved a resolution authorizing the County Judge to apply for a grant from the Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program to benefit the Wickes Senior Citizens Center. Justice of the Peace Basil Kesterson said that he money would be used to expand and improve the kitchen at the Center.
 
Causing some discussion and even two "no" votes was an ordinance concerning law enforcement use of excessive force. The ordinance was a requirement made by the Federal Government in order for Polk County to apply and potentially receive the grant money from ACEDP for the Wickes Senior Citizens Center. Most of the JPs expressed some concern about the ordinance. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner also expressed some concern about the ordinance but pointed out that it did state that the law could be enforced. The ordinance was adopted by a 9 to 2 vote clearing the way for the grant application process.
 
The next Quorum Court meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. on March 26, 2019 at the Polk County Office Complex (old hospital) on Pine Street in Mena. Quorum Court meetings are, as required by law, open to the public.
 
2-26-19 8:05 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Sales and Road Improvement Tax Collections Down For January Compared To 2018

Polk County Treasurer Tanya K. Fretz released the Sales Tax Comparison Report for February 2019 today.

 
Polk County has a 1% General Sales Tax and a 1% Road Improvement Sales Tax.
 
February 2019 receipts for taxes collected in January 2019 were $133,570 for each tax, or $269,110 total. 
 
February 2019 receipts are down $2,010 compared to February 2018.

Even though there was a decline in sales taxes collected in January 2019, the year-to-date total for both is up $3,535 compared to 2018 since December 2018 sales taxes collected and reported in January 2019 were up suggesting strong local retail sales in December 2018.
 
2-26-19 11:26 a.m. KAWX.ORG
 
 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For February 18th - 24th

SHERIFF’S LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of February 18, 2019 – February 24, 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.


February 18, 2019
Arrested was Thomas E. Hendershot, 67, of Mena, on a Charge of Public Intoxication.
Report from complainant on Dover Lane in Hatfield of being harassed by an acquaintance.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


February 19, 2019
Report of disorderly conduct led to a 17-year-old male being issued a Juvenile Citation for Aggravated Assault.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.


February 20, 2019
Report of damage done to a fence on Polk 56 near Nunley led to the arrest of Jonathan R. Spurkosky, 35, of Mena, on Charges of Careless/Prohibited Driving, Leaving the Scene of an Accident and Criminal Mischief and a Warrant for Bond Revocation.


February 21, 2019
Report of disorderly behavior led to a 14-year-old male being issued a Juvenile Citation for Disorderly Conduct.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 288 near Cove.  Deputies responded.  One of the subjects left the residence for the evening.
Arrested was Omar Arellano, 32, of Dequeen, on a Warrant for two counts of Sexual Assault 4th Degree and a Hold for ICE.


February 22, 2019
Report of an unattended death on North Lewis Street in Cove.  Deputy responded.
Report of damage done to a building by a vehicle on Polk 17 near Vandervoort.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Neisha F. Wikel, 26, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.
Arrested was Tina M. Richey, 32, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
Arrested was Zachary D. Spain, 28, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
Arrested was Juston M. Wikel, 34, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.


February 23, 2019
Report from complainant on Ruby Lane near Acorn of the theft of an extension cord and ladder, all valued at $200.00.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Christopher M. Sanders, 30, of Hatfield, on a Body Attachment Warrant.
Traffic stop on Polk 136 near Cove led to the arrest of Robert S. Wallace, 19, of Cove, on Charges of Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License and No Proof of Insurance.
Report of a death on Highway 270 West near Acorn.  Deputy responded.


February 24, 2019
Report of a camper on fire on Rose Lane near Potter.  Deputy responded.
Arrested was Jeremy N. Burns, 41, of Mena, on a Warrant for Parole Revocation.
Arrested was Gary T. Dobbs, 64, of Mena, on a Body Attachment Warrant.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked two vehicle accidents this week.

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 27 Incarcerated Inmates, with 5 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00137

 

2-26-19 10:45 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mount Ida's Bill Barnes Inducted Into Arkansas Tourism Hall Of Fame

Barnes, Moore inducted into Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame

 

Bill Barnes, president of the Tri-Pennant Family of Resorts, and Robert Moore, a farmer and politician, were inducted into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame today at the 45th Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Hot Springs.



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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Barnes(left)

 

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. Additionally, Barnes developed and operates with partners Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina and Self Creek Lodge and 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 1,500 boats. He also formed a volunteer fire department and first response team for the Joplin area. 

He 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.

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 Presidents 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.

Robert Moore(right)

 

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. 
 
His tourism endeavors include working with Dr. 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 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 purchased five historic buildings in Arkansas City in various states of disrepair, rehabilitated them, and successfully have all five listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

2-25-19 2:08 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Department Report For February 17th - 23rd

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of February 17, 2019 February 23, 2019 
 
February 17, 2019
 
Report was taken regarding two local women, a mother and daughter, fighting.  Neither wished to press charges.
 
Officers responded to a call from a local woman stating that she had had prescription medication stolen.  Case is pending.
 
February 18, 2019
 
Sean Eric Carddock, 24, of Mena was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The arrest followed a traffic stop.
 
Curtis Parnell, 34, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Polk County Sheriff.
 
February 19, 2019
 
An eight-year-old Hatfield boy was charged with first degree criminal mischief after an incident in Mena.  Case was referred to juvenile authorities.
 
February 20 & 21, 2019
 
Report was made of an altercation between two sisters.  No charges have been filed at this time.  Case is under investigation.
 
Robert Scott Williams, 51, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, having no vehicle license, and having no liability insurance.  The arrest followed a traffic stop.
 
David Tillman Sinyard, 43, of Mena was charged with breathing or inhaling intoxicants.  The arrest followed a call to a local business regarding a man being passed out in the bushes.
 
February 22, 2019
 
Dax Wood, 22, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after he was seen walking on the railroad tracks in Mena.
 
February 23, 2019
 
Trinna E Myers, 38, of Mena was arrested on two outstanding warrants from the Polk County Sheriff.
 
Employees at a local business reported that someone had broken into the building.  Nothing was found to be missing.  Case is pending.
 
Anthony Dominguez, 22, and Mariah Kincaid, 21, both of Mena, were charged with shoplifting after officers responded to a call at a local retail store. Dominguez was additionally served an outstanding warrant.
 
Dennis James Goodner, 59, of Mena was charged with disorderly conduct, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The arrest followed a call to a local residence.
 
David Fraser, 50, of Mena was arrested on four outstanding warrants from the Mena Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.
 
Steven Louis Stroud, 54, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear following a call to a local residence.
 
2-25-19 12:24 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Arkansas Severe Weather Awareness Week February 24 - March 2

The National Weather Service and Arkansas Department of Emergency Management have declared February 24th through March 2nd as Severe Weather Awareness Week in Arkansas for 2019. Governor Asa Hutchinson has also signed a proclamation recognizing this annual event.

 

 
Each day of the week a different topic will be discussed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We will share information each day this week on KAWX.ORG and our social media pages.
 
Since we live in the "information age", one would think that everyone knows about severe weather threats and what to do to prepare or recover. Think again!
 
Longtime and well respected weatherman Ernest Ethridge, the former chief meteorologist  of the Shreveport National Weather Service Office, and popular Oklahoma weatherman Gary England, retired KWTV chief meteorologist , both often pointed out the importance of paying attention to the sky. Many people today have dropped cable and satellite TV and oped for streaming services which provide no local weather coverage. Rural areas of all states get little coverage from TV stations since those stations have to pay more attention to the population areas they serve. Radio stations all are required to participate in the Emergency Alert System (EAS), but are not required to include weather warnings, and many radio stations are in automated mode at night and weekends. Also may of the ways some people get their information these days depends on the internet or a cell phone, both of which are subject to failure anytime, especially around severe weather.

So what are you to do?
 
Like Ernest Ethridge and Gary England both wisely advised, keep an eye on the sky. You don't have to be a weatherman to know something isn't right. People who are outside a lot, like farmers and construction workers, seem to have a better feel for weather changes than those of us who are inside a lot. 
 
As a broadcaster, ham radio operator, and emergency communications official in Arkansas, I still and always will depend more on natural instincts and information from people in the field than anything subject to malfunction. Do I monitor NOAA Weather Radio and sign up for all kinds of weather information? You bet I do, but I also watch for changes in the sky color, temperature changes, listen for thunder getting louder, watch for lightning, rising water, and even wildlife and livestock starting to get unsettled. 
 
Local authorities in Arkansas have installed and maintain warning sirens. Many of them test these sirens weekly. Here in Polk County, Arkansans these sirens are tested weekly, usually around noon on Wednesdays, unless there is severe weather or the possibility of it. Have you heard the tests? Will the siren wake you up if sounded at night? 
 
NOAA Weather Radios are excellent tools to inform the public about daily weather and severe, life threatening weather. Let me encourage you to get one, program it, get familiar with it, keep fresh backup batteries in it so it will work even if the power goes out, and make sure you gets those weekly tests on it. The Mena, Arkansas NOAA Weather Radio Station is KXI97 and broadcasts from Eagle Mountain on 162.400 MHz
 
As a community service, KAWX Radio streams Mena NOAA Weather Radio Station KXI97. While not intended to replace the alerting capabilities of an actual NOAA Weather Radio, the stream and associated app are a convenient way to listen to the local weather radio station anywhere. The URL for the stream is https://radio.securenetsystems.net/v5/index.cfm?stationCallSign=NOAA. The free Mena Weather Radio app is available at the App Store or Google Play. You can also listen to Mena Weather Radio, the police scanner, or KAWX from the Listen Live tab at KAWX.ORG.
 
Police scanners are a great source for information in some areas. Often police and sheriff's departments will communicate with fellow emergency responders about weather conditions. There are many scanner frequencies and talk groups, the best one locally to listen to is 155.790 MHz where you will hear most local law enforcement and emergency responder activity.
 
Ham radio operators in many locations have "weather nets" that range from casual to highly structured nets, but all are good to monitor (with any police scanner). You will often hear watches and warnings announced on ham radio repeaters in your area and emergency information useful to the public when severe weather strikes. In Mena, program 442.950 MHz into your scanner for the Weather Net ARC ham radio group. Weather Net ARC is sponsored by KAWX Radio.
 
Apps and email services are plentiful but often are discontinued, so make sure your source is current. Emails can be delayed long enough to show up after the threat has already passed. Changing cell carries will often create issues with texts, especially if you use prepaid cell services. Bottom line, by all means sue these as one of your sources, but don't totally depend on them.
 
Social media is all the buzz these days. News, fake news, blocked or deleted content, hacking, and everyone's opinion share the same space! There are Facebook groups dedicated to weather, and some great Twitter sources too, but all are subject to issues. Even the National Weather Service here in Arkansas recently had their Facebook page hacked and couldn't access it for a number of days. So again, have more than one source for weather information.
 
Local television was an excellent source in the past, and still is for some closer to the TV stations. Not so much in rural America. When TV stations were forced to convert to digital to free up frequency spectrum, over-the-air TV coverage was affected a great deal in some areas, including here in Polk County. Cable companies are shutting down as fast as newspapers are, unable to compete with satellite and streaming services. Even satellite services are affected, just when we need weather information the most, by heavy rain or cloud cover. If you live close enough to TV stations, even if you have satellite or cable, consider having an antenna to get the over-the-air signal which is the most dependable. 
 
Local AM and FM radio is still a great source for weather information in some places. Find out what local stations take weather coverage seriously and keep a battery operated AM FM radio handy for those times when the power it out and you need to know what is going on.
 
Finally, think about people you know know that might need some help when the weather turns ugly. Power outages and other utility issues are a big inconvenience to all of us, but can be very dangerous for the elderly or sick. Check on your neighbors. Let elderly relatives or neighbors know that you are available should they need help and be sure they have your cell phone number. 
 
We have seen our fair share of severe weather in Polk County and no doubt will have more in the future. While devastating, it is heartwarming to see a community come together to help each other when severe weather strikes. 
 
This is a lot to take in, and some of the information here will change from time-to-time. So to reiterate what was emphasized early on, pay attention to the sky, or as I often say, stay weather aware! 
 
2-23-19 12:59 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Close to 200 bills have been signed into law as we close the 6th week of the 2019 Regular Session.

 

One of the bills signed by the Governor this week was SB152, An Act Restoring Arkansas Families.  It is now Act 189.

 

This legislation reforms the juvenile justice system by requiring judges to use a validated risk assessment.  Judges will be provided with information about the juvenile’s home life, mental health needs, and school needs. 

 

Legislators along with every agency working with juveniles in the state have been working on this comprehensive legislation for 6 years.

 

The assessment tool created by the legislation has been used in a pilot program in the 20th Judicial District.  A juvenile judge testified in the Judiciary Committee that since using the assessment, the district has seen an over 50% reduction in the number of children sent to juvenile detention centers. 

 

They have also seen a 42% reduction in the number of youth committed to DHS custody and a 35% reduction in cases filed by the prosecuting attorney’s office.

 

Act 189 also creates plans for diversion options using community providers. And it redirects savings from incarcerating youth to community based services.

 

This legislation had unanimous support.  The vote in the House was 95-0.  The Senate vote was 35-0.

 

Another piece of legislation signed this week was Act 190.

 

This legislation was brought forward through recommendations by the School Safety Commission last year.

 

This legislation repeals the Public School Student Services Act and creates what is called the School Counseling Improvement Act.

 

It requires schools to develop and implement a comprehensive school counseling program that ensures services are coordinated in a manner that provides comprehensive support to all students.  Schools must regularly review the program. 

 

To ensure services are being delivered it requires school counselors to spend at least 90% of his or her time providing direct or indirect services to students.  Only 10% of a counselor’s time can be spent on administrative duties.

 

The Governor also signed into the law the tax cut plan passed by the House last week. The Act to Create the Tax Competitiveness and Relief Act of 2019 (Act 182) reduces the top tax rate from 6.9% to 5.9% over the next two years.

 

Next week, the House is expected to address highway funding and begin hearing testimony about proposed constitutional amendments. 

 

2-22-19 4:36 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: An Update on the 2019 General Session

 
LITTLE ROCK – I had the honor of signing several important bills this week, including the income-tax reduction, the pay increase for starting teachers, mandatory newborn screening for spinal muscular atrophy, the free-speech legislation for college campuses, and a reduction in fees for concealed-carry licenses. 
 
My 5.9 Tax-Cut Plan passed the Senate and the House with bipartisan support.
 
It is the third phase of my three-part plan to reform Arkansas’s tax code. In Phase One in 2015, I signed the bill that cut taxes for middle-class earners.
 
In Phase Two in 2017, we cut taxes for low-income earners. Those were the two biggest income-tax cuts in the state’s history. With the signing of the bill on Tuesday, we have given Arkansas a more competitive tax rate that is being recognized by national publications like the Wall Street Journal
 
I also signed the law that increases the minimum pay for starting teachers to $36,000 a year. This law, which became Act 170 when I signed it, reflects the importance of the profession of teaching and our respect for the role of teachers in the lives of our children. The starting salary will be among the highest in our region. It will allow us to retain our homegrown teachers and to attract some of the best and brightest into teaching.
 
Today, I visited with the British Ambassador to the United States, and he asked how can you lower taxes and raise teacher pay at the same time. Great question. I explained that we manage our budget very carefully in Arkansas, and our economy is growing.
 
I also signed a bill this week that reduces the fee for a concealed carry license from $100 to $50, and decreases the renewal fee from $50 to $25.
A fourth bill I signed this week protects First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly on college campuses in the state.
 
The bill requires universities to allow any person or group to speak anywhere on campus and prohibits schools from restricting speech to Free Speech Zones.
 
For a bill signing on Monday afternoon, several children in wheelchairs attended with their parents. The children all were born with spinal muscular atrophy, or SMA, which is a rare neuromuscular disorder.
 
When these children were born, there was no treatment for SMA, so doctors didn’t screen children for the disease. But in 2016, the Federal Drug Administration approved a drug for treating it. If the treatment is administered before the child shows symptoms, the drug slows the advance of the disorder.
 
The bill requires infant screening so that those with SMA can begin treatment immediately. The bill also requires insurance companies to pay for the treatment.
 
After the supporters and children had witnessed the signing, the children in wheelchairs began to chase each other around the long table in the conference room. They made history as the first children to race wheelchairs inside the Governor’s Conference Room.
 
The children didn’t know it, but their laughter was like a big thank you to the parents and legislators who guided this bill to my desk. They reminded us that we can make life better for others.
 
2-22-19 4:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Use Lessons Learned to Prevent Government Shutdowns

 

If there is one thing to take away from the recent partial shutdown it is this—governing by crisis does not work.

 

This was the third time since I was elected to the Senate that all or part of the federal government closed for a period of time as a result of a funding lapse. With this most recent partial shutdown, some agencies were funded months prior to the end of the fiscal year, while others were first funded on a short-term basis before being shut down in the absence of a larger funding agreement. This gave the impression that it wasn’t a true shutdown in the sense that only a part of the government wasn’t operating, which led to a lack of urgency on the part of some to resolve the differences that had led us to that point.

 

Despite being a partial shutdown, the list of affected Americans and Arkansans was long. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees missed paychecks, farmers and ranchers with loans from the Department of Agriculture faced financial difficulties and Transportation Security Administration agents who, forced to work without pay, were increasingly calling out of work raising serious security concerns. That’s just a sample of how widely the impact was felt. 

 

Clearly, this is not the way we should be governing. In each of the government shutdowns during my time in the Senate, neither side got what they wanted in the end. Taking this approach does not benefit anybody.

 

The best thing we could do to end this self-defeating cycle would be to return regular order to the annual appropriations process. By passing all 12 individual spending bills each year, we would avoid shutdowns while putting the nation back on a path to fiscal responsibility. Departments and agencies should not be forced to operate without knowing what resources they will have at their disposal. It is incredibly inefficient, shortsighted and neglectful of the current concerns and needs of the American people.

 

While we have made progress on this front in recent years, we are still falling short of completing all 12 spending bills before the end of the fiscal year. That is why I support my colleague Senator Rob Portman’s bill, the End Government Shutdowns Act, as a failsafe to prevent crises caused by lapses in funding.

 

The End Government Shutdowns Act would create an automatic continuing resolution (CR) for any regular appropriations bill or existing CR when Congress and the administration reach an impasse at the end of the fiscal year. After the first 120 days, CR funding would be reduced by one percent and would be reduced by one percent again every 90 days thereafter until Congress and the president can reach an agreement that completes the annual appropriations process. This allows the federal government to remain open when budget negotiations falter before key spending deadlines. 

 

Passage of this bill would remove the ability to weaponize a government shutdown. It will ensure that federal employees, and others whose livelihoods depend on a fully operating government, are not subjected to unnecessary financial burdens because Congress and the president fail to do their jobs.

 

The American public has lost faith in our institutions. Failing to learn the right lessons from unsuccessful approaches further erodes that trust. It is vital that we operate in a manner that restores the public’s confidence in Washington. Ending the threat of government shutdowns is a good place to start.

 

2-22-19 3:08 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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President Trump Selects Governor Hutchinson To Co-Chair Council of Governors

LITTLE ROCK –  President Trump has selected Governor Asa Hutchinson to co-chair the Council of Governors, the White House announced yesterday.

“As our nation faces increasing national security threats, this Council is an important partnership between the states and the federal government to strengthen our homeland defenses,” Governor Hutchinson said. “It has been an honor to serve on the Council over the past six months, and it will be a privilege to represent Arkansas as a co-chair for the remainder of my term.”

The Council of Governors was created by the National Defense Authorization Act in 2008 and was formally established by Executive Order in January 2010. The Council allows governors and key federal officials to address matters pertaining to the National Guard, homeland defense, and defense support to civil authorities.

President Trump appointed Governor Hutchinson to a two-year term on the 10-member Council in July 2018.

Governor Hutchinson will assume his role as a co-chair of the Council of Governors when the Council meets today in Washington, where he has been attending the National Governors Association 2019 Winter Conference.

 

2-22-19 3:01 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

February 22, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature approved and the governor signed two of the high-profile bills of this year’s session.

 

One bill lowers state income taxes by $97 million a year for 579,000 Arkansas taxpayers who earn more than $38,200 a year. It is Act 182.

 

The other bill raises teacher minimum salaries by about $1,000 a year, over the next four years. It will directly benefit teachers in 168 school districts. It is Act 170.

 

Arkansas became the fifth state to enact a so-called “trigger” law that will immediately prohibit abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Roe vs. Wade ruling. It is Act 180.

 

It has exceptions. For example, it would not be an abortion if the procedure were done to save the life or preserve the health of the unborn child, to remove a dead unborn child caused by a spontaneous abortion or to remove an ectopic pregnancy.

 

There is a provision allowing an abortion to save the life of the pregnant mother in a medical emergency.

 

Act 189 makes fundamental changes in how juvenile offenders are sentenced. Its goal is for fewer juveniles to be sent to lock-ups, and more to get treatment and supervision through intervention in their community.

 

All judges will have to use a risk assessment system, and no judge could send a youth to a lock-up for a minor offense unless that judge specifically listed reasons for considering the youth a moderate or high risk case.

 

The state Division of Youth Services (DYS) operates juvenile detention facilities, administers community programs and intervenes in court when juveniles get in trouble.

 

DYS will be required to monitor all juvenile cases to ensure they are being handled according to new risk assessment methods. The division must develop individual plans for youths in trouble, based on the evidence, and the plans must involve families.

 

Already, juvenile judges in 19 of the 75 counties in Arkansas rely on validated risk assessments when they rule on a juvenile’s placement. Expanding the use of the assessments will coincide with a decreased reliance on lock-ups. The state has announced the closing of two secure facilities, in St. Francis and in Chicot Counties.

 

The juvenile justice bill was approved in the Senate by a vote of 35-to-0 and in the House by a vote of 95-to-0.

 

Senate Bill 256 to prohibit legislators and state constitutional officers from lobbying was approved by the Senate and advanced by the House Rules Committee.

 

The elected officials it affects may not register as a lobbyist, not only in Arkansas but also in other states. SB 256 has bipartisan sponsorship, and passed the Senate by a 34-to-0 vote.

 

SB 150, which grants cities greater authority to offer broadband Internet service, passed unanimously in both chambers and was sent to the governor.

 

More than 500 Arkansas state troopers would get a five percent pay raise, on top of merit raises and cost-of-living raises, under an amendment to the State Police appropriation that got a favorable vote in subcommittee.

 

The Joint Budget Committee must affirm the vote, and legislators must identify a source of revenue to fund the raises.

 

2-22-19 2:44 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Bill Filed to Legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide

Wednesday afternoon Rep. Dan Douglas (R - Bentonville) filed H.B. 1536 to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Arkansas.

Shortly after it was filed, a palliative care physician I am friends with texted me, saying this bill is "worse than terrible." I agree with him.

In one way or another, H.B. 1536 may be worse than any of the other physician-assisted suicide laws passed in America to date.

This bill lets doctors prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients.

Unlike some assisted suicide proposals, H.B. 1536 doesn't require the patient to be referred to a mental health expert before being given the suicide drugs.

Christian hospitals, hospices, and healthcare facilities cannot stop doctors who work for them from prescribing suicide drugs to patients under this bill.

In other states, suicide laws like this one have made it possible for elderly, ill, or vulnerable individuals to be euthanized against their will. H.B. 1536 does not contain safeguards to prevent that from happening in Arkansas, if passed.

This bad bill fundamentally disrespects the sanctity of human life. From conception until natural death, human life is sacred. We do not eliminate suffering by eliminating people who are suffering.

Please encourage your state representative and your state senator to oppose H.B. 1536 by Rep. Dan Douglas, the bill allowing physician-assisted suicide in Arkansas. 

Even if your state legislators are very pro-life, please let them hear from you. The Arkansas Legislature needs to know that Arkansans strongly oppose this bill.

You can leave a message for your state representative by calling the Arkansas House switchboard during normal business hours at (501) 682-6211.

After you contact your state representative, please contact your state senator as well.

You can leave a message for your state senator by calling the Arkansas Senate switchboard during normal business hours at (501) 682-2902.

Please feel free to call or email us if you have any questions or if there's anything we can do for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jerry Cox is President of Family Council 

 

2-20-19 10:15 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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How To Prepare For Severe Weather

The following article on severe weather preperation by Katrina Nutter was republished on KAWX.ORG by permission from Petra and as a courtesty of KAWX Radio and Weather Net ARC, a local amateur (ham) radio club sponsored by KAWX Radio.

 

No one is immune from the rage of Mother Nature. In Florida, there’s the chance of hurricanes. California is known for its earthquakes. Oklahoma is no stranger to tornadoes. Severe weather impacts thousands of people. That doesn’t mean one cannot be safe.

 

Having basic emergency supplies and other preparations completed ahead of time will ensure your customers and their families are safe and secure during severe weather conditions.

 

There are real benefits to preparing for severe weather before it’s too late. According to FEMA, “being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety and losses that accompany disasters” and “people can reduce the impact of disasters and sometimes avoid the danger completely.”

 

Use this information to inform your customers of ways to stay prepared and safe during times of severe weather. Making these connections with your customers, and showing that you have their best interest in mind will help cultivate a connection that encourages customers to keep coming back.

Here are some tips to help your customers get started.

Be weather-aware and what to do before a storm hits

Know your location.

Know what the weather is like in the area. Learn the different kinds of severe weather events common to the area. Sign up for notifications from local news channels to stay up-to-date with crucial weather updates and other information.

 

Being familiar with the types of storms your customers might encounter helps you offer the products they’ll need.

What about the car?

When a storm hits, the last place to be is outside.

 

A car is not a reliable place to take refuge. While a car is not the best place to seek shelter during a bad storm, preparing the car is another critical aspect of preparing for severe weather that is often overlooked.

 

Make sure the car is completed filled up with gas, double-checking on tire pressure and putting it in a safe place. Ideally, the car would be there during an evacuation.

 

If the car can’t be taken, park it indoors or on high ground away from potential sources of damage. Be sure to have a tarp and waterproof tape handy to seal windows and doors as well.

Create an emergency communication plan

Help your customers create an emergency communication plan for their families. Having an effective plan keeps everyone alert and on the same page when a severe weather alert has been issued.

 

The most important information to have in a plan to prepare for severe weather includes (but isn’t limited to):

 

  1. Escape routes and a meeting place
  2. Where to take shelter in the home
  3. Phone numbers to call in case of an emergency
  4. How to get out of the home if need be
  5. Where family members will meet if a storm hits and no one else is at home

Encourage your customers to review and share the plan with friends, neighbors and family and practice it at least twice a year with children. Children learn better by doing.

 

Having an emergency communication plan for severe weather is well worth the effort. Having a written plan gives everyone a better chance of everyone moving. That knowledge could save lives before, during and after severe weather disasters.

Get Prepared

Make general weather preparations       

Something to consider when making general weather preparations is to have emergency cash on hand. Running debit and credit cards require electricity and electricity might be an issue if severe weather results in power outages. Having cash on hand doesn’t put people in a bind.

 

If the family has pets, make sure pets have their tags and are up-to-date on their vaccinations in case they get out.

 

In case the area needs to evacuate, learn evacuation routes. When appropriate, local officials will provide information about evacuation routes through the media and online. It’s a good idea to get familiar with these routes before a storm hits in case evacuation is necessary.

Build emergency supply kits.

Now that your customers know to be weather-aware and armed with an emergency communications plan, it’s time for them to build emergency supply kits.

 

Petra has everything you need to help your customers build their own kits in case disaster strikes.

 

Here are some of the basics every household should have in their emergency supply kit:

 

 

Prep the home

Prepping the home ensures less damage. Keep landscaping in check. Well-trimmed trees and shrubbery are more wind resistant and less likely to become flying battering rams during severe weather.

 

Have materials ready to board up the home if necessary. Storm shutters offer the best protection, but marine plywood is a good alternative. Cut these boards to fit in advance, and keep them at the ready so you can use them when it’s time.

 

Locating and knowing how to operate your home’s gas and water shut-off valves.

 

Make sure that your customers take photos or videos of their home and its contents and keeping them in a separate location such as a safe deposit box or out of town relative’s house. Petra has a wide selection of tools and accessories for you to provide customers wanting to make minor repairs to their home after severe weather.

How can Petra help?

 

Petra has all the products your business needs to get your customers ready for any severe weather coming their way.

 

Keep your eye on Petra.com for our complete product listing to help weather out any kind of storm!

 

2-20-19 9:21 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Fishing Report

 

Weekly Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 20, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

2-20-19 9:09 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Kris Lyle Named New Polk County Office Of Emergency Management Coordinator

 

 

 

Polk County Judge, Brandon Ellison, has announced the appointment of Kris Lyle to the position of Coordinator in the Polk County office of Emergency Management. Lyle has been the interim Coordinator since January 1, 2019 when former Coordinator, Tommy Stueart, assumed the position of Chief of Police, for the City of Mena.

 

Shown is County Judge Ellison (left) and Kris Lyle (right).

 

The Polk County Office of Emergency Management serves several functions for the county, such as; floodplain management, E-911 addressing, volunteer fire department coordination, safety training, search and rescue coordination, and general emergency management. “I believe Kris is a good fit for this appointment because he knows the county, he knows the people of this county, he is and has been a volunteer fire department member for years, he is a reserve Deputy for the Sheriff, and has intimate knowledge of the functions of that office. After interviewing and considering the top three candidates for this position, I believe Kris is the right choice for Polk County at this point in time”, said Judge Ellison, when commenting about the decision.

 

2-20-19 8:56 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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ANNUAL COMMUNITY AWARDS NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN Chamber Honors Deserving Community Members

The Mena Polk County Chamber of Commerce honors outstanding members of the community through their annual community awards presentation. The process includes accepting nominations of deserving individuals and businesses that have shown exceptional dedication to their community through volunteering or providing outstanding service. Nominations are voted on by the Chamber membership and the winners are then recognized at the annual chamber banquet to be held this year on April 23rd.

 

Nomination categories are: Volunteer of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Best New Construction, Best Renovation/Beautification, and Business of the Year. The forms ask that real thought be put into submitting a citizen or business for consideration. The Chamber asks that you consider why the nominee should be honored, provide a list of activities or awards received, and describe the impact on the community resulting from the nominee’s efforts. In addition to special recognition at the chamber banquet, the Volunteer of the Year or Citizen of the Year, are invited to be the Grand Marshall at the Annual Christmas Parade held in December. “The Mena/Polk County Chamber Community Awards recognize those individuals and businesses that play a vital role in the growth and success of our community. There is a significant difference in expressions of appreciation and true recognition. We are honored to bring the public together by providing an opportunity to actively recognize these recipients for their service, leadership, and meaningful contributions” says Chamber Secretary Sonya Maye.

 

Nominations are due no later than March 11, 2019. A nomination form is available for completion, on the Chamber website, at www.menapolkchamber.com. The form may also be picked up, at the Chamber office, or requested by email.

 

2-19-19 12:20 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For February 11th - 17th

SHERIFF’S LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of February 11, 2019 – February 17, 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.


February 11, 2019
Report of a vehicle in a creek on Highway 375 East near Mena.  Deputies responded.
Report of suspected contraband led to a 16-year-old male being issued a Juvenile Citation for Possession of a Controlled Substance.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.
Report from a Cove woman of problems with their teenager led to a 14-year-old male being issued a Juvenile Citation for Disorderly Conduct.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.
Arrested was Cody R. James, 18, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.
Arrested was Dennis W. Howard, 45, of Cove, on two Warrants, for a total of three counts of Delivery of Meth or Cocaine.


February 12, 2019
Report of an unattended death on Highway 88 East near Ink.  Deputy responded.
Report from a business on Highway 375 East near Mena of the break-in and theft of a generator, valued at $2,000.00.  Investigation continues.
Arrested were Angelia N. B. Lunsford, 18, of Mena, Wendy J. Strother, 48, of Mena, and Prairie D. Strother, 27, of Linden, TX, each on a Warrant for Battery 1st Degree, Hindering Apprehension and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor 1st Degree.


February 13, 2019
Report from a Mena man of being threatened by an acquaintance.  Investigation continues.
Report from walk-in complainant of a two-vehicle accident that had occurred earlier on Highway 278 East in Wickes.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 116 near Mena of the theft of tools, equipment and a saddle, all valued at $1,030.00.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 32 near Cove of trash being dumped on their property.  Deputy responded.


February 14, 2019
Report of a disturbance on Hilltop Lane near Mena.  Deputies responded.
Report from complainant on Highway 270 near Acorn of the break-in and theft of prescription medication, a sword and cash.  Investigation continues.
Report from a Wickes woman of the violation of a No Contact Order.  Complainant refused to press charges.
Report of lost hikers on Polk 67 between Opal and Big Fork.  Deputies responded.  All hikers were located.
Report from complainant on Polk 76 West near Mena of being harassed by an acquaintance.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Kyle L. Alexander, 22, of Dequeen, on a Warrant for two counts of Delivery of Meth or Cocaine.

February 15, 2019
Arrested was Jearl E. Wilkinson, 34, of Cove, on a Warrant for Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.


February 16, 2019
Report of a disturbance on Polk 1 near Grannis.  Deputies responded.  All parties were advised to cease all contact with one another.


February 17, 2019
Report of a disturbance on Polk 18 near Vandervoort.  Deputies responded.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

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

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 26 Incarcerated Inmates, with 2 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00124

 

2-19-19 12:14 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Mena Police Department Report for February 10th - 16th

 
Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of February 10, 2019 February 16, 2019
 
 
February 10, 2019
 
Natasha K. Neal, 29, of Hatfield was charged with shoplifting after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.
 
February 11, 2019
 
Report was made of a local woman and her parents being harassed by her children’s grandparents.  Case is pending.
 
Vickie Ramirez, 41, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine or cocaine, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and loitering.  The arrest followed a routine stop.
 
February 12, 2019
 
A local woman reported that her dog was missing.  Case was referred to animal control officers.
 
February 13, 2019
 
Report was made of someone attempting to return old merchandise for refund using a newer sales receipt.  Case is pending.

February 14, & 15, 2019
 
Joseph Cunningham, 34, of Mena was arrested on two outstanding warrants from the Mena Police Department for failure to pay fines and court costs.
 
Officers assisted medical personnel at the emergency room of the local hospital with locating parents of juvenile patients.
 
February 16, 2019
 
Report was taken of a gas skip at a local convenience store.  The driver was located and returned to pay for the gas, stating that it was an oversight.
 
Officers responded to an alarm call at a local business.  Card holder was called, and the building was checked and secured.
 
2-19-19 8:21 a.m. KAWX.ORG
 
 

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March 2019 Activities at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area Announced

Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area

1980 Highway 278 West - Wickes, AR 71973 - Phone: 870-385-2201

 

March 2019 Park Activities 

 
Saturday, March 02
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Wildflower Walk (1 hour) Join a park interpreter to enjoy a short hike on the River Corridor Trail. We will explore the trail and discover some of the beautiful flowers that can be found in the park.
Meeting Place: Cossatot Falls Parking Lot. 
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Cossatot Craft Corner (1 hour) Do you enjoy being creative?  Would you like to begin earning an explorer badge?  Join a park interpreter to use your creativity, have fun, and discover something special that can be found in the park.
Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Hives & Honey (1 hour) Honeybees are fascinating insects who’s uniquely designed physical and social structures contribute to their survival and success.  Join a park interpreter as we discover why honeybees are so special.
Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre.
 
Sunday, March 03
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Constellation Exploration (1 hour) Constellations drew pictures for storytelling in both the past and the present at Cossatot River State Park.  Join a park interpreter to learn about the constellations you may see in the park and create your own constellation and story.
Meeting Place: Sandbar Picnic Area.
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Feed the Critters (1 hour) Ever wonder how or what snakes eat?  Well, its dinner time and the critters are hungry!  Come and watch their eating habits and learn about the animals here at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center.
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Designed to Conceal (1 hour) Many creatures are shaped or colored to blend into their surroundings, and these different designs of camouflage are critical to the survival of those animals.  Join a park interpreter as we find out why it is helpful for some animals and identify some of the different types of camouflage found in nature.  
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre.
 
Friday, March 08
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Birding Basics (1 hour) Are you a birdwatcher or a birder? Do you know what the 3 B’s are to start you out exploring?  Join a park interpreter to discover some birding tips and start our exploration of these awe-inspiring feathery creatures.  
Meeting Place: Visitor Center.
 
10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Lichen, Moss & More (1 hour) Is it like a lichen, more of a moss or a fungus among us?  Come explore the lives of these unique life forms with a park interpreter.  Discover the beauty, lifestyles, and significance of lichens, moss and fungi.  
Meeting Place: Low Water Bridge below Visitor Center.
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Do You Speak Frog? (1 hour) Many insects “sing” at night, but did you know that most of Cossatot’s nighttime noise comes from frogs?  Can you communicate with them?  Hop on over to the Sandbar to find out more about our local frogs and learn fun ways to identify their musical sounds.  You’ll even have a chance to join the “Frog Chorus!”  
Meeting Place: Sandbar Picnic Area.
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Leaf Litter (1 hour) Do you know what leaf litter is?  Can leaf litter be good or is it bad.  Explore with a park interpreter as we uncover the true story on leaf litter.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre.
 
Saturday, March 09
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Picture Perfect! (1 hour) It’s winter time and the park is ready for its close up!  Join a park interpreter for a small hike on the River Corridor Trail. We can take some photos with our cameras or by drawing. It may be cold so dress warm. 
Meeting Place: Cossatot Falls Parking Lot.
 
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. How to Draw Birds (1 hour) Are you up for a challenge and some fun?  Join a park interpreter as you learn to draw unique birds found here in the park. Drawing is a wonderful way to help us look more carefully at nature. Materials will be provided. 
Meeting Place: Low Water Bridge below Visitor Center.
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Bats Alive! (1 hour) The diverse habitats surrounding the Cossatot River host a wide variety of these winged creatures of the night. Here is your chance to find out. Meet a park interpreter to discover more about these fascinating, beneficial, and often misunderstood mammals.
Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Hiss, Rattle and Roll (1 hour) Join a park interpreter to meet a few of the snakes that live in Arkansas.  We will discover the characteristics of the dangerous six and learn to tell them apart from harmless snakes.  Games and activities will conclude the presentation.  
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.
 
Sunday, March 10
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Bird Topo (1 hour) Topography is the description of the physical features
and their arrangement of a place or object. Meet a park interpreter as we discover a bird’s landscape and how it can help improve observational and identification skills in a fun activity.
Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Feed the Critters (1 hour) Ever wonder how or what snakes eat?  Well, its dinner time and the critters are hungry!  Come and watch their eating habits and learn about the animals here at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center.
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Away or Stay? (1 hour) In what ways is winter a difficult time for birds?  Migration is one of a variety of ways that birds meet the challenges of winter.  Meet with a park interpreter to discover the challenges birds face in winter.  
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.
 
Saturday, March 16
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Hike-ku (1 hour) Some of the greatest poets and poems were inspired by nature.  Poetry uses short, concise, and often powerful language to explain experiences.  Join a park interpreter for a short hike through nature. You will learn to employ all of our senses in a step by step guided activity to help inspire your writing.
Meeting Place: Harris Creek Trailhead.
 
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Learning Cossatot (1 hour) A few minutes of quiet observation can unlock a whole new world of discovery.  Search with a park interpreter to discover what Cossatot River has hidden to find.
Meeting Place: Low Water Bridge below Visitor Center.
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Terrific Transformers (1 hour) Pollinators’ survival depends on their ability to transform. Join a park interpreter to participate in a fun relay race and learn about the transforming caterpillars that can be found at Cossatot River State Park- Natural Area. 
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre.
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Lost and Found (1 hour) The program “Lost and Found,” has been developed to help prepare children for a situation we all hope will never happen—becoming lost in the outdoors.  Children will become “aware of five basic skills” that will help them to survive and be found should they ever become lost in an outdoor environment.  Being prepared for the unexpected makes the actual experience of being lost less frightening and easier to cope with. There will be storytelling, discussions and student activities are all involved in this program. 
Meeting Place: Cossatot Falls Parking Lot. 
 
Sunday, March 17
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Ouachita Walk (1 hour) The oldest mountain range in the U.S. is right in our backyard! Take a hike on the River Corridor Trail with a park interpreter to experience the grand views of the Ouachita Mountains.  Wear appropriate clothing, it may be chilly outside! 
Meeting Place: Cossatot Falls Parking Lot.
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Feed the Critters (1 hour) Ever wonder how or what snakes eat?  Well, its dinner time and the critters are hungry!  Come and watch their eating habits and learn about the animals here at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center.
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Transformers (1 hour) Join a park interpreter to participate in a fun relay race and learn about the transforming caterpillars that can be found at Cossatot River State Park- Natural Area. 
Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre. 
 
Tuesday, March 19
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Grandma’s Buttermilk Biscuits (1 hour) What a better way to start your morning with some of Grandma’s mouthwatering buttermilk biscuits You’ll have a chance to participate in a Dutch oven cooking demonstration.  Then enjoy some of the savory homemade biscuits and gravy.  Bring a bowl and spoon if you can, if not we’ll have some to share.
Meeting Place:  Sandbar Picnic Area.  #ARspringbreak
 
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Trash! Trash! Trash!  What Will We Ever Do with Trash?  (1 hour) Trash, what is trash and what can you do with it?  How do you get rid of it or can you?  Can it be harmful for us and the environment?  Join a park interpreter to discover these questions and how we can help protect ourselves and the environment, in an interactive game.
Meeting Place:  Sandbar Picnic Area.  #ARspringbreak
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies (1 hour) Do you know what family Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies are?  How could they all be from the same family?  They don’t look alike at all.  The little black ant looks as different from the huge cecropia moth as a mouse from an elephant.  Jon Park Interpreter Flanary as we have fun exploring the amazing world of Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies!
Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.  #ARspringbreak
 
Wednesday, March 20
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Tracks and Trace (1 hour) Do you know what the first thing to discover about tracking is?  Can you identify whose foot print is whose and where they were going?  Join a park interpreter in this fun activity and make an animal track craft to take home.
Meeting Place:  Cossatot Falls Parking Lot.  #ARspringbreak
 
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. I’m Not Bluffing! (3 hours) This is a 2.5-mile hike on Harris Creek trail and one of Cossatot’s unique trails in the park.  One of Cossatot’s park interpreters’ favorite places to hike to in the park is Goat’s Bluff.  As we hike along we will see dense pine forest, deep valleys and the Cossatot River Corridor itself.  She’s not bluffing.
Meeting Place:  Harris Creek Trailhead.  #ARspringbreak
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Bird Wreath (1 hour) Oh, the weather outside is frightful but the birds are so delightful; And since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.  Since it is winter time why not help our delightful birds out by creating a beautiful bird wreath for them this winter?  Join a park interpreter to make bird wreaths for our wintering birds.  Hope to see you there.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.  #ARspringbreak
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Plant to Pantry (1 hour) The Grist Mills used in communities surrounding Cossatot River State Park- Natural Area provided food to Arkansans by taking grains from the plant to the pantry. Visit with a park interpreter to see a grist mill and learn how it operates.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center.  #ARspringbreak
 
Thursday, March 21
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Compass Crash Course (1 hour) Have you ever used a compass? Would you like to learn how? Meet a park interpreter to learn about how helpful a compass can be. Participate in a fun activity that will test your compass skills.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre. #ARspringbreak
 
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Lichen, Moss & More (1 hour) Is it like a lichen, more of a moss or a fungus among us?  Come explore the lives of these unique life forms with a park interpreter.  Discover the beauty, lifestyles, and significance of lichens, moss and fungi.  
Meeting Place: Sandbar Picnic Area.  #ARspringbreak
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. All Tied Up (1 hour) By learning basic knot tying skills, you can learn to set up your campsite quickly and efficiently.  Meet a park interpreter to learn how to tie a few basic knots that come in handy on any outdoor adventure.
Meeting Place: Sandbar Picnic Area. #ARspringbreak
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. A World in a Drop of Water (1 hour) We are about to peek into a very different world—a world that was discovered about three hundred years ago by a Dutchman.  A world where tiny amazing creatures flourish.  A park interpreter will guide you as we explore this fascinating world in a hands-on lab.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.  #ARspringbreak
 
Friday, March 22
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Birding Excursion (1 hour) Meet a park interpreter on this excursion to discover what bird life calls Cossatot River State Park home.  Wear appropriate shoes (No Flip Flops or Sandals).  Dress for the weather, bring binoculars (we have a few you can borrow if you don’t have any), a hiking stick, camera and a bottle of water.
Meeting Place:  Cossatot Falls’ Parking Lot.  #ARspringbreak
 
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Learning Cossatot (1 hour) A few minutes of quiet observation can unlock a whole new world of discovery.  Search with a park interpreter to discover what Cossatot River has hidden to find.
Meeting Place: Harris Creek Trailhead. #ARspringbreak
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Town Ball (1 hour) Join park interpreter(s) for a venture back in time as we learn to play an old fashioned friendly game of town ball. This fun old-time game is considered a stepping stone to modern baseball. 
Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre. #ARspringbreak
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Mother Nature’s Pantry (1 hour) Many plants right outside our doors are edible or good for what ails you.  Join a park interpreter to discover some of the uses of plants for food and medicine and see a few of the species.  We will even try some pine needle tea.
Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.  #ARspringbreak
 
Saturday, March 23
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. I’m Not Bluffing (2 hours) One of our park interpreters’ favorite places at the park is Goat’s Bluff.  Join her on a 2.5-mile hike on Harris Creek Trail as we will see dense pine forest, deep valleys and the Cossatot River.  She’s not bluffing.
Meeting Place:  Harris Creek Trailhead. #ARspringbreak
 
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Grandma’s Buttermilk Biscuits (1 hour) What a better way to start your morning with some of Grandma’s mouthwatering buttermilk biscuits You’ll have a chance to participate in a Dutch oven cooking demonstration.  Then enjoy some of the savory homemade biscuits and gravy.  Bring a bowl and spoon if you can, if not we’ll have some to share.
Meeting Place:  Cossatot Falls Picnic Area.  #ARspringbreak
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Along the Banks of Cossatot River (1 hour) Join a park interpreter for this easy to moderate, 2-mile guided hike along the Cossatot River Bank.  Feel Free to bring binoculars; who knows what we will see or stir up.
Meeting Place:  Cossatot Falls Information Board.  #ARspringbreak
 
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Charades: Critter Style (1 hour) How creative is your mind and your team?  Join a park interpreter to compete in a good old-fashioned game of charades- only imitating selected Cossatot River State Park creatures. May the best team win!
Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre. #ARspringbreak
 
Sunday, March 24
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Terrific Transformers (1 hour) Pollinators’ survival depends on their ability to transform. Join a park interpreter to participate in a fun relay race and learn about the transforming caterpillars that can be found at Cossatot River State Park- Natural Area. 
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre. #ARspringbreak
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Feed the Critters (1 hour) Ever wonder how or what snakes eat?  Well, its dinner time and the critters are hungry!  Come and watch their eating habits and learn about the animals here at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center. #ARspringbreak
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Leaf Litter (1 hour) Do you know what leaf litter is?  Can leaf litter be good or is it bad.  Explore with a park interpreter as we uncover the true story on leaf litter.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre. #ARspringbreak
 
Pollinator Day @ Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area
Saturday, March 30
10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Terrific Transformers (30 mins) Learn about the life cycle of a butterfly as you transform yourself and go through the stages of metamorphosis in this fun-filled relay game.
Meeting Place:  Yard above Amphitheatre by Visitor Center.
 
10:50 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Migration Madness (30 mins) Spring has sprung and many animals are migrating back to Arkansas. Join Park Interpreter Carson to learn about these travelers and experience their journeys. 
Meeting Place: Yard above Amphitheatre by Visitor Center.
 
11:25 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. The Communication Station (30 mins) This station discusses how bees communicate through different dances.  Students will learn how bees use the waggle dance; and, then learn to apply this knowledge in an interactive scavenger hunt.
Meeting Place: Butterfly Garden on Waterleaf Trail by Visitor Center.
 
1:05 p.m. – 1:35 p.m. Bee’s Knees (30 mins) Get crafty as you take a journey with Betzy the Bumblebee and discover the unique adaptations that make bees effective pollinators.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room B.
 
1:40 p.m. – 2:10 p.m. The Garden Buzz (30 mins) This station will teach participants what they can do at home to help the pollinators in their back yard. Participants will create “seed bombs” to put in their yard.
Meeting Place: Legacy Room A in Visitor Center.
 
2:55 p.m. – 3:25 p.m. Pollinator Power (30 mins) This station allows students to have a hands-on learning experience to discover how pollination works.  Students will use “pollinator gloves” and visit several flowers to see how the pollen is carried.
Meeting Place: Yard Above the Amphitheatre by Visitor Center.
 
Sunday, March 31
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Animal Tracks (1 hour 30 min) Many wild animals roam this park when we aren’t looking, leaving only tracks as evidence. Join a park interpreter to find out more about these wild animals, search for their tracks, and create your own tracks to take home.  
Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room. #ARspringbreak
 
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Feed the Critters (1 hour) Ever wonder how or what snakes eat?  Well, its dinner time and the critters are hungry!  Come and watch their eating habits and learn about the animals here at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area.
Meeting Place: Visitor Center. #ARspringbreak 
 
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Caterpillars & Butterflies (1 hour) Join a park interpreter to have fun exploring the amazing world of Caterpillars and Butterflies!  Learn what you can do to help these beautiful creatures and attract them to your backyard.
Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Legacy Room. #ARspringbreak
 
2-18-19 2:55 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Monday February 18th Official State Holiday, Other Closings

The State of Arkansas will observe George Washington's Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day as an official state holiday on Monday, February 18, 2019, according to Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston.

 

 

 

Due to the Legislature being in session, all State Offices, Boards, and Commissions in Pulaski County must remain open with at least a partial staff.

 

Some schools are out Monday and some government offices may be closed. The Polk County Courthouse and Mena City Hall will be closed Monday, as well as the Post Office and banks.

 

2-17-19 2:54 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Help Smokey Bear Celebrate His 75th Birthday with a "Shout-Out"

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission (AFC) is sponsoring a Smokey Bear “Shout-Out” contest Feb. 11  through April 19 to celebrate Smokey’s 75th birthday.  Smokey is the fictional bear that was designated the symbol for forest fire prevention in 1944 by the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council.

 

Elementary classes across Arkansas are invited to record a short video wishing Smokey a happy birthday and to share it with AFC and the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s (AAD) social media sites for a chance to win a birthday party with Smokey.

 

To enter the contest:

 

  • Make sure the school name and class can be clearly heard in the video
  • Keep it short (15-30 seconds)
  • Like AFC and AAD Facebook pages:  www.facebook.com/ArkansasForestryCommission and www.facebook.com/ArkAgricultureDepartment
  • Post your video to your school’s Facebook page, making sure to add #SmokeyBear75
  • Share the video, via messenger, with both pages
  • You may also post it on your school’s twitter page and tag us [twitter.com/ARDeptofAgricul]@ARDeptofAgricul and [twitter.com/ARForestryComm]@ARForestryComm, again making sure to add #SmokeyBear75
  • Send an email to marketing@agriculture.arkansas.gov with the name of the school, city, county, what class is in the video, how many students are in the class and the teacher’s name, email and phone number

Eight winners will be randomly selected for the birthday party to be held in the first two weeks of May, prior to the end of the school year.

 

For more information on the contest or the rules, contact Brett Dawson at brett.dawson@agriculture.arkansas.gov or 501-219-6324.

 

The Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission, along with the U.S. Forest Service, Ad Council, and National Association of State Foresters, will be celebrating Smokey’s 75th birthday throughout 2019 and promoting his slogan, “Only YOU Can Prevent Wild Fires.”   Additional information about Smokey and learning resources for children and educators can be found at smokeybear.com.

 

2-17-19 2:38 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Happy 200th Birthday, Arkansas Territory!

Celebrate the 200th year of the Arkansas Territory during a special, free event March 1! 

 

Arkansas became a US Terriotry on March 2, 1819, then a US State June 15, 1836.

Come experience Arkansas history.The Arkansas State Archives and other divisions of the Department of Arkansas Heritage are putting together a grand celebration for the Arkansas Territory bicentennial! 

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson will speak during a 10 a.m. news conference. Other speakers are Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst, State Historian Wendy Richter and Swannee Bennett, director of Historic Arkansas Museum.
 
This March marks the 200th year of the Arkansas Territory, which the U.S. Congress originally formed with parts of what is now Oklahoma and Texas. The move created the state’s first government in 1819 and laid the groundwork for achieving statehood in 1836.

We will celebrate with birthday cake, music, historical displays, a traveling exhibit and period actors! Come learn about our Territory seals, grab a free Territory map and enjoy bringing history to life. For more information, visit our Facebook page! 

What: Arkansas Territory Bicentennial Celebration 

When: Starting at 9 a.m., Friday, March 1, 2019 

News Conference at 10 a.m. 
 
 
 
2-17-19 2:28 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Rich Mountain Conservation District Hosts Annual Poultry Registration Meeting

The Rich Mountain Conservation District held the Annual Poultry Registration Meeting Thursday,  February 7 at 6:00 p.m. in the Extension Service Education Center. The main topic this year was diseases in poultry.

 

There were three guest speakers. Dr. Dustan Clark, an Extension Poultry Health Veterinarian and Associate Center Director for Extension from the University of Arkansas. Dr. Clark presented information on diseases such as “Kinky Back” and Dermatitis issues in poultry houses.

 

Haylie Dobbs, the local NRCS Soil Conservationist, spoke about various NRCS Conservation program opportunities for poultry growers in the area.

 

Josh Yates, a Polk County Extension Agent, updated the attendees on Polk County Extension Service Activities such as upcoming Master Gardener events and more. The poultry growers had the opportunity to register their farms, enjoy a chili dinner, and ask questions about new information that was presented. We want to thank all the local sponsors that helped make this meeting possible.

 

 

 

 

2-17-19 2:01 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Pollinator Day March 30th At Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area

 

The countdown is on for everyone to celebrate Pollinator Day at Cossatot River State Park! Let’s spread the word about what everyone can do to protect our pollinators.

 

Join park staff for a fun day discovering life cycles, migration, social structures, adaptations, and pollination. We will understand the importance of pollinators and explore the impact they have on each and every one of us.

 

Saturday, March 30

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Terrific Transformers (30 mins) Learn about the life cycle of a butterfly as you transform yourself and go through the stages of metamorphosis in this fun-filled relay game.

Meeting Place: Yard above Amphitheatre by Visitor Center.

 

10:50 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Migration Madness (30 mins) Spring has sprung and many animals are migrating back to Arkansas. Join Park Interpreter Carson to learn about these travelers and experience their journeys.

Meeting Place: Yard above Amphitheatre by Visitor Center.

 

11:25 a.m. – 11:55 a.m. The Communication Station (30 mins) This station discusses how bees communicate through different dances. Students will learn how bees use the waggle dance; and, then learn to apply this knowledge in an interactive scavenger hunt.

Meeting Place: Butterfly Garden on Waterleaf Trail by Visitor Center.

 

1:05 p.m. – 1:35 p.m. Bee’s Knees (30 mins) Get crafty as you take a journey with Betzy the Bumblebee and discover the unique adaptations that make bees effective pollinators.

Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room B.

 

1:40 p.m. – 2:10 p.m. The Garden Buzz (30 mins) This station will teach participants what they can do at home to help the pollinators in their back yard. Participants will create “seed bombs” to put in their yard.

Meeting Place: Legacy Room A in Visitor Center.

 

2:55 p.m. – 3:25 p.m. Pollinator Power (30 mins) This station allows students to have a hands-on learning experience to discover how pollination works. Students will use “pollinator gloves” and visit several flowers to see how the pollen is carried.

Meeting Place: Yard Above the Amphitheatre by Visitor Center.

 

We will even discover things we can do to help pollinators for National Pollinator Week, June 17-23, 2019.

 

 

Girl Scout—Daisies, Brownies and Juniors there are badges available for you to earn at this event. Contact the park to discover how!

 

Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and 4-H Groups please contact the park for badge cross-referencing possibilities.

 

Why not extend your stay! Join us for one of these fun programs the following day on Sunday, March 31, 2019, by attending one of the following programs below.

 

Sunday, March 31

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Animal Tracks (1 hour 30 min) Many wild animals roam this park when we aren’t looking, leaving only tracks as evidence. Join a park interpreter to find out more about these wild animals, search for their tracks, and create your own tracks to take home.

Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room. #ARspringbreak

 

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Feed the Critters (1 hour) Ever wonder how or what snakes eat? Well, its dinner time and the critters are hungry! Come and watch their eating habits and learn about the animals here at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area.

Meeting Place: Visitor Center. #ARspringbreak

 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Caterpillars & Butterflies (1 hour) Join a park interpreter to have fun exploring the amazing world of Caterpillars and Butterflies! Learn what you can do to help these beautiful creatures and attract them to your backyard.

Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room. #ARspringbreak

 

For more information about Pollinator Day or other activities at Cossator River State Park-Natureal Area near Wickes, call the park at (870) 385-2201.

 

2-17-19 10:39 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansas Lottery Ticket Sales Reach Nearly $43 Million In January 2019

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration reported recently that lottery ticket sales in Arkansas for January 2019 were $42,855,514.00.

 
The highest lottery ticket sales in January were in Pulaski County and totaled $7,995,516.50.
 
The lowest lottery ticket sales in January were in Montgomery County and totaled $26,397.50.
 
Here in Polk County, January lottery ticket sales totaled $170,215.00..
 
In FY 2017, only about 19 cents of every dollar actually went to scholarships according to Family Council
 
2-16-19 10:17 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

More than 140 bills have been signed into law during this session.

 

There are hundreds of bills still to be heard in committee and we expect many more to be filed in the weeks ahead.

As we head into our 6th week of the session, we’d like to update you on the legislature’s progress.

 

On Thursday, with a vote of 82-14 and 2 members voting present, the House passed SB211. This bill cuts the top tax rate from 6.9 to 6.6 percent on Jan. 1, 2020. It decreases to 5.9 percent in 2021.

 

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration estimates this legislation will impact 579,000 Arkansans.

 

Currently, Arkansas has the highest top marginal individual income tax rates among surrounding states.

 

In a vote of 93-0, the House passed SB151 which establishes a fund to assist the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in its ongoing efforts to gain a National Cancer Institute designation.

 

Having a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center in Arkansas will improve access to clinical trials, cancer treatment, and screenings in Arkansas.

 

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in Arkansas. Over the past twenty-eight years, nationwide cancer related deaths have decreased by 5%, but in Arkansas the rate of cancer-related deaths has increased by nine percent 9%.

 

Other legislation passing the House this week include:

 

SB149-This bill would prohibit abortion in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned by Supreme Court or if a constitutional amendment is adopted giving authority to the states to regulate abortion.

 

SB168-This bill adds 24 hour manned fire stations to the locations where a parent can relinquish an infant. This bill also allows for the use of a Safe Haven Baby Box at Safe Haven locations if it includes a dual alarm system to notify authorities.

 

HB1014-This bill requires that bleeding control training be taught as part of high school health courses.

 

HB1302-This bill creates a process by which similar agencies could submit rules and regulations collectively to expedite process.  It would help ensure that agencies needing to respond to new legislation for occupational licensing do so in a timely manner.

 

SB113 -This legislation would transfer the responsibilities and duties of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace to the Arkansas Insurance Department.

 

HB1231-This legislation ensures journalism students at public higher education institutions have freedom of expression. This legislation states a student media advisor is not to be disciplined or dismissed for protecting the rights of a student journalist.

 

The deadline to file proposed constitutional amendments was February 13.  A total of 31 amendments were filed.  The topics addressed vary from term limits to highway funding. The legislature can refer up to 3 amendments to voters on the November 2020 ballot. You can review the proposed amendments on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

On our website, we’ve also posted details on the Governor’s proposal for highway funding. We expect to be addressing highways in the days ahead. 

 

We will continue to keep you updated.

 

2-15-19 7:36 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

 

 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Highway Funding Plan
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – I want to discuss the details of the $300 million highway funding plan that I presented this week that is necessary to repair and maintain Arkansas’s existing highways and bridges and to expand our roadways as the state grows.
 
According to Arkansas Department of Transportation, the department would be able to improve 7,300 of the 7,900 miles of the Arkansas highway network that carries 90 percent of all traffic daily. The plan would create an estimated 3,900 jobs annually and generate $8 billion in economic activity.
 
A large portion of the funding for the plan would come from new revenues from casinos, as well as existing state revenues.
 
The plan calls for a $100 registration fee for hybrid vehicles and a $200 fee for electric vehicles. These registration fees are necessary so that those vehicles will contribute their fair share to road maintenance.
 
The plan will draw on dedicated revenue from casinos for highway construction, with a commitment to fund at least $35 million annually in new money.
 
This represents a new and unprecedented commitment of $85 million annually when it is combined with our existing transfer of $50 million each year to highways.
 
Another piece of the plan calls for the continuation of the existing half-cent state sales tax, which now supports highway construction bonds but will expire in 2023. I am asking the General Assembly to refer this to the ballot box for a vote in 2020.
 
While the plan does include a necessary increase in user fees, the tax cuts of the past four years more than cover it. To put it in perspective, an Arkansan driving 20,000 miles annually in a car that averages 18 miles to the gallon will use 555 gallons of gas. Under this plan, that driver would pay an additional $33 annually, or $2.70 a month.
 
But under the middle-income tax cut I signed into law in 2015, Arkansans who earn $35,000 a year save $110 in taxes; those who earn $50,000 save $246 in taxes; and those who earn $75,000 save $470 a year.
 
The tax cuts for low-income earners combined with the decrease in the state’s sales taxes on groceries will be worth $110 million in 2019.
 
Arkansas’s roads are in urgent need of attention, which is amusingly clear by this quip from the owner of two tire and auto repair shops in central Arkansas, who said, “I like the roads just the way they are.”
 
We all want to fix our roads and to build new ones where we need them. I am hopeful the members of the General Assembly will pass this plan, which is a long-range strategy to bring our road system up to date and keep it that way far into the future.
 
2-15-19 7:27 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Oversight is Crucial as the VA Rolls Out Major Reforms

 

Those looking for an example of how Washington can find common ground should look no further than the important work Congress has done, and continues to do, for veterans. The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s hearing room is traditionally one of the most bipartisan places in Washington. It is also one of the busiest.

 

Last Congress, under Chairman Johnny Isakson’s leadership, we held thirty hearings, considered fifty-six pieces of legislation and sent seventeen of President Trump’s nominees to serve our veterans to the full Senate.

 

That spirit of cooperation continued on the Senate floor. Last Congress, the Senate passed twenty-three major pieces of veterans-related legislation. As a result, the President signed into law bills that significantly enhance healthcare, education, retirement and other benefits for our veterans.

 

Now comes the heavy lift of implementing those new laws, some of which are quite significant. This list includes the VA MISSION Act, which is a major overhaul of how veterans receive health care, and the Forever GI Bill, which significantly updates their educational benefits. While the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) works to implement the changes brought about by these new statutes, it’s also undertaking one of the largest information technology modernization projects in our nation’s history. The VA simply cannot successfully accomplish all of this without working collaboratively with Congress.

 

In the spirit of cooperation, the leadership of the Congressional committees that share oversight responsibilities of the department recently sent a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to request that the department work closely with Congress throughout the implementation process. As the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, I was one of the eight cosigners of this letter.

 

The letter represents a good faith outreach effort from the critical members of Congress who will be overseeing the VA’s efforts. It is aimed at ensuring there is an ongoing, positive dialogue between Congress and the VA throughout the process. This message was echoed during a recent subcommittee hearing I chaired about the VA’s implementation of its new electronic health record system.

 

With all of these reforms underway simultaneously, it is vital for VA to share information openly–even pre-decisional information–so that we can work together and have a common understanding of the impact of changes, including costs, and are able to assess challenges that may arise.

 

We share the common goal of VA’s success, and our hope is that early, frequent and fully transparent dialogs will allow the VA and Congress to jointly head off the kind of serious missteps we have seen in some recent implementation efforts. All of the changes being implemented require VA to be more open, transparent, complete and candid when engaging with Congress in the critical implementation stages of these programs.

 

Congress must be a full and true partner in the implementation of critical laws and initiatives. I believe that Secretary Wilkie agrees with us in that regard and will work hand-in-hand with us to ensure that the many positive changes Congress has passed into law for our veterans have the intended impact.

 

2-15-19 5:41 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

February 15, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The governor, legislators and private business groups joined to propose a highway program that would add $300 million a year in revenue for the state Transportation Department.

 

The plan also would add $110 million a year for cities and counties to maintain local roads.

 

The bulk of the revenue would come from extending permanently the current half-cent sales tax that is dedicated to highway projects. Arkansas voters approved the half-cent tax by a margin of 58 to 42 percent in a 2012 statewide election. It went into effect in 2013 and is scheduled to expire in 2023.

 

The governor’s highway proposal would allow voters to decide whether to extend the tax permanently. If voters approve the proposal to extend it, the half-cent tax would produce about $206 million a year. That amount would be divided according to the traditional “70-15-15” split of highway money in Arkansas, meaning that the state gets 70 percent while cities and counties each get 15 percent.

 

The highway proposal includes another $58 million a year from an increase on gasoline and diesel fuel taxes at the wholesale level. The increase would raise the motor fuel tax on gasoline from 21.5 to 24.5 cents a gallon. On diesel, the increase would be from 22.5 to 28.5 cents a gallon. Those are state motor fuel taxes. Motorists also pay federal motor fuel taxes.

 

The president of the Arkansas Trucking Association was at the presentation of the highway program, which the trucking group supports.

The plan calls for raising almost $2 million from higher registration fees on electric and hybrid vehicles.

 

The state reported that 802 electric vehicles were registered in January. They would pay an additional $200 in fees. In January 18,777 hybrids were registered and they would pay an additional $100.

 

The final piece of the revenue plan is to dedicate $35 million in casino taxes to highway projects. Last November, Arkansas voters approved the opening of four casinos.

 

A competing highway proposal is House Bill 1260, which would transfer funds from the state’s general account to highways when revenue from sales taxes exceed $2.5 billion. It also would add a new wholesale tax on gas and diesel. The bill is in a House committee.

 

By the deadline for filing proposed constitutional amendments, 46 measures had been submitted by legislators. In each regular session the legislature can refer up to three proposed amendments to voters. Those referred during the 2019 session will be on the general election ballot in November of 2020.

 

Several proposed amendments would change the process by which citizens’ groups can re-write the Constitution by circulating petitions, gathering signatures and getting their measures placed on statewide ballots.

 

One proposal would repeal fiscal sessions of the legislature, which are held in even-numbered years. The first fiscal session was in 2010, before which the legislature met in regular session every two years.

 

Another measure would allow the legislature to limit punitive damages in civil lawsuits, as well as non-economic damages such as damages for pain and suffering.

 

Several of the proposed amendments are “shells,” meaning that their general topic is listed but the details must be added later.

 

2-15-19 5:16 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments February 11th - 14th

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. Dennis Howard, W/M, age 46, Count I: Delivery Of Methamphetamine Or Cocaine. The State of Arkansas herby notifies the defendant that it intends to pursue enhanced penalties pursuant to Arkansas Code 5-4-501 due to the fact that he has been convicted of more than one (1) felony but fewer than four (4) felonies. 

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Dennis W. Howard, W/M, age 46, Count I: Delivery Of Methamphetamine Or Cocaine. Count II: Delivery Of Methamphetamine or Cocaine. 

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Wendy Strother, W/F, age 49, Count I: Battery In The First Degree. Count II: Hindering Apprehension Or Prosecution. Count III: Endangering The Welfare Of A Minor In The First Degree. 

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Angel Lunsford, W/F, age 19, Count I: Battery In The First Degree. Count II: Hindering Apprehension Or Prosecution. Count III: Endangering The Welfare Of A Minor In The First Degree.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Prairie Strother (McBee), W/F, age 28, Count I: Battery In The First Degree. Count II: Hindering Apprehension Or Prosecution. Count III: Endangering The Welfare Of A Minor In The First Degree. 

 

2-14-19 9:32 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Fishing Report

Weekly Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 13, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

2-13-19 2:04 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For February 4th - 10th

 SHERIFF’S LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of February 4, 2019 – February 10, 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.


February 4, 2019
No reports were filed.


February 5, 2019
Report of a suspicious vehicle on Polk 74 near Acorn led to the arrest of Hannah L. White, 36, of Russellville, on Charges of Residential Burglary, Theft of Property, Criminal Mischief 1st Degree and Furnishing Prohibited Articles.  Also arrested was Dallas C. Pettigrew, 26, of Horatio, on Charges of Residential Burglary, Theft of Property and Criminal Mischief 1st Degree.


Report from a Gillham man of problems with his 12-year-old grandson.  Deputies responded.


Report from complainant on Gardenia Lane near Potter of the fraudulent use of a debit card, totaling losses at $158.31. 


Report of a disturbance on Cedar Lane in Hatfield led to the arrest of Kristian D. Taylor, 31, of Hatfield, on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.


Report from complainant on Polk 48 near Potter of unauthorized persons on their property led to the arrest of David M. Fraser, 30, of Mena, and Jade A. Buck, 31, of Hatfield, each on a Charge of Criminal Trespass.  Additional information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


Report of a disturbance on Horseshoe Lane near Potter.  Deputies responded.  Investigation continues.


Arrested was Jamie R. Arce, 35, of Mena, on a Warrant for Unauthorized Entry of a School Bus.


Report from complainant on Polk 166 near Potter of the discovery of two briefcases and personal documents.  Investigation determined that the items were taken from Sevier County, and were returned to the owner.


February 6, 2019
Report from complainant on Race Lane near Mena of an attempted scam regarding the sell of a vehicle.


Report from complainant on Polk 18 near Cove of an attempted scam regarding a personal computer.


February 7, 2019
Report of an abandoned vehicle in the ditch on Polk 37 near Potter.  Deputy responded.


Report from complainant on Cedar Lane in Hatfield of the violation of an Order of Protection.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


Report of a structure fire on Polk 22 near Cove.  Deputies responded.


February 8, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 36 near Hatfield of their dog being attacked by another dog.  Investigation continues.


February 9, 2019
Report from complainant on Sweet Baboo Lane near Hatfield of the unauthorized use of a vehicle.  The vehicle was later located.  Complainant refused to press charges.


Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Aaron M. Tash, 32, of Mena, on Charges of DWI, Driving Left of Center and Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License.


February 10, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 168 near Potter of the break-in and theft of a tv, firearm, cigars and alcohol, all valued at $520.00.  Investigation continues.


Arrested was Jack A. Curry, 39, of Hatfield, on four Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

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

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 25 Incarcerated Inmates, with 4 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00106

 

2-11-19 5:11 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Body of 71 Year Old Woman Recovered From Prairie Creek In Mena Monday

The following was released this afternoon by Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer.

 

"On Monday, 2/11/19, at approximately 10:40 am, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a one vehicle accident on Hwy 375 East, just outside Mena.  The vehicle, a 2007 Chrysler Town & Country mini-van, left the roadway and went into Prairie Creek.  The van traveled approximately 60 yards down the flooded creek before coming to a rest in the middle of the creek.

Upon arrival, Sheriff’s Department personnel checked the vehicle and were unable to locate a driver.  The Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Polk County OES, Southwest Ambulance Service, and several area fire departments began an extensive ground search.

At approximately 2:00 pm searchers recovered the body of a 71-year-old white female.  The body was recovered from Prairie Creek .55 miles east of Hwy 375 East.  The body was identified as the registered owner of the Chrysler mini-van."

 

2-11-19 4:53 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Department Report for February 3rd - 9th

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of February 3, 2019 - February 9, 2019 

 

February 3, 2019

 

A Mena woman reported that she is being harassed and threatened by her estranged boyfriend. Case is pending.

 

Employees at a local convenience store reported a gas skip. Case pending.

 

Lauren C. Nance, 27, of Mena was charged with DWI, failure to signal, and having no proof of insurance. The arrest followed a routine traffic stop.

 

February 4, 2019

 

Employees at a local retail store reported a shoplifter. Case is pending review of surveillance tapes and location and interview of suspect.

 

Ethan R. Thrash, 20, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. He was additionally served two outstanding warrants from the Mena Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s office.

 

February 5, 2019

 

Carlos Gonzalez, 61, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine or cocaine, driving on a suspended driver’s license, having no vehicle tags, and having no insurance. The arrest followed a traffic stop.

 

Chelsea Edwards, 19, of Mena was charged with public intoxication after officers responded to a disturbance at a local residence.

 

Kountry King, 23, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine or cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and obstruction of governmental operations following a traffic stop.

 

Terry Bryan, 36, of Mena was served an outstanding body attachment warrant for failure to pay child support. The arrest followed a traffic stop.

 

February 6, 2019

 

John Hollis, 22, of Mena was charged with possession of a controlled substance after a traffic stop.

 

February 7, 2019

 

A Mena woman reported that she is being harassed by an acquaintance. Case is pending further investigation.

 

February 8 & 9, 2019

 

Employees at a local retail store reported that two people had been shoplifting from the business. Case is pending review of surveillance tapes and location and interview of suspects.

 

2-11-19 9:41 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Waltons TV Show Has Mena and Polk County Roots

 
 
The Waltons’ Arkansas Connection
Craig Ogilvie

 

Although he didn’t know it at the time, Earl Hamner Jr. Was crafting the story of an iconic American family while typing away in a small cabin near Rich Mountain, in western Arkansas, during the summer of 1949.

That family was the Waltons of the popular television show of the same name that ran for nine seasons on the CBS network during the 1970s. The basis of that show was “Spencer’s Mountain,” which was one of the books Hamner began writing in Arkansas.

“I was working on two novels at the same time,” Hamner said in an interview from his Virginia home. “I was also writing a book called ‘Fifty Roads to Town.’ When I got bogged down with one, I would switch and work on the other.” 

Just like his character, John Boy Walton, in the television series, Hamner had dreamed of becoming a writer since his boyhood in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. But World War II interrupted his college days at the University of Richmond, and he was further sidetracked after the war when he took a radio scriptwriter’s job in Cincinnati.
Earl Hamner, Jr. and Richard Thomas

“After two years of working at the radio station and saving all the money I could, I realized that if I was ever going to write a novel, the time had come,” Hamner recalled. “I found a list of secluded retreats in Writer’s Digest magazine, and I picked the one in Arkansas because it was among the more affordable places listed.”

A Rich Mountain retreat 

Hamner resigned his job at WLW Radio in the early spring of 1949. The station replaced him with another young writer named Rod Serling, who went on to become famous as the host of the “Twilight Zone” television series. Serling and Hamner became lifelong friends, but Serling always said that Hamner gave him his first job as a writer.

With a duffel bag in one hand and a well-used typewriter in the other, Hamner departed Cincinnati via train but traveled the last the last leg of the trip by bus.

“I had heard of Mena before because the famous radio comedians ‘Lum and Abner’ called it home,” he said.
 
Mena natives Chet Lauck (Lum) and Norris "Tuffy" Goff (Abner)

After checking into Mena’s downtown Antler’s Hotel (which he found delightful), Hamner waited for B.D. Caverley, the owner of his rented cabin, to pick him up the following morning. She was a transplanted Texan who also lived on the north face of Rich Mountain, about a half of a mile from the rental.

“She came and got me and we drove a few miles until she stopped along the road,” Hamner recalled. “Then she said, ‘We walk from here.’” 

The two walked up a path across some railroad tracks, crossed a creek on a log and hiked up another path until they eventually came upon the small, stone cottage that Hamner had read about back in Cincinnati.

“I was told that the cabin had been built and first occupied by an artist, and it was ideal for a writer wanting to get away from everything,” he said, adding that the fact that it had no modern conveniences, like running water, was not a major problem for a young man from the mountains of Virginia.

“As primitive as my cottage was, it provided a perfect atmosphere in which to write,” Hamner said. “I had no human visitors. Occasionally a deer would wander across the property or a cottontail would hop by going about its business. There was no telephone, no radio and the only sounds were the songs from a variety of birds that came and went.” 

A friendly place 

The community of Rich Mountain was nearby and he sometimes walked to other towns and places for social contact and to purchase supplies. His nearest neighbors were the Call family, whom he remembers as a friendly and generous couple with lots of children.

“The folks that I met in western Arkansas were very like the mountain people back home in Virginia,” Hamner said. “Perhaps it was because so many Arkansas natives have their family roots in my home state. I found that Arkansas people are hardworking, kind and hospitable.” 

While exploring the countryside near his cabin, Hamner also discovered the ruins of the original Queen Wilhelmina Lodge, built in 1896 and allowed to fall into disrepair by the 1920s. He was happy to learn that the lodge has been rebuilt on a much grander scale and is now an important part of the Arkansas State Parks system. (Note: The lodge is presently closed for renovation until early 2014.)

“I never liked being alone for very long,” Hamner said. “After a few weeks of writing, cabin fever hit me. I needed to go somewhere that had people.” 

The budding novelist caught a ride into Mena and purchased a round-trip bus ticket to Hot Springs. “It was a thriving resort town then, as I am sure it remains today,” he said.“There was lots of entertainment available, but I could not afford some of the admissions at the time. However, I truly enjoyed my weekend in Hot Springs.”

The dream comes true 

At the end of the summer, Hamner received a letter from home with news that his sister was getting married. Knowing that he must place family first, Hamner packed and left his “writer’s retreat” behind in Arkansas.

Hamner wanted to return to Arkansas after the wedding in Virginia, but he didn’t have the money to travel. With $2 in his pocket, he accepted a free ride to New York with a family that had attended the wedding. Hamner first worked at Macy’s Department Store, but soon landed a job as a writer for NBC. From there, he wrote for some of the biggest TV shows of the 1950s, known as the “Golden Age of Television.” He worked on the novels only when time permitted.

“Fifty Roads to Town,” the other novel Hamner worked on in Arkansas, was published in 1953. “Spencer’s Mountain” was published in 1961 after Hamner had married Jane Martin, started a family and moved to Hollywood. It was made into a major motion picture, starring Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara. “The Homecoming” was a sequel to “Spencer’s Mountain,” but the name of the family had to be changed because Warner Brothers Studio owned the rights to the Spencer title. So, the Spencers became the Waltons.

Return to Arkansas 

Fifty-seven years after he left Rich Mountain, Hamner returned for a visit. After speaking at a writer’s conference in Tulsa in September 2006, Hamner rented a car and drove back to find the cabin on Rich Mountain. After visiting with locals at a restaurant, he discovered that the cottage had been enlarged and was now a private home. He got directions and drove up to see it.

“No walking across a log this time,” he said, adding that “it gives me an odd feeling to remember that somewhere amongst all the trees, I spent a memorable summer and actually got some work done.” 
 
Earl Hamner, Jr.

Craig Ogilvie is a freelance writer based in Batesville.

THE REAL JOHN BOY 

Earl Hamner Jr. Was born on July 10, 1923, in Schuyler, Va., a Blue Ridge Mountain community established by a soapstone factory that turned out a variety of materials, including sinks for chemical laboratories.Hamner’s father worked at the mill until it closed during the Great Depression. The Hamner family home, which had belonged to the stone company, was purchased for $500.

The little town of Schuyler has always embraced “The Waltons” and its famous native son. In 1992, the Walton’s Mountain Museum opened in the school that Hamner attended during his youth.Hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world have toured the facility and viewed the actual home of the real “John Boy.” 

After decades of awards for his work, including an Emmy and the national George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in journalism, Hamner received the Literary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia in 2011.
 
Earl Hamner Jr.’s book, “Spencer’s Mountain.”
 
 

Earl Hamner with the cast of The Waltons

 
This article originally appeared in the November 2013 Arkansas Living magazine and is being republished here as a courtesy of that publication. Hamner died March 24, 2016 at the age of 92.
 
2-8-19 6:00 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, the House voted to raise teacher salaries, increase a tax credit, and increase fines for distracted driving in school zones.

 

HB1145, titled the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act, would raise the minimum teacher salary by $4,000 over the next 4 years.  The House voted 91-0 in favor the legislation.  The bill now heads to the Senate Education Committee.

 

The House also voted in favor of increasing the Homestead Property Tax Credit. HB1321 raises the credit from $350 to $375 a year.

 

In a vote of 89-7, the House voted in favor of HB1182. This bill makes it a primary offense to use a handheld wireless device in a school zone.

 

Other legislation passing the House this week include:

 

HB1006-This bill raises the penalty for passing a stopped school bus.  It raises the minimum fine to $500 and the maximum fine to $2,000.

 

HB1176-This bill allows the Department of Health to set standards and goals to create human breast milk banks & depositories in Arkansas.

 

HB1246-This bill changes the date for run-off elections of county and municipal offices.  Currently, run-off elections are held three weeks following the date of the general election. This extends it to four weeks after the general election.

 

HB1225-This bill requires the Department of Human Services to post all the regulations and necessary information to start a child care facility in one central location on the agency’s website. This creates a one stop shop online in hopes of opening more childcare facilities in the state.

 

HB1128-This bill allows the Governor to call the Arkansas National Guard into active service to address cybersecurity threats. 

 

HB1296-This bill prohibits an occupational licensing board from revoking licenses specifically for a defaulted or delinquent student loan.

 

HB1249-This bill allows the Department of Community Correction to donate the former site of the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center in Pine Bluff to a non-profit organization helping veterans.

 

According to testimony, there are currently 1,200 veterans serving a sentence in the Department of Correction.  This new facility would help veterans re-enter society after their sentence is served.  The non-profit group says it will also assist homeless veterans, those with substance abuse issues, and those coming home from war zones.  


In the upcoming week, we expect to address the Governor’s tax cut proposal and hear more proposals regarding highway funding. 

 

We are also approaching the deadline to file proposed Constitutional Amendments. That deadline is February 13.

 

We will continue to keep you updated.  You can watch all committees and House floor proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

2-8-19 5:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Early Bills from the 92nd General Assembly

 
LITTLE ROCK – The 92nd General Assembly has been in session for four weeks, and legislators have sent more than 40 bills for me to sign.
 
Among them are bills requiring testing of newborns for a genetic disorder and cutting in half the fee for a concealed carry permit. I hope to soon have a bill to raise the starting salary for Arkansas school teachers, which is one of my priorities.
 
The job of filing and passing a bill doesn’t start the day that the General Assembly convenes. It’s often a complicated process that begins weeks or even months before the legislature opens. 
 
The sponsors must do the research and build a foundation that shows the need for the bill. They learn how other states have handled the issue. They consult constitutional experts and experts in the field that the law would address. Once they have written the bill, they have to build support for the law. 
The moment that I sign a bill into law represents the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people.
 
The bill that Representative Julie Mayberry sponsored is a life-saving bill that requires hospitals to test newborns for a degenerative disease that often is fatal. Until recently, hospitals didn’t test for spinal muscular atrophy because there was no treatment for it. But two years ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved a treatment, which is a drug that has saved the life of every child who has received the treatment before the symptoms appear. This bill requires hospitals to test the newborns so we know if the treatment should be administered to them. The bill requires insurance companies to pay for the test. I have signed this bill into law. 
 
One of the bills I supported over the past year was one that would increase the starting salary for school teachers to $36,000 over the next four years. This would put Arkansas as leading our region in terms of beginning pay, and it will make it easier to recruit and retain teachers. The House approved the bill this week, and it should be on my desk in the near future.
 
Another bill that came to my desk this week cuts the fee for a concealed carry license from $100 down to $50; it also cuts the renewal fee from $35 down to $25. And so, yes, it is possible to reduce the burden of taxes and fees on our citizens.
 
I am a strong believer in giving people a second chance in life. I signed a bill that simplifies the process for a person who is leaving prison to obtain a driver’s license. Everything we can do to help a person re-enter society reduces the risk that he will return to prison.
 
I am still waiting to sign one of the most important bills of the session. That is the bill that would implement my 5.9 tax reduction plan, which will reduce the top income tax rate in Arkansas from 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent for individual filers.
 
This is important for our economic future. Our tax rate is higher than all our neighboring states, and that is another factor that a CEO considers when a company is scouting for a place to expand. The Senate approved the bill on Wednesday and passed it to the House. I am hopeful that our state representatives will pass the bill and send it to me to sign.
 
A lot is going on at the State Capitol, and I hope you are expressing your views. What happens here makes a difference.
 
2-8-19 5:17 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

There is More That Unites Us Than Divides Us

 

The State of the Union address is an important message delivered by the president that serves as a reminder of what we’ve achieved, the challenges we currently face and what remains to be accomplished to ensure future Americans will enjoy the same peace and prosperity we do today.

 

For the first time in Donald Trump’s presidency, he delivered a State of the Union address to a divided Congress. His message was clear – there is more that unites us than divides us. He challenged lawmakers to work together to accomplish great things for the American people rather than put the interests of political parties ahead of that goal. Viewers widely agreed with this vision. According to polling by CBS News, 76 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the president’s remarks and his call for bipartisanship.

 

Last Congress, we were able to find common ground in a number of areas. We had bipartisan support to improve veterans’ health care, upgrade our nation’s water infrastructure, provide certainty for farmers and ranchers with a new farm bill and deliver treatment and prevention methods for individuals and families struggling with opioid addiction. I am hopeful that this spirit of cooperation can continue.

 

In his speech, the president explained the need to secure our southern border and urged Congress to work toward this goal so we can stop illegal immigration, human trafficking and the flow of drugs into our country. Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane attended the State of the Union as my guest. He is on the frontlines for education, treatment and prevention of the opioid epidemic in our state. Director Lane insists that border security is a key factor in this battle. I support the president’s request for increased funding to enhance border protection.

 

I am encouraged by the president’s commitment to improve our crumbling roads and bridges. His desire to work with Congress to invest in vital national infrastructure projects is important as my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have been eager to approve infrastructure funding. Investing in transportation infrastructure will save money in the long-term, create immediate jobs and produce decades of economic opportunity.

 

As the president mentioned in his address, his administration is leading efforts to lower healthcare and prescription drug costs. This has long been a goal of Congress. I’m also concerned about the costs associated with healthcare delivery and prescription drugs. We took an important step last year when Congress approved and the president signed into law the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act which will prevent health insurers and pharmaceutical companies from masking the lowest possible cost of prescription drugs. We can build on this foundation by increasing access to generic drugs and increasing competition to lower the cost of medications.

 

We have a great opportunity before us to pave a path for a prosperous future. President Trump described some great examples from our history as well as in more recent times and introduced us to Americans who rose to the occasion to defend the interests of our country in fighting against cruelty, advancing space exploration and overcoming adversity. Americans have long been familiar with challenges to our freedoms, but we have always shown we are capable of overcoming these obstacles. We can achieve anything if we work together.

 

2-8-19 5:10 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Water Main Break On Dallas Avenue, Street Closed In Mena

A water main break on Dallas Avenue in front of Dallas Avenue Baptist Church in Mena late Friday afternoon will cause at least a partial street closing while crews locate underground utilities and repair the leak. Mena Water Utilities manager Charles Pitman said that once the utilities are located and crews get started that it would take a couple of hours to repair. Pitman went on to say that for the public's safety, motorists should avoid the area. 

 

2-8-19 4:51 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Flags To Half Staff In Honor Of John Dingell

President Trump has ordered all flags at half-staff to honor former Michigan Congressman John Dingell, who died Thursday night at the age of 92.

 

Here's the Presidential Proclamation:

 

As a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding service of former Representative John David Dingell, Jr., of Michigan -- the longest-serving Member of Congress in our Nation's history -- I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, February 9, 2019. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half?staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

 

Donald Trump, President 

 

 

2-8-19 2:26 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

February 8, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature advanced a series of tax cuts, including the signature bill of this year’s session, to lower personal income taxes by about $97 million a year.

 

The Senate passed SB 211 to reduce income taxes for individuals in the middle and upper brackets of the tax tables.

 

The top marginal rate would drop from 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent over two years, and other rates would also go down in other brackets. In all, about 579,000 Arkansas taxpayers would benefit from the lower rates in SB 211.

 

After its approval by the Senate, the bill now goes to the House of Representatives.

 

The House passed HB 1321 to increase the homestead property tax credit from $350 to $375. The credits are paid each year on about 700,000 parcels of land.

 

According to revenue officials who spoke on the bill in committee, the fund from which the credits are paid is financially sound. The last time the credit was raised was in 2007, when the legislature passed Act 142 to raise it from $300 to $350.

 

The Senate approved SB 196 to provide tax incentives to businesses that invest in “Opportunity Zones,” which are designated to be in economic distress based on results of the U.S. Census. It now goes to the House.

 

There are 85 opportunity zones in Arkansas, and if a business moves in and stays for 10 years without re-locating, it will not have to pay taxes on any capital gains.

 

A bipartisan coalition of legislative leaders from both the Senate and the House presented a package of six ethics bills they will support. The coalition includes the President Pro Tem of the Senate, Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader and the Senate Minority Leader.

 

SB 249 would increase the maximum fines that the state Ethics Commission could impose for violations of ethics laws, from $2,000 to $3,500.

 

SB 256 would prohibit any state elected official from registering as a lobbyist in any jurisdiction.

 

SB 258 would increase the penalties for candidates found guilty of spending campaign funds for their personal use. If the amount of misspent campaign money is more than $2,500 the offense would be a felony.

 

SB 259 would prevent constitutional officers and lawmakers from forming more than one political action committee. The bill would include judges and members of the citizens commission that sets legislative salaries.

 

SB 260 would prohibit political action committees from making contributions to other political action committees.

 

SB 238 would prohibit an elected official from collecting retirement benefits if they are convicted of a felony arising out of their official actions.

 

A subcommittee of the Joint Budget Committee approved a proposal to increase the budget of the Ethics Commission so that it can hire two more employees, thus increasing its enforcement capabilities. It has nine employees now.

 

The Senate also approved SB 152 to make broad changes in how juvenile offenders are sentenced. It would require juvenile judges statewide to use the same risk assessment model. It would not allow judges to sentence juveniles to a lock-up for minor offenses unless they made a specific determination that the juvenile was a high or moderate risk.

 

2-8-19 9:14 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson Directs Transition of Arkansas National Guard Personnel from New Mexico Border to Texas

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has directed Adjutant General Mark Berry to move Arkansas National Guard personnel from New Mexico to Texas to assist with border security there.
 
“Our National Guard assets were deployed at my direction to assist in a multistate effort to secure our southwest border,” Governor Hutchinson said. “At this time, I have directed General Berry to shift those assets to Texas, where they have additional security needs and are requesting our assistance.”
 
Since May 2018, as many as eight Arkansas Guard personnel and two helicopters have been on mission at the southwest border in New Mexico at President Donald Trump’s request for state assistance. 
 
Earlier this week, New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham ordered the withdrawal of the New Mexico National Guard from border deployment and also directed that troops from other states return home immediately. “New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops,” Governor Grisham stated in a press release.
 
According to a report from Army Times, one week ago members of the state Guard’s contingent in one of the state’s LUH-72 Lakota helicopters “helped federal agents seize large sacks of marijuana and arrest four camouflage-clad men hiding in brush at night” along the border of New Mexico. The sacks contained nearly 136 pounds of marijuana.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2-7-19 3:35 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Fishing Report

 

Weekly Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 6, 2019. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email AGFCfishingreport@outlook.com with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news.

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

2-6-19 1:49 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments February 1st and 6th

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. Stephanie E. Thomas W/F, age 43, Count I: Possession of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" felony. Count II: possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Possession of A Controlled Substance, a Class "A" misdemeanor. The State of Arkansas notified the defendant that it intends to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact that she has been convicted of more than one (1) but fewer than four (4) felonies. 

 

State of Arkansas Vs. George Trivette W/M, age 27, Count I: Possession of Methamphetamine With The Purpose To deliver, a Class "C" Felony. Count II: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count III" Possession of A Controlled Substance, a Class "A" misdemeanor. Count IV: Theft By Receiving, a Class "D" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Carlos Gonzales H/M, age 62, Count I: Possession of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Driving With A Suspended License, an "Unclassified" Misdemeanor.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Dallas Pettigrew W/M, age 27, Count I: Residential Burglary, a Class "B" Felony. Count II: Theft of Property, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. 

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Kountry King W/M, age 24, Count I: Possession of A Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class"D" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Hannah White W/F, age 37, Count I: Residential Burglary, a Class "B" Felony. Count II: Theft of Property, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. The State of Arkansas notified the defendant that it intends to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact that she has been convicted of more than one (1) felony but fewer than four (4) felonies.

 

2-6-19 1:26 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For January 28th thru February 3rd

SHERIFF’S LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of January 28, 2019 – February 3, 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 28, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 77 near Mena of being harassed by an acquaintance.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Allen J. Qualls, 22, of Mt. Ida, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.


January 29, 2019
Arrested was Derrick P. Lester, 44, of Cove, on two Warrants for Failure to Appear.


January 30, 2019
Report from a Mena woman of a missing family member.  Investigation continues.


January 31, 2019
Report from complainant on Kodiak Lane near Mena of unauthorized persons on their property.  Deputy responded.
Arrested was Carrie E. Carter, 54, of Mena, on Warrants for Probation Violation and Violation of Suspended Imposition of Sentence.


February 1, 2019
Report from complainant on Butler Circle in Hatfield of the theft of a motorcycle.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Cardinal Lane near Mena that their dog had been attacked by another dog, owner unknown.
Arrested was Isiaha T. Sipe, 21, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.


February 2, 2019
Report from complainant on Kings Circle in Hatfield of the break-in and theft of tools, electronics, money and various items.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Ricky D. Miller, 57, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.


February 3, 2019
Report of a disturbance on Polk 87 near Ink.  Suspect fled before deputies arrived.  Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Traffic stop on Highway 71 South in Cove led to the arrest of Allen P. Loving, 54, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.
Report of a vehicle in the ditch on Polk 37 near Potter led to the arrest of Patrick M. Bushey, 55, of Mena, on a Charge of DWI.
Report from complainant on Polk 284 near Hatfield of the theft of a vehicle, valued at $2,000.00.  The vehicle was located and returned to the owner.  Additional information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Bobby E. Hedrick, 48, of Wickes, on a Warrant for Felony Failure to Appear.
Arrested was Jamie R. Arce, 35, of Mena, on a Warrant for Unauthorized Entry of a School Bus.
Arrested by an officer with Arkansas State Parks was Dustin L. McKinney, 34, of Fort Smith, on Charges of DWI, Speeding and Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License.
Arrested was Nora M. Taylor, 38, of Cove, on a Warrant for Violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law.
Arrested was Tammy L. Busby, 47, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

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

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 20 Incarcerated Inmates, with 3 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00089

 

2-5-19 1:38 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Department Report for January 27th - February 2nd

 

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of January 27, 2019 February 2, 2019 

 

January 27, 2019

 

Kelly Don Shreve, 50, of Mena was charged with fleeing in a vehicle, resisting arresting, careless driving, driving on a driver’s license suspended for DWI, having no liability insurance, and having no car tags.  The arrest followed a routine traffic stop.

 

Natalie Michelle Holliday, 25, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.  The arrest followed a traffic stop.

 

January 28, 2019

 

Kelly Christian, 48, of Mundelein, Illinois was charged disorderly conduct, obstructing governmental operations, and impairing operation of a vital facility after officers responded to a call at a local convenience store.

 

Nathan Brown, 37, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Mena Police Department.  Brown was detained by Malvern authorities and a local officer traveled there to bring him back to Polk County.

 

January 29 & 30, 2019

 

Report was taken of harassment.  No charges have been filed, and the suspect was advised to cease to bother the victim.

 

Employees at a local business reported someone had broken a window on their building.  Case is pending.

 

January 31, 2019

 

George Trivette, 26, of Mena was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine or cocaine, possession of schedule VI (marijuana), possession of drug paraphernalia, and theft by receiving. 

 

Stephanie E. Thompson, 42, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine or cocaine, possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

February 1 & 2, 2019

 

Tammy L. McCravens, 39, Shannon Franken, 42, and Deshay Tomblin, 23, all of Mena, were charged with disorderly conduct after officers were called to the parking lot of a local insurance agency.

 

Report was made of a Mena boy harassing a neighbor child.  No charges have been filed at this time.

 

2-4-19 10:27 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Howard County Crash Claims Life Of Wickes Resident, Four Others Injured

An early Sunday morning car accident in neighboring Howard County claimed the life of Wickes resident. 


According to the Arkansas State Police Report, the accident occurred at 4:43 a.m. Sunday on State Highway 84 north of Umpire, when a 2019 Chevrolet Traverse was traveling west and ran off the right side of the road, then corrected to the left side crossing both lanes of traffic, then overturned several times.
 
Howard County Coroner John Grey pronounced Rachel Rada Mae Norman, a passenger in the car, deceased at the scene at 6:10 a.m.
 
The driver was identified as 21 year old Chance Austen Manasco of Cove. Manasco was transported by ambulance to Mena Regional Health Systems in Mena.
 
There were also three minors in the car and they were transported to hospitals. 

Trooper Mason Glasgow investigated the accident. 
 
This was the 35th fatality in Arkansas this year. 
 
2-3-19 9:28 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

House members are now preparing for the fourth week of the 2019 Regular Session.  We are expecting to review and possibly vote on big issues such as tax cuts and teacher salaries.

 

The Governor’s tax cut proposal has now been filed.  This bill will start in the Senate.  SB211 would cut the state’s top individual income tax rate from 6.9% to 5.9%. The reduction would be phased-in over a two year period. 

 

Other tax cut proposals are expected to be filed.  The House Revenue and Taxation Committee will hear details of any tax proposal and vote on the matter before legislation goes to the House floor for a vote.

 

Meanwhile, the House Public Transportation Committee recently heard testimony on the needs for our state highway system.  The director of the Arkansas Department of Transportation told the committee that the agency maintains more than 16,000 miles of highway and more than 7,300 bridges.  Arkansas has the 12th largest highway system in the country.  However, our state comes in 42nd in highway revenue per mile. 

 

Various proposals addressing funding have been filed and more are expected. 

We have posted the presentation to the Transportation committee on our website.  The presentation breaks down how much additional revenue could be gained through various proposals such as increases in gasoline tax, registration fees, and extensions of existing sales tax.

 

Another big issue to be addressed in the 4th week of the session will be teacher salaries.

On Tuesday, the House Education Committee will take up HB1145.  This bill is titled the Teacher Salary Enhancement Act.  This legislation would raise the minimum starting teacher salaries from $31,400 to $36,000 over a four year period.  The minimum salary is adjusted based on the number of years of experience. 

 

The House State Agencies Committee continues to review government transformation legislation.  The proposals will ultimately consolidate 42 state agencies under the leadership of 15 separate departments.

 

We are posting daily updates at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

On the website you can also watch committee meetings and House floor proceedings.

 

2-2-19 12:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

To watch Senator Boozman's speech in the US Senate in support of the WEEE Act, click anywhere on this line.

 

For a Stronger Economy, Empower More of World’s Women

 

In our country’s recent past, we’ve seen just how much women bring to the table when it comes to the economy. Whether it’s starting their own businesses or joining companies of all sizes, their impact has been felt across every industry and reveals just how important their contributions are.

 

If we’ve recognized this reality in the United States it only makes sense to encourage other nations to learn from this example.

 

Women make up the majority of the world’s poor and are often held back by gender-specific constraints to economic empowerment such as lack of access to financial services and credit. In many corners of the world, cultural and historical barriers make it difficult for women to start businesses, build savings and make meaningful economic contributions.

 

Acknowledging these obstacles and understanding that the economy in countries where they exist, as well as in the increasingly interconnected global economy, is ultimately held back by women’s lack of access to vital economic tools and resources is what led Congress to take action.

 

I was joined by my colleague Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) in introducing the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act (WEEE Act) to provide an avenue to address economic opportunity inequality by tapping into the proven abilities of existing United States Agency for International Development (USAID) programs. USAID, which uses strategic investments to promote growth and development while advancing U.S. interests and influence, is perfectly situated to implement this initiative because it understands how to effectively deploy resources to – as its mission states – “lift lives, build communities and establish self-sufficiency.”

 

There was widespread agreement in Congress that our proposal was a smart, sensible approach to elevating women and enabling them to achieve their economic dreams and aspirations. Our bill passed the House and Senate in late 2018 and was signed into law last month.

 

The legislation also had support from key stakeholders, non-governmental organizations and the White House. Presidential advisor Ivanka Trump was a critical backer of the bill and helped ensure that it reached the finish line.

 

The WEEE Act will help the more than one billion women who are left out of the world’s formal financial system by expanding USAID’s microenterprise development assistance authority to include small and medium-sized enterprises with an emphasis on supporting those owned, managed and controlled by women. Additionally, it will modernize USAID’s development assistance toolkit to include innovative credit scoring models, financial technology, financial literacy, insurance and more to improve property and inheritance rights––all of which are vital in helping to overcome deep-rooted cultural and institutional hurdles that preclude women from accessing resources necessary for economic success.

 

I have complete confidence that USAID Administrator Mark Green and his team will implement our legislation in a way that will simultaneously work to the benefit of our international aid mission while also helping to uplift and empower women in countries all over the world to succeed in a way that has been just beyond their reach up until now.

 

All of those who worked on this bill shared an understanding that, because women in some parts of the world are pushed so far to the margins that they are denied access to even the most basic financial services – much less business loans –, leveling the playing field is the right thing to do. If we can achieve this goal the global economy stands to grow significantly. That is a good thing for women, their families and their communities.

 

2-1-19 5:47 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The 5.9 Tax Cut Plan

 
LITTLE ROCK – I announced the details of my 5.9 Tax Cut at a news conference this week, and a few hours later, Senator Jonathan Dismang filed Senate Bill 211, the first step in making the tax cut law. Representative Joe Jett is the lead sponsor on the House side.
 
This is the third phase of my three-part plan to reform Arkansas’s tax code. In 2015 and in 2017, I signed into law the two biggest income tax cuts in the state’s history.
 
This is important for several reasons. The most important reason is to allow Arkansans to keep more of the money we earn. This also is necessary because our tax rate is higher than many of our neighboring states. The state tax rate is one of the top considerations for a CEO who is looking to expand to another state.
 
Legislators, members of my staff, and financial experts at the Department of Finance and Administration spent uncounted hours over several weeks to produce this plan.
 
When a state cuts taxes, of course, that means that our economic growth must continue to absorb these tax cuts. I was determined that our tax cuts would not require us to spend less money on major programs such as prisons, public schools or the state’s health care system.
 
The idea behind this is simple. We don’t spend more money than we take in. We must carefully examine every department and agency to ensure we are spending our money wisely. My transformation plan to reduce the size of government is part of the big picture as well. As we manage government, we control government spending, which allows us to reduce taxes because our economy continues to grow.
 
My plan requires only two years to hit 5.9 percent. In 2020, the rate will drop to 6.6 percent, and in 2021, we will make the goal of dropping it to 5.9 percent. The cost to the state is $97 million, which is $100 million less than the cost of previous plans. And the plan will significantly flatten and simplify the state’s top income tax bracket.
 
I want to emphasize that under this plan, no one will pay more in income taxes. This plan, combined with the next reduction in the grocery tax, will allow more Arkansans to keep even more of their paycheck.
 
Since I took office in 2015, 90 percent of all Arkansas taxpayers have received a tax cut. Once we implement this tax cut, 100 percent of all Arkansas taxpayers will have benefited from a tax cut.
 
I am grateful for the work of the members of the legislative task force who helped produce this plan. I eagerly await the bill’s arrival on my desk so that I can sign it into law.
 
2-1-19 5:38 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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February Programs at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area

For more information about any of the following programs at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area, or the state park, call the park at (870) 385-2201.

 

Saturday, February 02

 

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Animals in Winter (1 hour) Why is winter hard for animals, and how do they cope?  A park interpreter will be your guide as we explore the winter survival strategies of a variety of animals.  Meeting Place:  Sandbar Picnic Area.

 

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Quick Frozen Critters (1 hour) Who are the Quick-Frozen Critters and what do they do?  Join a park interpreter for this intriguing, fun program about how you can become a frozen critter and outwit some sly predators. 

Meeting Place:  Visitor Center's Amphitheater.

 

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.   Bird Topo (1 hour) Topography is the description of the physical features

and their arrangement of a place or object. Meet a park interpreter as we discover a bird’s landscape and how it can help improve observational and identification skills in a fun activity. Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.

 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.   Migration Madness (1 hour) Many types of birds that call the Cossatot River home during the summer migrate south for the winter. Join a park interpreter to learn why the birds make this journey and experience some of the challenges that they may face. Meeting Place: Sandbar Picnic Area.

 

Sunday, February 03

 

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Secrets of Cossatot River’s Forest (1 hour) Have you ever wondered what secrets lie within a forest?  Meet a park interpreter as we uncover some of the hidden secrets within Cossatot River’s Forest that affect everything: water quality, plants, wildlife, soil, and you!  Be prepared to have fun. Meeting Place: Visitor Center.

 

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.   Feed the Critters (1 hour) It’s dinner time and the critters are hungry!  Come and watch them eat and learn about the animals here at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area. Meeting Place: Visitor Center.

 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.   Fly Away or Stay? (1 hour) What makes some birds migrate and others stay where they are all year? Fly on over to meet a park interpreter to find out. Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.

 

Saturday, February 09

 

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  How to Draw Birds (1 hour) Are you up for a challenge and some fun?  Join a park interpreter as you learn to draw unique birds found here in the park. Drawing is a wonderful way to help us look more carefully at nature. Materials will be provided. Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.

 

 

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. I Hear Voices (1 hour) Birds can be heard calling all hours of the day and each bird makes a unique sound. Join a park interpreter to learn about the birds that you can hear calling in Cossatot River State Park. We will hike on the Waterleaf Trail, so please bring water and wear appropriate clothing and shoes. Meeting Place: Visitor Center.

 

 

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.   Bats Alive! (1 hour) The diverse habitats surrounding the Cossatot River host a wide variety of these winged creatures of the night. Here is your chance to find out. Meet a park interpreter to discover more about these fascinating, beneficial, and often misunderstood mammals. Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.

 

 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.   Bundle Up! (1 hour) It is getting cold outside and it is the time of year for us to break out our coats and make hot cocoa to stay warm.  Join a park interpreter to learn about the animals that live here and how they stay warm to survive the winter. Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre.

 

Sunday, February 10

 

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Tracks, Scats, and Signs (1 hour) There are many wild animals in fields, and forests and ponds.  Some of them are easy to see; but a lot of them are hard to find.  Wild animals leave clues everywhere they go.  Join a park interpreter as we look for some signs and identify which animal(s) have been in the area. Meeting Place: Cossatot Falls Parking Lot.

 

 

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.   Feed the Critters (1 hour) It’s dinner time and the critters are hungry!  Come and watch them eat and learn about the animals here at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area. Meeting Place: Visitor Center.

 

 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.   Plant to Pantry (1 hour) The Grist Mills used in communities surrounding Cossatot River State Park- Natural Area provided food to Arkansans by taking grains from the plant to the pantry. Join a park interpreter to see a grist mill and learn how it operates. Meeting Place: Visitor Center.

 

Saturday, February 16

 

Constellation Programming— Between Starlab show times there will be an area where there will be crafts and stations to learn more about constellations and the vast universe. Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.

 

Diamonds in the Sky (45 minute/program) Twinkle, twinkle, little star; how I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high; like a diamond in the sky. If you like music and stories, then this program is for you.  Head on over to Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area; as park interpreters share the stories and songs through the Starlab and constellation programming.  There will be a lunch break from 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. If you would like, you are welcome to bring your own and have a picnic in the park.

 

Starlab programs will begin at the following times:

 

9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.

 

Sunday, February 17

 

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Bird Wreath (1 hour) Oh, the weather outside is frightful but the birds are so delightful; And since we’ve no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.  Since it is winter time why not help our delightful birds out by creating a beautiful bird wreath for them this winter?  Join a park interpreter to make bird wreaths for our wintering birds.  Hope to see you there. Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.

 

 

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.   Feed the Critters (1 hour) It’s dinner time and the critters are hungry!  Come and watch them eat and learn about the animals here at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area. Meeting Place: Visitor Center.

 

 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.   A World in a Drop of Water (1 hour) We are about to peek into a very different world—a world that was discovered about three hundred years ago by a Dutchman.  A world where tiny amazing creatures flourish.  A park interpreter will guide you as we explore this fascinating world in a hands-on lab. Meeting Place: Visitor Center’s Legacy Room.

 

Saturday, February 23

 

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Designed to Conceal (1 hour) Many creatures are shaped or colored to blend into their surroundings, and these different designs of camouflage are used in many different ways.  Join a park interpreter to play a fun game and find out how camouflage helps animals in Cossatot River State Park- Natural Area survive. Meeting Place:  Visitor Center’s Amphitheatre.

 

 

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.   Afternoon Birding (1 hour, 30 minutes) Birding is easy once you have the three B’s: binoculars, a birding book and birds. Enjoy an afternoon stroll with a park interpreter along the River Corridor Trail.  Feel free to bring binoculars; who knows what we will see or stir up. Meeting Place: Cossatot Falls Parking Lot.

 

 

Sunday, February 24

 

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Constellation Exploration (1 hour) Constellations drew pictures for storytelling in both the past and the present at Cossatot River State Park. Join a park interpreter to learn about the constellations you may see in the park and create your own constellation and story. Meeting Place: Sandbar Picnic Area.

 

 

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.   Feed the Critters (1 hour) It’s dinner time and the critters are hungry!  Come and watch them eat and learn about the animals here at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area. Meeting Place: Visitor Center.

 

 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.   Wildflower Walk (1 hour) Come to the Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area and enjoy the beauty of spring wildflowers with a park interpreter.  Many of these wildflowers are unique to the area, occurring only in the Ouachita Mountains.  We will be hiking 2 miles of the scenic Harris Creek Trail. A video is also available upon request. Meeting Place: Low Water Bridge Below Visitor Center.

 

2-1-19 3:57 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Prescribed Burns Begin On Ouachita And Ozark-St. Francis National Forests

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — The Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests will be conducting prescribed burns in Arkansas and Oklahoma over the next several months.

 

The purposes of these burns are to reestablish fire’s natural role in the forest ecosystem, improve forest health, and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires.  Prescribed burns are conducted when the conditions indicate that there will be minimal impact to the public.

 

Persons with smoke sensitivities, who are not on the Forest Service’s prescribed burn notification list, should contact their nearest ranger district to be added.

 

 

Many conditions must be met before a prescribed fire can be ignited.  The day chosen must be a combination of the correct humidity, wind speed and direction, temperature, fuel moisture, and atmospheric conditions.  Factoring in all these requirements limits the number of days in which a prescribed fire can take place.

 

The Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests will notify local media outlets on days when prescribed fires are scheduled in their area.  Daily updates on prescribed fires across the forests can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/ouachita or www.fs.usda.gov/osfnf or by calling 1-888-243-1042.

 

The public is asked if they see any unattended wildfires in their area to call fire dispatch at (501) 321-5232 or 911.

 

 

For more information, please call your local district office, or the Ouachita National Forest Supervisor's Office at (501) 321-5202 or the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests Supervisor’s Office at (479) 964-7200.

 

2-1-19 3:37 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

February 1, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The governor and legislators presented the details of the signature issue of this year’s session, a reduction in personal income taxes.

The proposal would lower the top marginal rate from 6.9 percent to 6.6 percent the first year, which would be calendar year 2020. Then the rate would drop to 5.9 percent, beginning in 2021.

 

The governor assured legislators that no one would pay more income tax due to being bumped into a higher bracket.

When fully in place, the reduction would save Arkansas taxpayers about $97 million a year. The top rate in Arkansas would be lower than in Louisiana, South Carolina and Georgia and equal to the top rate in Missouri.

 

The tax cut reduction is in Senate Bill 211, which will go first to the Senate Committee on Revenue and Taxation for review by committee members and for public comment.

 

SB 211 is the culmination of two years of work that began soon after the General Assembly adjourned the 2017 regular session. One goal of SB 211 is to provide tax relief to the taxpayers who were not included in the major tax cuts enacted by the legislature in 2015 and 2017.

 

The legislature lowered taxes for middle-income families in 2015, saving them about $100 million a year. The legislature next focused on low-income families, who saved about $50 million a year from tax cuts enacted in 2017.

 

Also, the Senate approved SB 17 to reduce the fee for a permit to carry a concealed handgun. It would lower the current fee of $100 to $50, and for applicants who are aged 65 or older the fee would drop from $50 to $25.

 

The House Judiciary Committee gave SB 17 a do-pass recommendation, so the next step is a vote in the entire House.

 

The Senate approved SB 153 to establish more rigorous reading and literacy standards. Schools would have to include scientific reading methods in a literacy plan, which would have to be included in their annual school improvement plans.

 

The goal is to train and equip teachers with the materials necessary to bring up literacy rates. One method would be to more efficiently diagnose students who have dyslexia, and then to re-structure their reading classes accordingly. On standardized tests, only 38 percent of Arkansas third graders score at “ready” or “exceeding” in reading.

 

The Senate approved Senate Joint Resolution 3 calling for Congress to call a constitutional convention, which could consider amendments to establish fiscal restraints on the federal government and limits on terms of members of Congress.

 

Firefighters have an interest in a couple of bills that have been introduced. House Bill 1299 would provide firefighters with a year of paid sick leave if they are diagnosed with certain types of cancer. It was referred to the House Committee on City, County and Local Affairs.

 

The bill adds “cancer leave," to the types of leave that a firefighter with five years’ experience can receive. It lists types of cancer that firefighters are more likely to get, compared to the general population, because of repeated exposure to hazardous substances and carcinogens.

 

SB 168, which was endorsed in committee and brought to the entire Senate, would add fire stations to the Arkansas Safe Haven law. It lists locations such as police departments and hospitals as places where people can leave newborn infants without risking prosecution for child endangerment.

 

2-1-19 3:33 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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