KAWX News Archives for 2019-03

Sales and Road Improvement Tax Collections Up For Polk County

Polk County Treasurer Tanya K. Fretz has released the latest Sales Tax Comparison Report.
 

Polk County Sales Tax General and Road Improvement Sales Tax receipts for March 2019 (collected in February 2019) were up. Both taxes are 1% and were $115,739, an increase of $1,617 for each compared to the same month in 2018.

 
To date in 2019 the taxes have each amounted to $384,850 or combined $769,700, which is an increase of $5,131 each or combined $10,306.
 
The increased receipts suggest higher local retail sales.
 
3-23-19 11:57 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address-New Tourism Designations for Arkansas Roads

 
LITTLE ROCK – We have successfully tackled some tough issues in the 92nd General Assembly, but not everything I sign is as serious as a highway-funding bill, raising teacher pay, or reducing the state’s top income-tax rate.
 
Both of the bills I want to discuss today involve highways and tourism.
 
The first bill, House Bill 1414, designates the Camden Expedition Scenic Highway, and guides Civil War tourists through Southern and Central Arkansas connecting five battlefields and other Civil War historic sites, including the Confederate State Capitol Building in Historic Washington State Park in Hempstead County; the Elkins’ Ferry Battlefield in Clark and Nevada counties; Fort Lookout on Rogers Street in Camden, Ouachita County; Fort Southerland on Bradley Ferry Road in Camden; Jenkins’ Ferry Battleground State Park in Grant County; and the Poison Springs Battleground State Park in Ouachita County, among others.
 
This designation is important both for the preservation of Arkansas history and for attracting the Civil War enthusiasts who come to our state to see the sites. These sites create jobs, they produce local and state tax revenue, and they bring business to the local economies. Because we have preserved so many of our sites, we have given the Civil War tourists a reason to stay longer.
 
The second bill, House Bill 1628, renames the portion of Highway 22 between Dardanelle and Fort Smith as the True Grit Trail. This designation is in honor of the novel True Grit, which Charles Portis, one of our hometown authors, wrote. We had a special guest from out of town for this bill signing. The actor John Wayne starred as Rooster Cogburn in the original film version of True Grit in 1969. John Wayne’s grandson, John T. Wayne, lives in Paragould, Arkansas, and joined us in the conference room for the bill signing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
True Grit is one of my favorite novels, and I enjoyed both versions of the movie. I relate to the story because I spent a number of years as the U.S. Attorney in the Western District of Arkansas, the area where Rooster Cogburn upheld the law.
 
Tourist sites related to movies remain popular years after the movie has left the theaters. The True Grit Trail will prove as popular. The state is wise to mark and preserve this trail to attract fans of the book, the author, and the movies.
 
Tourism is Arkansas’s No. 2 industry. Every region of the state benefits from tourism — from the Delta Byways to the River Valley to the Great Southwest. Tourism provides more than 67,000 jobs in Arkansas.
 
Our preliminary reports show that more than 32 million tourists visited Arkansas in 2018 and spent more than $7 billion. That translates to $412 million in state revenue from travel spending and more than $162 million in local tax revenue.
 
From January to November of last year, Arkansas collected nearly $16 million through the 2 percent tax on lodging and attractions. The great thing is that the people who spent this money got a great view of Arkansas’s hospitality and left loving our state.
 
The numbers for last year are an increase over the previous year, 2017, and we have every reason to believe we will top those numbers in 2019.
The tourism tax revenue collected each year is reinvested into our tourism infrastructure to allow more people access to hiking trails, biking trails, state parks, and historical landmarks across the state.
 
Both the Camden Expedition Scenic Highway and the True Grit Trail are excellent additions to our booming tourism attractions.
 
3-22-19 8:47 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

The House is now in the final weeks of the 2019 Regular Session. In recent days, the House has passed legislation increasing education funding, legislation increasing sales tax exemptions on used cars, and legislation creating a first of its kind response team to child abductions. 

 

With a vote of 91-0, the House passed HB1685. This bill increases the foundation funding for K-12 education from the current $6,713 per student to $6,899 per student for the 2019-2020 school year.  The bill increases funding to $7,018 per student the following school year.

 

The House passed HB1342. This bill increases the amount below which sales tax is exempt on the purchase of used vehicles from $4,000 to $7,500. 

 

In a vote of 87-0, the House passed HB1674. This bill creates a statewide child abduction response team (CART).  It states that the following agencies shall collaborate in an effort to rescue abducted or endangered children:

 

·       Arkansas Attorney General

·       Department of Arkansas State Police

·       Criminal Justice Institute

·       Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission

·       Arkansas Sheriffs' Association

·       Arkansas Department of Emergency Management

·       Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police

·       Department of Community Correction

·       Office of the Prosecutor Coordinator.

 

If this legislation makes it to the Governor’s desk, Arkansas would be the first state in the nation to create this type of response team on a state level.

 

Other legislation passing the House this week includes:

 

HB1754-This bill seeks to address the recent overdose related deaths inside state prisons. In 2018, 22 inmates died in the Department of Correction as the result of illicit drugs. This bill states the delivery of a controlled substance from one inmate to another that results in the death of an inmate is a Class A felony and punishable by up to an additional 30 years in prison.

 

HB1433- This bill authorizes individuals with prior drug-related offenses to work with individuals receiving substance abuse treatment as peer support specialists or similar positions.

 

SB109- This bill ensures that battery in the first degree is a Class Y felony if the injured person is an employee of a correctional facility acting in the line of duty.  The offense is currently a Class Y felony if the victim is a law enforcement officer.

 

SB486- This bill authorizes a $5 increase for special permits to trout fish and lifetime trout stamps. The money will be used to make necessary renovations for hatcheries damaged by floods.  The trout industry in Arkansas generates an estimated $180 million in revenue every year.

 

HB1684-This bill ensures students receive in-state tuition at state supported institutions of higher education if he or she has resided in the state for the previous three years.

 

SB445-This bill states that the date of the primary election will be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March for years in which the office of President of the United States will appear on the ballot at the general election. The primary would continue to be held in May in gubernatorial election years. This bill would also move fiscal legislative sessions from February to April in presidential election years.


HB1792-This bill states that when an individual under sentence of death, whose execution date has been set by the Governor, believes that he or she is not competent to be executed, the individual may inform the Director of the Department of Correction in writing and shall provide any supporting evidence he or she wishes to be considered.  This bill directs the Director of the Department of Correction to consider any evidence offered by the individual in making a determination.

 

HB1867-This bill amends the requirements for a driver’s license or instruction permit by eliminating the requirement for school records for those under 18 years of age to take the written test.

 

SB381-This bill states that a school district authorizing the use of corporal punishment shall not use corporal punishment on a child who is intellectually disabled, non-ambulatory, non-verbal, or autistic.

 

To date, 550 bills have been signed into law during this session.  We will continue to update you during the remainder of the session.  You can watch all House proceedings on our website at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

3-22-19 5:18 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Celebrating a Century of American Legion Service

 

 

The American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, is celebrating its centennial. For the past 100 years the American Legion has been a leading advocate for veterans and their families. The Legion has played a role in crafting legislation, shaping policies, expanding services and creating generations of civic-minded Americans. I’m proud to commemorate its century of service.

 

Since its founding, Legionnaires have proudly worked to strengthen our country and our communities while upholding the promise our country made to those who have worn our nation’s uniform.

 

The Legion has helped fight for the creation of the U.S. Veterans Bureau in 1924, the forerunner of the Veterans Administration. Decades later, the organization was active in elevating it to cabinet-level status as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

During WWII, the American Legion drafted legislation that would become the G.I. Bill. Legionnaires were instrumental in securing passage of this landmark legislation that helped returning troops further their education, buy houses and start businesses. It also established hiring privileges for veterans.

 

The Legion continues its strong advocacy for improving these and other benefits. Its efforts were vital in the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the enhancement measure passed in 2017 which bears the name of former American Legion Commander Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act.

 

I am optimistic about the progress we will make on issues important to the veterans community because of the excellent and active work of the American Legion Department of Arkansas, which has more than ten thousand members in nearly 150 posts throughout the state.

 

I had the opportunity recently to visit American Legion posts in Harrison, Batesville and Jasper and join Legionnaires in celebrating this anniversary. In recognition of its century of service, I presented these posts with a flag flown over the United States Capitol and a copy of the speech I delivered on the Senate floor to mark this occasion. I look forward to visiting other posts throughout the year to recognize Legionnaires for their dedication to improving the lives of veterans and their families and promoting American values and serving others.

 

For 100 years, the American Legion has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of veterans and their families. In honor of the centennial, Congress approved minting commemorative coins to recognize this milestone. The coins went on sale earlier this month.

 

Proceeds from the sales will help support veterans in need and support mentoring programs such as Boys and Girls State. This program has helped influence generations of leaders, myself included.

 

As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have seen up close Legionnaires and the American Legion Auxiliary’s dedication and the results their efforts have produced in Arkansas and across our entire country.

 

I’m proud to recognize the American Legion on its 100 years of advocacy and celebrate this century of service with the two million members who are making a difference each day as Legionnaires.

 

The American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, is celebrating its centennial. For the past 100 years the American Legion has been a leading advocate for veterans and their families. The Legion has played a role in crafting legislation, shaping policies, expanding services and creating generations of civic-minded Americans. I’m proud to commemorate its century of service.

 

Since its founding, Legionnaires have proudly worked to strengthen our country and our communities while upholding the promise our country made to those who have worn our nation’s uniform.

 

The Legion has helped fight for the creation of the U.S. Veterans Bureau in 1924, the forerunner of the Veterans Administration. Decades later, the organization was active in elevating it to cabinet-level status as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

During WWII, the American Legion drafted legislation that would become the G.I. Bill. Legionnaires were instrumental in securing passage of this landmark legislation that helped returning troops further their education, buy houses and start businesses. It also established hiring privileges for veterans.

 

The Legion continues its strong advocacy for improving these and other benefits. Its efforts were vital in the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the enhancement measure passed in 2017 which bears the name of former American Legion Commander Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act.

 

I am optimistic about the progress we will make on issues important to the veterans community because of the excellent and active work of the American Legion Department of Arkansas, which has more than ten thousand members in nearly 150 posts throughout the state.

 

I had the opportunity recently to visit American Legion posts in Harrison, Batesville and Jasper and join Legionnaires in celebrating this anniversary. In recognition of its century of service, I presented these posts with a flag flown over the United States Capitol and a copy of the speech I delivered on the Senate floor to mark this milestone. I look forward to visiting other posts throughout the year to recognize Legionnaires for their dedication to improving the lives of veterans and their families and promoting American values and serving others.

 

For 100 years, the American Legion has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of veterans and their families. In honor of the centennial, Congress approved minting commemorative coins to recognize this milestone. The coins went on sale earlier this month.

 

Proceeds from the sales will help support veterans in need and support mentoring programs such as Boys and Girls State. This program has helped influence generations of leaders, myself included.

 

As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have seen up close Legionnaires and the American Legion Auxiliary’s dedication and the results their efforts have produced in Arkansas and across our entire country.

 

I’m proud to recognize the American Legion on its 100 years of advocacy and celebrate this century of service with the two million members who are making a difference each day as Legionnaires.

 

3-22-19 5:13 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

March 22, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The Senate has already approved several large tax cuts this session, and another one is on its agenda.

 

Senate Bill 576 will make far-reaching changes in the state corporate income tax code, to the extent that the Department of Finance and Administration will have to update its computers from now until 2024 in order to process them.

 

The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced the bill, which will be considered soon by the entire Senate.

 

By Fiscal Year 2023, when most of the bill’s provisions are fully in effect, they will save Arkansas businesses more than $57 million a year.

 

SB 576 extends a company’s ability to carry forward net operating losses. The longer carry forward period will gradually extend to 20 years. Now it is five years.

 

The bill changes how multi-state corporations calculate the Arkansas portion of their taxable income. Now, they use a formula based on sales, property and payroll. SB 576 changes the apportionment formula so that it considers only sales in Arkansas compared to sales everywhere else.

 

The bill also allows more favorable treatment of income when Arkansas firms sell products to other states, where the receiving state does not levy taxes on them. Half of those sales will be exempt in 2021 and all income from those sales will be exempt in 2022.

 

Much of the loss of revenue from the tax relief would be offset by collecting sales tax from remote sellers, which are Internet companies that have no physical presence in Arkansas.

 

The legislature has already enacted a $97 million income tax cut that lowers the top marginal rate.

 

About 579,000 taxpayers with income of more than $38,200 will have lower taxes.

 

The Senate has passed SB 447 to increase the homestead property tax credit from $350 to $375, and the bill is awaiting action in House committee.

 

By the thinnest of margins, the Senate approved SB 571 to set up an earned income tax credit for people with low incomes, and to reduce the income tax rate for low income taxpayers. It also increase the standard deduction by $1,100, which helps anyone who claims it.

 

The Senate passed SB 571 by a vote of 18-to-14. In the 35-member Senate, 18 votes were necessary for passage. The bill has yet to be considered by the House of Representatives.

 

The lost revenue would be offset by increases in taxes on cigarettes and vaping. The bill’s sponsors say that revenue from tobacco taxes is much less than the cost to the state for treating Medicaid patients with tobacco-related illnesses. The gap is $500 million a year.

 

The House passed HB1342 to raise the threshold for exempting purchases of used cars from the sales tax. It’s now $4,000 and the bill would raise exempt sales of used cars up to $7,500.

 

The bill also exempts sales of used trailers if they cost less than $4,000. About 38,000 additional used vehicles would become exempt if the bill passes.

 

Both chambers have passed HB 1564 to modernize 911 call systems. Funding will be from higher fees on cell phones. Fees on landline telephones have dropped severely, because so many consumers have switched to cell phones and have cancelled their land lines.

 

The House must agree with a Senate amendment for passage of the bill to be final.

 

Also, both chambers have passed legislation to move primary elections from May to March in years of presidential elections. It has been sent to the governor.

 

3-22-19 4:53 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Mena Spring Clean Up Scheduled

The annual Mena Spring Clean Up will get underway at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday, April 23, 2019. City crews will will be picking up certain items residents want hauled off if they are placed curbside.

 

Items that will not be picked up are: rocks, bricks, shingles, construction debris, and batteries.

 

Tires will be picked up this year.

 

Leaves should be bagged.

 

Items should be separated by type into piles, like limbs in a pile, metal in a pile et cetera. 

 

This is a great opportunity to get rid of unwanted and unsightly items around your place and help make Mena as beautiful as can be!

 

Be sure and thank the city crews and Mayor Smith for this service.

 

3-20-19 6:32 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Fishing Tips For The Crappie Spawn

LITTLE ROCK – When spring approaches, a large segment of Arkansas anglers think of crappie.

 

Crappie can be caught any time of the year, but spring and crappie go together like ham and eggs, red beans and rice, grits and gravy. It seems food analogies fit well with the great-tasting crappie subject.

 

 Here are a dozen suggestions from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission for improving your crappie catching skills this spring:

 

  1. Use light line on your pole or rod. Line from 4- to 8-pound test allows the minnow or jig to move freely and won’t spook fish.
  2. If you are using a float or cork to indicate a strike, add enough split shot weight above your hook or use a heavy enough jig to keep the float sitting low on the surface of the water. That way the slightest nibble will pull enough to sink the cork or get it to pop upward.
  3. If you prefer not to use a float and feel for the “thump” of a strike, use a sensitive rod made out of graphite. If you use a pole, go for a light one. Low-stretch fluorocarbon line also can help you feel the bite better. 
  4. Don’t set the hook like you’re driving the hook home with a hammer. Crappie have tender mouths and can tear easily. Use sharp, thin-wire hooks and simply lift with a quick snap of the wrist to set the hook. 
  5. Find the edges of grass and weeds that are starting to sprout with some green tips. Crappie will use these weed beds for cover and to feed on small insects hatching in the vegetation. 
  6. If you are using live minnows, be sure to take care of your bait with an aerated livewell. The livelier the bait, the better the bite. 
  7. At the end of the day, DO NOT dump your remaining bait into the lake. Dispose of them on land to prevent the spread of disease and aquatic nuisance species that could be transmitted with the baitfish.
  8. Look for drop-offs. Crappie tend to hang out at the same depth, so fish at the same depth while trolling or working this kind of structure.
  9. Pay attention to the water color. Crappie usually hold shallower when the water is stained, dingy or muddy than when the water is clear. It is not uncommon for crappie to spawn in 8 feet of water on clear-water lakes, while muddier bodies of water will see crappies spawning so shallow you can see faintly their dorsal fins at the surface.
  10. Try to keep your distance from fish by using as long of a pole or rod as possible. Fish can spook easily when they are shallow. In super-clear water, backing up and casting a jig underneath a bobber can enable you to suspend the offering at the right depth without being on top of the fish. 
  11. When fishing a minnow, the best places to insert the hook are through the lips or just behind the dorsal fin. Be careful not to place the hook where it will kill the minnow outright; you want it to swim around and entice a bite.
  12. When fishing a jig, don’t overwork the lure. Crappie react best to a jig that is dropped and held motionless with a slight twitch every few seconds. Too much action will look unnatural and may cost you some strikes. 

You don’t have to have a huge reservoir and fancy boat to get out and fish. Dozens of small to mid-sized lakes are ideal for crappie fishing. Check out the AGFC’s Fishing Report at https://www.agfc.com/en/news/category/fishing-report  and visit the AGFC’s interactive map at https://www.agfc.com/en/resources/maps to find a fishing location near you. Don’t forget your fishing license and have a safe and enjoyable trip this spring. 

 

3-20-19 5:35 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Adam Green Charged With First Degree Murder Of Calvin Goforth

The Polk County Sheriff's Office announced today the arrest of Adam M. Green, age 27, of Mena, Arkansas, for Murder in the First Degree in the shooting death of Calvin "CJ" Goforth. In addition to the Murder charge, Green was also charged with Possession of a Firearm by a Certain Person, a Class B Felony.

 
Calvin "CJ" Goforth was found in his truck deceased in the early morning hours of March 9, 2019 on Polk County Road 42 east of Mena.
 
Adam Green was arrested March 14, 2019 at a motel in Broken Bow, Oklahoma on a Polk County warrant for Parole Absconding and Felony Theft by Receiving. Green was extradited to Polk County today, March 30, 2019 and is currently in the Polk County Detention Center. Green will be arraigned in the Circuit Court of Polk County March 21, 2019.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shown is Adam Green
 
Sheriff Scott Sawyer said "The Polk County Sheriff;s Office and the Arkansas State Police CID worked day and night on this case. I'm really proud of the hard work and long hours they put in. I'd also like to thank the 18th Judicial West Drug Task Force, the Sevier County Sheriff's Office, the Broken Bow Police Department, the Choctaw Tribal Police, and the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections for their help in apprehending the suspect. This was truly a team effort".
 
All suspects mentioned in this or any other press release are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
 
3-20-19 4:49 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 March 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.

 

3-20-19 2:45 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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UA RICH MOUNTAIN HOSTING RAILROAD SAFETY PRESENTATION

Each year, more than 1,000 North Americans are injured or killed while trespassing on train tracks. It’s not always cars trying to beat the train, it may be as simple as trying to get the coolest photograph to trend social media. UA Rich Mountain will be hosting a free community presentation for Railroad Safety as part of Operation Lifesaver. The event will be TUESDAY, March 26, at 1 p.m. in the Ouachita Center.

 

3-18-19 4:09 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Department Report for March 10th - 16th

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of March 10, 2019 through March 16, 2019

 

March 10, 2019

Stephanie Gevalis, 32, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.

 

Malcolm Wells, 32, of Mena was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, fleeing in a vehicle, and resisting arrest.  The arrest followed an attempted traffic stop.

 

March 11, 2019

 

Jack Ray Cannon, 24, of Mena was arrested on  an outstanding warrant from the Mena Police Department.

 

Natasha Drager, 20, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant for violation of Arkansas’ hot check law.

 

March 12, 2019

 

A Mena woman reported that she is being harassed by an acquaintance.  Case has been sent to the prosecutor for possible issuance of a warrant.

 

A Mena man reported that he is being threatened by his former girlfriend’s father.  Case is pending.

 

A local woman reported that she is being harassed by her former boyfriend.  No charges have been filed at this time.

 

March 13, 2019

 

Anthony C. Potts, 34, of Texarkana was charged with possession of a schedule VI controlled substance.  The arrest followed a routine traffic stop.

 

Robert Castillo, 50, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

 

March 14, 2019

 

Officers responded to an alarm at a local business.  It was discovered that someone had entered the building.  Case is pending further investigation.

 

Jonathan Colbert, 44, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Report was made by employees at a local convenience store of someone attempting to pass a counterfeit $100.00 bill. 

 

Report was made of a glass in a bus stop being broken out.  Case is pending.

 

Kelly S. Watson, 32, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant from the Polk County Sheriff’s office.

 

March 15-16, 2019

 

A local man reported that someone had stolen items from a vehicle parked on his carport.  They also vandalized the pickup by spray painting letters on the side.  Case is pending further investigation.

 

3-18-19 4:04 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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

SHERIFF’S   LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of March 11 - March 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.


March 11, 2019
Report from a Mena man that his adult granddaughter had not been seen in several days.  The individual was later located in another jurisdiction.
Report from Mena Regional Health System of a domestic violence victim.  Deputies responded.  Investigation continues.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Highway 71 North near Mena led to the arrest of Korie N. Wilhite, 27, of Mena, on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 626 near Nunley led to the arrest of Melton R. Cannon, 53, of Mena, on a Charge of Aggravated Assault on a Family Member.  Additional information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Mitzie M. French, 45, of Mena, on Charges of Possession of Meth/Cocaine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and a Warrant for Violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law.


March 12, 2019
No reports were filed.


March 13, 2019
Arrested was Jennifer R. Thompson, 50, of Mena, on a Charge of Obstructing Governmental Operations.


March 14, 2019
Report from complainant on Muscadine Lane near Potter of prowlers.  The subjects fled the area before deputies arrived.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Lawrence E. Houser, 32, of Grannis, on Warrants for Failure to Appear and Failure to Comply with a Court Order and two Colorado Warrants.


March 15, 2019
Report of a stolen boat led to the arrest of Jeremy Ratcliff, 42, of Dardanelle, on Charges of Fleeing in a Vehicle, Fleeing on Foot, Public Intoxication, Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License, No Proof of Insurance, Fictitious Tags and Theft of Property.  Additional information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from complainant on Hillcrest Lane near Mena of unauthorized persons in their home.  Deputy responded.
Arrested was Jason C. White, 36, of Mena, on a Child Support Warrant.


March 16, 2019
Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Edwin A. Huber, 58, of Mena, on a Warrant for Probation Violation.


March 17, 2019
Report from complainant on Highway 88 East near Ink of vandalism done to a vehicle.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Justin L. Goins, 30, of Mena, on Warrants for Failure to Appear and a Parole Hold.

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 14 Incarcerated Inmates , with 2 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00183

 

3-18-19 3:59 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Forest Service Explains, Justifies Prescribed Burns

Winter Prescribed Fire Season Sows Seeds for Spring Renewal

Benefits of Prescribed Fire Are Numerous

 

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. -- Winter months are a primary time for prescribed burning in the National Forests in Arkansas and Oklahoma.  The vegetation is dormant, the temperature is cooler, and humidity is generally a bit higher.  In short, the conditions necessary for prescribed burning often present themselves during this time of the year. 

 

     For a myriad of environmental reasons, National Forest fire managers make use of this tool in the forests and mountains of the Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis.  These include increasing wildlife habitat, reducing the occurrence and severity of wildfires, promoting new growth, and inhibit non-native invasive species.

 

Shown is a before and after picture of a prescribed burn area. USFS photo.

 

     Mankind has used fire to cook, heat and hunt since the dawn of human civilization.  Fire is one of nature's most essential agents of change.  Nearly every region in the country has some kind of fire-dependent plant or tree. Many plants have evolved adaptations that protect them as a species against the effects of fire, and some absolutely must have fire to survive.  When fires burn in intervals appropriate to their ecosystem, they consume leaf litter and other ground vegetation, like dead wood. This can trigger a rebirth of forests, helping to maintain native plant species.

 

     Over time, humans moved into fire prone areas, resulting in the role of fire being diminished in areas that crave it.   “More and more, people are living in the path of wildfires.  We obviously must suppress those fires,” said Josh Graham, Fire Management Staff Officer for the Ozark-St. Francis and Ouachita National Forests in Arkansas and Oklahoma.  “When we reintroduce fire in a controlled environment, under the right conditions, we start achieving the benefits of fire’s natural role in the environment, and accomplish it in a manner safer for humans.”

 

      Enter prescribed burning, the controlled application of fire by a team of trained fire managers under specified conditions that helps restore health to ecosystems that depend on fire.  Prescribed fires help reduce the catastrophic damage of wildfire on our lands and surrounding communities by reducing excessive amounts of brush, shrubs and trees, referred to as fuels.  It also encourages new growth of native vegetation, inhibits the encroachment of non-native plants and animals and maintains the many plant and animal species whose habitats depend on periodic fire.

 

     According to Graham, most forests and grasslands require multiple prescribed fires over a number of years to fully reach management objectives, but even a single fire can provide multiple benefits. “One prescribed fire can reduce wildfire occurrence and severity by reducing fuels, improve habitat for some wildlife species, reduce competition, enhance appearance, and improve access.”

 

     It’s no secret that forests play an important role in climate change, but only recently have we identified the role that prescribed fire may play.  Trees store carbon, reducing the amount added to the atmosphere by factories, vehicles, and other sources.  However, when these large trees burn down in a wildfire, that carbon is returned to the atmosphere.   It can take decades for trees to regrow large enough to store the amount of carbon emitted in a single catastrophic wildfire.

 

     The good news is that we are able to protect larger trees and significantly reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere by major wildfires when we reintroduce prescribed fire into our ecosystems.  Since prescribed fire is applied under favorable conditions, it removes underbrush and small trees, protecting these larger, carbon storing trees and opening up the surrounding forest to allow them more room to grow.

 

     On an important side note, the smoke from a planned prescribed burn is significantly less than an out of control wildfire, which may burn for days, weeks, or even months.  “We are sensitive to the fact that smoke has an impact on people, particularly those with respiratory conditions and allergies,” said Graham.  “Smoke directions are modeled based on weather predictions from the National Weather Service in order to avoid heavier populated areas.  If the winds are predicted to impact a sensitive area, the burn is postponed.”

 

     To learn more about prescribed fire, check out the following resources online at www.goodfire.org.

 

3-16-19 8:22 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Minimum Wage in Arkansas

 
LITTLE ROCK – In the election last fall, the voters of Arkansas approved an increase in the state’s minimum wage. It will rise to $11 an hour by January 2021.
 
Some non-profit organizations, small businesses, and others are concerned that a mandatory increase in wages will hurt their operations and even their ability to survive.
 
I understand their concerns. That is why I expressed reservations about the minimum-wage increase when it was on the ballot.
But the people have spoken.
 
Today, I wanted to remind all employers that relief is available based upon a provision in law that is already in place.
 
Current state law allows an employer to pay a full-time student at 85 percent of the applicable minimum wage under two conditions. First, a student who works no more than 20 hours per week when school is in session is exempt. And a student who works no more than 40 hours per week when school isn’t in session is exempt.
 
In order to take advantage of the exemption, an employer must obtain a certificate or waiver from the Arkansas Department of Labor.
 
Colleges and universities are also exempt from paying the state minimum wage to students who are enrolled at the school and also are employed at the school. The school must pay at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
 
These existing exemptions to the state minimum-wage law offer employers some flexibility. I have directed the Department of Labor to increase awareness of this waiver and to expedite approval of waivers for employers. You may call Lindsay Moore at the Department of Labor at 501-682-4534 or contact him by email at lindsay.moore@arkansas.gov with questions about the waiver.
 
I am confident that the existing provisions are sufficient to provide relief without doing damage to the will of the people as expressed at the ballot box last November.
 
The two-part exemption application is HERE. The employee and employer each must complete and sign the application. Applicants may deliver it in person or mail it: 10421 West Markham, Little Rock, 72205; email it: asklabor@arkansas.gov; or fax it (501) 682-4506.
 
3-15-19 10:0 9 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Arkansas Highway Commission Approves Bid For Improvements To US HWY 71 Near Mena

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to a roadway in Polk County, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials. The purpose of this project is to overlay 5.3 miles of U.S. Highway 71 extending southward from Mena. APAC-Central, Inc. of Fayetteville was awarded the contract at $1,667,638.45. Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in mid 2019. 

 

3-15-19 9:57 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, the House passed legislation which will change the way our communities respond to emergencies, the way we regulate our businesses, and the way our government is structured.

 

One of the many bills passed on the House floor in the 9th week of the session was The Arkansas Public Safety Act (HB1564).

 

This bill transforms the state's 911 network. It will shift the network from the current analog system to an internet protocol-based network. New technology will allow callers to use wireless and IP-based devices to call 911 and transmit text, images, video, and data.

 

It will consolidate the number of Public Safety Answering Points in the state in an effort to reduce the number of times a caller is transferred.

 

To fund upgrades, the bill increases the public safety charges on cell phones from 65 cents/month to $1.30/month. It also removes the 65 cent charge per purchase on prepaid cellular plans and adds a 10% charge per purchase.

 

In 2016, counties and cities subsidized 911 by $25 million. The changes outlined in HB1564 are expected to reduce the burden on counties and cities by $16 million.

 

Another bill passed this week aims to reduce the amount of red tape on business owners in Arkansas.

 

In a vote of 92-0, the House passed HB1527. This bill requires the Legislative Council to review each occupational authorization and each occupational entity on an annual rotating basis.

 

Last year, Arkansas became one of eleven states chosen to participate in the Occupational Licensing Policy Learning Consortium, an initiative funded by a grant from the United States Department of Labor and supported in partnership with the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, and the National Governors Association.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed 17 individuals to the Red Tape Reduction Working Group to review and address occupational licensing regulations that create unnecessary barriers to labor market entry.

 

HB1527 was the one of the recommendations from the working group. This bill requires that the occupational authorizations and the occupational entities be divided into 6 groups. The Legislative Council will review one group each year to ensure it is the least restrictive form of authorization while still protecting consumers.

 

With a vote of 82-0 and 10 members voting present, the House passed the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019.

 

This bill reduces the number of cabinet-level agencies by nearly 65 percent, from 42 to 15. A cabinet level secretary will serve as the executive head of each department. 

 

The departments listed in the bill are:

 

  • The Department of Agriculture
  • The Department of Commerce
  • The Department of Corrections
  • The Department of Education
  • The Department of Energy and Environment
  • The Department of Finance and Administration
  • The Department of Health
  • The Department of Human Services
  • The Department of the Inspector General
  • The Department of Labor and Licensing
  • The Department of the Military
  • The Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism
  • The Department of Public Safety
  • The Department of Transformation and Shared Services
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs.

Other legislation passing the House this week includes:

 

HB1409-requires elementary schools to provide at least 40 minutes of recess.

 

HB1750-requires the Department of Transportation to annually provide legislators with the location of the most congested and most dangerous routes in the state.  It also requires the department to list expenditures on highways in each congressional district.

 

HB1631-states the maximum speed limit for a vehicle on a controlled-access highway is 75 mph if the highway is located outside an urban area and has at least 4 lanes that are divided by a median strip.

 

HB1625-makes the act of encouraging suicide a Class D felony.

 

HB1689-increases the penalties for passing an authorized vehicle stopped on a highway. It increases the maximum fine from $500 to $1,000.

 

HB1647-amends the eligibility requirements for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship to include the applicant’s superscore on the ACT. 

 

HB1552-allows for licensing of DACA recipients for nursing licenses.

 

You can watch all House proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

3-15-19 9:46 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

United Front on Veterans’ Priorities

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is in the process of implementing major reforms that will improve health care and education benefits as well as modernize its information technology. Congress crafted these updates with the input of veterans who often identify policies or problems that can be solved with legislative fixes. This is why hearing from veteran service organizations is so important.

 

Arkansas members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and other veteran service organizations annually visit Washington, D.C. to share their legislative priorities for the year. There is no substitute for coming to the nation’s capital and visiting with members of Congress to discuss the policy improvements that can deliver results for veterans.

 

There is a united front from these organizations to prioritize improvements to women veterans’ health care and efforts to combat the epidemic of veteran suicides.

 

We continue making progress to ensure the VA has the capability to meet the needs of every veteran. I am proud to join Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) in leading efforts to improve VA culture and services for women with the reintroduction of the Deborah Sampson Act. Several veteran service organizations specifically called on Congress to pass the Deborah Sampson Act because they believe it will help the VA better support the needs of women veterans.

 

There are more than 20,000 women veterans in Arkansas. Nationwide, they are using VA health care services at a rate three times great than in 2000, but many VA facilities still don’t have the ability to provide equitable care or services to women veterans. The Deborah Sampson Act would change that. Our bill eliminates barriers to care by increasing the number of gender-specific providers in VA facilities, expanding training of the clinicians and retrofitting VA facilities to enhance privacy for women veterans.

 

Updating VA facilities and programs to meet the needs of the changing face of our veteran community is important to upholding our promise to women who served in our nation’s uniform.

 

So too is revising the VA’s suicide prevention efforts.

 

It’s estimated that an average of 20 veterans take their lives each day. Despite the federal funds invested to reverse the statistics of veterans who die by suicide, we have not seen an improvement. In light of this reality, we must reevaluate the VA’s programs to reduce veteran suicides.

 

That’s why I included language in the Fiscal Year 2019 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill that requires the VA to develop metrics to evaluate the efficacy of all of its mental health and suicide prevention programs.

 

Since that was signed into law, the Government Accountability Office released a report that showed the VA failed to fully utilize its suicide and mental health prevention outreach funding. To improve the VA’s operation, oversight and evaluation of its suicide prevention media outreach campaigns, I joined with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to introduce the Reach Every Veteran in Crisis Act. This bill will help Congress and the VA isolate meaningful suicide prevention programs so we can ensure resources are focused on efforts that save lives. Suicide prevention must be a top priority.

 

Advocacy by veteran service organizations has led to significant changes and improvements at the VA over the years. Their support for updates to health benefits for women veterans and successful suicide prevention programs is crucial as Congress crafts plans to resolve these challenges.

 

3-15-19 11:07 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

March 15, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The Senate passed legislation to increase the homestead property tax credit, which will save more than 716,000 Arkansas homeowners about $12.5 million a year.

 

Senate Bill 447 also allocates $8.2 million for Arkansas counties to upgrade their voting machines.

 

Homeowners who claim the property tax credit now get $350 each year. SB 447 would raise that to $375. The Senate approved the bill by a vote of 34-to-0 and sent it to the House of Representatives.

 

Legislative leaders announced that they would seek a tax reduction of almost $100 million for Arkansas taxpayers who claim the standard deduction. The lost revenue would be offset by increases in taxes on cigarettes and “vapes.”

 

The Senate also passed SB 464 to keep confidential any information that may help identify the manufacturers of the lethal injection drugs used by the state Correction Department to execute inmates convicted of capital murder.

 

Anyone who recklessly disclosed information could be found guilty of a felony if it led to the identification of the producers of lethal injection drugs.

 

The Correction Department has had difficulty maintaining drugs used for lethal injection, in part because pharmaceutical companies sometimes face boycotts and protests from opponents of capital punishment.

 

Both the Senate and House have approved HB 1439 to prohibit abortions before 18 months of gestation. It has exceptions for medical emergencies or if the mother’s pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

 

Both chambers also passed HB 1561 to authorize a pilot program allowing companies to test driverless cars. Only three vehicles could be on the roads at any one time. Arkansas will become the 30th state to allow tests of autonomous vehicles.

 

Both chambers have passed SB 145 to promote renewable energy production. Supporters of the bill say it could double the number of jobs in the field of installation of solar panels. The state’s major electric utility did not oppose the bill because it was written so as to prevent cost-shifting to existing utility customers who don’t have solar equipment.

 

It allows people to lease solar panels, rather than own them, which supporters say will promote further development of renewable energy.

 

The House approved HB 1567 to require physicians, clinics and health care providers to electronically enter evidence from rape and sexual assault into a computer data base maintained by the state Crime Lab.

 

Victims and law enforcement can then track the progress of the evidence in the rape kit. The bill is a follow-up to legislation enacted in 2015 creating a system of collecting and maintaining evidence. It should help prevent backlogs, and should help authorities solve other cases because DNA testing can be used to catch offenders of other crimes after they are submitted into a data base.

 

The governor signed Act 416 to raise $95 million a year for highway projects. The revenue will come from motor fuels taxes, registration fees on hybrid and electric vehicles and new casino taxes.

 

Next year, Arkansas voters will decide whether to permanently extend a half-cent sales tax, with revenue going for highway projects.

 

3-15-19 9:25 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena High School Getting New Principal, New Assistant Superintendent For District

The Mena School Board met for their regular March meeting Thursday night. Main items on the agenda included a report from Assistant Superintendent Jeanne Smith on the status of the Polk County Virtual Academy. Smith noted that improvements are being researched in content and curriculum and that the district will accept increased enrollment in PCVA next year and noted that the application process can be completed now.

 

The Board also approved personnel changes recommended by Superintendent Benny Weston, including the resignation of Sheryl Barfield. Mena High School Principal Shane Torix will fill a new position as Administrator of Student Support Services. The board accepted the retirement of Assistant Superintendent Jeanne Smith and assigned her duties to Paulette Sherrer who will now carry the title of Assistant Superintendent & Federal Programs Coordinator. Before adjourning, the board also approved the hiring of David Maxwell as the Mena High School Principal.

 

3-15-19 8:43 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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ADA Study Shows Mena Airport Has Significant Economic Impact On Area

The Arkansas Department of Aeronautics (ADA) released a study recently showing the economic impact of airports in Arkansas and it clearly shows that aviation is a key component of the state's economy.

 

Arkansas airports, including Little Rock Air Force Base, employee around 42,500 people, generate $1.5 billion in annual payroll, and produce over $3.5 billion in economic activity.         

 

Mena's Intermountain Municipal Airport businesses have a total employment of 739 and a $14,739,000 payroll. The total output is $47,905.00. 

 

The total employment numbers include employees at the airport and for support businesses not necessarily located at the airport. Airport manager Fred Ogden estimates that the total number of on field employees at airport located businesses is around 250. 

 

Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport is classified as a "General Aviation Airport", of which there are 82 in Arkansas, and in that category has more total employment and the second largest total payroll in the state.

 

3-14-19 3:56 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

    

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AGFC nature centers offer family fun for Spring Break

LITTLE ROCK — Unplug from the electronics and take your kids on an outdoor adventure this Spring Break at an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission nature or education center. All eight AGFC-operated centers will be open with special programs and events March 19-23 to keep families entertained with wholesome outdoors fun. 

 

The AGFC operates four nature centers and four education centers across the state, with a new one currently being built in Northwest Arkansas. Each center offers a variety of experiences from archery, kayaking and canoeing, bb gun shooting and nature-themed arts and crafts for people of all ages.

 

Each center boasts excellent hiking trails with interpretive signs to teach hikers about some of their surroundings, and indoor displays offer visitors the opportunity to get their outdoors fix when the weather takes a turn for the worse. 

 

Tabbi Kinion, chief of the AGFC’s Education Division, says each center tries to offer a variety of programs each day, so visitors can get a new experience each time they come.

 

“Even if you’ve been to one of our centers before, we are always adding new exhibits, trails and programs to keep it exciting for everyone,” Kinion said. “And during spring break, we try to make sure there’s something for everyone, so you can spend the day or just drop in during the programs that interest you most.”

 

Best of all, admission to the centers and regular programs are absolutely free thanks to Amendment 75, which created a ?-cent Conservation Sales Fund to help the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Parks and Tourism, The Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and Keep Arkansas Beautiful.

 

Each center has its own website and Facebook page to keep you up to date on the latest programs going on and a profile of the many exhibits and trails you will find during your trip. Visit www.agfc.com/naturecenters to learn more about each center, view their calendar of events and link to their Facebook page.

 

3-13-19 5:15 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments March 11th, 13th

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. Marlena F. Parnell, W/F, age 49, Count I: Possession Of A Controlle Substance, a Class "C" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Melton Ray Cannon, W/M, age 53, Count I: Domestic Battery In the Third Degree, a Class "D" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Malcom R. Wells, W/M, age 32, Count I: Refusal To Submit To Arrest, a Class "B" Felony. Count II Fleeing, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Endangering The Welfare Of A Minor In The First Degree, a Class "D" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Mitzie M. French, W/F, age 45, Count I: Posssession Of A Scheduled II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.

 

3-13-19 5:07 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Favorite Grandchild Scam Fools Arkansans

LITTLE ROCK – Elderly Arkansans are often a target of con artists, and one of the most convincing ones is called the favorite grandchild scam. This scam involves a scammer calling an elderly individual, saying they are his/her favorite grandchild and are in trouble and need money wired immediately. Grandparents are often willing to do whatever it takes to help their grandchild, and so they more commonly fall for the scam.
 
“Under no circumstances should you wire money or give a credit/debit card number to a caller claiming to be a grandchild in jail unless you have verified that information with another close family member,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “The caller tricks Arkansans into saying the names of family and then pretends to be that family member in dire need of money.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge recommends the following strategies to avoid falling victim to the “favorite grandchild” scheme:

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

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

 

3-13-19 2:43 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 March 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.

 

3-13-19 2:38 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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

SHERIFF’S LOG


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


March 4, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 181 near Mena of the break-in and theft of several firearms, knives, ammunition and a gun safe.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Anders Avenue in Hatfield of the break-in and theft of coins and electronics.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Lee S. Dorenbach, 66, of Texarkana, TX, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.


March 5, 2019
Arrested was Laura K. Giesel, 47, of Mena, on two Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.


March 6, 2019
Report from walk-in complainant of the discovery of two dead goats.  Investigation continues.


March 7, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 277 near Cove of being harassed by an acquaintance.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from Mena Regional Health System of a domestic violence victim.  Deputies responded.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from complainant on Polk 119 near Mena of suspicious behavior.  Deputy responded.


March 8, 2019
Report of a disturbance at the gym in Hatfield.  Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Highway 88 East near Ink of the theft of gasoline and firewood.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Charles R. Czarnetzki, 44, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.


March 9, 2019
Report of a one-vehicle accident on Polk 37 near Potter.  Deputy responded.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a gunshot victim on Polk 42 near Potter.  Deputies responded.  Investigation has been forwarded to the Arkansas State Police.
Report from a Mena man of being threatened by acquaintances.  Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a disturbance in the Polk County Detention Center.  Deputies responded.
Arrested was Terrie J. Williams, 31, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.


March 10, 2019
Report of a disturbance on Crystal Lane near Mena led to the arrest of William R. Linch, Jr., 48, and Nicholas A. Linch, 18, both of Waldron, each on Charges of Criminal Trespass and Disorderly Conduct.
Report of a disturbance on Highway 84 near Wickes led to the arrest of Christopher L. Chesser, 33, of Cove, on a Charge of Battery 3rd Degree, a Warrant for Contempt of Court and a Parole Hold.
Traffic stop on Highway 375 East near Mena led to the arrest of Daniel P. Gray, 57, of Burleson, TX, on a Charge of DWI.
Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Mena of vandalism done.  Investigation determined that nothing criminal had occurred.

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

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 30 Incarcerated Inmates, with 5 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00172

 

3-13-19 11:02 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mumps outbreak closes Cossatot River School District

The Cossatot River School District closed all campuses to deal with a mumps outbreak. The following was released today:

 
Due to an outbreak of mumps across the district, school will dismiss at 2 p.m. today (3-12-19) and be out for the remainder of the week.  We will be using three A.M.I. days for contagious disease.  Parent Teacher conferences will be cancelled and rescheduled at a later time.  Students will return 3/25/19 after Spring Break.
 
 
A number of schools in Arkansas have closed due to high numbers of students being absent due to the flu, but this is the first closing due to mumps.
 
 
For more information on mumps contact your family doctor or the local Health Unit.
 
3-12-19 7:21 p.m. KAWX.ORG  

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Governor Hutchinson Declares March 10-16 Arkansas Agriculture Week

LITTLE ROCK, AR – During a ceremony today at the State Capitol, Governor Asa Hutchinson joined nearly 150 farmers, agriculture leaders, and industry partners in declaring March 10-16 as Arkansas Agriculture Week. The Arkansas Agriculture Week proclamation event, held in conjunction with Arkansas Farm Bureau’s Farmers’ Day at the State Capitol, highlighted the state’s largest industry that contributes more than $21 billion annually to the state’s economy.   Find the full Arkansas Agriculture Week proclamation, here.

 

 

“Farmers produce the food we enjoy in the comfort of homes and restaurants that are built from the timber they raise. With the cotton and leather they produce, we create our clothing, our coats, our quilts and linens,” said Governor Hutchinson. “I am proud to proclaim this week as Arkansas Agriculture Week in honor of the farmers and ranchers who touch and improve every aspect of life as they sustain agriculture as our No. 1 industry.”

 

Agriculture provides one in every six jobs in Arkansas.   The state consistently ranks in the top 25 nationally in the production of 15 different agricultural commodities, and ranks in the top one-third of the nation for agricultural cash receipts.   Arkansas is home to over 43,000 farms on 13.7 million acres.  Approximately 19.2 million acres, 57% of the state’s total land, is forestland.

 

“Our farm families our dedicated to helping feed, clothe, and shelter those here in Arkansas and across the globe,” said Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward. “We are honored to have Governor Hutchinson proclaim March 10-16 as Arkansas Agriculture Week as a celebration of their daily efforts and to recognize ag industry professionals for their work to drive growth in our state’s largest industry.”

 

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

 

3-12-19 4:51 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Fire Destroys Vacant House In Mena Early Monday

The Mena Fire Department was paged out Monday morning March 11th around 1:30 to a structure fire on 9th Street in Mena.

 
Fire Chief Steve Egger said the house at the corner of 9th and Sherwood was vacant and no utilities were connected.
 
The house was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived but were they able to protect the adjacent structures even though the house was a complete loss.
 
 
Photo by Andrew Vance.
 
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
 
3-12-19 9:43 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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Meet the New Hosts of FamilyLife Today Radio, Heard Locally on KAWX

Fulfilling Dennis Rainey’s long-standing commitment to hand the microphone to a new generation when he reached 70 years of age, we’re so pleased to announce that DAVE AND ANN WILSON will join Bob Lepine on-air as the new hosts of the daily broadcast.
 
 
The Wilsons are longtime friends of the ministry, speaking often at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. They are cofounders of Kensington Church—a multicampus church in Michigan that serves a diverse community by intentionally coming alongside those seeking to grow in relationship with God.
 
Dave and Ann are excited and humbled by this opportunity: “When we got the phone call to consider being the new hosts, it felt like this was a call from God—out of nowhere. We’ve seen the impact of FamilyLife Today and Dennis and Barbara Rainey for decades all around the world. It is an amazing ministry that we’ve benefited from, applauded, and supported through the years. To be asked to be a part of this ministry is so amazing! We don’t deserve it. To God be the glory—and we can’t wait to see what God does in the days ahead!”
 
Audiences will be introduced to Dave and Ann, alongside Bob and Dennis, on theFamilyLife Today program the week of February 18-22. During the following week, the Wilsons along with the Raineys will be featured in a full series of shows as the final transition is made. In addition to the normal shows, the Rainey’s legacy will be celebrated on-air as a farewell tribute to their many years on the radio.
 
Dennis and Barbara Rainey have stepped out of leadership at FamilyLife, but they are not retiring. They will continue to serve with Cru (FamilyLife’s parent organization) and passionately fulfill their mission as ambassadors for Christ and the family.  Dennis will continue to be heard on the daily short feature, Real FamilyLife®, and continue to be a contributing thought leader for FamilyLife® audio.  He will also be at NRB to give a personal word of thanks to station friends.  To find out more about their work, visit DennisAndBarbara.com starting February 18. 
 
FamilyLife is heard in Mena on KAWX 93.1 FM weekdays at 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 8:00 a.m. You can also listen to FamilyLife on KAWX with a free KAWX app, online at KAWX.ORG, on any smart device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo.
 
Coming soon KAWX will also be heard in the Hatfield and Cove area on 94.9 FM!
 
3-12-19 8:56 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Death of gunshot wound victim near Mena being investigated by PCSO, ASP CID

On Saturday, March 9, 2019 at approximately 2:00 a.m., the Polk county Sheriff's Office received a 911 call about a gunshot victim on Polk County Road 42 east of Mena. Upon arrival, deputies discovered Calvin "CJ" Goforth, age 36, deceased in a vehicle parked on the road. The Polk County Sheriff's Office and the Arkansas State Police CID are currently investigating the death. Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer stated "This is an active investigation and to protect the integrity of our investigation, no further details will be released at this time. Please keep the Goforth family and friends in your thoughts and prayers".

 
3-11-19 2:17 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Lottery Ticket Sales Top $40 Million in February, Almost $150,000 in Polk County

Polk County Treasurer Tanya K. Fretz released the most current Arkansas Lottery Retail Sales By County report for the month of February 2019 today.

 
According to the report compiled by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, during February 2018 total lottery sales in Arkansas were $40,547,537.50.
 
The highest sales were in Pulaski County and totaled $7,635,133.00. The lowest sales were in Montgomery County and totaled $29,977.00.
 
Polk County sales totaled $149,719.00.
 
According to Family Council, only about 19 cents of each dollar taken in by the lottery goes to scholarships. 
 
3-11-19 2:02 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Department Report for March 4th - 9th

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

 

March 3, 2019

 

A Hot Springs National Park man reported that his vehicle had been vandalized and items taken.  Case is pending further investigation.

 

A local man reported that he has been harassed and threatened by an acquaintance.  No charges have been filed at this time.

 

March 4, 2019

 

A Mena woman reported that someone came into her house while she was out and stole her dog.  Case is pending interview of suspect.

 

Debra Robbins, 58, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.

 

Tatum Veal, 28, of Mena was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

Robert E. Jones, 34, of Mena was arrested for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

Brandon Everett, 28, of Mena was arrested for disorderly conduct after an incident at a local residence.

 

Brandon Dewayne Stowe, 21, of Smithville, Oklahoma, was arrested on an outstanding probation violation warrant.

 

A 17-year-old Mena youth was charged with possession of marijuana.

 

March 5, 2019

 

Matthew Morrison, 28, of Hope was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a suspended driver’s license.  He was also served two outstanding warrants.  One warrant was from Montgomery County and one from the Mena Police Department.

 

Michelle Bice, 40, of Mena was arrested on three outstanding warrants from the Mena Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Kimberlee Chaney, 21, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

 

Logan Pitts, 39, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine or cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms.

 

Bambe Millard, 35, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine or cocaine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

Debra Stepiens, 56, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant from the Mena Police Department for failure to pay fines and court costs.

 

March 6, 2019

 

A Mena man reported a disagreement with a tenant in one of his rental properties.  No charges have been filed.

 

March 7, 2019

 

A Mena man reported he is being harassed and threatened by an acquaintance.  Case is pending location and interview of the suspect.

 

March 8, 2019

 

Mark Solomon, 32, of Mena was charged with possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  He was also served an outstanding warrant from the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.

 

Veronica Mae Maddox, 21, of Mena was served three outstanding warrants from the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.

 

A Hatfield man reported that someone had obtained a cell phone in his name.  Case is pending further investigation.

 

Thomas Kidwell, 40, of Mena was arrested on five outstanding warrants from the Mena Police Department for failure to appear.

 

March 9, 2019

 

Shearley Christine Scroggins, 43, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after a call to a local retail store.

 

Donovan Thomas Hunt, 27, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop.

 

Marlena F. Parnell, 49, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

In last week’s police report, it was stated that Jack Henry, 59, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant.  The individual was actually Jack Henry, 34, of Mena.  We apologize for the misinformation.

 

3-11-19 10:15 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests recreation areas opening for season

HOT SPRINGS, Ark — The Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests are beginning seasonal openings of recreation areas and facilities in March.

 

Visitors to the 1.8 million-acre Ouachita National Forest and 1.2 million-acre Ozark-St. Francis National Forests will find diverse recreational activities available to them. 

 

Recreation contributes greatly to the physical, mental, and spiritual health of individuals, bonds family and friends, instills pride in heritage, and provides economic benefits to communities, regions, and the nation.

 

Forest visitors are encouraged to view a current listing of open sites by checking the respective websites for the Ouachita National Forest at https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/ouachita/recreation or call (501) 321-5202 and Ozark-St. Francis at https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/osfnf/recreation or (479) 964-7200.

 

3-10-19 9:39 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Arkansas ranks forty-fourth in the nation when it comes to maternal mortality rates.  Maternal mortality is defined as the death of a woman who is pregnant or dies within 42 days after the end of the pregnancy.

 

Arkansas currently has 35 maternal deaths per one hundred thousand 100,000 live births, compared with the national average of 20 deaths per one hundred thousand 100,000 live births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Thirty-five states in the nation either conduct or are preparing to conduct organized maternal mortality reviews that help prevent maternal death through data collection, data analysis, and implementation of recommendations.

 

With roughly half of pregnancy-related deaths being preventable, state maternal mortality review committees can be instrumental to as to understanding why women are dying during pregnancy, childbirth, and the year postpartum.  The committees also help in improving maternal health and preventing future deaths.

 

This week, the House passed legislation to create such a review committee in Arkansas with HB1440. 

 

Arkansas also ranks 46th in the nation for infant mortality.

 

In 2018, almost eleven percent 11% of babies born in Arkansas were preterm.

 

To improve infant mortality, the House also passed HB1441 which directs the Department of Health to establish the Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes Quality Review Committee. This committee will review data on births and develop strategies for improving birth outcomes. 

 

On Monday, the House passed two pieces of legislation addressing highway funding.

 

In a vote of 71-26, the House passed SB336.  This bill outlines $95 million in additional funding in three ways.

 

First, it diverts all revenue from casino gaming that exceeds $31.2 million to the State Highway and Transportation Department Fund.

 

Second, it includes a wholesale tax on fuel raising gas prices by 3 cents a gallon and diesel by 6 cents a gallon.

 

And third, it imposes a $100 registration fee on hybrid vehicles and a $200 registration fee on electric vehicles.

 

The second piece of legislation addressing highways before the House was HJR8.

 

This is a proposed constitutional amendment which would permanently extend a ½ cent sales tax for the purpose of funding state highways.  The current ½ sales tax funding highway improvements is set to expire in 2023.  This resolution will be on the ballot for voter approval in November 2020. 

 

Other legislation passing the House this week includes:

 

HB1522-This ensures that soldiers and airmen of the Arkansas National Guard are afforded the same benefits and protections as active duty soldiers when they are called on state active duty.

 

HB1407-This bill requires truth in labeling of agricultural products that are edible. The bill states the seller cannot sell the product under the name of another food.   

 

HB1263-This bill allows pharmacists to prescribe certain types of tobacco cessation products.

 

HB1278-This bill allows pharmacists to administer childhood vaccines to children age 7 and older under a written protocol by a physician.

 

HB1565-This bill seeks to provide funding for a national cancer institute-designated center at UAMS.  The bill provides the funding by diverting existing taxes on medical marijuana from general revenue to the institute trust fund. The trust fund would also receive new revenue created by a 50 cents per pack tax on cigarette rolling papers, removing a border tax exemption on cigarettes and increasing the minimum mark price on cigarettes. In addition, HB1565 raises the legal age to use or possess vape or tobacco products to 21, with an exception for military.

 

HB1506-This bill imposes a criminal penalty (class A misdemeanor on first offense & class D felony on second offense) for theft of items from a cemetery or grave site.

 

HB1251-This bill amends the definition of practice of optometry.

 

HB1569-This bill allows school districts to develop policies for distribution of excess food. As long as health department standards are met, this bill would allow schools to give students the left-over food from lunch to take home.

 

HB1290-This bill allows pharmacists to provide access to oral contraceptives.

 

And SB10 which prohibits level 3 and level 4 sex offenders from wearing a costume or passing out candy during the two weeks before and after Halloween.

 

The House will enter the 9th week of the session on Monday.  You can watch all House proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

3-8-19 5:24 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: My Four Legislative Priori-'Ts'

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: My Four Legislative Priori-‘Ts’
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – My long list of goals for the 92nd General Assembly included legislation that I call the “Four ‘Ts'” – Tax reduction. Transportation funding. Teacher pay increases. Transformation of state government.
 
As of today, we have checked off three of the "Ts."
 
The pay for starting teachers was our first success. House Bill 1145 raises starting pay for teachers across the state by $1,000 every year for four years until we reach $36,000.
 
On Thursday, I signed another bill that is important to our teachers and students. Senate Bill 199 is the School Counseling Improvement Act. It requires schools to implement a plan that cuts the administrative duties of counselors so they can interact directly with students.
 
This bill came out of the School Safety Commission, which I created a year ago. Members of that commission recommended in order to make our schools more safe that our trained counselors needed more time interacting directly with students.
 
This bill complements legislation we passed to reform our juvenile justice system. By providing for better assessment of our troubled youth in detention and providing sentencing guidelines that are more appropriate to each person, we reduce the risk that a teenager will re-offend and return to the system.
 
The day after the pay raise bill, we checked off a second "T" when I signed into law SB 211, also known as the 5.9 Tax Cut Plan. The law cuts our top marginal income-tax rate from 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent. This tax rate makes Arkansas more attractive to companies such as Colorado-based CoorsTek. Just this week, I helped break ground for an expansion at the company’s facility in Benton.
 
SB 211 was 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 tax cuts in the state’s history. With the passage of Senate Bill 211, 100 percent of Arkansas income-taxpayers will benefit from nearly $250 million each year in reduced income taxes.
 
"T" Number Three is the historic $300 million highway funding plan that will pay for our highway infrastructure now and into the future. The first part of the plan would raise $95 million a year through user fees and dedicated revenue of $35 million from casinos.
 
The second part of our transportation funding is the legislation that will give voters a chance to decide whether to extend a 1/2-cent sales tax at the polls in 2020. That will raise $205 million a year for the benefit of the state.
 
Now we are tackling the fourth "T" – Transformation of state government, which might be the most ambitious of the four.
 
I am asking the legislature to work with me to reduce the number of cabinet-level agencies from 42 to 15, which is the largest reorganization of state government in almost 50 years.
 
I am hopeful that members of the 92nd General Assembly will join me in making history by passing this legislation.
 
3-8-19 5:05 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Green New Deal’s Massive Costs, Government Expansion Would Harm Arkansans

 

The Green New Deal didn’t quite receive the celebration its supporters were expecting when it was unveiled. Its release was greeted with a combination of bewilderment, amusement and confusion, which gave way to anger and disbelief the more that Americans learned about it.

 

The reason for this negative reaction is quite simple. Most Americans don’t like it when you suggest the government should have control over nearly every aspect of their lives. Yet that is exactly what the Green New Deal seeks to do under the pretense of ending climate change.

 

The authors of the Green New Deal and its accompanying memo suggest their plan is the cure for all of society’s ills. They cast themselves as saviors who will end global warming, income equality and oppression in one fell swoop.

 

What supporters can’t say is how they will implement this plan, what impact it will have on the average American and where they intend to find the trillions of dollars it will cost.

 

These details are important when you are asking for support of a plan that is estimated to cost up to $93 trillion dollars and dramatically expand the federal government’s reach into the daily lives of every American.

 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that senators will have an opportunity to let Americans know where they stand on this poorly designed plan when he brings the Green New Deal up for a vote in the near future. It should easily be voted down.

 

We have an obligation to cut emissions and move our energy consumption toward renewable sources. These are worthy goals that we must continue to work toward achieving.

 

However, only a fraction of this unworkable plan deals with climate change and there is no conceivable way its energy mandates can be implemented. The Green New Deal dictates that the nation will rely 100 percent on renewable power within a decade. Experts say that is impossible to accomplish by 2050, much less within a constricted 10-year timeline.

 

The uncomfortable truth for Green New Deal proponents is that the U.S. is already leading the charge on carbon emissions reduction. We can continue to build on that progress, and encourage change within the international community, without mandating a government takeover of nearly every sector of our economy.

 

The way forward to solve our environmental challenges should be driven by positive incentives, research and development—not heavy-handed regulation.

 

As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I have long advocated an all-of-the-above approach to energy security. This strategy includes wind, renewable biomass, hydroelectric and solar power. And it absolutely needs to include the expansion of nuclear power, which the Green New Deal mysteriously leaves out.

 

Policies that incentivize production and usage of renewable forms of energy are the way forward to responsibly balance our energy needs with our concerns for the environment. The Green New Deal—which makes undeliverable promises, proposes to dramatically drive up costs for every American and will lead to a staggering loss of jobs—is not.

 

Single moms, seniors and people living on fixed incomes—the very people that supporters of the plan purport to help—will be the most negatively impacted by the Green New Deal. We can find ways –– including those outlined by myself and my colleagues that encourage innovative, private sector-driven solutions –to address climate change without a massive government takeover of our nation’s economy and culture. 

 

3-8-19 3:52 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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UARM Recognizing Substance Abuse Awareness Week March 11-15

U of A Rich Mountain to join 18 other institutions from across the state of Arkansas for Substance Abuse Awareness Week

 

For the first time ever The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas State University, Arkansas Tech University, University of Central Arkansas, Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University, University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Arkansas at Monticello, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, ASU Mountain Home, Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas, East Arkansas Community College, Northwest Arkansas Community College, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, University of Arkansas at Rich Mountain, and University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College are joining forces to combat substance abuse across the state of Arkansas. All of these institutions of higher education will be participating in the inaugural “Save AR Students” substance abuse awareness week on March 11-15, 2019.

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2017 Arkansas has the 2nd highest opioid prescription rate in the country at a rate of 105.4 percent per 100 persons, and based on information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, youth ages 18-25 are at the highest rate for illicit drug use at 22.7 percent. Additionally 9.9% of College students are abusing Adderall compared to 6.2% of Non College adults according to drugabuse.org. Adderall is a stimulant effect on the central nervous system that can be both physically and psychologically addictive when overused.

“It’s no secret that substance use is drastically affecting the state of Arkansas. It’s concerning that statistics have us towards the top for opioid prescriptions here in our state. It is very concerning seeing this issue affect our college campuses,” said Trevor Villines.

 

U of A Rich Mountain will have a ‘Dose of Reality’ presentation at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 in the Ingles Lecture Hall located on the Mena Campus inside the Spencer Building. DOR is a statewide campaign which educates our youth and young adults about the dangers of prescription opioids. ADH has educational material and a DOR educational course available. The course is being taught throughout the communities and schools. ADH has nurses and health educators that provide the training. The training consists of a presentation with a pre and post survey and evaluation. The course length is between 30-45 minutes.

 

Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson stated, “We are grateful to be joining this state-wide initiative to bring additional awareness to this overwhelming issue. It is not discriminatory in who it affects and the ripple effects of it are far reaching. We can accomplish much when we come together as one. I’m incredibly grateful of our SGA’s leadership in this campaign.”

 

Throughout the week participating institutions will be distributing informational flyers on prescription opioids, fentanyl, heroin, amphetamines, and the Joshua-Ashley Pauley Act.

 

“Substance abuse has no borders. It affects people of different gender, race, and religion. If we’re going to do something about it, the time is now. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves, put politics aside, and come together as one. It’s up to us to Save AR State, Save AR Future, but more importantly Save AR Students,” said Trevor Villines.

 

 

Shown is Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison signing the Proclamation for Substance Abuse Week- March 11-15.

 

3-8-19 3:47 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Taxiway Project at Mena Airport Progressing Well According To Airport Manager Fred Ogden

Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport manager Fred Ogden reports that the Taxiway Bravo project  is progressing well despite weather delays. 
 
"Good progress is being made on Taxiway Bravo in spite of the persistently bad weather since before Thanksgiving.  Mark Word and the Redstone team are making the best of a difficult situation.  
 
If the all goes well, Redstone and their subcontractor may be able to start laying asphalt on about 3000' of the taxiway sometime during the week of March 18, or sometime the next week depending on the weather. A diagram is attached that depicts the areas they hope to pave during this "lift."
 
Please also be aware that Mr. Word and I will meet every Wednesday morning for a few minutes at 08:30 to discuss the plans for the near term.  The meeting is open to airport operators and other interested stakeholders. So, if you have any questions about what is going on with the project, please feel free to drop by my office at that time. Let me know if you need directions!
 
Also, please remember it will be necessary to shut-down Runway 09-27 and the ILS for the final 90 days of this project. Presently, it looks like that will be in early June through early September, depending on the weather.
 
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone on the field for their patience thus far. Also, thanks for continuing to be safety conscience. Please continue to be aware of incoming and outgoing aircraft before crossing or back-taxiing the runway, especially on these cloudy days when incoming aircraft may be inbound for RWY 17 on the RNAV approach.  Please continue to listen to those radios!" 
 
 
3-8-19 12:00 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

March 8, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature has approved and the governor has signed a package of bills sponsored by female lawmakers. The coalition of legislators dubbed their package “Dream BIG for Arkansas.”

 

Act 198 expands access to the Internet by allowing towns, cities and local government entities to acquire, lease or build facilities to deliver broadband services.

 

Act 181 the process of designating the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at UAMS as a National Cancer Institute.

 

Act 83 requires schools to include literacy in their school improvement plans, and to follow curricula and use materials and methods proven scientifically to be effective in helping children with dyslexia.

 

A driving force behind the bill is the recognition that only 38 percent of third graders read at “ready” or “exceeding” on 2018 standardized reading tests (ACT Aspire).

 

Act 131 encourages entrepreneurship in child care facilities, especially in rural areas and other places where there is a lack of child care. It requires DHS to simplify its licensing requirements and grant applications, and to eliminate duplication and unnecessary paperwork.

 

The legislature has enacted most of a package of bills proposed by the veterans’ caucus, including Act 171 to ease the deadlines for school transfer applications for children whose parents live on a military base.

 

Act 148 authorizes the Adjutant General of Arkansas to remove officers from the National Guard if they are substandard in carrying out their duty, deficient in character, medically unfit or unsuited for military service.

 

The governor’s authority to order the militia into service now includes using the militia to address cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities in state information systems, thanks to Act 149.

 

The former site of the Southeast Arkansas Community Correction Center may be donated to an Arkansas-based non-profit organization that serves veterans, under Act 160. No inmates have been housed at the site since 2016.

 

The Senate approved SB 445 to permanently move the date of primary elections to March in years when there is also a presidential election. Our primaries have traditionally been in May, and in both major political parties the eventual candidate has virtually wrapped up the nomination by then. The goal of moving up the date to March is to make the Arkansas primary more relevant in national politics.

 

The Senate Committee on Revenue and Taxation advanced SB 447 to increase the homestead property tax credit from $350 to $375. In 2018, a total of 716,525 property owners received tax credit benefits of $230,000,000.

 

The act will save homeowners more than $12.5 million a year. It also transfers $8.2 million from the excess amounts in the property tax relief fund into a grant program for updating voting machines. The state chief financial officer will determine the amount needed to maintain the property tax relief fund, and any excess will be transferred to general revenue for tax relief.

 

The excess also can be used for financial aid to school districts whose revenue has declined as a result of Amendment 79, which voters approved in 2000 to create the homestead credit and place limits on growth in taxable value of property.

 

3-8-19 11:26 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Rutledge Urges U.S. Senate Passage of TRACED Act Says, 'The TRACED Act will further protect Arkansans'

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today urged the United States Senate to enact the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, which will curb illegal robocalls and spoofing. Arkansas has joined the 49 other states and four U.S. territories in sending a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation expressing support of the TRACED Act.

 

“Arkansans are fed up with being annoyed and ripped off by robocalls,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The TRACED Act will further protect Arkansans from falling victim to the high-pressure, relentless and often-convincing robocalls. This is just one step in my multifaceted approach to putting a stop to these unwanted calls.”

 

In the letter, the attorneys general state that the TRACED Act enables states, federal regulators and telecommunication providers to take steps to combat these illegal calls. The legislation will require voice service providers to participate in a call authentication framework to help block unwanted calls and creates an interagency working group to take additional actions to reduce robocalls and hold telemarketers and robocallers accountable.

 

More than 48 billion robocalls were made in 2018, resulting in millions of dollars in consumer losses. The state attorneys general work to protect consumers in their states from being harassed and scammed by robocalls.

 

The letter was led by Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and North Carolina attorneys general, and was signed by all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

 

3-7-19 1:37 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments March 5th 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. Tatum Veal, W/F, age 29, Count I: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Robert E. Jones, W/F, age 35, Count I: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Kymberlie A. Chaney, W/F, age 22, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Logan E. Pitts, W/M, age 40, Count I: Possession Of Methamphetamine With Purpose To Deliver, a Class "C" Felony. Count II: Simultaneous Possession Of Drugs And Firearms, a Class "Y" felony. Count III: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. County IV: Possession Of A Controlled Substance, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. Count V: Possession Of Firearms By Certain Persons, a Class "D" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Bambe Mellard, W/F, age 36, 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.

 

3-7-19 1:11 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansas Senate Committee Advances Bad Sex-Education Bill

This morning the Arkansas Senate Education Committee passed a bill that forces public schools to teach graphic sex education material to junior high and high school students.

S.B. 304 by Sen. Will Bond (D - Little Rock) and Rep. LeAnne Burch (D - Monticello) requires every school district in Arkansas to offer "evidence based" health courses to 7th - 12th graders that include instruction on preventing pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases through abstinence and contraceptives.

We know from experience that the kind of curriculum S.B. 304 mandates won't actually teach students to be abstinent. Instead it will encourage students to be sexually active.

In the 1990s Governor Bill Clinton and Dr. Joycelyn Elders promoted these same kinds of sex-education programs in Arkansas. Family Council strongly opposed their programs, because they treated every public school student as if he or she would be promiscuous, and they failed to have a meaningful impact on Arkansas' teen birth rates and teen abortion rates.

A few years ago, the Obama Administration spent millions of taxpayer dollars on "evidence-based" teen pregnancy prevention efforts nationwide. By and large, the program was unsuccessful; in fact, in some cases, students who went through the pregnancy prevention course were more likely to become pregnant afterward--not less likely.

S.B. 304 is just a continuation of these same bad programs.

Your state senator could vote on S.B. 304 very soon. You can leave a message asking your senator to oppose S.B. 304 by calling the Arkansas Senate during normal business hours at (501) 682-2902.

 

3-6-19 2:32 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 March 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.

 

3-6-19 1:11 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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AGFC honors 11 enforcement officers, Including Mena's Ray Hines and Bernie Soliz, with annual awards

LITTLE ROCK — Eleven Arkansas Game and Fish Commission enforcement officers and a K-9 were recipients of the division’s top honors Tuesday in the sixth annual AGFC Enforcement Division Awards at the Crowne Plaza.

 

Two of the officers and K-9 Lucy, a 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, were honored in two areas, once for life-saving heroics and another for keeping an event from escalating into tragedy.

 

Pat Fitts, AGFC director and former head of the Enforcement Division, spoke to the gathering that included other officers, winning officers’ families and AGFC volunteer chaplains:

 

"While many people may view the work of our officers as just checking for licenses or handing out tickets, I can tell you the work we do is unimaginable at times … when West Memphis is mentioned and we think of our officers’ involvement there (in ending a murderous rampage by a father and son on the run from authorities in 2010) … or what our dive team faces when they are called upon.”

 

Noting that when wildlife officers sign on to the job, they give up their weekends, regularly start shifts at midnight, and often are working 24/7 on assignments, Fitts added, “Thank you to the officers for the job you do, and to the families — you sacrifice a lot. I appreciate what all of you do.”

 

Four AGFC Commissioners were on hand, including Chairman Ford Overton, who addressed the group. Awards were presented by Fitts, AGFC Enforcement Chief Greg Rae, Major Jason Parker and Major Glenn Tucker. The event speaker was U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe of the Eastern District of Arkansas, who swears in new officers each year.

 

“You are committed to this job every single day. All those everyday events you experience prepare you for the moment of crisis when it arrives,” Volpe said.

 

The Warden’s Cross, considered the second highest honor awarded by the Enforcement Division next to the Medal of Valor, goes to wildlife officers who demonstrate courage, bravery and selflessness above and beyond the norm. The Warden’s Cross was awarded to Wildlife Officers Troy Sayger and Matt Tenison, who helped find a 15-year-old who had fled from custody in Prairie County to the White River. They launched a boat and located the teen in sleety, 30-degree weather with 15 mph winds. The handcuffed youth jumped into the river to elude capture, but the officers pulled him out of the water and requested medical help for him because of the frigid temps.

 

“Officers Sayger and Tenison launched a boat on a flooded river, in freezing temperatures with wind and sleet, demonstrating courage and bravery,” Parker said. “They without a doubt saved the life of this troubled juvenile, earning them the Warden’s Cross.”

 

Three officers earned the Governor’s Lifesaving Award and AGFC Lifesaving Medal, presented to an officer who, through direct lifesaving measures, sustains the life of another person. There are Cpl. Doug Small; Cpl. Gary Don Stell and K-9 Lucy; and Wildlife Officer Cody Standifer. Small’s investigation into debris he spotted on a county road in Baxter County, coinciding with a friend not showing up for work the next day, led to his finding the victim of a wreck who had been ejected well off the road and had serious injuries that included a broken neck. The accident victim now is in rehabilitation. Stell and Lucy tracked down a woman who had threatened to commit suicide, fled emergency personnel and had run off into a wooded area. Stell and Lucy guided a medical crew to her location and ultimately saved her life. Officer Standifer assisted Little River County Sheriff’s Office personnel with a motor vehicle accident, extracted from the back window a seriously injured victim who had a weak pulse and had bled extensively, saving his life.

 

Certificates of Commendation are awarded for actions above and beyond normal duty requirements and demonstrate such traits as courage, resourcefulness and unselfishness in situations that otherwise could escalate into a tragic one. Certificates went to Sr. Cpl. Roger Tate and Cpl. Wade Spence, Wildlife Officer Tyler Hill, and to Standifer.

 

Tate and Spence answered a call regarding a possible drowning and saved an elderly man who had floated off on the Black River from the boat launch and was suffering from heat exhaustion. Hill responded last December to a call of three duck hunters whose boat capsized in Lake Earling and rescued them despite awful weather conditions. Standifer, responding to another motor vehicle accident in LIttle River County that resulted in seven injured people and two fatalities, rescued 4- and 8-year-old children, and his quick thinking in treating the 8-year-old’s head injury with applied pressure before emergency personnel could arrive was “instrumental in the outcome of this situation,” the accident report said.

 

The Warden’s Star is awarded to a Wildlife Officer who performs an act of heroism involving an unusual situation or sudden occurrence of a serious and urgent nature that demands immediate action, the use of exceptional tactics, demonstration of good judgment, enthusiasm or ingenuity over and above what is normally demanded and expected, preventing an incident from escalating.

 

Warden’s Stars went to Cpl. Stell and K-9 Lucy and to the trio of Sgt. Jeff Black and Wildlife Officers Ray Hines and Bernie Soliz. Hines, Soliz and Black rescued an injured hiker who was more than 4 miles into the Caney Creek Wilderness Area. The trio determined that the victim could not be moved so set up a camp overnight, then had a helicopter flown in the next morning to extract the victim, who had a broken ankle and leg and required surgery.

 

Meanwhile, Stell and K-9 Lucy were summoned Columbia County by the sheriff’s office to find a missing 85-year-old male suffering from dementia in cold temperatures that were expected to drop below freezing that night. Early search efforts had thrown Lucy off the scent, but Stell decided on a different route into the woods, which proved to be correct for a “colder” trail, and the man soon was found.

 

Enforcement officers are nominated for the awards by each of the 12 AGFC enforcement districts. A committee chaired by Capt. Nakia Crims of the AGFC’s regional office in Fort Smith makes certain the nominations fit the particular criteria for each award and chooses the winners.

 

3-6-19 12:44 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Rutledge Applauds Legislation Approving Ballot Title Amendment Says, 'The law will give Arkansans a clear, concise and fair process'

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released the below statement following the Arkansas Legislature’s approval of the ballot title process proposal that will head to Governor Asa Hutchison’s desk for his signature.

 

“Today’s final vote is a victory for all Arkansans,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “The law will give Arkansans a clear, concise and fair process to amend the State Constitution. This streamlined process will increase transparency by ensuring a public and bipartisan debate for all ballot measures proposed by Arkansans.”

 

 

3-5-19 5:17 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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House Passes Contraceptive Bill

This afternoon the Arkansas House of Representatives narrowly passed H.B. 1290 by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Clarksville) and Sen. Bart Hester (R - Cave Springs).

The bill lets pharmacists give oral contraceptives to women without a prescription from a doctor.

Family Council opposes the bill primarily for two reasons.

First, oral contraceptives carry a number of health risks — including heart attack, blood clots in the lungs, and bleeding in the brain. That’s why these pills currently require a prescription from a doctor. Letting pharmacists dispense them without the oversight of a physician jeopardizes women’s health.

Second, according to the federal Food and Drug Administration, oral contraceptives can cause the death of an unborn child. These drugs not only prevent the conception of unborn children, but they can also stop an unborn child from implanting inside the mother’s womb, causing the child to die and be miscarried. The fact that these drugs can cause the death of an unborn child makes this a human life issue.

The bill was amended last week before the House Public Health Committee passed it, and now there are concerns that some of the changes made to the bill may make it possible for pharmacists to refer women to abortion facilities like Planned Parenthood when they dispense birth control pills.

This fight now shifts to the Arkansas Senate.

H.B. 1290 will go to the Arkansas Senate Public Health Committee, where it could be voted on very soon. That's why I hope you will encourage your state senator to oppose H.B. 1290, the bill letting pharmacists dispense oral contraceptives without a prescription from a doctor.

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

Look at the list below to see how your state representative voted on the bill today.

THE FOLLOWING REPRESENTATIVES VOTED AGAINST THE BILL

Rep. Rick Beck
Rep. Stan Berry
Rep. Harlan Breaux
Rep. Joe Cloud
Rep. Cameron Cooper
Rep. Marsh Davis
Rep. Gary Deffenbaugh
Rep. Brian Evans
Rep. Lanny Fite
Rep. Jack Fortner
Rep. Mickey Gates
Rep. Lee Johnson
Rep. Jasen Kelly
Rep. Mark Lowery
Rep. Julie Mayberry
Rep. Gayla McKenzie
Rep. Ron McNair
Rep. Stephen Meeks
Rep. John Payton
Rep. Clint Penzo
Rep. Keith Slape
Rep. Brandt Smith
Rep. Nelda Speaks
Rep. Dan Sullivan
Rep. Les Warren
Rep. Danny Watson
Rep. Carlton Wing
Rep. Richard Womack
Rep. Jim Wooten

THE FOLLOWING REPRESENTATIVES VOTED FOR THE BILL

Rep. Fred Allen
Rep. Mary Bentley
Rep. Charles Blake
Rep. Justin Boyd
Rep. Karilyn Brown
Rep. LeAnne Burch
Rep. Sarah Capp
Rep. Frances Cavenaugh
Rep. Craig Christiansen
Rep. Nicole Clowney
Rep. Bruce Coleman
Rep. Andrew Collins
Rep. Andy Davis
Rep. Jana Della Rosa
Rep. Jim Dotson
Rep. Dan Douglas
Rep. Deborah Ferguson
Rep. Kenneth Ferguson
Rep. David Fielding
Rep. Vivian Flowers
Rep. Denise Garner
Rep. Jimmy Gazaway
Rep. Don Glover
Rep. Megan Godfrey
Rep. Justin Gonzales
Rep. Michelle Gray
Rep. Spencer Hawks
Rep. David Hillman
Rep. Grant Hodges
Rep. Monte Hodges
Rep. Steve Hollowell
Rep. Joe Jett
Rep. Jack Ladyman
Rep. Fred Love
Rep. Roger Lynch
Rep. Stephen Magie
Rep. Austin McCollum
Rep. Tippi McCullough
Rep. Josh Miller
Rep. Reginald Murdock
Rep. Milton Nicks
Rep. Mark Perry
Rep. Rebecca Petty
Rep. Aaron Pilkington
Rep. Jay Richardson
Rep. Chris Richey
Rep. Laurie Rushing
Rep. Johnny Rye
Rep. Jamie Scott
Rep. Stu Smith
Rep. DeAnn Vaught
Rep. John Walker
Rep. Jeff Wardlaw
Rep. David Whitaker

THE FOLLOWING REPRESENTATIVES VOTED “PRESENT” (DID NOT VOTE FOR THE BILL OR AGAINST THE BILL)

Rep. Sonia Barker
Rep. Ken Bragg
Rep. Cindy Crawford
Rep. Carol Dalby
Rep. Charlene Fite
Rep. Mike Holcomb
Rep. Robin Lundstrum
Rep. Jim Sorvillo
Rep. Dwight Tosh

THE FOLLOWING REPRESENTATIVES WERE ABSENT OR DID NOT VOTE

Rep. Bruce Cozart
Rep. Les Eaves
Rep. Jon Eubanks
Rep. Doug House
Rep. Lane Jean
Rep. John Maddox
Rep. Marcus Richmond
Rep. Matthew Shepherd

 

3-5-19 5:07 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Mena Police Department Report for February 24th - March 2nd

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of February 24, 2019 March 2, 2019 

 

February 24, 2019

Report was made of a vehicle being stolen in Benton County that turned up in Polk County.  The vehicle was returned to the legal owner.  No charges have been filed at this time.

 

Randall Dale Burkett, 26, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine or cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The arrest followed a routine traffic stop.

 

Donnie Dollarhyde, 45, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Polk County.

 

February 25, 2019

Melissa Mettie, 31, of Mena was arrested for criminal trespass after officers were called to a local retail store.

 

Stacy Lynn Van, 50, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) followed a call from employees at a local retail store.

 

A Mena woman reported that the father of her unborn child was harassing her and threatening her.  The suspect resides in California.  No charges have been filed at this time.

 

February 26, 2019

A local man reported that someone had accessed the crawl space under his house, as well as remove a vent cover.  Case is pending.

 

A local youth reported that his wallet had been stolen.  Case is pending.  There are no suspects at this time.

 

Angela Cabello, 29, of Mena turned herself in to authorities on an outstanding warrant from the Mena Police Department for failure to pay fines and court costs.

 

February 27, 2019

Crystal Lane Davis, 39, of Mena, was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Mena Police Department.

 

Report was taken that a local man is being harassed and threatened by an acquaintance.  Case is pending.

 

Jimmy Lee Wright, 33, of Mena was charged with driving on a driver’s license suspended for DWI.

 

Jack Henry, 59, of Mena was arrested on a warrant from the Mena Police Department for failure to pay fines and court costs.

 

February 28, 2019

Sean Eric Craddock, 24, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.

 

Brandon Everett, 28, of Mena was charged with driving on a suspended driver’s license and careless driving.

 

Brenda Gebhardt, 45, of Mena was charged with possession with intent to deliver of methamphetamine, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a suspended driver’s license.  The arrest followed a traffic stop.

 

A Mena man reported that he is being harassed by an acquaintance.  Case is pending.

 

Bradley Chandler, 52, of Mena turned himself into authorities for an outstanding warrant from the Polk County Sheriff.

 

March 1, 2019

Aaron Frank Ollar, 31, of Mena was charged with theft of property (shoplifting) after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.

 

Nathan Allen Gastineau, 37, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failure to pay fines and court costs from the Mena Police Department.

 

March 2, 2019

Report was made by a local woman regarding a battery.  Case is pending further investigation and interview of all persons involved.

 

3-4-19 2:36 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For February 25th - March 3rd

SHERIFF’S LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of February 25, 2019 – March 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.


February 25, 2019
Report from a Mena woman of disruptive behavior led to a 15-year-old male being issued Juvenile Citations for Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.
Report from complainant on Polk 136 near Cove of a vehicle that had been driving recklessly.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 32 near Cove of an individual stuck under a trailer.  Deputies responded.
Report from complainant on Polk 286 near Hatfield of a missing license plate.
Traffic stop on Highway 88 near Mena led to the arrest of Gary T. Dobbs, 64, of Mena, on a Body Attachment Warrant Additional information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


February 26, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 76 East near Mena of receiving inappropriate messages from an individual in another jurisdiction.  The information has been forwarded to the proper authorities.
Report of disruptive behavior led to a 17-year-old male being issued a Juvenile Citation for Disorderly Conduct.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.
Report from complainant on Polk 35 near Hatfield of the theft of a dog.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


February 27, 2019
No reports were filed.


February 28, 2019
Report of a death on Polk 7 near Wickes.  Deputy responded.
Arrested was Kristian D. Taylor, 33, of Hatfield, on a Charge of Violation of a No Contact Order and a Warrant for Bond Revocation.
Arrested was Gregory S. Brewer, 50, of Hatfield, on Charges of two counts of Aggravated Assault.
Arrested was Micah A. Steffler, 33, of Dequeen, on a Child Support Warrant.


March 1, 2019
Request for welfare check on Polk 290 near Cove.  Deputy responded.
Arrested was Brenda L. Gebhardt, 45, of Mena, on a Warrant for Delivery of Meth or Cocaine.
Report from a Wickes woman of the theft of a phone valued at $100.00, and of being harassed by acquaintances.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from complainant on Polk 181 near Mena of an attempted scam involving a check cashing scheme.
Arrested was Celest A. Branson, 21, of Mena, on two Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

March 2, 2019
Report from complainant on Highway 71 South near Cove of the break-in and theft of military medals and a computer, all valued at $200.00.  Investigation continues.


March 3, 2019
Report of a disturbance on Venable Lane near Mena led to the arrest of Brandon L. Everett, 28, and Kaylie M. Stroud, 23, both of Mena, each on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.
Report of a chimney fire on Dove Lane near Hatfield.  Deputy responded.

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 21 Incarcerated Inmates, with 5 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00157

 

3-4-19 12:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: A Dramatic Shift in Arkansas's Juvenile Justice System

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: A Dramatic Shift in Arkansas’s Juvenile Justice
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – This week, the General Assembly passed a comprehensive bill that is a giant step forward in reforming our juvenile justice system. The bill provides for better assessment of our troubled youth and allows for sentencing guidelines that are more appropriate to each person.
 
This reform is a long overdue response to the needs of youth who are struggling. It holds great potential to improve the life of our youth and to reduce the number who commit another crime and return to the system.
 
This law does two very important things. First, it requires the court to provide a validated independent assessment of each youth in the system.
 
This will allow the court and the probation officers to understand the issues that have led the teenager to this point in his or her life. It will point out the risks that may lead the young person to re-offend. And it will help determine the appropriate discipline.
 
This law will make the system more equitable across the state. When it is necessary to confine a youth to a treatment center, we may be able to move the youth to a facility that is close to his or her community.
 
This opens the possibility that family and people in the community can better prepare for the young person’s return.
 
The law also makes it possible for us to offer treatment for drug addiction or mental-health issues when that is appropriate.
 
The second part of this reform is that we are closing two treatment centers. Over time, this will allow us to reinvest money into local treatment options.
This is a dramatic shift in our system of juvenile justice that will help us get our teenagers back on track when they get into trouble.
 
The reform of the juvenile justice system has been one of my top priorities since I took office. The month before my first inauguration, in fact, I made a surprise visit to the state’s largest center for juveniles so that I could see the conditions firsthand and make it clear that this issue is important to me.
 
Now we’ve passed this law and taken an important step to reforming our juvenile justice system.
 
3-1-19  6:05 p.m.  kawx.org

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Prosecuting Attorney Warns Of Scam Targeting Local Residents

The following information was shared by the Prosecuting Attorney.

 

Several local residents have reported the receipt of letters purported to be from Publisher's Clearinghouse (PCH) and other entities. The letters claim that the recipient won a large sum of money, usually millions of dollars. Unfortunately, these letters are unaffiliated with reputable entities. Instead, they are one step in a multi-layered scam targeting the elderly and those desperate to earn extra money from home.

 

Here's how the second level of the scam works . . .

 

Enclosed with each letter is a legitimate looking check claiming to cover the payment of taxes on a grand prize. The recipient is instructed to cash the check and send the proceeds via wire transfer back to the fake sweepstakes company. According to the scam letter, once the fake sweepstakes company receives the proceeds of the check, the millions of dollars that the recipient allegedly won can be released.

 

Those who cash the checks and wire the money to the fake entity end up holding the bag when the checks, usually between $5000 and $10,000 inevitably bounce. The bank then seeks repayment of the proceeds from the victim of the scam.

 

And there is another victim . . .

 

The scam usually begins with an individual who responds to a Craigslist "work from home" add. This person is told that an offshore company needs a US based person to process and mail checks and letters. The person on this side of the scam is instructed to buy checks at an office store to print and mail them to a list of people provided via email. Of course, for their efforts this person also prints a fake check that ultimately bounces. The bank then seeks repayment from the victim of this level of the scam.

 

Use common sense . . . If something is too good to be true then it probably is.

 

1. Pay attention to the envelope

 

Since the letters and checks are sent from individuals, they are usually mailed in plain white envelopes with peel and stick postage stamps. Would a large company like PCH would not be likely to use such a mailing method?

 

2. Never pay money to receive money

 

Why would a reputable business send a person a check and ask the person to cash the check and send the cash proceeds back?

 

3. Do not agree to process payments for anyone

 

Why would a large company handling millions of dollars need to use a person working from home to process its payments?

 
3-1-19 4:43 KAWX.ORG
 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

In Arkansas, there are two ways to put a constitutional amendment on an election ballot.

 

First, an individual or group can draft a ballot measure and then collect the needed number of signatures.

 

The second way amendments are put forth is by the General Assembly.  Article 19 of the Arkansas Constitution allows the General Assembly to refer up to three amendments for the next general election.

 

This week, the House State Agencies began hearing proposed amendments. Topics addressed in the proposals range from term limits to inmate labor.

 

You can watch the presentations on the video library section of www.arkansashouse.org.

 

Meanwhile, in the 7th week of the session, the House passed the following legislation:

 

HB1437-This bill makes it a Class A misdemeanor if a mandated reporter fails to notify law enforcement of a serious threat made by an individual regarding violence in or targeted at a school.

 

HB1356-This bill makes it against the law for students to be shamed or stigmatized for not paying for lunch. It prohibits schools from providing a different meal or snack than other students, from requiring a wristband or hand stamp, or requiring the student to dispose of the meal. It also requires the Department of Education to implement a system of best practices in collecting for unpaid lunches.

 

HB1416-This bill removes the enrollment cap on school districts which separation may occur.

 

HB1413-This bill states private school and home school students who enroll in an endorsed concurrent enrollment course in a public school should not be charged for the course unless the district also charges public school students.

 

HB1491- This bill mandates DHS dissolve the wait list for the alternative community services waiver program (Developmental Disabilities Waiver) within 3 years.

 

HB1493-This bill amends the Arkansas Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit.  It lowers the minimum threshold for the credit from $25,000 to $5,000 of rehabilitation expenses in non-income producing properties.

 

HB1439-This bill prohibits abortions after 18 weeks’ gestation except in the event of a medical emergency.

 

HB1304-This bill amends the Arkansas Speed Trap Law. It requires Legislative Audit to include information to determine if a municipality is potentially abusing police power in the agency’s routine audit reports.

 

HB1438-This bill makes repeat offenses of voyeurism and video voyeurism a Class C felony.

 

The House also passed a resolution this week extending the session until April 12. 

 

As a reminder, you can watch all House proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

3-1-19 3:51 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Babies Who Survive Abortion Deserve Protection & Dignity

 

Recently a very disturbing and revealing discussion has been taking place in our country, raising serious questions about how much value and worth we ascribe to babies in the womb and especially those born despite an attempted abortion procedure.

 

This year several states have passed or proposed laws to codify the right to abortion up until the moment of birth. Entertaining the idea that the rights and privileges that newborn babies possess is an open-ended question is alarming. I believe we must defend their rights to life and to receive the same care that any other child born at the same gestational age would instead of being callously discarded or worse, intentionally killed in the name of reproductive freedom.

 

That’s why I supported the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act on the Senate floor last month. Although this legislation seeking to protect newborns who survive an attempted abortion received a bipartisan majority of votes, it regrettably did not pass.

 

The utter failure to recognize and affirm the right to life, especially after an infant has already been born, is greatly concerning. There should be no mistake or ambiguity regarding our commitment to uphold this basic, fundamental right and protect every child no matter the circumstances of his or her birth.

 

The legislation would create criminal penalties for doctors who allow infants surviving abortion to die rather than provide them medical care and also require that born-alive abortion survivors be transported to a hospital for treatment.

 

Abortionists who defied these mandates to render aid to abortion survivors would face the justice they are due instead of being ignored or permitted to continue committing this cruel, inhumane act that amounts to infanticide.

 

It is time for our country to speak with one clear voice and say that every human being is made in the image of God and is therefore in possession of dignity and worth that cannot be displaced or dispossessed. Anything short of this unambiguous declaration would be a tremendous disservice to our children and fatally undermine the values our society claims to uphold.

 

As a former medical provider, I believe that to end a newborn child’s life either by refusing to provide life-saving care or actively taking that child’s life – as in the case of infamous abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell and others – violates the oath every medical provider takes to “do no harm.”

 

As a dad and a grandfather, I know from my own experience just how precious each life is. Every new life is a treasured gift that brings families like mine immeasurable joy and meaning and any suggestion otherwise is tragic, heartbreaking and outrageous.

 

I am proud to have stood with my colleagues in support of this legislation seeking to protect these precious, vulnerable little ones. We can and should do this as a reflection of the country we want to be. While I’m disappointed with the result of the vote, my colleagues and I, along with millions of Americans across the nation, will continue to raise our voices on their behalf.

 

If we as a nation are to hold any claim to a moral character that deserves to be admired and emulated, we must be willing to say that the lives of newborn children have inherent value and are worthy of protection. There is simply no way to credibly claim otherwise.

 

3-1-19 1:44 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

March 1, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature advanced a major highway program and tougher new ethics laws.

 

Senate Bill 336 is part of the governor’s proposal to raise funding for highway construction and maintenance. The Senate approved the measure and sent it to the House of Representatives, where it received a favorable vote in committee.

 

The bills is supported by a significant portion of the business community, as well as representatives of Arkansas trucking companies.

 

It levies a new wholesale sales tax on gasoline and diesel, which will result in an additional 3 cents a gallon on gas and 6 cents on diesel. The new state rate for gasoline will be 24.5 cents a gallon, and for diesel it will be 28.5 cents.

 

When fully in effect, in Fiscal Year 2021, this new wholesale sales tax will generate $59 million a year for state highway projects and $12.6 million each a year for both cities and counties.

 

Increases from one year to the next will be limited to 0.1 percent per gallon.

 

Both the Senate and the House have approved SB 249 to SB 256 to strengthen laws on ethics for public officials and campaign finance. SB 249 increases the maximum fine that the Ethics Commission can impose, from $2,000 to $3,500. SB 256 prohibits a legislator or constitutional officer from being a registered lobbyist, not only in Arkansas but in other states.

 

Act 191 will improve enforcement of the new ethics laws by increasing the staff of the state Ethics Commission from nine to 11 employees.

 

Several measures affecting public schools advanced. House Bill 1419, which would require public schools to offer individual classes to home-schooled students, was endorsed by the House Education Committee.

 

HB 1182 would make it a primary offense to use a cell phone while driving through a school zone when children are present. A police officer could stop drivers solely for the purpose of finding out if they were using a phone, which they could not do if it were a secondary offense. Both chambers have approved HB 1182.

 

Both chambers have approved and sent to the governor HB1014 to require high schools to teach bleeding control and the use of a tourniquet, as a component of health classes.

 

HB 1356 requires schools to treat students no differently although they may owe money for lunches. It was endorsed in House committee. For example, schools could not make students wear wrist bands if they had a debt for meals.

 

The House also approved HB 1437, which professionals who work with children to notify law enforcement if they have reason to believe there is a serious and imminent threat of violence targeted at a school.

 

The list of occupations is long, and includes doctors, teachers, social workers, foster parents, school counselors and school officials, mental health professionals and advocates for children.

 

The House approved and sent to the Senate HB 1431to prohibit abortions after 18 weeks of gestation, except in cases of medical emergency that threatens the life of the mother.

 

3-1-19 8:04 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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