KAWX News Archives for 2019-04

Pine Ridge Weather Observer Lon Stucker Honored By National Weather Service

National Weather Service officials were in Pine Ridge on Tuesday to present the prestigious John Campanius Holm award to Noah "Lon" Stucker, the Pine Ridge weather observer for the National Weather Service, who is also the postmaster, proprietor of the Lum and Abner Store, and curator of the Lum and Abner Museum, along with his with Kathy.

 

The award was presented by Meteorologist-in-charge James Reynolds. Reynolds said that the award was one of the most prestigious awards distributed by the National Weather Service with less than 25 awarded nationwide. They are awarded on the basis of lengthy, accurate, and complete weather observations while also being civic minded and a respected member of the community. In addition to being one of the best weather observers in the United States, Lon is a Navy Veteran and former firefighter. Currently he helps his wife Kathy run their store and museum which is a prominent landmark in Pine Ridge and tourist destination for people from all over the world.

 

Shown left to right Kathy Stucker, Lon Stucker, James Reynolds, and Sean Clarke.

 

James Reynolds told the group of about two dozen on hand for the ceremony that the network or weather observers were an invaluable asset to the National Weather Service. 

 

Observation Program Leader Sean Clarke enthusiastically thanked Lon for going the extra mile to make sure important information gets to the weather service even when there are communications problems.

 

Senior Service Hydrologist Tabitha Clarke said that rain reports were very important for people downstream and useful when flood watches and warnings are issued.

 

Shown left to right Tabitha Clarke, Kathy Stucker, Lon Stucker, James Reynolds, and Sean Clarke. 

 

The Stuckers have been minding the store and museum since 1979 and say they have no plans of changing anything. Pine Ridge was originally called Waters. The name was changed after the Lum and Abner radio program brought national attention to to community they called Pine Ridge, which provided much inspiration for their very popular radio show. Lum and Abner, played by Chet Lauck and Norris Goff, were from Mena, Arkansas. 

 

The Lum and Abner radio program still airs on KAWX and KAWX.ORG weekdays at 6:30 p.m.

 

4-30-19 3:43 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Department Report for April 22nd - 27th

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of April 22, 2019 through April 27, 2019 

 

April 22, 2019

 

Andrea Main, 29, and Karson Crawford, 26, both or Mena were charged with shoplifting after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.

 

Employees at a convenience store reported that someone had driven off without paying for their fuel.  The suspect was located and returned to pay for the gas.  No charges were filed.

 

David Eledge, 56, of Mena served an outstanding warrant for failure to pay fines and court costs.

 

April 23, 2019

 

Officers responded to a call regarding a theft from a local residence.  The victim reported that someone had broken into his house and had stolen several items. The man suspected his brother had taken the items.  Case is pending further investigation and interview with the suspect.

 

Benny Lee Anderson, 46, of Mena was arrested on several outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines and court costs.

 

April 24, 2019

 

Randel G. Voylles, 24, of Texarkana was charged with disorderly conduct after a call to the parking lot of a local store.

 

Zack Cochran, 22, Kasey Murry, 33, and Jamie Beckwith, 27, all of Mena were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, and manufacture and delivery of a counterfeit controlled substance. 

 

 

April 25, 2019

 

A local man reported that someone had stolen a leaf blower from the back of his pickup.  The victim believed that the theft had occurred while he was shopping at a local retail store.  Officers reviewed the surveillance tapes, but determined that the incident had not happened at that time, but must have been prior to that time.  Case pending further evidence.

 

Kevin Sullivan, 59, of Mena was arrested on two outstanding warrants for failure to pay fines and court costs.

 

April 26, 2019

 

Officers travelled to Scott County to bring Dustin Lane, 25, of Mena to the Polk County jail.  He was served a warrant from the Mena Police department.  The warrant was for failure to pay fines and court costs.

 

April 27, 2019

 

Van Holman, 26, of Mena was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving on a suspended driver’s license.  The arrest followed after a traffic stop.

 

John Murphy, 32, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant from the Polk County Sheriff’s Department.  The arrest followed a routine traffic stop.

 

4-30-19 9:28 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For April 22nd - 28th

 
SHERIFF’S   LOG
 
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of April 22 - April 28, 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.
 
April 22, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 630 near Shady of the theft of a tractor.  The tractor was later located.
Report from complainant on Tilley Lane near Hatfield of the theft of a truck, firearm and hunting and fishing accessories.  Investigation continues.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 626 near Nunley.  Deputies responded.
Report of the discovery of a burned vehicle on Polk 406 near Cove.  The owner was notified.  Investigation continues.
Reports of threats made towards an individual led to the arrest of Dennis R. Stinson, 40, of Mena, on a Charge of Carrying a Knife as a Weapon.
 
April 23, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 53 near Mena of being bitten by a neighbor’s dog.  Deputy responded.  The owner of the dog was advised to quarantine the animal for ten days.
Report from complainant on Boggy Lane near Board Camp of the theft of their identity.
 
April 24, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 125 near Rocky of a single-vehicle accident that had been abandoned.  Investigation continues.
 
April 25, 2019
Report of a two-vehicle accident that had occurred earlier in the day on Cardinal Lane near Mena.
Report from a Mena man that his 13-year-old daughter was missing.  The juvenile was located and returned to the custody of a parent/guardian.
 
April 26, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 121 near Mena of the theft of several tools and a drum set.  Investigation continues.
 
April 27, 2019
Traffic stop on Highway 71 North near Vandervoort.  Investigation continues pending results from the Arkansas State Crime Lab.
Traffic stop on Highway 8 West near Mena led to the arrest of Larry E. Wood, 55, of Mena, on Charges of DWI2, Driving Left of Center and Refusal to Submit.
Report of a burglary on John R Vance Road in Grannis.  Deputy responded.  Investigation continues.
Report from a Mena woman of problems with a juvenile.  Deputy responded.
Arrested was Derek W. Tarkinton, 27, of Mena, on Warrants for Forgery 2nd Degree, Aggravated Assault, Domestic Battery 3rd Degree, Interference with Emergency Communication 2nd Degree and Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
Arrested was Stacey A. Robbins, 44, of Dequeen, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order and a Sebastian County Warrant.
 
April 28, 2019
Report of a disturbance on Polk 238 near Mena led to the arrest of Timothy Perales, 35, of Atkins, on Charges of Criminal Trespass, Public Intoxication, Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
 
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked one vehicle accident this week.
 
Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 22 Incarcerated Inmates, with 5 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.
 
PC19-00297
 
4-29-19 1:13 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: A Big Month for Economic Development in Arkansas

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: A Big Month for Economic Development in Arkansas
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Now that I’ve been in office for more than four years, you may have noticed that one of my favorite topics is “economic development.” As we close out April of this year, I’d like to note that this has been a banner month for job creation in Arkansas.
 
This week alone, we’ve announced two grand openings and an expansion that are projected to produce 781 jobs and investments of $141 million. When you consider the two expansions we announced in the first half of April, the total comes to over 900 new jobs and over $200 million in investment.
 
April’s first big announcement was that Coca-Cola Consolidated will expand its operations in West Memphis by 60 employees and invest $30 million. This is a significant win for Arkansas because the company chose to expand at its Arkansas facility rather than across the Mississippi River in Memphis. When an iconic American company like Coca-Cola continues to invest in Arkansas, we know we're doing things right.
 
April’s second big story was Sig Sauer’s announcement that the company would expand its ammunition manufacturing plant in Jacksonville. This should create 75 new jobs and the firm’s investment in Arkansas by $30 million.
 
Sig Sauer was my administration’s first economic development victory. On my first day in office in 2015, I made a cold call to Sig Sauer’s president. Eighteen months later, Sig Sauer was breaking ground in Jacksonville.
 
On Tuesday, the president of the Czech firearms company CZ-USA joined me at the capitol to announce his company will build a plant at the Port of Little Rock, its first U.S. plant. Over the next several years, CZ-USA expects to create 565 new jobs and invest $90 million. In addition, Arkansas will be its North American Headquarters.
 
Our second big announcement was that Aerojet Rocketdyne is enlarging its operations in East Camden. That expansion is expected to create 140 new jobs and attract more than $50 million in investment.
 
On Thursday, I traveled to Helena-West Helena to help cut the ribbon at Dragon Woodland Sawmill. The reopening of the sawmill, which the company bought in 2018, is expected to create 75 new jobs and attract $10 million in investment. This is great news for Phillips County.
 
While April was an exceptionally productive month, it accurately represents the kind of economic development we’ve seen in Arkansas over the past four years.
 
With the leadership of Mike Preston and his team at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, we have signed more than 400 economic development deals, which produced 17,000 jobs, and more than $8 billion in capital investment.
 
Our total job growth since January 2015 is over 80,000.
 
This doesn’t happen by accident. I have traveled nearly 90,000 miles and visited eight countries. We have forged solid trust-based relationships with business leaders all over the world.
 
In June, I will make my third trip to the Paris Air Show, which is the place to meet global leaders of the aerospace and defense industry.
 
But it’s more than research and reaching out. A sales pitch is worthless unless I have something of value to sell. In Arkansas, we have our natural beauty, our natural resources, and our solid record of economic growth.
 
But our most important selling point is the people of Arkansas. Without exception, the CEOs who have chosen to do business in Arkansas talk about the strength of our workforce. Arkansans work hard, and over the past four years, many have taken advantage of educational opportunities to learn new skills that are crucial in our rapidly developing high-tech economy.
 
With our emphasis on computer science and technical careers, we are adding muscle to our workforce. Our workforce, of course, is all of Arkansas. The ultimate goal of economic development is to make Arkansas a better place to live, and we are doing just that.
 
4-26-19 5:26 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Drug Take Back Event In Mena Saturday, April 27th

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in the Arkansas Drug Take Back Saturday, April 27th. Officers will be set up in front of the court house from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. There is also a drop box set up in the Detention Center lobby. Bring your old, unused, and unwanted prescription pills by for dispose of them in a safe manner.

4-26-19 3:53 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Chamber of Commerce Awards, Banquet

The Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Membership Appreciation Banquet, on April 23rd, at the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain Ouachita Center. The theme for this years banquet was Masquerade at the Comedy Club. Guests arrived in their formal, evening attire donning beautiful masquerade masks and were surrounded by gorgeous masquerade decorations. It was a wonderful evening celebrating Chamber members and their guests.

 

Comedian Byron Trimble provided the evenings entertainment with his unique blend of humor and music, while Papa's Mexican Cafe catered the meal and delivered a delicious dinner for all. The Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce would like to give specials thanks to the organizations who served the evenings meal. The Acorn National Honor Society, Acorn FCCLA, Polk County 4-H, Mena Tennis, and Mena Soccer all helped to create a very successful event. And we couldn't be more proud of Mena Middle School EAST for their incredible presentation.

 

To all the Chamber businesses who donated to the live and silent auctions and Auctioneer, Allen Stewart, we appreciate your generosity and continued support of the scholarship fund. For lighting up the evening, a tremendous thank you goes to 385 Events. And for focusing on the event and capturing the memories, our hats are off to Whitley Lind Photography.

 

Thank you to the staff at The Ouachita Center and the Christian Motorcyclists Association for all your help and to Closet 821 for being such generous supporters. To our amazing board of directors, volunteers, and to all our members and guests in attendance, we are honored to work with and for all of you.

 

Each year, awards are voted on and given to recipients for recognition in five categories. This years award winners are:

 

BEST NEW CONSTRUCTION: SANTA'S OUTBACK BARN

 

BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: FIRST FINANCIAL BANK

 

BEAUTIFICATION AND RENOVATION: PAPA'S MEXICAN CAFE

 

CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: SPECIAL OLYMPICS AREA 14

 

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: PETE CHAMBERS

Shown is Pete Chambers.

 

The Chamber also recognizes its Ambassador's for their invaluable contributions to the community. This year, the Ambassador of the Year was awarded to Jerry “Doc” Watson. Without our amazing Member businesses, Board of Directors, Chamber Ambassadors, and community volunteers, none of this would be possible.

 

The Chamber would like to, once again, congratulate all the winners. It is with a great sense of pride and gratitude that we have the opportunity to come together and celebrate our wonderful community and incredible Chamber members. We look forward to a prosperous year and a bigger and better Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce Membership Appreciation Banquet next year. We hope to see you there!

 

To view pictures from the banquet, click here for here for Facebook, or here for the chamber's website

 

4-26-19 2:05 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Committed to Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

Committed to Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

 

Since 2010, citizens across our state have participated in Arkansas Take Back to get expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs out of their homes. This program was launched because families and individuals continue to experience the serious consequences brought on by the escalating opioid epidemic.

 

According to a recent study by the National Safety Council, Americans are more likely to die from opioid abuse than in a motor vehicle accident. A 2015 analysis by the group found that only one in five Americans consider prescription pain medication to be a serious threat.

 

On average, 115 people die each day in the U.S. from opioid overdose and 40 percent of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription drug. Our state ranks second in the nation for over-prescribing opioid medications. More prescriptions are filled in Arkansas each year than there are people. In light of that reality, wecan be proud of the participation in Arkansas Take Back from people in all corners of the Natural State. These events have produced the return of 160 tons of unneeded medications, which amounts to more than 442 million pills, demonstrating that this campaign is succeeding in getting excess prescription drugs out of circulation.

 

Defeating this epidemic is a priority and leaders at all levels of government are using a comprehensive approach to reverse the trend. This year the state legislature approved, and the governor signed into law, legislation to remove unnecessary restrictions to evidence-based treatment for opioid abuse. These efforts by state leaders have gained national attention. The American Medical Association applauded Arkansas for setting an example for other states to follow so patients don’t have to wait to receive FDA-approved medications proven to support recovery.   

 

Last congress, several pieces of legislation were passed and signed into law to improve the tools and resources available to fight opioid abuse and addiction, including the Opioid Crisis Response Act, an all-inclusive approach to countering the epidemic that includes a focus on recovery.

 

There is a clear need to continue seeking out ways to help our family members and neighbors affected by this crisis. One such solution, as President Trump explained in his State of the Union address this year, is to eliminate the flow of drugs into our country. In early April, Attorney General William Barr echoed this sentiment before members of the Senate Appropriations Committee. In addition to drugs coming into the country through our southern border, Attorney General Barr also said the FBI is undertaking methods to reduce drug trafficking via the internet and through the mail.

 

Federal resources are being deployed nationwide to break the cycle of addiction. During a visit to Searcy County in March, I saw how grant funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are being used to implement effective treatment, recovery and prevention methods at Boston Mountain Rural Health Center in Marshall. Improving its transportation and telehealth services has made a difference for patients. Several other facilities across the state have recently been awarded funds to give addicts and their families new hope in the fight against opioid abuse.

 

There is overwhelming support for and desire to turn the tide against the opioid epidemic. I’m committed to helping our state and the country continue developing strategies to combat prescription opioid abuse and improving access to treatment and recovery to save lives. 

 

4-26-19 11:27 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
 
LITTLE ROCK – The legislature officially ended the 2019 regular session when it adjourned sine die on April 24.
 
Unless the governor calls a special session, legislators are not scheduled to convene again until the 2020 fiscal session.
 
Generally, bills approved during this year’s session will take effect 90 days after sine die. Some bills included an emergency clause, which means that they take effect immediately when they are signed. Also, appropriation bills that authorize spending by state agencies will take effect on July 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year.
 
This year the legislature considered 684 Senate bills and 986 House bills. As of last week, 1,091 bills had become law, although a handful of measures that had been approved by both chambers were awaiting the governor’s signature. This year the governor did not veto any bills.
 
The 2019 session began on January 14. The last day of business actually occurred on April 10, when legislators recessed until April 24. During the recess, all the bills that were approved were closely reviewed for mistakes or typographical errors. None were discovered.
 
Even though no mistakes were corrected and there were no gubernatorial vetoes to consider, on April 24 senators actually conducted business in addition to officially adjourning.
 
The Senate concurred in a House amendment to Senate Bill 179, a bill affecting municipal government. The Senate action allowed the bill to be sent to the governor for his signature, and to become state law.
 
It was a very rare occurrence to actually vote on a bill, because typically when the legislature adjourns sine die only a few members attend. Usually, all there is to do is vote on the motion to adjourn. It is mostly ceremonial.
 
After adjourning the 92nd General Assembly, legislators got to work on issues that will come up later this year, and which may be addressed in future sessions.
 
In the first meeting of the interim, members of the Senate and House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committees questioned officials of the Human Services Department and private health care providers.
 
There have been problems in the Medicaid program with timely reimbursement of providers, and disruptions in the coordination of care for people with developmental disabilities and mental illness.
 
The state is transitioning to a new managed care system for those patients. Rather than the state Department of Human Services paying for services provided, it will pay pre-determined fees to a PASSE. That stands for Provider-led Arkansas Shared Savings Entity.
 
A goal of the new system is to reduce the waiting list of people needing services. Another goal is to save money. Another is to expand treatment options by allowing providers of specialty services join the system.
 
According to DHS, about 4,600 people with disabilities are receiving services through the PASSE system, with another 2,400 Arkansans on a wait list.
 
Also, about 38,000 people with significant behavioral health needs are in the PASSE system, as well as about 750 people who live in intermediate care facilities, where they receive care.
 
4-26-19 11:23 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments April 22nd

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. Jason A. Wood, W/M, age 41, Count I: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" felony. Count II: Possession Of A Controlled Substance, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. The State of Arkansas has notified the defendant that it intends to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact that he has been convicted of four (4) or more felonies.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Tatum Veal, W/F, age 28, Count I: Probation Violation, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. Bod set at $10,000.00.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Kristian Manley, W/F, age 33, Count I: Probation Violation, a Class "B" Felony. Bond set at $5,000.00.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Robert Wells, W/M. age 31, Count I: Probation Violation, a Class "D" Felony. Bond set at $10,000.00.

 

4-25-19 1:39 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Reappoints Greg Aleshire To State Apprenticeship Coordination Steering Committee

Governor Asa Hutchinson has reappointed Mena businessman Greg Aleshire to the State Apprenticeship Coordination Steering Committee. The appointment will expire December 1, 2020. Aleshire has served on the committee since being appointed by former Governor Mike Beebe in 2009, and was reappointed in 2016 by Governor Hutchinson.

 
The committee, appointed by the Governor, oversees the operation and funding of apprentice training programs in the State of Arkansas.
 
Aleshire owns and operates Aleshire Electric, Inc. in Mena.
 
4-25-19 9:34 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson Signs Feral Hog Legislation

 

Arkansas’s growing battle with the overpopulating feral hog received a boost April 19 at the state Capitol when Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Senate Bill 460 into law as Act 991 of the Arkansas General Assembly in front of members of the Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force.

Feral hogs are considered an animal nuisance species and not wildlife that would fall under the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s role of conservation and species management. But, AGFC Deputy Director Chris Colclasure said, “until the task force was created, we were not all working together to combat feral hogs.” Colclasure notes that feral hogs are responsible for an estimated $19 million in row crop damage in the state and $1.5 billion in damages nationwide annually. The broad state and federal task force of 22 partners “was key in getting this legislation passed,” said Colclasure, who was vice chairman of the task force.

 

Wes Ward, Arkansas’s secretary of agriculture and chairman of the task force, said, “Agriculture is our state’s largest industry, and feral hogs and the damage that they cause pose an increasing threat to all aspects of our state’s agriculture industry and our ability to make a living.” 

 

Act 991 originated as Senate Bill 460, co-sponsored by state Sen. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, and Rep. Ken Bragg, R-Sheridan, and establishes a $3 million Feral Hog Eradication Fund with the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. Also, it moves to ANRC the fines that are collected by the AGFC for illegal transport or release of feral hogs.

 

“They (the task force) did the lion’s share of the work and met many times,” Hammer said. “The good thing this does is it gives us a clear definition of what a feral hog is. One thing also with this, it comes with a $3 million appropriation because of some potential federal funding coming down to help out with that. That will be good to help eradicate the feral hog, as they do billions of dollars of damage around the nation and their fair share here in the state.”

 

The act broadens enforcement of feral hog regulations to any certified law enforcement officer. It distinguishes feral hogs from regular, owned hogs – now, all hogs must have premises identification or an official ear tag during transport.

 

Previously, aerial gunning of feral hogs was handled on the federal level. Act 991 creates a permit, obtainable through the Livestock and Poultry Commission and the Arkansas Agriculture Department, to allow aerial gunning, but only to address a bona fide need to kill feral hogs. That need would include protection of land, water, wildlife, livestock, domesticated animals, human life or crops. Recreational hunting would not be permitted.

 

Act 991 removes hunting license revocation as a consequence of citations for transporting feral hogs. However, it adds up to 90 days in prison for violations in addition to the current fine of $1,000-$5,000 per hog. Penalties for transporting feral hogs can include both a fine and prison time. The act also changes the wording from “shall” seize to “may” seize and take custody of any hog in the possession of an arrested person and may seize equipment, including without limitation a motor vehicle, trailer and trap. The modification of the law will allow flexibility for law enforcement personnel.

 

Important for the AGFC is that Act 991 now allows any state or federal agency to capture and radio-collar a hog for research and tracking purposes. Such collared hogs are referred to, Colclasure said, as a “Judas hog,” allowing biologists to follow one hog to a large population of them for eradication.

 

Because feral hogs are not considered “wildlife” by the AGFC, individuals are allowed to take a feral hog on their property at any time, Colclasure noted. There is no season on feral hogs. Harvest is not allowed on most public land, with the exception of during big game hunting seasons “which is mostly opportunistic hunting,” he said. “We don’t allow it just for the sole purpose of hog hunting. We want to remove all incentives to move hogs onto public lands.” He added that the AGFC will encourage landowners to “view feral hogs as a competitor and not as a resource and take out as many hogs as they can.”

Along with the agricultural damage caused by feral hogs, they compete for food resources with wildlife such as turkey and deer, a concern for the AGFC. They create environmental damage through the rooting process, leading to erosion into streams and other water sources. As an opportunistic animal, they are nest predators of turkey and quail nests.

 

Colclasure said, “And they are a significant resource burden. Because, if you think about it as an agency, we did not have to deal with feral hogs 25, 30 years ago. Now we’re trapping close to 6,000 hogs a year. That is a significant amount of manpower. The resources that it takes to buy the traps; we have about 50 traps, and those traps are not cheap. … Those are dollars that used to go to other things, whether it was quail, turkey, deer, that are now having to go to containing feral hogs. So, they’re competing not only for natural resources, but for financial resources and time resources within the agency.

“We hope through this recent legislation that we created a few more tools to combat them.”

 

Along with the AGFC, members of the task force are the Agriculture Department, Livestock and Poultry Commission, Natural Resources Commission, Department of Heritage, Parks and Tourism/State Parks, Department of Rural Services, Department of Health, Dog Hunters Association, Cattlemen’s Association, Association of Counties, Association of Conservation Districts, Forest Association, Pork Producers Association and Farm Bureau Federation, along with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and federal agencies USDA Forest Service-Ozark/St. Francis National Forest, Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services and USDA Forest Service-Ouachita National Forest.
 

Stacy Hurst, director of the Arkansas Department of Heritage, told Hutchinson at the bill signing, “We have 73 natural areas and over 60,000 acres of public land. This has a great impact on us.” Jim Dailey, representing Parks and Tourism at the bill signing, said, “We have a lot of interest in this to clean up some of the problems we have with feral hogs.”

Shea Lewis, deputy director of Arkansas State Parks, told the governor, that his agency works “closely with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to control these issues.”

 

For more information on feral hogs, visit the task force home page at www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/feral-hog-eradication-task-force.

 

4-24-19 2:24 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 April 24, 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.

 

4-24-19 2:06 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Sales and Road Improvement Tax Collections Show Increase

Polk County Treasurer Tanya K. Fretz released the Sales Tax General and Road Improvement Tax report for April 2019. Both taxes are 1%. The amounts reflected in the report are for collections in March 2019.

 
Both taxes generated $126,109.80 or a total of $252,219.60.
 
Compared to the same month in 2018, taxes collected were each up $3,890.90 or a total of $7,781.80, indicating improved local retail sales.
 
To date in 2019 the two taxes have generated $1,021,919.60 which is an increase of $18,088.40 over the same period in 2018.
 
The Road Improvement Tax, approved by voters, can only be used for roads.
 
4-24-19 1:25 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Quorum Court Approves Raises, Takes Action On Cadaver Cooler Issue

The Polk County Quorum Court met Tuesday for their regular April meeting. All 11 Justices of the Peace were in attendance, as well as all of the other elected officials and a number of guests. The meeting was presided over by County Judge Brandon Ellison.

 

The JPs handled routine business, then heard reports from recent meetings of the Salary and Personnel and Health and Sanitation committees.

 

The Salary and Personnel Committee, chaired by JP Harold Coogan, after discussion with the County Judge and considering county finances, recommended to the full Quorum Court that all county employees, full and part-time, excepting library employees and Justices of the Peace, by given a $1,200.00 per year raise retroactive to January 1, 2019. The coroner's raise will only be $206.60 per year since it is a part-time elected position. The ordinance passed 11 to 0.

 

The Health and Sanitation Committee, chaired by JP Basil Kesterson, after having met with the Coroner and funeral home owners, recommended that the county owned cadaver cooler be appraised then sold in a sealed bid sale with the proceeds used towards the purchase of a less permanent cooler to be used only for coroner business and located initially at the coroner's private business, Bowser Family Funeral Home. The cadaver cooler has been located at Beasley Wood Funeral Home since it was purchased by the county in 2007, at which time Richard Myhand was the coroner and manger of Beasley Wood Funeral Home.


The cadaver cooler issue arose recently when Coroner Bowser requested that it be moved to his location at the expense of the county so he could comply with state law which requires the corner to maintain custody of a body until picked up by the State Crime Lab or released to a family member or funeral home, something he said he was unable to do under the current arrangement.


After lengthy discussion, the Quorum Court accepted the recommendation of the Health and Sanitation Committee voting 10 to 1 to proceed. Once the cadaver cooler is sold the Quorum Court will likely have to appropriate funds to add to the sale proceeds for the new cooler.

 

4-23-19 8:43 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Department Report for April 14th - 21st

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of April 14, 2019 through April 21, 2019

 

April 14, 2019

 

Robert Williams, 51, was arrested on drug charges after officers conducted a welfare check on a man passed out in a vehicle parked in front of a local business.

 

Officers responded to a domestic battery call at a residence. No charges are filed at this time.

 

Officers responded to a hit and run accident in front of a local business. Case under investigation.

 

April 15, 2019

 

A report was made of two Juveniles shoplifting from a local department store. Case was sent to the Juvenile office.

 

Thomas Goger, 31, was arrested on a warrant in the parking lot of a local department store.

 

Candi Brown, 36, was arrested on a drug charge after a traffic stop.

 

A report of vandalism was taken at Janssen Park. Case under investigation.

 

April 16, 2019

 

Michael Trivette, 27, was arrested on a warrant at the Probation and Parole Office.

 

Dax Wood, 22, was arrested on a warrant at a local motel.

 

April 17, 2019

 

Officers took a harassment complaint after being called to a local residence reference a dispute between neighbors. Charges pending.

 

April 18, 2019

 

An incident report was taken of a tree falling and hitting a car on a local street.

 

A theft report was taken at a local gas station after someone left without paying for diesel. Case under investigation.

 

A theft report was taken at a local department store after a man reported his wallet missing. Case under investigation.

 

A local woman reported that she was being harassed by her ex-husband. No charges filed at this time.

 

Officers took a report of a stolen dog from a local residence. Case under investigation.

 

April 19, 2019

 

Robert Wells, 31, was arrested on a warrant and a drug charge after being stopped at a local car wash.

 

April 20, 2019

 

Jason Wood, 40, was arrested on drug charges after a traffic stop.

 

April 21, 2019

 

Tialisa Scurlock, 48, was arrested for criminal trespass at a local department store.

 

4-23-19 3:51 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For April 15th - 21st

 

SHERIFF’S   LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of April 15 - April 21, 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.


April 15, 2019
Report from complainant on Cedar Lane in Hatfield of a break-in and theft.  Investigation continues.
Report of a disturbance on Highway 71 South near Cove led to the arrest of Richard L. Maish, 43, of Gillham, on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 151 near Hatfield led to the arrest of Austin C. McCulley, 24, of Hatfield, on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.
Arrested was Monica D. Shores, 33, of Hatfield, on Warrants for Bond Revocation, Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card and two counts of Violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law.


April 16, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 42 near Potter of a possible break-in.  Deputy responded.


April 17, 2019
Report from complainant on Highway 71 South near Hatfield of the theft of tools, tarps and fishing accessories, all valued at $245.00.  Investigation continues.


April 18, 2019
Report from complainant on Highway 84 near Wickes of the theft of a vehicle.  The vehicle was later located in another county and was returned to the owner.
Report of a vehicle in a flooded creek on Polk 2 near Grannis.  Deputies responded.
Report of disruptive behavior led to a 16-year-old male being issued Juvenile Citations for Disorderly Conduct and Terroristic Threatening.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.
Report from complainant on Polk 18 near Vandervoort of a vehicle striking a residence.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from complainant on Tilley Road near Hatfield of a missing lawn mower, valued at $1,397.00.  Mower was located and investigation determined that no criminal activity had occurred.
Report of suspicious behavior led to a 16-year-old female being issued a Juvenile Citation for Public Intoxication.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.
Arrested was Rosie R. Arthur, 45, of Oden, on Warrants for Probation Violation and three counts of Failure to Appear.
Arrested was Jennifer L. Caswell, 35, of Dequeen, on a Warrant for Probation Violation.


April 19, 2019
Report from complainant on West Barton Street in Cove of the fraudulent use of a credit card.  Investigation determined no criminal activity had occurred.


April 20, 2019
Arrested was David M. Fraser, 30, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.
Arrested was Kristian D. Taylor, 31, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Probation Violation.

April 21, 2019
Report of domestic disturbance in the Wickes area.  Deputies responded.  It was determined that the disturbance had happened in Howard County.  The case was turned over to Howard County Authorities.
Report from complainant on Highway 8 East near Board Camp of vandalism done to a vehicle.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Highway 375 West near Potter 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 dog bite victim.  Deputies responded.

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

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 20 Incarcerated Inmates , with 5 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00280

 

4-22-19 4:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Acorn High School Choir Dinner Theater Presents Cinemagic, May 2nd and 3rd

 

The Acorn High School Choir will host their annual Dinner Theater on May 2nd and 3rd in the air conditioned Elementary Gymnasium. The show is entitled Cinemagic, and will feature song hits from some of history's biggest films, including The Greatest Showman. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner being served at 6:30 p.m. consisting of a pulled pork bar b-que sandwich, chips, drink, and dessert. Tickets for dinner and the show are $10 per person. Reservations can be made by calling (479)394-5544 and speaking with the school secretary, Samantha Holland. Or email the choir director, Valerie Couch, at vcouch@orsd.k12.ar.us. Seating is limited so make your reservations early.  

Shown are Acorn students practicing for the upcoming show.

 

4-22-19 9:54 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Prescription Drug Take Back Scheduled for April 27th

Editor's Note-There is a permanent drop off site at the Polk County Sheriff's Department in the Polk County Courthouse, located at 507 Church Street in Mena. For more inforatmion, dial (479) 394-2511. Click here for other permenent drop off locations or information about the upcoming National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

 

The bi-annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is scheduled for April 27. It is an important opportunity for Arkansans to clean out old and unused prescription medications because more than half of Arkansas teens report it is easy to obtain prescription drugs from their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. Prescription Drug Take Back is one way to ensure these lethal drugs stay out of the hands of addicted Arkansans.
 
“The prescription drug epidemic continues to wreak havoc on our state and country,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs impacts a staggering number of families across Arkansas. It will take all of us working together to make a difference, including properly disposing of medications.”
 
Rutledge released the following list of medications that will be accepted at these events across the State:

  • Opioids, such as OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, etc.
  • Stimulants, such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Dexedrine, etc.
  • Depressants, such as Ativan, Xanax, Valium, etc.
  • Other prescription medications
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Vitamins
  • Pet medicines
  • Medicated ointments and lotions
  • Inhalers
  • Liquid medicines in glass or leak-proof containers (up to 12 ounces)
  • Medicine samples.

 

Medications may be returned in the original bottle or in any other container for increased privacy.
 
Prescription drug Take Back locations will be available 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 27. The National Prescription Drug Take Back Days are held twice a year, but to find event sites and year-round drop-off locations near you, visit ARTakeBack.org.
 
Properly destroying these medications also protects the environment. Medicines that are flushed or poured down the drain can end up polluting waters, which could contaminate food and water supplies. Wastewater treatment plants or septic systems may not remove many medicine compounds. Turning over these medications at Take Back Day events also reduces the risk of accidental poisonings by children, seniors or pets, as well as reduces the risk of drug abuse.
 
Attorney General Rutledge has been a leader in the State and nation combating the opioid epidemic by using a multifaceted approach through education, prevention and litigation. Her first-in-the-nation Prescription for Lifeprogram is free for high schools and over the last year has reached almost 14,000 students. In November, the Attorney General hosted the annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit with record attendance, which provided training and educational opportunities for law enforcement, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Rutledge has taken an aggressive approach to protect Arkansans and combat the epidemic by suing Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Endo, opioid manufacturers who created the crisis in Arkansas for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act.
 
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.

 

4-22-19 8:07 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Accomplishments of the 92nd General Assembly

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Accomplishments of the 92nd General Assembly
 
 

Now that I have signed the last bill of the 92nd General Assembly, the really hard work begins for my administration.

 

Before I talk about the tasks ahead, though, I want to commend the legislators for focusing on the challenges we face as a state. As a result of their work, I signed into law 1,091 bills in the 2019 session.

 

The legislature met for nearly 90 days this year, but that doesn’t tell the entire story. During the session, many legislators worked long into the evenings. They listened to constituents, reviewed the day’s work, and prepared for the next day.

 

The General Assembly wasn’t content to pass just one big-ticket item. Legislators passed a number of key initiatives, and their success is a credit to their willingness to work together and with my administration.

 

The shortlist of highlights is an all-star roster of legislation – juvenile justice reform, additional homestead tax relief, and the $10 million we set aside to support UAMS in the effort to earn a National Cancer Institute designation.

 

Then when we review the big-ticket legislation, the initiatives that I labeled the 4 Ts, it’s hard to imagine another general assembly with more to show for its three months in Little Rock.

 

The accomplishments include a $4,000 raise in the starting pay for teachers over the next four years. That’s one of the Ts.

 

Transportation is another T. The General Assembly passed a highway bill that will produce $95 million a year to pay for upkeep and new construction.

 

Additionally, they passed a bill that will allow voters the opportunity in 2020 to continue a half-cent sales tax that will raise $205 million a year to pay for roads, bridges, and highways that we need in this state. This legislation is historic.

 

We passed the 5.9 Tax Cut Plan that will cut the state’s top income tax rate from the current 6.9 down to 5.9 percent over the next two years. This was the third phase of my three-part tax initiative, which has cut a total of nearly $250 million in income taxes since 2015 without cutting any essential services.

 

But the highest accomplishment was passage of my fourth T, Transformation. Work on the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 started two years ago with the Transformation Advisory Board. Then we had to pass 16 different bills before we merged them into one 2,047-page bill that we had to pass through both houses.

 

This law, the first effort to reorganize state government in 50 years, cuts the number of cabinet-level agencies from 42 to 15.

 

Now that we have the law in hand, we have to implement it. That’s the tough part.

 

The 15-member transition team, led by Amy Fecher, started work on Monday. Within a month, I expect to name the secretary of each cabinet agency.

 

The slimmed-down, more manageable version of Arkansas state government will open for business on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

 

I am fortunate to serve as governor of a state where so many are so willing to seek the best for the entire state for now and far into the future.

 

4-19-19 4:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Board Camp Fire Department To Receive Wildfire Suppression Kit

Wildfire Suppression Kits Distributed to Volunteer Fire Departments through Rural Fire Program

 

LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Rural Fire Program, managed by the Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission (AFC), received $237,000 from the United States Forest Service to purchase and distribute 79 Wildfire Suppression Kits to statewide volunteer fire departments in 2019. Kits feature equipment and gear necessary for the safe suppression of wildfires and will be delivered to selected volunteer fire departments through May.

 

Volunteer fire departments are the primary partner to AFC crews in wildfire response and suppression but often need the specialized equipment and gear necessary for safe wildfire suppression. Since 2014, more than 300 volunteer fire departments have received Wildfire Suppression Kits through the Rural Fire Program. Kits distributed this year include lightweight wildfire-resistant personal protective equipment, hand rakes, back-pack water pumps, and leaf blowers.

 

Volunteer fire departments interested in participating in the Wildfire Suppression Kit program submit applications that are scored according to specific criteria including fire district population, the size of the response area, wildfire equipment response needs, and other factors. The application period for the 2020 Wildfire Protection Kit program starts in September. Contact Kathryn Mahan-Hooten at Kathryn.Mahan@agriculture.arkansas.gov or (501) 679-3183 with questions or to be added to the Rural Fire Program email distribution list.

 

Fire departments receiving kits in 2019 are listed below by fire department and county:

 

Antioch/White

Appleton/Pope

Ash Flat/Fulton&Sharp

Barton-Lexa/Phillips

Bee Branch/Van Buren

Board Camp /Polk

Bradley/Lafayette

Brinkley/Monroe

Buford/Baxter

Bussey Sharman/Columbia

Butlerville/Lonoke

Butterfield/Crawford

Calico Rock/Izard

Cecil Rural/Franklin

Center Point/Howard

Center Ridge /Conway

Chickalah/Yell

Chidester/Ouachita

Chimes/Van Buren

Collins-Cominto/Drew

Corning/Clay

Cross Roads/Hempstead

Cross Roads/Prairie

Daisy/Pike

Decatur/Benton

Dierks/Howard

Driggs/Logan

Dumas/Desha

East End/Saline

Elaine/Phillips

Elkins/Washington

Emerson/Columbia

Enola/Faulkner

Fisher/Poinsett

Fountain Lake/Garland

Hackett  /Sebastian

Hardy/Sharp

Hoxie/Lawrence

Huttig/Union

Hwy 15 S/Jefferson

Johnsville/Bradley

Joy/White

Lacey-Ladell/Drew

Lamar/Johnson

Luxora/Mississippi

Lynn/Lawrence

Mammoth Spring/Fulton

Mandeville/Miller

Marvell Rural/Phillips

Maysville/Benton

McRae/White

Mulberry/Crawford

Murfreesboro/Pike

New Blaine/Logan

Norman/Montgomery

Norphlet/Union

Northside/Prairie

Oak Grove Heights/Greene

Oak Prairie/Prairie

Ouachita/Hot Spring

Oxford/Izard

Pansy/Cleveland

Paron/Saline

Ravenden/Lawrence

Rover/Yell

Selma/Drew

South Phillips/Phillips

Southeast White/White

Southwest/Hot Spring

Sparkman/Dallas

Swifton/Jackson

Turtle Creek/Saline

Valley/Drew

Watalula/Franklin

Watson/Desha

Williford/Sharp

Woodlawn/Cleveland

Y Community-212/Cleveland

Y City/Scott.

 

4-19-19 4:21 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

 

When we pass legislation to grow our economy, it does not stop at tax incentives and workforce training.

 

In Arkansas, we know our economy can also grow by bringing in people from out of state to appreciate our natural resources, our talents, and our history.

 

The hospitality industry is the second largest industry in the state. It is a $5.6 billion industry and employees over 100,000 people.

From encouraging investment in our historic buildings to designating a scenic highway, we passed several pieces of legislation aimed at promoting tourism in the 2019 Regular Session.

 

Act 292 designates certain routes in Central and Southwest Arkansas as the “Camden Expedition Scenic Highway”. The Camden Expedition Scenic Highway guides a Civil War tourist through southern and central Arkansas connecting five battlefields and other Civil War historic sites.

 

Act 601 states that the fourth Saturday in July shall be known as "National Day of the Cowboy" to commemorate America's cowboy heritage. The vaquero spirit of competition among ranch cowboys and cowgirls is reflected in rodeo events throughout the state that contribute to tourism and the economy.

 

Act 546 states that each year before September 1, the Governor shall issue a proclamation proclaiming September 1 Arkansas Music Appreciation Day.

The legislation also states “The General Assembly finds that Arkansas has a proud history of contributing music and musicians to the nation, including Johnny Cash, B. B. King, Glen Campbell, Charlie Rich, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Al Green, Conway Twitty, Floyd Cramer.”

 

Act 812 allows cities in wet counties to pass an ordinance creating a temporary or permanent designated entertainment districts. Rules that prohibit a person from possessing an alcoholic beverage outside of an establishment would not apply within a designated entertainment district.

 

Act 671 creates the ATV Tourism and Trail Expansion Study. The purpose of the study is to make recommendations to the General Assembly regarding the creation, development, and implementation of a statewide all-terrain vehicle trails system utilizing existing state roads to connect forest roads and all-terrain vehicle trails in national forests in order to increase all-terrain vehicle tourism and economic development in the state.  The House and Senate Agriculture, Forestry, and Economic Development Committees will meet to begin the study this year.

 

Act 818 designates Washington, Arkansas as the birthplace of the Bowie Knife, Arkansas Heritage Site.

 

Act 886 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.

 

Act 855 creates the Arkansas Major Historic Rehabilitation Income Tax Credit Act, creating a tax credit of 25% of the total rehabilitation costs for projects with a minimum investment of $1.5 million.

 

Act 1066 creates the Arkansas Delta Music Commission within the Department of Arkansas Heritage. The commission will develop, implement, and administer a tourism program based on art projects that focus on highlighting music stories and related dynamics on the designated music highways in the state. Music highways in the state include Rock 'n' Roll Highway 67, the Louis Jordan Memorial Highway, the Levon Helm Memorial Highway, the Sister Rosetta Tharpe Memorial Highway, the Americana Music Highway, the Johnny Cash Memorial Highway, and the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Highway. The commission will also create a signage program that captures the stories and points of interest in blues, rock and roll, jazz, rockabilly, soul, hip hop, opera, country, and gospel music throughout the Arkansas Delta.

 

If you are planning a summer vacation, be sure to check out what all our state has to offer.  Visit www.arkansas.com

 

4-19-19  2:30 p.m.  KAWX.ORG

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State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

 

LITTLE ROCK – During the recent regular session, the legislature referred three proposed constitutional amendments to Arkansas voters.

One would limit terms of legislators to 12 years. Another would permanently extend a highway program that is now scheduled to expire in 2023. The third would make it more difficult to change the constitution. The proposals will be on the general election ballot in November of 2020.

 

The current half-cent in state sales tax was approved by Arkansas voters in 2012 by a 58 to 42 percent margin. It took effect in 2013 and is scheduled to expire after 10 years. It raised the state sales tax from 6 to 6.5 percent.

 

If extended, the half cent would generate an estimated $293.7 million a year, of which cities and counties each would receive $44 million, and the state Transportation Department would get the remaining $205 million.

 

A second proposed amendment would limit terms of lawmakers to 12 years, although it grandfathers in current office holders. They could serve 16 years, which is the limit under current law.

 

The 12-year limit is consecutive, but not lifetime. That means a lawmaker would have to sit out after serving 12 years, but after a four-year break could run for office again.

 

The third proposed amendment that the legislature put before voters is whether or not to change the process of gathering signatures on petitions to place issues on the ballot.

 

The number of signatures required does not change. The threshold will still be eight percent of the turnout in the most recent gubernatorial election for an initiated act and 10 percent for a constitutional amendment.

 

Now, signatures must be gathered from at least 15 counties, and the change would require them to be gathered from at least 45 counties of the 75 counties in Arkansas.

 

If approved, the measure would repeal current provisions that allow an additional 30 days to collect more signatures. Now, if a group submits petitions on which 75 percent of the signatures are valid, it may get a 30-day extension to collect more.

 

The current deadline for submitting signatures is in early July. If changed by voters, the new deadline for filing would be January 15, and any legal challenges would have to be filed by April 15.

 

It also would raise the bar for the legislature, which may refer up to three proposed amendments in every regular session. Now, it takes a simple majority of 51 percent of the Senate and House of Representatives to refer a proposed constitutional amendment to voters. If voters approve the change, it would require a 60 percent majority.

 

Regardless of the outcome of next year’s election, there will be changes in the process of submitting signatures on petitions to change the Constitution through ballot issues.

 

That’s because of the passage earlier this year of Act 376, which changes the entity that will approve proposed ballot titles. It has been the state attorney general, but under Act 376 it will be done by the state Board of Election Commissioners.

 

Petitions with signatures must be presented to the Secretary of State at the same time that the proposed ballot title is presented to the Board of Election Commissioners.

 

Also, Act 376 increases the penalty for petition fraud, from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D felony.

 

4-19-19  12:20 p.m.  KAWX.ORG

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

 

Pulling the Plug on Robocalls and Scammers

 

The unwelcome nature of scammers and telemarketers’ frequent, harassing and deceitful calls to our landlines and cell phones is something almost everyone can agree on. It’s time more is done to curb them.

 

The good news is that efforts are underway in our state and on a national level to cut down on these practices that at best are a nuisance, but often turn out to be nefarious schemes to trick hardworking people out of their paychecks or savings.

 

We are all familiar with these calls. They are now the top consumer complaint submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Many are automated and offer an unearned, unsolicited and seemingly too-good-to-be-true award. Others turn out to be from a real person who, within a few moments, begins attempting to collect on debts you are alleged to owe to government agencies or private businesses.

 

What’s worse is that sometimes these calls are made to seem more legitimate even before you answer them by using “spoofing” technology which causes the caller ID service on our devices to show that the incoming call appears to be coming from a local or familiar number.

 

Unfortunately, these unwanted calls continue to occur and are increasing. It’s easy to see how much of a risk they pose to unsuspecting people, particularly the elderly or those who might be convinced to act quickly and render some form of payment in order to settle a debt or assist a loved one they fear might be in danger or in need.

 

A Little Rock-based company, First Orion, predicts that nearly half of all cellphone calls in 2019 will come from scammers. Call-blocking company YouMail projects that last month over five billion robocalls were placed, including 60 million in Arkansas.

 

The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has recently passed legislation, which I have cosponsored, to combat annoying, illegal and abusive robocalls. The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act is a bipartisan bill that seeks to mobilize the federal government to more aggressively prevent these calls and punish the culprits.

 

It would increase the statute of limitations for regulators to pursue investigations and take legal action as well as allow the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to levy fines without first issuing a legal warning. Additionally, the TRACED Act will prod carriers to implement new technology to verify if a call comes from a real number while also seeking to bring agencies like the FTC, FCC, Department of Justice and state attorneys general together to work on ways to tackle this issue.

 

Our state is also leading efforts to stop unwanted calls to Arkansans. The state legislature recently passed and the governor signed legislation raising the penalty for illegal robocalls from a misdemeanor to a felony as well as making spoofing a felony. The law requires telecom companies to report annually to the state Public Service Commission on steps they take to identify and block illegal robocalls.

 

Pulling the plug on robocalls and scammers is common sense. Their manipulative, harassing practices are unwarranted and, in many cases, illegal. I will continue to advocate for solutions and enforcement of existing laws so that Arkansans and citizens across the country do not continue being hassled, badgered and even defrauded by these illegitimate actors.

 

4-19-19 7:23 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Family Fun Activities At QWSP Just Minutes From Mena

 

 

Upcoming activities at Queen Wilhelmina State Park near Mena, Arkansas.

 

Friday, April 19

 

Reservoir Hike 2:00 pm 1 hour Reservoir Trailhead Join Park Interpreter Melissa on a hike to what used to be the old water system for the 1898 hotel.

 

Champion Trees 5:00 pm 30 min Hearth Room Do you ever wonder what the largest tree of it species are called? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and she will talk about the Champion Trees in Arkansas and where their located.

 

Arkansas Symbols 7:00 pm 30 min Hearth Room Do you know the symbols of Arkansas? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and find out our state drink, cooking vessel, bird and much more!

 

Saturday, April 20

 

Wonder House Tour 2:00 pm 30 min Wonder House Do you ever wonder what the Wonder House is about? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and step back into history to see one of the first vacation homes built in the 1930’s.

 

Dutch Oven Demonstration 4:00 pm 1 hour Picnic Area Are you in need of a tasty treat for this week? Stop by Queen Wilhelmina picnic area to find out how much better dessert is cooked over a fire! Park Interpreter Melissa will be using the state vessel – a Dutch oven – to cook-up a simple and delicious dessert. Come by for a taste.

 

Slithering Snakes 7:00 pm 30 min Hearth Room What type of snake slither over the forest floor at Queen Wilhelmina? Join Park Interpreter Melissa to learn a few of the venomous and nonvenomous snakes we have here at Queen Wilhelmina. 

 

Sunday, April 21

 

Bird Watching 9:00 am 1 hour North side of Lovers Leap Whether you’re a beginner or pro at birding, join park interpreter Melissa as we hike to the observation deck. We will be watching for birds along the way. Bring your binoculars and we will see how many birds we can identify.

 

Wonder House Tour 2:00 pm 30 min Wonder House Do you ever wonder what the Wonder House is about? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and step back into history to see one of the first vacation homes built in the 1930’s.

 

Edible Insects 3:00 pm 30 min Hearth Room Are eating bugs a real thing? Join park interpreter Melissa and see who really eats bugs. If you’re brave enough you can join the “I Ate A Bug Club!” Bring your appetite and take a bite, or come and watch!

 

Friday, April 26

 

Reservoir Hike 2:00 pm 1 hour Reservoir Trailhead Join Park Interpreter Melissa on a hike to what used to be the old water system for the 1898 hotel.

 

Arkansas Symbols 5:00 pm 30 min Hearth Room Do you know the symbols of Arkansas? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and find out our state drink, cooking vessel, bird and much more!

 

Sunset Hike 7:45 pm 30 min Beside Telescopes Join Park Interpreter Melissa, for an easy stroll to watch the sunset. Feel free to bring your camera to take photos of this beautiful view.

 

Saturday, April 27

 

Wonder House Tour 2:00 pm 30 min Wonder House Do you ever wonder what the Wonder House is about? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and step back into history to see one of the first vacation homes built in the 1930’s.

 

Critter Signs & Tracks 4:00 pm 30 min Amphitheater Do you know what animals eat or where they get their food? Join Park Interpreter Melissa on a short hike to look for critter signs and track to see what is eaten for food.

 

Champion Trees 7:00 pm 30 min Hearth Room Do you ever wonder what the largest tree of it species are called? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and she will talk about the Champion Trees in Arkansas and where their located.

 

For more information about these activities at QWSP, or the park, call (479) 394-2863 or 394-2864. You can also learn about the park by visiting their website.

 

4-18-19 7:52 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Signs Bill Creating Resident Lifetime License For Disabled Vets

During a ceremony in the governor’s office Wednesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Senate Bill 397. The bill creates an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission resident disabled veterans license that includes a lifetime combination hunting and fishing license, a lifetime Arkansas duck stamp and an Arkansas trout stamp.

 

The governor said the license, “...is one way to recognize and honor the service of disabled veterans in this state.”

AGFC Director Pat Fitts said the license will double the reach of eligible recipients to over 14,000 disabled veterans. “It also lowers the threshold from 100 percent disable to 70 percent disabled,” Fitts said. “We did work very closely with the Veterans Affairs office on this bill and while we can never fully repay our disabled veterans for what they have given this country, we can say ‘thank you’ by offering this lifetime license,” he added.

 

The cost of the license will be $52.50 and will be available 90 days after the current legislative session officially adjourns. The new license is an option to the current $1.50 resident disabled military veteran lifetime fishing license and the $1.50 resident disabled military veteran lifetime hunting license.

 

4-18-19 8:31 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Fishing Report

 

Weekly Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 17, 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.

 

4-17-19 5:16 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments April 15th

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. Robert W. Williams, W/M, age 51, 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 Controlled Substance, Oxycodone, a Class "D" Felony. Count IV: Possession Of A Schedule VI Controlled Substance With Purpose To deliver, Marijuana, a Class "D" Felony. The State of Arkansas notified the defendant that it intends to pursue enhanced penalties pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated 5-4-501 due to the fact that he has been convicted of more than one (1) felony but fewer than four (4) felonies.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Michelle Hogan, W/F, age 37, Count I: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Driving On suspended License, an Unclassified Misdemeanor.

 

4-17-19 5:10 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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DRIVE HIGH - GET A DWI

“DRIVE HIGH – GET A DWI”
 
ARKANSAS JOINS REGIONAL ENFORCEMENT PLAN STRIKING AGAINST DRUG IMPAIRED DRIVING
 
   Law enforcement agencies across six states will increase patrol officer presence on roads and highways beginning later this week as part of a regional plan aimed to reduce incidents of drug impaired driving.
 
   Beginning Friday (April 19th) and continuing through Saturday, local police, sheriff’s deputies and highway patrol troopers in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma will concentrate patrols directed toward an effort to stop drivers who are impaired by drugs.  Impaired driving is illegal in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
 
    Regardless of how a driver may come to be in possession of drugs, whether the substance is prescribed or illegal to possess; driving while impaired by drugs creates a safety threat to the driver, vehicle passengers and others traveling on public roadways.
 
    “Drug impaired driving is a serious issue for drivers and law enforcement officers on Arkansas roadways,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “By intensifying enforcement of drug impaired driving laws we hope people will think twice before driving while impaired by any drug whether it is prescribed or not.”
 
    Almost all illegal drugs and many prescription drugs can slow the reaction time of a driver who must be alert and in control of the vehicle.  Just like alcohol, drugs make it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their traffic lane.  It doesn’t matter what term is used to describe the impairment; if a driver is high, stoned, wasted or drunk, the individual is impaired.  Driving while impaired by any substance is illegal and can be deadly.
    “Our goal is to save lives and we’re putting all drivers on notice that drug impaired driving is against the law,” said Colonel Bryant.
 
    Remember, “Drive High – Get a DWI.”
 
    Lear more about the dangers of drug impaired driving at Traffic Safety Marketing, https://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.
 
4-17-19 6:02 a.m. KAWX.ORG   

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Quorum Court Committees Deal With Raises, Cadaver Cooler

 

Two Polk County Quorum Court Committees met Tuesday, April 16th.

 
The Salary and Personnel Committee chaired by JP Harold Coogan met at 5:00 p.m. to discuss raises for county employees. The committee voted to recommend to the full Quorum Court at the next regular meeting, which will me April 23rd, that all county employees and elected officials, excepting Justices of the Peace, be given a $1,200.00 annual raise, or $100.00 a month. The raise, if approved by the full Court, will be retroactive to January 1st.
 
At 6:00 p.m. the Health and Sanitation Committee chaired by JP Basil Kesterson met to take up business assigned to them last month when the full Court was unable to come to a resolution to handle the cadaver cooler problem that recently surfaced when the County Coroner, Brian Bowser, requested that the cooler be relocated to his place of business, Bowser Family Funeral Home. The cooler has been located at Beasley Wood Funeral Home since the county purchased it in 2007, at which time the manager of Beasley Wood was the Coroner. In an opinion by the Arkansas Attorney General in 2012, Coroners are legally responsible for maintaining custody of human remains. After lengthy discussion about the existing arrangement and the need for the Coroner to maintain custody of bodies to preserve evidence, it was decided by the committee to have the cooler appraised and then sell it to the high bidder in a sealed bid sale. Proceeds from the sale of the cooler will be used, if required, to purchase a more portable cooler for the use of the Coroner for official coroner use only. 
 
The cadaver cooler was purchased used in 2007 for $4,000.00.
 
The county is in possession of a refrigerated mass casualty trailer that is owned by ADEM (Arkansas Department of Emergency Management), that could be used in the event of a disaster. The trailer is not for the exclusive use of Polk County and could be sent to neighboring counties if needed. 
 
4-16-19 8:24 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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City of Mena Public Meeting Scheduled

 

The City of Mena invites citizens and other interested persons to a drop-in Public Meeting at City Fire Station No. 2 located at 1100 Mena Street on Thursday, May 9, 2019, from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

 
The purpose of the meeting is to identify potential outdoor park and recreation needs and priorities. Following the identification process, city officials will select those priorities to be submitted to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism for an Outdoor Recreation Matching Grant application.
 
Ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and special interest groups are encouraged to attend and participate. 
 
Please make plans to drop in and share your thoughts!
 
For those unable to attend the meeting, you may phone (479) 394-3141. Written comments may be submitted to City of Mena, 520 Mena Street, Mena, Arkansas 71953.
 
4-16-19 7:54 p.m. KAWWX.ORG 

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City Offices Closed Friday In Observance Of Good Friday

Mena city offices will be closed Friday, April 19th, in observance of Good Friday

 
4-16-19 7:43 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Area Schools Get Report Cards From Arkansas Department of Education

The Arkansas Department of Education released the annual school report cards today for area schools. 

 
The letter grades for each school are based on a number of things. To view the complete reports, click anywhere on this line.
 
The schools and letter grades are below.
 
Acorn Elemenatry C
 
Acorn High School B
 
Cossatot River High School C
 
Holly Harshman Elementary B
 
Louise Durham Elementary B
 
Mena Middle School B
 
Mena High School B
 
Oen Schools B
 
Umpire K-12 B
 
Van Cove Elementary B
 
Wickes Elementary B
 
4-15-19 9:13 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
 
 
 
 

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Know Where To Take Shelter When The Sirens Sound

 
When the tornado siren sounds, or your NOAA Weather Radio advises there is a tornado warning for your community, where will you take shelter?
 
Some have safe rooms or storm shelters. If you don't, and have time to safely get to one of the shelters open to the public, here is a list.
 
Mena High School - Mena
Holly Harshman Elementary - Mena
Acorn School - Acorn
Polk County Courthouse Basement - Mena 
 
The shelters listed above will automatically open when the local tornado sirens are activated, according to Polk County Office of Emergency Management Director Kris Lyle. Lyle also pointed out that pets are not allowed in the shelters.
 
If you are forced to shelter in place, see the graphic below for some dos and don'ts.
 
 
Having as much advance notice as possible is very important, so if you don't already, consider buying a NOAA Weather Alert Radio. Keep fresh backup batteries in your NOAA Weather Radio so it will warn you even if the electricity is off. When a "Tornado Watch" is issued, pay close attention to the weather radio since a "tornado watch" means that conditions are favorable for the development of a tornado. A "Tornado Warning" means there has been a sighting by a trained spotter or law enforcement officer, or a tornado is radar indicated. When "Tornado Warnings" are issued, take cover! 
 
KAWX streams the Mena NOAA Weather Radio station and provides a free app. The stream and app are not intended to replace actual NOAA Weather Radios with alerting capabilities. To listen to the stream on your PC, click anywhere on this line. The free "Mena Weather Radio" app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
 
Finally, have a Severe Weather Plan. Keep phones charged, flashlights handy, and important numbers where you can find them. Portable AM-FM radio that operate on batteries and police scanners are also very good sources for information before, during and after severe weather. 
 
April and May are the traditional "severe weather" months for Arkansas, so stay weather aware! 
 
4-15-19 6:32 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For April 8th - 14th

 

 

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of April 8 - April 14, 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.


April 8, 2019
Report from complainant on Forest Lane in Vandervoort of problems with a contractor he had hired.  Deputy advised that matter was a civil issue.
Report from complainant on Polk 36 near Hatfield of being dog bit.  Deputy responded.
Arrested was Karson B. Crawford, 26, of Mena, on a Warrant for Bond Revocation.
Arrested was David M Fraser, 30, of Mena, on a Warrant for Violation of Suspended Imposition of Sentence.
Arrested was Samantha E. Coleman, 26, of Mena, on Warrants for Forgery 2nd Degree, Criminal Trespass and two counts of Theft of Property.


April 9, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 48 near Potter of damage done to a sign.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 129 near Rocky of damage done to a vehicle.  Deputy responded.
Report of a vehicle on fire on Highway 88 East near Mena.  Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Highway 71 South near Hatfield of a forged signature.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Joseph J. Davis, 40, of Mena, on a Warrant for Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card.


April 10, 2019
Report of neglect of animals on Polk 22 near Cove.  Deputy responded.
Arrested was Jamie F. Beckwith, 27, of Mena, on Charges of Possession of Schedule I/II Controlled Substance, Possession of Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.


April 11, 2019
Arrested was Phillip A. Lowery, 43, of Spiro, OK, on Charges of two counts of Theft of Property.


April 12, 2019
Report from a Mena man of a missing family member.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 20 near Cove of the break-in and theft of equipment valued at $220.00.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Lil George Lane near Yocana of an abandoned vehicle on their property, and the theft of two batteries, valued at $100.00.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Highway 375 East near Mena of damage done to a parked vehicle.  Investigation continues.
Traffic stop on Polk 63 near Yocana led to the arrest of Michelle L. Hogan, 37, of Mena, on Charges of Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Report from complainant on Polk 48 near Potter of trash illegally dumped on their property.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Michael E. Trivette, 27, of Mena, on a Warrant for a Parole Hold.

April 13, 2019
Report from complainant on West Dover Street in Hatfield of their dog being attacked by other dogs.  Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Highway 71 South near Cove of damage done to a vehicle at an unknown time.  Investigation continues.


April 14, 2019
Traffic stop on School Street in Cove led to the arrest of Cody D. Dees, 33, of Hatfield, on two Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.  Also arrested was Matthew B Parnell, 26, of Cove, on two Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
Report from complainant on Highway 246 West near Hatfield of an unknown vehicle parked in their yard led to the arrest of Amos M. Miller, 40, of Mena, on a Charge of Public Intoxication.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Highway 88 East near Yocana.  Deputy responded.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 18 Incarcerated Inmates, with 4 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00257

 

4-15-19 2:37 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Department Report for April 7th - 13th

 
Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of April 7, 2019 through April 13, 2019 
 
 
April 7, 2019
A local woman reported she is being harassed by an acquaintance.  No charges have been filed.
 
April 8, 2019
 
Jazzmyn Hoskin, 21, of Grannis was charged with shoplifting after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.
 
Melanie Howard, 46, and William Howard, 47, both of Boles, were charged with shoplifting after a call to a local business.
 
A 40-year-old Hatfield woman reported that someone had stolen prescription drugs from her.  Case is pending.
 
April 9, 2019
 
Michelle Huff, 43, of Mena was charged with shoplifting after a call from a local retailer.  She was also served an outstanding warrant from the Mena Police Department for failure to pay fines and court costs.
 
Sarah Mitchell, 25, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant.  The incident happened after officers had responded to a call in a local neighborhood regarding having issues with a neighbor.
 
April 10, 2019
 
Officers went to a local residence after an acquaintance had called to ask that the police check on the welfare of the resident.  The woman was located, and was not in peril.
 
April 11, 2019
 
Report was made of someone breaking a window in a vacant building in Mena.  No suspects at this time.
 
A Mena woman reported that someone had damaged her mailbox.  No suspects at this time.
 
A local woman reported that someone had broken a window in a property she owns.  No suspects at this time.
 
April 12, 2019
 
David Sinyard, 43, of Mena was charged with inhaling intoxicants after officers responded to a call concerning a man who would not leave his property.  He was additionally served four outstanding warrants from the Mena Police Department.
 
April 13, 2019
 
Alan Bryan Cox, 47, of Cove was charged with shoplifting.  The arrest followed a call to a local retail store.
 
Officers responded to a call from a Mena woman requesting they check the welfare of a dog in her neighborhood.  The dog’s owner was advised to provide more adequate shelter.  Case was referred to the animal control officer.
 
4-15-19 1:28 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Acorn's Got Talent Show Winners Announced

The Acorn high School Music Department recently held a talent contest to raise money for the Cherie and Michael Magness family. Valerie Couch, the Acorn Band and Choir Director, reported that close to $800.oo was raised to help the family with medical expenses.

 

Winners of the Middle School Division: 1st Place Dane Richardson, 2nd Place Kaelin Harding, and 3rd Place Hannah Woodard. 

 

Winners of the High School Division: 1st Place Jeb Wilborg, 2nd Place Tessa Kesterson, 3rd place Halli Holland.

Pictured left to right: Hannah Woodard, Kaelin Harding, Dane Richardson, Halli Holland, Tessa Kesterson, and Jeb Wilborg.

 

Congratulations to all the winners!

 

4-15-19 11:54 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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May Activities at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area

 

For more information about any of these activities at Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area near Wickes, or about the park, call (870) 385-2201. Click anywhere on this line for directions to the park.

 

Saturday, May 04

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Guided Kayak Tour (7 hours) A park interpreter will be your guide on this fun-filled trip down the beautiful Cossatot River! Kayak adventure tours are designed for beginners, but all ability levels are welcome. The park provides kayaks, paddles, helmets, and life jackets. Transportation to and from the Park Visitor Center is provided at no additional cost.

Please note: Inclement weather or river conditions may cause the park to cancel the tour. Payment is required prior to trip. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. Questions? Call 1-870-385-2201
Meeting Place: Visitor Center. Cost: $30.94/Person
 

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Worm’s the Word (1 hour) Without worms, we’d all go hungry! Meet a park interpreter to discover the vital role these often overlooked critters play in our survival.

Meeting Place: Cossatot Falls’ Parking Lot.
 

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. What’s for Dinner? (1 hour) What’s an owl’s favorite food? Owl show you! Join a park interpreter as you dig in and uncover the answers for yourself.

Meeting Place: Low Water Bridge below Visitor Center.
 

Sunday, May 05

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Power Plants (1 hour) From medicine to food, plants are a powerhouse! Join a park interpreter and explore the many uses of plants at Cossatot River State Park –Natural Area.

Meeting Place: Cossatot Falls’ Parking Lot.
 

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

Meeting Place: Visitor Center.
 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Wildflower Walk (1 hour 30 mins.) Come to the Cossatot River State Park and enjoy the beauty of spring wildflowers with a park interpreter. Many of these wildflowers are unique to the area, occurring only in the Ouachita Mountains.

Meeting Place: Low Water Bridge below Visitor Center.
 

Friday, May 10

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Guided Kayak Tour (7 hours) A park interpreter will be your guide on this fun-filled trip down the beautiful Cossatot River! Kayak adventure tours are designed for beginners, but all ability levels are welcome. The park provides kayaks, paddles, helmets and life jackets. Transportation to and from the Park Visitor Center is provided at no additional cost.

Please note: Inclement weather or river conditions may cause the park to cancel the tour. Payment is required prior to trip. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. Questions? Call 1-870-385-2201
Meeting Place: Visitor Center. Cost: $30.94/Person
 

Saturday, May 18

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Guided Kayak Tour (7 hours) A park interpreter will be your guide on this fun-filled trip down the beautiful Cossatot River! Kayak adventure tours are designed for beginners, but all ability levels are welcome. The park provides kayaks, paddles, helmets and life jackets. Transportation to and from the Park Visitor Center is provided at no additional cost.

Please note: Inclement weather or river conditions may cause the park to cancel the tour. Payment is required prior to trip. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. Questions? Call 1-870-385-2201

Meeting Place: Visitor Center. Cost: $30.94/Person
 

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

Sunday, May 19

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Guided Kayak Tour (7 hours) A park interpreter will be your guide on this fun-filled trip down the beautiful Cossatot River! Kayak adventure tours are designed for beginners, but all ability levels are welcome. The park provides kayaks, paddles, helmets and life jackets. Transportation to and from the Park Visitor Center is provided at no additional cost.

Please note: Inclement weather or river conditions may cause the park to cancel the tour. Payment is required prior to trip. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. Questions? Call 1-870-385-2201

Meeting Place: Visitor Center. Cost: $30.94/Person
 

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.

 

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

Meeting Place: Visitor Center.

 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

Friday, May 24  Memorial Weekend (May 24-27, 2019)

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Guided Kayak Tour (7 hours) A park interpreter will be your guide on this fun-filled trip down the beautiful Cossatot River! Kayak adventure tours are designed for beginners, but all ability levels are welcome. The park provides kayaks, paddles, helmets and life jackets. Transportation to and from the Park Visitor Center is provided at no additional cost.

Please note: Inclement weather or river conditions may cause the park to cancel the tour. Payment is required prior to trip. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. Questions? Call 1-870-385-2201
Meeting Place: Visitor Center. Cost: $30.94/Person
 

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

Saturday, May 25

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Guided Kayak Tour (7 hours) A park interpreter will be your guide on this fun-filled trip down the beautiful Cossatot River! Kayak adventure tours are designed for beginners, but all ability levels are welcome. The park provides kayaks, paddles, helmets and life jackets. Transportation to and from the Park Visitor Center is provided at no additional cost.

Please note: Inclement weather or river conditions may cause the park to cancel the tour. Payment is required prior to trip. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. Questions? Call 1-870-385-2201

Meeting Place: Visitor Center. Cost: $30.94/Person
 

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

Sunday, May 26

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Guided Kayak Tour (7 hours) A park interpreter will be your guide on this fun-filled trip down the beautiful Cossatot River! Kayak adventure tours are designed for beginners, but all ability levels are welcome. The park provides kayaks, paddles, helmets and life jackets. Transportation to and from the Park Visitor Center is provided at no additional cost.

Please note: Inclement weather or river conditions may cause the park to cancel the tour. Payment is required prior to trip. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. Questions? Call 1-870-385-2201
Meeting Place: Visitor Center. Cost: $30.94/Person
 

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.

 

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

Meeting Place: Visitor Center.
 

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

Monday, May 27

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Guided Kayak Tour (7 hours) A park interpreter will be your guide on this fun-filled trip down the beautiful Cossatot River! Kayak adventure tours are designed for beginners, but all ability levels are welcome. The park provides kayaks, paddles, helmets and life jackets. Transportation to and from the Park Visitor Center is provided at no additional cost.

Please note: Inclement weather or river conditions may cause the park to cancel the tour. Payment is required prior to trip. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. Questions? Call 1-870-385-2201
Meeting Place: Visitor Center. Cost: $30.94/Person
 

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

Friday, May 31

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Guided Kayak Tour (7 hours) A park interpreter will be your guide on this fun-filled trip down the beautiful Cossatot River! Kayak adventure tours are designed for beginners, but all ability levels are welcome. The park provides kayaks, paddles, helmets and life jackets. Transportation to and from the Park Visitor Center is provided at no additional cost.

Please note: Inclement weather or river conditions may cause the park to cancel the tour. Payment is required prior to trip. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis. Cancellations must be made 24 hours in advance. Questions? Call 1-870-385-2201
Meeting Place: Visitor Center. Cost: $30.94/Person
 

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.
 

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Clue in to Cossatot (varies) Stay for a minute or an hour –it’s up to you. Each time slot offers a different adventure just waiting to be discovered! Will it be snorkeling? skins and skulls? marvelous macros? nature crafts? Clue in and find out! All activities are free and open to all ages. Find a park interpreter at river access areas during the day to join in on the fun!

Meeting Place: Rotating River Access Areas throughout the park.

 

4-14-19 9:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Daisy Bates, Johnny Cash Give Arkansas History a Fresh Face

Daisy Bates, Johnny Cash Give Arkansas History a Fresh Face
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – After three months of hard work that produced historic and much-needed legislation, the 92nd General Assembly has adjourned. Together, we cut taxes. We raised teacher pay. We funded roads and highways, and we passed legislation that will bring more efficiency to state government. 
 
But while we were passing laws that will make history, we also passed legislation that recognizes Arkansas’s history. Senate Bill 75 authorizes the state to put two new statues in National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. House Bill 1030 declared September 1 to be an annual Arkansas Music Appreciation Day in honor of Arkansas’s rich musical history that is rooted in the earthen soul of Arkansas from the gumbo mud of the Delta to the tree-shrouded hollows of the Ozarks. 
 
I signed those bills this week in a ceremony that included some of the royalty of Arkansas’s civil rights movement and musical heritage.
The Arkansans who currently represent us in Statuary Hall are U. M. Rose, a lawyer who served as president of the American Bar Association, and James Paul Clarke, a governor of Arkansas and a U.S. senator. Their statues have been there for nearly a hundred years.
 
Most everyone who was involved in the discussion agreed we needed to update the statues with representatives of our more recent history. But there were many opinions about which historic figures best represented our state. The debate was lively and healthy. In the end, the Senate chose Daisy Lee Gatson Bates and Johnny Cash. 
Jan Brown, Mrs. Bates’s goddaughter; Annie Abrams, a friend of Mrs. Bates; Rosanne Cash, Johnny’s daughter; and Joanne Cash, his sister, were among those who joined me in the conference room for the bill signing. 
 
The history of the civil rights struggle in Arkansas is an essential part of our story that says much about courage and who we are as a state. Daisy Bates was a key person in that story. She continues to inspire us. 
 
Music is a big deal in Arkansas, and Johnny Cash is a big deal in music. Those two great historicfigures who made such a difference in Arkansas in their own way are appropriate people to tell part of the story of Arkansas in our nation’s capitol.
 
Senator Dave Wallace, who sponsored the bill, spoke of walking past the portrait of Mrs. Bates that hangs on the north end of the capitol. He said, “I’d look at that portrait. I’d look at the statue of the Little Rock 9. I’d think about the courage it took for her to walk with those children. Mrs. Bates changed Arkansas, and changed it for the better.”
 
Music is such an important part of Arkansas that the House of Representatives decided that we should set aside a day of appreciation for the heritage. The bill mentions some of the most well-known Arkansans, including Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Glen Campbell, Charlie Rich, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Al Green, Conway Twitty, and Floyd Cramer.
 
Rosanne Cash spoke poetically about the musical heritage of her family. She said, “The music that the Cash family sang in the fields, in the church, and in their Dyess home formed the background of their lives. For my father, it became the center of his life and the wellspring from which he drew his inspiration. He carried on the tradition that began at my grandmother’s piano in Dyess.”
 
It was an honor to sign these two bills that help tell the story of the great state of Arkansas.
 
4-12-19 5:46 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

More than 900 bills have been signed into law this session. This General Assembly has reduced taxes, addressed infrastructure needs, increased funding to education, and transformed state government.
 
One of the last bills we passed was the amendment to the Revenue Stabilization Act.
 
This outlines the $5.7 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020. It includes a 2.2% increase in spending from the current fiscal year. It is the lowest amount of increased spending in Arkansas in the last 10 years. 
 
The increases include an additional $61 million for Medicaid and additional $31 million for public education.
 
The budget also addresses public safety by increasing funding for state police to hire more troopers and funding for the Department of Community Correction to hire more parole officers.
 
This budget includes increases for UAMS, the Division of Agriculture, and the Department of Correction.
 
Meanwhile, legislation passed this session has reduced income taxes for more than a ½ million families in Arkansas to the tune of $97 million.  We reduced taxes for business and paved a way for tax fairness with online sales tax. In addition, every homeowner in Arkansas will benefit from the $25 increase in the homestead tax credit.
 
When it comes to infrastructure, the 92nd General Assembly passed legislation creating $95 million in additional funding. We have also referred an amendment to voters on the November 2020 ballot to create additional funding for highways.
 
In addition to the $31 million increase in education, this General Assembly also increased the minimum starting teacher salary pay by $4 thousand over the next 4 years.
 
Just this week, the Governor signed The Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 into law. It authorizes the reduction of the number of cabinet-level agencies from 42 to 15 and accomplishes the largest reorganization of state government in almost 50 years.
 
We passed legislation transforming our juvenile justice system. Pilot programs have shown these changes result in a lower prison population and drastically reduce the number of children in foster care.
 
The 92nd General Assembly cut red tape for small businesses, created and funded the Next Generation 911 system, and laid the groundwork for a state of the art cancer research facility in Arkansas.
 
The House will convene again on April 24 to address any unfinished business and officially adjourn the 2019 Regular Session.  It has been an honor to serve our districts and we look forward to updating you on our work during the interim.
 
4-12-19 5:12 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: NATO at 70

During a recent address before a Joint Session of Congress, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg vividly described the two monuments that stand out front of the organization’s headquarters in Belgium. One, a piece of the Berlin Wall. The other, a twisted steel beam from the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

 

As Secretary General Stoltenberg noted, both serve a special purpose. These monuments stand as powerful reminders for NATO members of where we have been, are going and our commitment to one another.

 

NATO turned 70 this month. The United States and our Trans-Atlantic allies in the organization have seen the world change considerably during those seven decades. The threat posed by the Soviet Union—one of the main reasons the alliance was formed—no longer exists. However, the international community now faces the challenge of an increasingly hostile Russia in its place.

 

When Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, it carried out an alarming act of aggression that Europe hasn’t seen since World War II. Realizing that he faced little recourse for that action, Vladimir Putin stepped up his belligerent acts by arming pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine, carrying out bombing campaigns on behalf of a murderous regime in Syria and conducting cyberattacks on Western democracies.

 

As if this litany of aggressions isn’t enough, Russia has deployed mobile, nuclear-capable missiles in Europe. This is a clear violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that will have long-term ramifications for NATO countries. As the Secretary General stated in his Joint Session address, “an agreement that is only respected by one side will not keep us safe.”

 

We don’t have to return to a Cold War-era arms race as a result of Russia’s actions. However, we must, as Secretary General Stoltenberg noted, “prepare for a world without the INF Treaty and take the necessary steps to provide credible and effective deterrence.”

 

While the threat posed by a resurgent Russia reinforces the need for a strong NATO, it is far from the only concern facing the alliance. China’s expanding global influence and the aspirations of smaller rogue nations like North Korea and Iran will continue to challenge the west moving forward. Despite making great strides to eliminate ISIS, the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorists remains ever present and knows no boundaries.

 

Amidst all these challenges, NATO stands as a very visible deterrent. When half the world’s military strength stands together, bad actors take notice. Collectively, NATO members also make up half of the world’s economic might. The bond the U.S. shares with our NATO allies extends far beyond security cooperation, as many of these nations are our most reliable and trustworthy trading partners.

 

The strength of NATO is contingent on each and every member paying its fair share. Every member nation must meet the agreed upon defense spending levels. Secretary General Stoltenberg stressed this point during his address and this message has begun to resonate with NATO members. An additional $41 billion has been spent on defense by our European allies and Canada in the last two years alone. That number is expected to reach $100 billion by the end of the year.

 

President Trump deserves credit for bringing about this sea change. His words to our allies that were not living up to their commitments were conveyed in a direct manner. NATO must be a fair alliance.  

 

We have accomplished a great deal together, but many challenges remain for NATO. As we mark the 70th year of the alliance, we do so with the knowledge that our friends from across the Atlantic will continue to be trusted partners who stand by each other in our hours of need.

 

4-12-19 5:09 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Shade Trees on Playgrounds Program Accepting School Applications through May 3

Arkansas Agriculture’s Forestry Commission is now accepting applications for the 2019 Shade Trees on Playgrounds (STOP) program through May 3, for schools needing additional shade on playgrounds.

 

Selected schools will receive five shade trees, mulch, watering supplies, and planting guidelines. Officials with the Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC) will help plant the trees during a ceremony with students in the fall. The STOP program application and program guidelines can be found here.

 

Urban forestry staff began the STOP program sixteen years ago to help lower adult skin cancer risk by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight on school playgrounds. Since then, more than 100 Arkansas schools have received trees. The STOP program also provides teachers with a full curriculum about the environmental benefits of trees, how shade reduces skin cancer risks, and tips for keeping trees healthy.

 

“The STOP program combines hands-on, outdoor experiences with classroom curriculum about the importance of trees and how to care for trees,” says Urban Forestry Program Coordinator, Krista Quinn. “We hope this program not only improves the health of Arkansas students, but also leaves a lasting impression about the value of forests and how to be good stewards of our natural resources.”

 

Trees are chosen by AFC staff to fit the unique region and conditions of each playground. Lacebark elms, oaks, tulip poplars, and black gum trees are common candidates for the program. To participate in the STOP program a school must meet the criteria below:

 

  • Lack shade on a school playground
  • Participate in a STOP workshop to be held in Little Rock on September 9
  • Use provided curriculum materials to emphasize the importance of trees during the week leading up to the tree planting event
  • Involve students in tree-related projects that culminate with a tree planting ceremony
  • Hold a tree planting ceremony prior to November 15, 2019
  • Be willing to maintain the trees after planting

 

Learn more about urban and community forestry services and programs, here.

 

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.aad.arkansas.gov.

 

4-12-19 11:50 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Growing Season Prescribed Burns Benefit Turkey Habitat

Forest managers have long known that prescribed fire used to aid with land management is an important tool to improve wildlife habitat.  While many prescribed burns are conducted during the dormant season, or winter, there are benefits to extending the activity into the growing season. 

 

The concern expressed by some is the effect of prescribed burns on ground nesting birds, specifically wild turkeys.  March and April are generally known as wild turkey nesting months.  Forest managers say that burning during this time is much more beneficial than harmful to wild turkey populations.

 

“A common misconception is that prescribed burns during March and April are detrimental to wild turkey populations because they burn wild turkey nests,” said Ouachita National Forest Biologist Clay Vanhorn.  “While we do the bulk of our prescribed burning prior to turkey nesting season,  we have learned that prescribed fire during growing season is an important tool in creating the improved nesting and brood habitat that turkeys require to thrive.”

 

Burning during late March and April — when shrubs and saplings start to bud — is much more effective at reducing brush and saplings and stimulating grass and flowering plant growth than winter burning.  Hunters know, and research shows, that the lush, new plant growth resulting after a prescribed burn attracts a multitude of insects and provides food and shelter for growing turkey poults.  Conversely, if prescribed burns are not implemented, the result is less favorable habitat, a decrease in young poult survival, and eventually a decline in the turkey population.

 

Two to three years after the prescribed burn, the habitat is prime nesting for hen turkeys.  “Hens prefer nesting in prescribed burn areas in the 2-3 years after the initial burn.  The vegetation during this period is not too thick, but it has grown enough to provide adequate cover for the nests and young poults,” said Matt Anderson, Ozark-St. Francis National Forests Wildlife Biologist.  “Since hens prefer this type of habitat, many of them are not nesting in the thicker, denser areas that are generally the target for prescribed burning during March and April.”

 

Historically, spring is the time for cleansing fires in nature. Before humans began focusing on fire suppression in wildlands, spring lightning storms ignited fires that eliminated brush and opened forests up to new growth. This resulted in a more fire resistant forest and enhanced habitat for wildlife at the same time. Today, forest managers work to mimic nature’s original forest health cycle with planned prescribed burns.

 

According to Vanhorn, turkeys, like many animals in Arkansas and Oklahoma forests, adapted to natural, periodic fires.  “This has been happening for as long as we’ve had forests. We’re restoring an important component to an ecosystem that evolved with fire. It’s very common to see turkeys feeding on acorns and insects within hours of a prescribed burn, even with brush and grass still smoking around them.”

 

A position paper by the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) supports the practice.  “While the loss of wild turkey nests to prescribed fire is a legitimate concern, a majority of wild turkey research shows very few turkey nests are lost directly because of springtime burns. Research suggests that hens prefer nesting in areas that have been burned within the past two years, but not in high numbers in unburned areas because the habitat is too thick. For the few nests that are lost due to habitat management activity, predation, or even weather-related events, it’s important to note that hens may re-nest up to three times.” 

 

To read more of the NWTF position on springtime prescribed burning and its effect on turkey populations, log on to www.nwtf.org/prescribed-fire.  To learn more about prescribed burning in general, log on to our website at http://tinyurl.com/y5nx4ang.

 

4-12-19 11:42 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansas Lottery Ticket Sales Near $52 Million In March, Over $185,000 in Polk County

Polk County Treasurer Tanya K. Fretz has released Arkansas DFA report showing lottery ticket sales fo March 2019 in Polk County as well as the other counties in Arkansas.

 
Statewide sales in March 2019 were $51,974,614.00.
 
The highest sales were in Pulaski County and totaled $9,662,798.00 and the lowest sales in Montgomery County totaling $37,936.00.
 
Sales in Polk County were $185,610.50.

According to the Family Council, only about twenty cents of each dollar in the so called "education lottery" goes to scholarships.
 
4-12-19 11:19 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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A Recap of the Arkansas Legislative Session

The Arkansas Legislature wrapped up this week. Here’s a look at legislation that passed and failed and how lawmakers voted on important bills.

Good Bills Passed at the Legislature This Year

 

Act 180 / S.B. 149 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) prohibits abortion in Arkansas if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The bill was hotly debated in the Arkansas Legislature, but ultimately passed and was signed into law. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 493 / H.B. 1439 (Abortion): This good law by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs) and Sen. Jason Rapert (R – Conway) prohibits abortion in Arkansas after the eighteenth week of pregnancy unless the mother’s life or physical health is in serious jeopardy. Our team estimates that this law will save upwards of 170 – 200 unborn children from abortion each year. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 700 / S.B. 448 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) requires an abortionist to be a board-certified or board-eligible OB/GYN. Currently any medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy in Arkansas can perform a chemical or surgical abortion. S.B. 448 will protect women from dangerous abortion practices. The bill also updates Arkansas’ definition of a “viable fetus.” Under current federal case law, states have a lot of leeway to restrict abortion when an unborn child is considered “viable.” Updating this definition will make it easier to pass and enforce pro-life legislation in Arkansas. Planned Parenthood dubbed this pro-life bill “the worst” one they faced all session—so you know it’s a good law. We estimate this law could save hundreds of unborn children from abortion each year. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 278 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R – Branch) and Rep. Spencer Hawks (R – Conway) makes several improvements to Arkansas’ abortion laws. It expands the waiting period for an abortion from 48 hours to 72 hours. This will give women more time to consider all their options besides abortion—which will make them less likely to have an abortion. We estimate this law will save as many as 50 unborn children each year. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

H.B. 1453 (Abortion): This good law by Rep. Clint Penzo (R – Springdale) and Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton) requires abortionists to give women information about perinatal hospice. Modern medicine has made it possible to test unborn children for deadly fetal abnormalities, and most children who test positive for these abnormalities are aborted. Perinatal hospice services provide palliative care for women whose unborn children are not expect to survive to birth or live long following birth. They provide emotional support for the woman and her family and hospice services for the child after birth. Data shows when women know perinatal hospice services are available for them and their unborn child, they are less likely to have an abortion. H.B. 1453 will help women choose options besides abortion when their unborn child has a life-threatening condition. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

H.B. 1399 (Pro-Life): This good law by Rep. Karilyn Brown (R – Sherwood) and Sen. Scott Flippo (R – Bull Shoals) prohibits public funds from being used to clone or kill unborn children for scientific research. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 185 / S.B. 168 (Pro-Life): This good law by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Rebecca Petty (R – Rogers) updates Arkansas’ Safe Haven Act. It lets a woman surrender her newborn to law enforcement personnel, fire department personnel, or medical personnel. Arkansas’ Safe Haven Act protects children from being abandoned, and it provides women with options besides abortion. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 522 / S.B. 341 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) and Rep. Joe Cloud (R – Russellville) amends Arkansas’ informed-consent law for abortion to ensure women know how to find information about chemical abortion pill reversal. Doctors have demonstrated that chemical abortion drugs can be counteracted if the woman receives treatment quickly. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 2 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) prohibits abortions performed because the baby has Down Syndrome. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 3 (Abortion): This good law by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) requires abortionist to report complications arising from an abortion. Abortion carries a number of risks and consequences, and the reporting required by this bill will help Arkansas craft better pro-life laws in the future. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 503 (Anti-Assisted Suicide): This good law by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) enhances the penalty for physician-assisted suicide in Arkansas. Besides increasing the penalty for this crime, the bill sent a powerful message that the Arkansas Legislature opposes assisted suicide. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 429 / H.B. 1413 (Home Schooling): This good law by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) prevents schools from charging home schooled students extra to take concurrent credit courses for college credit. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 430 / H.B. 1419 (Home Schooling): This good law by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) makes it easier for home schooled students to access academic courses offered though the local public school system. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Act 184 / S.B. 156 (Free Speech): This good law by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville) and Rep. Dan Sullivan (R – Jonesboro) prevents public colleges and universities from infringing the free speech of students and faculty on campus. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 440 (Marijuana Edibles): This good law by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs) prohibits marijuana stores from selling marijuana-infused candy and other foods that are likely to appeal to children. We have read time and again about children hospitalized after eating gummies, cookies, or other foods laced with so-called “medical” marijuana. S.B. 440 helps protect Arkansas’ children from this dangerous drug. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

S.B. 441 (Marijuana Advertising): This good law by Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) and Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R – Elm Springs) restricts medical marijuana advertisements in much the same way as tobacco advertisements. Marijuana ads cannot target children. They cannot be placed near schools or daycares. And they have to include disclaimers about the dangers of marijuana. This bill will help tighten Arkansas’ restrictions on “medical” marijuana. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

Good Bills That Did Not Pass This Year

 

H.B. 1289 (Conscience): This good bill by Rep. Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro) protects the rights of conscience of all healthcare workers and companies. This would prevent healthcare workers and organizations from being forced to promote, participate in, or pay for medical procedures that violate their conscience. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass in the House Public Health Committee.

H.B. 1342 (Used Car Tax): This good bill by Rep. John Payton (R – Wilburn) and Sen. Terry Rice (R – Waldron) eliminates the sales tax on used cars sold for less than $7,500. Currently, sales tax is collected on new and used cars sold for $4,000 or more. This bill would have provided tax relief to a lot of families who rely on used vehicles. The bill passed in the Arkansas House, but failed to pass in the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee.

H.B. 1761 (Pro-Life/Bioethics): This good bill by Rep. Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith) and Sen. Missy Irvin (R – Mountain View) regulates the buying and selling of human eggs. Arkansas law currently lets companies harvest women’s eggs for profit. Commercial egg harvesting carries a number of risks and is ethically suspect. H.B. 1761 prohibits companies from paying women for their eggs, but contains exceptions for free egg donations and for fertility treatments. The bill passed in the Arkansas House, but failed to make it through the senate before the session adjourned.

H.B. 1511 (Home Schooling): This good bill by Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) ensures home schooled students and private school students can access the Succeed Scholarship the state offers to students with special needs. Currently, this scholarship is only available for students enrolled in a public school. Unfortunately, the bill never really got off the ground at the legislature.

H.B. 1378 (Lottery): This good bill by Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville) raises the percentage of Arkansas Lottery revenue allocated for college scholarships to 25% by the year 2025. Currently, the Arkansas Lottery spends about 18% of the money it makes on scholarships. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass the House Rules Committee.

S.B. 387 (Lottery): This good bill by Sen. Joyce Elliott (D – Little Rock) and Rep. Jasen Kelly (R – Benton) raises the percentage of Arkansas Lottery revenue allocated for college scholarships to 25% by the year 2025. Currently, the Arkansas Lottery spends about 18% of the money it makes on scholarships. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass in the Senate Education Committee.

 

Bad Bills That Passed This Year

 

Act 812 / S.B. 492 (Entertainment Districts): This law by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) lets cities create “entertainment districts” where open containers of alcohol can be carried and consumed outdoors on streets and sidewalks.

Entertainment districts essentially are areas where public drinking and public intoxication are legal. Under this law, an entertainment district could be temporary — such as at an event or festival — or it could be permanent. Because of their association with excessive drinking, entertainment districts in other states have raised serious concerns about crime, DUI offenses, and public safety. This bad bill narrowly passed the Arkansas House and Senate, and Governor Hutchinson signed the bill into law this week. See how your senator voted here. See how your state representative voted here.

 

Bad Bills Defeated at the Legislature This Year

 

S.B. 304 (Sex-Education): This bad bill by Sen. Will Bond (D – Little Rock) and Rep. LeAnne Burch (D – Monticello) would have made it possible for Planned Parenthood—the nation’s largest abortion provider and largest provider of sex-education—to worm its way into Arkansas’ public schools under the auspices of teaching sex-education and teen pregnancy prevention. The initial draft of the bill would have mandated sex-education for students in grades 7-12 in every public school in Arkansas. That bill passed the Arkansas Senate, but was amended in the House to make the sex-education optional. Even with amendments, the bill still left the door wide open for Planned Parenthood to teach its liberal sex-education in Arkansas’ public schools. Rep. Mark Lowery (R – Maumelle) asked the House Education Committee to amend the bill to ensure abortion-providers would not be able to teach sex-education in Arkansas’ public schools, but his good amendment failed to get enough support from committee members. Thankfully we were able to defeat this bad bill in committee, but the fight lasted until the final days of the session.

SJR 18 (Ratifying the Federal Equal Rights Amendment): This proposal by Sen. Joyce Elliott (D – Little Rock) and Rep. Jamie Scott (D – North Little Rock) would make Arkansas the 38th state to ratify the federal Equal Rights Amendment. This amendment to the U.S. Constitution is intended to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, but the way it is worded could cause it to have a number of unintended consequences. States that have passed similar amendments have been forced to pay for abortions with taxpayer funds, and the Equal Rights Amendment could affect everything from college fraternities and sororities to how men and women are housed in federal prisons. The measure was defeated in the Senate State Agencies Committee in February.

H.B. 1290 (Contraceptives): This bill by Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R – Clarksville) and Sen. Bart Hester (R – Cave Springs) lets pharmacists dispense oral contraceptives to women without a prescription from a doctor. Oral contraceptives carry a number of health risks — which is why women currently need a prescription from a doctor — and they can cause the death of an unborn child by preventing the unborn child from implanting and growing inside the mother’s womb. We were able to defeat it, but the fight lasted until the end of the session.

H.B. 1536 (Physician-Assisted Suicide): This bill by Rep. Dan Douglas (R – Bentonville) lets doctors prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients who want to end their lives. There was so much wrong with H.B. 1536 that it’s hard to know where to begin. In one way or another, the bill was worse than virtually any other assisted-suicide proposal that’s been offered elsewhere in the U.S. After intense outcry, the bill was soundly defeated in the House Public Health Committee in March.

A Few Other Noteworthy Bills

Here are a few other noteworthy bills that came up at the legislature this year:

H.B. 1664: This bill by Rep. Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville) creates programs that assist women and families with unplanned pregnancies and young children. The bill passed into law.

S.B. 470: This bill by Rep. Cindy Crawford (R – Fort Smith) and Sen. Bob Ballinger (R – Berryville) provided $1.5 million in funding for the program created by H.B. 1664. However, the appropriation did not pass.

H.B. 1625: This bill by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R – Paragould) makes it a felony to encourage someone to commit suicide. The bill passed into law.

H.B. 1621: This bill Rep. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) and Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (R – Rogers) creates “primary prevention programs” that teach students how to avoid risky behaviors and situations and minimize risk overall. These programs are similar to Arkansas’ successful abstinence education programs of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The bill passed into law.

H.B. 1508: This bill by Rep. Andy Davis (R – Little Rock) helps close loopholes in Arkansas’ “Tim Tebow” law that had previously kept some home schoolers from being able to participate in extracurricular activities in their local private schools. The bill passed into law.

S.B. 463: This bill by Sen. Mark Johnson (R – Little Rock) regulated paid petition canvassers and organizations that employ paid petition canvassers in efforts to gather signatures and place measures on the ballot. The bill was referred to Interim Study, and the issue will be researched and discussed by lawmakers over the next two years.

S.B. 352: This bill by Sen. Alan Clark (R – Lonsdale) provided protections for private, faith-based adoption and foster care agencies operating according to their deeply-held religious beliefs. However, the bill never made it out of committee.

 

4-12-19 10:25 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

April 12, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature completed the 2019 regular session after finalizing a balanced budget of about $5.75 billion in general revenue for next fiscal year. That is about $124 million more than will be spent during the current year.

 

The state general revenue fund is mostly generated by sales taxes, individual income taxes and corporate income taxes.

 

The legislature enacted a trio of tax cuts. Act 182 will save Arkansas families more than $97 million a year in lower personal income taxes. It will benefit about 579,000 taxpayers with net taxable incomes greater than $38,200.

 

Act 808 lowers property taxes for more than 716,000 homeowners, by increasing the homestead property tax credit from $350 to $375. Each year, Arkansas homeowners will save an additional $12.5 million because of Act 808.

 

Act 822 will lower income taxes by about $57 million a year for businesses when it is fully in effect. It lowers the top rate for income above $100,000, and it extends to 20 years the carry forward period in which they can claim net operating losses.

 

Much of the lost state revenue will be made up from sales taxes on Internet retail purchases. The act does not change sales tax rates, but clarifies that they will be collected equally from online retailers as they are collected from “bricks and mortar” stores.

 

The legislature enacted long-term highway program. Act 146 will generate $59 million a year for the state and $12.6 million a year for both cities and counties to maintain and build roads and bridges.

 

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. In the future, increases will be limited to 0.1 percent per gallon.

 

The bill levies additional registration fees on electric vehicles of $200 and hybrid vehicles of $100. In 2018 there were 18,777 hybrids registered in Arkansas, and 802 electric vehicles registered. Their owners paid $17, $25 or $30 to register, depending on the weight of the vehicles.

 

Also, $35 million a year from new casino taxes will be transferred to state highway projects.

 

The second component of the highway program will depend on Arkansas voters. The legislature referred to the 2020 ballot whether to make permanent the current temporary half-cent sales tax. Revenue from the half cent is allocated for highways.

 

If voters approve, the half cent will generate $293.7 million a year. Cities and counties will each receive $44 million, and the state Transportation Department will get the remaining $205 million each year.

 

If voters reject the extension, the sales tax will expire in 2023. It was approved in a statewide general election in 2012 by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent.

 

Minimum salaries for teachers will go up $1,000 a year in each of the next four years, thanks to Act 170. Teachers will benefit mostly in the 168 districts that now pay the minimum or slightly above it. In 67 school districts teachers are already paid more than the state minimum salary.

 

Act 189 changes how juvenile offenders are sentenced. It’s an effort to reduce the number of teens who are sent to secure detention facilities for minor offenses. It also makes sentencing guidelines more uniform across the state.

 

4-12-19 9:14 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Fishing Report

 

Weekly Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 10, 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.

 

4-10-19 6:06 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments April 9th

 

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. Jamie Beckwith, W/F, age 27, County I: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" felony. Count II: Possession Of A Controlled Substance, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. Count III: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a class "D" felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Samantha E. Coleman, W/F, age 26, Count I: Forgery In The second Degree, a Class "C" Felony. Count II: Forgery In The Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony.

 

4-10-19 12:21 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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2019 National Day of Prayer May 2nd

The National Day of Prayer will be observed May 2nd this year. 

 

Should it be raining, the event will be held in the First Baptist Church fellowship hall. 

 

4-9-19 10:14 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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TEXTING DRIVERS BEWARE: U DRIVE – U TEXT – YOU PAY

 
Distracted driving continues to be one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes across the nation’s roadways.  The Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office is working with state and local law enforcement agencies to encourage drivers to put down their phones while driving.
 
  Beginning April 11th and continuing through April 15th, law enforcement agencies in Arkansas will participate in the “U Drive, You Text, You Pay” campaign, which includes both educational as well as enforcement operations designed to make streets and roads safe.  The goal is to reduce traffic crashes caused by distracted driving associated with cell phone use while driving.
 
  A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that examined motor vehicle crashes that occurred during 2012 - 2017 indicates nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers. During calendar year 2017 there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
 
  In recent years a younger generation of millennial drivers has become the biggest texting-while-driving offenders, using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.  Since 2007, according to NHTSA, young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers.  During 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when teenage drivers were distracted at the time of each crash.  The statistical analysis indicates female drivers are the most at risk for being involved in a fatal crash when distracted.
 
  “While on the road anyone can look out of their vehicle window and see drivers using their cell phones,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. “People know texting and driving is dangerous and illegal, but they do it anyway, and it puts others at risk.”
 
  Colonel Bryant has committed to increasing state police patrols in the coming days.  Troopers will be stopping violators and ticketing them if caught texting and driving.
 
  Violating Arkansas’ distracted driving laws can be costly.  Arkansas law prohibits the use of a hand-held cell phone for texting, typing, email or accessing the internet while driving, regardless of the driver's age.  It is also a "primary offense" law, which means a state trooper, police officer or sheriff's deputy can initiate a traffic stop without observing any other violation.  Fines can range from up to $250 for a first offense and up to $500 for any subsequent offense.
 
  Arkansas law enforcement officers urge you to put your phone down when you get behind the wheel. If you need to text, then pull over and stop the vehicle.
 
  If you’re driving, follow these steps for a safe driving experience:
 
  •     If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location before you attempt to text.
  
  •     Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  
  •     Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.  Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
 
  Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal. Break the cycle. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.  For more information on distracted driving issues, visit www.Distraction.gov, www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDarkansas.org.
 
4-9-19 8:32 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Department Report for March 31st - April 6th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of March 31, 2019 through April 6, 2019 

 

March 31, 2019

 

Jodeci Ingoglia, 20 of Hatfield was charged with theft of property after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.

 

April 1, 2019

 

Robert Earl Jones, 34, of Mena was charged with criminal trespass after a call to a local business.

 

Report was taken regarding a man with a dog trespassing at several residences in Mena. Case is being investigated.

 

Carter Cane, 54, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. In the same incident, Shanna Kahn, 54, also of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. The arrests followed a routine traffic stop.

 

Robert Wells, 34, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine or cocaine, possession of an instrument of crime, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, and driving on a suspended driver’s license.  He was additionally served an outstanding warrant.  The arrest followed a traffic stop.

 

Matthew Morrison, 29, of Mena was arrested and served with three outstanding warrants.

 

April 2, 2019

 

Jesse Henry, 29, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant for failure to pay fines and court costs.  He was also ticketed for having no vehicle tags.  The arrest followed a traffic stop.

 

A Mena woman reported that someone had broken into a storage shed on her property and stolen several items.  Case is pending.

 

Sarah Marissa Mitchell, 25, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Mena Police Department.

 

Mikos Pierce, 19, of Mena was charged with theft of property after an incident at a local business.

 

Zakary Cochran, 22, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant from the Mena Police Department.

 

April 3, 2019

 

Report was made of a wallet having been stolen and someone using her debit card for several purchases.  Case is pending further investigation and reviewing videos from a local business.

 

April 4, 2019

 

A local woman reported that she is being harassed by her grandchildren’s father.  Case is pending.

 

A Mena woman reported that someone had stolen her checkbook. After an investigation, the wallet was located at a local grocery store. No suspect is known.

 

April 5, 2019

 

A 16-year-old Mena youth was charged with theft of property and disorderly conduct after officers responded to a call at a local retail store.  More arrests may follow.

 

Michael Reding, 56, of Mena was charged with possession of a controlled substance.  The incident followed a call to a local storage facility.

 

Michelle Diane Bice, 40, of Mena was served and outstanding warrant from the Montgomery County.

 

April 6, 2019

 

Gary D. Smith, 41, of Mena was charged with possession of a schedule VI controlled substance.

 

A local woman reported that someone had stolen an air conditioner from her property.  Case pending location and interview of suspect.

 

4-8-19 12:49 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For April 1st - 7th

 

SHERIFF’S   LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of April 1 - April 7, 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.


April 1, 2019
Report from complainant on Highway 71 South in Wickes of missing property.  Deputy responded.  The property was located and returned to the owner.
Report from complainant on Polk 90 near Acorn of unauthorized persons on their property.  Deputy advised subjects to not return to the property.
Request from walk-in complainant for deputy to dispose of suspected illegal contraband.
Report from complainant on Polk 1 near Grannis of being threatened by an acquaintance.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from a Polk County official of several fraudulent checks.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Erica May, 28, of Mena, on a Warrant for Theft by Receiving.


April 2, 2019
Report from a Cove woman that her 17-year-old daughter was missing.  Deputy responded.


April 3, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 22 near Cove of an outbuilding on fire.  Deputies responded.
Report of a disturbance on Polk 87 near Ink.  Deputies responded.
Arrested was Brennan D. McMillan, 18, of Mena, on a Drug Court Sanction.


April 4, 2019
Report from a Mena man of being harassed by an acquaintance.  Deputy advised the suspect to cease all contact.
Request for a welfare check on an individual on Polk 92 near Shady Grove.  Deputy responded.


April 5, 2019
Report of a one-vehicle accident on Highway 375 East near Mena led to a 17-year-old male being issued Juvenile Citations for DWI and Minor in Possession of Alcohol.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.


April 6, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 42 near Potter of problems with a family member.  Deputy responded.


April 7, 2019
Report from a Cove woman of problems regarding custody of a juvenile.
Arrested was Shannon L. House, 52, of Grannis, on two Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
Arrested was Jeremy M. Youngdahl, 42, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order and a Body Attachment Warrant.

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


Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 25 Incarcerated Inmates , with 9 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00235

 

4-8-19 11:46 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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Van-Cove School Alumni Meeting April 11th

The Van-Cove School Alumni will meet Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. at the old elementary school building (156 School Street in Cove). There will be many pieces of school memorabilia on display, one dating back to 1933! Everyone is invited to attend.

 

Be watching for grand opening information of the permanent display and school museum! 

 

For more information, contact Glen Pate at (479) 216-8698.

 

4-8-19 6:51 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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April 9th Will Mark The 10th Anniversary of Devastating Mena Tornado

At 7:24 p.m. on April 9, 2009, a tornado warning was issued for areas north of Mena in Polk County, Arkansas, then at 8:01 p.m. the warning extended into Mena. Nine minutes later, a tornado struck the city and killed three people. Thirty people were injured and 600 homes were either damaged or destroyed. The Polk County Jail was severely damaged to the point that minor offense prisoners were released, with serious offenders taken to jails around the area. The Polk County Courthouse received damage after a radio tower fell over onto part of the building, damaging the roof. The Mena Regional Health System also sustained damage, but continued to treat patients and ran off auxiliary power. The high winds from the tornado threw a bus into a tree at the community college. The roof at the Mena Middle School was significantly damaged, with part of the gymnasium roof ripped off and a portable classroom was destroyed. The damage to the middle school was so severe that it had to be condemned. The tornado also heavily impacted Rich Mountain Community College (now University of Arkansas at Rich Mountain) and destroyed two businesses at the city's industrial park. The tornado that hit Mena was rated EF3 by the National Weather Service in Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

Communications in and out of Mena was very limited and many were without power. One person interviewed by a national television network said “it looks like a war zone.”

 

 

Volunteers from local and surrounding area fire departments, local law enforcement officers, and countless civilians began immediately to look for injured, assess damage, clear streets of downed trees, prepare food for workers, open homes, businesses and churches to shelter the homeless and those without power, and the work continued for months. By the next morning advance teams from faith based organizations and government agencies were in Mena to start what seemed like and insurmountable task. But Mena residents stood side by side, and with the help of many people from all over the United States, accomplished much.

 

 

Areas of Mena will never look the same. Tens of thousands of trees were lost. Whole blocks of homes suddenly became vacant lots with only debris as a reminder that once a family mowed the lawn, played baseball, cooked out.

 

Red Cross, FEMA, Samaritan's Purse, and even media representatives commented about the spirit of volunteerism and of the resolve of the people of Mena. Yes, it was a horrible tragedy, but in many ways brought out the best in a good people.

 

 

4-6-19 9:38 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Arkansas and the USMCA

 
LITTLE ROCK – During a visit two years ago with President Trump at the White House, I took the opportunity to stress the importance of global trade to Arkansas’s economy. At the time, the president was negotiating with Canada and Mexico for a modernized NAFTA agreement that wasmore fair to the United States.
 
The president never gave up on this issue, and late last year, he led the way as the United States, Mexico and Canada signed a new agreement. The new agreement is known as the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA. The pact will replace the North American Free TradeAgreement, or NAFTA.
 
We can’t know for sure the harm the state would suffer without an agreement but the loss in trade and jobs would be significant. The numbers show the benefit when we can freely and fairly export to our North American partners. Canada is Arkansas’s largest trading partner. Our neighbor to the north imported more than $1.2 billion worth of Arkansas products in 2018. That is almost 19 percent of our total exports. Mexico, our second-largest partner, imported nearly $900 million worth of our goods last year.
 
Combined, our exports to those two nations in 2018 was a little more than 32 percent of our state’s total exports, which was $6.5 billion.
 
To put that in perspective, you have to add the imports of the next eight countries to match the money our two North American neighbors spent buying our goods and products last year.
 
Agriculture is our No. 1 industry, and Mexico and Canada are our top agriculture customers. Between them, Mexico and Canada buy $500 million worth of agriculture products from Arkansas.
 
Mexico buys $1.2 million worth of Arkansas eggs, $103 million worth of poultry, and $42 million worth of rice.
 
Canada buys $62 million worth of Arkansas rice, $44 million worth poultry, and $22 million worth of eggs. But it is more than agriculture. It is about our auto parts industry, our aero defense products, and jobs created in a wide variety of industry.
 
Seventeen Canadian companies employ 2,800 workers at 30 facilities in our state. Mexico’s companies employ approximately 2,100 people at 14 facilities.
 
We can’t overemphasize the importance of the free flow of commerce between our North American neighbors. I have written our Senate leadership and asked them to ratify this trade agreement, which is so important to Arkansas.
 
4-5-19 5:11 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

The state budget is guided by the Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA) which is typically one of the last items passed every session. 

 

Members will be reviewing RSA in the Joint Budget Committee Monday morning.  We have posted details of the proposed budget on our website. We expect to vote on the budget next week and conclude our business for this session.

 

This week, the House passed two proposed constitutional amendments for the November 2020 ballot.

 

SJR15 addresses term limits for legislators.  This amendment would limit state legislators elected after January 1, 2021 to 12 years of consecutive service. Those legislators would not be eligible for subsequent service in the General Assembly until four years after the expiration of the last term in office. 

 

Current legislators could serve under the existing term limit of 16 years.  Those members would be subject to a 4 year waiting period for before running for a subsequent term in the General Assembly.

 

The House also passed HJR1008.

 

If passed by the voters, HJR1008 would increase the vote requirement to a 3/5 majority for the General Assembly to refer future amendments.

 

Currently, it takes a simple majority on the first two amendments and a 2/3 vote to introduce a third a proposal.

 

This would also require citizen-initiated petitions to be filed by January 15 of the election year.  Challenges would have to be filed by April 15. It eliminates the current cure period to collect additional signatures.

 

It also states that it shall be necessary to file petitions from at least 45 counties bearing the signature of at least ½ of the designated percentage of the electors.  Currently, signatures are needed from 15 counties.

 

Additional legislation passing the House this week includes:

 

SB576-This bill requires out of state online retailers to collect and remit state sales tax. The bill also phases in a reduction in the top corporate income tax rate from 6.5% to 5.9%.

 

It extends carry-forward period for net operating losses for businesses from 5 years to 10 years. SB576 changes the apportionment formula for corporations and also makes changes to taxes for carwashes.

 

HB1933-This bill address bullying in several ways.  It requires parents of the victim of bullying be notified as soon as reasonably practicable. It requires schools to investigate and write a report on the complaint within 5 school days. The bill also requires the school notify the parent or legal guardian of the student who is determined to have been the perpetrator of the incident of bullying.

 

HB1821-This bill requires DHS to implement an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for medical providers to address minimum wage increases.

 

HB1417-This creates the Arkansas Major Historic Rehabilitation Income Tax Credit for projects worth more than $1.5 million. This bill creates the qualifications for the tax credit but does not provide funding.

 

HB1837-This bill expands access to association health plans to allow more small businesses to band together to purchase insurance.

 

HB1733-This bill makes threatening to commit an act of mass violence on school property a Class C felony.

 

HB1945-This provides needed changes to have the Arkansas Online Insurance Verification System implemented by January 1, 2020. This system gives law enforcement access to real time information regarding proof of insurance.

 

SB492-This allows cities in wet counties to pass an ordinance creating a temporary or permanent designated entertainment districts.

 

SB584. This bill requires the Department of Finance and Administration to provide space on income tax forms to designate more than one account for the direct deposit of the taxpayer’s refund.

 

HB1890-This bill would require the Department of Education to establish in standards for accreditation the maximum number of students that a teacher in grades 5-12 is permitted to teach per day.

 

HB1928-This bill requires an audio recording to be made of all public meetings.  Exceptions are made for volunteer fire departments, cities of the second class and incorporated towns. 

 

We will continue to update you through the remainder of the session. You can watch all House proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

4-5-19 5:04 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Fixing the Broken Senate Confirmation Process

 

The Senate recently adopted changes to make the body more efficient and improve its ability to fulfill one of its constitutional obligations: providing our advice and consent to the administration in order to fill the executive branch positions that require Senate confirmation.

 

In years past, the confirmation of presidential nominees has highlighted the ability of senators to work together and approve nominations when an individual is clearly qualified. Despite the fact that the country is best served by timely confirmation of the president’s nominees, the Senate minority has engaged in historic obstruction for more than two years. This has prevented the ability of President Donald Trump to fully staff federal agencies and confirm his nominees.

 

In order to respond to the needs of our country, our federal agencies must have the leaders in place to support the administration and serve the needs of all Americans which these federal departments exist to do.

 

When you change presidents, you also change personnel in federal agencies. That means processing more than one thousand nominations for executive branch positions. This is in addition to the confirmation of judges to fill vacancies within our federal courts.

 

Unfortunately, there has been an ongoing effort to hinder the ability of the president to fully staff federal agencies and confirm his nominees to the federal bench.

 

The rules of the Senate ensure there is ample time to vet and discuss individuals nominated to serve in these important positions. Traditionally the debate time of noncontroversial nominees is minimal, but President Trump’s nominees have moved at a glacial pace through the Senate because the minority is running out the clock on nearly every nomination, even those with broad, widespread support.

 

For example, despite the unanimous support among members of the Judiciary Committee, the Senate spent more than an entire week considering four district court judges on the floor, where they eventually received support from every senator for their confirmations.

 

This is obstruction purely for the sake of obstruction. It ultimately harms the reputation of the Senate as well as the federal departments, agencies and courts where these nominees could already be serving on behalf of the American people.

 

What we’ve experienced in terms of being able to confirm nominees to sub-cabinet level positions is unprecedented.

 

Over the last two years, Democrats have abused procedures to delay votes on 128 of President Trump’s nominees. In comparison, the first two years of President Obama’s time in office, this only happened 12 times. If you add this to the cloture votes for the first two years of Presidents George W. Bush and Clinton, it’s a total of 24.

 

In early April, the Senate took steps to restore the tradition of timely consideration and confirmation of the president’s nominees by reducing debate time. The rule change is similar to the standing order that was approved by senators during a Democrat-controlled Senate in 2013.

 

This new precedent will still allow lengthy consideration of cabinet-level nominees and those nominated to fill seats on the Supreme Court and federal appeals courts.

 

Eliminating the ability to delay confirmation of a nominee that most, or sometimes even all, senators eventually vote to support is important to restoring fairness and productivity in the Senate. Timely consideration of executive branch nominees improves efficiency and ultimately holds the administration more accountable to the American people.

 

4-5-19 2:46 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Scammers Posing as Trusted Companies to Steal Financial Information

ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Scammers Posing as Trusted Companies to Steal Financial Information 

 
LITTLE ROCK – Scammers are posing as employees of legitimate and trusted businesses such as pest control, lawn care or alarm companies in an attempt to steal personal information from Arkansans. The caller tries to set up an in-home appointment or confirm personal information in hopes of gaining access to credit card numbers, social security numbers or bank account information. This is a scam, and Arkansans should hang up immediately.
 
“Arkansans should be cautious of unsolicited callers trying to confirm personal information and set up appointments,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “If you have any doubt, hang up and find the company’s phone number from an independent source and call them to confirm the information you have been told. Do not use the number on your caller ID from the original call.”
 
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for recognizing and responding to these types of scam calls:

  • These callers may request to be contacted only at the number provided instead of the company’s general number.
  • These scammers know your name but try to gather other personal information.
  • Be mindful that scammers can spoof the caller ID to suggest they are calling from the trusted company when they are not.
  • Do not trust the caller simply because they have personal information.
  • Do not verify information or give out personal banking or similar information because it could lead to identity theft.

If you have been a victim of identity theft, close accounts that have been tampered with or fraudulently opened, and file a complaint with the FTC. The Attorney General’s office also offers an ID Theft Passport to help victims reestablish their good name, which requires that consumers first file a police report for financial identity theft.

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.

 

4-4-19 10:45 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

April 5, 2019

 

LITTLE ROCK – The Correction Department will keep secret any records about lethal injection and carrying out the death penalty, under a bill that exempts those records from the state Freedom of Information Act.

 

The department is responsible for executing inmates who have been convicted of capital crimes and sentenced to death. In recent years, prison officials have had difficulty purchasing the drugs used for lethal injection, and one reason is that pharmaceutical companies don’t want death penalty protesters to know of their involvement.

 

At this time, the department does not have a supply of the three drugs used in lethal injection.

 

Both the Senate and the House or Representatives have passed Senate Bill 464, the measure that keeps confidential the records concerning lethal injection drugs. The governor is expected to sign it.

 

There are 30 inmates on death row. Arkansas last carried out the death penalty in 2017.

 

SB 464 also makes it a felony to publicly reveal information about lethal injection in Arkansas.

 

The legislature has agreed to refer to voters a proposed constitutional amendment to set term limits for lawmakers at 12 years, although current office holders would be allowed to complete 16 years.

 

If voters approve the amendment next year, legislators would have to step down after they reach their term limit, but they could run again after four years out of office.

 

Both chambers have approved a bill to raise the speed limit on interstate highways from 70 to 75 miles per hour.

 

The higher limits will not be allowed in urban areas, and must only be on controlled access four-lane highways divided by a median. Commercial vehicles, such as passenger buses and 18-wheelers, will still be restricted to 70 miles an hour.

 

Both chambers have approved SB 576, a corporate income tax reduction. When it is fully in effect, it will save Arkansas businesses more than $57 million a year.

 

Both chambers also approved SB 447, an increase in the Homestead Property Tax Credit from $350 to $375 each year. It will save Arkansas homeowners more than $12.5 million a year.

 

The Senate has approved SB 618, to allow income tax credits for employees of child care facilities who return to college to get a degree or a certificate in early childhood education.

 

The tax credits would increase in value, from $250 for earning a certificate, to $500 for getting an associate’s degree and $1,000 for earning a bachelor’s degree.

 

Act 677, to increase the penalties for telemarketers who scam telephone customers, passed easily in both chambers and awaits the governor’s signature. It prohibits robocalls, which are recorded phone calls automatically generated by computers.

 

The bill makes it a felony for telemarketers to disguise their identities. Using a process known as “spoofing,” scammers deceive telephone’s caller ID function so that fake numbers appear up when your telephone rings. Often, the number looks familiar to those that you commonly call, so you’re more likely to answer.

 

Both chambers have approved SB 278, to increase the waiting period for getting an abortion from 48 to 72 hours.

 

4-4-19 10:41 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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City of Mena Announces Clean Up Mena Event, Spring Clean Up Follows

The City of Mena Arkansas invites you to a fun weekend of cleaning up our town and helping our neighbors. On the weekend of April 27th and 28th get outside with your family and friends to show your love for our great town! Clean Up Mena works in partnership with the City of Mena’s annual Spring Clean-Up scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Click here for guidelines for street pickup.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Wednesday April 24th – Volunteer Meeting

  • 6:30 PM – Meet at The Crossing for instruction and encouragement
  • 7:00 PM – Team Assignment & Volunteer T-Shirt distribution

Saturday April 27th – Day 1 Clean Up Mena

  • 8:00 AM – Meet at The Crossing for team assignments & final instructions.
  • 8:30 AM – Begin Clean Up Mena (Working in assigned teams throughout the city)
  • 5:00 PM – End work Day 1 Clean Up Mena

Sunday April 28th – Day 2 Clean Up Mena

  • 8:00 AM – Meet at The Crossing for final instructions.
  • 8:30 AM – Begin Clean Up Mena (Working in assigned teams throughout the city)
  • 2:00 PM – End work Day 2 Clean Up Mena
  • 5:00 PM – Party in the Park (Free music, food and a thank you from Mayor Smith)

For more information, click here to visit the Clean Up Mena website.

 

The annual Spring Clean Up will follow starting April 30th. Details below.

Street Pick Up Guidelines

The City of Mena Annual Spring Clean-Up is scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 30, 2019. City trucks will pick up items you want to dispose of at no charge.

 

This Clean-up service is free for residences within the City limits of Mena only.

 

Materials will not be picked up unless they are placed at the curb-side and separated. Street Department crew and equipment will not go onto private property to move or aide in moving items.

 

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO SEPARATE ANY ITEMS THAT YOU WANT TO KEEP AWAY FROM THOSE THAT ARE TO BE DISCARDED (such as trash cans).

 

The following items cannot be picked up: concrete, brick, rocks, dirt, shingles, batteries and construction debris.

Please separate your items to be discarded into 5 distinct piles as follows:


1. Furniture – – couches, chairs, televisions, window frames, etc
2. Household trash – – paper items, etc
(Please place trash cans, that you wish to keep, to one 
side so that they will not be disposed of inadvertently)
3. Metal material – – hot water heaters, stoves, appliances, etc
4. Yard wastes – – tree limbs, shrubs, grass, etc
5. Tires.

 

Note – It is required that all yard debris such as small limbs, gum balls and leaves be placed in garbage bags.

 

The Mena Street Department will begin pick up in the Northwest part of the city and work their way across town following the same routes as Southern Disposal. Trucks will run 1 to 3 days after the day of your normal trash pick-up. The response to this Clean-Up is usually overwhelming, so please be patient if the trucks are running somewhat behind the posted schedule; however, each route will only be covered one time. It is not necessary to call City Hall in order to receive this service.

 

4-4-19 9:57 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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AG Joins Governor in Bill Signing Ceremony for Laws on Robocalls, Farm Equipment

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today joined Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson for his bill-signing ceremony for two important pieces of legislation. The robocall legislation creates a process for state oversight of telecommunication providers and increases the penalty for robocallers and spoofing. Meanwhile, the Farm Machinery Quality Assurance Act, a bill which Rutledge helped to guide and support, establishes a “lemon law” type protection for consumers purchasing new self-propelled farm machinery and equipment.

 

“Arkansans are eager to stop the incessant robocalls and scams,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The unopposed, bi-partisan support of this new law creates a path for enforcement to hold the bad actors accountable.

 

“The new legislation protecting farmers is important to ensure they are no longer vulnerable to potentially devastating financial losses due to faulty equipment. Arkansas’s economy relies heavily on our farmers and this bill will help them grow and expand their livelihood.”

 

Both pieces of legislation were passed by the General Assembly last week.

 

4-3-19 3:39 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena/Polk Chamber of Commerce Member Appreciation Banquet

Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce Membership Appreciation Banquet

 

Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Chamber Members

 

The Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce will hold its Membership Appreciation Banquet on Tuesday, April 23rd, at the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain Ouachita Center. This year’s banquet theme is “Masquerade at the Comedy Club.” The event will begin at 6:00 p.m., with dinner at 6:30 p.m., and the program to follow.

 

A delicious dinner will be catered by Papa’s Mexican Café with 385 Events providing lighting and sound to bring the evening alive. Comedian Byron Trimble will provide entertainment for the event. Trimble’s high energy and hilarious blend of comedy and music are sure to deliver a great show. The auction items are incredible again this year. There is an Eric Church concert package and Chris Stapleton tickets, overnight stays in our beautiful state parks and area accommodations, gift certificates to local businesses, and much more. Proceeds from the auction benefit the Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Fund.

 

During the program, the Chamber will be honoring Chamber Members who have gone above and beyond during the year. An awards presentation will be presented by the Chamber for the following awards: Volunteer of the Year, Citizen of the Year, Best New Construction, Best Renovation/Beautification, and Business of the Year.

 

Contact: Ashley Smith Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce Phone: (479) 394.2912 director@menapolkchamber.com 524 Sherwood Ave Mena, AR 71953. www.menapolkchamber.com

 

Chamber Director, Ashley Smith, says, “Last year's banquet was a huge success, and it is always difficult to top an event that went so well. However, we think we have done it! Our board members and staff have been working very hard to organize an evening that will wow our guests and we hope that everyone makes plans to come and celebrate with us." The entire community is invited and you do not have to be a Chamber Member to attend the celebration.

 

Tickets may be purchased at the event but, to insure seating, advanced ticket purchase is encouraged. Tickets are $35.00 per person for members, $40.00 for non-members, and tables for eight may be reserved for $300.00. For tickets, table reservations, or additional information, please contact the Mena/Polk County Chamber of Commerce at (479) 394-2912.

 

4-3-19 3:16 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments, April 1st and 3rd

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. Gary D. Collier, W/M, age 58, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony. Count III: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Robert Wells, W/M, age 31, Count I: Driving On Suspended License, an Unclassified Misdemeanor. Count II: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count IV: Possession Of A Controlled Substance, a Class "A" Misdemeanor.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Shanna G. Kahn, W/F, age 54, 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.

 

State of Arkansas Vs. Carrie Carter, W/F, age 54, 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.

 

4-3-19 3:06 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 April 3, 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.

 

4-3-19 2:32 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

For the accurate time, official Mena temperature, and local weather forecast, dial (479) 394-5600. For more weather, visit KAWX.ORG.

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Acorn's Got Talent Show April 11th To Benefit Magness Family

The Acorn High School Music Department will be hosting their Acorn’s Got Talent Show on Thursday night April 11, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the new cafetorium.  The event will feature vocal, instrumental, and lip sync acts from students at Acorn High School, as well as performances by teachers and staff. The money raised at the door will go to the Cherie and Michael Magness family for medical expenses. The cost is $3 per person to enter. In addition, chances will be sold on a discovery flight over Mena donated by Priority Aviation. Going to be a great evening so come out and join us!

 

4-3-19 2:15 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Arbor Day Program for Polk County 4th Graders

The Rich Mountain Conservation District (RMCD), the Arkansas Forestry Commission (AFC), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), teamed up again this year to visit fourth graders in Polk County schools to educate them about Arbor Day and the importance of trees. In Arkansas, Arbor Day is held the 3rd Monday in March. It is a day to encourage people to plant and care for trees. Students were able to learn the importance of pine trees in our community, how to choose a planting location, and how to successfully plant a tree. Each fourth-grade student from Wickes, Vandervoort, Acorn, and Mena elementary was given a Shortleaf pine tree to take home and plant.

 

Vandervoort 4th grade students with (back row): Danielle Frachiseur, Haylie Dobbs, Mary Holland, Justin Mallett, Jerry Huff.

 

Some of Wickes 4th grade students helping Justin Mallett (AFC) plant a Pin Oak on school grounds.

 

Acorn elementary 4th graders listening to Jerry Huff (AFC) tell why trees are important.

 

Mena 4th grade listens to Danielle Frachiseur, Haylie Dobbs, Jerry Huff, and Jody Miller talk about how Arbor Day began and how to plant their tree.

 

4-2-19 2:37 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Arkansas Highway Police New Graduates Include Polk County's TJ Frachiseur

LITTLE ROCK (4-1) – Arkansas Highway Police, a division of the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT), welcomed 25 new officers on Friday, March 22. The new officers recently completed an 11-week training course and are now ready to fulfill their sworn duties.

 

“I know this class will have a promising future,” said ARDOT Director Scott Bennett. “They will be protecting the motorists and our infrastructure. I’m proud of their accomplishments and wish them all the best in their careers.”

 

The following individuals are graduates of Class 12 of the Recruit Training Program: Austin Ardwin, Lander Austin, Conor Bumpus, Malcom Cambron, Ronnie Carr, William Cash, Matthew Clairday, Richard Drum, Tanner Drummonds, Kevin Dunkerson, Jennifer Evans, TJ Frachiseur, Mitchell Hall, Bobbie Hickman, Kory House, Corey Huckabee, Bruce Jackson, Jr., Dillion McGee, Matthew McGrew, Philip Roberts, Jonathon Seaver, Robert Spaulding, Scotty Stewart, Paul Thorne, and Austin Wheelis.

 

Shown is Frachiseur with his son and wife at the graduation cermony.

 

“During the past 11 weeks, we have spent countless hours in training and learning about topics that law enforcement officers deal with every day,” said graduate Kade Cash. “We gained a greater understanding of what a job of a highway police officer entails. Patrol officers with the Highway Police are not only for protecting the lives of Arkansans, but also for preserving the infrastructure that makes daily life possible—a duty that really no other agency has.”

 

The Arkansas Highway Police is a nationally recognized leader in the fields of drug interdiction, motor carrier safety and hazardous materials enforcement, and training. Highway Police officers serve as instructors for the Criminal Justice Institute, National Training Center, Transportation Safety Institute, and the Drug Interdiction Assistance Program.

 

4-1-19 2:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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CITY OF MENA SPRING CLEAN-UP Starts April 23rd

The City of Mena Annual Spring Clean-Up is scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 23, 2019. City trucks will pick up items you want to dispose of at no charge.

 

This Clean-up service is free for residences within the City limits of Mena only.

 

Materials will not be picked up unless they are placed at the curb-side and separated. Street Department crew and equipment will not go onto private property to move or aide in moving items.

 

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO SEPARATE ANY ITEMS THAT YOU WANT TO KEEP AWAY FROM THOSE THAT ARE TO BE DISCARDED (such as trash cans).

 

The following items cannot be picked up: concrete, brick, rocks, dirt, shingles, batteries and construction debris.

 

Please separate your items to be discarded into 5 distinct piles as follows:


1. Furniture - - couches, chairs, televisions, window frames etc
2. Household trash - paper items etc
(Please place trash cans, that you wish to keep, to one 
side so that they will not be disposed of inadvertently)
3. Metal material - hot water heaters, stoves, appliances etc
4. Yard wastes - tree limbs, shrubs, grass, etc
5. Tires.

 

Note – It is required that all yard debris such as small limbs, gum balls and leaves be placed in garbage bags.

 

The Mena Street Department will begin pick up in the Northwest part of the city and work their way across town following the same routes as Southern Disposal. Trucks will run 1 to 3 days after the day of your normal trash pick-up. The response to this Clean-Up is usually overwhelming, so please be patient if the trucks are running somewhat behind the posted schedule; however, each route will only be covered one time. It is not necessary to call City Hall in order to receive this service.

 

4-1-19 1:42 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Fire Department Reminds Citizens About Burning Do's and Don'ts In City

Now that Spring has sprung and citizens are out doing their Spring yard work the Mena Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to remind the citizens of a few recommendations, laws, and fire safety tips when conducting controlled burns within the city limits of Mena.

 

We encourage citizens to take advantage of the upcoming Spring clean up for city residents scheduled to begin April 23rd. This could be a safer option for many folks that may be considering conducting controlled burns of their yard debris (leaves and limbs).

 

For those that recently moved here or do not know, open burning of organic material is allowed in most of the city limits of Mena. The Arkansas State Air Pollution Control Regulation: Section 18.6(B) Prohibits the open burning of waste materials. Specifically it states that: No person shall cause or permit the open burning of refuse, garbage, trade waste, or other waste material, or shall conduct a salvage operation by open burning. Household trash, tires, construction and demolition waste (including lumber and/or wood), etc. are considered waste materials and cannot be burned according to state law. The City of Mena Fire Department adheres to these regulations and those of the Arkansas Fire Prevention Code.

 

If you plan on burning yard debris in the city limits of Mena we ask that you call the Mena Fire Department and let us know. We could advise you if there was a county wide burn ban in effect or the weather condition may be unfavorable for burning. Unknown to many, there is a part of the downtown commercial district that is referred to as the fire zone where no open burning is allowed. By providing us your address we could advise you if you were in this area.

 

If your having a recreational fire, bonfire or conducting a controlled burn take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of fire by clearing out around the area where you are burning. Have water or a portable extinguisher available for immediate utilization. Keep in mind that if your controlled burn was to get out you could be held liable for the damage to your neighbors property. Controlled burns must be at least 25-50 feet from any structures and should be attended until the fire is extinguished.

 

The fire department is authorized to order the extinguishment of open burning that creates or adds to a hazardous or objectionable situation. Be courteous of your neighbors as they may have respiratory issues and can be adversely affected by smoke produced even by organic materials.

It is recommended that controlled burns not be conducted after dark but is not unlawful. Often times we receive calls from neighbors or passersby of a fire out of control simply because they can not see you in the dark in attendance with your controlled burn.

 

Never use gasoline to ignite your control burn, bonfire, or recreational fire.


Never throw aerosol cans or batteries in to a fire. Be cautious to not fall in to the fire and always watch out for the safety of children around controlled burns.

 

To report a controlled burn in the Mena City Limits call 479-394-1234.


To report a controlled burn out of the city limits call 479-394-2511.


To report an emergency call 9-1-1.

 

4-1-19 1:35 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log For March 25 - 31

SHERIFF’S   LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of March 25 - March 31, 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 25, 2019
Report from complainant on Highway 8 East near Nunley of an unauthorized person on their property.  Investigation continues.
Report of an earlier disturbance on Polk 56 near Nunley.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from complainant on Polk 718 near Mena of damage done to a cable line by an unknown person.  Deputy advised complainant of legal options.


March 26, 2019
Report from a Cove woman that her 14-year-old son had walked away from home.  The juvenile was later located and returned to the custody of a parent/guardian.
Report from another law enforcement agency that stolen property was located in Polk County.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 18 near Wickes of a missing license plate.
Juvenile Citations for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Public Intoxication were issued to a 14-year-old male.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.
Report of a break-in and theft at a storage unit in Hatfield.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Robert H. Williams, 43, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.


March 27, 2019
Report from Mena Regional Health System of a dog bite victim.  Deputy responded.  The owner was advised to quarantine the animal for ten days.
Report from complainant on Polk 119 of the theft of firewood.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 231 near Cove that an individual refuses to return a vehicle to the owner.  Investigation continues.


March 28, 2019
Report of an outbuilding on fire on Highway 88 East in Cherry Hill.  Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Polk 130 near Rocky of an unauthorized person on their property.  Deputy responded.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Gary D. Collier, 58, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for three counts of Felony Failure to Appear.


March 29, 2019
Report of a one-vehicle accident on Highway 246 West near Hatfield.  Deputies responded.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 62 near Board Camp of an animal that had been shot.  Information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a structure fire on Treasure Lane near Acorn.  Deputy responded.
Report of an unattended death on Polk 52 near Mena.  Deputy responded.

March 30, 2019
Report from complainant on Stevenson Drive in Wickes of problems concerning neighbors.  All parties were advised to cease all contact with one another.


March 31, 2019
Report from complainant on Polk 280 near Cove of a missing animal, believed to be stolen.
Report of a disturbance on Polk 11 near Wickes.  Subject left the residence before the deputy arrived.  Subject was later advised to cease all contact with complainant.
Report from complainant on Polk 164 near Rocky of a break-in that caused damage to a door.  Investigation continues.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Highway 71 South in Cove.  Deputies responded.

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 13 Incarcerated Inmates , with 7 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC19-00220

 

4-1-19 10:23 a.m. KAWX.ORG 
 

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Mena Police Department Report for March 24th - 30th

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of March 24th - 30th

 

March 24, 2019

 

Jason D. Rosson, 37, of Mena was charged with disorderly conduct after an incident at a local business.

 

A Mena woman reported that someone had stolen property from her.  Case is pending further investigation.

 

March 25 & 26, 2019

 

Bryan Alan Russell, 37, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant.

 

Report was taken concerning a young child who had wandered away from his guardians while they slept.  After notifying DHS employees, the child was returned to the custody of the guardians.

 

March 27, 2019

 

Officers conducted a traffic stop concerning exceeding the speed limit.  During the stop, several items of contraband drugs and paraphernalia were located.  The case was sent to the prosecuting attorney’s office for issuance of a warrant.

 

March 28, 2019

 

A local woman reported that she is being harassed and followed by an unknown individual.  Case is pending further information.

 

A Mena woman reported that she is being harassed by her former husband.  Case is pending location and interview of suspect.

 

March 29 & 30, 2019

 

Officers were dispatched a local residence regarding an altercation between a divorced couple regarding visitation.  No charges have been filed at this time.

 

Officers responded to a call regarding a man walking down the middle of Highway 71.  The man was located and cautioned not to walk in the highway.  No charges were filed.

 

4-1-19 8:39 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Weather