KAWX News

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Returning House members and newly elected members are now preparing for the upcoming session.

 

The 2023 Regular Session will begin on January 9 at noon.

 

The pre-filing period for bills and resolutions began on November 15. So far, 16 bills have been filed in the House and 3 have been filed in the Senate. You can review all the bills filed at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

The House Organizational Meeting previously scheduled for November 17 has been rescheduled to Monday, December 5, 2022, at 9:00 am in the House Chamber.

 

During the meeting, newly elected members will draw for seniority and all members will select their seats for the 94th General Assembly. After seat selection, the committee selection process will begin. 

 

The vast majority of legislation considered during a legislative session begins in a standing committee. There are 10 standing committees in the House. Each standing committee consists of 20 members including 5 members from each of the 4 House district caucuses.

 

Selection for the House Budget Committee, Arkansas Legislative Council, and Legislative Joint Auditing will take place after standing committee selection. 

 

The next day, December 6, newly elected members will begin orientation. For the 94th General Assembly, there will be 26 members serving their first term in the House. The legislative institute will review everything from parliamentary procedures to balancing the state budget so that every member is prepared on day one of the session.

  

At the beginning of each legislative session, the House and Senate meet separately to organize and adopt temporary rules for the respective bodies. Then on the second day of the session, we will meet in a joint session in the House Chamber to hear an address from the newly elected Governor.

 

The House streams every committee meeting and House floor proceeding live on our website. We will also be streaming the organizational meeting on December 5. In addition, the recorded meetings are archived and searchable by key terms on our site. 

 

12-2-22 5:18 PM KAWX.ORG

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Firearms and Ammunition Industry
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – When I ran for Governor in 2014, I wanted to be the jobs governor, and today I’d like to talk about our work to bring firearm industry jobs to our state.
 
On my first day in office I made calls to six CEOs across the country to recruit them to Arkansas. One of those calls was to Ron Cohen, CEO of Sig Sauer.
 
Just over one year later we announced that Sig Sauer would be relocating its Elite Performance Ammunition manufacturing operation to Jacksonville. But this wasn’t the beginning of the firearms industry in the state.
 
In 1969, Governor Winthrop Rockefeller joined Remington Arms to break ground on their new plant in Lonoke. He even proclaimed July 23, 1969, as “A Day to Welcome Remington Arms.” The proclamation states, “this multi-million-dollar plant will employ approximately 1,000 people, thereby bringing new prosperity to the community and to the State.” 
 
Today, more than 50 years later, that same Remington plant in Lonoke continues to thrive and grow under the ownership of Vista Outdoor, employing hundreds more people than when the plant first opened in the late 1960s.
 
When I took office I tried to recruit industries that would be mesh with the culture of the state. I knew of the history of the Remington plant and Arkansas’s respect of the Second Amendment, so the firearms industry was a natural fit.
 
In 2015, I was the only governor to attend the SHOT Show, the industry’s leading trade show. Since then, I’ve taken a delegation from Arkansas every year they’ve held the event. Governors from states like Georgia, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Montana have since followed our lead and attended the SHOT Show in an effort to recruit these companies.
 
Because of our rich history and continued efforts to attract these businesses, we’ve seen steady growth over the past eight years. While it began in 2016 with Sig Sauer in Jacksonville, that’s not where it ended. In 2017, Gamo/Daisy Outdoor, the maker of the legendary Red Ryder BB gun, expanded their production in Rogers.
 
Ammunition manufacturer American Marksman in Searcy and high-end firearm creator Nighthawk Custom in Berryville have also expanded their presence in the Natural State.
 
During the pandemic in 2020, Fiocchi of America announced their decision to move primer production to Arkansas. When they made this decision they also acquired some of the assets of Grandeur Fasteners in Danville, which was a supplier for Sig Sauer.
 
Just last month, Fiocchi announced the largest investment in the firearms industry in Arkansas with over $41 million dollars and 120 new jobs coming to the Port of Little Rock.
 
The Remington Arms factory that Governor Rockefeller helped bring to our state was also purchased by Vista Outdoor in 2021 and reopened to bring an additional 450 jobs back to the state.
 
As governor, I focused on job creation and the growth of the firearms industry is a great fit for Arkansas. Now our state is known as a premier destination for the firearm industry.
 
12-2-22 5:13 PM KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Preserving Memories of Time in Military Service

 

Growing up in a military family, Richard McKinney learned at an early age about service and sacrifice. These lessons inspired him to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Greenwood High School.

 

He trained as an electrician and eventually moved into management with the civil engineering division, but found his true calling when an Office of Special Investigations (OSI) officer said they were looking for new agents. The selection process was rigorous, but it was rewarding.

 

Throughout his career as an OSI agent, McKinney was involved with investigations that ranged from narcotics and fraud to counterintelligence. He also served on teams to help maintain security for U.S. military programs. 

 

Recalling how commanding officers would charge him to search for leaks about information regarding a unit’s operations, McKinney described his special agent duties and career in uniform to my staff as part of the Veterans History Project (VHP), a Library of Congress program preserving the history of our nation’s veterans. This collection of former servicemembers’ accounts ranging from World War I to the present day is the largest oral history archive in the country.

 

Arkansas has a storied legacy of brave citizens answering the call to serve in our nation’s uniform. It’s fitting their personal reflections will be preserved for future generations, and we’re working to ensure more Arkansas veterans are part of this record.

 

My staff and I have helped expand the collection. We recently hosted Arkansas veterans at the Van Buren Public Library to record their experiences. Soon, the archive will hold the memories McKinney and others who participated in the event shared as part of this initiative.

 

I’m proud of the work we’ve done and are continuing to do to encourage more Arkansans to participate by hosting workshops around the state teaching others how to get involved. There is a lot of enthusiasm to honor our veterans by preserving their experiences.

 

More than 1,200 Arkansans have been trained to participate. Civic organizations, public entities and schools have also joined in this worthwhile endeavor. Arkansas PBS has promoted the program and shared some of the interviews in its archive with the VHP. Arkansans seeking to earn their Eagle Scout badge have arranged interviews and trained volunteers while some schools have incorporated the VHP into their coursework.

 

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently reported Little Rock Central High School students are now taking part and have begun scheduling interviews with veterans for submission to the VHP.

 

It’s exciting to know young people around our state are demonstrating an interest in history and honoring the men and women who served in uniform by recording their memories for the benefit of future generations. The personal reflections help us better understand the sacrifice of all who are called to defend our country.

 

I encourage more Arkansans to join us in the effort to document and preserve the experiences of family and friends who have been willing to give their all. I’m appreciative of those volunteering their time to recognize veterans in this manner.

 

The VHP is a valuable resource to learn about the realities of war. It’s worth exploring the archive to hear the personal stories and dedication of Arkansans and all brave American veterans. The accounts are nothing short of inspirational.

 

In recent years, communities in our state have made this a special time to recognize our veterans by blanketing national and veterans cemeteries with Christmas wreaths. In that same spirit, we can launch a new tradition demonstrating our thanks and gratitude by sharing the experiences of a loved one’s service in uniform.

 

12-2-22 3:30 PM KAWX.ORG

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

December 2, 2022

 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas has been developing a statewide response to the growing health crisis created by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

 

During the 2023 session the legislature will consider a series of proposals brought by the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Advisory Council, which was created by Act 319 of 2021.

 

Measures include enhancement of services for caregivers. Many wear themselves out physically caring for loved ones, and many receive no compensation for the long hours they devote to care.

 

Although most people have heard of Alzheimer’s disease, public awareness campaigns are necessary to improve early detection, and educate people about the early warning signs. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are treatments that can slow its progression and soften the impact of its symptoms.

 

State governments began responding to Alzheimer’s in the 1980s, and their responses amplified as public health officials became more aware of the wide-ranging effects of the disease.

 

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases. Dementia is a general term to describe loss of memory and mental abilities. There is no single test for Alzheimer’s. Physicians rely on blood tests, scans, interviews with family members and tests of memory and cognitive skills.

 

How a person gets Alzheimer’s is not known exactly. The major risk factor is old age. It can run in the family. Obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease may be risk factors. That means you may be able to ward off the disease by exercising, keeping mentally active and eating healthily.

 

The most common early symptom is the inability to remember newly learned information. Other warning signs include difficulty completing familiar tasks, losing things, being disoriented, withdrawal from social activities, no longer being able to plan ahead or work with numbers, changes in judgment and decision making that are out of character and finally, mood swings and personality changes.

 

In Arkansas, an estimated 93,000 people provide unpaid care to loved ones with Alzheimer’s. The majority are women and two-thirds are older than 50, so the physical challenges of caregiving are daunting. The majority of caregivers have been providing care for more than four years.

 

Caregivers have to leave work early or take time off. They lose benefits and have to turn down promotions. Due to the demands of caregiving, nine percent have had to quit work entirely and 18 percent have had to leave a full-time job and take a part-time job.

 

In 2020 about 58,000 Arkansans had Alzheimer’s and by 2025 that will increase to 67,000 people, in part because of the general aging of the population.

 

It is expensive to care for Alzheimer’s patients, more so than caring for people with cancer and heart disease.

 

Patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia tend to have more incidents entailing higher costs for coronary artery disease, diabetes, strokes, chronic kidney disease and cancer.

 

Overall, people without dementia don’t need care as often for those same medical conditions as do people who also suffer from dementia.

 

For people 65 and older with dementia, the rate of hospitalization is twice what it is for people who don’t have dementia. It is 538 hospital visits for every 1,000 people compared to 266 hospital visits per 1,000 people.

 

12-2-22 11:13 AM KAWX.ORG

Mena Teacher Arrested For Sexual Assault

The following is from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer.

 

"On Monday 11/28/2022, representatives from the Mena School District notified the Polk County Sheriff’s Office about allegations of an inappropriate relationship between a Mena High School teacher and a student.

 

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Prosecuting Attorneys Office opened an investigation into the allegations.

 

On Thursday, 12/1/2022, Michael Andrew Philpot, age 43 of Mena, was arrested on a warrant for Sexual Assault 2nd degree. Philpot, a former employee of the Mena School District, was booked into the Polk County Detention Center.

 

Sheriff Sawyer stated “ This is an ongoing investigation and as such I can’t comment further on the specifics. But, I would like to thank the Mena School District, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and my deputies for their hard work on this case. They did a great job putting this together”.

 

The above charges are allegations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

 

12-1-22 2:41 PM KAWX.ORG

Mena Police, Polk County Sheriff Receive State Grants

EQUIPMENT GRANTS AWARDED TO STATE & LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
   
Arkansas funded grants totaling more than $7 million dollars were awarded today to 113 local and state law enforcement agencies and correctional or detention facilities.  Approximately 90 percent of the total funds will be received by local police and sheriff's departments to purchase new equipment. 
 
The grants were authorized last year through legislation adopted by Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas General Assembly.  Act 786 sanctioned the Public Safety Equipment Grant Program to the administered by the Arkansas Department of Public Safety and provides for grants to be used for purchasing, “non-lethal equipment that aids in improving trust and relationships between law enforcement agencies, detention centers and corrections agencies within their communities that they serve.”
 
"One of the key recommendations of our Task Force to Advance the State of Law Enforcement in Arkansas was the creation of state funding for increased training and improving the safety equipment used by local law enforcement officers,” stated Governor Hutchinson.  “The grants directed to local law enforcement agencies will help to further the trust between these agencies and the communities they serve, and I want to commend the Department of Public Safety and the General Assembly for bringing this program to fruition,” said the governor.
 
The grant applications submitted earlier this year were reviewed and graded for distribution by a committee selected from a cross-section of state and local law enforcement officers, correction and detention officers and professional laypersons.
 
Recipients of Public Safety Equipment Grants are:
 
  • 12th Judicial District Drug Task Force - $10,000.00
  • 9th West Judicial District Drug Task Force/South Central DTF - $32,612.86
  • Alexander Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Alma Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Arkadelphia Police Dept - $90,247.96
  • Arkansas Division of Corrections - $100,000.00
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission - $100,000.00
  • Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy - $89,979.02
  • Arkansas State Police - $99,661.04
  • Arkansas State University - $100,000.00
  • Arkansas State University Mountain Home Police Dept - $3,448.39
  • Batesville Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Bauxite Police Dept - $94,241.11
  • Beebe Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Benton Police Dept - $67,500.00
  • Blytheville Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Bradley Police Dept - $12,116.57
  • Bull Shoals Police Dept - $20,699.94
  • Cabot Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Calhoun County Sheriff - $11,232.32
  • Camden Police Dept - $41,979.70
  • City of Ashdown Arkansas Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • City of Centerton Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • City of Conway Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • City of Fort Smith, Police Dept - $68,458.96
  • City of Greenbrier - $27,197.24
  • City of Hope - $13,375.00
  • City of Jonesboro, Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • City of McGehee Police Dept - $42,797.85
  • City of Monticello, Monticello Police Dept - $32,783.58
  • Clark County Sheriff's Office - $53,240.89
  • Clarksville Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Clay County Sheriff’s Office - $100,000.00
  • Cleburne County Sheriff's Office - $79,327.13
  • Corning Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Craighead County - $20,633.43
  • Crawford County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Cross County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Dardanelle Police Dept - $17,034.96
  • Decatur Police Dept        - $46,028.12
  • Des Arc Police Dept -     $26,126.14
  • DeWitt Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Dumas Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Earle Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • El Dorado Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • England Police Dept -     $100,000.00
  • Faulkner County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Fayetteville Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Flippin Police Dept - 13497.33
  • Fordyce Police Dept -     $26,230.00
  • Fort Smith Public Schools Police Dept - $49,372.00
  • Grant County Sheriff's Office - $21,347.00
  • Green Forest Police Dept - $33,110.00
  • Greenland Police Dept - $16,709.97
  • Greenland School District Police Dept - $6,173.00
  • Haskell Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Hazen Police Dept - $18,820.80
  • Highland Police Dept - $30,660.43
  • Hot Springs Police Dept - $71,275.85
  • Independence County Sheriff's Office - $11,875.00
  • Jacksonville Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Jasper Police Dept - $17,999.61
  • Lake City Police Dept - $11,948.75
  • Lakeview Police Dept - $22,627.03
  • Little Flock- Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Little River County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Logan County Sheriff's Office - $79,745.01
  • London Police Dept - $14,866.65
  • Lowell Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Marion County Government      - $20,071.83
  • Mayflower Police Dept - $82,681.27
  • Mena Police Dept - $9,148.73
  • Mississippi County Sheriff Dept - $100,000.00
  • Monroe County Sheriff's Office - $66,046.00
  • Morrilton Police Dept - $34,356.91
  • Mountain View Police Dept - $38,480.51
  • Mountain View School District - $6,586.70
  • Murfreesboro Police Dept - $13,826.53
  • Nevada County Sheriff's Dept - $63,032.88
  • Newton County Sheriff’s Office - $62,673.51
  • NWA Regional Airport Authority Police Dept - $16,572.00
  • Pangburn Police Dept - $25,331.60
  • Paragould Police Dept - $55,398.75
  • Phillips County Sherriff's Office - $82,795.46
  • Pike County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Pocahontas Police Dept - $49,771.18
  • Poinsett County Sheriff's Office - $43,000.00
  • Polk County Sheriff's Office - $5,157.45
  • Pope County Sheriff's Office     - $100,000.00
  • Prairie Grove Police Dept - $9,693.06
  • Prescott Police Dept - $54,465.10
  • Randolph County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Russellville Police Dept - $46,935.40
  • Saline County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Scott County Sheriffs Office - $100,000.00
  • Searcy Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Sheridan Police Dept - $52,500.00
  • Springdale Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Stamps, Arkansas Police Dept - $2,444.06
  • Strong Police Dept - $16,035.93
  • Stuttgart Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Texarkana Arkansas Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Tuckerman Police Dept - $74,250.00
  • Union County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • University of Arkansas at Monticello Police Dept - $12,828.69
  • University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Police Dept - $48,469.27
  • Van Buren Police Dept - $67,500.00
  • Vilonia Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Waldron Police Dept - $29,021.09
  • Washington County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • West Memphis Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • White County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • White Hall Police Dept - $9,675.74

12-1-22 12:56 PM KAWX.ORG

Polk County Sheriff's Report for November 21st - 27th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of November 21, 2022 – November 27, 2022. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

November 21, 2022

Robert Jones, 38 of Mena was arrested on a Body Attachment Warrant and warrant for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

 

November 22, 2022

No reports.

 

November 23, 2022

No reports.

 

November 24, 2022

Deputies responded to a residence on Kings Circle near Hatfield in reference to harassment leading to the arrest of Leon Jordan, 36 of Hatfield on a charge of Public Intoxication.

 

November 25, 2022

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to a theft.

Deputies responded to an altercation near Love Lee Lane near Mena. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies were dispatched to a business near Grannis in reference to an incident leading to the arrest of Jodie Sexton, 50 of DeQueen on charges of DWI and Careless and Prohibited Driving.

 

November 26, 2022

An incident on North Mena Street led to Rhonda Hogarth and Wade Jackson being issued citations for Criminal Trespass.

 

November 27, 2022

Kenshaska Zollar, 43 of Grannis was arrested by an officer with the Arkansas Drug Task Force on two charges of Delivery of Methamphetamine or Cocaine and two charges of Fraudulent Use of a Communications Device.

Prianna Suggs, 32 of DeQueen was arrested by an officer with the Arkansas Drug Task Force on charges of Possession of Methamphetamine or Cocaine with Purpose to Deliver, Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance, Open Container and Furnishing Prohibited Articles.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 18 near Vandervoort in reference to a theft.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 2 vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 22 Incarcerated Inmates with 17 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

11-28-22 8:13 PM KAWX.ORG

Mena Police Report for November 20th - November 26th

Mena Police Department reports for the week of November 20th through November 26th, 2022

 

All subjects should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

November 20

A report of harassment was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

Michele Hall, 30, was charged with Theft of Property at Walmart.

 

Elizabeth Bill, 21, was charged with Theft of Property at Walmart.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at a residence on Janssen Avenue.

 

November 21

No report.

 

November 22

A report of harassment was taken at Brodix.

 

A report of fraudulent use of a debit card was taken at James Food.

 

November 23

No report.

 

November 24

A report of theft was taken at a residence on Mena Street.

 

Anthony Robertson, 32, was charged with Theft of Property at Walmart.

 

Kenneth Sipe, 45, was charged with Dog Running at Large on Caseys Way.

 

A report of theft was taken at Murphy USA.

 

Richard Adair, 43, was charged with Public Intoxication and Terroristic Threatening after a disturbance call to a residence on 10th Street.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at a residence on 9th Street.

 

November 25

Jason Deets, 30, was served with a warrant after a traffic stop on Cherry Street.

 

November 26

Micah Flores, was charged with Public Intoxication, Disorderly Conduct, Domestic Battery 3rd Degree, Resisting Arrest, Possession of a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance, and Furnishing Prohibited Articles after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

A report of burglary and theft was taken at a residence on Missouri Street.

 

All subjects should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

11-28-22 8:08 PM KAWX.ORG

December Holiday Entertainment at OLT

December Holiday Entertainment at OLT

 

Christmastime at Ouachita Little Theatre is always extra fun for our patrons. We offer live family entertainment that people of all ages will enjoy.

 

First up is “A Seussified Christmas Carol,” a lively Junior Ouachita Little Theatre production performed by young people of all school ages. Directed by Makayla Ortiz and Lexie Payne, these young women are rehearsing with their large cast to produce a play that is written in the distinctive Dr. Seuss rhyme and pentameter. Costumes and sets reflect the nostalgic Dr. Seuss whimsical style we have all come to love. Bring the family to one of five performances which have recently been rescheduled to December 9th, 10th, 11th, 17th, and 18th. The Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 PM and Sunday matinees are at 2:30 PM. Tickets are $10 each and are already available online at oltmena.com for advanced reserved seating. You may also purchase tickets at the door. Season tickets are accepted for this show.

 

On December 14, OLT will have the last Wednesday Night at the Lryic for 2022. We will be screening the classic film “White Christmas” starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen. Back by popular demand, this musical favorite is sure to put you in the holiday spirit, especially joining your friends and family in the classic old Lyric Theatre. The experience is complete with hot popcorn, candy, hot chocolate, and soft drinks. Join us at 6:30 PM; as always, admission is FREE, and the concessions are cheap!

 

Also easy on your wallet is our final offering for the holiday season. On Friday, December 16 at 7:30 PM, OLT is pleased to once again host the musical family group, Harmony. They have been delighting our audiences with their Christmas show for the last few years. Admission is by donation, so just put what you can afford in the donation jar. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy the holidays with musical entertainment that is a tribute to the real reason for the season. No reservations necessary, just come and enjoy!

 

Auditions for the February winter comedy directed by Amanda Baker will be held December 15 from 5:00-8:00 PM and December 17 from 10:00 AM until noon at the OLT. The play selection will be announced shortly; check the website or Facebook for updates.

 

Our first event in 2023 will be a Tribute to Roy Orbison by entertainer David K on Saturday, January 21 at 2:00 PM. This talented performer captures the voice and legendary music of Roy Orbison in an amazing show that will thrill local audiences. Tickets are $20 and available now at oltmena.com. Mark your calendars, this is a special one-time performance you won’t want to miss!

 

Ouachita Little Theatre wishes all our patrons a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

11-28-22 7:35 PM KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas lawmakers have begun pre-filing bills in advance of the 2023 legislative session, which begins on January 9.

At the beginning of the week of the Thanksgiving holiday, two bills had been pre-filed by senators and 10 bills had been pre-filed by members of the House of Representatives.

 

The first two bills filed were Senate Bill 2 and House Bill 1002, which are identical versions of legislation to reform parole laws and require truth in sentencing. They are so-called “shell bills” because at this point they only contain a title and a paragraph that outlines their general purpose.

 

Public safety will be a major issue during the 2023 session. The legislature is expected to consider proposals to add space in state prisons, particularly for inmates in maximum security units.

 

Also expected are measures to tighten parole regulations, because of the growth in the number of serious crimes committed by inmates out of prison on parole. Truth in sentencing laws provide jurors with more accurate estimates of the length of prison sentences, and can be written to focus on repeat, violent offenders.

 

During criminal trials juries may sentence an offender to a lengthy sentence, but he serves only a portion of the original sentence because it gets shortened for good behavior.

 

In September the Department of Correction announced that it would release 369 male inmates on parole over 90 days because of a lack of space. In May the department released 387 inmates, using a state law known as the Emergency Powers Act that authorizes it to reduce prison overcrowding.

 

Capacity in state prisons is about 15,000, and on an average day an additional 2,000 convicted offenders are held in county jails waiting for space to become available in a state unit. The cost of holding state inmates in county jails has long been an issue between county officials and the state.

 

County sheriffs would like higher reimbursements for each inmate they must house. Also, sheriffs have told lawmakers they are now holding more serious offenders than in the past, which creates more danger of violence for deputies, staff and people being held in in jail on minor charges.

 

Four House bills would require Medicaid to cover more procedures. One House bill would affect businesses that subsidize expenses for employees who leave the state to get an abortion. The bill would require those businesses to also provide 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.

 

The sponsor said that the bill was meant to discourage attempts to circumvent the strong anti-abortion laws in Arkansas.

HB 1004 would require sex offender registration to include more details about the offender’s physical address, such as apartment numbers and suite numbers. It also would require more details about the address of the employer of the sex offender, if he has a job.

 

The numbering of pre-filed House and Senate bills began with “2” because in each chamber the first bill is traditionally an appropriation to authorize paying the expenses of the session.

 

Two years ago, HB 1001 appropriated $1.975 million for House expenses and SB 1 appropriated $1.35 million for Senate expenses of the 2021 regular session. They included salaries of legislators and staff, maintenance and operations.

 

11-25-22 10:40 AM KAWX.ORG

 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Addres: Thankful

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Thankful

 

To listen to Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address, click anywhere on this line, then click on the play button.

 

LITTLE ROCK – Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and reflect on the things with which we’ve been blessed. As I look back on the past year, I know I have plenty of reasons to be thankful this holiday season.

 

One of the greatest blessings is the ability to live in the United States of America. People from around the world look to our nation as the beacon of hope and freedom, and thousands of immigrants come to our shores each year. The freedoms we have from the right to worship, to the right to assembly with others, are all God-given rights that our Constitution protects.

 

I’m also thankful to live in the Natural State with our beautiful landscape. From the majestic Boston Mountains, down through the Ouachitas, across timberland of South Arkansas, and up the Delta, our state has breathtaking scenery in all four corners. The beauty of our state is one reason in enjoy hiking, duck hunting, and canoeing.

 

While the natural beauty of our state is incredible, the true gem of Arkansas are its people. Arkansans love their community and nation. They wake up each day to make an honest living to provide for themselves and their neighbors in times of need. The people of Arkansas are charitable and generous, always willing to help those around them.

 

As I reflect on the past year, I’m reminded of a rare December tornado that came through Northeast Arkansas. As this storm headed directly for a nursing home in Trumann, the staff worked to ensure their residents were protected from the fierce winds and rain. Because of their quick action, these residents were able to escape with very minimal loss of life.

 

But above these things, I’m abundantly thankful for God’s providence and guiding light. His instruction provides direction to me throughout my days, and His love and mercy are a source of strength.

 

As we gather this week to celebrate the blessings in our life, I hope you will reflect on your life and things for which you’re thankful. Time with our loved ones is always precious, and I hope all Arkansans will take to rest and enjoy their Thanksgiving.

 

11-25-22 10:40 AM KAWX.ORG

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Why the Farm Bill Matters to Everyone

 

When my daughters were growing up they were very active in 4-H and would show livestock we raised on our property in Benton County. To help develop their handling skills, the girls would put harnesses on the lambs and walk them on the sidewalks around town. This drew many curious looks, and with surprising frequency, questions about what breed of dog the girls were walking.

 

I mention this anecdote because, even in Arkansas, many people don’t have a strong connection to, or understanding of, agriculture.

 

For most Americans, getting food for the family starts and ends with going to the grocery store or a restaurant. They often are unaware of all the work that went into preparing that product on the shelf or the plated meal a server brings to the table.

 

That perception may be beginning to change. As a result of the pandemic, our understanding of what it takes to get food from farms to consumers has increased and fostered a greater appreciation for the hardworking men and women around the country who produce it. While some items were hard to find at the onset of the pandemic, we never slipped into a catastrophic national food shortage. Our agriculture community stepped up and made sure we had high-quality food to meet our nutritional needs.

 

As we begin to draft the next farm bill, it is important that we share stories of why this legislation matters. When the pandemic shut the world down, the hardworking men and women who make up our agriculture community were among those who kept on working. They have to ensure Americans have meat, fruits and vegetables for our plates in good times and bad. Not only do they have to overcome economic challenges—such as record high input costs, supply chain bottlenecks and labor shortages—but they also must navigate those brought on by Mother Nature—hurricanes, floods and droughts—which seem to happen with more frequency and force each season.

 

Agriculture policy may be complex, and debates about food policy may get less attention than other hot button issues, but these decisions matter to all of us. Recent events have reminded us we cannot find ourselves in a position where we are dependent on other nations for our food supply. Congress has a responsibility to pass a farm bill that ensures our family farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to succeed.

 

The Senate Agriculture Committee review of each title of the current farm bill is underway in earnest. We recently held our first farm bill hearing on Capitol Hill to review the rural development and energy programs authorized by the legislation. We will continue evaluating each section of the current bill to take an up-close look at the effectiveness of, and opportunities to improve, this critical safety net for rural America.?

 

While the world is in a very different place than it was when we last wrote farm bill, our goal remains the same. We must strengthen American agriculture for any situation we face in the future. If we do that, our farmers will continue to do what they have always done: provide the safest, most abundant, and most affordable food supply on earth.

 

11-25-22 10:45 AM KAWX.ORG

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

When you choose to shop at a small business you are choosing to invest in your community. It is estimated that for every $100 spent in a local business, $68 recirculates and remains in the local economy.

 

Local businesses are owned by people who live in your community. They donate to local causes and employ local people. In fact, 47.2% of employees in Arkansas work for a small business.

 

Saturday, November 26, 2022, is Small Business Saturday. It’s a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.  There are more than 260,000 small businesses in Arkansas. These businesses employ close to 500,000 Arkansans.

 

More than 43% of small businesses in Arkansas are owned by women. Veterans own 9.1% of small businesses and minorities 13% of small businesses in the state.

 

These owners took a chance on their dreams. As a result, the employees are more likely to be personally invested in the products or services they are selling. That often means they can provide more specific product expertise and a personalized shopping experience.

 

Whether it’s handcrafted jewelry or vintage furniture, locally-owned businesses are also more likely to offer unique merchandise.

 

The Arkansas General Assembly continually reviews proposals to make it easier to open and sustain small businesses. In recent years, we’ve reduced the red tape on licensing procedures, lowered taxes, and improved infrastructure. As we approach the 2023 Regular Session, supporting our small businesses will continue to be a priority.

 

Your small purchase this holiday season can make a big difference. Our small business owners are still emerging from a challenging economic time in our history. We encourage you to shop local throughout this holiday season.

 

11-25-22 10:40 AM KAWX.ORG

Mena Water Main Flushing Starts November 28th

Mena Water Utilities will again be conducting our bi-annual water main flushing program during the week of November 28th through December 2, 2022.  

 

Mena Water has scheduled the lines on the south side of Highway 71 including the Nunley and Board Camp areas for flushing on Monday and Tuesday.  On Wednesday and Thursday, the lines on the north side of Highway 71 are scheduled to be flushed.  

 

Flushing is done as a part of a scheduled preventative maintenance program to help maintain good water quality and to improve the water flow in the water distribution system. As Mena Water flushes your area, you may experience a temporary reduction in water pressure.  You may also see some color and/or sand in your water, or you may notice a slight change in the taste and odor of your water.  These conditions are normal during flushing activities, and only temporary.  If you should experience any of these changes, or if you see some cloudiness or rust color in your water, Mena Water recommends that you refrain from washing light colored laundry; likewise, we recommend that you flush the pipes of your home or business. Flushing of your home or business's pipes is accomplished by opening your front outside hose bib until it runs clear and has no noticeable taste or odor. Mena Water regrets any inconvenience the flushing may cause you.  If you have any questions or if you experience any persistent water quality problems as a result of this maintenance program, please call Mena Water Utilities at 479-394-2761.

 

11-21-22 2:11 PM KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for November 13th - 19th

Mena Police Department reports for the week of November 13th through November 19th, 2022

 

All subjects should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

November 13

A report of forgery was taken at Murphy USA.

 

A report of theft of property was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

Dax Wood, 26, was served with four warrants at the police department.

 

November 14

A report of a missing person was taken at a residence on Hamilton Avenue.

 

A report of breaking or entering and criminal mischief was taken at a residence on Hamilton Avenue.

 

November 15

A report of inadequate supervision was taken at a residence on Meadowbrook Drive.

 

A death investigation report was taken at a residence on Fink Street.

 

Joshua Graham, 32, was charged with Driving on Suspended License and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

A report of assault and reckless driving was taken on Highway 71.

 

November 16

A report of violation of a no-contact order was taken by a walk-in complainant.

 

A report of theft of property was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

November 17

Thomas Chesser, 58, was charged with Violation of Interlock Device, and No Vehicle License after a traffic stop on Mena Street.

 

A report of harassment was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

A report of theft of property was taken from Walmart.

 

A report of violation of a protection order was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

Bradley Brumfield, 32, was charged with Theft of Property at Wal-Mart.

 

November 18

A report of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia was taken after a traffic stop on North Reine Street.

 

November 19

 

No report.

 

All subjects should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

11-21-22 9:31 AM KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Log for November 14th - 20th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of November 14, 2022 – November 20, 2022. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

November 14, 2022

A report of a vehicle accident on Polk 44 near Mena led to the arrest of Jeffery Parnell, 61 of Mena on four Felony Failure to Appear Warrants.

A report of a physical domestic disturbance at a residence on Polk 122 near Mena led to the arrest of Kaylie Stroud, 26 of Mena on three Failure to Appear Warrants, a charge of Violation of a no Contact Order and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Also arrested was Cody Thornton, 30 on a charge of Fleeing on Foot.

Deputies were dispatched to a business near Cove in reference to shoplifting leading to the arrest of Joshua Heifner, 21 of Hatfield on charges of Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance, Resisting Arrest, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Theft of Property and three warrants for Failure to Appear. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 76 E near Acorn in reference to a disturbance. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies responded to a report of stolen guns from a residence on Polk 67 near Big Fork.

 

November 15, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Hwy 88 E near Cherry Hill in reference to a Physical Domestic Disturbance leading to the arrest of Chad Thornton, 31 of Mena on a charge of 3rd Degree Domestic Battery, Carolyn Thornton, 32 of Mena on a charge of 3rd Degree Domestic Battery and Tammy Smith of Mena on a charge of Obstructing Governmental Operations.

Stacey Burnett, 36 of Mena was arrested on six Felony Warrants.

 

November 16, 2022

Deputies responded to a residence on Hatton Lane near Wickes in reference to Harassment.

Deputies responded to a report of Harassment.

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to Financial Identity Fraud.

Deputies responded to a residence on Polk 56 near Nunley in reference to trespassers.

 

November 17, 2022

No reports.

 

November 18, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Hatton Lane near Wickes in reference to a dispute among neighbors leading to the arrest of Alexander Cernoga, 34 of Cove on a misdemeanor warrant for Failure to Appear. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Hwy 270 near Acorn in reference to a trespasser.

 

November 19, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to an area on Polk 95 near Rocky in reference to a wrecked and abandoned vehicle.

 

November 20, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 70 near Cherry Hill in reference to a chimney fire.

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to a violation of an order of protection. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 75 near Acorn in reference to a trespasser leading to the arrest of Anthony Robertson on a charge of Criminal Trespassing. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 2 vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 18 Incarcerated Inmates, with 14 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

11-21-22 9:23 AM KAWX.ORG 

Southwest Artist 2023 Photography Show Announced

The Mena Art Gallery/Southwest Artists 2023 Photography Show will be bigger than ever this year, with cash prizes totaling well over $1,000. 

According to Lisa Keeling, Mena Art Gallery/Southwest Artists Executive Director, the 2023 show will be bigger than ever as there will be an additional youth division (ages 14-18) added for 2023. 

“The name of this division is ‘Bikes in Our Lives’ and the focus will be, of course, on bikes!” noted Keeling. 

“We want to give young adult photographers a chance to showcase their creativity by showing us how bikes affect their lives,” she added. 

Keeling noted that more and more young adults are discovering cycling and that mountain bikes and street bikes are becoming more popular than ever in Mena and Ouachita Mountains. 

Photo submissions for the 2023 Mena Art Gallery/Southwest Artists Photography Show are due February 18 and the photos will be exhibited at the gallery show  February 22 through March 15. 

The exciting awards reception will be held February 25 at which time winners will receive their prizes. 

For more information and submission rules and an application, please visit the Mena Art Gallery website at SouthwestArtists.org. or visit us on Facebook or email the gallery at email@menaartgallery.org or call 479-394-3880.  

 

11-20-22 5:14 PM KAWX.ORG 

CLICK IT OR TICKET: RAMPED-UP ENFORCEMENT OF SEAT BELT LAW SET FOR THANKSGIVING WEEK

Arkansas law enforcement officers plan to bolster their patrol assignments aimed at violators who are not buckled-up while traveling on local streets and state highways during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday period.
 
  State troopers, local police and sheriff’s deputies are following the lead of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) high visibility Click It or Ticket seat belt awareness campaign which is intended to reduce the number of fatalities that occur when motorist fail to buckle-up.  The concerted campaign by law enforcement begins next Monday (November 21st) and continues through Sunday night (November 27th).
 
 During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend of 2020 (6 PM Wednesday, November 25, to 5:59 AM, November 30), there were 333 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes across the nation.  More than half the victims (52%) were not wearing a seatbelt.  Additionally, nighttime has proven to be more deadly than daytime, with 67% of Thanksgiving weekend fatal crashes occurring at night. The deaths were needless tragedies for families across America that may have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt.
 
  “Properly using a seat belt in a moving vehicle isn’t just a suggestion, it’s the law,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police, and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “Wherever you travel, short distances or long, you must wear a seat belt.  It’s your best defense if involved in a crash and may mean the difference between life and death.  This Thanksgiving, and every day of the year, remember, Click It or Ticket.”
 
  For more information about highway safety during this Thanksgiving holiday, please visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.
 
11-18-22 5:32 PM KAWX.ORG

Mena Art Gallery 2023 Garage Sale

Mena Art Gallery 2023 Garage Sale

 

Mena Art Gallery is having a 3 Week FUNDAISER Art Supply Garage Sale!

 

When: Drop off items at the Gallery, 607 Mena Street, Tuesday, January 3, 2023

 

Sale Dates: January 4 – January 21, 2023

 

What: WHAT is acceptable for this Garage Sale? Unused (or gently used) art supplies of all types. Artwork carriers, fabric, yarn, clay and tools, molds, canvas, paintbrushes, open-but-useable tubes of paint, colored pencils . . . if you are uncertain, just ask us! Also acceptable is completed artwork, framed or not, mats and frames, as well as any completed items of the type we would sell in the Gift Shop. All items must be CLEAN and USEABLE. We reserve the right to reject anything deemed unsuitable.

How can I help?

DONATE items for the sale. Clean out your closets and craft room.

SHOP the sale! Someone else’s donation may be your new hobby.

All proceeds will be considered as donations to the Mena Art Gallery.

No items will be returned.

All items should be brought to Mena Art Gallery, 607 Mena Street, on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, between 10 AM and 3 PM unless prior arrangements are made with the executive director. If you have questions, please call the gallery at 479-394-3880 or Lynn Greenwade, at 479-234-5440.

 

Non-members are welcome to contribute donated items to the sale. Please tell your friends & neighbors. The Mena Art Gallery is most grateful for your donations. The proceeds will help us to keep offering art to the Ouachitas.

HOURS: Wednesday – Saturday 10 - 3

607 Mena Street

479-394-3880

email@menaartgallery.org

 

11-18-22 5:16 PM KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Did you know that more than 12% of all turkeys produced in the United States are raised right here in Arkansas? Arkansas produces 27 million turkeys per year and ranks third in the nation in turkeys raised.

 

But that’s not the only popular Thanksgiving dish that may have started its journey on an Arkansas farm.

 

Arkansas is the 4th largest producer of sweet potatoes and our state ranks 6th in the nation in the acreage of pecans.

In the last year, Arkansas farmers harvested more than 690,000 acres of corn.

 

Arkansas currently ranks 11th in the nation in soybean production, producing more than 150 million bushels last year valued at $2 billion.

 

Soybean oil is used to make hundreds of foods, including mayonnaise, peanut butter, and ranch dressing. These special ingredients may be the secret to pulling off the perfect pumpkin pie, casserole, and stuffing.

 

From casseroles to rice pudding, another Arkansas crop makes its way to the Thanksgiving table every year.

 

Arkansas ranks first among rice-producing states, accounting for more than 40 percent of U.S. rice production.

 

Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, providing more than $19 billion in value to Arkansas’s economy every year. There are 49,346 farms statewide and 97 percent of Arkansas farms are family-owned.

 

So as you gather around the table with family and friends next week, we encourage you to think about the men and women who helped bring your meal to the table. Arkansas farmers made not only your meal but countless meals across the country possible.

 

You can help show your appreciation to our Arkansas farmers and food service workers by looking for the “Arkansas Grown” label at your local supermarket.

 

11-18-22 5:07 PM KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Addres: An Arkansas Tradition Unlike Any Other

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: An Arkansas Tradition Unlike Any Other

 

To listen to Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address, click anywhere on this line, then click on the play button.

 

LITTLE ROCK – This weekend begins a special tradition in the Natural State, and today I’d like to talk about what this means to me and our state.

 

Arkansas duck season begins this Saturday, and hunters from around the world migrate to our flooded timber and farm fields for this annual event. The rich tradition of duck hunting has united Arkansas families for generations and creates memories that last a lifetime.

 

But duck season in Arkansas provides more than memories and food on the table. Duck hunting contributes to our state’s economy and provides jobs for Arkansans.

 

The Duck Capital of the World is located about an hour away from Little Rock in Stuttgart. Their local Chamber of Commerce estimates duck hunting brings in over $1 million per day of duck season every year. Hunters are coming to Arkansas to eat at our restaurants, shop at our stores, and stay in our hotels for the chance to hunt our legendary flooded green timber public land.

 

These hunters have plenty of reasons to visit Arkansas besides hunting our public land. Each year, the Wings Over the Prairie Festival is hosted in downtown Stuttgart. The week-long festival has something for everyone in the family. Pageants, a carnival, the duck gumbo cook-off, and of course, the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest are all part of this celebration of duck hunting in Arkansas.

 

As a native of the hills of Northwest Arkansas, duck hunting has not always been a part of my life like it has been for those raised in the Delta. But as I take my children and grandchildren to see the sun break over flooded timber, I’m reminded of how special and unique Arkansas is. I’ll never forget seeing the joy on his face when my grandson took his first banded duck a few years ago.

 

Part of being a responsible hunter is conserving the resources we hold dear for generations to come. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission works tirelessly to ensure the habitat in our state is not only ready to host the millions of migrating ducks heading south, but that it can sustain them for generations to come.

 

The memories created and lessons learned in a duck blind will often follow us throughout our life. Patience, discipline, and preparation all play a part in a successful hunt and a successful life. As we set our alarms for earlier than normal this weekend, I want to wish our duck hunters a safe and happy Opening Day. Hopefully you plan on having some jalapeno duck poppers with your Thanksgiving feast, because I know I will.

 

11-18-22 4:00 PM KAWX.ORG

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Giving Thanks for Arkansas Adoption Champions

 

Our country is shaped by individuals who take initiative to serve others. In Arkansas, we can give thanks for all these givers who are willing to serve causes greater than themselves.

 

Two individuals who embody this ideal are Monticello’s Hiller and Marilyn Suber. The couple opened their home and hearts to Arkansas teens in need of a loving and safe place to live more than 20 years ago. Since then, they have welcomed more than 350 young Arkansans in the foster care system into their life and mentored them to stability and success. The Subers were recently recognized by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) as 2022 Angels in Adoption.

 

Since 2001, CCAI has played a vital role in eliminating barriers standing between orphaned and foster children becoming part of a loving family. Through its signature public awareness program, Angels in Adoption, CCAI annually recognizes outstanding individuals, families and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to adoption and child welfare.

 

In Arkansas, we are fortunate to have many other angels. Like the Subers, families and organizations all across our state are working to ensure children can live their best lives.

 

Hundreds of kids in our state are waiting for a permanent home. As part of National Adoption Month, in mid-November, 15 children were united with a loving family during an adoption celebration in Pulaski County.

 

As a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I am pleased to support efforts in Arkansas and all across the country that put love into action and make a positive impact on the wellbeing of children.

 

I’ve championed legislation in the Senate to expand the ability of families to welcome children into a permanent home. This is often a costly process, which is why I cosponsored the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act. This legislation would make the existing federal tax credit for adoption expenses fully refundable so it’s more affordable for families to expand through adoption.

 

In recent years, the Arkansas legislature has taken action to decrease the number of children in foster care. Programs like The CALL and Project Zero help place children in loving homes, while facilities like the Young Children’s Home provide a family atmosphere for many young people and prevent them from being moved far away or separated from their siblings while in foster care. 

 

We are blessed to have families like the Subers who are setting an amazing example for others across Arkansas and the nation. As we join with our family and friends around the Thanksgiving table, let us consider the call to serve the children around our state and across the nation in need of a forever home.

Congressman Bruce Westerman's Weekly Column: Give Thanks for Arkansas Farmers

Give Thanks for Arkansas Farmers

It is no secret to most Arkansans that poultry is a major driver of the economy in the Natural State, but did you know that Arkansas’ Fourth District is also one of the nation’s top producers of Thanksgiving turkeys? 

This Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for the meaningful contribution of Arkansas’ Fourth District to the nation’s economy. From Thanksgiving turkeys to timber, America relies on Arkansas farmers, producers, and ranchers to provide many of the basic goods enjoyed by Americans every day. Our agriculture workers never get a day off. Through rain, sleet, hail, and heat, farmers take care of their animals and their crops, often with little thanks or recognition. It is only because of their hard work that we have bursting grocery stores and enough left over to export around the world.

I will never forget visiting the farm of a Fourth District constituent last year on my yearly agriculture tour. In the middle of the tour, his neighbor and fellow farmer, who had joined the tour, got news that his crop was completely destroyed in a passing hailstorm. The crop was scheduled to be harvested in the next couple of days. The farmer was distraught telling me about how this meant he would be unable to pay back his loan. This is farmers’ hard reality. Their livelihoods are at the mercy of the elements.

Besides the usual risks, farmers and producers have faced serious challenges over the past two years in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, a supply chain crisis, low labor engagement, and high inflation. High input costs have put significant strain on their businesses and forced farmers to raise their prices. I am committed to supporting farmers at the federal level however possible, including introducing bills in the 118th Congress to unleash American energy independence and bring down energy costs. While one party rule in Washington, D.C., has made it impossible to bring these bills to the floor for consideration, I have made it one of my top priorities in the new Congress under a Republican majority to ensure these issues receive proper attention and action. 

As we gather with friends and family this holiday, don’t forget to give thanks for the hardworking and dedicated farmers who made the feast possible. Our nation is forever grateful for the Fourth District farmers and producers who keep America fed, clothed, housed, and thriving.

 

11-18-22 2:45 PM KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

November 18, 2022

 

LITTLE ROCK – A record prize in the Powerball lottery generated increased ticket sales in Arkansas in October.

 

Increased sales of lottery tickets generated an additional $2.1 million for college scholarships, compared to the same month last year.

 

Revenue from scratch-off tickets were almost the same as last year. It was the Powerball prize that boosted ticket sales in October. A state lottery officials said that sales of Powerball tickets in October were $5.7 million, compared to $3.1 million in October of 2021.

 

The record $2 billion Powerball prize was awarded to a California ticket-buyer on November 7. In the first week of November, Powerball ticket sales in Arkansas were $9.4 million, so the final numbers for November are also expected to be more than normal.

 

During the first four months of the current fiscal year, the lottery has generated $36.2 million for scholarships. The lottery raised $32 million for scholarships during the first four months of last fiscal year.

 

Arkansas voters approved a state lottery in 2008. The first tickets were sold in September of 2009. Since then, about 30,000 students a year have qualified for a college scholarship, but last year due to declining enrollment the number was 28,716.

 

The state lottery is projected to provide $91.4 million this fiscal year for college scholarships. Increased ticket sales, due to the popularity of the Powerball prize, have put expected revenue about $10 million more than was originally estimated.

 

The price of gasoline is another important factor that affects lottery ticket sales. When consumers pay more to fill up with gas, they tend to buy fewer lottery tickets.

 

Outsourcing Veterans Hospital

A subcommittee of the Legislative council recommended approval of a request from the Department of Veterans Affairs for $1.4 million to cover some of the costs to be incurred in changing the operations of the Arkansas State Veterans Home at Fayetteville to a private contractor.

 

The department has received two bids from firms with experience in providing skilled nursing home care.

 

Officials with the Veterans Affairs Department told legislators that staff turnover is very high. It has 65 residents, which puts its occupancy rate to just over 70 percent.

 

Many other states contract with private firms to operate skilled nursing facilities for veterans, the official said.

 

The subcommittee is called Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, or PEER. It is one of the most important of the legislative panels that meet during the interim between regular sessions.

 

In other action PEER recommended approval of allowing the State Crime Lab to have $600,000 in reserve funds so it can contract with a private company to help clear its backlog of rape and sexual assault kits. About 500 evidence kits must be analyzed, the Crime Lab director said.

 

First Bill Filed for 2023

The first two bills have been filed in anticipation of the upcoming regular session of the legislature, which convenes on January 9, 2023.

 

They are a Senate bill and a House bill that mirror each other, and they would amend truth in sentencing laws and make changes in parole laws.

 

11-18-22 12:04 PM KAWX.ORG 

Mena November School Board Meeting Recap

The Mena School Board met for their regular November meeting on Tuesday at the district administration building. It was a very brief meeting.

 

The meeting began with the superintendent’s report and Dr. Lee Smith immediately yielded the floor to Mena High School Principal David Maxwell.

 

Maxwell informed the board that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has awarded Mena High School with a monetary reward of $50.00 per student for their performance on  the latest test scores. Mena High School was rated in the top 6-10% of schools in the state for academic growth. Maxwell recommended that the $24,200.00  be equally distributed to all faculty and staff at MHS. The board approved.

Dr. Smith then continued with more information for the board. He stated that discipline reports are 22% lower across the district compared to last year.

The district attendance rate was reported to be 92.6%, which is below the district goal of 96%. Smith explained that the flu and other illnesses have had a major impact on students and staff attendance and has made it difficult for them to attend school at a high rate.

Smith also told the board that the district is meeting the reading goals, set at the beginning of the year, with the exception of 5th and 8th grades.

In new business Smith gave an update on school projects, including the vehicle plan. A new truck for the band has been ordered through Mena Ford and is on it’s way. A new car for district use is also expected to arrive in 6-8 months. That car was paid for with proceeds from an auction of surplus equipment earlier this year.

Estimates from the district’s construction management company, C.R. Crawford, have also arrived on the construction of the new activity center, a new concession stand and restrooms at Bob Carver Bearcat Stadium and an outdoor classroom. The board approved moving forward with the projects and await official bids and funding recommendations in December.

Next was the financial reports. Dr. Smith stated that revenues outpaced expenses in the past month and the district is on target to meet the projected ending balance. The board approved.

 

Finally in personnel. The board accepted the resignation of Scott Wright as Head Girls Basketball Coach and Sr. High assistant Volleyball Coach. They also accepted the resignation of Tiffany Sims from her position as Paraprofessional at MMS.

The board accepted the retirement of Suzanne Bentley, Administrative Bookkeeper, effective June 30th, 2023.

Several contracts were restructured. Including bus driver Peggy Foster from a full time E route to an afternoon only C route. Brad Lyle from Sr. Girls Basketball Assistant to Sr. Girls Basketball Interim Head Coach. Tia Fryar from Jr. Girls Basketball Assistant Coach to Sr. Girls Basketball Interim Assistant Coach.

New hires included Tyler Smedley as Bus Driver and Whitney Horner as paraprofessional at LDE.

 

11-16-22 1:20 PM KAWX.ORG