KAWX News

Mena School Board August Meeting Recap

The Mena School Board met for the August meeting on Monday, August 15, 2020 at the district administration building. The meeting was moved from its regular date due to a conflict with a school function on Tuesday.

 

As is the case at most of these meetings the evening began with the superintendent’s report. Dr. Lee Smith quickly yielded the floor to a group of Mena Middle School teachers. Sheli Chaney, Amy Martin, Alicia Farringer and Lynn Ashley spoke to the board about their trip to the New Hampshire Literacy Institute this summer. Mrs. Chaney spoke in detail about how they learned to engage students and have already begun sharing what they learned with their coworkers. Martin concluded by thanking the board for the opportunity to attend.

 

Dr. Smith then introduced Assistant Superintendent Bridget Buckley who shared an update on ACT Aspire Scores. Highlights included the district as a whole surpassing pre-pandemic levels in english and math. Buckley credited the recovery to outstanding teacher skill and effort as well as new curriculum in key grades.

 

The first item of new business was the expulsion of a student. Dr. Smith recommended the action due to terroristic threats. This expulsion will be for one year and education services will continue off site. The board approved the expulsion.

 

The district held an auction of surplus equipment this past weekend which grossed $26,800.00. Dr. Smith asked the board to earmark that revenue for the purchase of another vehicle for employee use. The board approved.

 

The board also approved changes to the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The Arkansas Legislative Council (ALC) recently voted to recommend a $5,000 bonus for teachers and a $2,500 bonus for classified staff that will be taken out of the American Rescue Plan funds if the bonuses are ordered to be paid at the school level. These dollar amounts were changed in the ARP plan for recruitment and retention of staff to meet the recommendation of the ALC. The recruitment and retention plan had previously been approved by the board in the 21-22 school year. Half of the bonus will be payed in the next pay period and the other half will be paid when the employee signs their letter of intent for 2023/2024. Part-time employees will receive half of the recommended amounts based on their classification.

 

Project updates were next on the agenda. Smith told the board that the HVAC, Paving, floors and security camera projects have been or will soon be completed. Plus, kitchen updates can be expected in the near future.

 

The board also approved the end of year balance, year end transfer of funds and the financial report. Expenses for July outpaced revenue by $77,694.00 due to the extended school year and some back-to-school expenses. Overall, for the 21-22 school year, revenue continues to exceed expenditures.

 

Finally, in personnel the board accepted the resignation of Aaron Grant, Max Hartwig, Ashley Pregon, Paul Rye and Cherish Michael. The contract of Rose Branch was restructured to reflect a change from a “D” bus route to a “B” route. There was one new hire recommended and that was Tiffany Sims as AE Para-Pro. After approval the meeting was adjourned.

 

8-16-22 1:15 PM KAWX.ORG

Polk County Sheriff's Log for August 8th - 14th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of August 8, 2022 – August 14, 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.

 

August 8, 2022

A traffic stop on Hwy 71 near Mena led to the arrest of Chad Goutierez, 29 of Metairie, LA on charges of Public Intoxication, Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Larry Joseph, 44 of Mena was arrested on a Felony Probation Violation Warrant.

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.

 

August 9, 2022

No reports.

 

August 10, 2022

Zachary Smith, 37 was arrested for Contempt of Court.

Donnie Jennings, 44 of Mena was arrested by an officer with the Arkansas State Police to be held for another agency.

 

August 11, 2022

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

 

August 12, 2022

Deputies responded to a residence on Davis Street near Hatfield leading to the arrest of Joshua Heifner, 20 of Hatfield on a charge of Public Intoxication.

 

August 13, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 181 near Acorn in reference to an unwanted person on the property.

 

August 14, 2022

A traffic stop on Polk 37 near Potter led to the arrest of Richard Cheshire, 60 of Mena on a Felony Warrant for Possession of Methamphetamine with Purpose to Deliver. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Pebble Lane near Board Camp in reference to a verbal altercation.

Deputies responded to a residence on Polk 4 near Grannis in reference to a stolen trailer.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 0 vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 19 Incarcerated Inmates, with 12 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

8-16-22 10:40 AM KAWX.ORG

Mena Police Report for August 7th - 13th

Mena Police Department reports for the week of August 7th through August 13th, 2022

 

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

 

August 7

Colton Phillips, 22, was charged with DWI, Refuse to Submit to Alcohol Test, Fleeing in a Vehicle, Reckless Driving, Driving Left of Center, and Improper Passing after an attempted traffic stop on Pine Avenue.

 

Elijah Williams, 21, was charged with Theft at Walmart.

 

August 8

A report of criminal mischief was taken at a residence on Jerry Lee Drive.

 

Kathleen Suire, 36, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Reine Street.

 

August 9

Arthur Shurley, 71, was charged with Dog Running at Large after a complaint on Reeves Avenue.

 

Bobby May, 34, was charged with Violation of a Protection Order and served with a warrant after a disturbance call to a residence on Hickory Avenue.

 

A report of financial identity fraud was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

August 10

Donavan Hunt was served with a warrant after a traffic stop on 4th Street.

 

Abri Evangelista, 18, was charged with Theft at Walmart.

 

Mark Lewis, 45, and Misty Lewis, 45, were both charged with Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call to a residence on 10th Street.

 

August 11

A report of a dog bite was taken at a residence on Valley View Drive.

 

August 12

A report of contributing to the delinquency of a minor was taken after a traffic stop on Dallas Avenue.

 

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

 

A report of battery, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct was taken at Chiquita’s.

 

Robert Heath, 38, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

August 13

Joseph Lucas, 18, and Ryan Hill, 22, were both charged with Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call to Executive Inn.

 

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

 

8-15-22 9:34 AM KAWX.ORG

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Special Session Successes

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address:  Special Session Successes
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I’d like to talk about the excellent position our state is in to provide additional financial relief for Arkansans.
 
In December, we cut nearly $500 million in taxes which was the largest tax cut in Arkansas history. This gave the people of Arkansas some financial relief and continued my promise of cutting taxes for everyone.
 
But as the cost of living continues to go up, Arkansans need more money in their pockets now. Because of the work we have done to be more efficient in state government, we have created a record surplus in the last fiscal year, and it is clear the state is collecting more than it needs. This gives us the ability to provide financial relief in a time when Arkansans need it most.
 
Just eight months later, I have signed into law an acceleration of the historic December cuts while also signing into law funding for a new grant program to help schools better protect our children.
 
With the support of the Arkansas General Assembly, we have been able to lower the individual tax rate to 4.9%, which will save taxpayers a total of $295 million just this year. In 1929, the state income tax was at 5.0%. In 2014, the state income tax was at its highest level at 7%, but our reserves were empty. Less than eight years later, we will have the lowest income tax in state history since its creation, all while having more than $2 billion in state reserves. We also created a $150 nonrefundable tax credit for low- and middle-income Arkansans, saving taxpayers another $156 million this year.
 
This means the total individual tax relief this year alone is more than $400 million.
 
My other goal for this special session was to ensure our children are protected in their schools. When parents drop their children off at school, they want to have confidence their children are going to be safe. I proposed we transfer $50 million from the state surplus for the purpose of a school safety grant program. The General Assembly concurred with this plan.
 
At the beginning of the month, the Arkansas School Safety Commission presented an interim report to me highlighting recommendations for schools to ensure the best protections for our children.
 
With this grant program, we can provide funding for school districts to increase security measures on their campuses. This will benefit all schools, but especially those who need the most help meeting the recommendations.
 
I applaud the work of the General Assembly for putting more money back into the pockets of Arkansans and for ensuring schools have the proper resources to keep our children safe.
 
8-12-22 5:49 PM KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

After passing legislation to accelerate tax cuts and provide funding for school safety, the 93rd General Assembly adjourned from a special session on Thursday.

 

In December of 2021, the General Assembly passed legislation outlining the largest tax cut in state history. That legislation lowered the state income tax from what was then 5.9% to 4.9% incrementally over a period of 4 years. The first reduction took effect on January 1, 2022 lowering the income tax to 5.5%.

 

After a record surplus and a period of rising inflation, the Governor called the legislature back for a special session to accelerate the implementation of the tax cut.

 

As a result, the General Assembly passed Act 1 and Act 2. Those acts are identical pieces of legislation reducing the income tax to 4.9% and making that rate retroactive to January 1, 2022.  The legislation also lowers corporate income taxes from 5.9% to 5.3% on January 1, 2023. In addition, it aligns Arkansas law with the federal depreciation schedule which will provide relief for business owners by accelerating the depreciation of their assets and allow for an easier calculation of their tax bill.

Act 1 and Act 2 also grant a nonrefundable income tax credit of $150 to taxpayers with income up to $87,000 and $300 to couples filing jointly with income up to $174,000.

 

The Department of Finance and Administration says the agency will issue revised payroll withholding tables to more than 80,000 employers across Arkansas within the next month. The agency anticipates they will be effective October 1. This will give employers adequate time to program the changes and also ensure Arkansans see more money in their paychecks as soon as possible.

 

In this special session, the General Assembly also passed Act 3. This act sets aside $50 million from the revenue surplus for the purpose of funding a school safety grant program. The grants will help districts fund the recommendations of the School Safety Commission. 

 

You can watch the recorded committees and House floor proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

8-12-22 5:40 PM KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Arkansas Youth Serving The Natural State

 

As teachers dust off desks, parents buy new school supplies and students prepare to head back to the classroom, the signs that a new school year is upon us are unmistakable. Yet I can attest that some young Arkansans were still learning over the summer break, developing new skills and gaining vital experience to help shape their future through congressional internships.

 

We have a responsibility to provide our youth with the resources for a solid foundation to be the next generation of leaders. That extends beyond the classroom.

 

As the U.S. Capitol resumes normal operations, we were able to welcome more Arkansas interns back to Washington for our summer congressional internship program. Students from Magnolia to Fayetteville came to Congress and got first-hand experience with serving Arkansans as well as a front row seat to the legislative process.

 

Our country has always relied on dedicated citizens to perform essential tasks and help administer services. Instilling a passion for public service in America’s youth is something I’m proud to advocate. This is one of the many reasons I’ve launched initiatives like the Congressional Youth Cabinet and continue to promote interning in the Senate.

 

Constituent service is one of my most important duties as an elected official. Interns provide vital support in answering phones and processing correspondence. The hands-on approach my office strives for would not be possible without the hard work of diligent interns. Beyond day-to-day operations, they serve as stewards to visiting Arkansans, especially in giving tours of the Capitol –– a special opportunity sightseers and interns alike often report is a highlight of their time in the nation’s capital.

 

My staff and I aim to provide interns with an experience that will last a lifetime. One of the many ways we achieve this is through our speaker series. Our state often feels like one big community, so it’s only natural to welcome Arkansas natives working in Washington to share their professional experiences with interns during informative question and answer sessions. This opportunity creates connections interns can leverage to achieve personal and career growth while also leaving a lasting, positive impression of public service and the impact The Natural State has on Capitol Hill.

 

Our hope is the opportunities we provide help interns learn and flourish regardless of their professional goals. These young men and women have a wide range of interests and aspirations from engineering to economics to government and beyond. Regardless of their career paths, congressional interns can find something D.C. has to offer them, all while helping Arkansans.

 

I encourage any young person interested in public service to consider applying for an internship. Some interns find their passion for policy and civic engagement while they are here. Many now work in government at all levels or take their interest for giving back to other important roles elsewhere. I was fortunate to have had very special and promising students working alongside my staff this summer serving the public. I wish all of our interns the best in school and beyond, knowing their time spent representing our state will help them along the way.

 

8-12-22 3:53 PM KAWX.ORG 

Congressman Bruce Westerman's Weekly Column

Higher Taxes and Spending Will Not Lower Inflation

This week, Congressional Democrats used a special procedural tool called “reconciliation” to pass a $745 billion bill through both chambers of Congress on a party line vote. The misleadingly named “Inflation Reduction Act,” (IRA) will raise taxes on every income bracket, hire 87,000 additional IRS agents to enforce those taxes, cut jobs, reduce medical innovation opportunities, and certainly worsen inflation. Moreover, this bill will result in approximately $130 billion in new debt that will be carried by our children and grandchildren.

Democrats claim that the IRA will reduce the deficit by raising taxes, which will lower inflation. In reality, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, this bill will have virtually no effect on inflation this year and could possibly reduce inflation by 0.01% in 2023. The American people cannot wait years with lighter wallets for inflation to begin to go down by a measly and imperceptible amount.

President Joe Biden swore numerous times that taxes would not be raised on those earning less than $400,000 per year. The IRA breaks that promise. In fact, Americans making less than $400,000 will bear as much as two-thirds of the IRA’s additional tax burden by 2031. Raising taxes on businesses and individuals will result in fewer jobs and less economic activity. Is this what Democrats mean when they say we should all pay “our fair share?”

One of the major provisions touted by Democrats is government implemented price controls on prescription drugs. While I agree that health care costs must be reduced, artificially capping the price of drugs will raise the price of new drugs, raise insurance premiums, and discourage the innovation of new cures and therapies. That is why my legislation the “Fair Care Act,” enacts meaningful, wholistic reform to the health care system by expanding insurance options and putting more money directly into the consumer’s pockets. This will bring down costs across the board, including those of prescription drugs without sacrificing innovative cures for diseases that plague Americans.

I am dismayed that Democrats continue to repackage the same poor policies that caused sky-high inflation, stick a buzzword in the name, and expect a gold star while the economy inevitably continues to suffer. When a party cannot admit the fact that we are in a recession, it cannot be trusted to bring us out of one. I wholeheartedly voted no on the misleadingly named “Inflation Reduction Act.” I will never support legislation that will spend us, our children, and our children’s children into the ground.

 

8-12-22 3:47 PM KAWX.ORG

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

 

August 12, 2022

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature concluded a quick, three-day special session after approving income tax cuts that will save 1.6 million Arkansas taxpayers about $500 million.

 

The tax savings will come mainly from moving up the effective date of previously adopted tax reductions. Last December the legislature lowered the top income tax rate over four years, so that it would be 4.9 percent in 2025.

 

Thanks to legislation enacted during the special session, that reduction becomes effective this year.

 

In similar fashion, the legislature moved up the effective date of previously approved tax reductions that lowered the top rate for corporations over three years, to 5.3 percent in 2025. The top rate will take effect in 2023. For tax year 2022 the top rate will remain at 5.9 percent.

 

Moving up the effective date will save businesses in Arkansas about $18.6 million this fiscal year. The savings increase the following year to $27.8 million.

 

Another provision enacted during the special session will save Arkansas businesses $29.4 million this year. The legislature approved a change in how they can claim deductions for depreciation and expensing of property, making the Arkansas tax code similar to depreciation schedules in section 179 of federal tax codes.

 

This will allow Arkansas businesses to claim deductions for the purchase of new or used equipment, up to about $1 million, in a single year. Previously, state tax law limited the amount that could be deducted and required deductions to be spread out over the life of the equipment.

 

Individuals with incomes up to $87,000 will get a $150 nonrefundable tax credit. Married taxpayers who file separately may each claim a $150 credit. Married taxpayers filing jointly with net income up to $174,000 will receive a $300 nonrefundable income tax credit.

 

Those income tax credits will save Arkansas families more than $156 million in Fiscal Year 2023.

 

Even after passage of the tax cuts, state government is on course to have a budget surplus of about $400 million at the end of the fiscal year, according to the bill’s sponsors.

 

Also during the special session, the legislature authorized the state Education Department to use $50 million from reserve funds for grants to school districts that need school safety upgrades. If necessary, the legislature will consider additional funding of school safety measures during the 2023 regular session, which begins in January.

 

The Arkansas School Safety Commission is finalizing a list of recommendations to protect students and staff in the event of a school shooter.

 

The commission recommends that an armed school resources officer be present in all buildings at all times when there are students.

 

Another recommendation is that all school doors be locked, with electronic controls. Teachers should be able to lock classroom doors from the inside, the commission recommended.

 

Security cameras, accessible to school staff and law enforcement, as well as two-way radios to connect school personnel with local police officers, are recommended.

 

Some lawmakers wanted to consider pay raises for teachers. However, the governor did not put that issue on the call for the special session so salary increases for teachers will be an issue during the 2023 regular session.

 

8-12-22 9:21 AM KAWX.ORG

 

Municipal Candidate Filings in Polk County, Several Contested Races

Several municipal elected positions in Polk County will be contested in the November General Election this year. Stephanie Murr and Kacie Rose have both filed for the Mena Clerk/Treasurer position. Incumbent Clerk/Treasurer Linda Rexroad did not file for re-election. Stanley Craig will be running against incumbent Terri Neugent for City Council Ward 1 Position 2. In Cove, incumbent Mayor Joan Headly will face Keven Burkett November 8th.

 

A complete list of candidates, opposed and un-opposed, is below.

 

 

 

NAME POSITION DATE OF FILING
CITY OF MENA    
SETH SMITH MAYOR 8/3/2022
STEPHANIE MURR CITY CLERK/TREASURER 8/3/2022
KACIE ROSE CITY CLERK/TREASURER 8/8/2022
PATRICK MCDANIEL CITY ATTORNEY 8/9/2022
JAMES EARL TURNER CITY COUNCIL, WARD 1, POSITION 1 8/5/2022
TERRI NEUGENT CITY COUNCIL, WARD 1, POSITION 2 8/3/2022
STANLEY CRAIG CITY COUNCIL, WARD 1, POSITION 2 8/9/2022
DWIGHT DOUGLAS CITY COUNCIL, WARD 2, POSITION 1 8/3/2022
MARY ALICE HEAD CITY COUNCIL, WARD 2, POSITION 2 8/4/2022
ANDY BROWN CITY COUNCIL, WARD 3, POSITION 1 8/3/2022
LARRY S. STEWART CITY COUNCIL, WARD 3, POSITION 2 8/5/2022
TOWN OF HATFIELD    
LINDA DENTON MAYOR 8/4/2022
MICHAEL CALLAHAN RECORDER/TREASURER 8/10/2022
PAIGE SELF CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 1 8/3/2022
LARRY DENTON CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 2 8/4/2022
LAWANA D. CALLAHAN CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 3 8/10/2022
DAVID CHOTE CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 4 8/9/2022
DIANE GARCIA CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 5 8/4/2022
TOWN OF COVE    
JOAN HEADLEY MAYOR 8/3/2022
KEVIN BURKETT MAYOR 8/10/2022
BARBARA VALLEE RECORDER/TREASURER 8/9/2022
JANET HENRY CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 1 8/9/2022
CHARLOTTE CRUMP CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 2 8/9/2022
BOYD S. SMITH CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 3 8/3/2022
DANKER MIZE CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 4 8/9/2022
DARRIS BURK CITY COUNCIL, POSITION 5 8/3/2022
TOWN OF VANDERVOORT    
TERISIA HARTLEY MAYOR 8/5/2022
SAMANTHA BOYETTE RECORDER/TREASURER 8/5/2022
ROBERT A. HARTLEY ALDERMAN, POSITION 1 8/5/2022
JASON BOYETTE ALDERMAN, POSITION 2 8/5/2022
NICHOLAS PHILLIPS ALDERMAN, POSITION 3 8/5/2022
BRITTANY PHILLIPS ALDERMAN, POSITION 4 8/5/2022
RICK MCKENZIE ALDERMAN, POSITION 5 8/5/2022
TOWN OF WICKES    
MELINDA KIGHT MAYOR 8/3/2022
TRACY MORRIS RECORDER/TREASURER 8/3/2022
LARRY R. WATKINS ALDERMAN POSITION 1 8/3/2022
LINDA GILLASPY ALDERMAN POSITION 2 8/3/2022
MARY FERGUSON ALDERMAN POSITION 3 8/3/2022
MARICELA AVILA ALDERMAN POSITION 4 8/3/2022
KATHERINE CHAMBERS ALDERMAN POSITION 5 8/3/2022
TOWN OF GRANNIS    
DWIGHT BILLINGS MAYOR 8/5/2022
BARBARA FRACHISEUR RECORDER/TREASURER 8/5/2022
(No candidate.)  ALDERMAN, POSITION 1  
CHRIS FRACHISEUR ALDERMAN, POSITION 2 8/5/2022
DEBORAH K NEAL ALDERMAN, POSITION 3 8/5/2022
BILLY RICHARDSON ALDERMAN, POSITION 4 8/5/2022
BRYCE BROWER ALDERMAN, POSITION 5

8/5/2022

 

8-10-22 3:25 PM KAWX.ORG

 

 

Polk County Inmate Leads Officers To Grave, Believed To Be Remains Of Missing Person From 2020

On Monday, August 8, 2022, an inmate in the Polk County Detention Center led the Polk County Sheriff's Office to skeletal remains in a shallow grave west of Hatfield, Arkansas. The remains were found in a heavily wooded area along the Mountain Fork River.

 
The Polk County Sheriff's office, assisted by the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigations Division, spent Tuesday, August 9, 2022, recovering the remains and processing the scene.
 
Sheriff Scott Sawyer stated that due to the state of the remains, positive identification and cause of death were not readily apparent, but that they believe the remains were connected to a 2020 missing persons case.
 
The inmate that assisted in locating the remains is currently incarcerated on unrelated charges.
 
Sheriff Sawyer stated that the remains will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for positive identification and cause of death determination. He anticipates additional charges being filed once the autopsy is performed.
 
8-9-22 4:33 PM KAWX.ORG

Polk County Sheriff's Log for August 1st - 7th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of August 1, 2022 – August 7, 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.

 

August 1, 2022

Whitney Reynolds, 32 of Mena was arrested on two Felony Failure to Appear Warrants.

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to a physical altercation. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

 

August 2, 2022

No reports.

 

August 3, 2022

Anastasia Jennings, 38 of Waldron was arrested on Felony Warrants for Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia as well as a Body Attachment Warrant.

Shealeena Phillips, 37 of Wickes was arrested on a Misdemeanor Failure to Appear Warrant as well as a Drug Court Sanction.

Kenneth Chaney, 28 of Mena was arrested by an officer with Probation Parole on a Felony Warrant for Theft of Property.

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to Interference with Child Custody. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

 

August 4, 2022

Chad Shaffer, 49 of Fort Smith was arrested on a Felony Warrant for 2nd Degree Forgery.

 

August 5, 2022

No reports.

 

August 6, 2022

No reports.

 

August 7, 2022

Deputies responded to a report of Terroristic Threatening. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

A traffic stop near Hatfield led to the arrest of Roscoe Cline on charges of Expired Tags, Driving on a Suspended License, No Proof of Insurance and a Warrant for Harassment.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 1 vehicle accident this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 19 Incarcerated Inmates, with 10 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

8-9-22 8:40 AM KAWX.ORG

Mena Police Report for July 31st - August 6th

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of July 31st through August 6th, 2022

 

 

 

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

 

July 31

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken from The Look Salon.

 

Michael Harvey, 48, was served with a warrant at the county jail.

 

A report of disorderly conduct was taken at a residence on Evans Circle.

 

Jeremiah Kahn, 37, was charged with Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, Disorderly Conduct, and Public Intoxication after a traffic accident on Highway 71.

 

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

 

August 1

 

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

 

Alexander Cernoga, 34, was charged with Disorderly Conduct at Sonic.

 

August 2

 

Jamie May, 40, was served with a warrant at Phillips 66.

 

Michael Williams, 40, was served with a warrant at the county jail.

 

Brandon Abernathy, 31, was served with a warrant at the court house.

 

Joy Reed, 34, was served with eleven warrants at the court house.

 

A report of criminal trespass was taken at a residence on 10th Street.

 

August 3

 

A report of theft was taken at a residence on Gildin Avenue.

 

A report of battery was taken on Dallas Avenue.

 

Jason Rosson, 40, was served with a warrant at the county jail.

 

August 4

 

A report of theft was taken at a residence on Ouachita Circle.

 

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

 

Donavan Craddock, 22, was charged with Possession of Marijuana, No Liability Insurance, and No Vehicle Insurance, and Jimmy Craddock, 18, was charged with Possession of Marijuana at Janssen Park.

 

August 5

 

A report of disorderly conduct was taken at a residence on Bonner Circle.

 

August 6

 

Chad Thornton, 31, was served with a warrant after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

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

 

8-8-22 11:04 AM KAWX.ORG

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

The Governor is calling the General Assembly into an Extraordinary Session next week to address the use of surplus funds to provide tax relief and funding for school safety measures.

 

The Arkansas School Safety Commission was reinstated in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Members of the original commission created in March 2018 submitted 30 recommendations in their original 124-page report. Many of their recommendations were introduced by the legislature and subsequently became law.

 

In recent weeks, the commission has been identifying new recommendations on best practices regarding school safety that have developed since the commission's 2018 report. The commission’s report was delivered the Governor this week.

 

The new recommendations include ensuring that all students have access to mental health services and establishing a behavioral threat assessment team.

 

Another recommendation states that all schools should ideally have at least one School Resource Officer for each campus and no campus should be without an armed presence at any time.

 

Since many of these recommendation will require funding, the Governor has stated he will ask the legislature to use $50 million from the state surplus to create a grant program for school districts.

 

The other item on the Governor’s call concerns use of surplus funds to provide tax relief. Proposals include accelerating future reductions of income and corporate tax cuts and creating a $150 tax credit for Arkansans making below a designated income threshold.

 

In an Extraordinary Session (often referred to as a special session), the Governor is required to specify the purpose for convening. No other business can be transacted by the General Assembly until every item on the call has been disposed of.

 

It requires a 2/3 majority vote in both chambers to remain in session after disposing items on the call. That extension cannot exceed 15 days.

 

You can review recently filed legislation and links to live streams of all committee meetings and House floor proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

8-5-22 5:48 PM KAWX.ORG

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The No. 1 Pro-Life State
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Americans United for Life ranks Arkansas as the No. 1 pro-life state in the nation, and today I’d like to talk about a few of the organizations and people that give meaning to that designation.
 
Arkansas is blessed with thousands of people who devote their lives to promoting  and protecting life. They understand that a pro-life stand is more than protecting the lives of the unborn. A state that aspires to be pro-life must protect the most vulnerable at every stage of life. That’s why we have worked so hard to reduce the number of children in foster care, to place children in state care with relatives, and to find families who will adopt a child. Since 2016, we have reduced the number of children in foster care from more than 5,200 down to 4,500 at the end of June. At the end of 2021, 42 percent of children in foster care had been placed with relatives, which achieves a better outcome than when children are placed with nonrelatives.
 
Arkansas’s effort to protect life extends to children of all ages. Arkansas State Police works with the Department of Human Services to investigate reports of child abuse. Last year, the two agencies investigated more than 27,000 reports of child maltreatment. The State Police Crimes Against Children Division has a toll-free telephone line to report suspected child abuse. The phone number is 844-SaveAChild (728-3224).
 
This year, the General Assembly enhanced our pro-life reputation with passage of Act 187 that allocated $1 million for organizations that support pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies.
 
Restore Hope is a nonprofit that supports three programs for its pro-life work: A re-entry program to smooth the transition from prison for inmates who are returning to their families and communities. Re-Entry provides education, job training, and substance abuse counseling.
 
Restore Hope’s Alternative Sentencing initiative offers a defendant the chance for counseling and school instead of community service, a fine, or jail. This is a pro-life proposal for men and women who are serious about improving their situation.
 
Restore Hope’s 100 Families program reunites and stabilizes families through partnerships with agencies and churches.
Project Zero is a faith-based organization that aims to find an adoptive family for every child in foster care. Project Zero’s online Arkansas Heart Gallery is a collection of photographs of children who are waiting to be adopted.
 
Arkansas Baptist Children's Homes and Family Ministries is renovating Markham Street Baptist Church in Little Rock as its headquarters and a resource facility. With its new building, Baptist Children’s Homes is providing a place where biological parents can visit their children who are living in a foster home. The ministry provides transportation, specially trained drivers, and supervisors for the visits. Mark White of the Arkansas Department of Human Services said this is the only organization in the state to offer this service.
 
That’s an overview of the work that a few organizations are doing on behalf of children and Arkansas families in crisis. Each takes its own approach, but the goal of each is to fix broken families. Arkansans care for every member of a family, born and unborn. That’s what makes Arkansas the No. 1 pro-life state.
 
8-5-22 5:40 PM KAWX.ORG

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

The Biden Administration Continues its Reckless Tax-and-Spending Spree

 

High prices at the pump, increasing costs at the grocery store and excessive monthly energy bills are all devastating for the hardworking Arkansans trying to make ends meet. For at least one northeast Arkansas resident, rising expenses made it too difficult to continue running his contracting business, so he closed the doors. We need policies that support small businesses, decrease the cost of fuel and food, and help grow paychecks. Instead, President Biden and congressional Democrats are on a reckless tax-and-spending spree. More spending and tax hikes are not the answer.

 

While we’re experiencing a 41-year high inflation rate, the president and his allies are pursuing a plan out of touch with the priorities of the American people. In June, Arkansans spent an additional $577 as a result of inflation. This legislation fails deliver the relief Americans are demanding.

 

Far-fetched claims about the Biden plan reducing inflation were almost immediately debunked by the Penn Wharton Budget Model. Instead, it found the tax-and-spending bill will actually increase inflation over the next two years and then have no measurable positive long-term impact.

 

Not only does the Biden plan fail to tackle the current economic crisis, but it would also raise taxes on low- and middle-income earners. A tax increase is not just what I think would happen, but it is what an analysis by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation determined.

 

The president is proposing job-killing tax hikes, enhanced IRS enforcement and Green New Deal policies that could worsen energy security and food security concerns while pushing us further into a recession.

 

After we’ve just been reminded of the importance of domestic production, the National Association of Manufacturers worries this bill could reduce our national output by $68.5 billion and result in more than 218,000 fewer workers in the economy.

 

Its tax on American manufacturers is a backdoor attempt by the president and his party to impose a rate increase on companies and penalize workers, ultimately making them less competitive globally and encouraging job offshoring.

 

If that’s not bad enough, this reckless plan would funnel an additional $80 billion to the IRS to hire another 87,000 agents for enforcement of noncompliance by all taxpayers regardless of income.

 

This is extremely troublesome given the IRS’s history of targeting faith-based organizations. The Biden administration wants to arm the IRS with more authority and manpower to pay for its far-left wish list, including imposing extreme environmental policies. Further attacking American-made energy will continue to drive up the costs to heat and cool our homes and operate our vehicles.

 

When it comes to agriculture policy, this bill sets a particularly bad precedent for farm bill programs.

 

As the lead Republican on the Senate agriculture committee, I’m alarmed this backroom, partisan approach eliminates input from farmers, ranchers and producers. It’s their farm bill too and they must have a say on it.

 

By extending conservation programs until 2031, well beyond the life of the next two farm bills, the tax-and-spending bill deliberately takes away our ability to change and adjust these farm programs to meet the future needs of our nation.

 

Arkansans are already suffering the consequences of the Biden administration’s spending spree. My bottom line is I won’t support this Biden plan and risk raising our taxes.

 

8-5-22 4:16 PM KAWX.ORG

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

August 5, 2022

 

LITTLE ROCK – When it meets in special session the legislature will consider a $50 million grant program for school safety measures.

 

The governor proposed making grants available for schools that need financial help to implement recommendations made recently by the Arkansas School Safety Commission. Although its final report isn’t due until October 1, the commission has already released a preliminary report with a long list of recommendations.

 

The governor reinstated the commission after the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. It was originally formed in 2018 after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

 

The recommendations this year include providing more access to mental health treatment for students, more training in mental health treatment for staff and the creation of behavioral threat assessment teams. The teams would be composed of staff who are trained to recognize potentially violent responses when students get bullied or stressed.

 

A school resources officer who is armed should be on campus at all times. The commission specified that if financially practicable there should be an armed presence in each building.

 

In a 2019 survey, 79 percent of Arkansas school districts reported having an armed officer. However, only 20 percent had an officer on every campus within the district.

 

The commission suggested that schools have an agreement with local law enforcement agencies to clarify the roles that school officers would have in the event of a shooting. School officers should receive specialized training, since their duties would bring them into constant contact with young people.

 

Another recommendation is that schools should keep their doors locked all day. Doors that are frequently used should be equipped with electronic access controls. Schools should have a master key to provide law enforcement in the event of a critical incident. Teachers and staff should be able to lock classroom doors from the inside, with access only for authorized personnel.

 

Visitors to the school should come and go from only one entrance, and schools should have a procedure for escorting visitors.

Schools should have security cameras that can be monitored by designated personnel and local law enforcement.

 

During emergencies, staff and teachers should have access to reliable communications such as intercoms, cell phones and two-way radios. Radio systems should connect with local law enforcement.

 

The commission also plans to recommend setting up a statewide hotline for receiving confidential tips about potential threats.

State government has a budget surplus of about $1.6 billion. The main issue during the special session will be a plan to accelerate the reduction of income taxes previously approved. When the tax cuts take full effect, they will save Arkansas families and businesses about $700 million a year.

 

A grant program can provide quick help with school safety measures that require money, such as electronic access controls on doors.

 

The commission’s list of recommendations must be approved by the legislature to take effect. Also, the legislature will determine the rules for applying for grants.

 

Since 1997 Arkansas has had six students and one teacher killed in school shootings. Also, 13 students, staff and teachers have been wounded.

 

8-5-22 10:24 AM KAWX.ORG 

Congressman Bruce Westerman's Weekly Column: Finish the Wall

Finish the Wall

President Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas quietly approved a plan to complete a section of the border wall near Yuma, Arizona, filling four major gaps in the wall. Those four gaps have resulted in the Yuma area becoming one of the busiest hubs of illegal immigration.

Secretary Mayorkas claims the project is an effort to “deploy modern, effective border measures” to improve “safety and security along the Southwest Border.” Has this not been the solution Republicans have pushed from the beginning? As glad as I am to see President Biden renege on his campaign promise of “not another foot,” of the border wall, I am skeptical President Biden will do what it takes to fully regain control of our southern border. Clearly, he no longer believes the border wall is “xenophobic” and “racist,” as he previously repeatedly claimed, but controlling the border would mean bucking the radical left that continually pushes for open border policies.

Some Democrats seem to see the writing on the wall. Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ) joined Republicans in our call to secure the border. Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is asking the National Guard to mobilize to help deal with the migrants who have been bused from the border to her city. When faced with the chaos border states have experienced since Biden’s first days in office, Democrat Mayor Bowser is quick to call the situation a “humanitarian crisis” and decry the emergency as a “federal issue that demands a federal response.”

The crisis at our southern border is an issue that affects all of us. Since President Biden took office, over 3.1 million illegal immigrants have been apprehended at our border. Over 1 million of whom have been allowed to settle in the U.S. So far in FY2022, 8,400 pounds of fentanyl have been seized by Border Patrol, double the total for all of FY2020. Further, there have been over 500,000 known “got-aways” at our southern border since October 2021. With opioid overdose deaths continually on the rise, it begs the question: how much fentanyl has successfully been smuggled past our overwhelmed border agents?

President Biden must stop playing politics. The people of Yuma and across our country deserve to be protected by their President, as he promised. President Biden clearly sees the benefit of the wall, as demonstrated by his recent actions. Instead of slowly piecemealing the wall together as quietly as possible, I urge President Biden to boldly stanch the flood of migrants and secure our border.

 

8-5-22 10:18 AM KAWX.ORG

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

The catfish industry is the largest component of aquaculture in the United States and a significant industry in Arkansas.  In fact, Arkansas catfish farmers contributed $19.5 million to Arkansas’s agricultural economy in 2021. That’s up 17% from the previous year.

 

The month of August has been proclaimed as Arkansas Catfish Month.  This designation recognizes the impact of catfish producers across the state.

 

Arkansas is the birthplace of the commercial catfish industry, with at least two farms selling catfish in the late 1950s.  By 1966, Arkansas had 4,500 acres in catfish production and three processing plants.

 

Today, Arkansas has 3,800 water surface acres used for catfish production. That’s a 6% increase from 2020. Arkansas now ranks 4th in the nation in catfish production. Ninety-four percent of all U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is raised in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

 

Our state is also home to programs providing research and support to the aquaculture industry, including the Aquaculture/Fisheries Center for Excellence and the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and the Harry K. Dupree National Aquaculture Research Center in Stuttgart.

 

In 2015, the General Assembly passed Act 1191 which created a catfish labeling requirement to ensure consumers can accurately identify the country of origin of catfish purchased in Arkansas retail establishments. This legislation helps to provide quality control for consumers and protects domestic catfish farmers from substitutes that are imported and sold often under the label of being catfish.

 

U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is a lean fish and an excellent source of protein. It is low in saturated fat and is a moderate source of polyunsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s just one more reason to celebrate Arkansas Catfish Month.

 

You can find links to catfish recipes and more information about Arkansas’s aquaculture industry at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

8-3-22 6:07 AM KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for July 25th – 31st

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of July 25, 2022 – July 31, 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.

 

July 25, 2022

Deputies responded to a runaway juvenile being located.

 

July 26, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 29 near Hatfield in reference to a verbal domestic dispute.

 

July 27, 2022

Alexander Cernoga, 34 of Cove was arrested on a charge of Disorderly Conduct after officers were dispatched to a residence on Hatton Lane near Wickes in reference to a disturbance.

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to a property dispute.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 37 near Potter in reference to a physical domestic disturbance leading to the arrest of Brandon Falls, 36 of Mena on charges of 3rd Degree Domestic Battery and Possession of a Schedule I or II Controlled Substance.

 

July 28, 2022

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to a violation of a no contact order.

Deputies were dispatched to a location on Hwy 246 near Hatfield in reference to someone walking down the middle of the road leading to the arrest of Codie Shifflett, 29 of Cove on charges of Public Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct.

 

July 29, 2022

Sara Hirshfield, 28 of Little Rock was arrested on a misdemeanor warrant for Theft of Property.

Deputies were dispatched to a business near Cove leading to the arrest of Windal Loyd, 41 of Mena on charges of Criminal Trespass and Refusal to Submit to Arrest as well as six Misdemeanor Warrants for Failure to Appear.

A traffic stop for expired tags led to the arrest of James Miller, 51 of Cove on charges of DWI and Failure to Register Vehicle.

Marcos Parra, 29 of Grannis was arrested by an officer with the Arkansas Highway Patrol on charges of DWI, Driving on a Suspended DL and Speeding and a Misdemeanor Warrant for Failure to Pay Fines.

Deputies were dispatched to an area on Polk 618 near Board Camp in reference to an ATV fire.

Deputies responded to a residence on Race Lane near Mena in reference to an altercation. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

 

July 30, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Weeping Willow Lane near Board Camp in reference

to a structure fire.

Deputies responded to a report of two runaway juveniles being located.

July 31, 2022

Larry Garrett, 42 of Mena was arrested on a charge of Commercial Burglary.

Timothy Gormady, 57 of Mena was arrested on a Misdemeanor Warrant for 3rd Degree Battery.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Bald Eagle Lane near Cherry Hill in reference to a stolen motorcycle.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Morgan Lane near Acorn in reference to property being vandalized.

Deputies responded to a report of an ATV accident on Polk 61 near Board Camp.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 4 vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 19 Incarcerated Inmates, with 11 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

8-1-22  4:05 PM  KAWX.ORG

Mena Police Report for July 24th - July 30th

Mena Police Department reports for the week of July 24th through July 30th, 2022:

 

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

 

July 24

Donna Cheshire, 55, was served with a warrant after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

A report of discharging a firearm in the city limits was taken on 1st Street.

 

July 25

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

 

July 26

No reports.

 

July 27

A report of arson was taken at a residence on Ridge Avenue.

 

July 28

A report of theft was taken at a residence on Evans Circle.

 

Nathan Hoover, 21, was served with three warrants at Executive Inn.

 

July 29

A report of a vehicle accident was taken at Mena Ford.

 

July 30

A missing person’s report was taken at the Mena Police Department. Later that evening the individual was found.

 

Bobby May, 34 was issued a citation for Violation of a Protection order and Criminal Trespass after a call from 1325 Hwy South.

 

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

 

8-1-22  10:30 AM  KAWX.ORG

 

Polk County Detention Center Inmates

Congressman Bruce Westerman's Weekly Column

Fair Care for All

Senate Democrats are resurrecting President Biden’s shortsighted “Build Back Better” bill after reaching an agreement with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). The bill, besides raising taxes and greenlighting Green New Deal provisions, will expand government control over drug pricing in a misguided attempt to bring down health care costs. Though Americans largely agree that health care reform is needed, given the 31 million uninsured Americans and the cost of health care averaging over $12,500 per person in 2020, sadly, but unsurprisingly, Republicans are being entirely excluded from the negotiations.

We have real differences in how we want to address our problems leading to oversimplified stereotypes suggesting that Republicans insist on fiscally responsible, long-term solutions that will bring costs down, while Democrats will not risk increasing the number of uninsured Americans, even in the short term. The disagreement has led to an impasse without meaningful progress towards making health care affordable for all Americans.

That is why I crafted a comprehensive plan that combines over 75 bipartisan proposals to salvage workable sections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to expand insurance and health care options, protect those with pre-existing conditions, lower costs, and increase the number of insured Americans.

My plan, the Fair Care Act (FCA), will put more dollars back into American’s pockets so they can make their own choices about what health care options work best for them and their families, while dropping the number of uninsured Americans by about 35%, or roughly 14.6 million people.

 

I am confident that a bipartisan solution can be found to deliver real and lasting health care reform to the American people. Regardless of the difficulties that have come before us, we must deliver Americans the Fair Care they deserve. No one should go broke from a tragic accident or diagnosis. I am confident that through the FCA, we can support free market solutions that protect the most vulnerable among us.

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

The Best Ideas Come From The Ground Up

 

Recently, the American Farm Bureau Federation recognized me with the Golden Plow, the highest honor it awards sitting members of Congress.

 

The success I’ve had in shaping ag policy is thanks, in large part, to the Farm Bureau – and especially its Arkansas branch – serving as a vital resource in supporting Natural State farmers, ranchers and foresters.

 

For over 100 years, the Farm Bureau has been on the forefront of efforts to boost rural America and strengthen the lives of those who call it home.

 

I strongly believe the best ideas come from the ground up, not the other way around, which is why the Farm Bureau’s voice carries so much weight in my book. We have stood side by side on numerous battles over the years and those outcomes would have been much different had the Farm Bureau not been there.

 

The Farm Bureau’s guidance will be heavily relied upon as we begin to develop the next farm bill, the nation’s five-year-plan for agriculture, conservation, food, forestry and rural development policy.

 

Arkansas Farm Bureau has made a notable impact on the farm bill drafting process already, as members offered testimony at the Senate agriculture committee’s recent field hearing in Jonesboro.

 

Our witnesses shared insights and concerns about our commodity programs, safety nets, risk management, conservation programs, rural development and more—covering nearly the whole gambit of issues that the farm bill touches. The hearing was invaluable in that it provided a look into the effectiveness of, and opportunities to improve, farm bill programs for our state’s ag industry.

 

There is a long list of challenges we face as we begin writing the next farm policy framework. Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has created a global food shortage. Inflation is historically high and Americans do not feel positive about the economy. Our producers are dealing with high input costs, including record high fertilizer prices and skyrocketing energy bills. They are also dealing with drought, a labor shortage and supply chain bottlenecks. Consumers are facing the highest food inflation rate since the Carter administration. 

 

I’ve had the opportunity to work on several farm bills over the years. There is one consistent key to success—we have to all work together. The good news is the Senate agriculture committee has a long and storied history of doing just that.

 

But there is one threat that continues to hang over the farm bill process: the Democrats’ reckless tax and spending legislation. Their latest proposal sets aside the bipartisan farm bill process and charges forward in designating funding for specific farm bill programs in a partisan way which will make it much more difficult to write farm bills in the future.

 

Using this partisan process to increase farm bill spending sets a bad precedent and undermines our own work. If we're not careful, farm bills will only be written this manner moving forward. Not only does this process cut out the minority party, but it also means policy is written without input from the stakeholders. 

 

Having input from those directly impacted by the policy is vital to ensuring the final product will work when it is implemented. Engaging farmers, ranchers and producers should happen as we formulate legislation, not as an afterthought. I am committed to always seeking out and incorporating the counsel of the Farm Bureau, and other agricultural stakeholder groups, as we craft policy in the Senate.     

 

7-29-22  4:15PM  KAWX.ORG

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio AddressMy Year as Chairman of the National Governors Association

To listen to Governer Hutchinsons weekly radio adress, click anywhere on this line, then click on the play button

 

LITTLE ROCK – Two weeks ago, I passed the gavel to my successor as chair of the National Governors Association, and today I’d like to talk about my year as leader of the NGA and the opportunity to work with other governors on some of our nation’s biggest challenges.

 

I accepted the gavel virtually in my office at the capitol a year ago during the NGA’s annual summer meeting.

 

This year, we met in Maine, so I passed the gavel in person to the new chair, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

 

My term as chair offered the opportunity to show off Arkansas and our Computer Science Initiative, which I declared as my Chairman’s Priority. By my final day as chair, 50 governors of states and territories, which was a record, had signed the computer science education compact.

 

By signing, governors were committing to establish plans to expand computer science in schools and to fund the expansion so that we can create new paths to success after high school.

 

At the NGA summer meeting, Patrick Gelsinger, the CEO of Intel, spoke about the value of our initiative. Mr. Gelsinger noted that modern life is becoming more digital, and everything digital runs on semiconductors. The manufacturing of semiconductors requires talent and money, which is why we must provide first-rate education for our young people.

 

He also discussed the federal CHIPS Act, which is the abbreviation for Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America. The CHIPS Act would provide about $50 billion in subsidies to support the manufacture of computer chips in the United States. Congress passed the bill, the goal of which is to decrease U.S. dependence on chips that are manufactured overseas. The CHIPS Act had bipartisan support from the governors.

 

On my first day as chair in July 2021, I reminded my fellow governors that states are laboratories of democracy. I challenged them to innovate, determine what works best, and to share what they have learned.

 

I suggested that we should lead with civil discourse, respect others in our debates, and rise above party differences to work together. Those words were as relevant today as they were a year ago.

 

As I reflect on my term as NGA chairman, I am grateful and amazed at the opportunities I have had to serve. I grew up on a farm. My dad was a farmer, and neither of my parents graduated from college. But they gave my siblings and me opportunities they never had. Because of their sacrifice, I’ve had incredible opportunities in life.

 

In the public arena, I served as United States Attorney under Ronald Reagan and in the United States Congress. In the Bush administration, I served as administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration and undersecretary at Homeland Security. I’ve prosecuted neo-Nazis and criminal organizations. I helped guide the nation after 9-11. I returned to Arkansas, and then eight years later, I ran for governor and won.

 

I shared with the governors that I have attempted to follow my parents’ example and to live by their faith and work ethic. My hope is that as governors, we will inspire our young people to participate in our democracy and to understand the importance of public service.

 

7-29-22 4:20 PM  KAWX.ORG

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in ReviewFrom Senator Larry Teague

July 29, 2022

 

LITTLE ROCK –Well-attended meetings at the state Capitol usually indicate that legislators are addressing an important issue.

That was certainly the case when the joint Senate and House Committees on City, County and Local Affairs met to explore methods of funding of much-needed improvements to water and sewer systems across Arkansas.

A room full of local officials, managers of water and engineers asked legislators to open a process that would allow them to apply for grants and relief funds.

 

Several legislators and many witnesses expressed frustration that no water projects had even been considered by the steering committee that recommends how federal relief funds should be spent.

 

One senator who is on the steering committee said it was stacked in favor of the governor, because it consists of nine executive branch department heads and six legislators. That means no projects are brought before the steering committee without prior approval from the governor.

 

The steering committee has recommended that hundreds of millions in federal funding be used for broadband expansion, virtual training and contact tracing. Legislators said it’s just as important to shore up deteriorating infrastructure that delivers clean drinking water to citizens.

 

The Senate co-chair of the City, County and Local Affairs Committee emphasized the urgency of getting projects funded immediately. The federal relief funds have to be spent by 2026, but water and sewer projects can take years to plan and get “shovel ready” because they are so complex.

 

Water systems must acquire rights of way and prepare highly detailed specifications before bidding them out. Projects must comply with exacting health and safety regulations.

 

Even if revolving loans are available, long-term financing is tricky because water systems cannot simply double or triple the rates paid by consumers in order to finance loans. Many of the 650 water systems in Arkansas serve low-income families.

 

Inflation is a factor, especially in the construction industry. The longer it takes for a water system to bid out a project, the less pipeline it gets for the money. The longer the steering committee waits, the fewer water projects will be funded because of inflation.

 

Also adding urgency to the debate are this summer’s high temperatures and the lingering drought across Arkansas. As one witness told legislators, even after the drought ends most water systems will need upgrades.

 

Water managers were hesitant to estimate how much money is needed to upgrade water and sewer infrastructure in Arkansas. For one reason, it is a moving target. A few years ago a statewide study estimated about $3.7 billion in needs, but in more recent surveys the estimates are closer to $5 billion.

 

The Secretary of Agriculture said that water systems in every corner of the state have needs.

 

Water managers said that they did not expect to get the entire amount of funding, but that receiving some of the federal relief money would show that the state’s decision makers believe water is a priority.

 

The governor said $836 million in federal relief funds arrived in June. He told the press that his appointments to the steering committee were working on a plan, and that he had asked them to meet soon.

 

7-29-22 12:10 PM KAWX.ORG

Polk County Sheriff's Report for July 18th - 24th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of July 18, 2022 – July 24, 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.

 

July 18, 2022

John Robertson, 47 of Mena was arrested on a Felony Probation Violation Warrant.

 

July 19, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 70 near Cherry Hill in reference to a physical assault. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Landon James, 27 of Watson, OK was arrested on warrants out of McCurtain County.

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to a break-in and stolen property.

 

July 20, 2022

Mark Blehm, 29 of Mena was arrested on a charge of 3rd Degree Domestic Battery.

Brandon Rose, 24 of Mena was arrested on a charge of Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle.

Deputies responded to a report of a violation of an Order of Protection.

 

July 21, 2022

No reports.

 

July 22, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to an incident on Hwy 71 South leading to the arrest of Marc Baker, 41 of Hot Springs National Park on charges of 1st Degree Terroristic Threatening and Resisting Arrest.

Deputies responded to a report of a stolen cell phone from a business near Hatfield.

Jake Miller, 21 of Cove was arrested on a charge of Public Intoxication.

 

July 23, 2022

A traffic stop on Hwy 71 South resulted in the arrest of Kasie Wright, 24 of DeQueen on charges of Driving While Intoxicated, Careless and Prohibited Driving and Speeding.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 482 near Vandervoort in reference to a physical altercation leading to the arrest of Marc Baker, 41 of Hot Springs National Park on charges of 3rd Degree Domestic Battery and Resisting Arrest.

 

July 24, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 65 near Opal in reference to a death.

Deputies responded to a report of a violation of an order of protection leading to the arrest of Danny Hunt, 60 of Mena.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 0 vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 21 Incarcerated Inmates, with 10 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

7-26-22 9:21 AM KAWX.ORG