KAWX News

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

The General Assembly is scheduled to convene for an Extraordinary Session on Tuesday, December 7.

 

The Arkansas Constitution says Extraordinary Sessions, often referred to as special sessions, can only be called by the Governor. 

 

The Governor announced this week he is calling the session to address tax cuts and several miscellaneous items of legislation.

 

The tax cut being proposed would lower the top income tax rate to 5.5% for tax year 2022 and gradually reduce the top rate to 4.9% for tax year 2025.

 

Currently, the top income tax rate is 5.9%.

 

The proposal would also gradually reduce the corporate income tax rates to 5.3% by tax year 2025.

 

Taxpayers whose taxable income is at or below $23,600 and who timely file a tax return receive a $60 nonrefundable tax credit under the legislation. 

 

The latest general revenue report, released this week, shows year-to-date general revenue at $79.5 million or 3% above year ago levels.

 

The Governor is also expected to ask the General Assembly to transfer funds to the Restricted Reserve Accounts, approve appropriations for American Rescue Plan funds, and consider expanding tax credits for an economic development project.

 

The other items before the legislature will include technical corrections in previous passed legislation. We will post all the legislation on our website.

 

Article 6, section 19 in our state constitution outlines the procedure for Extraordinary Sessions. It states the Governor must specify in the proclamation the purpose for which the General Assembly is convened. 

 

The General Assembly cannot take up any other businesses until every item in the proclamation has been addressed or dismissed. 

 

After that, the General Assembly can extend the session for up to 15 days to take up other matters with a 2/3 majority vote of both the House and the Senate. 

 

The session will be live-streamed and archived at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

12-3-21 5:38 P.M. KAWX.ORG

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: A Turning Point for the Right to Life

A Turning Point for the Right to Life  

For nearly 50 years, Americans who have held to a belief that all human life is sacred and valuable have grieved the fact that the United States is among a handful of nations – including Communist China and North Korea – that allow for abortion on demand beyond the point when babies can feel pain.

 

Many on the other side of the political aisle often point to aspects of European culture or economic policy as worthy of aspiring toward, but refuse to confront the fact that even the overwhelming majority of these nations limit abortion at 15 weeks or earlier.

 

Which brings us to the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this case on December 1, marking the first serious challenge in a generation to the abortion regime established under Roe v. Wade and clarified under Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The case concerns a Mississippi law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, when we know unborn children have limbs and fully-developed hearts, can taste, make facial expressions, yawn, hiccup, swallow and suck their thumbs.

 

Protecting these little ones from gruesome, painful and barbaric abortion procedures is the duty of any society that claims the mantles of morality and justice.

 

This is not a fringe position. In fact, three-quarters of Americans, including a majority who identify as pro-choice, want significant restrictions on abortion according to a Marist survey conducted earlier this year.

 

Americans may be familiar with the concept that the legal precent under Roe v. Wade grants women the right to terminate a pregnancy, but most are far less clear on the specifics around abortion or what it would mean if the nation’s highest court struck the ruling down.

 

Simply put, a decision by a majority of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe would not create a federal ban on abortion. What it would do is return to the states and the people the policy decisions related to this issue rather than nine justices in black robes based in Washington, D.C. Notably, the movement to defend the unborn also does not seek to punish vulnerable women susceptible to the false notion that abortion is their only or most sensible option.

 

With the Dobbs case, the day I and many pro-life advocates throughout Arkansas and across our country have been praying for has come. There is a very real possibility that our nearly five-decade nightmare, which has cost the lives of over 60 million children, could be on the verge of ending.

 

I joined supporters of life who rallied out in front of the Court before and during the oral arguments in this case. I met Arkansans who traveled to the nation’s capital to lend their voices to this essential cause. It was encouraging to be with these passionate individuals who care deeply about this issue.

 

Defending the right to life is one of the most important things we can do, because every life is precious and protecting the sanctity of life will demonstrate where the true values of our country are found. This moment could be a turning point in our society’s moral and cultural evolution. The science tells us the unborn are human beings worthy of protection. Our consciences echo that truth.  We pray that our nation’s highest court helps put us back on the right track. We must draw this line in the sand and not shrink back. The stakes are too high. We will continue to lift our voices in defense of life.

 

12-3-21 4:32 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

December 3, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature is scheduled to begin on December 7 a special session to consider reductions in individual and corporate income taxes.

 

The governor and state revenue officials have proposed a measure that would lower income taxes by almost $500 million a year when all of its provisions have taken full effect.

 

There are enough legislative co-sponsors to make passage of the measure a mere formality.

 

The tax reductions will be in effect for only part of 2022, when it will save Arkansas taxpayers an estimated $135.25 million.

 

In 2023 the estimated tax savings are $307.4 million. In 2024 they will be $383.2 million and in 2025 they will be $459 million. By 2026, when all of the provisions have taken effect, the tax savings will be an estimated $497.9 million a year.

 

The proposal would lower the top rate for individual state income taxes, from 5.9 percent to 4.9 percent. The top rate for corporate income taxes would drop from 5.9 percent to 5.3 percent.

 

It would increase tax credits for people with incomes of less than $22,900, saving them almost $20 million a year.

 

People in the low income and middle income brackets would save about $133 million a year.

 

The legislature approved income tax cuts proposed by the governor in 2015, 2017 and 2019. In total, they lowered taxes for Arkansas families, in all income brackets, by about $250 million a year.

 

Even after reducing tax revenue, Arkansas ended last fiscal year with a surplus of almost a billion dollars.

 

When the state accumulates such a large surplus, it promotes two opposing schools of thought. In one camp, advocates argue that legislators should increase funding of vital social programs such as services for people with disabilities and pre-school for children in low-income families.

 

On the other side are elected officials who believe that large surpluses prove that taxes are too high. They say that essential services are adequately funded, and the surplus should be returned to taxpayers because government is not in the business of stockpiling money it doesn’t need.

 

Another issue that will arise during the special session is whether legislators will limit their action to items on the governor’s official call. Beyond the income tax cuts, he has listed several minor “housekeeping” measures that need to be approved and should not generate much controversy.

 

For example, a law enacted earlier this year limits rebates from pharmaceutical manufacturers that sell insulin. An unintended consequence was that it may raise costs of health insurance for teachers and state employees. The governor said he would ask that the legislature repeal the law.

 

Some legislators want to add a provision to Arkansas laws that outlaw abortions, to allow civil lawsuits against abortion clinics. If the governor does not include the item on his call for a special session, it would not be considered unless the legislature voted by an extraordinary majority of two-thirds to bring it up. Also, some legislators have said they would try to bring up tax cuts that go beyond those proposed by the governor.

 

12-3-21 4:27 p.m. KAWX.ORG

Polk County Sheriff's Report for November 22ND - 28TH

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of November 22, 2021 – November 28, 2021. 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 22, 2021

Phillip Riley, 52 of Cove was arrested on a Misdemeanor Warrant for Theft of Property and two Misdemeanor Warrants for Failure to Appear.

 

November 23, 2021

Deputies were dispatched to an address on Florence Street near Vandervoort in reference to a dog being shot.

A traffic stop on Polk 45 near Mena led to the arrest of Jared White, 36 of Hot Springs Village on charges of DWI and Driving Left of Center.

 

November 24, 2021

Shannon House, 54 of Hatfield was arrested on a Felony Failure to Appear Warrant.

Deputies were dispatched to a domestic disturbance at a residence on Hidden Lane near Mena.

Deputies responded to a walk-in complaint of a vehicle being stolen from Cardinal Lane near Acorn.

Veronica Maddox, 24 of Kansas City, KS was arrested on a Felony Failure to Appear Warrant.

 

November 25, 2021

Deputies responded to a complaint of a vehicle being taken without permission.

 

November 26, 2021

Deputies were dispatched to an address on Polk 32 near Cove in reference to a structure fire.

 

November 27, 2021

A report of a domestic disturbance led to the arrest of Amanda Davis, 36 of Hatfield on a charge of Public Intoxication.

While patrolling on Hwy 71 N near Acorn, deputies performed a welfare check leading to the arrest of Taylor Higgins, 26 of Mena on a charge of Public Intoxication.

Deputies were dispatched to a property on Polk 59 near Board Camp in reference to theft of property.

Deputies responded to a Criminal Mischief complaint at a residence on Polk 24 near Cove.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 90 near Acorn in reference to Criminal Mischief.

A patrol on Polk 41N near Mena led to the arrest of Zachary Bryan.

 

November 28, 2021

Deputies responded to a report of the dispatchers being harassed via phone.

After an altercation on Polk 90 near Acorn, Justin Abbott, 39 of Mena was arrested on a charge of Third-Degree Battery.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 2 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.

 

PC21-00985

 

11-29-21 4:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG

Mena Police Report for November 21ST - 27TH

Mena Police Department reports for the week of November 21st through November 27th, 2021

 

November 21

A report of a dog bite was taken at a residence on South Cherry Street.

 

A report of theft of property (shoplifting) was taken from Walmart.

 

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

 

November 22

A report of forgery was taken from Branding Iron.

 

A report of sexual indecency with a child was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

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

 

November 23

A report of harassment was taken from a person at Walmart.

 

A report of theft was taken at a residence on 4th Street.

 

Lesia Land, 62, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

November 24

A report of violation of a protection order was taken at a residence on Dixon Road.

 

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

 

Cheryl Smith, 32, was served with two warrants at a residence on Dixon Road.

 

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

 

A report of theft was taken at a residence on West Boundary Road.

 

November 25

Samuel Dawson, 29, was charged with Theft of Property after a complaint on Vivian Street.

 

Rachel Turner, 44, was charged with Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest after a disturbance call to Mountain View Drive.

 

November 26

A report of unlawful burning was taken at a residence on Locust Street.

 

November 27

A report of criminal trespass was taken at Atwood’s.

 

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

 

11-29-21 11:01 a.m. KAWX.ORG

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Importance of Thanksgiving
 
 
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I’d like to talk about the importance of Thanksgiving, but first I have to talk turkey. Arkansas turkey to be exact. Turkeys are one of Arkansas’s many claims to fame for which we can be thankful, right up there with the Buffalo National River and the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest, which starts Friday.
 
In 2020, Arkansas farmers raised 31 million turkeys, which puts Arkansas second in the nation for the number of turkeys raised. That’s 595 million pounds, which is 14 percent of all turkeys produced in the United States.
 
The Arkansas turkey industry creates and supports over 17,500 jobs. Cargill and Butterball, two of the largest turkey companies in the United States, have facilities in four Arkansas cities: Jonesboro, Springdale, Huntsville, and Ozark. Every Butterball-branded whole turkey is raised in Arkansas.
 
If we kept all Arkansas-raised turkeys in the state, each of our more than 3 million residents could have approximately ten turkeys. That’s not how life works, unfortunately. And as we observe the second Thanksgiving of the pandemic, some of our family, friends, and neighbors are struggling to put food on the table.
 
Many have lost loved ones to COVID-19, and the cost of fuel, food, and merchandise has increased over the past year.
 
During this time of year, we become acutely aware of the plight of the less fortunate, and our nonprofit organizations are tireless in their efforts to help. The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, the state’s six food banks, and the more than 700 agencies that distribute food around the state are running at full steam to assist as many people as possible.
 
But with all the challenges, there is much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. The United States has observed a day of thanks all the way back to our founding. But it was Abraham Lincoln who made it official with a proclamation in October of 1863, a decision that was rooted in his desire to see an end to the Civil War and peace among all the states.
 
In words that remain as timely as the day he read them, the President noted that the nation had continued to prosper in spite of the war, and that except on the fields of battle, “order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere.”
 
Mr. Lincoln recommended that as Americans thanked God for his protection, they also should care for those who had become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers.
 
He asked Americans to “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”
 
His words are a constant reminder to trust God and be thankful.
 
11-26-21 6:35 a.m. KAWX.ORG 
 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Small businesses are the heartbeat of our neighborhoods and the lifeblood of our local economy. 

 

In Arkansas, small businesses make up the majority of the business landscape, at 99.3% of all businesses in the state. This equates to 258,552 businesses. Small businesses can be found in every corner of our state. 

 

Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday. It is a day to celebrate and support small businesses and what they do for communities. If you are looking for a way to find unique gifts while also supporting the local economy, Small Business Saturday is the perfect day to do so.

 

When you shop locally, you support your neighbors and community. Local businesses are owned by people who live in our towns. They go to our churches, donate to our Little League teams, and show up to parent/teacher conferences. 

 

It is estimated that for every $100 spent in a local business, $68 dollars recirculates and remains in the local economy. Small businesses employ 47.1% of Arkansas employees, or 491,383 people total. Women own 43.1% of small businesses in Arkansas. Veterans own 9.3%, and racial minorities own 12.8%.

 

When you shop at small businesses, you are doing business with someone who took a chance on their dreams. The employees are likely 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.

 

Your small purchase can make a big difference this year. Our small business owners are emerging from one of the most challenging economic times in our history. 

 

Despite the difficulties posed by the past year, Arkansas was recently ranked no. 2 for states with the most pandemic-proof small businesses. Personal finance website WalletHub compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia’s small business environment, determining which states’ small businesses were the most pandemic-proof and had the greatest potential to bounce back. Your continued support helped to make this a reality. We encourage you to support small businesses in your community this holiday season and year-round.

 

11-26-21 6:30 a.m. KAWX.ORG

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Keeping Seniors Safe from Scams

 

More shoppers turn to online retail to fulfill Christmas wish lists and fill stockings. As we search for gifts to give loved ones this holiday season it’s important to safeguard our information so we can protect our personal data from cyber criminals and teach those who are most vulnerable how to avoid becoming victims.

 

Last year, nearly 800,000 individuals called the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. More than 25 percent of the victims were older than 60 and accounted for $1 billion in losses as a result of Internet scams. Nearly $100 million was lost to COVID-related hoaxes.

 

It is vital that seniors know how to protect themselves and their finances from these schemes and can prevent becoming a target in the future. In order to save our loved ones from potential thieves, we must familiarize ourselves with common tactics and scams.

 

The pandemic exacerbated internet fraud at a time when all Americans were searching for hope and security. In the early months, seniors were more isolated and unguarded than ever and many dishonest scammers saw this as an opportunity to further deceive and steal from this vulnerable population.

 

Con artists have developed a series of fake scenarios that force seniors to make fast decisions and urge them to give up sensitive personal information.

 

One of the most shameful schemes is commonly referred to as the “romance scam” which is blamed for $340 million in losses just last year. In this ploy the fraudster targets a widowed senior and manipulates them into sending money or personal information.

 

Other scams place Medicare and Social Security benefits in the crosshairs, with impersonators portraying agency officials, as well as thieves continuing to promote unproven COVID-19 cures.

 

The issue is one officials at all levels of government are working to combat. Locally, Better Business Bureaus have flagged these warning signs and are educating consumers about what to look out for so we can stop this theft before it happens. In Arkansas, the Attorney General’s office is holding those who swindle our seniors accountable. 

 

At the federal level, the Federal Trade Commission has a division devoted to consumer information and increasing awareness about avoiding and reporting scams. My colleagues on the Senate Special Committee on Aging recently released a fraud book with instructions, tips and guidelines to avert and deal with such situations. I strongly encourage all Arkansans to consult this resource to learn more about scams aimed at older adults so we can protect those we care about.

 

The committee has created a toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-855-303-9470 where committee staff will provide callers with information to report incidences to the proper officials. If you or someone you know has suffered from one of these scams or feel you are currently being subjected to one, do not hesitate to call this hotline.

 

This is one way we can fight back and take control from those who hide behind screens and shamelessly steal from their victims.

 

This issue requires all Arkansans to be mindful of the risks and dangers of fraud on the Internet and work together to combat these scammers and especially protect our senior community. Criminals will continue to find new ways to be a scrooge during the holidays, but by educating ourselves we can stay one step ahead of their hoaxes.

 

11-26-21 6:20 a.m. KAWX.ORG

 

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

November 26, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – State agencies have experienced the same problems as many companies with difficulty hiring entry-level employees.

 

Several agencies have contacted the state Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to report a difficulties attracting applicants for available positions.

 

OPM put together a proposal that allows for higher entry-level salaries for all state agencies and presented it to legislators in June.

 

A broad approach was proposed, rather than simply raising salaries at a few specific agencies. OPM was aware of the possibility of a ripple effect that would cause employees to leave one agency to work at another.

 

“This becomes particularly critical at the county levels where everyone tracks the salaries of others,” OPM officials wrote in a letter to the Legislative Council’s Personnel Subcommittee.

 

“There has been increased media attention regarding salary increases of jobs within the national economy requiring less strenuous qualifications and duties,” OPM officials wrote.

 

Some private companies offer bonuses and some help new employees pay their college tuition. The letter specifically mentioned salary increases announced by Walmart, Tyson, Chipotle, McDonald’s and Amazon.

 

The Personnel Subcommittee reviewed the request for higher salaries for jobs at the bottom of the scale. Not all state agencies have taken advantage and raised salaries, but some major divisions have.

 

For example, the state Board of Correction has approved changes to its pay grid that will raise salaries for more than 3,500 prison staff.

 

According to the Office of Personnel Management letter, other agencies have experienced difficulty hiring new staff, including the Human Services Department and the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

 

Employees could receive raises as high as $5,000 a year, depending on their duties and their job’s slot in the state pay grid.

 

In their request for authority to raise entry-level salaries, officials at the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) mentioned the pressures on the Office of Child Support Enforcement. The office has about 600 employees in 27 offices around Arkansas.

 

Their work is high volume and demands acute accuracy. They prepare documents for legal cases that are often contested by one of the parties in a divorce or child support case.

 

Employees must communicate professionally with parents of children in disputed cases, and with businesses that employ those parents, officials within law enforcement, the judicial system and other state agencies.

 

The work is “often high stress due to the subject matter and the level of conflict that sometimes exists in the families we serve,” DFA officials wrote.

 

Historically, DFA would get 100 applications when a job became available. Now, the agency receives only seven or eight applications for each job opening.

 

Often, the agency offers people jobs and they accept. However, before their first day on the job they will call to say that they have found a better paying job somewhere else.

 

“DFA is simply not able to compete for qualified employees in the current environment,” agency officials said.

 

The pandemic has worsened the problem because many people are concerned about working with a steady flow of customers, such as a revenue office where people renew licenses.

 

11-26-21 6:12 a.m. KAWX.ORG

OLT Presents "A Doublewide Texas Christmas" and Harmony Concert

OLT Presents “A Doublewide Texas Christmas” and Harmony Concert

 

Many Polk County residents look forward to celebrating the Christmas holidays with festive activities from Ouachita Little Theatre. This year, OLT is producing a Jones Hope Wooten comedy entitled “A Doublewide Texas Christmas” directed by Amanda Baker. Performances are scheduled over two weekends on December 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, 11th, and 12th.

 

Opening Night (Dec. 3) will start approximately at 8:00 PM to allow patrons to enjoy the festivities downtown, including the fireworks and parade. That performance will begin once the fireworks have ended. The rest of the Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:30 PM.

 

This fast-paced comedy is set in of one of the smallest trailer parks in Texas, consisting of four doublewides and a shed. The inhabitants of the trailer park are distressed to learn that the nearby town of Tugaloo is determined to annex them. Confusion and hilarity ensue, and this show is sure to appeal to OLT patrons looking for some original holiday entertainment. Be sure to look for the “Doublewide” cast and crew in the Christmas Parade on December 3!

 

Tickets are on sale now at the OLT office, 610 Mena Street on Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, and Saturdays from 4:00 PM- 6:00 PM.

 

Also, on Friday, December 17 at 7:30 PM, the musical group HARMONY will once again will bring their musical talents to perform a special live Christmas show for local residents. Donations will be taken at the door which will be split between the musical family and OLT.

 

Happy Holidays from Ouachita Little Theatre!

 

11-23-21 8:35 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for November 15th - 21st

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of November 15, 2021 – November 21, 2021. 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 15, 2021

Deputies responded to an altercation near Cove. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies responded to a report from a walk-in complainant of receiving an unexpected package.

Deputies responded to a report of items taken from a vehicle.

 

November 16, 2021

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 76 near Acorn in reference to the Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Hwy 88E near Ink in reference to a stolen mailbox.

 

November 17, 2021

Deputies responded to a report of a break-in from a walk-in complainant.

Deputies were dispatched to Hay Hurst Lane near Acorn in reference to a vehicle parked on someone’s property.

Deputies responded to a report of tires and wheels being taken from a truck.

 

November 18, 2021

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant whose motorcycle had been stolen.

Johnny Webb, 41 of Mena was arrested by an officer with Probation/Parole to be held for another agency.

 

November 19, 2021

Deputies were dispatched to a report of an accidental shooting on Polk 410 near Hatfield.

Bobby Shelton, 42 of Mena was arrested by an officer with Arkansas Game and Fish on a Hold for Another Agency.

 

November 20, 2021

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Hwy 71 South near Hatfield in reference to a missing vehicle.

 

November 21, 2021

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

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 3 vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 20 Incarcerated Inmates, with 14 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00968

 

11-22-21 12:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for November 14th - 20th

Mena Police Department reports for the week of November 14th through November 20th, 2021

 

November 14

 

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

 

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

 

November 15

 

A report of battery 3rd degree was taken from a person at Mena Regional Health System.

 

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

 

A report of harassment was taken from at a residence on Crescent Drive.

 

November 16

 

A report of battery 3rd degree, disorderly conduct, and criminal trespass was taken at a residence on Crescent Drive.

 

Kenneth Clements, 58, was charged with Public Intoxication at District Court.

 

A report of harassment was taken from a person at Greenhouse Cottages.

 

November 17

 

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

 

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

 

November 18

 

Mitchell Symens, 21, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) at Walmart.

 

A report of theft and breaking or entering was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

Jesse Jinkins, 41, was served with two warrants at Walmart.

 

November 19

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken from a person at Walmart.

 

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

 

A report of financial identity fraud was taken at a residence on 7th Street.

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken at Sander’s Moving Company.

 

November 20

 

A report was taken of a dog bite victim at the Men Ark Apartments.

 

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

 

11-22-21 10:05 a.m. KAWX.ORG

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: The Most Expensive Thanksgiving Ever

The Most Expensive Thanksgiving Ever  

There is perhaps no holiday with a stronger connection to food than Thanksgiving. Family and friends gather around the table to enjoy favorites like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and more. And then of course there’s the pumpkin pie and other sweets that await for dessert.

 

Unfortunately the staples that make the traditional Thanksgiving meal will cost a lot more this year.

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the wholesale price for the lynchpin of the spread, turkey, will cost nearly 20 percent more than last year. Familiar side dishes like potatoes and green beans could cost 17 percent and 39 percent more, respectively. And count on spending an extra 2 percent to have bread on the table, as much as 29 percent more for the butter to go with it, and onions to add to family-favorite casseroles could be more than double last year’s price.

 

The numbers reported by the American Farm Bureau are even higher. The organization’s annual survey indicates 2021’s average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is $53.31. This amounts to a 14 percent increase from last year’s average.

 

For travelers, driving to a Thanksgiving gathering will also be more expensive. Gas prices are the highest they have been in seven years. If guests are staying overnight, their bacon and eggs at breakfast will both cost nearly 30 percent more, according to BLS data. And if it’s cold and you need to keep everyone comfortable, expect to pay more. Energy prices have risen by almost 25 percent. Using either data set brings you to the same conclusion. This will be the most expensive Thanksgiving ever.

 

Not only do all of these holiday fixtures cost more this year, reduced supplies and supply chain disruptions will make many of the Thanksgiving favorites harder to find.

 

This is not the fault of our farmers. It’s not the delivery truck driver’s fault or the store’s fault. The blame falls squarely on the White House and the Democrat leadership in Congress for not addressing the challenges we face today.

 

The economic pressures of the Biden era – labor shortages and higher costs for raw materials and transportation – are raising costs throughout the food supply chain. Retailers are contending with tremendous bottlenecks and complications, which will mean long waits, shortages and higher prices for shoppers.

 

Democrats have done nothing to alleviate to the supply chain struggles. They refuse to address the private sector’s massive labor needs, and their focus on the reckless tax and spending legislation is poised to send inflation to record heights.

 

Americans’ paychecks are being stretched further and further, and that hurts people like seniors on fixed incomes and single parents most. Meanwhile, inflation is rising at a pace not seen in decades. The Consumer Price Index increased 6.2 percent over the last year, reaching a high not seen since December 1990. Food inflation under President Biden’s watch is the highest since the Carter administration.

 

The price tag that accompanies their reckless tax and spend package, estimated by some academics to be as high as $4 trillion, is sure to continue to push inflation even higher.  

 

It’s time for the Democrats to abandon their cradle-to-grave agenda, reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to find bipartisan solutions to bring relief to Arkansans.

 

11-19-21 3:56 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Next week, most of us will gather around a table with family and friends and think about the things we are most thankful for.

 

This year, 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.

 

In 2020, Arkansas poultry producers raised 31 million turkeys. We rank 2nd in the nation for turkeys raised, accounting for 14% of all turkeys raised in the United States.

 

The industry is responsible for approximately $4.3 billion in total economic activity throughout the state and supports more than 17,500 Arkansas jobs.

 

When it comes to sweet potatoes, Arkansas farmers harvest more than 4,000 acres every year. Arkansas is the 4th largest producer of sweet potatoes.

 

Arkansas ranks 18th for corn production in the United States, with Arkansas, Lee, and Craighead counties being the top three producing counties. Over 111 million bushels of corn were produced last year in Arkansas on 830 thousand acres.

 

On the surface, soybeans may seem unrelated to your thanksgiving feast. But soybean meal, oil, and soy foods are key to making some of your favorite family traditions possible. 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.

 

Soybeans are Arkansas’ largest row crop accounting for more acres than rice, corn, sorghum, and wheat combined. Arkansas currently ranks 11th in the nation in soybean production, producing more than 139 million bushels annually valued at more than $1.5 billion.

 

Arkansas farmers may have contributed to your dessert menu as well, especially when it comes to the pies. Arkansas has more than 15,736 acres of pecan trees. Arkansas’ commercial pecan production contributes an average of $11 million to the state’s economy every year. The 87th General Assembly designated the pecan as the official nut of Arkansas.

 

Agriculture is Arkansas’ largest industry, providing more than $21 billion in value to Arkansas' economy annually. We thank our farmers for the meal this Thanksgiving and for providing for our dinner tables every day of the year.

 

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.

 

11-19-21 3:53 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Arkansas’s Pillars for Educational Success
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I’d like to talk about the pillars of our education system that allow Arkansans to adapt to an economy that grows more complex and more high-tech by the day. We must preserve and strengthen these pillars for our young people as they pursue satisfying careers.
 
The first pillar is an unshakable commitment to the fundamentals of education: in-classroom learning built upon effective instruction in core subject areas taught by high-quality teachers.
 
In Arkansas, we know that school isn't really school without that pillar. That was one of the crucial considerations when we decided to continue in-person learning throughout the past school year, even in the face of well-intentioned resistance. Arkansas was one of only four states to do that.
 
The value of in-person school — with sports, band, socializing, and teacher contact — over the isolation of remote learning was clear. In rural areas, we boosted teacher pay to retain good teachers so that all students had adequate instruction regardless of their ZIP code.
 
A commitment to the fundamentals goes beyond attending school in person. Core reading and literacy skills are vital to success in the classroom, in life, and in every career path.
 
Here’s a bit of history to confirm our commitment to the basics. In 2017, we saw a pressing need to increase reading skills throughout our schools. We established the Reading Initiative for Student Excellence to provide reading instruction based upon the science of reading emphasizing phonics. We also worked to create a culture of reading in the schools, with individualized help to assure third-grade students read at grade level. This significant initiative will increase the number of students who are reading and performing at the highest level.
 
The second pillar is our commitment to embrace 21st Century tools as we teach the fundamentals. The first step in that was the computer science requirements we implemented. These requirements have set us apart from other states and contributed to our reputation as an attractive state for innovative companies across a host of industries.
 
Our success in Arkansas is proof that we can quickly overcome stereotypes and increase test scores. Computer science was just the beginning. Even before COVID struck, broadband connectivity was fast becoming essential for us to compete with other states. When the CARES Act opened new opportunities for funding, we redoubled our efforts to take broadband to students in rural and low-income areas.
 
The third pillar is our public-private partnerships. When it comes to connectivity and workforce training, the government cannot and should not go it alone. Arkansas’s Ready for Life initiative allows the private sector the opportunity to participate in building our workforce. Ready for Life is a one-stop website where job-seekers, educators, and employers can find each other.
 
That’s our formula. No. 1. Teach the old-school fundamentals. No. 2. Enthusiastically embrace 21st Century tools to teach the fundamentals. No. 3. Enhance public-private partnerships in support of education. Do those three things, and success will come naturally.
 
11-19-21 11:38 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

November 19, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – In the past couple of years Arkansas has made a massive financial commitment to expanding broadband access to all parts of state.

 

So far $275 million has been approved, and the Legislative Council is set to increase that investment to $400 million when it considers an additional $125 million in broadband proposals at its November meeting.

 

The investment so far has financed 132 projects that have brought high-speed Internet access to 89,276 households. A total of 213,570 Arkansans live in those households.

 

The legislature faces several challenges to make sure that the money is spent effectively. It has hired a consultant to develop a master plan to coordinate the “footprint” of each project, similar to how highway projects are connected.

 

Another challenge requires balancing political and social demands. There are 222,000 households in Arkansas with a yearly income of less than $20,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 91,000 of those households have no Internet subscription at all. They probably could not afford an Internet service that exceeds $100 a month.

 

There are 583,000 households with annual incomes between $20,000 and $75,000, and of those 114,000 have no Internet service. Their access to Internet will depend on what is available.

 

Since Arkansas began its program to provide broadband access to rural and unserved areas, the technical requirements have increased.

 

It used to be that the minimum speed required by the Federal Communications Commission was 25/3 megabytes of data per second. The 25/3 refers to upload/download capacity.

 

State officials alerted the legislature to expect higher standards of 100/100 Mbps when new rounds of federal funding become available. Of course, the higher minimum standards have raised the costs of providing broadband.

 

Also, under previous standards broadband could be provided by satellite, fixed wireless connections and fiber optic cables. New standards will limit funding to projects that install fiber optic cables.

 

BroadbandNow, an independent policy research organization, ranks Arkansas 41st in the country in broadband access. The FCC reports that 63 percent of residents in rural Arkansas have access, while 95 percent of the people in urban areas have access.

 

About 57 percent of the state has coverage that allows downloads of 100 Mbps or greater. However, that high performance standard comes at a higher price. When you factor in people’s ability to afford more expensive plans, only 22.8 percent of Arkansans have equitable access to broadband with a minimum capability of 100 Mbps.

 

Legislators will consider whether broadband expansion worsens the “digital divide,” by increasing opportunities for some people while low-income families fall further behind because they cannot afford high-speed Internet service.

 

The digital divide is important because it signifies much more than the capacity to watch movies and television shows. As the pandemic has proven, Internet access affects education, health care and work. Without broadband, there are students who cannot turn in their homework and parents who cannot keep their jobs.

 

Policy makers equate today’s efforts to expand broadband access with rural electrification in the 1930s, and the building of railroads in the 19th century. Broadband allows people to seek opportunity, education and health care outside of their local region.

 

11-19-21 10:16 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Flags To Half Staff For Deputy Frank Ramirez

Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered the United States flag and the state flag of Arkansas to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the memory of Independence County Patrol Deputy Frank Ramirez. Flags will remain at half-staff until the day of interment.

 

Deputy Ramirez died in the line of duty on the morning of Thursday, November 18, 2021, after being involved in a one vehicle accident.

 

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:

 

“Deputy Frank Ramirez lost his life in service to his community. Susan and I are praying for the comfort of Deputy Ramirez’s wife, two children, extended family, and fellow deputies. Deputy Ramirez’s death is a reminder that there is no such thing as a routine assignment for a police officer. I am grateful that in spite of that risk, hundreds of Arkansas officers such as Deputy Ramirez choose law enforcement as a career and go to work every day to assist and protect the rest of us.”

 

The Governor’s proclamation for Deputy Frank Ramirez can be found HERE.

 

11-18-21 4:47 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Resident Found Guilty of Negligent Homicide

A Howard County Circuit Court jury this week found a Mena resident guilty on charges that include Negligent Homicide. 
 
23-year-old Chance Austen Manasco was convicted Tuesday evening and sentenced to five years on the Negligent Homicide charge. 
 
Jurors also found him guilty on a felony count of First Degree Battery. 
 
He was sentenced to five years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections on the battery count.  The sentences will run consecutively.  
 
Manasco was charged in 2019, following a motor vehicle accident on Highway 84 near Umpire in northern Howard County. 
 
A passenger in Manasco's vehicle died from injuries received, while at least one other passenger sustained serious injuries. 
 
According to the Arkansas State Police, Manasco's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit at the time of the wreck. 
 
During Tuesday's deliberation process, jurors took nearly two hours to find Manasco guilty and deliberated another 25 minutes on the sentencing phase. 
 
He is being detained in the Howard County Jail in Nashville awaiting transfer to the state prison system.
 
11-17-21 6:15 p.m. KAWX.ORG

Mena School Board Meeting Recap

The Mena School Board had a short agenda to manage on Tuesday (11-16-21)  at the District Administration Building, and predictably, the meeting was brief.
 
In the Superintendent’s Report Dr. Lee Smith informed the board that the Annual Report to the Public has been completed and will be available to view online. Smith also told those in attendance that Covid-19 numbers continue to improve and there have been less than ten people under quarantine for the last two weeks . Finally he noted that they served 670 Thanksgiving meals at Louise Durham Elementary on Tuesday to students and guests. The other campuses will serve the meal later this week.
 
Smith then suggested that the district liquidate their older, high mileage vehicles and take advantage of a special state school vehicle fleet contract that is available through Red River Dodge. The board approved.
 
Next Maintenance Supervisor Danny Minton gave an update on projects and asphalt bids for work at Bearcat Stadium. Three bids were received and the low bid of $45,150.00 by B&L Paving was approved with dirt work in preparation for the paving by Bill Decker. Minton also reported that HVAC replacement at Mena Middle School has begun and work at Holly Harshman will follow. The shot clocks have also been installed at the Union Bank Center in preparation for use in the 2022/2023 basketball season.
 
New board zones have been drawn and the board approved those new zones. Watch local media, the Mena Public Schools website and social media for details on the new zone map.
 
Financial reports were quickly approved after a short discussion.
 
The final item on the agenda was personnel.
 
Peggy Foster asked to rescind her resignation as a bus driver and the board approved. The board approved the hiring of Cherish Michael as a contract bus driver and terminated the teaching contract with Elizabeth Thompkins.
 
11-17-21 11:08 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

"The Bert" Raises Over $10,000 for UARM Foundation

The annual Bert Hensley Memorial Golf Tournament, also known as “The Bert,” successfully generated over $10,000 for the UA Rich Mountain Foundation. It was held October 23, 2021 at the pristine Glenwood Country Club Golf Course, despite two postponements due to weather.

 

A total of 28 teams competed in the beloved 4-man scramble that includes other fun contests throughout the course. Results from the 1st flight are:

 

1st Place – Steve Bell, Mike Hobson, John Ponder, and Burl Collinsworth

2nd Place – Mike Lewis, Anthony Lewis, Chuck Rummel, Charlie Dubois

3rd Place – Doug Roberts, Better Roberts, Denise Hutt, David Young

 

L-R Steve Bell, John Ponder, Burl Collinsworth, and Mike Hobson

 

Results from the 2nd flight are:

 

1st Place – Danny Miner, Camden Broderson, Debbie Miner, Jeff Cunningham

2nd Place – Jay Quebedeaux, Max Rocha, Colton Quebedeaux, Alex Rocha

3rd Place – Gary Albrecht, Ethan Peters, Brandon Peters, Brody Peters

 

L-R  Danny and Debbie Miner, Camden Broderson, and Jeff Cunningham

 

Longest Putt – Brody Peters

Longest Drive – Michael Wood

Straightest Drive – Kyle Carpenter

Closest to the Pin (hole 7) – Charlie Dubois

Longest Drive – Charlie Dubois

Pitch in the Pool – Steven Hubbard

Closest to the Pin (hole 17) – Justin Romine

Closest the Wavy Line – Mike Hobson

Putting Contest – Phillip Wilson

 

This was the 10th consecutive year for the golf tournament that raises funds to support the college’s mission to provide transformative education to all learners.

 

11-16-21 9:08 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for November 8TH - 14TH

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of November 8, 2021 – November 14, 2021. 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 8, 2021

As a result of a traffic stop, Shaun Gunn, 35 of Cove was arrested on charges of Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, Careless and Prohibited Driving and Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License.

Charles Morgan, 44 of Mena was arrested on Felony Warrants for Theft, Criminal Conspiracy and Criminal Trespass.

Deputies responded to a report of Theft of Property from a walk-in complainant.

Zachary Abner, 29 of Watson, OK was arrested on Misdemeanor Warrants for Failure to Appear, Criminal Trespass and Violation of a no Contact Order.

 

November 9, 2021

Johnny Webb, 41 of Mena was arrested by an officer with Probation/Parole on a Parole Hold.

 

November 10, 2021

Deputies were dispatched to an address on Ponderosa Lane near Mena in reference to a Theft.

Deputies were dispatched to an altercation on Hwy 8 W near Mena. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Carrie Bass, 44 of Mena was arrested on a Felony Warrant for Probation Violation.

Deputies were dispatched to an address on Polk 117 near Acorn in reference to a domestic dispute. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies responded to a report of a stolen gun from a residence on Wild Rose Lane near Acorn.

 

November 11, 2021

No reports were filed.

 

November 12, 2021

Austin McCulley, 27 of Hatfield was arrested on two charges of Third Degree Domestic Battery and two charges of Endangering the Welfare of a Minor.

Officers responded to a report of Harassment from a walk-in complainant. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies responded to a report of a stolen vehicle.

Deputies responded to a report of a sexual assault.

Deputies responded to a vehicle window being broken at a property on Polk 58 near Board Camp.

Deputies responded to a report of a Residential Burglary at a residence on Polk 414 near Hatfield.

 

November 13, 2021

No reports were filed.

 

November 14, 2021

Elizabeth Trusley, 28 of DeQueen was arrested on a Felony Warrant for Probation Violation.

Cheyenne Smith, 27 of Mena was arrested on two Felony Failure to Appear Warrants.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 3 vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 21 Incarcerated Inmates, with 13 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00950

 

11-16-21 8:45 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Quality of Life Hosts Wildlife Photographer at Ouachita Center

With a grant from the Division of Arkansas Heritage (DAH), Quality of Life, Inc. hosteds a presentation by Mike Martin in the Ouachita Center on the campus of UA Rich Mountain on November 8. DAH was created to preserve and promote Arkansas’s natural and cultural heritage.

 

Martin is a renowned photographer featuring wildlife in Arkansas, including eagles and elk. His photographs have been featured in the Arkansas, New York State, Florida, and California parks departments’ literature as well as Cornell University’s Ornithology Department and the Field Museum of Chicago. Additionally, his eagle photos have been published in Wildlife and Science magazines.

 

L-R: Brenda Miner, Director of Johnson Learning Commons at UARM, photographer Mike Martin, Quality of Life Chair Bethany Hughes, and Director of Development Diann Gathright

 

Mena's Holly Harshman 5th grade class attended as well as members of the local community.

 

This is the third exhibit held on the UARM campus in 2021 that has been made possible through the DAH grant authored by Miner. The event is open to the community, however, if you do plan to bring a group of 10 or more, you are encouraged to contact Miner at 479.394.7622 ext. 1370.

 

To become familiar with or to purchase Martin’s work, please visit his website at https://www.ozarknaturegallery.com/index.

Chancellor Phillip Wilson expressed his appreciation to Miner for her efforts in securing the grant and bringing programs such as Martin’s to campus and the local community.

 

UA Rich Mountain’s mission is to provide transformative education to all learners.

 

11-15-21 10:17 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for November 7TH - 13TH

Mena Police Department reports for the week of November 7th through November 13th, 2021

 

November 7

 

A report of dog running at large was taken at a residence on Lisa Way.

 

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

 

Matthew Miller, 39, was served with two warrants at a residence on Dickson Road.

 

November 8

 

A report of harassment was taken at James’ Food.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at a residence on Casey Way.

 

A report of theft by receiving and a stolen vehicle was recovered at Price Mobile Homes.

 

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

 

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

 

Ricky Roberts, 29, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

November 9

 

Whitney Reynolds, 31, was charged with Possession of Schedule 6 Controlled Substance after a traffic stop on Gilham Avenue.

 

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

 

A report of possession of schedule 4 controlled substance was taken after a traffic stop on Janssen Avenue.

 

James Lane, 42, was served with two warrants at the police department.

 

November 10

 

No reports.

 

November 11

 

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

 

Kayla Irons, 34, was charged with Domestic Battery 3rd and Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call to a residence on 1st Street.

 

November 12

 

A death investigation report was taken at a residence on Midland Drive.

 

Justin Close, 34, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

November 13

 

Brianna Ramirez, 22, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

A report of theft of property (shoplifting) was taken at Walmart.

 

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

 

11-15-21 9:37 a.m. KAWX.ORG

Mena Man Killed In Crash on Highway 88

A single vehicle crash on State Highway 88 near Cherry Hill (Polk County) claimed the life of a Mena man Saturday night.


According to the Arkansas State Police, 30 year old Daniel Ray Roberts of Mena was eastbound on Highway 88 when the 2003 Chevrolet Trailblaer he was driving left the highway and struck two trees at just before 7:30 p.m.

 

Roberts was pronounced dead at the scene by Polk County Deputy Coroner Garrett Lundberg.

 

The accident was investigated by Trooper Seth K. Smedley of the Arkansas State Police.

 

11-14-21 12:50 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Right now, there are about 349 children and teens in Arkansas whose parents’ parental rights have been terminated and are currently seeking a forever family.

 

November is National Adoption Month. It is a time to encourage others to learn about adoption and recognize the many children who are still waiting.

 

Recently, the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) launched the Every Day Counts campaign as a reminder for people that every day these children and teens spend in foster care is a day too long because every day counts! 

 

The agency says the most significant needs right now are families for sibling groups and older teens.

 

In the 2021 Regular Session, the General Assembly passed Act 574, which directed the House Committee on Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs, and the Senate Interim Committee on Children and Youth to conduct a study of the best practices for reducing the number of children in foster care. 

 

As part of that study, members recently received a report from DCFS on reducing the number of children in foster care.

 

Arkansas became one of the first states to implement the landmark federal Family First Prevention Services Act. More commonly known as Family First, it is the first major federal child welfare reform effort in decades and impacts every piece of the child welfare system. 

 

Now, in-home services providers are using approved programs eligible for federal funding. These programs emphasize safely preventing children from entering DCFS custody or reunifying them with family as quickly as possible if out-of-home care is necessary. 

               

Family First changes also reinforced the direction in which Arkansas had been heading: that children in foster care should be placed with family until they achieve permanency. The law includes reforms to help keep children safe with their families and avoid the traumatic experience of entering foster care. At the same time, the law stresses the importance of children growing up in families and helps ensure children are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting to meet their needs when they do come into foster care. 

 

The priority is to place children with safe and appropriate relatives and fictive kin. DCFS staff have worked hard over the last several years to ensure children are placed with relatives and fictive kin when safe and appropriate, with 41% of children placed with relatives statewide as of September 30, 2021 as compared to the 28.1% of children who were placed with relatives statewide as of March 30, 2019.

 

While we continue our study and work to reduce the number of children entering the foster care system, we encourage you to explore how your family may be able to help.

 

If you are thinking about adoption, DCFS is encouraging you to fill out an application, go through the process and take the training. 

 

As part of the Every Day Counts campaign, Project Zero took on the challenge of creating a short film about every child currently waiting. Project Zero is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote adoption through the foster care system with the ultimate goal of finding a forever family for every child who is waiting.

 

You can find the short films and more information about each child on Project Zero’s Arkansas Heart Gallery. We’ve posted the link at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

11-12-21 3:44 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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