KAWX News

Polk County Sheriff's Report for August 3rd - 9th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of August 3, 2020 – August 9, 2020. 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 3, 2020

Report from complainant of receiving threatening messages.

Report from complainant on Polk 231 near Cove of the theft of a television and damage to cabinets. Deputy responded.

Report of a reckless driver on Polk 42 near Dallas Valley. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Azalea Lane near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 39 near Potter of a domestic disturbance led to a juvenile male being issued a Citation for Disorderly Conduct.

Report from complainant on Council Drive near Wickes of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 432 near Wickes of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 130 near Rocky of a package missing from a mailbox. Deputy responded.

 

August 4, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 38 near Hatfield of a theft. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 188 near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Sherwood Lane near Wickes of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Gilbert Lane near Rocky of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Cherry Hill of being harassed. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 675 near Big Fork of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Dalton Lane near Vandervoort of issues during a child custody exchange. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 16 near Vandervoort of a disturbance. Deputies responded.

Report of an unattended death on Polk 647 near Ink. Deputies responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 407 near Cove of a scam.

 

August 5, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 93 near Shady Grove of a disturbance. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 192 near Ink of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 660 near Board Camp of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.

 

August 6, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 73 near Ink of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 41S near Shady Grove of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Stevenson Drive near Wickes of damage to a door in the amount of $200.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71N near Acorn of harassment. Deputy responded.

Report of the discovery of four firearms in a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report of being threatened and chased by an individual in a vehicle on Hwy 71. Deputy responded.

 

August 7, 2020

Report from complainant on Janssen Avenue near Mena of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on 3rd Street near Mena of the violation of an Order of Protection. Deputy responded.

 

August 8, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Shady Grove of a disturbance. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 26 near Hatfield of a person refusing to return a gun. Deputy responded.

Report of a disturbance on Polk 219 near Wickes. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Donald H. Hummel, 27, of Mena on a Warrant for Theft of Property.

 

August 9, 2020

Report of a fire hydrant being struck be a vehicle on Polk 63 near Cherry Hill. Deputy responded.

Traffic stop on Polk 31 near Hatfield led to the arrest of Jerry L. Hopper, 44, of Smithville, OK on Warrants for Failure to Appear, No Vehicle License, No Proof of Insurance, Driving on a Suspended License, Fleeing on Foot, and Charges of Possession of Meth or Cocaine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Report of a disturbance on Polk 122 near Shady Grove. Deputies responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked no vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 16 Incarcerated Inmates, with 4 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00692

 

8-10-20 2:28 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Deedee Alston Elected To Board of Directors of Arkansas Women in Agriculture

Deedee Alston of Mena, Arkansas was recently elected to the Board of Directors of Arkansas Women in Agriculture.  Alston is the 4th generation on her family land and is married to Luke Alston, a 5th generation cattle, poultry & crop producer in Polk County.  

 

Together they own and operate Holly Springs Homestead, LLC and are both licensed real estate agents for RE/MAX Mena Real Estate.

 

Founded in 2006, Arkansas Women in Agriculture, Inc. is a private non-profit whose main goals are to provide educational programming and a network of support for women involved in agriculture throughout the state of Arkansas. 

 

Agriculture is Arkansas' largest industry, adding around $16 billion to state's economy annually.  To learn more about the organization or to join, go to www.arwia.org.

 

8-10-20 10:48 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for August 2nd - 8th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of August 2, 2020 through August 8, 2020 


 

August 2, 2020

 

An assault report was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

A report of disorderly conduct was taken on Andrys Avenue.

 

August 3, 2020

 

Gary Czarnetski, 26, was charged with Criminal Trespass after a call to Walmart.

 

A report was taken of a credit card skimmer being found on a fuel pump at Exxon Superstation.

 

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

 

Gary Czarnetski, 26, was charged with Commercial Burglary after a call to Mena Ford.

 

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

 

A report of vandalism was taken at Janssen Park.

 

James Cochran, 36, was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor and Resisting Arrest after a disturbance call to Cruizer’s.

 

August 4, 2020

 

A male juvenile was charged with Criminal Mischief for vandalism at Janssen park that was reported August 3rd.

 

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

 

Daniel Robicheaux, 26, was served with a warrant at District Court.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Robert Thrash, 21, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Dallas Avenue.

 

Marsha Denton, 36, was charged with Possession of Schedule 3 Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

August 5, 2020

 

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

 

A report of disorderly conduct was taken on Rogers Street.

 

August 6, 2020

 

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

 

August 7, 2020

 

Mykos Pierce, 20, was charged with Criminal Mischief for vandalism at Janssen Park that was reported August 3rd.

 

A report of disorderly conduct was taken on Andrys Avenue.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at McMillan Park.

 

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

 

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

 

August 8, 2020

 

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

 

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

 

8-10-20 10:44 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Arkansas's New Secretary of Health

 
LITTLE ROCK – I have appointed Dr. José Romero as Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, and today I’d like to share some things about the man who is assuming this job in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Romero moved to Arkansas in 2008 as Director of the Section of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He also served in a similar position at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. He served as the Director of Clinical Trials Research at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute from 2008-2019.
 
Dr. Nate Smith, our former Secretary of Health who has now taken a position with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, named Dr. Romero as the department’s chief medical officer in the spring. When Dr. Smith left for his new job, I named Dr. Romero interim secretary. And this week, I offered him the job as secretary.
 
It was an easy choice. Dr. Romero has devoted his career to public health, and he has earned a distinguished national reputation for his work in infectious diseases.
 
Dr. Romero was born in Mexico, where his grandfather worked the land, taught himself to read and write, and eventually owned a small grocery story. His grandfather’s goal for his children was simple. He wanted them to learn to read and write. Shortly after Dr. Romero was born, his parents moved to Michigan, where his father earned a master’s degree in civil engineering. Many of the bridges he designed in California are still standing.
 
Dr. Romero, who was a competitive swimmer as a teenager, spent most of his childhood in California. His brothers and sister were born in the United States. He became a citizen when he was in the sixth grade. At his naturalization ceremony, the judge asked young José to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
He knew from a young age that he wanted to be a doctor, and he returned to Guadalajara for medical school, where he graduated in the top 1 percent of his class.
 
His resume includes an impressive list of jobs, appointments, and accomplishments. He is chairman of the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is providing guidance nationally on the development and administration of a COVID-19 vaccine.
 
Much of his work has involved the study of pediatric infectious diseases. In his well-rounded career, Dr. Romero has done almost everything – from research to leading hospital departments – which has prepared him well to lead the Arkansas Department of Health.
 
We are blessed that Dr. Romero chose to make Arkansas his home. I am grateful he has agreed to become our Secretary of Health at this difficult time.
 
8-8-20 2:41 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson Proclaims COVID-19 A Valid Reason to Vote Absentee

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson issued an executive order today that allows Arkansans to vote absentee if they are concerned that voting in person may be a risk to their health or the health of others because of COVID-19. Executive Order 20-44 also allows elections officials to start processing the absentee ballots a week earlier than usual to allow for an anticipated increase in the number of absentee voters. He issued the executive order in response to an official request from the Arkansas Association of County Clerks.
 
“This order affirms Secretary of State John Thurston’s position that the fear of exposure to COVID-19 or of exposing others at the polls is reason enough for a voter to cast an absentee ballot,” Governor Hutchinson said. “If a significant number of voters chooses that option, elections officials could be overwhelmed.
 
We’ve already seen a significant increase in the number of applications for absentee ballots. This executive order builds in extra time for them to process and authenticate absentee ballots to ensure an accurate count and a fair election.” 
 
The additional number of days for processing ballots will coincide with the 15-day early voting period. During that time, elections officials will be allowed to process only the registration information from the outer envelopes of an absentee ballot. By Arkansas law, they will not be permitted to open the ballots and count absentee votes until 8:30 a.m. election day. The deadlines for applying for an absentee ballot and submitting a completed ballot remain the same. 
   
The application for absentee ballots and the deadlines are available on the Secretary of State’s website.
 
Executive Order 20-44 is on Governor Asa Hutchinson’s website.
 
8-8-20 8:03 AM KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

With children headed back to school this month, now is the perfect time for many families to get caught up on immunizations. The summer of 2020 may be more critical than previous summers, as there is a concern that immunizations have declined in recent months due to the pandemic. 

 

August is National Immunization Awareness Month.

 

National Immunization Awareness Month is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. 

 

When you receive immunizations, your chance of becoming ill from diseases is much lower. Furthermore, if you become sick, you will likely experience a milder case than if you were not vaccinated. Immunizations lower your risk of complications from infectious diseases, such as seasonal flu and shingles. They can also reduce your risk of a hospital stay. This prevention is especially important now, as hundreds of people are currently in the hospital for COVID-19.

 

Although we think of the fall as flu season, Dr. Jose Romero, Secretary of Health at the Arkansas Department of Health, has stated that August is the time of year when health providers start vaccinating against influenza.

 

Typically, only half of Arkansans receive a flu shot every year. The Health Department is hoping to increase that percentage this year. Dr.

 

Romero also stated this week that we don’t know yet what the confluence is between influenza and COVID-19. 

 

The Health Department will have the flu vaccine available next month. The department will hold drive-thru vaccination clinics starting Sept. 21. The vaccine will also be made available to schools throughout the state. Clinics and pharmacies may have the flu vaccine available even sooner.

 

As a reminder, Arkansas law requires all students attending Arkansas schools and licensed childcare facilities to be vaccinated against certain diseases, unless an official exemption form is filed. Visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov  to learn more.

 

8-7-20 4:14 PM KAWX.ORG

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Child Care Options Vital for Working Families’ Recovery

 

Over two-thirds of American children have all available parents in the workforce. At the height of the economic shutdown that resulted from the COVID-19 public health emergency, over 800 child care providers in Arkansas closed their doors.

 

A March survey of Arkansas child care centers by the National Association for the Education of Young Children found that 32 percent would not survive closing for more than two weeks without significant public investment.

 

According to Arkansas respondents in a second survey in April, 34 percent of child care programs were either completely closed or open only for children of essential workers.

 

That means many moms and dads have been left trying to be full-time caregivers to their kids while still also attempting to do their day jobs, which makes for an impossible decision for those in jobs where telework is not an option.

 

As we’ve begun to reopen the economy, there are many parents struggling to return to their previous child care arrangements or find new ones in order to get back to work themselves. This is a tremendous challenge for families in Arkansas and across the country, and the impact will be felt outside of individual homes since parents’ inability to obtain safe, affordable and reliable care for their children will ultimately hamper our economic recovery.

 

This crisis has taught us a great deal, especially when it comes to certain parts of our society and economy that we now realize are integral to our way of life.

 

The necessity of accessible, suitable child care options for hardworking families is one such lesson that has become abundantly clear. It is one we must take to heart and commit to address as a society.

 

As a dad, grandfather and employer, I’ve seen firsthand how this situation plays out among families and in the workplace. That’s why I’m working to help find solutions for Arkansas’s parents and kids.

 

One form of assistance came recently as the state of Arkansas announced it was allocating $41 million in funding made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help child care providers continue to offer services to our state’s families, including the ability to offer higher reimbursement rates and extra money to cover more extensive cleaning procedures or hire more caregivers.

 

According to our state’s child care industry, this was welcome relief and support. It’s important to build on that with even further assistance in order to ensure these businesses and their workforces can continue to remain operational in the coming months as we proceed with our coronavirus response and recovery efforts.

 

That’s why I’ve now also co-sponsored the Back to Work Child Care Grants Act of 2020 which would assist child care providers in continuing to offer critical, affordable services for working families during the COVID-19 emergency.

 

This bill would provide child care operations and facilities with financial assistance for nine months, allow states to design plans that fit their specific needs and send funds to child care providers more quickly without administrative red tape, all while helping to protect children and workers.

 

It’s vital that we ensure hardworking parents in Arkansas and across the country are able to return to work when conditions allow.

 

One major element we must address in order for that to happen is the ability to access safe, adequate child care because that will enable parents to get back to work with peace of mind about the wellbeing of their kids. We must keep working toward that end if we are to make progress on getting our economy and way of life back in any meaningful way.

 

8-7-20 4:08 PM KAWX.ORG 

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The OLT Presents 12 Angry Jurors August 21-23

OLT Entertains While Keeping Patrons Safe

 

Ouachita Little Theatre board members have been working hard behind the scenes trying to come up with ways to provide entertainment to the community while respecting CDC guidelines and mandates. While “movie nights” and online videos have met with success, it is most difficult for live theater to be performed, and this is the heart and soul of OLT. Rehearsals alone present multiple social distancing problems.

 

Performances also have many hurdles that seem too difficult to manage. However, they have come up with a solution to give the community a live performance worth attending that will provide as healthy an environment as possible during the pandemic.

 

OLT, in conjunction with the Just 4 Fun Players, has selected “12 Angry Jurors” to be produced on August 21-23. Friday and Saturday evening performances will be held at 7:30 PM and the Sunday matinee will be at 2:30 PM.

 

Directed by Scotty Jenkins, the play will be performed in a modified readers theater format. The actors onstage will be masked and set up with sound equipment to make sure the audience can hear every word. Likewise, patrons are required to wear masks for the entire performance, which will be a little shorter than usual, and include an intermission. Concessions will be available to purchase at the theater.

 

Attendance for each show is limited to 50 audience members. Tickets may be purchased at the door, and season tickets will be accepted as well. If you would like to purchase advance reserved seating, please utilize the OLT email oltwamembs@gmail.com to request your preferred performance and seats.

 

Staff will assign seating in accordance with social distancing guidelines and requests will be honored as much as possible, and tickets will be picked up at the door. The theater continues to be sanitized and professionally disinfected between every event held there.

 

The cast for “12 Angry Jurors” includes Bill Hayes, Brad Storey, Will Hose, Jackie Baird, Tara Cornelius, Larry Kropp, Lamar Austin, Denni Longoria, Scotty Jenkins, Mike Moe, Gayle Krahn, Tim Hesse, Rudi Timmerman, Christiana Moe, and Angelina Moe.

 

8-7-20 10:02 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

August 7, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – More than 28,000 Arkansas residents work in the forest products industry, cutting trees, producing paper and pulp, manufacturing furniture and shipping wood products across the world.

 

The majority of those jobs are in rural areas. They support ancillary occupations that bring the annual payroll of forestry-related occupations to $1.7 billion. The value of standing timber is estimated to be more than $12.6 billion.

 

The timber industry accounts for 5.1 percent of the total state economy, which means that forestry makes a bigger contribution to the Arkansas economy than it does in any other southern state.

 

Forestry accounts for 4.6 percent of the Mississippi economy and 4.5 percent of Alabama’s, but only 0.8 percent of the economy of Texas.

 

About 55 percent of Arkansas, or almost 19 million acres, is forested. Dallas County is the most heavily forested County, according to a Farm Bureau report. It is 94 percent forested. Mississippi County is the least covered in forest, with only five percent.

 

Most of the forest in Arkansas is hardwood, and about half of the pine forests are planted. Arkansas is the top state for planting oak seedlings in the South.

 

Also, Arkansas has the largest area of national forest in the South, with 2.5 million acres in the Ouachita and the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests.

 

In the 10-year period from 2008 through 2017, Arkansas lost an average of 22,740 acres of forest a year to wildfires.

 

The state Forestry Division was created in 1931 by an act of the legislature, with the purpose of protecting timberland from fires and natural hazards, while promoting the overall health of forests.

 

Last year Searcy County lost the most acreage to forest fires, with almost 11,000 acres burned. Izard County was second, with more than 6,600 acres of forest lost to fire. Chicot County, in the farm country of southeast Arkansas, came in at the bottom of the list with only three acres of forest lost to fire.

 

Insects such as beetles, moths, wood borers, worms and weevils can significantly reduce the value of a forest. Trees also can get diseased, especially when they’re under stress from drought or heat. Most of the common diseases are a type of fungus that cause blight, scale, spots, mildew and rust, according to the Cooperative Extension Service.

 

The University of Arkansas at Monticello has the only school of forestry in the state, but most of our state-supported colleges and universities have programs in agri-business, biology or environmental sciences.

 

Last year the Extension Service Plant Clinic received 3,321 plant samples for diagnosis of a disease.

 

County extension agents or staff at the Forestry Commission also help landowners market their timber. Private non-industrial landowners have about 58 percent of the forest land in Arkansas. Harvesting timber may not be their main source of income, but if managed wisely it can become a valuable investment.

 

Paper products made up almost 4 percent of total Arkansas exports overseas last year. Exports of paper have been on a three-year decline, according to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

 

Exports of recovered waste and scrap paper, with wood pulp, have increased over the same period, from accounting for less than 2 percent of total Arkansas exports to more than 4.25 percent.

 

8-7-20 9:50 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Municipal Candidate Filing Ends, Two Contested Races In Polk County

 

The filing period for municipal candidates in Polk County for the upcoming November 3rd General Election ended Wednesday, August 5th, at 12:00 PM. Two alderman positions will be contested, one in Mena and one in Hatfield.

 

Mena Incumbent Ed Gibson will face former alderman Larry Stewart for Warn 3, Position 2.

 

Hatfield Incumbent Diane Osborn will face Paige Self for Position 1.

 

There was not a filing for Hatfield Position 5, the Incumbent is Roger Marney who did not file for re-election before the period ended. 

 

All candidates who have filed, incumbents and opponents, can been seen below. The highlighted lines indicate a contested position.

 

CITY OF MENA

   
JAMES EARL TURNER ALDERMAN WARD 1, POSITION 1 7/29/2020
TERRI NEUGENT ALDERMAN WARD 1, POSITION 2 7/29/2020
DWIGHT DOUGLAS ALDERMAN WARD 2, POSITION 1 7/29/2020
MARY ALICE HEAD ALDERMAN WARD 2, POSITION 2 7/29/2020
ANDY BROWN ALDERMAN WARD 3, POSITION 1 7/30/2020
LARRY STEWART ALDERMAN WARD 3, POSITION 2 7/29/2020
EDWIN GIBSON ALDERMAN WARD 3, POSITION 2 7/30/2020
TOWN OF HATFIELD    
PAIGE SELF ALDERMAN, POSITION 1 7/30/2020
DIANE OSBORNE ALDERMAN, POSITION 1 7/31/2020
LARRY DENTON ALDERMAN, POSITION 2 7/31/2020
LAWANA CALLAHAN ALDERMAN, POSITION 3 7/29/2020
RILEY JOHNSON ALDERMAN, POSITION 4 8/3/2020
  ALDERMAN, POSITION 5  
TOWN OF COVE    
JANET HENRY ALDERMAN POSITION 1 7/31/2020
CHARLOTTE CRUMP ALDERMAN POSITION 2 7/31/2020
BOYD S. SMITH ALDERMAN POSITION 3 7/30/2020
DANKER J. MIZE ALDERMAN POSITION 4 7/30/2020
DARRIS BURK ALDERMAN POSITION 5 7/30/2020
TOWN OF VANDERVOORT    
ROBERT A. HARTLEY ALDERMAN, POSITION 1 8/3/2020
JASON BOYETTE ALDERMAN, POSITION 2 8/3/2020
BRITTANY PHILLIPS ALDERMAN, POSITION 3 8/3/2020
WHITNEY CAUDILL ALDERMAN, POSITION 4 8/2/2020
RICKY McKENZIE ALDERMAN, POSITION 5 8/3/2020
TOWN OF WICKES    
LARRY WATKINS ALDERMAN POSITION 1 8/4/2020
LINDA L. GILLASPY ALDERMAN POSITION 2 8/4/2020
MARY FERGUSON ALDERMAN POSITION 3 8/4/2020
MARICELA AVILA ALDERMAN POSITION 4 8/4/2020
MELINDA R. KIGHT ALDERMAN POSITION 5 8/4/2020
TOWN OF GRANNIS    
DONNIE APPLE ALDERMAN, POSITION 1 8/4/2020
CHRIS FRACHISEUR ALDERMAN, POSITION 2 8/4/2020
TAMERA D. HINSON ALDERMAN, POSITION 3 8/4/2020
BILLY RICHARDSON ALDERMAN, POSITION 4 8/4/2020
JIMMY HUNTER ALDERMAN, POSITION 5 8/4/2020

 

8-6-20 2:36 PM KAWX.ORG 

 

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Protect Your Credit and Identity from Unemployment Fraud

 

Unemployment fraud has become a prevalent problem in Arkansas and around the nation. The Arkansas Division of Workforce Services recently announced over 37,000 suspected fraudulent unemployment claims have been identified and are being investigated in Arkansas. Depending upon the extent of the fraud, consumers may choose to request a fraud alert or security freeze with the credit reporting agencies or to seek an ID Theft Passport from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s Office if unauthorized lines of credit have been opened.

 

“Con artists are filing unemployment claims using stolen information and potentially ruining the good names of nearly 40,000 Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “No one is safe from these criminals who have brazenly attempted to file a claim pretending to be Governor Asa Hutchinson.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for those who believe they have been a victim of identity theft:

 

  • File a fraud alert with one of the three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
  • File a police report with your local law enforcement and get a copy of the report as soon as it is available.
  • For unemployment fraud, contact the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services’ fraud hotline at (501) 682-1058 or complete the secure fraud reporting form online at dws.arkansas.gov.
  • Get a copy of an identity theft booklet, which provides step-by-step instructions for dealing with identity thieves, including affidavits and forms for your financial institutions.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Cancel any accounts you believe have been compromised or have been opened fraudulently.
  • Consider placing a security freeze on your credit report to restrict access and help prevent additional instances of identity theft.
  • If fraudulent lines of credit have been opened in your name, then consider applying for an ID Theft Passport from the Attorney General’s office.

 

Many consumers are rightfully concerned about the safety of their personal and financial information and want to prevent fraud and identity theft. Attorney General Rutledge encourages Arkansans to never give their personal information over the phone or via email, to use strong passwords on all online accounts and to be diligent in reviewing all types of financial statements.

 

Committing identity theft in Arkansas is a felony and comes with a sentence that could include incarceration, fines up to $25,000 and restitution.

 

Consumers are advised that if you receive funds that you did not apply for and that you were not expecting, do not accept them. Instead, report the matter to the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services at (501) 682-1058 and to local law enforcement. Even if you did not request the funds, accepting such funds as part of an unemployment scam is unlawful.

 

For more information on identity theft and other consumer related issues, or to apply for an ID Theft Passport, contact the Arkansas Attorney General's Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

 

8-6-20 8:36 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Late summer means trouble bruins!

 

Arkansas’s bear population has made the news on more than one occasion in the last few weeks. Arkansas Game and Fish Biologists have had to relocate some black bears from a few towns in The Natural State recently, with one even taking a stroll on the University of Arkansas’s campus. The uptick in sightings is fairly common for this time of the year, but there are a few things people can do to help keep these wild animals in the woods and out of trouble.

 

“Food is what they’re after at this time of year,” said Myron Means, large carnivore program coordinator for the AGFC. “We received calls for 53 nuisance bear cases in July, and that’s a pretty typical count for this time of year.”

 

Means says the reason for the rise in nuisance calls during mid- to late summer revolves around wild food sources beginning to dry up.

“The blackberries, dewberries, blueberries and other soft mast that bears prefer are just about gone this time of year and it will be a little while before elderberries, pokeberries and other soft mast comes on,” Means said. “In a month or so, we’ll start to see some hickories, beechnuts and acorns come into play, but this is usually a time when food supplies are getting thinner and bears are having to work a little harder to find them.”

 

That search can sometimes land bears in people’s backyards, where they find an easy meal and become a nuisance. According to Means, 90 percent of the calls received by the AGFC about nuisance bears stem from the bears finding food in the form of unsecured trash cans, loose pet food and bird feeders. And the problem can be solved quickly with the removal or securing of those attractants. As part of the AGFC’s nuisance protocol, biologists won’t remove a bear that is being fed, either intentionally or unintentionally, through human means.

 

“We just don’t have the staff or equipment to respond to a dozen calls a day, which is how many we can receive in a bad year,” Means said. “We had so many calls that were about bears where people were feeding wildlife that we had to change our protocol to have all food removed before we would relocate a bear. And it doesn’t matter how far we remove that bear if it’s an adult, they can instinctively find their way back to their home range and be right back on that food source if the root of the problem isn’t corrected.”

 

Out of the 53 nuisance cases in July, only four required a relocation and all were because of public safety concerns from the bears wandering into towns. The other 49 cases were resolved by the landowner simply removing the food source and letting the bear go about its business.

 

“Once a bear goes to that easy food source and finds it empty a few times, they will go elsewhere to get a meal,” Means said. “But if people leave food out or intentionally feed the bears, that’s when we get into nuisance problems. Most people do not realize that it is actually illegal to feed bears in Arkansas except during a bear hunting season and 30 days prior.

 

Means explains that bears can become habituated to finding the free meal and often it’s the result of someone thinking they need to help the bear or keep it around for pictures and entertainment. Once that bear begins to lose its fear of people, it can become more aggressive or damage property seeking more food. With no negative response at bad behavior, the bear doesn’t know any better than to continue seeking food and pushing its way around.

 

“That’s not good for people, and removing it isn’t good for the bear,” Means said. “It’s best to simply stop the feeding and make sure the bear gets the hint that it’s not welcome from the beginning.”

 

Means and other biologists from throughout the Southeast have worked together to help people learn more about bears and how to live in areas where bears may be present. Together, they formed a special website to deliver bear safety tips and information. Visit www.bearwise.org to learn more.

 

8-6-20 8:22 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Aug. 5, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

* By an Arkansas Fishing License by clicking here. Your purchase of a Fishing License helps support the AGFC’s work in maintaining the fishing resources throughout the state.

 

Click on the area of the state below where you would like current fishing information from.

 

Quick links to regions:

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

Arkansas River and White River levels are available at: https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk

 

For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/rt

 

For water-quality statistics (including temperature) in many Arkansas streams and lakes, visit: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality.

 

8-5-20 4:15 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansas Department of Agriculture Collecting Unsolicited Seeds for USDA Testing

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has received multiple reports that private citizens in Arkansas have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China. The types of seeds in the packages are varied. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them.

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) and the Arkansas Department of Agriculture are asking Arkansans who have received these unsolicited packages not to open, plant, or throw the seeds away. The Department encourages anyone who has received unsolicited seeds in the mail that appear to have Chinese origin to place the unopened seed packet in a sealed bag and report the package via the Unsolicited Seed Reporting Form or to contact the Plant Industries Division at 501-225-1598.  The Unsolicited Seed Reporting Form and more information can also be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/plant-industries/department-collecting-unsolicited-seeds/.

 

Once the contact information is received, the Department will arrange to have the seeds picked up by a Department employee.  The Department will transfer the seeds to the USDA for identification and/or destruction. 

 

Those who have planted the seeds should leave the plants where they are and contact the Department for guidance.

 

The USDA-APHIS does not have any evidence that this is something other than a “brushing scam” where sellers send unsolicited items to unsuspecting consumers and then post false reviews to boost sales. Based on preliminary analysis of the seed samples the USDA received on July 17, 2020, the seed packets appear to be a mix of horticultural and weed species.

 

The interception of unidentified seeds in international mail shipments is not uncommon. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) estimates that there were 15,000 interceptions of seeds from all sources worldwide, and 5,000 from China and Hong Kong in 2019.

 

The Department reminds consumers that online purchases of plants, seeds, and other plant products can be risky because these items can carry a range of invasive pests and diseases. These purchases can also be illegal without proper inspections and paperwork, such as permits or plant health certificates.

 

Before buying seeds or plants online from international vendors, Arkansans should contact the Department’s Plant Industry Division at 501-225-1598 to ask if the items need to be inspected or meet other conditions to bring them into the United States legally and without pests.

 

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

 

8-5-20 8:35 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Order Your Arkansas Voter's Guides Today!

Do you know where your candidates stand on the issues that matter to you?

We're surveying candidates ahead of the 2020 elections this November, and we are going to publish their survey responses in print and online as part of our Arkansas Voter's Guide.

Since 1990 Family Council has produced Arkansas' leading nonpartisan voter's guide.

Our guide looks at candidates' positions on issues like abortion, education, taxes, hate crimes, and more.

Everyone who receives our monthly update letter in the mail will get a free voter's guide when they become available this fall, but you can pre-order additional guides right now for your family, home school group, or church.

Just go to ArkansasVotersGuide.com to pre-order free printed copies of Family Council voter's guide today.

If you have questions you can give us a call at (501) 375-7000.

 

8-5-20 8:06 AM KAWX.ORG 

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UARM Postpones First Day Of Classes Until August 24th

UARM postpones first day of class until August 24

 

[August 3, 2020 | MENA, Ark.] UA Rich Mountain has announced that in-person classes will now start August 24 with the exception of licensed practical nursing classes, which will start the week originally set, August 17. “This change to the start of classes allows us the ability to better manage the criterion and requirements set forth by the Arkansas Department of Health, and it will enable us to maintain the same calendar as our local area public schools,” explained Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson.

 

Wilson also announced that the college will provide a “flex” arrangement for in-person classes. For the most part, classes that meet twice a week will rotate being in-person with the instructor one day and remote instruction through interactive technology in a different classroom the second day. This allows for the recommended physical/social distancing. “The safety and wellness of our students, faculty, and staff are my top priorities. These changes allow us to keep adequate social distancing in the classrooms and adhere to the newest guidelines issued by the Department of Health,” added Wilson. Instructors will contact students to arrange the flex schedule.

 

An added benefit explained by Vice-Chancellor of Student Affairs Chad Fielding is that it will extend fall registration by another week which will allow many students who have been undecided about college because of the pandemic to determine if UARM is the best fit for them this fall. “Our enrollment numbers are consistent with this same time last year, so we are not seeing a decline. Our financial aid office has been incredibly busy processing applications. We want students to understand, if they have changed their minds from attending a larger college or a 4-year university opting to stay closer to home, it’s not too late to make those changes. They can stay on course for their educational path by starting with us here at Rich Mountain.”

 

The campus is now open. Face coverings are required. Admissions and financial aid staff are located in the Maddox building on the main campus or you can arrange an appointment by calling 479.394.7622. Representatives are also available at both the Mena and Waldron campuses. More information available at UARichMountain.edu.

 

8-3-20 11:21 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for July 27th - August 2nd

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of July 27, 2020 – August 2, 2020. 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 27, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 32 near Cove of identity fraud.

Request for a welfare check on a horse. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Meadowbrook Drive near Mena of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Midland Drive near Mena of identity fraud.

Report from complainant out of state on child custody issues.

Report from complainant of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 93 near Rocky of identity fraud.

Report of a vehicle stolen from a residence in Wickes. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Oak Grove near Mena of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 62 near Board Camp of harassment. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on W. Oak Street near Wickes of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 244 near Grannis of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Hwy 375E near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Baker Road near Wickes of identity fraud.

Arrested was Lesia P. Land, 61, of Mena on a Warrant for Theft of Property.

 

July 28, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 88W near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Powell Lane near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71N near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 35 near Hatfield of the theft of items in the amount of $575.00.

Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 659 near Board Camp of a a car being taken without permission led to a juvenile being issued a Citation for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle.

Report from complainant on Sunset Circle near Mena of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Hope Lane near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Ink of a suspicious person parked in a driveway. Deputies responded.

Report of a disturbance on Polk 93 near Rocky of a disturbance. Deputy responded.

 

July 29, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 31 near Cove of two stolen pistols valued at $900.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Council Lane near Mena of identity fraud.

Report of vandalism on Polk 87 near Ink. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Cedar Drive near Mena of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Stricklin Lane near Hatfield of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Stephanie Lane near Grannis of identity fraud.

Report from complainant of ongoing domestic issues. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Bixler Avenue near Mena of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 26 near Hatfield of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 54 near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Sugartree Lane near Board Camp of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 136 near Cove of domestic battery. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Chester Lane near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 168 near Hatfield of a mail scam.

Report of a domestic altercation on N. Eve Street near Mena. Deputies responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

 

July 30, 2020

No reports filed.

 

July 31, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 37 near Hatfield of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 1 near Grannis of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 26 near Hatfield of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 151 near Hatfield of trespassing. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Harrinton Lane near Mena of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 192 near Ink of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 718 near Potter of missing puppies. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Thunder Lane near Ink of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Little Woods Lane near Mena of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Averett Avenue near Mena of identity fraud.

 

August 1, 2020

Report from complainant on Walker Drive near Cove of a credit card scam.

 

August 2, 2020

Report from complainant on Deer Creek Lane near Shady Grove of a dispute. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 59 near Board Camp of problems involving child custody. Deputy responded.

Report of a missing person on Polk 38 near the boy scout camp. Deputies responded. Individual was later located.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 13 Incarcerated Inmates, with 4 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00654

 

8-3-20 10:38 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for July 26th - August 1st

 

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of July 26, 2020 through August 1, 2020

 

July 26, 2020

 

A domestic battery report of a was taken on 10th Street.

 

July 27, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

July 28, 2020

 

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

 

A suspicious person report was taken at Cruizer’s.

 

July 29, 2020

 

Anthony Robertson, 29, was charged with Theft of Property after a complaint on Deridder Avenue.

 

Daniel Chaney, 24, and Whitney Reynolds, 30 were both charged with Theft of Property after a call to Salvation Army.

 

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

 

A report was taken of a credit card skimmer being found on a fuel pump at Exxon Superstation.

 

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

 

Caleb Clausen, 20, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop.

 

July 30, 2020

 

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

 

Christopher Perez, 32, was charged with Domestic Assault after a complaint on South Eve Street.

 

Kenneth Clements, 57, was charged with DWI after a complaint on Cherry Street.

 

July 31, 2020

 

A report of computer child pornography was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

August 1, 2020

 

A report of domestic battery was taken on 7th Street.

 

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

 

8-3-20 10:35 AM KAWX.ORG

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Arkansas Access Point Project

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: The Arkansas Access Point Project
 
LITTLE ROCK – Under our state’s broadband initiative, the number of Arkansans with access to high-speed internet is increasing, and today I’d like to talk about the Arkansas Access Point Project, a new program that will make the world wide web available for thousands more students.
 
This week I announced that our Department of Education has signed agreements with three major telecommunications companies to purchase Wi-Fi access devices and unlimited data plans at a reduced cost for every school district in the state.
 
The Department of Education will buy as many as 20,000 of the devices with $10 million from funding provided through the federal CARES Act. The devices and internet access are free to students. School districts are equipping students with computers and tablets.
 
The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to adjust our methods of teaching and focused attention on the need for the option of virtual education. Arkansas Access Point Project expands our ability to teach virtually and increases the number of students who can choose that option.
 
This program opens new opportunities and narrows the gap between those who have access to high-speed broadband and those who do not. Students will be able to take the devices home. They won’t have to sit in a McDonald’s to do their homework. This is especially important to our rural communities and for families who otherwise might not be able to afford this vital access.
 
Sally Bennett, superintendent of the rural Rivercrest District in northeast Arkansas, welcomed the news that AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon had agreed to participate in the project. She knows firsthand that the digital divide is real and deep.
 
Sally and her team of educators have worked hard and creatively during the pandemic to provide internet access to students. In the spring, they equipped school buses with Wi-Fi devices to deliver the internet along with meals for students who were confined to home. They extended Wi-Fi into the schools’ parking lot, but this still doesn’t help the student in their home.
 
She estimates that 40 percent of the eleven-hundred students in Rivercrest District have no access to internet, so you can understand why she calls our new initiative a “game changer.”
 
I share the superintendent’s excitement about this agreement, but this doesn’t completely bridge the digital divide in our state. We still have a lot of work to do to expand access to broadband internet. It’s important that everyone in Arkansas has the opportunities that come with easy and reliable access to the world wide web, whether they live in rural Mississippi County or in the state capital.
 
7-31-20 6:22 PM KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Contact tracing is one of the most important public health strategies currently available to help us reduce the spread and transmission of COVID-19.

 

The idea behind contact tracing is to see who is a close contact of an individual who has tested positive for the virus, identify who has been exposed, provide them with information about testing and how to quarantine. Contact tracers help notify people who may not know they have been exposed and helps close the loop.

 

This week, the Arkansas Legislative Council (ALC) voted to direct $16 million of federal funds to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) to expand contact tracing. The extra funding requested is meant to fund an equivalent 350 contract tracers and 20 nurses.

 

ALC also approved the use of $7 million in federal CARES Act funds for COVID-19 relief in Northwest Arkansas. The money will be used to track a spike in cases in the Marshallese and Latinx communities. A large portion of COVID-19 deaths in Northwest Arkansas has come from these communities.

 

To help with contact tracing, ADH has contracted with two firms, General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) and Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC). These two contractors are on track to have a combined 700 contract tracers by the end of the year.

 

Many contact tracers will call from the number (877) ARCOV19 or (877) 272-6819, but a contact investigator may also reach out from a different phone number.

 

It’s possible you won’t recognize the number, but it’s important to answer or return the call if it goes to voicemail.

 

The case investigator and contact tracer will never ask for your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card. If the caller ever discusses money, that’s a sign that it is not a legitimate Department of Health investigator. If you want to verify that you have been contacted by a Health Department case investigator or contact tracer, you may call (800) 803-7847.

 

7-31-20 6:17 PM KAWX.ORG

 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

 

Using Ingenuity and Technology to Close the Digital Divide

 

As more Americans are taking precautions to avoid exposure to COVID-19, they are relying more on their at-home broadband connection for work, school and health care. This can be extremely challenging for Arkansans who don’t have access to reliable broadband in their homes. We long ago recognized the need to expand broadband, but this crisis has magnified the urgency to close the digital divide that puts rural areas at a significant disadvantage. More than ever, individuals and families are turning to a trusted resource to access the internet—libraries.

 

Local libraries are often the only source of free Wi-Fi in rural communities. Many seniors, homeless individuals and students rely solely on libraries to get online. During this public health emergency, libraries across the country have continued offering this critical service. A survey of librarians by the Public Library Association found that over 40 percent of respondents moved their library’s routers outdoors to improve public access to the internet during this crisis. In addition, they are allowing patrons to check out mobile hotspots for at-home use. With libraries facing this increase in demand, it is important we provide them with the tools to remain a community outlet for reliable internet service.

 

This is why I’m a champion of the HOTSPOTS Actlegislation to increase funding for library broadband hotspots. These internet-connected devices have been a lifeline for many individuals and families.

 

Malvern, in Hot Springs County, provides a perfect example of the rising demand for mobile hotspots. According to the American Library Association, 35 percent of the city is without any internet access. Residents instead rely on their library for Wi-Fi and hotspots to stay connected. According to Garland County Library leaders, the hotspot devices are the most requested items in its collection, but there are only 10 available to patrons. This leaves an average of 50 people awaiting their turn to check one out. 

 

The HOTSPOTS Act would create a two-year, $160 million hotspot pilot program and provide states at least $1.6 million to purchase and distribute internet-connected devices to libraries in low-income and rural areas.

 

Hotspot devices have recently been in the news. Governor Hutchinson announced agreements reached by the Arkansas Department of Education to purchase 20,000 Wi-Fi hotspots for students without reliable internet access from mobile phone companies. This will provide additional flexibility for students in the upcoming school year.

 

This funding was made possible with money provided to Arkansas from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The ability to get online is an equally crucial resource for students as updated textbooks and adequate school supplies. This program will be a difference maker for many students across the state and allow them to stay connected should virtual instruction become necessary.

 

As founder and co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, I’ve been working with my colleagues to close the digital divide. We must do so for our rural and underserved communities to thrive in the 21st century economy, especially during this challenging time when access to a quality internet connection has become even more difficult to come by. Providing tools that improve connectivity will help Arkansans adjust to the challenges of doing more work, learning and other necessities remotely.

 

7-31-20 6:14 PM KAWX.ORG 

 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

 
State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague
 
July 31, 2020
 
LITTLE ROCK – The state Education Department will spend $10 million to expand Internet access in every school district in Arkansas.
 
Many parents may keep their children at home during the upcoming school year because of concerns about the spread of Covid-19. Some students may be required to study from home in “virtual” classrooms if there is an outbreak of the virus at their schools.
 
In that event, the digital divide between low-income families and prosperous families will become even more severe. Students will be more likely to fall behind academically if they have no access to reliable, high speed Internet, or if they only have antiquated mobile devices and computers.
 
The Education Department will buy up to 20,000 devices and allocate them to schools based on enrollment. School officials will then distribute them to students who need them.
 
Educators and elected officials say that it is especially important to equalize access to the Internet in rural areas, whether students attend classes on campus or stay home and study in “virtual” classrooms.
 
More students will be able to work from home to do projects that require Internet access, rather than having to sit at a restaurant or business that offers free wireless. A superintendent at the announcement said that that her rural district provides Internet access on buses and in school parking lots, and that the expanded access becoming available would be a monumental improvement.
 
The Education Department has signed agreements with major telecommunications companies for wi-fi access points and data plans.
 
Under the contracts, the companies will guarantee high-speed internet with unlimited data for two years for about $20 per month per device. Also, they agree to allow local school districts to buy additional devices and data plans at the same rate as the state plan.
 
The $10 million comes from the federal CARES Act, which is a massive relief bill passed by Congress in response to the economic and social disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak. CARES is an acronym that stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security.
 
In its memoranda to local schools, the state calls it the Hotspot Project and says that the intent is to benefit students with the greatest need.
 
When schools prioritize which students are to be allowed access to a hotspot they are to consider three criteria.
 
One priority is for students who are learning from home because of the pandemic and who have no way to connect with online learning materials. Another priority is for students who are economically disadvantaged and need help acquiring the equipment they need to access online learning materials. The third priority is for students who are going through periods of being homeless, and thus need help.
 
Schools are set to open August 24. The Education Secretary has said that his department plans to purchase $1 million of personal protective equipment, such as face masks and gloves. This stockpile will be distributed to schools if they are in danger of depleting their supplies.
 
The Education Secretary said that schools should be prepared to adapt, for example, they may have to close temporarily for a deep clean.
 
7-31-20 12:19 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Statement From Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston

In recent years and in recent times, we as a nation and a state have looked inward to ourselves and to values that we hold dear. This concept of reflection is not new to us as Arkansans or Americans. Our country and state have erected many monuments throughout history to memorialize a person, place, event, or sacrifice made.

 

Our State’s Capitol was constructed during the years of 1899 to 1915. The first monument placed on State Capitol grounds, a memorial to confederate soldiers, was done so in 1905. Among the many monuments found on Capitol Grounds, is a smaller, less notable monument honoring all soldiers of the Civil War imprisoned in the State Prison that was once located on Capitol Grounds. As Secretary of State, I am honored to have overseen the installation of our most recent memorial, the Gold Star Memorial, that was complete in 2019 and dedicated to the families of those that have lost loved ones in war.

 

Act 274 of the 2017 legislative session requires the Arkansas Legislature to authorize construction or removal of a monument on State Capitol grounds. As Secretary of State and Chairman of the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission, my office works with the Arkansas Legislature to ensure their statutes and mandates of installation, maintenance, and removal are implemented in regards to the monuments on State Capitol grounds and in the Statutory Hall of the United States Capitol. Currently, I am working with various stakeholders at the direction of the Arkansas Legislature to oversee the removal and replacement of two statues currently located in the Statutory Hall with statues honoring Daisy Bates and Johnny Cash.

 

In recent weeks, many monuments across our nation have been removed through both lawful and unlawful processes.  The scope of my office in regards to Capitol monuments is defined by law and by the direction of the Arkansas Legislature. I encourage Arkansans to visit with their respective legislative members on those issues that are important to them as it relates to the monuments on Capitol grounds and I encourage those seeking change to do so in a lawful manner.

 

7-30-20 8:22 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Back To School Sales Tax Holiday This Saturday And Sunday

Arkansas' annual sales tax holiday is this weekend.

The sales tax holiday allows people to buy certain back-to-school supplies and clothing without paying sales tax.

The sales tax holiday runs all day Saturday and all day Sunday.

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has additional information about items that are exempt from sales tax this weekend available on its website.

The annual sales tax holiday is something we strongly supported at the Arkansas Legislature. It helps families save a little money as they buy supplies ahead of the school year.

 

And speaking of back-to-school, don't forget the deadline to file the Notice of Intent form is approaching quickly.

If you plan to home school your kids this year, you will want to file the Notice of Intent soon, if you have not already done so.

There are two ways to file the Notice of Intent:

1. You can submit the paper form to your local public school superintendent's office by mail or in-person.

2. You also have the option of filing the Notice of Intent electronically via the Department of Education's website.

Just go to the Arkansas Department of Education's website to learn more.

If you complete a paper copy of the Notice of Intent, please do not mail the form to the Education Alliance office or the Arkansas Department of Education.

Paper copies of the Notice of Intent need to go to your local public school superintendent's office.

If you have questions about filing the Notice of Intent form, please feel free to email us or give us a call at (501) 978-5503.

 

7-30-20 8:14 PM KAWX.ORG

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Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative Unveiled Array with Today's Power, Inc.

RMEC Dedicated Completed 1 MW Solar System in Mena to Leon Philpot, President and CEO of RMEC

 

LITTLE ROCK & STAR CITY, ARKANSAS —July 30th, 2020 — Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative (RMEC) and Today’s Power, Inc. (TPI) has unveiled the completed 1-megawatt (MW) solar array near the headquarters of the co-op in Mena, Arkansas off of Arkansas Highway 88. In recognition of his 58 years of service to the cooperative, the solar generation facility is dedicated to the retiring President and CEO of the cooperative, Leon Philpot.

This project, the Leon Philpot Solar Generation Facility, is one of the country's most advanced systems and includes a single-axis tracking array of approximately 3,800 panels that covers about nine acres of land. The system has been designed to mitigate a portion of RMEC’s peak demand and will produce a maximum peak power of 1 MW. TPI installed 1.4 MW of DC power to be inverted to 1 MW of AC usable energy.

 

"Our cooperative network is always working to ensure that we have a variety of power resources to meet membership needs, and renewable energy is an integral part of that strategy," said Leon Philpot, retiring President and CEO of Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative.

 

With agreements made between RMEC and TPI in early March, the Leon Philpot Solar Generations Facility now provides local generation for RMEC members. The distribution co-op serves more than 8,900 member accounts across parts of Howard, Montgomery, Polk, Sevier counties in Arkansas as well as OK Counties.

"At Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative, our goal is to be a Trusted Energy Advocate for our members. We are pleased that Mena is the home to this 1-Megawatt Solar Array," said Brad Castor, the new President and CEO of RMEC. "This solar energy project is going to help our

cooperative family as well as our local communities. As a non-profit electric cooperative owned by our members, we give back to the people we serve,” Castor said.

 

This is the 13th electric cooperative in Arkansas that TPI has partnered with to develop solar or storage projects with most of them within the scope of 1 MW because of an agreement with Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation.

 

"We are so excited to partner with RMEC to help lower the cost of energy to its Members as well as provide economic stimulus to Mena and Polk County for the next 30 years and beyond. It will also generate more tax revenue for the school and county. This new technology is representative of the innovative and progressive spirit that exists in the RMEC community, "TPI President Michael Henderson said.

 

Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative, Inc.

 

From quality customer service to assisting schools, rural water districts and rural fire departments, Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative is committed to assisting the members and communities we serve. It's all a part of our dedication as your local energy partner since 1946.

 

Today's Power, Inc. (TPI)

 

Today's Power, Inc. (TPI) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based utility service cooperative owned by 17 Arkansas electric distribution cooperatives. TPI is one of the nation's most experienced renewable energy companies with more utility-scale projects than any Arkansas-based company. TPI is a full-service provider able to carry out all phases of any solar or battery storage project including, but not limited to, full bill / rate analysis, site evaluation, engineering procurement, design, commissioning, monitoring, operating and maintaining projects.

For additional information, contact:

 

Jennah Denney, Today’s Power, Inc., (501-400-5548) or (jdenney@todayspower.com) www.todayspower.com

 

For additional information, contact: Brad Castor, Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative, (479-394-4140, bcastor@remec.com) www.rmec.com

 

7-30-20 7:27 PM KAWX.ORG

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