KAWX News Archives for 2020-01

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, the Department of Finance and Administration announced that effective February 3, 2020, all 134 State Revenue Offices will have the ability to issue a Real ID.

 

Arkansas is taking part in the federal nationwide initiative to improve the security of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, which will help fight terrorism and reduce identity fraud. 

 

Starting October 1, 2020 anyone who boards a domestic flight or enters a federal building will need a Real ID driver's license, Identification Card or other approved documentation required by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

 

When we previously reminded constituents of the upcoming deadline, just 25 State Revenue Offices could issue a Real ID. Now, DFA has expanded the capability to all revenue offices to make it more convenient.

 

The cost to obtain a REAL ID does not differ from the cost to obtain or renew a license or ID. Current Driver Licenses (DL) can upgrade to REAL ID at any time by purchasing a duplicate license. The fee for a duplicate DL is $10.00 and expiration dates remain the same. If within one year of the expiration date, you may renew and convert to the Arkansas Real ID. At regular renewal periods, the REAL ID may be purchased for $40.00 and will not expire for eight (8) years. 

 

Real ID will not replace a U.S. Passport or allow border crossing. A Real ID Driver’s License is optional and only required for individuals who wish to continue using their Driver’s License to board domestic flights or enter federal buildings after October 1, 2020. 

 

Should you have any questions about the Real ID, please contact the Office of Driver Services at 501-682-7059, email questions to driver.services@dfa.arkansas.gov  or VISIT www.ar.gov/realid or www.dhs.gov/real-id.

 

1-31-20 4:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mayor Smith Proclaims February 3rd - 7th as National School Counseling Week in Mena

 

Mena Mayor Seth Smith signed a proclamation Friday recognizing next week as National School Counseling Week in Mena.

Shown are Mena School Counselors (L to R) Mena High School, Tonya Thacker; Holly Harshman Elementary School, Vicky Maye; Louise Durham Elementary, Linda Collins; and Mena Middle School Leilani Rose, and seated is Mayor Smith.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson has also proclaimed the week of February 3-7, 2020, as National School Counseling Week in Arkansas to focus public attention on the unique contributions of school counselors within U.S. school systems and their impact on students.

 

 National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students meet their college and career aspirations.  

 

1-31-20 3:14 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

 

Senate VA Committee Takes Big Step to Boost Veteran Suicide Prevention Efforts

 

 

The tragic news that two Arkansas Army National Guard members took their own lives in the same January week shows the gravity of the mental distress some members of the military live with. Just as troubling is the extent we’ve seen service members and veterans struggling with these invisible battles in the Natural State already in 2020, where we now know there have been four cases of suicide involving current or former service members. 

 

The Annual Suicide Report released by the Department of Defense (DoD) four months ago shows an increase in suicide among active-duty personnel in 2018. The National Guard experienced the highest rate of suicides among active duty and reserve members. 

 

Suicide prevention has become a priority at DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in recent years.

 

From Fiscal Year 2010 to 2020, the mental health and suicide prevention budget at the VA increased by 83 percent. During that same period, the suicide prevention outreach budget alone increased by 233 percent. 

 

Despite the $222 million in funding for suicide prevention, the VA estimates that around 20 veterans commit suicide each day. That number has unfortunately remained roughly unchanged even with this dramatic infusion of resources.

 

Our approach to reversing this trend is still falling tragically short. The VA estimates of the 20 veterans who commit suicide daily, only six are receiving healthcare services from the department. In order to reach more at-risk veterans, we need a new plan to utilize the expertise and successful programs that exist outside of the VA.

 

There are more than 50,000 organizations that provide suicide prevention services for veterans. Allowing the VA to tap into this network is a commonsense approach to ensuring improvements that have the potential to make a difference.  

 

That’s why I joined Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) to introduce the IMPROVE Well-being for Veterans Act. This legislation would create a VA grant program to leverage veteran-serving non-profits and other community networks and create a common tool to measure the effectiveness of programs in order to reduce veteran suicides and save lives.

 

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has called this legislation “key” to unlocking the veteran suicide crisis.

 

Thankfully, it’s one step closer to helping veterans. Under the leadership of Senate VA Committee Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS), the committee adopted this plan as a provision in a comprehensive bill that expands veterans’ access to mental health services. The bill was passed unanimously in committee, demonstrating the urgency to find new and innovative ways to combat this crisis.

 

I am hopeful that coordinating and sharing information between the VA and veteran-serving organizations will result in increased support and resources for at-risk veterans, especially those who are currently outside of the VA’s reach, and potentially save lives.

 

Following passage of the Senate bill, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) expressed his backing for my provision relating to suicide prevention efforts. I appreciate his support and look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and the House to advance this legislation so we can turn the tide in this crisis and help veterans in Arkansas and across the country find the hope and care they need.

 

1-31-20 2:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments January 27th, 29th

 
All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes: 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Nathaniel Aaron Riley, White Male, age 37, Count I: Possession Of Methamphetamine With The Purpose To Deliver, a Class "B" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Possession Of A Schedule I Or Schedule II Controlled Substance That Is Not Methamphetamine Or Cocaine With The Purpose To Deliver. The State of Arkansas intends to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact he has been convicted of four (4) or more felonies.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Barbara Connell, White Female, age 35, Count I:Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.
 
1-31-20 2:16 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

January 31, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – In April the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on an Arkansas law that has potentially far-reaching implications for the health care, pharmaceutical and insurance industries.

 

It is an appeal of Act 900 of 2015, which the legislature enacted to regulate Pharmacy Benefit Managers. More commonly known as PBMs, they are middlemen between pharmacies and insurance companies.

 

Act 900 passed in the state Senate by a vote of 32-to-0 and in the House of Representatives by a vote of 64-to-14.

 

The PBMs set reimbursement rates that are supposed to provide incentives for pharmacies to hold down prices as much as possible. However, some pharmacies contended that the rates were so low it was driving them out of business, or forcing them to operate at a loss.

 

After passage of Act 900, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, representing PBMs, filed a legal challenge. That is the case headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

The state attorney general will argue that Act 900 should be upheld. Many other states will be closely watching the outcome of the case, as will all the organizations and companies that make up the health care industry.

 

Arkansas will argue that the legislature has authority to regulate PBMs, and in order to prevail it must clear a hurdle that has affected health care litigation for decades. It is the question of whether or not a state can regulate health plans that come under a broad federal law known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA.

 

At a recent meeting in Little Rock, the state Senate Committee on Insurance and Commerce heard a status report from the Arkansas attorney general’s office and the Arkansas Insurance Department.

 

In addition to its potential importance nationwide, there is a unique Arkansas angle to the case. Within living memory, no case out of Arkansas has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court on the motion of the state attorney general.

 

High-profile cases have gone to the U.S. Supreme Court on the motion of plaintiffs challenging a state law, such as frequently occurs in death penalty cases. But the PBM case is unique in that the Arkansas attorney general petitioned the high court to hear it.

 

According to a spokesman for the attorney general, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case by June, before it takes a summer break.

In a 2018 special session, the legislature enacted a licensing law for PBMs. Officials of the Insurance Department told legislators that licensing of PBMs has made enforcement stronger and more thorough.

 

When considering Act 900, legislators heard reports that PBMs sometimes reimbursed independent pharmacists at a lower rate than they did other drugstores with which the PBMs had a corporate affiliation. That is no longer allowed.

 

Consumers benefited from the 2018 law because it prohibits PBMs from writing gag rules into their contracts with pharmacists. That means pharmacists are able to advise customers on how to purchase alternative prescriptions that are equally effective but not as expensive.

 

According to national organizations, Arkansas is one of the first states to regulate PBMs.

 

1-31-20 10:16 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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This Weekend At Queen Wilhelmina State Park Near Mena

 

Activities This Weekend At Queen Wilhelmina State Park Near Mena 

 

For more information about any of the activities listed below, or the state park, dial (479) 394-2863, or click here for the park's website

 

Friday, January 31st

 

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

 

Touch Table starting at 4:00 pm and lasting about 1 hour. Meet in the Hearth Room. There will be different things that you can see and touch. Join Park Interpreter Melissa for a fun, interactive way of exploring things found in our park, and find out what they are.

 

Ask a Park Interpreter starting at 7:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes. Meet in the Hearth Room. Have you encountered something in the park that has left you puzzled? Do you have any park or nature-related questions that you would like answered? Meet Park Interpreter Melissa in the Hearth room an informal meet and greet and get some answers! This program is come and go.

 

Saturday, February 1st

 

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

Edible Insects starting at 4:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes. Meet in the Hearth Room.  Is eating bugs a real thing? Join park interpreter Melissa and see who really eats bugs. If you’re brave enough you can join the “I Ate A Bug Club!” Bring your appetite and take a bite or come and watch!
 

Arkansas Furs starting at 7:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes. Meet in the Hearth Room. What animals do we have here at Queen Wilhelmina State Park? Join Park interpreter Melissa and she will talk about the animals that we have here in the park, and you will get to feel their furs.

 

1-30-20 7:19 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansas Supreme Court Clears the Way for Karl Roberts' Execution

Today, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued a twenty-two page opinion denying Karl Roberts’ appeal of the Polk County Circuit Court’s May 2017 decision denying his petition for post-conviction relief. Only one justice, Josephine Linker Hart, dissented from the court’s decision. The State was represented at the May 2017 trial by Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner and Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jim Henderson. Scott Braden and other attorneys from the Federal Public Defender’s Office represented Roberts.

 

At the three day trial in Polk County Circuit Court, Roberts’ attorneys argued that his May 2000 trial was fundamentally unfair because his attorneys were ineffective. They argued, among other points raised in their 257 page trial brief, that Roberts was not competent to stand trial in 2000, that the case should have been tried in another county, that the jurors were biased, that the courtroom atmosphere was prejudicial, that the State presented false testimony at trial, that trial counsel offered insufficient mitigation evidence, that the jury did not consider the mitigation evidence offered, and that Roberts was categorically ineligible for the death penalty due to his alleged intellectual disability and alleged severe mental illness.

 

This ruling should effectively exhaust Roberts’ state court claims, and allow his federal habeas corpus action to proceed. Roberts has on at least three previous occasions attempted to drop all of his post-conviction rights and be executed, but his attorneys have argued that he is not competent to waive post-conviction proceedings.

 

“I sincerely hope that our community can finally see the justice system carry out the just and lawful death sentence that the jury imposed so long ago,” said Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner. “Roberts has lived much longer on death row than Andrea Brewer did, and to me that is fundamentally unfair to her family and to our community. I hope we can bring this family the closure they deserve very soon.”

 

Source: Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, 18th West judicial District. 

 

To read the Court's opinion, click anywhere on this line.

 

1-30-20 5:44 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 
 

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Polk County Quorum Court Meeting Held Tuesday, January 28th

The Polk County Quorum Court met Tuesday, January 28th for their regular monthly session.

 
Ten of the eleven Justices of the Peace were present, as well as County Judge Brandon Ellison and other elected officials and guests.
 
The agenda was fairly short including routine business and the election of Tawana Gilbert to serve as the representative for Polk County to the Arkansas Association of Quorum Courts.
 
Judge Ellison and County Clerk Terri Harrison discussed the need to formalize pay for poll workers and it was decided that an ordinance would be drafted and presented for consideration at the February meeting.
 
Bridget Martin with the Extension service spoke tot he court about the 2020 Census and encouraged cooperation in encouraging residents to be sure and participate. Judge Ellison noted that many rural counties in Arkansas are losing population and reminded the Quorum Court and others in attendance that a drop in population would result in less money for the county and could even result in the classification changing, which would reduce the number of Justice of the Peace from eleven to nine, among other things.
 
Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner gave a report to the Quorum Court on the Hot Check program, of which a portion of the fees is shared with the County General Fund. 
 
The February Quorum Court meeting will be held in the Courtroom at the Polk County Courthouse since the regular meeting place would be being used for early voting.
 
The February Quorum Court meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. on February 25th.
 
Quorum Court meetings are open to the public.
 
1-29-20 5:55 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Jan. 29, 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.

 

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

 

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.

 

1-29-20 3:13 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com or click on the News Tips graphic above.

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Voter Registration Deadline for Primary Election is February 3rd

Secretary Thurston Encourages All To Exercise Their Civil Rights

 

 

(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) – Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston is encouraging all Arkansans to exercise their civil rights by getting registered and voting in the Preferential Primary and Nonpartisan General Election being held on March 3rd.  The deadline to register to vote if you are not already registered is Monday, February 3rd.  Arkansans can obtain a voter registration application from their local county clerk's office, public assistance office, public library, revenue office, military recruiting center, or you can download one from the Secretary of State's website at www.sos.arkansas.gov.

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD AN ARKANSAS VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATION

 

If you are already registered to vote, you do not need to register again.  You can check your voter registration information, polling location, or view a sample ballot at www.voterview.org.

 

If you have moved or your information has changed and you need to update your voter registration, you have until February 28th to make this change before the March 3rd election.

 

CLICK HERE TO CHECK YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION INFORMATION, POLLING LOCATION, OR VIEW A SAMPLE BALLOT AT WWW.VOTERVIEW.ORG.


Polk County residents needing additional information should contact County Clerk Terri Harrison's office at (479) 394-8123 or the Secretary of State Elections Division – Voter Services at 1-800-482-1127.

 

1-28-20 5:02 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sales Tax and Road Improvement Sales Tax Collections Up For Latest Reporting Period

Polk County Treasurer Tanya K. Fretz released the Sales Tax General and Road Improvement Sales Tax Report for January. The amounts reported in January 2020 reflect collections for the previous month, December 2019.

 
Both the Sales Tax General and Road Improvement Sales Tax are 1% taxes and generated $142,323.52, or a total of $284,647.04.
 
The amount for each is $6,784.15 more than for the same period a year earlier, or a total of $13,568.30.
 
The Road improvement Sales Tax can only be used for roads in the county.
 
1-28-20 6:47 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report For January 20th - 26th

SHERIFF’S   LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of January 20, 2020 – January 26, 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.


January 20, 2020
Arrested was Lukas M. Holliday, 29, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.


January 21, 2020
No reports were filed.


January 22, 2020
Report from complainant on Hornbeck Avenue in Hatfield of the theft of a computer.  The item was later found and returned to the owner.
Arrested was Johnathan Falkner, 34, of Cove, on a Warrant for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.


January 23, 2020
Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Mena of being harassed by an acquaintance.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


January 24, 2020
Traffic stop on Highway 8 East near Mena led to the arrest of Nathaniel A. Riley, 37, of Mena, on Warrants for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and a Parole Hold.  Additional information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a missing 15-year-old female from another county being located in Polk County.  The juvenile was picked up and returned to the proper authorities.


January 25, 2020
Report of a disturbance on Rex Lane near Potter.  Deputy responded.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


January 26, 2020
Request for welfare check on Polk 87 near Ink.
Arrested was Matthew M. Evans, 53, of Mena, on Warrants for Theft by Receiving and three counts of Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
Report from a business on Highway 71 South in Cove of a gas skip led to a Citation for Theft of Motor Fuel being issued to Jacob W. Seago-Moga, 23, of Mena.
Report from complainant on Polk 87 near Ink of being assaulted.  Deputy responded.  Complainant refused to press charges.
Report of a two-vehicle accident on Highway 375 East near Mena led to the arrest of Thomas B. Copelin, 61, of Mena, on Charges of DWI and Careless/Prohibited Driving.
Arrested was Juston M. Wikel, 35, of Cove, on Warrants for Failure to Appear and Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

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

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 20 Incarcerated Inmates, with 11 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC20-00065

 

1-27-20 2:45 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report For January 12th - 25th

 

Mena Police Reports from January 12, 2020 through January 25, 2020 

 

 

January 12, 2020

Steven Stroud, 55, of Mena was charged with third degree battery. The arrest followed a call to a Mena residence,

 

January 13, 2020

A 17-year-old Mena youth was charged with possession of alcohol by a minor and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

January 14 & 15, 2020

Barbara Connell, 35, of Mena was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

January 16, 17, & 18 2020

David Goodner, 22, of Mena was charged with shoplifting. The arrest followed a call to a local retail store.

Gregory Margraff, 54, of Mena was charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Rachel Tarkington, 22, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Traci Ross, 27, of Mena was arrested on a warrant from Sevier County.

 

January 19, 20, & 21, 2020

Tearesa Denton, 42, of Mena was charged with shoplifting. The arrest followed a call to a local business.

 

January 22 & 23, 2020

Kimberly Jones, 21, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, and driving on a suspended drivers license. The arrest followed a traffic stop.

 

January 24 & 25, 2020

Troy D. Harris, 38, of Mena was arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Marie Denson, 41, of Mena was charged with shoplifting. The arrest followed call from a local business.

Jonathan Nicholson, 29, of Norman was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

William Patee, 25, of Mena was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Four local youths, ages 14, 15, and two 16 were charged with vandalism. The case is being referred to juvenile authorities.

 

1-27-20 2:17 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Four Arrested In Mena Vandalism Case

On Sunday night, January 26th at about 9:45 am, Mena Police Officers responded to a residence where a vehicle had been vandalized with spray paint during the night.

 

Officers canvassed a five-block radius and located more vehicles that had been vandalized. Later in the day, four arrests were made.

 

During the investigation, it was discovered that the suspects vandalized six vehicles, two trailers, a vacant house and an out building. More property may have been vandalized that has not been discovered yet.

 

If anyone has noticed any recent vandalism to their property, please report it to the Mena police department at (479) 394-1212.

 

1-27-20 1:44 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Quorum Court Meets Tuesday, January 28th

The Polk County Quorum Court will meet Tuesday, January 28th at 6:00 p.m. for their regular monthly session.

 
On the agenda, in addition to routine business, will be the election of a Justice Of The Peace to represent Polk County at the Arkansas Association of Quorum Courts, and a "hot check" report from the Prosecuting Attorney's office.
 
Quorum Court meetings are open to the public and held in the Quorum Court Meeting Room at the Polk County Office Complex (old hospital) on Pine Street in Mena.
 
1-27-20 11:17 a.m. KAWX.ORG 
 

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February Fun at Mena's Ouachita Little Theatre

February Fun Scheduled at OLT

 

Who says nothing happens in February? Not Ouachita Little Theatre! Come join us for the following activities.

 

Opening night for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is Friday, February 21. Performances run through the weekend including February 22, 23 and again on February 23, 29, and March 1. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 PM and Sunday matinees are at 2:30 PM. This play is a joint venture with the University of Arkansas at Rich Mountain. Come see one of William Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies onstage with brilliant costumes, sets, and superb acting under the direction of Robby and Gini Burt. Advanced tickets for reserved seats are on sale now at the OLT office Monday-Friday 10:00 am to 2:00 PM, and tickets are always available at the door.

Auditions for the spring musical “BIG” directed by Jessica Kropp with Judy Kropp serving once again as musical director will be held late in the month. “BIG” is a Broadway musical that is based on the movie starring Tom Hanks about an adolescent boy who has a strange encounter at a fair that results his body turning into an adult, although his mind didn’t make the transition. Results are funny, at times poignant, and in this case, also musical! There will be parts for all ages. OLT musicals are well known for their excellence, and this one is sure to be a memorable one. Auditions will be held Wednesday, February 26th from 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM and Thursday, February 27th from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM. Tryouts will be at the OLT unless otherwise announced. Performance dates are May 14,15,16,22,23, and 24.

OLT Movie Night will feature “Groundhog Day” on Wednesday, February 12 at 6:30 PM. This hilarious comedy starring Bill Murray is the perfect choice to celebrate the second most popular holiday in February. It also has a romantic side to please our Valentines. Admission is free, donations welcome, and concessions are cheap! We will even have hot chocolate on hand to take the chill out of a wintry evening. Hope to see you there!

1-26-20 9:25 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Millions of men, women, and children are trafficked every year. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, reports of trafficking can be found in every state including Arkansas. In fact, 121 calls from Arkansas came into the hotline last year resulting in 41 possible cases identified. 

 

January has been declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

 

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. It can happen in any suburb, rural town, or city. 

 

The National Human Trafficking Hotline reports that of the calls placed from Arkansas last year, 35 relayed information with a high indication that trafficking was taking place. The hotline also reports 33 calls made were from victims or survivors. 

 

In recent years, the Arkansas General Assembly has passed legislation addressing human trafficking. In the 2019 Regular Session, we passed the following:

 

ACT 937 requires the Department of Education and the Department of Human Services to collaborate on providing awareness and training materials to local school districts on human trafficking that include strategies for the prevention of child trafficking. 

 

ACT 842 includes evidence of a person's prior sexual conduct that was committed when the person was a victim of human trafficking under the state's rape shield law. Rape shield laws forbid certain evidence in a trial that is believed to be prejudicial and harassing.

 

ACT 536 amends the offenses that disqualify an individual from receiving a first time teaching license or renewal of a teaching license, including adding as disqualifying offenses the trafficking a person or patronizing a victim of human trafficking.

 

Human trafficking is a crime that hides in plain sight. Often, it simply takes an astute police officer, hotel worker, or bystander to notice and speak up—and save a victim. To report trafficking call 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733.

 

You can also chat live with an operator at www.humantraffickinghotline.org.

 

1-24-20 5:01 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com or click on the News Tips graphic above.

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address:

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Skip the Trip
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I’d like to talk about the ways the state Revenue Office has made life easier for its customers – who are the taxpayers of Arkansas.
 
When I took office in January 2015, I asked agency leaders to identify state services that we could streamline and simplify. At the time, the state revenue offices offered online tag renewal, a valuable service that saved Arkansans a trip to the Revenue Office. But we thought we could do more.
 
So the folks at the 134 revenue offices across Arkansas put their heads together, and as of today, you can conduct nearly all of your revenue business online on a computer or a phone. You can do pretty much whatever you want while you’re on an evening walk or even watching a football game.
They call it “Skip the Trip.”
 
If you lose your driver’s license, a brief visit to MyDMV.Arkansas.Gov allows you to apply for a replacement, and they’ll mail it to your house.

 

If you want a personalized license tag, you can check to see whether another car owner already is using the name. If it is available, you can order it online.
 
The possibilities go on: You can check the status of your car title, transfer vehicle ownership, and calculate sales tax.
 
In 2018, Arkansas became one of the first states to allow complete registration of a vehicle online.
 
To put this in perspective, in 2017, Arkansans registered over 643,000 vehicles at revenue offices throughout the state.
 
Skipping the trip would save on average an hour for each registration. If only half of those registrations occurred online, Arkansans would save 36 years of driving and standing in line.
 
There is a benefit in this for those who prefer personal interaction – the lines will be considerably shorter.
 
Give it a try at MyDMV.Arkansas.Gov. The website is taxpayer-friendly and will save you time, effort, and gasoline. The website recently was honored with the Excellence in Government Partnership Award by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
 
Time is our most valuable commodity. Once you’ve used it, you can’t get it back. Skip the trip, and you’ll have more time to do something important.
 
Don’t be like the gentleman who thought he preferred to stand in line and conduct his business in person. Last year, he decided to go the high-tech route. When his new stickers arrived in his mailbox, he quickly realized he should have skipped the trip sooner.
 
1-24-20 4:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com or click on the News Tips grapic above.

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Arkansas is Counting on us

 

A lot can change in ten years. In 2010, Apple introduced the iPad, I didn’t have grandkids and the population of Arkansas was less than three million. Now, tablets are as important as pencils and I have four grandchildren who are part of an estimated 100,000 additional people in Arkansas.

 

Recognizing and analyzing these trends is critical as our state plans for the future. When you think about paving roads, building schools and having enough hospitals, it is important to keep that degree of population growth – and potential future additions – in mind.  

 

Although they could not have imagined the growth of America over the last 244 years, our Founding Fathers did understand the importance of counting our people to make sure we are properly represented in Congress. The U.S. Census occurs every ten years and is mandated by our Constitution. In addition to determining the distribution of billions of federal dollars, it impacts how lines are drawn for congressional districts and the number of U.S. Representatives serving each state. 

 

Since the first census in 1790, a lot has changed in how we collect data and what information is sought. There are several new things about the 2020 Census, including the role of technology. For the first time, many Americans will submit their information online. For Arkansans who do not have access to a computer or simply prefer to use paper forms, we all still have the option of completing our civic duty on paper, over the phone or in person with a Census official. However, for those who hope to get it done faster, the online option will be the easiest. In fact, households that reply online after receiving the first notices in March won’t have to worry about additional mail, calls or visits by Census employees. 

 

The importance of getting an accurate count is reflected in the work of statewide initiatives like Arkansas Counts and the creation of the Arkansas Complete Count Committee. Governor Hutchinson launched this committee last summer to promote participation and provide suggestions on how to reach hard-to-count communities.

 

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 15 percent of Arkansans are considered hard-to-count. The agency says some of the difficult-to-count populations include low-income individuals, non-English speakers and minorities. That makes the work of the committee so crucial. I am grateful for the hard work of this committee, under the leadership of Fort Smith Mayor George McGill. 

 

In 2010, Arkansas ranked 38th in Census participation. This means we left billions of dollars on the table that could have been used for critical projects like highway construction, rural broadband and water systems. It is important that we all do our part this year to make sure our fair share of funding stays in the Natural State.

 

The initial letters from the Census Bureau will start arriving in March 2020, with the entire process completed by fall. It is time for us all to be counted, including my grandchildren.

 

1-24-20 3:24 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com or click on the News Tips graphic above.

 

 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

January 24, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Levee Task Force has completed its final report, with recommendations on how to pay for maintenance and repairs, and how to best gauge the current condition of levees.

 

The average levee along the Arkansas River is 70 years old, but in some areas there is little or no regular activity to maintain them, evaluate the need for repairs or levy assessments on property owners who benefit from them.

 

In fact, the 26-member task force characterized people’s attitudes toward levees as “out of sight, out of mind.”

 

The task force made 17 recommendations in four major areas. First, we need a much more detailed analysis of current conditions. Making an accurate assessment is not simple. Some levees are privately owned and protect a relatively small area. Others can be 50 to 60 miles long, and are compromised by roads that have been cut in them over the years. Many are overgrown or were abandoned long ago.

 

The task force limited its definition of a levee to a structure designed to protect property and people from a 25-year flood, which has not been abandoned and which is operated by a federal, state or local government body. Local entities include levee districts.

 

It can be difficult to determine whether or not a levee has been abandoned. The task force included in its inventory an important levee although it is in poor condition and has no functioning board of citizens or levee district to supervise maintenance.

 

Local boards are important, to evaluate the condition of levees and collect assessments from property owners for maintenance. Federal funding is often the major source of revenue for levee repairs, but those funds won’t be allocated if the local board is not active.

 

For that reason, the legislature enacted new laws allowing vacancies on levee boards to be filled. It’s also why the task force recommended that all levee district board positions be filled, through procedures set out in state law.

 

State aid should be a financial incentive for levee districts to sign up for federal programs that provide the bulk of funding for repairs. In order to qualify for those federal dollars, the boards of levee districts need to maintain their active status over the long term. The areas protected must be assessed accurately.

 

The task force recommended that the state GIS Office continue to work with county officials and levee districts to help them draw up-to-date maps showing the boundaries of levee districts and the property that is protected by levees.

 

If it makes sense to merge two or more levee districts, that decision should be made at the local level, the task force recommended.

 

All levee districts should use a standard form when they monitor and report on the condition of levees.

 

In related development, the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission approved $8.8 million in grants for 14 local districts.

 

The task force report cautioned that even after levees are repaired and meet federal standards, they might be breached by historic levels of flooding. The 2019 floods in Arkansas were the result of heavy rains in Oklahoma and southeast Kansas that were 400 to 600 % higher than normal. Runoff from those storms was estimated to be four times the capacity of Oklahoma reservoirs.

 

1-24-20 10:31 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Baptist Health President-CEO Addresses Mena Hospital Commission About Possible Acquisition

The Mena Hospital Commission met Thursday night at the hospital in Mena for their regular monthly meeting. Before routine business and agenda items were discussed, Chairman David Gilbert introduced several people from Baptist Health, including President and CEO Troy Wells, and Regional President of Forth Smith Baptist Health Harrison Dean, and invited them to address the board about a possible acquisition of Mena Regional Health System by Baptist Health.

 

Wells said that Baptist had been approached by Mena Regional Health System and that at this time there was no time frame or specific plan in place, only talks about a possible acquisition. Wells also spoke favorably about the local hospital and touched on the difficulties rural hospitals are having.

 

Hospital board members Leon Philpot and Judith Roberson both commented out of concern for the current hospital staff, should there be a takeover by Baptist. Philpot noted that the employees were the biggest asset of any organization like Mena Regional Health System, and Roberson expressed concern about growing anxiety among the staff and said she wanted to make sure none were "kicked to the curb" if the hospital was taken over by Baptist. Wells assured the board that while there may be some changes, they would be minimal. Wells said the most significant change would be going from a hospital owned by a governmental entity to one in a larger group that is a faith based organization.

No action was taken before the board transitioned to their regular business. About two dozen people were in attendance, including State Representative John Maddox, Mayor Seth Smith, hospital attorney Danny Thrailkill, several Mena Aldermen and one Quorum Court member. 

 

The Mena Hospital Commission is made up of members appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council, and includes David Gilbert, Judith Roberson, Tammy Young, Paula Brotherton, Dr. Carlos Rocha, Michael Myers and Leon Philpot. 

 

Baptist Health was originally established by the Arkansas Baptist Convention and will be 100 years old in February of 2021.

 

1-23-20 7:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Jan. 22, 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.

 

Click on the area of the state below you are intersted in for current fishing information.

 

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.

 

1-22-20 4:13 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com.

 

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Mena School Board Meets, Superintendent Benny Weston's Contract Extended One Year

The Mena School Board held their January meeting on Tuesday Night at the Administration Building.

 

The board went into executive session immediately to discuss the renewal of Benny Weston's contract as Superintendent. When the executive session ended the board voted unanimously to add an additional year to Weston's contract.

 

Danny Minton addressed the board on the HVAC Scheduled Maintenance Agreement. The board renewed the agreement for Mena High School, including the addition of the safe room systems, at a cost of $14,850.00. The board also approved the addition of an agreement for Louise Durham Elementary at a cost of $4,292.00.

 

Minton also gave an update on the district facilities which included information on damage caused by a recent lightning strike. The strike took place on a light pole at the baseball field & not only caused damage there but also to phones, cameras, HVAC & more. A complete damage assessment is underway & may continue for some time before all damage is discovered.

 

Attention then turned to the Mid Year Review in which Weston was pleased to report that the district had exhausted 47% of the budget for the year.

 

Weston then updated each member of the board on the requirements of Act 589 the School Board Member Training Report in which all board members had met or exceeded the required number of hours.

 

The Board moved on to the financial report which was approved.

 

The Annual School Board Liability Insurance & General Liability Coverage premium was briefly discussed before the being approved at a cost of $8783.00.

 

Finally there were a pair of personnel issues. The board accepted the resignation of Hope Cannon who is a para pro at MMS & also they also approved the move of bus driver Gwen Andrews from a "C" to a "B" route.

 

1-22-20 7:03 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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OLT Announces Cast For A Midsummer Night's Dream, Production Dates

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Cast Announced; Rehearsals Underway

 

Ouachita Little Theatre has combined with University of Arkansas at Rich Mountain to bring William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to the stage in Mena. Directors Robby and Gini Burt are excited to bring this classic comedy to life with assistance from local talents such as Costumer Jane Buttermilk, Stage Manager Makayla Kenyon-Ortiz, and Sound Technician Brenden James. Burt, the Humanities Instructor at UARM states, “It is a humbling experience to direct a play by the most produced playwright ever, and yet our cast and crew is very excited about the project and we look forward to giving it our best try.” Considering the experience of his cast and crew, this is sure to be a highlight of the theater season.

 

Cast is announced as follows: Scotty Jenkins – Theseus, Jackie Biard – Egeus, Richard Gilbert – Lysander, Jaimesan Biard – Demetrius, Larry Kropp - Philostrate, Will Hose – Bottom, Morgan Richmond – Snug, William McClain – Flute, Larry Kenyon – Quince, Jessie Townzen – Starveling, Michael Lickly – Snout, Julie Moe – Hippolyta, April Burt – Hermia, Nalu Pruitt – Helena, Mike Moe – Oberon, Alyvia Wooden – Titania, Alexa Night – Puck, Angelina Moe – Peaseblossom, Tia Moe – Mustard Seed, Danielle Wallstrom – Cobweb, Anna Burt – Moth. Fairies will be played by Gabriel Lickly, Miranda Burt, Alexis Hilderbrand, Heather Hilderbrand, and Robby Burt. Attendants are played by Ann Glenn, Marvin Glenn, and Stephanie Tapley. Rounding out the technical Crew is Jocelyn Biard and Abby Baker on lighting, and Mia Goforth and Andrew Wallstrom on the stage crew.

 

This play will be produced at the Ouachita Little Theatre on the weekends of February 21-23 and again on February 28-March 1. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 PM and Sunday matinees are at 2:30 PM. Advanced tickets with reserved seating are available at the OLT office Monday through Friday 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. Tickets will also be available at the door. Season ticket holders can use their ticket at the door or trade it in for a reserved seat. There will also be a special performance for students at area schools on February 27 and 28.

 

1-21-20 4:07 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for January 13th - 19th

SHERIFF’S   LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of January 13, 2020 – January 19, 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.


January 13, 2020
Report from complainant on Polk 67 near Opal of an individual that refused to return a vehicle to the owner.  Deputy responded.  The vehicle was later returned to the owner.  Complainant refused to press charges.
Report of an unattended death on Polk 86 near Cherry Hill.  Deputy responded.


January 14, 2020
Report of threatening behavior led to an 11-year-old male being issued a Juvenile Citation for Disorderly Conduct.  The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.
Report of a hit-and-run accident on Highway 71 South near Hatfield led to Citations for Leaving the Scene of an Accident and No Proof of Insurance being issued to Timothy S. Woods, 43, of Hatfield.
Report from a public facility on Polk 184 near Acorn of the break-in and theft of a trailer, mower, and several tools, all valued at $15,425.00.  Most of the items have been recovered.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


January 15, 2020
Report from complainant on Polk 404 near Cove of the break-in and theft of tools, electronics, household goods and two firearms, all valued at $350.00.  Investigation continues.


January 16, 2020
Report from complainant on Polk 78 near Potter of unauthorized persons on their property.  Deputy responded.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Tisha Samuels, 38, of Gillham, on a Warrant for Contempt of Court.


January 17, 2020
Reports of animals in poor conditions on Highway 8 East near Board Camp led to a Citation for Cruelty to Animals being issued to Cecil E. Lucas, 58,of Mena.
Report from complainant on Majesty Lane near Mena of being harassed by an acquaintance.
Arrested was Christopher Roberts, 25, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
Arrested was David M. Fraser, 51, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear and six Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.


January 18, 2020
Report from complainant on Polk 90 near Acorn of an unauthorized person on their property.  Deputy responded.
Report from complainants on Polk 231 near Cove of damage to several mailboxes.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Polk 31 near Hatfield of three animals that had been killed and another one injured.  Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Polk 20 near Cove of suspicious activities happening around their property.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Highway 8 West near Rocky of the break-in and theft of cash, causing damage to a window, totaling losses at $1,462.00.  Investigation continues.
Arrested was Wayne Roberts, 25, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.
Arrested was Robert Castillo, 51, of Mena, on two Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order and a Body Attachment Warrant.


January 19, 2020
Report from complainant on Polk 53 near Mena of the break-in to a residence.  Investigation continues.

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

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 18 Incarcerated Inmates , with 7 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC20-00050(55)

 

1-21-20 11:48 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Upcoming Activities At Queen Wilhelmina State Park Near Mena, January 24th and 25th

For more information about the activities listed below at Queen Wilhelmina State Park, or the park in general, dial (479) 394-2863 or visit the park's website by clicking here.

 

Friday, January 24

 

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

 

Arkansas Symbols starting at 3:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes. Meet in the Hearth Room. Do you know the symbols of Arkansas? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and find out our state drink, cooking vessel, bird and much more!

 

Pinecone Bird feeders starting at 7:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes. Meet in the Hearth Room. Join Park Interpreter Melissa to make a pinecone bird feeder. This fun filled craft will make your back yard birds sing with delight as they chow down on their homemade birdie buffet!

 

Saturday, January 25

 

Reservoir Hike  starting at 11:00 am and lasting about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Meet at the Reservoir Trailhead. Join Park Interpreter Melissa on a hike to what used to be the old water system for the 1898 hotel.

 

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

 

Winter Walk starting at 3:00 pm and lasting about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Meet on the west side of the Ouachita Trailhead. Join Park Interpreter Melissa and enjoy a serene winter walk on top of the mountain to catch a glimpse of the changes the season brings with it. This will be an easy hike for all ages.

 

1-20-20 11:49 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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December 2019 Lottery Ticket Sales Over $43 Million In Arkansas

Lottery ticket sales in Arkansas during the month of December 2019 totaled $43,169,925.50 according to a report recently released by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Office of The Arkansas Lottery.

 

The highest sales for any county in the state were in Pulaski County and totaled $7,932,542.50.

 

The lowest sales for any county were in Montgomery County and totaled $29,872.00.

 

Sales in Polk County totaled $180,298.50.

 

According the the Family Council, only fourteen cents of each dollar will actually make it to a student.

 

1-20-20 6:45 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: It's the Right Thing to Do

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: It’s the Right Thing to Do

 

To listen to the Governor's weekly radio address, click anywhere on this line, then click on the play button, or you can read the text below.

 

LITTLE ROCK – Today I’d like to discuss my decision to allow a limited number of refugees to relocate legally in Arkansas after they have been vetted and cleared by agencies of the United States. The refugees are coming here after suffering violence and religious persecution. Others are allowed in because they supported United States military forces, which puts them in danger.

 

Last year, President Trump issued an executive order that capped the number of refugees allowed into the United States at 18,000. His executive order returned to states the right to accept or refuse refugees. I applaud President Trump for recognizing the need to give state and local governments a greater role in the decision to relocate refugees. President Trump also tightened security checks to further minimize the risk that we would accept a refugee who might be a risk or might not assimilate to our American values.

 

It is important to understand who qualifies as a refugee. A refugee is not someone who crosses our borders illegally, or someone who enters our country and claims asylum. The refugees coming to America under this resettlement program often wait years for admission. The lives and history of these refugees are scrutinized more closely than any other category of immigrant.  

 

The vetting includes biographic and interagency security checks; Homeland Security interviews; fingerprint scans; biometric security checks; and a medical exam. Once a refugee is approved, he or she goes through a cultural education program by the United States.

 

Our agreement to allow refugees into Arkansas is not unlimited. This year, we expect to receive fewer than 50.

 

I decided to say yes to the refugees because it’s the right thing to do. The federal government and private contributions cover 100 percent of the cost of resettlement. The move doesn’t cost the state a dime.

 

Most of the refugees come from the Democratic Republic of Congo and other African nations. A few came from Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

Lusia and Kalulu Akilimali are refugees who left the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2000 because of the civil war. They fled to Kenya, where they waited for 18 years to be resettled. While they waited, Lusia opened a small grocery store, and Kalulu planted a Baptist church. They adopted two orphaned Congolese children.

 

They were all resettled in Arkansas in 2018. Lusia has recently completed training as a Certified Nursing Assistant and is working at a senior care facility. Kalulu works for a manufacturing company in Springdale. Their oldest son attends Northwest Arkansas Community College and is hoping to transfer to the University next year to complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering. They are active members of Cross Church in Springdale.

 

Homayoon Abdullah is a refugee who came here because for years in Afghanistan he worked with United States authorities at great risk to his life and that of his family. We did the right thing to welcome him.

 

I will always put the interests and safety of Arkansans first. I know we will benefit from the love for America that each refugee brings to our state.

 

1-17-20 4:52 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com.

 

 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Research tells us that 61% of low-income families have no age-appropriate books in their homes. Middle-income homes have an average of 13 books per child.

 

On average, children in poverty have been exposed to only 25 hours of one-on-one reading, compared to middle-class children who have been exposed to 1,000-1,700 hours of one-on-one reading. Only 48% of young children are read to daily. 

 

Exposure to books provides significant academic advantages as 85% of the brain is developed between the ages of 3-5.

 

To provide Arkansas families with more resources, a state 501 (c) (3) partnered with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in July 2017. Arkansas is 1 of 4 states to partner with the organization.

 

In 1995, singer-songwriter Dolly Parton launched the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in East Tennessee. Her vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families. The new program gave each child from birth to age 5 a specially selected book each month. 

The program has expanded and now delivers 1.4 million books each month to children nationwide.

 

Recently, the House and Senate Education Committees were updated on the progress of the Arkansas Imagination Library.

 

Approximately, 39,000 books are delivered each month to Arkansas children enrolled in the program. And in the last year, more than 427,000 books have been delivered to Arkansas homes. The number of books mailed monthly grew 87.3% in just two years.

 

Thousands of families could still benefit from the program. Any family with children ages 5 and under can sign up regardless of income. We have provided a link on our website www.arkansashouse.org

 

1-17-20 4:28 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Listen to KAWX in the Mena area on 93.1, or in the Hatfield-Cove-Vandervoort area on 94.9.

 

Listen on the go with a free KAWX app available at the App Store or Google Play. Listen on any smart device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo.

 

Listen anywhere at KAWX.ORG (Listen Live Tab) or by clicking on the radio below.

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Commemorating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Commemorating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

The National Mall is dotted with memorials and monuments that honor our nation’s most influential leaders. It’s appropriate that the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is situated along this treasured area.

 

Dr. King was a humble public servant who dedicated his life to pursing justice and fairness for all people. His leadership in the civil rights movement was about spurring America to live up to the ideals of our founding: liberty and equality under the law, for all. In their righteous pursuit of that goal, the leaders, activists and participants championing this cause for African Americans helped make the United States a more perfect Union.

 

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once visited Arkansas where he addressed the 1958 graduating class of Arkansas AM&N College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). He told the crowd of over 1,000 that each of us “must be measured by his soul,” and continued, saying, “we are challenged to enter the new age with understanding in our hearts.”

 

The civil rights movement, at its foundation, was intertwined with faith and spirituality. The call to ensure equality and justice for every American was just as much based on a biblical ethic as anything else, so it’s fitting prayer breakfast events are held all over the country to celebrate Dr. King’s memory and contributions. I recently attended the annual MLK Prayer Breakfast at the University of Central Arkansas to celebrate this remarkable leader’s legacy.

 

Dr. King’s faith certainly played an undeniable role in shaping his perspective and activism. He, alongside so many others in the movement, echoed the belief that a higher power demanded all his children be afforded the value and dignity they inherently possess.

 

We can all be encouraged by how far we’ve come in this regard, and that progress bears the unmistakable mark of Dr. King. Our nation owes him so much and his legacy richly deserves this reverence and admiration.

 

Just five short years after addressing the students at AM&N, Dr. King led the March on Washington and gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

 

To this day, school children learn of the memorable, moving refrains of that address. Thankfully, today those same children sit in integrated classrooms, learning about what makes each of them different and unique from one another, but also about how much they share in common with their friends who might look different than they do.

 

That may seem ordinary now, but it is something worth reflecting on and celebrating. And no reflection or celebration would be complete without acknowledging the immense contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

 

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day let us join together to continue the important work of striving for justice, equality and unity.

 

1-17-20 4:22 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com.

 

 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

 

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

January 17, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – Thanks to legislation enacted in 1993, Arkansas continues to experience a competitive market for workers’ compensation insurance.

The state Insurance Department performs an annual study of the market and reports to the Senate Committee on Insurance and Commerce.

 

According to the latest study, “Arkansas’s voluntary workers’ compensation market would have disappeared and many employers would have found themselves unable to afford workers’ compensation coverage, facing the choice of either closing down their business or operating outside the law, had Act 796 not become reality.”

 

To emphasize its conclusion, the report states that “the impact of the Act on workers’ compensation premiums is clear and significant. Prior to its enactment rates were increasing significantly.”

 

In the two years immediately before the legislature approved Act 796 of 1993, rates increased 15 % and 18 %.

 

However, the year in which the act passed was the first time in 10 years that workers’ comp rates did not go up.

 

The act created a division within the Insurance Department assigned to investigate fraud, and set financial penalties for fraudulently making workers’ comp claims. In 2005 the division’s authority was expanded to investigate all forms of insurance fraud, and it was renamed the Criminal Investigation Division of the Insurance Department.

 

Workers’ comp fraud makes up four % of the total number of insurance fraud cases investigated by the division.

 

Since 1993, when the investigation division was created, it has referred 166 cases to local prosecutors. Those referrals resulted in 123 convictions and three acquittals. The remaining cases were not acted on by prosecuting attorneys.

 

Arkansas companies can get workers’ comp from two categories. The most affordable plans are in the voluntary market. The other plan is an assigned risk pool for companies that do not generally qualify for the more affordable coverage available on the voluntary market.

 

The Insurance Department annual report concludes that without the changes made by the legislature in Act 796 of 1993, it is doubtful that a voluntary market would still exist in Arkansas. The assigned risk pool, which is typically considered the market of last resort, would likely have become the Arkansas workers’ comp market of “only resort,” the insurance officials reported.

 

Deficit Spending

 

The state’s chief fiscal officer recently appeared before a Congressional committee in Washington, D.C. He briefed federal officials on the history of the Arkansas balanced budget amendment, and how state government can operate efficiently under a balanced budget every year.

 

The U.S. government is expected to run a deficit of $984 billion this fiscal year.

 

Arkansas voters approved Amendment 20 to the state Constitution in 1934, which prohibits the state from borrowing money without approval by citizens in a statewide vote. Amendment 20 was placed on the ballot by the 1933 legislature.

 

In 1945 the legislature approved the Revenue Stabilization Act, which prioritizes state spending. If revenue declines due to a slowdown in the economy, state agency spending is reduced accordingly.

 

1-17-20 11:50 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Listen to KAWX in the Mena area on 93.1, or in the Hatfield-Cove-Vandervoort area on 94.9.

 

Listen on the go with a free KAWX app available at the App Store or Google Play. Listen on any smart device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo.

 

Listen anywhere at KAWX.ORG (Listen Live Tab) or by clicking on the radio below.

 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments January 13th, 15th

All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes: 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Darrell G.C. Garrett, White Male, age 28, Count I: Sexual Assault In The Second Degree, a Class "B" Felony. Count II: Harassment, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. Count III: Indecent exposure, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Krishna K. Turner, White Female, age 27, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Windal Loyd, White Male, age 39, Count I: Domestic Battery In The Third Degree, a Class "D" Felony.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Austin C. McCulley, White Male, age 25, Count I: Domestic Battery In The Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony.
 
1-16-20 4:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

 

Weekly Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for Jan. 15, 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.

 

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

 

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.

 

1-15-20 5:38 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com.

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Resurfacing Of Parts of US 71 and Hwy 88 In Mena to Begin Within Four Weeks

 

Arkansas Highway Commission Approves Bid for Improvements in Polk County POLK COUNTY

 

(1-15) - The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to roadways in Polk County, according to Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) officials. The purpose of this project is to resurface selected sections of 3.7 miles of U.S. Highway 71 and State Highway 88 in Mena. Crow Group, Inc. of Morrilton was awarded the contract at $1,881,608.15. Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in mid 2020. 

 

1-15-20 4:58 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Pine Crest Cemetery Annual Meeting January 20th

 
Pine Crest Gardens, Inc. dba Pine Crest Cemetery will have their Annual Meeting on January 20, 2020 starting at 5:00 p.m. at the Cemetery on Bethesda Road in Mena.
 
The purpose of the Annual Meeting is to make any needed changes in the By Laws and elect officers for the coming year.
 
Anyone interested in the Cemetery is invited to attend.
 
The regular monthly meeting for January 2020 will immediately follow the Annual Meeting.
 
For additional information, contact Chris Daniel at 479-234-5428 or email pinecrestmena@gmail.com.
 
1-15-20 8:28 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Spelling Bee Winners

 

 

County’s Top Spellers Compete

 

The county’s top spellers poured through the doors of the Ouachita Center on the Mena campus of UA Rich Mountain Tuesday, January 14, for the chance to earn the coveted Polk County Spelling Bee champion title. The event is co-sponsored by the DeQueen/Mena Educational Co-Op and Union Bank of Mena and hosted annually on the campus of UA Rich Mountain.

 

Each student begins at their grade level and the first place winner then advances on to the next grade to compete.

 

This year’s top honors go to:

1st grade – 1st place: Rajesh Dandikar, 2nd place: Lilly Arender, 3rd place: Brody Ward

2nd grade – 1st place: Amelia Espinola, 2nd place: Adelyn Barton, 3rd place: Channing Wimberly

3rd grade – 1st place: Drew Mabry, 2nd place: Amelia Espinola, 3rd place: Lindsey Munoz

4th grade – 1st place: Ayden Dong, 2nd place: Shooter Davis, 3rd place: Jaylie Brantley

5th grade – 1st place: Ryan Jiang, 2nd place: Adileni Herrera, 3rd place: Ayden Dong

6th grade – 1st place: Ryan Jiang, 2nd place: Brandon Dong, 3rd place: Lacy McEntire

7th grade – 1st place: Bradley Harwood, 2nd place: Yennette Tecson, 3rd place: Elijah Smith

8th grade – 1st place: Shantal Tecson, 2nd place: Kenzie Daniels, 3rd place: Jocelyn Biard

 

“We applaud the efforts of all of these students and the amount of time they have obviously committed to compete at this level. It’s always a privilege to have them on our campus and we appreciate all of the efforts from everyone at the Co-Op each year as well as the continued support of Union Bank to truly make this such a memorable event for these students,” said UA Rich Mountain Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson.

 

1-14-20 8:47 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Public Hearing, Mena City Council Meeting Recap

 
There was a Public Hearing Tuesday prior to the Mena City Council meeting to allow citizen input concerning two grants that will be applied for on behalf of the City and the Mena - Polk Senior Citizens Center by Western Arkansas Panning and Development District (WAPDD).
 
Tracee McKenna with WAPDD conducted the hearing before a full house at City Hall. 
 
Numerous people commented about the many benefits of the Mena - Polk Senior Citizens Center. There were a number of needed updates and improvements mentioned that grant money could be used for that would allow the Center to continue operating without cutbacks, including repairs to the concrete floor that is buckling, updating the heating and air system, enclosing a carport to make room for a larger walk in freezer and pantry, and improving the insulation. The grant would be a matching grant from the Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program (ACEDP).
 
The second part of the hearing concerned a separate grant for outdoor recreation projects. Some of the possible uses for this grant included shade at the city pool, trees, updating playground equipment at Janssen Park, additional ball fields at Tapley Park to accommodate 13 and 14 year olds that have no field to use at this time, and a walking trail. This grant would be from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism Outdoor Recreation Matching Grant Program.
 
Both grants are in the development stages and will be applied for later this year. Mayor Seth Smith is working with WAPDD and will also be requesting support for the grants from Mena's State Senator and State Representative.
 
Immediately following the hearing the City Council met for their regular monthly session. All aldermen were present, along with the Mayor, City Clerk/Treasurer, City Attorney and Department Heads.
 
The Council took care of routine business and heard reports from Department Heads.
 
A Resolution was passed in support of the continuation of the one half percent sales tax for highways and bridges, county roads, and other surface transportation.
 
An ordinance was passed approving the application of Little Italy for a private club to be located at their location on Hwy 71 North in Mena. Little Italy will now have to apply to the Department of Finance and Administration Alcoholic Beverage Control Division.
 
The Council approved the purchase of two new police interceptor sedans bought on the state bid.
 
The February City Council meeting was changed to February 18, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. so as to not conflict with an Arkansas Highway Commission  Public Hearing in Mena scheduled for February 11, 2020.
 
1-14-20 8:28 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for January 6th - 12th

 

SHERIFF’S   LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of January 6, 2020 – January 12, 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.


January 6, 2020
Report from complainant on Polk 59 near Board Camp of a suspicious vehicle led to the arrest of Jacob W. Seago-Moga, 23, of Mena, on Charges of Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License, Careless/Prohibited Driving and Driving Left of Center.


January 7, 2020
Report of an abandoned vehicle on Polk 82 near Big Fork.  Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Heritage Lane near Hatfield of an unauthorized person at a residence, and the theft of a phone, valued at $60.00.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.


January 8, 2020
Report from a Cove woman of the discovery of a suspicious material in their residence.  Deputy responded.
Arrested was Teresa L. Destrini, 54, of Mena, on a Drug Court Sanction.
Arrested was David T. Sinyard, 44, of Mena, on a Drug Court Sanction.
Arrested was Kenneth R. Fry, 48, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Theft of Motor Fuel.


January 9, 2020
Report from a Cove woman that her 15-year-old son was missing.  The juvenile was located and returned to the custody of a parent/guardian.  Additional information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a domestic disturbance on Highway 71 South near Hatfield.  Deputy responded.


January 10, 2020
Report from a 17-year-old female of being harassed by an acquaintance.  Deputy responded.
Report of a disturbance on Polk 31 near Hatfield led to the arrest of Windal Loyd, 39, of Hatfield, on Charges of Battery 3rd Degree and Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.
Arrested was Jamie R. Arce, 36, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Harassment.
Arrested was Krishna K. Turner, 27, of Vandervoort, on a Warrant for Felony Failure to Appear.


January 11, 2020
Report from complainant on West Dover Street in Hatfield of finding suspicious items in their residence.  Deputy responded.  Investigation continues.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Scott J. Flournoy, 35, of Dequeen, on two Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.


January 12, 2020
Report of a disturbance on Airport Lane near Mena led to the arrest of Lisa G. Overturf, 52, of Mena, on Charges of Disorderly Conduct and Battery 3rd Degree.
Report from complainant on Polk 30 near Hatfield of problems with a neighbor’s dogs.  Deputy responded.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a disturbance on Highway 88 East near Yocana led to the arrest of April Poor, 40, of Mena, on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.
Report of an unattended death on Highway 88 East near Mena.  Deputy responded.


Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 33 Incarcerated Inmates , with 8 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC20-00032

 

1-14-20 1:14 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Spelling Bee Tuesday At UARM's Ouachita Center

 
The annual Polk County Spelling Bee will be Tuesday, January 14th in the Ouachita Center at UARM.

The Spelling Bee will get underway at 9:00 a.m.
 
Participants will be 1st through 8th grade students representing all the schools in the county.
 
1-13-20 5:17 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Volunteer Firefighters Needed In Polk County, Introduction Course Offered January 16th and 17th

 
Persons interested in becoming volunteer firefighters for one of Polk County's Volunteer Fire Departments are encouraged to attend a two night class, Introduction To Fire Protection, Thursday and Friday night, January 16th and 17th.
 
James Hale at the Polk County Office of Emergency Management said that the class would last three or three and a half hours each night, start at 6:00 p.m., and be held at Mena Fire Station #1 on De Queen Street.
 
This is one of three courses new firefighters will need to complete.
 
There is no cost to attend the class. Volunteer firefighters need to be at least 18 years of age.
 
For more information, call the Polk County Office of Emergency Management at (479) 394-8141.
 
1-13-20 4:04 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Voter's Guides Available From Arkansas Family Council

 

The Arkansas Family Council is once again making voter's guides available to Arkansans. You can pre-order voter's guides for the 2020 primaries by clicking here.

 

The guides are completely free and will be mailed to those requesting one or more. 

Arkansas Voter's Guides are nonpartisan. They tell voters where candidates stand on issues like life, education, and economics.

 

The Primary Election is March 3rd and the General Election is November 6th.

 

Click here for more information about Arkansas Family Council.

 

1-13-20 11:31 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for January 5th - 11th

 

Mena Police Reports from January 5, 2020 through January 11, 2020 

 

 

January 5, 2020

Richard Silverman, Jr. of Mena was charged with domestic battery and resisting arrest after a call to a local residence. While incarcerated, he violated his no-contact order by calling one of the victims.

 

Robert Pierce, 41, of Mena was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was also served two outstanding warrants.

 

Terrie Williams, 32, of Mena was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. The arrest followed a vehicle stop.

Benjamin Gheorghiu, 44, of Mena was charged with disorderly contact. The arrest followed a traffic stop.

 

January 6, 2020

Tearesa Denton, 47, of Mena was charged with criminal mischief and three counts of possession of a controlled substance. The arrest followed a call to a local retail store regarding someone breaking into a vending machine.

 

Vicky Franz, 56, of Mena was charged with driving on a suspended driver’s license, having no insurance, and having no vehicle tags.

 

Lester Wright, 57, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana was charged with public intoxication.

 

January 7, 2020

Report was made of someone vandalizing a vending machine at a local laundromat. After an investigation and review of surveillance tape, three Mena youths, two aged 16, and one 15 were charged with criminal mischief. The case has been sent to the juvenile department.

 

January 8, 2020

Two local women reported that someone had pried the lock on their house and stole several prescription bottles while they were out. Case pending.

 

January 9, 2020

A local man reported that someone had used his debit card. He had lost his wallet, and someone had used his debit card for airline tickets. Case pending.

 

Employees at a local gas station reported that someone had struck a pump, causing significant damage. Case is pending location of suspect.

 

January 10, 2020

Paul Mahoney, 26, of Mena was charged with domestic battery after a call from one of their neighbors.

 

January 11, 2020

Cody Dees, 34, of Mena was taken into custody and served two warrants.

 

1-13-20 11:13 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com.

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Upcoming Activities At Queen Wilhelmina State Park Near Mena

 

For more information about any of the activities listed below, or the state park, dial (479) 394-2863, or visit the park's website by clicking here.

 

 

Friday, January 17th

 

Unnatural Hike starting at 1:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes. Meet at the Amphitheater. How attentive do you really think you are? Join Park Interpreter Melissa to test your powers of observation in this fun interesting hidden item hunt along the Spring Trail.

 

Touch Table starting at 4:00 pm and lasting about 1 hour. Meet in the Hearth Room. There will be different things that you can see and touch. Join Park Interpreter Melissa for a fun, interactive way of exploring things found in our park, and find out what they are.

 

Arkansas Furs  atarting at 7:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes. Meet in the Hearth Room. What animals do we have here at Queen Wilhelmina State Park? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and she will talk about the animals that we have here in the park, and you will get to feel their furs.

 

Saturday, January 18th

 

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

 

Silent Hike starting at 3:00 pm and lasting about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Meet on the North Side of Lovers’ Leap Trail. Have you ever been on a trail and never seen an animal? Join Park Interpreter Melissa as we hike silently down to the Lovers’ Leap platform. Along the way we will observe what we can see and hear as we silently walk through the woods.

 

Slithering Snakes starting at 7:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes. Meet in the Hearth Room. What type of snake slither over the forest floor at Queen Wilhelmina? Join Park Interpreter Melissa to learn a few of the venomous and non-venomous snakes we have here at Queen Wilhelmina.

 

Sunday, January 19th

 

Wonder House Tour starting at 10:00 am and lasting about 30 minutes. Meet at the Wonder House. Do you ever wonder what the Wonder House is about? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and step back into history to see one of the first vacation homes built in the 1930’s.

 

Champion Trees starrting at 2:00 pm and lasting about 30 minutes. Meet in the Hearth Room. Do you ever wonder what the largest tree of its species are called? Join Park Interpreter Melissa and she will talk about the Champion Trees in Arkansas and where their located.

 

Bird Watching starting at 3:00 pm and lasting about 1 hour. Meet on the  North side of Lovers' Leap. Whether you’re a beginner or pro at birding, join park interpreter Melissa as we hike to the observation deck. We will be watching for birds along the way. Bring your binoculars and we will see how many birds we can identify.

 

1-12-20 1:20 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Listen to KAWX in the Mena area on 93.1, or in the Hatfield-Cove-Vandervoort area on 94.9.

 

Listen on the go with a free KAWX app available at the App Store or Google Play. Listen on any smart device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo.

 

Listen anywhere at KAWX.ORG (Listen Live Tab) or by clicking on the radio below.

 

 

 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Marking One-Year of the Farm Bill

 

Marking One-Year of the Farm Bill

 

Often, after I’m introduced at events, I’ll joke that I’d rather be identified as an optometrist than a senator.

 

Given Congress’ low approval rating, many of my colleagues probably share my tongue-in-cheek preference of being identified by a previous profession instead of their current one.

 

It’s not hard to see why most Americans have a very negative view of Washington. Partisan fights are the norm. Advocates of the most extreme positions get the spotlight and the attention is always focused on drama and gridlock. Unfortunately, these characterizations dismiss all that Congress has accomplished this past year.

 

In the 116th session of Congress, the Senate has, among other things, confirmed over 100 federal judges, repealed costly Obamacare taxes and increased security at the border. We’ve passed laws vital to the future of our nation, including measures to secure our elections, and we’ve tackled smaller concerns, such as those annoying robocalls that frustrate Americans on a daily basis.

 

Along with our aggressive legislative agenda, Congress is also working to ensure recent landmark laws are being properly implemented. The 2018 Farm Bill—which became law just over a year ago—sits at the top of that list. 

 

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I can attest to how much work went into passing the 2018 Farm Bill. The reality of agriculture policy is that our divisions often don’t fall along partisan lines, rather they tend to occur between regions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for agricultural policy across a country as large and diverse as the United States. Agriculture in western, northeastern and coastal states differ from both the South and the Midwest, which in turn, have needs that vary. What works for farmers in Iowa often times does not work for farmers in Arkansas and vice-versa.

 

To pass a farm bill that was workable for the entire nation, members of Congress had to put aside our differences to ensure the needs of each region were met. It was a fine line to walk, but we managed to find a common ground among the many distinct demands—largely due to the leadership of Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

 

The challenges facing our farmers and ranchers made passing the farm bill in a timely manner imperative. Agricultural producers have been facing intense pressure: farm bankruptcies are up, financing has become more expensive, commodity prices have dropped and the trade outlook has been uncertain to say the least.

 

In light of the adversity facing agriculture today and in recent years, producers needed assurances that Washington will enact policies that provide a path toward a secure future for their operations and livelihoods. The 2018 Farm Bill brought some much-needed stability by reauthorizing and improving key risk management tools, enhancing economic development programs, protecting conservation opportunities and providing regulatory certainty. While significant challenges remain, we have seen some confidence return to rural America in the year since the 2018 Farm Bill became law.

 

It took a heavy lift to get this bill passed through two chambers with very diverse views and then signed into law by the president. That accomplishment set an example of what we can achieve when we work together, and also established a clear precedent to follow during implementation. It is my hope the 2018 Farm Bill will serve as a blueprint for more bipartisan successes in 2020 and beyond.

 

1-12-20 9:34 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com.

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Final Report of the Arkansas Levee Task Force

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Final Report of the Arkansas Levee Task Force
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I would like to talk about the recommendations that the Arkansas Levee Task Force submitted to me this week in its final report.
 
I created the task force and appointed 27 members in June last year.
 
The events that led to the need for the task force began in late May. I will never forget that telephone call from an engineer with the Tulsa district of the Corps of Engineers.
 
The day he called was a sunny, cloudless day. I could see the Arkansas River from the north window of my office, and everything looked normal.
 
That was about to change. The engineer informed me that they were preparing to release a record amount of water from Oklahoma into the Arkansas River. He said we were going to see river levels we’d never seen before, and that we should prepare for a mandatory evacuation. Little did we know just how bad the flooding would get before it was over.
 
As the Arkansas River overtopped the levees and poured into towns and farmland along its path, I flew by helicopter from Little Rock to Fort Smith. As I observed the power of the rain-swollen river from the air, I understood like I never had before the critical role of our levees in protecting lives and property. The historic flood of 2019 exposed the weaknesses in our physical levee system. It also exposed short-comings in the maintenance and oversight of our levee system.
 
I asked the task force to address four objectives:
 
  • analyze the condition of the levees;
  • identify sources and requirements for funding levee repair and maintenance;
  • study the monitoring and reporting of needed repairs and adequacy of our levees;
  • and determine whether our laws need to be updated.

 

The members of the task force hit the ground running. They visited levees. They interviewed people who live and work along the river. They built an inventory of every mile of levee along the river. They interviewed experts and studied the data. They worked closely with the Corps of Engineers.
 
The Task Force produced a report with seventeen recommendations that are thorough, thoughtful, and a solid guide for the future. The recommendations also have the right balance in terms of federal, state, and local responsibility.
 
The Task Force recommended that we create an inventory of all levees for each of our river systems, and that we consolidate levee districts that are dependent upon each other.
 
Another recommendation focused on the need for improved oversight and reporting. And in terms of funding, the Task Force recognized the need for a state grant program to support our levy districts.
 
This report is a necessary step in shoring up the banks of the Arkansas and our other rivers. Now we must act on the recommendations as quickly as possible. We can’t put off the work until another flood puts us to the test.
 
1-10-20 4:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on our KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com.
 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

 

In an age where technology moves at a rapid pace, electronic devices often become e-waste in only a few years after manufacturing.

 

Electronic waste is commonly known as e-waste. It is defined as used electronics that are nearing the end of their useful life, and are discarded, donated or given to a recycler.

 

The amount of worldwide e-waste generation in 2018 exceeded 50 million tons. And it’s growing at a rate of 5% every year.

 

This week, a House City, County, and Local Affairs Planning Sub-Committee held a meeting to discuss e-waste, the impact it has on our state, and what is being done to address the problem.

 

Many electronics contain elements – lead, mercury, and cadmium, for example – that are safe when the items are used as directed but can be hazardous if disposed of in household trash and compacted at landfills.

 

There are 19 Regional Solid Waste Management Districts across the state. Representatives from several of those districts testified to members of the committee about their e-waste recycling efforts.

 

In that testimony, we learned that e-waste represents 2% of America's trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste. We also learned that only 12.5% of e-waste is currently recycled.

 

An estimated 6,000 tons of e-waste in 2018 were collected and processed in Arkansas.

 

Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year. For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, and 75 pounds of gold can be recovered.

 

For all the benefits of recycling electronics, collection efforts can be costly. And with Arkansans disposing more each year it is an issue that demands our attention.

 

While the legislature continues to study ways to address e-waste collection efforts, there are things all of us can do to reduce the amount of products we discard. Proper maintenance of electronics can extend their usefulness.  And before discarding, consider selling or donating your used device.

 

Many Arkansas communities offer electronic waste collection centers or events. We posted a link to find an e-waste collection center in your area on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

1-10-20 4:24 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Listen to KAWX in the Mena area on 93.1, or in the Hatfield-Cove-Vandervoort area on 94.9.

 

Listen on the go with a free KAWX app available at the App Store or Google Play. Listen on any smart device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo.

 

Listen anywhere at KAWX.ORG (Listen Live Tab) or by clicking on the radio below.

 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

January 10, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – Over the past decade, greater numbers of Arkansas children have been diagnosed with disabilities that require them to receive education.

 

Consequently, Arkansas public schools are spending greater amounts of money on special education.

 

Last year there were almost 64,000 students with a diagnosed disability in Arkansas public schools. That is 13.4 percent of the state’s total student enrollment.

 

Arkansas school districts spent $458 million on special education services, or about $7,382 per pupil with a disability. In the 2012-2013 school year, Arkansas schools spent $412 million on special education for 54,000 students.

 

Those are the specific costs of services, and don’t include costs that schools incur to educate all students, such as utilities and administrative salaries.

Last year the equivalent of 3,788 full time employees worked as special education teachers in Arkansas.

 

Schools get revenue from local, state and federal sources. The state provides funding for an average of 29 special education teachers for every 500 students enrolled in the district.

 

There are 12 categories of disability used to determine a student’s eligibility for special education. They include autism, vision and hearing impairment, speech language impairment, traumatic brain injury, intellectual disability and emotional disturbance.

 

There is a category titled specific learning disability that includes dyslexia and developmental aphasia. It represents the largest category of disability, and applies to 31 percent of the students in special education.

 

About 25 percent have a speech language impairment, about 12 percent have intellectual disabilities and about 8 percent receive special education services because they are on the autism spectrum.

 

Except for the category of children with multiple disabilities, all other categories have shown increases, with autism growing the most over the past few years. The number of students diagnosed with autism has gone up 55 percent since 2013. The increase is attributable to an increased awareness among educators and others of the characteristics of autism.

 

The growth in children diagnosed with dyslexia has followed a similar trend. In 2014, for example, 957 students received therapy for dyslexia. In 2014 only 89 school districts and one charter school reported results from screening for dyslexia.

 

Last year, 251 school districts and charter schools screened for dyslexia and more than 23,000 children received therapy.

 

Act 1294 of 2013 required districts to screen every student in kindergarten through second grade for dyslexia.

 

Just like all other students, children with disabilities must take standardized tests like the ACT Aspire. Last year 12.2 percent of students with disabilities scored at the “ready” or “exceeding” level in math. That compared to 52.5 percent of students without disabilities.

 

Last year legislators worked on changes to a category of special education known as high-cost or catastrophic occurrences. They happen when services for an individual student are extraordinarily higher than what is regularly provided in state funding categories.

 

In the 2019 regular session, the legislature approved Act 877 to appropriate $13.2 million for special education high-cost occurrences.

 

1-10-20 11:30 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for January 8, 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.

 

For current fishing information, click on the area of the state below that you are interested in. 

 

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.

 

1-8-20 4:17 p.m. KAWX.ORG

 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments January 6th, 8th

 
All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes: 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Robert I. Pierce, White Male, age 41, Count I: Possession Of Methamphetamine With The Purpose To Deliver, a Class "B" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. John Robertson, White Male, age 45, Count I: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. The State of Arkansas intends to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact that he has been convicted of four (4) or more felonies.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Brianna M. Ramirez, White Female, age 20, Count I: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony.
 
State of Arkansas vs. Tearesa M. Denton, White Female, age 47, Count I: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Criminal Mischief In The 2nd Degree, a Class "B" Felony.
 
1-8-20 4:05 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
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Attorney General Urging Arkansans To Upgrade To Real ID When Renewing Drivers Licenses

 

LITTLE ROCK – If it is time to renew your driver’s license, consider making the transition to the “REAL ID” now. Beginning October 1, 2020, the REAL ID driver’s license or identification card will be required to board a domestic flight or enter a federal building or facility, including military bases.

 

“When you make sure your family members have a REAL ID, you are taking the next step in protecting their personal identity from criminals,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “From everyday travel to national security, the REAL ID will enhance our safety from threats both foreign and domestic.”

 

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the REAL ID improves the security of state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards as well as help fight terrorism and reduce identity fraud.

 

To receive the enhanced ID you must present qualifying forms of identification that confirm your full legal name, date of birth, Social Security Number, proof of address and lawful status. Visit the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration website, here, to find out which qualifying documents you need, or click here for a full list of qualified documents.

 

Arkansans can get a REAL ID by bringing with them the qualifying forms of identification to these specific regional offices around the State. The cost of the enhanced license remains $40, the same amount as the standard non-enhanced state license. If your license is current, you can convert your license to a REAL ID for a $10 duplicate card charge. REAL IDs have a yellow circle with a white star in the middle on the upper right side of the license.

 

Though a REAL ID does not expire for 8 years, the renewal process is simpler than when the original enhanced license is obtained. You will only need to bring qualifying forms of identification if your name, gender or Social Security Number have changed or if your date of birth was amended.

 

The standard driver’s license will remain valid for state-related purposes such as driving, banking and voting. A valid passport will be accepted to board airlines.

 

For more information or to report fraud, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

 

1-8-20 3:47 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Fourteen Polk County Students Make SAU President's and Dean's Lists For Fall 2019 Semester

 

Polk County Students named to SAU's Fall 2019 President's List

379 students earned a 4.0 GPA for the fall 2019 semester, earning recognition on the Southern Arkansas University President's List. Those from Polk County include:

 

Jacquelyn Speight from Grannis - K-6 Elementary Education

 

Lorena Tena from Grannis - Elementary Education

 

Liliana Trinidad from Wickes - K-6 Elementary Education

 

Brooke Howell from Wickes - Elementary Education

 

Jean Robertson from Cove - K-6 Elementary Education

 

Brianna Peters from Cove - Elementary Education

 

Hope Lyle from Mena - Elementary Education.

 

Polk County Students named to SAU's Fall 2019 Dean's List

589 students earned a 3.5 GPA or higher for the fall 2019 semester, earning recognition on the Southern Arkansas University Dean's List. those from Polk County include:

 

Elizabeth Baker from Mena - Nursing

 

Adriana Wolfenbarger from Mena - Business Administration

 

Josey Webb from Mena - Agriculture

 

Reagan Sikes from Mena - K-6 Elementary Education

 

Alexander Cude from Mena - Instrumental Musical Performance

 

Karlie Rodriguez from Wickes - K-6 Elementary Education

 

Kara Richardson from Grannis - Exercise Science.

 

Congratulations to all the students from Polk County making the President's and Dean's List at SAU!

 

1-8-20 3:15 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Mena Police Report for December 29th - January 4th

 

Mena Police Reports from December 29, 2019 through January 4, 2020 

 

 

December 29, 30 and 31 2019

Isaac Cain, 26, of Mena was charged with battery and possession of drug paraphernalia. The arrest followed a call to a local residence.

Jesse Henry, 26, of Mena was arrested on outstanding warrants.

 

January 1, 2020

Patrick Owens, 23, of Idabel, OK was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and obstruction of governmental operations.

Report was made regarding a Polk County woman attempting to get a juvenile girl to sneak out of her residence and meet the woman. Case is pending. The woman is the girlfriend of the girl’s father.

 

January 2, 2020

Elias Olague 24, of Fort Worth Texas was charged with harassment. The arrest followed a call to a local business.

As officers were doing checks of businesses by checking doors, a door at a local business was found to be open. Owner was notified and locked the door. Nothing appeared to have been taken.

 

January 3 and 4, 2020

A Mena woman reported that she is being harassed by her former husband and his girlfriend. Case was forwarded to the prosecuting attorney for review.

Officers are investigating scam calls that have been received by local citizens.

John Robertson, 45, of Mena was possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and was served an outstanding warrant. Arrest followed a traffic stop.

Three Mena youths, ages 14, 15, and 17, located in a local park at approximately 1:50 AM and were warned for curfew violations and transported the the police office. They were released to their parents or guardians after officers called them about the situation.

A Mena man damaged a local grocery store by backing into the side of the building. No injuries were reported.

Yvonne Miller, 55, of Mena was served an outstanding warrant for criminal trespass.

 

1-7-20 9:47 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Minimum Age To Buy Tobacco Now 21, Some Flavored E-Cigs Banned

Governor Hutchinson Announces Immediate Implementation of T-21
Applauds Trump Administration’s Action to Combat Teen Vaping Epidemic 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced his support for the Trump Administration’s ban on certain flavored e-cigarettes and recent federal legislation increasing the minimum age to 21 to purchase tobacco products.
 
Governor Hutchinson released the following statement:
“The federal law recently signed by President Trump, which increases the minimum age of sale of tobacco to 21, coupled with the recent decision to ban certain flavored e-cigarettes are steps in the right direction toward curbing the vaping epidemic among our nation’s youth. Smoking and vaping, especially in our youth, are public health emergencies and must be addressed at the state and federal level. In Arkansas, I signed Act 580 during the 2019 legislative session to gradually increase the age limit to 21 in the state. The just-passed federal law supersedes the gradual T-21 provision of Arkansas law, and I have directed Tobacco Control to advise all retailers and the public that the minimum age to buy tobacco products is now 21.”
 
Dr. Nathaniel Smith, Secretary of Health, issued the following statement: 
“The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) action this week to enforce regulation on the manufacture and distribution of most flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes is a good step forward in protecting our children from the harmful effects of vaping and nicotine addiction. Together with the recently signed legislation raising the minimum age for sale of tobacco products to 21, we are now in a better position to safeguard children in Arkansas from the dangers of tobacco. FDA has also committed to carefully monitoring trends in e-cigarette use and taking additional regulatory actions as needed. I am confident that Governor Hutchinson’s leadership and commitment to enforcing all tobacco-related laws in Arkansas will help us to reverse the alarming trend we have seen in youth vaping.”
 
Steve Goode, Director of Arkansas Tobacco Control, issued the following statement: 
“We will continue to work with the retail industry to ensure proper understanding of the new T-21 age requirement. I have tasked all of our enforcement agents with communicating the changes with permitted locations as they continue to conduct compliance checks. We also plan to increase the number of merchant education seminars offered so that permit holders will have convenient access to an in-person training session.”
 
On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law H.R. 1865, making 21 the federal age limit to purchase tobacco and vapor products. This law went into effect on December 27, 2019.
 
On January 2, 2020, the FDA finalized its enforcement policy on flavored cartridge-based and e-cigarette ban commonly used by children. Companies must cease the manufacture, distribution, and sale of these products within 30 days or face FDA enforcement action.
 
1-6-20 5:18 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansas Highway Commission To Hold Public Meeting In Mena

Arkansas Highway Commission Schedules Series of Regional Public Meetings to Educate Public on Funding Option

 

LITTLE ROCK (1-6) – The Arkansas Highway Commission has scheduled a series of regional public meetings in the first quarter of 2020.

 

The purpose of these meetings is to educate and inform the public while soliciting input regarding proposed projects that could be funded by a continuation of the temporary half-cent sales tax. A total of 12 meetings have been scheduled, the earliest of which will be held January 21 in Monticello. Other meetings are planned in West Memphis, Harrison, Texarkana, Mena, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Maumelle, Springdale, Batesville, Jonesboro and El Dorado (see attached for specific dates and locations).

 

The meeting in Mena will be February 11th starting at 5:30 p.m. and held in the Ouachita Center at UARM, 1100 College Drive.

 

These meetings will consist of an open house session where attendees can view displays and visit with Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) staff. This will be followed by a brief formal presentation on the current funding and condition of the Arkansas Highway System as well as the impact that continuation of the half-cent sales tax would have in funding system preservation and new capital projects moving forward.

 

In early 2019, Governor Hutchinson announced his highway funding legislative package that resulted in Act 416 and a proposed Constitutional Amendment, House Joint Resolution 1018. Act 416 provides revenue from motor fuel taxes, electric and hybrid vehicle registration fees, and casinos resulting in an estimated $95 Million in new funding to ARDOT. If the constitutional amendment is approved by voters, it will provide an additional estimated $205 Million annually to ARDOT and an estimated $43 million each to cities and counties.

 

Citizens with an interest in learning more about the Governor’s proposed highway program are encouraged to attend one of these 12 regional public meetings. Each of the meetings will be identical in format and presentation material. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions directly to the Commission and ARDOT Director Scott E. Bennett, P.E.

 

1-6-20 2:37 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for December 30th - January 5th

SHERIFF’S   LOG


The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of December 30, 2019 – January 5, 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.


December 30, 2019
Report from complainant on Highway 88 East near Ink of being threatened by an acquaintance.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from a Hatfield woman of a missing 16-year-old family member.  Investigation continues.


December 31, 2019
Report of a domestic disturbance on Highway 4 West near Cove led to the arrest of Willard W. Smith, 37, of Cove, on Charges of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Refusal to Submit to Arrest.
Report from complainant on Polk 188 near Acorn of the discovery of a suspicious item in their yard.  Deputy responded.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Bird Lane near Shady Grove of being harassed by an acquaintance.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of a disturbance on Polk 67 near Cherry Hill.  Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Polk 419 near Potter of an unattended death.  Deputy responded.
Report from Polk County Detention Center of the discovery of contraband in the facility.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Arrested was Justin R. Simmons, 36, of Wickes, on a Warrant for Commercial Burglary and Criminal Mischief 1st Degree and a Parole Revocation.
Arrested was Austin C. McCulley, 25, of Hatfield, on a Charge of Violation of an Order of Protection.


January 1, 2020
Report of a structure fire on Polk 646 near Mena.  Deputy responded.
Traffic stop on Highway 71 led to the arrest of Nevada Woodruff, 30, of Cove, on Charges of Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License and Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance.
Arrested was Michelle L. Block, 46, of Mena, on Charges of Possession of Meth/Cocaine with Purpose to Deliver, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Delivery of Meth/Cocaine, Possession of a Schedule I/II Controlled Substance, Delivery of Meth/Cocaine and Failure to Appear.
Arrested was Kevin L. Smith, 29, of Mena, on Charges of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of Meth/Cocaine.
Arrested was Kayla Odom, 32, of Mena, on Charges of Possession of Meth/Cocaine, Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Maintaining a Drug Premise.
Arrested was Brianna Ramirez, 20, of Mena, on a Charge of Possession of Meth/Cocaine.
Report from complainant of the theft of a chainsaw, valued at $349.95.  The chainsaw was located and returned to the owner.  Additional information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report of an abandoned vehicle on Highway 88 East near Cherry Hill.  Deputy responded.

January 2, 2020
Report from complainant on Highway 375 East near Mena of being harassed by an unknown individual.  Investigation continues.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Darrell G. C. Garrett, 28, of Wickes, on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.


January 3, 2020
Report from complainant of a malnourished horse on Polk 36 near Hatfield.  Deputy responded.
Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Jhanell M. Wilson, 39, of Grannis, on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.


January 4, 2020
Arrested was Brittan M. McCulley, 38, of Hatfield, on Warrants for Failure to Appear and two counts of Failure to Comply with a Court Order.


January 5, 2020
Report from complainant on Polk 412 near Potter of damage done to a mailbox.  Investigation continues.
Report of a chickenhouse on fire on Polk 71 near Yocana.  Deputy responded.
Report from a Mena woman of issues concerning child custody exchange.
Report from an Oklahoma man of finding stolen items for sale in Polk County.  Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Highway 370 near Board Camp of an unauthorized person on their property.  Suspect fled before deputies arrived.  Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from Mena Regional Health System of a dog bite victim.  Deputy responded.

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

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 25 Incarcerated Inmates , with 8 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

PC20-00016

 

1-6-20 2:04 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Van-Cove Alumni and Supporters Club Quarterly Meeting January 9th

 
The Van-Cove Alumni and Supporters Club will have their quarterly meeting January 9th at 6:30 p.m. according to Glen Pate.
 
The meeting will be at the old elementary school building located at 156 School Street in Cove.
 
The Club is preserving memorabilia and memories, and would like to encourage former students to attend and represent their class while meeting up with new, old, and good friends!
 
The Club has a Facebook page for anyone wanting more information, or call Glen Pate at (479) 216-8698.
 
1-6-20 1:29 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: A New Year, A New Tax Cut

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: A New Year, A New Tax Cut
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – When I was running for governor in 2014, I promised to cut our income taxes by $100 million. With the support of the General Assembly, we not only kept that promise, but over the course of the past five years, we have reduced our income taxes by over $250 million each year. 
 
On this New Year’s Day, the 1st day of 2020, our top individual income tax rate will be reduced again. The top rate will be cut from 6.9 percent to 6.6 percent, and next January, it will be reduced again – down to 5.9 percent.
 
The latest reductions were approved last year when the 92nd General Assembly passed the 5.9 Percent Tax Cut Plan, which was the third phase of my three-part plan to reform Arkansas’s tax code.
 
We also reduced the corporate income tax rate from 6.5 percent to 5.9 percent. This will be phased in over time.
 
These are important steps toward allowing all Arkansas taxpayers to keep more of their income as well as making our tax rate more competitive with our neighboring states.
 
These changes began in 2015, and over the course of three legislative sessions, we reduced taxes for everyone in Arkansas. 
 
What that means for Arkansas is that the state will be collecting $250 million less in taxes every year. Over 10 years, this means that Arkansas taxpayers will have $2.5 billion in their pocket that state government would have spent otherwise.
 
Of course, we made up for the lost state revenue with a growing economy. In other words, more people are working with higher wages, and that means there are more taxpayers who can support our essential services. Yes, we have cut taxes, and at the same time we have raised teacher pay; invested more in education; and increased funding for important safety nets for our most vulnerable citizens who are struggling and need help.
 
Whenever we talk about cutting taxes, we must ensure that we leave enough money in the bank and have enough coming in to fully operate the state. There are certain services that we as a state have a moral obligation to fund. We must always provide the money to care for the less fortunate, to support our colleges and universities, to maintain our court and prison systems, and to repair and improve our highway system, among many things.
 
When we find ways to responsibly reduce our income tax, we accomplish several things. Individual taxpayers keep more of the money they earn. When taxpayers keep more money, they can care for their families. They support the local and state economies. Tax cuts also allow families to put away money for emergencies and to achieve their dreams. This economic activity promotes the creation of jobs and industry. And now that our top income tax rate will be 5.9 percent next year, we can attract more companies as they are considering expanding into other states.
 
Through 2020, the biggest benefit that taxpayers will have noticed from tax cuts is a bigger tax refund. The next phase for the tax cut is a revision of the withholding table that employers use when they calculate how much money to withhold from wages. After we roll out the revised withholding table later this year, taxpayers won't have to wait until they file taxes to realize the bigger payday. They will see more money in their paycheck every week.
 
When we talk about all the work and the thinking that goes into cutting taxes, it is easy to forget why we do this. I wanted to reform our tax code for a couple of simple reasons – to grow our economy and to improve the quality of life for all Arkansans.
 
I’m often asked whether we’ll cut taxes any more. My answer to that question is that our first priority is adequate funding of education. Then we must assure public safety and fund essential health care.
 
But yes, we can meet those critical needs, and as the economy grows, we can ultimately reduce our individual tax rate to 5 percent. But that will take time.
 
1-3-20 5:00 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Helping More Arkansans Access Higher Learning

Helping More Arkansans Access Higher Learning

 

Late last year, Congress took a historic, critical step toward expanding access to higher education and supporting the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). In December, bipartisan legislation was approved and signed into law by President Trump that provides permanent funding for HBCUs while also reforming federal financial aid to make it easier and simpler for those who rely on it.

 

The Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education Act, or FUTURE Act, promises to help make college more accessible and invests in the institutions that serve populations that traditionally see less college participation than their counterparts. The bill does two specific things to serve these ambitions.

 

First, it provides permanent annual funding for HBCUs and MSIs and guarantees they will receive at least $250 million per year. That funding will come from savings to the federal government as a result of the law’s measure to allow the sharing of tax data between the IRS and Department of Education, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will save $2.8 billion over ten years.

 

The FUTURE Act also makes the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) form more user-friendly and shorter by allowing students to bypass up to 22 questions, as well as reduce duplicative and burdensome verification processes. These steps to ensure minority-serving institutions are well-positioned to continue providing quality educational opportunities into the future and help students better access tools and resources to pay for college are likely game-changers.

 

Arkansas is home to four HBCUs – the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Philander Smith College, Arkansas Baptist College and Shorter College. I’ve met with administrators and faculty at these schools who have emphasized the need for consistent funding while also demonstrating their value to their communities and our state.

 

I recognize the historical significance and positive educational impact of these schools in Arkansas and across the country. They provide an immense source of pride and accomplishment not only for the African American community, but also for all Americans, which is why I strongly believed in the need to maintain structures for the opportunities they promised so many aspiring scholars.

 

As a former school board member in Rogers, I have consistently sought to ensure that Arkansans receive the very best education we can offer them. The FUTURE Act was a commonsense, bipartisan success because of its clear objectives to support and sustain minority-serving higher learning institutions while also helping to make student aid easier to understand and apply for. In fact, it passed the Senate unanimously.

 

Providing students who want to go to college the opportunity to do so has helped transform our society. We have an obligation to make sure that students from diverse backgrounds have the same access to higher education and that the institutions specifically created to serve their unique needs are poised to improve and grow. That’s why the FUTURE Act is such an important achievement that we should celebrate in Arkansas and across the U.S.

 

1-3-20 4:54 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

 

One of the new laws which took effect this week may reduce the number of uninsured motorists on Arkansas roads.

 

Nationwide, it is estimated that 1 in 8 drivers do not have insurance. In Arkansas, the uninsured motorist rate has been higher than the national average in recent years. The latest numbers show close to 16% of drivers on our roads may be uninsured. Arkansas State Police write more than 10,000 citations a year for failing to provide proof of insurance.

 

Legislators along with law enforcement and insurance companies worked for two years to implement a system to address this problem.

 

The result is the implementation of a real-time insurance verification program. It was created by Act 1016 of 2017. The fees and dates of implementation were created by Act 869 of 2019. It went into effect on January 1, 2020.

 

The system allows law enforcement real-time data when they run a license plate. It will tell officers if the car is currently insured or if a policy has lapsed. In addition, it will also result in letters being issued to any Arkansan (with a registered vehicle) if they allow any lapse in insurance coverage. As soon as the system is alerted to the lapse, the owner will be issued a $100 fine for the lapse in coverage along with a letter notifying them of this.  If the fine and proof of insurance are not provided within a certain time frame (normally 30 days), the vehicle’s registration will be permanently suspended until the fine is paid and coverage confirmed.

 

When a similar system was implemented in Alabama, the rates of uninsured motorists on the road dropped from more than 20% to 13%.

 

This is just one of several laws which took effect this week.  You can find a list of other laws on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

1-3-20 4:46 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Rutledge Supports Law Protecting Women's Health

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge led a 20-state coalition in filing an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court supporting Louisiana’s efforts to ensure that abortion procedures are only performed under the safest conditions possible for patients.

 

“Women deserve to know all medical procedures are performed in the safest way possible,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Louisiana’s admitting-privileges requirement is a common sense way of ensuring that abortions are only performed by competent practitioners in conditions that minimize patient risks.”

 

Louisiana state law requires abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility.

 

Attorney General Rutledge previously successfully defended Arkansas’s commonsense requirement that medication abortion practitioners have a contract with a physician who agrees to handle emergencies and complications associated with abortion inducing drugs.  In 2015, that requirement had been blocked by a district court, but Attorney General Rutledge successfully appealed that order and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit unanimously overturned that order.  The United States Supreme Court then declined to review the Eighth Circuit’s order and Arkansas’s requirement went into effect.

 

These laws are not about overturning Roe v. Wade or restricting access to legal abortions.  They are about ensuring that if a woman chooses to undergo an abortion, that procedure is only performed in the safest manner possible for the patient.

 

1-3-20 9:29 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

January 3, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – The Legislative Council endorsed a plan for two southeast Arkansas counties to contract with a private company to build and operate a 600-bed prison.

 

Spokesmen have said that the company intends to begin construction this year, for between $15 million and $18 million. The facility will hold 500 state inmates and the remaining space will house offenders from Bradley and Drew Counties who have been arrested and are awaiting trial.

 

The two counties have an agreement with LaSalle Corrections of Ruston, Louisiana, to build the prison and operate it.

 

The Legislative Council, a committee of legislators that oversees state government operations in the interim between sessions, signed off on the agreement during its December meeting. The contract is for close to $8.2 million a year, between the state Department of Correction and Bradley and Drew Counties. It is for 20 years, for a total cost to the state of $163 million.

 

The state will pay about $44 a day per inmate, which is less than the cost of securely housing inmates in state prison units. Bradley and Drew Counties will pay less because they will not provide as many services to county inmates, such as drug rehabilitation and job training to prepare inmates for release into the free world.

 

Arkansas had two private prisons, for about three-and-a-half years in the late 1990s. Wackenhut Corrections Corporation operated two units near Newport, the Grimes Unit and the McPherson Unit.

 

In 2001 the state Correction Department took over the two units, after Wackenhut decided against renewing its contract. The Grimes Unit housed youthful male offenders and the McPherson Unit housed females. Both units had 600 beds and both opened in 1998.

 

Other reports reviewed by the Legislative Council provide a glimpse into the everyday workings of state government. For example, the Department of Finance and Administration has a division of Child Support Enforcement. It is authorized under state law to suspend the licenses of parents who fail to comply with court orders to pay child support.

 

In the first six months of 2019, the division suspended 4,159 drivers’ licenses and 360 vehicle tags. It also suspended 1,033 hunting and fishing licenses.

 

Those suspensions were among 95,000 child support cases enforced by the state agency. In the first six months of the year, more than $145 million in child support was collected and passed on to custodial parents.

 

The Forestry Division is within the state Agriculture Department. It’s directed by the state forester, who sends regular reports to the Legislative Council. In November, the division helped rural fire departments suppress 52 wildfires that burned 668 acres.

 

That was significantly below the average number of November wildfires reported in the past decade. Over the past 10 years, the average for November has been 94 fires burning 1,585 acres.

 

The division administers federal grants to about 1,000 rural fire departments, and helps train and equip their members.

 

The division also works with landowners to develop new strains of timber. For the first five months of the fiscal year, Forestry sold 885,000 pine seedlings and 6.9 million hardwood seedlings.

 

1-3-20 9:15 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Wolf Pen Gap Trails Closed Until March 6, 2020

 

According to a news release from the Ouachita National Forest, the Wolf Pen Gap Trails are once again closed for the season effective January 2, 2020.

 

The trail system is expected to open in the Spring on March 6, 2020.


For more information, contact the District Ranger's Office in Mena at (479) 394-2382 or click here.

 

1-3-20 7:36 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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USFS Local Employees Mitzi Cole and Joe Liles Receive Receive Regional Awards In Atlanta

Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests Employees Receive Regional Awards

 

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Several Ouachita National Forest employees were recognized with awards for exemplary work, dedication and commitment in the Southern Region at the 2019 Regional Forester’s Honor Awards in Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 12.

 

The theme for this year’s awards was “Shared Stewardship, Shared Excellence – Our Commitment to the Land and People”.

 

Mena-Oden Ranger District personnel, Mitzi Cole, wildlife biologist and fisheries biologist received the individual award for “Natural Resource Leader”; Joe Liles, a law enforcement officer was recognized for the individual award, “Delivering Benefits to the Public”; and the members of the Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests’ Law Enforcement and Investigations received the group award, “Cultural Resources Theft”.

 

Mitzy Cole and Joe Joe Liles received individual awards, while Law Enforcement and Investigations for the Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests received the LEI group award during the Southern Region’s 2019 Regional Forester’s Honor Awards in Atlanta, Ga., Dec. 12.

 

The group award recognized law enforcement personnel for their actions in solving incidents of cultural resources theft.

 

The recipients include Ouachita National Forest, Daniel Boone National Forest, National Forests in North Carolina, National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, Arkansas Game and Fish, Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Highway Police, Scott County Sheriff’s Office, Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office, Waldron Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

 

Brian Skaggs, Mia Prince, Joe Liles, Paul Jolivet, Greg Burden, Chris Johnson, Josh Collins, David Cadle, Jack Raines, and Alissa Land were recognized for the LEI group award for the Ouachita National Forest. For the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests LEIs, Lynn Prince, Morgan Amos, Duane Crims, Al Waldo, and Johnny Tallon received the award. The Natural Resource Leadership award recognizes a Forest Service employee or group of employees for major achievements in the stewardship of the forest’s diverse ecosystems including soil, air, water vegetation, and wildlife resources. 

 

Cole received the award for her achievements in heading projects in fisheries, terrestrial wildlife improvements and non-native invasive species treatments. She was also recognized for her emphasis on connecting children to the outdoors which included taking and educating them on creeks, wildlife, and trees. In addition, Cole organized and authored the Ouachita National Forest’s Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project for the Shortleaf-Bluestem Community with input from 27 partners. The project brings in $2.4 million annually to the forest, which funds the pine-bluestem restoration treatments including commercial and noncommercial thinning and prescribed burning.

 

“This award is an honor of getting work done on the ground through working with an amazing group of folks on the Mena Oden District as well as with exceptional partners,” Cole said. “We do a wide range of projects for fisheries of stream and lake restoration, improving roads and stream crossings to removing dams to those of terrestrial improvements of helping to restore shortleaf pine ecosystems to eradicating non-native invasive plant species on private lands.”

 

One of Cole’s goals is to help children and adults become environmentally responsible and active citizens through hands-on education.

 

“Providing environmental education to the publics to connect them to the outside world is one of the most important aspects of the job,” she said. “We all work as a team, the entire District is so incredibly good at getting the work done on the ground.”

 

Personnel from Law Enforcement and Investigation received a group and individual awards.

 

The Law Enforcement and Investigations award recognizes a law enforcement employee, work unit or group within the Southern Region which has demonstrated excellence and dedication to the LEI mission above and beyond their normal duties.

 

On June 1, 2019 a hiker, Joshua McClatchy, become lost in Caney Creek Wilderness and was not found until June 8 after an extensive Search and Rescue mission. A National Guard helicopter equipped with Forward-looking infrared camera located him on June 7. He was extracted the next morning.

 

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” Liles said. “It is also to be known that there were many men and women who worked very hard during this time.”

 

During the incident, Liles served as the Forest Service point of contact for the multiagency SAR. When McClatchy was found, Liles immediately assembled a team, hiked into the forest and made contact. He also carried out the backpack, along with own, of a SAR team member who began experiencing heat exhaustion.

 

“There is also a person that I want to also have recognition and that is Arkansas Game and Fish Officer Ray Hines,” he said. “Ray and I worked together almost every day, and he went above and beyond during this SAR. There is a long list of people that worked tireless hours during this SAR, and I can’t even attempt to list each one of them. This award wouldn’t be possible without each one of their help, and I want to personally say thank you to each one them.”

 

1-2-20 12:53 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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New Year's Day Drug Bust In Mena, Four Arrested

 

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office, 18th Judicial West Drug Task Force, and the Mena Police Department assisted by Officers with the AG&F and ACC conducted an early morning New Year’s day raid at a residence on Cordie Drive in Mena.

 

Sheriff Scott Sawyer stated that the Search Warrant/ Arrest Warrant served this morning was the result of a lengthy investigation into the sale and distribution of Methamphetamines in Polk County. The New Year’s Day raid, dubbed “Operation Hair Spray” consisted of over 20 Law Enforcement Officers from five different agencies. During the search of the residence, Officers located a large amount of Methamphetamines, cash, and assorted items of drug paraphernalia.

 

Arrested at the scene were Michelle L. Block (age 46) of Mena, Kayla Odom (age 32) of Mena, Kevin Smith (age 29) of Cameron, Ok, and Brianna M. Ramirez (age 20) of Mena.

 

Michelle Block was charged with 2 counts of Delivery of a Controlled Substance (Meth), Possession of a Controlled Substance (Meth) with Intent to Deliver, Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, Use of a Communication Device to Further a Drug Transaction, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Maintaining a Drug Premises.

 

Kayla Odom was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Meth) with Intent to Deliver, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Maintaining a Drug Premises.

 

Kevin Smith was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Meth) with Intent to Deliver and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

 

Brianna Ramirez was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Meth).

 

All suspects were arrested and transported to the Polk County Detention Center.

 

Sheriff Sawyer stated “Methamphetamine is an evil drug that has ruined lives and taken over communities. The toll it has taken on families across the nation is tragic. To keep our streets and communities safe, we are committed to continue to aggressively pursue methamphetamine dealers here in Polk County”. “I’d also like to thank all of the area Law Enforcement Officers that participated in this operation. Many of them cancelled plans with their families this morning to come in and help out. Your dedication is appreciated”.

 

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

 

1-1-20 1:28 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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