KAWX News Archives for 2020-03

SBA COVID-19 Disaster Loan Information, Upcoming Webinars

 
 
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program has streamlined its process requirements to the qualified entities that are impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The information will be used in determining whether the applicant is eligible for an economic injury loan. If you do not submit all the information requested, your loan cannot be fully processed.
 
SBA is relying upon the self-certifications contained in the application to verify that the Applicant is an eligible entity to receive the advance, and that the Applicant is providing this self-certification under penalty of perjury pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746 for verification purposes.
The estimated time for completing this entire application is two hours and ten minutes, although you may not need to complete all parts. 
 
SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN & EMERGENCY GRANT
 
Overview
 
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act temporarily expands eligibility for SBA economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) and provides an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19 within 3 days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). To access the advance, you first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent, and mortgage payments. 
 
Eligibility
 
In addition to the entities that are already eligible for SBA disaster loans (small businesses, private non-profits, and small agriculture cooperatives), eligibility is temporarily expanded to include:
 
  • Business entities with 500 or fewer employees
  • Sole proprietorships, with or without employees
  • Independent contractors
  • Cooperatives and employee owned businesses
  • Tribal small businesses
  • Private non-profits of any size.
 
Additionally, you must have been in business as of January 31, 2020. Expanded eligibility criteria and the emergency grants are only available between January 31, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
 
How to Apply
 
  • You can apply for an EIDL online with the SBA.
  • When you apply, you can request an emergency grant of $10,000.
  • The SBA will provide the grant within 3 days of receiving your application.
  • You will not have to repay the grant, even if your application for a loan is denied.
  • You can visit an SBA resource partner who can help guide you through the loan application process. You can find your nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or Women’s Business Center here.
 
Can I apply for other SBA loan programs?
 
If you apply for an EIDL and the grant, you can still apply for a Paycheck Protection loan. However the amount forgiven under a Paycheck Protection loan will be decreased by the $10,000 grant.
 
More Information
 
For more information about SBA loan programs, please visit the  Small Business Administration. More information about small business programs in the CARES Act can be found on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship  website.
 
If you need additional assistance, please reach out to your local  Small Business Development Center,  Women’s Business Center,  SCORE  chapter, or  SBA District Office.
 

UPCOMING WEBINARS

 

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is offering several no-cost webinars to help business owners respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. 

 

Upcoming Webinars 

 

“Applying for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” 10 a.m. March 31 or 2 p.m. April 2 – Many Arkansas small businesses and non-profits are eligible for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Learn about program requirements, how to apply and what to expect.

ASBTDC will repeat the EIDL webinar each Tuesday and Thursday through April.

 

“Take Your Business Online,” 10 a.m. April 1 – Hear about steps you can take to move business online and keep sales coming.

 

“Calma! Continúe con su Negocio," 2 p.m. April 1 – Get timely tips in Spanish for managing short-term cash flow and adapting your business model.

 

“Connecting to Capital,” 2 p.m. April 2 – The Economic Injury Disaster Loan isn't the right option for every business. Learn about other capital options.

 

Links to register for each program above are available at asbtdc.org/asbtdc-events/.

 

3-30-20 9:06 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for March 22nd - 28th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of March 22, 2020 through March 28, 2020

 

 

March 22, 2020

 

A burglary report was taken at a residence.

 

March 23, 2020

 

David Sinyard, 44, was arrested for Inhaling an Intoxicating Substance after a call to a department store.

 

March 24, 2020

 

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

 

A report of a prowler was taken at a residence.

 

March 25, 2020

 

A report of harassment was taken at a residence.

 

A report of a dog bite was taken at a residence.

 

March 26, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

March 27, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

March 28, 2020

 

Devyn Purcell, 25, and Cristian Kieren, 19, were arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a call to a department store.

 

A theft report was taken at a residence.

 

Officers responded to a disturbance call at a gas station.

 

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

 

3-30-20 1:05 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Sen. Cotton Provides COVID-19 Relief Information For Arkansans: Checks, SBA Loans

 

China Virus Relief Information for Arkansans 

 

On March 27th, President Trump signed the CARES Act, legislation that will provide the emergency funds necessary to steer our economy through the outbreak of the China Virus and help Americans meet their financial needs. Part of that legislation provides a check in the form of a tax rebate to the vast majority of Americans. Information about those tax rebates is outlined below and can be found by clicking here. That legislation also provides loans to struggling businesses, non-profits, and other entities through the Small Business Administration. Those loans are also eligible for forgiveness when used for the certain purposes, including payroll, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. Information about those loans is also outlined below and can be found by clicking here.

Senator Cotton encourages all Arkansans with questions about how the CARES act can benefit them to contact his office at (202) 224-2353 or (501) 223-9081 or by emailing through the form on his website

 

Recovery Checks For Americans

Background: On March 27th, President Trump signed the CARES Act, legislation that will provide the emergency funds necessary to steer our economy through the outbreak of the China Virus and help Americans meet their financial needs. Part of that legislation provides a check in the form of a tax rebate to the vast majority of Americans. Information about those tax rebates is outlined in this document.

Eligibility: All U.S. residents are eligible as long as they have a work-eligible Social Security number and meet the income requirements. People whose income is entirely from nontaxable, means-tested programs — such as Supplemental Security Income benefits — are eligible too. If a person is a dependent on someone else’s tax return — such as a young adult — they are not eligible for payments.

Click here to calculate how much assistance you will receive.

For Individual Filers: Americans who file their taxes as individuals will receive up to $1,200 in assistance. If your income was less than $75,000 in 2019, you will receive the full amount of $1,200. For those making above $75,000, reduced checks on a sliding scale will be paid. For every $100 you make over $75,000, your assistance will be reduced by $5.

For Married Couples Filing Jointly: Americans who file taxes jointly will receive up to $2,400 plus $500 for every dependent under the age of 17. If your joint income was less than $150,000 in 2019, you will receive the full amount of $2,400 plus $500 for every dependent under 17. For couples making above $150,000, reduced checks on a sliding scale will be paid. For every $100 you make over $150,000, your assistance will be reduced by $5.

For Heads of Household: Americans who file taxes as heads of household will receive up to $1,200 plus $500 for every dependent under the age of 17. If your income was less than $112,500 in 2019, you will receive the full amount of $1,200 plus $500 for every dependent under 17. For those making above $112,500, Reduced checks on a sliding scale will be paid. For every $100 you make over $112,500, your assistance will be reduced by $5.

 

Common Questions and Answers

Q: How will I receive the assistance?

A: For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required in order to receive a rebate check. The IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed, or in the alternative their 2018 return. This includes many low-income individuals who file a tax return in order to take advantage of the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. If you gave your bank account information to the IRS when filing your taxes, you will likely receive a direct deposit from the government. If you did not, you will likely receive a check in the mail. No later than 15 days after the date on which Treasury makes a payment to an eligible taxpayer, a notice will be sent by mail to that taxpayer’s last known address. That notice will indicate the method of payment and the amount of payment.

 

Q: When will my payment arrive?

A: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he expects most people to get their payments within three weeks.

Q: Will I have to pay taxes on these payments?

A: No

Q: Do I need to have income to qualify?

A: No.

Q: What tax year will be used to determine my income?

A: If you have already filed your taxes for 2019, your income for that year will be used to determine your assistance. If you have not filed your taxes for 2019, the IRS will use your 2018 tax filing to determine your assistance.

Q: What If I haven’t filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019?

A: If you meet the eligibility requirements for a payment but have not filed a tax return in the last two years, you must file a tax return to receive a payment. If you make less than $69,000 a year, you can find free tax filing options at the IRS Free File webpage. If you make more than $69,000 a year, there may be free options available to you offered by several commercial tax prep companies, like Intuit (TurboTax), H&R Block or TaxAct. If you want in-person tax help for free, You may qualify for the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. To qualify, you must

  • Make less than around $56,000 a year, OR
  • Live with a disability, OR
  • Speak limited English

The program matches you with IRS-certified volunteers across the country who can help with free basic income tax preparation and electronic filing. You can use the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance locator tool or call 800-906-9887 to find someone to help you. Keep in mind that some locations may require an appointment.
 
Q: Would most people who are receiving Social Security retirement and disability payments each month also get a stimulus payment?

A: Yes.

Q: Will eligible unemployed people get these stimulus payments? Veterans?

A: Yes, to both

Q: If my income tax refunds are currently being garnished because of a student loan default, would this payment be garnished as well?

A: No.

 

SBA Paycheck Protection Loan Program Overview

Background: On March 27th, President Trump signed the CARES Act, legislation that will provide emergency funding to steer our economy through the outbreak of the China Virus and help Americans meet their financial needs. Part of that legislation provides loans to struggling businesses, non-profits, and other entities through the Small Business Administration. Those loans are also eligible for forgiveness when used for the certain purposes, including payroll, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities.

Interested Borrowers/Lenders: If you are a potential borrower interested in participating in the Paycheck Protection Program, you should contact your financial institution and ask if they are a Small Business Administration 7(a) approved lender or if they intend to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program. If so, they can likely help steer you through this process. If you would like to find an approved SBA lender or if you are a financial institution interested in participating in the program, you can contact the Small Business Administration Arkansas District Office at (501) 324-7379.

Borrower Eligibility:

  • The bill defines eligibility for loans as a small business, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a 501(c)(19) veteran’s organization, or Tribal business concern described in section 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act with not more than 500 employees, or the applicable size standard for the industry as provided by SBA, if higher.
  • Applies current SBA affiliation rules to eligible nonprofits.
  • Includes sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals as eligible for loans.
  • For certain businesses classified under the North American Industry Classification System as “accommodation or food service,” those businesses may be eligible if they do not have more than 500 employees per physical location
  • Waives affiliation rules for businesses in the hospitality and restaurant industries, franchises that are approved on the SBA’s Franchise Directory, and small businesses that receive financing through the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program.

Lender Eligibility: 

  • Provides delegated authority, which is the ability for lenders to make determinations on borrower eligibility and creditworthiness without going through all of SBA’s channels, to all current 7(a) lenders who make these loans to small businesses, and provides that same authority to lenders who join the program and make these loans.
  • The SBA Administrator and the Treasury Secretary can authorize additional lenders they deem to have the necessary qualifications to process, close, disburse, and service these loans. These additional lenders approved by Treasury are only permitted to make Paycheck Protection Program loans, not regular 7(a) loans.

Loan Details:

  • The program will be organized through the Small Business Administration.
  • Under this program, the government will guarantee 100% of loans made through the Paycheck Protection program through December 31, 2020.
  • $349 billion is available for this program through December 31, 2020.
  • The covered loan period of this program is from February 15, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
  • The maximum loan limit is $10,000,000.
  • Size of loans will be determined by payroll costs incurred by business.
  • Allowable uses of the loan include payroll support, mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments. Payroll support includes employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, and insurance premiums.
  • For eligibility purposes, requires lenders to, instead of determining repayment ability, which is not possible during this crisis, to determine whether a business was operational on February 15, 2020, and had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes, or a paid independent contractor.
  • Provides a limitation on a borrower from receiving this assistance and an economic injury disaster loan through SBA for the same purpose. However, it allows a borrower who has an EIDL loan unrelated to the pubic health emergency to apply for a PPP loan, with an option to refinance that loan into the PPP loan. The emergency EIDL grant award of up to $10,000 would be subtracted from the amount forgiven under the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Requires eligible borrowers to make a good faith certification that the loan is necessary due to the uncertainty of current economic conditions caused by China Virus; they will use the funds to retain workers and maintain payroll, lease, and utility payments; and are not receiving duplicative funds for the same uses from another SBA program.
  • Waives both borrower and lender fees for participation in the program.
  • Waives the credit elsewhere test for funds provided under this program. Waives collateral and personal guarantee requirements under this program.
  • Outlines the treatment of any portion of a loan that is not used for forgiveness purposes. The remaining loan balance will have a maturity of not more than 10 years, and the guarantee for that portion of the loan will remain intact.
  • Sets a maximum interest rate of four percent.
  • Ensures borrowers are not charged any prepayment fees.
  • Requires the Administrator to provide a lender with a process fee for servicing the loan. Sets lender compensation fees at five percent for loans of not more than $350,000; three percent for loans of more than $350,000 and less than $2,000,000; and one percent for loans of not less than $2,000,000.
  • Includes a sense of the Senate for the Administrator to issue guidance to lenders and agents to ensure that the processing and disbursement of covered loans prioritizes small business concerns and entities in underserved and rural markets, including veterans and members of the military community, small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Loan Forgiveness:

  • Establishes that the borrower shall be eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount spent by the borrower during an 8-week period after the origination date of the loan on payroll costs, interest payment on any mortgage incurred prior to February 15, 2020, payment of rent on any lease in force prior to February 15, 2020, and payment on any utility for which service began before February 15, 2020.
  • Amounts forgiven may not exceed the principal amount of the loan. Eligible payroll costs do not include compensation above $100,000 in wages. Forgiveness on a covered loan is equal to the sum of the following payroll costs incurred during the covered 8 week period compared to the previous year or time period, proportionate to maintaining employees and wages:
  • Payroll costs plus any payment of interest on any covered mortgage obligation (which shall not include any prepayment of or payment of principal on a covered mortgage obligation) plus payments on any covered rent obligation + covered utility payments.
  • The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained compared to the prior year and reduced by the reduction in pay of any employee beyond 25 percent of their prior year compensation. To encourage employers to rehire any employees who have already been laid off due to the public health emergency, borrowers that re-hire workers previously laid off will not be penalized for having a reduced payroll at the beginning of the period.
  • Allows forgiveness for additional wages paid to tipped workers.
  • Borrowers will verify through documentation to lenders their payments during the period. Lenders that receive the required documentation will not be subject to an enforcement action or penalties by the Administrator relating to loan forgiveness for eligible uses. 
  • Upon a lender’s report of an expected loan forgiveness amount for a loan or pool of loans, the SBA will purchase such amount of the loan from the lender.
  • Canceled indebtedness resulting from this section will not be counted as taxable income.
  • Any loan amounts not forgiven at the end of one year is carried forward as an ongoing loan with terms of a max of 10 years, at max 4% interest. The 100% loan guarantee remains intact.

Other:

  • Requires the Administrator to register each loan using the taxpayer TIN, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service, within 15 days.
  • Increases the government guarantee of 7(a) loans to 100 percent through December 31, 2020, at which point guarantee percentages will return to 75 percent for loans exceeding $150,000 and 85 percent for loans equal to or less than $150,000.
  • Allows complete deferment of 7(a) loan payments for at least six months and not more than a year, and requires SBA to disseminate guidance to lenders on this deferment process within 30 days.
  • Increases the maximum SBA Express loan from $350,000 to $1 million through December 31, 2020, after which point the Express loan will return to $350,000.
  • Requires Veteran’s fee waivers for the 7(a) Express Loan Program to be waived.
  • Permanently rescinds the interim final rule entitled, “Express Loan Programs: Affiliation Standards” (85 Fed. Reg. 7622 (February 10, 2020).

Common Questions and Answers

Q. Where can I apply for the Paycheck Protection Program?

A. You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) at any lending institution that is approved to participate in the program through the existing U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) lending program and additional lenders approved by the Department of Treasury. This could be the bank you already use, or a nearby bank. There are thousands of banks that already participate in the SBA’s lending programs, including numerous community banks. You do not have to visit any government institution to apply for the program. You can call your bank or find SBA-approved lenders in your area through SBA’s online Lender Match tool. You can call your local Small Business Development Center or Women’s Business Center and they will provide free assistance and guide you to lenders.

Q. Who is eligible for the loan?

A. You are eligible for a loan if you are a small business that employs 500 employees or fewer, or if your business is in an industry that has an employee-based size standard through SBA that is higher than 500 employees. In addition, if you are a restaurant, hotel, or a business that falls within the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 72, “Accommodation and Food Services,” and each of your locations has 500 employees or fewer, you are eligible. Tribal businesses, 501(c)(19) veteran organizations, and 501(c)(3) nonprofits, including religious organizations, will be eligible for the program. Nonprofit organizations are subject to SBA’s affiliation standards. Independently owned franchises with under 500 employees, who are approved by SBA, are also eligible. Eligible franchises can be found through SBA’s Franchise Directory.

Q. I am an independent contractor or gig economy worker, am I eligible?

A. Yes. Sole proprietors, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and self-employed individuals are all eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. 

Q. What is the maximum amount I can borrow?

A. The amount any small business is eligible to borrow is 250 percent of their average monthly payroll expenses, up to a total of $10 million. This amount is intended to cover 8 weeks of payroll expenses and any additional amounts for making payments towards debt obligations. This 8 week period may be applied to any time frame between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. Seasonal business expenses will be measured using a 12-week period beginning February 15, 2019, or March 1, 2019, whichever the seasonal employer chooses.

Q. How can I use the money such that the loan will be forgiven?

A. The amount of principal that may be forgiven is equal to the sum of expenses for payroll, and existing interest payments on mortgages, rent payments, leases, and utility service agreements. Payroll costs include employee salaries (up to an annual rate of pay of $100,000), hourly wages and cash tips, paid sick or medical leave, and group health insurance premiums. If you would like to use the Paycheck Protection Program for other business-related expenses, like inventory, you can, but that portion of the loan will not be forgiven.

Q. When is the loan forgiven?

A. The loan is forgiven at the end of the 8-week period after you take out the loan. Borrowers will work with lenders to verify covered expenses and the proper amount of forgiveness. 

Q. What is the covered period of the loan?

A. The covered period during which expenses can be forgiven extends from February 15, 2020 to June 30, 2020. Borrowers can choose which 8 weeks they want to count towards the covered period, which can start as early as February 15, 2020.

Q. How much of my loan will be forgiven?

A. The purpose of the Paycheck Protection Program is to help you retain your employees, at their current base pay. If you keep all of your employees, the entirety of the loan will be forgiven. If you still lay off employees, the forgiveness will be reduced by the percent decrease in the number of employees. If your total payroll expenses on workers making less than $100,000 annually decreases by more than 25 percent, loan forgiveness will be reduced by the same amount. If you have already laid off some employees, you can still be forgiven for the full amount of your payroll cost if you rehire your employees by June 30, 2020.

Q. Am I responsible for interest on the forgiven loan amount?

A. No, if the full principal of the PPP loan is forgiven, the borrower is not responsible for the interest accrued in the 8-week covered period. The remainder of the loan that is not forgiven will operate according to the loan terms agreed upon by you and the lender.

Q. What are the interest rate and terms for the loan amount that is not forgiven?

A. The terms of the loan not forgiven may differ on a case-by-case basis. However, the maximum terms of the loan feature a 10-year term with interest capped at 4 percent and a 100 percent loan guarantee by the SBA. You will not have to pay any fees on the loan, and collateral requirements and personal guarantees are waived. Loan payments will be deferred for at least six months and up to one year starting at the origination of the loan. 

Q. When is the application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program?

A. Applicants are eligible to apply for the PPP loan until June 30th, 2020.

 Q. I took out a bridge loan through my state, am I eligible to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program?

A. Yes, you can take out a state bridge loan and are still be eligible for the PPP loan.

 Q. If I have applied for, or received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) related to the China virus before the Paycheck Protection Program became available, will I be able to refinance into a PPP loan? 

A. Yes. If you received an EIDL loan related to the virus between January 31, 2020 and the date at which the PPP becomes available, you would be able to refinance the EIDL into the PPP for loan forgiveness purposes. However, you may not take out an EIDL and a PPP for the same purposes. Remaining portions of the EIDL, for purposes other than those laid out in loan forgiveness terms for a PPP loan, would remain a loan. If you took advantage of an emergency EIDL grant award of up to $10,000, that amount would be subtracted from the amount forgiven under PPP. 

 

Sentor Cotton's Office and Contact Information 

 

Washington
326 Russell SOB
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2353

 

Little Rock
1401 West Capitol Ave
Suite 235
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: (501) 223-9081
Fax: (501) 244-9633

 

Springdale
1108 South Old Missouri Rd
Suite B
Springdale, AR 72764
Phone: (479) 751-0879
Fax: (479) 927-1092

 

Jonesboro
300 South Church
Suite 338
Jonesboro, AR 72401
Phone: (870) 933-6223
Fax: (870) 933-6596

 

El Dorado
106 West Main Street
Suite 410
El Dorado, AR 71730
Phone: (870) 864-8582
Fax: (870) 864-8571

 

3-30-20 12:25 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for March 23rd - 29th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of March 23, 2020 – March 29, 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.

 

March 23, 2020

No reports were filed.

 

March 24, 2020

No reports were filed.

 

March 25, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 68 near Cherry Hill of a prowler. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 33 near Vandervoort of an ATV accident. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley of a dog bite victim. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 33 near Vandervoort of a vehicle break-in. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 75 near Acorn of harassment by a family member. Deputy responded.

 

March 26, 2020

Report from complainant on West Dover near Hatfield of an incident involving a dog. Deputy responded.

Arrested by an Officer with the Grannis Police Department was Guillermos Farias, 34, of Grannis on a Warrant from another Agency.

 

March 27, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 231 near Cove of vandalism and theft causing damage and loss in the amount of $1145.00. Investigation continues.

 

March 28, 2020

No reports were filed.

 

March 29, 2020

Report from complainant on Hilltop Lane near Hatfield of a disturbance between family members led to the arrest of Dale W. Howard, 51, of Hatfield on Charges of Public Intoxication and Criminal Trespass.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 12 Incarcerated Inmates , with 8 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00198

 

3-30-20 12:08 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Residents, Especially Seniors, Use Phone or Internet For Motor Vehicle License Renewals

NOTICE OF SUSPENSION OF ARKANSAS STATUTES AFFECTING MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION TRANSACTIONS IN REVENUE OFFICES

 

UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER (EO) 20-06 Pursuant to the authority under Governor Asa Hutchinson’s March 17, 2020 Executive Order 20-06, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has identified provisions of regulatory statutes stated below that prevents, hinders, or delays DFA’s ability to render maximum assistance to the citizens of Arkansas while adhering to guidelines to prohibit the spread of disease or seeking assistance from the state to obtain benefits or services related to health, education, employment, or any service rendered by the State in response to or to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

 

The identified statutes below are suspended for a period of thirty days from the date of EO 20-06, which is April 16, 2020. Ark. Code Ann. § 27-14-1004(a) – Penalty for Late Registration of Motor Vehicles • Ark. Code Ann. § 27-14-1004(a) imposes a late registration penalty of $3.00 for each ten days a person fails to properly register a motor vehicle until the penalty reaches the same amount as the annual license fee of the vehicle, which may range from $17.00 to $30.00. Under EO 20-06, DFA has suspended through April 16, 2020 the penalty under Ark. Code Ann. § 27-14-1004(a) for the late registration of a motor vehicle or the late renewal of a registration of a motor vehicle.

 

This notice also does not suspend any statute, rule, or law requiring payment of sales or use tax (including any assessed penalty or interest on tax owed) on a vehicle purchase or payment of any registration or other fee.

 

New motor vehicle registrations and renewals of registrations may be completed online at https://mydmv.arkansas.gov/. Renewal of registration is also available by phone by contacting DFA at 1-800-941-2580.

 

3-30-20 9:59 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson Calls For Day Of Prayer In Arkansas

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a proclamation designating Sunday, March 29, a special day of prayer in Arkansas.

The governor is calling on Arkansans to pray for the state of Arkansas and for the Nation amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The proclamation reads in part,

"As Arkansans, we strengthen our faith through prayer, and today, we come together united as a state seeking God's reassurance and thanking Him for his guidance . . . In Deuteronomy 31:8, we are reminded of God's promise, 'The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged' . . ."

You can read the entire proclamation here.

 

3-28-20 3:49 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: New Initiatives to Aid in the COVID-19 Crisis

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: New Initiatives to Aid in the COVID-19 Crisis
 
LITTLE ROCK – On March 11, I signed an executive order that declared a public health emergency in Arkansas, and every day since has brought new challenges in our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
 
Today I’d like to talk about the initiatives we launched this week to assist rural hospitals and to provide extra pay for non-physician direct-care workers who are on the front lines treating COVID-19 patients.
 
We have requested a waiver of Medicaid regulations to accomplish our goals, which we estimate will cost $116 million. The state’s share is much less than that and will be about $25 million.
 

COVID-19 has changed our world in ways we never imagined a month ago. We can’t deliver health care today the way we did just two weeks ago.

 

The leaders at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, nursing homes, and in-home health care providers are having to rethink everything they do, and they are having to do it very quickly and without a road map. We want to help health care providers keep their doors open and their staff employed.

 

This plan places a particular emphasis on Arkansas’s rural providers, who face even greater challenges because of their location and limited infrastructure.
 
This initiative is designed for the COVID-19 crisis, but the benefits will remain long after we have moved past this.
 
We will provide financial assistance to hospitals with fewer than 65 beds and clinics that don’t have the capital to adapt their facilities to the new way of delivering health care. Some may need to modify a facility to add drive-through testing. Others may need to reconfigure patient intake areas to allow for adequate social distancing. 
 
To provide safe face-to-face service, clinics may need to extend hours or stagger schedules to separate sick patients from those who aren’t.
 
We will provide assistance to expand and upgrade telemedicine so that doctors can treat patients from their homes, and we will fund telemedicine training.
 
We will provide funding to companies that provide non-emergency transportation. During this period when fewer people need transportation to a doctor’s appointment, these companies can offer services such as prescription delivery.
 
DHS Secretary Cindy Gillespie and her team worked tirelessly to put together this innovative plan. In this moment of crisis, DHS has crafted a solid short-term solution with long-term benefits.
 
3-27-20 8:54 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, the House convened for an Extraordinary Session to address the urgent funding needs in our state created by the COVID-19 crisis.

 

For only the second time in recent history, we convened outside of the Capitol. The Jack Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas Little Rock provided additional space for members to adhere to social distancing guidelines of at least 6 feet. All of us were screened by medical professionals before entering the facility. 

 

The legislation we were asked by the Governor to consider creates the COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund by redirecting surplus funds. The state currently has a surplus of $173 million.

 

The fund would be used to offset general revenue reductions, funding needs and unanticipated needs created by the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Any expenditure from the fund would require approval of at least two of three legislative leaders in both the House and Senate.

 

Allowing this type of flexibility with the budget is unprecedented, but we are in unprecedented times. This measure helps to ensure the needs we face in weeks ahead can be funded quickly.

 

This legislation also makes it possible to extend the state tax deadline to July 15.

 

Meanwhile, we continue to work on other needs you and your family may be facing during this time.

 

Resources are being made available to reduce waiting times on the hotline for unemployment claims.

 

You can call the hotline at 1-844-908-2178 or 501-534-6304.

 

Or go online at www.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov.

 

While we are facing uncertain times, know that your legislature is here and functioning on your behalf.

 

If you run into issues navigating your way to needed assistance, reach out to your representative. Contact information for every representative is found on our website at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

3-27-20 8:49 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Help is on the Way

Help is on the Way

 

The public health crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has brought economic activity in America’s large cities and small towns alike to a grinding halt. Businesses of all sizes are being forced to close during this crisis both to protect public health and because of a shrinking customer base, as consumers are urged to stay home to reduce the spread of the disease.

 

The unexpected closures or dramatic scale-down for small business owners, through no fault of their own, may spell their ruin by the time this is behind us. Their employees will be among those hardest hit financially by this crisis.

 

Entire industries that are vital to our nation’s economic wellbeing have been crushed by this pandemic. The markets have taken a huge hit, putting the retirement security of millions of Americans in jeopardy. And it is certainly expected that our health care sector, strained to capacity, will face substantial challenges moving forward.

 

Congress came together to pass a bipartisan, comprehensive package that dramatically increases efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, treat Americans diagnosed with COVID-19 and support research to find a vaccine. We appropriated a surge in funding—almost eight billion dollars—behind a government-wide strategy to mitigate the spread and treat those affected.

 

Providing immediate funding to address the public health threat was phase one of our response. Phase two—the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—marked the beginning of our efforts to address the coronavirus’s economic impact by funding paid emergency leave for workers, making testing widely available at no additional cost to patients and enhancing food security initiatives.

 

We have now moved on to phase three of our response, passing the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help individual Americans negatively affected by this crisis get by and stave off a massive economic disaster.

 

The CARES Act increases our investment in hospitals and healthcare providers—the men and women on the front lines of this fight—while working to stabilize the economy and provide relief to Americans struggling in the wake of economic challenges created by this pandemic.

 

Checks will be sent to millions of American households to offset the financial impact of the crisis and allow for a much-needed injection of liquidity into our economy. Unemployment insurance will be expanded while stabilizing industries to prevent mass layoffs. Other steps, such as delaying federal student loans payments for six months, will be taken to help affected individuals.

 

Dramatic relief will be provided to the lifeblood of our economy—our small businesses—which have taken a massive financial hit. Loans will be delivered to small businesses to help continue operations, and if those funds are used for payroll and other vital necessities to maintain services, they will be forgiven.

 

The CARES Act is not a stimulus plan, it’s an existence plan.

 

It is designed to offer immediate relief, making it such that families and individuals whose lives have been turned upside down as a result of this crisis have money they need to survive.

 

We also have to create a path to economic recovery while helping individuals and families through this crisis. Americans can’t go to work. Businesses are unable to operate. Individuals are not getting paychecks. Not only do we have to help our fellow Americans through these challenging times, but we also have to make sure that they have jobs when we begin to return some normalcy to our lives.

 

That is the aim of the CARES Act. The magnitude of this crisis requires us to think big and act big. The CARES Act puts big ideas into action. We will get through this. We have to look after each other every step of the way until then. Help is on the way.

 

3-27-20 4:58 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Senior Center Recipient of $21,000 SWEPCO Grant

SWEPCO Awards Emergency Funds To West Arkansas Nonprofits

 

FAYETTEVILLE, ARK., March 26, 2020 – The American Electric Power Foundation has announced $42,000 in emergency funding for two area nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 in Southwestern Electric Power Co’s (SWEPCO) service area.  

 

Mena Polk County Senior Center and Scott County Senior Citizens each were awarded $21,000 to provide additional meals to homebound seniors, as well as offer carryout meals, shelf-stable meals and other alternatives for their Meals on Wheels programs should delivery be suspended. 

 

The American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and its utility operating units, including SWEPCO.

 

“We are pleased to present these agencies with additional funding on behalf of the AEP Foundation as they provide vital services to our community during this extraordinary time of need,” said Jeff Milford, SWEPCO External Affairs manager in Fayetteville. “We want to help ensure that the programs serving our community’s most vulnerable residents can continue and expand.”

 

The AEP Foundation recently approved $1.5 million in emergency funds in response to COVID-19 to support basic human needs – such as food and shelter – across AEP’s service area.

 

The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area.

 

The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger.

 

Mena Mayor Seth Smith, on behalf of the citizens of Mena, thanked Jeff Milford with SWEPCO for his consideration and help getting the funds for the senior center .

 

The AEP Foundation is based in Columbus, Ohio. 

 

3-27-20 3:45 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

March 27, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature convened in special session to address potential revenue shortfalls, resulting from the sudden economic downturn caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.

 

Applications for unemployment insurance had averaged about 1,500 per week. After so many businesses closed to prevent any further spread of the virus, more than 18,000 applied over a two-week period.

 

The sharp increase in job layoffs caused sales tax and personal income tax revenue to go down. Another decrease in state revenue is predicted to result from the extension of the filing deadline for taxes, from April 15 to July 15.

 

In his call for the special session, the governor noted that extending the tax deadline would cost the state millions of dollars this fiscal year, but it was the right thing to do to provide relief to taxpayers.

 

Budget officials predicted that revenue would be short by $353 million because of the slowdown in economic activity, combined with the extension of the tax filing deadline. June 30 is the final day of the fiscal year.

 

Arkansas operates under a balanced budget law, known as the Revenue Stabilization Act, which prioritizes state agency spending. When revenue drops, spending by the state government drops proportionately. Unlike the federal government, the state does not borrow to pay for budgeted programs, a practice commonly known as deficit spending.

 

The state has reserve funds because it has consistently approved very conservative budgets.

 

In order to protect vital services provided by the state Health Department and medical programs in the Human Services Department, the legislature voted on a transfer of money from a reserve fund to operating accounts. The reserve fund has $173.6 million.

 

Legislators took unique precautions during the special session in order to maintain social distancing. They did not all sit in their usual desks in the Senate chamber, but sat further apart than usual. Some senators participated from the public galleries.

 

The House of Representatives had more difficult challenges, because there are 100 representatives compared to 35 senators. The House convened in the basketball arena of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, which is large enough that representatives and essential staff could keep at a safe distance from others. It has seating for 5,600 people.

 

The hospitality and service industries have been hit hard. The state has closed DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Mount Magazine State Park, Petit Jean State Park and Queen Wilhelmina State Park.

 

Barbers, hair salons and gyms have been closed. Church services are being video streamed, because health officials strongly advise against any gathering of more than 10 people.

 

The Department of Workforce Services has waived the one-week waiting period that had been required of laid off workers before they could apply for unemployment, to accelerate the payment of claims. However, due to the spike in claims, be prepared to wait when you file a claim.

 

The Board of Nursing and the Medical Board are accelerating their licensing processes, so that the next generation of medical providers can get to work faster.

 

Banks have been notified that some regulations will be modified, to encourage them to restructure loans to troubled businesses.

 

3-27-20 10:32 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansans Ordered To Limit Gatherings, Keep 6 Foot Separation, Some Exceptions

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has repeatedly said he does not want to order Arkansans to "shelter in place"  or "lockdown" citing the need to keep residents working and the economy moving, but today, as he promised in his briefing yesterday, the Arkansas Department of Health issued a Directive / Order limiting gatherings "occurring outside a single household or living unit" to consist of no more than 10 people who can stay 6 feet apart. There are some exceptions, as long as they can "maintain appropriate social distancing of at least six (6) feet to prevent the spread of this virus". The directive, which can be read below, also says that "The Secretary of Health reserves the right to exercise his authority to prevent the spread of disease in this State if, in his judgment, any of the excluded entities are operating in a manner that is a risk to public health."

 

Secretary of Health
DIRECTIVE (ORDER)
Limitations on Gatherings 10 people / 6 feet
March 26, 2020

 

The Secretary of Health, in consultation with the Governor, has sole authority over all instances of quarantine, isolation, and restrictions on commerce and travel throughout Arkansas, as necessary and appropriate to control disease in the state of Arkansas as authorized by Ark. Code Ann. §20-7-109—110. Based on available scientific evidence, it is necessary and appropriate to take further action to ensure that COVID-19 remains controlled and that residents and visitors in Arkansas remain safe.

 

All public and private gatherings of any number of people are subject to the following directives and exceptions:

 

  •  Due to the high risk of community spread of COVID-19, gatherings of more than ten (10) people in any confined indoor or outdoor space are prohibited until further notice. Gatherings subject to this directive include, without limitation, community, civic, public, leisure, commercial, or sporting events, concerts, conferences, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, and festivals.

 

  •  This directive does not apply to gatherings of ten (10) or more people in unenclosed, outdoor spaces such as parks, trails, athletic fields and courts, parking lots, golf courses, and driving ranges where social distancing of at least six (6) feet can be easily achieved.

 

  •  This directive does not apply to businesses, manufacturers, construction companies, places of worship, the Arkansas General Assembly, municipal or county governing bodies, or the judiciary; however, these entities are advised to limit person-to-person contact and maintain appropriate social distancing of at least six (6) feet to prevent the spread of this virus.

 

  •  The Secretary of Health reserves the right to exercise his authority to prevent the spread of disease in this State if, in his judgment, any of the excluded entities are operating in a manner that is a risk to public health.

 

3-26-20 6:29 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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Ouachita National Forest Campgrounds, Recreation Areas Shutting Down

HOT SPRINGS Ark. — To protect public health and safety and align with federal, state and local guidance, Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests officials are announcing the temporary shutdown of recreational areas and campgrounds for the safety of visitors and staff.

 

Effective immediately, some recreation areas and campgrounds are temporarily shut down. Some campgrounds and cabins have not yet open for season, and will remain shut down. Dispersed camping is still available on both forests. On the Ouachita National Forest, all restrooms are shut down.

 

For a list of closures, more information and updates, visit the websites of the Ouachita National Forest at www.fs.usda.gov/ouachita or the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests at www.fs.usda.gov/osfnf/. Updates can also be found at the Ouachita National Forest Facebook site at www.facebook.com/ouachitanf and Ozark-St. Francis National Forest at www.facebook.com/ozarkstfrancis/.

 

The Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and evaluate potential impacts and adjustments to reservations and our reservation policies through Recreation.gov. Reservation holders will be notified via email and/or cell phone text messages of any changes affecting their reservation. Visitors will receive a full refund for their reservation.

 

By closing campsites and group recreation sites, the USDA Forest Service is taking necessary measures to safeguard the health of employees and the public. The health and safety of employees and the nearby communities is always our top priority at the USDA Forest Service. 

 

Visitors are primarily responsible for their own safety. Keep in mind, trails and roads may be open for use, but please recreate responsibly and follow public health guidelines regarding social distancing while you recreate in National Forests. Law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. High risk activities such as rock climbing or motorized activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided. For the most current and accurate information about COVID-19, contact your local health officials or visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at: www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

 

3-26-20 1:50 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Polk County Man Arrested For Rape, Sexual Abuse Of A Child In Utah

The Polk County Sheriff's Department, acting on a felony warrant from Utah, arrested 34 year old Guillermo Farias at a residence in Wickes (Polk County) Thursday. Arrest records show Farias resided in Grannis.

 
Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer said that Farias was being held in the Polk County Detention Center awaiting extradition to Utah.
 
According to the Desert News in Salt Lake City, Farias was charged Tuesday in 1st District Court with rape of a child, a first-degree felony; and three counts of sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony.
 
The crimes alleged took place in 2012. 
 
3-26-20 1:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansas Lt. Gov. Griffin COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Meeting Thursday, March 26th

Lt. Governor Griffin to Host Virtual Town-hall with Infectious Disease Specialist 

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha Regarding COVID-19

 

LITTLE ROCK – Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin released the following public schedule for March 26, 2020

 

WHAT: Lieutenant Governor Griffin will host a Live town-hall streaming on Facebook/YouTube with infectious disease specialist Dr. Jennifer Dillaha regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and what Arkansans can do to protect themselves and others from the virus. 

 

WHEN: March 26, 6:00 PM

 

WHERE: Virtual town-hall hosted on Lieutenant Governor Griffin’s Facebook page and streaming on YouTube. (Note: Lieutenant Governor Griffin will host this from his office in the Arkansas State Capitol.)

3-26-20 6:59 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 March 25, 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 are interested in 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: https://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.

 

3-25-20 4:25 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Scammers Create Frenzy with Fake Government Checks

LITTLE ROCK – As Congress works to complete the COVID-19 economic stimulus package, con artists have also been working non-stop to identify new ways to take advantage of Arkansans concerned about the economy. These scammers impersonate government officials and reach out to Arkansans by phone, email or social media demanding the victims’ personal and banking information to verify their eligibility for the government’s stimulus check.

 

“Bad actors come out in bad situations and will do anything to make a quick buck on the backs of concerned Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The federal government will never reach out asking for personal and banking information in order to confirm your eligibility for payment.”

 

Attorney General Rutledge has provided the following tips to keep you and your pocketbook safe.

  • Only rely on official government websites (.gov) for economic relief information.
  • Never give out your personal information over the telephone or email.
  • When information becomes available, the Attorney General’s website will direct you to reliable sources.

 

Arkansas residents encountering someone demanding personal information to receive federal funds or other assistance should immediately contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office by visiting ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

 

3-25-20 1:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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TEMPORARY DRIVER LICENSE TESTING SCHEDULE CONTINUES

The Arkansas State Police will continue Class D (conventional motor vehicle) driver license testing under the temporary and limited adjustments made effective on March 18th.   State police commanders had planned to re-consider the schedule adjustments on March 27th.  That date has now been extended to the end of business day, Friday, April 3rd. 
 
No changes have been implemented, nor planned, relating to commercial driver license applicants.  CDL testing is continuing on a regular schedule.
 
Changes to the Class D schedules became necessary as city and county government buildings where state police driver license testing occurred began to temporarily close or limit public access.
 
Driver license testing is now restricted to Arkansas State Police Troop Headquarters (with the exception of Troop J at Clarksville).  Testing in the River Valley area is limited to a testing center operated in Russellville at 765 Hob Knob Road.  Only the knowledge portion of the Class D driver license is being administered during the temporary schedule.  No skills tests are being offered.
 
A directory of Arkansas State Police Headquarters with addresses and telephone numbers can be found at https://asp.arkansas.gov/divisions/highway-patrol/.

3-24-20 5:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena ARVAC Office Closed To Public

The Mena ARVA ooffice is cliosing to the public as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mandy Dunlap, the Polk County Family Support advocate siad today that "I just wanted to update our community partners regarding our office closing to the public, keeping in line with what the Governor has mandated for public schools; our Polk County ARVAC, Inc. office will be closed to the public until Monday April 20th. We are still able to help individuals with utility assistance.  At present we will still be distributing Commodities to the general public Tuesday April 28, 10:00 am to 1:00pm at the Polk County Fairgrounds.  The health and safety of the community is always our focus, therefore, for this distribution no one will have to leave their vehicle. If possible please post this updated sign where it may be visible to the public".

 

 

3-24-20 5:18 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Mena Police Report for March 15th - 21st

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of March 15, 2020 through March 21, 2020 

 

 

March 15, 2020

 

A harassment complaint was taken at a residence.

 

Officers responded to a disturbance call a department store.

 

A harassment complaint was taken at a motel

 

March 16, 2020

 

A forgery report was taken from a convenience store.

 

A report of a stolen credit card was taken

 

A suspicious person report was taken at a residence.

 

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

 

March 17, 2020

 

Billy Fletcher, 33, was arrested for Criminal Trespass, Disorderly Conduct, and Resisting Arrest after a call to a residence.

 

Travis Parker, 39, was arrested for Theft of Property, Driving on Suspended License, and No Liability Insurance. Also, Misty Arceneaux, 41, was arrested for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. These arrests were made after a complaint from a convenience store and a traffic stop. Both suspects were issued citations and released.

 

March 18, 2020

 

A harassment complaint was taken at a residence.

 

An assault report was taken.

 

March 19, 2020

 

A report of battery and criminal trespass was taken at a residence.

 

March 20, 2020

 

Jimmy Davis, 44, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a call to a department store.

 

Tyler Kamm, 23, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a call to a department store.

 

Cathy Singleton, 59, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) and Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor after a call to a department store.

 

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

 

3-24-20 8:24 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for March 16th - 22nd

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of March 16, 2020 – March 22, 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.

 

March 16, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 417 near Potter of a vehicle driven into a pond led to Citations for Careless and Prohibited Driving, No Seat Belt Use, and No Vehicle License being issued to Taylor Higgins, 25, of Mena.

 

March 17, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 92 near Shady Grove of being harassed by an acquaintance. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

 

March 18, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Hatfield of damage to a sign valued at $500.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 167 near Potter led to the arrest of William T. Smith, 40, of Mena on Charges of DWI, Refusal to Submit, Careless and Prohibited Driving, No Seat Belt, and Open Container.

 

March 19, 2020

No reports filed.

 

March 20, 2020

Report from complainant on West Johnson near Hatfield of a trailer license plate being removed.

Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71N near Acorn of a theft. Investigation continues.

Report from a complainant on Dover Street near Hatfield of a domestic disturbance led to the arrest of John A. Davis, 31, of Hatfield on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.

 

March 21, 2020

No reports were filed.

 

March 22, 2020

Report from complainant on 71S near Cove of an accidental shooting. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 10 Incarcerated Inmates , with 11 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00188

 

3-23-20 11:46 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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MRHS Visitor Policy Alert, COVID-19 Screening Update

Please read and share the MRHS visitor policy and COVID-19 screening update below.

 

"Mena Regional Health System continues to implement extreme safety measures in an effort to protect our patients and staff.  A new visitor infection prevention policy was announced and posted last Friday.  Our MRHS staff, along with any visitor or patient that enters the facility, will be screened  before allowed beyond the front entrance.  All other exterior doors will be locked at all times.  Exemptions to the number of visitors allowed will be based upon the unit in which the patient has been admitted.  There will be no visitors allowed for patients in isolation or Senior Behavioral Health. The Mena Regional Comfort Café is closed to the public until further notice.  Mena Medical Associates has updated the clinic hours to 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. through this Wednesday, March 25.  Determination regarding hours beyond Wednesday will be based upon patient volume and will be posted for the public."

 

3-23-20 11:39 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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UPDATED Nidec Mena Plant To Remain Closed Through Monday, March 23rd

SUNDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE FROM NIDEC: "As of this morning, we have received the test results from our employees who were tested for Covid-19. ALL TEST RESULTS WERE NEGATIVE! We have been given the clearance to resume all Mena Plant operations effective Monday, March 23rd. This is for all shifts." 3-22-20
 
After a COVID-19 (coronavirus) scare at Mena's Nidec (US Motors) plant prompting plant management to close the plant, the follow statement was released Saturday around noon:
 
"As a precautionary measure, the Mena Plant will remain closed through Monday, March 23rd.
 
Nidec management will develop a Plant reopening strategy. Updates will be communicated as the situation is evaluated. We will follow the published guidelines from the Arkansas Department of Health and the CDC.
 
The health and well being of our employees and community is our top priority."
 
No additional information has been released to the public.
 
3-21-20 12:14 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Tough Time Calls for Telemedicine

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Tough Time Calls for Telemedicine
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – The COVID-19 pandemic has required us to rethink how we do things in our personal lives from education to our business, and how we entertain ourselves. The same is true in government. We have suspended a number of regulatory hurdles in order to navigate this uncharted territory. Today I’d like to discuss the steps we have taken to expand telemedicine.
 
Telemedicine is especially important at a time such as this when we are dealing with a fast-moving virus that threatens a large part of our population. Telemedicine allows a sick person to communicate with a doctor without having to go to an office and put other patients and health care workers at risk of infection.
 
Telemedicine is not new in Arkansas. Since 2017, patients have been able to consult with doctors and counselors about certain issues using various internet and telephonic technology. But that access was limited. Under the law, a doctor or counselor could not accept and consult with a first-time patient by telephone.
 
As we realized how easily the coronavirus spreads and that the number of cases likely would increase rapidly, we knew we needed to temporarily allow health care providers more ways to treat patients. So based on the wisdom and counsel of doctors and other leaders in health care, I issued an executive order suspending the provisions of the Telemedicine Act that require an in-person encounter or a face-to-face examination using real time audio and visual means to establish a professional relationship.
 
In other words, now a doctor can establish a new patient in his practice over the telephone. This will minimize the number of people in waiting rooms, which, of course, will minimize the spread of the coronavirus as well as flu and other contagious diseases.
 
The other significant element of the order is that it allows reimbursement to health care providers who take advantage of this provision. This is especially important for rural clinics that depend on income from patient visits. The reimbursement provision prevents economic harm to the doctors.
The order also suspended the Rules and Regulations of the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Counseling to allow licensed counselors to treat their clients by telephone.
 
Word of the order is still making its way to the insurance companies. We’ve heard reports that some companies have denied payment, but in cases where that has happened, it’s because the memo hasn’t worked its way down to the agents who work directly with customers. Leaders in the insurance industry generally have embraced this temporary solution. They know that we are in a crisis and that this short-term benefit will shorten the duration of this pandemic.
 
Whether we are facing a natural disaster or a medical crisis, Arkansans always run to the fight with courage and creativity. COVID-19 has upended life for many and forced us to change the way we do things, at least in the short term. The leaders in health care and all the personnel on the front lines are fighting this pandemic around the clock, which is why I am confident we are going to get through this as we always do.
 
3-20-20 10:50 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on the KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com or click on the News Tips graphic above.
 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

If you are a business owner struggling to meet payroll or if you have recently become unemployed due to the response from COVID-19, we want to direct you to state resources that may help.

 

Earlier this week the Governor announced that Arkansas will tap Community Development Block Grant funds and the state’s Quick Action Closing Fund to support small businesses and nonprofits that are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The state will allocate $12 million in block grant money and up to $4 million from the quick-action fund to provide bridge loans to help midsize companies and nonprofits remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also announced the transfer of $3 million of settlement funds from her office to the quick-action loan fund for small businesses.

 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has been made available to eligible businesses and private non-profits that were impacted.

 

These working capital loans of up to $2 million can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

 

Businesses and employers can access information on the grants and loans at www.arkansasedc.com/covid19.

The Governor has also directed Division of Workforce Services to waive a number of restrictions for workers who have lost employment to ensure that the Unemployment Insurance Program (UIP) can provide needed assistance in a timely manner.

 

Unemployed individuals will be able to collect benefits immediately upon application approval rather than the typical week-long waiting period.

 

In addition, for the next 30 days, unemployed individuals will not be required to meet job search requirements. In person application requirements are also waived.

 

Arkansans can apply at www.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov.

 

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will suspend the work requirement through the end of April. DHS also will expedite decisions about SNAP eligibility for those who lose income because of COVID-19 www.access.arkansas.gov.

 

We will continue to update you daily on new developments concerning the state response to COVID-19 at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

3-20-20 6:16 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Promoting Health Together Amid a Pandemic

Promoting Health Together Amid a Pandemic

 

We’ve all been inconvenienced by cancellations, closures and curfews because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. I understand the disappointment of basketball teams prevented from playing in the state championship game, the frustration of postponing spring break travel and the difficulty of keeping kids occupied while schools are closed. Sacrifices like these illustrate the seriousness of the problem we are facing as a nation and the urgency to work together to protect ourselves and fellow citizens against this virus.

 

Congress is taking steps to ensure resources are available to state and local governments to mitigate the spread of the disease, treat those infected and support research to find a vaccine. In early March, we passed a comprehensive package to help the local, state and federal governments meet the growing challenges. We also recently passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a package specifically designed to provide support for hardworking Americans and families who are facing financial challenges due to this outbreak.

 

We all have a role to play to minimize the challenges this virus poses to us, our loved ones and our fellow Americans. We must follow the guidance and recommendations of our medical experts to reduce the risk of infection, including frequent handwashing, covering our mouths with a flexed elbow when sneezing or coughing and practicing social distancing. In recent days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded its recommendations to limit interactions with others by avoiding public gatherings and encouraging staying at home whenever possible. Suppliers are urging Americans to not overbuy during trips to the grocery stores, as the supply chain is strong and the goods consumers need will remain available. These are small but important things we can do to make a big difference in this fight.

 

Precautions like these are necessary to ensure patients who become sick with COVID-19 have access to hospitals, medical treatment and resources they need to recover. The number of individuals who become ill will grow, but reducing the opportunities to transmit the virus will give our health care workers more time to prepare and respond to this ongoing outbreak. Doctors, nurses and medical professionals on the front lines of the fight are being stretched in an unprecedented way. We are indebted to them for their efforts and we need to do our part to help.

It’s times like these when we need to be thinking of others. We all know someone who has a weakened immune system. Whether it’s a family member, friend or neighbor, spreading COVID-19 by avoiding proper precautions could land these individuals in the hospital, or worse.

 

People age 60 or older are particularly vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19, especially those with underlying chronic medical conditions. It is advised that individuals older than 80 exercise even more caution. 

 

The Arkansas Department of Health imposed requirements preventing visitors to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the state. This is an important measure to protect high-risk individuals.

 

I’m continuing to stay in contact with Arkansas officials and medical providers about how the federal government can best support the state’s needs. While this is certainly a trying time for Arkansans and all Americans, it’s moments like this when we shine. We can slow down the spread of this virus, but it’s going to take all us working together to do so. Let’s do our part to protect ourselves, our families, friends and neighbors.

 

3-20-20 4:52 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Bid Approved For Road Work In Cove and Mena

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

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 overlay .84 miles of various city streets in Cove to include E. Barton Avenue, East Street, Old Cove Road, Depot Street, Main Street and Middle Street; and .83 miles of various city streets in Mena to include Janssen Ave and Reeves Avenue. Crow Group, Inc. of Morrilton was awarded the contract at $561,921.37. Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in mid 2020. Travel information can be found at IDriveArkansas.com or ArDOT.gov. You can also follow us on Twitter @myARDOT.

 

3-20-20 4:08 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Mena Hospital Implements Visitor Restriction Policy

Mena Regional Health Sytem announced a visitor restriction policy today that will be in place until further notice. The notice is below.

 

Infection Prevention Visitor Restriction Policy

 

To protect residents of our community, our patients, and our healthcare workers, the following visitor restriction policy has been implemented beginning March 20, 2020 until further notice.

 

Visitation is restricted to 8:00 am – 7:00 pm using Main Entrance only.

 

Visitation is restricted to one (1) single visitor per day per patient choice, non-transferable. Visitors must stay in the room and not make multiple trips to decrease traffic through the hospital. If you leave the patient care unit, you will not be allowed to reenter.

 

Exceptions to the number of visitor restriction are as follows:

 

Labor/Delivery patients will be allowed a visitor and labor coach during the Labor/Delivery process.

The Post- Partum Unit will allow only one (1) visitor.

 

Senior Behavioral Health unit will not allow visitors at any time.

 

Pediatric patients may have two (2) parents or legal guardians present.

 

Emergency Department will be limited to one (1) visitor of the patient’s choice, is non-transferable, and must stay

in the room and not make multiple trips in and out of the unit.

 

Ambulatory Clinic may have only (1) visitor present. Others must wait outside of clinic.

 

Diagnostic Testing and Therapy (Radiology, Laboratory, and Rehabilitation Therapy) may have only one (1) visitor

accompany the patient. All others must wait outside of facility.

 

All visitors will have their temperature checked prior to entry. Those with fever will not be allowed to enter the premises.

 

Visitors must be healthy and not have any of the following symptoms:

 

     fever

 

     shortness of breath

 

     cough

 

     symptoms of respiratory illness

 

     close contact with someone who has tested positive or is under quarantine for COVID-19 illness.

 

Children under the age of 15 years will not be allowed – no exceptions to age limitations for visiting.

 

Patients in Isolation Precautions will not be allowed visitors at any time. No exceptions.

 

Overnight visitors are required to stay in the patient’s room at all times and not leave the hospital from 7:00 pm until 8:00 am.

 

Exception to this policy will be made for end-of-life clinical situations and approved by the Clinical Director.

 

Comfort Café Cafeteria will be closed to the public until further notice.

 

Mena Regional Health System 

 

3-20-20 2:47 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

 

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

March 20, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – To cushion the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak on working families, the state has streamlined the process of applying for unemployment insurance.

 

The Department of Workforce Services, under orders from the governor, will waive the one-week waiting period that had been required of laid off workers before they could apply for unemployment. The waiver will accelerate the payment of claims.

 

Another step ordered by the governor was to waive the requirement that applicants seek another job for 30 days. This waiver applies only to workers laid off from businesses that have been forced to close temporarily.

 

A third waiver of rules provides that unemployed workers will not have to apply in person. They can apply online or by telephone. Search for ezarc.adws to find the Workforce Services Department web page that lists the items you’ll need to file an unemployment claim.

 

In numerous other states, public officials have mandated the closing of restaurants and bars. In Arkansas restaurant dining rooms, bars and gyms have been closed. Restaurants can still serve take-out meals.

 

The state is setting up a program to provide bridge loans for small businesses, to help them stay open through the outbreak. The state will use $12 million in block grant money and as much as $4 million from its quick-action fund, which normally is used to recruit industry.

 

Under order of the state, the three casinos in Arkansas have closed until the end of March, affecting hundreds of employees. The casinos are in Pine Bluff, Hot Springs and West Memphis.

 

Concerts and shows are being canceled throughout Arkansas, and the cancellation of college sporting events has a ripple effect through the economy.

 

Universities and colleges are switching to online classes. Graduation ceremonies have been postponed.

 

That reduces demand for ancillary student services near campus, many of which are provided by private sector businesses. Dry cleaners, printing shops with copy machines, pizza joints, fast food restaurants and entertainment venues are all affected.

 

The Arkansas State Dental Association recommended that dentists postpone seeing patients until after March 27, if the appointments are for non-urgent care.

 

Arkansas is among the many states that have closed schools temporarily. Students and teachers are maintaining course work online, which highlights the need for high speed broadband access across the state. Internet connections are transmitting more data than they usually do.

 

Of the state’s 2,000 child care centers, about 800 have shut down. Centers that care for children from low-income families that remain open through March 27 will be reimbursed at a higher rate for the children who receive vouchers, which are a form of federal assistance.

 

The Department of Human Services (DHS) will suspend the renewal process for child-care vouchers for 30 days. It also will temporarily waive limits on capacity for providers.

 

The food stamp program, also called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will suspend the work requirement through the end of April.

 

If people apply for food stamps because they lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak, DHS will speed up its decision on their eligibility.

 

3-20-20 11:25 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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CDC and Other Health Officials are NOT Going Door-to-Door Performing Tests

LITTLE ROCK - While Arkansans are staying home in an attempt to prevent infection and spread of the COVID-19 virus, con artists are out and about going door-to-door targeting frightened senior citizens. Posing as employees of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these scammers knock on your door and offer to scan you for the COVID-19 virus at a cost of $50. These con artists, who are not licensed medical professionals, swab your nasal cavity and pretend to perform a medical test while you watch. To obtain your “test results,” the scammers ask for your banking information, including credit and debit card numbers, and social security number.

 

“It is unbelievable that con artists use the fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic to target Arkansans, especially senior citizens,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The CDC and other health officials are not going door-to-door and performing tests. Arkansans should consult their trusted health care provider or the Arkansas Department of Health regarding COVID-19 testing.”

 

The Attorney General’s Office confirmed that the CDC is not going door-to-door for testing. Arkansas residents encountering someone at their door stating that they are there to test them for the COVID-19 virus should immediately call local law enforcement and file a consumer complaint with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office. 

 

3-20-20 11:04 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena School Board March Meeting Recap

 

The Mena School Board met Tuesday, March 17, 2020 for their regular monthly meeting in both executive and open session. The minutes of the open session are below.

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.

 

Members present: Susan Rowell, Clint Montgomery, Edd Puckett, Kyle Cannon and Todd Aynes.

 

Members absent: Phillip Wilson and Robert Hines.

 

Kyle Cannon made a motion to approve the minutes as read. Susan Rowell seconded the motion and motion carried unanimously.

 

In the Superintendent’s Report, Mr. Weston presented a Mitigation Report to the Board per guidance and direction of the Governor, DESE, and CDC.

 

Mr. Weston presented the Arkansas School Boards Association Model Policy Service Contract renewal effective the first day of February, 2020 and terminating on the last day of January, 2022, in the amount of $2,850.00. Kyle Cannon made a motion to approve the ASBA renewal in the amount of $2,850.00. Susan Rowell seconded the motion and motion carried unanimously.

 

Kyle Cannon read: School Choice Capacity Resolution for school choice applicants for the 2020-2021 school-year under the provisions of policy 4.5 - School Choice and applicable Arkansas Law. Kyle Cannon made a motion to approve the School Choice Capacity Resolution. Clint Montgomery seconded the motion and motion passed unanimously.

 

Mr. Weston asked Ray Beardsley of First Security Beardsley, a Division of Crews & Associates, in Little Rock, Arkansas, to inform the board of refunding bond bids. Mr. Beardsley presented information to the Board regarding the 3 quarters bond interest.

 

Kyle Cannon read and made the following motion: To submit an “Application for a Permit to Issue Bonds”, with related documents, for $14,830,000 in Refunding Boards to the State Department of Education and to employ First Security Beardsley as Fiscal Agent, and to authorize the Superintendent of Schools to accept or reject the best bid submitted in connection with the publics sale of the proposed bonds in consultation with the fiscal agent. Susan Rowell seconded the motion and motion carried unanimously.

 

Kyle Cannon read and made the following motion: To submit an “Application for a Permit to Issue Bonds”, with related documents, for $5,650,000 in Refunding Bonds to the State Department of Education and to employ First Security Beardsley as Fiscal Agent, and to authorize the Superintendent of Schools to accept or reject the best bid submitted in connection with the public sale of the proposed bonds in consultation with the fiscal agent. Edd Puckett seconded the motion and motion carried unanimously. The previous two items would only occur as the market improves and an agreement is reached between the Superintendent and the fiscal agent.

 

Kyle Cannon read and made the following motion: To employ First Security Beardsley as Financial Advisor for a period of three (3) years effecitve as of the date of adoption. Clint Montgomery seconded the motion and motion carried unanimously.

 

Edd Puckett made a motion to approve financial reports. Kyle Cannon seconded the motion and motion carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Weston recommended the resignation of Geraldine Krudwig - Secondary English, Mena High School. Kyle Cannon made a motion to approve Mr. Weston’s retirement recommendation. Susan Rowell seconded the motion and motion carried unanimously.

 

With no further business, Edd Puckett moved for adjournment, Kyle Cannon seconded and meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

 

3-20-20 10:22 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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Parks and Tourism Instituting Closings, Limiting Access at Parks and Museums

LITTLE ROCK—Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism (ADPHT), today announced that ADPHT is instituting closings and/or limited access to some of its parks and museums in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, effective March 20.

 

Welcome Centers – Lobbies of the 13 Welcome Centers located around the state, which serve the traveling public, will close until further notice.

 

Heritage Museums – The Division of Arkansas Heritage’s Little Rock museums will close to the public until further notice. This includes Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.

 

Arkansas State Parks – Access to certain park facilities will be limited, effective March 20. Below is an overview; for detailed information visit ArkansasStateParks.com.

 

  • Park visitor centers are only accessible for camping/lodging check-in, and trail access, but exhibits and gift shops will be closed.

 

  • Lodges, cabins, and camp sites remain open. Daily housekeeping will not be provided. After a stay is over, the room will be cleaned and sanitized for the next guest, using Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

 

  • Restaurants are open for carry-out only.

 

  • Restrooms – Parks will continue to provide some access. Per the discretion of park superintendents regarding labor and supplies, some restrooms may close.

 

  • Trails, picnic areas, and outdoor pavilions remain open.

 

  • Groups holding reservations should contact the park. Group size, meeting location, etc., will affect the ability for events to proceed.

 

  • Museum parks with trails restricted to trail access only. Museum parks without trails will provide limited access to exhibits. Gift shops are closed. 

 

  • Playgrounds are closed.

 

  • Marinas and boat ramps remain open with availability of rental equipment that will be sanitized following each use. Gift shops will be closed.

 

  • Golf courses remain open. Pro Shops open to accept golf fees only. Gift shop and club rentals are closed. Cart rentals continue and are cleaned and sanitized between rentals.  

 

  • All interpretive programming, events and workshops are canceled until further notice.

 

 “We believe the closing of welcome centers, heritage museums and some limiting of access and services at our parks is the best thing to do for our visitors and our staff,” said Secretary Hurst. “People can still come enjoy our beautiful state parks, where social distancing is achievable; but they can also get some great stress relief by hiking or biking our trails, enjoying our lakes, or just sitting still and taking in the great outdoors.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

ADPHT has three major divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Tourism. Arkansas State Parks manages 52 state parks and promotes Arkansas as a tourist destination for people around the country. Arkansas Heritage preserves and promotes Arkansas’s natural and cultural history and heritage through four historic museums and four cultural preservation agencies. Arkansas Tourism improves the state’s economy by generating travel and enhancing the image of the state.  

 

3-19-20 6:11 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Special Called Meeting for Polk County Providers, Local Community Leaders Report

Dr. Joseph Aldrich, Mena Regional Health System Chief of Staff, called a special meeting for all Polk County providers and local city officials to collaborate community-wide measures that have been implemented to safeguard our residents and minimize the possible impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

In addition to health care administrators and providers, those in attendance included: Seth Smith, Mayor; John Maddox, State Representative; Melinda Wise, Elite Home Health; Robby Hines, Southwest EMS; Brandon Ellison, Polk County Judge; Doreen Tapley and Phyllis Cunningham, Healthy Connections, Inc.; and Dr. David Brown, Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab.

 

“We were very pleased with the level of participation at the meeting and the extensive preparations communicated among our medical community and local officials. Advantageous protocols were shared as attendees coordinated a specific plan for our city and county. Mena Regional Health System pleads with individuals who believe they have contracted COVID-19 or are experiencing shortness of breath, fever greater than 100°, and/or cough to refrain from presenting to the Emergency Room for the protection of our current patients and their families. In the city of Mena, the three screening locations for COVID-19 include Mena Medical Associates and the Walk-In Care Center, 1103 College Drive; First Care Family Health and Walk-In, 1706 N. U.S. 71 and Healthy Connections, 136 Health Park Lane. The hours of operation at Mena Medical Associates, 1103 College Drive, have been extended to 8:00 a.m. to midnight until further notice. We request the use of the extended hours, 5:30 pm to midnight, be reserved for those who are experiencing respiratory illness and/or other symptoms relating to COVID-19.” - Jay Quebedeaux, CEO.

 

Healthy Connections reported that all clinic entrance doors will be locked and pre-screenings in place before patients are allowed to enter. Patients who qualify for COVID-19 screening will be escorted to an isolated, covered tent area for testing. Schedulers are now phone screening for all patients who need to schedule appointments. Patients with scheduled wellness exams, follow-ups or dental appointments are being advised not to come to the clinic for those needs at this time. Due to a limited number of supplies, drive-through screenings are not yet available.

 

First Care Family Health and Walk-In offers drive-through screening following a pre-screening protocol. If you present to their facility, a buzzer has been installed at both entrance locations. Clinic staff will don in proactive gear and provide masks for patients before screening. A pre-screening for fever and symptoms will be implemented before allowing a patient to enter the building.

 

Elite Home Health is now pre-screening all employees and patients daily while following the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to care for patients in their home. Due to the high demand and shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), they are providing patients with needs as supplies become available.

 

Robby Hines, Southwest EMS encourages individuals to stay at home during the next few weeks and limit out of town travel during this period of uncertainty to lessen the possibility of spreading the virus to our area. There is no need for individuals to call 911 if they feel they have contracted COVID-19, however, If emergency medical service (911) is called due to a related medical emergency, screening will be done on the front end.

 

“I appreciate the candid information that was shared in the special called meeting. It is apparent that every organization that was represented has similar obstacles. We all need scarce personal protective equipment and are just competing with each other as it becomes available. Knowing each other’s plan will make all of us more effective as we assist each other. There is no doubt that we will have to be innovative and unorthodox at times as we deal with this coming crisis.” – Brandon Ellison, Polk County Judge

 

Mayor Seth Smith responded, “I have great confidence in our local medical community. They are all taking necessary steps to provide the best care possible in this evolving situation. I’m grateful for the cooperative effort, sharing information and contingently working to protect and care for the citizens. I strongly discourage any non-essential out of town travel. I urge citizens to adhere to all warnings publicized by MRHS, ADH and CDC to lessen the exposure and/or spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community.”

 

“I appreciate the opportunity to be involved in this meeting with our healthcare workers and providers. They are the front line of defense and I am very impressed with their preparedness and attention to detail. I will let them know that I will be glad to contact the Arkansas Department of Health or any other state agency that I can on their behalf. I will also provide any other services that they request. This is a very trying time and I would advise everyone to adhere to the guidelines and recommendations being made by the Governor and his team. We will get through this and we when we do we will come out of this even stronger that we are now.” – John Maddox, State Representative.

 

“It was truly wonderful to see our medical community and leaders come together to serve the needs of Polk County. We will continue to communicate updates with our citizens during the rapid involvement of the coronavirus COVID-19 regarding the safety and protection of this area. Thank you those who have been diligent in following the recommended guidelines in an effort to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community.” – Jay Quebedeaux, MRHS CEO.

 

3-18-20 4:48 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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All UARM Campuses Will Go To Online Instruction For The Remainder Of Semester

UA Rich Mountain Chancellor Phillip Wilson announced today that all campuses will move to online instruction for the remainder of the semester. “In the interest of the continuity of course delivery and for the protection of our community, we have made the decision to remain online until the conclusion of the semester.”

 

The announcement follows a week of unprecedented measures to contain the community spread of the coronavirus. “Making this decision now will allow all of our students, whether local, out of state, or out of country, to return home to practice social distancing and minimize the risk associated with this terribly contagious COVID-19,” Wilson added.

 

Faculty and staff will remain at work. “Our commitment to our students during this transition is unwavering,” said Wilson. Students are encouraged to call with any questions or issues. A complete employee directory is available at: https://uarichmountain.edu/departments-and-staff. “The library, which will remain open to currently enrolled degree seeking students beginning March 30, will offer limited access. Call 479.394.7622 ext. 1371 for those details. In addition, our student support service is available to provide tutoring… know that we are here for you every step of the way.”

 

3-18-20 4:07 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 March 18, 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: https://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.

 

3-18-20 3:46 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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

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Special Message From Beasley-Wood Funeral Home

The following message from Beasley-Wood Funeral Home owner Sonja Kesteson in in response to the unusual and unprecendented circumstances our community is delaing with concrning the COVID-19 or "coronavirus" pandemic. 

 

"Hello, this is Sonja Kesterson. My staff and I at Beasley-Wood Funeral Home remain committed and prepared to safely care for our families during these difficult times. Whenever possible, we will continue to enable families to participate in the rituals that are important to them. However, with careful consideration, we will be limiting our involvement in public services and public visitation through April 1st, at which time, we will re-evaluate the situation. We will allow for a private service for immediate family only, spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings and officiant. The charge for using our facilities will be waved and will allow general visitations with limited gatherings. Beasley-Wood understands this may inconvenience our families but we must take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our customers, community and staff. Keeping in mind that we serve many of the older population, we ask that you please be understanding and patient. Our continued thoughts and prayers go out to our community and our great country, as we are all in this together. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns."

 

3-18-20 3:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Judge Ryan Postpones Scheduled Jury Trials In Polk County Circuit Court

Circuit Judge Jerry Ryan announced Tuesday that all scheduled jury trials would be postponed up to May 1, 2020 for rescheduling at a later date. Judge Ryan stated "I feel that precautions should be implemented to reduce the risk of contracting this virus and the ensuing complications". Judge Ryan's memo is below.

3-17-20 4:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County District Court Matters Continued Until After May 1, 2020 By Judge Thrailkill

 

Polk County District Judge Danny Thrailkill announced Tuesday that all court matters in Polk County District Court dated between March 17, 2020 and May 1, 2020 have been continued. The court will continue to handle emergency and serious criminal matters. See the contact information in the letter below should you need additional information.

3-17-20 3:27 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Regional Health System Update on the COVID-19 Outbreak

 

Mena Regional Health System Update on the COVID-19 Outbreak

 

Jay Quebedeaux, CEO Mena Regional Health System continues to actively address the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus. We plead with our community to take proactive precautions to safeguard not only their own health but the health of their neighbors. Hand washing, social distancing and the frequent sanitation of surfaces is vital to minimize the spread of this virus.

 

Please do not present to the Emergency Department if you believe you may have contracted the coronavirus or are currently experiencing shortness of breath, fever greater than 100°, and/or cough. We have implemented a temporary screening location at Mena Medical Associates and The Walk-In Care Center, 1103 College Drive for those experiencing the above mentioned symptoms. Current clinic hours are seven days a week from 8:00am - Midnight. This safety measure will enusure the protection our patients who present to the Emergency Room with a serious medical emergency.

 

Although significant infection control measures are in effect year-round, MRHS is conducting regular preparedness drills to ensure that we are ready to provide proper care, no matter what the circumstance. Our facility has implemented extensive preparations for the COVID-19 outbreak. Therfore, we are encouraging individuals to manage these viral symptoms at home and come to the Emergency Department ONLY if you are experiencing a serious medical emergency.

 

During this time of uncertainty, we urge our community to be mindful of steps they can take to lessen their chance of illness by following recommendations from The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Arkansas Hospital Association (AHA). Use common-sense precautions, such as: staying home if you’re sick; avoid crowds of over 10 people, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue; avoid toughing your face; sanitize frequently touched surfaces; and wash hands regularly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. Prevention measures such as these will help keep people healthy, protect higher-risk individuals from becoming exposed, and slow the rate of infection across the population.

 

Thank you for your cooperation and mindful precautions as we face this challenge together, united as a community.

 

3-17-20 12:15 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Senior Center Closing, Meal Delivery and Pick Up Meals Available

The Mena / Polk County Senior Activity Center has closed to all day activities due to the COVID-19 "coronavirus" pandemic.

 
Center Director Sara Holliday said that the Center Board of Directors met today and made the difficult decision out of concern for the participants. The board will meet on March 31, 2020 to re-assess the situation.
 
While there will be no activities at the center, meals will continue to be delivered as they are now, and starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020 "grab & go" meals will be available to participants if they call and order them daily.
 
Holliday said that anyone wanting to drive through and pick up a meal should call (479) 394-5459 between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., then pick up the meal between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
 
Workers will hand the meals to recipients as they drive through at the center.
 
For additional information contact Sara Holliday at (479) 394-5459.
 
3-16-20 5:10 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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All Mena School Facilities Will Be Strictly Off Limits For Deep Cleaning After Monday

After classes conclude and school dismisses today, Monday, March 16th, all Mena Public School facilities will be closed to the public. This includes all buildings as well as Bearcat Stadium, Union Bank Park, playgrounds, etc. Deep cleaning will be taking place over the next few days amnd all will remain closed until at least March 30th, 2020.
 
All buildings will be off limits. If a Student or district patron has a need they should call ahead. For Mena High School and Mena Middle School call 479-394-1144. For Holly Harshman Elementary and Louise Durham Elemantary  call 479-394-2943. You may also contact the central office at 479-394-1710.
 
3-16-20 2:18 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Mayor Smith Statement Concerning COVID-19, Spring Soccer Postponed

Mena Mayor Seth Smith released a statement Monday concerning the COVID-19 "coronavirus" pandemic.

 

3-16-20 1:56 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for March 9th - 15th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of March 9, 2020 – March 15, 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.

 

March 9, 2020

Report from complainant on Little Woods Lane near Mena of an unauthorized person on their property. Deputy responded.

Report of a structure fire on Polk 63 near Board Camp. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Juston M. Wikel, 34, of Cove on a Failure to Appear Warrant.

 

March 10, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 246 near Hatfield of unauthorized use of a vehicle. Deputy responded.

 

March 11, 2020

Traffic stop on Hwy 71S near Cove led to the arrest of Juan Valeriano, 53, of Wickes on a Charge of Driving Left of Center, DWI, and Refusal to Submit.

Traffic stop on Hwy 71S near Hatfield led to James Cochran being picked up by another County for outstanding Warrants.

Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 75 near Acorn led to the arrest of Chelsey R. Edwards, 20, of Mena on a Warrant for Possession of a Controlled Substance and a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

 

March 12, 2020

Report of a one vehicle accident on Hwy 71S near Wickes. Deputy responded.

Arrested by an Officer with the Arkansas State Police was David C. Stroud, 24, of Tchula, MS on a Warrant from another Agency.

Arrested was Cody D. Kaderly, 25, of Dequeen on a Warrant for Careless and Prohibited Driving, a Warrant for Speeding, and a Warrant for Defective Signal Lights.

 

March 13, 2020

No reports filed.

 

March 14, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 164 near Rocky of a break-in. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Terrie J. Williams, 32, of Watson, Ok on two Failure to Appear Warrants.

 

March 15, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk Road 77 near Acorn of a truck being vandalized led to a Citation for Criminal Mischief being issued to Adam Stoecking.

Report from complainant on Polk Road 25E near Cove of a property line dispute between neighbors. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Rock Creek Lane near Potter of being ran off the road. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8E near Board Camp of items being removed from a property. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Westmoreland near Mena of property damage. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 13 Incarcerated Inmates, with 11 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00179

 

3-16-20 11:42 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for March 8th - 14th

 

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of March 8, 2020 through March 14, 2020 

 

March 8, 2020

 

No reports taken

 

March 9, 2020

 

A prowler report was taken at a residence.

 

Joshua Lacefield, 28, was arrested on a warrant after a traffic stop.

 

March 10, 2020

 

A theft report was taken from a department store.

 

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

 

Justin Cole, 30, was arrested for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and on a warrant at a motel.

 

Jason Robertson, 41, was arrested for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Obstructing Government Operations at a motel.

 

March 11, 2020

 

Officers responded to an unattended death at a residence.

 

Jerry Holliday, 31, was arrested for Possession of a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, and Disorderly Conduct. Also, Natalie Holliday, 26, was arrested for Possession of a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, Disorderly Conduct, and two warrants. The arrests were made after officers responded to a disturbance call at a bank.

 

March 12, 2020

 

A report was taken of a dog running loose on Church Avenue.

 

Officers responded to the hospital for a possible assault report.

 

A report was taken of a dog running loose on Oak Grove.

 

Becky Stuart/Stroud, 49, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting), and Ali Stuart, 20, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) at a department store.

 

March 13, 2020

 

Randell Burkett, 27, was arrested on a warrant at the jail.

 

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

 

A missing person report was taken at a residence.

 

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

 

3-16-20 11:26 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Judge Ellison Declares State of Emergency, Discourages Travel, Encourages Self Isolation

Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison has declared a State of Emergency for Polk County, Arkansas, is discouraging travel and encouraging self isolation in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. 

 

"On Friday March 13, 2020, at 4:45 PM, a state of emergency was declared in Polk County. The primary reason for this decision was to give Polk County the ability to request certain items and resources from the state and federal governments that are not currently available locally. We have requested personal protection equipment (PPE) for our law enforcement and jail personnel from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM). The declaration can give us some other benefits, if needed, as we navigate the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no confirmed cases of this virus in Polk County.

 

Over the last few weeks I have educated myself on the best strategies to mitigate the threat this virus brings to the elderly and health compromised in our county. According to many experts and lessons learned, social distancing and frequent disinfection are key in the reduction of spread of COVID-19. Our team will continue to learn as we give this subject proper attention. At this time, we plan to keep the courthouse open, as the people have important business matters to conduct. We are asking you not to come if you have fever or any symptom that might be similar to a characteristic of COVID-19. Also, many matters can be achieved over the telephone or online. In every instance at the courthouse or around the county, we should focus on limiting contact with each other until a safer time.

 

Please be kind to one another and call your elderly friends and family members instead of dropping by. Refraining from travel to other areas and self-isolation will further mitigate spread. I know we can count on the people of Polk County to use common sense and the discipline to “lay low” for a few weeks while conditions develop."

 

3-16-20 11:01 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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Pandemic Forcing County Schools, UARM To Close, Online Classes

County public schools and UARM are goinng to online or AMI (Alternative Methods of Instruction) by order of Governor Asa Hutchinson in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

 

Statements from UARM and the three public school sdistricts in Polk County are below, and there is additional informtion the websites and social media pages of the schools. 

 

Parents and students are encourged to review posted information from the schools and direct questions to the schools.

 

UARM

 

Mena School District 

 

Ouachita River School District 

 

Cossatot River School District 

 

Coronavirus Update  from the UARM Chancellor Phillip Wilson

 

Again, let me once again thank everyone for their patience as myself and our Crisis Response Team has continued to closely monitor the very fluid coronavirus pandemic. Earlier today Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson made an announcement to close all K12 schools beginning Tuesday through March 30. While no member of the UARM community has been diagnosed with COVID-19, we do value our relationship with our K12 schools and recognize that we share many of the same students; therefore, we will follow the same mandatory closings for our students as issued by Governor Hutchinson beginning Monday, March 16 through March 30. We will assess current information available prior to classes resuming on April 2.

 

Until further notice is given, classes are moved to online assignments. All students must access their UARM issued email for the latest updates from your instructors beginning March 16. In an abundance of caution, our campus will be closed and doors locked to visitors and outside entities beginning Monday, March 16 through Spring Break, March 30.

 

All UARM employees will be working on Monday, March 16; faculty should report in by 9 a.m. We will then continue to monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis.

 

Feel confident that our custodial staff will continue to thoroughly clean/disinfect facilities as per CDC guidelines to provide the safest environment possible.

 

UARM leadership will remain in communication with state leaders, public health officials, our partner school - UAMS, the state’s leader in infectious control, to assess what has been an incredibly fluid and unprecedented public health threat to ensure that we take every precaution to best protect our employees and students. We strongly encourage you to stay connected through their email, social media outlets or our designated webpage CORONAVIRUS UPDATE for the latest developments affecting our campuses.

 

We are all swimming in unchartered waters and I sincerely appreciate everyone’s flexibility and understanding as we work to make difficult decisions in the best interest of our employees and students. We will get through this together.

 

Coronavirus Update  from Assistant Superintendent Mena School District ?Paulette Sherrer, ED.S

 

The Governor just updated In reference to Arkansas School Closings.  It will be optional to attend school tomorrow on Monday, March 16th. Students may need to pick up learning packets or check out a chrome book for online learning at home.  Mena Public Schools will be continuing with off-site online learning Tuesday, March 17th through Friday, March 20th. The following week is spring break.  We will keep you posted with continual communication.  We appreciate your support in our efforts to keep the safety of our students first.

 

Coronavirus Update from Cossatot River School District

 

Attention Cossatot River High School Students:

 

Please check the GOOGLE CLASSROOM for each of your classes for AMI work if you did not receive paper copies last week. If you have any questions about your assignments, please email your teachers.

 

Coronavirus Update from Ouachita River School District

 

ORSD Family, ORSD is open tomorrow, but it is optional for students. If you have not received your AMI packet through day 10, they may be picked up in the offices Monday before 4:30 pm. The Governor has closed Arkansas Schools Tuesday March 17th until March 30th.

 

Oden Campus, Students of Oden Schools will need to attend school tomorrow in order to receive new AMI packets. If you have questions please call the Principal's Office. Jerry Strasner

 

3-15-20 8:14 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Lottery Ticket Sales Drop, $40 Million In February

Arkansas lottery ticket sales were down for February 2020 with total sales $40,154,418.50, which is about $3.6 million less than January 2020 sales.

 
The highest sales were in Pulaski County with $7,429,316 for February.
 
The lowest sales were in Montgomery County with $28,025.
 
Sales in Polk County were $153,634.
 
According to the Arkansas Family Council, less than 18 cents of every dollar the lottery takes in actually goes to scholarships which is the purpose of the lottery.
 
3-14-20 5:20 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Protecting Against COVID-19

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Protecting Against COVID-19
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I would like to commend the responsive and responsible leaders of Arkansas who have linked arms to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our state.
 
Members of my staff and I have been in constant communication with doctors, educators, legislators, emergency management experts, and law-enforcement officials.
 
The most important contribution of our leaders in all areas related to public health and life has been their thoughtful and calm approach to gathering and studying facts before they act.
 
As I have watched the development of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two months, I have concluded that facts are the first casualty of a worldwide health crisis. When rumor replaces fact, we have panic and hysteria. When we panic, we make bad decisions. When we panic, we tend to put our personal well-being ahead of all else.
 
The protection of the health and safety of every Arkansan is my top priority. We are pursuing that goal by gathering facts from every responsible source we can and then determining the best course of action on matters such as school closings and public gatherings.
 
One of my top tasks as governor during this time is to share the facts as we learn them, and to plan for the possibility of a broader community outbreak.
 
As the spread of COVID-19 has accelerated in the United States, the facts may change and sometimes we are adjusting course several times in a day. As we learned just this week in Arkansas, facts change quickly between sunset and sunrise.
 
On Wednesday, we were reporting the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus, and by Thursday, the total had risen to six.
 
The facts have led to major adjustments in the life of our state. These adjustments have caused disappointment and inconvenience, and in some cases, hardship. But if we are to beat this virus, many of us will have to sacrifice in the short term for long-term success. Schools in a limited number of counties have closed, at least temporarily. Many state and private universities will transition to online classes for some or the rest of the semester.
 
The capitol is temporarily closed to visitors. The Arkansas Activities Association postponed the balance of its basketball tournament. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and Cher canceled their weekend performances.
 
No one understood better than Franklin Roosevelt that in hard times, the best way to reassure Americans was to give them facts in plain language.
 
Eighty-seven years ago this week, FDR delivered the first of his thirty Fireside Chats, which he wrote to separate fact from fiction and lead Americans to a calm and educated consideration of an issue. Although his first chat in 1933 addressed the nation’s banking crisis, one sentence is appropriate for this year as we navigate the unpredictable and sometimes frightening twists of this international health crisis.
 
President Roosevelt said, “I want to tell you what has been done in the last few days, and why it was done, and what the next steps are going to be.” With those words, he helped calm the fears of a nation.
 
We have a lot of hard work to do and tough decisions to make over the coming weeks. We may have setbacks and disappointments. We can’t predict what this is going to look like when it’s over. But if we arm ourselves with facts and go calmly into the battle against COVID-19, we will have done everything humanly possible to minimize the illness and save lives.
 
As we face the unexpected together, I will tell you what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what we think we will do next.
 
3-14-20 7:43 a.m. KAWX.ORG 
If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on the KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com or click on the News Tips graphic above.

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Arkansas State Parks Cancel All Scheduled Programs Until At Least May 13th

Arkansas State Park scheduled programs, including those at Queen Wilhelmina State Park and Cossatot River State Park-Natureal Area, have been canclelled until at least May 13, 2020 to protect guests and staff from the coronavirus. The statement below is from the Arkansas State Parks website.

 

"Arkansas State Parks remain open as we monitor COVID-19 and the impact of coronavirus in our state. We are taking the CDC’s recommended precautions as we work to provide a safe environment for our visitors. Parks continue to be your gateway to hiking, kayaking and canoeing, golf, mountain biking, fishing and boating, and other outdoor experiences.

 

To protect our guests and staff, scheduled programming is canceled through May 13, 2020. This could be extended if warranted. We apologize for this inconvenience but encourage you to take advantage of Arkansas’s wonderful outdoor experiences with your family.
 
Arkansas State Park facilities such as campgrounds, lodges, cabins, restaurants, marinas, museums, bathrooms and visitor centers are currently remaining open. Park staff is following all CDC guidelines for cleaning these facilities."

 

3-13-20 5:23 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

While the state response to COVID-19 is one that is rapidly evolving, we do want to update you on the latest developments.

 

Late Friday afternoon, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced he will amend an executive order to allow expanded use of telemedicine in the state. The Governor also announced he is providing additional resources to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) which will create 10 new lab positions and assist with much-needed help at the call center.

 

Additionally, the state has requested and will receive more personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel and first responders.

 

As of Friday afternoon, there is a total of 9 presumed positive cases in Arkansas. The patients with presumed positive test results reside in the central Arkansas region. Schools in Pulaski, Grant, Jefferson, and Saline counties are currently closed. Residents in these counties are being asked to limit large gatherings to 200 people or less.

 

On Monday, the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) issued a public health directive to long-term care facilities across the state to question visitors about their travel over the past 14 days and to screen visitors and staff for signs of illness and fever. 

 

All Arkansans are being asked to reconsider every trip out of state. 

 

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, Medical Director for Outbreak Response at ADH, advised that if you are showing symptoms (including coughing, fever, and shortness of breath), you should consult your primary care provider instead of county health units or the hospital. 

 

If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.

 

While ADH is currently limited in the number of tests they can administer, physicians can order tests from commercial labs. 

 

UAMS has set up a coronavirus hotline for people who have questions or feel they may have symptoms. The number is 1-800-632-4502. UAMS HealthNow is also available for free COVID-19 screenings.

 

To access, go to UAMS HealthNow and click on “Begin Screening.”

 

This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to patients of all ages across the state of Arkansas and is accessible from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer with video capabilities.

 

Arkansas Children’s Hospital announced that any family with children health questions related to COVID-19 can call 1-800-743-3616.

 

ADH has activated a call center to answer questions from health care providers and the public about the novel coronavirus. During normal business hours (8:00 am – 4:30 pm), urgent and non-urgent calls, please call 1-800-803-7847. After normal business hours, urgent calls needing immediate response, please call 501-661-2136.

 

3-13-20 3:59 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Regional Health System Statement Concerning The COVID-19 Pandemic

Mena Regional Health System continues to be vigilant in monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. Although no cases have been confirmed in Polk County at this time, we have taken extraordinary measures to protect our patients, residents and staff. We encourage the community to protect themselves against the virus, and apply all necessary precautions if they feel they have contracted the disease. Local clinics have the capability to collect samples for the virus to then be sent to the Arkansas Department of Health for coronavirus testing. Do not present to the Emergency Room if you feel you’ve contracted COVID-19. If you are experiencing SEVERE symptoms that require CRITICAL medical attention, seek hospital care immediately. In an effort to protect our patients, call 479-243-2395 BEFORE ENTERING the hospital. At that time, hospital staff will assist you in the proper procedure. For updates regarding the novel coronavirus in the state of Arkansas, visit the Arkansas Department of Health website at: www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

 

3-13-20 3:21 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Deborah Sampson’s Legacy

 

During the Revolutionary War, Deborah Sampson joined the fight for independence. She had to conceal her identity to help defeat the British on the battlefield. Disguised as a man, she joined the 4th Massachusetts Regiment as “Robert Shurtleff” and fought in combat. She sustained multiple injuries, but cared for her wounds without assistance so she could maintain her secret.

 

After falling ill more a year and a half into her service, Deborah Sampson’s true identity was revealed and she was honorably discharged. Her legacy lives on today, as her name graces landmark legislation to address the gender gap at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

 

The Deborah Sampson Act would eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face and would help ensure the VA can address the needs of women –– who we already know are more likely to face homelessness and unemployment as well as go without needed health care. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and I introduced this bill to ensure the VA has the capability to meet the needs of the changing veteran population.

 

There are 19,000 women veterans in Arkansas. According to VA data, women comprised nine percent of the nationwide veteran population in 2015. That number is expected to increase to more than 16 percent within the next 25 years. The modern makeup of our veteran population requires us to reexamine how we can best serve their needs.

 

Strengthening care and support for women veterans is a top priority of several veteran service organizations (VSOs) including the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars. In their legislative priorities for 2020, they each call on Congress to strengthen care and support for women veterans.

 

The VFW commander-in-chief urged VA to update its services and benefits to reflect the needs of women veterans. “VA will have to address more resources to providing care unique to women and offering services that have traditionally been afterthoughts, and not just in health care. VA also has to ensure that it promotes a culture that ensures women have avenues to express concerns and seek redress, to take control of their health care, and serve as their own best advocates,” Commander Schmitz wrote in written testimony to Congress in early March. He urged the Senate and House VA Committee to pass the Deborah Sampson Act to address these issues.

 

I’m proud to have the support of our nation’s largest VSOs because their members understand the disparity of services that exist at the VA between men and women. VA facilities need to be ready to care for more women veterans, but currently lack the ability to provide them equitable care or services. Our bill is a comprehensive expansion of assistance that eliminates barriers to care by increasing the number of gender-specific providers in VA facilities, expands training of clinicians and retrofits VA facilities to enhance privacy for women veterans.

 

As we recognize March as Women’s History Month and celebrate the contributions and achievements of women, we must also ensure women who served in uniform receive the care and services they earned. We can do that by passing the Deborah Sampson Act into law.

 

Special Addendum 

 

Due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Boozman’s office is canceling the mobile office events that were planned for March 19-26.

 

As previously announced, these events were in cooperation with the U.S. Census Bureau to help Arkansans get information and apply for jobs with the Census in their communities. Information is still available about job opportunities at: https://www.census.gov/about/regions/chicago/jobs/arkansas.html

 

Also, Senator Boozman and his staff welcome calls and emails regarding problems that Arkansans have with the federal government. Contact information for the Senator’s field offices and an email portal to Senator Boozman can be found on his website: https://www.boozman.senate.gov/public/

 

The following events are canceled:

 

Thursday, March 19th

9 – 11 a.m.

Craighead County Public Library

315 W Oak Avenue

Jonesboro, AR 72401

 

Thursday, March 19th

1 – 3 p.m.

Madison County Public Library

827 N College St,

Huntsville, AR 72740

 

Thursday, March 26th

12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Malvern-Hot Spring County Library

202 East Third Street

Malvern, AR 72104.

 

3-13-20 3:13 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

March 13, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK –Pay raises have been proposed for direct care employees at the state’s five centers for people with multiple disabilities.

 

They live in the facilities, which are known as Human Development Centers, or HDC’s. Residents receive treatment, therapy and education. The range of services is comprehensive, because of the special needs of the 900 people who live in the residential homes.

 

The five HDC’s are in Jonesboro, Arkadelphia, Warren, Conway and Booneville.

 

Administration of the facilities is by the Developmental Disabilities Division, a part of the largest state agency, the Department of Human Services.

 

The Division is proposing significant salary increases for direct pay staff. They will receive free training toward certification as a certified nursing assistant, and the Division also will pay for any testing and application fees they incur. By December of this year, they will be required to have the CNA certificate.

 

Base pay will increase from $22,000 to $26,000 a year. For supervisors it will increase from $26,000 to $32,405.

 

Non-direct care staff, such as workers in the laundry, cafeteria and maintenance crews, will see their pay go up to the minimum wage of $11 an hour, when it takes effect January 1, 2021. Non-direct care staff also will have the opportunity to earn a CNA certificate at no cost.

 

The Division also proposes to raise salaries of licensed practical nurses at the HDC’s.

 

The facilities have seen huge turnover among staff. The director of the Division said that turnover averaged more than 100 percent at the five HDC’s.  The work is difficult, and if the salaries are comparable with fast food work it’s difficult to keep employees.

 

Also, high turnover is disruptive for the residents being treated at the HDC’s. They respond to treatment better when they know the staff and the staff knows them.

 

The proposed pay raises have not yet been approved by the legislature.

 

Lottery Sales

 

Lottery ticket sales for the first eight months of this fiscal year are down from last year. That’s important because revenue from the state lottery pays for college scholarships, after prizes to winners have been awarded.

 

The head of the lottery attributed the decline in lottery sales to the lack of an enormous jackpot. In past years, lottery sales in Arkansas have been boosted because of interest created in huge jackpots in national lotteries like Mega Millions and Powerball. Arkansas participates in those national lotteries.

 

Other factors were the opening of a new casino in Pine Bluff and the expansion of gambling establishments in Hot Springs and West Memphis. Also, Mississippi now has a lottery that participates in Mega Millions and Powerball.

 

Lottery ticket sales in counties near Mississippi saw double-digit decreases, compared to the first eight months of last year. Jefferson County, home of a new casino, had a 10 percent drop in lottery sales.

 

About $94.6 million will be awarded in scholarships to about 33,000 college students if people buy as many lottery tickets as estimated by higher education officials.

 

Some lottery officials want the state to consider adding new varieties to lottery games, such as keno. However, that idea has drawn opposition from key senators who point out that keno was not part of the promotional campaigns for the original lottery amendment when it was approved by voters in 2008.

 

3-13-20 12:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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District Court Arraignments Friday May Be Continued If Requested, Judge Thrailkill Taking Precautions

Polk County District Court Judge Danny Thrailkill is asking that anyone scheduled for district court arraignments on Friday, March 13, 2020 that has fever, been sick, or recently out of the country, call the District Court office at (479) 394-8140 and request your case be continued until a later date. Court is not being cancelled, but anyone requesting a continuation will be granted one out of caution to minimize or prevent the possible spread of sickness, especially the Coronavirus.

 

Judge Thrailkill said that the arraignments would be rescheduled at a later date. 


3-12-20 1:33 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments March 9th, 10th, 11th

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. Jesaca Warner, White Female, age 34, Count I: Theft Of Property, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. Count II: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, Methamphetamine, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Ricky D. Miller, White Male, age 59, Count I: Forgery In The Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Rachel Tarkinton, White Female, age 22, 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 Controlled Substance, Marijuana, a Class "A" Misdemeanor.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Justin Allen Cole, White Male, age 30, Count I: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.
 
3-12-20 9:09 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 March 11, 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 are interested in 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: https://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.

 

3-11-20 4:51 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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

 

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City Council Meeting Recap, Mayor's State of the City Address

The Mena City Council met Tuesday evening for their regular monthly meeting and dealt with a unusually long agenda and heard Mayor Seth Smith's State of the City address.

 
To view the State of the City address, click HERE. The text of the address is at the end of this article.
 
City Council members tended to routine business, heard reports from department heads and committees. Airport manager Fred Ogden reported that there had been an accidental death at one of the airport businesses last week. Hospital administrator Jay Quebedeaux spoke briefly about Coronavirus concerns, and also said that talks with Baptist Health about a possible takeover of the Mena hospital were nearing the due diligence stage.
 
Two resolutions were passed, one concerning a Streetscape project for Mena, the other authorizing the Mayor Seth Smith and Mena Water Utilities Manager Charles Pitman to explore funding opportunities for a wastewater treatment facility upgrade or new plant.
 
The Council voted 5 to 1 to approve an application for a private club license for Little Italy.
 
Bids were approved for overlay work on Janssen Avenue, a new lawnmower for the Parks Department, re-roofing of the historic Janssen Park Cabin and the rock storage building in Janssen Park.
 
Lynn Ashley was re-appointed to the Mena Depot Commission, and Jeff Montgomery was re-appointed to the Mena Airport Commission.
 
The next regular City Council meeting will be at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, 2020. There will likely be a special meeting to take care of administrative matters next week. 
 

Mayor Smith’s State of the City Address

March 10, 2020

 

 

ADMINISTRATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

To the honorable members of the Mena City Council, city employees, ladies and gentlemen of the audience, and my fellow citizens, I am pleased to report to you on the “State of the City” of Mena, Arkansas for the year of 2019.

 

Revenues from City and County Sales taxes reflected sizable gains over the year before. City sales tax was up 3.65% and the County sales tax was up 3.98% over 2018. We feel like the collection of online sales tax has had a positive impact on our returns.

 

The City Council approved an operating budget of $3,881,074.00 for 2019. As has been the practice for the last several years, a very conservative approach was taken with budget projections. And, because of this careful management, I am proud to say the City ended the year with a strong bottom line.

 

The 2019 twelve-month financial statement, which reflects revenues and expenditures for all City departments, is incorporated as a part of this report and details the financial “State of the City”.

 

 

- Building and Construction -

Permits were issued for six new homes and a major new commercial construction project in Mena last year which amounted to approximately 8.6 million dollars of new construction for our community and resulted in over $7,000 in permit fees to the City. We haven’t seen this amount of new construction in decades.

 

36 building permits were issued during last year for a total construction cost of $8,572,337.00.

 

Other permits issued included:

  • 18 plumbing permits

  • 46 electrical permits

  • 18 HVAC permits

  • 51 street cuts

  • Also, there were 7 sign permits; 15 tile permits; and 2 city licenses issued.

 

After several years of attempts, the Enforcement Department was successful in getting the old building at the corner of Reeves Avenue & Reine Street torn down and removed.

 

ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION

Revenues from the Advertising and Promotion tax in Mena help pay for promotions to recruit visitors to our area and fund events such as the Lum and Abner, Christmas, and 4th of July Festivals.

 

Pasha Watson took over the responsibilities of Marketing and Festival Consultant in August of 2019 in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce contract with the A & P Commission.

 

The A & P tax collections in 2019 were diverse in that restaurant taxes were up by almost 3%; however, the lodging taxes were down by 14% from 2018. Several lodging establishments are in arrears which impacts these totals; therefore, this percentage could decrease when all of the collections for the year come in and possibly make it a positive number.

 

 

- Tapley Park -

In 2019, the Mena A & P Commission again allocated 50 % of their operating budget toward the development and maintenance of

 

Tapley Park. With this support the Park continues to grow and improve. In a cooperative effort with UARM a collegiate soccer field was built at Tapley which increases the usability of the park.

 

In February 2019 Phillip Lance was hired as the new Parks and Recreation Director to oversee the operations of Tapley Park.

 

Tapley Park serves the area youth with multiple playgrounds, baseball, softball, and soccer leagues each year.

 

  • In 2019 over 740 people participated in sports activities at Tapley Park
     

o Baseball - 300

o Softball - 190

o Soccer - 200

o Adult Co-ed - 50

 

  • Tapley Park hosted 1 baseball tournament in 2019.

 

  • Tapley Park offered a CO-ED adult soccer league that ran through September and October.

 

  • Tapley Park is also host to the City’s annual 4th of July firework display (which was held on Labor Day last year).

 

  • For more information about all the events being hosted at the Park check their website www.tapleysports.com or find them on Facebook.

 

AIRPORT

 

Status report and highlights for Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport for the year 2019 and early 2020:

 

  • The airport was awarded a 90/10 FAA Capital Improvement Plan grant to rehabilitate the north-south runway. The engineering work is expected to cost $166,000; the FAA portion of the cost is $149,400 and the remaining 10% is expected to be funded by the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics (ADA).

  • The Arkansas Department of Aeronautics also awarded the airport a 90/10 grant in the amount of $150,000 to build a much-needed parking area on the north end of Taxiway B. The budgeted cost of the project is $166,666.67. The 10% match will come from funds generated at the airport from hangar and lot leases.

  • Phase I of the Taxiway B project is nearing completion. Completion of Phase II is expected by May 2020. The Taxiway B project was funded by two grants from the FAA. One grant is a 90/10 Airport Improvement Plan grant for up to $3,723,187. The second grant, which is being used to fund Phase II, is a 100% grant issued under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 for $1,098,529 and was awarded in September 2018. The airport was one of only a handful of small, rural General Aviation airports to receive funds for this shovel ready program under the Act.

The improvements will bring the taxiway into compliance with current FAA regulations and improve access to both runways and to hangars on the field.

  • The airport has approximately 18 businesses that employ 200-250 local residents.

  • Construction of the Rose-Wood Completions began in 2018 and was completed in early 2019, bringing 15 to 20 jobs to the field.

  • A few airport operators reported that their businesses have slowed over the winter months, but orders are picking up and operators expect the pace to continue upward.

  • Companies at the airport service several Army, Navy, and Air Force military contracts in addition to General Aviation aircraft, which helps to support good paying jobs with benefits for our area.

  • The airport is by-in-large self-supporting regarding day-to-day operating expenses and receives only a small sales tax disbursement from the state. A recent study commissioned by the ADA, shows the airport has a first-round economic impact of almost $30 million to the region and a second-round impact of just over $18 million for a total economic impact of almost $48 million.

 

FIRE DEPARTMENT

 

A total of 118 incidents were logged by the Mena Fire Department last year compared to 125 in 2018. They responded to 53 fire related calls; 16 first responder and rescue calls; and 17 required stand-by assistance calls at the airport compared to 7 calls in 2018.

 

  • Fire Station No. 1 on DeQueen Street received a much-needed update. Two restrooms were completely remodeled, some windows replaced, and new furniture purchased for the day room.

  • In cooperation with Polk County and the Western Arkansas Fire & Rescue Association a turnout washer/extractor was purchased and installed to enhance the health and safety of our firefighters as well as all county firefighters.

  • Narcan Overdose Kits for the Police & Fire Departments were purchased with a $1,000 grant award from the Blue & You Foundation.

  • Two portable generators and a pressure washer were purchased with funds received from a $2,000 Wal-Mart grant.

 

  • 20 business inspections were completed during the year

  • 7 pre-fire plans were conducted

  • 15 Fire Safety programs were presented to the community

  • 9 smoke alarm installations

  • Certified pump testing and maintenance of the Fire Department fleet was completed

 

Training is a very important part of their job for the members on the Mena Fire Department. Completed last year included the following:

 

  • 868 hours of certified training from the Arkansas Fire Academy, the Arkansas Forestry Commission, and the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management

  • 1,302 hours of in-house training

 

PARKS DEPARTMENT

 

Our City parks are a great asset for Mena and are widely used by the entire community for such events as family reunions, birthday parties, weddings, Lum & Abner Festival, Relay for Life, and the Christmas Festival & Fireworks. Updates to the City Parks system in 2019 included:

 

  • Janssen Park ponds were drained and cleaned.

  • Several picnic tables and benches in Janssen Park and McMillan Park were painted and refurbished.

  • The Janssen Park Gazebo was reroofed.

  • Five new figurines were added to the Christmas light display and all trees now have LED lights

  • Janssen Park received a new basketball court and goals courtesy of a $10,000 grant from Arvest Bank.

  • The City entered into a lease agreement with the University of Arkansas at Rich Mountain for future development of baseball and softball fields at McMillan Park to include $2 million in upgrades.

  • Ben Vincent was hired as a new full-time employee.

 

Reservations for the year included:

  • Janssen Park Pavilion ----- 53

  • Janssen Park Gazebo ---- 6

  • Janssen Park Bridge ---- 2

  • Janssen Park Cabin ---- 3

  • McMillan Park Pavilion -- 56

 

POLICE DEPARTMENT

 

Officers of the Mena Police Department completed 2,174 incident reports last year compared to 1,268 reports in 2018. They made 1,247 arrests in 2019 compared to 413 in 2018 and worked 260 accidents in 2019 compared to 308 accidents in 2018.

 

  • In January 2019 Tommy Stueart was appointed as Chief of Police.

  • Sergeant Tod Cannon was promoted to the position of Assistant Chief.

  • Officers Mike Wolf and Ronnie Richardson were promoted to Sergeant positions.

  • Three full-time officers were hired last year:

Eddie Price was recruited from the Grannis Police Department; Alan Walker was hired from the Mena Reserve Officer Program, and Jacob Cain was hired from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office.

  • Three new officers, Caleb Payton, Tyler Richardson, and Mike Underwood were included in the Reserve Program.

  • A new 2019 Dodge Charger was added to the police department fleet last year.

  • The Arvest Foundation donated $8,400 to the Department for the purchase of new uniforms.

- Animal Control -

 

The City of Mena Animal Control Department answered 1,347 calls for service in 2019 and 200 animals were picked up.

 

  • 98 City pet licenses were issued last year

  • 78 dogs & cats were adopted out locally & 87 dogs transported to other areas

  • 33 animals were returned to their owners

  • approximately 1,510 hours from community service workers were utilized in the Animal Control Department

  • 6 additional kennel areas and runs were constructed last year

 

A new office/storage space was purchased for the Animal Control facility in 2019.

 

MENA REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM

2019 Accomplishments

 

Operational Indicators

Total Inpatient Days – 8,245

Births – 280

Emergency Department Visits – 9,069

Total Clinic Visits – 24,951

Total Number of Employees (full, part and PRN) – 342

Salaries, Wages, & Benefits Paid – 18.5 million

Net Revenue – 29.3 million

 

Growth and Accomplishments

Designated as Licensed Rural Healthcare Clinic (RHC)

Initiated Mountain View Clinic Merge, due to be complete

June 28, 2020

Recruited (2) Physical Therapists, (1) Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and (1) Physical Therapy Assistant to Ouachita Rehabilitation Center

Celebrated 25th Anniversary of Mena Senior Behavioral Health

Met requirements for certification under Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA)

Opened Mena Specialty Clinic, currently housing dermatology, urology and cardiology

Welcomed Dr. Patrick Fox and Kristen Mack, APRN to the family of health care providers at MMA

Six Emergency Department Registered Nurses received an Award of Excellence from AR Saves for outstanding performance

Nutritional Services implemented Take and Bake meals for employees and community

 

STREETS AND INFRASTRUCTURE

 

Improvement Projects completed by the Street Department during 2019 included:

 

  • Sprayed vegetation and undergrowth along Ward Creek and drainage ditches adjacent to Highway 71 and Morrow Street for mosquito control and flood prevention.

  • 308 loads of debris were picked up during the Annual Spring Clean-Up which was a huge success last year due to the efforts of community volunteers resulting in the largest Spring Clean-Up ever.

  • 75 loads of brush and limbs were hauled in the Annual Fall Clean-Up.

  • 6 large culverts were installed on Industrial Park Road.

  • Various sections of sidewalks throughout the City were replaced or repaired and several ADA ramps installed at a cost of $50,000.

  • We were not able to carry out our overlay program last year due to illness of the contractor but should be back on schedule for this year.

  • Started a major makeover of North Reine Street in preparation for the 2020 overlay program

  • A 2019 John Deere 50 G Excavator, a 2019 John Deere 330 G Skid Steer, 2 dump trucks, and a brush cutter were purchased for the department last year.

  • Brad House was added as a new employee in April of 2019.

 

WATER AND SEWER

 

During 2019, Mena Water Utilities replaced 5 water hydrants; installed 19 new water services; and replaced or repaired 113 water services. Additionally, 25 repairs were made to sections of water lines. There were 4 new sewer services installed; 16 sewer services replaced or repaired; and 8 repairs to sewer lines.

 

  • The Ward Lake water storage tank was repainted.

 

  • The City purchased a leak detection system for the Utility that has been very helpful in finding hidden leaks.

 

  • The Utility maintenance department was updated last year with the purchase of a used 2017 model backhoe.

 

The Arkansas Department of Health requires that lead and copper levels in the drinking water be tested in older homes once every 3 years. Levels were tested in 30 homes around Mena in 2019. Levels continued to be negligible.

 

PERSONAL REMARKS

 

I’m very proud of our City – we have a diversified economic base with lots of opportunity for expansion. We also have lots of friendly people who are willing to work together to move Mena forward.

 

Numerous accomplishments were made in our City during 2019 and I anticipate 2020 as being the same.

 

Thank you to all the citizens of Mena, to all elected officials, City employees and volunteer boards and commissions. Because of your hard work and dedication, Mena is the BEST place to live!

 

3-11-20 4:22 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Flags To Half Staff In Honor Of HSPD Officer Brent Scrimshire

Governor Hutchinson Orders Flags Lowered To Half-Staff in Memory of Slain Police Officer
 
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson ordered the Arkansas and U.S. flags lowered to half-staff on Wednesday in memory of Hot Springs Police Officer Brent William Scrimshire who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Tuesday.
 
“Officer Scrimshire was selfless and brave in serving Hot Springs,” Governor Hutchinson said Wednesday. “He put the safety of others ahead of his personal safety. Tuesday evening, Officer Scrimshire gave his life in service of others. I was saddened to learn of his death. I offer my condolences to his family and his fellow officers in the Hot Springs Police Department.
 
“I have ordered the Arkansas and U.S. flags to fly at half-staff in memory of the service of Officer Brent William Scrimshire and as an expression of our shared sorrow for his death.”
 
Officer Scrimshire was named a Regional Officer of the Year by Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and as Hot Springs Officer of the Quarter in September.
Governor Hutchinson's proclamation can be viewed HERE.
 
3-11-20 3:21 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for March 1st - 7th

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of March 1, 2020 through March 7, 2020 

 

March 1, 2020

 

A criminal trespassing complaint was taken at a department store.

 

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

 

Officers responded to a disturbance in the parking lot of a salon.

 

Candi Brown, 37, was arrested on a warrant after a traffic stop.

 

March 2, 2020

 

Officers responded to a disturbance call in the parking lot of a motel.

 

Fredric Howard, 51, and Denise Howard, 43, were arrested for Disorderly Conduct after officers responded to a disturbance call in the street in front of a residence.

 

March 3, 2020

 

A theft complaint was taken from a department store.

 

Bobby Procter, 33, was arrested for Possession of a Schedule 6 Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop.

 

Officers responded to a medical assist at an airport hangar.

 

Billy Fletcher, 33, was arrested for Possession of a Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Resisting Arrest, Fleeing, and Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call in front of a residence.

 

March 4, 2020

 

A complaint of a lost wallet was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

A harassment complaint was taken at a car detailing business.

 

March 5, 2020

 

Jesaca Warner, 34, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting), Possession of a Schedule 2 Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a call to a department store.

 

Sheryl Felix, 44, was arrested for Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest after a disturbance call to a residence.

 

March 6, 2020

 

Jimmy Wright, 34, was arrested on a warrant after a traffic stop.

 

Kyle Williams, 25, was served with a warrant at the jail.

 

Benjamin Gheorghiu, 44, was arrested on a warrant at municipal court.

 

Shane Hogan, 30, and Rachel Tarkington, 22, were arrested for Possession of Schedule 2 Controlled Substance, Possession of Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Probation Violation after a traffic stop.

 

Alexis Hansard, 23, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a call to a department store.

 

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

 

3-9-20 3:35 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for March 2nd - 8th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of March 2, 2020 – March 8, 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.

 

March 2, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 36 near Hatfield of a trespasser causing damage to a door lock in the amount of $50. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Mill Street near Cove of items missing from a mailbox valued at $37.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant of Polk 125 near Rocky of a scam involving a computer and banking information. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Hwy 278E near Wickes of a missing family member. Investigation continues.

Arrested was Kymberlie A. Chaney, 22, of DeQueen on three Failure to Appear Warrants and a Parole Revocation.

Arrested was Nevada Woodruff, 30, of Cove on two Failure to Appear Warrants and a Charge of Contempt of Court.

Arrested was David W. Howell, 38, of Waldron on a Failure to Appear Warrant.

Arrested was Andrea D. Main, 30, of Mena on two Warrants for Delivery of Meth or Cocaine and a Charge of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and a Charge of Possession of Schedule I or II.

 

March 3, 2020

Report from complainant on Colin James Lane near Cove of a person violating a no contact order.

Report from complainant on Polk 21 near Cove of possible credit card fraud or identity theft. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 676 near Acorn of problems between neighbor’s dogs. Deputies responded.

 

March 4, 2020

Report from complainant on Bunyard Lane near Ink of a theft of household items. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Gleinare near Mena of theft of porch furniture valued at $225.00. Investigation continues.

Arrested was James R. Pierce, 33, of Mena on a Seven Day Sanction

Arrested was Annie L. Aswell, 39, of Mena on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

 

March 5, 2020

Report of an altercation between Juveniles led to a Charge of Battery 3rd Degree.

 

March 6, 2020

Traffic stop led to the arrest of Tylyn E. Morlang on Charges of Fleeing in a Vehicle and Driving Left of Center.

Report from complainant on Hwy 278E near Wickes of missing money in the amount of $100.00 led to a Juvenile Citation for Theft of Property being issued.

Report of an unattended death on Polk 712 near Shady Grove.

 

March 7, 2020

Report from complainant of a busted windshield led to the arrest of Skyler Allen, 18, of Mena on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

Report from complainant on 246W near Hatfield of being scammed in a business agreement. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Rushing Lane near Shady Grove of unauthorized persons on their property. Investigation continues.

 

March 8, 2020

Traffic stop on Polk 18 near Cove led to the arrest of Dustin C. Hopper, 28, of Cove on Charges of Reckless Driving, Failure to Yield to a Stop Sign, Improper Turn at an Intersection, Failure to Use a Turn Signal, and Driving Left of Center.

Traffic stop on Hwy 71S near Mena led to the arrest of Katrina K. Hendricks, 48, of Mena on a Charge of DWI.

Report from complainant on Polk 676 near Acorn of a domestic disturbance led to a Juvenile Citation for Disorderly Conduct being issued.

Report from complainant on Polk 48 near Potter of a disturbance. Deputies responded and information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Arrested was Ricky D. Miller, 59, of Cove on a Warrant for Forgery 2nd Degree.

Arrested by an officer with the Drug Task Force was Robert H. Williams, 43, of Mena on a Charge of Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of a Firearm by Certain Persons and a Warrant from another Agency.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 27 Incarcerated Inmates , with 9 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00158

 

3-9-20 1:41 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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See The Wizard of Oz Wednesday Night at the OLT in Mena, Free Admission

Ouachita Little Theatre is celebrating Judy Garland this spring during their Wednesday Night at the Lyric presentations the next two months.  Join us this Wednesday, March 11th at 6:30 PM for Judy’s breakout role playing Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz!”  Admission is free and donations are always welcome.  Come a couple minutes early to get your hot popcorn and other concessions.  Next mont see Judy and Fred Astaire in ”Easter Parade!”

 

The Ouachita Little Theatre is located in downton Mena on Mena Street just south of City Hall.

 

3-9-20 1:21 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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City Council Meeting Tuesday, Mayor's State of the City Address

The Mena City Council will meet for their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall. The meeting will include the annual Mayor's State of the City Address from Mayor Seth Smith.

 
On the agenda is routine business, reports from department heads and committee reports, and lots of new business as listed below.
 
Consideration of a Resolution Expressing the Willingness of the City of Mena, Arkansas to utilize Federal-Aid Transportation Alternatives Program Funds for a Mena Streetscape Project.
 
Consider a Resolution designating and authorizing the Mayor and the Manager of the Mena Water Utilities to execute certain documents in connection with he ANRC Funding Loan Program Administered by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission.
 
Consider an Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 2312-20 adopted pursuant to Act 1112 of 2017, approving the application of Little Italy Pizza, Pasta and Subs II of Mena, Inc. for a private club to be located at 1411 Highway 71 North, Mena, Polk County, Arkansas.
 
Discuss bid amount for milling and overlay project on Janssen Avenue and approval to pay overage amount of the contract.
 
Consider quotes received to purchase a new lawnmower for the Parks Department.
 
Consider quotes received to re-roof the log cabin and rock storage building in Janssen Park.
 
Discuss council authorization to amend the required signatures on the Police Department Bond and Fire Checking Account to remove Gwen Dilbeck and add Administrative Assistant Elicia Field.
 
Discuss Council authorization to allow Police Chief Thomas Stueart, Assistant Police Chief Tod Cannon, and Administrative Assistant Elicia Field access to view only transactions from the Police Bond and Fine account on the Union Bank website.
 
Consider the re-appointment of Lynn Ashley to the Mena Depot Commission for a three-year term to expire March 3, 2023.
 
Consider re-appointment of Jeff Montgomery to the Mena Airport Commission for a five-year term to expire February 26, 2025.
 
Mena City Council meetings are open to the public.
 
3-9-20 7:50 a.m. KAWX.ORG 
If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on the 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: Advice for the Census

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Advice for the Census
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Census Day is less than a month away, and today I’d like to share some advice from the United States Census Bureau that will ensure we count as many people as possible.
 
Members of the Arkansas Complete Count Committee, which I created last summer, have met regularly, and they are diligently spreading the word that an accurate count of our population is critical. The federal government allocates funding back to the states based upon population. Each person we count will account for about $3,300 every year to the state.
 
An undercount of even 1 percent, or just 30,000 people, could cost Arkansas nearly a billion dollars over the next decade.
 
The census experts have identified several segments of our population who often are undercounted. Children five and younger is one of those categories.
 
The Census Bureau offers several guidelines for counting children:
 
For newborns who are still in the hospital on Census Day, which is April 1, include your baby as an occupant of the home where she or he will live and sleep most of the time.
 
For a child who spends time in more than one home, count him where he spends most of his time. If his time is divided evenly between homes, count him where he is staying on April 1.
 
Count children in the home where they live and sleep most of the time, even if their parents do not live there. 
 
If you are caring for the child of a family member or a friend, and the child does not have a permanent place to live, include the child in your Census report, even if the arrangement is temporary.
 
Researchers have found several situations in which a child could be overlooked. For example, a child may live with a grandparent at times, and then with a single mother and a single father the rest of the time. The grandparents or father mistakenly assume the mother included the child on her census form, and none of them include the child on theirs.
 
The Census Bureau will begin mailing invitations to homes on March 12, 2020. When your invitation to participate arrives, please respond by mail, by telephone, or online.
 
The Census Bureau has offered some tips to avoid schemes by people who want to illegally obtain information from you. The bureau will never ask for your Social Security number, or for your bank account or credit card numbers. The Bureau will never ask for money, fees, or donations.
 
If you have doubts about someone who claims to be a Census Bureau enumerator, ask to see his ID badge, which will include his official photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
 
The information you provide to the Census Bureau is secure. Employees of the Census Bureau take an oath to protect the privacy of your data. The agency cannot release home-specific data for seventy-two years. A Census employee who releases your data without proper authority can face federal prosecution, up to five years in prison, and a fine up to $250,000.
 
This year offers at least two significant opportunities to participate in the life of our democracy. You can vote in the upcoming runoff elections and in the presidential election on November 3. And on April 1, you can be one of the Arkansans who helps our state and our nation produce an accurate count of our population, which is directed in the United States Constitution.
 
3-6-20 7:25 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
If you have local news tips or would like to place an item on the KAWX.ORG Community Calendar, email us at communityradio@live.com or click on the News Tips graphic above.

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

With spring just around the corner, it's important to remember that state and federal income tax forms are due soon. Both state and federal income tax forms must be postmarked no later than April 15, 2020, to avoid penalties and late fees. 

 

The legislature prioritized and passed several changes to its tax laws during the 92nd General Assembly, which means that your income tax rate may have changed from last year. 

 

The passage of ACT 182 during the 2019 legislative session, for example, reduces the top income tax rate in our state from 6.9% to 6.6%. The income tax rate will lower again in 2021 to 5.9%. This rate reduction took effect on January 1, 2020, for individuals and will be phased in for corporations by 2021. This is in addition to previous tax cuts passed in recent years impacting every income group.

 

Because of these reduced tax rates, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration announced to employers that the income tax withholding tables will change. As a result, you may see an increase in the amount of your paycheck starting this month.

 

This increase will be offset in the future by lower tax refunds. As tax refunds issued now relate to tax year 2019 they are not affected by the withholding changes. The upcoming withholding changes will not impact annual refunds until calendar year 2021.

 

Many Arkansans can utilize the IRS’s Free File program. This web-based program is a free federal tax preparation and electronic filing program for the approximately 70% of taxpayers who earn less than $60,000 in annual adjusted gross income. Eligible consumers can go to IRS.gov and choose from multiple private companies that will file federal returns at no charge.

 

If you cannot afford to pay for tax preparation assistance, you may also be eligible to receive free help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA). Consumers can call (800) 829-1040 for information about VITA volunteer locations near them. Additionally, seniors can contact AARP at (888) 227-7669 to find the nearest TCE Tax-Aide site.

 

3-6-20 4:25 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Local Realtors To Host Public Event To Raise Money For Special Olympics

 

The Mena Area Board of Realtors will host a fundraiser open to the public on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at China Restaraunt in Mena, to beefit Special Olympics. The Dutch treat lunch and auction will start at 11:30 a.m. and last until approximately 1:00 p.m. 

3-6-20 4:10 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Confronting the Coronavirus

Confronting the Coronavirus

 

Americans are understandably on edge as more cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) appear in the U.S. and the death toll continues to rise around the globe. My colleagues and I understand this anxiety and have come together to step up efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, treat those infected and support research to find a vaccine.

 

It remains unknown how life-threating COVID-19 is on a case-to-case basis. Symptoms tend to mimic those of other well-known respiratory illnesses like the flu. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most individuals with mild symptoms have recovered quickly, which has also made identifying cases of COVID-19 a challenge. This, in turn, has exacerbated the spread of the disease and increased risk worldwide.

 

The rapidly escalating death toll in other countries has led to fears of fatalities on a similar scale in America. I believe our robust public health sector puts us in a good position to stop that from happening.

 

The Senate Appropriations Committee, on which I serve, has worked closely with other members of Congress and the administration to ensure the federal government has ample resources to address a public health crisis of this magnitude. In recent years, we have increased funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other key government agencies charged with overseeing public health. These agencies are charged with working collaboratively with public health officials and health care professionals at the state and local level to take a government-wide approach to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

 

The CDC began tracking the coronavirus from its onset in Wuhan, China, working with our partners in the international community to identify and isolate this new virus that caused the outbreak. Now that Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 within our borders, we must take the proper steps to detect possible cases and provide medical care to individuals with this diagnosis, as well as ensure that transmissions of the disease do not reach epidemic proportions here.

 

The Trump administration has taken proactive measures to counter the spread by restricting travel from nations with widespread, ongoing transmission of COVID-19. The president has appointed a task force, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, to coordinate intergovernmental response and mitigation efforts. The task force is also working with pharmaceutical companies to accelerate the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. I appreciate the leadership of the president and his administration, and I expect they will continue to work with Congress as we respond to this situation.

 

The emergency funding legislation Congress has passed and the president has signed into law will provide a surge in funding at every level—local, state and federal—to confront this challenge head-on. It allocates $7.767 billion in discretionary emergency funding—more than triple the administration’s original request—to address the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Nearly 85 percent of this funding will be spent on domestic programs, ensuring that the focus remains on protecting Americans here at home, while still providing ample funding to fight the spread of COVID-19 abroad. Arkansas’s public health agencies are set to receive at least $6.2 million in funding as a result of this bill.

 

This is a robust response, which is the right approach to take when facing a crisis of this scale. We can’t afford to fall short in this effort.

 

An informed public is one of the best weapons in this fight. Along with avoiding traveling to areas where exposure risks are high, the CDC has issued commonsense recommendations for everyday preventive actions to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. You can visit my website at Boozman.senate.gov or resources provided by the CDC to learn more.

 

3-6-20 3:55 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

March 6, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature has begun budget hearings in preparation for the 2020 Fiscal Session, which convenes on April 8 and is scheduled to last a month.

 

On the first day of hearings the governor presented a balanced budget proposal for next fiscal year, and the administration’s official economic forecast for the coming year.

 

The proposed budget would increase spending from the state’s general revenue fund by 1.5 percent, which is relatively low compared to previous years.

 

It would result in a surplus of $54 million at the end of the 2021 fiscal year.

 

Of particular interest to sheriffs and county officials is the governor’s plan to increase reimbursements to county jails for holding state inmates, when state prison units are too full. The current rate is $30 per day per inmate and the governor would increase that to $32.

 

Other highlights in the law enforcement categories of the budget are the proposal to set up a training school for state troopers for $1 million, and to add $2.5 million for operations of the four crisis stabilization units created last year.

 

The units are an alternative location for police to take people suffering from a mental health crisis, rather than jail. They are treated and staff make sure they take their medications, which often is not the case if they are taken to a local jail.

 

The budget proposal would spend $2.6 million to add 175 beds to community correction facilities in Texarkana and West Memphis.

 

In addition to prisons, the other major spending categories in the state’s general revenue budget include Medicaid, human services, public schools and higher education.

 

The governor proposes to increase Medicaid spending by 4.98 percent, or $65 million, which is consistent with annual Medicaid increases in the recent past. However, the governor warned legislators to be prepared for larger increases in Medicaid spending next year.

 

General revenue comes from three main sources – sales taxes, personal income taxes and corporate income taxes.

 

After sending refunds to taxpayers and fulfilling other financial obligations, the state is projected to have $5.7 billion available in general revenue this year.

 

Another large category of state government spending is highway construction and maintenance, but it is funded from special revenues and not general revenue. Those special revenue sources are related to transportation, such as taxes on motor fuels and fees paid by heavy trucks.

 

One of the main issues that legislators will resolve is how much of the anticipated surplus will be put into a “rainy day” fund, or other accounts similar to a household savings account. Some of the surplus could compensate for another reduction in taxes. The legislature has approved about $250 million in annual income tax cuts since 2015.

 

Some of the surplus will be allocated to highways, so that the state Transportation Department can qualify for matching federal funds.

 

The number of Medicaid enrollees has dropped by about 50,000 over the past three years. According to the governor, the number of people getting food stamps is at a 15-year low.

 

The Arkansas legislature has consistently been very conservative in its budgeting. State law requires the governor to present a balanced budget.

 

Under the state Constitution, the legislature has the power to raise revenue and approve spending measures.

 

3-6-20 12:16 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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

 

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Mena Spring Clean-Up Starts April 28th

 

The City of Mena Annual Spring Clean-Up is scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 28, 2020.  City trucks will pick up items you want to dispose of at no charge.

This Clean-up service is free for residences within the City limits of Mena only.

Materials will not be picked up unless they are placed at the curb-side and separated.  Street Department crew and equipment will not go onto private property to move or aide in moving items.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO SEPARATE ANY ITEMS THAT YOU WANT TO KEEP AWAY FROM THOSE THAT ARE TO BE DISCARDED (such as trash cans).

The following items cannot be picked up: concrete, brick, rocks, dirt, shingles, batteries and construction debris.

Please separate your items to be discarded into 5 distinct piles as follows:

1.  Furniture: couches, chairs, televisions, window frames etc


2.  Household trash: paper items etc (Please place trash cans, that you wish to keep, to one side so that they will not be disposed of inadvertently)


3.  Metal material: hot water heaters, stoves, appliances etc


4.  Large yard wastes: tree limbs, shrubs etc


5.  Tires.

Note – It is required that all small yard debris such as small limbs, gum balls, grass and leaves be placed in garbage bags.

The Mena Street Department will begin pick up in the Northwest part of the city and work their way across town following the same routes as Southern Disposal. 

 

Trucks will run 1 to 3 days after the day of your normal trash pick-up. 

 

The response to this Clean-Up is usually overwhelming, so please be patient if the trucks are running somewhat behind.  Each route will only be covered one time.

 

 It is not necessary to call City Hall in order to receive this service.

 

3-6-20 12:08 P.M. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments March 2nd

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. Charles M. York, White Male, age 37, Count I: Probation Violation. The original offense was Possession Of Schedule II Substance, not methamphetamine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Bond was set at $10,000.
 
3-5-20 3:22 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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OLT Spring Musical BIG is Cast!

It’s always exciting to see which of your friends and neighbors will be showing up in Ouachita Little Theatre’s spring musical. Jessica Kropp is directing “BIG”, the high energy Broadway Musical smash-hit version of the beloved Tom Hanks movie of the same name. She is assisted by Musical Director Judy Kropp and choreographer, Gini Burt. Makeup and hair will be overseen by Gayle Krahn. Makayla Kenyon-Ortiz and Alexis Payne will be keeping things calm and organized backstage as Stage Managers. Rudi Timmerman is designing and overseeing the building of the set, and Lorraine Timmerman will lend her artistic talents as she paints scenery to beautifully enhance the production.

 

Auditions are over, and the cast is selected. In the leading roles, we will see James Taylor as adult Josh Baskin, Anna Burt as young Josh, Jocelyn Parsons as love interest Susan Lawrence, Jefferson Smith as “the boss” Mr. Macmillan, Tiffany Cavelli as young Josh’s best friend, Alexyss Hildebrand as Mrs. Baskin, and Jaimeson Biard as Paul, a junior executive. The ensemble includes arcade workers, parents, office workers, and lots of kids played by the following people: Annie Baker, Gregory Blashka, Jeanie Bunyard, Kelhan Howell, Kiylee Hughes, Jacob Kenyon-Ortiz, Kristina Kenyon-Ortiz, Gayle Krahn, Larry Kropp, David McDonald, Cristian Miller, Tank Morgan, Jocelyn Parsons, Philena Rath, Jamie Rath, Robbilee Rath, Hannah Thacker, Cheyanne Windham, Annie Windham, and Alyvia Wooden.

 

Production dates are May 14-16 and 22-24. The show will open on a Thursday and not include a Sunday performance that first weekend due to Mena graduation ceremonies. Saturday, May 16, will be a matinee. The second weekend of shows has a more traditional schedule, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 2:30 PM.

 

Reserved tickets are on sale at the OLT office weekdays 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. You can also buy a season ticket for all the upcoming shows, including the musical version of “Little Women” which will be showcased in August.

 

3-5-20 3:01 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 March 4, 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: https://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.

 

3-4-20 5:30 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Riner Defeats McDaniel In Circuit Judge's Race, Hines and Aynes Reelected To Mena School Board

Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner defeated Mena attorney Patrick McDaniel Tuesday in the Polk-Montgomery County Circuit Judge's race.

 
In complete but unofficial returns, Riner received 2,431 votes in Polk County and 1,238 in Montgomery County for a total of 3,669.
 
McDaniel received 2,073 in Polk County and 509 in Montgomery County for a total of 2,582.
 
Riner will replace retiring Circuit Judge Jerry Ryan in 2021.
 
Two Mena School Board candidates had opponents but were both reelected.

Robby Hines received 1,604 votes to be reelected over his opponent Calvin Cummings who received 1,401 votes.
 
Todd Aynes received 1,919 votes to be reelected over his opponent Brandyn Gortemiller who received 1,082 votes.
 
With a population of approximately 20,118, there are 11,507 registered voters, and of those only 4,561 voted in the primary.
 
The General Election will be November 3rd.
 
Follow the Arkansas Secretary of State's Results page for statewide races.
 
3-3-20 10:32 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Haven Today Radio Program To Address Corona Virus Fears, NO to Fear, YES to Faith

Always quick to respond to current events, Haven Today with Charles Morris is suspending regular programming (beginning tomorrow, March 4th) to cover the growing concerns about the corona virus in a special series entitled Corona virus: NO to Fear, YES to Faith.

 

As news of the spread of the virus continues to fill the media, many are responding with fear.  There’s so much uncertainty in what we hear.

 

On these programs, as Charles speaks with doctors, professionals, and people living in the epicenters in both North America and Asia, the clear message is that Christians find strength in God’s Word, the power of prayer, and the arms of Christ. 

 

It is a good moment to be reminded that … God has not given us a spirit of fear but a spirit of faith!  (2 Timothy 1:7)

 

We’re grateful that Haven Today continues to speak to listeners out of the reality of national and global news, out of the concerns of daily living in today’s culture. 

 

Haven Today can be heard in Mena at 11:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on 93.1 FM and in the Hatfield-Cove-Vandervoort area on 94.9 FM, or anywhere in the world at KAWX.ORG (listen live tab). You can also listen with a free KAWX app downloadable at the App Store or Google Play, on any smart device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo.

 

3-3-20 4:37 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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4-H Dairy and Egg Contest Winners Named

Polk County 4-H members competed in the first annual Dairy and Egg Recipe Contest on February 17, 2020. The contests were sponsored by the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and Farm Bureau.

 

Winners for the Dairy Recipe Contest – Party Idea included: Cloverbuds (5-8 years old) 1st place- Tuck S., 2nd place Cody R.; Juniors (9-13-year-old) 1st place Shelby R., 2nd place Savannah C.; Senior (14-19 years old) 1st place Lily O. Overall Party Dish was Shelby Rusert. Main Dish Category winners included: Juniors- 1st place Kohlea C.; Seniors- 1st place Lily O. Overall winner for Main Dish was Lily O.

 

Each of the overall winners in Dairy Contest received a thermal bag, an apron, mixing bowl, and mixing spoons sponsored by Farm Bureau.

 

The Egg Recipe Main Dish category winners were: Cloverbud- 1st place Tuck S.; Seniors- 1st place Shayna B., 2nd Place Lily O.

 

Each of the winners in both contests received monetary awards sponsored by the Polk County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee.

 

Polk County 4-H is open to all youth ages 5-19, for more information about 4-H or other Extension programs please call 479-394-6018.

 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

3-3-20 3:42 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sales Tax And Road Improvement Sales Tax Report For February

Polk County Treasurer Tanya K. Fretz recently released the Sales Tax General and Road Improvement Sales Tax report for February 2020.

 
Both are 1% taxes and the Road Improvement Sales Tax money can be used only for roads and bridges in the county,
 
In February 2020 each tax generated $147,363 for a total of $294,727. This amount reflects and increase of $20,577 increase for each over the same period in 2019.
 
Year-to-date the taxes have generated $289,687.42 each, or a total of $579,374.

The increased collections suggest stronger retail sales for the county again for February.
 
3-2-20 8:16 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Art Gallery Celebrates 75th Anniversary, Mayor Signs Proclamation

The Mena Art Gallery will celebrate their 75th Anniversary this month. Mena Mayor Seth Smith recently signed a proclamation recognizing the Gallery and the accomplishments and contributions to Mena.

Pictured from left to right are: Back – Lynn Greenwade, Executive Director; Gilda Meyers, Chairman of the Ouachita Expressions Show; Tiffany Lane, Chairman of the MAG Board of Directors.  Front: Jolynn Vacca, MAG Board member; Mayor Seth Smith; Jan Wennberg, Chairman of the MAG Exhibits committee.

 

Mena Art Gallery started in 1945, and has grown from a group of artists meeting in their homes to the exciting art center you see today. Here are some of the details (from the art gallery's website):

 

1945 – SWA started during World War II with people painting in each other’s homes.

 

1961 – Dot Howell organized the first LaVora Painting Workshop in Old Potter.

 

1969 – School Superintendent Manning of Wickes revived interest by starting an adult painting class.

 

1972 – LaVora Workshops and SWA became one and worked at 706 Mena Street.

 

1982 – SWA was organized officially by writing Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, and filing with the Secretary of State. Founding members were: Carol Nesbitt, Mena; Dayton Holman, Wickes; Wade Wilson, Grannis; Carole McLaughlin, Wickes; Kitty Hughes, Vandervoort; Lorene Hendricks, DeQueen; Dola Head, Mena; Dot Howell, Mena; LaVora McCall, Wickes.

 

1982 – SWA was awarded non-profit status (501(c)(3)). SWA worked at 701 Mena Street (corner of Mena and Maple) at the time until the Water Department rented the space to a dress shop.

 

1982 – First National Bank designated the second floor mezzanine for SWA artwork. SWA began a circulation program with First National, Queen Wilhelmina Lodge, and various restaurants.

 

1983  – As president of SWA, Lucy Mulcahy wrote and circulated a petition to KCS railroad asking for the Depot to be repaired and used as a permanent gallery. In order to be more effective, we formed the Mena Depot Commission. Board Chair Mary Stoker headed the fund-raising and restoration committees.

 

1984 – Our building fund started with a donation from Rachel Goforth and her brother, William Watkins. We continued to supplement it with many silent and regular auctions, plant and bake sales, donations from businesses and from our members plus several generous donations from Mena natives Alvina Schreiner and Dr. and Mrs. Walter Geyer.

 

1985 – SWA leased space upstairs at 601 Mena St. on condition that we replumb, rewire, paint and refurbish space, which was badly deteriorated as there had been broken windows and holes in the roof. The floor was in a terrible state. We continued with our program of classes and circulation of work while renovation was going on. When it was finished, we resumed our spring and fall exhibits as well as shows of individual artists and special shows for adults and children. It cost a great deal in time, money and effort, but when we were finished, we had a spacious, well-lighted gallery upstairs with classrooms, 2 bathrooms, a fully appointed kitchen, and a beautiful floor. We lost it when the city sold it as a loft.

 

1988 – SWA started High School shows for the area with Mena High School acting as host school. We had the first few shows at upstairs gallery and then at the Old Armory when the shows got too big and we lost our space upstairs. We started with 3 schools, but have had as many as 11. Funding for the prizes has come from supportive area merchants, some of the banks and several schools.

 

1993 – SWA The gallery was sold as a loft. We rented a small room in back of City Hall with a room upstairs for classes. The stairs were dangerous and space too small, so we had our meetings at SWEPCO, receptions and shows at the First National Bank, and classes and workshops at Firehouse II and the Old Armory. The circulation program continued throughout.

 

1998-2002 – We lost the space at City Hall, but continued as many activities as possible during this time. This included an area High School Show, which had started in 1988. It has continued to grow. Last year’s was the 25th show and included 9 schools. We had so many entries, it filled the gallery and classroom even though it was limited to 2 entries per student in each category. We have been fortunate in getting the funding for the prizes from area businesses and banks.

 

Since 1984, we had been looking for a permanent home for SouthWest Artists. Throughout the year, we evaluated at least thirty possibilities. At the end of our 2002 annual meeting, we went to see the last three. When we got to our present one, we all agreed that it was the best one thus far, and we should proceed with the purchase even though it needed a lot of work. Many of the members helped with the scrubbing, painting and repairs until now we feel it is a very special place. We finished paying for it in 2005.

 

2002-2008 – In 2005, thanks to a 3 year grant from the Arkansas Arts Council, we were able to hire our first part-time Executive Director, Daniel Erwin. At the end of his year, Daniel decided to go back to school and Carolyn MacMahon was hired as a replacement. Following Carolyn MacMahon’s departure Jim Pawley was hired.

 

2007 – We added track lighting and are continuing to work toward making our space as inviting as possible so that we can show art work under the best conditions we can create. We also changed the name of the gallery to Mena Art Gallery in 2007.

 

3-2-20 7:57 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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Poling Centers For March 3rd Primary Election, Sample Ballots, Election Returns

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 is Election Day. The Presidential Primary Election has already been underway for a couple of weeks with early voting. This election 2,292 people voted early. Election day polling centers will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. If you are a registered voter you may vote at any of the nine polling centers (see list below) in the Polk County. Even though, as an example, you live in Grannis, if you choose to vote in Mena, you will still be given the ballot for the precinct where you are registered.

 

There are sample ballots available on the Secretary of State's website, based on your name, address and date of birth. Visit Voterview, enter the information, and then scroll down past the polling center locations and view the sample ballots. 

 

When you go to the polling center, you will need to provide photo identification and choose whether you want to vote on a Democratic, Republican, or Nonpartisan ballot. The Polk-Montgomery County Circuit Judge's race will be on all ballots. 

 

VOTE CENTERS-POLK COUNTY, ARKANSAS

 

VOTE CENTER #1

 

POLK COUNTY OFFICE COMPLEX 

606 PINE STREET

MENA, AR 71953

 

VOTE CENTER #2

 

9th STREET MINISTRIES

306 9th STREET

MENA, AR 71953

 

VOTE CENTER #3

 

DALLAS AVENUE LIFE CENTER

300 DALLAS AVENUE

MENA, AR 71953

 

VOTE CENTER #4

 

ACORN HIGH SCHOOL

143 POLK ROAD 96

MENA, AR 71953

 

VOTE CENTER #5

 

CONCORD BAPTIST CHURCH

3467 HWY 88 E

MENA, AR 71953

 

VOTE CENTER #6

 

SALEM BAPTIST CHURCH

115 POLK ROAD 56

MENA, AR 71953

 

VOTE CENTER #7

 

HATFIELD TOWN HALL

115 TOWN HALL PARK

HATFIELD, AR 71945

 

VOTE CENTER #8

 

COVE TOWN HALL

5568 HWY 71 S

COVE, AR 71937

 

VOTE CENTER #9

 

GRANNIS TOWN HALL

132 FRACHISEUR ROAD

GRANNIS, AR 71944

 

Chris Daniel will have live election coverage from the Polk County Courthouse starting after 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on KENA 104.1 and as time permits on social media. 

 

3-2-20 6:46 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for February 24th - March 1st

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of February 24, 2020 – March 1, 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.

 

February 24, 2020

Traffic stop led to the discovery of a suspicious substance. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Mena of being harassed by an acquaintance.

Arrested was Philip M. Cunningham, 48, of Mena on charges of DWI and Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License.

 

February 25, 2020

Request for a welfare check on a residence near Cove.

Report from a complainant on Driftwood Lane near Mena of a business transaction where goods were paid for but not received. Investigation continues.

Arrested was Gerald D. Aleshire, 23, of Mena on Charges of Delivery of Meth or Cocaine and a Charge of Criminal Trespass, and a Warrant for Delivery of Meth or Cocaine.

 

February 26, 2020

Arrested was Thomas W. Duncan, 30, of Mena on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

Arrested was Shannon Adams, 48, of Cove on a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

 

February 27, 2020

Report from complainant of a man causing a disturbance at a place of business led to the arrest of Timothy G. Bailey, 42, of Cove on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

 

February 28, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 41S near Potter of items missing from a residence. Investigation continues.

Arrested was Charles M. York, 37, of Caddo Gap on a Warrant for Probation Violation.

Arrested was Van L. Holman, 27, of Mena on three Warrants for Failure to Appear and a Charge of Possession of Meth or Cocaine, and a Charge of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Arrested was Jason W. Busby, 46, of Mena on a Charge of Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License.

Arrested was Korie N. Wilhite, 28, of Mena on a Warrant for Domestic Battery 3rd Degree and three Warrants for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

 

February 29, 2020

Traffic stop led to Citations being issued to Joseph Gregory, 18, of Little Rock, AR for Possession of Schedule VI Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Report of a domestic disturbance on Park Lane near Wickes led to Citations for Domestic Battery 3rd Degree being issued to Jessi Conder, 32, and Anthony Cottman, 32, both of Wickes.

Report from Complainant on Polk 50 near Potter of the theft of gas cans valued at $50.00. Investigation continues.

 

March 1, 2020

Report of a disturbance on Rodeo Lane near Mena led to the arrest of James R. Pierce, 33, of Mena on a Charge of Criminal Trespass.

Arrested was Matthew P. Evans, 40, of Bethany, OK on Charges of DWI, Careless and Prohibited Driving, Driving left of Center, and a Charge of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Arrested was Codie Shifflett, 26, of Hatfield on a Charge of Public Intoxication and a Warrant from another Agency.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 29 Incarcerated Inmates , with 14 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00134

 

3-2-20 3:16 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for February 23rd - 29th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of February 23, 2020 through February 29, 2020 

 

 

February 23, 2020

 

Fredrick Howard, 51, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) at a department store.

 

A theft complaint was taken at a residence.

 

February 24, 2020

 

A criminal mischief complaint was taken at a motel room.

 

A theft complaint was taken at a department store.

 

A dog bite complaint was taken at the hospital.

 

Officers responded to an assault complaint at a residence.

 

February 25, 2020

 

A theft by deception complaint was taken at the department.

 

A harassment complaint was taken at the department.

 

February 26, 2020

 

David Sinyard, 44, was arrested for Breathing, Inhaling, or Drinking Certain Intoxicating Compounds.

 

February 27, 2020

 

A criminal trespass complaint was taken at a residence.

 

Martin Henry, 53, was arrested for Possession of a Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and three warrants after a traffic stop.

 

A theft complaint was taken at the department.

 

A battery complaint was taken at a residence.

 

February 28, 2020

 

Jason Tallant, 43, was arrested for Domestic Battery 3rd Degree after a disturbance call to a motel room.

A complaint of theft from a vehicle was taken at a car wash.

 

February 29, 2020

 

Alex Weatherford, 28, was arrested on a warrant at the police department.

 

Johnathon Dowdy, 31, was arrested for Internet Stalking of a Child and Computer Child Pornography.

 

A theft complaint was taken at a residence.

 

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

 

3-2-20 11:44 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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

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