KAWX News Archives for 2020-04

Polk County Quorum Court Meets, JPs Checked For Fever, Masks Distributed, Distancing Measures

The Polk County Quorum Court met Tuesday for their April meeting after having not met in March due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

The meeting was moved to the courtroom of the Polk County Courthouse to allow social distancing and all in attendance were checked for fever before entering the courthouse and offered a mask to wear. Names were placed on seating to space the Justices of the Peace at least six feet from each other. 

 

Ten of the eleven JPs were present and one participated remotely. 

 

County Judge Brandon Ellison presided over the most unusual meeting. Also in attendance were other county elected officials and the prosecuting attorney.

 

JPs handled routine business, were updated about things recently sold at a public auction and items taken off the county inventory, and heard a brief report about the 2018 Audit Review of Polk County. There were no concerns from the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee and no recommendations.

 

Leon Philpot, CEO of Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative (RMEC), and representatives of Today's Power, Inc. (TPI), spoke to the Quorum Court about the Solar Farm being built on Highway 88 East across from Mena Lake. After the presentation and discussion, the Quorum Court approved a resolution that will allow the Solar Farm project to enter into an agreement with the County where payments are made in lieu of property taxes and would be 35% of the normal tax amount, and the County would become owner of the asset and lease it back to TPI. Currently the land is not generating any tax revenue for the County since it is owned by a public utility company, and even before that was owned by a school district. (The site is where the Cloverleaf School was located until it consolidated with the Acorn School in the 1940s according to local historian Harold Coogan.) The payments in lieu of taxes or PILOT, will generate around $63,000 over the next 20 years, and that money will go mainly to the Ouachita River School District, and the County and City of Mena will also receive a portion of it. After 20 years the asset will be sold back to TPI for a de minimis amount. Ouachita River School District Superintendent Jerrall Strasner was present at the meeting and spoke in favor of the project. Philpot told the Quorum Court that the savings to RMEC on energy costs would be passed on to members.

 

The Quorum Court also unanimously passed a resolution paving the way for the application of an Arkansas Community and Economic Development grant that will benefit the Mena hospital.

 

The Polk County Quorum Court members are: Chris Daniel, Jim Neugent, Harold Coogan, Margarett "Margo" Kimp, Troy Lunsford, Terry Terrell, Tommy Floyd, Terry L. Scott, Basil Kesterson, Mitchell Tidwell, and Tawana Gilbert.

 

4-30-20 4:48 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 April 29, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

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

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: 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.

 

4-29-20 7:32 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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National Day of Prayer To Be Virtual Event May 7th In Polk County

It is once again time for Americans to unite and pray!

 

This year with the Covid-19 crisis our annual nation observance will not be held on the courthouse lawn.

 

However, we are excited to announce that we will observe The 69th Annual National Day of Prayer!

 

First Baptist Mena has setup a Facebook page, Polk County AR - National Day of Prayer and the event is called Virtual National Day of Prayer - Polk County, AR and will be published on Thursday, May 7th at noon until 1:00pm.

 

There will be links to the categories of prayer with an area pastor praying for each specific one:

 

Church - Russell Threet, First Baptist Mena

 

Government - Lamar Austin, Grace Bible

 

Family - Victor Rowell, The Crossing

 

Education - Steve Ellison, Salem Baptist

 

Business - Mark Lyle, Mena Church of God

 

Military - Ron Tilley, First Assembly of God

 

Media - Grant Geiger, Cherry Hill Baptist

 

The National Day of Prayer coordinators are planning a broadcast that will take place that evening from 7:00 - 9:00pm CT. It will also be broadcast, streamed and posted in many ways including their website, seen Live on their Facebook page and cross-posted by many of their ministry partners. It can be viewed on television on GodTV, Daystar, NLC, and Brio TV, with more stations to come, and on radio through Moody and Bott Radio Networks.

 

The 2020 theme is Across the Earth, Habakkuk 2:14 (NIV), “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” The National Day of Prayer Task Force President, Kathy Branzell, said this, “Unprecedented times call for unprecedented prayer!

 

This year’s ‘virtual’ National Day of Prayer Observance may have more prayer - and more ‘pray-ers’ than ever before!” Please join us Thursday, May 7th at 12:00 noon on Facebook and then again at 7:00pm for the Live Broadcast. If you have any questions or concerns, call Sue or Pam at 479-394-2541.

 

4-29-20 6:27 p.m.

 

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April Polk County Sales Tax and Road Tax Report

Polk County Treasurer Tanya K. Fretz released the April 2020 Sales Tax General and Road Improvement Sales Tax Report recently. The report reflects collections for March and a year-to-date summary, as well as a comparison for the same period in 2019.

 
Both taxes are 1% on retail sales and the road tax money can only be used for county roads and bridges in the county.
 
The taxes each amounted to $123,801.00, a $2,308.00 decrease compared to the same period in 2019.
 
So far this year the two taxes have generated $531,296.00 each which is an increase of $20,337.00 each compared to the same period in 2019.
 
4-28-20 9:24 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Quorum Court Meets Tuesday, April 28th

The Polk County Quorum Court will meet Tuesday, April 28th for their regular monthly session. The meeting will be held in the courtroom of the Polk County Courthouse starting at 6:00 p.m. Justices of the Peace and others will have their temperature checked before entering and seating will be arranged to support distancing as a precaution.

 
The Quorum Court did not meet in March due to the COVID-10 Pandemic.
 
In addition to regular business, JPs will consider a resolution for the issuance of bonds for financing facilities that will be useful in securing or developing industry withing the county, consider a resolution authorizing application for a ACEDP Grant, discuss items deleted from the county inventory and items sold at auction, and and discuss the Legislative Audit for 2018 of Polk County.
 
Also at the meeting will be representatives of Today's Power, Inc., a company owned by electric cooperatives in the state, including Rich Mountain Electric. The Quorum Court will be asked to consider a resolution that will be allow for a reduction of taxes on a solar farm being built near Mena. 
 
4-28-20 9:13 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Section of Talimena Scenic Drive To Be Temporarily Closed For Repairs

 

Forest Service officials have announced today that a section of the Talimena Scenic Drive from the Arkansas State line to U.S. 259 in LeFlore County will be temporarily closed for repairs beginning Tesday, April 28, 2020.


The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will make repairs to the road and culverts damaged by years of erosion. It is estimated the repairs will be completed by May 1 depending on weather.


“The Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Forest Service are working together to help forest visitors enjoy the views of the Talimena Scenic Drive safely,” said Scott Osborne, Oklahoma Ranger District acting district ranger.


For more information, contact the Hochatown Ranger District at (580) 494-6402 or visit the Ouachita National Forest website at


https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/ouachita/home/?cid=fseprd728246

 

4-27-20 5:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for April 20th - 26th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of April 20, 2020 – April 26, 2020. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

April 20, 2020

No reports were filed.

 

April 21, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 980 near Dallas Valley of an altercation between juveniles. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Ink of a domestic dispute. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further review.

Report from complainant on West Boundary near Mena of a dispute causing damage to a vehicle in the amount of $250.00. Deputy responded.

 

April 22, 2020

Report from complainant on Treasure Lane near Acorn of missing medication. Deputy responded.

Traffic stop on Polk 18 near Hatton led to Citations for No Driver’s License, Careless and Prohibited Driving, and Driving Left of Center being issued to James A. Miller,38, of Cove.

Report from complainant on Polk 17 near Vandervoort of runaway juveniles. Deputy responded.

 

April 23, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 14 near Bogg Springs of a break-in and theft of property valued at $560.00. Investigation continues.

 

April 24, 2020

Report from complainant at Shadow Mountain RV Park of a domestic dispute led to Citations for Domestic Battery 3rd Degree being issued to Sabrina Ward, 21, of Mena and Jeana Smith, 44, of Mena.

Report from complainant on Union Street near Hatfield of being threatened by an acquaintance. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 17 near Vandervoort of a stolen bicycle. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 129 near Rocky of an unknown person on their property. Deputy responded.

 

April 25, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 71N near Acorn of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 159 near Potter of unauthorized use of their Side By Side. It was later returned and complainant refused to press charges.

 

April 26, 2020

Report from a Mena woman of an altercation during a child custody exchange. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 73 near Ink of malnourished cows. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 375W near Mena of a stolen vehicle. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 125 near Rocky of a minor vehicle accident. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Edwards Street near Vandervoort of a dispute over cashing a check.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 12 Incarcerated Inmates, with 11 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00258

 

4-27-20 12:43 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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Mena Police Report for April 19th -25th

 

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of April 19, 2020 through April 25, 2020

 

April 19, 2020

 

A theft report was taken at a residence.

 

Steven Self, 40, was arrested for Criminal Trespass, Public Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call to a residence.

 

April 20, 2020

 

Laura Giesel, 49, was arrested for Disorderly Conduct, Fleeing and Resisting Arrest after a disturbance call to a residence.

 

April 21, 2020

 

A report of harassment and violation of a court order was taken from an individual at a gas station.

 

April 22, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 23, 2020

 

A theft report was taken at a residence.

 

A theft report was taken at a department store.

 

April 24, 2020

 

A report of a disturbance was taken at a residence.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at a residence.

 

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

 

A theft report was taken from a department store.

 

A theft report was taken from a department store.

 

April 25, 2020

 

A report of battery and disorderly conduct was taken at the hospital.

 

Tristen Canada, 19, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) at a department store.

 

A theft report was taken from a department store.

 

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

 

4-27-20 12:37 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address:

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Road Back
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I’d like to talk about our plans to shift our economy out of low gear as we look to life after the worst of this health crisis has passed.
 
I am optimistic about our economy and our ability to recover. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had been expanding business and creating jobs at a pace that led to months of the lowest unemployment rates in the state’s history.
 
That was dynamic growth that Arkansans built on a firm foundation of agriculture, tourism, small business, retail, and technology growth.
 
In Arkansas, we have extraordinary entrepreneurs that are part of Arkansas’s DNA. Our labor force is smart, creative, enthusiastic, hardworking, determined, and always willing to learn new skills.
 
Although COVID-19 staggered our economy, it did not damage the foundation, which is why I am assured we will be fine in the long run. This is a set-back that won’t hold us back for long.
 
One of the things I did as I considered the best path for Arkansas was to study the White House’s blueprint for Opening Up America Again. This plan is in four phases, and the plan serves as a common roadmap for all the states. Yet it is designed to be flexible and adjusted to the unique circumstances of each state.
 
The move to reopen the economy must be based on up-to-date data; it must protect the most vulnerable; and it must minimize the risk of a resurgence.
 
Based on those guidelines, I set May 4 as the date that Arkansas would begin lifting some of the restrictions we have put in place since March 11.
 
To guide us in the process, I created the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force and appointed 27 leaders from around the state to serve on it.
 
I have asked the group to present an initial report by May 4. All of their recommendations will be guided by the best ongoing public health information.
 
The task force includes representatives from across all facets of life – health care, athletics and physical fitness, education, the faith community, agriculture, tourism, small business, and industry.
 
Steuart Walton, a business leader and entrepreneur, will chair the group. Steuart is engaged in the hospitality, manufacturing, and retail industries, and he understands the needs of small business.
 
Arkansas’s road back to recovery won’t be easy, but there is a road back. I am confident of that. I look forward to seeing the initial recommendations on how we can reinvigorate our business, build consumer confidence, and assure the best public health standards.
 
4-24-20 6:23 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Child abuse does not stop during a pandemic. But since many of the state’s mandated reporters such as teachers and pastors are not interacting face to face with Arkansas children right now, the number of reports coming into the hotline have decreased by 50%.

 

The director of Children Advocacy Centers of Arkansas, Elizabeth Pulley says that during times of isolation, child abuse happens in secrecy because signs of abuse go undetected. When school starts back, the number of cases is expected to rise.

 

April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month, a time to place a special emphasis on increasing awareness and providing education and support to families to help prevent child abuse and neglect.

 

This week, Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson and DHS Director of the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Mischa Martin asked for the help of Arkansans to report suspected abuse in their communities. Since the health emergency began, there have been 3,148 calls to the hotline. That is nearly half the number of calls that came in this time last year.

 

DCFS continues to provide services to families in need and they continue to serve and support the 4,400 foster families in Arkansas.

 

In addition, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Arkansas, with 17 centers located across the state, remain open and are continuing to serve children in person and through telemedicine. 

 

Child abuse and neglect can have a tremendous impact well into adulthood. Exposure to violence in childhood increases the risks of injury, future violence victimization, substance abuse, delayed brain development, lower educational attainment, and limited employment opportunities.

 

Nationwide, it is estimated that 1 in 7 children have experienced abuse or neglect in the past year.

 

The number to the hotline is 1-844-SAVE-A-CHILD. Professionals are there to answers calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

4-24-20 6:17 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Getting Coronavirus Relief to More Small Businesses in Arkansas

 

An important program to help Arkansas small businesses remain operational during the coronavirus pandemic and viable in the future just received additional funding. Congress passed, and the president signed into law, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which allocates an additional $320 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The immediate infusion of money into the program will allow the SBA to reach even more small business owners in need of assistance in these trying times.

 

Created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the PPP provides low-interest loans to small businesses to use for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities, with a portion of the loan eligible for forgiveness. The PPP was designed to give small business owners the ability to maintain payroll and operational costs, so they can pay employees and avoid closure as a result of declining, or worse, complete loss, of revenue.

 

Recognizing the critical need to help small businesses survive the financial hardships caused by the coronavirus, Congress provided significant funding for the program when it was established.

 

Unfortunately, the need for relief vastly outpaced the $349 billion it was originally allocated. Based on the popularity of the program, Congress recognized the need for additional funding. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), which administers the PPP, 14 years’ worth of loans were approved in 14 days. That amounts to 1.6 million loans totaling more than $340 billion.

 

The SBA had already approved more than 21,000 loans worth more than $2.7 billion to Arkansas small businesses before the program was replenished. PPP loans were approved for a variety of establishments across the state. Family owned businesses—from sporting goods sales to auto repair shops—were among the initial recipients, as were local restaurants, construction companies and non-profit agencies.

 

One of those non-profits, Stepping Stone School for Exceptional Students, is a comprehensive service provider to people with developmental disabilities and their families. Stepping Stone’s therapeutic preschool is the only full-time one of its kind in Crawford County. Toni Wilson, the Executive Director of Stepping Stone, said the PPP funding gives her “the means to continue paying agency staff through the pandemic.”

 

This lifeline is vital for Arkansas’s economy, given that over 99 percent of the state’s businesses are small businesses. When the initial funds for PPP ran out, many small business owners were left in limbo, adding to the already high level of anxiety they have faced since the onset of this crisis. The approval of additional funds will allow more small business owners to benefit from the program. It will help them keep the doors of their business open and ensure their employees, who they clearly value and respect, are paid. I encourage small business owners who have not applied for a PPP loan to visit https://www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection/find.

 

4-24-20 3:19 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Middle School Yearbooks Distribution Details

 

 

Middle School Yearbooks that were pre-ordered (you have a receipt) will be distributed Thursday, May 7th.

 

Alphabetically by last name:

 

A - H 10:00am-11:00am


I - P  11:00am-Noon


Q-Z 1:00pm-2:00pm

 

Due to the virus, it will be curb side pickup in front of the Middle School entrance. Please do not get out of your car. It is "drive through" only through the circle drive.

 

If, due to your work schedule, you need a different time, contact Mrs. Lunsford by Tuesday, May 5th for special arrangement.

 

Melissa.Lunsford@MenaSchools.org or text to 479-637-6599. Please provide the student's name and grade in your message.

 

Yearbooks remaining can be purchased Tuesday, May 12th.


11 am - 1 pm (1st Come / 1st Served) Limited Available Middle School entrance circle drive, curb side, drive-through.

 

Checks only accepted. Made payable to Mena Middle School Yearbook. Price is $29.

 

4-24-20 3:13 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Hope Egger Receives The Governor's Award for Musical Excellence

The Governor's Award for Musical Excellence is presented to an outstanding high school senior each year.  The 2020 Mena High School recipient is Hope Egger.  Hope has been a member of the Spotlight Singers throughout her high school career.  She was an all region honors choir member each year from seventh grade through her senior year.  She was an all state choir member her junior year.  She currently serves as president of the Spotlight Singers and was recently voted Spotlight Singers student of the month.  
 
Students are nominated for the award based on the highest standards of musicianship, teamwork, dedication, character, and attitude.  "Hope definitely embodies all these standards and more.  It has been an honor to work with her the past 4 years.  She is a very special young person," states choir director, Ferroll "Tammy" Taylor.  
 
Hope is the daughter of Scott Egger and the late Jayme Ozanich.
4-24-20 2:54 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

April 24, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – When Arkansas makes it past the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, restrictions on businesses and social interactions will be loosened carefully, always with the goal in mind to prevent a second wave of the pandemic.

 

The governor has announced that May 4 is the target date for some loosening of restrictions. He said that one of his priorities is for elective surgeries to become available again. Hospitals and clinics have put off elective surgeries because so many of their labor and resources have had to be dedicated to diagnosis and treatment of people with Covid-19.

 

Two groups appointed by the governor have been working to hasten the return to more normal business and social activities in Arkansas.

 

One group is called the Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force. It has more than two dozen members whose purpose is to jump start the economy while remaining safely within public health guidelines.

 

The other group is composed of medical and public health professionals, and its duty is to expand our capacity to test for Covid-19.

 

Public health experts have expressed concern that if governments loosen social distancing requirements too soon, a second wave of the coronavirus could erupt. The balancing act for authorities is to get people back to work while at the same time protecting their health.

 

In order to boost economic activity, it’s essential to have more comprehensive data on the prevalence and spreading of Covid-19, the governor said.

 

As of mid-week, more than 29,000 Arkansas residents had been tested for Covid-19.

 

Contract tracing is critical for controlling the spread of the virus. That means quickly testing and diagnosing it, and tracing the people who have been in contact with the carrier. Contract tracing are the basis for effective quarantines and shelter-at-home policies.

 

Around the world, the hot spots are those locations where people gathered in large groups and contracted the virus, without knowing of their exposure.

 

In Germany and France, public health investigators now know that people got infected unknowingly during Lenten church services. Closer to home, people attending Mardi Gras contracted the virus and spread it to their communities before it was widely known how much the virus had spread.

 

The economic task force includes members from the faith community, in recognition of the number of Arkansans who are attend church regularly and for whom worship is more important than other social activities deemed essential by government officials.

 

Unemployment benefits have been a lifeline for many, but the surge in applications threatened to overwhelm staff at the Division of Workforce Services. Procedures were streamline and hours were lengthened so the division could more promptly process applications.

 

Also, the division built a new web site to handle applications. It is at this Internet address: ARunemployment.com.

 

In related news, 27 rural hospitals in Arkansas will share $10 million from the Community Development Block Grant program to help them maintain medical services through the pandemic.

 

Facilities will each receive from $250,000 to $500,000. Also, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences will receive $500,000 for its statewide telemedicine network.

 

4-24-20 10:56 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Public Schools Announce Virtual and Drive Thru Events For Seniors, Juniors

With current restrictions of gatherings, we know that holding our 2020 prom and graduation events at their originally scheduled dates is not possible.

 

We are not canceling these events, but are not yet able to set dates.

 

The health, safety, and welfare of our community and our students are top priority at this time. Our intentions are to still hold the 2020 Junior/Senior Prom and the 2020 MHS Graduation once clearance is permitted from state and national leaders.

  

Please continue to follow our Facebook page and your child’s individual campus page for updated information.

 
Mena Public Schools wants to thank our students, parents, staff members, and community for your continued dedication and support to education.
 
We understand that many of you have questions. We appreciate your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.
 
Guidance and answers will be given as Governor Hutchinson’s Task Force on reentry works through the three phases of release which are being handed down from the President.
 
We will continue to communicate information to you as we receive guidance.
 
At this time we are ready to release the following information.
 
Monday, April 27th
*Top 8 Seniors Reveal (video) on Facebook
 
Tuesday, April 28th
*11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Seniors’ Cap & Gown and Senior Accessories Herf Jones Distribution drive-thru pick-up at bus loop
*11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Seniors Yearbook Distribution drive-thru at bus loop
*2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. - Juniors Yearbook Distribution drive-thru at bus loop
 
Thursday, April 30th
*11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Sophomores Yearbook Distribution drive-thru at bus loop
*2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. - Freshmen Yearbook Distribution drive-thru at bus loop
 
Friday, May 1st
*Senior Video (created by Journalism 2 Student Zane Stephens) to be posted on YouTube and Facebook
 
May 4th-8th
*Slide Shows of MHS Students highlighting the 2019-20 school year posted on YouTube and Facebook
 
May 11th-15th
*Slide Shows of MHS Students highlighting the 2019-20 School Year posted on YouTube and Facebook
*2020 Scholarship Recipients slideshow posted on YouTube and Facebook
*MHS Student Awards slideshow for 2019-20
 
Sunday, May 17th
*3:00 p.m. MHS Senior Class of 2020 Cap & Gown Recognition Video to be posted on YouTube and Facebook
 
Please continue to follow our Facebook page and your child’s individual campus page.
 
4-23-20 1:17 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 April 22, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

Click on the area of the state below 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.

 

4-22-20 6:00 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Personnel Changes At Mena Schools

 
The Mena School Board held their April meeting Tuesday night and a number of personnel changes were addressed.
 
 
Recommendation to hire:
Jamie Grasman – 1st Grade Teacher
Markie Blocker – 2nd Grade Teacher
Abigail Sims – GT Coordinator/ESL Coordinator
 
Recommendation to transfer within district:
Robin Castor from 2nd Grade Teacher to LD PE Teacher
Paula Cox from 3rd Grade Teacher to HHE Library Media Specialist
Christy Harrison from MMS Self-Contained Teacher to SPED Director/504 Coordinator
Randy Peters from Jr High Head BB Coach/Teacher to Sr High Head BB Coach/Teacher
Deedra Hooker from Paraprofessional to Secondary English Teacher
 
Accepted Resignations:
Norma Foster
Jim Pennington
 
Accepted Resignations for Retirement:
Mike Collins
Paulette Crawford
Freda Moore
Marsha Riley
Penny Smedley
Paulette Sherrer
Rose Tedder.
 
4-22-20 10:24 a.m. KAWX.ORG 
 

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The 2020 U.S. Census Affects Funding In Our Polk County Communities, Be Counted!

 

Every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau counts the number of people living in the United States and U.S. territories. Each home has or will receive information regarding how to complete the 2020 Census. Because funding for many things in Mena, Hatfield, Cove, Vandervoort, Wickes, Grannis and Polk County, including schools, school lunches, turn back funds for our communities used for roads and other important things in all our lives, census data is extremely important. It is very important that every household complete the census to ensure schools and other entities receive accurate funding.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has distracted many of us and caused some hardships, so while always important, it is more important than ever to be counted!

 

Completing the census online is safe. 

 

To learn more about how the census matters in Arkansas: https://arcounts.org/

 

To complete the census: https://2020census.gov/

 
For more information, visit https://www.census.gov.
 
4-22-20 7:18 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Regional Health System Will Receive Funds To Help With COVID-19 Impact

LITTLE ROCK (April 20, 2020) – The Arkansas Department of Commerce announced it will award $10-million to provide financial assistance to 27 rural hospitals in the state whose operations have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The funds will be administered through the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Community Development Block Grant program.

 

Rural hospitals received grants in amounts ranging from $200,000 to $500,000. AEDC worked with the Arkansas Hospital Association and rural hospitals to identify immediate needs for assistance.

 

“It is critical to assist hospitals that are working hard to provide care in rural Arkansas and to vulnerable populations,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “We see the important need of consistent, elective and routine care in these facilities to remain financially stable. Hospitals are also a major economic engine in Arkansas’s rural communities. We believe the funds will help these hospitals weather the storm until conditions are back to near normal.”

 

“Rural hospitals are the backbone of care for hundreds of thousands of Arkansans,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “Those with lower numbers of beds are particularly impacted by the changes in care brought by the crisis. These hospitals are needed now and in the future. We must continue to support their operations and stand ready to help as we work through this national emergency.”

 

Rural Hospital Grants:

 

  • Arkansas Methodist Medical Center
  • Ashley County Medical Center
  • Baxter Regional Medical Center
  • Bradley County Medical Center
  • Chambers Memorial Hospital
  • CrossRidge Community Hospital
  • Dallas County Medical Center
  • Delta Memorial Hospital
  • Drew Memorial Health System
  • St. Bernards Five Rivers Medical Center
  • Fulton County Hospital
  • Great River Medical Center
  • Howard Memorial Hospital
  • Johnson Regional Medical Center
  • Lawrence Memorial Hospital
  • Little River Memorial Hospital (CAH)
  • Magnolia Regional Medical Center
  • McGehee Hospital (CAH)
  • Mena Regional Health System
  • North Arkansas Regional Medical Center
  • Ouachita County Medical Center
  • Ozark Health Medical Center
  • Ozarks Community Hospital (CAH)
  • Piggott Community Hospital (CAH)
  • Siloam Springs Regional Hospital
  • SMC Regional Medical Center
  • White River Medical Center

 

In addition to the $10-million awarded directly to rural hospitals, UAMS will receive $500,000 for the Institute for Digital Health and Innovation (IDHI) COVID-19 Statewide Education Outreach Project which will bring education and support to all Arkansas’s hospitals with an emphasis on rural and critical access hospitals. 

 

4-21-20 4:35 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansas Lottery Ticket Sales Nearly $46.8 Million In March

Arkansas Lottery tickets sales totaled just shy of $47 million in March. The so called "education lottery" retail sales report number in the total column is $46,796,546.50.

 
The highest sales by county were in Pulaski County at $8,662,835.50. 
 
The lowest sales were in Montgomery County at $34,763.00.
 
Polk County sales for March were $192,265.50.
 
4-21-20 7:39 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for April 13th - 20th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of April 13, 2020 – April 19, 2020. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

April 13, 2020

No reports were filed.

 

April 14, 2020

Report from complainant on West Johnson near Hatfield of fraudulent use of a credit card. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on West Johnson near Hatfield of a vehicle accident led to Citations for No Driver’s License, No Vehicle License, and No Vehicle Insurance being issued to Aramis Candelaria, 18, of Hatfield.

 

April 15, 2020

Arrested was Hunter J. Hogan, 21, of Mena on Charges of Murder 1st Degree and Abuse of a Corpse.

 

April 16, 2020

Report of a theft in the amount of $200.00 led to a Juvenile male being issued a Citation for Theft of Property. The juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.

 

April 17, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 15 near Vandervoort of a telephone scam. Investigation continues.

 

April 18, 2020

Request for a welfare check on a family member on Hwy 8E near Boardcamp.

Report from complainant on Polk 252 near Grannis of a missing juvenile. Juvenile was located with a family member.

 

April 19, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 45 near Shady Grove of unauthorized persons on their property. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office for further consideration.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 12 Incarcerated Inmates, with 10 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00239

 

4-20-20 11:32 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for April 12th - 18th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of April 12, 2020 through April 18, 2020 

 

 

April 12, 2020

 

Hunter Hogan, 21, was arrested for Public Intoxication and Disorderly Conduct after a call to the hospital.

 

April 13, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 14, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 15, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 16, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 17, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 18, 2020

 

A theft report was taken at a department store.

 

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

 

4-20-20 11:18 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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Area Agency Receives Grant For Free Grocery Delivery Program, Seniors May Qualify For Free Groceries

The Area Agency has received a new Grant for a free grocery delivery program. Some qualifying individuals will also receive the groceries free, the guideline is 200% of the current poverty level. This means many seniors in our area may qualify. Even if the senior does not qualify for Free groceries they may still be able to go to the home get their grocery list and payment, go shop for the senior and deliver the groceries. If you know of anyone who would benefit, please contact Kenzie Givler at 479-629-6772.

 

4-19-20 6:48 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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OLT to Conduct Online Voting for Officers and Board Positions

 

Ouachita Little Theatre traditionally has held their annual business meeting for all members in May. Elections for board positions and officers would typically be held at that time. Due to COVID19 policies set forth by the OLT Board in March, no large gatherings will be held at the theatre until further notice. Therefore, the board decreed to have an online election this year.

 

To date, the ballot contains the names of some existing officers and board members. They include Rudi Timmerman for President, Judy Kropp for Secretary, and Bill Hays for Treasurer. Board members running for re-election include Lamar Austin, Jackie Biard, Robby Burt, Jessica Kropp, and Alexa Night. New nominees already on the ballot include John Byers for Vice President and Gayle Krahn for board position. There will be five board positions open in this election. Nominations are accepted for any officer or board position. You must be a current OLT member to run for office, nominate someone for office, or vote in the election. You may find membership information on the website listed below.

 

Nominations are officially open until May 1. Turn in your nominations through the OLT website at oltmena.com through the “contact us” option. You may also email the OLT president directly at ruditimmerman@hughes.net. Elections will be held later in May and details will be announced shortly.

 

4-19-20 6:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Improving the Unemployment Benefits System

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Improving the Unemployment Benefits System
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I’d like to a talk about the improvements we’ve made to our unemployment benefits system. I want to assure the thousands of Arkansans who have lost a job because of the COVID-19 pandemic that we are working diligently to get the benefits out the door.
 
Eighty state employees are answering the telephones at the call center seven days a week from 6 a.m. until 4 p.m. Then they work until 6 p.m to make sure applicants are getting what they need.
 
The Division of Workforce Services has just launched a new one-stop website that will accelerate the process for those who need answers or who need to file an unemployment claim.
 
ARunemployment.com includes a link to EZARC, where the unemployed can file a claim. The new website will provide regularly updated information regarding COVID-19-related unemployment benefits.
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rearrange almost everything about our lives. As painful as these adjustments have been, they were right and necessary. The health of Arkansans continues to be my highest priority.
 
As we dealt with the devastating impact of the physical health of Arkansans, we also have had to deal with the economic health of the state and the financial health of thousands of Arkansans who have been thrown out of work.
 
We have taken some steps to lighten the load for the newly unemployed, including a temporary waiver of the requirement to search for a new job while you receive unemployment.
 
It is not an exaggeration to say that this health crisis has been a blow to the Arkansas economy. For several years, we have enjoyed business expansion and job creation that produced the lowest unemployment rates in the state’s history.
 
Then the coronavirus came ashore, and suddenly the unemployment rate has increased significantly.
 
The current crisis is not over, but it will end. We will recover. This has stalled us, but it hasn’t cracked the solid economic foundation we’ve built through the achievements of Arkansans who have created hundreds of businesses big and small. We have created a business environment that attracts business.
 
Arkansas is a small state, but we have built a reputation that is bigger than our boundaries and population. We have built a state that is bigger than a historic flood or a worldwide health crisis. The people of Arkansas care for each other.  
 
As to the future, we will get back to business and growth, but we must continue to follow the public health guidelines to make sure our citizens stay healthy and safe.
 
4-17-20 8:19 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

While we are facing difficult and uncertain times, Arkansans should know that essential services in state government will continue.

 

This week during the 2020 Fiscal Session, the Arkansas General Assembly passed a balanced budget for the next fiscal year prioritizing funding for education, health care, and public safety.

 

The 2021 Fiscal Year begins July 1.

 

The Revenue Stabilization Act passed this week prioritizes $5.9 billion in spending for the next fiscal year.

 

By law, the RSA prioritizes spending in categories with Category A spending first. This year’s RSA creates 5 categories: A, A1, B, C, and D.

 

Category A includes $5.3 billion in funding. Every state agency receives the majority of funding in Category A. This category also includes $60 million to the Restricted Reserve Fund which can be accessed for any urgent or unforeseen funding needs.

 

Category A1 includes $181.4 in funding for elementary and secondary education, Medicaid, and the Department of Correction to ensure these essential services are fully funded.

 

The total funding outlined in categories A, A1, B, and C total $5.67 billion. This is equal to the amount of revenue currently forecasted.

 

Due to the economic downturn created by the pandemic, the Department of Finance and Administration recently reduced the 2021 forecast for net general revenue available by $205.9 million.

 

To accommodate that reduction, $212 million of the budget is listed in Category D. Should the economy bounce back above the current forecast, the funds would be distributed as outlined in that category. 

 

The Governor is reviewing guidance from medical experts on how to safety to re-engage businesses after Arkansas sees a decline in COVID-19 cases.  The peak is expected around May 4. We do not anticipate our economy will slow down, but rather that we are on pause.

 

The House will reconvene on Friday, April 24 at noon to address any unfinished business and officially adjourn the 2020 Fiscal Session Sine Die.

 

You can watch live and recorded sessions of the House on our website. We have also posted a link to the legislation outlining next year’s budget.

 

Visit www.arkansashouse.org.

 

4-17-20 5:43 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Protecting the Supply Chain During a Crisis

Protecting the Supply Chain During a Crisis

 

I was grateful when President Trump recently called me to discuss the agriculture community’s concerns related to the coronavirus crisis, particularly the need to assure the public that our food supply chain remains strong in the midst of this pandemic.

 

Later that day, the president shared that message in his remarks from the White House press room and encouraged the nation to thank and pray for “the incredible food supply workers who are feeding our nation.” We may personally know some of these dedicated individuals, but they are often complete strangers, who are sacrificing and working extra hours, under extreme pressure, to ensure we have food to put on our tables.

 

Our nation is rightfully thanking first responders and the medical community standing tall on the frontlines of this fight. We pray for their safety as they provide critical care to those in need. While we continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers, we must also lift up those responsible for ensuring the resiliency of our food supply chain.

 

Americans depend on our nation’s farmers to grow the food, fuel and fiber we need. This dependence becomes much more pronounced in times of crisis, which creates additional strain on those who provide the goods and supplies necessary for everyday life.

 

Our agriculture community, trucking industry and grocers are doing incredible work to ensure that food and critical supplies remain in stock. This moment is presenting an enormous challenge, but they are rising to the occasion.

 

No one is immune to this virus. We are beginning to see an uptick in the number of employees at processing plants, grocery stores and other key points in the supply chain who have tested positive. Fortunately, these critical industries have contingency plans in place and are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to protect the health and safety of essential workers, while keeping critical functions operating throughout the outbreak.

 

While the industry is doing its part, the federal government must take responsible steps to ensure the continuity of our country’s food supply and support rural areas during the coronavirus pandemic. That’s why I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues to urge U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to consider enacting emergency measures that provide relief to our farmers and ranchers—such as deadline extensions, loan payment deferrals, payment forbearance and a full suspension of all current and pending foreclosure actions—for the duration of the pandemic and subsequent economic recovery.

 

While consumers may encounter some empty shelves and challenges finding variety during shopping trips, the ebb and flow of a store’s stock is not an indication of a national shortage or a reason to panic. There is no need to buy more groceries than is necessary for a week or two. These are anxious times, but the supply chain is resilient, our producers are agile and our food is safe and abundant. You will be able to get food and supplies on your next visit, without depleting the options for others in need now.

 

We have to remember we are all in this together. While most of us are following social distancing guidelines, those critical to ensuring the supply chain holds through this crisis are working harder than ever. We can each do our part to help ease the stress they are under, which in turn, ensures that our family, friends and neighbors can also get the products they need. 

 

4-17-20 3:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

April 17, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature completed the 2020 fiscal session in record time, approving a balanced budget that funds state government spending of $5.68 billion.

 

An additional $212.2 in spending is authorized in the event that economic activity rebounds from the slump caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Tax revenue goes up and down, depending on the health of the economy.

 

Arkansas operates under a balanced budget law called the Revenue Stabilization Act, which prioritizes spending categories and guarantees the state will balance its budget at the end of every fiscal year. If revenue declines, spending is cut proportionately.

 

The most essential state services are in Category A of the Revenue Stabilization Act. For the fiscal year that begins July 1, there will be five categories. They are A, A-1, B, C and D.

 

The $212.2 million in spending that has been authorized in case the economy rebounds is in Category D.

 

Category A is by far the largest, with authorized spending of $5.3 billion. The next category, A-1, has $184 million in authorized spending. Categories B and C each authorize $91 million in state agency spending.

 

In late March the state’s top budget officials put in motion a series of spending reductions because of the sudden and severe economic slump caused by the coronavirus. They reduced the official forecast for the current fiscal year by about $353 million, to a total of $5.38 billion.

 

The total for the previous fiscal year was $5.62 billion.

 

The Medicaid program, which is administered within the state Human Services Department, is authorized to spend $9 billion, although the vast majority of that comes from federal matching funds.

 

A change in the federal match rate will help Arkansas balance its budget while maintaining Medicaid services. Previously, federal funding accounted for about 71 percent of Arkansas Medicaid spending, but for the remainder of this year the match rate will go up to 77 percent.

 

Arkansas received good news from federal Medicaid officials. The state’s request for a waiver was partially approved, which means that Medicaid funds can be spent on supplemental pay for nursing home staff and others who care for people who are elderly or who have disabilities.

 

Supplemental pay will be more for workers at a facilities where a resident has tested positive for the coronavirus. As of last week, 28 Arkansas nursing homes had at least one case.

 

Supplemental payments are available to nursing homes, ARChoices, personal care providers, Area Agencies on Aging, assisted living facilities, hospice providers, children’s extensive support waiver providers for supported living services, and agencies that provide care outside of institutional settings for people in their homes.

 

Federal approval of the Medicaid waiver was very important because Medicaid pays for the majority of long-term care in Arkansas. Also, Covid-19, the potentially serious illness associated with coronavirus, is especially hard on senior citizens and people with certain chronic health conditions.

 

Staff who are eligible for the supplemental pay include nurses, nurse aids, respiratory therapists, personal care aides and home health aides, direct care workers and assistive personnel.

 

A similar plan for supplemental pay is being developed for hospital direct-care workers.

 

4-17-20 10:40 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Body Found Near Ink, Arrest Made By PCSO

On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at approximately 11:52 a.m., the Polk County Sheriff's Office received a call about a possible body in a creek on Polk County Road 71 near Ink (Polk County). Upon arrival at the scene, deputies discovered the body of an unidentified white male in a creek at the intersection of Polk County Roads 71 and 194. The Arkansas State Police C.I.D. was contacted to assist working the scene.

 
The body was later identified as Benjamin Dale Gheorghiu, age 44, of Mena.
 
Based on information obtained during the initial investigation, a suspect was developed. After being interviewed, Hunter James Hogan, age 21 of Mena, was arrested. Hogan was charged with 1st Degree Murder and Abuse of a Corpse. Hogan is incarcerated in the Polk County Detention Center.
 
Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer stated that he wanted to thank his deputies and the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division for their hard work in the case. "They went from an unidentified body in a creek to having a suspect in custody in a matter of hours. This case came together very quickly because of outstanding police work!"
 
4-16-20 9:47 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 April 15, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

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

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

For real-time information on stream flow in Arkansas from the U.S. Geological Survey, visit: 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.

 

4-15-20 2:57 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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March Sales Tax Report

Polk County Treasurer Tanya K. Fretz recently released the Sales Tax Report for Polk County covering the month of March 2020.

 

The Sales Tax General and Road Improvement Sales Taxe are both 1% taxes on retail sales. The Road Improvement Sales Tax money can only be used for roads.

 

Both taxes generated $117,808.40 in March, totaling $235,616.80. This is an increase for both of $2,068.41 or a total of $4,136.82.

 

Year to date the collections for both taxes total $407,495.82 which is an increase of $22,645.81 for the same period in 2019.

 

4-14-20 4:50 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Spotlight Singers, Bearcat Chorus Earn High Honors From Choral Directors Association

The Arkansas Choral Directors Association recognizes individual students and choral groups that participate in region choral performance assessment and excel in academic achievement.  The awards program features two levels of recognition based on the 4.0 grading scale:  Distinguished Academic Achievement (GPA of 3.25 or higher) and Excellence in Academic Achievement (GPA of 3.00 - 3.24).

 

The GPA of the first semester of the current school year is used to determine award recipients.  
 
Mena's The Spotlight Singers earned a group Distinguished award with a combined GPA of 3.85. 
 
The Bearcat Chorus earned a group Excellence award with a combined GPA of 3.0.
 
Students earning individual Distinguished Academic Achievement honors are:  
Spotlight Singers
 
Cassidy Ashcraft, Miranda Burt, Cassidy Delaney, Hope Egger, Christina Gragg, Cloey Massey, Zoe McPherson, Ali Ogden, Kendall Posey, and Nalu Pruitt 
 
Bearcat Chorus
 
Ashtan Carr, Hannah Willis, Devon Davis, Misael Knight, Latonia Siler, Julia Bailey, Leilani Knight, Gabby Pierce, Maddison Gunn, Tabitha Levering, Gabe Betz, Phong Nguyen, Ethan Scott
 
Students earning Excellence in Academic Achievement are:
 
Bearcat Chorus
 
Chloe White, Sierra Taylor, Alexyss Hilderbrand, Summer Venable
 
Congratulations to these students and The Spotlight Signers and The Bearcat Chourus!
 
4-14-20 2:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of April 6, 2020 – April 12, 2020. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

April 6, 2020

No reports were filed.

 

April 7, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 93 near Rocky of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded. Complainant refused to press charges.

 

April 8, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 31 near Cove of harrassment. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Takarite Lane near Ink of an unattended death. Deputies responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Cherry Hill of a domestic disturbance led to the arrest of Tommy Smith, 67, of Mena on Charges of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.

Arrested was Charles L. Houser, 63, of Grannis on a Charge for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

 

April 9, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Vandervoort of a missing family member. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 70 near Cherry Hill of a break-in. Investigation continues.

 

April 10, 2020

No reports were filed.

 

April 11, 2020

Report from complainant at Hatton Lane near Wickes of a disturbance led to the arrest of Waylon A. Broach, 20, of Cove on Charges of Disorderly Conduct and Criminal Mischief, and to the arrest of Anthony Hinkle, 21, of Cove on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

Report from complainant on Hwy 246W near Hatfield of a theft of items valued at $200.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 31 near Hatfield of an unknown injured individual on their property. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 57 near Board Camp of a stolen vehicle valued at $2500.00. Vehicle was recovered. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant at Hwy 71S near Hatfield of a disturbance causing damage to a window in the amount of $100.00. Investigation continues.

 

April 12, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 227 near Vandervoort of items missing from a residence valued at $345.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 46 near Shady Grove of interference with visitation. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

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

 

PC20-0022

 

4-13-20 2:46 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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UARM Announces Online Summer Sessions, Grading, Parking Lot WiFi & Cancellation of Summer Camps

[April 13, 2020 | MENA, Ark.] UARM Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson remains in constant communication with students since the coronavirus outbreak when campus was forced to close and transition to online courses or remote instruction methods. He provides weekly updates and encouragement to finish strong.

 

The largest news to report to last week included a virtual meeting of the UA System Board of Trustees. Members voted for all UA System schools’ summer sessions to be taught exclusively online or remote instruction method. They also voted that all summer camps at all campuses are cancelled. For UARM, this will include the very popular Kids/Teen College led by Ms. Penny Lunsford will not be held for 2020.

 

Last week’s announcement also included the faculty chamber approving a new grading scheme for the spring semester, recognizing the unexpected hardships they have endured.

 

· Students who earn an A, B, or C can opt to change their grade to a P, which will not calculate into the GPA but indicates passing the course.

 

· Students who earn a D can opt to change their grade to a CR (credit), which will not calculate into the GPA but indicates passing the course with a D (may not meet prerequisites for certain courses).

 

· Students who earn an F can opt to change the grade to an NC, which will not calculate into the GPA but indicates no credit for the course.

 

Wilson also announced that a new webpage had been created to help address the students’ and community’s questions during this new “normal”. The page is: https://www.uarichmountain.edu/coronavirus-faq.

 

Internet is also critical to students who all have been catapulted into online learning. The Mena campus currently has WiFi parking lot access and now the Mt. Ida campus in Montgomery County also has access. “In both locations, we ask that you respect social distancing guidelines and remain in your cars,” said Wilson. Network name for Mt. Ida access is RichMtnWifi and password is RichMountain.

 

Wilson congratulated students who are planning for brighter days ahead and have already completed their registration for the Fall semester. “I’m extremely grateful to our dedicated admissions and financial aid staff as well as our advisers who created a new method to assist students who couldn’t physically walk into their offices to complete this process. They are completely focused on assisting students during this historic time and doing all they can to minimize the disruption to their educational goals.”

 

4-13-20 2:39 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for April 5th - 11th

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of April 5, 2020 through April 11, 2020

 

April 5, 2020

 

A theft report was taken from a department store.

 

April 6, 2020

 

A loud noise complaint was taken at a residence.

 

Gary Smith, 42, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a complaint from a convenience store.

 

Cord Olson, 34, was arrested for Domestic Battery 3rd Degree after officers responded to a disturbance call at a residence.

 

April 7, 2020

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at a coffee shop.

 

April 8, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 9, 2020

 

A report of forgery was taken from a walk-in complainant at the police department.

 

Jordan Garcia, 25, was arrested on two warrants after he turned himself in at the police department.

 

April 10, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 11, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

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

 

4-13-20 10:03 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The First Line of Defense Against COVID-19

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: The First Line of Defense Against COVID-19
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I’d like to talk about the professionals who are on the front lines at the hospitals and clinics all over Arkansas who are treating our COVID-19 patients and doing the critically important testing work.
 
These nurses, nursing assistants, respiratory therapists, and doctors are our first line of defense against COVID-19. They are putting their lives at risk in the same way that firefighters do when they run into a burning building. During this pandemic, these professionals have been reporting to work because they care for people and that is their life calling.
 
At least 158 health care providers have tested positive for COVID-19. We hope that they recover quickly.
 
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that sets up in the lungs and requires the skills of a pulmonologist and a respiratory therapist if ventilator treatment is necessary.
 
A Little Rock registered respiratory therapist has described the effect of COVID-19 on the lungs as similar to the struggle to breathe if you climbed Mount Everest without oxygen.
 
The respiratory therapists measure, assess, and evaluate peak airway pressure, mean airway pressure, compliance, resistance, and monitor the pulmonary infection. The symptoms of COVID-19 are especially severe and hard to control.
 
While COVID-19 remains somewhat of a mystery killer, I am encouraged by the numbers we see at the present in Arkansas. We are seeing these positive signs because of the way Arkansans have adapted to the temporary limitations we have imposed on our daily lives.
 
The best way to help our front-line professionals is to continue to wash your hands, keep your distance, and stay at home if at all possible. If you have to get out, wear a mask to protect others. The more we practice these preventative measures, the sooner we will move past this pandemic.
 
Thanks to everyone who has risen to the challenge, from the people who are taking samples at drive-through testing sites in our clinics, to the professionals in the emergency rooms and intensive care units. Our prayers are with you.
 
I also wanted to mention the importance of this weekend since we celebrate both Passover and Easter. For me, Easter has always meant getting together for church and with family. This week, the First Lady and I will celebrate Easter away from the family and by watching the service on the Internet. It is important that we resist the temptation to get together because that risks the spread of the virus. Let’s get through this so that we will have many more Easters to celebrate in the future.
 
4-10-20 9:21 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

The 2020 Fiscal Session is now underway. 

 

As we did in the recent special session, the House met at the Jack Stephens Arena at UALR to provide enough space for social distancing. We will continue to meet at that venue next week.

 

On the opening day of the session, the Governor told the General Assembly our state’s economy is not slowing down, but rather is on pause out of necessity.

 

The Governor is asking the General Assembly to cut $205 million from the previous balanced budget proposal presented before the pandemic. We intend to accomplish this while still fulfilling our obligations to education, public safety, and Medicaid.

 

While the legislature works on the state budget, we recognize many of you are struggling with your personal budget.

 

More than 132,000 unemployment claims have been processed in Arkansas. Arkansans who filed unemployment claims before March 28 should have received compensation by now. Those who filed before April 4 should receive payment this Monday.

 

Regular unemployment benefits now include an additional $600 weekly benefit payment for any workers eligible for state or federal unemployment insurance. There is no need to apply for this, these payments will automatically be issued, along with your regular UI benefit.

 

However, we know many other Arkansans are experiencing difficulty in processing claims and getting through the hotline. On Friday, the Joint Budget Committee passed an amendment for additional funding for extra help and overtime for the agency overseeing the unemployment hotline.

 

If you are experiencing delays in filing your claim online or by phone, please understand that your claim will be processed and backdated. If eligible, you will receive your benefits based on your date of separation from your employment.

 

To assist the local Department of Workforce offices around the state with the massive volume of claims and questions, the Department of Commerce is utilizing almost 80 staff from the DWS central office and other Commerce staff and volunteers to answer the hotline calls and to file claims. They will continue to train available state employees. They are also evaluating the availability of an external call center. The external call center could provide a way for hours to be extended.

 

The website, www.ezarc.adws.arkansas.gov is available to process applications Sunday-Saturday from 6 am to 6 pm.

 

The hotline numbers 1-844-908-2178 or 501-534-6304 accept calls Monday – Friday, 8 am-3:30 pm.

 

We have posted a link to frequently asked questions about unemployment on our website.

 

The House will convene again on Wednesday at 11 am. Schedules and live stream information can also be found on our website. 

 

Visit www.arkansashouse.org.

 

4-10-20 4:10 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Coronavirus-Related Scams on the Rise

Warning: Coronavirus-Related Scams on the Rise

 

A knock at the door of the home of one Arkansan recently turned into a nightmare for the elderly resident. The homeowner unsuspectingly gave individuals, who falsely identified themselves as employees from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), her banking information and other personal details in exchange for a COVID-19 test. What she didn’t realize is these were thieves cashing in on coronavirus fears.

 

This incident was reported on by the media in mid-March. Since then, more people have had money or personal information stolen. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported an increase in complaints of fraud and nationwide losses of more than $4.77 million to consumers who fell victim to coronavirus-related hoaxes. The agency has received more than 7,800 complaints from individuals across the country.

 

Last month, the Department of Justice launched an initiative to detect, prevent and punish any fraudulent or malicious coronavirus-centered activity. Just days after its launch, the department announced it was taking action against a website selling what it claimed were World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine kits. At this time, there is no known vaccine for the coronavirus.

 

Many Arkansans can anticipate receiving a recovery check from the federal government in the coming weeks. While the IRS is in the process of issuing this money, offenders have begun targeting these payments. There is no sign-up required to collect the funds and anyone who calls claiming they have an ability to get the money immediately is a thief.

 

The IRS warns Americans to be on the lookout for hoaxes in all forms of communication from calls, emails, text messages, websites and social media. Scammers may use the words “stimulus check” or “stimulus payment”, but the official term used by the agency is “economic impact payment.”

 

Unfortunately, these evolving schemes often put senior citizens in the crosshairs. Some Social Security beneficiaries have received fraudulent letters that threaten suspension of their assistance due to coronavirus and related office closures. While offices are closed for in-person meetings, this does not impact benefits.

 

It’s important to remember that government agencies won’t call to offer coronavirus related-grants or a faster distribution of the economic impact payment in exchange for personal information. The best thing to do if a caller is offering these false promises is to hang up, block the caller and report it to the FTC or the Arkansas Attorney General’s office.

 

We can be grateful for the ongoing efforts in Arkansas by Dr. Nitin Agarwal, professor of information sciences at UA Little Rock, and his team of researchers who are working to identify the schemes thieves employ so we can stop these fraudulent activities, hold offenders accountable and prevent Arkansans from being fooled by bogus claims.

 

Scammers and con artists are preying on fears Arkansans have related to the coronavirus, and are using this crisis as an opportunity to steal money and personal information. The methods criminals use to scam individuals has become increasingly complex and may sound or look official. By remaining vigilant, and understanding how thieves are operating, you can protect yourself and your family from falling victim to their ploys.

 

4-10-20 4:01 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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AG Warning: Stop All Medically Unnecessary Surgeries

Rutledge Warns Health Care Professionals and Facilities, Including Abortion Providers, Must Immediately Stop All Medically Unnecessary Surgeries

Says, ‘Those who violate the Department of Health’s directive will be met with decisive action’

 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge warns all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities, including abortion providers, that pursuant the April 3, 2020 Directive on Elective Surgeries issued by the Department of Health, they must postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary.

 

“Arkansans must work together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Attorney General Rutledge.  “All medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures, including abortions, must be postponed until after this crisis has ended. Those who violate the Department of Health’s directive will be met with decisive action, and my office will forcefully defend the State officials involved in keeping Arkansans safe.”

 

Last Friday, the Department of Health issued a directive mandating that all surgeries and procedures that can be safely postponed to a further date be postponed while the COVID-19 emergency is ongoing. This prohibition applies throughout the State to all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary, including routine dental and eye visits, as well as most scheduled healthcare procedures such as orthopedic surgeries or any type of abortion that is not immediately medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

 

The Department of Health, acting within its emergency powers under Governor Hutchinson’s March 11 emergency proclamation, issued this directive to preserve staff, personal protective equipment and patient care supplies to ensure staff and patient safety and to expand available hospital capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Postponing surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary will ensure the availability of hospital beds and personal protective equipment needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The failure of healthcare facilities to comply with the Department of Health’s directive will lead to administrative penalties, up to and including license suspension.

 

4-10-20 11:11 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

April 10, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – The sudden and severe economic downturn caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus means that the 2020 fiscal session will be the most difficult one for legislators since Arkansas voters first voted to establish fiscal sessions 12 years ago.

 

Usually, legislators focus on the details, rather than the broad outline of state agency budgets. They work on budget details within the framework of an official forecast, which over the years almost always calls for steady growth in revenue.

 

For example, from 2008 to 2018, state revenue increased by 35 percent, an average of 3.5 percent a year. During that 10-year period there was plenty of debate and political back-and-forth among legislators, but the disagreements were about details, not the overall forecast.

 

A simplified analogy is that every year the legislature builds a house, and on average it is 3.5 percent larger than the previous year. Every year the debate is how large the rooms will be. Human services, public schools, higher education and prisons compete to get the largest rooms.

 

In the past, national health care reform mandated that the legislature increase the relative size of the human services budget. In previous years the legislature had to enlarge the relative amount that the state spent on public education, because of settlements of school finance and desegregation lawsuits.

 

More and more, the war on illegal drugs creates public pressure to spend more on prisons and law enforcement.

 

The legislature must balance the competing demands for state dollars in order to balance the state budget every year. Unlike the federal government, Arkansas does not operate on deficits.

 

The task of balancing the state budget was made more difficult last week when the Department of Finance and Administration lowered its forecast for state revenue for next year.

 

That’s why the governor asked the legislature to help trim next year’s budget by $205 million while maintaining essential services. Those cuts come after state agencies were told that revenue would decrease by about $353 million in the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30.

 

The governor said that his priorities will be health, public education, Medicaid, prisons and law enforcement. The governor also proposed keeping some money in a flexible reserve fund, so that the state can plug any unexpected gaps in agency budgets that may arise.

 

During fiscal sessions, only budget bills are considered. There is a parliamentary mechanism for introducing a non-budget bill, but it sets a high bar. Sponsors must pass a resolution in each chamber by a two-thirds majority in order to even introduce a non-budget bill.

 

Arkansas voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2008 to set up fiscal sessions in even-numbered years. In odd-numbered years legislators meet in regular sessions. They are longer and much busier because in addition to budget bills, legislators consider non-budget bills on issues affecting most aspects of society.

 

During the fiscal session legislators are taking precautions to prevent any spread of the coronavirus.

 

Health technicians checked the temperature every person entering the Capitol. Most legislators are wearing face masks and trying to keep a distance of at least six feet from each other.

 

Members of the House of Representatives meet in the basketball arena of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock so they can socially distance from each other.

 

4-10-20 11:04 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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NIDEC PLANT CLOSED UNTIL APRIL 13th, STATEMENT FROM PLANT MANAGEMENT

NIDEC (US Motors) Mena plant manager Jim Stroope released the following statement Thursday afternoon.

 

"April 9, 2020 – Nidec Motor Corporation (NMC) plant management was notified yesterday evening that an employee in our Mena, Arkansas plant tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus). The employee was last in the plant on March 31, 2020.

 

As a precautionary measure, all employees were sent home yesterday and the plant was closed for cleaning. NMC will repeat the cleaning on April 12, 2020. The plant will remain closed until April 13, 2020, when it will resume normal operations.

 

NMC plant management has been in contact with local health officials and is following published guidelines from the Arkansas Department of Health and the CDC. We will share additional information when it becomes available.

 

The health and well-being of our employees and the community is our top priority. The plant continues to follow the CDC’s “Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19.” The plant manufactures electrical motors, which has been designated as critical and essential infrastructure by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security."

 

4-9-20 3:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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SEVERE WEATHER PREPAREDNESS DURING COVID-19, SHELTER GUIDELINES

April in Arkansas rarely passes without tornado warnings, or actual tornadoes, like April 9, 2009 in Mena.

 

There were 33 recorded tornadoes in Arkansas in 2019, according to the National Weather Service and to date there have been 18 in 2020.

 

In anticipation of severe weather, residents should prepare by identifying their safest place to shelter while keeping CDC guidelines in mind. If intending to shelter in a community shelter, residents should contact their local emergency management office to ensure the facility will be available during severe weather.

 

Kris Lyle of the Polk County Office of Emergency Management said that shelters at Mena High School and Mena Middle School, Acorn School, and the Polk County Courthouse basement will be open if there is a tornado warning and the tornado siren is activated.

 

Community shelters should observe the following:

 

  • Maintain social distancing to the extent practical.

 

  • If available, surgical masks should be distributed to prevent the spread of droplets created by coughing or sneezing.

 

  • Ensure availability of hand sanitizer and hand soap to maximize proper hygiene.

 

  • If cots are required, ADEM recommends a safe distance of six feet between cots.

 

  • Essential monitoring of the shelter population is advised to identify safe room occupants that may exhibit COVID-19 symptoms such as a temperature of 100.4 or greater.

 

The Arkansas Department of Human Services, in conjunction with ADEM, will coordinate long-term sheltering if necessary, post-event. Guidance and recommendations from the Arkansas Department of Health and the CDC will be followed.

 

4-9-20 9:00 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 April 8, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

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

 

4-8-20 3:58 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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ARVAC Commodity Distribution In Mena Set For April 28th

ARVAC, Inc. will issue commodities at the Polk County Fair Grounds on Polk Road 43 in Mena on Tuesday, April 28th from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

 

Due to Covid-19 Concerns this will be a drive through only distribution.

 

Listed are the income guidelines, family size and monthly income below.

 

FAMILY SIZE  MONTHLY

1                     $1,354

2                     $1,832

3                     $2,311

4                     $2,790

5                     $3,269

6                     $3,748

7                     $4,227

8                     $4,705

 

Add $468.00 for each additional family member. You cannot pick up commodities for more than two households.

 

Rules for acceptance and participation in the program are the same for everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, or handicap.

 

For additional information, contact ARVAC at (479) 394-4707 or visit their website by clicking here.

 

4-8-20 3:17 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson to Deliver State of the State Address

Governor Asa Hutchinson will deliver the State of the State address to the 92nd General Assembly ahead of the fiscal session on Wednesday, April 8th at 12:30 p.m. In order to allow room for sufficient social distancing, the Governor will deliver the State of the State address from the Senate Chamber in the State Capitol. Members of the House will watch the address virtually from their assembly at the Jack Stephens Center.


To view the State of the State address, click here.

 

4-7-20 9:22 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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COVID-19 Business Signage Requirement

As part of Governor Hutchinson’s recent State of Arkansas Executive Department Proclamation EO – 20 – 13 (3) f, all Arkansas businesses are required to:
 
Post a sign at the entrance of the facility informing all employees, customers, and congregants that they should: avoid entering the facility if they have a cough or fever; maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another; sneeze and cough into one's elbow; not shake hands or engage in any unnecessary physical contact;
 
The State Chamber/AIA is pleased to provide a copy of the notice for Arkansas businesses and organizations here.
 
We encourage you to print as many copies of this as you need and put them up at each of your facility entrances.
4-7-20 6:18 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Announces Schools Closed, Online and AMI Instruction For The Remainder Of School Year

Governor Hutchinson Announces All Schools To Remain Closed for Remainder of Academic Year
 
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has extended the mandatory closure of all Arkansas public schools through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, he announced at a news conference today. Arkansas educators will continue to provide alternative methods of instruction (AMI) for students to continue learning at home.
 
“The continued spread of COVID-19 throughout the nation does not give me confidence that our educators, parents, and, most importantly, our students would be safe if schools were to resume on-site instruction in April,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Although on-site instruction has been discontinued until the 2020-2021 school year, it is critical that our students continue to learn at home.”
 
Governor Hutchinson made the decision to extend his directive for school closures in consultation with Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Secretary Johnny Key and on the recommendation of Dr. Nathaniel Smith, secretary of the Department of Health (ADH).
 
“ADE is working closely with Arkansas educators, including members of local school boards, administrators, and teachers, to ensure that school districts have adequate support to continue AMI delivery through the remainder of the school year,” Secretary Key said.
 
Arkansas PBS will continue to broadcast streamlined, curriculum-based programming for the state’s pre-K through 8th grade students in partnership with ADE Division of Elementary and Secondary Education through May 1, 2020. After May 1, districts using Arkansas AMI resources will continue to provide education through their local AMI plans until the end of the academic year.
 
School districts may continue child nutrition services through meal delivery or meals-to-go methods in congruence with the ADH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for precautionary measures, hand washing, and social distancing.
 
4-6-20 4:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for March 30th - April 5th

 

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of March 30, 2020 – April 5, 2020. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

March 30, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 93 near Shady Grove of missing firearms valued at $600.00. Investigation continues.

 

March 31, 202

No reports were filed.

 

April 1, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 288 near Cove of a possible break-in. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 76E of a vehicle fire causing damage in the amount of $12,000.00. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Jason G. Myers, 42, of Mena on Charges of Possession of Methamphetamine, Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, Possession of a Defaced Firearm, and Maintaining a Drug Premise.

 

April 2, 2020

No reports were filed.

 

April 3, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 482 near Vandervoort of unauthorized use of a vehicle. Deputy responded.

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

 

April 4, 2020

Report from complainant on 71S near Cove of a road rage incident. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant near Mena of finding personal belongings of an unknown individual on their property. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 147 near Potter of a structure fire. Deputy responded.

 

April 5, 2020

Traffic stop on West Johnson near Hatfield 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 Trailwood Lane near Shady Grove of a domestic disturbance. Deputies responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 10 Incarcerated Inmates , with 8 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00210

 

4-6-20 3:05 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mrs. Elizabeth 'Beth' Ann Hegner Obituary

Mrs. Elizabeth “Beth” Ann Hegner, age 78, of Mena, Arkansas passed away Saturday, April 4, 2020 at Mena Regional Health Systems.

Beth was born May 21, 1941 in Mena, Arkansas. She was raised by her grandparents Henry Guinn and Gertrude Guinn. After graduation she became a dental assistant and worked for Dr. Goforth. Beth was a homemaker later in life and loved farming and loved to paint. She was a loving granddaughter, daughter, wife, mother, sister and friend to all that knew her, and she will be dearly missed by all.

She was survived by Daughter: Roma Ann Mos Potter and fiancé David Pajuodis of Ink, Arkansas

Grandchildren: Draven Ryan and Elena Pajuodis.

She was preceded in death by her parents Tex Shafer and Roma Shafer, her grandparents, 3 brothers: Doug Guinn, Paul Guinn, and Alan Guinn.

A memorial service will be announced later.

Cremation entrusted to Beasley Wood Funeral Home.
 

 

4-6-20 12:23 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for March 29th - April 4th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of March 29, 2020 through April 4, 2020 

 

 

March 29, 2020

 

A theft report was taken from department store.

 

A theft by deception report was taken from a department store.

 

Marsha Denton, 36, and Hunter Johns, 20, were arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a call to a department store.

 

Tina Richey, 33, was arrested for Theft of Property (Shoplifting) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a call to a department store.

 

March 30, 2020

 

A theft report was taken from a department store.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at a funeral home.

 

March 31, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 1, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 2, 2020

 

A theft report was taken at a residence.

 

April 3, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

April 4, 2020

 

A report was taken at the hospital of an accidental gunshot wound that occurred at a residence.

 

April 5, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

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

 

4-6-20 6:66 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Issues Executive Order Concerning Commercial Lodging In Arkansas

Governor Hutchinson Issues Executive Order Requiring New Protocols for Commercial Lodgings, Short-Term Rentals
 
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has issued an executive order mandating new safety measures for commercial lodgings, short-term rentals, and other institutions and operations in order to protect public health during the COVID-19 crisis, he announced at a news conference today.
 
“Every day, we review guidance from state and federal health experts and evaluate additional steps we can take to protect Arkansans from the spread of COVID-19,” Governor Hutchinson said. “I am grateful that Arkansans have taken extraordinary efforts to practice social distancing and flatten the curve. It is my hope that these new measures will provide further protection for Arkansans as we prepare for the peak number of COVID-19 cases in our state.”
 
The Governor has directed that commercial lodgings and short-term rentals, including, hotels, motels, and vacation rentals, only permit occupancy for the following authorized guests:
 
  • Healthcare professionals;
  • First responders;
  • Law enforcement;
  • State or federal employees on official business;
  • National Guard members on active duty;
  • Airline crew members;
  • Patients of hospitals and their families;
  • Journalists;
  • Persons unable to return to their home due to COVID-19 travel restrictions;
  • Arkansas citizens unable to return to their home due to exigent circumstances, such as fire, flood, tornado, or other disaster;
  • Persons in need of shelter due to domestic violence or homelessness;
  • Employees of hotels, motels, or other service providers/contractors of a hotel or motel;
  • and persons away from their home due to work or work-related travel.

 

Read the Executive Order, EO 20-13, HERE.
 
4-4-20 6:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Flattening the Curve

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Flattening the Curve

 

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

 

Today I want to discuss the steps we have taken together to fight the coronavirus called COVID-19.

 

Since March 11, the day I signed the Executive Order that declared a public health emergency, our public health team has guided our response and targeted our actions to stop this virus.

 

I’d like to review a few of the steps we have taken. We have closed schools, bars and the state’s three casinos. We have closed restaurants except for take-out meals. We have shut down barbershops, and hair and nail salons; massage-therapy clinics and tattoo parlors. We have closed fitness centers, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and indoor amusement centers. We have shuttered state park lodges and prohibited camping in the park. I directed state employees to work remotely when possible, and we suggested companies allow employees to work from home. All of these actions mean people have lost their jobs, and this is so difficult to do, and it goes against everything we are trying to accomplish. But these steps are necessary in this public health emergency.

 

Our measures are more stringent than those in many other states. That is the reason the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Arkansas is 400 fewer than our projections. If necessary, we can go farther, but the typical stay-at-home order exempts essential activities and businesses. In many states, essential activities include manufacturing, hardware stores, and legal, accounting, and insurance services. California’s executive order exempts grocery stores, farmer’s markets, convenience stores, banks, and laundromats. Every morning in California, which has one of the strictest orders in place, millions of people leave home for work.

 

If I initiated a stay-at-home order similar to California’s, more than 700,000 Arkansans would still get up and go to work the next morning. Thousands of others would visit hardware stores, Kroger, Walgreens, and Walmart. But there is another impact that many don’t consider. An order that shut down the state could put a couple hundred thousand people out of work.

 

At this time, we have not issued a stay-at-home order primarily because most people are making responsible choices. Arkansans are putting the good of the state ahead of personal convenience or comfort, and in many cases, people are sacrificing their financial security. Concert halls, sports arenas, and even churches have closed voluntarily. In theory, we could have ordered all of those places to close. But that wasn’t necessary.

 

Our targeted actions are working. In Arkansas, even without the stay-at-home order, the rate of growth in the number of cases has flattened. That’s not true in some states that began sheltering-in-place early on.

 

We’re basing our decisions on scientific data. We can’t be pressured into taking measures simply because all the other states are doing it. When we need to do more, we will.  And let me assure you, we will continue to listen our public health experts.

 

4-3-20 8:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

The 2020 Fiscal Session is scheduled to begin April 8 at noon.

The COVID-19 crisis will have an impact on the proposed budget as well as our meeting schedules.

The Department of Finance and Administration released a revised revenue forecast on April 2. The revision was necessary because of an economic recession predicted as a result from business slowdown and negative labor markets.

The forecast now reflects $5.6 billion in net available revenue for FY 2021. This indicates a decrease of $205.9 million from the prior forecast released in January.

The schedule for meetings will be posted on our website. For precautionary measures due to COVID-19, the General Assembly is not expected to meet as long as in previous Fiscal Sessions.

By law, Fiscal Sessions cannot extend longer than 30 days without a ¾ vote from both chambers. The longest it can be extended is an additional 15 days.

During Fiscal Sessions, the legislature can only address the budget and appropriation bills. In order for non-appropriation legislation to be introduced, a resolution substantially describing the bill must first be approved by a 2/3 vote in both chambers.

The House will convene at the Jack T. Stephens Center at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. We convened at this venue for the recent special session as it provides enough space for the recommended social distancing guidelines.

Arkansas PBS will stream the House meetings. You can find the links for those live-streams as well as the Senate meetings and Joint Budget Committee meetings on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

4-3-20 5:01 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Rising to the Moment

Rising to the Moment: Arkansans Become “The Helpers”

 

Fred Rogers once recalled an instruction from his mother to “look for the helpers” in times of crisis and tragedy. It made a significant impression on him, and for good reason. “If you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope,” he explained.

 

Our nation, and much of the globe, finds itself in a time of distress not seen in modern history going back to at least the Second World War, but we can and should be encouraged by the response from friends, neighbors and even strangers across the country and right here in Arkansas who are helping those in need.

 

Designers and seamstresses were recruited by the Arkansas Arts and Fashion Forum to make masks for local hospitals and medical clinics. Firefighters in Little Rock organized an effort to feed truck drivers working tirelessly to maintain our supply chain. A Jonesboro retail-space landlord waived April rent in order to allow businesses to continue paying employees.

 

Kids in Fort Smith are making cards for senior citizens who might be isolated and lonely. Members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra created a “Bedtime with Bach” nightly series to play comforting lullabies as we all cope with self-quarantining. A local restaurant in Searcy, forced to close its own doors, offered the stock of fresh groceries it had on hand to other small business owners who might be struggling as well.

 

Those are a just a few specific acts of kindness and generosity we’ve seen as this pandemic began to take its toll.

 

There are many others, large and small, happening each day across the state. Neighbors are pitching in to help the elderly couple down the street get the groceries and medications they need. Families are brightening the days of those who might be taking a walk outside by coloring chalk drawings in their driveways and on sidewalks. Teachers, who so missed seeing their students cheerful faces, have organized “car parades” in local neighborhoods to show their pupils they haven’t forgotten about them. Volunteers are working tirelessly to make sure individuals and families in need have meals through feeding programs and foodbank donations. Time after time, Arkansans are stepping up to the plate instead of waiting around for someone else to do it.

 

And all those examples don’t even include perhaps the most visible helpers of all in the midst of this crisis, our medical providers. They – and the administration and support staff around them – are providing the most vital service of all. Caring for COVID-19 patients and others in need of health care services at a time when resources are tight, shifts are long and the risk is high makes them the true definition of the word ‘hero.’

 

Mr. Rogers’ career was defined by his ability to connect with his audience and teach basic lessons about humanity and how we all have a part to play in it. His mother’s advice about finding the helpers is certainly something we should take to heart at this time. I know the admonition I received from my former coach Frank Broyles to “be a giver” has certainly shaped the way I view and live life.

 

So, the next time you’re watching or reading the news and things seem bleak, pause and take a second to find the helpers. You might even ask yourself how you can be a helper in that moment. Together we’ll support each other, spread hope and encouragement, and eventually get through this difficult time. The helpers will still be there, and their ranks will keep growing.

 

4-3-20 4:50 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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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

April 3, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas state parks will be open only during the daytime, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus among dense gatherings of visitors at trailheads and campsites, state officials announced.

 

Also, state officials and legislators joined in requesting that federal authorities close the Buffalo River National River, because so many out-of-state tourists were gathering there. “The trail heads are overrun with vehicles from every state in the country, including states with hot spots of covid-19,” the letter from local legislators said.

 

According to a count on a single day, 60 percent of visitors to the Buffalo River were from out of state. The prevalence of out-of-state visitors goes against the efforts of medical professionals trying to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.

 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. The new version that is spreading across the globe is called “coronavirus disease 2019,” which has been abbreviated to COVID-19. It can cause severe symptoms and cause death, but it also may not cause any symptoms.

 

The secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism said that 28 other states had closed overnight access to parks.

 

Also, several popular trails have been closed. They are the Cedar Falls Trail and the Cedar Falls Overlook in Petit Jean State Park, the east and west Summit Trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park and the Fossil Flats Mountain Bike Trail and the Woody Plants Trail at Devil’s Den State Park. More closings can be expected.

 

Being outside is encouraged by public health officials, but you must maintain a safe distance from other people. Ultraviolet rays from the sun degrade many viruses, the Secretary of Health said.

 

However, gathering outdoors is as unsafe as gathering indoors. That’s why beaches have been closed. Popular music festivals and sporting events have been postponed or canceled, to avoid dense groupings of people.

 

State park rangers will have authority to disperse gatherings of people, and to issue citations for parking illegally.

 

The Secretary of Commerce said that personnel in the Workforce Services Department had been realigned to better handle the flood of applications for unemployment insurance. The rate of applications had averaged 1,000 to 1,500 a week, but has spiked to about 30,000 in a single week.

 

State revenue dropped dramatically due to the sudden downturn in economic activity. In late March the official revenue forecast for the current fiscal year was reduced by $353 million.

 

The filing date for state income taxes has been postponed to July 15. Also, the Department of Finance and Administration has suspended penalties for motorists who are late renewing their car tags.

 

The Human Services Department is now accepting documents by email, and is setting up drop boxes in the lobbies of local county offices. This is to help people applying for ARKids, food stamps (SNAP) or Temporary Employee Assistance, and people who need to provide additional documentation for other benefits.

 

Applying in person for benefits will take longer because of statewide restrictions that allow only 10 or fewer people at any one time in the lobby of a county office.

 

4-3-20 10:59 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 April 1, 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.

 

4-1-20 8:24 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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Arkansas Limits State Parks to Day Use Only

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) —Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism (ADPHT), today announced all Arkansas State Parks will be open for day use only effective 8 a.m. on Friday, April 3, until further notice. ADPHT is eliminating all overnight stay opportunities. These changes will maintain some access to parks at this time but discourage trips from out-of-state visitors. This move is consistent with 28 other states.

Due to the inability to offer adequate space for social distancing, the following areas and trails will be closed:

 

  • Cedar Falls Trail and Cedar Falls Overlook at Petit Jean State Park
  • Day-Use Area on Highway 300 and the East Summit trailhead parking areas at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, including access to the West Summit, East Summit, Kingfisher and Base Trails, the Little Maumelle River Boat Ramp and the Picnic Area
  • Fossil Flats Mountain Bike Trail and the Woody Plants Trail at Devil’s Den State Park

 

Additional trails and facilities may be closed if visitors are unable to maintain physical distancing on other trails or other day-use areas.


“Our state parks are valuable resources for the citizens of our state,” said Hurst. “We are making this decision to slow the traffic to our parks and to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. People may still come and enjoy outdoor activities for the day. Our uniformed staff will be reminding them to practice social distancing and be good stewards of our beautiful parks.”

Any deposits to the parks will be refunded, and any fees will be waived. Questions about reservation cancellation should be made to the parks directly.

Additional limitations to day-use visitation will be implemented to reduce the opportunity to spread the virus.

 

  • Parking will be restricted at highly visited parks to designated lots only and enforced through citations/tickets issued by Park Rangers. Some parks will close the entry gate to the park when it is full for crowd control.
  • Problematic areas such as trails that are either too narrow for proper social distancing or so popular that crowding occurs at the trailhead may be closed.
  • Park Rangers will enforce social distancing by patrolling parks and dispersing gatherings of more than 10 people. Uniformed staff, including superintendents and interpreters, will actively help educate visitors on the grounds on busy days.
  • Park Rangers or other park staff from across the system will be deployed to highly visited parks as needed in anticipation of crowds.

 

Complete and up-to-date information on the parks and closings can be found at https://www.ArkansasStateParks.com/covid-19-update.

 

4-1-20 5:12 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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SBA Loans To Small Businesses For Payroll

Boozman: Paycheck Protection Program Critical to Recovery

Urges Arkansas Small Businesses to Apply for Relief

 

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) applauded the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) swift implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program, which authorizes lending institutions to quickly make loans to small businesses to help them remain operational during coronavirus outbreak.

 

The $349 billion program was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress, and signed into law by President Trump, last week. It provides low-interest loans to small businesses to use for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities, with a portion of the loan eligible for forgiveness. This program is crucial to help small businesses remain afloat despite the financial hardships caused by the coronavirus.

 

“Over 99 percent of Arkansas businesses are small businesses, and perhaps no one has been impacted more by the economic fallout caused by the coronavirus. The Paycheck Protection Program provides critical aid that will allow small businesses to stay in operation and keep employees on the payroll as we all weather this storm. There is an urgent need for these funds, and I encourage Arkansas businesses to apply for this assistance,” Boozman said.

 

“Our team here in Arkansas is working at a record setting pace to help bring lenders up online and prepare for a full implementation for the Paycheck Protection Program. This is an unpresented time where the federal government is working seamlessly with industry to help maximize availability of credit to our small businesses,” said Edward Haddock, district director for the Arkansas District Office of the SBA.

 

Paycheck Protection Program Highlights:

 

  • The program is retroactive from Feb. 15, 2020, so employers can rehire recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.
  • Eligible recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million.
  • Loan payments will be deferred for six months.
  • PPP loans can cover payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities.
  • For small businesses that maintain their workforce, SBA will forgive the portion of the loan used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll and certain other expenses.

How to get a Paycheck Protection Program Small Business Loan

Q: How can I apply?

 

SBA has approved lenders that process small business loans. Talk with your bank to see if it is participating in the program or find top SBA approved lenders here.

 

Q: When can I apply?

Small businesses and sole proprietors can apply beginning April 3, 2020. Starting April 10, 2020 independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply.

 

Q: Does my business qualify?

Small businesses with 500 or fewer employees—including 501(c)(3) nonprofits, veterans organizations, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships and independent contractors— are eligible. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries.

 

You can find more information about the Paycheck Protection Program on the SBA’s website and at the Department of Treasury.

 

4-1-20 12:56 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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