KAWX News Archives for 2020-06

UA Rich Mountain Receives Grant for Historic Armory Renovations

The University of Arkansas received a grant of $237,000 from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) at its meeting on Wednesday, June 3. The grant will be used for continued renovations at the Historic Armory located on DeQueen Street in Mena.

The council distributed $27.3 million to 23 projects that will restore and protect state-owned lands and property.

 

“All credit to the talents and perseverance of Dr. Diann Gathright,” said UARM Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson. “When she commits to doing a project, nothing can stop her! We are genuinely appreciative of the continued dollars from the ANCRC for this project. They have been extremely generous to the Mena community time and again. Our community is the benefactor of their vision to preserve crucial assets in Arkansas.”

 

Bids will be advertised mid-July for the remainder of the project with the a scheduled completion date of January 2021.

 

The ANCRC also approved an extension of $154,644 from a previously awarded grant for the same project that allowed the college to fully restore the roof and repair exterior doors. Leaks had added to the deterioration of the facility. Now, with the additional grant, the floors can be restored along with restoring the exterior, painting the interior, and refurbishing kitchen equipment.

 

Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, who serves as secretary of the ANCRC said, “The ANCRC Trust Fund has funded over $400 million in projects since its first grants were made in 1989. Many well-loved buildings and properties have been saved for future generations by the fund, and we are a better state for it.”

 

ANCRC has funded the restoration and preservation of such iconic properties as the Arkansas State Capitol, Old Main on the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville campus, Lakeport Plantation in Chicot County and the Johnny Cash Home in Dyess.

 

The Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) was established by Arkansas Act 729 of 1987. Its grants and trust fund are managed for the acquisition, management and stewardship of state-owned lands, or the preservation of state-owned historic sites, buildings, structures or objects which the ANCRC determines to be of value for recreation or conservation purposes. The properties are to be used, preserved and conserved for the benefit of present and future generations.

 

6-30-20 5:14 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Lt. Governor Griffin Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision on School Choice

Lt. Governor Griffin Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision on School Choice

Says, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision 'marks an important win for children, their parents, and the communities where they live' 

 

LITTLE ROCK – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin today issued the following statement:

 

"The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue marks an important win for children, their parents, and the communities where they live. The Court correctly ruled that a State cannot bar private schools from school choice programs simply because they are religious. Equipped with this ruling, I look forward to working with the Arkansas legislature and the governor to take bold action and further expand educational freedom for parents and children in the 2021 session."  

 

About Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin

 

He was elected lieutenant governor of Arkansas on November 4, 2014, and was re-elected for his second four-year term on November 6, 2018. From 2011-2015, Griffin served as the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District. For the 113th Congress, he was a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means while also serving as a Deputy Whip for the Majority. In the 112th Congress, he served as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on the Judiciary.

 

Griffin is a graduate of Magnolia High School, Hendrix College in Conway and Tulane Law School in New Orleans, and attended graduate school at Oxford University. Griffin has served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps, for over 22 years and currently holds the rank of colonel. In 2005, Griffin was mobilized to active duty as an Army prosecutor at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and served with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in Mosul, Iraq. He is currently serving as the Commander of the 134th Legal Operations Detachment (LOD) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Prior to his current post, Griffin served as a senior legislative advisor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness at the Pentagon. Colonel Griffin holds a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush. Griffin lives in Little Rock with his wife Elizabeth, a Camden native, and their three children.

 

6-30-20 3:59 PM KAWX.ORG 

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State Chamber/AIA Offering Downloadable Wear A Mask Signage

To lessen the incidence of COVID-19 infections in Arkansas, the State Chamber/AIA has developed the signage shown encouraging Arkansans to wear face masks in indoor settings.
 
The signs can be accessed and printed here and here and affixed to entrance doors of your company or organization.
 
These signs are in support of Gov. Hutchinson's efforts to lessen COVID-19 infections and in accordance with the Arkansas Department of Health recommendations here.
6-30-20 3:45 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sales Tax Collections Up Sharply

After two months of decreased sales tax collections, May 2020 collections, reported in June 2020, were up sharply.

 
Polk County has a Sales Tax General and a Road Improvement Sales Tax, both of which are 1%.
 
The two taxes generated $141,468.40 each in May 2020, suggesting stronger local retail sales. The amount was $8,925.55 more for each of the taxes over the same period in 2019.
 
To date in 2020 the two taxes have generated $806,905.00 each or $1,613,810.00 for the operation of local government and road work.
 
6-30-20 12:16 PM KAWX.ORG 

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The Lum and Abner Comic Strip 4th of July Celebration To Air On KAWX Friday, July 3rd

"The Lum and Abner Comic Strip 4th of July Celebration" radio show, produced by Dr. Joe Oliver and Donnie Pitchford, with the cast of Sam Brown as Dick Huddleston, Dr. Joe Oliver as Travelin' Joe, and Donnie Pitchford as both Lum and Abner will be presented on KAWX Friday, July 3, 2020.

This is an extension of the "Lum and Abner" comic strip project, which is featured online at www.lumandabnersociety.org.

Audio versions of each comic strip are available free of charge for blind Lum and Abner fans and anyone who wishes to listen.

 

Dr. Joe Oliver is an award-winning broadcaster and university educator. One of his best-known productions is the 1972 documentary "WREC...at 50" (Memphis, Tennessee). After almost two decades in radio, Dr. Oliver led KSAU-FM and taught communications at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas until his retirement. He has been recognized as Educator of the Year by the Texas Association of Broadcasters.

 

Sam Brown is a co-founder of the National Lum and Abner Society, founded in 1984, which held annual conventions in Pine Ridge and Mena from 1985 to 2005, with occasional programs in the years that followed. Many associates of Lum and Abner were brought to Mena to be guests of honor. The NLAS published "The Jot 'Em Down Journal" from 1984 to 2007. Additionally, the NLAS was responsible for the rescue of many lost "Lum and Abner" recordings, photos, film footage, and other artifacts.

 

Donnie Pitchford has produced the weekly "Lum and Abner" comic strip and audio feature since 2011. Prior to that, he worked in the graphic arts, commercial art, and education-broadcasting fields for 35 years. He was also a co-founder of the NLAS with Sam Brown and Tim Hollis. He is a member of the National Cartoonists Society and Texas Cartoonists.

 

The Lum and Abner radio program was one of the most popular radio shows in the country in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, and the characters Lum and Abner were played by Mena natives Chet Lauck (Lum) and Norris "Tuffy" Goff (Abner).

 

The special July 4th show will replace the regular Lum and Abner show and Perry Mason on Friday, July 3rd at will begin at 6:30 PM.

 

Locally the program can be heard on KAWX 93.1 FM, in the Hatfield and Cove area on 94.9 FM, anywhere in the world at KAWX.ORG (Listen Live Tab), with a free KAWX app available at the App Store or Google Play, on any smart device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo! 

 

6-30-20 3:32 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for June 22nd - 28th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of June 22, 2020 – June 28, 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.

 

June 22, 2020

Request for a welfare check on Polk 40 near Potter.

Report from complainant on Jolie Way near Mena of a missing gun. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 85 near Cherry Hill of fireworks being shot from a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Johnson Street near Hatfield of the theft of a motor lift valued at $100.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 114 near Acorn of the theft of diesel fuel valued at $45.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Bunny Hop Lane near Cherry Hill of damage done to a field by a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Cove of a vehicle being hit in a parking lot. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Daniel R. Roberts, 29, of Mena on five Failure to Appear Warrants.

 

June 23, 2020

No reports were filed.

 

June 24, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 288 near Cove of concerns over the ownership of a gun. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 159 near Potter of a horse being found and being unable to locate owners. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71N near Mena of two men harassing customers. Deputy responded.

Welfare check led to the arrest of Tina L. Gregory, 38, of Cove on a Charge of Possession of Methamphetamine and a Charge of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Report from complainant on Polk 123 near Shady Grove of a domestic dispute. Deputy responded. Complainant refused to press charges.

Report from complainant on Gardenia Lane near Potter of damage done to a Radio Tower in the amount of $100,000.00. Investigation continues.

 

June 25, 2020

Report from complainant on Ryder Lane near Acorn of two missing chainsaws valued at $1850.00. Chainsaws were later returned.

Report from complainant near Hatfield of a possible break-in at a storage unit. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 90 near Acorn of the violation of an Order of Protection. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Andrea L. Davis, 43, of Wickes on a Warrant for Domestic Battery 3rd Degree and Harassment.

 

June 26, 2020

Arrested was Charles Kizziar, 32, of Mena on a Warrant for Theft of Property.

Arrested was Matthew A. Ezell, 48, of Mena on a Warrant for Terroristic Threatening 2nd Degree and Stalking, two Warrants for Failure to Appear and a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

Arrested was Audrey M. Simmons, 33, of Mena on four Warrants for Failure to Appear and a Warrant for Failure to Comply with a Court Order.

 

June 27, 2020

Report of a vehicle hitting a deer. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant at a business near Hatfield of an incident that resulted in the banning of an individual from the location. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 18 near Vandervoort of a domestic dispute. Deputy responded. Complainant refused to press charges.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Ink of the theft of mail from a mailbox. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 61 near Board Camp involving 4 wheelers driving on private property. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Candi Revels, 37, of Mena on a Warrant for three Counts of Failure to Appear.

 

June 28, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 4 near Cove of a break-in and theft of a phone and two pistols. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on West Johnson near Hatfield of damage done to a house and two vehicles. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Sunset Lane near Vandervoort of a chicken house fire. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 15 Incarcerated Inmates, with 7 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00463

 

6-29-20 11:47 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for June 21st - 27th

 

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of June 21, 2020 through June 27, 2020 

 

June 21, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

June 22, 2020

 

Billy Fletcher, 33, was served with four warrants after a suspicious person call to the Northside Shopping Center.

 

Andrew Perkins, 34, was charged with Fleeing and Resisting Arrest and held on a Montgomery County warrant after a call to the probation and parole office.

 

Jimmy Davis, 44, was charged with Unauthorized Use of Vehicle, Diving on a Suspended Driver’s License, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a call to a residence on Rogers Street.

 

June 23, 2020

 

A theft report was taken on Janssen Avenue.

 

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

 

Casey Trantham, 22, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Schedule 4 Controlled Substance, and held on a Montgomery County warrant after a traffic stop.

 

Amanda Carter, 25, and Daniel Chaney, were charged with Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call to an ally between Mena Street and Dequeen Street.

 

An identity theft report was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

Shurley Arthur, 42, and Michael Adaway, 51, were charged with Battery 3rd Degree after a disturbance call to Janssen Park.

 

June 24, 2020

 

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

 

Tatum Veal, 29, was served with two warrants at the police department.


June 25, 2020

 

A death investigation report was taken at a residence on 9th Street.

 

A theft report was taken at a residence on Spring Street.

 

A harassment report was taken at a residence on 9th Street.

 

June 26, 2020

 

Shawn Gunn, 34, was charged with Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop.

 

June 27, 2020

 

Mandi Green, 34, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Driving Without a Driver’s License, and No Liability Insurance after a traffic stop.

 

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

 

6-29-20 11:40 AM KAWX.ORG 

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KEEP YOUR FREEDOM THIS INDEPENDENCE HOLIDAY: STAY OUT OF JAIL – DRIVE SOBER

(LITTLE ROCK) – As Arkansans prepare for the approaching July 4th Independence Day holiday weekend, many families will include plans to travel across the state for cookouts and the customary summer festivities.  However, experience and records tell us, some drivers and their passengers won’t make it to their destinations or return home.  Drunk or impaired driving will be to blame.
 
   Arkansas law enforcement officers will be participating in the statewide “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” operation.  The mission will be devoted to stopping drunk drivers before tragedy strikes.   State police, along with city officers and county deputies across Arkansas will increase their patrols along the roads and highways with zero tolerance for those who drive impaired.  Motorists should expect to see more sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols involving a unified police force working to keep the roadways safe.
 
   According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving accounted for 29% (10,511) of the total motor vehicle traffic deaths during 2018. Additionally, drunk driving can be attributed to 40% (78) of the 193 traffic fatalities over the July 4th (2018) holiday period.
 
   “Making the choice to drink and drive can be deadly.  It’s irresponsible behavior, and we will be out in full force to put a stop to it,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “Make no mistake, if you’re caught drinking and driving, you will be arrested.”
 
   If travelers plan to consume alcohol, the Arkansas State Police Highway Safety Office offers these reminders.
 
•   Plan a safe way home before you leave. It’s never okay to drink and drive, even if you’ve had one alcoholic beverage. Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to your destination safely.
 
•   If you’ve been drinking, call a taxi or someone who is sober to drive you home.
 
•   If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 9-1-1.
 
•   If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, take their keys and help make other arrangements to get the person safely to their destination.
 
•   Always buckle up.  Your seat belt is the best defense against a drunk driver.
 
  For more information on the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  Information about Arkansas’ ongoing “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign to eliminate preventable traffic deaths can be found at www.TZDarkansas.org

 

6-29-20 8:36 AM KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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Updates From The Ouachita Little Theatre, Popular Movie Night Returns

 

 

 

Updates from OLT

 

The Board of Directors from Ouachita Little Theatre met June 18 to discuss future plans for activities and shows. Since the COVID19 concerns are still with us indefinitely in Polk County, it is next to impossible to determine production dates safely. Therefore, the board voted to extend all memberships six additional months at no extra charge. In other words, if you have a season, complimentary, or purchased ticket for an event, you can add six months to the expiration date. Notices will be sent to the membership explaining details. This decision is for the benefit of members as an appreciation measure for support during a time when shows cannot be shown. President Rudi Timmerman states, “It’s the only fair thing to do for our season ticket holders; we don’t want them paying for shows they can’t see yet. But of course, it adds strain to an already strained budget. Therefore, donations will be appreciated now more than ever.”

 

Also effected by the pandemic, the musical “BIG” remains on hold for the time being. Even though the set is almost completely done, it has been impossible to hold rehearsals. Therefore, the painful decision was reached to collect scripts from the cast until a date can be set. Parts will be secure for those who are available and wish to remain in the show, but further auditions may be necessary. “BIG” will proceed onstage when it can be safely executed and enjoyable to our audiences.

 

The board is also looking at creative ways to make money to pay expenses that occur monthly. Without income from shows, it has been very challenging. Board members are looking at fun ways to provide theater fun online or in other safe ways that could also produce a small amount of revenue.

 

One of OLT’s major announcements includes the safe return of Free Movie Night on the second Wednesday of each month. CDC and Arkansas State Guidelines will be followed, and details will be explained in a follow-up article. The next family- friendly feature will be Ben Stiller in “Night at the Museum” on July 8 at 6:30 PM.

 

OLT Welcomes Patrons Back to “Movie Night!”

 

Ouachita Little Theatre has been quiet for the past months due to COVID-19. After distributing a survey to the membership of OLT, the board was happy to see there was a definite interest in bringing back the monthly second Wednesday of the month tradition of Free Movie Night. Beginning July 8, OLT will kick off our summer blockbuster shows with “Night at the Museum” starring Ben Stiller. This delightfully funny family film is sure to be a great break for families to come and enjoy an old-fashioned tradition in “going to the movies” together.

 

OLT takes your health protection very seriously. Therefore, there will be some pandemic safeguards in place following the Governor’s guidelines for theaters. Patrons must wear a mask at all times during the movie, although children under 10 will not be required to wear masks. Masks may be removed temporarily to eat and drink purchases from the concession stand. Popcorn, drinks, and candy bars are approved refreshments. Servers will wear masks and gloves while dispensing them. Hand sanitizers will be available in key areas. The theater will be cleaned and disinfected before and after each use. Social distancing lines will be marked on the floor in the lobby. Certain seating areas will be sectioned off as unusable, but families are welcome to sit together in a group and will need to space at least six feet from any other patrons. No more than 50 people will be allowed in the building at the showing.

 

Of course, anyone not feeling well or know they have been exposed to the virus should stay at home. Those over age 65, or those with underlying health conditions might choose to refrain until restrictions are no longer necessary. But if you can come, we’d love to see your faces again!

 

Movie Nights begin at 6:30 PM at the OLT. It will look a little different for a while, but what a treat to share a movie together the way it was intended to be enjoyed. Join us, and please consider leaving a donation in the designated containers to help Ouachita Little Theatre navigate financially through a difficult time. On August 12 OLT will feature another summer blockbuster hit, Steven Spielberg’s “JAWS!” Hope to see you at the movies!

 

6-29-20 8:29 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Fire Department Extinguishes Fire, Resident Dies From Smoke Inhalation

Mena Fire Chief Steve Egger released the folllowing statement concerning a fire with fatality in Mena om Thursday, June 25th.

 

"MENA FIRE DEPARTMENT RESPONDS TO REPORT OF SMOKE COMING FROM A RESIDENCE

 

On Thursday June 25th, 2020 at 11:57 a.m. the Mena Fire Department  was dispatched for a passerby reporting smoke showing from roof of a residence located at 1107 9th  Street. Upon arrival at 12:02 firefighters forced entry to the structure, located a small fire confined to a bedroom then extinguished the flames and discovered the body of Leonid (Leo) Avram Yuspeh age 69 of the home. Mr. Yuspeh had died from smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire is believed to have been related to several appliances plugged into a multiplug extension cord.

 

The fire department responded with three apparatus and 16 personnel. Mena Police Department, Southwest EMS, and Polk County Coroner assisted. The fire department cleared the scene at 1:35p.m."

 

6-27-20 5:15 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Arkansans Getting Back on Their Feet

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Arkansans Getting Back on Their Feet
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – We started reopening the economy in May, and today I’d like to talk about the encouraging numbers that we’re already seeing. More than 45,000 Arkansans are back at work. Our unemployment rate, which has remained below the national rate, dropped from 10.8 percent in April to 9.5 percent in May.
 
More and more people are getting back on their feet. We know this because the number of first-time claims for unemployment has dropped by over 4,000. Weekly claims are down by more than 13,000. Our civilian labor force in Arkansas increased by over 33,000; and our total number of jobs in May increased to 1.2 million.
 
Eight industries gained jobs that had been lost during the height of the pandemic unemployment. As restaurants, gyms, and recreation centers reopened, we added 13,400 jobs. Jobs in educational and health services increased by 9,100 as medical offices reopened. Trade, transportation, and utilities gained 4,300 jobs, mostly in retail.  This is all good news.
 
I am grateful for the spirit and generosity of our business people during these difficult days, such as Bobby Fuller and his family, who own Fuller and Son Hardware. Their company will be 100 years old next year. Walter Fuller opened the first store at 28th and Arch in Little Rock in 1921. The company endured the Great Depression, World War II, and now the COVID-19 pandemic. The fourth generation of Fullers is now involved in the company, which has six stores in Central Arkansas.
 
Bobby Fuller, who is the grandson of the founder, didn’t have to lay off any employees. Bobby rents space to two restaurants and a dentist, and he didn’t charge rent while they were closed.
 
Eric Buckner is another small business owner in Central Arkansas. He is the founder and owner of 10 Fitness gyms. Eric closed his gyms on March 17 and reopened under Department of Health guidelines on May 4. With the support of gym members and assistance through the federal Payroll Protection Plan, Eric paid his employees during the shutdown. The pandemic has inspired new ways to serve his members, such as renting out exercise bikes, spin bikes, and rowing machines for use at home. His trainers have produced workout videos. His biggest challenge is to make sure that his members wear their masks when they aren’t exercising.
 
Bobby and Eric share my conviction that masks are critical in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Eric tells of the two hairdressers in Springfield, Missouri, who were symptomatic but didn’t tell their customers, and they were also members of Eric’s gym in Springfield. And they weren’t honest with the screeners at his gym when they asked about symptoms. Between them, they exposed more than 150 customers and gym members. But the hairdressers and their customers were wearing masks. And they wore masks at 10 Fitness. The health department found that no one who came in contact with the hairdressers at the salon or the gym contracted the virus.
 
So as we reopen the economy and people return to work, I urge you to wear a mask. This is critical as we continue to reopen our economy, and Arkansans return to work.
 
6-27-20 7:20 AM KAWX.ORG

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

 

 

State Capitol Week in Review

From Senator Larry Teague

June 26, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – The state will hire 350 more contact tracers to help control the spread of the coronavirus. After the funding is allocated to pay them, it will bring the state’s total to 900.

 

Contact tracing is a vital part of the public health strategy to control the spread of communicable diseases. When people come down with the disease, a tracer contacts them to help them remember everyone with whom they were in close contact during the period of time when they were infectious.

For Covid-19, that means anyone who came within six feet of the infected individual for at least 15 minutes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the contact tracers should identify all people who were with the infected person from 48 hours before he or she began to feel sick, until that person was isolated.

 

The next step is for the contact tracer to notify those people that they have been exposed to Covid-19. According to the CDC, the tracers will not reveal the identity of the patient who potentially exposed them.

 

The tracers also support infected individuals by educating them about their risks and how they should isolate themselves from other people, especially from people with pre-existing health conditions who are particularly vulnerable to the severe symptoms of Covid-19. For example, the virus is more likely to be fatal for people with weak immune systems and elderly people.

 

When a contact tracer notifies someone that he or she has potentially been exposed to the coronavirus, that person is encouraged to stay home and maintain a distance of six feet from other people, for at least 14 days after their most recent exposure to the infected patient.

 

Contact tracers do their best to contact potentially infected people by telephone, text or video conference, rather than in person. The CDC notes that the job is labor intensive. Contact tracers must be able to communicate well and have compassion so that they generate trust.

 

Arkansas already had 200 contact tracers working for the state Health Department when the pandemic began. Relying on federal emergency funds, the state added 350 tracers when public health officials anticipated that the caseload in Arkansas would be about 1,000. However, the active number of cases by late June had exceeded 5,500.

 

The Secretary of Health said that for every individual in Arkansas with Covid-19, contact tracers have identified three other people who were potentially exposed and who should quarantine themselves.

 

At one of his daily briefings on Covid-19, the governor announced that he had proposed using about $22 million from the state’s share of federal emergency funding available through the CARES Act.

 

That is an acronym that stands for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security. The CARES Act was passed by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and signed into law in late March.

 

Arkansas is scheduled to receive more than $1.2 billion in federal funding under the CARES Act.

 

As of last week, 28 firms had bid for a contract to provide the manpower for the additional contact tracers. State officials had narrowed those applicants down to six.

 

6-26-20 5:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

New and Innovative Strategies Needed to Prevent Veteran Suicide

 

For more than a decade, Congress has improved access to new and existing treatments for veterans at risk of suicide and increased funding for programs to support suicide prevention. Unfortunately, the number of veterans who commit suicide each day has remained roughly unchanged. It’s clear the approach we’re taking isn’t working. It’s time to implement a new strategy.

 

There are more than 50,000 organizations that provide suicide prevention services for veterans. These non-profits and community organizations play a vital role and have taken the lead to build effective programs. We have some great examples of innovative methods happening in Arkansas.

 

Retired Sgt. Maj. Lance Nutt was looking for help beyond the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) after his 30-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. He saw a void that needed to be filled and established  Sheep Dog Impact Assistance. Since 2010, this Rogers-based organization has been making a difference in the lives of veterans and guiding them to a purpose-driven life of community, camaraderie and service.

 

The retired Marine continues to see a gap between the services the VA provides and what veterans need, and encourages investing in programs that improve veterans’ outlooks and validate the idea that their best life is still ahead. He recently shared his experiences with me and other policymakers during a virtual veterans mental health town hall that included other leaders from veteran-serving non-profits. Our discussion focused on the need for collaboration, community action and the willingness to try something new.

 

It makes sense that we harness the ideas and successes of these advocates into sound policy. That’s why I’ve championed a new concept that would allow the VA to tap into this network of non-profits in the community, establish a framework to coordinate these efforts and offer grants to expand outreach to better measure the effectiveness of these programs. This proposal was included in the Senate VA Committee-passed comprehensive bill that expands veterans’ access to mental health services.

 

This is a critical first step. While there is still work to be done to get this across the finish line and signed into law, there is momentum and support for this collaboration from others, notably VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

 

Secretary Wilkie has called this idea “key” to unlocking the veteran suicide crisis. He led the development of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) and incorporated my initiative in the plan. Unveiled in mid-June, the national strategy aims to strengthen connections and services to ensure veterans get the support they need.

 

Allowing the VA to leverage veteran-serving nonprofits and other community networks is necessary because 70 percent of the veterans who commit suicide aren’t receiving VA services to begin with. We need to make certain the men and women who are living with invisible injuries know where to go to help them cope with and ease their struggles. By tapping into groups that may already be reaching these individuals, we can improve care and reverse the trend of veteran suicide.

 

It’s time to authorize and implement new policies that improve the way we support and reach at-risk veterans so we can prevent suicide. I will continue to push for solutions that bring our former service members the mental health care and resources that promote better health, ensuring the best days of a veteran’s life are yet to come.

 

 

6-26-20 5:35 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

To date, only 56.5% of Arkansans have responded to the 2020 United States Census.

 

Nationally, the response rate is 61.7%. It is not too late to respond.

 

Arkansans are encouraged to respond online at 2020census.gov.

 

If you have not responded, you may soon be receiving a reminder in the mail. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of census taker visits from mid-May to mid-August, giving the Census Bureau the opportunity to send one more reminder to households encouraging them to respond online, by phone or by mail. Responding now minimizes the need for census takers to visit homes to collect responses in person.

 

The 2020 Census will provide a snapshot of our nation and state—who we are, where we live, and so much more.

The results of this once-a-decade count determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives. They are also used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

 

Over the next decade, lawmakers, business owners, and many others will use 2020 Census data to make critical decisions. The results will show where communities need new schools, new clinics, new roads, and more services for families, older adults, and children.

 

The results will also inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. 

 

Households can respond online or by phone in English or 12 other languages, or by mail using the paper questionnaire mailed to non-responding addresses or dropped off at the door. Although census takers will begin visiting households that haven’t yet responded beginning August 11, households can still respond on their own until these visits conclude on October 31. 

 

6-26-20 5:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Secretary of State John Thurston on Absentee Ballot Procedures for the 2020 General Election

(LITTLE ROCK, ARK.) - As Secretary of State and Chief Election Officer for the State of Arkansas, I have been receiving many questions and have listened to the many concerns of the citizens of Arkansas as to the upcoming November election. We are fortunate in Arkansas that we have in place the means by which registered voters may request an absentee ballot. According to Ark. Code Ann. §§ 7-5-402 and 7-5-404, a voter may request an absentee ballot due to one of the following reasons:

 

• You will be unavoidably absent from your polling site on Election Day, OR


• You will be unable to attend your polling site on election day due to illness or physical disability, OR


• You are a member of the Uniformed Services, merchant marines or the spouse or a dependent family member and are away from your polling location due to the member’s active duty status, OR


• A U.S. citizen whose residence is in Arkansas but is temporarily living outside the territorial limits of the United States.

 

Those provisions, as provided by state law, allow the voters of the state to contact their local County Clerk, and request an absentee ballot for one of the stated reasons. I understand many of our citizens may be assisting loved ones or are fearful of exposing a vulnerable family member to the virus. I understand that many are fearful of contacting or passing along the virus to others in the community. While my office continues to work with county officials to prepare polling locations, we are also anticipating and preparing for an increase in Absentee Ballot requests due to the COVID-19 virus.

 

It is my opinion and belief, that our current laws are sufficient to allow the registered voters of Arkansas the choice of going to their local polling location or requesting an absentee ballot from their local County Clerk. We are fortunate that our lawmakers had the foresight in crafting our election laws to allow for times of being unavoidably absent whether by natural disaster, war, or global pandemic.

 

6-26-20 6:55 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments

 
All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes: 
 
State of Arkansas Vs.Stacie Shores, White Female, age 30, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony. 6-1-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Michelle L. Block, White Female, age 47, Count I:Delivery Of Methamphetamine Or Cocaine, a Class "C" Felony. 6-22-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Daniel R. Roberts, White Male, age 29, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony. 6-23-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Bradley E. Robinson, White Male, age 28, Count I: Possession Of Firearms By Certain Persons, a Class "D" Felony. 6-23-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs Bradley E. Robinson, White Male, age 28, Count I: Theft Of Property, a Class "C" Felony. The State of Arkansas intends to pursue enhanced charges due to the fact that he has been convicted of four (4) or more felonies. 6-23-20 
 
6-26-20 6:46 AM KAWX.ORG 
 
 

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Arkansas Legislators Propose Bad Hate Crimes Bill

Little Rock – On Wednesday, Arkansas State Senator Jim Hendren (R) – Gravette and State Representative Nicole Clowney (D) – Fayetteville renewed calls for Arkansas to pass hate crimes legislation.

Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement, saying, “No law has ever stopped hate, and no law ever will. It’s a matter of the heart. The experience of other states proves that hate crimes laws do not work. Over the past few years we’ve seen despicable crimes committed in states that have hate crimes laws. According to the FBI, the states with the most hate crimes all have hate crimes laws. It’s clear that hate crimes laws simply do not work. This hate crimes law does nothing to address issues like police brutality, no-knock warrants, racial profiling, and unequal justice. It does nothing to address the real issues that people are deeply concerned about. We all agree something needs to be done to address racism in our state, but passing a hate crimes law isn’t the answer.”

Cox said hate crimes laws promote unequal justice. “Laws like the one being proposed here in Arkansas treat crimes and their victims unequally. Targeting anyone and committing a crime is wrong and currently illegal. When hate crimes laws levy harsher penalties for targeting some people but not others, the punishments can differ even if the crimes are the same. The penalty for assault or murder should be the same no matter the victim’s race, religion, or sexual-orientation.”

Cox said Family Council will oppose any effort to pass hate crimes legislation in Arkansas. “We have opposed hate crimes laws every time they have been proposed at the Arkansas Legislature since the 1990s. This legislation was a bad idea 25 years ago, and it’s still a bad idea today.”

 

6-25-20 9:36 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Resident Beatrice Watkins Finds 2.23 Carat Diamond At Crater Of Diamonds State Park

Visitor Finds 2.23-Carat Diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park

 
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — The summer of 2020 started with a sparkling surprise for one western Arkansas woman. Fifty-six-year-old Beatrice Watkins, of Mena, visited Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park, in Murfreesboro, on Saturday, June 20, with her daughter and granddaughters. Within 30 minutes of arriving, she had unknowingly picked up the largest diamond found there, so far this year. 

 

Visitors to the park search for diamonds in a 37.5-acre plowed field atop the eroded surface of an extinct, diamond-bearing volcanic pipe. More than 33,000 diamonds have been found since the Crater of Diamonds opened as an Arkansas State Park in 1972. Typically, one or two diamonds are found there each day. 

 

According to Watkins, she was dry sifting soil on the north end of a culvert near the center of the park’s diamond search area when she discovered her gem. “I was searching with my daughter and granddaughters when I picked it up. I thought it was shiny but had no idea it was a diamond!” Watkins said, “My daughter googled similar-looking stones and thought it might have been iron pyrite, so I stuck it in my sack and kept sifting.” 

 

After about an hour, Watkins and her family walked to the park’s Diamond Discovery Center to take a break. At that time, park staff identified Watkins’s finds and informed her that her “iron pyrite” was actually a brown diamond weighing more than two carats. “I was so excited, I just couldn’t believe it,” Watkins said. “I still can’t believe it!” 

 

 

Watkins noted, “While we were still searching, I told my granddaughters that their future husbands would have to bring them here to find diamonds for their wedding rings. All that time I had one in my pocket!" 

 

According to Park Interpreter Waymon Cox, “Ms. Watkins’s diamond is about the size of an English pea, with an oblong shape and a metallic luster. The surface is smooth and rounded, a characteristic shared by most Crater diamonds. It has a dark brown shade similar to iced tea.” Watkins’s gem is the largest found at the park since Pat Choate, of Jacksonville, Arkansas, found a 3.29-carat brown gem in October 2019. 

 

Cox noted that even though it rained Saturday morning, Watkins found her diamond by dry sifting. “Many visitors use screens to dry sift where they sit in the field. If the soil gets too damp, dry sifting doesn't work very well because it clumps together in the screens. We've had a lot of rain this year, but the field was dry enough during Ms. Watkins’s visit that dry sifting was possible. The fact that she found her diamond this way is really special.” 

 

Many people choose to name the diamonds they find at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Watkins named her gem after herself, calling it the Lady Beatrice. She says she doesn’t know what she will do with her diamond at this point but will probably keep it as an inheritance for her kids and grandkids. 

As of this writing, 139 diamonds have been registered at Crater of Diamonds State Park in 2020, weighing more than 22 carats; four diamonds registered this year have weighed at least one carat each. 

 

6-24-20 4:30 PM KAWX.ORG 

 

Quick Facts about Crater of Diamonds State Park

Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The three most common colors found at Crater of Diamonds State Park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order.

In total, over 75,000 diamonds have been unearthed at the Crater of Diamonds since the first diamonds were discovered in 1906 by John Huddleston, a farmer who owned the land long before it became an Arkansas State Park in 1972.

The largest diamond ever discovered in the United States was unearthed here in 1924 during an early mining operation. Named the Uncle Sam, this white diamond with a pink cast weighed 40.23 carats. It was later cut into a 12.42-carat emerald shape and purchased by a private collector for $150,000 in 1971.

Another well-known diamond from the park is the Strawn-Wagner. Found in 1990 by Murfreesboro resident Shirley Strawn, this 3.03-carat white gem was cut into a round brilliant shape weighing 1.09 carats. It graded as ideal cut, D-colorless, and flawless and was set in a platinum and 24-carat gold ring. In 1998 the State of Arkansas purchased this diamond for $34,700 in donations and placed it on permanent display at the park visitor center.

Crater of Diamonds State Park is located on Arkansas Highway 301 in Murfreesboro. It is one of 52 state parks administered by Arkansas State Parks, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism.

About Arkansas State Parks

 

Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities, and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and War Memorial Stadium.

The state parks have 1,800 campsites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities, and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.

Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation. Connect with us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and visit ArkansasStateParks.com and ArkansasStateParks.com/media to learn more about everything we have to offer. 

 

 

 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for June 24, 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 woul like current fishing inforamtion from. 

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

6-24-20 3:35 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Quorum Court June Meeting Recap

The Polk County Quorum Court met Tuesday evening for the regular monthly session, and again met in the Courtroom of the County Courthouse to allow for distancing. The Justices of the Peace and others in attendance had their temperature checked before entering as a precaution.

 
All eleven Polk County JPs, a few other elected officials and several county employees were in attendance.
 
After an appropriation ordinance was passed County Judge Brandon Ellison reported to the JPs that a number of items had been removed from the county inventory, mainly non working computers and printers.
 
Judge Ellison also told the JPs that it was likely that insurance for county employees would go up again next year. Last year it went up 34%. 
 
Nancy Wright was re-appointed to the Equalization Board by unanimous consent.
 
6-24-20 2:26 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Prom Cancelled Due To COVID-19

The follow announcment concerning the Mena High School Prom was released today by Principal David Maxwell.

 

6-24-20 1:22 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Log June 15th - 21st

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of June 15, 2020 – June 21, 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.

 

June 15, 2020

Report from complainant near Wickes of damage done to a vehicle during an altercation. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 189 near Acorn of a person borrowing firearms and refusing to return them. Firearms were later returned. Complainant refused to press charges.

Report from complainant on Hwy 278 near Wickes of a break-in to an abandoned house. Deputy responded.

 

June 16, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 8E near Dallas Valley of a vehicle striking a sign and mailbox. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 125 near Rocky of a disturbance between family members. Deputy responded. Complainant refused to press charges.

 

June 17, 2020

No reports filed.

 

June 18, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 277 near Vandervoort of problems involving the purchase of a vehicle. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report of a missing juvenile. Juvenile was later located and returned to the custody of the parent/guardian.

Arrested was Zackery L. Summit, 27, of Mena on a Charge of Hindering Apprehension.

 

June 19, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 13 near Wickes of identity theft. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 659 near Boardcamp of the theft of a gun valued at $250.00. Investigation continues.

Traffic stop led to the arrest of Michelle L. Block, 47, of Mena on a Warrant for Delivery of Methamphetamine.

Arrested by a Trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Richard K. Copelin, 52, of Mena on a Charge of DWI and a Charge of Refusal to Submit.

 

June 20, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 47 near Rocky of a dispute between neighbors. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

 

June 21, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 168 near Iron Mountain of an altercation. Deputy responded. Complainant refused to press charges.

Report of an ATV accident on Polk 61 near Board Camp. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 178 near Acorn of being forced off the road while walking. Deputy responded.

Traffic stop near Hatfield led to the arrest of Luis Aguilar, 25, of Dequeen on a Citation for DWI, Driving Left of Center, and No Driver’s License.

Report from complainant on Ash Avenue near Wickes of the theft of household items in the amount of $90.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 75 near Acorn of vandalism to a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on West Pearl Street near Wickes of harassment. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 15 Incarcerated Inmates, with 13 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00438

 

6-22-20 12:46 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for June 14th - 20th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of June 14, 2020 through June 21, 2020

 

 

June 14, 2020

 

A theft of property (shoplifting) report was taken at a department store.

 

June 15, 2020

 

A missing persons report was taken at a residence.

 

June 16, 2020

 

A death investigation report was taken at a residence.

 

June 17, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

June 18, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

June 19, 2020

 

A death investigation report was taken at a residence.

 

A report of a disturbance was taken at a residence.

 

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

 

A report of a disturbance was taken at a residence.

 

William Hale, 56, was arrested for DWI and Possession of Marijuana after a call to James’ Super Save Foods.

 

June 20, 2020

 

A report of an accident was taken.

 

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

 

6-22-20 9:11 A.M. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Wait for Nursing Home Visits is Almost Over

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: The Wait for Nursing Home Visits is Almost Over
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – We set a goal to test every resident and staff member in long-term-care in June, and today I’m pleased to say that nursing homes, and assisted-living and residential-care facilities will be able to resume limited family visits and other activities on July 1 if they have complied with the public health guidelines of the Arkansas Department of Health.
 
This is an important step. The residents of nursing homes have been cut off from direct visits with family and friends for three months. This isolation is very difficult on our loved ones, and because of our testing and other measures in place, we are ready to have visitors again.
 
In terms of testing, as of this week, we have tested over 19,000 of our nursing home residents and staff with only 150 positive cases. This indicates we are doing a good job of protecting some of our most vulnerable Arkansans.
 
Many of our nursing homes are completely free of COVID-19. Arkansas’s rate of positive cases is less than half the national average.
 
The Arkansas Health Care Association is coordinating with the Arkansas Department of Health on the June initiative. Executive Director Rachel Bunch said that for the comfort of the elderly, the testers will use the least-invasive swab available.
 
She points out that the increase in testing will initially produce an increase in the number of positive cases, but the testing will allow us to create a baseline to guide our decisions. She also said that a large number of patients who test positive don’t show any symptoms. A person with a positive test isn’t necessarily sick.
 
We issued the directive that visitors would not be allowed into nursing homes on March 14. This decision hit close to home. A member of my own staff wasn’t allowed to visit her father. The directive included an end-of-life exception for family members, so that she was allowed to put on personal protective equipment to see him before he passed.
 
During this time of isolation, the caregivers have assisted residents with window visits and internet visits. The family of Louis Strickland, an Army veteran, threw a party for his 100th birthday, but his family had to watch through a window at the Veterans Home. But nothing is as good as an in-person visit of a family member.
 
We are close to our testing goal. The long wait for families and their loved ones in nursing homes is almost over.
 
6-21-20 11:01 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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The Oaks Parent Organization Dissolved, Future Of Facility In Mena Unknown

The following is a news release concerning the parent organization of The Oaks At Mena Assisted Living and the future of the facility in Mena that closed Augist 17, 2019. The original article can be seen here

 

The Board of Directors of Ouachita Seniors and Retirees, Inc. met on Thursday, June 18, for the purpose of dissolving the partnership that had been the owners and operators of The Oaks At Mena Assisted Living and to dissolve the non-profit corporation. Both Ouachita Senior Community Development, L.P. and Ouachita Seniors and Retirees, Inc. were dissolved and cease to exist. Dissolution documents were filed with the office of the Arkansas Secretary of State. The Oaks facility is currently owned by the Arkansas Development Finance Administration, the mortgagors, after foreclosure action was finalized in March of this year. Board President Richard Black, Vice President Randolph Emerson and the entire Board of Directors wish to convey their sincere appreciation for the support the project received. The future owners and use of the property remains unknown at present. 

 

6-19-20 4:44 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

The JUSTICE Act Will Bring Needed Reforms to Policing

 

The anger and frustration brought on by the horrific deaths of George Floyd and others at the hands of those charged with protecting the public have pointed a spotlight on the need for reform. We need to ensure all Americans have faith in law enforcement.

 

President Trump took the first step by signing an executive order that directs more attention and resources toward best practices in police training, recruiting and community engagement.

 

The President’s executive order will direct federal funding to only those law enforcement agencies that meet high standards around use-of-force and de-escalation. It provides incentives for law enforcement agencies to use a nationwide database to track terminations, criminal convictions and civil judgments against law enforcement officers. Additionally, it prioritizes training for police and social workers responding to incidents involving the mentally ill, homeless individuals and those struggling with substance use disorders.

 

The introduction of the Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere (JUSTICE) Act builds on the ideas put forth by the White House.

 

I appreciate the exhaustive effort my colleague Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) put into crafting this bill. Sen. Scott has personally experienced instances of abuse, but he also emphasizes the important role of law enforcement in our society and rejects the false choice between supporting police officers or supporting communities of color. He is well suited to lead the Senate’s attempt to propose meaningful reforms.

 

His work has produced a bill that focuses on training and tactics that lead to the de-escalation of force, accountability for instances of officer misconduct and greater public transparency within the criminal justice system.

 

The bill seeks to strengthen training methods and tactics throughout law enforcement jurisdictions—particularly when it comes to use-of-force, means of de-escalation and an officer’s duty to intervene. The JUSTICE Act does this by using the power of the purse to encourage the adoption of new procedures and the elimination of specific tactics like the practice of utilizing chokeholds.

 

The JUSTICE Act takes a similarly bold approach to promoting accountability and transparency. It disseminates new best practices for discipline, suspension or dismissal when necessary. It also makes key reforms to the hiring process to make sure departments looking to hire new officers will have access to the prior disciplinary records of job candidates. It again uses federal funds to promote changes by creating a matching grant program to fund state and local government use of body cameras, requiring them at all times and establishing penalties for violation of this policy.

 

The vast majority of officers are good, honest individuals who provide a valuable service. They have a difficult, but vitally important job, which most carry out with the utmost professionalism. Ensuring that officers who abuse power are held accountable helps law enforcement just as much as the public. We can help foster better relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve through proper reform. That is why I am a cosponsor of this legislation and why it has the endorsement of the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

 

With the exception of those parroting extreme ‘abolish the police’ talking points, members of both parties, in each chamber, are closer than most realize on these issues. There is a consensus that reforms that promote transparency, accountability and procedures that lead to safer interactions between officers and the community are the key to real reform. We must turn that consensus into action and pass meaningful legislation that will improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they admirably strive to protect and serve.

 

6-19-20 11:58 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

June 19, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – As Arkansas began Phase Two of its gradual reopening of businesses and social activities, the governor issued three executive orders related to the coronavirus outbreak.

 

The first provides immunity from civil liability for businesses and employees, to protect them from frivolous lawsuits alleging they were responsible for someone’s contracting Covid-19, the potentially severe illness caused by the coronavirus.

 

A second executive order declares that health care staff are considered emergency workers when they’re treating patients suffering from Covid-19, and as such they have immunity from civil lawsuits.

 

The third order puts Covid-19 in the category of occupational diseases, which means that employees who get sick from the virus at work can claim workers’ compensation benefits.

 

Support for the three executive orders was not unanimous across the political spectrum, but each side got something it had wanted. The business community applauded the order granting immunity from civil liability. On the other hand some attorneys said that nobody, not even a governor, can abolish an individual’s constitutional right to seek redress of grievances in court.

 

Apart from any legal questions that remain unanswered, officials hope the executive orders will be a strong incentive for businesses to comply with health guidelines.

 

In order to receive workers’ comp insurance benefits, sick employees must show that they contracted the disease while on the job. The executive order refers to that as a “causal connection between employment and the disease.”

 

Legislative leaders had been negotiating whether or not to ask for a special session. The issuing of the executive orders eliminated the immediate necessity for a special session.

 

Several legislators said that the orders struck the right balance between competing interests, while avoiding the risk of a “runaway” special session.

Other legislators preferred holding a special session because the pace of reopening Arkansas for business as usual requires making difficult choices and allowing spirited public debate. A legislative session is the proper venue for that kind of debate and compromise.

 

The president of the Senate said that while protecting businesses, the executive orders would not allow a free pass to bad actors. Small businesses like barber shops, hair salons, nail salons and fitness centers could be permanently shut down. The expense of defending themselves from a frivolous lawsuit, “could be the final nail in their coffin,” he said.

 

In order to claim the presumption that it has not acted recklessly or wilful, businesses must substantially comply with public health directives.

 

The chairman of the Economic Recovery Task Force has said that the group advocated some form of liability protection to reduce uncertainty for businesses trying to reopen.

 

During Phase Two, restaurants may seat up to 66 percent of their capacity. Gyms and fitness centers must still screen participants to prevent people with symptoms from entering.

 

On July 1, nursing homes and long-term care facilities may allow up to two visitors to a single resident. Visitors must be screened, and must wear masks.

 

The decision to reopen nursing homes to visitors was based on widespread testing of residents and staff in every facility in Arkansas. So far, more than 13,000 residents and staff have been tested and less than 1 percent have tested positive.

 

6-19-20 9:33 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

A few weeks ago, we reminded Arkansans of the upcoming deadline for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship. This week, we received word that the deadline has been extended to August 1.

 

Unlike in prior years, students who are already receiving the scholarship, have a sufficient number of hours, and have earned satisfactory academic progress before March 27 are automatically eligible for the scholarship for the 2020 fall semester. 

 

Traditional students must score at least 19 on the ACT to qualify for the scholarship. The latest ACT score accepted by Arkansas Department of Higher Education will be from the July testing. Students who have yet to achieve a score of 19 on the ACT may take the Accuplacer test remotely as a substitute. 

 

Meanwhile, we want to remind Arkansans of another valuable scholarship funded by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery.

 

The Workforce Challenge Scholarship was created in the 2017 legislative session and is funded by lottery revenue. The purpose of the scholarship is for workforce training in high demand areas of healthcare, information technology, and industry. Classes are not limited to credit-bearing programs. Non-credit, workforce-training classes that fit into the three above categories may also qualify. 

 

To meet minimum eligibility requirements, those applying for the Workforce Challenge Scholarship must be 1) an Arkansas resident, 2) a high school graduate or received high school equivalency, 3) cannot be a current recipient of the Academic Challenge Scholarship, and 4) be accepted for admission into an approved program as defined by ADHE. The degree list for the 2020-2021 academic year can be found on our website

 

Arkansas Workforce Challenge is a non-renewable grant. Students who successfully complete their program of study will be allowed to reapply for award in another eligible program. Students who receive funding from Workforce Challenge and do not successfully complete their program will be allowed to reapply one time.

 

The Workforce Challenge Award will be the cost of a certificate program or program of study not to exceed $800. Students must apply at least 30 days prior to enrollment in an eligible program.  There is no deadline to apply, however applications should be submitted at least 30 days prior to the start of the program.

 

To apply for either scholarship, visit the Department of Higher Education’s website and complete the Arkansas YOUniversal scholarship Application. The online YOUniversal application is your one-stop-shop for state and lottery-funded financial aid.

 

6-19-20 7:25 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Special Mena City Council Meeting Friday, Street Overlay Project And CD Rates On The Agenda

 

The Mena City Council will meet in a special called session on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.

 
The meeting will be held at City Hall.
 
There are two items on the agenda:
 
Consider bids received for the 2020 street hot-mix overlay program
 
Discuss obtaining quotes for CD interest rates.
 
The meeting is open to the public.
 
6-18-20 9:54 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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TATE LEDBETTER AMONG GRADUATES OF STATE POLICE TRAINING ACADEMY

33 STATE POLICE RECRUITS COMMISSIONED INTO SERVICE AT GRADUATION CEREMONY, TATE LEDBETTER OF ACORN AMONG THE GRADUATES
 
   
June 18, 2020
 
(LITTLE ROCK) - Thirty-three Arkansas State Police Trooper Recruits received their certified law enforcement certificates tonight during a graduation ceremony at the Arkansas State Capitol.  The new troopers will report to their Highway Patrol Division assignments across the state next month.
 
The recruits reported to the Arkansas State Police Training Academy at state police administrative headquarters January 26th this year.  Since that time the recruits accumulated more than 1,000 hours of specialized classroom and practical training.
 
Governor Asa Hutchinson, Jami Cook, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Public Safety and Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police each addressed the class during the ceremony.  The recruits affirmed the Oath of Arkansas State Trooper to Judge Meredith B. Switzer of Hot Springs.
 
Graduates of the Arkansas State Police 2020 Troop School are:
 
  • Justin Parker, 33, 2020-A Recruit Class Leader, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop K, Garland County.  He is a graduate of Lake Hamilton High School, Southern Arkansas Tech and the American Military University. Trooper Parker served as recruit class leader. 
  • Jonathan Arnold, 31, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop I, Stone County.  He is a graduate of Arkansas Education Alliance.
  • Jacob Byrd, 24, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Bryant High School and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
  • Garrett Byrd, 23, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, Crittenden County.  He is a graduate of Creekwood High School and John Gupton College in Tennessee.
  • Maria Galan Duarte, 28, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop L, Washington County.  She is a graduate of Northside High School.
  • Austin Duncan, 26, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Benton High School.
  • Ronald Elkins, 28, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop H, Sebastian County.  He is a graduate of Van Buren High School and the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
  • Dairren Evans, 22, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, Phillips County.  He is a graduate of Marion High School.
  • Matthew Foreman, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Bryant High School.
  • Korbyn Freeman, 26, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Bryant High School and the University of Central Arkansas.
  • Philip Gonten, 35, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop I, Boone County.  He is a graduate of Mountain Home High School.
  • Jacob Graham, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop L, Carroll County.  He is a graduate of Berryville High School.
  • Martino Green, 24, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop E, Arkansas County.  He is a graduate of Pine Bluff High School.
  • Trip Hensley, 22, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, St. Francis County.  He is a graduate of Paris High School.
  • Rand Lace, 23, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, Prairie County.  He is a graduate of Cross County High School.
  • Tyler Langley, 26, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Conway High School and the University of Central Arkansas.
  • Issac Lawson, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, White County.  He is a graduate of Living World Christian Academy.
  • Tate Ledbetter, 26, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, Lee County.  He is a graduate of Acorn High School.
  • Jackson Little, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop L, Washington County.  He is a graduate of Harrison High School.
  • Jeb Little, 26, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of Warren High School and Ouachita Baptist University.
  • Quinton Maag, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop B, White County.  He is a graduate of Highland High School.
  • Mason Marrone, 29, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, Crittenden County.  He is a graduate of the National University Academy in Vista, California.
  • Paul Matthews, 32, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop J, Johnson County.  He is a graduate of North Crowley High School, in Forth Worth, Texas.
  • Kayla Mean, 29, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  She is a graduate of Mat-Su Central High School and the University of Alaska.
  • Hugo Meza, 35, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop F, Union County.  He is a graduate of Prepa-Ameza High School and the University of Guadalajara in Mexico.
  • Blaine Middlecoff, 29, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop C, Mississippi County.  He is a graduate of Hoxie High School.
  • Walker Morphis, 22, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop F, Chicot County.  He is a graduate of Cornerstone Christian Academy and the University of Arkansas at Monticello.
  • Ian Nelson, 25, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop G, Little River County.  He is a graduate of Valliant High School and Carl Albert State College in Oklahoma.
  • Brian Palmer, 31, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop G, Columbia County.  He is a graduate of Magnolia High School.
  • Seth Smedley, 26, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop K, Pike County.  He is a graduate of Fountain Lake High School and Henderson State University.
  • Zackery Smither, 21, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop D, St. Francis County.  He is a graduate of Ozark High School and Arkansas Tech University.
  • Matthew Walker, 24, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop A, Pulaski County.  He is a graduate of the Camden Fairview High School and Southern Arkansas University Tech.
  • Michael Whitman, Jr, 34, will be assigned to Highway Patrol Division, Troop E, Jefferson County.  He is a graduate of Pine Bluff High School.
 
  Special recognition and awards were presented to the recruits who attained the highest scores within the respective training categories listed as follows:
 
 Academics
 

1st place – Tyler Langley
2nd place – Ronald Elkins
3rd place – Austin Duncan

 
Physical Fitness
 

1st place – Tyler Langley
2nd place – Justin Parker
3rd place – Martino Green

 

Firearms
1st place – Ronald Elkins
2nd place – Matthew Walker
3rd place – Brian Palmer

 
Upon reporting for duty at their respective troop headquarters, the new troopers will be placed with a certified departmental Field Training Officer (FTO).  Each graduate will work in tandem with their respective FTO for a transitional period prior to being released to their assignment.
 
6-18-20 9:17 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansas Lottery Has Biggest Month Ever In May, Only 14% to Scholarships

 

What appears to be the biggest month ever for the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery was May 2020 when a record number of Arkansans were out of work and food banks around the state were seeing record numbers of requests for help.

 

Total lottery ticket sales in May amounted to $60,791,641.00, roughly $20 million above the average, according to the Arkansas Family Council

 

Sales in Pulaski County were the highest in the state totaling $10,918,899.00.

 

The lowest sales in the sate were in Montgomery County totaling $48,682.00.

 

Polk County sales in May totaled $266,826.00.

 

6-17-20 9:02 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments June 17th

All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes: 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Patricia L. Jackson, W/F, age 53, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony.
 
6-17-20 8:50 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 June 17, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

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

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

6-17-20 2:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena School Board Meeting Recap

The Mena School Board met on Tuesday in the Mena Middle School Library and faced a lengthy agenda.
 
Mr. Ray Beardsley spoke to the board about refinancing over $5.5 million in bonds. The winning bid was by FHN with a rate of 1.48%. That will save the district $492,480.00, a reduction of 7.185% over the life of the bond.

 

A resolution was passed authorizing the superintendent & treasurer to transfer assets over $2.5 million to the building fund.

 

A number of administrators spoke to the board during the superintendents report. 

 

MMS was one of only 15 schools in the state selected to participate in an adequacy study. Principal Clifton Sherrer gave an overview of the process which has already begun.

 

Each school district in the state is required to survey it's patrons to help guarantee a viable learning platform when school resumes this fall.  Assistant Superintendent Paulette Sherrer stated that she is appreciative of the 349 households that have participated so far & the survey remains open.  The district continues to seek stakeholder input on Fall 2020 re-entry.  

 

At a recent board meeting of the Arkansas Activities Association the decision was made to waive the required 2020 summer dead weeks this year. 

 

Leaving it up to each district to decide if they want to follow suit. Mena Athletic Director Shane Torix told the board that the district AAC decided that coaches would be available & workouts would continue June 22nd-26th. Athletes and coaches would be off the second week June 29th-July 3th. Patrons are reminded that all workouts are voluntary.

 

MHS Principal David Maxwell spoke to the board in detail about plans for the 2020 Commencement scheduled for July 18th. More guidance from the state is expected on June 30th.  Maxwell also stated that no guidance has been given by the state concerning any guidance for approval of a prom.

 

Finally Mr. Benny Weston awarded Mrs. Paulette Sherrer with a plaque honoring her for her 30 years of service to the Mena School District. Those attending applauded & wished her well in retirement.

 

Next on the agenda were bids for a new intercom & phone system for the board to consider. Nathan Stone made a presentation & after much discussion the matter was tabled.

 

A bid of $88,875.00 was accepted for the purchase of a new handicap accessible bus.  

 

Mr. Danny Minton told the board about facility updates. Including the replacement of four air conditioning units at HHE. New lights replacing those damaged at the baseball field should be installed later this week. He also presented the board with options on a cooler/freezer at HHE & a walk in cooler at MMS. The board approved the bid of Fort Smith Restaurant Supply on both projects.

 

The board voted to renew the building and property insurance as well as the supplemental student accident insurance for 2020-2021.

 

Approval was given for adoption of a board resolution to provide suspension of any portion of present school board policies that may come in conflict with updated waivers or temporary emergency Covid-19 legislation.

 

Board member Susan Rowell was appointed to the wellness committee. Replacing Clint Montgomery. All other committee assignments remained the same. 

 

Personnel- Accepted the resignation of Kristy Hall & Sarah Billings. Approved the hiring of Rachel Dover & Claire Williamson. Extended contracts to para pros Rhanda Vaughn & Karen Herpich. Increased the superintendents salary to $132,000.00 per year and the assistant superintendents salary to $95,000.00 per year.

 

The meeting adjourned.

 

6-17-20 1:20 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Mena Police Report for June 7th - 13th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of June 7, 2020 through June 13, 2020 

 

 

June 7, 2020

 

Randal Hansard, 52, was charged with DWI after a traffic stop.

 

A theft (shoplifting) report was taken from a department store.

 

A theft report was taken at a residence.

 

A theft (shoplifting) report was taken from a department store.

 

June 8, 2020

 

A theft (shoplifting) report was taken from a department store.

 

A report of a disturbance was taken at a residence.

 

A criminal mischief report was taken at a residence.

 

A theft (shoplifting) report was taken from a department store.

 

A theft (shoplifting) report was taken from a department store.

 

June 9, 2020

 

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

 

Matthew Cannon, 39, was served with two warrants.

 

June 10, 2020

 

A theft report was taken at a motel room.

 

A dog bite report was taken at a medical clinic.

 

June 11, 2020

 

A criminal mischief report was taken at a park.

 

June 12, 2020

 

A dog bite report was taken at a residence.

 

June 13, 2020

 

Dalton Pearls, 30, was charged with DWI after a traffic stop.

 

Four Juveniles were charged with Curfew Violation after a traffic stop.

 

Jerry Allen, 26, was charged with Criminal Trespass, Obstructing Government Operations, Refuse to Submit to Arrest, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a disturbance call to a residence.

 

Keith Nicholson, 44, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a call to a department store.

 

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

 

6-15-20 6:09 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for June 8th - 14th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of June 8, 2020 – June 14, 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.

 

June 8, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 733 near Potter of the theft of diesel fuel in the amont of $300.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 130 near Rocky of a runaway juvenile. Juvenile was located and returned to the custody of the parent/guardian.

Arrested was James D. Cochran, 36, of Cove on a Warrant for Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of a Controlled Substance.

Arrested was Aaron M. Shores, 27, of Hatfield on two charges of Failure to Comply, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Theft by Receiving, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License.

 

June 9, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 412 near Potter of harassment. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of the theft of an ATV and tools valued at $14,600.00. Investigation continues.

Report of an incident between four juvenile males. Deputy responded. Complainant refused to press charges.

Arrested was Kyle D. Williams, 25, of Mena on a Charge of Theft by Receiving and a hold for another agency.

Arrested was Rachel R. Tarkinton-Wolf, 22, of Mena on a Warrant for Failure to Comply and a Warrant for Possession of Schedule I or II, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of a Controlled Substance.

 

June 10, 2020

Report of a possible ATV accident on Hwy 375 near Shady. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Settlers Lane near Potter of the theft of a refrigerator valued at $600.00. Deputy responded.

 

June 11, 2020

Report from complainant on West Johnson near Hatfield of a dog bite. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 17 near Cove of inappropriate videos and pictures on a cell phone. Deputy responded.

 

June 12, 2020

Traffic stop on Polk 31 led to the arrest of Brandon W. Gates, 35, of Mena on a Charge of DWI, Driving on a DWI Suspended License, and Driving Left of Center.

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

 

June 13, 2020

Request for a welfare check at a residence near Mena.

Report from complainant on Treasure Lane near Acorn of a property line dispute. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 93 near Rocky of issues concerning a mailbox. Deputy responded.

Traffic stop led to the arrest of Lonnie R. Fairless, 48, of Cove on Charges of DWI, Driving on a DWI Suspended License, and Driving Left of Center.

 

June 14, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 35 near Hatfield of items stolen from a rental property. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Hatfield of a verbal altercation. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Michael A. Wilkinson, 33, of Hatfield on a Charge of DWI.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 19 Incarcerated Inmates , with 7 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00416

 

6-15-20 1:08 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments June 8th, 10th

All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes: 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. James D. Cochran,  W/M age 36, Count I: Possession Of A Scheduled II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Possession Of A  Controlled Substance, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. The State of Arkansas intendeds to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact that he had been convicted of more than one (1) felony but fewer than four (4) felonies. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Joshua Heifner, W/M, age 18, Count I: Fleeing, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Aggravated Assault, a Class "D" Felony.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Matthew E. Cannon, W/M ,age 39, Count I: Arson, a Class "B" Felony. Count II: Aggravated Assault, a Class "D" Felony. The State of Arkansas intends to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact that  he has been convicted of four (4) or more felonies. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Kyle Williams, W/M, age 25, Count I" Theft By Receiving, a Class "D" Felony. The State of Arkansas intends to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact that he has been convicted of four (4) or more felonies. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Rachel Tarkinton, W/F, age 22, Count I: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. County III: Possession Of A Controlled Substance, a Class "A" Misdemeanor.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Matthew Cannon, W/M, age 39, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony.
 
6-13-20 12:23 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Advancing Law Enforcement In Arkansas

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Task Force to Advance the State of Law Enforcement in Arkansas
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas’s Commission on Law-Enforcement Standards and Training is constantly examining ways to improve the already high quality of law enforcement in our state, and today I’d like to talk about the task force I’ve created to further that good work.
 
I have a long history with law-enforcement, as a federal prosecutor, as administrator of the DEA, and as undersecretary at Homeland Security. I have profound respect for law officers at all levels. I have seen the danger they face. I want to do everything I can as governor to make their job as safe as possible by equipping and supporting them in their important mission to protect and serve Arkansans.
 
A critical element in law enforcement is trust between police officers and the communities they serve. The death of George Floyd and other recent events have undermined that trust across our communities.
 
The commission sets high standards for professionalism, which is the way to establish and maintain trust. The commission certifies and decertifies law-enforcement officers and certifies all levels of training. It promulgates and enforces statewide rules and regulations. The standard for selecting police officers in Arkansas is higher, and the accountability is stricter than ever before.
 
The role of the task force is to listen to concerns from representatives from law-enforcement and the community, and to recommend ways the commission can improve training, community policing, and accountability.
 
I want to be clear that the task force won’t discuss defunding police agencies. Discussions about where and how we spend money are always appropriate. But we will not do anything that will diminish the vital role of police agencies or put officers in even greater peril than the risks that are inherent with their work.
 
The chairman of the task force is Fred Weatherspoon, who serves as deputy director of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy. I appointed Fred because his background makes him a perfect person to lead this committee of law-enforcement professionals, elected officials, community leaders, and citizen activists.
 
After Fred earned a degree in education at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, a friend who was a member of the Magnolia police department asked Fred to join. Fred resisted that idea because of a bad experience his father had with police officers when Fred was ten. But his friend persuaded Fred that if he became a police officer, he could improve the profession through his leadership and example.
 
That was nearly twenty years ago. Fred spent nine years in Magnolia, and he has worked at the Commission for ten years.
 
I am grateful for the professionalism and compassion that is common to our police agencies statewide. We want to make sure that our 10,000 police officers and our 500 law-enforcement agencies have everything they need to protect Arkansans with as little personal risk as possible.
 
6-13-20 7:33 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, the House Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs Committee reviewed the 2019 Annual Report from Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division.

 

This report along with the quarterly reports from the Department of Human Services’ Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) are difficult to review but necessary in guiding our decisions of where to place resources.

 

The annual report states Child Abuse Hot Line operators in the Crimes Against Children Division (CACD) of the Arkansas State Police received 67,420 referrals in the year 2019. Of these referrals, 37,591 were accepted as legally valid allegations of abuse or neglect. They were assigned to the CACD investigators or the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS). In 2019, the hotline received 652 fewer calls than in 2018.

 

Calls to the hotline include educational and medical neglect, inadequate food and housing, and physical and sexual abuse. DCFS reports neglect is the most commonly reported allegation among those which are found to be true.

 

Major Jeff Drew with the Arkansas State Police testified that calls to the hotline have dropped in recent weeks as many mandated reporters are not in contact with children. The division is noticing anywhere from 400 to 600 fewer calls a week.

 

DCFS Director Mischa Martin told committee members that teachers have historically been the highest volume of mandated reporters. The decline in calls to the hotline continues to be of concern.

 

DCFS made a decision early in the health emergency to continue to place a priority on the safety of children. As a result, employees with the agency have and will continue face to face contact with children.

 

We have posted the report presented to the committee at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

6-12-20 5:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Protecting America's National Treasures

Protecting America’s National Treasures

 

 

Public lands in Arkansas provide an abundance of opportunities for people to enjoy the great outdoors. The time-honored traditions of hunting and fishing have helped grow the state’s tourism industry into a key sector of our economy while simultaneously supporting the preservation and protection of wildlife habitat. We call the Natural State home. This moniker gives Arkansans an especially strong connection to nature and a vested interest in maintaining our outdoor resources.

 

For decades, hunters have been attracted to duck hunting in Arkansas because its wetlands are ideal habitats for migrating waterfowl. Federal conservation programs continue to ensure this popular pastime thrives.

 

As a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, I’m honored to be a voice for Arkansas wetlands and champion investments that protect the wildlife habitat in Arkansas. The commission recently approved expanding waterfowl habitat at the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge in Ashley and Union Counties by more than 9,000 acres.

 

National Wildlife Refuges help preserve wildlife habitats and support the recreation activities of duck hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts. Felsenthal is one of 568 National Wildlife Refuges in the country. Millions of acres of public lands—including these wetlands, our treasured national parks and rivers—are a source of American pride.

 

We can be proud of the conservation efforts and the foresight that led to establishing and preserving these iconic American public lands. The Senate is taking another step to protect these national treasures for future generations by bringing The Great American Outdoors Act up for debate on the floor.

 

I look forward to approving this historic legislation that would create the National Park and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund to support maintenance and upkeep at our national parks, national forests and public lands overseen by various federal management agencies. This would help decrease the National Park Service maintenance backlog that exists across the country including the $28.2 million worth of improvements to Arkansas sites like the Buffalo National River and Hot Springs National Park.

 

It would also permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually so we can expand access to public lands for outdoor recreation. The LWCF has been used to improve public access and protect Arkansas federal recreation areas like the Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, and the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge. The LWCF also provides grants to states to develop parks and other recreation areas. The Department of the Interior reports that funding has been provided to every county in the country since the program was established in 1965.

 

This investment in public lands would help reignite local economies and create jobs, helping small businesses get back on their feet. It would provide urgently needed stimulus to the outdoor recreation industry that generates 96,000 jobs and $9.7 billion in consumer spending in Arkansas alone.

 

The outdoors is part of the identity of the Natural State. It brings people together to enjoy their favorite pastimes. We can be proud of the resources in our backyard that bond us to nature, attract visitors from around the world and support economic growth.

 

6-12-20 5:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

June 12, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – A federal judge upheld the constitutionality of lethal injection procedures used in Arkansas for carrying out the death penalty.

 

A group of inmates on death row had challenged the protocol used for capital punishment, arguing that it violated constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.

 

A federal judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas denied the inmates’ claims and wrote that evidence presented during a trial last year did not prove the drugs used for lethal injection created a substantial risk of severe pain.

 

Arkansas has 30 inmates on death row. All are men, 15 are white, 14 are African-American and one is Hispanic. The last time the state carried out capital punishment was in April of 2017, when four inmates were executed by injections of three drugs.

 

Before the executions in 2017, the previous execution occurred in 2005. There was an even longer gap between executions, from 1964 to 1990, because of rulings by the United States Supreme Court.  During that gap, the legislature approved Act 774 of 1983, making lethal injection the method for execution.

 

In 1990, Arkansas became the 14th state to execute an inmate since the 1976 Supreme Court ruling that once again allowed states to carry out capital punishment. The high court had ruled in 1972 that the death penalty was cruel and unusual and therefore prohibited under the Eighth Amendment.

 

The Arkansas inmates who unsuccessfully challenged Arkansas lethal injection protocol cited the Eighth Amendment.

 

One of the inmates executed in Arkansas in 1990 originally had been sentenced before Act 774 of 1983 took effect, thus he was allowed to choose his method of execution. He chose the electric chair. The other inmate executed in 1990 was the first to die by lethal injection.

 

The first drug injected is midazolam, a sedative. The second is vecuronium bromide, a paralytic drug. The third drug, potassium chloride, stops the heart from beating.

 

Attorneys for the inmates argued that the first drug injected, the sedative midazolam, does not always sedate a person deeply enough for them to not feel pain. Witnesses at the trial last year testified that they had seen one inmate moving and making sounds during his lethal injection.

 

The judge noted that the published side effects of midazolam include muscle tremors and involuntary movement. Also, the judge wrote that not all witnesses agreed on what they had observed during the lethal injection.

 

Witnesses at the trial had observed executions by lethal injection in Arkansas and in other states, both with and without midazolam.

 

Lottery ticket sales

 

The Arkansas lottery broke a record for ticket sales in the month of May when $52.8 million in scratch off tickets were sold.

 

For comparison, in May of 2019, vendors sold $32.5 million in scratch off tickets.

 

Most of the proceeds from lottery ticket sales are returned as prizes, but $8.6 million of the total amount was designated for college scholarships.

 

The lottery director noted that most vendors have remained open during the pandemic. The state’s casinos, as well as movie theaters, concerts and sporting events, had to close. Also, gasoline prices are relatively low.

 

6-12-20 2:28 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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County Clerk Gives Update On Election Preparation, Voter Safety

Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison relaeased the following information today concerning the upcoming General Election.

 

Election time is just around the corner and will be here before we know it. County Clerks and Election Commissioners across the State, as well as State Officials, are working diligently to make sure that the General Election goes smoothly and that we are taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety of voters and election workers.

 

With the exception of a few changes to meet safety and sanitation guidelines, we anticipate that elections will carry on pretty much as usual in Polk County. Early voting will begin on October 19th and vote centers will be open on Election Day. We will be taking extra measures to keep everything sanitized.

 

Voters and election workers will be asked to honor the 6-foot social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid19. Hand sanitizer, face masks, and other protective equipment will also be available at each vote center.

 

Absentee voting will still be available for those voters that are unavoidably absent, or their health prevents them from being able to vote in person. Anyone needing to vote absentee should contact the County Clerk’s Office as soon as possible so that we can send you the absentee application.

 

The Primary Election on March 3rd went very smooth in Polk County and we believe the General Election will be just as successful.

 

As a voter there are a few things you can do to help out. If you have recently moved or had a name change, please contact the County Clerk’s Office as soon as possible to update your information on voter registration records.

 

If you wait until Election Day, that information has to be updated while you are checking in at the vote center to vote and can cause delays for you and other voters. If you are not registered to vote but think you may want to vote in the General Election, now is the time to get registered.

 

You can pick up a voter registration application at the County Clerk’s Office or you can call the County Clerk’s Office, and we will be happy to mail the application to you.

 

If you register to vote when you renew your driver’s license or car tags but do not receive anything from the clerk’s office within a week or two, you should give us a call and confirm that we received your registration application.

 

We are always excited to get new people who are interested in serving as election workers. If this is something you think you might be interested in, please contact the County Clerk’s Office for more information. Election workers are required to attend training before they can be appointed to work.

 

We realize and understand that there is a lot of uncertainty in the world currently, but we do not want this to discourage anyone from voting. We want people to come out and vote, and we want to have successful elections. If you have any questions about your voter registration or voting in Polk County, please call the County Clerk’s Office at 479-394-8123.

 

6-12-20 12:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for June 3, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

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

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

6-10-20 3:04 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Flags To Half Staff For Alexander Police Officer Scott Hutton

Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered the United States flag and the state flag of Arkansas to fly at half-staff in honor of Alexander Police Officer Scott Hutton. The flag will remain at half-staff until sunset Tuesday, June 9, 2020.

 

Governor Hutchinsons Proclamation can be viewed HERE.

 

6-9-20 10:18 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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Mena City Council Meeting June 9th at Fire Station #2

The June Mena City Council meeting will be held Tuesday, June 9th starting at 6:00 p.m. at Fire Station #2 on South Mena Street.

 
In addition to routine business, the Council will have the following items on their agenda:
 
•Consider a Resolution authorizing the City Clerk/Treasurer to destroy outdated financial records and supporting documents of the City of Mena that are no longer needed for City business

 

•Consider quotes received to purchase new personal protective equipment for the Mena Fire Department

 

•Consider the appointment of Jeremy Jones to the Mena Airport Commission to fill the unexpired term of Gregg McDonald; a five-year term to expire February 26, 2020.

 

City Council meetings are open to the public.

 

6-8-20 2:20 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for June 1st - 7th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of June 1, 2020 – June 7, 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.

 

June 1, 2020

Report from complainant on Rushing Lane near Shady Grove of a burglary with items missing in the amount of $30,000.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 238 near Shady Grove of a theft by deception involving a storage building. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Ink of the theft of a generator valued at $5000.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 482 near Vandervoort of suspicious items found at a residence. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 287 near Cove of having items that did not belong to them. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Thomas L. Kidwell, 41, of Mena on Warrants for Failure to Appear and Failure to Comply.

 

June 2, 2020

Traffic stop on Hwy 71S near Mena led to the arrest of Stacie L. Shores, 29, of Mena on a Warrant for Failure to Appear and a Citation for No Driver’s License, and the arrest of Monica Ehret, 40, of Mena on a Warrant for Violation of the Arkansas Hot Check Law.

Report from complainant of a runaway juvenile. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hope Lane near Acorn of several damaged mailboxes. Deputy responded.

 

June 3, 2020

Report from complainant of a stolen backhoe. Backhoe was recovered. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on 88E near Ink of a vehicle doing damage to a fence. Investigation continues.

 

June 4, 2020

Report from complainant of two missing male juveniles. Juveniles were located and returned to the custody of a parent/guardian.

Report from complainant on Polk 289 near Cove of receiving unwanted texts and emails from an unknown individual. Deputy responded.

Request for a welfare check on a family member.

Report from complainant of Polk 136 near Cove of a break-in and theft of a grinder valued at $100.00. Investigation continues.

Arrested was Justin F. Chicago, 22, of Mena on a Warrant for Forgery 1st Degree.

 

June 5, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 164 near Rocky of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded. Complainant refused to press charges.

Report of a juvenile making threatening statements. Juvenile was cited.

Arrested was Joshua Davin Tyler Heifner, 18, of Hatfield on Warrants for Theft of Property, Terroristic Threatening 2nd Degree, Criminal Trespass, and Fleeing on Foot, and Charges of Fleeing in a Vehicle, Aggravated Assault, Speeding, Careless and Prohibited Driving, No Drivers License, No Proof of Insurance, No Vehicle License, and Possession of Drug Paraphernailia.

 

June 6, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 76E near Acorn of being struck by an object while walking. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 412 near Potter of issues concerning child visitation.

Report from complainant on Polk 76E near Acorn of a disturbance. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Butler Circle near Hatfield of a hit and run accident. Deputy responded.

Report of a one vehicle accident led to the arrest of Melissa J. Williams, 44, of Gillham on Charges of Driving While Intoxicated and Careless and Prohibited Driving.

Report from complainant on Polk 32 near Cove of a break-in and theft of a truck, hunting gear and fishing tackle, a generator and a chainsaw , totaling losses in the amount of $8180.00. Investigation continues.

 

June 7, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 71N near Acorn of inappropriate photos and texts. 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. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W of being threatened. Deputy responded.

Report from a business on Hwy 71S near Cove of the receipt of counterfeit money. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Potter of a disturbance. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 17 Incarcerated Inmates , with 8 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00398

 

6-8-20 12:02 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for May 31st - June 6th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of May 31, 2020 through June 6, 2020 

 

 

May 31, 2020

 

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

 

June 1, 2020

 

A dog bite report was taken at a residence.

 

A cruelty to animal’s report was taken at a store parking lot.

 

June 2, 2020

 

Elva Bruce, 39, and Rachel McCauley, 37, were charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a call to a department store.

 

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

 

Christian Kieren, 20, was charged with Domestic Battery 3rd Degree, and Devyn Purcell, 25, was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a disturbance call to a residence.

 

June 3, 2020

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken at a government office.

 

June 4, 2020

 

Teiona Kimbrough, 41, was charged with Possession of Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, and James Lane, 41, was charged with Possession of Schedule 4 Controlled Substance after a traffic stop.

 

Kyle Williams, 25, was served with a warrant.

 

Marty Henry, 53, was served with a warrant.

 

A report of harassment was taken at a school.

 

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

 

A report of theft (shoplifting) was taken from a department store.

 

June 5, 2020

 

A report of theft (shoplifting) was taken at a department store.

 

June 6, 2020

 

A report of a disturbance was taken at a residence.

 

A report of harassment was taken at a residence.

 

A report of theft (shoplifting) was taken at a department store.

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken at a residence.

 

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

 

6-8-20 11:24 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: For the Protection and Safety of Peaceful Protests

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: For the Protection and Safety of Peaceful Protests
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – We saw peaceful protests, and unfortunately, some violence and criminal behavior across Arkansas this week. Today, I’d like to talk about our duty to protect free expression and the proper response of law enforcement when there is violence or destruction of property.
 
The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer is a travesty and a crime. The image of him lying face down on the street as an officer pinned him there with a knee on his neck is deeply disturbing.
 
His cries of “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” will rightly haunt our collective conscience for a long time.
 
I understand the anger that compelled people to take up posters and march to the state capitol and in various cities in Arkansas.  We share in their sorrow and acknowledge their anger and their demand for justice.
 
I’ve listened to members of the community. I hear their cries for change. We will continue to talk and seek solutions. As governor, I will protect your right to march and express yourself in whatever peaceful and lawful way you choose. 
 
Ninety-five percent of the protesters in Little Rock this week marched peacefully. The police officers who were standing by were there to make sure the protesters were safe. When they blocked the interstate and put themselves and others in harm’s way, officers encouraged them to move.
 
Each night, as the hour grew later, a few in the crowd did things that put others at risk. They poured flammable liquids on the road and set them afire. They threw fireworks. They threw rocks and bottles at police. They broke windows, beat a journalist, and destroyed property. That’s when the police responded.
 
On Saturday, I activated the National Guard. On Tuesday, I declared a state of emergency, which directed the State Police to form a Unified Command structure so that all levels of law enforcement could work together. The Unified Command respects the chain of command from the city police departments to the state police to the National Guard. It simply created and defined a chain of command for a specific need in a troubled time in our state.
 
Three nights in a row, police had to disperse the crowd. Many protesters ignored the curfew that Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. had put in place. Even then, officers showed restraint. But as some in the crowd grew more aggressive and began to set fires and throw rocks through store windows, police had to act. They had to stop the lawbreakers and protect the peaceful protesters.
 
When I saw the violence increase on Monday night, I knew we couldn’t let that happen again. The rule of law is important to us all. Tuesday night, nine agencies from all levels of government participated in the patrol, and officers quickly contained the elements of the crowd who were there only to coordinate and motivate destructive behavior. They were there to confront police and destroy property. They didn’t care that their violence might overshadow the message of the peaceful marchers.
 
When protesters march in Arkansas to express their grief and anger, we must protect them and their right to peacefully speak their mind.
 
When the protest turns into violence and vandalism, we must protect everyone else. That’s what we did this week.
 
6-6-20 7:41 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, we want to remind you of a quickly approaching deadline for incoming and returning college students. The deadline to apply for the Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship is July 1.

 

The Academic Challenge Program provides scholarships to Arkansas residents pursuing a higher education. Funded in large part by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, the Academic Challenge Scholarship is available to students just graduating from high school, currently enrolled in college, enrolling in college for the first time, or re-enrolling after a period of time out of college. 

 

In the ten years since its inception, the lottery has raised more than $945 million to help provide more than 542,000 scholarships for college students. More than 92 cents of every dollar of lottery revenue goes to prizes, scholarships, retailer commissions, and other expenses in Arkansas.

 

Eligibility requirements for Arkansas high school students include a minimum composite score on nineteen (19) on the ACT or the equivalent score on an ACT equivalent test.

  

Students who were originally awarded prior to the 2016-17 school year are awarded at the following rates:

 

Four Year College

Two Year College

Year 1

$2000

$2000

Year 2

$3000

$2000

Year 3

$4000

-

Year 4

$5000

-

 

Starting with the 2016-17 school year students are awarded at the following rates:

 

 

 

Year 1

$1000

$1000

Year 2

$4000

$3000

Year 3

$4000

-

Year 4

$5000

-

 

Eligibility requirements have been modified due to COVID-19. For students who are receiving Arkansas Challenge, if they were on track to have enough hours and earned satisfactory academic progress until March 27, they are automatically eligible for the Fall 2021 Semester.

 

To apply, visit the Department of Higher Education’s website, scholarships.adhe.edu, and complete the Arkansas YOUniversal Scholarship Application or download the free YOUniversal app for your smart phone. The online YOUniversal application is your one-stop shop for state and lottery funded financial aid.

 

6-5-20 6:13 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Choosing Unity, Empathy and the Better Way

Choosing Unity, Empathy and the Better Way

 

We've witnessed a lot of frightening and discouraging scenes over the last few weeks. Already in the midst of a pandemic, our nation has been further gripped by turmoil and grief in the aftermath of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others whose lives were cut short under tragic circumstances.

 

The result has not just been private lamenting or muted pleas for change. Instead, we’ve seen protests, vigils and other actions in public settings that have caused many Americans to reflect on these lost lives and what that means for our society.

 

Right now, it would be easy to make this another moment of political polarization that sadly seems to mark much of our public discourse these days.

 

Retreating into our ideological corners and further entrenching ourselves in the persuasiveness of our own arguments won’t help honor these men and women. Neither will it help bridge the divide between us. Nor will violence, anarchy and lawlessness, which we’ve seen play out in cities across the country.

 

America faces a choice at this moment in our history, just as it has many times before. We can choose the path of unity and empathy, or go down a road that leads to further discord and division. It is here, at this crossroads, that we will learn to what extent we really believe in our founding principles.

 

I believe we are able to meet this moment with the compassion and respect that, deep down, each of us knows is the only meaningful way forward.

 

My faith teaches me that we are all children of God, created in His image, and that we are capable of coming together despite whatever differences might exist between us. This is what we need more of in our communities, our nation and the world.

 

I have been encouraged to see that in Arkansas, we have already provided striking examples of how to listen to one another and acknowledge our shared desire for understanding, dialogue and progress.

 

From an iconic photo of a Conway Police Officer bumping the fist of a passing peaceful protestor, to the Fayetteville Police Department showing solidarity with a crowd of citizens practicing their First Amendment rights on the square, or the Fort Smith Police Chief’s encouraging message about community policing and the responsibility of law enforcement officers to make peace –– we can take great pride in the fact that our communities are rejecting divisiveness and embracing a better way forward.

 

Peaceful protests, which have always been part of our nation's history, are the lawful and constitutionally-protected way to make your voice heard. At the same time, our society entrusts law enforcement officers with the duty to uphold and enforce the rule of law, which includes keeping the peace and restoring order when necessary.

 

The death of George Floyd is shocking, disturbing, and has resulted in a massive failure of the sacred trust placed by the public in those sworn to protect and serve. The anger and frustration this tragedy, and others like it, have brought to light is justifiable and needs to lead to reforms.

 

Violence, however, is never the answer. It has been heartening to see that destructive, violent behavior has not been widespread in Arkansas, but rather, appropriate displays of unity and empathy have prevailed.

 

I pray the nation follows this example, and that it will lead us to become the best versions of ourselves. There is much work to do as we constantly strive to form a more perfect union.

 

6-5-20 3:08 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

June 5, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – State revenues have gone down because of the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, but not as much as Arkansas budget officials had feared.

 

In early April the Department of Finance and Administration lowered its official forecast for Fiscal Year 2021 because so many businesses were required to close and so many Arkansas residents suddenly became unemployed.

 

Later in April the legislature approved state agency budgets for Fiscal Year 2021 based on that revised economic forecast.

 

Based on tax revenue collected in May, that revised forecast was very conservative. Sales tax collections provided an example of hoping for the best while preparing for the worst. Also sales tax collections in May were down 2.8 percent compared to the previous year, they were still 8.5 percent above the April forecast.

 

June 30 marks the end of Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021 begins on July 1. Monthly revenue reports are an accurate gauge of economic activity in Arkansas.

 

Sales taxes collected on the purchase of motor vehicles and general retail sales tax collections were higher than expected in May.

 

Individual income tax collections reflect the health of the state’s labor market. Those revenues were above forecast in May by 1.3 percent, but that was mainly due to the changing of the deadline for filing. In order to give taxpayers some relief during the outbreak, Arkansas postponed the deadline for filing state individual income taxes from April 15 to July 15.

 

Tobacco taxes in May were down 1.1 percent from a year ago, and gaming taxes from casinos were zero, because they were closed in April to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Taxes collected in April were supposed to be remitted in May. Last year, gaming taxes on casinos collected $6.2 million in May.

 

Taxes on alcohol were down 14.6 percent from the same month in 2019.

 

Help for Hospitals

 

Federal funding has helped the state provide crucial services during the coronavirus outbreak. For example, a steering committee appointed by the governor recently recommended spending $109.6 million in federal funds to help Arkansas hospitals.

 

The CARES Act Steering Committee recommended also that $250 million be put in a reserve fund, to be available in October or afterward.

 

CARES stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Arkansas stands to receive about $1.25 billion from the act. To date, the steering committee has allocated $439 million in CARES Act funds.

 

The aid to hospitals is for expenses such as enhancing protection of patients, visitors and staff to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Also, the funding can be used for improved technology, education, training and preparations.

 

The hospitals can use the money only for activities for which there is no other source of payment. As one top official said, the hospitals cannot double dip.

 

The steering committee is considering requests to help local governments and higher education institutions. It also is working on proposals to improve access to broadband Internet in rural areas.

 

It has allocated money for state prison units to purchase protective equipment, such as masks. State prisons have been hard hit by the coronavirus because so many people are together in enclosed spaces.

 

6-5-20 10:19 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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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for June 3, 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 for 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.

 

6-3-20 1:21 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Abortion in Arkansas Hits 43-Year Low

Little Rock, Ark. -- On Monday the Arkansas Department of Health released its annual reports on the number of abortions performed in the state.
 
The reports show that 2,963 abortions occurred in Arkansas in 2019.
 
Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement saying, “Arkansas’ abortion numbers haven’t been this low since 1977. The fact that Arkansas’ abortion numbers continue to fall year after year is really good news.”
 
Cox said the number of abortions performed in Arkansas have been cut by more than half since the 1990s. “In 1991 there were nearly 7,000 abortions in Arkansas. Teen abortion fell to record lows last year. Across the board, abortion is on the decline in Arkansas.”
 
Cox said the reports show Arkansas’ informed-consent laws have helped women choose options besides abortion. “Arkansas has excellent laws that require abortionists to give women all the facts about abortion up front, including abortion’s risks, consequences, and alternatives. They also have to give women time to consider all options before making a final decision. We estimate from these reports that more than 500 women chose not to have abortions last year after receiving this information.”
 
Cox said his group will continue working to end abortion in Arkansas. “Arkansans are overwhelmingly pro-life. Public opinion polling shows most Arkansans believe abortion ought to be either completely illegal or legal only under certain circumstances. In the past five years the Arkansas Legislature has enacted more than two dozen good, pro-life laws. These reports from the Department of Health simply go to show that all of that pro-life work is paying off.”

 

6-1-20 3:30 p.m.

 

Jerry Cox is the founder and president of Family Council and the Education Alliance.  Between fundraising, public speaking, leading the staff, lobbying, and writing, Jerry maintains an active role in ensuring that Family Council continues to serve the people of Arkansas as it has since 1989. He and his wife reside in Little Rock. They have four sons.

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Mena Police Report for May 24th - 30th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of May 24, 2020 through May 30, 2020

 

 

May 24, 2020

 

A theft report was taken at a residence.

 

May 25, 2020

 

Kyle Scheppmann, 29, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a call to a department store.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at a department store parking lot.

 

May 26, 2020

 

Nicholas Ryburn, 33, was charged with Domestic Battery 3rd Degree after a disturbance call to a residence.

 

A report of harassment was taken at a fast food restaurant.

 

May 27, 2020

 

A report of cruelty to animals was taken at a residence.

 

May 28, 2020

 

A report of battery was taken at a residence.

 

A theft report was taken at a department store.

 

May 29, 2020

 

No reports were taken.

 

May 30, 2020

 

A theft report was taken from an individual at a department store.

 

Tristan Chaney, 24, was served with two warrants after a traffic stop.

 

A theft report was taken at a department store.

 

Joseph Chapman, 35, was served with a warrant after a traffic stop.

 

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

 

6-1-20 3:12 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for May 25th - 31st

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of May 25, 2020 – May 31, 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.

 

May 25, 2020

Welfare check on Polk 35 near Hatfield led to a Citation for Public Intoxication being issued to Kimberly J. Bailey, 59, of Hatfield.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8E near Dallas Valley of a disturbance. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 56 near Dallas Valley of a woman trespassing. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 282 near Hatfield of a disturbance between neighbors. Deputy responded.

 

May 26, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 267 near Vandervoort of the theft of a cell phone valued at $75.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Rocky of being harassed by an individual. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 37 near Hatfield of a stolen vehicle. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Grand Oak Lane near Mena of paying for services that were never completed. Investigation continues

Report from a business on Hwy 71S in Cove of the receipt of counterfeit money. Investigation continues.

Arrested was Keleb J. Rushin, 19, of Mena on a Charge of Probation Violation and Failure to Comply.

 

May 27, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 482 near Vandervoort of the theft of a television. Investigation continues.

Report of a single vehicle accident on Frachiseur Road near Grannis led to the arrest of Jarad A. Miller, 21, of Gillham on a Charge of DWI.

Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of livestock being killed by dogs. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on 602 near Shady of the theft of an ATV valued at $5000.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of a property dispute. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Lake Wilhelmina of a camper fire. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 419 near Potter of a domestic dispute led to the arrest of Darrell W. Sanders, 50, of Mena on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree and Violation of a No Contact Order.

Report from complainant on Polk 646 near Dallas Valley of identity theft and fraud. Deputy responded.

 

May 28, 2020

Attempted traffic stop near Hatfield led to the vehicle fleeing. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

 

May 29, 2020

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

Report from complainant on West Johnson near Hatfield of a trespasser. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Tater Patch Lane near Hatfield of a residential burglary. Investigation continues.

Arrested was Stacie L. Shores, 29, on a Charge of Failure to Appear.

Arrested was Kelly W. McCarley, 41, of Wickes on two Warrants for Failure to Comply.

 

May 30, 2020

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

Traffic stop on Hwy 246E near Vandervoort led to the arrest of Cody R. James, 19, of Mena on a Charge of DUI-Underage.

Report from complainant on Polk 185 near Ink of the theft of a sign valued at $120.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8E near Board Camp of a disturbance. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Cherry Hill of problems involving a No Contact Order. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on West Johnson near Hatfield of damage to a vehicle and being threatened. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 195 near Ink of a farming accident with an injury. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Joseph A. Chapman, 35, of Mena on a Warrant for two counts of Rape.

 

May 31, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 74 near Acorn of a disagreement over property. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 21 near Cove of a stolen wallet and phone. Investigation continues.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 17 Incarcerated Inmates , with 7 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00366

 

6-1-20 12:57 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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