KAWX News Archives for 2020-07

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

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

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

7-31-20 6:17 PM KAWX.ORG

 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

 

Using Ingenuity and Technology to Close the Digital Divide

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

7-31-20 6:14 PM KAWX.ORG 

 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

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

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Statement From Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

7-30-20 8:22 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Back To School Sales Tax Holiday This Saturday And Sunday

Arkansas' annual sales tax holiday is this weekend.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

There are two ways to file the Notice of Intent:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Rich Mountain Electric Cooperative, Inc.

 

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

 

Today's Power, Inc. (TPI)

 

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

For additional information, contact:

 

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

 

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

 

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

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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. Steven A. Weinert, White Male, age 33, Count I: Possession Of A Schedule VI Controlled Substance With The Purpose To Deliver, Marijuana, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. The State of Arkansas intends to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact that he has been convicted of more than one (1) felony but fewer than four (4) felonies. 7-13-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Anthony B. Robertson, White Male, age 30, Count I:Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. The State of Arkansas intends to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact that he has been convicted of more than one (1) felony but fewer than four (4) felonies. 7-28-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Keleb J. Rushin, Black Male, age 19, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "D" Felony. 7-28-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Alyssa Danielle Singleton, White Female, age 26, Count I: Theft Of Property, a Class "C" Felony. 7-29-20
 
7-29-20 5:57 PM KAWX.ORG 
 
 

 

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AGFC To Plug Leaking Infrastructure At Lake Wilhelmina Near Mena

MENA — Contractors working with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will close the portion of Polk County Road 125 that crosses the levee of Lake Wilhelmina Aug. 11 to attempt to plug leaking infrastructure that has plagued the lake for the last two summers.

 

Lake Wilhelmina is a 200-acre reservoir built on Powell Creek in Polk County. The lake’s dam was constructed in 1958. Wilhelmina is known for excellent bluegill and redear fishing, as well as good opportunities for largemouth bass and channel catfish.

“It’s not a large lake, but it’s a good location to fish and has a devoted following in nearby Mena,” Hobbs said.

 

According to Brett Hobbs, fisheries supervisor at the AGFC’s Hot Springs Regional Office, helicopters will lower giant sandbags into place between the lake’s spillway control tower and levee to plug a hole that has formed in the lakebed, likely allowing water to escape through the outflow pipe at a point past the control tower’s influence.

 

“We first heard some comments from the public about the lake being unusually low back in summer of 2018,” Hobbs said. “That was a particularly dry summer, so we weren’t sure if it was just normal loss of water or something else at play. But in 2019, we had many more calls when the lake’s water level worsened, despite a fairly wet year.”

 

Hobbs says at one point in 2019, the lake’s level dropped low enough that boaters were no longer able to launch a boat.

“We did some more investigating in late summer 2019 and saw that although the control tower’s gates were closed, a healthy flow of water was still running in Powell Creek downstream of the dam,” Hobbs said. “We started looking with our sidescan and downscan depth finders and found what we thought were two holes in the lakebed between the control tower and the dam.”

 

Further investigation by the AGFC Dive Team using high-detail sonar equipment confirmed that there are holes in the lake bed, one as large as 7 feet in diameter and the other less than two feet in diameter, over the lake outflow pipe.

 

“We’ve coordinated with our Operations Division to procure a contractor who will help us hopefully stop the leak,” Hobbs said. “They will lower giant sandbags, up to 1,500 pounds, into the holes using a helicopter. Multiple sand bags will be placed. We hope this effort will plug the holes so a camera inspection can be made via the downstream end of the pipe to see what sort of damage may be there so we can formulate a solution.”

 

At 62 years old, much of the original infrastructure at Lake Wilhelmina has exceeded its life expectancy, and the AGFC may be looking at larger repairs in the future. Similar infrastructure failures forced the AGFC to begin the renovation of Lower White Oak Lake near Bluff City, Lake Elmdale in Springdale and Lake Poinsett near Harrisburg.

 

“We hope the repairs are not as extensive as what had to be done in those locations, but we won’t know until we can get this leak plugged to get a better look,” Hobbs said.

For more information about Lake Wilhelmina, visit the lake’s page at agfc.com.

 

7-29-20 5:12 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

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

 

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

 

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

 

Quick links to regions:

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

7-29-20 4:55 PM KAWX.ORG

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Quorum Court Hears Proposal For A Polk County Museum At Tuesday Meeting, Other Business

 

The Polk County Quorum Court met Tuesday evening for their July session. The meeting was held in the Courtroom of the County Courthouse to allow for distancing between Justices of the Peace and others in attendance. All eleven Justices of the Peace were in attendance, as well as County Judge Brandon Ellison, County Clerk Terri Harrison, Sherif Scott Sawyer, Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, and several visitors. 

 
An ordinance to appropriate to county accounts and make line item transfers and review of items deleted from the county inventory, as well as routine matters were quickly handled.
 
Shirley Manning representing the Polk County Genealogical Society presented a proposal to the Quorum Court that would involve the original Mena High School building, which later served for many years as the Polk County Library and eventually a day care, to be moved to the property where the current library is and developed into a museum for Polk County.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Built in 1898 for a school in Mena, this building served as the County Library from 1904 to 1970,
then as a residential duplex, and most recently as a daycare.
 
Manning told the JPs and other elected officials and visitors that the building was built in the late 1800s and has been moved three times, and that a recent inspection showed that it was in very good condition and moveable. 
 
While there was a great deal of interest in the proposal from the Quorum Court and County Judge, since multiple entities would be involved the proposal, which would involve the County taking ownership of the building, was tabled until August to allow time for more information to be collected.
 
Most of the money for the restoration of the building would come from fundraisers and grants with the County, through the County Library Board, funding the maintenance, utilities and insurance. 
 
7-28-20 9:09 PM KAWX.ORG

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Mrs. Faye Tina Collins Brock Obituary

Mrs. Faye “Tina” Collins Brock, age 66, of Cove, Arkansas passed away Monday, July 27, 2020 in Horatio. She was born on July 28, 1953 in Broken Bow, Oklahoma to the late John Lewis Collins and Faye L. (Walker) Collins.

Tina was united in marriage to the late Charles Brock and was a homemaker. She loved cooking and baking and always whistled while she worked. She enjoyed going to the casino and was a strong, spirited woman.

She is survived by her sons, Chris Brock and wife Renee of Cove, AR, and Johnny Brock of Hatfield, AR; daughters, Loretta Brock and husband Jason Henry of Cove, AR, Kathy Richey of Cove, AR, Deanna Brock of Grand Prairie, TX, Edith McClard of Talihina, OK, and Debbie Howell of Smithville, OK; brothers, Bobby Collins and wife Lora of Racine, WI, and David Collins of wife Jackie of Idabel, OK; 23 grandchildren; and numerous great-grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her parents; husband, Charles Brock; brother, Randy Collins; sister, Linda Collins; daughters, Tamara Brock, and Joyce Brock; and sons, Thomas Brock, and Kenneth Brock.

A graveside service for Mrs. Brock will be 2:00p.m. Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at Witherspoon Cemetery in Vandervoort, Arkansas with Bro. Don Martin officiating

Services are under the direction of Beasley Wood Funeral Home in Mena, Arkansas.
 

 

7-28-20 3:11 PM KAWX.ORG 

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BOLO, Search Continues for Missing Mena Juveniles

 

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is looking for two juveniles from Mena. Chloe Kelley, age 12, and Raphael Overturf, age 15, were last seen in the early morning hours of Wednesday 7/22/20. They are believed to be together, driving a Gray 2016 Jeep Renegade (831-YMY Arkansas) taken without permission from Raphael’s grandmother.

 

Chloe Kelley is 12 years old, 5 ft tall, 100 lbs, brown eyes, blonde hair.

 

Raphael Overturf is 15 years old, 5’ 7”, 135 lbs. Brown hair, brown eyes.

 

If you have any information on our missing juveniles, please contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 479-394-2511 or your local Law Enforcement Agency.

7-28-20 2:55 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Boozman Bulletin: Arkansas is Counting on Us

 

My colleagues and I continue to discuss the next steps forward in our efforts to address the coronavirus crisis. Another round of COVID-19 relief legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate this week.

Congress has already provided billions of dollars for Arkansas’s public health and economic recovery efforts. Funding like this can often times be determined by current census data.

You can help ensure Arkansas continues to receive its fair share of federal funding in the future by completing the 2020 Census. 

 

The U.S. Constitution requires that our population be counted every ten years. It’s happening now, and we need your help to ensure all Arkansans are counted.

This crucial civic duty affects how federal funding is distributed to our communities. The information also helps our community leaders plan for the future and decide where to build new schools, expand public transportation and allocate funds for road projects. Our communities and our state are counting on us all to fill out the short survey to ensure Arkansas receives its rightful share of federal funds.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Arkansas is currently ranked 41st in the country for the number of responses to the 2020 Census. The response rate in the Natural State is 57.3%. This is below the 62.6% national response rate. We can do better.

As census takers begin to make door-to-door visits to homes that have not responded to the 2020 Census, it’s not too late to avoid the knock on the door by completing the nine questions online

 

7-28-20 2:25 PM KAWX.ORG 

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

 

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

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

 

July 20, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 68 near Cherry Hill of medication missing from a mailbox. Deputy responded.

Report of the discovery of suspicious items on West Barton near Cove. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report of a disturbance on Hwy 88E near Ink. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

 

July 21, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 28 near Hatfield of trespassing. Deputy responded.

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

Report from complainant on Cherry Street near Mena of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 419 near Potter of a disturbance. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 6 near Wickes of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Shady Grove of an unauthorized person on their property. Deputy responded.

 

July 22, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Grannis of identity fraud.

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

Report from complainant on Polk Rd 7 near Wickes of identity fraud.

Report of a phone stolen at a place of employment near Grannis.

Report of two missing juveniles. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Buttercup Lane near Acorn of an assault. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Bass Lane near Shady Grove of identity fraud.

Report of damage to a van in a parking lot near Hatfield. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

Report of a structure fire on Polk Rd 76W near Acorn. Deputy responded.

 

July 23, 2020

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

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

Report from complainant on Polk 61 near Board Camp of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 616 near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.

Report of an accident on Polk 38 near Hatfield led to the arrest of Thomas A. Quinn, 34, of Texarkana, Tx on a Charge of DWI and Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test.

Report from complainant on Polk 18 near Vandervoort of paying for items to be delivered that were never delivered. Deputy responded.

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

Arrested by a Trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Kyle E. Scheppman, 29, of Cove on a Charge of DWI.

 

July 24, 2020

Report from complainant near Hatfield of disputes with neighbors. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on 71S near Cove of a phone scam. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 60 near Board Camp of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 98 near Grannis of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 626 near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.

Report from complainant near Mena of identity fraud.

Arrested was Jerrin H. Vaught, 24, of Hatfield on a Body Attachment Warrant.

 

July 25, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 56 near Dallas Valley of problems with a neighbor led to the arrest of Lucynda D. Cassiel, 49, of Mena on a Charge of Aggravated Assault and a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

Report from complainant on 71S near Cove of damage to a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Request for a welfare check on Polk 59 near Board Camp.

 

July 26, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 278E near Wickes of a domestic dispute. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Arrested was Charles A. Shelton, 38, of Boles on Warrants for Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Conduct.

Arrested was Anthony M. Robertson, 30, of Mena, on two Warrants for Theft of Property, and a Warrant for Possession of Meth or Cocaine.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 16 Incarcerated Inmates, with 8 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00596

 

7-28-20 9:56 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for July 19th - 25th

 

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

 

 

July 19, 2020

 

A theft of vehicle report was taken on 1st Street.

 

July 20, 2020

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Abram Abernathy, 23, and Chelsea Roba, 24, were charged with Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call to Janssen Park.

 

July 21, 2020

 

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

 

David Heard, 33, was served with a warrant after officers responded to a disturbance call to McDonald’s.

 

Lukas Holliday, 29, was charged with Possession of a Schedule 6 Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop at 4th Street and Janssen Avenue.

 

Charles Solo, 48, was charged with Driving on Suspended DL and Petite Canaan, 20, was served with two warrants after a traffic stop at 7th Street and Highway 71.

 

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

 

July 22, 2020

 

A report of a dog bite that occurred on 10th Street was taken at the Mena hospital.

 

A report of a missing person was taken on Highway 980.

 

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

 

A theft report was taken from an individual at Walmart.

 

July 23, 2020

 

Jacob Woodell, 26, was charged with DWI Second Offense. Fleeing in a Vehicle, Careless of Prohibited Driving, Driving on a Suspended DL, and No Liability Insurance after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken from an individual at Walmart.

 

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

 

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

 

A report of a break-in was taken from an individual at Men-Ark Apartments.

 

A report of a disturbance was taken on Dewey Street.

 

July 24, 2020

 

Stacie Shores, 30, was charged with Criminal Trespassing after a call to Walmart.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

July 25, 2020

 

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

 

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

 

7-27-20 11:47 AM KAWX.ORG 

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JAWS Coming To Mena'a Ouachita Little Theatre

JAWS IS COMING TO OLT!

 

As part of our social distancing plan for entertainment at Ouachita Little Theatre, we are inviting you to join us Wednesday, August 12 for a free screening of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic, “JAWS!” There is a lot of excitement for this one, as “JAWS” is celebrating its 45th anniversary this summer.

 

This movie helped coin the term “blockbuster” as crowds for this film literally wrapped around blocks of movie theaters all over the country. It was Spielberg’s fifth movie and first major hit. There are colorful stories about the making of this movie, and an entertaining short clip will be shown after the screening of “JAWS” for those who would like to learn more about the film.

 

Also new to “Movie Night,” are themed masks for patrons to purchase with a donation to OLT ($10 is the suggested minimum donation.) Since wearing masks during the movie is required, this is a fun way for get in the spirit of our Wednesday Night at the Lyric. This is a fundraiser for OLT to help us get through the financially trying times we face. So please reserve your mask by calling 243-5903. The shark masks are designed exclusively for OLT through combined efforts from Lorraine Timmerman and Beth McMillan.

 

Admission is free, and concessions are cheap. Come enjoy the cool, totally sanitized theater for a fun night out with friends and family!

 

The fun begins at 6:30 PM. OLT extends caution to parents of young or sensitive children (or maybe even some sensitive adults.) This film is technically rated PG, but even in 1975 that was a surprise to many due to depicted violence of shark attacks, so OLT is rating this one PG13. If you get scared, you can always pull your shark mask up a little higher to cover your eyes! CDC and governor guidelines remain in place at OLT until further notice.

7-26-20 6:31 PM KAWX.ORG

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Polk County Quorum Court To Meet July 28th

The Polk County Quorum Court July meeting will me Tuesday, July 28, 2020 at 6:00 PM in the Courtroom of the Polk County Courthouse.

 
In addition to routine business, Justices of the Peace will consider an ordinance to make line item transfers, review items deleted from the inventory, and hear a report from Shirley Manning about a proposal to locate a museum on county library property.
 
Quorum Court meetings are open to the public.
 
The Polk County Quorum Court consists of Justices of the Peace: Chris Daniel, Jim Neugent, Harold Coogan, Margarett "Margo" Kimp, Troy Lunsford, Terry Terrell, Tommy Floyd, Terry L. Scott, Basil Kesterson, Mitchell Tidwell, Tawana Gilbert.
 
7-26-20 1:40 PM KAWX.ORG 

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July Sales and Road Tax Collections Up For Polk County

Polk County Treasurer Tanya K. Fretz has released the July 2020 Sales Tax General and Road Improvement Tax Report. The amounts reflect collections for the previous month.

 

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

 

The July amount for each of the taxes was $152,123 which is $29,269 more than for July 2019.

 

To date in 2020 the taxes have generated $959,029 each which is $58,187 each more than for the same period in 2019, suggesting good local retail sales. 

 

7-26-20 10:14 AM KAWX.ORG 

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ARVAC Commodity Distribution In Mena Monday July 27th, Energy Assistance Also Available

ARVAC, Inc. will be distributing commodities in Mena on Monday, July 27th at the Polk County Fairgrounds from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM.

 
For additional information, call the local ARVAC, Inc. office at (479) 394-4707.
 
The ARVAC, Inc. Energy Assistance program Li-Heap (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) is open. For additional information, call the local ARVAC, Inc. office at (479) 394-4704. 
 
7-26-20 9:40 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: For the Higher Calling of Health Care

 
Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: For the Higher Calling of Health Care
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – This week, I met with doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville who have been on the front line of saving lives during this coronavirus pandemic. They were tired and stressed, but their work makes me grateful for their services and sacrifice. Today I’d like to talk about the need to find more people such as those to enter the field. I am hopeful that the sight of their heroic service will inspire others to choose a career in health care.
 
The numbers of those in the health care profession nationally and in Arkansas have been declining for years. This worldwide health crisis has highlighted the shortfall and the urgent need to correct it. There never has been a greater need for young people to enter the health care profession.
 
The reasons for the decline are many, but the result is that as health care professionals retire, there aren’t enough people to replace them. Americans are living longer, which means the number of people in need of medical care is growing as the number of providers shrinks. In the rural areas of Arkansas, the situation is even more challenging.
 
As the coronavirus has billowed across our nation like a toxic fog, the illness has illustrated the complicated nature of our health care system. We have seen how various medical specialties intersect, and that each is essential: Medical doctors and doctors of osteopathic medicine. Paramedics. Emergency room doctors and registered nurses. Respiratory therapists and licensed practical nurses. Home health caregivers. Researchers. Medical technicians. That is a very short list of the many important jobs in the health care field.
 
A health care career offers many benefits. You can find a job almost anywhere you want to live, and the jobs pay well.
 
But there is more to it than the personal benefit. Health care is a higher calling, much like any other public service. Those who choose that path often are called upon to put the good of others before personal comfort and convenience, as thousands have done during the pandemic. The hours are long, the work can be difficult. But there are the bright moments when someone saves a life or a homebound patient rewards a health aide with a smile of gratitude.
 
Arkansas is growing and in need of more people who are willing to commit to that level of service. Our state needs young professionals with fresh perspectives to help us figure out new and better ways to deliver health care. We need tech-savvy professionals who elevate our health care system, which benefits all Arkansans: A tech-savvy health care system attracts high-quality business and industry and enhances Arkansas’s general quality of life.
 
COVID-19 has changed everything about our lives. We have no idea how long we will be fighting the current battle, but the health care professionals who are guiding us through this time inspire confidence and hope. My hope is that their inspiration will attract a new generation of professionals to accept the call.
 
7-26-20 7:41 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Public Asked To Report Receipt of any Unsolicited Packages of Seeds

 

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture has been made aware that private citizens in several states have received unsolicited packages containing seeds that appear to have originated from China. The types of seeds in the packages are unknown at this time and may be invasive plant species. The packages were sent by mail and may have Chinese writing on them.

 

Please do not plant these seeds. The Arkansas Department of Agriculture encourages anyone who has received unsolicited seeds in the mail that appears to have Chinese origin to place the unopened seed packet in a sealed bag and contact the Plant Industries Division at 501-225-1598 or:

 

Paul Shell Paul.shell@agriculture.arkansas.gov

 

Mark Stoll Mark.stoll@agriculture.arkansas.gov

 

Scott Bray Scott.bray@agriculture.arkansas.gov

 

Invasive species wreak havoc on the environment, displace or destroy native plants and insects and severely damage crops. Taking steps to prevent their introduction is the most effective method of reducing both the risk of invasive species infestations and the cost to control and mitigate those infestations.

 

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

 

7-25-20 7:25 AM KAWX.ORG 

 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, our country celebrates the 30th anniversary of the most sweeping civil rights legislation ever enacted for people with disabilities.

 

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. Banning discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, places of public accommodation, public services, transportation, and telecommunications, the ADA ushered in a new era of opportunity for people with disabilities by formalizing equity and inclusiveness as federal standards.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 4 adults in the United States has some type of disability. In Arkansas, that number climbs to 1 in 3.

 

In 2019, the Arkansas General Assembly passed a number of bills concerning disabilities.

 

Act 59 amends the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program. This program allows Arkansans with disabilities to save up to $15,000 in an account without affecting eligibility for many public benefits. Act 59 ensures that in the event of a death, the money in that savings account cannot be seized by Medicaid but can instead be transferred to a designated beneficiary.

 

Act 825 allows individuals to deduct up to $5,000 in contributions to the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program.

 

We also passed legislation addressing mental health for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

 

Act 664 created the Mental Health for Individuals Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing Bill of Rights Act. This legislation states a certified mental health professional shall offer culturally affirmative mental health services and linguistically appropriate mental health services to a client in the client’s primary communication method. It also states the Division of Aging, Adult and Behavioral Health Services of DHS shall do the same. The division is also instructed to employ a coordinator to ensure linguistically appropriate mental health services are available and accessible statewide.

 

In addition, the House and Senate recently added closed captioning to our video streaming services.

 

As the ADA turns 30, we reflect on the progress made for Americans with disabilities and the work that has yet to be done.  Although labor-force-participation and employment rates for those with disabilities are higher now than they were in 1990, they still lag far behind the employment data for people without disabilities.

 

The ADA’s legacy continues to protect the rights of the millions of Americans living with a disability. While some stigma surrounding those with disabilities remains even 30 years later, today we celebrate the progress made toward the full inclusion of people with disabilities.

 

7-24-20 4:32 PM 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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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Providing for Our Nation's Defense

Providing for Our Nation’s Defense

 

Over the last few weeks, Congress has been working on the annual legislation that helps ensure our men and women in uniform have the tools and resources they need to fulfill their crucial mission to protect and defend the United States, our allies and interests.

 

One of the key ways the federal government meets its constitutional duty to “provide for the common defense” is through the passage and implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

 

This bill sets out vital policy initiatives to provide the Department of Defense (DoD) with authorities to carry out the duties involved in maintaining national security. The Senate and the House of Representatives each recently passed versions of the legislation, marking the 60th consecutive year this has occurred.

 

In a time of intense partisanship and national division, passage of the NDAA is a true testament to the significance of this responsibility. It shows the importance of coming together in support of the United States military even when the spirit of bipartisanship and compromise is elusive in many other areas.

 

As we are all aware, threats against the U.S., our allies and interests persist. At a time of increasing risks and dangerous global security challenges, America must lead in creating stability through a strong and modernized military.

 

That’s why it was essential to come together again and advance the NDAA to bolster our own military posture, enact policies that encourage deterrence, project leadership, and deploy innovative strategies to maximize advantages that serve our national security objectives, reassure our allies, and help defend our freedoms and ideals at home and abroad.

 

The Senate’s Fiscal Year 2021 NDAA does this by strengthening American deterrence through investing in greater capabilities in support of priorities listed in the National Defense Strategy, and ensuring America’s service members are ready so, when challenged, they prevail in any conflict.

 

Not only does the bill provide a three percent pay raise for our troops and re-emphasize a focus on training to ensure service members can conduct missions safely, it also serves the interests of our military families and supports Arkansas's national defense personnel, installations and industry.

 

After meeting with leaders from the 188th Air Wing at Fort Smith, it was clear to me that our service members need more support when it comes to options for child care and assistance. That’s why I submitted an amendment, adopted by the Senate, directing the DoD to research, report and provide recommendations to Congress on how to provide 24-hour child care to military families assigned to around-the-clock, rotational units here at home.

 

I also secured a provision to authorize a new Arkansas National Guard Readiness Training Center at Fort Chaffee to provide greater support for training exercises and help ensure Arkansas guardsmen continue to be some of the best trained in the country.

 

Additionally, this NDAA supports the deployment of the Iron Dome protection system – a portion of which is produced in Camden, Arkansas – to U.S. Central Command theater.

 

These aspects of the Senate bill are just a few of the successful policies that made it worth supporting.

 

National security is the federal government’s most basic function and responsibility, which is why it was important to get this work done in a bipartisan way and with broad agreement. This Senate-passed NDAA does just that, which makes us and the rest of the world safer.

 

Now it’s time for Senate and House members to craft a compromise bill and send it to the president’s desk to become law.

 

7-24-20 4:18 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

 

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

July 24, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – The average debt that a student incurs to earn a bachelor’s degree in Arkansas is almost $2,000 less than the national average.

 

Over the course of a 30-year career, a person with a bachelor’s degree will earn an estimated $1.25 million, compared to $550,000 that a college dropout will earn over the same period.

 

Estimates of career earnings were compiled for the legislature by three state agencies – the Higher Education Department, the Division of Workforce Services and the Arkansas Research Center.

 

Elected officials and business leaders are keeping a close watch on graduation rates from the state’s colleges and universities, because in the modern global economy the prosperity of a region is directly related to the educational achievements of its people.

 

For reasons of economic development, Arkansas has been trying to increase the number of college graduates. To that end, the legislature changed the formula by which state aid is distributed to higher education campuses, to emphasize graduation rates more than student enrollment.

 

At a recent meeting of lawmakers at the state Capitol, officials from higher education and workforce services presented an Economic Security Report, which analyzed how the new strategy is working.

 

It’s well known that it pays to get an education. For example, a person with a bachelor’s degree will earn an average of $32,000 in their first year in the workforce, compared to a high school graduate who will earn $12,700 in their first year of working.

 

The report provides specifics from every institution in Arkansas. A person will earn $26,348 the first year after earning a Certificate of Proficiency in tool and die technology from the University of Arkansas-Rich Mountain, in Mena. A person will earn $28,266 the first year after earning a Technical Certificate from the same campus.

 

Someone with a degree in Natural Resources, which includes studies in General Forestry, from the University of Arkansas at Monticello, will earn $39,057 during the first year of their career.

 

The report is 116 pages, most of which are listings of programs from Arkansas colleges and universities and the estimated earnings that certificate and degree holders can expect during their first year in the workforce.

 

Among the facts and figures is a chilling fact: neither a high school graduate ($12,700) nor a college dropout ($14,700) will earn, on average, enough to cover the basic expenses of living during their first year of working.

 

A single adult will spend $22,100 a year, according to the report. That includes $6,200 for rent, $4,600 for a car, $3,000 for food, $2,300 for medical costs and $2,800 for other expenses.  Two married adults with one child can expect to pay $49,900 a year in expenses.

 

Even when the cost of college loans is factored in, a degree is worth the investment, especially in Arkansas. The average debt for a bachelor’s degree in Arkansas is $26,800, compared to the national average of $28,650.

 

In 2017 health professions constituted the most popular category of study in Arkansas higher education, accounting for 8,415 graduates. There were 4,566 graduates in business, management and marketing, 1,550 in computer and information sciences, 849 in engineering, 276 in legal professions, 167 in foreign languages and 156 in mathematics and statistics.

 

7-24-20 9:12 AM KAWX.ORG 

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80% of Mena School Parents Polled Planning For Traditional Education

Mena teachers have been contacting parents to ask them which Bearcats Ready for Learning choice they will make for their children this year. So far, we have collected responses for 621 students and 80% of parents are choosing traditional learning. Parents who have not been contacted yet, please be aware that phone calls are still being made and you will get a call soon.  

7-23-20 3:55 PM KAWX.ORG 

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UARM Bucks XC to Hold Open Try-Outs, XC Scholarships Available

[July 23, 2020 | MENA, Ark.] UARM’s Bucks Cross-Country Head Coach Samantha Shores has announced an open men and women’s NJCAA cross-country try-out for August 1. Those selected would have the opportunity to join the 2020 Bucks Cross-Country team as well as earn an athletic scholarship.

 

Both Coach Shores 2018 and 2019 teams earned the Region II championships and Shores said she couldn’t be more excited about the growth of her program and the caliber of this year’s team. The inaugural year, the team had only 2 men and 4 women. The success of her program has grown this year’s team to 8 women and 9 men from over 12 different communities.

 

To participate in the try-out all runners need to present their medical insurance card. The event will be at the Lions Club beginning at 10 a.m.

 

7-23-20 3:36 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for July 22, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

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

 

Quick links to regions:

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

7-22-20 4:50 PM KAWX.ORG

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Mena Schools Ready To Learn Plan, Questions and Answers

 

The Mena Public Schools Bearcats Ready for Learning Plan (Revised July 22, 2020)

 

Various committees of the Mena School District have met in the last 10 days to prepare a plan to release to parents so they can make informed choices for their child(ren)’s education during the upcoming school year.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused schools to shut down in mid-March but they will be required to reopen no later than August 24th, 2020. There are many things out of the District’s control during this difficult time, but the school’s mission is that Mena Public Schools will provide the same high-quality education it always has both traditionally at school and at home.

 

Listed here is information about the District’s plan related to COVID-19 along with choices for parents with questions and answers. Further information may be requested by calling the school or emailing MenaCOVIDQuestions@menaschools.org.

 

Choices for Learning

 

For parents of students at Mena Public Schools, there will be three choices for continuing your student’s education: Traditional Learning, Blended Learning (a mix of virtual and traditional education), and Polk County Virtual Academy.

 

Choice 1: Traditional Learning

 

Selecting Traditional Learning means that your child(ren) will be learning in a school setting that is familiar and somewhat normal with some adjustments that are detailed in the Q & A section below. They will be issued a school owned Chromebook with an online curriculum (Edmentum) taught by their teacher in the traditional face-to-face format. The online curriculum is the backup plan in the case of a school closing or if your child(ren) are quarantined due to COVID-19.

 

If you are a parent who wants the most normalcy for your child(ren), you would want to make this choice.

 

Choice 2: Blended Learning

 

Selecting Blended Learning means that your child(ren) will be learning at home with the option of returning to school when you deem that it is safe. It is structured to match the traditional school day to ease the transition back into the traditional classroom. There are more details in the Q & A section below. If requested, your child(ren) will be issued a school owned Chromebook with an online curriculum (Edmentum) taught by their teacher in an online format. The online curriculum is the same curriculum the students who are being taught traditionally will receive, only with less face-to-face interaction from their teacher(s).

 

If you are a parent who is concerned about your child(ren) returning at this time due to COVID-19 and would rather wait until you feel things are safer, you would want to make this choice.

 

Choice 3: Polk County Virtual Academy

 

Selecting Polk County Virtual Academy means that your child(ren) will be learning in a very non traditional setting. Making this choice will mean that the curriculum will be delivered in a self-paced, self-guided manner. There are details in the Q & A section below. If requested, your child(ren) will be issued a school owned Chromebook with an online curriculum (Edmentum) that is geared toward a self-motivated student. There will be some support from the district.

 

If you are a parent who is concerned about your child(ren) returning at all due to COVID-19 and you feel that your child(ren) can learn independently, you would want to make this choice. For an informational video and to apply for PCVA, please visit www.menaschools.org.

 

There are still many details about the regular school day that will be uncertain until we know how many students to expect; such as, how your child(ren)’s teacher will arrange their classroom or how band practice will be conducted. These are things that are still unknown at this time, but we hope this document will provide enough information for you to make an informed decision in the best interest of the ones you love.

 

Control of COVID-19

 

Mena Public Schools is making preparation for students to learn in the safest environment possible. We have considered student and faculty arrival/dismissal procedures, bus arrival/dismissal procedures, lunch schedules for students and staff, and each building’s instructional schedule and will make adjustments when feasible to be consistent with current Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) and Arkansas Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

 

Masks or Other Facial Coverings

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a statewide mandate requiring the wearing of face coverings. With some exceptions, the Directive requires every person 10 years of age and older to wear a face covering completely over the mouth and nose in both indoor environments and outdoor settings when distancing of six feet or more cannot be assured. Face shields do not substitute for masks. More details are provided in the Q & A section below.

 

Transportation

 

Bus transportation of Mena students will continue and scheduled routes will remain the same. Parents who want to bring their child(ren) to school will be allowed to in the same manner as in previous years. Bus and car rider schedules may be adjusted as the year progresses and as things change.

 

Social Distancing

 

Social distancing of 6 feet when not wearing masks will be enforced whenever possible. A distance of 12 feet will be required when teachers are without masks and delivering lectures or other instruction to students. Classrooms will be adjusted to accomplish social distancing where feasible. Other adjustments to classroom space will be made depending upon circumstances. For instance, high school classes will be separated into other rooms when class sizes are too large.

 

Cleaning and Sanitizing

 

Mena Public Schools will provide many hand sanitizing stations in classrooms and hallways. Signage in bathrooms will emphasize the importance of hand washing and instruct students on proper procedures. The district has purchased state-of-the-art antimicrobial electrostatic systems to disinfect classrooms, hallways, commons areas, and buses. These systems will be used on a routine basis and in the event of outbreaks. Furthermore, general cleaning agents will be used along with further disinfection training of administrative, teaching, clerical, and custodial staff.

 

Questions & Answers

 

We understand that there are particular questions you may have so we have anticipated some with answers provided. If you have other questions, please email your specific COVID-19 related questions to Mena Public Schools at: MenaCOVIDQuestions@menaschools.org. We will try to answer them as quickly and accurately as possible.

 

Q: When will school start?

A: As of July 16th, 2020, school will begin on August 24th, 2020.

 

Q: Will students be required to wear face coverings?

A: a. Currently, Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson, is mandating that all individuals 10 years old and over wear a face covering. Mena Public Schools is following the Governor’s mandate that adults and students age 10 and up wear face coverings when physical distancing cannot be achieved, particularly on school buses. b. Students under 10 years of age and those with health issues and special needs will not be asked to wear face coverings. Student and adult exemption from wearing masks will require documentation from a health care provider to support a claim of exemption due to a medical condition or disability that prevents the person from wearing a face covering. c. Students will be required to wear face coverings in areas with a high concentration of students where social distancing cannot be maintained.

 

Q: What do I do if my child or someone in my household tests positive for COVID-19?

A: Notify one of these people at the school: Shane Torix, (479)216-6644 or your school’s nurse.

 

Q: If we want our child(ren) to wear masks do we provide our own or will they be provided?

A: Both. The district will order facemasks for students, but they may not arrive in time for school and they may not be comfortable for your child(ren); therefore, we are encouraging parents to provide facemasks, as well.

 

Q: If I choose Traditional, how normal will the school day be?

A: Our goal is to make the school day as normal as possible. Each building will develop its own plan.

 

Q: Will our students have extracurricular opportunities and extra classes like P.E.?

A: Yes. The instructors of these courses will receive materials, equipment, supplies, and training for delivery and social distancing to provide these classes in as normal a situation as possible. The number of students we have coming to school will determine the planning we will need to conduct.

 

Q: Will school meals still be provided to all students?

A: Yes. Students who receive traditional schooling will be served meals to be eaten in alternate locations or on alternate schedules to allow for social distancing. Students who choose blended or PCVA will be allowed to pick up their meals at a location and time to be determined.

 

Q: Will my elementary student still have recess?

A: Yes. The recess schedule will be changed to allow social distancing with the same level of supervision. We will accomplish this by limiting the number of students on the playground at the same time, shorten recess time, and limit the number of students allowed on playground equipment.

 

Q: Will social distancing always be practiced?

A: Not always. If you choose traditional or blended during this time there will be some risks. Social distancing will be in place where it is feasible, but sometimes it is not feasible. For example, on buses we will not be able to enforce social distancing guidelines. Therefore, we encourage wearing masks even more. When we are not able to enforce social distancing, masks will be strongly encouraged.

 

Q: Will classrooms be arranged differently?

A: Yes, if needed. Some classrooms will be able to accommodate social distancing with all students in the class. Classes that are more crowded will spread out to different areas of the building (for older students) or have furnishings removed to allow more space for students to spread out.

 

Q: If someone tests positive for COVID-19, what will happen?

A: First, the person who tests positive will not be allowed on campus. The district administration has had much communication with ADH and DESE for instructions on what to do. We will follow the most current guidance from these agencies and keep parents informed to the extent allowed by law.

 

Q: If someone at school has symptoms, what will happen?

A: In short, usual procedures for sick students will be followed. Individuals with symptoms will be isolated from other students until they can be sent home to avoid further exposure. The district will have health care professionals, ADH, and administrative primary contact personnel to coordinate these events as they happen.

 

Q: If I choose Blended or PCVA but want to switch to Traditional, what do I do?

A: Before sending your child(ren) back to school you must arrange a reentry conference with your child(ren)’s school by calling the school’s office to make the request.

 

Q: What about sports?

A: Mena Public Schools will follow all guidelines and rules set forth by the AAA and the ADH where sports are concerned.

 

Q: Currently, the AAA is requiring student athletes to wear masks at certain times. Will this continue once school starts?

A: All student athletes will be required to follow current AAA guidelines. If guidelines change before August 24th, Mena Schools will notify athletes and parents and will remain in compliance with AAA rules.

 

Q: Will students and adults be screened daily?

A: Faculty and staff will be screened daily at their buildings. Students will need to be screened at home by parents and guardians. If the need arises during the school day, further screening of students will be done by school personnel.

 

Q: If I choose virtual or blended, will my child(ren) be able to participate in extracurricular activities?

A: Yes, but transportation to and from school must be provided by the parent or guardian. The student must also fulfill all participation requirements set for by the AAA. Further questions may be directed to the Athletic Director.

 

Q: Will we have Open House?

A: At this time we are planning a Virtual Open House to be conducted by your teacher(s).

 

Q: How will Mena Public Schools help my child(ren) catch up on the learning lost from last year?

A: Students will be assessed to determine their level of proficiency. After this, learning plans will be developed for each student to address their academic needs. We will continually monitor their progress and respond with interventions as needed. Exact Path on Edmentum will be the primary monitoring tool throughout the district.

 

Q: What will happen if school closes again?

A: The online curriculum (Edmentum) being delivered in all three choices will be continued with daily interaction from your child(ren)’s teacher(s). The period of closure will be a minimum amount and the district will keep parents informed as the closure progresses.

 

Q: What advice would you give to parents with child(ren) who have compromising health conditions or special needs?

A: The Student Support Committee met on Monday, July 13th, 2020, and discussed ways to accommodate students with special needs. The accommodations will vary from student to student with expert advice from Counselors, Special Education Teachers, Behavioral Specialists, and administrators for the best solutions for your child(ren).

 

Q: In the event of a school closure, how will students with special needs be served?

A: The Student Support Committee met on Monday, July 13th, 2020, and discussed ways to accommodate students with special needs. Some solutions were: Mindplay for continued learning and Zoom video conferencing for support. The accommodations will vary from student to student with expert advice from Counselors, Special Education Teachers, Behavioral Specialists, and administrators for the best solutions for your child(ren).

 

Q: Can you guarantee the safety of students and staff?

A: No. However, we cannot guarantee safety under normal circumstances, either. We can guarantee that the staff at Mena Public Schools will make the safety of our students a top priority.

 

Q: How will my child(ren) be graded if I choose Blended or PCVA?

A: If you choose Blended, your child(ren) will be learning under the supervision of a Mena Public Schools teacher and will be graded by them according to the same standards as the traditional students. If you choose PCVA, your child will be learning under the guidance of an Arkansas state certified teacher and will be graded by them according to course standards.

 

Q: What if I don’t have Internet access and want one of the virtual options?

A: The District may be able to provide hotspots for households that have good cell phone service or another reliable Internet provider subscription. If your household does not have reliable Internet, you should not choose either of these options unless absolutely certain this is what is best for your child(ren). Please consult a school official for further details.

 

Q: If I have a new student or a kindergartner, do I still need to register my child(ren) for school?

A: Yes. No matter what choice you make for the 20-21 school year, you should still register new students for kindergarten or if you are new to the district. Powerschool registration forms and instructions can be found on the District website.

 

The email address to send further questions to is (MenaCOVIDQuestions@menaschools.org). Teachers and/or administrators will be reaching out to parents by phone during the week of July 20-24 to ask which decision they will be making and answer other questions they might have at that time. The District asks that parents be prepared for these calls as they arrive.

 

The District reminds everyone to remember that we are all in this together and everyone at Mena Public Schools sincerely cares for the wellbeing of all students and staff and will do all it can to keep them safe while delivering the same high-quality education it always has.

 

7-22-20 2:30 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena School Board Meeting Recap

The Mena School Board gathered for their regular July meeting on Tuesday evening at Mena Middle School.

 

The meeting began with the Superintendent’s Report. Mr  Benny Weston  informed the board that they may be seeing some large purchases in the financial report & that the district will be reimbursed with CARES Act Funding on those purchases at a later date.

 

Weston then asked the board for input on whether or not exchange students should be accepted in 20/21. This is normally an administrative decision. After a brief discussion all board members agreed that the district would accept exchange students as usual.

 

A quick mention was made of the state & local bus training which was held at the MHS Performing Arts Center on Tuesday.

 

Also a part of the Superintendent’s Report was the Bearcats Ready for Learning Plan which was presented by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lee Smith. That led to discussion on the use of mask by students in the coming school year. The board agreed that the district will adhere to the Governors order & adjust as guidance is given.

 

In new business Mena Middle School Principal Mr. Clif Sherrer presented the adjusted School Calendar for 20/21. It was approved unanimously & the new calendar will be posted on social media & the Mena Schools Website soon.

 

Mena Mayor Seth Smith has requested a partnership with the district on a project to extend the overlay on Geyer Drive next to Holly Harshman Elementary. The board gave Weston permission to negotiate an agreement with the City of Mena.

 

A bid was accepted & approved from  Polk County Farm Bureau in the amount of $22,698 on insurance  for all the district buses & vehicles.

 

The board  approved the annual $200 petty cash allotment for each campus in the district & the annual Statement of Assurances passed with no discussion.

 

District Maintenance Supervisor Danny Minton gave an update on numerous projects. He also approached the board with two bids to paint the red portions of MHS. The low bid of $22,000 by a Mena company was approved. Minton also stated that sneeze guards for each office & some other locations have been ordered & a needs assessment is underway for classrooms. A total of 20 bottle filling stations have been ordered & 20 hand sanitizing stations have been built. 

 

The financial reports were approved, the amended adjusted salary schedule proposed at the June meeting was approved & the board voted to allow principals to make changes to student policies as guidance from the state is delivered.

 

Finally in personnel matters the resignation of Josh Bradford was accepted & the hiring of Tyler Huntington as MMS Band Director was approved. Sam Varner was also put on contract as a bus driver.

 

7-22-20 7:25 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for July 12th - 18th

 

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

 

 

July 12, 2020

 

Steven Weinert, 32, was charged with Possession of a Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (F), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (M) after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

July 13, 2020

 

Abram Abernathy, 23, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Bethesda Road.

 

David Heard, 33, was charged with Criminal Trespass after a complaint on Andrys Avenue.

 

July 14, 2020

 

A death investigation report was taken on Janssen Avenue.

 

A report of a disturbance was taken at Simple Simon’s Pizza.

 

A theft report was taken on Hamilton Avenue.

 

Cortney Lyle, 37, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

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

 

A report of a disturbance was taken on Sherwood Avenue.

 

July 15, 2020

 

Abram Abernathy, 23, was charged with Harassment and Criminal Trespass after a call to a residence on 9th Street.

 

Robert Wallis, 39, was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Purpose to Deliver, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of a Controlled Substance. Also, Dennis Stinson, 42, was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Both were charged after a probation search at Rebecca Apartments.

 

July 16 ,2020

 

A forgery report was taken at Southern Auto Supply.

 

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

 

July 17, 2020

 

A report of criminal trespass was taken on 7th Street.

 

Lonnie Tyler, 51, was charged with Criminal Trespass after a call to Walmart.

 

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

 

Anthony Robertson, 29, was charged with Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call on 4th street.

 

A report of battery was taken at the Mena hospital.

 

July 18, 2020

 

Devin Turner, 27, was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Obstructing Government Operations and Public Intoxication after a call to 7th Street.

 

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

 

A theft report was taken on Blake Drive.

 

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

 

7-20-20 5:05 PM KAWX.ORG 

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OLT Entertains with Socially Distant Shows

Ouachita Little Theatre has been studying the practicalities of producing shows that will safely fall within the guidelines of the Governor’s proclamations. Due to the expense and challenges producing the musical “BIG”, that show is still postponed until it can be executed safely. However, it would be possible to do some dramatic “Reader’s Theatre” type of performances live on stage, and the board of directors have come up with their first offering.

 

Scotty Jenkins has agreed to direct the classic tale of a person who perseveres toward justice against all odds in “Twelve Angry Jurors.” As this play does not require a lot of movement, and actors can be socially distanced, this is an excellent choice for actors to show their skills and emotional range. He has chosen a cast and will begin rehearsals immediately.

 

Performance dates are August 21,22, and 23. Only 50 tickets can be sold to each performance to ensure proper social distancing and adherence to our Covid19 Phase 2 restrictions.

 

The OLT office is currently closed, but information on how to obtain tickets will be announced shortly. The theatre has undergone an intense cleaning and monthly professional treatments will continue to keep the air in the theatre healthy and clean. Donations are always welcome, especially during this difficult time. See our webpage at ouachitalittletheatre.org for information on how you can help.

 

More live offerings will be forthcoming in the months ahead. Also, OLT free “movie night party” was a big hit with patrons on July 8. Steven Spielberg’s “JAWS” is celebrating its 45th anniversary and will be the PG13 rated movie featured on August 12. OLT cautions those patrons who are sensitive to intense scenes, especially younger children, to use discernment about attending.

 

Face coverings are required to be worn at all times in the Ouachita Little Theatre.

 

7-20-20 11:51 AM KAWX.ORG 

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

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

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

 

July 13, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 193 near Cherry Hill of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 57 near Board Camp of identity fraud.

Report of a single vehicle accident on Polk 126 near Rocky. Deputy responded.

 

July 14, 2020

Report from complainant on Kodiak Lane near Acorn of damage done to a well.

Request for a welfare check on a family member.

Report from complainant on Polk 89 near Ink of missing firearms. Deputy responded. Firearms were later located.

Report from complainant on Polk 76E near Acorn of damage done to mail and a mailbox. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on 8W near Shady Grove of dead livestock. Deputy responded.

Report from Polk County Detention Center of the discovery of contraband in the facility. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 74 near Ink of harassment. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Ink of a domestic disturbance. Deputies responded.

Arrested was Gregory Margraff, 64, of Mena on a Warrant for DWI and Careless and Prohibited Driving.

Arrested by an Arkansas State Trooper was Randy E. Lewis, 37, of Mena on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.

 

July 15, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Hatfield of a break-in. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 4 near Cove of a break-in and theft. Deputy responded.

 

July 16, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 14 near Wickes of a break-in and theft in the amount of $570.00.

Deputies responded.

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

Report of a structure fire on Hwy 375W near Shady Grove. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Rocky of a theft. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 68 near Cherry Hill of an incident involving a motorcycle and a cow. Deputy responded.

Arrested by an Officer with the Game and Fish was Michael Sean Curry, 33, of Mena on a Charge of Failure to Comply.

 

July 17, 2020

Report of possible child abuse. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s office for further consideration.

 

July 18, 2020

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

Request for a welfare check on an individual refusing to leave a property led to the arrest of Eric

Cannon, 28, of Mena on a Charge of Public Intoxication.

Report from complainant on Polk 74 near Acorn of a possible attempt at theft of livestock. Deputy responded.

Report of an altercation at Cove City Park. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Brianna Ramirez, 29, of Mena on a Body Attachment Warrant.

 

July 19, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 30 near Hatfield of an individual not returning personal property. Deputy responded.

Report of a theft at storage units near Cove. Deputy responded.

Traffic stop led to additional information being forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report from complainant on Polk 38 near Hatfield of being locked out of property. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 11 Incarcerated Inmates, with 7 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00559

 

7-20-20 11:43 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Growing Importance of Arkansas Timber

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: The Growing Importance of Arkansas Timber
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – The logs have been counted and the verdict for last year is in – Arkansas’s timber industry is more important than ever.
 
Today I’d like to talk about that good news, which comes from state forester Joe Fox, and what it means for Arkansas. Joe grew up in the sawmill business. Joe, his father, and his grandfather, were members of the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the only family in state history with three generations to serve on the commission. Dr. Matthew Pelkki and Dr. Phillip Tappe from the College of Forestry at the University of Arkansas at Monticello also provided information about our forest industry.
 
The tons of timber we hauled to mills in 2020 equaled 2019, making the past year the second best on record and still we grew 20 million tons more than we harvested last year! In fact, we have grown millions of tons of surplus each of the last several years. That surplus is very attractive for forest markets.
 
Arkansas is the ninth leading producer of timber in the United States. We have 1.2 million acres more forestland today than we had in 1978.
 
We harvest more than 24 million tons per year, which is worth approximately $445 million to landowners. As long as we have sufficient buyers for our timber, we can keep our forests thinned out and healthy. If we continue to produce that level of surplus for too many years, eventually our forests will become too dense, which reduces the quality of the trees as they compete for sun, water, and nutrients. Dense forests increase the risk of insect infestations and wildfires.
 
As we continue to grow our forests, we must continue to expand into new markets and find new uses for timber. In Europe, manufacturers have found a way to make a cellulosic-based plastic-like product for making items such as drinking bottles.
 
Another company, Structurlam, manufactures a construction product called cross-laminated timber, or CLT. The wood product is precision tooled for commercial and residential construction. The Canadian company is opening a plant in Conway and will supply Walmart with mass timber for its new headquarters in Bentonville. Structurlam will manufacture its CLT exclusively with Arkansas pine.
 
Fifty-seven percent of Arkansas is forested. That’s 19 million acres of trees that scrub our air, keep our lakes, streams, and rivers clean, and shelter our wildlife. Our forests offer adventure, a living, and a way of life for 3 million Arkansans.
 
7-19-20 7:43 AM KAWX.ORG 

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US, Arkansas Flags To Half Staff For John Lewis

As a mark of respect for the memory and longstanding public service of Representative John Lewis, of Georgia, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions through July 18, 2020.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half?staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

 

DONALD J. TRUMP
 
 
John Lewis 1940 ~ 2020
 
7-18-20 12:55 PM KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: COVID-19 Shows Importance of Rural Health

COVID-19 Shows Importance of Rural Health

 

This isn’t just a big city problem.

 

That was the message Dr. Nate Smith, Arkansas’s Secretary of Health, sought to impart when recently answering a reporter’s question about the alarming rise of recent positive COVID-19 diagnoses in rural Arkansas.

 

When the crisis began, our nation’s largest city was our hotspot. As the situation in New York City quieted down, the attention turned to other large cities struggling with coronavirus outbreaks. Whether it’s Miami, Houston or Los Angeles, the intense media focus on major metropolitan outbreaks fails to tell the whole story. The simple fact is, COVID-19 doesn’t care where you live, which makes the need to have top-notch medical care available in rural America all the more important.

 

Unfortunately, COVID-19 is putting us in danger of an even larger urban-rural divide in the ability to access quality health care services. Hundreds of rural hospitals across the country could close as a result of the crisis. This means tens of thousands of rural patients could lose access to their nearest emergency room. 

 

There was already a quiet storm brewing prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Nearly half of rural America’s hospitals had been operating at a loss and closure rates were escalating dramatically, hitting a record high last year. Closures in 2020 are on pace to eclipse that number.

 

These already financially-strapped hospitals now face catastrophic cash shortages as the inability to provide non-emergency care has led to an even larger loss of revenue. Many have furloughed staff, instituted massive cuts or are shuttering their doors. 

 

My colleagues and I are working to address this fragile situation and ensure that the health care needs of rural America are not lost in the rush to tamp down urban hotspots. I recently joined a bipartisan, bicameral effort with over 45 of my colleagues to ask the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to dedicate a larger share of the Provider Relief Fund specifically for rural health providers. 

 

Created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Provider Relief Fund was allocated $175 billion to distribute to hospitals and healthcare providers on the front lines of the coronavirus response. At the time of our inquiry, only $10 billion of that total amount has been disbursed specifically to rural health care providers.

 

We asked HHS Secretary Alex Azar to allocate at least 20 percent of the remaining funds to rural hospitals and providers. Priority should be granted to facilities significantly affected by COVID-19 preparation as well as those providing care for a disproportionally high percentage of Medicare and Medicaid patients or populations with above average senior populations or co-morbidities. Likewise, providers in areas with limited access to health infrastructure and high numbers of uninsured patients also deserve this particular consideration.

 

Earlier in the year, I joined another bipartisan effort asking Secretary Azar to use similar metrics to ensure equitable distribution of funds for rural hospitals from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund.

 

The well-being of rural Arkansas residents will be at risk without action. So, too, is the future of their communities, as local health care systems are often the first thing that employers inquire about when deciding where to locate their companies. The rapidly increasing spread of COVID-19 in communities that are not large metropolitan areas makes the need to act all that more urgent. I will continue to push to ensure that the needs of Arkansas’s rural hospitals and providers are met. 

 

7-17-20 4:26 PM KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Arkansans who may have concerns about going to the polls this November while the health crisis continues can make plans now to ensure their vote counts.

 

Arkansas law allows voters to request absentee ballots if they will be "unavoidably absent" on Election Day or if they have illnesses or physical disabilities. Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston has interpreted this law to allow the ability to vote with an absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an interpretation that Governor Hutchinson and both the Republican and Democratic party leaders are in agreement. 

 

Thurston said voters could now begin requesting absentee ballots from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office or their local county clerk. To receive an absentee ballot, you must be a registered voter. The voter registration deadline is October 5.

 

The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail is October 27, though a voter can pick up an absentee ballot in person until November 2, the day before the election.

 

All absentee ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day, November 3, to be counted, Thurston said. Note: On your application, you may designate how you wish to receive your ballot: by picking it up in person, by mail, or bearer. 

 

The absentee voting requirements are different from the universal vote-by-mail system in place in some states, which send a ballot by mail to every registered voter. In Arkansas, a voter must request an absentee ballot. Absentee voters are also required to submit a copy of their photo ID with their ballot.

 

For more information on how to download an absentee ballot application and how to contact your county clerk, visit our website at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

7-17-20 2:36 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas will hold its annual sales tax holiday on Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2.

 

Clothing and footwear that cost less than $100 per item will qualify for the exemption. However, if you buy an item that costs more than $100 you must pay the state and local sales taxes on the entire amount.

 

Accessories costing less than $50 qualify for the exemption.  Examples include wallets, watches, jewelry, sunglasses, handbags, cosmetics, briefcases, hair notions, wigs and hair pieces.

 

Here’s an example provided by the Department of Finance and Administration: a person buys two shirts for $50 each, a pair of jeans for $75 and a pair of shoes for $125.  The sales tax will only be collected on the shoes, because they cost more than $100. 

 

Even though the total price of the shirts and the jeans added up to $175, no sales tax will be collected on them because each individual item cost less than $100.

 

School supplies also qualify, including binders, book bags, calculators, tape, paper, pencils, scissors, notebooks, folders and glue.

 

Textbooks, reference books, maps, globes and workbooks will be exempt from sales taxes.  Also exempt from the sales tax will be art supplies needed for art class, such as clay and glazes, paint, brushes and drawing pads.

 

Bathing suits and beach wear will be exempt as long as they cost less than $100 per item. Diapers and disposable diapers will not be taxed.  Boots, including steel-toed boots, slippers, sneakers and sandals will be exempt from the sales tax as well.

 

Not exempt from the sales tax are sporting goods, such as cleats and spikes worn by baseball, soccer and football players.  Recreational items such as skates, shoulder pads, shin guards and ski boots will be taxed. 

 

Computers, software and computer equipment are not exempt and you will have to pay sales taxes if you purchase those items on the holiday.

 

Act 757 provides that the sales tax holiday will be the first weekend of August every year.  All retail stores are required to participate and may not legally collect any state or local sales taxes on qualified items during the tax holiday.

 

The legislature created the sales tax holiday by approving Act 757 of 2011.  One of the goals of the act is to help families with children in school, which is why it is commonly known as the “Back to School” sales tax holiday. 

 

However, everyone benefits from the holiday, whether or not they have children in school.

 

Correction

 

Last week I wrote that the number of children in foster care in Arkansas had gone down 12 percent since 2018, when in fact it went down 12 percent since 2017. The number of children in foster care went down from 4,817 in 2017 to 4,226 from in 2019.

 

Case workers try to help the family remain intact. If that is not possible, under state law the case workers give preference to relatives rather than people who are not related to the children. According to the independent assessment, Arkansas “made considerable improvements with both placing children in care close to the homes from which they were removed and placing children with relatives.”

 

7-17-20 11:20 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for July 15, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

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

 

Central Arkansas

 

North Arkansas

 

Northwest Arkansas

 

Northeast Arkansas

 

Southeast Arkansas

 

Southwest Arkansas

 

South-Central Arkansas

 

West-Central Arkansas

 

East Arkansas

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

7-15-20 5:24 PM KAWX.ORG 

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June Lottery Ticket Sales $51.5 Million In Arkansas

Lottery ticket sales in June totaled $51,543,067.50.

 
The highest sales were in Pulaski County at $9,603,124.50 according to the Department of Finance and Administration's report to the Governor.
 
The lowest sales were in Montgomery County with $42,501.00.
 
Polk County sales were $229,168.00.
 
According to Arkansas Family Council, scholarship paid out for Fiscal Year 2020 amounted to 16.8% of gross sales, or $89,450,921.24 of  $532,001,159.78.
 
7-14-20 11:44 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena City Council To Meet Tuesday, July 14th

The Mena City Council meeting for July will be held at 6:00 PM Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at the Mena Fire Station No. 2 on South Mena Street.

 

A lengthy agenda awaits the Council. In addition to the routine business, the following new business items will be dealt with:

 

A. Consider a Resolution authorizing the City Clerk/Treasurer to destroy outdated Police Department records and supporting documents of the City of Mena that are no longer needed for City business

 

B. 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

 

C. Consider a Resolution authorizing the mayor to execute a grant agreement with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program in the amount of $13,487.00 for ADA Restroom upgrades at the Mena Depot

 

D. Consider a Resolution authorizing the City Clerk/Treasurer to execute a grant agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration int he amount of $2,996,214.00 for the construction phase of Runway 17-35 surface rehabilitation at Mena Intermountain Airport and authorizing the Mena Airport Commission to enter into a contract with Tatum Excavating Company, inc. to construct the project.

 

E. Consider an Ordinance accepting a Lot-Split Subdivision in the Powers and Thayers addition to the City of Mena, Polk County, Arkansas for Ginger Hoyt, Nick Miller, Sam Miller, and Tom Miller

 

F. Consider an Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 616 prescribing zoning regulations for the City of Mena to re-zone property located at 702 Petros Avenue, belonging to Jeff and Phyllis Cunningham, from R2 to a C-2 zone

 

G. Consider an Ordinance Amending Mena Ordinances Nos. 2019 and 2031 relating to the installation of drainage culverts.

 

H. Consider an Ordinance Amending Mena Ordinance No. 2308-19 adopted pursuant to Act 681 of 2019, approving the application of The Ouachitas of Mena, Inc. for a microbrewery-restaurant private club permit to be located at 821 Mena Street, Mena, Polk County, Arkansas

 

H. Consider an Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 2308-19 adopted pursuant to Act 1112 of 2017, approving the application of LaVilla of Mena, Inc. for a private club to be located at 1100 Highway 71 North, S-1, Mena, Polk County, Arkansas

 

J. Consider bids received for the 2020 Street Hot-Mix Overlay Program

 

K. Consider interest rate quotes received for CD investments

 

L. Consider purchase of new tractor and mower for the Street Department

 

M. Consider purchase of dozer for the Street Department.

 

There will also be announcements about upcoming meetings.


City Council meetings are open to the public as per State Law. 

 

7-14-20 10:38 AM KAWX.ORG 

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UARM to Return to In-Person Classes this Fall

Academic programs, enrollment, and athletics all seeing upward trends
 
[July 13, 2020 | MENA, Ark.]  UA Rich Mountain Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson has announced that the college will welcome students back to campus for in-person classes this Fall.  “We have plans to be open and stand ready to assist our students in navigating their educational goals during these challenging times.”
 
Like most colleges, UARM closed its campuses quickly and transitioned to online or remote instruction methods during March as the coronavirus emerged as a global pandemic. Wilson said that as of July 6, the campus has re-opened by appointment and all visitors are required to wear facemasks. Admissions and financial aid staff are available by phone, email, or appointment. “It is not too late to get registered for Fall classes.  If current social and economic times have caused students and their families to reconsider college plans for a semester or two, know that it is not too late to join our traditions at UARM. Our admissions and financial aid staff can assist you every step of the way,” added Wilson.
 
UARM will offer both online and in-person classes. A Coronavirus Task Force was established early to develop health and safety protocols for the protection of the Rich Mountain community.  Classes will meet in-person up to Thanksgiving break and then transition to online/remote instruction. Finals will be on-line beginning December 7. 
 
Chad Fielding, Vice-Chancellor of Housing & Student Affairs said that to date, the virus has not affected enrollment negatively, citing the college’s enrollment numbers are slightly up over this same time last year. “We’re seeing a trend of students who had planned to attend larger universities in larger areas now choosing to stay closer to home, at least for a semester or two. Many will be able to take advantage of the Arkansas Transfer Achievement Scholarship and later transfer to Fayetteville but continue paying Rich Mountain tuition rates.”
 
However, local students don’t account for all of the college’s numbers, Fielding said that just over 90% of the new on-campus student resident halls are reserved. “We fully anticipate to fill every room and still have some students on a wait list if a room becomes available.”
 
The college did have to make the difficult decision to suspend its 60+ program due to an abundance of caution to protect the most vulnerable segment of its population. While this may affect overall ‘headcount’, Fielding explained its overall ‘student semester credit hours (SSCH)’ that measures growth in higher education. With the expansion of the athletics department by adding baseball and softball to the mix, which recruits full-time students to the campus, Fielding is confident the college’s SSCH will see a modest increase as well. 
 
UARM recently ranked first among its peers within Arkansas for student outcomes. “This is a testament to both our students’ perseverance but also our faculty and staff who are committed to supporting these students in meeting their educational goals,” said Wilson. 
 
UARM is also experiencing a growth in educational programs, adding an aesthetician program to the UA Rich Mountain School of Cosmetology. A licensed aesthetician can provide cosmetic skin care treatments and services such as facials, hair removal, and apply make-up. Classes begin Fall 2020. 
 
“We are keenly aware what challenging times we are currently living in,” said Wilson. “To have parents and students entrust us during these times is something we take very seriously… very seriously. UA Rich Mountain has been a long-standing cornerstone to its communities during difficult times and to see that expanding well beyond Polk, Scott, and Montgomery counties is proof that our commitment to our students’ success is our greatest differentiator.” 
 
7-14-20 9:13 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Michelle Leann Golkhajeh Found Not Guilty Because Of Mental Disease Or Defect

Michelle Leann Golkhajeh was found not guilty because of mental disease or defect in Polk County Circuit Court on Monday, July 13, 2020.

 
Judge Jerry Ryan made the ruling based on testimony by Dr. Benjamin Silber and Sean McEwen who stated that she was unable to confirm her conduct to the requirements of law. Silber and McEwen were appointed by the Court to conduct a forensic evaluation of her because of suspected mental disease or defect according to Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner.
 
Golkhajeh was charged with the December 2018 death of her 4 year old daughter in Mena.
 
Golkhajeh will be returned to the State Hospital and contrary to social media posts is not being released.
 
The original story can be read by clicking here.
 
7-13-20 5:01 PM KAWX.ORG 
 
 
 
 

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

 

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

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

 

July 6, 2020

Report from complainant on Pebble Lane near Board Camp of being threatened by an unknown individual.

Report from complainant on Rodgers near Cove of criminal trespassing. Deputy responded.

 

July 7, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 278E near Wickes of a vehicle alarm being set off. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 32 near Cove of identity theft. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded. Complainant refused to press charges. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on W. Oak Street near Cove of a break-in. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 685 near Cherry Hill of a vehicle theft. Deputy responded.

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

Arrested was Makenzie M. Whorton, 20, of Hatfield on two Warrants for Harassment.

 

July 8, 2020

Report of a single vehicle accident on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley.

Report from complainant on Grove Lane near Cove of a domestic dispute. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant Hwy 71S near Grannis of identity fraud. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 4 near Grannis of a trespassing incident. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Horseshoe Lane near Potter of a stolen vehicle. Deputy responded. Vehicle was later recovered.

Report from a business on Hwy 71S near Cove of a gas skip.

 

July 9, 2020

Report of an ATV accident near Polk 402.

Traffic stop on Polk 125 near Rocky led to the arrest of William T. Smith, 40, of Mena on Charges of DWI, Driving DWI Suspended License, Resisting Arrest, Defective Signal Lamps and Signal Lights, and Refusal to Submit to Chemical Test.

 

July 10, 2020

Report of a missing family member. Family member was later located.

Report of a two vehicle accident on Polk 50 near Potter.

Report from complainant on Polk 288 near Cove of an altercation. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Arrested was Austin D. Kuakahela, 18, of Mena on a Warrant for Disorderly Conduct, Domestic Battery 3rd Degree, and Resisting Arrest.

Arrested by an Officer with the Game and Fish was James D. Cochran, 36, of Cove on two Warrants for Failure to Appear.

Arrested was Christopher L. Chesser, 35, of Hatfield on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

 

July 11, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Shady Grove of the fraudulent use of a checking account. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of vandalism to a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 86 near Cherry Hill of possible vandalism. Deputy responded.

Report of a missing family member. Deputy responded. Family member later returned home.

 

July 12, 2020

Report of a disturbance on Polk 11 near Wickes led to a juvenile being issued a citation for Disorderly Conduct.

Attempted traffic stop near Hatfield led to information being forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 753 near Potter of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 29 near Hatfield of problems involving a neighbor’s dog and livestock. 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.

 

PC20-00528

 

7-13-20 2:21 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for July 5th - 11th

 

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

 

 

July 5, 2020

 

A report of violation of a protection order was taken on South Morrow.

 

July 6, 2020

 

A report of criminal trespass was taken at the Lime Tree Inn.

 

Bobby May, 32, and Tabitha Gonyea, 29, were both charged with Disorderly Conduct after officers responded to a disturbance call.

 

July 7, 2020

 

A report of harassment was taken at Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab.

 

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

 

July 8, 2020

 

No reports taken.

 

July 9, 2020

 

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

 

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

 

A report of theft was taken at Mena Ford.

 

A report of theft was taken at Salvation Army.

 

July 10, 2020

 

A report of theft was taken at Petros Apartments.

 

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

 

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

 

July 11, 2020

 

A report of burglary was taken on Armour Street.

 

A report of a disturbance was taken on Edwards Street.

 

A report of theft (shoplifting) was taken at Walmart.

 

Connie Durant, 57, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a call to Walmart.

 

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

 

7-13-20 11:23 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Deadline To File State And Federal Taxes Is Wednesday, July 15th

 

LITTLE ROCK – Due to COVID-19, the delayed deadline to file state and federal taxes is quickly approaching. Arkansans who have not filed to pay their taxes still have until July 15. 

 

“This year, the date might have changed, but the responsibility remains – tax time has arrived,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Our communities have dealt with many difficult situations for a majority of the year when it comes to making ends meet and I want Arkansans to know their options and filing your taxes shouldn’t be a burden.”

 

Taxpayers have the ability to file and pay their taxes safely online through IRS.gov in order to avoid the backlog of mail that may have developed due to previous closures in response to the pandemic. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers taxpayers their Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) system as a resource to learn more and answer frequently asked questions while filing taxes online.

 

Attorney General Rutledge has provided these tips for Arkansans still working on filing their federal and state taxes this year:

 

  • Taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension to October 15, but this must be done by July 15. Then they must file Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software, or using the Free File link on IRS.gov.
  • Arkansas taxpayers who still owe 2019 income tax, as well as estimated tax for 2020, must make two separate payments on or before July 15, 2020; One for their 2019 income tax owed and one for their 2020 estimated tax payments.
  • Members of the military qualify for an additional extension of at least 180 days to file and pay taxes if either of the following situations apply: they serve in a combat zone, have qualifying service outside a combat zone, or they serve on deployment outside the United States away from their permanent duty station while participating in a contingency operation.
  • AARP Foundation Tax Aide program offers free assistance to Arkansas seniors filing their taxes online or by calling 888-OUR-AARP (888-687-2277).
  • Tax help is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week on IRS.gov.
  • Information for filing state taxes can be found online on dfa.arkansas.gov/income-tax or by calling (501) 682-1100

 

For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or oag@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or Facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

 

7-13-20 7:35 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Arkansas Drivers Be Warned, One Week Traffic Safety Blitz Starts Monday July 13th

 

CRACK DOWN ON SPEEDERS PART OF STATEWIDE TRAFFIC SAFETY BLITZ
“OBEY THE SIGN OR PAY THE FINE”

 (LITTLE ROCK) – Law enforcement officers across Arkansas are set to begin a week-long concerted speed enforcement plan next week.  The operation will be publicized across the state using a public message headline, “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine”.
 
   The intensified enforcement plan involving both state and local departments will begin Monday, July 13th and continue through the following Sunday, July 19th.  Additionally throughout the month of July, the Arkansas State Police will contribute patrol resources in a Regional Speed Enforcement Plan that targets speeding violators on particular selected days of the week.  The participating states include Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.
 
   “Speeding is synonymous with tragedy and death on our roadways,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “It’s a proven fact, higher speeds significantly reduce a driver’s reaction time and ability to steer safely around other vehicles, roadway hazards, and unexpected highway exits or detours in highway construction zones."
 
   Drivers who ignore the speed limit put themselves, their passengers, and others at tremendous risk.  During calendar year 2018, speeding was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. and 9,378 people lost their lives in the crashes, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  In Arkansas 131 deaths were attributed to speed related crashes during 2018.
 
   Already this year, Arkansas traffic fatalities are on the rise.  According to preliminary NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting data, fatalities in speeding related crashes are increasing at an alarming rate.  Through the end of June (2020) 84 people have died in speed related crashes, compared to 63 at the same time last year which equates to a 33 percent increase.
 
   “Driving above the posted speed limit or speeding during inclement weather conditions dramatically increases the probability that a motorist will be involved in a crash,” Colonel Bryant said.  “State troopers want to be sure the highways are safe and stopping speeding drivers is a top priority.”
 
    The goal of these enforcement efforts is to save lives and make drivers aware that no excuses for speeding are acceptable.  When it comes to speeding; Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine.
 
   More information on the “Obey the Sign, or Pay the Fine” mobilization can be found at www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  Additional information about Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths initiative to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities can be found at www.TZDarkansas.org.

 

7-12-20 9:04 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Sunday COVID-19 Update

 
***Sunday COVID-19 Update***
 
•1,061 New Cases Saturday, 503 New Cases Sunday
•321 Deaths In Arkansas
•11 Active Cases In Polk County
 
There was not a COVID-19 Briefing Saturday or Sunday. The information here was posted on the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard and the ODH COVID-19 page.
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Polk County
Cases
Total Positive: 88
Active Positive: 11
Recovered: 77
Deaths: 0
Negatives: 1,645
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Sevier County
Cases
Total Positive: 807
Active Positive: 88
Recovered: 710
Deaths: 9
Negatives: 3,695
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Scott County
Cases
Total Positive: 16
Active Positive: 4
Recovered: 12
Deaths: 0
Negatives: 598
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Montgomery County
Cases
Total Positive: 7
Active Positive: 1
Recovered: 6
Deaths: 0
Negatives: 686
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Howard County
Cases
Total Positive: 137
Active Positive: 30
Recovered: 106
Deaths: 1
Negatives: 1,636
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Pike County
Cases
Total Positive: 19
Active Positive: 10
Recovered: 9
Deaths: 0
Negatives: 1,974
 
In the neighboring Oklahoma counties:
 
McCurtain County has had 610 cases, 11 deaths, 465 recoveries, and currently 134 active cases
 
LeFlore County has had 57 cases, 1 death, 35 recoveries, and currently 21 active cases.
 
 
 
7-12-20 6:12 PM KAWX.ORG 

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COVID-19 Saturday Update, Polk County Active Cases Up To 10, 1,061 New Cases In Arkansas

 

There will not be a COVID-19 Briefing Saturday or Sunday. The following information was updated Saturday afternoon (7-11-20) on the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.

 

There were 1,061 new COVID-19 cases in Arkansas today, a new record for high cases for a single day in the state. Six new deaths brings the total to 319.

 
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Polk County
Cases
  Total Positive: 86
  Active Positive: 10
  Recovered: 76
  Deaths: 0
  Negatives: 1,612
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Sevier County
Cases
  Total Positive: 788
  Active Positive: 83
  Recovered: 696
  Deaths: 9
  Negatives: 3,604
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Scott County
Cases
  Total Positive: 16
  Active Positive: 5
  Recovered: 11
  Deaths: 0
  Negatives: 580
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Montgomery County
Cases
  Total Positive: 8
  Active Positive: 3
  Recovered: 5
  Deaths: 0
  Negatives: 664
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Howard County
Cases
  Total Positive: 131
  Active Positive: 34
  Recovered: 96
  Deaths: 1
  Negatives: 1,583
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Pike County
Cases
  Total Positive: 20
  Active Positive: 13
  Recovered: 7
  Deaths: 0
  Negatives: 1,931
 
In the neighboring Oklahoma counties:
 
McCurtain County has had 606 cases, 11 deaths, 465 recoveries, and currently 130 active cases
 
LeFlore County has had 56 cases, 1 death, 34 recovereis, and currently 21 active cases.
 
 
 
 
7-11-20 2:13 PM KAWX.ORG 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Voting in the Age of COVID-19

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Voting in the Age of COVID-19
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – The leaders of the major political parties in Arkansas are united in their determination to assure everyone can cast their ballot in November safely and securely.
 
Under state law, a voter who can’t vote in person on Election Day because of travel, illness, or physical disability may cast an absentee ballot.
 
Secretary of State John Thurston has said a health concern because of COVID-19 is a qualifying reason to vote absentee. In other words, anyone who fears that going to a polling place on November 3rd will put his or her health at risk may request an absentee ballot.
 
In the midst of the national discussion about safely voting in the age of COVID-19, Secretary Thurston, Democrat Party Chairman Michael John Gray, and Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb joined me during a news conference in a show of unity. Many Arkansans wondered what the general election in Arkansas would look like this year. Secretary Thurston assured Arkansas that it will look like every other election except that voters may be wearing a mask and gloves. Hand sanitizer will be at polls in abundance, paid for with money from the federal CARES Act, as well as disposable stylus pens for your signature and vote.
 
Information about absentee voting is on the Secretary of State’s website. The most important thing to know is that in order to vote, you must be a registered voter. If you are registering to vote, you must submit your application at least thirty days before the election.
 
You may apply for an absentee ballot on line or in person. If you apply in person, you must apply by the close of business the day before the election. To apply by mail or online, your application must be submitted seven days before the election.
 
Early voting in person at designated polls is allowed two weeks before the election.
 
Election Day 2020 will be the same but a little bit different. Whether you vote in person, early, or absentee, vote. The leaders of Arkansas’s two primary political parties agree that every vote matters. They have shown that through their agreement on absentee voting. Whatever our disagreements, we find a way to the solution that is best for all Arkansans.
 
7-11-20 1:31 PM KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Arkansas Infrastructure Investments Support Job Growth

 

From the water we use in our homes, to the roads we drive on to work, to the food we buy at the grocery store, our nation’s infrastructure is a fundamental component of everything we do. Our ability to be connected and efficiently move goods across the country is a significant reason why we’ve been so competitive in the global marketplace. Investment in our infrastructure will also be key to helping our economy recover from the crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

As a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), I have long been a champion of investing in our infrastructure. In May, the committee unanimously passed water infrastructure packages that will help create jobs and rebuild aging levees, ports and drinking water systems. Coupled with the plan we approved last year to provide the necessary resources and flexibility for states to build safer and more modern highway, rail and bridge systems, we have created a good, bipartisan road to recovery. I am hopeful the full Senate will approve these bills in the coming months.

 

In the meantime, Arkansas leaders are tapping into additional resources Congress approved to support infrastructure improvements and economic growth.

 

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently invested $2 million in the Port of Little Rock to support industrial development. The port features rail, river and interstate highway access, making it a critical component to move goods to and from the region and an attractive location for the expansion of new businesses.

 

I recently participated in the groundbreaking ceremony at the Port of Little Rock for the new transportation infrastructure improvements support by the EDA grant and state and local funds. The port is the largest industrial hub in central Arkansas with over 40 businesses employing more than 4,000 people. Those numbers are increasing. The day following the celebration, Amazon announced its first fulfillment center in the state is under construction at the Port of Little Rock. The company expects 1,000 people will be employed at the location when it opens in 2021.

 

Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) leaders hope to accomplish similar gains along a stretch of U.S. Highway 67. Last month, the department was named a recipient of a $40 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant to reconstruct and enhance two sections of U.S. Highway 67 in Pulaski and Lonoke Counties.

 

The funding will allow the widening of U.S. Highway 67 from four to six lanes, construction of an overpass, converting frontage roads to one-way operation and reconstructing two interchanges.

 

This is one of only 20 projects nationwide to be awarded Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) discretionary grant program funds. The competitive program leverages federal resources and incentivizes public-private partnerships to help communities invest in high-priority projects.

 

In recent years, Congress has funded competitive grant programs to support infrastructure improvements. In addition to INFRA grants, ARDOT has also benefitted from the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program for use toward the construction of the Hot Springs bypass extension and the I-49 Bella Vista bypass.

 

I will continue to support state and local applications for federal funding in order to make infrastructure improvements. As we pursue policies to improve our economy, investing in our roads, bridges and other vital transportation components remains essential.

 

7-10-20 6:16 PM KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, the Education Secretary Johnny Key made a presentation to the House and Senate Education Committee about the Arkansas Ready for Learning initiative. Ready for Learning is a planning and guidance document created to serve as a game plan for district and school administrators as they begin to grapple with making decisions for the 2020-2021 school year.

 

The Ready for Learning initiative also includes a playbook designed to address gaps as a result of lost learning that may have occurred because of school closures due to COVID-19. A team of approximately 130 educators developed the playbook that will serve as a learning guide this fall.

 

Going forward, all Arkansas schools will implement blended learning systems that deliver curriculum, instruction and assessment through multiple methods. This type of system incorporates both on-site teacher interaction and off-site instruction, including new content, through streamed or uploaded lessons and activities if extended school closures become necessary. Building a statewide system of blended learning will ensure that all K-12 students are connected to high quality instruction and engagement, regardless of location.

 

To give the districts more time to make sure their campuses are ready and that teachers are prepared for the blended learning environment, the Governor moved the start date for the 2020-2021 school year forward from August 13 to the week of August 24. Schools can start no later than August 26.

 

In collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Health, the Department of Education also established a three tiered system of response based on factors including student and staff active cases, evidence and severity of spread within the school, and spread within the surrounding community. A limited response intensifies cleaning, a moderate response alters meal locations and staggers schedules, and a critical response restricts on-site access and pivots to remote learning. Education Secretary Johnny Key said the response guidance is not intended to identify a districts status prior to the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.

 

Secretary Key told the committee that policy decisions regarding face masks will be left to individual districts.

 

Schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being. They provide a safe place for academic instruction, reliable nutrition, physical/speech and mental health therapy, opportunities for physical activity, and social skill development.

 

We know many of you have questions and concerns regarding the safety of the students, the teachers, and the community. We will continue to update you on policy changes and any new information we learn regarding the school year. In the meantime, we encourage you to read the Ready for Learning material we’ve posted on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

7-10-20 6:08 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Gov. Hutchinson's Friday COVID-19 Briefing Recap, Video

***Governor Asa Hutchinson's Friday (7-10-20) COVID-19 Briefing Recap***

 

•751 NEW CASES IN ARKANSAS
•4 NEW DEATHS, 313 TOTAL

•8 ACTIVE CASES IN POLK COUNTY

•88 ACTIVE CASES IN SEVIER COUNTY, 9 DEATHS

•10 DEATHS IN NEIGHBORING McCURTAIN COUNTY, OK

 

As of 1:30 p.m. there were 26,803 COVID-19 cumulative cases. There have been 313 deaths in Arkansas. There are currently 5,847 active cases. There have been 20,642 recoveries.

 

In Polk County, there have been 84 cases, 8 are active, 76 recoveries, 1,594 negative tests, and 0 deaths according to the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.***

 

In neighboring Sevier County, there have been 781 cases, 88 are active, 684 recoveries, 3,589 negative tests, and 9 deaths according to the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.***

 

***These numbers will be updated later today.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson spoke about the need for Arkansans to wear masks. The Governor also spoke about the need for quicker test results from commercial labs. 

 

Responding to a reporter's question about social media posts about masks not being effective and that they are not comfortable to wear in the heat, the Governor said "those that follow conspiracy theories are in the extreme minority."

 

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith gave the following report of numbers:

 

751 new cases (149 in prisons, 602 in the community)

 

26,803 cumulative cases

 

8 new hospitalizations

 

402 currently hospitalized

 

84 are on ventilators

 

4 new deaths

 

313 deaths total

 

5,847 active cases (123 in nursing homes, 584 in prisons, 5,140 in the community)

 

650 new recoveries

 

20,642 recoveries total

 

5,212 tests yesterday.

 

Of the new cases, the highest numbers by county were Hot Spring with 145, Pulaski with 100, Benton with 51, Washington with 51, Sebastian with 42, Faulkner with 25, Pope with 25, Jefferson with 23, and Yell with 21. All other counties have fewer than 20 new cases. 

 

Dr. Smith noted that most if not all of the new cases in Hot Spring County were in the Ouachita River Correctional Facility.

 

Dr. Jose Romero, who will become the acting Secretary of Health when Dr. Smith leaves to work at the CDC, spoke at the briefing in Spanish with an interpreter.

 

In the neighboring Oklahoma counties:

 

Curtain County has had 600 cases, 10 deaths, 454 recoveries, and currently 136 active cases.

 

LeFlore County has had 54 cases, 1 death, 32 recoveries, and currently has 21 active cases.

 

As of 3:20 p.m. in the US, 3,144,472 cumulative cases, 969,111 recoveries, and 133,677 deaths.

 

Globally 12,342,043 cumulative cases, 6,786,196 recoveries, and 556,383 deaths.

 

More data is available on the ADH site here.

 

More data is available on the ODH site here.

 

To watch the video of today's briefing, click here.

 

7-10-20 2:30 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

 

The number of Arkansas children in foster care continued to go down last year, after reaching an all-time high in 2016 and prompting dramatic measures from elected officials to improve the state’s child welfare system.

 

In 2019 the number of children in foster care was 4,226.

 

That is down 12 percent from 2018, when 4,310 children were in foster care, and also down from 2017, when 4,817 children were in foster homes.

 

In late 2016 the number was close to 5,200 and state officials said the system was in crisis.

 

Staff at the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) had unmanageable caseloads, while family and relatives of the children reported a lack of support from within the system.

 

When legislative committees asked DCFS officials about the spike in foster care numbers, they were told that staff who are over-worked tend to err on the side of caution.

 

That often means they remove children from their family because they don’t have time to determine if the home is a safe place.

 

The legislature approved funding for additional case workers.

 

Faith-based organizations and advocacy groups recruited more foster parents.

 

DCFS developed plans for families to improve overall conditions within the home.

 

The legislature passed Act 906 in 2001, which mandates that DCFS provide family preservation services when children are about to be removed from their homes.

 

The National Council on Crime and Delinquency recently completed an independent review of DCFS and its family preservation programs.

 

Those findings were presented to the Senate Committee on Children and Youth.

 

The review applauded our reduction in the number of children in foster care, and noted that more of them had been placed with relatives.

 

In 2019, a third of foster children were with relatives, compared to 28 percent in 2018.

 

The national review recommended that Arkansas improve the stability of foster care placements.

 

In other words, the frequency of being moved for children who spend more than a year within the system.

 

The national standard is 4.12 and the Arkansas average last year was 6.32.

 

Arkansas is consistently above the national average in achieving permanency for children within 12 months after renewal, with about half of the children in Arkansas who are discharged from foster care going to a permanent living situation.

 

That means they go back to their families, to a relative’s home, to custody by a parent who had been non-custodial, to guardianship, adoption or to custody by a non-relative.

 

Also, Arkansas met the national standard for preventing a child’s return to foster care within a year of being discharged.

 

The national standard is 8.3 percent and in Arkansas it was 7.8 percent in 2019.

 

That is an improvement of almost two percentage points since 2017, when it was 9.7 percent.

 

Last year 28,645 child maltreatment reports were investigated in Arkansas, of which 80 percent were referred to DCFS and the remainder to the Crimes Against Children Division of the State Police.

 

DCFS substantiated 21 percent of its investigations, which is close to the trend for the previous two years. DCFS follows up in the 12 months after identifying a child victim of maltreatment.

 

The national standard for recurring maltreatment is 9.1 percent or fewer, and in Arkansas it was 6 percent.

 

7-10-20 10:39 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Gov. Hutchinson's Thursday COVID-19 Briefing Recap, Video Link

***Governor Asa Hutchinson's Thursday (7-9-20) COVID-19 Briefing Recap***

 

•806 NEW CASES IN ARKANSAS, SECOND HIGHEST DAY FOR NEW CASES

•4 NEW DEATHS, 309 TOTAL

•K-12 SCHOOLS START DATE DELAYED TO AUGUST 24TH 

•9 ACTIVE CASES IN POLK COUNTY

•89 ACTIVE CASES IN SEVIER COUNTY, 9 DEATHS 

 

As of 1:30 p.m. there were 26,052 COVID-19 cumulative cases. There have been 309 deaths in Arkansas. There are currently 5,751 active cases. There have been 19,992 recoveries.

 

In Polk County, there have been 81 cases, 9 are active, 72 recoveries, 1,586 negative tests, and 0 deaths according to the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.***

 

In neighboring Sevier County, there have been 769 cases, 89 are active, 671 recoveries, 3,559 negative tests, and 9 deaths according to the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.***

 

***These numbers will be updated later today.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson opened the daily briefing by reporting that this was the 100th COVID-19 Briefing, and that there was a large number of new cases, but not unexpected. The Governor said that there would be school but that districts need to be prepared to deliver insturction by differnet methods if needed. The Governor announced that the start date for schools has been delayed to August 24th, not later than August 26th. The start date had been August 13th.

 

Governor Hutchinson and Secretary of Education Johnny Key spoke about the plans that have been developed for schools to follow when they have students test postive for COVID-19. Secretary Key is asking for feedback from the school districts. 

 

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith gave the following report of numbers:

 

806 new cases (110 in prisons, 696 in the community)

 

26,052 cumulative cases

 

36 new hospitalizations

 

394 hospitalized currently 

 

4 new deaths

 

309 deaths total 

 

5,751 active cases (131 in nursing homes, 444 in prisons, 5,176 in the community)

 

82 on ventolators (up 3 from yesterday)

 

596 new recoveries

 

19,992 recoveries total to date

 

4,734 tests yesterday.

 

Of the new cases, the highest numbers were in Pulaksi County with 104, Washington County with 78, Sebastian County with 56, Benton County with 49, and Faulkner County with 51.

 

In the neighboring Oklahoma counties:

 

McCurtain County has had 596 cases, 9 deaths, 428 recoveries, and currently 159 active cases.

 

LeFlore County has had 53 cases, 1 death, 30 recoveries, and currently has 21 active cases.

 

As of 3:20 p.m. in the US, 3,088,913 cumulative cases, 953,420 recoveries, and 132,934 deaths.

 

Globally 12,128,406 cumulative cases, 6,650,675 recoveries, and 551,522 deaths.

 

More data is available on the ADH site here.

 

More data is available on the ODH site here.

 

To watch the video of today's briefing, click here.

 

7-9-20 3:25 PM KAWX.ORG 

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ATTORNEY GENERAL ALERT: Scam Artists Pose as Contact Tracers to Steal Arkansans' Identities

Scam artists have found an opportunity by using the important task of contact tracing to steal money and the identity of Arkansans. In trying to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Arkansas Department of Health is using contact tracing to identify people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. One way bad actors are impersonating contact tracers is by sending text messages containing a link and claiming that by clicking on the link, the recipient will be contacted about a positive test, but in actuality, the link gives the scam artist direct access to the phone holder’s personal information.

 

“Con artists are impersonating contact tracers in order to steal your money and your identity,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The Arkansas Department of Health will not ask for your social security information or demand a payment when reaching out about contact with positive cases of COVID-19.”

 

When a patient is confirmed to have COVID-19, the Arkansas Health Department provides staff to assist the patient with identifying all individuals with whom they made close contact during the 48-hours preceding the positive COVID-19 test. Those identified by the patient through the contact tracing process are then notified by public health staff of the positive case, are asked to enroll in the Department of Health’s Situational Awareness Response Assistance (SARA) system for email updates, and they are asked to quarantine.

 

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to avoid falling victim to the contact tracing scam:

 

  • Contact tracing will not cost money. Avoid giving personal bank account information over the phone or buying gift cards to pay scam artists for fake contact tracing attempts;
  • Avoid clicking on links in emails and text messages unless you signed up to receive the messages;
  • If you receive an unsolicited email or text message from a potential contact tracer, verify its authenticity by contacting the Arkansas Department of Health at [ADH.CoronaVirus@arkansas.gov]ADH.CoronaVirus@arkansas.gov or call (800) 803-7847.

To file a complaint about potential contact tracing scams reach out to the Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982, email oag@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov.  Consumers are encouraged to visit the Arkansas Department of Health's COVID-19 Contact Tracing program website for additional information about contact tracing.

 

7-9-20 8:42 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

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

 

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

 

7-8-20 6:10 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Gov. Hutchinson's Wednesday COVID-19 Briefing Recap, Video Link

***Governor Asa Hutchinson's Wednesday (7-8-20) COVID-19 Briefing Recap***

 

•734 NEW COVID-19 CASES IN ARKANSAS

•4 NEW DEATHS, 305 TOTAL 

•CAMP OZARK CLOSING DOWN FOR NOW DUE TO COVID-19 CASES 

•US CUMULATIVE CASES TOPS 3 MILLION

•9 ACTIVE CASES IN POLK COUNTY

•86 ACTIVE CASES IN SEVIER COUNTY, 9 DEATHS

 

As of 1:30 p.m. there were 25,246 COVID-19 cumulative cases. There have been 305 deaths in Arkansas. There are currently 5,545 active cases. There have been 19,396 recoveries.

 

In Polk County, there have been 80 cases, 9 are active, 71 recoveries, 1,574 negative tests, and 0 deaths according to the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.***

 

In neighboring Sevier County, there have been 758 cases, 86 are active, 663 recoveries, 3,538 negative tests, and 9 deaths according to the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.***

 

***These numbers will be updated later today. The death reported earlier in Polk County has been removed by the ADH.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson opened the daily briefing by reporting that thre was a large number of new cases yesterday (734) and spoke about the need for use of masks.

 

Responding to a reporter's question, Governor Hutshinson and Dr. Nate Smith reported that Camp Ozark in Montgomery County is closing for now due to several out of state campers and staff testing positive for COVID-19.

 

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith gave the following report of numbers:

 

734 new cases

 

25,246 cumulative cases

 

358 hospitalized (down 11 from yesterday)

 

4 new deaths

 

305 deaths total

 

671 new recoveries

 

19,396 recoveries total 

 

4,567 tests yesterday.

 

Of the new cases, the counties with the highest numbers yesterday were: Pulaski with 87, Washington with 72, Benton with 60, Mississippi with 32, Johnson with 26, and Salie with 21. All other counties had fewer than 20 new cases.

 

While not on the list above, Sevier County has had the highest number of cases based on population.

 

All 75 Arkansas counties have had at least one COVID-19 case. 

 

In the neighboring Oklahoma counties:

 

McCurtain County has had 581 cases, 9 deaths, 413 recoveries, and currently 159 active cases.

 

LeFlore County has had 48 cases, 1 death, 30 recoveries, and currently has 17 active cases.

 

As of 2:00 p.m. in the US, 3,018,603 cumulative cases, 936,476 recoveries, and 131,766 deaths.

 

Globally 11,896,251 cumulative cases, 6,490,583 recoveries, and 545,618 deaths.

 

More data is available on the ADH site here.

 

More data is available on the ODH site here.

 

To watch the video of today's briefing, click here.

 

7-8-20 2:10 PM KAWX.ORG 

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AAA Plans To Resume Activities, Fall Sports With Contingencies

The Arkansas Activities Association made the following statement on their website this afternoon concerning school activities and fall sports:

 

"The Arkansas Activities Association is preparing to resume activities and athletics this Fall in accordance with the regular AAA calendar. These preparations are contingent upon compliance with all directives as issued by the Governor's office and Department of Health.

 

In collaboration with the NFHS, AAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, Coach's and Official's Advisory Committees, and other affiliated activity committees, plans are being formulated to comply with all directives and safely return to participation.

 

All states contiguous to Arkansas have indicated they are making similar plans to begin as scheduled this Fall. Plans are also being discussed at all levels in regard to adjustments to the calendar if necessary."

 

7-7-20 4:58 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Gov. Hutchinson's Tuesday COVID-19 Briefing Recap, Video Link

***Governor Asa Hutchinson's Tuesday (7-7-20) COVID-19 Briefing Recap***

 

•259 NEW COVID-19 CASES

•32 NEW HOSPITALIZATIONS, 369 TOTAL

•9 NEW DEATHS, 301 TOTAL 

•9 ACTIVE CASES IN POLK COUNTY

•89 ACTIVE CASES IN SEVIER COUNTY, 9 DEATHS 

 

As of 1:30 p.m. there were 24,512 COVID-19 cumulative cases. There have been 301 deaths in Arkansas. There are currently 5,486 active cases. There have been 18,725 recoveries.

 

In Polk County, there have been 80 cases, 9 are active, 71 recoveries, 1,563 negative tests, and 0 deaths according to the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.***

 

In neighboring Sevier County, there have been 748 cases, 89 are active, 650 recoveries, 3,512 negative tests, and 9 deaths according to the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.***

 

***These numbers will be updated later today. The death reported earlier in Polk County has been removed by the ADH.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson opened the daily briefing by reporting that new hospitalizations yesterday numbered 32, the largest single day to date. the Governor said that the high number of hospitalizations was a lagging indicator from recent spikes in cases. The low number of 259 new cases is partly due to lower testing over the holiday weekend. The Governor also reported that unemployment in the state was now under 100,000. Unemployment peaked at over 120,000 earlier in the pandemic.

 

The Governor mentioned that Amazon had announced a new fulfillment center for the Port of Little Rock that will employee 1,000 people. 

 

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith gave the following report of numbers:

 

259 new cases (23 in prisons, 236 in the community)

 

24,512 cumulative cases

 

5,486 active cases (117 in nursing homes, 273 in prisons, 5,096 in the community)

 

32 new hospitalizations (single day record)

 

369 total hospitalizations (new record high)

 

9 new deaths (4 were over 65, 5 under 65

 

301 deaths total

 

3,366 tests yesterday 

 

83 on ventilators

 

891 recoveries yesterday

 

18,725 recoveries total.

 

Of the new cases, the highest numbers were in Pulaski County with 57, Washington County with 14, and Benton County with 26. All other counties had fewer than 20 new cases. 

 

For the entirety of the pandemic, the counties with the highest number of cases are (highest first):

 

Washington

Benton

Pulaski 

Crittenden 

Sevier

Yell

Sebastian 

Faulkner

Pope 

Saline.

 

All 75 Arkansas counties have had at least one COVID-19 case. 

 

In the neighboring Oklahoma counties:

 

McCurtain County has had 569 cases, 9 deaths, 400 recoveries, and currently 160 active cases.

 

LeFlore County has had 39 cases, 1 death, 650 recoveries, and currently has 9 active cases.

 

As of 2:00 p.m. in the US, 2,963,244 cumulative cases, 924,148 recoveries, and 130,813 deaths.

 

Globally 11,691,068 cumulative cases, 6,349,542 recoveries, and 540,062 deaths.

 

More data is available on the ADH site here.

 

More data is available on the ODH site here.

 

To watch the video of today's briefing, click here.

 

7-7-20 2:10 PM KAWX.ORG 

 

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Governor's Monday COVID-19 Briefing Recap, Link To Video

 

•439 NEW COVID-19 CASES MONDAY (587 Saturday, 605 Sunday)

•5 NEW DEATHS, 292 TOTAL

•$40 MILLION FOR CONTACT TRACERS THROUGH CONTRACTORS 

•7 ACTIVE CASES IN POLK COUNTY

•100 ACTIVE CASES IN SEVIER COUNTY, 8 DEATHS 

 

***Governor Asa Hutchinson's Monday (7-6-20) COVID-19 Briefing Recap***

 

As of 1:30 p.m. there were 24,253 COVID-19 cumulative cases. There have been 292 deaths in Arkansas. There are currently 6,127 active cases. There have been 17,834 recoveries.

 

In Polk County, there have been 77 cases, 7 are active, 70 recoveries, 1,540 negative tests, and 0 deaths according to the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.***

 

In neighboring Sevier County, there have been 743 cases, 100 are active, 635 recoveries, 3,487 negative tests, and 8 deaths according to the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.***

 

***These numbers will be updated later today. The death reported earlier in Polk County has been removed by the ADH.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson opened the daily briefing by thanking healthcare workers on the frontline of the battle against the virus, many of which worked over the Independence Day holiday weekend.

 

Governor Hutchinson announced that General Dynamics had been contracted to provide 350 contact tracers at a price tag of $20 million. Another $20 million will be spent on another contract for contact tracers soon eventually bringing to total some 1,000 contact tracers. 

 

Stephanie Williams with the Arkansas Department spoke more about contact tracing and added that anyone interested in working for General Dynamics as a contact tracer should apply with General Dynamics here.

 

Williams also asked that Arkansans take calls from contact tracers. The telephone number used is 877-272-6819 or 877-ARCOV19.

 

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith gave the following report of numbers:

 

439 new cases (8 in prisons, 431 in the community)

24,253 cumulative

6,127 active cases (117 in nursing homes, 456 in prisons, 5,554 in the community).

12 new hospitalizations

337 currently hospitalized

81 on ventilators

5 new deaths

292 deaths total

17,834 recoveries.

 

Of the 439 new cases, 77 were in Washington County, 46 were in Pulaski County, 36 were in Yell County, and 36 were in Benton County. All other counties had fewer than 20 new cases.

 

All 75 Arkansas counties have had at least one COVID-19 case. 

 

As of 2:00 p.m. in the US, 2,910,023 cumulative cases, 906,763 recoveries, and 130,090 deaths.

 

Globally 11,516,782 cumulative cases, 6,223,813 recoveries, and 535,453 deaths.

 

More data is available on the ADA site here.

 

To watch the video of today's briefing, click here.

 

7-6-20 2:10 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for June 29th - July 5th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of June 29, 2020 – July 5, 2020. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

June 29, 2020

Report from complainant on Simolin Lane near Shady Grove of a possible break-in. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on East Barton Street near Cove of a stolen vehicle. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Shady Grove of a mobile home fire. Deputy responded.

 

June 30, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Ink of a missing purse. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Trailwood Lane near Shady Grove of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 98 near Grannis of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded. Complainant refused to press charges.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Shady Grove of trespassing.

Report of a possible stolen item on West Johnson near Hatfield.

Report from complainant on Polk 125 near Rocky of a domestic disturbance led to the arrest of Rickey D. Looney, 39, of Mena on a Charge of 3rd degree Assault on a Family or Household Member.

Report from complainant on Polk 80 near Shady of damage done to a mailbox in the amount of $100.00.

 

July 1, 2020

Report from complainant on Dirt Lane near Shady Grove of problems between neighbors. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant near Acorn of a theft at a storage unit. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 659 near Board Camp of an altercation between two males. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from Collin James Lane near Cove of a domestic dispute. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W of a disturbance between family members.

Arrested was Michael Creel, 33, of Mena on a Warrant for Probation Violation.

Arrested was Darrell W. Sanders, 50, of Mena on a Warrant for Probation Violation and a Warrant for False Imprisonment 2nd Degree, Assault in the 1st Degree, and Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.

 

July 2, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 49 near Shady Grove of a domestic altercation led to the arrest of Ernest Harr, 45, of Mena on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.

Report from complainant on Polk 74 near Acorn of a domestic disturbance. Deputies responded. Complainant refused to press charges.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Rocky of issues involving a juvenile. Deputy responded.

 

July 3, 2020

Report from complainant on Treasure Lane near Acorn of identity fraud. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 41S near Shady Grove of a break-in. Investigation continues.

 

July 4, 2020

Report by two people at the Vandervoort Fairgrounds of damage done to vehicles. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S of an individual refusing to leave the property. Deputy responded.

 

July 5, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 416 near Potter of damage done to a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 18 near Vandervoort of damage done to a yard. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hope Lane near Acorn of a domestic altercation led to the arrest of Naomi B. Bates, 41, of Mena on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree and to the arrest of Ronald L. Bates, 34, of Mena on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.

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

Report from complainant near Lake Wilhelmina of harassment. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on McLaughlin Lane near Wickes of vandalism to a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of a break-in. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

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

 

PC20-00497

 

7-6-20 11:19 AM KAWX.ORG

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Mena Police Report for June 28th - July 4th

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of June 28, 2020 through July 4, 2020 

 

June 28, 2020

 

A theft of property (shoplifting) report was taken from Walmart.

 

A theft of property (shoplifting) report was taken from Walmart.

 

A dog bite report was taken on 10th Street.

 

Lukas Holliday, 29, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop at the intersection of Mena Street and Sherwood Avenue.

 

Richard Ducote, 44, was served with a warrant after a traffic stop on Missouri Avenue.

 

June 29, 2020

 

A domestic battery report was taken at a residence on Dequeen Street.

 

A theft from a vehicle report, that occurred on 11th Street, was taken from walk-in complainants.

 

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

 

June 30, 2020

 

A theft of property (shoplifting) report was taken from Walmart.

 

A theft report was taken from Salvation Army.

 

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

 

July 1, 2020

 

Samantha Trammel, 26, was charged with Endangering the Welfare or a Minor after a call to a residence on Warner Street.

 

A report of identity fraud was taken from an individual at Radio Shack.

 

July 2, 2020

 

James Shaffer, 32, was served with two warrants at the police department.

 

July 3, 2020

 

A report of a disturbance was taken at McDonald’s drive through.

 

A theft of property (shoplifting) report was taken from Walmart.

 

July 4, 2020

 

Patricia Thornton, 29, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

A harassment report was taken on Port Arthur Street.

 

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

 

7-6-20 10:22 AM KAWX.ORG 

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COVID-19 UPDATE FOR SUNDAY, JULY 5TH

SUNDAY (7-5-20) COVID-19 UPDATE
 
•587 NEW CASES, 23,209 CUMULATIVE
•1 NEW DEATH, 287 TOTAL
•7 ACTIVE CASES FOR POLK COUNTY
•100 ACTIVE CASES FOR SEVIER COUNTY, 8 DEATHS
 
There was not a COVID-09 Briefing yesterday or today. The information here was updated today on the ADH COVID-19 Dashboard.
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Polk County
Cases
Total Positive: 77
Active Positive: 7
Recovered: 70
Deaths: 0
Negatives: 1,540
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Sevier County
Cases
Total Positive: 743
Active Positive: 100
Recovered: 635
Deaths: 8
Negatives: 3,487
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Scott County
Cases
Total Positive: 12
Active Positive: 4
Recovered: 8
Deaths: 0
Negatives: 531
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Montgomery County
Cases
Total Positive: 5
Active Positive: 2
Recovered: 3
Deaths: 0
Negatives: 635
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Howard County
Cases
Total Positive: 101
Active Positive: 27
Recovered: 73
Deaths: 1
Negatives: 1,450
 
COVID-19 Metrics for Pike County
Cases
Total Positive: 10
Active Positive: 3
Recovered: 7
Deaths: 0
Negatives: 1,839
 
In the neighboring Oklahoma counties:
 
McCurtain County has had 542 cases, 7 deaths, 383 recoveries, and currently 152 active cases.
 
LeFlore County has had 35 cases, 1 death, 29 recoveries, and currently has 5 active cases.
 
 
 
7-5-20 4:20 PM KAWX.ORG

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Governor Hutchinson Announces Cities May Implement Mandatory Mask Ordinance

 
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson announced cities across the state may implement an ordinance requring mandatory face coverings to help curb the spread of COVID-19 by signing Executive Order 20-41 on Friday.
 
"This provides a local option for cities to give them more flexibility if they have a community in which they might have a surge in cases. This model ordinance, from the Municipal League, provides a consistency in approach across the state," Governor Hutchinson said.
 
Chairman of the Economic Recovery Task Force Steuart Walton added, "Governor Hutchinson's balanced approach of giving cities the option to enact mask ordinances where most needed helps us protect the health of Arkansans and ensure the economy can continue to recover."
 
This executive order allows for:
 
  • Local law enforcement and other city officials to enforce the use of face coverings upon the business' premises in accordance with public health guidelines.

 

  • Local law enforcement and other city officials to act in a support capacity, through enforcement, to educate and encourage members of the public who decline to wear a face covering about the efficacy of wearing such coverings.

 

  • Local law enforcement and other city officials to assist in enforcement through education of individuals who decline to comply with the face covering requirement of any local business that the individual must abide by the local business' mandate or leave the premises.

 

Municipal League General Counsel John Wilkerson said, "Consistency is incredibly important and that is why this model ordinance says that the city is going to require the usage of masks in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Health."
 
Executive Order 20-41 can be viewed HERE.
 
7-3-20 8:18 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The American Spirit in a Pandemic

The American Spirit in a Pandemic
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – This year, the Fourth of July will be quieter than any in our lifetime. That will be most obvious, perhaps, in small towns such as Piggott, where July 4th is the biggest event of the year.
 
July 4th in Piggott is the kind of small-town family-friendly Independence Day celebration many of us remember. It is a homecoming, carnival, and political event rolled into one day that ends with fireworks. Many a politician has campaigned at the Piggott Fourth of July Picnic. I attended my first one in 1986, and I campaigned there when I was running for governor in 2014.
 
But this year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Piggott to cancel its picnic, carnival, beauty contest, and fried-chicken dinner for the first time since 1931.
 
The fireworks show is the only tradition the city didn’t cancel.
 
The picnic is Piggott Cemetery Association’s biggest fundraiser. Fred Ort is president of the Association, and he’s not sure how the association will make up the lost funds, but he’s confident it will.
 
Fred’s family moved to Piggott when he was 12, and he has attended every picnic since then. He’s 68 years old.
 
In past years, the carnival would already be up and running and members of the association would be busy with final preparations. He said life feels a little empty and eerie at the moment.
 
But the town’s leaders decided to go ahead with the fireworks show at 10 o’clock Saturday night. Most people watch from their own yards any way, and you can see the display from the outskirts of Piggott, population 3,700, so there won’t be a crowd in one place.
 
I like Piggott’s spirit. The businesses and churches have followed health guidelines to protect their residents. The school district canceled athletic programs and postponed graduation until late July. The cemetery association canceled the traditional picnic, its primary source of money and a source of pride for the city.
 
In the midst of it all, they found a way to safely preserve a sliver of their tradition with the fireworks show. Saturday night, members of the fire department will light up the sky.
 
The spirit of Piggott is the spirit of Arkansas, and the spirit of Arkansas is the spirit of American independence that we celebrate on July the 4th. We work together, whether it’s a global pandemic or the growing pains of our republic. At the end of the day, we light up our skies to show we’re still here, and we’re still strong.
 
7-3-20 6:47 PM KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

As the state began a new fiscal year this week, we received some good news about the state budget.

 

The fiscal year for the state budget always ends on June 30 and begins on July 1. 

 

While general revenue for Fiscal Year 2020 was $168 million less than the year before, it was $369 million above what economic forecasters predicted in the wake of the health emergency.

 

This means the budget outlined in the Revenue Stabilization Act for the previous year ended fully funded with $3.2 million in excess.

 

The Department of Finance and Administration says the fiscal year ended above forecast as a result of the following:

 

1) Better than expected sales tax collections from retail activity and vehicle sales

2) Individual income tax payments from filings ahead of the shifted July 15th due date

3) Reduced individual refund claims related to the shifted tax filing date

4) Continued gains in corporate income tax.

 

However, the negative financial impact of COVID-19 was still evident in low annual growth from sales tax and payroll withholding tax.

 

State budgets are directly linked to how well the economy is performing. The recent revenue reports show while our economy is certainly not where it was a year ago, it is performing better than expected. 

 

The latest unemployment numbers show our state unemployment rate is 9.5%. The national unemployment rate is 13.3%.

 

As more Arkansans are going back to work, it is imperative that we all continue to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Please continue to practice social distancing and wear a mask in public. 

 

6:01 PM KAWX.ORG 

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OLT Protects Patrons with Professional Cleaning, Free Movie Night Returns July 8th

Ouachita Little Theatre is undergoing a thorough cleaning and disinfection process from ACCI Restoration before “Free Movie Night” returns July 8. The sanitation includes the utilization of a CDC approved material recommended for the mitigation of the Corona Virus. This will be used to steam each seat and clean the entire auditorium. They will take samples from all parts of the building and test for any changes that need to be made to keep the 100-year-old building environmentally safe for OLT patrons.

 

President Rudi Timmerman expressed his appreciation for ACCI owners, Rick and Donna Morse. “While this process will be expensive for OLT, it is the only way that we want to operate. The safety of our patrons is of utmost importance. ACCI demonstrates that they are supportive members of the community by giving OLT substantial discounts for the work. We are very grateful to them for their generosity.”

 

Timmerman also expressed his thanks to Aleshire Electric, The Pulse Multi-news Media, The Mena Star, KAWX News, and other area industries as well as individuals for their support shown in various ways. “It is especially encouraging to see some of our local businesses come to the aid of our non-profit organization during this pandemic. We are grateful. OLT is dependent on producing shows to generate income, and we are unfortunately unable to do that right now. But we will be back, better than ever, as soon as we can safely do so!”

 

7-3-20 2:41 PM KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Stars and Stripes Serves a Valuable Role and Deserves Funding

 

For several years now, my office has made a concerted effort to capture and preserve the memories of Arkansas’s war veterans for inclusion in the Library of Congress’s Veteran History Project (VHP). Not only is it a great way to honor their service and commitment to our country, but it is a valuable educational tool for future generations. We can learn a great deal about what life in a war zone is like through the stories collected by the VHP, and those stories can inform the decisions we make for the future.

 

Here’s a perfect example. My office had the honor of interviewing Lt. Col. (retired) Karen King-Johnson of Hot Springs about her service in Vietnam. As the Command Information Officer for the U.S. Army in Vietnam, her role included making sure that every unit received news material, including a copy of Stars & Stripes

 

Stars and Stripes, the newspaper written for America’s servicemembers about the military community in which they serve, dates back to the Civil War. It is a main source of news for the men and women of our Armed Forces who are serving overseas. Throughout its storied history, the newspaper has relayed vital information, provided much-needed morale boosts and offered a connection to home for our deployed servicemembers.

 

During her VHP interview, Ms. King-Johnson noted just how important the newspaper was to troops serving in Vietnam.

 

Stars and Stripes was a big deal over there,” she said. “Our mission was that you’re going to get one free copy of Stars and Stripes for every five soldiers. If there were five soldiers under a tree, it was our job to find where those soldiers were to make sure they had Stars and Stripes.

 

Unfortunately, the future of Stars and Stripes is uncertain. While editorially independent from the Pentagon, the newspaper is reliant on Department of Defense (DoD) funding. This year’s budget request eliminated financial support for the paper.

 

The publisher of Stars and Stripes says the paper will not survive past the first quarter of the next fiscal year if funding is not renewed. This financial backing is essential even to a web-only product, but reducing Stars and Stripes to simply an online outlet is not an option. While it delivers news and information through a variety of means, the print product is still vital as internet access is unavailable, or connectivity is too poor, in many places where troops are stationed.

 

Stars and Stripes serves as a lifeline for troops to stay up-to-date about what is happening where they are deployed, back home and in Washington, D.C., where policies that affect them are crafted. There is no publication that replicates what its reporters have done for decades by living in the areas where troops are stationed, understanding the environment and reporting from a perspective of how the stories affect service members and their families. Morale and readiness are enhanced with a well-informed force that has access to reliable, independent reporting and the confidence that DoD leadership is held accountable for their actions through a free press.

 

We do need to make difficult decisions in order to rein in spending. Ensuring funding for Stars and Stripes is not one. Protecting this valuable service for our men and women in uniform is the right thing to do.  

 

7-3-20 2:33 PM KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

July 3, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – During the upcoming school year, local districts will have flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances created by the outbreak of the coronavirus, thanks to a set of waivers adopted by the state Board of Education during a special meeting.

 

The waivers affect policies that govern the amount of time a teacher has to spend with students in classroom instruction. They affect teachers’ planning time and teachers’ assignments to non-instructional duties. They affect how much time children will be at recess and the length of the school day. They affect maximum class sizes.

 

The waivers affect conventional schools and charter schools, allowing them to mix virtual instruction with traditional classroom instruction.

 

When school districts applied for the waivers they committed to continued tracking of student achievement. As educators prepare for the challenges of the upcoming school year, a common concern is that some students may fall through the cracks because their families lack access to digital technology, such as Internet access and up-to-date computers.

 

Teacher training must be updated, to account for the greater use of technology not only for instruction of students but also for meetings with parents and other staff.

 

The waivers provide flexibility for specific education standards and are not written to allow deviations from broader state laws requiring schools to offer equal and adequate education to all students. If it is determined that a local district has abused the availability of waivers, the state Education Board will be able to revoke their waivers.

 

One Board member who voted against the waivers said that they allowed local districts too much leeway.

 

However, an official with the Education Department countered that districts must submit for review their plans to rely on waivers, and that there would be penalties for abusing them.

 

The waivers allow a school board to amend personnel policies and the change will take effect immediately, without having to go through a review by the personnel policy committee. Teachers may be assigned non-instructional duties for more than an hour a day without additional pay, if it is necessary for the district to comply with Health Department guidelines on staying safe during the pandemic.

 

Many of the waivers only apply on days when schools offer virtual classes. For example, on those days the school day does not have to be six hours on average. Recess for elementary students does not have to be 40 minutes because the students are at home on their computers.

 

On those days the district is not required to provide teachers with a 30 minute lunch period without any duties, since the teachers will be working from home or from a location away from the school campus.

 

In related news, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a statement that the organization “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

 

While recognizing the need for safety measures, the pediatricians state that the “importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020.”

 

The pediatricians say that virtual classes make it difficult to recognize children’s learning disabilities, signs of physical or sexual abuse, substance abuse, depression or suicidal tendencies.

 

7-3-20 2:29 PM KAWX.ORG 

 

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Camp Pioneer Property Being Purchased By Local Residents, Developed For Use By Groups

Camp Pioneer is being purchased by Mena residents Danny and Renae Powell and Danny and Beverly Hansbrough.

 
The Caddo Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America voted unanimously to suspend camping activities in 2017 due to electrical and plumbing maintenance needs, then earlier this year voted to sell the 215 acres and buildings near Hatfield in Polk County. 
 
In recent years the Boy Scouts of America has had many legal and financial problems causing the sale of other properties, including Camp Dierks in neighboring McCurtain County, Oklahoma.
 
Speaking for the purchasers, Danny Powell said that the property would be renovated and further developed for use by groups. Specific plans are not being made public at this time.
 
Due to the non-profit status of the Caddo Area Council, no taxes have been paid on the real and personal property in the almost 100 years it was used for a scout camp, however it will now be taxed.
 
When news of the sale of the property became known locally there was concern about the economic impact, even though it had not been used for several years for summer camps. The untaxed, idle property will now be a positive asset to the area.
 
7-2-20 11:01 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. Dennis R. Stinson, White Male, age 42, Count I: Theft Of Property, a Class "C" Felony. 5-21-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Tina L. Gregory, White Female, age 38, Count I: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "C" felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. 6-25-20
 
7-2-20 8:40 AM KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s weekly fishing report for July 1, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter listed for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second.

 

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

 

7-1-20 6:00 PM KAWX.ORG 

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

 

 

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Mena's Fresh Start Ministry Baby Bottle Boomerang Fundraiser Kicks Off July 5th

Fresh Start Pregnancy Center is launching its annual Baby Bottle Boomerang Campaign July 5tand it will run through Aug 2, 2020. This is their largest fundraiser of the year!

 

This year, because of the pandemic, they are unable to hand out the baby bottles. Because of this, they are asking for donations through your church.

 

If you are wanting your church to participate, please reach out to Mrs. Sarah or Mrs. Debbie at 479-394-1186.

 

Fresh Start is a priceless ministry of this community. They give free diapers, wipes, formula and other essentials to those in need. They also provide pregnancy tests, prenatal, parenting, and life skills classes at no cost to the client.

 

Fresh Start is a pro-life ministry committed to provide accurate information to men and women facing unplanned pregnancies.

 

7-1-20 7:52 AM KAWX.ORG 

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