KAWX News Archives for 2020-10

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Fall Adventures in Arkansas

 
Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Fall Adventures in Arkansas
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – The blazing foliage of fall is reason enough to travel the Natural State this weekend, but there’s more to autumn in Arkansas than the brightly colored leaves. Today I’d like to mention a few spots worth a visit this time of year in addition to the trails of leaves.

Arkansas State Parks is a big part of our tourism economy, and tourism is Arkansas’s second-largest industry. More than 8 million tourists visit our state and its parks every year, which brings in a billion dollars annually.

We have fifty-two state parks in forty-eight counties. The parks system encompasses nearly 55,000 beautiful acres all over the state, including over 400 miles of trails for hiking, cycling, and horseback riding.

The leaves demand the most attention, of course.  Kirk Jordan, a photographer who travels the state for Arkansas State Parks, spent Thursday on the road and said this weekend is a prime time for viewing in the Ouachitas and Ozarks. Farther north, and at higher elevations, the leaves have peaked, and in southern Arkansas, Kirk says you have a couple of weeks still. He said that this year’s colors are even brighter than last year.

Kirk contributes to Arkansas Tourism’s weekly Fall Color Update at Arkansas.com, where you also can read about our scenic roadways, such as the Talimena National Scenic Byway. In eastern Arkansas, Crowley’s Ridge Parkway and the Great River Road National Scenic Byways cut through the hardwoods of the St. Francis National Forest. The Pig Trail is one of five U.S. Forest Service Scenic Byways in the Ozark National Forest. Another is the Sylamore Byway, which runs between Calico Rock and Allison.

One of the great things about Arkansas is that you don’t have to stay in your car to enjoy the leaves. Five years ago, I was one of the first cyclists to ride on a section of the Delta Heritage Trail State Park near Helena-West Helena just as the leaves were starting to turn. That trail cuts through some of the prettiest landscape in the state. Since then, through various public and private-sector partnerships, our state has added miles and miles.

You can enjoy autumn from a canoe or kayak at Lake Monticello or Bayou Bartholomew, the longest bayou in the world and the second-most diverse stream in the nation with more than a hundred aquatic species. At Lake Chicot State Park, bird watchers on foot find this is a good time of year to add new sightings to their list.

The choices for autumn adventure are many. I hope you can find a moment to enjoy Arkansas. That’s a good way to clear your mind as you prepare to vote on Tuesday.
 
10-30-20 7:59 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Drug Bust, Five Jailed

On Friday, October 30, 2020, The Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Mena Police Department, the 18th Judicial West Drug Task force, and the Arkansas State Police executed a search warrant at a residence on Polk 89 in Mena. The search warrant was the result of a months long investigation into narcotic sales and distribution from the residence.

 

A large amount of drugs, including methamphetamines, fentanyl, psilocybin mushrooms, and prescription narcotics, as well as cash, were seized from the residence.

 

Arrested at the scene were Clifton Dover (age 65), Jamie Crider (age 31), Joe King (age 38), Michael Thomas (age 34), and Tony Caldwell (age 65).

 

Sheriff Scott Sawyer stated “This was a very successful operation. We took a large amount of dangerous drugs off the streets and arrested several people involved in the distribution of drugs in our community. I particularly proud of the level of cooperation we saw between the various agencies involved in this operation. I’d like to thank all of them for a job well done”.

 

All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

10-30-20 5:49 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This year, returning House members and members-elect will make their committee selection for the 2021 Regular Session just days after the election.

A House caucus has been scheduled for November 6.

 

During the caucus, newly elected members will draw for seniority and all members will select their seats for the 93rd General Assembly. After seat selection, the committee selection process will begin.

 

The vast majority of legislation considered during a legislative session begins in a standing committee.

 

There are 10 standing committees in the House. These include 5 class “A” committees and 5 class “B” committees.

Each member serves on 1 “A” committee and 1 “B” committee.

 

Class “A” committees include:

  • Education
  • Judiciary
  • Public Health, Welfare and Labor
  • Public Transportation
  • Revenue and Taxation

 

Class “B” Committees include:

  • Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development
  • City, County and Local Affairs
  • Insurance and Commerce
  • State Agencies and Governmental Affairs

 

Each standing committee consist of 20 members which include 5 members from each of the 4 House district caucuses.

 

Pursuant to a House Rule adopted by the 92nd General Assembly, the most senior member of the House of Representatives will select first and will choose a position on a Class “A” standing committee. The seniority rotation procedure will continue until the member with the least seniority makes his or her selection. After the member with the least seniority makes his or her Class “A” standing committee selection, the most senior member will select his or her Class “B” standing committee. The seniority rotation will continue until the member with the least seniority selects his or her Class “B” standing committee.

 

Selection for the House Budget Committee, Arkansas Legislative Council, and Legislative Joint Auditing will take place after standing committee selection. The Speaker of the House has the authority to make adjustments to committee membership only for the purpose of adjusting the majority to minority party ratio on the standing committees. Final committee memberships will be announced during House Orientation held the first week of December.

 

You can watch the committee selection process live at arkansashouse.org.

 

10-30-20 5:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Building a Workforce for the Future

 

When we talk about ways to foster long-term economic growth, ensuring that Arkansans are prepared for well-paying jobs must be among our top concerns. Career and technical schools offer specialized training that prepares students for careers in skilled trades, applied sciences and more. We are blessed to have a number of exceptional programs in Arkansas that put students on the path to future success.

 

This is important because almost a quarter of our state’s skilled professionals are at or near retirement age. Arkansas’s employers need talented workers who are prepared to fill the surge of expected vacancies, as well as those to step into positions created by the many new employers choosing to call the Natural State home.

 

One of Arkansas’s leading career and technical colleges, the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College (UA-PTC), recently received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. The award will be used to the launch the first phase of its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Park Project on the college’s main campus in North Little Rock.

 

According to UA-PTC officials, the school’s existing laboratory spaces can no longer serve the rapidly-growing demand for STEM classes, forcing the school to turn away 200-300 students per semester. The STEM Park Project will allow the college to accommodate more students and help them find well-paying jobs after graduation through its partnership with STEM-related industries in Arkansas.

 

The mission of the STEM Park Project is important as data from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services shows there is a current demand for nearly 3,300 skilled workers in STEM fields in the state. That need is made more apparent by the fact that the existing workforce in STEM-related positions is already facing a shortfall of over 500 employees.

 

Along with our career and technical colleges, the Associated Industries of Arkansas Foundation’s “Be Pro, Be Proud” initiative is another ongoing effort to address that shortfall. The goal of the program is to introduce Arkansans to the high-wage, stable careers in order to meet the need of employers requiring specialized training for highly skilled jobs that don’t requires a four-year degree. The variety of career paths highlighted by the “Be Pro, Be Proud” initiative include tool and die making, computer programming, construction, robotics and many more.

 

Among other things, the “Be Pro, Be Proud” program brings its mobile workshop to cities and towns across the state to offer high schoolers exposure to careers in trade and a hands-on introduction to the technology at use in these professions. I’ve had a chance to see the mobile workshop up close on a couple occasions, most recently this past summer, and can attest to the value it provides in terms of offering a unique insight for students considering alternatives to the traditional four-year university route. This outreach will help young Arkansans realize that you don’t need an undergraduate degree to get ahead in life.  

 

Programs like “Be Pro, Be Proud” and institutions like UA-PTC will help Arkansas industries fill the current—and projected—employment void and attract additional STEM-related jobs to the state. We must continue to support programs that build a pipeline to fill in-demand jobs. 

 

10-30-20 5:37 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

 

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

October 30, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – At the beginning of this year, there were more than 2,000 licensed child care programs in Arkansas. They had slots for 194,000 children.

By mid-April, about half the facilities had closed. Although most have been able to re-open, as of early October at least 20 had closed permanently. They had slots for more than 1,140 children.

 

The numbers change every day, according to the state director of the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education. She reported to lawmakers about the impact of the pandemic on child care facilities and the families that rely on them.

 

The official statistics support what working parents already know. It is more difficult than ever to find affordable child care of high quality.

 

Many child care programs had to close because they struggled to hire staff. They had to limit groups of staff and children to 10 or fewer people. Staff are required to wear masks.

 

From March through early October, 416 workers at child care facilities contracted Covid-19. During that same period, 273 children tested positive for the virus. Those numbers continue to go up, generally at a steady ratio of two workers for every child.

 

Before the pandemic there had been about 400 facilities that did not have children whose child care was subsidized by the government. According to the director, several hundred have taken steps to participate in child care assistance programs.

 

Arkansas has received federal relief assistance to pay for grants and loans to people and businesses especially hard hit by the pandemic.

 

In late March, the Division increased the amounts of vouchers by $10 for each infant or toddler and $7 for each child in pre-school. Vouchers for school aged children in after school care went up $5 per child. The increased value of vouchers in Arkansas has cost the government about $11 million to date.

 

The state Division of Child Care has distributed about $26 million so far to help facilities and families. For example, about 6,000 families are getting financial assistance for child care because one of the parents is considered an essential worker. Those jobs are in health care, sanitation, the food supply chain, child care and education and emergency response.

 

More than $6 million in relief funds have paid for thermometers, cleaning supplies, masks and protective equipment that are now required by child care facilities.

 

At the same legislative meeting in which lawmakers heard about the effect of the pandemic on child care facilities, a state tax official reported on the extent of tax credits now available to families with children in care.

 

The state offers an individual income tax credit of 20 percent of the allowable federal credit. In the past two years, more than 50,000 Arkansas taxpayers took advantage of the state credit. It is claimed on line 35 of the Arkansas return.

 

In 2018, a total of $6.3 million in credits was claimed by 54,007 Arkansas taxpayers. In 2019 a total of 51,254 taxpayers claimed $6 million in child care credits.

 

Arkansas also offers an early child care tax credit for dependent children in an approved day care facility. It also is equal to 20 percent of the allowable federal early child care credit. It is on line 43 of the Arkansas return.

 

About a thousand taxpayers a year claim it and saved from $114,000 to $137,000 on their taxes the past two years. A taxpayer may not claim both the child care and the early child care credits.

 

10-30-20 11:44 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

The War of the Worlds Stunned The Country 82 Years Ago Today, Listen to the Podcast

On Sunday night, October 30, 1938, 82 years ago today, the CBS Mercury Theater of the Air broadcast a radio play by Orson Welles, based on the book War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, causing widespread panic across the country as many believed it to be real news reports about a Martian invasion near Grovers Mill, New Jersey.

 

Click here to listen to the original broadcast.

 

War of the Worlds gave Americans an idea of just how powerful the relatively new technology could be, even though the original intent was not to deceive or scare people, but to entertain. 

 

Many Americans were in church that Sunday night. My father, James L. Daniel, was 12 years old and told me the story many times about a local man in the small sawmill town of Wright City, Oklahoma that came into the Baptist church proclaiming loudly that the world was ending, disrupting the service. As panic swept the nation, police departments were overwhelmed with calls. It would be several days before all knew that what they had heard was just a drama intended to entertain.

 

Enjoy the podcast of War of the Worlds and feel free to share with others.

 

We enjoy old radio shows at KAWX and air Lum and Abner at 6:30 p.m. weekdays followed by a short old radio show, then at 7:00 p.m. air Fibber McGee and Molly. When we can, we will also broadcast other old radio programs over the air, or share them as a podcast for your enjoyment.

 

10-20-20 5:00 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

County To Purchase Office Building, Quorum Court Meeting Recap, Sales Tax Report

The Polk County Quorum Court met Tuesday, October 27 for their regular monthly session.

 
Ten JPs were present and one participated by phone. The JPs quickly handled routine business. 
 
Carried over from last month was discussion about the Prosecutor's office space that the County is required to provide. The current office, across from the Courthouse, is owned by Andy Riner, the current prosecutor and Judge Elect. For ethical reasons Riner will not be able to continue owing the building and agreed to sell it to the County for what he paid for it some years ago. The JPs requested that County Judge Brandon Ellison have the property appraised. The appraisal was for $180,000.00. The JPs voted unanimously to purchase the building for $175,000.
 
There was lengthy discussion about the cost of county employee's insurance. The cost for each of the 104 employees health insurance was $518 a month in 2019, $720 a month in 2020, and will increase to $975 in 2021 if kept with Blue Cross. P.T. Plunkett with Mena Insurance Agency, Inc. handles the group plan for the County and told the JPs that there are three companies that can provide the insurance and that two of them have declined to even provide a quote. Plunkett will work with Judge Ellison and County Clerk Terri Harrison to hopefully find a solution before the budget has to be voted on in November.
 
Judge Ellison told the JPs that he is working on several grants that will benefit the county. 
 
Both the Sales Tax General and Road Improvement Sales Tax, both 1% taxes on retail sales in the county, increased $11,033 for September over September of 2019. To date the taxes are each up $109,331 over 2019 suggesting strong retail sales. 
 
The total of the two taxes collected year-to-date is $2,611,252, $218,662 over the same period in 2019.
 
The Road Improvement Sales Tax money can only be used for county roads and bridges. 
 
There will be a meeting of the Quorum Court Budget Committee at 6:00 p.m. on November 10, 2020 at the Polk County Office Complex on Pine Street in the Quorum Court Meeting Room. The Budget Committee meeting is open to the public as required by State Law. 
 
10-29-20 11:00 a.m. KAWX.ORG 
 
 

Polk County's Bo Hays Recipient of ASP Lifesaving Award

 
STATE TROOPERS & ASP PERSONNEL HONORED AT STATE CAPITOL CEREMONY 
 
 
  (LITTLE ROCK) – Trooper Matt Price, 36, assigned to Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith, was presented with the prestigious Arkansas State Police Trooper of the Year Award (2019) at the Arkansas state capitol tonight during the department’s’ annual award ceremony.
 
  Twenty-one state troopers and two civilian employees were presented awards in six different service categories.  The award recipients were selected based on nominations through their respective chain of command for particular acts of extraordinary service that exceeded standards of expectations in their assigned duties as defined in the Arkansas State Police Policy and Procedures Manual.
 
  Governor Asa Hutchinson and Jami Cook, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Public Safety, addressed state police personnel through pre-recorded messages.  Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police presented the awards.
 
  Trooper Price was selected as Trooper of the Year (2019) based on a May 29, 2019 Crawford County manhunt involving a bank robbery suspect.
  Trooper Price, a four-year veteran of the department, encountered the suspect fleeing the area in a vehicle along Interstate 40.  While attempting to stop the vehicle, the driver began firing a gun at Trooper Price who returned fire wounding the suspect, yet continued to flee until Trooper Price was able to take the robbery suspect into custody.
 
  The actions of Trooper Price, also led to his nomination and receiving the Arkansas State Police Medal of Valor in addition to being considered among the nominees for Trooper of the Year (2019).
 
Arkansas State Police Civilian of the Year (2019):
 
  Mike Patterson, 55, of Saline County, was presented the Arkansas State Police Civilian of the Year (2019) Award.  Patterson, a 15-year veteran of the department, is assigned to the Highway Patrol Division command and administrative headquarters at Little Rock.
 
    Working in an administrative assistant capacity, Patterson was recognized for streamlining multiple accounting processes and providing an improved means of personnel resource and division operating costs analysis.
 
  A civilian of the year award nominee is considered through their respective chain of command based on extraordinary performance or contribution to the mission of the Arkansas State Police.  Civilian employees are defined as non-commissioned employees who work in all divisions of the agency. 
 
Qualifications for the award pursuant to policy must be exemplary as to set the employee apart and above a peer.
 
  Other award recipients recognized during the evening ceremony were:
 
Lifesaving:
 
  • Corporal Billy Turnipseed, assigned to Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role in an August 17, 2019 incident.  While assisting another trooper investigating a motor vehicle crash, Trooper Turnipseed observed one driver had attempted to commit suicide.  The driver briefly held troopers at bay with a knife, leading Trooper Turnipseed to disarm the driver and begin immediate lifesaving measures while awaiting emergency medical personnel to respond to the crash scene.

 

  • Trooper First Class Bo Hays, assigned to Troop K, headquartered at Hot Springs, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role in an August 27, 2019 incident.  TFC Hays responded to a shooting incident at a Polk County residence.  Once inside the home, TFC Hays found the wounded victim lying in a pool of blood and immediately began lifesaving measures by applying a tourniquet that stopped the bleeding.  TFC Hays continued to use his training to render medical aid to the victim until emergency medical personnel arrived.

Shown is Trooper Bo Hays and his wife at the awards ceremony.

 

  • Trooper James Ray, assigned to Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role in a June 2, 2019 incident.  Trooper Ray was among a group of first responders who hiked into a remote area north of Ozark in search of a helicopter that had reportedly crashed.  At the crash site, the first responders discovered three of the four individuals onboard the helicopter had died.  While preparing to extricate the lone survivor, Trooper Ray discovered that a tourniquet that had been applied to a leg of the survivor had failed to stop the bleeding.  Trooper Ray applied his own tourniquet and successfully stopped any further loss of blood.

 

  • Trooper Lonnie Moore, assigned to Troop J, headquartered at Clarksville, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role a February 27, 2019 incident.  Trooper Moore encountered an individual threatening to commit suicide.  The distraught man had crossed a guardrail on the outer edge of an Interstate 40 overpass.  Trooper Moore successfully established rapport with the man and began slowly closing the distance between the two, eventually making contact and holding the man until others could move toward them and pull the man to safety.

 

  • Trooper Lukas Tankersley, assigned to Troop K, headquartered at Hot Springs, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role in a May 3, 2019 incident.  While assisting Garland County sheriff’s deputies at the scene of a shooting, Trooper Tankersley used emergency medical equipment and supplies gathered from his patrol car to assess the victim who had sustained a gunshot wound to the chest.  Trooper Tankersley made repeated attempts to close the wound with a chest seal, leading him to pack the wound with gauze, and keeping pressure on the wound until emergency medical personnel arrived.
 
  • Trooper Tyler Porter, assigned to Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for his role in a February 2, 2019 incident.  Responding to a call of a medical emergency at a nearby residence, Trooper Porter found his grandfather there and determined he had sustained a leg injury, causing a significant amount of blood to have been lost.  He was also experiencing a loss of consciousness.  Trooper Porter applied pressure bandages and a tourniquet to the wound until emergency medical personnel arrived.
 
  • Investigator Patricia Holloway, assigned to the Crimes Against Children Division, Area 3, was presented the department’s Lifesaving Award for her role in a November 25, 2019 incident.  While investigating a case involving a two year-old child, Investigator Holloway discovered “extreme” bruising over the child’s entire body and made immediate arrangements to have the boy taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.  Although the child had already been examined at a home county clinic, physicians at Children’s Hospital found evidence of ITP, a condition causing a person’s platelet count to fall below an accepted medical scale and range.  The child’s platelet count was dangerously low and was in a life threatening range.  Physicians have credited Investigator Holloway’s assessment with saving the child’s life.

 

Distinguished Meritorious Service Awards:
 
  • Lieutenant Kevin Richmond (Special Agent), assigned to Criminal Investigation Division, Company D was presented the department’s Distinguished Meritorious Award.  The award is the department’s highest form of recognition for meritorious service or achievement.  In May 2017, Lieutenant Richmond was assigned additional command duties with the Arkansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, specifically developing and managing the $320,000 task force budget, purchasing and providing equipment and training for 50 affiliate agencies and 1,644 law enforcement officers.  Under Lieutenant Richmond’s command, the task force opened more than 1,400 cases, resulting in 247 arrests.  While supervising the task force, Lieutenant Richmond increased the number of participating agencies, coordinated thousands of cyber tips and identified 79 child victims.  Although the command positon is primarily an administrative function, Lieutenant Richmond planned and executed a 2019 undercover operation to identify adults who were seeking children for illicit activities.  The operation resulted in the arrests of one dozen suspects charged with state and federal crimes.  During his special assignment, Lieutenant Richmond continued to lead the investigative work and supervise Arkansas State Police Special Agents assigned to Company D encompassing nine north and west Arkansas counties.

 

Medal of Valor:
 
  The Medal of Valor is the highest award presented to a commissioned or civilian employee of the Arkansas State Police. The Medal of Valor is earned for extraordinary acts of valor and gallantry that clearly set the individual apart from other employees.
 
  • Corporal Chad Staley was presented the Medal of Valor for his role in an August 21, 2019 incident while he was assigned to the department’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team.  The team responded to a Van Buren County hostage standoff situation.  Corporal Staley developed an entry plan for the team to gain access to a residence where an armed individual was holding a nine year-old boy hostage.  The plan was executed flawlessly, allowing troopers to enter undetected, confronting the gunman and safely extricating the child.
 
  • Trooper Garrett Brock, assigned to Troop F, headquartered at Warren was presented the Medal of Valor for his role in an October 17, 2019 incident.  While leaving Warren Trooper Brock initiated a traffic stop after observing a driver violation.  The driver refused to comply and began to flee the area.  During the course of a motor vehicle pursuit through a rural area of Bradley County, the driver of the suspect vehicle lost control of the car causing it to crash alongside a gravel road.  The driver exited the vehicle and raised a handgun, pointing it at Trooper Brock.  The suspect began to open fire on Trooper Brock who returned fire, striking the suspect who later died.
 
  • Sergeant Philip Hydron and Corporal Mike Nelson were presented Medals of Valor for their roles in an August 27, 2019 incident while assigned to the Arkansas State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team.  A homicide suspect who was believed to have killed two women in West Helena had barricaded himself inside a local residence.  After four hours while troopers attempted to make contact with the suspect, an arrest team was formed to approach the residence at which time the suspect exited the house.  Sergeant Hydron and Corporal Nelson moved-in to establish communication with the suspect who then raised a gun, pointing it in the direction of the two troopers.  In an attempt to distract the suspect, state police snipers engaged the suspect with gunfire as both Sergeant Hydron and Corporal Nelson moved toward the residence.  An ensuring exchange of gunfire led to the death of the suspect.
 
  • Trooper Matt Price, assigned to Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith was presented the Medal of Valor for his role in a May 29, 2019 incident.  During a Crawford County manhunt for a bank robbery suspect, Trooper Price encountered the suspect fleeing the area in a vehicle along Interstate 40.  While attempting to stop the vehicle the driver began firing a gun at Trooper Price who returned fire wounding the suspect, yet continued to flee until Trooper Price was able to take the robbery suspect into custody.
 
Troopers Cross:
 
  The Trooper’s Cross is awarded to Troopers and civilian employees who demonstrate courage at a level not justifying the Medal of Valor.
 
  • Corporal Andrew Ault and Corporal Jason Baethke were presented the Trooper’s Cross for their roles in an August 27, 2019 incident while both were assigned to the Arkansas State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team.  As two team members approached a West Helena residence where a homicide suspect had barricaded himself inside the home after allegedly killing two women, Corporals Ault and Baethke were assigned in sniper positions to cover the troopers approaching the residence.  (*See narrative for Medal of Valor presented to Sergeant Philip Hydron and Corporal Mike Nelson.)  Corporals Ault and Baethke engaged the suspect with gunfire as he exited the residence aiming a gun at the two SWAT team troopers nearest the house.
 
  • Corporal Houston Talley (Special Agent), assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division, Company B, headquartered at Pine Bluff, was presented the Trooper’s Cross for his role in an April 29, 2019 Jefferson County incident.  Special Agent Talley was off-duty traveling with his family when he witnessed a motor vehicle crash.  S/A Talley stopped at the crash site and began to render aid to the injured victims.  Inside one of the vehicles, he found the entrapped driver, a woman, who said her two young grandchildren were in the backseat.  Using a pry bar, S/A Talley was able to open one of car doors to extricate the driver, then began to crawl his way into the rear of the car which had been crushed, forcing the rear seat into the trunk.  After moments of searching for the children, S/A Talley saw a child safety seat embedded in the floorboard.  Still strapped into the car seat was an infant who S/A Talley removed from the wreckage, only to return and begin searching for the second child.  Near the rear of the car, tangled within the crushed backseat, S/A Talley found a 4 year-old boy. Unable to remove the child until additional assistance arrived, S/A Talley stayed with the youngster in an attempt to provide moral comfort and render any medical aid he could.  The young boy later died, however his grandmother and sister survived.
 
  • Corporal Robert Kyle Jones, assigned to Troop G, headquartered at Hope was presented the Trooper’s Cross for his role in a July 16, 2019 Howard County water rescue incident.  Two women and a small child were trapped inside a bus that had stalled along a flooded roadway near Dierks.  As heavy rain continued to fall, and realizing it would be only a short time before the already swift current of the rising waters would turn into a churning river, Corporal Jones drove to his nearby home to retrieve a kayak and three life vests.  He then returned to the area only to see his worst fear; water already inside the bus and quickly rising.  Upstream from the bus Corporal Jones entered the fast-moving stream and maneuvered the kayak toward the vehicle knowing he would have to crash into the rear of the bus in what would be his one and only chance of getting inside to save the three occupants.  With the help of the adult women, Corporal Jones was able to crawl through a window of the bus in order to get the life vests into the hands of the occupants.  He then exited the bus through an emergency exit, re-entered the kayak and reached for the child being handed to him by the women.  Once Corporal Jones was able to get the child into the hands of emergency personnel on higher ground, he returned to the bus twice more, successfully rescuing both adults.
 
  • Sergeant Nicholas Brown was presented the Trooper’s Cross for his role in an August 21, 2019 incident while assigned to the Arkansas State Police Special Weapons and Tactics Team.  As the team developed an entry plan to extricate a child hostage that was being held by a Van Buren County gunman, Sergeant Brown volunteered to place himself in harm’s way and single handedly remove a barricade that had been placed against an exterior doorway.  Gaining an unobstructed access to the particular entry point to the residence was vital to the plan as it would facilitate a means to enter the home undetected.  Sergeant Brown was successful in his mission to remove the barricade allowing the team to enter and safely remove the hostage.
 
  • Trooper Michael Kyle Ellison, assigned to Troop A, headquartered at Little Rock, was presented the Trooper’s Cross for his role in a November 11, 2019, Pulaski County incident.  Sherwood police had contacted Troop A telecommunications requesting assistance in getting a vehicle stopped that was fleeing the area.  As the Sherwood officers entered North Little Rock, the fleeing driver headed for Interstate 40 and eventually moved onto Interstate 30 (westbound).  Trooper Ellison took the lead in the pursuit as it continued into southwest Little Rock along I-30 and onto Baseline Road.  As the fleeing suspect continued to increase the speed of the vehicle he was driving and approaching Stagecoach Road, Trooper Ellison realized an opportunity was ahead that would allow for a PIT maneuver, forcing the car off the roadway and eliminating any threat of danger to other motorists.  As the PIT was executed, the suspect lost control of the car, causing it to crash.  Trooper Ellison then began to coordinate the extrication of the driver from the crash and set-up a clear path for emergency medical personnel to access the area.

 

Distinguished Service Award:
 
  The Distinguished Service Award honors citizens or law enforcement officers from other agencies who assist the Arkansas State Police in the apprehension of a criminal in a manner that clearly and directly places the individuals in jeopardy, physical harm or death.
 
  • Dylan Boucher of Pocahontas has been awarded the Arkansas State Police Distinguished Service Award for his role as a private citizen coming to the aid of an Arkansas State Trooper on October 17, 2019.  Boucher had witnessed a motor vehicle crash along U.S. Highway 67.  When Boucher saw one of the drivers leave the crash scene, he contacted Arkansas State Police Troop B Headquarters in Newport and began following the vehicle, keeping a Troop B telecommunications operator advised of his location.  Trooper Andrew Lay was dispatched to the area and intercepted the hit and run driver.  Trooper Lay initiated a traffic stop and made contact with the driver who began to resist the trooper’s attempt to arrest him.  The two began to wrestle alongside the highway.  Boucher had remained at the traffic stop and stepped from his vehicle to assist Trooper Lay getting the suspect under control.
 
 Official Commendations: 
 
*Presented for acts of exemplary service and awarded during the course of 2019 during regular monthly meetings of the Arkansas State Police Commission. Certificate. * *Supporting information for the commendations is available upon request.
 
  • Corporal Brandon Trewyn
 
  • Trooper Drew Pannell
 
  • Trooper John Bass
 
  • Corporal Robert Stewart
 
  • Corporal Shane Alkire
 
  • Corporal Aaron Keith
 
  •  Corporal Jason Davis
 
  • Trooper Trevor Stevenson
 
  • Trooper Spencer Morris
 
  • TFC Joshua Porter
 
  • Corporal Dwight Lee
 
  • TFC Chris Short

 

10-29-20 8:16 a.m. KAWX.ORG

Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

 

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Oct. 28, 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 for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 10 a.m. the day of publication.

 

****Buy 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: http://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: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ar/nwis/current/?type=quality.

 

10-28-20 6:00 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Election Commission Meeting Announced, Early Voting Continues

 

The Polk County Election Commission will meet Monday November 9, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. in the conference room of the Polk County Courthouse to review all provisional ballots cast during the November General Election, according to Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison. All meetings of the County Election Commission are open to the public.

 

Early voting continues at the old Armory on De Queen Street in downtown Mena weekdays from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and Monday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

 

Vote Centers (see list below) will be open around the county from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, November 3rd. 

 

Chris Daniel will have local election returns Tuesday night on KENA 104.1 and social media.

 

VOTE CENTERS-POLK COUNTY, ARKANSAS 2020-GENERAL ELECTION OPEN 7:30 a.m. - CLOSE 7:30 p.m. 

 

VOTE CENTER #1 ELECTION DAY AND EARLY VOTE SITE                  
DEQUEEN STREET ARMORY                        
601 DEQUEEN STREET                            
MENA, AR  71953      

                     

VOTE CENTER #2 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)                    
FIRST BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP HALL                    
811 PORT ARTHUR    (8TH STREET SIDE)                
MENA, AR  71953      

                     

VOTE CENTER #3 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)                
AMERICAN LEGION BUILDING                    
3253 HWY 71 N.                                    
MENA, AR  71953                            

VOTE CENTER #4 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)                
CONCORD BAPTIST CHURCH                        
3467 HWY 88 E.                            
MENA, AR  71953      

                     

VOTE CENTER #5 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)                                
SALEM BAPTIST CHURCH                            
115 POLK ROAD 56                                
MENA, AR  71953        

 

VOTE CENTER #6 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)
HATFIELD AUDITORIUM
117 CEMETERY ROAD
HATFIELD, AR  71945

 

VOTE CENTER #7 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)
COVE TOWN HALL
5568 HWY 71 S.
COVE, AR  71937

 

VOTE CENTER #8 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)
WICKES COMMUNITY CENTER
136 STEVENSON DR.
WICKES, AR  71973

 

VOTE CENTER #9 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)
GRANNIS TOWN HALL
132 FRACHISEUR ROAD
GRANNIS, AR  71944

 

10-28-20 5:22 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Holly Harshman Elementary Recipient of Red Ribbon Week Grant

Holly Harshman Elementary has been selected to receive the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association Red Ribbon Week Grant for two years running. Sheriff Scott Sawyer and Officer Randy Jewell presented a $1500.00 check to HHE staff members: Vicky Maye, School Counselor; Tamara Smart, principal; and Ashlyn Watts, Behavioral Interventionist.

The Grant monies support the purchase of red ribbons and daily prizes for students reinforcing the important message of Saying No to Drugs and Bullies! HHE along with all the other Mena Schools are enjoying celebrating Red Ribbon activities this week of October 26-30th.

 

10-27-20 10:07 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for October 19th - 25th

SHERIFF’S   LOG
 
The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of October 19, 2020 – October 25, 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.
 
October 19, 2020
Report of a suspicious vehicle on Polk 234 near Cove led to the discovery of suspicious items in the vehicle. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.
Report from complainant on Hwy 8E near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.
Report from complainant on Polk 274 near Vandervoort of stolen firearms. Deputy responded.
 
October 20, 2020
Report from complainant on Terra Cotta Lane near Dallas Valley of identity fraud. 
Report of an assault. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Farmer Lane near Hatfield of damage to an ATV. Deputy responded.
Report of possible child abuse. Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Polk 419 near Potter of a trespasser. Deputy responded.
Arrested was Gary M. Czarnetzki, 27, of Ashdown on two Warrants for Failure to Appear.
 
October 21, 2020
Report from complainant on Polk 126 near Rocky of domestic battery led to the arrest of Allen T. Starr, 47, of Mena on Charges of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, Possession of Firearms by Certain Persons, Aggravated Assault Upon a Certified Law Enforcement Officer and Resisting Arrest. 
Report of an accident on Hwy 71S near Cove. Deputy responded. 
 
October 22, 2020
Report from complainant on Bert Street near Mena of being harassed. Deputy responded. 
Report from complainant on Outback Lane near Grannis of a trespasser led to the arrest of Coty M. Stiers, 30, of Gillham on Charges of Criminal Trespass, Possession of Meth or Cocaine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and to the arrest of Tisha Samuels, 30, of Gillham on a Charge of Failure to Comply. 
Arrested was Christopher Pollard, 25, of Watson, Oklahoma on a Warrant for Theft of Property. 
 
October 23, 2020
Report from complainant on Port Arthur near Hatfield of a stolen computer. Investigation continues.
Report from complainant on Youngblood Lane near Board Camp of identity fraud.
Arrested by a Trooper with the Arkansas State Police was David D. Heard, 34, of Mena on four Warrants for Failure to Appear.
 
October 24, 2020
Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Cove of a disturbance led to the arrest of Shannon L. House, 53, of Cove on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct and two Warrants for Failure to Comply.
Report from Mena Regional Health System of an accidental gunshot victim.
Report from Hwy 8E near Board Camp of an altercation. Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Polk 117 near Acorn of a theft of tires, rims, and a stereo valued at $300.00. Investigation continues.
 
October 25, 2020
Report from complainant on Hwy 278E near Wickes of a hit and run accident. Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Polk 32 near Cove of a disturbance. Deputy responded.
Report of an employee finding a pistol. Deputy responded.
Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Cove of a hit and run accident. Deputy responded.
Report of a missing family member. Deputies responded. Family member was later located.
Traffic stop led to the arrest of Dawnylle D. Boutwell, 51, of Cove on a Charge of Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License and a Hold for Other Agency.
Arrested by a Trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Jeffery W. Pearson, 44, of Mena on a Charge of Driving While Intoxicated.
 
Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked seven vehicle accidents this week.
 
Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 18 Incarcerated Inmates, with 8 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.
 
PC20-00993
 
10-26-20 12:53 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for October 18th - 24th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of October 18, 2020 through October 24, 2020 

 

 

 

October 18, 2020

 

Rhonda Ludlow, 22, and Stephanie Wilson, 27, were charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a complaint from Walmart.

 

Billy Fletcher, 33, was charged with Public Intoxication, Disorderly Conduct, and served with three warrants after a disturbance call on Mena Street.

 

A report of breaking or entering and theft of property was taken on North Adams Street.

 

October 19, 2020

 

A death investigation report was taken on Morrow Street.

 

A report of dogs running at large on Reeves Street was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

A report of theft of property was taken from Salvation Army.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken from Mena Pediatric Center.

 

A report of theft of property was taken from Salvation Army.

 

October 20, 2020

 

A report of fraudulent use of a credit card was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

October 21, 2020

 

A report of possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia was taken after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

A report of theft of motor fuel was taken from The Corner Store.

 

October 22, 2020

 

Rhett Loyd, 23, was charged with Possession of Meth with Purpose to Deliver, Possession of Sch VI Controlled Substance (Marijuana), Possession of drug paraphernalia, Refusal to summit, Contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, and serve with a warrant. A juvenile was charged with Possession of Meth with Purpose to Deliver, Possession of Sch VI Controlled Substance (Marijuana), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Disorderly Conduct. The charges followed a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

John Hollis, 24, was served with two warrants at the Polk County Jail.

 

A report of a runaway juvenile was taken on Hasty Avenue.

 

A report of theft was taken at Mena Reginal Health Systems.

 

October 23, 2020

 

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

 

A report of breaking or entering and theft of property was taken on South Eve Street.

 

Cody James, 20, was charged with Criminal Trespass, Public Intoxication, and Absconding after a suspicious person complaint on Port Arthur.

 

A report of theft of property (lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake) was taken from a person at Mena Reginal Heath Systems.

 

October 24, 2020

 

A report of found property was taken on Oak Grove Avenue.

 

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

 

10-26-20 10:49 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address:  Making a Difference with Crisis Intervention And Stabilization Units
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Recent events around the nation have led to discussions about law-enforcement practices. Today I’d like to talk about the progress Arkansas has made with crisis intervention training for police officers and the Crisis Stabilization Units that offer an alternative to jail for people who are suffering a mental-health crisis.

Our innovative approach was driven by a 21-percent increase in the number of inmates over a three-year period from 2012 to 2015. By 2017, the Arkansas Department of Corrections was at capacity, and hundreds of more inmates were in county jails awaiting transfer to the prison system.

In 2017, the Arkansas Legislature passed Act 423, which called for Crisis Intervention Training for law-enforcement officers and created a pilot program of four Crisis Stabilization Units. Arkansas is the only state to create this kind of partnership of state government, counties, and law enforcement agencies.

The Crisis Intervention Training equipped officers to deescalate violent situations and to recognize the difference between someone whose behavior was criminal and those who were suffering a mental-health crisis. For those suffering a mental-health incident, the stabilization units offered treatment and a bed in a health clinic instead of a night in jail.

Since the first stabilization unit opened on March 1, 2018, the four units have treated nearly 5,000 people in mental-health crisis; nearly 1,500 were diverted by police. Over 500 police officers have received intervention training. At the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, more than 500 new recruits have received the 16 hours of training. Nearly 2,300 veteran officers have received online intervention training.

But the numbers don’t reflect the real-life impact of this initiative. I have heard many stories about the people who have benefited from this forward-thinking approach, including this incident in Fort Smith, which illustrates the value of cooperation among teams as well as the stabilization units. Two crisis intervention officers were summoned to a hospital where police were observing a woman curled into the fetal position with her hair pulled over her eyes. She had no identification and couldn’t speak to the officers. Animal control officers were caring for her dog, which was with her when police found her. At the suggestion of a crisis intervention officer, the officers caring for her dog found the dog had a chip and learned the woman’s name. When the officer at the hospital called her by name, the woman began to answer then the officer sat with the woman and spoke her name. The lady officer immediately began looking at her and she explained that the officers were there to help. The woman slowly began speaking and answering questions. Officers took her to the crisis stabilization unit, where the staff treated her, and she later thanked officers for their help.

The President of the United States has asked the U.S. Attorney General to study successful programs such as ours, and our report is on its way to the Administration.

We have neglected the mental-health challenges in our nation for far too long. The Crisis Stabilization Units provide help to those who suffer from mental illness, and the training reduces risk of injury to our officers and the people they encounter.
 
10-24-20 3:42 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

In the 2019 Regular Session, the General Assembly made the first effort to reorganize state government in 50 years. We are now seeing the results of that effort through millions in savings.

 

The 92nd General Assembly passed Act 910, known as the "Transformation and Efficiencies Act." Since it took effect cabinet secretaries have been asked to find opportunities to improve their departments in the three ways:

 

  1. Efficiencies
  2. Improved managerial support
  3. Improved delivery of services to citizens

One way departments have accomplished this is by focusing on location sharing when possible and evolving to a new work environment that is less expensive and ensures less square footage. The Department of Transformation and Shared Services reports that from July 1, 2019, to March 4, 2020, departments have realized more than $920,000.00 in savings on rent and 80,282 square feet of reduction in space.

 

A second way departments have improved is through budget reduction. In the balanced budget presented for year two of the biennium without additional funding, there is a $10 million reduction in the performance fund. This fund is set-aside and available to supplement department budgets as needed as a result of their annual performance reviews.

 

Departments have also reduced the number of filled positions by 310 since July 1, 2019. This was accomplished by finding new ways to improve delivery and a commitment to shared services. No jobs were lost as a result of the transformation of Arkansas government.

 

Reallocation of general revenue has also helped the state maximize funding levels, with departments realizing more than $6,305,160 in savings by making a commitment to do more with less.

 

Finding ways to save taxpayer dollars and provide better services does not end with one piece of legislation. While the Transformation and Efficiencies Act has now shown to produce substantial savings, we will continue to find ways to do more.

 

Our Pre-Session Budget hearings will resume next week and continue through November 12. You can watch live at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

10-22-20 4:55 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Additional Small Business Relief Critical to Economic Recovery

 

In March, Stepping Stone School, a Crawford County non-profit providing services for young children and their families, suspended its in-person lessons in order to comply with health guidelines. However, the school’s instruction and outreach continued virtually thanks in part to help it received from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It’s one of 41,000 small businesses in Arkansas that received a PPP loan to pay employees, rent and utilities during the pandemic and the associated economic downturn. During a visit to the school last month, the executive director shared with me how important the PPP loan was to continue providing vital services individuals and families depend on. The PPP has been a lifeline for small businesses across our state and throughout the nation that have experienced financial challenges as a result of COVID-19. Congress must continue supporting this program and the small businesses weathering current economic challenges.

 

Congress unanimously created PPP in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It provides low-interest loans to small businesses to keep themselves afloat, with a portion of the loan eligible for forgiveness. Arkansas small businesses have received PPP loans worth approximately $3.2 billion.

 

Like many programs, there is always room for improvement. Funds for the popular program were quickly replenished, and Congress made some minor changes to provide additional flexibility and allow more small businesses to participate. This was accomplished with broad bipartisan support.

 

Those cooperative efforts continued as Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have cosponsored legislation to streamline and simplify the forgiveness process for the program’s smaller loans. This would minimize the burden of extensive paperwork to allow our small businesses to focus on retaining jobs, rather than working through mountains of red tape. After hearing from stakeholders, the U.S. Small Business Administration modified the loan forgiveness application to provide some relief to program participants. While I appreciate this administrative action, we can do more to make it easier, and I will continue to support a legislative fix.

 

Many companies and industries continue to experience hardships because they aren’t able to resume normal operations. We ought to use the successful model of PPP to continue helping struggling businesses survive this pandemic. Congress can provide certainty for owners, employees and families by refilling and reopening the PPP that expired this summer.

 

I recently voted in favor of a boost to the PPP allowing the hardest-hit small businesses to receive an additional round of funding. We can provide more resources, strengthen oversight and create a simpler loan forgiveness process to help keep hardworking Americans employed and businesses in operation. This is something we all agreed is critical to economic recovery earlier this year. Unfortunately, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blocked the bill from advancing. It’s disappointing that my colleagues across the aisle don’t have the same urgency to advance Senate legislation that would provide much-needed relief to America’s small businesses and their employees.

 

The PPP has been a game-changer in keeping the doors of small businesses open and saving millions of jobs. It’s imperative that we come together again to strengthen this lifeline.

 

10-22-20 4:50 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Rich Mountain Conservation District Annual Nut Sale Underway, Proceeds for Scholarships

 

Rich Mountain Conservation District 2020 Annual Nut Sales

 

The annual nut sale has started at the Rich Mountain Conservation District!

 

There is a variety of nuts to pick from. We are offering pecan halves and pieces, praline pecan halves, white chocolate pecan halves, chocolate amaretto pecan halves, dark chocolate pecan halves, milk chocolate pecans, deluxe mixed nuts roasted/salted, double dipped chocolate peanuts, chocolate almonds, whole cashews roasted/salted, chocolate covered cashews, English walnuts, chocolate raisins, pistachios, sugar free chocolate pecans and gourmet pecan log rolls. There is also a conservation sampler option that includes 1 lb bags of pecan halves, cashews, honey roasted peanuts, chocolate raisins, chocolate amaretto pecan halves, chocolate peanuts, chocolate almonds and walnuts.

 

**We are looking for raw shelled peanuts. They are not on the order form but please let us know if you are interested in them and if we find some, we will let you know!**

 

All proceeds from the nut sales go towards our annual scholarship that is awarded to a Polk County student who will be going into an ag-related field in college.

 

Orders will be taken until October 30, 2020 and will be ready by Thanksgiving!

 

Please help to support this worthy cause by purchasing some of these items. By doing so you are supporting our local youth with the opportunity to continue their education.

 

You can pick up an order for at the office at 508 7th St. in Mena or you can call and request one to be mailed, faxed or emailed to you at 479-437-6054.

 

There is also an order form on the website www.RMCD.org or you can email jessica.beck2@ar.nacdnet.net.

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

October 23, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – The Legislative Council approved spending $48.5 million in federal relief money to fund a grant program that will help tourism-related businesses adversely affected by the pandemic.

 

The grants will be available to small businesses that hire up to 250 full-time employees.

 

The program is called the Business Interruption Grant Program for the Arkansas Service and Hospitality Industries. An individual business can qualify for a grant of up to $250,000. The Parks, Heritage and Tourism Department and the Department of Commerce will review grant applications.

 

Grants can be used to defray expenses caused by the need to mitigate covid-19, such as protective equipment, supplies needed to sterilize surfaces and plexiglass shields.

 

The grants also can be used for expenses caused by government order that interrupted business activity, whether it was a local government, the state or a federal mandate.

 

For example, a business that was forced to close may use the grants for rent or mortgage payments, franchise fees, insurance and payroll costs.

 

Grants may not be spent for certain expenses that include taxes, lost profits, entertainment or lobbying expenses, depreciation and severance pay.

The program will allocate 15 percent of the grants to businesses owned by minorities and women.

 

The application period is from November 16 and through November 25, with the goal of announcing recipients by late December.

 

Depending on the number of applicants, grants may be awarded on a prorated basis. In other words, applicants may not be awarded the entire amount for which they applied.

 

One factor that the review committee will consider is the difference in the sales tax that a business paid from March through September of last year, as compared with the same period in 2020.

 

The Legislative Council is the main committee of lawmakers that monitors state government operations during the interim between regular sessions.

 

At its most recent meeting, the Council considered a list of recommended expenditures from the CARES Act steering committee, a group of state officials appointed by the governor to review how best to spend $1.25 billion federal aid. The federal aid was made available after Congress approved the CARES Act in late March.

 

CARES stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

 

One of the larger expenditures approved was for $25 million to match federal dollars and pay unemployment insurance benefits to workers who have lost their jobs.

 

The Legislative Council also voted to use $4.24 million for rental assistance, as well as $5 million for suicide prevention and mental health treatment for veterans.

 

Also, about $5.5 million in relief funds will go to small-scale meat processing plants.

 

The purpose is to help smaller businesses while strengthening our capacity to withstand any further disruptions in the supply chain in the meat industry.

 

According to the state budget director, Arkansas now has about $81.6 million remaining from the original $1.25 billion the state received from the CARES Act.

 

The Council approved using $1.82 million for the Arkansas Hunger Relief Partnership.

 

Also, lawmakers approved using $5 million for social services in high poverty areas. The state Human Services Department will put the money in its Community Outreach Investment program

 

10-23-20 9:24 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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

 

Governor Appoints Jason Barrett to replace Judge Elect Andy Riner as Prosecutor

Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Prosecuting Attorney Appointments
 
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced his intent to appoint the following prosecuting attorneys:

Charles E. Black, Texarkana, as Prosecuting Attorney of the Eighth Judicial District-South. Term begins January 1, 2021, and expires December 31, 2022. Replaces Stephanie Potter Barrett.

“Charles Black has years of prosecutorial experience and has served the Eighth Judicial District-South for the last five years,” Governor Hutchinson said. “He is a seasoned prosecutor, and I am pleased he will continue his service to the Eighth Judicial District-South as Prosecuting Attorney.”

Charles E. Black issued the following statement:

“I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Governor for his consideration and appointment. Having been the Chief Deputy Prosecutor for many years, I anticipate a smooth transition next year.”

Erin Hunter, De Queen, as Prosecuting Attorney of the Ninth Judicial District-West. Term begins January 1, 2021, and expires December 31, 2022. Replaces Bryan Chesshir.

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Erin Hunter as Prosecuting Attorney of the Ninth Judicial District-West,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Having served in various prosecutorial roles such as De Queen City Attorney, Drug Court Prosecuting Attorney, and most recently, as Sevier County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Ms. Hunter is highly qualified to serve in this role.”

Erin Hunter released the following statement:

“I would like to thank Governor Hutchinson so much for this opportunity. I am sincerely grateful. I look forward to continuing to fulfill the duties of the Prosecutor’s office that Bryan Chesshir faithfully executed during his terms as elected prosecutor.” 

Jason Barrett, Maumelle, as Prosecuting Attorney of the Eighteenth Judicial District-West. Term begins January 1, 2021, and expires December 31, 2022. Replaces Andy Riner.

“Jason Barrett will bring years of experience in private practice and various deputy prosecuting attorney roles to the Eighteenth Judicial District-West as Prosecuting Attorney,” Governor Hutchinson said. “I appreciate Mr. Barrett’s willingness to serve.”

Jason Barrett released the following statement:

“I am honored and grateful that Governor Hutchinson has chosen me to serve as the Prosecuting Attorney for the Eighteenth Judicial District-West. I look forward to serving the people of Montgomery and Polk Counties and am excited to again have the opportunity to work with some of the finest law enforcement officers in our state. Together we will continue the job of making our communities the safest and best places to live in Arkansas.”
 
10-22-20 3:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG

Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Oct. 21, 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 for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 11 a.m. the day of publication.

 

****Buy 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: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk

 

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

 

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

 

10-21-20 4:39 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Schools Announce Flex Friday, Teachers Recognized, Board Meeting Recap

The Mena School Board met for their October meeting on Tuesday the 20th in the Mena High School Library. It was a brief meeting but included significant topics on the agenda.

 

The board began by approving the closing documents on a bond issue. The closing date is November 5th, 2020. This will reduce the current interest rate from 4% to a new rate of 2.55%. This change will save the district $250,000 per year for the first four years and $2.2 million over the life of the bond.

 

Superintendent Benny Weston reported that a part of the new facility near Holly Harshman Elementary will carry a Bearcat theme. The facility is owned by the Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and they will be naming one of the homes Bearcat House and another the Ladycat House.

 

Next on the agenda was discussion on adding “Flex Friday” to the district’s Ready for Learning Plan. (See more about "Flex Friday" below.) The addition was approved and the first Flex Friday will be October 30th. A video explaining this adjustment will be released on Mena Public School’s social media & website.

 

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lee Smith reported to the board that this year’s Annual Report to the Public will be virtual and available to patrons of the district online.

 

The board was then made aware of upcoming training dates available to them and the meeting was adjourned.

 

The Mena School Board recently approved a resolution in recognition and appreciation of teachers, administrators and support staff at all campuses during the COVID-19 response.

 

Mena High School Principal David Maxwell attended the October board meeting on Tuesday and accepted on behalf of Mena High School.  

 

 

Shown are (left to right) school board members Phillip Wilson, Robby Hines, Todd Aynes, Principal Maxwell, and Kyle Cannon.

 

Flex Friday

 

The Mena Public School Board recently approved a change to the district’s 2020- 2021 Ready For Learning Plan. The plan change creates a 4 plus 1 blended day schedule. This means Monday through Friday will be school as normal, but Friday will be a Flex Day. This Flex Friday will consist of on-site, blended and virtual PCVA students.

 

The first Flex Friday will be October 30th Flex Fridays give parents and students the option of learning from home or attending school. Students who choose to learn from home on Flex Fridays will not be counted absent. Instruction on Flex Fridays will be 100% virtual. These are catch-up days for students and staff. There will be no new content taught or major assignments given. Meals will be provided to students that choose to attend school on Flex Fridays.

 

Pickup meals will continue being provided to Blended and Virtual PCVA students by a completed online meal form. Buses will continue to run regular routes on Flex Fridays.

 

After a couple of weeks, adjustments will be made to Flex Friday bus routes. We will provide bus route updates as adjustments are made. We have listened and trust the feedback received from our students, parents and staff. Flex Fridays will give protected time for added tasks that have come with this unusual school year. We feel this will bring relief to everyone including students, parent and staff.

 

We appreciate your understanding in these very difficult times.

 

10-21-20 12:14 p.m. KAWX.ORG

Mena Police Department Getting New Home

The Mena City Council approved the purchase of a building at the October 13, 2020 meeting that will become the new home of the Mena Police Department.

 

Mena Mayor Seth Smith said the the building across from the Courthouse, formerly offices for Vaughn Engineering and originally the SWEPCO office in Mena, is being purchased by the City for $230,000 and that less than $100,000 would be used to ready it for the Mena Police Department. The building was recently appraised for $399,000.

Mayor Smith expects the renovations and outfitting to be complete and ready for the Police Department to move into in early 2021.

 

For many years the Mena Police Department has been housed in an addition to the Polk County Courthouse that was built by the City and will now revert to the County.

 

10-20-20 8:11 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for October 11th - 17th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of October 11, 2020 through October 17, 2020 

 

 

October 11, 2020

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on Tyler Street.

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on South Eve Street.

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on Pineview Circle.

 

A report of reckless driving was taken at Janssen Park.

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on Maple Avenue.

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on South Eve Street.

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on Miller Street.

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on Port Arthur Avenue.

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on Hamilton Avenue.

 

October 12, 2020

 

Tina Richie, 33, was served with two warrants at the police department.

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on Hamilton Avenue.

 

Benito Munoz, 51, and Veronica Maddox, 23, were both charged with Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call to Dallas Avenue.

 

A report of trespassing was taken on Warner Avenue.

 

October 13, 2020

 

Richard Silverman, 47, was charged with Fleeing in a Vehicle, Resisting Arrest, Driving with a Suspended Driver’s License, Driving Left of Center, and Disregarding a Stop Sign after an attempted traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

Johnathan Mecham, 39, was charged with Driving on a Suspended License, Speeding, and served with a warrant after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

Garrett Puerto, 25, and Laurie Pecora, 22, were both charged with Disorderly Conduct on Rodgers Street.

Austin Kain, 24, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Possession of a Scheduled 6 Controlled Substance after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

October 14, 2020

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on Carder Avenue.

 

October 15, 2020

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken on Mama Mia Drive.

 

Jennifer Williams, 49, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

October 16, 2020

 

A report of criminal mischief and burglary was taken on Mena Street.

 

A report of a break-in was taken on 10th Street.

 

Devin Turner, 27, was served with two warrants at the police department.

 

A report of theft of property (shoplifting) and criminal trespassing was taken at Walmart.

 

Jaden Fussell, 18, and a juvenile were both charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a complaint from Walmart.

 

October 17, 2020

 

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

 

A report of a break-in and theft was taken on South Eve Street.

 

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

 

A missing person report was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

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

 

10-19-20 3:02 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Investigating Early Morning Death, Trail Of Blood Leads To Body

The Mena Police Department released the following information about a death investigation.

 

"On Monday, October 19, 2020 at approximately 5:06 am, the Mena Police was called to Wendy's Restaurant. Officers arrived and found that a window had been broken with a rock and there was a large amount of blood on the sidewalk. Officers trailed the blood from Wendy’s to a construction site off Morrow Street. Officers located the body of a man with what appeared to be self-inflicted, wounds from the broken glass."

 

No other information is available at this time, the investigation is ongoing.

 

10-19-20 2:46 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for October 12th -18th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of October 12, 2020 – October 18, 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.

 

October 12, 2020

Report of a vehicle broke down on Polk 168 near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Sandy Lane near Ink of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Hwy71S near Cove of the theft of tools valued at $200.00. Deputy responded. Tools were later recovered.

Report from complainant on Polk 676 near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Henry Lane near Hatfield of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 419 near Potter of the theft of batteries, a push mower, and various tools. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Jeffrey D. Dollarhyde, 32, of Mena on a Warrant for Theft of Property.

Arrested was Joseph A. Stubbs, 44, of Mena on a Warrant for Failure to Comply.

 

October 13, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 647 near Ink of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 76W near Acorn of a stolen vehicle. Deputy responded

Report of issues involving a hunting lease.

Report from complainant on Polk 121 near Shady Grove of an altercation. Deputies responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Arrested was Michael D. Williams, 38, of Mena on a Charge of Criminal Mischief 1st Degree, and two Charges of Criminal Trespass.

 

October 14, 2020

Report from complainant on Woodland Lane near Potter of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 136 near Cove of a disturbance. Deputy responded. Complainant refused to press charges.

 

October 15, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 74 near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 656 near Cherry Hill of the theft of a tractor bucket. Investigation continues.

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

Report from complainant on Apple Blossom Lane near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.

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

Arrested was Leonel U. Pinedo, 58, of Dequeen on a Warrant for Harassing Communications.

 

October 16, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 200 near Grannis of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Whitley Lane near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Terra Cotta Lane near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Ink of the theft of gas, cigarettes, and cash in the amount of $60.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley of a domestic altercation led to the arrest of Jason L. Cox, 34, of Mena on a Warrant for Domestic Battery 3rd Degree. Further information has been provided to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for consideration of charges.

Report of an unattended death. Deputy responded.

Report of child abuse. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 11 near Wickes of a domestic disturbance led to a juvenile male being issued a Juvenile Citation for Domestic Battery 3rd Degree and Criminal Mischief.

 

October 17, 2020

Report of an assault. Deputy responded.

 

October 18, 2020

Report of a one vehicle accident on Polk 18 near Vandervoort led to the arrest of Jason C. Cox, 21, of Lockesburg on Charges of DWI, Resisting Arrest, and Refusal to Submit to a Chemical Test.

Report from complainant on Harris Road near Hatfield of a trespasser. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 93 near Shady Grove of a domestic disturbance. Deputies responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report of a suspicious vehicle on Polk 179 near Acorn. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on West Johnson near Hatfield of the theft of a Volkan 320 Coder valued at $400.00. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 15 Incarcerated Inmates, with 11 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00975

 

10-19-20 11:44 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

OLT Auditions for A Christmas Carol, Upcoming Shows

 

Ouachita Little Theatre announces that it will add a Readers’ Theatre performance of “A Christmas Carol” on December 11, 12, and 13. This is an updated take on the classic Dickens tale that has the same characters performing in a readers theatre style which is suitable to perform within the CDC guidelines of social distancing. Less rehearsal is required, along with minimal memorization. Safety precautions are in full effect during rehearsals as well as performances.

 

Auditions will be held Saturday, October 31 from 10:00 AM until noon at the OLT. All ages are needed, and students are encouraged to try out. Judy Kropp is the director.

 

As a reminder, “Return to Radio Land” is playing October 23 and 24 at 7:30 PM and again at 2:30 PM on October 25 at the OLT.

 

A live performance of “Velocity of Autumn” will be Saturday, October 31, Mena Mountain Resort at 7:30 PM and play again Sunday, November 8 at the OLT at 2:30 PM.

 

Also added to the seasonal calendar is the group “Harmony” who will perform a Christmas concert again this year on December 18 at 7:30 PM. Admission is by donation.

 

CDC guidelines including mask wearing and social distancing remain in place for all OLT performances.

 

10-19-20 9:50 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Holly Harshman Elementary Playground To Get Shade Trees

 

15 Arkansas Playgrounds Selected to Participate in Annual Shade Trees on Playgrounds Program

 

LITTLE ROCK, AR –The Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division has selected 15 playgrounds at the following schools to participate in the Shade Trees on Playgrounds program (S.T.O.P.):

 

  • Earle Elementary School (Earle)
  • McGehee High School (McGehee)
  • Holly Harshman Elementary School (Mena)
  • Gardner Strong Elementary School (Strong)
  • Smackover Preschool (Norphlet)
  • William Jefferson Clinton Primary School (Hope)
  • Parkway Elementary School (Bryant)
  • Oliver Springs Elementary School (Van Buren)
  • Prairie Grove Middle School (Prairie Grove)
  • Ruth Doyle Middle School (Conway)
  • Raymond & Phyllis Simon Middle School (Conway)
  • Perryville Elementary School (Perryville)
  • Arkansas School for the Blind (Little Rock)
  • Blessed Sacrament School (Jonesboro)
  • Mountain Home Montessori (Mountain Home)

 

The Shade Trees on Playgrounds Program (S.T.O.P.) was organized to lower adult skin cancer risk by reducing childhood exposure to direct sunlight where children play, like school playgrounds.  Winning schools receive five shade trees, mulch, watering supplies, and planting guidelines after participating in program training.

 

“The STOP program combines hands-on, outdoor experiences with classroom curriculum about the importance of trees and how to care for trees,” says Urban & Community Forestry Program Coordinator, Kristine Kimbro Thomason. “We hope this program not only improves the health of Arkansas students, but also leaves a lasting impression about the value of forests and how to be good stewards of our natural resources.”

 

Schools are invited to submit S.T.O.P. applications annually. To qualify, participating schools must lack shade, participate in a virtual S.T.O.P. workshop, agree to use Forestry Division curriculum to emphasize the importance of trees and forestry in Arkansas, hold a tree-planting ceremony with students, and agree to long-term maintenance of the planted shade trees.  Forestry Division personnel assist with the transport and planting of the trees. Trees for each campus are chosen by local Forestry Division staff to fit the unique region and conditions of each playground and are purchased from local nurseries and suppliers.

 

Learn more about the S.T.O.P. program and other Urban & Community Forestry services and programs, at agriculture.arkansas.gov/forestry/urban-community-forestry. With program questions, contact Kristine Kimbro Thomason at 479-228-7929 or kristine.thomason@agriculture.arkansas.gov, or Harold Fisher at 501-580-4054 or harold.fisher@agriculture.arkansas.gov.

 

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 agriculture.arkansas.gov.

 

 

10-19-20 9:41 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Two Mena Residents Killed In Scott County Crash Saturday

Two Mena residents were killed Saturday afternoon in a one vehicle accident on US Highway 71 near the junction of State Highway 378 in Waldron (Scott County).


According to the Arkansas State Police report, 64 year old John Kendrick (driver) and 41 year old Shalotta Daniel (passenger) were northbound in a 2015 Ford Explorer around 3:25 p.m. when the vehicle left the roadway and struck power pole and tree before overturning. 

 

Kendrick and Daniel were pronounced dead at the scene by the Scott County Coroner. The accident was investigated by Arkansas State Trooper Mike Lance. 

 

10-18-20 9:00 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

October is breast cancer awareness month. This is an opportunity to remind Arkansans of the importance of mammograms for early detection and lifestyle changes that could help prevent cancer.

 

Mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early when it is easier to treat, and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms.

 

It is important to still get checked for breast cancer regularly, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. As long as you’re not feeling sick or having any COVID-19 symptoms, experts say it’s safe to get a mammogram.

 

In 2017, there were 2,163 new breast cancer cases and 414 cancer deaths in the state. However, Arkansas is ranked as one of the lowest states (37th) for breast cancer screening, according to the CDC Wonder (2018). 

 

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. 

 

In 2017, the General Assembly passed Act 708, which ensures that insurance policies cover annual mammograms for women over 40. It also ensures that 3D mammograms or ultrasounds are covered for women with dense breast tissue. While traditional mammograms are effective for many women, the ultrasound can detect changes in women with dense breast tissue.

 

Only about 5–10% of breast cancers are believed to be hereditary, meaning they’re caused by abnormal changes in certain genes passed from parent to child.

 

The vast majority of people who get breast cancer have no family history, suggesting that other factors must be at work, such as environment and lifestyle.

 

If you are uninsured or underinsured, you may qualify for a free or low-cost mammogram through the Arkansas BreastCare program.

 

BreastCare’s mission is to increase the rate of early detection of breast and cervical cancer and reduce the morbidity and mortality rates among women in Arkansas by lowering barriers to screening that result from lack of information, financial means, or access to quality services.

 

It is funded by the Arkansas Department of Health with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Tobacco Excise Tax.

 

For more information, visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov.

 

10-16-20 4:56 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Voting to Determine Our Future

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Voting to Determine Our Future
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Monday is the first day for early voting, and today I’d like to talk about what will be on the ballot.

At the top of the ballot, of course, are the names of those running for president. You’ll also find the names of Arkansans who are running for the U.S. Congress and one statewide senate race. Of course, this year you will have local legislative races, school board elections, county government candidates, and perhaps, local issues to decide. In other words, we need to do a little homework before we vote. But most importantly, we all need to vote.

On the statewide ballot, we have the chance to vote on three proposed amendments to the constitution that members of the 92nd General Assembly referred to voters.

Issue 1 asks voters to indefinitely extend a half-cent sales tax that will be dedicated to the maintenance of roads, bridges, and highways. Voters approved the tax in 2012. Without voters’ approval to extend it, the tax will expire at the end of 2022.

Issue 2 restructures term limits for state legislators. Current law limits legislators to sixteen years in the Senate, the House, or in combination. The proposed change would limit service to twelve consecutive years. A former legislator would be able to serve again after a four-year break.

Issue 3 changes the way the citizens and legislators refer proposals to constitutional amendments for a statewide vote.

Since the founding of our nation, we have elected forty-five presidents. Since Arkansas became a state, we have elected forty-six governors. The freedom to vote and elect our leaders is a hard-won right and privilege that is unrivaled anywhere else in the world. At all levels of our nation – city, county, state, and federal – the ballot box is an equalizer that gives every citizen a voice in governing.

Millions of Americans have written the history of our nation by participating in our elections. The voting booth links us to the past as we determine our future. I know that sometimes the lines are long, and voting can be inconvenient. As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers, voting may be even more difficult. But don’t let that stop you from voting.

The leaders of Arkansas’s major political parties are united in their determination to ensure that every registered voter can safely and securely cast a ballot on November 3. Arkansans may not agree on everything, but I know we agree that every vote counts.

This year, you can vote by absentee ballot, you can do early voting starting Monday, October 19, or you can do it the traditional way by voting in person on Election Day.
 
10-16-20 4:53 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

 

The Spotlight Shines on Efforts to Address World Hunger

 

 

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to those “who shall have done the most, or the best work, for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

 

This year’s recipient truly embodies those ideals.

 

The World Food Program (WFP), the largest humanitarian organization focused on global hunger and food security, was awarded the honor for “its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.”

 

The organization’s executive director, David Beasley, is a good friend of mine. His commitment to serving a higher calling is inspirational. I couldn’t be more pleased that the spotlight is pointed on the work of the WFP under David’s dedicated leadership.

 

David will be the first to tell you that despite this honor, the WFP’s work is far from complete. After the announcement, he said, “The good news is we’re feeding 80 million people on any given day in 80 countries. The bad news is it’s getting worse out there – the famine, the droughts, the conflicts.”

 

While that assessment is spot-on, I would add one more factor to the list—the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, COVID-19 could result in upwards of 132 million more people struggling with hunger. That number already sits at nearly 690 million.

 

COVID-19 is casting a large shadow over this year’s World Food Day, a date annually recognized by the U.S., the FAO and 130 countries as an occasion to promote global awareness and action for all who suffer from malnutrition, chronic hunger and obesity.

 

This year’s theme is “Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future,” which highlights the need to preserve access to safe and nutritious food. This will continue to be an essential part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people face food insecurity in the wake of the food supply disruptions and economic displacement brought on by it.

 

As co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, I am proud to have joined my colleagues in support of a resolution that designated October 16, 2020, as World Food Day. Observing this day raises awareness of America’s important efforts to stamp out hunger worldwide.

 

Eliminating hunger at home and abroad takes U.S. leadership. That is why the Senate Hunger Caucus not only seeks to find vehicles to bring focus to the plight of those suffering from food insecurity, but solutions that bring upon meaningful change as well. There is a great deal of work to be done, but the theme of this year’s World Food Day serves as a guide as we work to achieve that goal.

 

World Food Day serves as both a call to action and an opportunity to recognize the many who have stepped up and been a champion on this issue on a global scale and in our individual communities. David Beasley and his team at the WFP are clearly an example of the latter. The organization he runs now has a Nobel Peace Prize to prove it. I have the utmost confidence that the WFP will continue to inspire us all to help work toward a world where hunger is no longer an issue.

 

10-16-20 4:43 p.m. KAWX.ORG

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

 

State Capitol Week in Review from Senator Larry Teague

October 16, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature has begun budget hearings, in preparation for the regular session that begins in January.

Setting spending levels for state agencies is the most time-consuming duty for legislators. It also is one of the most important duties of the legislature, even though it rarely generates a lot of publicity.

 

The budget work that begins in mid-October will be finalized in late March and early April of 2020, when the regular legislative session is expected to end. The budgets will set spending levels for state agencies for Fiscal Year 2022, which will begin on July 1, 2021.

Legislators have discretion over how to allocate about $5.6 billion in net general revenue. Its main sources are the state sales tax, the state individual income tax and the state corporate income tax.

 

In addition to state agencies, the legislature distributes aid to public schools and institutions of higher education.

 

Schools have other sources of revenue apart from state aid, chiefly the local property tax and some federal funds. Colleges and universities have revenue aside from state aid, mainly in the form of tuition, fees and donations.

 

Many state agencies receive federal funds in addition to the state dollars they receive in net general revenue. In total, Arkansas state agencies received about $9 billion in federal funding last fiscal year. The bulk of that total, more than $6 billion, went to the state Human Services Department for Medicaid, a health program for senior citizens, people with disabilities and low-income families.

 

Also, state agencies generate special revenues, which come from taxes collected for specific purposes. The largest category is the motor fuels tax, which generates more than $870 million in special revenue for the Transportation Department to maintain and build highways.

 

The state earns interest from banks and financial institutions and has numerous miscellaneous sources of revenue, such as fees for hunting and fishing licenses, leases from oil and gas producers, and rentals of cabins in state parks.

 

In all, state government has a total operating budget of $33 billion, according to the most recent data from the Finance and Administration Department.

In order to ensure that appropriations are spent properly, legislators and a team of accountants conduct audits on a year-round basis. They audit state agencies, school districts and institutions of higher education, and the results are reported to the Legislative Joint Audit Committee.

 

During regular sessions and fiscal sessions, the Joint Budget Committee review agency budgets and spending requests. During the interim between sessions, the Legislative Council and its subcommittees closely monitor state government spending to make sure that tax revenue is spent for the purposes set out in legislative appropriations.

 

Those subcommittees include the Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Subcommittee, which monitors financial practices, and the Personnel Subcommittee, which oversees staff changes.

 

Legislative subcommittees have been created to specifically monitor Medicaid, prisons, the Transportation Department, the Game and Fish Commission, the State Police, lottery scholarships, the health insurance marketplace and the regulatory boards that license occupations.

 

10-16-20 4:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG

Drug Takeback Day Statewide And In Mena Saturday, October 24

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is encouraging Arkansans to clean out their medicine cabinets and bring any unused or expired medications to one of the State’s more than 250 Prescription Drug Take Back Day drop-off locations on Saturday, October 24.

 

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer will be providing a curbside drop-off location in front of the Polk County Courthouse from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The courthouse in on Church Street in Mena. 

 

There is also a permanent drop-off location located inside the Polk County Sheriff's Department at the Courthouse in Mena.

 

“Overdose abuse statistics are staggering, but cleaning out medicine cabinets and turning the expired, unused medications over to law enforcement during a Drug Take Back event can save lives,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “With overdoses on the rise during the pandemic, now more than ever we must continue to properly dispose of these prescription drugs.”

 

Prescription Drug Take Back Day is held semi-annually with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas National Guard, Arkansas Rotary Clubs, Arkansas State Board of Pharmacy, DEA, FBI, Office of the State Drug Director and over 130 additional law enforcement and government agencies, community organizations and public health providers.

 

Event sites are held at various locations across the State but year-round locations are also available and can be found at ARTakeBack.org. The Attorney General’s office also hosts take back events at mobile offices around the State. Since the program began, more than 72 tons of medication have been collected in Arkansas, which is an estimated 201 million individual pills.

 

10-15-20 11:24 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

ARVAC Commodity Distribution In Mena Wednesday, October 21

 

ARVAC, Inc. will distribute commodities in Mena on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at the Polk County fairgrounds between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

 
Due to COVID-19 this will be a drive thru only distribution. 
 
ARVAC, Inc. asks that everyone follow the directions of the volunteers to make the distribution run smooth and timely, as well as safely!
 

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

FAMILY SIZE

WEEK

MONTH

YEAR

1

$ 319

$1,383

$ 16,588

2

$ 431

$1,868

$ 22,412

3

$ 543

$2,353

$ 28,236

4

$ 655

$2,839

$ 34,060

5

$ 767

$3,324

$ 39,884

6

$ 879

$3,809

$ 45,708

7

$ 991

$4,295

$ 51,532

8

$1,103

$4,780

$ 57,356

Each additional family member

+ $112

+ $486

+ $5,824

 

The above income guidelines are based on 130% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines

 

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

 

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

 

For additional information, call the local ARVAC, Inc. office at (479) 394-4707. 

 

10-14-20 7:21 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Early Voting Begins Monday, October 19TH

 

Early Voting in Polk County, Arkansas for the November 3RD General Election gets started on Monday, October 19TH and will continue until November 2ND.

 
Registered voters will be able to vote between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Saturdays in Mena at the Historic Armory on De Queen Street.
 
Early Voting will end at 5:00 p.m. on November 2ND, the day before the election.
 
You will need identification to vote.
 
Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison and her staff and election workers have made sure that voting will be as safe as possible. The Historic Armory was chosen to allow for more physical spacing between voters.
 
Locations of Vote Centers for Election Day, November 2ND, and times are in this article from KAWX.ORG several weeks ago.
 
10-14-20 6:01 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
 
 

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. Cheyenne Smith, White Female, age 26, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony. The original offenses were Possession Of Methamphetamine With The Purpose To Deliver, Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, and Failure To Appear. Bond was set at $10,000.00. 10-8-12
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Samuel Henley, White Male, age 38, Count I: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of A Schedule I Or II Controlled Substance, a Class "C" Felony. Count III: Possession Of A Controlled Substance, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. 10-12-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Richard F. Silverman, White Male, age 47, Count I: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. 10-12-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Matthew Hunter Frost, White Male, age 21, Count I: Domestic Battery In The Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony. 10-12-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Michael David Poe, White Male, age 51, Count I: Terroristic Threatening In First Degree, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of A Schedule II Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Possession Of Firearms By Certain Persons, a class "D" Felony. Count IV: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" felony. Count V: Possession Of A Controlled Substance, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. Count VI: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. 10-13-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Jeffrey D. Dollarhyde, White Male, age 32, Count I: Theft By Deception, a Class "C" felony. The State of Arkansas intends to pursue enhanced penalties due to the fact that he has been convicted of four (4) or more felonies. 10-14-20
 
10-14-20 5:45 p.m. KAWX.ORG

Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Oct. 14, 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 for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 10 a.m. the day of publication.

 

****Buy 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: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk

 

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

 

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

 

10-14-20 2:44 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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

 

80 Year Old Back to the Bible Broadcast Ending, New Programs on KAWX

Back to the Bible Coming to a End, Core Christianity and The Voices of Martyrs Coming to KAWX

 

After over 80 years on the radio, Back to the Bible will cease their radio broadcast this month. The radio program was founded in 1939 by Theodore H. Epp on radio station KFOR AM in Lincoln, Nebraska. Speakers over the years include Epp, Warren Wiersbe, Woodrow Kroll, and David Platt.

 

Theodore H. Epp 

 

Back to the Bible has been on KAWX since we signed on in 2015. While we are sad to see this this popular program come to an end, we are excited about new programs that will replace it.

 

The times on weekdays (1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.) that Back to the Bible has occupied will be filled with Core Christianity starting on Monday, October 19, 2020. The speakers are Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier. 


The times on weekends that Back to the Bible has occupied will be filled partly with the weekend version of Core Christianity, and The Voices of Martyrs. These programs will start October 24, 2020. 

 

The weekend times for Core Christianity will be Sunday at 12:30 a.m., 4:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

 

The weekend times for The Voices of Martyrs will be Saturday at 1:00 a.m., Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

 

Saturday and Sunday October 17th and 18th a very special radio special by Max Lucado called You Are Never Alone will be broadcast in all the times listed above for just this one weekend. 

 

 

Click here for a complete schedule of programs on KAWX. Listen to KAWX in Mena on 93.1 FM, in the Hatfield and Cove area on 94.9, anywhere in the world at KAWX.ORG (listen live tab), with a free KAWX app available at the App Store or Google Play, on any smart TV or device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo.

 

10-12-20 6:24 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Mena Police Report for October 4th - 10th

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of October 4, 2020 through October 10, 2020 

 

October 4, 2020

 

A juvenile was charged with Curfew Violation after contact on Ninth Street.

 

A theft report was taken from a person at University of Arkansas Rich Mountain.

 

October 5, 2020

 

A suspicious person report was taken at Union Bank.

 

October 6, 2020

 

Cody James, 20, was served with two warrants after a traffic stop at McMillan Park.

 

James Smith, 51, was served with a warrant at the Polk County Jail.

 

Caleb Clausen, 20, was served with a warrant at the Polk County Jail.

 

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

 

Dessiree Watson, 38, was charged with Theft of Property-Lost, Mislaid, or Delivered by Mistake after a complaint from a person at Walmart.

 

Shawn Morrison, 36, was served with a warrant at the Polk County Jail.

 

Danielle Stewart, 29, was served with a warrant at the Polk County Jail.

 

April Poor, 41, was served with a warrant at the Polk County Jail.

 

October 7, 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.

 

October 8, 2020

 

A report of a theft was taken at Be-Boppers Inn.

 

John White, 35, was served with a warrant after a traffic stop on Reeves Avenue.

 

A report of domestic battery was taken on Cherry Street.

 

Michael Poe, 51, was charged with Obstructing Governmental Operations, Terroristic Threatening, Possession of Methamphetamine, Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, Possession of Firearms by Certain Persons, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Quincy Young, 39, was charged with Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Ginger Acquaah, 39, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Suspects were charged after a disturbance call on Warner Avenue.

 

A report of trespassing was taken on Hidden Valley.

 

A report of forgery was taken from The Tire Shop.

 

A report of harassing communication was taken on Lakeside Drive.

 

A report of disorderly conduct was taken at the hospital.

 

October 9, 2020

 

No reports.

 

October 10, 2020

 

A report of a suicide attempt was taken on Church Street.

 

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

 

10-12-20 11:15 a.m. KAWX.ORG

Polk County Sheriff's Report for October 5th - 11th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of October 5, 2020 – October 11, 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.

 

October 5, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 50 near Potter of the theft of a flag valued at $100.00. Deputy responded.

Report of a child playing in the highway on 375E near Dallas Valley. Deputy responded.

Report from a campus near Mena of a stolen laptop valued at $300.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Rodgers Drive near Cove of the violation of an Order of Protection led to the arrest of Matthew B. Parnell, 28, of Cove on Charges of Violation of an Order of Protection, Failure to Appear, and Violation of an Order of Protection.

Report from a campus near Mena of a stolen laptop valued at $300.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Azalea Lane near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Rocky of the theft of a firearm valued at $400.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 282 near Hatfield of damage done to a fence by a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Cherry Hill of the theft of a license plate. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71N near Acorn of a stolen debit card. Deputy responded.

Arrested by an Officer with the Grannis Police Department was Dustin J. Cole, 34, of Dequeen on a Charge of Theft of Property.

 

October 6, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 375E near Dallas Valley of vandalism. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 70 near Acorn of the theft of a chainsaw and weed eater valued at $500.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 121 near Shady Grove of the theft of a chain link dog pen valued at $500.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 42 near Potter of a stray bullet striking a house. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 36 near Hatfield of a disturbance over a horse. Deputy responded. Information forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Port Arthur near Hatfield of a burglary. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Daniel R. Roberts, 29, of Mena on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

 

October 7, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Ink of trespassing. Deputy responded.

Report of a disturbance on Hwy 8E near Board Camp led to the arrest of Benito A. Munoz, 51, of Mena on two Warrants for Failure to Comply.

Arrested was Cheyenne N. Smith, 26, of Hatfield on two Charges of Failure to Appear.

 

October 8, 2020

Report of an incident involving Facebook and text messages. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Wayback Lane near Cove of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Barrett Lane near Wickes of a prowler. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Aldeen E. Quillin, 50, of Mena on a Warrant for Failure to Comply.

 

October 9, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 88W near Acorn of identity fraud.

Report from two complainants on Longhorn Trail near Oden of identity fraud.

Report of a disturbance involving a juvenile. Deputy responded.

Report of a lost hunter on Polk 409 near Cove. Deputies responded. Hunter was later located.

Arrested was Hunter M. Frost, 22, of Mena on three Charges of Domestic Battery 2nd Degree.

 

October 10, 2020

Report of an altercation on Hwy 71S near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant near Lake Wilhelmina of a missing family member. Deputy responded. Family member was later located.

 

October 11, 2020

Report from School Street near Cove of problems involving neighbors. Deputy responded.

Report of problems involving child custody exchange. Deputy responded.

Report of a disturbance on Main Street near Wickes led to the arrest of Samuel C. Henley, 38, of Wickes on two Warrants for Failure to Appear and Charges of Disorderly Conduct, Public Intoxication, Possession of Meth or Cocaine, Possession of Schedule I or II, Possession of Schedule VI, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Report from complainant on Dalton Lane near Vandervoort of trespassing and a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Cove of a dispute between family members. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 23 Incarcerated Inmates, with 11 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00943

 

10-12-20 11:00 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Slowing the Epidemic of Drug Addiction

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Slowing the Epidemic of Drug Addiction
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – In October, we are bringing attention to the challenge of drug addiction, and today I’d like to highlight some efforts to slow it.

We are making progress in reducing the number of overdose deaths. Last year, we were down 18 percent over 2018, and this year, we were down another 17 percent. Arkansas’s rate of reduction is the second-best in the nation.

In September, we received news that we had been awarded a $21 million federal grant to expand substance-abuse-treatment programs.

And this month, I have proclaimed the week of October 23rd as National Red Ribbon Week and October 28th as “Chasing the Dragon: Opioid Awareness Day in Arkansas.” “Drug Take Back Day” is October 24th.

Arkansas Drug Director Kirk Lane oversees Drug Take Back day, which in the past ten years has collected more than 200 tons of unused and out-of-date medicines for disposal. Kirk also has piloted the use of Naloxone, an antidote for legal opioids and heroin. His office has trained first responders, and they have supplied Narcan kits that have prevented more than 550 opioid overdose deaths since 2017. From March through July, EMS and hospitals have seen about 270 saves per month.

Another initiative is “Chasing the Dragon: Opioid Awareness Day in Arkansas.” It is a statewide project led by the FBI’s Little Rock field office. The group coordinates a simultaneous viewing of Chasing the Dragon in schools around the state. Chasing the Dragon is a frank DEA-FBI documentary that tells the true stories of young people trapped in a world of drugs. The viewing is on October 28th.

At a more personal level, a Northwest Arkansas couple founded the nonprofit Speakup About Drugs after their oldest son died of an overdose. He started smoking marijuana in the 11th grade and quickly moved to Adderall and then to Xanax. The family sought the help of doctors and counselors, and he was working hard to beat his addiction. But in 2017, when he was twenty-one, he consumed a fatal dose of cocaine laced with fentanyl.

The mission of Speakup About Drugs is to educate, advocate, support, and prevent drug abuse and overdoses. They help people get into treatment. Gina Allgaier is the mom. She wants to see those struggling with addiction and their families put back together and healed. She praises Drug Take Back Day and says it has kept prescription drugs out of the hands of young people.

In Arkansas, we are seeking to raise awareness and prevent new victims from falling prey to addiction, and we want to ensure access to treatment for those who have. We want to reinforce our commitment to holding those who contribute to this epidemic accountable. This is a tough topic to talk about, but we must if we are to slow this epidemic. Thank you to all those who have joined forces against it.
 
10-9-20 7:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Supporting Law Enforcement

Supporting Law Enforcement
 

The courageous tradition of public safety is carried out by Arkansans who are dedicated to maintaining law and order. It takes a special person to put his or her life on the line every day to serve and protect a community. We are fortunate to have some of the very best law enforcement officers in the Natural State. Across the country we’ve seen attacks against law enforcement officers. Tragically, this has recently touched our state.

 

Pine Bluff Police Department Detective Kevin Collins was killed on Monday, October 5 in the line of duty. It was a long-time goal of his to join the police force, and five years ago, his dream came true. Detective Collins enjoyed making a difference in his hometown while wearing the uniform. He worked to get illegal weapons off the streets, mentored youth in the community and helped carry a 95-year-old to safety after an apartment fire. This action earned him the department’s 2017 Officer of the Year. Sadly, his life was cut short when he was violently attacked while performing his job.

 

Detective Collins is not the only Arkansas law enforcement officer we’ve lost in the line of duty in 2020. Earlier this year, Hot Springs Police Officer First Class Brent Scrimshire also gave his life while fulfilling his calling to protect and serve.

 

According to the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted Program, 39 law enforcement officers have been killed in the U.S. in 2020. Their deaths are a terrible reminder of the risks law enforcement officers face each day when they put on their uniform and leave the comforts of their homes and loved ones. The loss of these officers not only affects their families, but also their communities and our entire state.

 

Arkansans hold our law enforcement officials in the highest regard, and they expect that our officers will receive the support of their elected officials. Washington can help by providing funding for obtaining the proper tools, training and technology to help police safeguard citizens and protect themselves. We also have a responsibility to officers to hold offenders of violent crimes directed toward them accountable for their actions.

 

That’s why I recently joined my Senate colleagues in introducing S. 4605, the Protect and Serve Act of 2020. This legislation would create federal penalties for individuals who knowingly cause, or attempt to cause, serious bodily injury to local, state or federal law enforcement officers. Under this bill, individuals who kill a law enforcement officer could receive a life sentence.

 

Officers in uniform risk their lives daily to protect their communities, responding to calls for help while not knowing what challenges they will face. There simply is no justification for the cowardly, cold-blooded attacks on officers that we have recently witnessed in our state and across the nation. Our legislation would carry severe consequences for anyone who attempts to target officers for violent attacks.

 

I’ve seen the commitment and dedication of those like Officers Collins and Scrimshire who wear the badge at every level – local, state and federal. Law enforcement officers play a vital role in protecting our neighborhoods and keeping us safe. They do this knowing they may be called to dangerous situations that put their own lives in jeopardy. We can show our support for their sacrifice and our commitment to their safety by passing the Protect and Serve Act.

 

10-9-20 4:01 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

 

Decisions regarding our state budget show the priorities we make as a state. The budget-making process has a direct impact on everything from classrooms to health care. 

 

Budget hearings will begin Tuesday, October 13, 2020, and are scheduled to conclude November 12, 2020. The Joint Budget Committee sits with the Arkansas Legislative Committee as voting participants in the hearings, creating the Arkansas Legislative Council/Joint Budget Committee. 

 

The hearings will begin with requests from licensing boards and commissions. The second week members will review recommendations from the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Public Safety.

 

On week 3, Higher Education Institutions, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Transformation and Shared Services will have proposals reviewed.

 

The courts, constitutional offices, and the Agriculture Department will be reviewed in the 4th week. 

 

On November 10, members will be presented with the General Revenue Forecast and the Governor’s Balanced Budget Proposal. The latest revenue reports show general revenue is now $227.4 million or 15.0 percent above this time last year. The forecast provided at the budget hearings will tell us if we can expect continued growth in the months ahead.

 

The final week of hearings will then continue with proposals from the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education.

 

Members can begin pre-filing legislation for the 2021 Regular Session on November 16.

 

The Regular Session begins January 11, 2020.

 

You can find a list of daily meetings and watch the proceedings live on our website at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

10-9-20 3:53 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

 

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

October 9, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – In this year’s election, Arkansas voters will determine the outcome of three proposed amendments to the state Constitution.

 

If approved by voters, Issue One would make permanent the current half-cent sales tax that pays for highway construction and maintenance. In 2010, Arkansas voters approved spending the revenue from a half-cent sales tax on road work, and that tax is scheduled to expire in 2023.

 

Another measure on the ballot is Issue Two, which would limit the terms of Arkansas legislators to 12 years. However, current legislators would be “grandfathered” in and could serve 16 years, which is the current term limit in the Constitution.

 

A major change proposed by Issue Two would be that the 12-year limit would not be a lifetime limit. The current 16-year limit in the Constitution is a lifetime limit, which means an individual who is term limited may never again run for a seat in the state legislature.

 

Issue Two, if approved by voters, would limit an individual to 12 consecutive years of service in the legislature, at which point the individual would have to step down. However, after a wait of four years, that person would be able to run again for legislative office.

 

Issue Three is perhaps the most complex ballot issue this year, because it affects a complex procedure with which many Arkansans are not familiar. It would change the process by which organizations collect signatures to get citizen initiatives on the ballot.

 

The initiative process is how the lottery scholarship was established in Arkansas, and also how casino gambling and medical marijuana became legal.

 

Almost every initiative is been challenged in court by its opponents. Lawsuits challenge the validity of the signatures submitted to get the initiative placed on the ballot.

 

Another common legal challenge is to question the sufficiency of the ballot title. If a ballot title fails to reflect the substance of the proposed initiative, the Supreme Court will strike it from the ballot for being misleading to voters.

 

Almost every election year, the final Supreme Court decisions are not handed down until just a few days or weeks before the election. That can confuse voters. For example, this year several proposals have been invalidated, leaving only Issues One, Two and Three on the ballot.

 

Issue Three would move up the deadline for submitting signatures, from early July to January 15 in election years. Legal challenges would have to be filed by April 15.

 

Also, Issue Three would spread out signature gathering. Now, signatures must come from at least 15 counties. If approved by voters, Issue Three would require signatures be gathered from at least 45 counties.

 

It would raise the bar for the legislature, which now may refer up to three proposed constitutional amendments during each regular session by a simple majority vote. Issue Three would require a 60 percent majority in order for the General Assembly to refer a measure.

 

Between 1884 and 2018, the legislature referred 124 proposed constitutional amendments to the ballot. Arkansas voters approved 71 of those measures and defeated 53 of them.

 

10-9-20 9:16 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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

Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Oct. 7, 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 for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 10 a.m. the day of publication.

 

****Buy 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: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lzk

 

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

 

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

 

10-8-20 2:52 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

For the accureate time, official temperature, and local forecast for Mena, Arkansas and Polk County, dial (479) 394-5600. Always free, always available, courtesy of The Union Bank of Mena

 

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. Dustin Cole, White Male, age 34, Count I: Theft Of Property, a Class "C" Felony. Count II: Breaking Or Entering, a Class "D" Felony. 10-5-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Daniel R. Roberts, While Male, age 29, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony. 10-7-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Shannon Shaw, White Male, age 40, Count I: Probation Violation, a Class "D" Felony. Bond was set at $5,000.00. 10-1-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Lenard J. Barnett, Unknown Male, age 31, Count I: Commercial Burglary, a Class "C" Felony. County II: Theft Of Property, a Class "B" Felony. 10-6-20
 
10-8-20 9:35 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Arkansas Feral Hog Handbook Available Now

 

Arkansas Feral Hog Handbook Available Now

 

LITTLE ROCK, AR – The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce the release of the newly created Arkansas Feral Hog Handbook, a guide to resources available in Arkansas to assist with feral hog control and eradication. The handbook includes contact information, websites, and brief explanations of the resources offered by state and federal agencies and other entities.

 

“The Arkansas Feral Hog Handbook was made possible through a grant funded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. We appreciate their partnership and the information provided by other Feral Hog Eradication Task Force members to make the handbook a comprehensive educational resource for Arkansans,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward.

 

The handbooks are being distributed to the public at locations throughout the state with assistance from partner organizations, including the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Arkansas Game and Fish, and Arkansas Farm Bureau. Copies of the handbook can be requested at lori.scott-nakai@arkansas.gov. An online version is available here: agriculture.arkansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/FeralHogHandbook.pdf.

 

The handbook contains information on the Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force, feral hog reporting, a summary of the USDA Feral Swine Pilot Program, state laws and rules regarding feral hogs, and other resources with information about feral hogs and the damage they cause.

 

“The handbook was created to provide a brief overview of feral hog issues as well as provide information resources available to landowners,” said J.P. Fairhead, Feral Hog Program Coordinator at the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. “We want the handbook to increase public awareness of the issues related to feral hogs and highlight the collaborative efforts of Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force members across the state.”

 

Feral hogs are a non-native, invasive species that present a significant risk to human and livestock health, agriculture, and natural resources. In Arkansas, damage from feral hogs is estimated at $19 million annually.

 

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 agriculture.arkansas.gov.

 

10-7-20 4:26 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson Orders Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Memory of Officer Kevin Collins

LITTLE ROCK  – Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered the United States flag and the flag of the State of Arkansas to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the memory of Officer Kevin Collins of the Pine Bluff Police Department, who was killed in the line of duty on Monday, October 5, 2020. The flag shall be lowered immediately and remain at half-staff to the day of interment. 

The full proclamation can be found HERE.

Governor Hutchinson released a statement on the passing of Officer Collins:

“I was deeply saddened to learn that Officer Kevin Collins was shot and killed in the line of duty yesterday. Officer Collins spent his 5-year career at the Pine Bluff Police Department protecting and serving his community. He selflessly put his life on the line each day in the violent crimes unit and paid the ultimate price for the safety of others. We are forever grateful for his service and the dedication of our entire law enforcement community. Our prayers remain with Officer Collins’ family, the Pine Bluff Police Department and for the full recovery of Lt. Ralph Isaac.”

 

10-6-20 10:05 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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. Mathew M. Evans, White Male, age 54, Count I: Possession Of A Scheduled II Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), a Class "C" 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. 9-30-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Stoney Ray Lockaby, White Male, age 45, Count I: Possession Of A Scheduled II Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), a Class "C" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. 9-30-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Richard Frank Silverman, White Male, age 47, Possession Of A Scheduled II Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), a Class "C" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. 9-9-20
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Richard Frank Silverman, White Male, age 47, Count I: Failure To Appear, a Class "C" Felony. 9-30-20
 
10-6-20 7:29 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for September 28th - October 4th

 

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of September 28, 2020 – October 4, 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.

 

September 28, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 685 near Cherry Hill of a missing toolbox. Toolbox was recovered.

Report of a burn victim on Polk 602 near Shady. Investigation continues.

Arrested by an Officer with the Game and Fish was Heath M. Spencer, 23, of Mena of a Charge of Driving on a Suspended License and Driving While Intoxicated.

 

September 29, 2020

Report from complainant of domestic battery that occurred while traveling on Hwy 8E. Deputy responded.

Report of receiving a call with a disturbance happening during the call. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8E near Board Camp of not being paid for vehicle repairs. Deputy responded.

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

 

September 30, 2020

Report from complainant on West Boundary near Mena of the theft of a bike valued at $200.00. Deputy responded.

Report of a missing juvenile female led to the arrest of Madison Fairless, 19, of Hatfield on a Charge of Obstructing Governmental Operations and a Charge of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor. Juvenile was located and released to the custody of a parent/guardian.

 

October 1, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 50 near Potter of a missing family member. Family member was located.

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

Report of two vehicles striking mirrors on Hwy 71S. Deputy responded.

Report of a disturbance led to a juvenile female being issued a Juvenile Citation for Disorderly Conduct.

Report from complainant on Polk 16 near Vandervoort of identity fraud.

Report from complainant on Polk 75 near Acorn of receiving threats. Deputy responded.

Report from Mena Regional Health System of a dog bite victim. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on 375E near Dallas Valley of a domestic altercation. Deputy responded.

Arrested by an officer with the Drug Task Force was Shannon K. Shaw, 40, of Mena on a Warrant for Probation Violation.

 

October 2, 2020

No reports filed.

 

October 3, 2020

Report from complainant on Trimble Avenue near Grannis of harassment. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report of an unattended death on Appaloosa Lane near Acorn. Deputy responded.

 

October 4, 2020

Report of a one vehicle accident led to the arrest of Lenard J. Barnett, 31, of Hatfield on a Charge of Driving While Intoxicated and a Warrant for Commercial Burglary and Theft of Property.

Report from complainant on Polk 76E near Acorn of ongoing problems with a neighbor. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Ink of an incident involving an easement. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Jasmine Lane near Grannis of a disturbance. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 21 Incarcerated Inmates, with 9 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-00906

 

10-5-20 3:27 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for October 27th - October 3rd

 

Mena Police Department Reports for the Week of September 27, 2020 through October 3, 2020

 

 

September 27, 2020

 

Jose Garcia, 35, and Luis Flores, 38, were charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) and Obstructing Government Operations after a complaint from EZ Mart.

 

A missing persons report was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

Lloyd Kendrick, 37, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a complaint from Walmart.

 

September 28, 2020

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Anthony Hinkle, 21, was served with five warrants after a traffic stop.

 

September 29, 2020

 

Gary Smith, 42, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a complaint from Walmart.

 

Bradley Moss, 44, was served with a warrant at a residence on Sarah Way.

 

Mathew Evans, 54, was served with a warrant at Executive Inn.

 

Richard Silverman, 47, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and served with a warrant after a call to a residence on Port Arthur.

 

September 30, 2020

 

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

 

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

 

A report of criminal trespass and possession of a schedule 6 controlled substance was taken at a residence on Edwards.

 

October 1, 2020

 

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

 

Veronica Maddox, 23, was served with a warrant at the Probation and Parole office.

 

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

 

October 2, 2020

 

A report of theft was taken at Mena Ford.

 

October 3, 2020

 

Elijah Williams, 19, was charged with Contributing to the Delinquency of a Juvenile, and a juvenile was charged with Curfew Violation after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

Rosie Arthur, 46, was served with six warrants after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

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

 

10-5-20 10:29 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena's Ouachita Little Theatre Announces Fall Lineup

FALL LINEUP FOR OLT!
 
In October, Ouachita Little Theatre is offering live production events performed by the Lyric Players plus the regular Wednesday Night at the Lyric movie party.  For all events, CDC guidelines will be in place, so patrons are asked to wear their masks during performances and observe the social distancing guidelines laid out in the theater.  OLT concession stand will remain open and available to patrons.
 
GHOSTBUSTERS- As always, the admission is free for the Wednesday movie night showing of “Ghostbusters” starring Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, and other stars of the screen.  Make plans to attend this hilarious classic at 6:30 PM on October 14.  
 
RADIOLAND - The Lyric Players reader theatre style performance of “Radioland” will be October 22, 23, and 24th.  Featuring five short vignettes which will merge into one full length show, the skits include a Lum and Abner show, “Lum Fakes a Broken Leg”, “The Romance of Helen Trent”, “Buck Rogers”, Abbott and Costello’s famous baseball comedy sketch, “Who’s on First”, and a special Halloween show from Baby Snooks and Daddy.  Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 PM and Sunday is at 2:30 PM.  Scotty Jenkins is directing the show with a cast of experienced OLT actors and actresses.
 
VELOCITY OF AUTUMN – Lyric Players Denni Longoria and Tim Hesse will be performing this engaging play about the complicated relationship between a feisty aging woman and her grandson.  There will be two performances at difference venues.  On Saturday, October 31 at 7:30 PM, the show will be held at Mena Mountain Resort.  Patrons are encouraged to bring their own “brown bag” food to consume, but snacks and soft drinks will be available.  The same show will be repeated on the OLT stage on Sunday, November 8th at 2:30 PM.
 
LOVE MAKES A HOME – This original play by local playwrite Kiesa Kay will be performed November 20-22 on the OLT stage.  Starring Ann Glenn and special musical talents, the play is based on the life of Rebecca Boone, the wife of frontiersman, Daniel Boone.  Watch this publication for more details in the coming weeks.
 
Tickets for live performance shows will be $10 admission for all, and OLT season tickets may be used.  
 
10-5-20 7:38 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address:  Big News for Computer Science Education in Arkansas

 
Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Big News for Computer Science Education in Arkansas
 
LITTLE ROCK – In the six years since I signed the Computer Science Initiative legislation, the success of it has far exceeded my expectations, and today I’d like to talk about a new report that offers some bold recommendations for the future of computer science education in Arkansas.

The report is the work of the Arkansas Computer Science and Cybersecurity Task Force, which I established in December 2019. The team, which included representatives from education, business, industry, and technology, and philanthropic organizations, formally submitted its report to me this week, which I released at a news conference on Thursday.

In 2015, the first bill I signed as governor required every public school in the state to offer at least one computer-science course. Arkansas was the first state to do that.

National publications and technology organizations such as Wired magazine and Code.org have noted our success. The executive director of Computer Science Teachers Association told Education Week that no other state “has done more than Arkansas. They have a really strong, multifaceted plan that is well thought out. … The state is far better off than anyone else.”

But we can’t rest on our success. In the spirit of our past initiatives, the task force recommends two dramatic changes. The first is that Arkansas require students to have at least one computer-science credit to graduate. The second is that every school in Arkansas employ at least one certified computer science teacher. I am fully committed to these recommendations.

I also shared news about other initiatives that will give even more students access to high-speed internet. As part of its Project 10Million, T-Mobile is donating 18,000 internet access devices to Arkansas students. The company also is donating 100 gigabytes of data also at no cost to eligible households. Combined with the 20,000 devices the state is providing through CARES Act funding, more than 38,000 will be distributed around the state.

I also announced that we will increase high-speed broadband capacity to K-12 school districts, charter schools, and education cooperatives from the current 200 kilobits per second per user to at least 1 megabit per second. That is five times faster than current speeds. Arkansas will be one of the first states in the nation to meet the new standard of 1 megabit per second per user. The upgrade to the network should be completed by July 1 of next year.

This has been an important week for Computer Science Education in Arkansas. We have developed a national reputation for our computer science initiatives, which is nice. But our motivation and the payoff is the high-quality opportunities we are creating for our young people.

To view the Arkansas Computer Science and Cybersecurity Task Force report, CLICK HERE.
 
10-2-20  5:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

 

 

For every dollar of general revenue coming into the state, 41% is spent on K-12 public schools. Approximately, half of all school district revenues come from the state.

 

Our current process of determining the amount of state funding for our schools goes back to 2003. The Public School Funding Act of 2003 develops per-pupil funding amounts by assigning costs to various educational inputs.

 

Those inputs range from staff salaries to transportation needs. They are then compiled into a school district funding matrix used to produce a per-pupil foundation funding amount along with additional funding for programs for students with special needs, alternative learning environments, and professional development for instructional staff. 

 

But the landscape of education has changed since 2003. That is why late last year, the House and Senate Education Committee agreed to hire a consulting firm, Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, to take an in-depth look at our K-12 education and make recommendations to our current model of funding. 

 

The firm’s study has sought input from education officials around the state and reviewed academic research.

 

This week, the firm presented the committee with information showing the average counselor staffing ratio in Arkansas is 385:1, which is lower than the average for states in the southern region. However, the American School Counselor Association and the National Association of School Psychologist's recommended ratio is 250:1.

 

The consultants have also presented committee members with information on the effects of poverty on learning. Research shows academic performance correlates negatively with concentrations of poverty in schools. Higher concentrations of poverty seem to impact all students in a school, not only poor students. Some research suggests school effects could start at concentrations between 25% and 50%. The committee was presented with information on the possible strategies for improvement such as wrap around services and expanded learning programs.

 

Committee members are reviewing this information and previous presentations covering everything from college readiness to enrollment changes.

 

Over the next few weeks, they will be using this information to make recommendations for the 2021 Regular Session. They will present their recommendations to House and Senate leadership by November 1. 

 

10-2-20 5:24 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

 

Advocating for Targeted Bipartisan Coronavirus Relief

 

Congress worked together to provide quick relief to families, businesses and the medical community in the early stages of the COVID-19 health emergency. Americans are relying on lawmakers to continue delivering assistance to help them meet the challenges they face as a result of this crisis.

 

That’s why last month, I voted to advance a targeted bill focused on getting Americans back to work, back to school and back to some sense of normalcy. This path forward is built on commonsense policy ideas that have traditionally garnered widespread support in the Senate and strengthens measures Congress overwhelmingly approved in a bipartisan fashion earlier this year.

 

The Senate bill included additional funding for schools to support the safe return of students. It provided resources to help child care facilities stay open so parents can get back to work while having a reliable place to send their children, which is critical to economic recovery.

 

Our bill made reforms to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This has been a vital lifeline for Arkansas small businesses during this crisis. It that has allowed millions of Americans to continue to receive a paycheck and helped businesses stay afloat. We want to authorize a second round of loans to qualifying businesses and simplify the loan forgiveness process for loans up to $150,000.

 

Unfortunately, instead of delivering a positive result to American families, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer argued the bill didn’t go far enough and refused to negotiate on any realistic solutions that stand a chance of becoming law. He led efforts to prevent a thoughtful debate by using the filibuster to block consideration of the bill. 

 

Ironically, this senate procedure is in the crosshairs of leftwing advocates who are encouraging Democrats to eliminate the filibuster should they gain control of the Senate. Even former President Barack Obama recently called for it to be abolished.

 

This targeted relief bill would have offered crucial assistance to our communities, families, schools, small businesses and individuals in ways that most Republicans and Democrats actually support. This makes the minority’s filibuster all that much more disappointing and frustrating.

 

Now, Democrats are praising the recent House passage of a $2.2 trillion democratic wish-list masked as coronavirus assistance. This package is riddled with poison pills that have nothing to with the public health emergency or our economic crisis. Like the $3.3 trillion House legislation that failed to gain bipartisan support last spring, this bill is a non-starter.

 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill allows illegal immigrants to receive stimulus payments, eliminates safeguards in the PPP that would prevent taxpayer money from bailing out Planned Parenthood and authorizes federalizing elections by putting unrealistic mandates on the way states must run elections.

 

Americans are looking to Washington for solutions. It’s time for my colleagues from across the aisle to be realistic about negotiating a bill that both sides can agree to get behind. As this public health and economic crisis continues to play out, our policy efforts should focus on helping meet the immediate needs of families, the medical community and small businesses. We’ve established that we can work together on this issue in the past and I’m hopeful we can find common ground again.

 

 

10-2-20 5:22 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Voting Machines To Be Tested

The Polk County Election Commission will meet next Friday October 9th to test all voting equipment that will be used in the November 3rd General Election, according to Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison. That meeting will take place at the Polk County Office Complex (old hospital building) at 606 Pine Street starting at 9:00 a.m.

 

The deadline to register to vote in the General Election is October 5th. 

 

For information on registering to vote in Polk County (Arkansas), call the County Clerk's office at (479) 395-8123.

 

10-2-20 10:13 a.m. KAWX.ORG

Fly Flags Half Staff Sunday For National Firefighters Memorial Day

Fly the United States Flag at Half-Staff on? Sunday, October 4th, 2020 in Honor of National Firefighters Memorial Day
 
The United States Congress created the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to lead a nationwide effort to remember America's fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the tax-exempt, nonprofit Foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor our fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers.
 
The 39th National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service will be held Sunday, October 4, 2020, to honor firefighters who died in the line of duty.
 
In accordance to Public Law 107-51, the American flag should be lowered to half-staff on Sunday, October 4, 2020 from sunrise to sunset in observance of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service.
10-2-20 9:58 a.m. KAWX.ORG
 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

 

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

October 2, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK –Arkansas legislators approved using $165 million in federal relief funds to shore up the state unemployment insurance trust fund.

 

Legislative leadership approved an emergency request to allocate the $165 million in order to prevent increases in rates that businesses have to pay into the fund to keep it solvent.

 

However, approval of the funding was not a smooth process. The Legislative Council convened in a hastily called meeting to express frustration that officials at the Division of Workforce Services (DWS) failed to inform legislators until the eleventh hour that automatic rate increases in unemployment insurance were imminent.

 

The division administers claims for unemployment, which have set records due to layoffs caused by the spread of the coronavirus. Also, during the pandemic the division has received many more fraudulent claims than is normal.

 

The dramatic increase in unemployment filings has threatened to deplete the trust fund below certain thresholds. If the fund balance were to fall below those thresholds, businesses would be hit with automatic increases in the rates they must pay in order to maintain the fund’s solvency.

 

Legislators expressed frustration that DWS officials failed to keep them informed of the rapid decrease in the unemployment fund.

 

By the time they were notified of the problem, legislators had almost no time to work on a solution and their options were limited. Legislators were under extreme pressure to approve the DWS request in order to prevent a rate increase on businesses that already have been hard hit by the pandemic.

 

Several lawmakers expressed frustration that it was not the first time that a lack of communication had put them in a difficult position with constituents. For example, at the beginning of the pandemic, when laid off workers had to wait extremely long periods of time to submit their claims for unemployment, legislators received a flood of complaints about the slowness of the system.

 

One senator said that the legislature is consistently the last body to be informed about executive branch decisions, and perhaps he would support new laws to require more timely and more accurate financial reporting from state agencies to legislative committees.

 

Also, legislators wanted assurances from DWS officials that failures to anticipate trust fund depletions will not occur again.

 

In the economic recession of 2008 and 2009, claims filed by unemployed workers drained the fund to the extent that Arkansas had to borrow $360 million from the federal government. That had serious financial consequences for Arkansas businesses and workers.

 

Act 802 0f 2009 raised the amount that companies have to pay into the fund and Act 861 of 2009 reduced benefits for laid off workers.

 

Act 512 of 2019 sets the taxable wage base that determines how much businesses have to pay in unemployment insurance. This year the taxable wage base is $7,000 but will go up to $10,000 in 2021, according to DWS officials who spoke to the Legislative Council. In effect, that will increase the rates that businesses pay for unemployment insurance.

 

The Legislative Council is the committee of lawmakers that monitors the operations of state government during the interims between regular sessions.

 

10-2-20 9:14 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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