KAWX News Archives for 2020-12

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Duck Hunting, An Arkansas Tradition

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Duck Hunting, An Arkansas Tradition
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Duck hunting is one of the great cultural traditions of Arkansas, and it also pumps a lot of money into our economy.
 
Stuttgart and Arkansas County are known as the duck-hunting capital of the world. Every Thanksgiving, Stuttgart hosts the Wings Over the Prairie Festival and the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest, which attract thousands of duck hunters. But duck hunting is special in hundreds of camps and bayous across the state, from Alicia to Des Arc to Dumas.
 
The late Pat Peacock of Stuttgart, the first woman to serve on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission when she was appointed to fill an unexpired term, was an avid duck hunter. She is the only woman to win the duck-calling contest twice.
 
Ann Marie Doramus, whom I appointed as the first woman to a full term on the Game and Fish Commission, was eight when she killed her first duck.
 
I come from the hill country of Arkansas. I love the hills. But there is a certain beauty of a cold-morning sunrise over flooded timber in the Delta as ducks are flying in that you don’t see in other parts of the state. When you see that greenhead mallard coming in, pulling its webbed feet up, ready to land, the beauty of that moment is unmatched.
 
One of my greatest joys as a father and grandfather has been to pass that tradition along to my sons, my son-in-law, and my grandchildren. My grandson had the thrill of taking his first banded duck last season.
 
My daughter loves to watch the dogs work. The beauty of those black labs as they retrieve the ducks is a scene you won’t see in the mountains.
 
Of course, you’ve got to follow up with the duck recipes. My family and friends love the jalapeno duck poppers that I make for the holidays.
 
Bryan Hendricks, the outdoors writer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, captured the essence of duck hunting in a column he wrote in November.
 
“Stars mottle a moonless sky as a squad of duck hunters count the minutes to dawn. The temperature is in the low 40s, but the edge of a sharp breeze seeps through insulated layers of modern fabrics. It stings the cheeks, but it feels different in the dark woods than it does in a parking lot. It's a sensation that I have associated with duck hunting since I first felt it as a child.
 
“There's much huffing as over-clad bodies squeeze into neoprene waders. Shotgun actions open and close with metallic clanks. Duck calls on neck lanyards sound like plastic wind chimes as they collide with every move. It is the sound of duck season in Arkansas.”
 
Thanks, Bryan Hendricks, for sharing that memory with us.
 
One of the missions of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is to spread the word about the joys of duck hunting. We want a new generation of hunters to experience the thrill and learn to love the outdoors. Today, I’m doing my part.
 
12-31-20 9:50 a.m. KAWX.ORG
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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

While we prepare to enter a new year and begin the 2021 Regular Session, we want to take a moment to review what has been taking place at the State Capitol in 2020. Some of the work accomplished in 2020 lays the foundation for future legislation.

 

In April, the House convened for an Extraordinary Session to address the urgent funding needs in our state created by the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation passed created the COVID-19 Rainy Day Fund by redirecting surplus funds. The fund helped to purchase ventilators and PPE for state hospitals. It also assisted agencies facing cuts due to a revised economic forecast for Fiscal Year 2020. The legislation also made it possible to extend the state tax deadline to July 15.

 

During the 2020 Fiscal Session, the Arkansas General Assembly passed a balanced budget prioritizing $5.9 billion in spending for the fiscal year. The House convened at the UALR Jack Stephens Center for the Extraordinary and the Fiscal Sessions to provide additional space for social distancing. 

 

The House and Senate Education Committees spent this year working with the consulting firm Augenblick, Palaich and Associates to complete the state's first comprehensive study of public school funding since 2003. 

 

The consultants made several recommendations, including revisiting current incentives to increase the number of highly qualified teachers serving students at high-need schools and small schools. Another recommendation is to conduct a larger-scale study every 6-10 years to focus on districts with specific challenges. These recommendations will be considered in the 2021 Regular Session.

 

The House Aging, Children and Youth, and Legislative Affairs Committee met jointly with the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee at various locations across the state to hear concerns from veterans and agencies that provide services to veterans. After hearing testimony, the committees proposed the following recommendations: 

 

· Develop a grant system and increase funding for non-profits that directly assist veterans; 

· Increase staffing for the Department of Health Injury and Violence/Suicide Prevention Program and the Suicide Prevention Hotline; and 

· Create a Veterans’ Advocacy Board. 

 

The Arkansas Legislative Council provided oversight for all CARES Act funding distributed in Arkansas.

 

Members approved requests to direct a portion of those funds for grants to assist struggling business owners and bonus pay for front line workers. Other CARES Act expenditures approved included funds to the Department of Health for testing and supplies to aid in contact tracing. And since more Arkansans were relying on the internet, House and Senate leadership requested a transfer of $100 million of CARES Act funding to the Arkansas Rural Connect Program (ARC). The Arkansas Legislative Council ultimately approved the measure.

 

We, like many of you, are looking forward to a promising new year. The 2021 Regular Session begins on January 11. Every committee meeting and floor session will be live-streamed and archived at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

12-31-20 9:43 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Celebrating a Veterans History Project Milestone

Celebrating a Veterans History Project Milestone

 

Arkansans have joined the effort to collect the stories of Natural State veterans and preserve them with the Veterans History Project (VHP), enabling future generations to learn from these courageous individuals. I was proud to congratulate the Librarian of Congress on the 20th anniversary of the VHP.

 

In 2000, Congress established the VHP to collect and retain the oral histories of our nation’s veterans. Since then, more than 111,000 veterans have shared their stories of their military experience for the project. It has become the largest oral history collection in the world, and it’s still growing.

 

In recognition of the 20th anniversary, the VHP celebrated and reignited relationships with Americans in a way that drew new audiences to the Library, brought attention to existing collections, and fostered relations with Members of Congress, organizations and nonprofits in an effort to expand its collection.

 

I’m pleased my staff could be part of the celebration and share how the VHP has impacted Arkansas. My office has partnered with the Library of Congress to ensure the experiences of Arkansas veterans become part of this archive. In the past five years, my office has conducted dozens of interviews, trained more than 1,200 Arkansans to participate and help spread the word about the importance of this program and the urgency to record these first-hand accounts.

 

Arlis Owens of North Little Rock, Arkansas was one of the first veterans interviewed by my office. He experienced some of the bloodiest battles of World War II including the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. Sadly, Mr. Owens passed away in October 2020, but we are fortunate that his stories will live on for future generations thanks to this initiative.

 

The testimonies provided by Owens and each and every veteran are a powerful record of the realities of war and the extraordinary sacrifices ordinary individuals made in defense of our freedoms. These memories are links to our history as much as the veteran’s own story. These interviews have been just as rewarding for families, some of whom hear the hardships and unimaginable circumstances their loved one faced for the first time. 

 

As the son of a WWII waist gunner on B-17s, I didn’t hear my dad talk of his experiences during the war. I wish I had asked him more about that time in his life. My office is working to make sure that other families don’t have this same regret.

 

In addition to adding memories to the collection over these past two decades, the VHP has launched nearly 70 online exhibits that highlight many aspects of military life and veteran issues as well as special events to mark the important work veterans are doing across the nation. It has also initiated programs in support of veterans. That commitment is continuing into 2021. Early in the year, it will host a veteran farm panel to discuss farming as a viable, fulfilling and lucrative career for our military veterans to consider as they transition to civilian life.  

 

I’m pleased to acknowledge the ongoing enthusiasm for the VHP and encourage more people to join this initiative. Memorializing the unique experiences of our veterans is a great way to honor their service.

 

12-31-20 9:38 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

December 31, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – When the legislature convenes in regular session at noon on Monday, January 11, the individuals in the Senate will bring a wide variety of real-world experience to the task.

 

Of the 35 members in the Senate, eight have run a business, three are in farming and four are attorneys. Two senators are in insurance and two senators are in banking or finance.

 

Four senators have a background in health care and three have experience in teaching or educational administration. Three senators are in construction or real estate development or both. One is an accountant, one is a pastor and one is in the technology industry.

 

Three senators work or have worked with economic development agencies.

 

One senator joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and competed on the professional rodeo circuit as a professional bull rider for four years.

Three senators are veterans of the armed forces. One senator was the mayor of his home town and three served on the city council. Four served on their local school boards and three were elected to terms on the county quorum court. Of the 35 senators, 21 served previously in the House of Representatives.

 

Arkansas has a citizen legislature, which meets in odd-numbered years in a regular session that typically lasts about three months. In the most recent regular session the legislature considered 1,670 pieces of legislation and enacted 1,092.

 

In even-numbered years the legislature meets in fiscal session to approve spending levels for state agencies and appropriate funds for schools, colleges and universities. In the 2020 fiscal session, that required passage of 188 separate appropriation bills.

 

Generally, the experience that senators bring to the legislature influence their agendas. The most common example is that educators choose to serve on the Senate Education Committee and people in business serve on the Insurance and Commerce Committee, farmers choose to be on the Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee and senators with a background in health care tend to choose assignments on the Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee.

 

Attorneys often select a spot on the Judiciary Committee, which considers legislation that would change the state’s criminal and civil code, as well as rules of courtroom procedure. The committee also considers legislation that affects the case loads of judges and prosecutors.

 

The Senate has seven women and three African-Americans. The party breakdown is 28 Republicans and seven Democrats.

 

Red Tape Reduction

 

A lot of legislative work carries on from one session to the next. For example, Act 600 of 2019 made it the duty of the legislature to regularly review licensing requirements for occupations that fall under government regulation.

 

Legislators are to seek the least restrictive form of licensing, while at the same time protecting consumers and the public.

 

A subcommittee has released its first list of recommended changes in licensing, in time for the legislature to consider during the 2021 session.

 

It recommended repeal of a law that requires sprinkler fitters to be licensed. Their businesses already must get a license, so the recommendation would eliminate duplication. For similar reasons it recommended repeal of licensing requirements for motor vehicle salesmen.

 

It also recommended repeal of the law requiring lime applicators to be licensed.

 

12-31-20 9:32 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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Mena Police Report for December 20th - 26th

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of December 20th through December 26th, 2020

 

 

December 20

 

No reports taken.

 

December 21

 

Stacey Vaught, 46, was charged with Refusal to Vacate upon Notice after a complaint from Petros Apartments.

 

Joseph Stubbs, 44, was served with four warrants after contact on Highway 71.

 

December 22

 

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

 

A report of theft of a vehicle was taken on Hamilton Street.

 

December 23

 

A report of a disturbance was taken on West Boundary.

 

December 24

 

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

 

A report of a disturbance was taken on South Mena Street.

 

Elena Hendershot, 37, was charged with Criminal Mischief and Theft after a complaint from KFC.

 

December 25

 

No reports taken.

 

December 26

 

Jeremy Burns, 43, was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Carrie Bass, 43, was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of Schedule III Controlled Substance. Charged came after a disturbance call to the Walmart parking lot.

 

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

 

12-28-20 1:06 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for December 21st - 27th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of December 21, 2020 – December 27, 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.

 

December 21, 2020

Report of a vehicle in the ditch on 71S near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

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

Report of a fraudulent checking account being opened. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 184 near Acorn of problems involving a business agreement. Deputy responded.

 

December 22, 2020

No reports filed.

 

December 23, 2020

Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Litza M. Prine, 59, of Cove on a Warrant for Possession of Schedule VI and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and a Warrant for Delivery of Meth or Cocaine.

Arrested was Becky M. Stroud, 50, of Mena on a Warrant for Failure to Comply.

 

December 24, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 87 near Ink of a domestic altercation. Deputy responded.

 

December 25, 2020

Report of the unauthorized use of a dumpster.

 

December 26, 2020

Report of a single vehicle accident on Polk 287 near Cove. Deputy responded.

Report of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded.

 

December 27, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 70 near Cherry Hill of a stolen four-wheeler. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 17 Incarcerated Inmates, with 10 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-01170

 

12-28-20 12:39 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

 

Navigating the Changing Landscape to Deliver Help

  

This year brought incredible challenges. COVID-19 protocols required many of us to change the way we live and work and that meant finding a way for my staff and I to continue deliver critical help and provide answers to questions about federal agencies. Constituent service is always my top priority but there was an increased sense of urgency to solve problems Arkansans faced as a result of this crisis.

 

Last spring, my staff fielded thousands of calls from people who were desperate for information about their Economic Impact Payment. The volume of calls and emails was so heavy that we couldn’t record them all. Out of all of the calls for help, 355 of them resulted in direct inquires with the IRS to track down lost payments and tax returns. The outreach we did on behalf of Arkansans with the agency increased 706 percent from last year.

 

More Arkansans asked for assistance with the Department of State. In 2020, we received 230 requests for help, an increase of 137 percent from 2019. Many of those cases were citizens who were stuck overseas after borders were closed in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. Repatriation efforts dominated the State Department’s work for many months and we helped Arkansans return home from all over the world.

 

Other troubles Arkansans have experienced has required congressional action. For example, many veterans are required to complete a compensation and pension (C&P) exam to verify their medical condition when applying for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. Because the VA paused in-person exams for a period of time, the backlog has grown and it’s delayed benefits. I introduced a bill to increase the number of health care providers who are allowed to conduct these health assessments. Congress passed it and it’s headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

 

Veterans have also experienced delays in getting their service records from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC). My staff relies on this office to get veterans’ records that are needed when filing for a wide range of VA benefits. The facility has limited the number of employees allowed to work in the large archive because of COVID-19. Right now, it’s operating at less than 10 percent of normal capacity and staff is only servicing emergency cases. This has resulted in a nearly 120 percent increase in claims and appeals waiting on federal records.

 

It is unreasonable that veterans must wait months for their records. Congress recently increased funding for the NPRC so it can expand its remote work capability in order to address the backlog.

 

While working in an evolving landscape and delivering the services we’re recognized for, I was still able to visit with health care heroes, small business owners and school officials across 50 counties to see how federal COVID-19 relief programs are supporting the needs of Arkansans and learn what improvements can be made.

 

While some federal agencies are struggling to meet the changing demands of their services, my staff and I remain committed to doing all we can to help during these challenging times. We will continue to push for answers for Arkansans who need us as our nation, and the world, look to a brighter year ahead.

 

12-24-20 5:46 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Coming Together for Police and Communities They Serve

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Coming Together for Police and Communities They Serve
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – The Task Force to Advance the State of Law Enforcement in Arkansas submitted its report to me last week, and today I’d like to talk about some of the action items the members recommended. 
 
I created the task force in June in the midst of the civil unrest and violence across the country after the death of George Floyd. After listening to the concerns of community activists, I decided that as a state, we should pause and assess the state of law enforcement in Arkansas. So I invited law-enforcement officers, elected officials, and community activists to participate in the project.
 
Fred Weatherspoon, deputy director of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy, chaired the committee. Jami Cook, Secretary of the Department of Public Safety, was vice chair.
 
The members of the task force surveyed a broad base of citizens and studied best practices in other states and agencies. The report is filled with substantive proposals, and it addresses the concerns of both citizens and law-enforcement officers.
 
The task force recommends that we increase salaries to the median average in a community, and that we reduced the number of years required to retire. The idea is to recruit and retain top quality police officers.
 
The task force also recommended additions to several laws with the aim of increasing accountability. For instance, a community that wants to start a police department or reactivate one must register with the Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training and meet all of the commission’s requirements.
 
Another proposal would require every department to employ a full-time chief. This recommendation is critical for proper supervision and accountability.
 
Another proposal is that a department must limit the number of part-time officers to two for every full-time officer. Part-time officers have more than 100 hours of training, but they don’t train at the police academy. This requirement would limit to two the number of officers with less training who are supervised by a fully trained officer.
 
The task force also strengthened its requirements for reporting disciplinary action to the commission. It is important that anytime an officer resigns or is discharged, and the termination is because of excessive force or dishonesty or deceit, that this information be reported to the commission. That is an important recommendation.  
 
My vision for this task force was to ensure that we are providing our law-enforcement agencies with the equipment, guidance and training, support, and compensation, that will allow them to perform their jobs at the highest level. I also want to help sharpen the communication skills that will lead to even better relations and more trust between officers and the people in the communities they serve.
 
Police officers put their lives on the line every time they go to work. I want to reduce the risk as much as possible. I fully support their work. Police officers and the rule of law are essential for public safety and our well-being. The task force’s recommendations give us the chance to create better communities for everyone and give us an opportunity to show respect and admiration to our officers.
 
12-24-20 5:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

 

State Capitol Week in Review: From Senator Larry Teague

 

December 23, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – A task force on law enforcement recommended that police officers get more training, more pay and more opportunities for advanced education.

 

The Task Force to Advance the State of Law Enforcement was appointed by the governor last summer, when many American cities were experiencing protests sparked by the death of a Minneapolis man while being arrested.

 

The 25 members of the task force represent law enforcement, community advocates, civic organizations, businesses and locally-elected municipal leaders. Their list of recommendations include measures that can be implemented by local and state officials. Other measures would require the approval of new laws by the legislature.

 

The task force recommended that law enforcement agencies seek funding so that front-line duty officers can be equipped with state-of-the-art body cameras by 2026. Police departments also would need additional computer space to store the video footage.

 

The task force surveyed Arkansas police departments and learned that the cost of cameras, combined with insufficient funding for computers and staff to manage the video footage, were the main reason for a lack of body cameras.

 

Entry salaries should be equivalent or higher than the average annual wage in Arkansas, the task force recommended. Raises should correspond to years of service, rank and responsibility. A portion of a police officer’s salary should be exempt from state income taxes. Retirement benefits of police officers should be partially exempted from state income taxes, and disability insurance should be more affordable.

 

Police officers should be able to attend local state-supported colleges free of tuition, in programs similar to those available for members of the armed forces.

 

The task force recommended restrictions on the number of part-time officers a department could hire.

 

The state has already made progress on one of the task force recommendations - to maintain and expand use of Crisis Stabilization Units. The state has opened four units, where police officers can take people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. They are in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro and Little Rock.

 

People who are brought to the units get treatment from trained professionals, whereas in the past they would likely have spent a night in jail and their condition could have worsened. To best take advantage of the units, officers should be trained in how to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis.

 

The task force recommended more training in communications and ethics. Officers should be trained to recognize any bias they may have, and how to inter-act with people from other cultures. That includes learning about customs, décor, religious practices and slang.

 

The legislature will consider a recommendation that a statewide data base keep a list of police officers who have been fired for excessive use of force or dishonesty.

 

Arkansas should participate in a national effort to compile data on the use of force by police officers, to provide a better understanding of overall trends.

 

Another recommendation is that recruits be required during training to spend time within observing and interacting with people in the community where they will work. Police departments should work with organizations in minority communities to learn how to build more trust in police officers.

 

Evaluations should include psychological assessments of aggression, bias and character, to assure that officers are emotionally fit to serve.

 

 

12-23-20 5:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Arkansas’ legislature is considered a part-time citizen legislature. Most House members have a full-time career in addition to their legislative obligations. Members typically come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and the 93rd General Assembly is no exception.

 

The state’s largest industry is well represented as 7 members will bring an agricultural background to the House.

 

There will be six members who either currently work or previously worked in the healthcare industry. The professions include doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.

 

There will be six attorneys and 10 members who are currently teachers, professors, or former educators.

 

Several incoming members are small business owners. Other professions include real estate agents, engineers, consultants, a television producer, and a pastor just to name a few.

 

Having a diverse membership helps the House of Representatives more effectively serve the people of Arkansas. For the 93rd General Assembly, the House membership will not only be diverse in professional backgrounds but in age, gender, and race as well.

 

Our members will range in ages from 29 to 78. There will be 24 women and 76 men serving in the 93rd General Assembly. There will be 12 African-American legislators serving in the House.

 

This body will also bring a range of legislative experience. There will be 16 members serving their first full term and 10 members serving their 6th term.

 

Of the 100 representatives in the 93rd General Assembly, the House is proud to say we will have 12 who have served in the armed forces.

 

Each of us represents approximately 30,000 Arkansans. We look forward to updating you during the session. As a reminder the session begins at noon on January 11. We stream all meetings at arkansashouse.org

 

 

12-23-20 5:37 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for December 14th - 20th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of December 14, 2020 – December 20, 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.

 

December 14, 2020

Report from complainant on Hwy 8E near Board Camp of a disturbance. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 93 near Shady Grove of a suspicious person. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Ward Lane near Acorn of fast driving on a private lane. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 47 near Rocky of damage done to two vehicle tires. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 26 near Hatfield of the theft of a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report of shots fired at a vehicle on Hwy 375E near Dallas Valley. Deputies responded.

Arrested was Elise M. Love, 24, of Hot Springs, Arkansas on a Warrant for Probation Violation.

 

December 15, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 238 near Shady Grove of the unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Cove of items stolen from a house. Deputy responded.

Arrested was John K. Robertson, 46, of Mena on a Charge of Hindering Apprehension.

Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Lindell D. Melvin, 74, of Mena on Charges of Careless and Prohibited Driving, DWI, Disobeying a Stop/Yield Sign, and Refusal to Submit.

Arrested was Troy C. Denton, 29, of Mena on a Charge of Terroristic Act and a Charge of Aggravated Assault.

 

December 16, 2020

Report of the theft of lumber and trailer valued at $4000.00 from a construction site on Polk 42 near Dallas Valley. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 61 near Big Fork of a missing family member. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Leon C. Jordan, 34, of Cove on a Warrant for Theft of Property, Possession of Meth or Cocaine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and two Warrants for Failure to Appear.

 

December 17, 2020

Report from Mena Regional Health System of a gunshot victim. Deputies responded.

Report of a domestic disturbance on Hwy 71S near Vandervoort. Deputy responded.

Report of receiving threats and inappropriate messages on social media. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on Polk 647 near Ink of a domestic disturbance led to the arrest of Anthony B. Robertson, 30, of Mena on Charges of Aggravated Assault, Residential Burglary and Criminal Trespass.

 

December 18, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 266 near Vandervoort of damages and property stolen at a rent house. Deputy responded.

Report of missing teenagers led to juvenile males being issued Juvenile Citations for Disorderly Conduct. Juveniles were released to the custody of parents/guardians.

Report from complainant on Polk 63 near Board Camp of a stolen ATV. Deputy responded.

Report of firearms being stolen from a vehicle. Deputy responded.

 

December 19, 2020

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

Report of a vehicle in the roadway on Polk 70 near Irons Fork led to the arrest of David D. Heard, 34, of Mena on a Charge of Public Intoxication, Driving on a Suspended License and No Proof of Insurance.

 

December 20, 2020

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

Report of a vehicle accident on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley led to the arrest of Jay M. Roberts, 39, of Mena on a Charge of DWI.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 19 Incarcerated Inmates, with 8 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-01159

 

12-21-20 11:39 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Mena Police Report for December 13th - 19th

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of December 13th through December 19th, 2020

 

 

December 13

 

No reports taken.

 

December 14

 

Jakki Hellyer, 27, and a Juvenile were both charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) at Walmart.

 

December 15

 

Leonard Kutteruff, 66, was served with a warrant on Janssen Avenue.

 

December 16

 

No report filed.

 

December 17

 

Nakota Martin, 24, was charged with Careless or Prohibited Driving on Highway 71 at Mena Street.

 

A report of theft was taken at The Market.

 

Kimberly Jacobs, 38, and Randy Whitehead, 39, were both served with warrants at Walmart.

 

A report of a disturbance was taken on South Eve Street.

 

December 18

 

Toni Altman, 45, was charged with Driving While Intoxicated after a complaint on Magnolia Street.

 

December 19

 

No reports taken.

 

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

 

12-21-20 11:34 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives in Arkansas

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: The COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives in Arkansas
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Sherian Kwanisai stepped into Arkansas history this week as the first person in the state to be vaccinated for COVID-19, and today I’d like to talk about the significance of this in our nine-month battle against the coronavirus.
 
Sherian is a 27-year employee of the Arkansas Department of Health. She is director of nursing for the Center for Local Public Health and works with approximately 400 public health nurses spread throughout all 75 counties. She has been in the trenches since COVID-19 arrived in March. She coordinates testing, and she has swabbed a fair number of patients herself.
 
The immunization program is rapidly gaining momentum. The FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use last weekend. That is the medicine that arrived in Little Rock on Monday. Now, an FDA advisory council has endorsed a second vaccine, which is made by Moderna. When the FDA authorizes it, we will quickly increase the number of people we can vaccinate, and we expect to have the first Moderna shipments on Tuesday.
 
Arkansas received about 25,000 doses in its first shipment, and after four days of vaccinations, more than 4,000 Arkansas health care workers received a shot this week in the initial phase.
 
Pfizer shipped the initial doses to 18 larger hospitals, the Department of Health, and several pharmacies. The larger hospitals vaccinated staff members who are at the highest risk of exposure. Pharmacies vaccinated staff at smaller hospitals that didn’t receive direct shipments. The Department of Health vaccinated staff, such as Sherian, who are at a high risk of exposure.
 
Sherian believes the vaccine is our light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. She was elated to be the first Arkansan to take the shot. She wanted to lead by example, especially for other African Americans, who historically have been skeptical about new or experimental medicine. Sherian volunteered to take the first shot.  
 
When Sherian was young, she wanted to be an architect, but her grandmother persuaded her to become a nurse. She studied the prerequisite classes at the University of Arkansas Little Rock and graduated from nursing school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. When she was considering a change in her career, a friend suggested public health. The only thing Sherian knew about the field was that public-health nurses gave a lot of shots.
 
Nearly 30 years later, Sherian is one of the most experienced public-health nurses in Arkansas, and she has given out a lot of shots.  In the first week of COVID-19 vaccinations, Sherian has immunized about fifteen patients. We are well on our way to vaccinating thousands of Arkansans, which is the only way we are ever going to beat this virus.
 
The shot didn’t hurt, and the only aftereffect was a little soreness in her arm. We are fortunate to have state employees such as Sherian on the front lines whose mission in life is to care for people. She has inspired us this week by stepping to the front of the line for a COVID shot and showing us it’s really not so bad. I join Sherian in encouraging everyone to get the vaccination when it comes your turn.
 
12-19-20 8:28 a.m. KAWX.ORG 
 
Extra: Some medical professionals were vaccinated in Mena earlier this week. Dr. Darin Swonger was the first in Polk County to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Dr. Swonger is an anesthesiologist at MRHS.
 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Arkansans may see an increase in the amount of their paychecks next year. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) announced this week that the income tax withholding tables will change effective January 1, 2021.

 

DFA says this change is not a tax increase or cut, but with the law change that reduces the top personal income tax rate from 6.6% to 5.9% next month, the withholding change will put that reduction in paychecks beginning January 2021.  Without this change, many Arkansans wouldn’t see the bulk of their tax cut until they received it in their tax refund in 2022.  

 

This is the second change DFA has recently implemented to the withholding tables. The first adjustment took place March 1, 2020. The March 2020 adjustment put $15 million each month into the pockets of Arkansans via increased paychecks. The January 2021 adjustment will place an additional $7 million each month into paychecks.

 

The law that reduced the tax rate was Act 182 passed by the 92nd General Assembly.

 

We anticipate the 93rd General Assembly will address further tax cut proposals.

 

Several pieces of legislation addressing future tax cuts have been filed in advance of the 2021 Regular Session.

 

The latest revenue report shows revenues are 11.4% higher than this time last year.  Five months into the fiscal year, revenue is now $283.3 million above forecast.

 

This week, we also learned that the state’s unemployment rate remained stable at 6.2% between October and November. The national unemployment rate is at 6.7%.

 

We will continue to monitor the employment rates and revenue reports as we prepare for the next legislative session. The 2021 Regular Session begins on January 11.

 

12-18-20 5:09 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Victory for Women Veterans

Victory for Women Veterans

 

Women have served in our nation’s uniform since the Revolutionary War. Today, this population is the fastest growing in the veteran community. We have a responsibility to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is meeting their needs. With the historic passage of the Deborah Sampson Act we are one step closer to fulfilling our promise to women veterans.

 

The landmark legislation, headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law, will eliminate barriers to care and services that many women face when accessing VA benefits. Named after a Revolutionary War veteran who disguised herself as a man to help fight for her country, we are honoring her legacy in the legislation that addresses the gender disparities at the VA.

 

A majority of women veterans are hesitant to turn to the VA for help. More than 50 percent of women veterans believe they are not entitled to or eligible for VA care. We need to create a culture at the VA that welcomes women veterans and makes them feel like they belong. It’s long overdue that we update the belief that when a woman seeks care at the VA it’s not because her husband is the veteran.

 

Arkansas women shared with me some of their experiences at the VA. Some required referrals to community care because the services provided at the VA didn’t accommodate all their medical needs. Others were about the lack of privacy in exam rooms and the length of time to schedule appointments with medical professionals who specialize in women’s health.

 

Senate VA Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester (D-MT) and I first introduced the Deborah Sampson Act nearly four years ago to correct these inequities. We crafted the legislation based on the recommendations we heard from veterans.

 

We knew our colleagues understood the necessity of updating the VA’s approach to serving women and we worked with them, the VA and Veteran Service Organizations to make our bill better. That’s one reason it received unanimous support in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

 

We were helped along the way by Arkansas members of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) who made the Deborah Sampson Act a cornerstone of their legislative priorities. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) was an early supporter of the bill. In celebrating its passage, an IAVA member said “we have won a great victory for women veterans.”

 

Among improvements the Deborah Sampson Act delivers is requiring the VA to address privacy concerns and enhance access to medical professionals who specialize in women’s care. Additionally, it creates a dedicated Office of Women’s Health that will ensure standards of care are being meet by all VA medical centers.

 

I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished to break down the barriers to care and services that prevent many women from accessing the VA benefits they earned. This is a milestone for 19,000 Arkansas women veterans and the millions of others around the country. I remain committed to ensuring improvements we approved in the Deborah Sampson Act are successfully implemented.

 

12-18-20 5:06 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague
 
December 18, 2020
 
LITTLE ROCK – The United States Supreme Court upheld an Arkansas law regulating pharmacy benefit managers, which negotiate agreements between health insurance companies and drug stores.
 
When people get prescriptions from their local drug store, in most cases they don’t pay the full cost. They have insurance, or get help from a government-subsidized program.
 
Pharmacy benefit managers say that they negotiate discounts for health insurers. That promotes competition and encourages pharmacies to search for the lowest possible wholesale prices.
 
However, pharmacies told legislators that in many cases they were being reimbursed for less than the wholesale price of the prescriptions, or at such a low rate their profit margins were close to zero. Some pharmacists told of having to refuse to fill prescriptions because they would have lost hundreds of dollars.
 
The Arkansas legislature has enacted several laws over the years to level the playing field. In 2015 the legislature passed Act 900, which was quickly challenged in court by an association representing the pharmacy benefit managers.
 
Act 900 was the law that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld unanimously. Other state laws have been enacted since, such as legislation enacted during a 2018 special session that requires pharmacy benefit managers to be licensed by the state Insurance Department.
 
It also prohibits pharmacy benefits managers from writing gag rules into their contracts with pharmacists. That means pharmacists will be able to advise customers on how to purchase alternative prescriptions that are equally effective but not as expensive.
 
Legislators had been told that pharmacy benefit managers were reimbursing independent drug stores at a lower rate than they reimbursed pharmacies with which they had a corporate affiliation. That is not allowed under Act 900 of 2015.
 
Arkansas became the first state to impose comprehensive regulations on pharmacy benefit managers, but many other states have followed suit and 45 states joined the Arkansas side in the lawsuit before the Supreme Court. The District of Columbia and the federal government also joined Arkansas.
 
Organizations of pharmacists and physicians filed legal briefs in support of the Arkansas law. A national trucking company and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed legal briefs in support of the pharmacy benefit managers.
 
The latest piece of legislation regulating the industry is Act 994 of 2019, which sets out procedures for updating “maximum allowable cost lists.”
 
The lists are the basis of reimbursements that are paid to local pharmacies. National averages for generics and wholesale drugs are factored in, and the process should be more transparent for everyone. One result should be the elimination of a practice that hurt local pharmacists, which was the retroactive collection of charges by benefit managers.
 
The Supreme Court ruling was celebrated by Arkansas pharmacists. Every sector in the industry is preparing for more changes in pricing and regulation, simply because prescription drugs account for such a large portion of the overall costs of health care.
 
For example, during legislative hearings a representative of pharmacy benefits managers told senators that the costs of drugs makes up 22 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums.
 
12-18-20 8:44 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Dec. 17, 2020. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter 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 noon the day of publication (Dec. 17).

****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.

 

12-17-20 4:21 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

UA Rich Mountain Announces Fall 2020 Honor Recipients

The University of Arkansas Rich Mountain has announced the students named to the Chancellor's List and Vice Chancellor’s List who were enrolled for the fall 2020 semester.

 

Students named to the Chancellor's List are full-time, current students who complete 12 semester credit hours or more, excluding developmental coursework, and earn a 4.0 grade point average or higher.

 

BACLIFF, TX : Megan Czinder ;

 

BENTON, AR : James McCormick ;

 

BONHAM, TX: Mackenzie Person;

 

CADDO GAP, AR : Sheila Hinton;

 

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA : Aleco Savvas;

 

COVE, AR : Jacob Ewing, Allyson Hoyle, Lesia Meredith, Alice Rogers, Kimberly Smedley;

 

CLARKSVILLE, AR: Lauren Buss;

 

DE QUEEN, AR: Cristopher Barba, Maria Gasca-Zarate, Misty Mendez, Alicia Salazar;

 

DIERKS, AR: Tonja Tomblin;

 

FORT WORTH, TX: Briana Salinas;

 

JONESBORO, AR: Madelyn Miles;

 

MENA, AR: Shannon Abbott, Abbie Alvarez, Avery Bowling, Brittany Burgess, Grace Carmack, Tessa Chaney, Brandy Cobb, Jamie Copelin, Holly Davis, Natalie Garrido, Kaylyn Hicks, Lauryn Maechler, Dalton McCourtney, Keisi Mitaj, Abigail Nance, Darla Parnell, Riley Philpot, Gina Schubbe, Holly Scott, Milia Sibbett, Kaitlyn Simmons, Dusty Stanley, Brandon Strickland, Jacee Thacker;

 

MOUNT IDA, AR: Kara Rowland;

 

MOUNT PLEASANT, TX: Maggie Lilly;

 

MURFREESBORO, AR: Madison Humphry;

 

NORMAN, AR: Jeffery Burgen;

 

VANDERVOORT: Brittany Phillips;

 

WALDRON, AR: Angeline Adaway, Daly Barnett, Vallie Barnett, Tiffany Gwin, Michelle McCubbin, Taylor Stacy, Asia Vongphakdy;

 

WICKES, AR: Alicia Castrejon, Ruben Trinidad.

 

Students named to the Vice Chancellor’s List are full-time, current students who complete 12 semester credit hours or more, excluding developmental coursework, and earn a 3.5 to 3.99 grade point average.

 

The Vice Chancellor’s List for the fall 2020 semester are as follows:

 

A CORUNA, GALICIA (SPAIN): Andrea Martinez;

 

ARLINGTON, TX: Courtney Wernli;

 

BATIEST, OK: LaMonte Warta;

 

BENTON, AR: Christopher Hudgins;

 

BENTONVILLE, AR: Jace Bray;

 

BOLES, AR: Cassandra Boening, Hannah Stuart;

 

BOONEVILLE, AR: Emily Fry;

 

BRAUNSCHWEIG, GERMANY: Barkan Kilic;

 

BRYANT, AR: Olivia Orr;

 

CADDO GAP, AR: Kirsten Phillips;

 

CLARKSVILLE, AR: Cole Clark;

 

DE QUEEN, AR: Anthony Sanchez ;

 

FORT SMITH, AR: Yvette Martinez;

 

GRANNIS, AR: Micah Dau, Makiah Harwood;

 

HATFIELD, AR: Robin Lehnerd;

 

HOPE, AR: Wesley Featherston;

 

HOT SPRINGS, AR: Francesca Deal;

 

KNOXVILLE, AR: Isaac Pelts;

 

LAS VEGAS, NV: Brooke Detommaso;

 

LOGANSPORT, LA: Ashlee Gurley;

 

LONG VIEW, TX: Madelyn Lacaze;

 

MALVERN, AR: Hannah Hunter;

 

MANSFIELD, TX: Isabelle Ryan;

 

MENA, AR: Lakelin Ashley, Samuel Bloodworth, Matthew Bowser, Alison Carbone, Brendon Catlett, Amber Devries, Marissa Grafton, David Grenier, Jonathan Gunn, Brittany Hankins, Nicholas Holman, Lindy Hull, Cassady Johnson, Macie Johnson, McKayla Lane, Robert McIntyre, Autumn Powell, Bethany Pyke, Ashlyn Soliz, Chloe Speight, Skiliera Ward, Hunter Waters, Jeb Willborg, Barry Wootton;

 

MORRILTON, AR: Maddox Long;

 

MOUNT IDA, AR: Eli Abernathy;

 

NORMAN, AR: Dillon Morris, Samantha Workman, Kylie Wornick;

 

NORTH SHORE AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: Blake Elliott;

 

ODEN, AR: Teresa Cude, Julianna Kennedy;

 

PARKLANDS, SOUTH AFRICA: Maurice Theart;

 

PENCIL BLUFF, AR: Crystal Graves;

 

SHERMAN, TX: Bailey Tillotson;

 

SILOAM SPRINGS, AR: Kailey Pentz, Isaac Price, Sydney Smith;

 

SMITHVILLE, OK: Elizabeth Bond, Charolette Chandler, Deja Rasha;

 

TAUBATE, SAO PAULO: Coelho Joao Pedro;

 

VAN BUREN, AR: Grant Shankle;

 

WALDO, AR: Tyler Dennis;

 

WALDRON, AR: Kelli Adamson, Eden Akins, Candace Bible, Jillian Davis, Ariana Gonzalez, Katie Huffmaster, Alyssa Jones, Faith Martin, Jasmine McKay, Michael Millard, Melissa Riedel, Cassidee Tucker;

 

WICKES, AR: Austin Coon, Reese Driver, Levi Self, Rachel Zarate;

 

WINNSBORO, TX: Kristen McMillan.

 

12-16-20 3:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Arkansas Ranked the Most Pro-Life State in America

On Wednesday Americans United for Life announced that Arkansas is the most pro-life state in America. The pro-life organization ranks each state based on state laws protecting the unborn, the elderly, the disabled, and the terminally ill.

Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement saying, "This is incredible news. Arkansans should be proud to live in a state that has the best laws in the nation when it comes to protecting innocent human life. That’s something to be proud of."

Cox said that making Arkansas the most pro-life state in America has taken years of work by many different people. "Ten years ago Family Council joined with others in setting out to make Arkansas the most pro-life state in America. By working together, we have done that. Becoming the most pro-life state in America didn’t happen overnight. This was the result of decades of hard work. Arkansas Right to Life has been fighting abortion for over forty years, and Family Council has been at it for more than thirty years. Arkansas’ General Assembly has passed more than thirty good, pro-life bills since 2011. Governor Hutchinson has signed into law every pro-life bill that came across his desk.  Attorney General Rutledge has defended these good laws in court. Ministers, churches, everyday Arkansans, and many others all have worked very hard to make Arkansas a pro-life state."

Cox pointed out that abortion has declined significantly in Arkansas, and most Arkansans do not support abortion on demand. "Being number one is great, but it matters more that abortion is declining. Arkansas’ abortion rate has been cut in half since the year 2000. The total number of abortions performed in Arkansas has plummeted in the past thirty years. Teen abortion in Arkansas sits at record lows today. Public opinion polling shows the vast majority of Arkansans believe abortion ought to be either completely illegal or legal only in certain circumstances. More than thirty pregnancy resource centers around the state help women and girls with unplanned pregnancies. When it’s all said and done, Arkansans are incredibly pro-life."

Cox said being the most pro-life state in the country makes Arkansas a leader in the effort to end abortion. "As a pro-life leader, Arkansas can’t stand still.  Our lawmakers have the opportunity to enact legislation that will let the federal courts dismantle Roe v. Wade and other pro-abortion decisions. Over the next year, Arkansans could play a major role in ending abortion in America."

Cox said even though Arkansas is the most pro-life state in the country, pro-life efforts are far from over. "Being the most pro-life state in America is something Arkansans can be proud of. It shows how far Arkansas has come. But there is still a lot of work to do. The ultimate goal is to end abortion and protect every unborn child. We look forward to continuing to defend the sanctity of human life and working to end abortion in Arkansas."

 

12-16-20 11:01 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena School Board Meeting Recap

The Mena School Board conducted their December meeting on Tuesday night at the Administration Building.


As usual the meeting began with the Superintendent's Report. Mr. Benny Weston updated the board on a number of education related issues that will be a part of the Arkansas Legislative Session. The session begins on January 11th, 2021.


Weston also congratulated the band, volleyball, football, cross country and golf teams on a successful fall. He also thanked the district patrons for paying attention to the guidelines so that those seasons could be completed.


Flex Friday was next on the agenda. As voted on earlier these flex days will come to an end this week. The process of evaluating the success of this modification is underway. The district is surveying staff and monitoring student success before determining any future modification to the school calendar. Any change will have to be presented to the board for approval.


Antigen Rapid Test have been made available to the Mena School District. When staff members return from the winter break they will have the opportunity to receive the test for the Covid Virus. The test will be available in all buildings on a weekly basis and is completely voluntary.


The board then approved the stipends list for the year & also the financial report.


Finally under personnel. Bethany Meadors and Breanna Peters have been serving as long term substitute teachers. The board approved the two being placed under contract for the second semester only at Louise Durham Elementary and Holly Harshman Elementary. These contracts are being funded by Title One funds carried over from last year.

 

12-16-20 6:46 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for December 7th - 13th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of December 7, 2020 – December 13, 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.

 

December 7, 2020

Report from a business near Cove of the theft of a battery. Deputy responded. Battery was recovered.

 

December 8, 2020

Report of an RV fire on Polk 41S near Potter. Deputy responded.

Report of items taken from a vehicle while parked at a place of business. Deputies responded. Items were later recovered.

Report of a domestic altercation on N. Lewis Street near Cove. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

 

December 9, 2020

Report of a lost wallet. Deputy responded.

Report of a stolen Apple I watch. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 675 near Big Fork of identity fraud.

Report of the discovery of a suspicious item led to a juvenile being issued a Juvenile Citation for Drug Paraphernalia. Juvenile was released to the custody of a parent/guardian.

Report of the theft of five road signs on Hwy 88E valued at $100.00 each. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 36 near Hatfield of identity fraud.

Report of mail being found in a driveway.

 

December 10, 2020

Report from complainant on 1st Street near Hatfield of an individual attempting to steal a four- wheeler. Deputies responded.

 

December 11, 2020

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

Report of a vehicle accident led to the arrest of David E. Hale, 33, of Mena on a Charge of DWI and a Charge of Driving on a DWI Suspended License, 3 Warrants for Failure to Comply and 2 Warrants for Failure to Appear.

 

December 12, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 34 near Hatfield of a cow being shot. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Heritage Lane near Hatfield of the theft of $500.00 cash. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 71 near Cherry Hill of the theft of jewelry and tools valued at $1152.00. Deputy responded.

Report of the theft of items from a vehicle parked near Potter. Deputy responded.

Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Trae A. Clouse, 29, of Mena on Charges of Possession of Meth or Cocaine, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, No Driver’s License, and Fleeing in a Vehicle.

 

December 13, 2020

Traffic stop on Hwy 246W led to the discovery of suspicious items. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report of trash being dumped on private property. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Shady Grove of a domestic assault. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Report from complainant on May Lane near Acorn of a verbal domestic led to the arrest of Clinton W. Duval, 45, of Mena on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 19 Incarcerated Inmates, with 8 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-01140

 

12-14-20 12:16 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for December 6th - 12th

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of December 6th through December 12th, 2020

 

 

December 6

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken on Janssen Avenue.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken on 10th Street.

 

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

 

Jason Lovett, 46, was charged with Criminal Trespass and served with a warrant after a complaint from Walmart.

 

December 7

 

Gerald Davis, 45, was charged with Domestic Battery 3rd, Resisting Arrest, Obstructing Government Operations, and served with two warrants after a disturbance call to Church Avenue.

 

December 8

 

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

 

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

 

December 9

 

A death investigation report was taken on Sarah Way.

 

A report of a disturbance was taken on Dallas Avenue.

 

A report of financial identity fraud was taken at KFC/Taco Bell.

 

December 10

 

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

 

A report of rape was taken from a person at the Mena Reginal Health System.

 

December 11

 

Ginger Acquaah, 39, and Quincey Young, 39, were both served with warrants at the police department.

 

December 12

 

No reports filed.

 

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

 

12-14-20 8:53 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

One of the many legislative issues that will be before us in the 2021 Regular Session is redistricting.

 

Redistricting is an important part of our democracy. It is required by law once every ten years after the Federal Census.

 

There are two separate processes for redistricting in Arkansas. 

 

One process is redrawing legislative boundaries for our state senators and representatives. This is the responsibility of the Arkansas Board of Apportionment. 

 

The Board of Apportionment is made up of the Governor, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of State. The Board will be redrawing 100 State House & 35 State Senate Districts so that each district meets various legal criteria, including each district being about the same size in population. 

 

The other redistricting process is our responsibility. 

 

The Arkansas General Assembly is responsible for drawing congressional district lines. 

 

Arkansas comprises four congressional districts. 

 

Using census data, both chambers of the state legislature must approve a single redistricting plan. The process in the House will begin in the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee. The governor may veto the lines drawn by the state legislature.

 

As with state legislative districts, some congressional districts may expand geographic boundaries while others may shrink depending on population changes.

 

Districts over time may change demographically. That’s why it is important they are redrawn every ten years. The goal is to ensure each district has about the same number of people and reflects diverse communities.

 

Census bureau information is expected to be released in the spring. As a result, redistricting is typically one of the final items addressed toward the end of the session.

 

You can watch this process in real-time as we live stream all committee meetings. 

 

The 2021 Regular Session begins January 11.

 

12-11-20 5:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Hope and a Bright Day Ahead

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Hope and a Bright Day Ahead
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – On Thursday, the Advisory Committee of the Federal Drug Administration said “yes” to the emergency use authorization of the first Coronavirus vaccine in the United States, and today I’d like to talk about what that means for Arkansas.

This is a historic development in this pandemic. Now we can move forward with confidence and hope that we will win this fight.  It’s only a matter of days until the Pfizer vaccine arrives in Arkansas. I have authorized the first dosages to be distributed to our health care workers.  The next round of vaccine will be distributed to our nursing homes.  

Although in the first delivery there will not be enough vaccine to cover every health care worker, the hospitals will prioritize the distribution. And then there will be second and continuing deliveries until everyone is covered. 

It is essential that we provide the vaccine to our most vulnerable citizens in our long-term care facilities.  In Arkansas, 79.5 percent of our COVID deaths occur in those 65 years or older.  I expect the FDA to approve additional vaccines this month, which will accelerate our immunization program and increase the number of people we can vaccinate.

We will continue to prioritize the vaccine distribution until it is widely available and everyone is covered.  It is my belief that the determination and ingenuity of our pharmaceutical industry combined with the support of our federal partners will result in universal distribution in historic and record time.  It may be late spring before everyone in Arkansas has access to a vaccine, but we will get to that point, and if we all do our part, we will beat this silent killer together.  There is hope and a bright day ahead.

The experts say that in order for the vaccine to defeat the virus that 70 percent of our population must take the shot. I have confidence in the vaccine. In fact, Susan and I will be taking the vaccine when it is our turn. There will be no government directives to be vaccinated, but that should not be necessary when it is so important to our nation and state.

In the meantime, we must be remain vigilant with the 3 Ws: Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Watch your social distance.  

We are just two weeks out from Thanksgiving, and we are seeing the predicted surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. Christmas is only two weeks away, and we must do everything we can to avoid a third surge.

I hope that everyone will find a safe way to celebrate Christmas and that this year will be better and brighter than ever. That means we need to think about out-of-state travel and what is necessary to limit the size of our gatherings. I loved the idea of a family from Little Rock who said they are going to celebrate Christmas outside around a firepit. Be innovative. Figure out what we can do to have a meaningful holiday without spreading the virus.

Let’s team up as fellow Arkansans and slow the spread of COVID during Christmas. With the dawn of a New Year and the arrival of a vaccine, I am confident we are on the right path to shut down this pandemic and return to life without public health restrictions.

On Thursday, December 10, 2020, Governor Hutchinson delivered a statewide address to the people of Arkansas. Transcript and video can be found HERE and HERE.
 
12-11-20 4:58 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Protect Yourself From Scams This Holiday Season

Protect Yourself From Scams This Holiday Season

 

Like much of 2020, this holiday season will look different, but for one group of individuals, not much has changed. Thieves who prey on vulnerable Americans seek an opening to strike. The holiday season, and all its added stresses, always makes for a perfect opportunity.

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been highlighting holiday-related scams in a rather creative way this year. On its website, the agency has been promoting the “12 Days of Consumer Protection” in an effort to raise public awareness of common scams making the rounds.

 

Here are three big hoaxes to guard against.

 

Phishing scams: Package shipments always spike during holidays. This year, as more families opt out of traveling, and gatherings shrink in size, more Christmas gifts will be delivered to homes across the country. Scammers are highly aware of this and seek to capitalize by disguising their phishing attempts as shipping alerts. These emails or text messages appear to be from the U.S. Postal Service—or other well-known shipping companies like UPS or FedEx—and have all the hallmarks of a legitimate notification. In reality, they are phishing emails that seek to infect your device with a virus or malware that steals your identity and passwords.

 

Protect yourself from falling victim by avoiding links or attachments for any unexpected sender. Be sure to carefully inspect any incoming message that asks for action like this. Additionally, make sure you keep your software and operating system up to date so your device has the latest security updates.

 

Gift card scams: Gift cards, always a popular item this time of the year, are likely to be even more in demand since they are easy items to mail to friends and family. The issue here is that thieves may have gotten to that gift card before you even brought it to the cashier to purchase.

 

Here’s how to avoid having that happen:

  • Buy gift cards from trusted sources to avoid getting fake or stolen cards.
  • Inspect gift cards before you buy to ensure it hasn’t been physically compromised.
  • Keep the receipt, or include it with the card, in case the recipient has a problem trying to redeem it.
  • Report a lost or stolen gift card immediately.

 

Charitable scams: The spirit of the holiday season leads to an increase in charitable giving during December. This year has been difficult on us all and there are many in need of help, so we certainly want to encourage giving. Let’s do it safely. Don’t be rushed into giving over the phone, always research charities before you donate and do not give to anyone who asks you pay in cash, wire money or use a gift card.

 

As we strive to keep ourselves and loved ones safe from COVID-19, let’s also remember to be protect each other from those who seek to exploit the chaos and cash in at the expense of the innocent. I encourage everyone to visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov and familiarize yourselves with these and other holiday scams so you can avoid being a target for criminals.

 

12-11-20 3:43 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

December 11, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – One of the most important duties for legislators is to set spending levels for state agencies.

 

The level of state government spending determines how much of a surplus is left at the end of the fiscal year.

 

One of the legislature’s most important decisions is how much of a surplus to accumulate, and what to do with it. One option is to lower taxes, which lowers the available surplus because it decreases revenue for government. Another option is to spend the surplus on one-time capital projects. It can also be transferred to programs that have been affected by spending cuts.

 

Another option is to place the surplus in a “rainy day” fund, to be available in periods of financial crisis. That option will be seriously considered by legislators during the 2021 regular session that begins in January.

 

The legislature has the constitutional authority to appropriate tax revenue and set government spending levels. That authority is often called “the power of the purse strings.” By designating where tax dollars are spent, the legislature officially determines the state’s priorities on education, transportation, health care, tax rates and many other areas of public policy.

 

As the head of the executive branch, the governor presents a balanced budget plan to the legislature as a starting point. Legislators modify that budget plan to reflect their priorities. When the regular session is finished next spring the state will have an official budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which begins on July 1, 2021.

 

In a letter accompanying his presentation of a balanced budget, the governor proposed increasing the amount in the state’s long-term reserve fund from about $185 million now to about $420 million after the next two fiscal years.

 

General revenue from state taxes will amount to an estimated $5.68 billion this year. It is forecast to increase to $5.8 billion next fiscal and $6 billion the following fiscal year.

 

Larger reserve funds improve the state’s bond ratings, which saves agencies money on building projects. It is well known in state government that Arkansas does not deficit spend, which means that unlike Washington we don’t used borrowed money to pay for ongoing operational costs.

 

However, universities and state agencies issue bonds for buildings and capital improvements. Issuing bonds is a way of borrowing money for one-time expenses. For example, last week the Arkansas Highway Commission voted to refinance a series of bonds in order to take advantage of low interest rates.

 

Over the past five years, tax cuts enacted by the legislature have slowed the growth of state revenue by several hundred million dollars a year.

 

The state is on pace to accumulate a healthy budget surplus, even after taking into account the loss of revenue from those tax reductions, and the drop in tax collections due to the economic effect of the pandemic.

 

Surpluses are created because Arkansas legislators consistently adopt very conservative budgets for state government. Also, Arkansas operates under a balanced budget law called the Revenue Stabilization Act, which requires state agencies to reduce spending if an economic downturn results in reduced revenue from sales and income taxes.

 

12-11-20 11:08 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Dec. 10, 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 noon the day of publication (Dec. 10).

 

****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.

 

12-10-20 4:28 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.

Polk County Sheriff's Report for November 30th - December 6th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of November 30, 2020 – December 6, 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.

 

November 30, 2020

Report of problems involving child custody. Deputy responded.

Report of ongoing problems involving a hunting lease. Deputy responded.

 

December 1, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 299 near Dallas Valley of a missing firearm. Deputy responded.

Report of a telephone scam.

Report from complainant on Peaceful Lane near Dallas Valley of an unauthorized person moving property. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Nancy K. Spencer, 52, of Mena on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

 

December 2, 2020

Report from complainant on Amber Lane near Dallas Valley of mail missing from a mailbox. Deputy responded.

 

December 3, 2020

No reports filed

 

December 4, 2020

Report of problems with a neighbor’s dog on W. Dover near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Yavonne D. Miller, 56, of Mena on a charge of Driving While Intoxicated.

 

December 5, 2020

Report from complainant on Polk 169 near Potter of the theft of a game camera and feed sack. Deputy responded. Items were located and returned to complainant.

Report of a two-vehicle accident on Hwy 8W near Rocky. Deputy responded.

 

December 6, 2020

Report of a one vehicle accident on Hwy 8W near Rocky. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Casey N. Trantham, 23, of Mount Ida, Arkansas on a Warrant for Possession of Meth or Cocaine, Possession of a Schedule IV, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 20 Incarcerated Inmates, with 9 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC20-01114

 

12-7-20 11:45 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Mena Police Report for November 29 - December 5

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of November 29 through December 5, 2020

 

 

November 29

 

Justin Heflin, 34, was charged with Domestic Battery 2nd Degree, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, and Interfering with Emergency Communication after a disturbance call to 7th Street.

 

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

 

November 30

 

A report of theft was taken at The Space Center.

 

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

 

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

 

December 1

 

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

 

Joy Starr, 44, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

A report of fraud was taken from a person at the Armory.

 

Jaden Fussell, 18, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

December 2

 

Aaron Whisenhunt, 29, was charged with Domestic Battery 3rd after a disturbance call to Sarah Way.

 

A report of terroristic threatening was taken from a person at Walmart.

 

December 3

 

Brandon Rose, 23, was charged with Public Intoxication and Criminal Trespass, and Elizabeth Ward, 24, was charged with Public Intoxication after a complaint on Jolie Way.

 

December 4

 

Laine Barber, 26, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) at Walmart.

 

Morgan Trammel, 22, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) at Walmart.

 

December 5

 

Brandon Rose, 23, was charged with Public Intoxication after a complaint on Reeves Street.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

12-7-20 11:07 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Click on the police scanner below to listen to the Mena - Polk Police and Fire Online Scanner, courtesy of KAWX Community Radio.

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, members elected to the 93rd General Assembly convened in the House chamber. The purpose of the organizational meeting was to determine seniority, select seats in the chamber, and select committees.

 

The vast majority of bills introduced during the session are assigned to a standing committee. We have posted the tentative standing committee assignments and the assignments for the Joint Budget Committee, the Joint Auditing Committee, and Arkansas Legislative Council at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

The House Speaker will announce the chairs and vice-chairs of committees on the first day of the session.

 

Upon swearing-in, the 93rd General Assembly will consist of 24 women and 76 men in the Arkansas House of Representatives. In addition, the House will have 22 Democrats and 78 Republicans.

 

House members are elected to serve two-year terms. Each member represents approximately 30,000 Arkansans.

 

Next year, there will be 16 members serving their first full term. This includes a few members who were elected to the 92nd General Assembly in special elections after the 2019 Regular Session. New members will be preparing for the upcoming session during the Legislative Institute held the week of December 7.

 

The longest-serving members will be serving their 6th term next year.

 

This session will be unlike any other. For added safety during the health emergency, we have installed plexiglass partitions around members' desks in the chamber. House and Senate leaders continue to work together to make adjustments to committee rooms and schedules to ensure that members, staff, and the public can continue to proceed in a safe environment.

 

We will be updating you on any changes as we proceed. The process will continue to be transparent. All meetings will be live-streamed and recorded.

 

So far, 20 bills have been filed in the House, and nine bills have been filed in the Senate. We have posted a link to recently filed legislation on our website. It is expected that members will ultimately be voting on more than 1,000 pieces of legislation addressing everything from taxes to congressional redistricting.

 

The 2021 Regular Session begins on January 11. We will continue to keep you updated.

 

12-4-20 6:41 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Spirit of Giving

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Spirit of Giving
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I’d like to talk about the Natural State’s spirit of giving, which I’ve witnessed consistently through the years. When a friend or neighbor is in need, Arkansans show up in a hurry with pickaxes and open wallets.

That’s not just the opinion of a proud governor. According to AspireArkansas.org, a report compiled by the Arkansas Community Foundation, on average, Arkansans give 3.8 percent of their income to nonprofit organizations. Based upon IRS reports, Arkansas’s giving regularly ranks in the top five states nationwide based upon the percentage of income. That is what I call the generous spirit of our state.

COVID-19 has upended our lives and forced us to change and adapt. But it hasn’t diminished the spirt of giving. In the spring, when I encouraged Arkansans to donate to the COVID-19 Relief Fund, $3.6 million poured in over a three-month period. That level of generosity in such a short time is unprecedented in the Community Foundation’s history, according to CEO Heather Larkin.

Despite this generosity, this has been a difficult year for the nonprofit organizations our communities depend upon. The Arkansas Nonprofit COVID-19 Impact Study, conducted this summer, found that 64 percent of nonprofits that responded to the study said that their individual donations had decreased this year, and 64 percent said that they had lost income due to cancellation of programs and events. The study comprised 316 nonprofits of all sizes that serve every county in Arkansas.

The pandemic has delivered a double whammy. As businesses have cut salaries and laid off employees, donations to nonprofits have dropped. As contributions have decreased, the needs of newly unemployed or underemployed Arkansans have increased. Nonprofits also are spending money to meet the requirements of social distancing and increased sanitation.

 Nearly half of the organizations in the survey reported they had applied for the Paycheck Protection Program, and nearly all of those were approved. The survey, taken during the summer, found that seventy percent the organizations were operating at reduced capacity, and eight percent were not able to deliver any services. Food pantries have been hit harder than any time in recent history.

The $3.6 million raised for the COVID-19 Relief Fund provided 746 grants to over 800 nonprofits, which helped struggling Arkansans buy food, secure transportation, and cover other living expenses.

This year, as always, the Salvation Army has stationed its bell ringers and red kettles at the front door of stores all over the state. The Salvation Army’s national commander’s observation reflect what’s happening in our state. The commander says that as the United States is drowning in a tsunami of need, he anticipates a fifty-percent decrease in donations. It’s not because people don’t want to provide support, but it’s because everyone is traveling the same tough path. A decrease in the number of shoppers going to stores in person is further complicating the Salvation Army’s fundraising.

This is the time of year that we are most aware of the suffering around us. This year, the pandemic has magnified and expanded the misfortune. But I am confident that Arkansans will dig deep as they always do and come to the aid of those less fortunate. Tough times don’t diminish our spirit of giving.
 
12-4-20 5:07 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Accounting for our Heroes

Accounting for our Heroes

 

The last time Emily Utterback saw her big brother Samuel Cyrus Steiner was in 1940 when he left home to join the Navy. Because he’d be away for her birthday, he gave her his pocket knife as an early present. During his assignment in Hawaii, he also sent her a handkerchief. It is still one of Emily’s prized possessions because it’s her connection to her brother who went missing in action when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

 

The Little River County, Arkansas native was among the 429 crewmen assigned to the USS Oklahoma who went down with the ship. Steiner’s remains were identified earlier this year and returned to his family last month. This homecoming was made possible by the relentless pursuit of the individuals at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) who are tasked with finding and identifying the remains of men and women who served in uniform.

 

More than 81,000 Department of Defense (DoD) personnel who served from WWII through Operation Iraqi Freedom remain unaccounted for. Leveraging innovative techniques, the agency works to account for those missing using the largest and most diverse skeletal identification laboratory in the world. By partnering with non-governmental organizations and government agencies to conduct research and extensive excavations, it has been able to account for service members in all corners of the globe and bring hope to families. 

 

Several times each year, DoD provides families with information about the ongoing activities and efforts to account for their missing loved ones. In November, the agency hosted a Family Member Update in Little Rock and shared updates with individuals representing 149 personnel. DPAA planned to have an in-person meeting, but launched its inaugural virtual event to comply with public health requirements due to COVID-19.

 

The pandemic has created new hurdles for the agency. Fortunately, the team has been able to continue its forensic analyses that has resulted in the identification of 120 unaccounted personnel in Fiscal Year 2020 including Steiner and fellow Oklahoma sailor Mess Attendant Third Class Isaac Parker from Woodson, Arkansas.

 

The return of these Arkansans to their families has been a long time coming. Navy personnel worked from December 1941 through June 1944 to recover the remains of the fallen. The service members were buried in cemeteries in Hawaii until they were disinterred in 1947 so they could be identified. Only 35 Oklahoma crew members were positively identified and the remains of the other sailors and Marines were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

 

In 2015, forensic advancements prompted the reexamination of remains associated with the Oklahoma. As of early December, 279 members of the ship’s crew have been identified.

 

DPAA personnel will continue looking for those missing in action and give answers to families waiting to hear their loved one has been found. Emily Utterback waited nearly 80 years to hear her brother had been identified. That news came this year on her birthday. We are grateful that Fireman First Class Steiner has returned home. We remain committed to providing closure for the tens of thousands of other families who deserve that same resolution.

 

12-4-20 2:44 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

December 4, 2020

 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas college students who receive lottery scholarships had until the first of October to document successful completion of summer coursework, in order to maintain their eligibility this fall.

 

With the passing of that deadline, the state Department of Higher Education is able to compile a final report to legislators on the numbers and types of students who receive lottery scholarships, which are known as Academic Challenge Scholarships. They are funded mostly with revenue from the sale of lottery tickets.

 

Currently, there are 31,649 students receiving scholarships valued at $90,631,361. Those students had a combined grade point average of 3.49 in high school and an average score of 23.4 on their ACTs. While in college, they have maintained a GPA of 3.07 while earning 25 hours. Their parents’ incomes average $74,041 a year.

 

The ACT is a standardized test used by universities and colleges for admission and placement.

 

The legislature closely monitors scholarship numbers, especially members of the Legislative Council’s Lottery Oversight Committee. After Arkansas voters approved the lottery in 2008, the legislature enacted enabling laws in the 2009 session.

 

Since then lawmakers have changed scholarship amounts and eligibility criteria to maintain the financial viability of the program. Freshmen receive $1,000 and if they maintain their eligibility they receive $4,000 as sophomores and as juniors, and $5,000 as seniors.

 

Students at two-year colleges get $1,000 their first year and $3,000 the second year.

 

The amounts now being awarded are different than students received if they originally were awarded a scholarship before the 2016-2017 school year.

 

There are 19,159 female students getting lottery scholarships, compared to 12,159 male students. The Higher Education Department doesn’t know the gender of 331 students.

 

The state Lottery Office is within the Department of Finance and Administration. Last fiscal year it had operating revenue of $532 million, most of which was returned as prizes to people who bought lottery tickets.

 

Vision Screenings

 

In 2005 the legislature enacted more rigorous standards for screening young students who may have vision problems. Act 1438 of 2005 requires public and charter schools to test students in kindergarten through grade four, as well as sixth and eighth graders. Only certified school nurses may perform the vision screenings.

 

The act also requires regular reports to the legislature. This year Arkansas school nurses screened 251,246 students and 27,387 were referred for follow ups and possible treatment. Children with vision disorders are vulnerable to delays in their learning and development.

 

Revenue Report

 

Arkansas state revenue came in above forecast in November, in spite of the pandemic’s severe economic effect on the hospitality and recreation industry.

Revenue reports are accurate measures of economic activity. For the first five months of the current fiscal year, revenue is up 11.4 percent over last year.

Income tax collections, which reflect job activity, are up 15.5 percent over the same period of last year. Sales tax revenue, which is an indicator of how much people are spending, is up 9.1 percent over last year.

 

Even though revenue numbers were good, the state’s economic forecaster cautions that Arkansas businesses face many unknowns in the second half of the fiscal year.

 

12-4-20 10:23 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Flags To Half Staff In Honor Of NLRPD Officer J.L. Buck Dancy

Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered the Arkansas and United States flags to be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the memory of North Little Rock Police Sergeant J.L. "Buck" Dancy, 62 (shown below), who died in the line of duty on Wednesday, December 2, 2020.

 

The flag will fly at half-staff from today until sunset Tuesday, December 8, 2020, the day of his interment.

 

The full proclamation can be found HERE.

12-3-20 5:43 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Dec. 3, 2020. All Fishing Reports will be published on Thursdays through waterfowl season (ending Jan. 31). 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 noon the day of publication (Dec. 3).

 

****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.

 

12-3-20 4:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Weather