KAWX News Archives for 2021-02

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: PPP Loans' Impact on Arkansas Businesses

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: PPP Loans’ Impact on Arkansas Businesses
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – Today I’d like to talk about the federal Payroll Protection Plan or PPP, which has kept many Arkansas companies alive during the pandemic.

Congress passed the CARES Act to help Americans navigate the pandemic. PPP was one of the programs Congress authorized to assist businesses with loans. The Small Business Administration (SBA) distributes the loans through local banks.

Little Rock business owners such as Vikita Eason and Chris and Samantha Tanner say that without the loan program, they may not have survived.

Vikita was able to pay the two employees of her boutique, and she assisted the three stylists in her salon by eliminating the rent for their booth. Vikita’s landlords have allowed her to pay rent as she can and didn’t raise the rent when she renewed her three-year lease.

The Tanners own three restaurants and employ about 130 people. Mr. Tanner said that “restaurants got pounded,” and the PPP loans allowed many to keep their doors open.

The SBA lent $3.3 billion to more than 42,000 Arkansas businesses and nonprofits, which saved more than 375,000 jobs. A second round of lending opened in January and closes on March 31.

On Monday, President Biden announced his administration has established a two-week window that opened Wednesday; during this period, only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for the forgivable loans.

The SBA has also implemented a loan-forgiveness program that erases the PPP debt for businesses that followed all the guidelines and spent the money for payroll, mortgage, rent, and other eligible expenses. The SBA has forgiven nineteen percent of the loans.

Senator Jonathan Dismang has introduced a bill that would exempt a forgiven PPP loan from state income tax. The Department of Finance says this would cut the state’s general revenue by about $33 million this year and $179 million next year. The House is considering the bill, which has broad support. If the General Assembly passes it, I will sign it into law, and this will provide needed relief for those who have received the PPP loans.

In Arkansas, the pandemic has been another opportunity for Arkansans to help one another. As usual, many Arkansans have shown their humanity. Bankers have helped struggling business owners, and business people have assisted their employees. In the midst of the losses, Arkansans have found new ways to reach out to those in need. Arkansans have lavished compassion on one another, grace upon grace as together we hope for the end of this pandemic.
 
2-26-21 4:14 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Fighting Hunger During a Pandemic Now Even More of a Team Effort

 

The pandemic has shown once again the resiliency, generosity and creativity of Arkansans. Despite coronavirus-imposed physical separation, we know we are stronger together. This has been clearly revealed in the amazing partnerships throughout the state between neighbors, churches, non-profits, businesses and community leaders to reach people in need of healthy, nutritious food.

 

One of the largest food distribution efforts in the state is happening in Fort Smith. In 2020, Antioch for Youth and Family distributed more than 3.5 million pounds of food, including almost one million pounds of fresh produce, milk, dairy and cooked meats provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The collaboration among Feeding America, the River Valley Regional Food Bank and the City of Fort Smith has amounted to more than $6 million worth of food assistance for residents. With regular drive-up events at a local park, Antioch founder Charolotte Tidwell and her team continue to provide this critical service to people who need it most.

 

Similar partnerships have sprouted up all across the state. In February, the City of Little Rock and the non-profit FAB44 joined forces to provide grab-and-go meals at three local fire stations with plans to continue through the summer in an effort to reach at-risk youth in the neighborhoods where they live.

 

Nationwide initiatives to fight hunger and support restaurants are helping right here in Arkansas. Reality TV star Marcus Lemonis launched Plating Change, a program that purchases meals from restaurants to give to people in need of food. He solicited suggestions from his celebrity friends on which establishments top help.

 

Thanks to Arkansas native Mary Steenburgen and her husband, Ted Danson, three Little Rock restaurants received more than $100,000 to prepare and deliver meals.

 

In Northwest Arkansas, we’ve seen inspiring efforts to reach needy families where they live, including a focus on meals for kids. Last year, the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank increased its School Pantry program to meet the growing demand. It started the year serving five schools and, by the end of 2020, was delivering food boxes to students and families at 12 area schools. The School Pantry program served 6,939 households and 34,883 people. That is in addition to more than 19,000 families helped through regular Mobile Pantry efforts and a new Pop-Up Pantry program that delivered food to rural and high-need areas.

 

One special partner for the NWA Food Bank has been the management and chefs at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. When the museum had to close due to COVID-19, the Crystal Bridges team started preparing breakfast and lunch for 300 Springdale elementary students, and helped school staff deliver the meals to their homes. The Crystal Bridges staff also packed food boxes for pantries at their own facility when the food bank could not have volunteers in its warehouse.    

 

The challenges of the last year have caused many of us to think about our most critical needs, including our health, safety and access to food. As leader on the Senate Agriculture Committee and a founder and co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, I am pleased to see cooperation between all levels of government and local organizations to fight food insecurity. Together, we are implementing solutions that save lives and keep people afloat in some of the most difficult days our state and our nation have faced.

 

2-26-21 4:02 p.m. KAWX.ORG

 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

In the 7th week of the 2021 Regular Session, the House passed bills addressing taxes, medical care, scholarships, the duty to retreat, and more.

 

The following tax measures were advanced by the House:

 

  • HB1023-This bill excludes certain school fundraisers from the sales tax laws regulation special events.

 

  • HB1374-This bill amends the law concerning which sales by charitable organizations are exempt from sales and use tax. It allows an organization to exempt sales from up to 10 events. The previous limit was 3.

 

·      SB236-This bill exempts unemployment benefits paid in 2020 and 2021 from state income tax.

 

·      HB1049-This bill allows the state to withhold state income taxes from unemployment benefits starting in 2022.

 

·      HB1361-This bill would exempt COVID-19 relief loans for small businesses, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), from state income tax. 

 

Several bills addressing public health passed this week including:

 

  • HB1434-This bill creates the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Advisory Council. The council will research the needs and services available to the nearly 50,000 Arkansans living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. 

 

  • HB1215-This bill grants full practice authority to certified nurse midwives.

 

  • HB1254-This bill states the Arkansas Medicaid Program shall recognize an advanced practice registered nurse for all purposes as a primary care provider authorized to carry out the duties of a primary care case manager.

 

  • HB1177-This bill authorizes emergency medical services personnel to administer certain emergency prescription medications to a patient with a health condition that requires specialized treatment.

 

We passed two measures aimed at recruiting needed professions in Arkansas.

 

HB102 creates the First Year Medical Student Scholarship Program. It authorizes a one-time scholarship to a medical student who completes their undergraduate requirements for acceptance into medical or osteopathic school within 24 months. After successful completion of their first year of medical training, that student may receive $30,000 to be applied toward the completion of their medical degree.

 

HB1224 establishes the State Crime Laboratory Student Loan Forgiveness Program. This would allow a pathologist to enter a probationary period with the State Crime Lab. After that probationary period, the lab could reimburse the pathologist $25,000 for outstanding student loans for a 2 year contract up and renew the contract for up to $100,000 per pathologist.

 

This week, the House passed SB24. Commonly known as the Stand Your Ground bill, it removes the duty to retreat before using physical or deadly force.

 

Other bills passing the House this week include:

 

  • HB1426-This bill establishes the Arkansas Fair Food Delivery Act. It states that a food delivery platform shall not arrange for the delivery of a food order from a food facility without first entering into an agreement with the food facility expressly authorizing the food delivery platform to take orders and deliver food. 

 

  • SB136-This bill allows public utilities to recognize renewable natural gas and allow gas utilities to remove barriers to purchase the alternative fuel.

 

  • SB165-This bill brings Arkansas law into alignment with federal law to allow termination or cancellation of a residential lease when a soldier or airman is assigned to a permanent change of duty station that is located more than 50 miles from his or her primary residence or when he or she is discharged or released under honorable conditions from active military service.

 

       HB1317-This bill makes it a Class D felony to steal a postal package from the porch or premises of a residence. Currently, the offense is a misdemeanor.

 

Close to 1,000 bills have been filed so far this session and more than 150 bills have been signed into law.

 

We will continue to update you as the session continues. Agendas and links to live streams are posted on our website at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

2-26-21 3:59 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Attorney General Urging Investigation of High Energy Costs

Rutledge: Potential Skyrocketing Energy Costs during Severe Weather Must be Investigated by Public Service Commission

‘Arkansas consumers must not face exorbitant utilities bills’

 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge submitted a letter to the Arkansas Public Service Commission urging it to investigate the cost of power and natural gas incurred by the State’s electric and natural gas utilities during the recent severe winter storms. As the representative of Arkansas consumers, Rutledge is anticipating customer bills will skyrocket in the coming weeks because utility companies paid high prices to third parties in order to meet energy needs during the severe weather.

 

“Arkansas consumers must not face exorbitant utilities bills when the service provider resorted to purchasing energy at excessive prices in spot markets,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Not only do I want to ensure Arkansans do not face skyrocketing bills at no fault of their own, I want to ensure our friends and family are protected and safe if winter weather strikes again.”

 

On Tuesday, Rutledge announced an investigation was opened into Liberty Utilities to review its preparation and actions which resulted in a catastrophic failure of water to customers in Pine Bluff. Prior to this announcement, Rutledge worked with the Pine Bluff Mayor, leadership at Jefferson Memorial, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Saracen Casino and Simmons Bank to immediately address the emergency.

 

2-26-21 10:33 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 25, 2021. 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 9 a.m. the day of publication (Feb. 25).

 

****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

 

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.

 

2-25-21 4:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Special City Council Meeting Called

The Mena City Council will meet in Special Session on Friday, February 26, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.. The meeting will be at Mena City Hall.

 
Agenda items for the Special Meeting are:
 
1. Discuss the purchase, from state bid, of a new one-ton truck to be used as as brush truck for the Mena Fire Department
 
2. Consider bids received to remodel the building purchased for the Mena Police Department
 
3. Consider an Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 616 prescribing Zoning Regulations for the City of Mena to re-zone property located at 422 Pickering Avenue
 
4. Consider the re-appointment of Roger Crider to the Mena Airport Commission for a five-year term to expire 2/26/2026
 
5. Consider the re-appointment of Regina Walker to the Mena Depot Commission for a three-year term to expire 3/4/2024
 
6. Consider the re-appointment of Kathy Adams to the Mena Depot Commission for a three-year term to expire 3/4/2024. 
 
The next regular City Council meeting will be March 16, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at Mena City Hall.
 
2-24-21 4:42 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Tornado Safety Tips for Mobile and Manufactured Home Residents

Mobile homes are not a safe shelter when tornadoes threaten. NOAA and FEMA recommend that mobile and manufactured home residents flee their homes for sturdier shelter before storms with tornadoes hit. On average, a total of 72 percent of all tornado-related fatalities are in homes and 54 percent of those fatalities are in mobile homes. When you are in a mobile home, you are 15 to 20 times more likely to be killed in comparison to when you are in a permanent home. During the January 10th and 11th tornado and high wind event in northwestern Louisiana, four people lost their lives in mobile homes when storms hit the area. EF-1 tornadoes and high-end severe thunderstorm winds can completely destroy mobile and manufactured homes. Regardless of how well built a mobile or manufactured home is built, anchor system failures are the primary cause of the majority of fatalities. Even well-built manufactured homes can be destroyed if they become airborne.

 

If you live in or have family that live in a mobile or manufactured home, it’s important to identify a safer structure to evacuate to before storms hit. Safer structures include single family homes, designated tornado shelters, buildings built with reinforced concrete, and designated community buildings like arenas, churches, and industrial buildings.

 

It’s important that mobile home residents monitor National Weather Service forecasts and review their plan. If you are a mobile or manufactured home resident, you need to know your evacuation route from your home and how long it takes to evacuate to a safer place. The day before, when tornadoes are predicted, coordinate with family and friends to spend time at their home when the storms threaten or identify a community place to go to. When a Tornado Watch is issued, that is the time to be ready to evacuate to your safe place. In many cases, when a Tornado Warning is issued, it may be too dangerous to take your evacuation route, so it's best to evacuate your mobile home before warnings are issued and storms hit.

 

We encourage the following three step plan for these residents:

 

  • Step 1 (Today)-  Monitor National Weather Service forecasts and make a tornado sheltering plan or review your current plan.  Know your evacuation route from your home and how long it takes to evacuate to a safer place.  

 

  • Step 2 (Day Before Severe Weather)- When tornadoes are predicted, coordinate with family and friends to spend time at their home when the storms threaten or identify a community place to go to.  

 

  • Step 3 (Day of Severe Weather)- When a Tornado Watch is issued, that is the time to evacuate to your safe place.  In many cases, when a Tornado Warning is issued, it may be too dangerous to take your evacuation route, so it's best to evacuate your mobile home before warnings are issued and storms hit.

For more information, click here to view a short NWS video about tornado safety for people who live in mobile and manufactured homes. 

 

Mena NOAA Weather Radio Station KXI97 broadcasts on 162.400 MHz and can be heard on police scanners as well as weather radios. There is a stream of the Mena NOAA Radio Station courtesy of KAWX Community Radio. The stream is not intended to replace an acutal NOAA Weather Radio with alerting capabilites, it is intedned to be a convenient way to listen when there is not another option. Similarly, KAWX Community Radio has developed an app called Mena Weather Radio that will allow you to listen to the Mena NOAA Weather Radio Station on your phone or tablet. The app is free and available at the App Store and Google Play.

 

2-24-21 2:07 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena February School Board Meeting Recap

The Mena School Board met on Tuesday night for their February meeting. This meeting was originally scheduled for February 16th but was postponed due to weather.
 
It was a short agenda and as usual the meeting began with the Mr. Benny Weston’s superintendents report. He updated the board on the current legislative session, today’s covid vaccine clinic and a small amount of damage that happened during the recent winter weather event.
 
In new business Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lee Smith addressed the board on the latest info on ESSER 2 funds, including ideas on how those funds will be spent and the approval process. ESSER funds are to be used to close the achievement gap and engage virtual students. The Mena Public Schools currently has a total of 166 students taking advantage of the blended/virtual option. Including 26 at Louise Durham, 19 at Holly Harshman, 28 at Mena Middle School and 93 at Mena High School. Plus 44 that are enrolled in the Polk County Virtual Academy.
 
Next on the agenda was the board candidate filing period. Those board members seeking re-election will have till noon on March 1st to file. The election will be held on May 18th.
 
Weston then updated the board on the updated quarantine guidelines. Most of which dealt with new procedures after vaccination has been completed. Covid numbers in the district have been dropping and following the nationwide trend.
 
Personnel was the final item to be discussed and there were a number of moves made. Those employees submitting their retirement plan included Lori Goodner, Leslie Daniel, Emma Lott, Vicki Maye, Patricia Self, Kathy Smallwood, Joe Bunch and Elizabeth Cox. All were accepted.
 
Next was the renewal of administrative contracts and restructuring. The contracts of principals David Maxwell, Tamara Smart & Jimma Holder were renewed.
 
Those changing positions include Bridget Buckley to assistant superintendent and Todd Coogan to Mena Middle School Principal. Also Shane Torix will have additional duties as administrator of student support services and HHE building manager. Mr. Torix will retain his duties as director of safety and security as well as athletic administrator. Those changes were approved.
 
2-24-21 11:52 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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Mena Spring Clean Up Starts March 16th

The City of Mena Annual Spring Clean-Up is scheduled to begin Tuesday, March 16, 2021. City trucks will pick up items you want to dispose of at no charge.

 

 

This Clean-up service is free for residences within the City limits of Mena only.

 

Materials will not be picked up unless they are placed at the curbside and separated.

 

Street Department crew and equipment will not go onto private property to move or aide in moving items.

 

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO SEPARATE ANY ITEMS THAT YOU WANT TO KEEP AWAY FROM THOSE THAT ARE TO BE DISCARDED (such as trash cans).

 

The following items cannot be picked up: concrete, brick, rocks, dirt, shingles, batteries and construction debris.

 

Please separate your items to be discarded into 5 distinct piles as follows:

 

1. Furniture - - couches, chairs, televisions, window frames, etc.

2. Household trash - - paper items, etc.

(Please place trash cans, that you wish to keep, to one side so that they will not be

disposed of inadvertently).

3. Metal material - - hot water heaters, stoves, appliances, etc.

4. Large yard wastes - - tree limbs, shrubs, etc.

5. Tires.

 

Note – It is required that all small yard debris such as small limbs, gum balls, grass and leaves be placed in garbage bags.

 

The Mena Street Department will begin pick up in the Northwest part of the city and work their way across town following the same routes as Southern Disposal. Trucks will run 1 to 3 days after the day of your normal trash pick-up. The response to this Clean-Up is usually overwhelming, so please be patient if the trucks are running somewhat behind the posted schedule; however, each route will only be covered one time. It is not necessary to call City Hall in order to receive this service.

 

2-24-21 9:15 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Water Utilities Manager Updates and Thanks Mena Customers on Winter Event

 

Mena Water Utilities manager Charles Pitman thanked Mena Water customers for their help during the recent "winter event" and reported that production at the water treatment facility is once again exceeding demand.

 

"Mena Water would like to thank our customers for being patient with us during this winter event. Many customers are without water due to broken pipes and the Utility has had to make several repairs on our water mains. Slowly, production is exceeding demand with our water treatment plant continuing to operate at full capacity. We would especially like to thank our customers that were able to conserve water and those have called in leaks."

 

2-24-21 6:45 a.m. KAWX.ORG

 

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Early Voting Begins Tuesday For Renewal Of Polk County 1% Special Road Tax

Early voting gets underway Tuesday, March 2, 2021 for the Special Election to renew the 1% sales tax in Polk County that is used for county roads and bridges by the County. A portion of the revenue generated by this tax is also distributed to the towns in the County with the amount determined by population. This is not a new tax, only a renewal of an existing one that benefits the County, as well as Mena, Grannis, Hatfield, Cove, Wickes and Vandervoort. 

 

The tax has a built in sunset clause requiring it to be renewed by the voters every seven years.

 

If the renewal passes the Polk County Quorum Court plans to reduce the County Road Property Millage to zero which will reduce property taxes. This will lessen the tax burden on property owners and also let sales tax money collected from visitors pay for some of the road maintenance in the County.

 

Early voting will be at the Polk County Office Complex (old hospital) on Pine Street in Mena and the hours will be 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. March 2nd through the 5th and March 8th.

 
The Election will be March 9, 2021. Vote Centers will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and are listed below.
 

VOTE CENTER #1 ELECTION DAY AND EARLY VOTE SITE VOTE CENTER #6 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)

POLK COUNTY OFFICE COMPLEX (OLD HOSPITAL) HATFIELD AUDITORIUM

601 PINE STREET 117 CEMETERY ROAD

MENA, AR 71953 HATFIELD, AR 71945

 

VOTE CENTER #2 (ELECTION DAY ONLY) VOTE CENTER #7 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)

FIRST BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP HALL COVE TOWN HALL

811 PORT ARTHUR (8TH STREET SIDE) 5568 HWY 71 S.

MENA, AR 71953 COVE, AR 71937

 

VOTE CENTER #3 (ELECTION DAY ONY) VOTE CENTER #8 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)

AMERICAN LEGION BUILDING WICKES COMMUNITY CENTER

3253 HWY 71 N. 136 STEVENSON DR.

MENA, AR 71953 WICKES, AR 71973

 

VOTE CENTER #4 (ELECTION DAY ONLY) VOTE CENTER #9 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)

CONCORD BAPTIST CHURCH GRANNIS TOWN HALL

3467 HWY 88 E. 132 FRACHISEUR ROAD

MENA, AR 71953 GRANNIS, AR 71944

 

VOTE CENTER #5 (ELECTION DAY ONLY)

SALEM BAPTIST CHURCH

115 POLK ROAD 56

MENA, AR 71953

 

2-23-21 2:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG

 
 
 
 
 

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Flags To Half-Staff For 500,000 Americans Lost To COVID-19

Fly the United States Flag at Half-Staff Immediately Until Sunset on Friday, February 26, 2021 Remembering the 500,000 Americans Lost to COVID-19
 
As of this week during the dark winter of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 Americans have now died from the virus. That is more Americans who have died in a single year of this pandemic than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind. We, as a Nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one Nation to defeat this pandemic.
 
In their memory, the First Lady and I will be joined by the Vice President and the Second Gentleman for a moment of silence at the White House this evening. I ask all Americans to join us as we remember the more than 500,000 of our fellow Americans lost to COVID-19 and to observe a moment of silence at sunset. I also hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset February 26, 2021. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
 
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
 
 
                            JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
 
2-22-21 5:32 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Sheriff's Report for February 8-th - 14th and 15th - 21st

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of February 8, 2021 – February 14, 2021. 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.

 

February 8, 2021

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Vandervoort of being harassed. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report of a traffic accident involving the unauthorized use of a vehicle and a runaway juvenile. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 31 near Cove of a telephone scam. Deputy responded.

Arrested by an officer with the Drug Task Force was Joe T. King, 38, of Malvern, Arkansas on charges of Possession of Schedule I or II, Possession of Meth or Cocaine with Purpose to Deliver, Possession of Schedule I or II, Tampering with Physical Evidence and Hold for Other Agency.

 

February 9, 2021

Report of a structure fire on Cloud Lane near Shady Grove. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 69 near Big Fork of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 35 near Hatfield of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Janet A. Marcantel-Hebert, 59, of Mena on a Warrant for Failure to Comply.

 

February 10, 2021

Report of an accident on Polk 76E near Acorn. Deputy responded.

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

Report from complainant on Polk 20W near Cove of the theft of a trailer valued at $1,100.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Martin Lane near Cove of someone shooting in the area. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Jeffery D. Parnell, 60, of Wickes, on a Warrant for Furnishing Prohibited Articles and Failure to Appear.

Arrested was Barbara Hill, 48, of Wickes, on a Charge of Possession of Meth or Cocaine with the Intent to Deliver.

Arrested was David L. Evans, 64, of Wickes, on a Charge of Possession of Meth or Cocaine with the Intent to Deliver.

 

February 11, 2021

Report of a runaway female juvenile. Deputy responded.

Report of an incident involving a rental dispute.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Cove of a missing vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 67 near Big Fork of identity fraud. Deputy responded.

 

February 12, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 168 near Hatfield of the theft of tools and various items in the amount of $1998.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 76E near Acorn of a dog being shot. Deputy responded.

Report of an unattended death on Hwy 71S near Grannis. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 69 near Big Fork of a domestic dispute. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Dylan R. Barrett, 28, of Vandervoort on a Warrant for Rape.

 

February 13, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 178 near Acorn of a domestic altercation. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report from complainant on Polk 169 near Potter of vehicle fire. Deputy responded.

Report of a structure fire on Hwy 88E near Ink. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on West Dover near Hatfield of a domestic assault led to the arrest of Chelsi A. Westfall, 29, of Hatfield on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.

Report from complainant on Polk 35 near Hatfield of a break-in and theft of various items. Deputy responded.

Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Heather N. Turbeville, 26, of Mena on a Body Attachment Warrant and a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

 

February 14, 2021

Report of a vehicle being side swiped on Hwy 270 near Acorn.

Report of receiving threatening text messages. Deputy responded.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked three vehicle accidents this week. Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 13 Incarcerated Inmates, with 7 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00127

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of February 15, 2021 – February 21, 2021. 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.

 

February 15, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 74 near Acorn of the theft of copper wire valued at $100.00. Deputy responded.

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

Report of a vehicle accident on Hwy 246W near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

 

February 16, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 141 near Cove of a domestic disturbance led to the arrest of Bradley Brumfield, 30, of Cove on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

 

February 17, 2021

Report of an unattended death on Polk 76W near Acorn. Deputy responded.

 

February 18, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 69 near Big Fork of a domestic dispute led to the arrest of James B. Boling, 36, of Mena on a Charge of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree and to the arrest of Amanda M. Boling, 23, of Mena on Charges of Domestic Battery 3rd Degree, Failure to Comply, and Public Intoxication.

Report of a disturbance on Hwy 71N near Acorn. Deputies responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Potter of being scammed on social media. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 58 near Board Camp of break-in at a camper. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 659 near Board Camp of the fraudulent use of a credit card. Deputy responded.

 

February 19, 2021

Report of an incident involving child custody. Deputy responded.

 

February 20, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 659 near Board Camp of the theft of two firearms valued at $650.00. Deputy responded.

 

February 21, 2021

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Vandervoort of shots being fired at property. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 117 near Acorn of the theft of items from a trailer. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Bunyard Lane near Ink of an incident involving trespassing. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71N near Acorn of a prowler. Deputy responded.

Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Alban R. Beckwith, 28, of Cove, on Charges of Driving on a Suspended Drivers License, Fleeing in a Vehicle, Fleeing on Foot, No Proof of Insurance, Failure to Register, three Warrants for Criminal Contempt and a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked three vehicle accidents this week. Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 13 Incarcerated Inmates, with 7 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00145

 

2-22-21 3:18 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

 

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Rutledge Proposes "The GIRLS Act", Would Limit Girl's Sports To Girls Only

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today proposed legislation to ensure equity in women’s sports in the State. The draft legislation is titled “The GIRLS Act” (Gender Integrity Reinforcement Legislation for Sports Act) and seeks to protect access to athletic opportunities for girls and women in K-12 and post-secondary institutions. If passed, it would ensure fair competition by limiting girls’ sports to girls and women’s sports to women in as evidenced by an original birth certificate.

 

“As a mom of a two-and-a-half year old girl, and having grown up playing a number of sports, I know first-hand the benefit that sports has on developing self-discipline, confidence, teamwork and leadership,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This proposed legislation would make sure that young women in Arkansas can compete on a level playing field—no matter what sport they choose.”

 

During his first days in office, President Biden signed Executive Order 13988, entitled Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. By signing this executive action, the Biden Administration signaled that it intends to require schools to allow biological boys who self-identify as girls onto girls’ sports teams.

 

By creating protected space for girls and women’s sports, the legislation proposed by Rutledge’s office provides opportunities for girls and women to demonstrate their skill, strength and athletic abilities while also providing them with opportunities to obtain recognition, accolades, college scholarships and the many other long-term benefits that flow from athletic achievement.

 

The proposed bill allows anyone who, as a result of a violation of the legislation, is deprived of athletic opportunities or suffers any other harm to seek a court order stopping the violation along with damages and attorney’s fees in a lawsuit against any Arkansas school that violates the legislation.

The lead sponsors of the bill are Senator Missy Irvin of Mountain View and Representative DeAnn Vaught of Horatio.

 

2-22-21 2:14 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for February 14th - 20th

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of February 14th through February 20th, 2021

 

 

February 14

 

A report of forgery was taken from Medi-Shop Pharmacy.

 

Abram Abernathy, 30, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) at Walmart.

 

February 15

 

Cheyenne Smith, 26, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting).

 

February 16

 

A death investigation report was taken at a residence on Sarah Way.

 

February 17

 

No reports.

 

February 18

 

Rachel Tarkinton, 23, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and served with a warrant at the Walmart parking lot.

 

February 19

 

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

 

February 20

 

No reports.

 

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

 

2-22-21 9:28 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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Mena Water Customers Asked To Conserve Water, Report Leaks

Mena Water Utilities manager Charles Pitman is asking for the help of Mena Water customers as they deal with issues in the aftermath of record cold temperatures and snow recently. Pitman is asking that customers conserve water and report leaks to the Water Department.

 
"Customers of Mena Water, we need your help! Due to the bitter cold weather, we have been running the water treatment plant at full capacity for several days now to keep up with the demand from customers that have had to run their water to keep it from freezing and, unfortunately, due to customers’ broken pipes. Additionally, we have had to repair one main break so far. We anticipate more main breaks and potentially more customer line breaks in the next couple of days as the ground thaws. In an effort to keep the water flowing to as many customers as possible, we ask that you conserve water in your home if possible. The overnight temperatures are not predicted to drop below freezing so if our customers can safely turn off dripping faucets and hold off on extra water usage for the next couple of days, it will help us keep more customers with running water for the essentials. Additionally, as the snow melts, please let us know if you think you see water running in the street or ditches where you do not typically see it as those are potentially the main water line leaks we are looking for. Our emergency phone number, which is answered 24 hours a day is 479-394-2769 or during regular business hours, the office number is 479-394-2761. We appreciate everyone’s help during this record-breaking winter event."
 
2-21-21 7:13 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Rare Winter Storm of 2021

The Rare Winter Storm of 2021
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – We still have eight days left in February, and already this is the third snowiest month in Little Rock since we started keeping records in the 1800s. And it is one of the most severe snowstorms statewide as well.

The snow and cold temperatures forced utility companies to employ rolling power outages to reduce the strain on our energy system around the state, and as a result, thousands of homes and businesses lost electricity for a limited amount of time. In addition, low pressure in a supply line cut off natural gas service to 2,300 residents of Pea Ridge, which left many of them without heat.

This record-breaking storm illustrates the degree to which states depend upon each other in a natural crisis, whether it’s an event such as the historic flood of 2019 or a bone-chilling winter storm such as this one. Arkansas was one of more than a dozen states that has endured several days of subfreezing temperatures, and all of this put pressure on energy supplies across the region.

In an effort to reduce the load on the grid before the rolling outages, Entergy, SWEPCO, and other power companies encouraged customers to use only the lights necessary, to set thermostats at sixty-five degrees to sixty-eight degrees, and to delay laundry, dishwashing, and baths until the weather relented.

Peter Main, a spokesman for Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), noted in a newspaper interview that energy doesn’t come just from “the power plant next door.”

He said, “What we do in Arkansas helps other states, and what folks do in North Dakota helps Arkansas. It's a matter of small adjustments by each individual.”

How bad was this storm? Gurdon had the most snow in Arkansas with twenty-one inches. Fayetteville set a record with a low temperature of twenty degrees below zero. Little Rock’s fifteen-inch snowfall tied a record from 1918, but the capital city’s low temperature of one-degree below zero wasn’t the coldest ever. Fort Smith’s low of eight-degrees below is its seventh coldest recorded temperature.

The weather has kept many of our road crews away from home for the entire week, and we are grateful for their service. The crew in Maumelle has been working in two shifts and sleeping in the city’s bunk house. Power company linemen have been tromping through snowy woods and climbing ice-covered poles to repair lines. Our police officers have been rescuing drivers and working dozens of accidents at great risk.

As disruptive as this storm has been, it also produced beautiful sights and sounds that we don’t often enjoy in Arkansas. There is something special about the beauty of snow-covered hills and trees. The paved streets have been empty; the traffic is on hills all over the state, and we see our kids – the young ones and the adult ones as well – slide down hills on red Flexible Flyers and brown cardboard boxes.

This rare winter storm soon will be history, and I know it has caused a hardship for many, but I hope that it has produced some warm memories as well.
 
2-19-21 5:15 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

From the workers clearing our roads to the utility employees doing their best to keep houses warm, we want to extend our deepest appreciation to our essential workers this week.

 

The General Assembly took an extended recess due to the winter weather across our state. However, House members plan to be back at the Capitol on February 22.

 

In the upcoming days, the House is expected to vote on two tax relief bills which were advanced by the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on February 9.

 

SB236 would exempt unemployment benefits paid in 2020 and 2021 from state income tax.

 

In previous years, an average of 45,000 Arkansans received unemployment. Last year, due to the pandemic, more than 280,000 Arkansans received unemployment benefits. That is approximately 18% of Arkansas taxpayers and $2.6 billion in payments. Taxes are not withheld from unemployment benefits. 

 

SB236 would ensure those Arkansans would not have to pay state taxes on those benefits they received this year and in 2020. The Department of Finance and Administration estimates the bill will have a $51 million impact on revenue for the current fiscal year.

 

SB236 passed the Senate with unanimous support.

 

Another tax relief bill before the House next week is HB1361.

 

HB1361 would exempt COVID-19 relief loans for small businesses, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), from state income tax. 

 

More than 42,000 PPP loans totaling $3.3 billion were distributed to small businesses in Arkansas last year. These loans are currently exempt from federal income tax.

 

The unemployment rate in Arkansas is now 4.2%. Recent reports show our state general revenue is $298.7 million or 8.4% more than this time last year. 

 

Net available revenue is 12.3% above forecast. The results include collection increases tied to the income tax due date shift to July from April in the prior fiscal year. These reports help to guide our decision making when considering tax cut proposals.

 

As a reminder, you can find agendas and links to live streams for all House committee and floor proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

2-19-21 4:53 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Recognizing the Women of the 6888th

Recognizing the Women of the 6888th

 

February is Black History Month—a time to reflect on the influence of African Americans in our history and celebrate their achievements and contributions to the fabric of our nation. We honor the sacrifices of such brave men and women who persevered through countless challenges and we celebrate these champions of equality for all Americans. One such trailblazer, Anna Mae Wilson Robertson, was a member of the historic 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion.

 

Robertson was one of 16 women from Arkansas to serve in the “Six Triple Eight,” the first and only all-female, all-black battalion to be deployed overseas during World War II. The unit performed essential and meaningful duties during the conflict.

 

American troops serving abroad were desperate to hear from loved ones, but with soldiers continuously on the move and fighting on the frontlines, the chaos and uncertainty affected the postal system's ability to deliver mail.

 

To address the backlog, the War Department expanded the role of African American women in the war by allowing overseas postings. Deployment to Europe was considered an honor that white servicewomen already had. It took years of lobbying by civil rights activists and an overrun postal system before these women earned the same opportunity.

 

The Women's Army Corps launched the Six Triple Eight in November 1944 with 824 enlisted personnel and 31 officials. Two months later the women were on their way across the Atlantic Ocean to their assignment. The battalion's accommodations in Birmingham, England were grim. These soldiers found themselves working and sleeping in old schools with no heat and little light. Yet, the resolve of the Six Triple Eight did not waiver. Fueling them was their motto, "No Mail, Low Morale," which stemmed from the belief they were not only handling mail, but the very items that motivated and inspired troops to continue the fight.

 

The battalion's tireless determination to process the stockpile of mail was reflected in how quickly it accomplished the assignment. Working eight-hour shifts for seven days a week, the women completed their mission in half the time one military official predicted it would take, finishing in three months. The pioneering unit’s service continued in Rouen, France where it successfully cleared the backlog of mail again in three months.

 

In recent years, the women of the Six Triple Eight have begun to receive the attention and recognition they deserve for their service. After leaving the Army, Robertson called Wisconsin home and supported veterans as a nurse’s aide at the Milwaukee VA Center. The local news reported that Robertson had received her service medals in 2014. In November 2018, she was one of five surviving members of the battalion to participate in the dedication of a monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas recognizing the 6888th.

 

We should all be inspired by the courage, determination and willingness of Robertson and her fellow servicemembers to serve a higher calling. That’s why last Congress I supported legislation to award the women of the Six Triple Eight the Congressional Gold Medal. I will continue to advocate that they receive this honor. Such recognition would be a fitting tribute to commemorate the legacy of these trailblazing Americans.

 

2-19-21 4:49 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Here are the 43 Constitutional Amendments Proposed in Arkansas

A total of 43 constitutional amendments have been proposed at the Arkansas Legislature this year. Lawmakers can refer up to three of these constitutional amendments to voters for consideration. The three amendments selected from these 43 measures would appear on the 2022 General Election ballot.

Our team has reviewed and summarized each of the 43 proposed measures currently in play in Little Rock. Below is a breakdown of each proposed constitutional amendment. Family Council supports some of these measures; we oppose others; and we have no position on most of them. As noted below, it is possible Family Council’s position on some measures could change as proposals are amended or new information comes to light.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments Family Council Supports

H.J.R.1006 by Rep. Frances “Fran” Cavenaugh (R-AR-060)

H.J.R. 1006 amends the Arkansas Constitution to permit voters to recall elected officials and judges in Arkansas. Upon initial review, Family Council supports this amendment.

H.J.R.1010 by Rep. Joe Cloud (R-AR-071)

H.J.R. 1010 amends the Arkansas Constitution to remove authorization of a casino in Pope County. This is a good amendment that will help curtail casino gambling in Arkansas. Family Council supports H.J.R. 1010.

H.J.R.1011 by Rep. Joe Cloud (R-AR-071)

H.J.R. 1011 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It changes the casino amendment that authorizes casino gambling in Pope, Jefferson, Garland, and Crittenden counties. Under H.J.R. 1011, the Arkansas Racing Commission would not issue a casino license in Pope County unless the voters of the county approve conducting casino gaming at a local election. Family Council supports H.J.R. 1011.

H.J.R.1018 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-AR-087), Sen. Jane English (R-AR-034)

H.J.R. 1018 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It clarifies that proceeds from the Arkansas Lottery may be used to fund scholarships and grants to students at vocational-technical and technical institutes. Currently, lottery scholarships are only available to students enrolled in public or private two-year and four-year colleges and universities. Family Council supports legislation that ensures lottery-funded scholarships are managed responsibly. We support H.J.R. 1018.

H.J.R.1024 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057), Sen. Jason Rapert (R-AR-035)

H.J.R. 1024 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution.

H.J.R.1025 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057)

H.J.R. 1025 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It says that the sanctity of life is paramount to all other rights protected by the constitution. It states that Arkansas citizens, acting as jurors, have the sole authority to determine the amount of compensation or civil penalty imposed because of injuries resulting in death or resulting from acts that create a significant risk to life. H.J.R. 1025 will help prevent the State of Arkansas from placing a price tag on human life. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment.

S.J.R.14 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-AR-035), Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057)

S.J.R. 14 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It prevents the government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion. The measure is similar to Arkansas’ state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Family Council strongly supports this good amendment to the Arkansas Constitution.

S.J.R.16 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013)

S.J.R. 16 would amend the Arkansas Constitution to require public schools to designate their athletic teams as “male” or “female,” and require student athletes to compete according to their biological sex. This would prevent boys who claim to be girls from competing in girls’ sports at school — and vice versa. Family Council supports this measure.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments Family Council Opposes

H.J.R.1008 by Rep. DeAnn Vaught (R-AR-004)

H.J.R. 1008 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It requires initiatives and referenda submitted to voters via petition drives to be approved by at least 60% of the votes cast on the measure in order to pass. However, it would not require constitutional amendments submitted by the General Assembly to be approved by 60% of the vote. Family Council opposes this measure.

H.J.R.1014 by Rep. Lee Johnson (R-AR-075), Sen. Missy Irvin (R-AR-018)

H.J.R. 1014 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to cap non-economic and punitive damages that courts can award when a person is injured or killed through someone else’s negligence. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, H.J.R. 1014 makes it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to put a price tag on human life. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment.

H.J.R.1015 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093), Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-AR-005)

H.J.R. 1015 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment.

S.J.R.7 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-AR-005), Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093)

S.J.R. 7 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment.

S.J.R.8 by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-AR-018), Rep. Lee Johnson (R-AR-075)

S.J.R. 8 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to cap non-economic and punitive damages courts can award when a person is injured or killed through someone else’s negligence. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, S.J.R. 8 makes it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to put a price tag on human life. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment.

S.J.R.9 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-AR-005), Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093)

S.J.R. 9 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It gives the Arkansas Legislature the power to set rules about pleading, practice, procedure, and evidence for all courts in Arkansas. Family Council has never opposed responsible lawsuit reforms. However, giving the Arkansas Legislature the ability to restrict evidence that can or cannot be used in court may make it difficult or impossible for people to obtain justice in court. Family Council opposes this proposed constitutional amendment.

Proposed Constitutional Amendments On Which Family Council Has No Position

H.J.R.1001 by Rep. Frances “Fran” Cavenaugh (R-AR-060), Sen. Breanne Davis (R-AR-016)

H.J.R. 1001 amends the Arkansas Constitution to let the General Assembly convene itself into session if the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate issue a joint proclamation calling the legislature into assembly. Currently, special sessions of the Arkansas Legislature can only be called by the governor. Family Council is neutral on H.J.R. 1001.

H.J.R.1002 by Rep. David Tollett (R-AR-012)

H.J.R. 1002 amends the Arkansas Constitution concerning ad valorem property tax assessments for the benefit of school districts. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1003 by Rep. Michelle Gray (R-AR-062), Sen. James Sturch (R-AR-019)

H.J.R. 1003 amends the Arkansas Constitution concerning taxes for the construction, operation, and improvement of public libraries. Family Council is neutral on H.J.R. 1003.

H.J.R.1004 by Rep. Stephen Meeks (R-AR-067)

H.J.R. 1004 amends the Arkansas Constitution concerning mill tax on real and personal property. Family Council is neutral on H.J.R. 1004.

H.J.R.1005 by Rep. David Ray (R-AR-040), Sen. Bart Hester (R-AR-001)

H.J.R. 1005 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It requires initiatives, referenda, constitutional amendments, and referred measures submitted to voters to be approved by at least 60% of the votes cast on the measure in order to pass. Family Council is currently neutral on this measure, pending amendments that may be made to it.

H.J.R.1007 by Rep. Fredrick “Fred” Love (D-AR-029)

H.J.R. 1007 amends the Arkansas Constitution to create the Citizens Commission on the Minimum Wage. The commission would have the sole authority to increase the minimum wage in Arkansas. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1009 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093)

H.J.R. 1009 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It amends the name, membership, powers, and duties of the State Highway Commission. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1012 by Rep. John Payton (R-AR-064)

H.J.R. 1012 amends the Arkansas constitution to revise the duties of certain constitutional officers. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1013 by Rep. John Payton (R-AR-064)

H.J.R. 1013 amends the Arkansas constitution to revise the duties of certain constitutional officers. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1016 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093)

H.J.R. 1016 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It is a “shell” amendment at this time, and it does not contain any actual provisions. Family Council will take a position on this measure if and when provisions are added to it.

H.J.R.1017 by Rep. Jim Dotson (R-AR-093)

H.J.R. 1017 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It is a “shell” amendment at this time, and it does not contain any actual provisions. Family Council may take a position on this measure if and when provisions are added to it.

H.J.R.1019 by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-AR-087), Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R-AR-006)

H.J.R. 1019 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It clarifies that candidates for the Arkansas Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Circuit Court, and District Court shall be elected on a partisan basis rather than on a non-partisan basis. Family Council has no position on this measure.

H.J.R.1020 by Rep. Josh Miller (R-AR-066)

H.J.R. 1020 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It is a “shell” amendment at this time, and it does not contain any actual provisions. Family Council may take a position on this measure if and when provisions are added to it.

H.J.R.1021 by Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-AR-017)

H.J.R. 1021 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It repeals language in the state constitution permitting slavery or involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. Family Council is neutral on this measure.

H.J.R.1022 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057)

H.J.R. 1022 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It is a “shell” amendment at this time, and it does not contain any actual provisions. Family Council may take a position on this measure if and when provisions are added to it.

H.J.R.1023 by Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057), Sen. Jason Rapert (R-AR-035)

H.J.R. 1023 amends the Arkansas Constitution to say that Arkansans have a fundamental right to keep and bear arms. Family Council supports the Second Amendment, but we currently have no position on this measure.

S.J.R.1 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013)

S.J.R. 1 amends the Arkansas Constitution. It lets municipalities use short-term financing options to acquire fire trucks. Family Council is neutral on this measure.

S.J.R.10 by Rep. Frances “Fran” Cavenaugh (R-AR-060), Sen. Breanne Davis (R-AR-016)

S.J.R. 10 amends the Arkansas Constitution to let the General Assembly convene itself into session if the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate issue a joint proclamation calling the legislature into assembly. Currently, special sessions of the Arkansas Legislature can only be called by the governor. Family Council is neutral on S.J.R. 10.

S.J.R.11 by Sen. Greg Leding (D-AR-004), Rep. Jay Richardson (D-AR-078)

S.J.R. 11 is a proposed constitutional amendment. It would change Arkansas’ laws governing rental agreements, landlords, and tenants. Family Council is neutral on this constitutional amendment.

S.J.R.12 by Sen. Greg Leding (D-AR-004)

S.J.R. 12 would amend the Arkansas Constitution concerning the qualifications to vote in an election. The measure is a “shell” bill, and it currently does not contain any provisions. Family Council is neutral on this measure at this time.

S.J.R.13 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-AR-035), Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057)

S.J.R. 13 amends the Arkansas Constitution to say that Arkansans have a fundamental right to keep and bear arms. Family Council supports the Second Amendment, but we currently have no position on this measure.

S.J.R.15 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013)

S.J.R. 15 amends the Arkansas Constitution to require the governor to call a special session of the Arkansas Legislature when issuing an executive order or proclamation declaring an emergency. The special session would give the Arkansas Legislature an opportunity to consider legislation related to the emergency. Family Council is neutral on this measure.

S.J.R.17 by Sen. Bob Ballinger (R-AR-005), Rep. Justin Gonzales (R-AR-019)

S.J.R. 17 would amend the Arkansas Constitution concerning the review of the constitutionality of certain federal actions before the federal actions are implemented in Arkansas. The measure is a “shell” bill, and it currently does not contain any provisions. Family Council is neutral on this measure at this time.

S.J.R.18 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013)

S.J.R. 18 would propose an amendment to the United States Constitution limiting the U.S. Supreme Court to nine justices. Family Council is neutral on this measure at this time.

S.J.R.2 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013)

S.J.R. 2 amends the Arkansas Constitution to make it possible for the Arkansas Legislature to convene itself into special session if a majority of the legislators sign a petition submitted to the governor calling for a special session. Currently, special sessions of the Arkansas Legislature can only be called by the governor. Family Council is neutral on this measure.

S.J.R.3 by Sen. Alan Clark (R-AR-013)

S.J.R. 3 amends the Arkansas Constitution to permit the State of Arkansas to be sued just like any other entity and taken to court. Family Council is currently neutral on S.J.R. 3.

S.J.R.4 by Sen. Mark Johnson (R-AR-015)

S.J.R. 4 amends the Arkansas Constitution to require the General Assembly to provide laws establishing, maintaining, and supporting free public schools. Family Council is neutral on S.J.R. 4.

S.J.R.5 by Sen. Jason Rapert (R-AR-035)

S.J.R. 5 amends the Arkansas Constitution concerning the manner in which primary elections are conducted. The measure is a “shell” bill, and it currently does not contain any provisions. Family Council is neutral on this measure at this time.

S.J.R.6 by Sen. Clarke Tucker (D-AR-032), Rep. Jimmy Gazaway (R-AR-057)

S.J.R. 6 would amend the Arkansas Constitution. It requires the Arkansas Legislature to enact laws revising the election process for primary elections, special primary elections, and general elections. It also requires the legislature to enact laws establishing the process for choosing delegates that will nominate presidential candidates and electors for the President and Vice President of the United States. Family Council currently has no position on this proposed constitutional amendment.

 

2-19-21 4:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG

Arkansas Family Council 

 

 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague
February 19, 2021


LITTLE ROCK – The deadline for legislators to file proposed constitutional amendments has passed, and the Senate and House Committees on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs will begin narrowing the list that will be placed on the next general election ballot.


In each regular session the General Assembly may refer up to three proposals to voters. A fourth proposed amendment is allowed if it affects legislative salaries.


Of the 42 proposed amendments that have been filed, many fall within the two major categories of tort reform and the ballot initiative process.


Generally, tort reform refers to efforts to limit the amount of punitive damages that may be awarded in civil lawsuits, especially in personal injury and wrongful death claims. Also, tort reform includes changes in courtroom procedures, such as rules of evidence


Some proposed amendments, if approved by voters, would authorize the legislature to limit punitive damages in civil suits and to restrict the filing of frivolous lawsuits.


Attorneys and judges likely will oppose any attempt by legislators to limit their ability write their own rules for the courtroom. Traditionally, business groups have supported tort reform efforts in Arkansas and nationwide.


The Arkansas Constitution also allows citizens to change laws, through initiated acts, and to amend the Constitution, through amendments. Supporters gather signatures for ballot measures, and after it is verified that the signatures belong to registered voters, the proposals are placed on the ballot.


It requires more signatures to place a proposed amendment on the ballot than an initiated act.


There has been growing concern among policy makers that out-of-state special interests can abuse our ballot initiative process by paying canvassers to gather signatures and then by flooding the state with deceptive commercials.


Legislators have filed proposed amendments to prevent abuse and fraud, while still protecting the rights of citizens to change the Constitution.


One proposed amendment that will be considered in the next few weeks would require measures placed on the ballot by citizens’ groups to gain 60 percent of the votes for approval.


Another proposed amendment would allow the legislature to call itself into special session. Now, only the governor has the constitutional power to call a special session. That gives the governor’s office added influence in setting the agenda for special sessions


During a special session, the legislature may consider only those items that the governor has included in the call for special session.


Some legislators have voiced frustration this year because they believed the legislature was excluded from important decisions about how to best respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. That frustration partly accounts for the number of proposed amendments that would shift the balance of power between the governor, the head of the executive branch, and the General Assembly, the legislative branch.


Another proposed amendment would allow lottery scholarships to be awarded to students in technical institutes and vo-tech schools. Another would provide for maintenance of libraries; another would allow voters to recall elected officials; another would change the powers of the Highway Commission. Others would affect the setting of rates and the collection of property taxes.


Other amendments would establish a fundamental right for citizens to bear arms and to exercise their religious freedom.

 

2-19-21 4:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 18, 2021. 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 9 a.m. the day of publication (Feb. 18).

 

 

****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.

 

2-18-21 6:41 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Mena Police Report for February 7th - 13th

Mena Police Department reports for the week of February 7th through February 13th, 2021

 

February 7

 

Floyd Knight, 38, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

Richard Adair, 41, was charged with DWI, Refuse to Submit to BAC, Careless/Prohibited Driving, No Insurance, No Vehicle License after a traffic stop at the intersection of 10th Street and Elm Avenue.

 

A traffic stop was made on Bethesda Road. John Robertson, 46, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, No Liability Insurance, Driving on Suspended License, Fictitious Vehicle License, and served with a warrant. Brandon Rose, 23, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and served with three warrants. Elizabeth Ward, 24, was charged with Public Intoxication and served with a warrant.

 

February 8

 

Three juveniles were charged with Curfew Violation at 4th Street and Oak Avenue.

 

Jason White, 38, was served with two warrants at the police department.

 

February 9

 

Mykos Pearce, was charged with Criminal Trespass at Walmart.

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken at a residence on Hidden Valley Road.

 

A report of breaking or entering, theft, and theft of a firearm was taken at a residence on Morgan Street.

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken at a residence on Valley View Drive.

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken at a residence on Hidden Valley Road.

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken at a residence on Hidden Valley Road.

 

February 10

 

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

 

Torri Veal, 27, and Jimmy Davis, 45, were charged with disorderly conduct after a disturbance call to Executive Inn.

 

February 11

 

Kristalyn Caudill, 30, was served with three warrants after a traffic stop on Highway 71 at Dequeen Street.

 

A death investigation report was taken at a residence on Janssen Avenue.

 

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

 

A Search Warrant was served at a residence on Pine Avenue. Eddie Clovis, 36, was charged with Possession of Meth, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Theft by Receiving, Commercial Burglary, and three counts of Breaking or Entering. Also, Jakki Hellyer, 28, was charged with Commercial Burglary, and Theft by Receiving.

 

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

 

A Search Warrant was served at a residence on Mama-Mia Drive. Justin Close, 33, was charged with Disregarding a Stop Sign, two counts of Theft of Property, Theft by Receiving, Breaking or Entering, and Possession of Marijuana.

 

February 12

 

Gary Smith, 43, was charged with Criminal Trespass at Walmart.

 

A report of Commercial Burglary was taken at Washburn’s.

 

Jason Rosson, 39, was charged with Violation of a Court Order at Bunch’s Car Wash.

 

A report of battery and assault was taken at a residence on Evans Circle.

 

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

 

2-16-21 10:13 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Wood Pellet Industry on Fire in Arkansas

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Wood Pellet Industry on Fire in Arkansas
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – A company that produces wood pellets for grilling has announced it will open a plant in Hope this year, and today I’d like to talk about the wood-pellet industry in Arkansas and what it means for this state.

Wood pellets are manufactured from sawdust, shavings, and other sweepings from sawmill floors as well as from timber that is too small or otherwise not suitable for milling. Initially, the pellets were used for heating and producing energy, but some companies, such as Fiber Energy Products in Mountain View, produce food-grade pellets for grilling.

Wood pellets are a sustainable fuel and produce fewer carbons, which makes the pellets a clean source of energy; and the temperature of a pellet fire is easier to control than a log fire.

The pellets resemble rabbit food. The manufacturing process begins with hammermilling, which pulverizes the wood scraps, which are then dried, hammermilled again, and then pressed into molds to form the pellets.

Highland Pellets, a company in Pine Bluff, began producing wood pellets in December 2016. Brian Reed, manager for fiber procurement, said Highland ships its pellets to the United Kingdom, which has required all its coal-fired power plants to convert to cleaner, sustainable fuels.  

Fiber Energy, which produces pellets for the outdoor grill, sells pellets made from hickory, apple, cherry, mesquite, oak, and pecan.

On Wednesday, the family owned Dansons company announced it will open a plant to produce food-grade wood pellets in Hope. Dan Thiessen founded Dansons with his sons in 1999 to convert sawmill waste into animal bedding and wood-pellet fuel. The company also builds pellet-burning barbecue pits, which it will distribute from its plant in Hope. Dansons will produce pellets made from cherry, maple, white oak, elm, sweet gum, sassafras, and mesquite.

Dansons estimates that over the next three years, it will create fifty to one hundred jobs in Hope, which has a population of 10,000 and an unemployment rate of about 4.6 percent.

At least two other Arkansas companies produce wood pellets – Fiber Resource in Pine Bluff and Biomass in Monticello.

The wood-pellet industry is a perfect fit for Arkansas. It’s another tool for managing our forests. It reduces sawmill waste by creating another product from the scraps. It creates another market that allows landowners to sell small diameter trees that generally aren’t valuable. The pellet plants need wood. Arkansas has wood. The plants need employees. Arkansas offers a solid workforce. The top reason it’s a good fit, perhaps, is that pelleters are producing wood pellets for grilling, and we Arkansans love our barbecue.
 
2-15-21 6:44 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Man Killed In Friday Night Crash

A two vehicle crash in Polk County left a Mena man dead Friday night, February 12th. According to the Arkansas State Police report, two vehicles were eastbound on Highway 375 near Polk county Road 37 around 9:45 p.m. when a 2003 Dodge Dakota attempted to pass a 2008 Ford. The Dodge struck the Ford, left the roadway and struck a tree and caught on fire entrapping the driver and resulting in his death. The driver of the Ford was not injured.

 

The victim is identified in the crash report as 67 year old Jerry Don Lane of Mena.

 

The other driver was not identified in the report.

 

The accident was investigated with Arkansas State Police Senior Corporal Mike D. Thomas.

 

2-14-21 5:00 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Helping our Farmers, Ranchers and Rural America Succeed

 

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry has a well-deserved reputation as being among the most bipartisan places on Capitol Hill. It is a place where committee members actually sit down around a table, hash out our differences and create policy that is good for American agriculture.

 

Since much of Congress’s work is often marred in gridlock, the bipartisan accomplishments of the Senate Ag Committee are often easy to miss. The result of the collaborative approach which has traditionally defined the committee’s work is perhaps best exemplified by the record amount of “yea” votes cast in the Senate for the 2018 Farm Bill.

 

The retirement of former Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) leaves some big shoes to fill on the Republican side of the dais. As I step into the role of Ranking Member on the committee, I pledge to continue the spirit of cooperation he admirably and consistently modeled. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and I are committed to working together to address the many challenges facing our agricultural producers and rural America.

 

At the top of that list is the impact of the pandemic on the agriculture community. There are many concerns and vulnerabilities that remain to be addressed.

 

The effect the pandemic had on the supply chain should renew our focus on policies that bolster food production, reduce the barriers producers face and ensure that goods get from farm to shelf in an efficient manner because it’s not if, but when another crisis of this magnitude emerges. It has also revealed the urgent need to expand broadband access across rural America. High-speed internet has allowed Americans to work, seek medical care and keep their kids in school safely throughout the pandemic—as long as they have connectivity, which too many rural Arkansans still lack.

 

Our agenda outside of pandemic response is just as full. Despite recent rises in commodity prices, agricultural producers are still struggling from the tough economic times they have faced over the last several years. Government payments are making up a large portion of net farm income, and we must pursue policies that change this trend.

 

We have to keep that in mind as we gear up for the next farm bill, which will be here before we know it. We have written farm bills in good times and in bad times. Now, we are going to write one during unprecedented times.

 

The best way to increase demand for American agriculture products is to open more markets for our producers and ensure our farmers and ranchers have a fair, level playing field with our competitors. We must work to build new and strengthen our existing export markets and strengthen existing ones, as 95 percent of our consumers live outside of the United States.

 

Additionally, the Biden administration has made it clear that addressing climate change will be a priority. Agriculture should be thought of as part of the solution, not the problem. We must prevent overreaching, unworkable, and overly burdensome environmental regulations that unfairly penalize producers.

 

We have a lot on our plate, but I am excited to take on a leadership role and have a hand in shaping policy for each of these issues.

 

I am optimistic that we can put Arkansas farmers and ranchers in a position to succeed and help rural America thrive. My colleagues and I are eager to get to work toward accomplishing those goals.

 

2-12-21 2:39 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

There are 25 proposed constitutional amendments filed in the House and 18 in the Senate. The deadline to file proposed amendments was February 10. Proposals range from creating a citizens commission on minimum wage to tort reform.

 

The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee will hear testimony and vote on proposals later this session. We will update you as those hearings approach.

 

During the 5th week of the Regular Session, the House passed several bills addressing healthcare, including the following:

 

SB99-This bill regulates step therapy protocols.


Health benefit plans are increasingly making use of step therapy, which often require patients to try one or more prescription drugs before coverage is provided for a drug selected by the healthcare provider. SB99 does not ban the use of step therapy but instead requires insurance providers to set reasonable timelines for requests and appeals.


If implemented, it will ensure that step therapy will be based on medical and clinical guidelines and not require patients to fail on medicines they have already taken or are not in their best interest. This bill has been sent to the Governor for his signature.

 

HB1176-This bill would ensure that Arkansas Medicaid reimbursements for telemedicine of certain behavioral and mental health services continue after the health emergency ends.

 

HB1116- This is a bill to establish Simon’s Law, named after a Missouri child whose death led to similar laws being passed in several states. It would require health care professionals to obtain at least one parent's consent before placing a “do not resuscitate order” for a child.

 

HB1067-This bill will allow UAMS to create a breast milk bank and establish an account to fund the program.

 

Other bills advanced by the House this week include:

 

HB1265-This bill amends the law concerning the unlawful passing of a school bus. It states drivers must come to a complete stop no less than 30 feet from the bus when it stops to load or unload passengers. This 30 feet perimeter would apply to public roads, private or public property open to the general public, and any driveway or parking lot belonging to a public school.

 

HB1017-This bill states that Arkansas would permanently adopt Daylight Saving Time when the federal government allows states to do so and when surrounding states declare their intent to do so.

 

SB32-This bill allows liquor stores, micro-brewery restaurants, and small breweries to deliver alcoholic beverages in wet counties. Deliveries are currently allowed under an executive order. This bill will allow the practice to continue once the health emergency order expires.

SB66-This bill allows the tuition-free benefit for soldiers and airmen of the Arkansas National Guard to apply for programs of study in which courses are taken exclusively online.


HB1355-This removes licensing requirements for a motor vehicle salesperson and a recreational vehicle salesperson. This bill also creates the Automotive Technologist Education Grant Program. The Division of Career and Technical Education may then award grants for training in the field of automotive repair and technology.

HB1159-This bill allows members of the General Assembly to defer jury duty to a later date if they are called to serve during a legislative session or the 30 days before and after the session begins.

This bill also allows a person who is 80 years of age or older to voluntarily exempt himself or herself from participating in jury service at any time.

 

The winter weather postponed a few committee meetings this week. You can find updated agendas at www.arkleg.state.ar.us.

 

2-12-21 2:13 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Polk County Circuit Court Arraignments

All criminal information is merely an accusation and the Defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Prosecuting Attorney Jason Barrett, within and for the 18th-West Judicial District of the State of Arkansas, of which Polk County is a part, in the name and by the authority of the State of Arkansas, on oath, do hereby accuse the defendants of committing in Polk County, Arkansas the following crimes:
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Aaron P. Whisenhunt, White Male, age 29, Count I: Probation Violation. The Original Offenses were Sexual Indecency With A Child, Aggravated Assault on a Correctional Employee, and Criminal Mischief 1ST Degree.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Jennifer K. Williams, White Female, age 49, Count I: Probation Violation. The Original Offenses were Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Bond was set at $2,500.00.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. David T. Sinyard, White Male, age 45, Count I: Probation Violation. The Original offenses were Furnishing, Possession or Using Prohibited Articles, a Class "C" Felony, and Criminal Trespass, a Class "B" Misdemeanor. Bond was set at $10,000.00.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Robert I. Pierce, White Male, age 42, Count I: Probation Violation. The Original Offenses were Possession of Schedule II Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), a Class "D" Felony, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" felony, Possession of Methamphetamine with Purpose to Deliver, a Class "B" Felony, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (Methamphetamine), a Class "D" Felony. Bond was set at $5,000.00.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. William Parsons, White Male, age 24, Count I: Delivery of Methamphetamine or Cocaine, a Class "C" Felony. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. William Parsons, White Male, age 24, Count I: Probation Violation. The Original Offense was Delivery of Methamphetamine or Cocaine, a Class "C" Felony. Bond was set at $10,000.00.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Jeremy Nathan Burns, White Male, age 43, Count I: Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), a Class "D" Felony. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Chad A. Aucoin, White Male, age 36, Count I: Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Possession With The Purpose To Deliver A Counterfeit Substance, a Class "C" Felony.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Litza M. Prine, White Female, age 59, Count I: Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance With The Purpose To Deliver (Marihuana), a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession Of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Litza M. Prine, White Female, age 59, Count I: Delivery of Methamphetamine or Cocaine, a Class "B" Felony.

State of Arkansas Vs. Jason Dee Rosson, White Male, age 39, Count I: Domestic Battery In The third Degree, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Interference With Emergency Communications In The Second Degree, a Class "B" Misdemeanor. Count III: Criminal Mischief In The First Degree, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. Count IV: False Imprisonment, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. Count V: Violation of an Order of Protection, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Jessica E. Shewmake, White Female, age 21, Count I: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession of Methamphetamine With The Purpose To Deliver, a Class "B" Felony. Count III: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "B" Felony. Count IV: Possession of a Controlled Substance, a Class "A" Misdemeanor. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Casey Nicole Trantham, White Female, age 23, Count I: Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession of a Schedule IV or V Controlled Substance (Clonazepam), a Class "A" Misdemeanor. Count III: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count IV: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony.
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Christina E. Wright, White Male, age 29, Count I Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance, a Class "D" Felony. Count II: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Randy E. Lewis, Jr., White Male, age 38, Count I: Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), a Class "C" Felony. Count II: Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Class "D" Felony. Count III: Refusal To Submit To Arrest, a Class "B" Misdemeanor. 
 
State of Arkansas Vs. Jason Lee Lovett, White Male, age 46, Count I: Forgery in the Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony. Count II: Forgery in the Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony. Count III: Forgery in the Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony. Count IV: Forgery in the Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony. Count V: Forgery in the Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony. Count VI: Forgery in the Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony. Count VII: Forgery in the Second Degree, a Class "C" Felony.

State of Arkansas Vs. Carrie Renee Bass, White Female, age 43, Count I: Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine), a Class "D" Felony.
 
2-12-21 1:35 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

February 12, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – Businesses would not be penalized by state regulators for violating Covid-19 restrictions because of the behavior of their customers, under legislation passed by the Arkansas Senate.

 

Senate Bill 254 provides that during the public health emergency declared by the governor, businesses would not be liable for violations if they were the result of the behavior of patrons.

 

Also, SB 254 provides that businesses would not be penalized by state inspectors, such as officials of the Health Department or agents of the Alcoholic Beverage Control board, as long as the violation resulted from the behavior of customers.

 

If an ABC agent entered a restaurant and saw a customer not wearing a face mask, the agent would have to confront the customer and not the manager of the business.

 

The bill only governs violations of public health orders issued due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and no other health regulations. Also, the business would still be responsible for ensuring that employees follow public health directives. SB 254 passed by a vote of 32-to-1.

 

After a thoughtful debate, the Senate approved SB 289 to allow health care providers to refuse to perform procedures if they have objections based on conscience. They would not be civilly or criminally liable and could not lose their staff privileges or board certification. SB 289 passed by a vote of 27-to-6.

 

The Senate also passed SB 183, to prohibit a candidate from using campaign funds or carryover funds to pay fines for ethics violations. Under SB 183, using campaign funds to pay ethics fines would be considered the same as converting campaign funds to personal use. It passed by a vote of 31-to-2.

 

The penalty for racing on public highways would be more severe under SB 247, which the Senate passed by a 34-to-1 vote. A first offense would remain a class A misdemeanor but a second offense and any additional offenses would be Class D felonies.

 

SB 245 adds to the potential penalties for sex trafficking. If convicted offenders used a truck in committing the offense, they would be prohibited from holding a Commercial Driver’s License. That means they could not legally drive a heavy truck.

 

After the Senate passed the Senate bills, they were sent to the House and referred to the relevant committee. Assuming they are advanced by the committees, they then will be voted on by the entire House.

 

The Senate passed a House bill, HB 1202, which requires counties to publicly post sample ballots in advance of elections. The sponsor said that 55 of the 75 counties in Arkansas already do so. The Secretary of State would post the sample ballots on an Internet page that would be easy for voters to find the correct ballot for their precinct.

 

HB 1202 originated in the House. It has been approved by both chambers and has been sent to the governor for his signature.

 

The Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor has advanced SB 6, to prohibit abortions in Arkansas except to save the life of the mother. It will next be considered by the entire Senate.

 

2-12-21 10:46 a.m. KAWX.ORG

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 11, 2021. If there is a body of water you would like included in this report, please email jim.harris@agfc.ar.gov with information on possible sources for reports about that lake or river. Reports are updated weekly, although some reports might be published for two weeks if updates are not received promptly or if reporters say conditions haven’t changed. Contact the reporter for the lake or stream you plan to fish for current news. Note: msl = mean sea level; cfs = cubic feet per second. All Corps of Engineers lake and river readings were taken at 11 a.m. the day of publication (Feb. 11).

 

****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.

 

2-11-21 3:49 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

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Mena Police Make Arrests Wednesday Night After Multiple Thefts

Mena Police Chief Tommy Stueart made the following statement Thursday morning concerning arrests made Wednesday night in Mena.

 

"A string of thefts from vehicles in the Timber Ridge East and Ransom Road area have been reported in recent days, investigations led to the Issuance of Search Warrants for two residences in Mena. Yesterday evening, February 10th, searched a the residences were conducted by the Mena Police Department aided by the 18th West Judicial District Drug Task Force, Officers from Probation and Parole, and from the Prosecuting Attorney Investigator's Office. Items valued at over $5,000.00 were recovered. Items from a recent Commercial Burglary were also recovered, along with cash, drugs, and drug paraphernalia. Arrested were Eddy Chance Clovis age 36 of Mena, Justin Close age 33 of Mena, and Jakki Lynn Hellyer age 28 of Mena. Charges are pending at this time. Investigations are ongoing."

 

Those arrested are being held in the Polk County Jail

 

2-11-21 10:05 a.m. KAWX.ORG

 

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

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of February 1, 2021 – February 7, 2021. 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.

 

February 1, 2021

Report of the theft of tools and a trailer valued at $7656.99 from a construction site. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

 

February 2, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 178 near Acorn of harassment. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 284 near Hatfield of the theft of tools and various items valued at $370.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 286 near Hatfield of a hit and run. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

Arrested by an officer with the Game and Fish was Carlos G. Gonzalez, 63, of Wickes on six Warrants for Failure to Appear.

 

February 3, 2021

Report of an unattended death on Hwy 246W near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Report of a disturbance on Polk 99 near Vandervoort. Deputy responded.

Report of an accident on Hwy 71S near Wickes led to the arrest of Celerino Delgado Marias, 42, of Grannis on a Charge of DWI and a Charge of Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident.

 

February 4, 2021

No reports filed.

 

February 5, 2021

Report of an unattended death on Hwy 4 near Cove. Deputy responded.

Report of being harassed through social media and texts. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

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

Report of damages done to a car in the amount of $2032.49. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Arrested was Michelle L. Hogan, 38, of Mena on a Hold for Other Agency.

 

February 6, 2021

Traffic stop on Polk 31 near Hatfield led to the discovery of suspicious items. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

 

February 7, 2021

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

Report from complainant on Polk 76E near Acorn of the theft of a Pulsar walk behind trimmer valued at $350.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Kodiak Lane near Acorn of possible gunshots. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report from complainant on Hwy 375W near Potter of being threatened. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 20 Incarcerated Inmates, with 13 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00100

 

2-8-21 12:31 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Mena Police Report for January 31st - February 6th

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of January 31st through February 6th, 2021

 

 

January 31

 

A report of soliciting money/property from an incompetent person was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

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

 

Jennifer Solo, 43, was charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) at Walmart.

 

February 1

 

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

 

William Parsons, 24, was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Fleeing, Resisting Arrest, and was served with a warrant after a suspicious person complaint on Highway 8 East.

 

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

 

February 2

 

Randy Lewis, 38, was served with two warrants at the Polk County Detention Center.

 

Jennifer Williams, 49, was served with a warrant at the Polk County Detention Center.

 

Aramis Candelaria, 18, was served with a warrant at the Polk County Detention Center.

 

Jason Lovett, 46, was served with four warrants at the Polk County Detention Center.

 

Martin Rodriguez, 19, Speeding, Careless/Prohibited Driving, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

February 3

 

Jason Rosson, 39, was charged with Battery 3rd Degree, Interference with Emergency Communication, Criminal Mischief, and False Imprisonment after a disturbance call to Sun Country Inn.

 

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

 

February 4

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken on Morgan Street.

 

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

 

A report of forgery was taken at the Limetree Inn.

 

Jason Rosson, 39, was served with a warrant on Warner Avenue.

 

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

 

February 5

 

A report of a suspicious person was taken at the health department.

 

February 6

 

A report of domestic battery was taken at a residence on Oak Grove.

 

James Ralph, 21, was served with a warrant after a disturbance call to the intersection of Reine Street and Highway 71.

 

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

 

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

 

2-8-21 10:12 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

The 93rd General Assembly now prepares to enter the 5th week of the 2021 Regular Session. The House passed a resolution to extend this session, if necessary, to May 3. The resolution provides for a recess on April 9.

 

The deadline for members to file proposed Constitutional Amendments is February 10. The General Assembly can put forth up to 3 amendments to the voters for the 2022 General Election. The debate and votes for proposed amendments are traditionally held in the latter part of the session.

 

This week, the House passed bills addressing elections, transportation, and law enforcement, just to name a few.

 

Concerning elections, the House passed HB1112. This bill eliminates the option for individuals to complete a sworn statement to cast a provisional ballot if they did not have the required photo identification. 

 

The House also passed HB1338, which raises the number of signatures required for an individual to be placed on the Arkansas ballot as a candidate for President of the United States. Currently, 1,000 signatures are required. This bill raises it to 5,000.

 

When it comes to transportation, the House passed the following bills this week:

 

HB1269-This bill allows counties to pass an ordinance to allow individuals to drive golf carts on county roads.

 

HB1244-This bill authorizes DFA to issue a driver’s license or identification card without a photograph if the licensee has a religious objection to having their photo taken. This bill does not change requirements for voter identification.

 

HB1022-This bill states drivers must have their vehicle’s headlights on from sunset to sunrise. The current law states lights must be on from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise.

 

HB1115-This bill amends the law concerning the weight threshold for commercial vehicles. This changes the definition of a commercial motor vehicle from one with a gross weight of at least 10,000 pounds to one that weighs at least 26,001 pounds. 

 

We also passed a bill this week, which was recommended as a result of the Governor’s Task Force to Advance the State of Law Enforcement in Arkansas.

 

HB1197 limits a law-enforcement agency to two part-time officers for every full-time officer. The task force report noted that the higher ratio of full-time officers would strengthen in-house training and enhance stability. 

 

Another bill passed by the House that addresses law enforcement is HB1236. This bill states in the event of a civil disturbance or a crime in progress that requires additional law enforcement resources, the Governor may establish a system of unified command of law enforcement efforts. The Governor may designate which law enforcement agency or law enforcement agencies have primary jurisdiction on the State Capitol grounds and in the State Capitol building. 

 

A few other bills passed in the House chamber recently include:

 

HB1315-This bill creates a state meat inspection program. The bill states that a lack of a state meat inspection program causes a significant revenue loss generated from meat processing for this state and stifles opportunities for farmers to expand their meat processing capacity. It also states that it is currently prohibitively expensive for food banks to receive and distribute meat without a state meat inspection program. 

 

HB1212-This bill gives the Director of the Division of Workforce Services the discretion to modify employer contributions for certain unemployment insurance claims during an emergency.

 

HB1195-This bill requires that any woman seeking an abortion be notified of the availability of medical, welfare, and private assistance programs. It instructs the Department of Health to establish a hotline for pregnant women seeking an abortion in Arkansas to call in order to receive a resource access assistance offer. If enacted, this legislation would take effect January 1, 2023.

 

We will continue to keep you updated on the legislation moving forward. As a reminder, you can watch all House committee meetings and floor proceedings at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

2-5-21 4:47 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Giving Youth in Our Care a Chance at a Better Life

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Giving Youth in Our Care a Chance at a Better Life
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – In the past six years, much has changed in the way we treat young people in state custody, and today I’d like to talk about the ways we have reformed juvenile justice.

After I was elected and before I took office, I made a surprise visit to the Alexander Juvenile Treatment Center to make it clear that I intended to protect the youth in the custody of our state. In 2016, after continued reports of violence and poor management of the system, the state took over operation of Arkansas’s seven youth treatment centers.

In January of 2018, I made another surprise visit to the treatment center in Dermott. I wanted to remind leaders once again that I am serious about the way we treat our youthful offenders.

In 2019, with the support of legislation by the 92nd General Assembly, we improved the system dramatically. In fact, the Division of Youth Services reported this week that the number of youth commitments to state custody has decreased from 534 down to 297, a 44 percent drop.

In my administration, we have stressed the need to provide educational opportunities for our children and teens who are in the detention system. Our system is meant to rehabilitate young people, not to punish them.

For our youth to successfully reenter society, they need to continue their education, learn social skills, and learn about trades and careers. We want to give them every opportunity to escape the cycle of violence, abuse, and incarceration that many of them have known throughout their young life.

To ensure that we are giving them the best chance we can, we assess each youth and base the treatment program on the needs we discover in the assessment. This will highlight for the judge and the probation officers the issues that led the youth to this point in life and reduce the risk that he or she will re-offend.

At the end of 2020, Judge Wiley Branton Jr., a juvenile court judge, retired after twenty-seven years on the bench. 

In an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette upon his retirement, he said that juvenile judges “have the responsibility of fixing broken people ... fixing families that have issues … trying to turn (young people) around into constructive citizens.”

Judge Branton’s motto was “there are no throwaway people.”

Judge Tjuana Byrd, who was elected last year, is one month into her career as a juvenile judge. Her words echo Judge Branton’s philosophy and fit with the approach my administration has pursued in reforming juvenile justice.  She says that diverting a first-time nonviolent offender sometimes is better than court and detention. She said, “Sometimes a kiddo doesn't need to see a judge at all. Sometimes they just need redirection. … When they do come before the court, we have tools that help us decide what services are actually best for the children and their families. … When a child comes into the system, it might be the last chance to get a kid and the family on the right track.”

Judge Branton, Judge Byrd, and a host of other judges such as Troy Braswell, have contributed to the reform of our juvenile justice system. These judges and the experts in the Division of Youth Services have the wisdom and compassion to pursue the best course for our youth who are in trouble. Their work offers our youth a chance at a better life.
 
2-5-21 4:14 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Celebrating the Accomplishments of Arkansas PBS

Celebrating the Accomplishments of Arkansas PBS

 

Students, teachers and parents have adapted to the challenges created by COVID-19. Last year, Arkansas educators were forced to teach online in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As classrooms were shifted to virtual learning, Arkansas Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) rose to the occasion to provide crucial resources and help students continue their coursework. The work of the Arkansas PBS team was recently recognized nationally.

 

The National Education Telecommunications Association (NETA) announced it has bestowed five national Public Media Awards on Arkansas PBS including honors for overall excellence for the programing it provided to children, parents and teachers through Arkansas AMI (Alternative Methods of Instructions).

 

As the COVID-19 emergency progressed in March 2020, Arkansas PBS upended its weekday schedule and began broadcasting streamlined, curriculum-based programming for children from Pre-K through 8th grade.

 

When schools first closed in Arkansas, educators were immediately challenged by the lack of internet access in many rural areas of the state. This made the Arkansas AMI project even more important. For many without computers at home, the programming provided by Arkansas PBS became their classroom.

 

I am proud of the partnership between Arkansas PBS and the Arkansas Department of Education which offered students a way to keep learning when they couldn’t be at school. This effort was possible because of a longstanding relationship between the broadcast network and education officials who have worked together for many years. With a strong foundation in place, they were quickly and creatively able to pivot and provide classroom learning on a network of stations that reached 76 percent of the state with a simple over-the-air signal. The programming was also available on cable and satellite, live-streaming, on-demand and various apps that families could access on mobile devices.

 

I am proud of these devoted Arkansans who rose to meet an incredible challenge and I am grateful for the work they do every day to make education in our state a priority. We appreciate the hardworking staff of Arkansas PBS and celebrate their accomplishments which reflect so well on the organization and its service to our state.

 

Arkansas PBS has continually demonstrated its commitment to the community and has worked to champion and share the stories of people across the state. The station has been a leader in efforts to improve the lives of veterans through its advocacy campaigns, especially those aimed at reducing veteran suicide, and has done an incredible job sharing their stories of service and sacrifice in partnership with the Veterans History Project (VHP).

 

For the launch of the Ken Burns documentary “The Vietnam War” in 2017, the station collaborated with my office to promote the VHP, hosting events across the state and inviting my staff to talk about this initiative to collect and preserve the memories of veterans as part of its programming.

 

VHP Director Col. (ret.) Karen Lloyd experienced first-hand the enthusiasm of Arkansas PBS staff during her visit to our state that same year where she met with veterans and volunteers who have contributed to the collection.

 

Arkansas PBS has been dedicated to sharing its collection of veteran interviews with the VHP. Last year members of the executive team met with Director Lloyd and donated 20 interviews of Arkansans. The interviews had been conducted 15 years prior for a special series and were transferred to digital format to meet the requirements for inclusion in the VHP.

 

For these reasons and many more, we can be proud of the success of Arkansas PBS and its efforts to keep citizens informed, engaged and educated.

 

2-5-21 1:18 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

February 5, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK –The Senate has voted to exempt last year’s unemployment benefits from state income taxes, to help people who lost their jobs because of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Senate Bill 236 would apply to benefits paid in 2020 and 2021. The unemployment rate in Arkansas had been around four percent until the coronavirus pandemic caused widespread business closures, especially in hospitality, tourism and travel. The jobless rate spiked to around 10 percent before it began to improve.

 

Before the pandemic, about 44,000 people in Arkansas claimed unemployment in 2018 and 2019, a state revenue official told senators during a committee hearing on SB 236. Last year more than 281,000 people filed for unemployment, according to the Department of Workforce Services.

 

SB 236 will save those people more than $51 million in state income taxes when they file this year, the revenue official said.

 

The next step is for the bill to be considered by a House committee, and if advanced out of committee, to be voted on by the entire House.

 

On a voice vote, the House Judiciary Committee failed to advance a Senate bill known as the Stand Your Ground bill. It would repeal a provision in current laws that obligates you to retreat from a confrontation if you can safely do so. The bill is SB 24.

 

Senate and House sponsors are confident that the entire House will approve SB 24 if they can get it out of committee. The bill has already passed in the Senate, by a vote of 27-to-7.

 

The Senate approved HB 1195 to require pregnant women who are seeking an abortion to first call a hotline and get counseling on the availability of resources to help if she decides to keep her child. The hotline would be a toll-free number.

 

Sponsors say that fewer women will choose an abortion if they are fully informed about their options.

 

The Senate passed HB 1151 to postpone for a year the giving of letter grades to schools when the state issues school report cards. The pandemic has disrupted the ability of students to take standardized tests, which are a key factor in assigning letter grades to schools. The postponement is for the 2020-2021 school year.

 

The bill has passed the House and now goes to the governor.

 

The Senate has passed and sent to the House a bill to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities who need an organ transplant. It is SB 155, also known as “Lila’s Law,” after a girl with Down syndrome who needed a heart transplant and was denied because of her disability.

 

Revenue Report

 

State tax revenue in January was collected at record rates. Tax rates have not gone up, therefore the increase is an indication that the Arkansas economy is rebounding from the negative impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The state now has a surplus of about $400 million after the first seven months of the fiscal year. During the 2021 session legislators will decide how best to use the surplus. For example, the $51 million in income tax exemptions for unemployment benefits, written into SB 236, can be absorbed by the state because of the large surplus.

 

2-5-21 9:44 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Bill Declaring Religion as Essential Passes Arkansas Senate, Goes to Governor

On Wednesday, Februart 3, the Arkansas Senate overwhelmingly passed H.B. 1211.

This good bill by Rep. Mary Bentley (R – Perryville) and Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton) recognizes that religion and religious organizations are essential in Arkansas. Public officials have the authority to protect health and public safety, but the the free exercise of religion is never suspended.

H.B. 1211 passed with overwhelming support in the Arkansas House and Arkansas Senate. It now goes to Governor Hutchinson’s desk to be signed into law.

State Representatives John Maddox and Marcus Richmond and State Senator Larry Teague all voted for H.B. 1211.

 

Rep. Maddox's email address is john.maddox@arkansashouse.org.

 

Rep. Richmond's email address is richmond4staterep@gmail.com.

Sen. Teague's email address is larry.teague@senate.ar.gov.

If your state legislators voted for H.B. 1211, please thank them right away for supporting this good bill.

You can see how your state senator voted on the bill here.

You can see how your state representative voted on the bill here.

 

2-5-21 6:13 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for Feb. 4, 2021. 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 2 p.m. the day of publication (Feb. 4).

 

****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.

 

2-4-21 6:02 p.m. KAWX.ORG

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February Proclaimed "Meet the Bucks" Month

February has officially been claimed “Meet the Bucks” Month by Mena Mayor Seth Smith.

 

Traditionally recognized in August each year, the event was delayed in hopes that COVID restrictions would be lifted by spring. With that not being the case, Meet the Bucks videos highlighting each sport will be rolled out via YouTube and on social media throughout the month of February.

 

The first home games for the inaugural Bucks baseball and softball teams will be played February 4. While ballfields are ready for play record rainfall has delayed the completion of the complex. “We ask for everyone’s patience as we continue to work around challenging weather conditions. As we all know, rain causes muddy conditions so we ask that you pardon the progress as we continue to finish wrapping up the project,” said Chancellor Phillip Wilson.

 

Please note areas designated for game day parking. Forest Street will be closed to through traffic on game days. Admission will be $5 per person and spectators are encouraged to bring a lawn chair.

 

The Bucks cross-country team completed their season in the fall and will participate in multiple track events this spring. The official season for Bucks soccer will kick-off in April. To stay informed on Bucks Athletics, visit: http://bucksathletics.com.

Joining Smith for the signing are (L-R) seated: Chancellor Dr. Phillip Wilson, Mayor Seth Smith, Vice-Chancellor of Finance and Athletic Administration Morris Boydstun. Standing: Head Baseball Coach Lance Spigner, Head Cross-Country Coach Samantha Shores, Assistant Athletic Director Jerod McCormick, Head Softball Coach Tracy Nealy, and Head Soccer Coach Brian Byrd.

 

2-2-21 1:36 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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Mena Police Report for January 24th - 30th

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of January 24th through January 30th, 2021

 

 

January 24

 

No reports.

 

January 25

 

A report of a disturbance was taken in the parking lot of La Villa.

 

January 26

 

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

 

January 27

 

A report of criminal trespass was taken at a residence on Mountain View Drive.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at Ward Lake Dam.

 

January 28

 

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

 

January 29

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken on Dogwood Drive.

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken on Red Oak Drive.

 

January 30

 

A report of breaking or entering, and theft of firearm was taken on Dogwood Drive.

 

A report of Forgery was taken from Walmart.

 

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

 

2-1-21 2:11 p.m. KAWX.ORG 


 

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

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of January 25, 2021 – January 31, 2021. 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.

 

January 25, 2021

Report of problems between neighbors on Polk 22 near Cove. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Request for a welfare check on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley. Deputy responded.

Report of a disturbance on Polk 31 near Hatfield. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Arrested was Franklin L. Clay, 41, of Vilonia, Arkansas on a Warrant for Violation of Suspended Imposition.

 

January 26, 2021

Report of a break-in at an office building on Hwy71S near Potter. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Buckley Lane near Potter of a scam. Deputy responded.

Report of a disturbance on Polk 76W near Acorn led to a juvenile male being issued a Juvenile Citation for Disorderly Conduct.

 

January 27, 2021

Report of a disturbance on Cedar Ridge Lane near Dallas Valley led to the arrest of David E. Smith, 53, of Mena on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

Report of the unauthorized use of a vehicle. Deputy responded.

 

January 28, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley of a disturbance led to the arrest of Eric T. Cannon, 29, of Mena on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 48 near Potter. Deputy responded.

Arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department was Jared K. Morris, 27, of Wickes on a Charge of Failure to Appear.

 

January 29, 2021

Report from complainant of identity fraud. Deputy responded.

Report of an incident involving child custody. Deputy responded.

Report of a welfare concern for an animal on Polk 178 near Acorn. Deputy responded.

Report of a welfare concern for a dog on Polk 56 near Dallas Valley. Deputy responded.

 

January 30, 2021

Report of an individual staying past the allowed camping requirements.

Report of the violation of an Order of Protection. Deputy responded.

 

January 31, 2021

Report of an attempted traffic stop on Hwy 71S near Cove. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report of a disturbance on Trailwood Lane near Shady Grove led to the arrest of Michael J. Harper, 42, of Mount Ida, Arkansas on a Charge of Disorderly Conduct.

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

Report of a structure fire on Polk 29 near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 18 Incarcerated Inmates, with 13 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00080

 

2-1-21 10:32 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

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