KAWX News Archives for 2021-05

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

May 28, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – State and local governments are preparing to receive a large infusion of federal aid, under the American Rescue Plan of 2021. Schools and universities in Arkansas also are receiving federal funds.

 

The amount of federal funding is unprecedented. State government will get $1.57 billion. The 75 counties in Arkansas will get $586 million. Arkansas cities will get about $425 million. Each city’s allocation will depend on its population. Arkansas schools are set to receive $1.25 billion. Universities and colleges will receive $363 million.

 

The virus has caused the deaths of almost 6,000 people in Arkansas. Almost 36,000 have contracted the virus and more than 16,000 have been hospitalized. More than 1,600 have had to be on a ventilator.

 

Medical bills can devastate a family’s finances. Even in households that stayed healthy, the loss of employment was a financial blow. Especially hard hit were the travel, hospitality and tourism industries.

 

Government entities can use ARP funds to recover from the loss of revenue caused by the pandemic. Their budgets were strained by increased demand for social services. Also, ARP funds can be spent to improve health in communities that suffered the brunt of the pandemic’s impact.

 

The funds can be spent to prepare for possible future pandemics, such as purchasing medical supplies and equipment, or training more people in health professions.

 

The funds can be spent on necessary improvements to water, sewer and broadband infrastructure. The federal money cannot be used to pay for tax cuts, and cannot be deposited in public pension systems.

 

The governor has appointed a 15-member steering committee to identify the most pressing needs in Arkansas, and to recommend how funds from the ARP can most efficiently be spent. The members are nine cabinet secretaries and six legislators, three from the Senate and three from the House of Representatives.

 

The legislature has final approval on all spending proposals by state agencies constitutional offices. Earlier this year the legislature passed Act 997 of 2021 to establish the process for submitting and getting approval of funding requests, in anticipation of the large amount of federal funding that would flow into Arkansas from the American Rescue Plan.

 

New District Boundaries

 

The Board of Apportionment held its first meeting, to plan for drawing new boundaries for the state’s four Congressional Districts. Later this year, when the U.S. Census Bureau has new numbers on population growth in Arkansas, the board will redraw the boundaries of the 35 state Senate districts and the 100 districts in the House. The population of each new district will be roughly the same.

 

The Board of Apportionment has three members – the governor, the attorney general and the secretary of state. The Census Bureau provides new data every 10 years.

 

In 2010, state Senate districts had vastly different populations because of unequal growth over the previous decade.

 

In fast-growing northwest Arkansas a Senate district had more than 116,000 residents, while a rural area of southeast Arkansas had a district with fewer than 64,000 residents.

 

However, after redistricting by the Board of Apportionment, all 35 state Senate districts were close to 83,311 in population. Since 2010 similar population trends have occurred, and the Board will again equalize the population of legislative districts.     

 

5-28-21 6:56 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

US, Arkansas Flags To Half-Staff For San Jose Victims

Fly the United States Flag at Half-Staff Immediately Until Sunset on Sunday May 30, 2021 Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in San Jose, California

 

A Proclamation on Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in San Jose, California

 

As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on May 26, 2021, in San Jose, California, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, May 30, 2021. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time 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-sixth day of May, 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.

 

5-26-21 9:48 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for May 16th - 22nd

 
Mena Police Department reports for the week of May 16th through May 22nd 2021
 
 
May 16 
 
A report of commercial burglary, breaking or entering, and loitering was taken at Bunch Laundry Mat. 
 
A theft report was taken from a walk-in complainant. 
 
Matthew Miller, 39, was charged with charged with Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a complaint from Walmart. 
 
Justin Keaster, 38, was charged with Fleeing, Refusal to Submit to Arrest, Possession of Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a trespassing complaint at a residence on Evans Circle. 
 
A report of missing person was taken at a residence on Church Street. 
 
May 17
 
A report of unauthorized use of a vehicle was taken at the police department. 
 
Amanda Carter, 26, was served with a warrant at the police department. 
 
May 18
 
Robert Wells, 33, was served with a warrant at the police department. 
 
A report of criminal trespass was taken from Walmart. 
 
A report of theft of property (shoplifting) was taken from Walmart. 
 
May 19
 
A report of theft of property (shoplifting) was taken from Walmart. 
 
A report of theft of property (shoplifting) was taken from Walmart.
 
Paula Drummond, 50, and Christopher Tefft, 25, were charged with Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call to a room at Executive Inn. 
 
A report of a disturbance was taken at a residence on Dequeen Street. 
 
May 20
 
Clay Breeden, 42, was charged with Possession of Meth, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and served with a warrant at the Limetree Inn. 
 
May 21
 
A report of harassment and indecent exposure was taken from a walk-in complainant. 
 
A juvenile was charged with criminal mischief, careless or prohibited driving, and violation of park curfew after a complaint at Tapley Park. 
 
A report of failure to vacate was taken at a residence on 2nd Street. 
 
Donnie Dollarhyde, 47, was charged with Disorderly Conduct, and served with a warrant after a complaint from Walmart. 
 
John Nicholson, 30, was served with two warrants at the police department. 
 
A report of breaking or entering was taken at a residence on Hamilton Street. 
 
May 22
 
A report of harassment was taken from a walk-in complainant.  
 
All subjects should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
 
5-24-21 1:53 p.m. KAWX.ORG
 
 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for May 17th - 23rd

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of May 17, 2021 – May 23, 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.

 

May 17, 2021

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

Report of a one vehicle accident on Polk 76E near Acorn. Deputy responded.

Traffic stop on Dequeen Street near Hatfield led to the arrest of Clinton W. Mahaffey, 36, of Smithville, Oklahoma on two warrants for Failure to Appear, and Charges of Theft by Receiving, Possession of Schedule I or II, Possession of Schedule VI, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and No Vehicle License.

Report of a property dispute between neighbors on Polk 269 near Vandervoort. Deputy responded.

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

 

May 18, 2021

Report of a small unattended child in the road on Polk 35 near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 663 near Cherry Hill of trespassing. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 198 near Ink of identity fraud.

Report of a road rage incident on Hwy 71S near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Report of a fire on Polk 56 near Dallas Valley. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 75 near Acorn of an individual violating a No Contact Order. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report of a disturbance led to a juvenile being issued a Juvenile Citation for Battery 3rd Degree and Disorderly Conduct.

Arrested was Robert Castillo, 52, of Hatfield, on two Warrants for Failure to Comply and a Body Attachment Warrant.

 

May 19, 2021

Report from complainant on Hwy 375W near Shady Grove of identity fraud.

Traffic stop on Hwy 71S led to the arrest of Dante StMichael, 56, of Boles, Arkansas, on Charges of Driving Left of Center, Possession of Meth or Cocaine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License.

Arrested was David W. Howell, 39, of Waldron, Arkansas, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

Arrested was Brandon W. Rose, 23, of Mena, on eight Warrants for Failure to Appear.

Arrested was David T. Sinyard, 45, of Mena, on three Charges of Failure to Appear.

 

May 20, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 168 near Hatfield of a domestic altercation. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 49 near Shady Grove of fraudulent activity on a bank account. Deputy responded.

 

May 21, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley of identity fraud.

Arrested was Amber D. Crabtree, 32, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

 

May 22, 2021

Report of a one vehicle accident on Hwy 246 W near Hatfield led to the arrest of Timothy W. Hutson, 55, of Mena, on Charges of DWI, Careless and Prohibited Driving, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident.

Report of a male behaving erratically on Hwy 88E near Mena led to the arrest of Shawn R. Romele, 22, of Mena, on a Charge of Public Intoxication.

Report from complainant on Polk 54 near Dallas Valley of damage to a mailbox. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 141 near Cove of a domestic altercation led to the arrest of Justin A. Cole, 31, of Cove on a Body Attachment Warrant, two Warrants for Failure to Appear, and three Warrants for Failure to Comply.

Arrested was Nickie P. Landfair, 28, of Mena, on two Warrants for Failure to Comply.

 

May 23, 2021

Traffic stop led to the arrest of Stephen C. Hilton, 33, of Mena, on Charges of DWI, Refusal to Submit, and Defective Signal Lamps and Signal Lights.

Report from complainant on Polk 78 near Potter of a disturbance. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 54 near Board Camp of the theft of road signs. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Shady Grove of a disturbance. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 117 near Acorn of problems involving a neighbor’s dogs. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of breaking and entering. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report from complainant on May Lane near Acorn of a theft from a rental property. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 21 Incarcerated Inmates, with 5 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00425

 

5-24-21 1:06 p.m. KAWX.ORG

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Standing with Israel

Standing with Israel
 
Israel has endured increased terrorism and aggression from Hamas militants in recent days, including rockets fired at Israeli cities that have killed and wounded innocent civilians. This outbreak of violence began in early May and has quickly escalated into a conflict that has captured the attention of the world. Now, a ceasefire is in place and we pray for lasting peace.
 
It’s important to remember how we got here and why the United States’ interests are so closely aligned with the safety and security of Israel.
 
Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza and has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union and United Kingdom, is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and serves as Iran’s proxy in the region. The group’s decision to begin firing long-range rockets at Jerusalem in response to protests and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police set off this current round of hostilities.
 
As we would expect to be the case with any other nation that experiences terrorism, Israel responded forcefully. It launched counter operations against Hamas in Gaza, targeting its infrastructure with airstrikes and seeking to hamper its ability to carry out further indiscriminate attacks against its people and territory.
 
Thankfully, Israel’s Iron Dome – part of which is manufactured in Camden, Arkansas – has prevented additional damage and loss of life during this unfortunate episode. But the country has clearly been jolted by the fighting and destruction.
 
The United States stands with and in support of our friend and strategic ally as it withstands this assault. Israel has an indisputable right to defend itself and secure the safety of its people. This brutal, unjustifiable violence against the Jewish state must be deterred and President Biden and his administration must lend our nation’s resources and assistance to our partner in its hour of need.
 
In the aftermath of this conflict, the U.S. government should also resume the promising efforts undertaken by the Trump administration to foster peace and promote normalization between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
 
I, along with over 40 of my colleagues in the Senate, have urged President Biden to stand with Israel and to prevent sanctions relief to Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and established financier of Hamas’ terror activities. Representatives of the Biden administration have been in Vienna, Austria negotiating a possible return of both the United States and Iran to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal.
 
In light of this new turmoil in Israel, it is even more imperative that no new sanctions relief be afforded to Tehran. If that occurs, it potentially enables the Iranian regime to further support and finance Hamas’ terror against Israel. This is unacceptable.
 
I have also joined other senators in supporting a resolution condemning the attacks against Israel by Hamas and reaffirming the United States’ unwavering commitment to our ally and its right to take whatever means are necessary to stop the murder of its citizens and foreign nationals residing in Israel.
 
As the lone democracy in the region and a stabilizing force in an otherwise unstable and precarious setting, it is critical for us to support Israel and advocate for its peace and security now and permanently.
 
I will continue to lead efforts to back and assist the Jewish state, and ensure it knows that America will proudly, unapologetically stand with Israel and against those who threaten its existence or sovereignty.
 
5-21-21 4:!6 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Rental Assistance for Struggling Arkansans

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Pandemic Rental Assistance for Struggling Arkansans
 
Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address can be found in MP3 format and downloaded HERE.
 
LITTLE ROCK – We opened Arkansas’s rental-assistance program this week, and today I’d like to talk about how we will help renters and landlords who are struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.
 
The Arkansas Department of Human Services will distribute $173 million in assistance through the Arkansas Rent Relief Program. That money is coming from the $25 billion the U.S. Department of the Treasury has allocated for this fund nationally.
 
The Department of Human Services began accepting applications on Monday, and the program will remain open through the end of this year. Payments will go to landlords, but a tenant and a landlord each must apply. The payments will cover 15 months of rent and utilities that were not paid from April 1, 2020, through December 31 of this year.
 
Of course, landlords must agree that they won’t evict a tenant before they can receive the money.
 
To qualify, a renter must be a resident of Arkansas and a U.S. citizen or legal resident with a current residential lease or rental agreement. Renters also must meet one of these three criteria to qualify for aid: Someone in their home qualifies for unemployment benefits; their household income decreased because of the pandemic; or someone in their home has incurred significant financial hardship because of the pandemic. In addition to meeting one of those three, the renter’s income must qualify for assistance.
 
The assistance will pay for unpaid rent going back twelve months and up to three months in the future, as well as utility bills and late fees. The money will not cover costs of telephones, cable television, internet access, or mortgage payments. All payments will go directly to landlords and utility companies.
You can learn more at ar.gov/RentRelief.  
 
As of midweek, DHS has received 94 matched applications that are now under review, and more than 400 applications are awaiting a match.
 
We have other programs to help. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has $1.7 million left over from CARES Act funds, which has allowed us to extend the Winter Crisis Program. This will provide assistance for gas and electric bills up to $500 per qualified household. We will give priority to applicants who did not receive assistance during the initial Winter Program.
 
And DHS is also providing child care assistance for nearly 8,000 families of essential workers without regard to income.
 
No one has escaped the touch of the pandemic, and as much as we are able, we want to soften the blow for those who have suffered significant financial harship. These programs will help thousands of Arkansans regain their footing.
 
5-21-21 3:48 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, we want to direct your attention to a program that could help Arkansans struggling to pay rent and utilities due to the pandemic.

 

The Arkansas Rent Relief Program offers financial help to pay overdue and upcoming rent and utilities for eligible Arkansas renters. Landlords who have tenants unable to pay their rent because of lost income or the COVID-10 pandemic also may apply.  The state of Arkansas has $173 million of federal funding for the Arkansas Rent Relief Program. Once an application is approved, money would go directly to landlords and utility companies.

 

The program covers overdue rent plus up to 5 percent of late fees dating back to April 1, 2020. It also covers overdue utility bills for gas, water, and electricity. This program does not cover overdue phone or internet bills.

 

Future rent owed through December 31, 2021, is also covered. Renters can apply for up to three months of future rent at a time.

 

You may qualify for help paying your rent and utilities if:

 

•      Someone in your home qualifies for unemployment benefits OR

•      Your household income decreased during the pandemic OR

•      Someone in your home suffered significant financial hardship due to the pandemic (i.e. lost a job, has extensive medical bills) AND

•      You meet income eligibility based on the residing county (Area Median Income) and the number of people in your home. A chart of Area Median Income by county is below.

 

Arkansans renting in Benton, Pulaski and Washington counties are asked to apply directly through their county programs. Those links and a complete list of required documents to apply can be found on the DHS website www.ar.gov/rentrelief.

 

Call 855.RENTARK (855.736.8275) if you need help submitting your application or have questions. Representatives are available Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. DHS also has partnered with community organizations statewide that can help you submit your application.

 

5-21-21 3:44 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

May 21, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – The state is now offering help to low-income families who have fallen behind on their rent because of financial problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The Arkansas Rental Relief Program is run by the state Human Services Department, which will distribute about $173 million in federal funds to renters and landlords.

 

The financial help can be used for paying past due rent, or for future rent payments. It can also help pay for utilities such as water bills, light bills and gas bills, but not for Internet and telephone bills.

 

People who qualify can use the assistance for up to 15 months of rent and utilities incurred between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021.

 

Renters can get rental assistance if someone in the household qualifies for unemployment benefits, or if the household income decreased during the pandemic or someone in the home went through significant financial hardship due to the pandemic.

 

Also, a family qualifies if its income is under a certain threshold, which depends on the average income of the county in which they live and the number of people in the household.

 

To learn more and to apply for help, search on the Internet for ar.gov/rentrelief. Also, you can call 855-RENTARK between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday the phone lines are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 

Not only can you pay past due rent through the program, you can use funding to pay up to 5 percent of late fees incurred after April 1, 2020.

You will need to provide an ID, such as a driver’s license, and proof that you are renting, such as a lease or rental contract. That agreement should include the landlord’s phone number and email address.

 

If you have received an eviction notice or a past due notice, you can qualify because your family is at risk of being homeless or going through “housing instability.”

 

Also, you will need to show proof that you went through financial hardship because of the pandemic. Finally, you need to show proof of income for everyone in your house who files tax returns. Your landlord must cooperate by applying along with you.

 

Virtual Learning

 

The Arkansas Charter Authorizing Panel has recommended changes in charter school language that will guide charter schools next year if they want to enroll more students in virtual learning.

 

Charters will have a more definite idea of maximum class sizes, how many students can be assigned to an individual teacher, minimum hours of instruction that are offered in a day and lesson planning.

 

For the current school year, officials at the state and local levels improvised in order to implement new rules governing virtual classrooms.

The changes recommended by the Charter Authorizing Panel will allow officials to better plan for whatever virtual classes that may be in demand in the 2021-2022 school year.

 

The changes endorsed by the Charter Panel will be considered by the state Board of Education at its June meeting. One member of the state Board, while discussing the plans endorsed by the Charter Panel, compared last year’s improvisations as “the wild, wild west.”

 

5-21-21 10:03 a.m. KAWX.ORG

May Mena School Board Meeting Recap

The May meeting of the Mena School Board was held on Tuesday, May 18th at the District Administration Building.

 

The Meeting began with a plaque presentation to Mr. Benny Weston in appreciation for his nine years of service to the Mena School District as Superintendent. Mr. Weston will be taking a new position at the DeQueen Mena Education Service Cooperative.

 

In the Superintendent’s Report Mr. Weston recapped recent activities & talked about the completion of a trying year. He expressed his appreciation to the parents, students and staff for rising to the challenge.

 

Weston reminded school board members that at the June meeting they will need to reorganize the board. The school board elections were held on Tuesday and state law says that the board must reorganize at the next meeting following that election.

 

Mena High School Principal Mr. David Maxwell then updated the board on the graduation ceremony that will be Saturday, May 22nd at 10:00am in Bob Carver Bearcat Stadium. The event will follow the same format as last year. Gates will open at 8:45am.

 

Campus principals addressed the board about the summer school schedule. Sixty students are expected at Holly Harshman Elementary and Fifty Six students will attend at Louise Durham Elementary. These will be in July on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30am-11:30am.

 

Mena Middle School will not have summer school and will focus on interventionist and other staff training. Mena High School will host two recovery sessions this summer. The first is June 7th-24th & the second is July 12th-29th. An ACT Boot Camp will be held July 12th-16th. Self  contained students at MHS will have sessions from 8:00am-Noon June 14th-17th, June 28th-July 1st, July 12th-15th and July 26th-29th. Buses will be running and transportation will be provided.

 

Mr. Danny Minton presented a maintenance report. It included an update on the completion of the gym floor project at the Union Bank Center and a new finish on the floor at Jim Rackley Gymnasium. New fencing on a portion of Bob Carver Bearcat Stadium is planned in June. He updated the plan for new HVAC at HHE and MMS as well as the summer 

maintenance program.

 

As announced earlier on social media Louise Durham Elementary has earned accreditation as a highly effective school from Solution Tree. Mr. Weston congratulated Mrs. Holder and the staff on this impressive accomplishment. LDE joins eight other schools in Arkansas to earn this designation.

 

Christy Harrison then talked to the board about the statement of intent for the special education and related services for the 21-22 school year. The board approved the statement of intent unanimously.

 

Next on the agenda was the food service renewal. The board voted to  extend the 5 year contract with Aramark.

The board also voted to renew the contract with Horizon for software used in the cafeteria as well as rollover and direct certification import..

 

Mr. Weston then asked the boards permission for the district to acquire new busses when they become available and avoid the need for a future vote. That request was approved.

 

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lee Smith then spoke to the board on the Chromebook lease. Smith recommended a buyout of current Chromebooks and a new set for 5th grade & 9th grade. That plan was approved.

 

Dr. Smith then shared information on E-Rate. E-Rate is a government program the district can take advantage of for improvements to the network infrastructure. That would total $250,490.00 with the balance of $67,484 being paid with ESSER funds. The board approved.

 

Mr. Weston then gave an update on the ESA Percentage for 2021-2022.This is also known as school poverty funding & is a part of the state funding package for schools that is targeted to low income students. The number of students eligible for free and reduced price lunches is used to set the funding level for each district. The current rate In the Mena district is 69%. That is one percentage point away from doubling the funding for these programs. Weston expressed his disappointment with coming so close to that mark.

 

The five year plan was next on the agenda. That included a discussion on ESSER II, equalization & educator compensation funds. Recent legislation allows reform of the salary scale including a minimum salary increase. The board approved Weston’s suggestion to accept the educator compensation reform fund dollars from the state and fix the minimum salary scale. Approving this now will allow the district to take advantage of additional funding next year.

 

The board also approved the submission of a plan to award ESSER II funds for extra effort by school employees for on sight days. The plan will be submitted to the state for approval.

 

With the reform of the salary scale the district salary schedule for certified employees was reduced to two columns, bachelors and masters. It includes adding an increase to meet state minimums, add a Dean of Students multiplier and the Assistant Superintendent multiplier will go back to .3317. This will go into effect on July 1st, 2021. The board approved that change.

 

Changes to the classified scale were also approved. That includes a 2.4% increase for job positions not effected by the minimum wage increase over the last two years.

 

Next the board approved changes to the Visa card accounts to reflect recent changes in personnel & consolidate those into one account.

 

The board then voted to accept 11 freedom of choice students who applied for the 2021-2022 school year.

 

The final item on the agenda was personnel. The retirement of Martha Billingsley and Kellie Sterner were accepted. They accepted the resignation of 

Julie Woodral, James Waldon, Melissa Lunsford, and Dannalee Griffin.

 

Resigning from coaching assignments were Ryan Luttmer from Jr. High Basketball and Jr. Boys Track, Heather Goss from Jr. Girls Track, Tia Fryar from Assistant Jr. Boys Basketball, Brad Lyle from Assistant Sr. Boys Basketball, and Tommy Johnson from Assistant Baseball.

 

Those affected by restructuring include Cindy Brevik to Instructional Technologist, Karen Parnell to MMS Self Contained, Ashley Stipe to MMS Para Pro,

Alissa Faught to LDE Para Pro, Missie Reeves to HHE RTI Interventionist Para Pro, and Shanda Craig to HHE 5th Grade Teacher.

 

New hires included Sheryl Barfield as RTI Interventionist Para Pro at LDE, Jamie Grogan as Para Pro at LDE, Audra Cummings as Para Pro at HHE, Reagan Black at HHE 3rd Grade teacher, Katharine Smith as Mathematics at MHS, Lisa Roberts as Para Pro at MHS, Madison Bircher as Para Pro at LDE, Gwendolyn Alexander as Para Pro at LDE, Jackie Baird as Para Pro at MHS, Denise Jewell as Para Pro at MMS, Isaac Minton as Jr. Boys Basketball Coach/Assistant Baseball/Health & PE at MMS, and Rachel Dover as Jr. Girls Track Coach.

 

Changes in athletics will include Ryan Luttmer to Assistant Sr. High Basketball, Tommy Johnson to Head Jr. Boys Track Coach, and Kyle Smithers to Assistant Jr. Boys Basketball.

 

5-21-21 7:32 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Another Drug Arrest By Polk County Deputies

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer released the following information Thursday concerning another drug areest in the county by deputies. 

 

"On Wednesday, May 19, 2021, Deputies with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on Highway 71 between Cove and Hatfield on a white Ford F350. During the stop, it was discovered that the driver of the vehicle, Dante St. Michael age 56 of Waldron, Arkansas, had a suspended driver’s license. Further investigation uncovered methamphetamines, drug paraphernalia, and cash in excess of $25,000.00.

 

St. Michael was arrested and transported to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. He is charged with Possession of a Sch.2 C/S Methamphetamines, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Driving on a Suspended DL. No bond has been set at this time."

 

5-20-21 7:71 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Traffic Stops Yield Drugs, Guns, and Stolen Truck

Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer released the following information in a Press Release Tuessday morning. 

 

On Saturday, May 15, 2021, a Deputy with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office stopped a white Jeep driven by Samuel Leon Bissell, age 40, of Mena. During the stop and a subsequent search of the vehicle, Deputies found approx. 113 grams of Methamphetamines, loaded syringes, scales, pills, approx.. $912.00 cash, and a loaded handgun.

 

Samuel Bissell was arrested and transported to the Polk County Detention Center. Bissell is currently charged with Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, Possession of Methamphetamines with Purpose to Deliver, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Sch 2 C/S (Morphine), and Possession of a Firearm by Certain Person. His bond was set at $150,000.00.

 

On Monday, May 17, 2021, a deputy with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop on a white Chevrolet truck in Hatfield. During the initial contact, it was discovered that the driver, Clinton Wayne Mahaffey, age 36, of Smithville, OK, had an outstanding warrant in Polk County and a suspended driver’s license.

 

During a pat down of Mahaffey, Deputies found approx.  2 grams of methamphetamines. When deputies ran the VIN on the truck, it was discovered that the truck had been stolen out of Choctaw County, Oklahoma. During a search of the truck, several items of drug paraphernalia, approx.. 1 ounce of marijuana, and two loaded firearms were located. Clinton Mahaffey was arrested and transported to the Polk County Detention Center.

 

Mahaffey’s charges include, Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, Possession of Methamphetamines with Purpose to Deliver, Possession of Drug paraphernalia, and Theft by Receiving. No bond has been set at this time.

 

5-18-21 11:45 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

OLT TO HOLD AUDITIONS FOR LITTLE WOMEN MUSICAL

OLT HOLDS AUDITIONS FOR “LITTLE WOMEN; THE MUSICAL”

 

Ouachita Little Theatre will be producing two musicals this summer.  Following, “BIG” which will be performed the first two weekends in July, a musical version of “Little Women” will be showcased on August 6th, 7th, 8th, and 13th, 14th, and 15th

 

Auditions for “Little Women: The Musical” are Monday, May 24th and Tuesday, May 25th. To avoid unnecessary crowding as much as possible, these will be private auditions, with a ten minute time slot for each actor. 

 

 Those who are interested should schedule a time slot with  Director Alexa Night at emmeline.clove@gmail.com or 479-234-1142 (TEXT ONLY if possible, please.)  Night is  looking for the following cast members:

 

* 5 young women who are strong actors and singers who can play from 12 to early 20s

* 3 young men, strong actors and singers as well, ranging from teens to mid thirties 

* 1 man 50s-70s, decent singing abilities

* 1 woman 50s to 70s, decent singing abilities and good comedic skills

* 1 woman, 40s, strong singer and actor

 

 Actors should prepare at least 16 bars of a musical theatre song similar to the material of the show, or  better yet, a selection from the show itself.  The recording of “Little Women the Musical” can be found on Spotify. You may also choose to do a “cold reading” which requires no preparation.

 

5-17-21 4:13 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for May 9th - 15th

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of May 9th through May 15th, 2021

 

 

May 9

 

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

 

Morgan Waller, 57, was served with a warrant at Walmart.

 

Marsha Denton, 37, was charged with Criminal Trespass, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and served with three warrants after a complaint from Walmart.

 

Marsha Denton, 37, was served with a warrant at the county jail.

 

May 10

 

David Heard, 34, was served with a warrant at a residence on Edward Avenue.

 

May 11

 

Donnie Dollarhyde, 47, was served with a warrant after a disturbance call to Lisa Way.

 

A report of theft was taken from a resident at Peachtree.

 

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

 

May 12

 

A death investigation report of taken at a residence on Warner Avenue.

 

A report of harassment, terroristic threat ant disorderly conduct was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

May 13

 

Chad Aucoin, 36, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

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

 

May 14

 

A report of violation of a no contact order was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

May 15

 

Donavan Hunt, 29, was served with eleven warrants at the county jail.

 

Laine Barber, 26, was charged with Dog Running at Large, and served with a warrant after a complaint on Reeves Avenue.

 

Jennifer Williams, 50, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken at the Northside Laundry Mat.

 

Dax Wood was served with three warrants after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

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

 

5-17-21 2:28 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for May 10th - 16th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of May 10, 2021 – May 16, 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.

 

May 10, 2021

Report from complainant on May Lane near Acorn of a trespasser. Deputy responded.

Report of a juvenile being bullied.

Report from complainant on Polk 42 near Potter of trespassing. Deputy responded.

Report of two intoxicated juveniles led to two Juvenile Citations for Possession of Alcohol by a Minor being issued. Juveniles were released to the custody of a parent/guardian.

Arrested was Loyd D. Bolton, 50, of Mena, on a Hold for Other Agency.

 

May 11, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley of a broken house window. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 21 near Cove of a domestic disturbance. Deputy responded.

Report of an unattended death on Windmill Lane near Board Camp. Deputy responded.

Report of an incident between coworkers.

Arrested was Anthony W. Hinkle, 22, of Cove, on a Warrant for Possession of Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

 

May 12, 2021

Report from complainant on May Lane near Acorn of harassment. Deputy responded.

Report of trespassing on Polk 89 near Ink. Deputy responded.

Report of a possible missing person. Deputy responded. Individual was later located.

Report from complainant on Polk 41S near Potter of a dog being killed. Deputy responded.

 

May 13, 2021

No reports filed.

 

May 14, 2021

Report from complainant on Hwy 88E near Cherry Hill of two stolen four wheelers valued at $2500.00. Deputy responded.

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

Report from complainant on Polk 720 near Shady Grove of identity fraud.

 

May 15, 2021

Traffic stop on Polk 188 near Acorn led to the arrest of Samuel L. Bissell, 40, of Mena, on Charges of Possession of Meth or Cocaine with Purpose to Deliver, Possession of Firearm by Certain Persons, Possession of Schedule I or II, Possession of Schedule IV or V, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Schedule VI, Speeding, and a Parole Hold.

Report of an incident at a park near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Report of trespassing at a residence near Hatfield. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report of a disturbance on May Lane near Acorn led to the arrest of Stephen P. Copelin, 68, of Mena on a Warrant for Harassment.

 

May 16, 2021

Report of an altercation led to a juvenile male being issued a Juvenile Citation for Battery 3rd Degree.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Hatfield of being threatened. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 17 Incarcerated Inmates, with 6 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00396

 

5-17-21 11:38 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Thank You, Law Enforcement

Thank You, Law Enforcement

 

Law enforcement professionals from local police forces to sheriff’s departments, state police and federal law enforcement agencies leave home each day not knowing what challenges they will experience, but ready to face danger head on in order to make the communities they serve safer.

 

Sadly, last year proved to be particularly dangerous for law enforcement. The COVID-19 pandemic is one reason 2020 was one of the deadliest years for officers in recent memory. To honor the service and heroism of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, the names of theses fallen officers are etched into the walls of the National Law Enforcement Memorial. This year, 394 officers killed in the line of duty have been added to the memorial including four Arkansans who we hold close to our hearts.

 

Sergeant James Dancy of the North Little Rock Police Department was a 35-year veteran of the police force who helped mentor young officers at the department. He contracted COVID-19 while performing his job.

  

Officer Travis Wallace of the Helena-West Helena Police Department gave his life while attempting to apprehend a suspect wanted in connection with a violent crime.

 

Pine Bluff Detective Kevin Collins had a lifelong dream to serve as a police officer. He made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty while conducting an ongoing investigation.

 

Hot Springs Police Officer Corporal Brent Scrimshire, who had earned recognition as the Arkansas Southwest Region Officer of the Year in 2016, lost his life while conducting a traffic stop.

 

We honor these Arkansans and law enforcement officers all across the country who courageously gave their lives to uphold law and order. Their deaths are tragic and call us to acknowledge their tremendous heroism and selflessness. They also invite us to appreciate the reality that the stakes of this occupation are a lot higher than most others – they are life and death. The perilous nature of policing and law enforcement is something we simply can’t underestimate or fail to respect.

  

Over the past year, we’ve witnessed increased calls for defunding or abolishing police forces across the country. Instead of this misguided approach, we need to improve investments and resources for the men and women in blue.

  

That’s why it’s important that Congress fund programs like the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, which has proven vital to helping states and local law enforcement agencies purchase equipment and support training for officers. We should also pass the Back the Blue Act and Protect and Serve Act to help strengthen laws that protect police officers and hold those who perpetrate attacks against law enforcement accountable.

 

In addition to those important steps, we should also help police prepare for the encounters they are having in communities nationwide. I’ve joined efforts to craft a bill that would provide police with better strategies and procedures to respond to calls involving a mental health crisis and I’m hopeful that with additional tools and improved training officers will be able to identify how to best serve the needs of the entire community.

 

On behalf of all Arkansans, I thank all of our law enforcement officers for making sacrifices to keep us safe. I will continue advocating for improved tools, resources and training for officers so they can prepare for unpredictable circumstances.

 

Our safety and peace of mind come at a cost, and our police officers need our support and gratitude for being the first ones to pay it. We honor them continually for what they do and what they represent.

 

5-14-21 4:11 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Nurses Make A Difference

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Nurses Make A Difference
 
Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address can be found in MP3 format and downloaded HERE.
 
LITTLE ROCK – This is National Nurses Week in Arkansas, and today I’d like to talk about how the pandemic has highlighted the value of our nurses and about the laws the General Assembly passed this year that allow nurses to offer more services.
 
Over the past year, nurses have risked their health to care for COVID patients in hospitals, private homes, nursing homes, and prisons and jails.
 
Susie Marks, executive director of the Arkansas Nurses Association, says that many nurses, especially bedside nurses, have worked in settings they never thought they’d work in.
 
Some Arkansas nurses served in COVID hot spots in New York, Texas, and Louisiana. Nurses don’t run from danger, Ms. Marks said, they run towards it. Those who worked in other places returned to Arkansas with innovative solutions for patient care and to minimize risk to health care workers.
 
Registered nurses are the largest health care profession in the United States, and 60,000 of them work in Arkansas. The theme for this year’s National Nurses Week is “You Make a Difference,” a nod to the unparalleled care and service they have provided during the pandemic.
 
Professional nursing is an indispensable link in the care of hospitalized patients, and the demand for registered nurses is growing as Baby Boomers age, and as the quality of health care and medicine helps Americans live longer than ever.
 
The cost-effective safe and high-quality health care services that registered nurses provide will play an ever-more important role in our health care delivery system.
 
The General Assembly passed several laws this year that expand the services that nurses can offer. Act 569 allows Advance Practice Registered Nurses to serve as a primary care provider in the Medicaid Program without a physician agreement. This allows people who live in rural areas to see an advanced practice registered nurse for certain care and prescriptions rather than drive to a city.
 
Act 412 creates the Full Independent Practice Credentialing Committee, which can grant full practice authority to certified nurse practitioners.
 
Act 449 allows a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist to work in consultation with licensed physicians, dentists, and others who are licensed to order anesthesia.
 
And Act 607 grants full practice authority to Certified Nurse Midwives, which allows them to evaluate patients, diagnose medical conditions, and order diagnostic tests, and initiate and manage treatment and care plans.
 
These new laws expand access to medical care and allow nurses to work to their education level.
 
As we add nursing programs at the high school and community college level, and increase the ability of nurses to provide services, Arkansas is poised to increase the number of nurses. As we have seen during the pandemic, we can’t live without them. Nurses make all the difference. Thank you, nurses, for choosing this profession.
 
5-14-21 1:33 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

When an officer is killed, it is not only a loss to the agency, it’s a loss to our entire state.

 

National Police Week is May 9-May 15. May 15 has also been designated as Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor the service and sacrifice of those law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty while protecting our communities. Sadly, Arkansas lost five officers in the line of duty last year.

 

An estimated 7,000 officers are protecting and serving 3 million Arkansans.

 

We recognize that a single week is not a sufficient amount of time to honor the sacrifices our law enforcement and their families make daily. We hope the legislation enacted in the most recent session helps to support them throughout the year.

 

We strengthened the budget for Arkansas State Police and reduced the amount of time they need to serve before they can retire.

 

We passed Act 714, which requires a city of first-class to establish a city police department and provide the department with proper resources.

 

We also addressed the mental health of our officers by passing Act 747. This bill states law enforcement agencies must assist a law enforcement officer involved in a critical incident in obtaining services that may help the officer recover from psychological effects.

 

We passed legislation that was recommended by the Governor’s Task Force to Advance the State of Law Enforcement in Arkansas.  Act 218 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.

 

And we passed legislation making sure K-9 units get the necessary medical services they need if injured in the line of duty with Act 790 titled Gabo’s Law.

 

From patrolling morning rush hour to responding to a domestic call late at night, we ask a great deal from our men and women in law enforcement. We thank them for the selfless service to the communities they serve and our state.

 

5-14-21 10:26 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

May 14, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas legislature enacted several new pro-life laws during the 2021 regular session.

 

One of the first bills approved was Act 309, which prohibits abortions except in cases when it’s necessary to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency.

 

The act does not authorize the filing of any criminal charges against the mother. However, the person who performs the abortion could be charged with a felony and fined $100,000.

 

If a physician is providing medical treatment to a pregnant woman and accidentally or unintentionally harms the unborn baby, the physician has an affirmative defense.

 

Act 309 does not prohibit the sale or use of contraceptive drugs and chemicals, as long as they are taken before the mother could reasonably know, through conventional medical testing, that she is pregnant.

 

The legislature also passed Act 949, which requires abortion clinics to be licensed by the state Health Department. It also prohibits hospitals from performing an abortion unless it is to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency.

 

Act 90 does not allow an abortion to be performed until the mother has received information about public benefits for which she may be eligible, as well as help with application forms.

 

The offer of free resources will include planning for a healthy pregnancy, and help with postpartum care and prenatal care. The mother will receive information about alcohol and drug abuse treatment.

 

The mother is not required to complete any of the services in order to get an abortion. The Health Department will set up a toll-free telephone line for pregnant women to get the offer of free services. The Department also will set up a database. Abortion providers must register on the database each abortion request, and the registration must verify that the mother received an offer of free services.

 

Within two days after the abortion is performed, the provider must report to the Health Department the date and time it was performed.

 

The abortion provider may contract with an agency to make the offer of free services to the pregnant women. That agency must report on the number of requests for help it gets from victims of abuse, coercion or sex trafficking.

 

The agency also must report how many women asked for help with health pregnancy planning, and how many women asked for help paying for housing, getting a job, getting child care and putting the child up for adoption.

 

The reports will also include the number of requests for financial help, medical care, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, help writing a resume and help getting health insurance.

 

To confirm that abortion providers are offering free services, or hiring an agency to offer services, the Health Department will audit the providers. Abortion providers can be fined $5,000 for each procedure performed without first offering free services to the mother.

 

If more than five percent of the audited cases are not in compliance with the law requiring an offer of free services, the Health Department shall revoke the license of the abortion clinic.

 

5-14-21 9:38 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

OLT President Rudi Timmerman Retiring, Reception May 20TH

There will be a retirement reception for Rudi Timmerman at the OLT on Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. immediately following the OLT business meeting which starts at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend both the abbreviated business meeting when new officers board members are recognized, and the reception for Rudi Timmerman.

 

OLT President Rudi Timmerman Retiring

 

Thursday, May 20, will be the final Ouachita Little Theatre board meeting conducted by President Rudi Timmerman. He is retiring after serving eleven years as president. Rudi is also well known for his other roles around OLT, including director, actor, set designer, and technical advisor. It is an understatement to say that “he will be greatly missed.”

 

Rudi was born in Amsterdam and immigrated to the U.S. in 1952 with his parents when he was just nine years old. Five years later, he was an American citizen growing up in Chicago, IL with his four siblings. His father, who was an electrical engineer, taught Rudi much to prepare him for his career teaching Chemistry and Physics for 50 years. Those years also laid groundwork for many of the skills he brought to OLT.

 

Rudi earned his bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University, his master’s degree in chemistry and physics from the University of Missouri, and his doctorate degree in higher education from UALR.

 

In 1976, Rudi and his family moved to Polk County from Earlville, Illinois. Upon arrival to Polk County, he and his wife, Lorraine, both taught in Wickes where their three children attended school. Later, Rudi accepted a teaching position at UARM (formerly Rich Mountain Community College) where he enjoyed a 27-year tenure. It was here that he initiated the radio and television program culminating in Cable Channel 19, KRMN-FM radio, and classes in radio and TV.

 

In 1982, Rudi and Lorraine joined the Ouachita Little Theatre and worked on their first production, “Rainmaker.” He directed four musicals for Wickes High School to prepare him to become a major director for OLT. He was well known for his big production musicals including “Sound of Music,” “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Oliver,” “Annie,” and a dozen more to his credit.

 

Rudi was the president of the theatre in 1993 when a direct tornado strike resulted in major damage to the Lyric Theatre building. With community support and a FEMA loan, he coordinated the refurbishing of the surviving portion of the building. He personally oversaw the electrical service, plumbing, and structural improvements which helped the theater get “up to code.”

 

Fortunately for OLT, Rudi was president during other difficult circumstances for the theatre. Early on in his presidency, OLT was seriously underfunded. Some of his membership ideas helped to fiscally rejuvenate the theater.

 

Most recently during the COVID19 pandemic, which virtually shut down theaters, Rudi was a strong voice in keeping the theater safely open as much as possible. He felt it was important to bring some joy and escapism to the community, while observing CDC guidelines, and to help them remember “we are still here.”

 

In 2009 after a second tornado strike damaged the theatre again, Rudi saw it as an opportunity to do more renovation and modernization to the almost 100-year-old historical building. He continued renovations over the following years by overseeing the reorganization and construction of a new costume area, the sound booth, office renovation, and a steel catwalk to access lighting and sound equipment. He often donated needed materials, equipment, and his time for many projects.

 

5-12-21 4:07 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for May 3rd - 9th

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of May 3, 2021 – May 9, 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.

 

May 3, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 601 near Shady of issues with a family member. Deputy responded.

Report of two vehicles broke down on Polk 605 near Vandervoort. Deputy responded.

Report of an unattended death on Hwy 370 near Board Camp. Deputy responded.

Report of a dispute between neighbors on Sugartree Lane near Board Camp. Deputy responded. Information forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report from complainant on Hwy 375W near Mena of a scam. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Jesse L. Zamora, 38, of Mena, on a Body Attachment Warrant.

 

May 4, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 31 near Cove of a dog bite victim. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 184 near Acorn of trespassing. Deputy responded.

Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Tyler J. Cornelius, 27, of Mena, on a Warrant for Failure to Comply and a Body Attachment Warrant.

Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Alban R. Beckwith, 29, of Cove, on eight Failure to Appear Warrants.

 

May 5, 2021

Report of an individual removing trash from a dumpster. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 674 near Board Camp of identity fraud.

Arrested by an officer with the Drug Task Force was David L. Evans, 65, of Wickes, on a Warrant for Delivery of Meth or Cocaine.

Arrested was Carlos G. Gonzalez, 64, of Hatfield, on six Warrants for Failure to Appear.

 

May 6, 2021

Report of an intoxicated individual on Polk 191 near Ink. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 124 near Shady Grove of identity fraud.

Report from complainant of identity fraud.

Report of a structure fire on Red Bird Lane near Rocky. Deputy responded.

Report of a fire near a hay barn on Polk 31 near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Stephenie Ashcraft, 29, of Mena, on a Probation Violation.

 

May 7, 2021

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

Report from complainant on Polk 42 near Potter of stolen medications. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 675 near Big Fork of a vehicle not being returned. Deputy responded.

 

May 8, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 185 near Ink of possible stolen property. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Terrina D. Williams, 49, of Hatfield on a Warrant for Delivery of Meth or Cocaine.

 

May 9, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 28 near Hatfield of a horse being shot. Deputy responded.

Report of a dog bite victim on Polk 36 near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Kymberlie A. Chaney, 24, of Cove, on a Probation Violation.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 20 Incarcerated Inmates, with 4 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00372

 

5-10-21 10:49 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for May 2nd - May 8th

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of May 2nd through May 8th, 2021

 

 

May 2

 

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

 

May 3

 

Torri Veal, 27, was served with two warrants after contact on Highway 71.

 

A report of disorderly conduct and littering was taken from Executive Inn.

 

A report of harassment was taken from a person at Davis Brothers.

 

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

 

Jimmy Davis, 45, was charged with Criminal Trespass and Theft of Property (Shoplifting) after a complaint from Walmart.

 

May 4

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken from St. Agnes Catholic Church.

 

May 5

 

A report of theft was taken from a person at the Northside Laundry Mat.

 

Benjamin Farley, 22, was charged with Possession of Meth and Public Intoxication after a welfare check at Walmart.

 

May 6

 

Charles Morgan, 43, was charged with Possession of Meth, Possession of a Schedule 4 Controlled Substance, and served with two warrants after a stop on Martin Street.

 

Laine Barber, 26, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

Marlania Gonzalez, 36, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

May 7

 

A report of theft of property was taken at Mt. View Clinic.

 

A report of interference with a custody exchange was taken at the Mena Police Dept.

 

May 8

 

Tyler Cook, 19, was issued a citation for seeding, driving on a suspended driver license and no proof of insurance.

 

Abram Abernathy, 24, and Chelsea Roba, 25 were issued a citation for disorderly conduct.

 

Bryan Russell, 39, was charged for internet stalking and sexual indecency with a minor after an investigation.

 

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

 

5-10-21 9:22 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

School Board Elections Absentee, Early Voting - One Vote Center On Election Day

School elections for the three Polk County School districts will be Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Only one Vote Center will be open on Election Day, and that will be at Cove. When there are no contested races or millage issues, Arkansas State Law allows for all the voting to be conducted by Absentee and Early Voting. The Mena and Ouachita River School Districts have no contested races and no millage issues. The Cossatot River School District has one contested race, so voters will be able to vote Absentee, by Early Voting, or at the Cove Vote Center on Election Day.


Early Voting will be in the Polk County Clerk's Office in the Polk County Courthouse in Mena 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, May 11th - 14th, and 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 17, 2021. 
 
The one contested race in the Cossatot River School District is for Zone 6 and the candidates are Leona Scott and Sandy Fryar.
 
Running for re-election uncontested are Edward Puckett and Phillip Wilson in the Mena School District, Chris Tedder and Annette Hays in the Ouachita Richer School District, and Alex Wade in the Cossatot River School District.
 
5-9-21 4:11 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Time to Modernize Telehealth Policy

Time to Modernize Telehealth Policy

 

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched policy improvements to remove barriers to some telehealth services. The public health emergency has made it clear more must be done to improve and expand access to this manner of health care delivery. We must ensure health care providers and patients have the requisite tools and resources while also modernizing federal policy to support the growing demand for telehealth.

 

During the last week of March 2020, telehealth visits increased 154 percent compared to the same time the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result of flexibilities unanimously approved under the CARES Act – which passed the same month and waives telehealth requirements for the duration of the pandemic – more people are relying on this technology to connect with their doctors.

 

It continues to be a popular method for patients to access quality health care that is convenient, safe and efficient. It’s also well-liked among health professionals. Arkansas medical providers have endorsed this approach and have called for permanent changes to make it easier to use telehealth in the future, and Congress has taken steps to make this happen.

 

I’m proud to support the Creating Opportunities Now for Necessary and Effective Care Technology (CONNECT) for Health Act. This legislation, which has widespread, bipartisan support in the Senate, would expand Medicare coverage of telehealth services, make permanent COVID-19 telehealth flexibilities and provide a way for patients to safely connect with their doctors.

 

Telehealth is here to stay. We must take appropriate steps to remove the barriers that exist for patients who seek care in this format. This legislation will complement the Telehealth Modernization Act that aims to provide Medicare beneficiaries with continued access to the lifesaving capabilities of telehealth services.

 

It’s important that we update our policies to reflect the crucial role telehealth plays in health care delivery and continue expanding its reach to populations in rural and underserved areas.

 

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has been a leader on this front in our state. The school has received federal funding to encourage expansion of telehealth through training and video conferencing equipment so patients and doctors can connect remotely, including nearly $1 million for digital health training for medical professionals and patients in the Arkansas Delta last year. This grant will help bridge the gap that exists for patients in this region and their ability to access health care, get appointments with their doctors and ultimately lead to better health care outcomes.

 

Broadband deployment goes hand-in-hand with telehealth. Ensuring high-speed internet availability for all Arkansans is crucial to the viability and practicality of digital health care delivery. We’ve made good progress, but we must continue to expand connectivity so more people can use this option to get the care they need.

As telehealth continues to play an increasingly important role in our health care system, we should proactively seek to help medical providers and patients access and utilize it while, at the same time, working to improve it and provide even more of its benefits to Americans eager to leverage the power of technology to lead longer, healthier lives.

 

5-8-21 5:54 p.m. KAWX.ORG

Weekly Arkansas Fishing Report

This is the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s fishing report for April 22, 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 10 a.m. the day of publication (May 6).

 

Click anywhere on this line for the complete Arkansas Fishing Report for this week compliments of KAWX Community Radio. 


****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.

 

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.

 

5-7-21 4:41 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Sunken Lands Water Trail

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Sunken Lands Water Trail
 
Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address can be found in MP3 format and downloaded HERE.
 
LITTLE ROCK – On Wednesday, I traveled to Poinsett County for the dedication of the state’s newest water trail. Today I’d like to share a bit of the story behind the Sunken Lands Water Trail, which was created by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the St. Francis Lake Association, the Trumann Area Chamber of Commerce, and by what insurance companies refer to as an act of God. The roots of the story reach back to the New Madrid earthquakes more than two centuries ago.
 
There is enough history, heartbreak, and political intrigue per square foot of this 37,000-acre patch of northeast Arkansas to keep genealogists, geologists, foresters, engineers, historians, and novelists busy for years.
 
The Sunken Lands Water Trail, which is a path for paddlers rather than pedestrians, is the Game and Fish Commission’s fourteenth water trail. Sunken Lands takes its name from the earthquakes in the early 1800s when the land literally sank and disappeared under water.
 
The quakes began in December 1811 and continued through March 1812. Land in the counties of Craighead, Mississippi, and Poinsett disappeared. An eyewitness wrote that the ground moved like waves on the land, and that the earth burst open and sent up huge plumes of water and sand. Where forests and hills once dominated, only flooded land remained. The quakes dug chasms as deep as fifty feet and dumped land into the St. Francis River. Many who survived the quakes lost everything they owned and moved away. Some who moved west settled at Crowley’s Ridge, the only high ground left.
 
For more than a hundred years, Arkansans worked to make something of the waterlogged regions. Their ingenuity produced the Steep Gut Floodway with a lock and sluiceway in 1926, and Marked Tree Siphons, which went into operation in 1939. A newspaper reporter for the Marked Tree Tribune wrote that the siphons lifted “the whole river thirty feet across a dam and deposited it on the other side.”
 
The siphons and the floodway controlled and drained the water, and allowed towns such as Lake City, Turrell, Lepanto, Marked Tree, Tyronza, and Trumann to thrive. A loop off U.S. 63 runs through much of the Sunken Lands region, including the St. Francis Sunken Lands Wildlife Management Area, famous for its hunting and fishing. The Marked Tree Siphons is on the National Register of Historic Places, which you can still see and which continues to siphon water.
 
More than two-hundred years later, Arkansas has found another use for the waterway by creating the water trail, which will draw thousands of tourists. The St. Francis Sunken Lands Water Trail was conceived by local officials and nature lovers, who were assisted in their dream by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Game and Fish Biologists Jeremy Brown and Jessica Holman spent hundreds of hours on the project. Chris Colclasure, deputy director of Game and Fish, Neal Vickers, retired executive director of the Trumann Area Chamber of Commerce, and Congressman Rick Crawford supported the project.
 
On Wednesday, I saw the trail from the shore and from a boat. The day was sunny, and the scenery was beautiful. Sunken Land Water Trails is another jewel in the Natural State’s crown, a place packed with history and primed for the future.
 
5-8-21 4:34 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

From when you can drive in the left lane to regulating autonomous cars, the 93rd General Assembly made several changes to laws regarding our roadways.

 

This week, we want to update you on these upcoming changes.

 

Act 1090 states a vehicle shall not be driven upon the left lane of a multilane highway, except as follows: 

 

(1) When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction under the rules governing that movement.

(2) When all other lanes for traveling in the same direction are closed to traffic while under construction or repair.

(3) When all other lanes for traveling in the same direction are in disrepair or are in an otherwise unsafe condition.

(4) When a vehicle is preparing to exit the multilane highway on the left.

 

Act 264 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.

 

Act 1061 states that a person commits the crime of felony racing on a public highway if he or she is drag racing on a public highway and impedes or stops the flow of traffic or is part of a gathering of 10 or more individuals engaging in the same behavior. Felony racing on a public highway is a Class D felony. 

 

Act 558 makes leaving the scene of an accident with injuries a Class D felony. However, if there are serious physical injuries or death, the offender would be charged with a Class B felony.

 

Act 619 establishes parameters with the Arkansas Department of Transportation for operating autonomous vehicles.

 

Other transportation legislation passed this year include the following:

 

Act 504-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 automotive repair and technology.

 

Act 160-This bill states that if a driver who operates a commercial motor vehicle is convicted of using the commercial motor vehicle in the commission of a felony involving human trafficking, the driver shall be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for life.

 

Act 376-This bill amends the additional fees required to register a hybrid vehicle. The new fees for hybrid vehicles will be reduced from $100 to $50 starting January 1, 2022. Fees for electric vehicles will be $200, and the fees for a plug-in hybrid elective vehicle will be $100.

 

Act 1067-This bill states that a person operating a bicycle upon a crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.

 

Act 926-This bill allows the operation of a personal delivery device in pedestrian areas and certain streets.

 

Act 908-This bill would give Arkansans up to 24 months to take the driving portion of a driver’s test after passing the written portion of the exam. Currently, Arkansans are only given 12 months before they have to re-take the written exam.

 

Act 913-This bill exempts domestic violence victims from having their residential address disclosed on a driver’s license. 

 

Act 1093-This bill exempts certain types of vehicles such as golf carts and low-speed vehicles from the additional fee for electric and hybrid cars.

 

Act 328-This bill exempts those with special military and veteran license plates from paying a fee for electric and hybrid cars.

 

Act 538-This bill creates an exception allowing certain devices such as a trailer hitch, wheelchair lift, or bicycle rack to obscure a license plate.

 

Act 871-This bill increases the maximum height of a vehicle authorized to operate on a state highway from 13’6” to 14’.

 

Act 754-This bill requires drivers to stop at railroad tracks for any on-track equipment as they would stop for a train.

 

Act 784-This bill states the maximum fine that can be imposed for a seat belt violation is $45.

 

You can find other legislative summaries on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

5-8-21 4:05 a.m. KAWX.ORG

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

May 7, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature referred three proposed constitutional amendments to Arkansas voters.

 

In next year’s statewide general election in November, voters will decide whether or not the three amendments are written into the state Constitution.

Two of the proposed amendments originated in the Senate; the third originated in the House of Representatives.

 

Senate Joint Resolution 10, if approved by voters next year, would allow the General Assembly to call itself into session in the interim between regular sessions. Currently, the legislature meets every year in regular session. After regular sessions have adjourned, the legislature does not convene again until the regular session of the following year.

 

In the interim between regular sessions, the only time the legislature convenes is when the governor calls a special session.

 

SJR 10 would allow legislators to call themselves into special session without a call by the governor. It could happen by two possible methods. The President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House could issue a joint proclamation. Or, a proclamation could be issued by legislators, if two-thirds of each body signed it.

 

Similar to the calls for a special session that are issued by the governor, the legislative proclamation would have to list the items that can be considered. SJR 10 would not affect the governor’s power to call a special session.

 

SJR 14 is the second measure that originated in the Senate. Its title is “The Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment.”

 

It would provide that the government shall not burden a person’s freedom of religion, except under limited circumstances when there is a compelling government interest in doing so, and the government chooses the least restrictive method of achieving that compelling interest.

 

SJR 14 states that “Governments should not burden religious exercise without compelling justification,” and that in a 1990 ruling “the United States Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement that the government justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws neutral toward religion.”

The 1990 case was out of Oregon, called “Employment Division v. Smith.” The two plaintiffs were members of a Native American church and also worked at a private drug rehabilitation facility. They were fired for ingesting peyote, a hallucinogenic drug, during a church ceremony.

 

The plaintiffs were denied unemployment benefits and they sued, arguing that the government had infringed on their First Amendment rights to freely exercise religion.

 

The majority opinion upheld the state government of Oregon and was delivered by Justice Antonin Scalia.

 

The third proposed amendment is in House Joint Resolution 1005. If approved by voters, it would require a 60 percent majority for approval of future proposed constitutional amendments.

 

In Arkansas, proposed amendments are placed on the ballot in two ways. The legislature can refer them, such as it did with SJR 10, SJR 14 and HJR 1005.

 

Also, citizens can place proposed amendments on the ballot by gathering on petitions enough signatures of registered voters. The minimum number of valid signatures is 10 percent of the number of votes cast in the prior election for governor.

 

5-7-21 10:13 a.m. KAWX.ORG

Polk County Sheriff's Report for April 26th - May 2nd

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of April 26, 2021 – May 2, 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.

 

April 26, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 115 near Acorn of a telephone scam. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 4W near Cove of the unauthorized use of a dumpster. Deputy responded.

Report of problems involving child visitation. Deputy responded.

 

April 27, 2021

Report from complainant on Kodiak Lane near Acorn of being unable to retrieve personal property from a residence. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Lancaster Lane near Dallas Valley of bank account fraud. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 6 near Wickes of a dog being shot. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 80 near Shady of identity fraud.

 

April 28, 2021

Report of a possible drug overdose. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 153 near Hatfield of trespassing. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Cove of the theft of building materials valued at $2,200. 00. Deputy responded.

 

April 29, 2021

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

Report of an incident on Polk 417 near Potter involving a delivery truck and an unknown individual. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 664 near Board Camp of trespassing led to the arrest of Paul D. Geurin, 40, of Hot Springs, AR on a Charge of Possession of Meth or Cocaine.

Arrested was George Trivette III, 28, of Mena, on a Warrant for Probation Violation.

 

April 30, 2021

Report of a sexual assault. Deputy responded.

Report of receiving unwanted telephone calls from an acquaintance. Deputy responded.

Report of an ATV accident on Polk 52 near Dallas Valley led to the arrest of Sidney J. Rawdon, 60, of Mena, on a Charge of DWI.

 

May 1, 2021

Traffic stop on Polk 32 near Cove led to the arrest of Brandy L. Crawford, 47, of Cove, on a Charge of Possession of Schedule I or II, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of Schedule IV or V and the arrest of Neisha F. Wikel, 28, of Cove, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear, a Warrant for Possession of Schedule III and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and a Warrant for Battery 3rd Degree.

Report of an accident on Polk 42 near Potter led to the arrest of Sage K. Kesterson, 25, of Mena, on a Charge of DWI.

Report from complainant on Polk 659 near Board Camp of the Violation of an Order of Protection. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Hatfield of the fraudulent use of a credit card. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on May Lane near Acorn of harassment. Deputy responded.

 

May 2, 2021

Report of a one vehicle accident on Polk 125 near Rocky. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 675 near Board Camp of items missing from a residence. Deputy responded.

Report of a single vehicle accident on Polk 74 near Acorn. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 37 near Hatfield of an incident at a residence. Deputy responded.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 23 Incarcerated Inmates, with 10 Inmates

currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00350

 

5-3-21 4:58 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

 

Mena Police Report for April 25th - May 1st

Mena Police Department reports for the week of April 25th through May 1st, 2021:

 

 

 

April 25

David Heard, 34, was served with a warrant on Polk Street.

 

A report of criminal trespass and littering was taken from EZ Mart.

 

April 26

Cheyene Smith, 26, was served with a warrant after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

Matthew Parnell, 28, was charged with Possession of a Schedule 6 Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after contact on Dequeen Street.

 

A report of possession of a controlled substance was taken at James’ Food.

 

April 27

Christopher Hoover, 39, was served with two warrants at the Northside Laundry Mat.

 

Two juveniles were charged with Simultaneous Possession of Drugs and Firearms, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia at the Executive Inn.

 

April 28

Larry Joseph, 43, Joseph Holmes, 35, and Sarah King, 23, were charged with Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call to Mena Short Stop.

 

A report of theft and criminal mischief was taken from a residence on Warner Avenue.

 

Alexis Simon, 20, was served with a warrant at Walmart.

 

April 29

A report of battery third degree was taken from a person at the hospital.

 

A report of breaking or entering and cruelty to animals was taken at a residence on Mountain View Drive.

 

A Jakki Hellyer, 28, was charged with criminal trespass at Walmart.

 

Abram Abernathy, 24, was charged with Assault on a Family or Household Member, Interference with Emergency Communications, and two counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a disturbance call to a residence on 9th Street.

 

April 30

Torrey Dragger, 28, was charged with DWI 3rd Degree, Operating a Vehicle During DWI License Suspension, Violation of Ignition Lock Device, and Defective Equipment after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

Nathan Gastineau, 39, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

May 1

Julian Craig, 38, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

An investigation led officers to a room at the Sun Country Inn. Gloria Clovis, 34, was charged with Possession of Meth with the Purpose to Deliver, Possession of Meth, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and served with a warrant. Stacie Shores, 30, was charged with Possession of Meth with the Purpose to Deliver, Possession of Meth, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and served with two warrants. Chris Hoover, 39, Possession of Meth with the Purpose to Deliver, Possession of Meth, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

5-3-21 4:50 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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