KAWX News Archives for 2021-07

The Broadway Musical Little Women Opens At The OLT August 6TH

OLT Presents Broadway Musical “Little Women”

 

Rehearsals have been underway for Ouachita Little Theatre’s musical version of Little Women. Under the direction of Alexa Night and musical direction of Judy Kropp, this is sure to be one of the top shows of the new OLT season. The talented and experienced cast is ready to enchant local audiences August 6,7, 8 (Friday-Sunday) and 12,13,14 (Thursday-Saturday.) All performances are at 7:30 PM except for the Sunday matinee at 2:30 PM.

April Burt as Jo March

 

Most people are familiar with the popular coming of age novel written in 1868 by Louisa Mae Alcott about the four March sisters living in “genteel poverty” in Concord, Massachusetts. In the beginning of the story, they are quite young, and the story takes them through love, loss, marriage, and career. It remains one of the most beloved books of all time.

April Burt as Jo and Jaimeson Biard as Profesor Bhaer 

 

This musical adaptation, unveiled on Broadway in 2005, was well received by audiences and critics. It focuses on Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and their beloved Marmee struggling at home while their father is away serving as a Union Army chaplain during the civil war. The show is intercut with vignettes in which their lives are revealed, and the scenes depict recreations of the short stories that Jo has written in her attic studio. Interspersed with music and action, we get to meet the young suiters and the older characters who influence their lives.

April Burt as Jo and Ricahrd Gilbert as Laurie Lawrence 

 

Director Night states, “The addition of singing to this familiar story makes it even more relatable in new and exciting ways. But the real draw to this particular production is the mind-blowingly talented cast. They bring these beloved characters to life in a way that I guarantee you have not seen before.” 

Ginni as Marmee March 

 

Tickets are on sale now at 610 Mena Street, Suite B on Thursdays and Fridays from 2:00 – 6:00 PM and Saturdays from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. You may get reserved seating or season tickets at that time. Tickets are also available at the door. If you are not vaccinated for COVID19, OLT advises you wear a mask as social distanced seating will not be available for this show.

Miranda Burt as Amy and April Burt as Jo

 

7-31-21 12:33 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Shooting for a Medal

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Shooting for a Medal
 
Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address can be found in MP3 format and downloaded HERE.
 
LITTLE ROCK – Many athletes who are competing in the Olympics in Tokyo this year have a connection to Arkansas, but today I’d like to talk about Kayle Browning, the only home-grown Arkansan representing the United States. This year, Kayle won a silver medal on Thursday in the International Trap Shooting competition.
 
Like many of our youth, Kayle dreamed of competing in the Olympics, but she was thinking gymnastics or figure skating. As it turned out, her Olympics dreams dovetailed with her shooting talent.
 
Kayle’s parents, Tommy Lynn and Tammy Browning, their kin, and friends, watched from their home in Wooster, where Kayle grew up. On Thursday afternoon, Tommy Lynn said his house had been pretty noisy as they watched their only child win. They had talked to Kayle briefly a couple of times between her appearance on the “Today” show and an onslaught of interviews.
 
Kayle comes by her love of the sport honestly. Her father, Tommy Lynn Browning, is a lifelong hunter who has won his share of national shooting titles. At shooting competitions, the mom, Tammy, pushed Kayle about in a stroller while her dad shot. Kaylee was eight when she started shooting water-filled jugs for fun in her yard. That also was the year she killed her first deer and duck.
 
At twelve, Kayle was a member of the Women’s Open All American team. At thirteen, she switched from shooting sporting clay targets to international trap shooting, which is an Olympic event. The idea to compete came from a talent recruiter for the U.S. Army marksman team. After he saw her shoot, he recommended that she try out for the Olympics.
 
In order to train, Kayle needed a professional facility, but there wasn’t one within ten hours of Wooster. So in 2006, her dad built one on their farm.
 
In 2012, Kayle was an alternate on the Olympic team. This year, she made the cut and traveled to Tokyo. Kayle competes with a Krieghoff over-and-under twelve-gauge shotgun.
 
I’d like to note that while Kayle learned much about shooting from her father, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission contributed to her training. With her parents’ encouragement, Kayle was one of the first youth to participate in the Game and Fish Commission’s Youth Shooting Sports Program. Her success is a good testimonial to the value of that program.
 
Tommy Lynn and Tammy have encouraged and supported Kayle’s pursuit of her passion. But they also have emphasized that winning a medal is a good thing, but just earning a spot on the team is a worthy accomplishment. Kayle is finding success outside of the Olympics. She owns Cypress Creek Lodge, where guests can stay overnight and learn to shoot from Kayle and David Radulovich, another champion shooter.  Kayle has a real estate license, and in her spare time, flips an occasional house.
Kayle Browning is following in the footsteps of her family, deepening her roots in Arkansas, building a successful business, and improving the quality of life in her community and state. Now she has brought an Olympic medal back to Arkansas. 
 
Congratulations, Kayle. For all you parents who want your children to learn about the great outdoors, meet Kayle Browning, Arkansas’s new ambassador for the shooting sports.
 
7-30-21 5:05 p.m. KAWX.ORG 
Kayle Browning 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Members are scheduled to return to the House Chamber next week. 

 

On Tuesday, August 3, we will convene as a Committee of the Whole to address the Governor’s recent state of emergency proclamation.

 

Citing an increase in infections and hospitalizations due to the Delta Variant of COVID-19, the Governor declared a statewide public health emergency on July 29. 

 

Legislation passed in the 2021 Regular Session now requires the General Assembly to convene.

 

Under Act 403, if the Governor declares a statewide state of disaster emergency related to public health, the House of Representatives and the Senate shall each convene as a committee of the whole within eight business days of the declaration to vote upon and debate any concurrent resolution to terminate the declaration. 

 

Act 403 states the emergency shall not continue for longer than 60 days unless renewed by the Governor, so long as the Legislative Council does not vote to deny the request for renewal. 

 

The act provides that if the Governor notifies the Legislative Council of his desire to renew a statewide state of disaster emergency related to public health, he may also request the renewal of an executive order or proclamation issued to meet or mitigate dangers to the people and property of the state presented or threatened by a statewide state of disaster emergency related to public health. 

 

The Governor also announced he is calling for a special session to make changes to Act 1002.

 

Act 1002 passed during the 2021 Regular Session. It ends mandatory face-covering requirements not imposed by a private business or state-owned or state-controlled healthcare facility and prohibits a state agency or entity, political subdivision of the state, or a state or local official from mandating a face mask, face shield, or other face covering. The Governor indicated any proposed changes would focus on allowing individual school boards to implement mask policies. 

 

We will continue to update you on any proposed legislation or schedules for the special session.

 

You can watch the proceedings live on our website at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

7-30-21 5:00 p.m. KAWX.ORG

AG Rutledge Warns of Possible Price Gouging During Covid-19 Emergency Declaration

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today is reminding consumers to be aware of potential price gouging on goods, products and services following Governor Asa Hutchinson’s public health emergency declaration. The announcement was made Thursday as the state experiences a spike in Covid-19 cases.

 

“Just as we saw in 2020, some people will exploit a crisis by charging astronomical amounts for items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, but this illegal activity will not be tolerated on my watch,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Unfortunately, during emergency declarations, we must be diligent and report businesses charging prices for items that appear beyond legal limits.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to avoid price gouging:

 

  • Know the average price for goods like hand sanitizer, soap and non-perishable food items before purchasing. If it seems too high, ask questions.
  • Avoid high-pressure sales tactics to purchase items that claim to keep you healthy.
  • When possible, deal with established, reputable businesses in the community.
  • Stay updated on the latest risks, warnings and prevention tactics at [CDC.gov/Coronavirus]CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

The price gouging law is triggered whenever a state of emergency is declared by federal, state or local governments. The Governor’s Executive Order issued on July 29, 2021 will expire sixty (60) days from that date.  The ban on price gouging remains in effect for at least 30 days following the declaration on goods and services related to the emergency. The scope of the law is broad and is intended to cover anything that may be needed in the event of a state of emergency. 

 

Arkansas’s price gouging law prohibits businesses from excessive and unjustified increases in the prices charged for essential goods and services during an emergency. Businesses may lawfully charge a higher price if they can establish that the higher price is directly attributable to additional costs incurred by the retailer, its supplier or as the result of additional costs for labor or materials.

 

To report price gouging visit ArkansasAG.gov/resources/contact-us/report-price-gouging/. For more information about other consumer-related issues, please visit ArkansasAG.gov, email Consumer@ArkansasAG.gov, or call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982.

 

7-30-21 4:30 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: End the Border Crisis

End the Border Crisis

 

President Joe Biden’s open border policies have created a public health, humanitarian and national security crisis. Since day one, the president has signaled he will not uphold enforcement of our immigration laws. He wasted no time in halting construction of the border wall, rolling back Trump-era policies that prevented illegal immigrants from crossing the border and reinstating the ‘catch and release’ policy that forces Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to release illegal immigrants into the U.S. as they await processing for deportation.

 

The Biden policies have resulted in a surge of illegal immigrants that shows no sign of letting up. In June, more than 188,000 people were arrested trying to illegally enter our country through the southern border. We’re on track to experience more than 1.8 million illegal border crossings along this stretch this year.

 

It’s no surprise we’re facing this crisis. Much like during the Obama administration, ‘catch and release’ has been a disaster. According to a recent Axios report 50,000 illegal immigrants have been caught and released in the last four months without receiving a court date, and only 13 percent have reported to an ICE office as instructed.

 

The administration must abandon this reckless policy, and it should also not just keep in place, but defend, a Trump-era policy I have fought to preserve. Title 42 – the authority that allows border agents to quickly remove illegal immigrants at the southern border to prevent the spread of COVID-19 rather than detain them in congregate settings – has allowed ICE to remove more than 754,000 illegal immigrants since October 2020. I pressed the president to maintain this rule because it’s a commonsense measure that has helped protect public health and supported our border and customs agents, who are already stretched thin.

 

Help is on the way, although not from the White House. Members of the Arkansas National Guard have deployed for Operation Lone Star to support the border patrol along the south Texas border. Their presence is bringing peace of mind to communities there. One mayor told Arkansas news outlet KARK the crisis is worsening and it’s been “overwhelming for municipalities along the border to find a balance to a federal issue that does not seem to have any solutions.”

 

The reality is the proven measures that had been effective were rejected by the White House. Instead of pursuing policies that hamstring border agents’ ability to enforce the law, we need to provide them with the tools and resources to safeguard Americans and protect our sovereignty. We must also eliminate safe-havens for illegal immigrants that undermine enforcement of federal laws. Sanctuary cities fly in the face of the rule of law and threaten the safety of American citizens by protecting violent and dangerous criminals illegally in our country.

 

It’s long overdue for the president to address the situation for what it is – a crisis. Rather than taking action to get it under control, he’s exacerbating the problem by pushing amnesty for illegal immigrants in his tax and spend partisan wish list. Incentivizing more illegal immigrants is irresponsible, foolish and serves as a further setback to securing the border.

 

It’s time the administration abandons its careless strategy and implements policies that strengthen border security, safeguard American families and communities, and uphold immigrations laws.

 

7-30-21 4:26 p.m. KAWX.ORG

 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague
 
July 30, 2021
 
LITTLE ROCK –Every day in Arkansas first responders save the lives of 11 people from an overdose of painkillers.
 
Thanks to legislation enacted earlier this year, even more people can be revived from potentially fatal overdoses of opioids. Act 651 of 2021 mandates that when a physician prescribes opioids, the physician must also prescribe naloxone, a drug that can quickly reverse the effects of an overdose.
 
Under Act 651, physicians must provide counseling on how to safely and effectively use the opioid and the naloxone.
 
So far this year, more than 1,000 people in Arkansas have been saved by first responders using naloxone. It is commonly called by its brand name, Narcan.
 
The legislature has enacted several laws to save people from the epidemic of opioid overdoses. Act 284 of 2017 authorizes pharmacists to dispense naloxone to friends and family of someone who is at risk of dying from an overdose.
 
In 2015 the legislature passed Act 1114 to provide immunity from arrest for friends of a person who is about to die from an overdose, if they take him to a hospital or contact law enforcement to seek medical assistance.
 
Also in 2015 the legislature approved Act 1222 to grant civil immunity to emergency medical technicians and first responders who in good faith administer naloxone to someone at risk of an opioid overdose.
 
The legislature also created the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which helps prevent abuse by allowing authorities to track individuals who get inordinate amounts of additive drugs.
 
Opioids are prescribed for moderate to severe pain, but one of their side effects is that they are addictive. According to the Centers for Disease Control, common types of opioids are oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone and morphine.
 
Heroin is an illegal opioid. Fentanyl is an even stronger opioid than heroin. It is a synthetic version that is being manufactured illegally and sold in underground drug markets.
 
Earlier this year the state Crime Lab reported that for the first time more people in Arkansas had died from an overdose of fentanyl than from methamphetamine. The state Drug Director said that illegal shipments of fentanyl from Mexico and China were the main cause of the increase in fentanyl overdoses.
 
Arkansas is second in the nation in the rate of opioid prescriptions – an average of 86.3 prescriptions for every 100 people, compared to the national average of 46.7 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people.
 
The state attorney general recently announced a possible settlement of a lawsuit by numerous states, cities and counties against drug companies. If approved by the government entities, the drug companies will pay a total of $26 billion nationwide to settle the thousands of lawsuits brought against them. Arkansas would receive $216 million, to be spent mainly for treatment and prevention of opioid abuse.
 
The drug companies have agreed to work under a system that will track purchases of opioids, to prevent suspiciously large shipments. Information about drug shipments will be shared with state regulators.
 
Before the lawsuits, drug companies distributed millions of pills to small, rural communities. Also, drug manufacturers did not inform physicians about how addictive opioids really are.
 
7-30-21 9:42 a.m. KAWX.ORG

Polk County Sheriff's Report for July 19TH - 25TH

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of July 19, 2021 – July 25, 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.

 

July 19, 2021

Report of a vehicle being hit in a parking lot. Deputy responded.

Report of an ATV accident on Polk 288 near Cove led to the arrest of Ricky D. Miller, 60, of Cove on two Warrants for Failure to Appear.

Report from complainant on Polk 91 near Hatfield of the fraudulent use of a credit card. Deputy responded.

 

July 20, 2021

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

Arrested was Royce T. Green, 45, of Mena, on a Warrant for Battery 3rd Degree.

 

July 21, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 130 near Rocky of a theft. Deputy responded.

 

July 22, 2021

Request for a welfare check on Hwy 71S near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Report of an accident on Hwy 71S near Cove. Deputy responded.

Report of being harassed. Deputy responded.

Report of a stolen phone cable on Hwy 8E near Board Camp. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 16 near Vandervoort of the theft of a boat valued at $900.00. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report of two eighteen wheelers blocking traffic on Hwy 71N near Acorn. Deputy responded.

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

 

July 23, 2021

Report from complainant on East Dawn Lane near Ink of the theft of an automotive reader valued at $3500.00. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 293 near Potter of checks being stolen and forged. Deputy responded. Investigation continues.

Report of a vehicle accident on Polk 95 near Rocky led to the arrest of Christopher A. Gibson, 27, of Hatfield on a Charge of Public Intoxication.

 

July 24, 2021

Report of a break in on South Old Cove Road near Cove. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 93 near Rocky led to the arrest of Zachary M. Abner, 29, of Watson, Oklahoma on a Warrant for Possession of Firearm by Certain Persons, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Schedule I or II, and three Charges of Possession of Firearm by Certain Persons.

Report from complainant on Deer Run Lane near Ink of the theft of a pistol and gift card valued at $250.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 31 near Cove of the theft of cash and jewelry for a total of losses valued at $2550.00. Investigation continues.

Report from complainant on Polk 179 near Acorn of the theft of a tractor valued at$3500.00. Deputy responded.

Arrested was David H. Horton, 35, of Mena, on a Warrant for fraudulent use of a credit card, a Warrant for Failure to Appear, and a Warrant for Possession of a Controlled Substance.

Arrested was Shelby K. Maddox, 29, of Mena, on a Charge of Furnishing Prohibited Articles.

 

July 25, 2021

No reports filed.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 23 Incarcerated Inmates, with 6 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00612

 

7-26-21 5:25 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for July 18TH - 24TH

 

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of July 18th through July 24th, 2021

 

 

July 18

 

Michelle Bice, 43, was charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia at Bunch’s Laundromat.

 

Billy Fletcher, 35, was charged with Possession of Meth, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Disorderly Conduct, and served with a warrant at Bunch’s Laundromat.

 

A report of assault was taken at a residence on Mama Mia Drive.

 

July 19

 

A report of assault was taken at Mena Short Stop.

 

David Heard, 34, was charged with Theft, Criminal Trespass, and served with a warrant atter a theft complaint from a residence on Evans Circle.

 

Elizabeth Trusley, 27, was served with a warrant at the Probation and Parole Office.

 

Tristan Chaney, 25, was served with three warrants after a traffic stop on 10th Street.

 

July 20

 

Robert Morris, 20, was charged with DWI, Careless or Prohibited Driving, and Driving with a Suspended License after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

Abram Abernathy, 24, was charged with Public Intoxication and served with two warrants at the police department.

 

David Heard, 34, was charged with Criminal Trespass, Littering, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia at EZ Mart.

 

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

 

Fernando Vecchio, 36, was charged with two counts of Theft at Walmart.

 

Elena Hendershot, 38, was charged with DWI, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor after a traffic stop on Reine Street.

 

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

 

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

 

July 21

 

A report of theft was taken at a residence on Hamilton Avenue.

 

Stacey Burnett, 35, was served with a warrant at the prosecutor’s office.

 

Michael Curry, 34, was charged with Possession of Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, Possession of Schedule 4 Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and served with a warrant at the prosecutor’s office.

 

A report of breaking or entering and theft was taken at a residence on 3rd Street.

 

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

 

A report of breaking or entering and theft was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

July 22

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken at a residence on Oak Grove Avenue.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at Mena Regional Health System.

 

July 23

 

Maurizio Malucci, 33, was served with a warrant at a residence on Reine Street.

 

April Scroggins, 39, was charged with Theft of Property (shoplifting) at Walmart.

 

A report of Disorderly Conduct and Criminal Mischief was taken from a person at Beasly-Wood/Geyer-Quillin Funeral Home.

 

Stacey Burnett, 35, was served with a warrant at the county jail.

 

Chelsea Roba, 25, was served with three warrants at a residence on 9th Street.

 

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

 

July 24

 

No reports. 

 

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

 

7-26-21 9:20 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Early Sunday Crash In Mena Leaves Charleston Man Dead

An early Sunday morning single vehicle crash in the south edge of Mena left a Charleston, Arkansas man dead.

 
According to the Arkansas State Police report, 56 year old Billy Ray Luckenbaugh, driving a 2012 Ford Fiesta, left the road at 12:27 a.m. and hit an embankment on the west side of US 71 in front of Copeland Motors. 
 
Luckenbaugh was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:18 a.m. by Polk County Coroner Brian Bowser.
 
There were no other injuries. 
 
The accidnent was investigated by Corporal Bo Hayes of the Arkansas State Police.
 
The fatality was the 349th this year in Arkansas. 
 
7-25-21 1:29 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List: History, Biography, and a Novel
 
Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address can be found in MP3 format and downloaded HERE.
 
LITTLE ROCK – Since the days I was taking out Hardy Boys mysteries from the Gravette School Library, I have always been in the middle of reading a book or two. The First Lady and I read to our children and our grandchildren. I encourage families to keep books at home to read aloud and to encourage children to read on their own. A primary education goal for my administration has been to raise the level of literacy in Arkansas, which is why in 2017 we launched the Reading Initiative for Student Excellence or R.I.S.E. The goal of R.I.S.E. is to create a culture of reading in our state.
 
Our reading initiative also focuses on the science of reading, which is phonics, and making sure every child reads at grade level, and if they fall behind, to help them catch up.
 
When it comes to books, biographies and books of history are my favorites, and today I’d like to mention the books that are on my short list to read this summer.
 
And so the first on my list is a book about Harry Truman. It is called Dewey Defeats Truman. In his book, the author, A.J. Baime, notes at least one similarity between the elections of 1948 and 2016. I will let you read and figure out the similarity.
 
The second book is included on the list since this is the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attack on the United States. It is called The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett Graff. It is a book I wanted to read as we should never forget the attack and the resiliency of Americans.
 
My list also includes books by a couple of Arkansans. The Long Shadow of Little Rock, Daisy Bates’s memoir, which is her account of the events that we know as the Little Rock Crisis. Daisy Bates’s story and courage should inspire us all.
 
The one book of fiction on my list is a novel titled A Noble Calling by Rhona Weaver, who lives in West Little Rock. Her husband is retired FBI agent Bill Temple.
 
The story is a character-driven mystery that Rhona set in Yellowstone National Park. The star of the story is a young man from Heber Springs who played football at the University of Arkansas before he became an FBI agent. Rhona has named him Win Tyler, and the books involves intrigue that goes all the way to Russia.
 
And then I recommend the book called The Man Who Ran Washington by Peter Baker. It is about the life of former Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury James Baker. If you like the inside story of the White House during the Reagan and Bush years, this is a must-read.
 
That’s enough reading to occupy me at least until Labor Day.
 
7-23-21 10:04 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, a subcommittee of Arkansas Legislative Council that provides oversight for Arkansas Game and Fish and Arkansas State Police heard from Arkansas State Police Director Col. Bill Bryant regarding recent successes and challenges facing state troopers.

 

His testimony alerted us to some startling statistics regarding an increase in aggressive driving and fatal accidents in our state.

 

In 2018, the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division conducted 520 crash investigations involving fatal injuries. In 2019, the number was 505.

 

But in 2020, that number increased by 27% to 641 deaths. Col. Bryant says 14% of those crashes documented excessive speed of the vehicle as a contributing factor.

 

So far this year, the division says they have conducted investigations of accidents resulting in more than 330 deaths.

 

The number of citations related to acts of aggressive driving is also on the rise. 

 

In 2019, there were 1,064 citations issues. In 2020, there were 2,030 citations issued.

 

So far this year, Arkansas State Police have issued more than 2,380 citations with some documented speeds as high as 160 miles per hour.

 

Aggressive driving incidents have included acts of violence documented by troopers assigned to the Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division and investigated by Special Agents of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division. Colonel Bryant testified the troopers and special agents confirm an explicit increase in incidents of gunfire involving motorists shooting at and into other vehicles traveling along Arkansas highways.

 

The Arkansas State Police Highway Patrol Division commanders are proactive with respect to patrol assignments to combat the incidents of aggressive driving and ensuring saturated patrols dedicated to speed enforcement are regularly occurring.

 

The division is dedicating the use of the department’s aircraft to monitor broad sections of U.S. and state highway traffic. The troopers operating these aircraft are in radio communication with ground patrols, providing them with speed and reckless driving observations, directing these highway patrol ground vehicles to specific locations where the violations are being observed.

 

Each highway patrol division troop commander has immediate access to deploy low profile patrol vehicles with minimal Arkansas State Police markings and different colors, unlike the white with blue stripe markings motorists are accustomed to seeing. These vehicles blend into traffic, allowing troopers a better perspective to identify speeding and dangerous driving and take immediate enforcement action.

 

While we continue to look for ways to support our law enforcement further, there are some ways every Arkansan can help keep our roads safer.

 

Arkansans are encouraged to let the troopers know they’re appreciated for what they’re doing to keep local highways safe. Likewise, citizens should speak up and let the troopers know where they are witnessing regular incidents of lawlessness on the highways. Citizens shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to the commanders at these local headquarters. Arkansas motorists traveling across the state are encouraged to call 9-1-1 and ask to be connected to the nearest state police headquarters to report incidents of dangerous driving they witness on U.S. and state highways.

 

A listing of the twelve Highway Patrol Division Troop Headquarters, including local telephone numbers and points of contact, can be found on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

7-23-21 5:36 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Biden’s Proposed Tax and Spending Spree Burdens Hardworking Arkansans

 

President Joe Biden’s reckless spending policies are making life more expensive for Arkansans. The money we’ve budgeted for the grocery store isn’t stretching as far, consumers in the market for a used car are finding a sky-high expense and the sticker shock at the gas pump is forcing us to fork over more of our hard-earned money. The U.S. Department of Labor recently reported prices for consumer goods increased in June to a 13-year high. Despite this troubling economic marker, the White House and congressional Democrats continue to advance their partisan priorities that leave hardworking Americans to foot the bill. 

 

Instead of promoting policies that drive prices down, the president and his party are doubling down on their failed strategy with a proposed $3.5 trillion spending spree. While the president has promised not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 a year, his agenda reflects a far different reality. Paying for his liberal wish list package will mean taxing citizens from the cradle to the grave. An analysis by the Tax Foundation found the measure would result in Arkansans paying, on average, $745 more in taxes within five years.

 

In Arkansas, where agriculture is a leading economic industry, the president’s reckless tax and spending plan would be devastating to family farmers, ranchers and small businesses. While the administration has dismissed the idea that its proposed changes to the tax code would threaten the livelihoods of these producers, the evidence shows otherwise.


An analysis by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University looked at how the president’s proposed inheritance tax changes would impact family farms and ranches, and researchers found that nearly 98 percent of family farms surveyed would be hit with an additional tax liability of more than $720,000.

 

Just as crippling to family farms and small businesses is the president’s proposal to change Section 1031 of the tax code, which would create a ‘Land Swap Tax.’ The current tax code allows agricultural producers to sell their farmland and defer the capital gains tax, as long as the profits from the sale are used to purchase new farmland. The president’s proposal limits access to Section 1031 to no more than $500,000, after which point capital gains taxes would apply. The Biden Land Swap Tax would dry up the farmland market, make it harder for new or beginning farmers to start farming, and stunt agriculture business growth and reinvestment. Ultimately, land is a farmer’s 401k, so the Biden Land Swap Tax would be yet another unfair hit to family farmers.

 

The family farm is a rich part of the Natural State’s agricultural heritage. Generations of producers are rightfully proud of these Century Farms. We must continue to enact and maintain policies that support these operations well into the future.

 

These changes to the tax code put the future of family farms, ranches and small businesses at risk. That’s why I’ve been leading the fight against this short-sighted, ill-advised effort. As the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, I recently sounded the alarm on the consequences of these proposals and have urged the president to abandon them.

 

I’m a champion of policies that strengthen the ability of our farmers and ranchers to feed and clothe the world, and I will continue to be a voice opposing measures like the irresponsible tax increases that burden the industry.

 

At a time when small businesses are still trying to recover from the negative economic consequences of the pandemic and hire employees willing to work, the president’s policies are making it more challenging for family farmers to succeed. President Biden’s spending plan comes with a price tag we will all be forced to pay.

 

7-23-21 4:47 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

July 23, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – This year computer and electronic equipment will be included in the Arkansas sales tax holiday.

 

Every year the sales tax holiday is the first weekend in August. This year it will be Saturday, August 7, and Sunday, August 8.

 

Consumers will not have to pay sales tax on any articles of clothing that cost less than $100. The exempted items include not only ordinary clothing such as pants, shirts, dresses and shoes. Also free from sales tax are bathing suits, baby blankets, underwear, raincoats, uniforms, hats and caps, aprons, neckties, scarves and steel-toes boots.

 

Diapers, even disposal diapers, are included on the list of exempt items.

 

Accessories are also on the list of exempted items, as long as they cost less than $50. The list of articles is extensive, and includes handbags and purses, sunglasses, jewelry, hair notions, wallets, watches and wigs.

 

More than 65 categories of cosmetics are exempt from the sales tax, such as mascara, many types of hair products, fingernail polish and fingernail remover, bath salts, artificial eyelashes, perfume and stretch mark cream.

 

School supplies will be exempt from the sales tax. Officially the first weekend of August is called the sales tax holiday, but many people refer to it as the “Back to School” sales tax holiday. That’s because the legislature intentionally scheduled it for early August, to benefit families with children going to school.

 

School supplies include pens, pencils and paper as well as art supplies.

 

Thanks to Act 944 of 2021, approved by the legislature earlier this year, certain electronic and computer equipment was added to the list of tax exempt items.

 

Laptops, desktops, tablets, printers, keyboards, calculators, cell phones, e-readers and monitors are exempt from the sales tax.  However, video games, stereos and televisions are not included.

 

Arkansas families will save an estimated $2.6 million on purchases of electronic and computer equipment.

 

The sales tax exemption applies to single articles, and is not based on the overall cost of everything you buy. For example, you can buy three shirts $25 each and a pair of pants for $50 and you will not be charged the sales tax, even though the total is $125. Because each item is less than $100, the exemption is applied.

 

However, if you buy a pair of shoes for $120, you will have to pay the sales tax on the full amount of the purchase.

 

Essentially, there is no limit on the number of exempt items you can purchase, as long as each item costs less than $100 for clothes or $50 for accessories.

 

There is no price limit on electronics and computer equipment, nor is there one on school supplies.

 

The exemption applies to all sales taxes, not just state sales taxes. That means exempt items are free of all city, county and local sales taxes.

 

All retailers have to participate. Articles cannot be separated in order to lower their price under the $100 and $50 thresholds. Men’s suits and pairs of shoes, which normally are sold as one unit, cannot be split into separate purchases.

 

7-23-21 10:52 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena School Board Meeting Recap

The Mena School Board met for their July meeting on Tuesday night, July 20th at the District Administration Building.

 

Dr. Lee Smith began the meeting with the superintendent’s report and it included the district plans on dealing with the lingering COVID issues. He stated that strategies are in place to control the spread and that the plan is to operate as normal as possible. Additional guidance from the Arkansas Department of Education is expected next week.

 

Dr. Smith also informed the board that the district will contract with Aramark to manage their concessions in 21/22. This should streamline the purchasing process & increase the efficiency of product management. Student organizations will continue to operate the concessions as they have in the past

 

Assistant Superintendent Bridget Buckley then informed the board of a new partnership with Reach University. Reach is a nonprofit university that offers job-embedded learning to help schools grow their own talent. This teacher education program will allow any district employee who qualifies an opportunity to earn a four year degree. The program will focus on Para professionals but is available to any employee who works with students 10-15 hours per week.

 

The board then approved the amended transportation salary schedule for 2021/2022. The only change was to sub route pay to meet new minimum wage standards.

 

Next on the agenda was a bid for an insurance policy for bus and vehicle coverage. The board approved the bid from Farm Bureau Insurance

In the amount of $19,277.58. The premium is actually several thousand dollars lower than last year and will be active from August 2021 through August 2022.

 

Approval was given, with no discussion, for the allotment of $200.00 to each campuses petty cash fund to start the year.

 

Bridget Buckley then updated the board on numerous changes made in the recently concluded legislative session that will affect the district and it’s policies. Many of which will force changes to the building and athletic handbooks. These updates will be presented to the board at a later date.

 

In other action a bid for the purchase of a vehicle for the superintendent was received in the amount of $44,700.00 from Mena Ford. Additional bids will be sought. The board gave Dr. Smith the authority to consider all bids & make the purchase.

 

The board then considered a proposal to replace the artificial turf at Bob Carver Bearcat Stadium. The current turf had an expected lifespan of seven years and has now been in use for thirteen years. The board voted to partner with Field Turf and the installation of their Elite Turf product, which will have a life expectancy of ten years. The board also approved making the Bearcat Foundation the official fundraising arm for the project. Advertisements will be sold on the new turf to help pay for the project.

 

The board was then made aware of Dr. Lee Smith’s intentions to mentor the new superintendent at the Cossatot River School District. This is a part of the School Superintendent Mentoring Program and includes the assignment of a trained mentor for first-year Arkansas school superintendents. The board approved.

 

District maintenance supervisor Danny Minton updated summer projects across the district. Bids on new heating and air units at Holly Harshman Elementary and Mena Middle School will open on July 27th. The annual stripping and waxing of floors has been completed at LDE, MMS and MHS. Some cabinets and tiles have been replaced at HHE and some new play equipment installed. A new discus pad and surround has been installed in front of MMS. Some loose seating in the Peforming Arts Center at MHS have been repaired. Minton said that numerous inspections must be passed before classes begin on August 16th.

 

A disclosure statement was next on the agenda. The Union Bank of Mena supplies the district with financial services and Board members Kyle Cannon and Phillip Wilson are affiliated with the Union Bank. Annually, board members, administrators, and employees are asked to list conflicts or potential conflicts, and sign a disclosure form.

 

The board quickly approved the financial reports.

 

The final item on the agenda was personnel.

 

The board accepted the resignation of Deniece Jewell, Ray Willard, Patricia Jackson, LeAnn Ferguson and Melissa Ward.

 

The board approved the hiring of:

 

Katelin Hanes – Para Pro

Jessica Hughes – Para Pro

Kristi Schuller - Kindergarten

Lana Coogan – Choir.

 

The board also approved the reassignment of Jennifer McCauley from MHS secretary to ISS Instructor at MHS and MMS.

 

7-21-21 8:58 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Debra Buschman Announces Candidacy For Prosecuting Attorney

Debra Wood Buschman of Mena has announced her candidacy for Prosecuting Attorney for the 18th West Judicial District, which consists of Montgomery and Polk Counties. Debra currently serves as Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the district.

 

Buschman is a 1997 graduate of Wickes High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Arkansas State University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She completed her law degree at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2006. Debra and her husband, Dr. Paul Buschman, have two sons, Benjamin and Samuel. The family attends The Crossing Church in Mena where Debra enjoys serving on the Children's Ministry Team. She is the president of the Polk County/Mena Rotary Club and a member of the Lioness Club. She has served on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the board of the Mena Water Utility.

 

Debra was selected to serve as President of the Montgomery and Polk Counties’ Bar Association for two consecutive years. “I was raised in Polk County and when my husband was offered a position at Mena Regional Health System in 2013, I was beyond thrilled to return home to serve my community. Paul and I are so grateful to raise our boys in such a safe and wholesome environment where there is a strong sense of community and where people know and help their neighbors. I am very honored to serve as a prosecutor for this community that I love and care about so deeply,” says Buschman.

 

Debra began her career in private practice in 2006, before focusing her career on prosecution in 2007. She worked briefly in private practice and as chief public defender before returning to prosecution. She has also worked in private practice and as a conflicts attorney for the State of Arkansas.

 

In January 2019 Debra was hired as a part-time deputy prosecutor, and she was promoted to the full-time position of Chief Deputy Prosecutor for Montgomery and Polk Counties in January 2021. Debra says, “My first boss, threw me straight into the deep end. I tried my first jury trial as a prosecutor only a couple of weeks after being hired. It was then I realized my calling. I have worked in other areas of the law, and I value the perspective and experience those cases have given me, but my true passion is for prosecution. Seeking justice for victims of violent crimes is one of the most fulfilling parts of my career. I strive to help victims navigate the complicated court system and help them feel more comfortable through what can sometimes be a scary and confusing process. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve my home district while fulfilling my professional calling to seek justice for victims in our community.”

 

Andy Riner’s election to Circuit Judge left a vacancy in the prosecuting attorney’s office that was filled by gubernatorial appointee D. Jason Barrett, former Chief Deputy Prosecutor for Tim Williamson. An appointed prosecutor is not eligible to run for the position. The non-partisan election will be held in May of 2022.

 

7-20-21 4:22 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for July 12TH - 18TH

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of July 12, 2021 – July 18, 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.

 

July 12, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 21 near Cove of being harassed. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Stephenie Ashcraft, 29, of Mena, on a Charge of Contempt of Court.

Arrested was Christopher D. Dougan, 47, of Saratoga, Arkansas, on a Charge of Failure to Comply with Order of the Court.

 

July 13, 2021

Report from complainant on 375W near Shady Grove of trespassing. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of a theft. Deputy responded.

Report of a domestic disturbance at a place of business near Cove. Deputy responded.

Report of damage to property in the Polk County Detention Center.

Arrested was Dawnylle D. Boutwell, 52, of Cove, on a Warrant for Theft $1000.00 or Less.

Arrested by an officer with the Game and Fish was Brianna Ramirez, 21, of Mena, on a Body Attachment Warrant.

 

July 14, 2021

Report of a lost wallet at a campground near Board Camp.

 

July 15, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 58 near Board Camp of the theft of insulation and tin. Deputy responded.

Traffic stop on Hwy 71S near Potter led to the arrest of Carrie L. Garza, 50, of Mena, on a Charge of Possession of Schedule I or II, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Resisting Arrest, and a Warrant for Domestic Battery 3rd Degree.

 

July 16, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 41S near Potter of a scam. Deputy responded.

Traffic stop on Polk 72 near Cherry Hill led to the arrest of Robert L. Schmidt, 26, of Mena, on a Warrant for Delivery of Meth or Cocaine and a Charge of Disorderly Conduct. Additional information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

 

July 17, 2021

Report of child abuse. Deputy responded.

Report of a camper fire on Polk 23 near Cove. Deputy responded.

Report of a juvenile being harassed. Deputy responded.

Arrested was Gavin E. Whitmire, 29, on a Warrant for 3rd Degree Assault on Family or Household Member and a Warrant for Fleeing in Vehicle, Criminal Mischief 1st Degree, and Careless and Prohibited Driving.

 

July 18, 2021

Report of a disturbance involving a juvenile. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 685 near Cherry Hill of the theft of a chainsaw valued at $500.00. Deputy responded.

Report of a four-wheeler accident on Polk 81 near Shady. Deputy responded.

Traffic stop on Hwy 8W near Mena led to the discovery of a suspicious substance. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration.

Traffic stop on Hwy 71S near Hatfield led to the arrest of Jereme L. Baughman, 44, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Possession of Meth or Cocaine and Charges of Disorderly Conduct, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of Schedule VI.

Report from complainant on Hwy 246W near Hatfield of damage to a property. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Cove of a verbal dispute between neighbors.

Arrested by a trooper with the Arkansas State Police was Austin T. Nickles, 23, of Smithville, Oklahoma, on a Warrant for Criminal Mischief 1st Degree.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 23 Incarcerated Inmates, with 6 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00591

 

7-19-21 9:15 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for July 11TH - 17TH

 

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of July 11th through July 17th, 2021

 

 

 

July 11

 

John Grigsby, 37, was charged with DWI and Careless or Prohibited Driving after a traffic stop on Highway 71.

 

David Sinyard, 45, was served with five warrants at the county jail.

 

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

 

July 12

 

Michael Curry, 34, Stacey Burnett, 35, and Kenneth Sipe, 43, were charged with theft of services after a complaint from Shelter Insurance.

 

A report of harassment was taken from a person at La villa.

 

A report of battery was taken at a residence on Warner Avenue.

 

July 13

 

A report of theft and criminal trespass was taken at a residence on Magnolia Avenue.

 

A report of a disturbance was taken in the parking lot of Country Express.

 

July 14

 

Joseph Stubbs, 45, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

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

 

A report of harassment was taken at a residence on 10th Street.

 

July 15

 

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

 

Tyler Cornelius, 27, was charged with Aggravated Assault and Carrying a Weapon after an assault call to Dallas Avenue.

 

July 16

 

A death investigation report was taken at a residence on 9th Street.

 

Jason Rosson, 39, was charged with Theft, Violation of a No-Contact Order and Obstructing Government Operations after a complaint from a walk-in complainant.

 

July 17

 

Shannon Shaw, 40, was charged with Possession of Meth after a stop on Deridder Street.

 

Kyleigh Johnson, 18, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

Timothy Bass, 41, was served with a warrant after a traffic stop on Janssen Avenue.

 

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

 

Matthew Miller, 39, was charged with Theft after a complaint at a residence on Magnolia Avenue.

 

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

 

7-19-21 1:40 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Democracy in Action

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Democracy in Action
 
Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address can be found in MP3 format and downloaded HERE.
 
LITTLE ROCK – Last week, I announced I would be traveling the state for a series of Community COVID Conversations, and today I’d like to talk about why these exercises in democracy matter.
 
The tours are a throwback to the time when community leaders and constituents had more meetings at town hall and all-day picnics.
 
The topic for the tour is the pandemic, but listening tours are valuable for any topic. When it comes to working through issues, nothing beats face-to-face conversations.
 
I have met with folks in six cities so far. Each meeting is as different as the community I am visiting, but each is alike in one way – each is democracy in action. Democracy is a big and noble concept that we can practice simply and in the smallest venues.
 
The goal of the Community COVID Conversation is for me to hear first-hand your concerns and ideas. Likewise, the meetings give you the chance to hear directly from me. This kind of opportunity often is the start of understanding. In the end, we still may not agree, but we may understand.
 
During the meeting in Batesville, one gentleman said something I’m sure he has expressed often, but this time he had the opportunity to get it off his chest directly to the governor. And I had the chance to respond directly.
 
He said many people aren’t taking the vaccine because they don’t trust the government.
 
I said, Let me ask you what advice you would give me.

Shoot straight with the people, he said. Tell them the facts.
 
I told him I agreed 100 percent that we must tell the truth, and the truth is that we have a deadly disease that is still killing people so we must continue to push vaccinations, the best solution to beating COVID.
 
Then I offered advice that he probably didn’t expect, and to be honest, I’m not sure I had ever said it exactly this way. I told him that since he doesn’t trust politicians, that he should talk to an expert that he does trust, whether it’s his doctor or someone at a medical clinic. That way, I said, you bypass the government, which can’t solve most of our problems anyway.
 
Another moment of democracy grew uncomfortable because it was so honest. A constituent name a couple of controversial COVID treatments and asked a doctor in the audience whether he would prescribe either.
 
He asked:  Are you giving (them)? 
The doctor said: No sir we are not
The constituent asked: If the patient asks for it ... will you give it?
The doctor said no patient had asked for either of the treatments.
The constituent pressed for an answer: But would you?
The doctor paused six seconds to answer. Then he answered with the courage of his training and belief: No. I probably would not.
 
Did either gentleman change his mind? I doubt it. But each was free to speak his mind in a moment of democracy at its most fundamental level.
 
Soon I will announce the next towns on the Community COVID Conversation tour. The number of cases of COVID and those hospitalized with it continues to rise, so I continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated. I’m hopeful that as the tour continues, we will find ways to reassure those who are hesitant, and soon, the tour won’t be necessary.
 
7-16-21 7:29 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, we want to remind you about the upcoming Arkansas Sales Tax holiday. This year, the event will begin at 12:01 am on Saturday, August 7, and end at 11:59 pm on Sunday, August 8.

 

This is now the 10th year that Arkansans can take advantage of this break from state and local sales tax on certain purchases. 

 

Act 757 of 2011 provides for a sales tax holiday in Arkansas during the first weekend of August each year. A sales tax holiday is a temporary period when state and local sales taxes are not collected or paid on the purchase of certain products. 

 

Clothing less than $100 per item is exempt during the weekend, as well as clothing accessories less than $50 per item. Clothing accessories include handbags, cosmetics, jewelry, umbrellas, and more. Most school supplies, including book bags, binders, paper, crayons, pencils, and rulers, are also exempt.

 

But this year, there are even more items you can purchase tax-free. In the most recent legislative session, we passed Act 944, which amended the sales tax holiday to include electronics.

 

Examples include a calculator, desktop computer, cell phone, e-reader, computer mouse, laptop, monitor, printer, keyboard, and tablets.

 

It does not include video game systems or televisions.

 

The sales tax holiday does include purchases made online.

 

The National Retail Federation estimates that this year the average family will spend more than $780 getting their children the necessary supplies and clothes to go back to school.

 

The sales tax holiday was created to help reduce the financial burden on families during this time. We hope you take advantage of this opportunity. 

 

We have posted a link with all tax-exempt items on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

7-16-21 5:20 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: On the Road in Arkansas

On the Road in Arkansas

 

The Senate recently observed a two-week In-State Work Period which I used as an opportunity to meet with Arkansans across the state and discuss issues important to the communities I was visiting.

  

I’m grateful that so many folks in various communities across 13 different counties – from Mena to Magnolia and Fort Smith to Fayetteville – were willing to participate in events that gave me new insights into the challenges they’re facing and the opportunities we have to help. That is exactly what these pauses in the Senate calendar are designed to facilitate.

 

At schools in Waldron and Hope, we discussed the needs around student meals and nutrition efforts that I have long been involved with. The people who feed our kids in school lunchrooms were unsung heroes of the pandemic who helped ensure children in need had reliable access to nutritious meals, and they continue to do the same vital work each summer.

 

Our conversations were more evidence for the need to give greater flexibility to the people on the ground, not the bureaucracy in Washington, when it comes to nutrition standards. It also underscored why my Hunger-Free Summer for Kids Act is necessary to help schools and non-profits reach more children in our communities when school is out. As the lead Republican on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, I will incorporate this latest feedback into the work I’m constantly doing on these fronts.

 

Arkansas’s veteran community has always been one that I regularly seek input from to better understand what Congress can do to ensure our veterans are receiving the benefits and services our country promised them. I’m pleased to have spent more time with Natural State veterans and advocates on this recent swing through parts of the state.

 

In Texarkana and Northwest Arkansas, I sat down with local veterans and veteran-serving non-profits to hear about what barriers still exist to getting quality care and timely services in addition to ideas that could help serve these heroic, admirable pillars of our communities.

 

There’s been a great deal done recently to enhance the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) ability to meet the needs of our former servicemembers. In addition to supporting more overall funding, I’ve sponsored legislation to help tackle the suicide crisis among veterans and modernize the VA so it is better suited to provide excellent care to the growing number of women veterans in need of the department’s support and services.

 

The insights and ideas we gleaned from these events will certainly help me continue to push for policies and oversight that enhances the ongoing mission to take care of those who honorably served and sacrificed for our country.

 

In Prescott, I heard from local residents and medical providers about the needs surrounding rural health care. What remains clear is that telehealth services are only becoming more popular and essential, so we must ensure broadband is available and workable so patients and doctors can make efficient use of the technology. As a co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, this visit further underscores why access to reliable broadband service in rural communities is such an important priority for me and the people of Arkansas.

 

I believe the best solutions come from the ground up, which is why I place so much emphasis on hitting the road and listening closely to the updates that local leaders provide me. My goal is to always be responsive, helpful and well-positioned to act. I look forward to logging even more miles and visiting with more Arkansans in the weeks and months ahead.

 

There’s no greater privilege than getting to serve Arkansans and show up in their communities, because the strength of Arkansas is its people.

 

7-16-21 5:12 p.m. KAWX.ORG

 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

July 16, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – In the regular session of 2021 the legislature approved at least 25 new election laws that will go into effect on July 28.

 

Some of the new laws will affect poll workers, county election commissioners and county clerks’ office.

 

Others will affect voters the next time they cast a ballot. For example, Act 249 of 2021 tightens the current photo ID requirement. It eliminates the option that allowed voters to have their ballot counted, even though they did not bring a photo ID to the polling place, if they filled out a sworn statement that they were registered to vote.

 

Under Act 249, if they cannot present a photo ID they must cast a provisional ballot and it will not be counted unless they appear in person and present an ID to the county clerk, or the county board of election commissioners, by noon on the Monday following the election.

 

Act 728 of 2021 restricts loitering within 100 feet outside the main entrance to a polling site. You can stand in line if you are waiting to vote, but you cannot stay within 100 feet unless you intend to go inside and vote, or if you have a lawful purpose.

 

Act 736 of 2021 changes the law on absentee ballots. Under the act, if someone has five or more absentee ballots in their possession, it will be presumed that the person intends to commit voter fraud. Previously, a person could possess 10 absentee ballots without triggering a presumption of fraud. The law exempts mail carriers, people who deliver for commercial carriers and administrators of residential care facilities.

 

Under Act 736 county clerks may make absentee ballot applications readily available online, or in paper form, but they may not send them unsolicited to voters.

 

County clerks must maintain a daily count of absentee ballot applications received, and report the totals to the county board of election commissioners weekly. Voters must use their residential address when applying for an absentee ballot. If an absentee ballot fails to declare the voter’s residential address, it will not be counted.

 

Act 973 of 2021 moves up the deadline for delivering an absentee ballot in person to the county clerk’s office, from the regular close of business on the Monday before election day to the regular close of business on the previous Friday.

 

Act 756 of 2021 broadens the jurisdiction of the state Board of Election Commissioners, for example it authorizes the board to “institute corrective actions” in response to a complaint about voting procedures. It allows the board to use local law enforcement officers to enforce subpoenas of public records being withheld.

 

Act 1022 of 2021 requires county boards of election commissioners to create reports on the total number of provisional ballots, absentee ballots and in-person ballots cast in early voting and on election day. The reports must include the number of ballots rejected, and the reasons for rejecting them.

 

Act 974 of 2021 requires the state Attorney General to set up a hotline for complaints about violations of election law. Complaints will be sent to the legislative Joint Performance Review Committee, and to local prosecutors if necessary. The legislative committee may investigate allegations.

 

Act 974 also empowers the state board to decertify county election officials. The state board take over the conducting of elections in the county if it discovers severe violations that threaten free, fair and impartial elections in that county.

 

7-16-21 10:45 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Attorney General Alert: Immediately Delete Vulgar Text Messages

 Scammers have resorted to new lows in an age-old scheme to steal consumers’ personal information. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is once again warning Arkansans of phishing schemes where scam artists will send a link through text or email hoping the cell phone users will allow access to information on the phone. The updated scam adds additional shock value because scammers have added vulgar and sexual messages in anticipation that users will click that link. This scam is an attempt to surprise users while gaining access to personal information stored on their device.

“Scam artists are disgusting and have reinvented an old scam in a vulgar way to steal from Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “If you receive a fake text message that you did not sign up for, do not click on anything in the message and delete the message immediately.”

Attorney General Rutledge recommends the following tips if you receive this group text scam:

  • Do NOT answer or engage with the text message. These scams are attempting to get a response from group members to steal personal information off the phone.
  • Block the calling or texting number on your phone and delete the texts.
    • If the calling number is the spoofed contact of someone you know unblock the number after a few hours or days; otherwise, the person with that number will not be able to reach you.
  • Cell phone users may have an option to filter and block messages from their phones directly. Users can filter and block messages on an iPhone and block a phone number on an Android phone.
  • iPhone and Android users also have the ability to report spam and junk messages that are sent to their phones. iPhone users can find additional information here while Android users can find information here.
  • Any cell phone user can also report text messages by copying the message and forwarding it to 7726 (SPAM) and reporting the message to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

For more information and tips on how to avoid a scam, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

 

7-15-21 1:57 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

OLT Announces Changes to Office Hours and Little Women Musical

OLT Announces Changes to Office Hours and Little Women Musical

 

Alexa Night, director of Little Women the Musical, has announced a cast change as well as a change in performance dates.

 

Meg March is now being played by Lexi Williams, and James Taylor will play John Brooke. Both actors are fresh off leading roles in BIG, the Musical.

Performance dates for opening weekend will remain the same, August 6-8 (Friday and Saturday at 7:30 PM through Sunday at 2:30 PM). But the second weekend will be Thursday, August 12 through Saturday, August 14, all evening performances at 7:30 PM.

 

In addition, OLT office hours have also been adjusted since the recent change. The office at 610 Mena St., Suite B, will be open Thursdays and Fridays from 2:00 PM until 6:00 PM, but Saturdays will now be open from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM to conduct business and sell advance tickets for shows. Tickets are now available for Little Women, the Musical.

 

7-15-21 10:25 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for July 5TH - 11TH

SHERIFF’S LOG

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of July 5, 2021 – July 11, 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.

July 5, 2021

Report of a domestic altercation on Polk 68 near Cherry Hill. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report of a water meter being tampered with on Hwy 8E near Board Camp. Deputy responded.

Report of threats being made over the telephone. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report from complainant on Polk 32 near Cove of various items stolen from a vehicle. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 61 near Board Camp of damage done to a fence. Deputy responded.

Report of an altercation on 375E near Dallas Valley. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

July 6, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 646 near Dallas Valley of being harassed. Deputy responded.

Report of child neglect. Deputy responded.

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

Report of an incident involving child custody exchange. Deputy responded.

July 7, 2021

Report involving child custody exchange issues. Deputy responded.

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

July 8, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 652 near Dallas Valley of a scam. Deputy responded.

Report of threats being made by telephone. Deputy responded.

July 9, 2021

Report of an accident on Polk 48 near Potter. Deputies responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 414 near Hatfield of identity fraud.

Report of a juvenile receiving threats. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Polk 70 near Cherry Hill of a scam involving gift cards. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8E near Big Fork of the theft of a dryer. Deputy responded.

Arrested was David E. Milam, 54, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Threatening a Judicial Official, and Terroristic Threatening 1st Degree.

July 10, 2021

Report of reckless driving on Hwy 71S near Hatfield. Deputy responded.

Report of a gas skip at a business near Cove. Deputy responded.

Report of a juvenile being harassed. Deputy responded.

July 11, 2021

Traffic stop on Hwy 71S near Hatfield led to the arrest of Derrick P. Lester, 46, of Cove, on a Charge of DWI and two Warrants for Failure to Comply.

Report from complainant on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley of being threatened and the theft of a truck led to the arrest of Jason L. Cox, 35, of Mena, on a Charge of Theft Greater than $5,000.00, Terroristic Threatening 2nd Degree, and Driving on a Suspended Driver’s License, and the arrest of Brandy L. Crawford, 47, of Hatfield, on a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

Report of an abandoned side by side on Hwy 8E near Board Camp. Deputy responded. Owner was later located.

Arrested was Noel A. Myers, 36, of Grannis, on 2 Warrants for Failure to Appear, and Charges of Criminal Trespass, Violation of an Order of Protection, and Possession of Firearms by Certain Persons.

Arrested was Brandon A. Duncan, 30, of Mena, on a Warrant for Theft $25,000.00 or More, a Warrant for two counts of Theft $5,000.00 or Less, Theft Greater than $5,000.00, and Breaking or Entering, and a Warrant for Theft $5,000.00 or Less, and a Warrant for Obstructing Governmental Operations.

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 22 Incarcerated Inmates, with 6 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00571

 

7-12-21 2:03 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for July 4TH - July 10TH

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of July 4th through July 10rd, 2021

 

 

July 4

 

A report was made of a welfare check on a person at a residence on Hickory Avenue.

 

July 5

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at Salvation Army.

 

July 6

 

A report of a cell phone being found at the corner of Pine Avenue and 10th Street.

 

James Jewell, 30, was served with a warrant at the county jail.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at a residence on Bonner Circle.

 

Garrett Puerto, 25, and Laurie Pecora, 23, were both charged with Disorderly Conduct after a disturbance call to a residence on Rodgers Avenue.

 

July 7

 

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

 

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

 

July 8

 

A theft report was taken at a residence on Sarah Way.

 

A report of forgery was taken at Union Bank.

 

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

 

Vicki Fussell, 53, was served with a warrant at the county jail.

 

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

 

July 9

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken from Country Express.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken from the Northside Laundromat.

 

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

 

Cheyenne Smith, 27, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

A report of harassment was taken at a residence on Oak Grove Avenue.

 

July 10

 

Officers were dispatched to a disturbance call at Walmart. Jimmy Wright, 36, was charged with Disorderly Conduct, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and served with two warrants. Christina Wright, 29, was charged with Disorderly Conduct.

 

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

 

7-12-21 10:33 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: COVID Conversations

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: COVID Conversations
 
Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address can be found in MP3 format and downloaded HERE.
 
LITTLE ROCK – Last Thursday was the first of my Community COVID Conversations in Cabot, and I am so grateful for the crowd who attended and filled every seat with the overflow left standing along the walls. The time was well spent with citizens asking questions and providing ideas as to how to overcome the hesitancy of some in getting vaccinated. 
 
Let me describe the challenge we face. One month ago, our active COVID cases had declined along with our hospitalizations. We were increasing our vaccinations across the state, and we were very optimistic about the return to normalcy.
 
And then during the last month, we saw our rate of vaccinations stall at about 40 percent, and the Delta variant showed up, a right-left punch that has led to a dramatic increase in the daily number of new COVID cases, along with an increase in hospitalizations.
 
Someone at the Cabot meeting suggested we offer more incentives to encourage people to take the vaccine, but the success of the incentives we’ve already offered was limited. The fishing licenses and lottery tickets we offered were worth a try, but we learned that the incentive wasn’t effective in changing the mind of someone who isn’t already inclined to get a vaccination.
 
The most powerful incentive is the reality that if Arkansas doesn’t significantly increase its rate of vaccinations, we won’t be getting rid of COVID-19 and its spinoffs anytime soon.
 
The best incentive is to appeal to the hearts of Arkansans with the fact that taking the vaccination is the best way to  protect family and friends. Education is our most powerful tool.
 
In Arkansas, we have chosen the path of personal responsibility. The state is wide open. We aren’t mandating masks or vaccinations.
 
We know what we must do, and for the most part, Arkansans have done the hard work. The big task before us now is to vaccinate more Arkansans.
 
But there is good news and reason for optimism.  The three vaccines are effective against all the COVID variants, including the Delta variant. The vaccine reduces the symptoms in those who do catch it; 90 percent of those who get the vaccine are not hospitalized, and the vaccine cuts the chance of death to almost zero. More than 50 percent of the population of Bradley County has been fully vaccinated.  In the coming weeks, I expect more counties to reach that interim goal that I set, and then we can go up from there.
 
Next week, I will hold COVID Community Conversations in Batesville, Blytheville, the Forrest City/Marianna area, and Texarkana.  My hope is that Arkansans, as they always do, will rise to the challenge, overcome the objections to the vaccine, and help us beat the pandemic so we can quit having these COVID conversations.
 
7-9-21 5:38 p.m. KAWX.ORG

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Arkansans know that no summer barbecue is complete without fresh watermelon. Our state may not be the largest producer of watermelon, but Arkansas communities lay claim to being the home of the world’s largest and the world’s sweetest.

 

The month of July is known as National Watermelon Month. July is typically the largest shipping month of the year, with over 15 states harvesting simultaneously.

 

The United States currently ranks 7th in the worldwide production of watermelon. Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown across 96 countries worldwide. But the impact the crop has on communities here in Arkansas has been a cause for celebration for decades. 

 

In Arkansas, we have more than 200 farms harvesting more than 1,500 acres of watermelons. Crops are valued at more than $5 million.

 

The city of Hope annually celebrates its claim as the home of the world’s largest watermelons with a yearly watermelon festival. The event first originated in 1926 and has been ongoing, though not continuous, since 1977.

 

And since 1980, the residents of Cave City have been coming together to celebrate the "World's Sweetest Watermelons" and reconnect with family and friends. Now, in its 40th year, the watermelon festival is the largest festival in the region.

 

Researchers are now finding out that watermelons are even more nutritious than previously known. The USDA's Agricultural Research Service recently identified over 1,500 small molecules of diverse chemical characters in the fruit, known as phytochemicals. They concluded that eating watermelon is an excellent way to increase your intake of antioxidants, non-protein amino acids, and lycopene. This means that every time you eat watermelon, you’ll be improving the health of your cells, organs, and nervous system.

 

In addition to farmer’s markets and fruit stands across the state, you can find Arkansas watermelons and any Arkansas grown produce at supermarkets by looking for the “Arkansas Grown” label. The “Arkansas Grown” logo is a registered trademark of the Department filed with the Arkansas Secretary of State. It may appear in black and white or black and green versions.

 

We’ve posted more information, including recipes and expert tips on finding the perfect watermelon, on our website www.arkansashouse.org.

 

7-9-21 5:34 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Restoration of World War II Memorial Honors the Sacrifices of the Greatest Generation

 

As a pilot in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II flying C-47s and C-46s, Ray Randall said he “had to use all kinds of ingenuity.” The dangerous transport missions required him to fly over “The Hump” among the Himalayas to provide American and Chinese forces supplies necessary to defeat the Japanese.

 

Randall has always been humble about his actions during the war. “I was glad to do what I did and I was glad to get back,” he recently said.

 

The Arkansas veteran graciously shared his memories of his selfless service for the Veterans History Project (VHP), a Library of Congress initiative that preserves the oral histories of our nation’s veterans. His stories are characteristic of the bravery demonstrated by the Greatest Generation. They were ordinary Americans who were asked to do extraordinary things, and they did so with courage and determination.

 

We’ve all heard the countless stories of valor and selflessness of Allied troops as they faced unimaginable circumstances during the harrowing campaigns in Europe, Asia and Africa. Their backgrounds and experiences were certainly different, but they were united by their belief in doing whatever was necessary to protect freedom, defeat Fascism and defend their nation.

 

The VHP is a great way to honor the legacies of these brave individuals and preserve their memories of military service. Those World War II veterans who are still alive are in their 90s or older, so our time to elicit their knowledge, wisdom and reflections on their unique position in one of history’s most remarkable and life-altering events is running short.

  

In 2004, we dedicated the World War II Memorial in our nation’s capital to pay tribute to the millions of Americans who served in uniform. It is a place to reflect upon and honor the heroism and commitment they displayed to rid the world of tyranny as well as acknowledge the sacrifices of so many. We honor the more than 400,000 Americans who died in the conflict and the countless men and women who supported the effort on the home front.

 

This recognition was long overdue. Thanks to programs like the Honor Flight, World War II veterans from across the country have had the opportunity to see the memorial that attests to their valor and service to our country. I’ve had the privilege of visiting with Arkansas veterans who have participated in this program. It’s a powerful reminder that freedom isn’t free; it’s paid for by brave Americans who have fought to secure a peaceful, safe and free future.

 

We should always ensure this memorial continues to stand as a testament to the service and sacrifice of the Greatest Generation. That’s why I support the Greatest Generation Memorial Act, legislation to authorize the U.S. Department of Treasury to mint commemorative coins of the memorial with proceeds used to finance much-needed repairs and maintenance for this shrine.

 

In recent years, large and growing cracks in the memorial’s granite pillars required it to be temporarily closed. While the National Park Service is responsible for its upkeep, there is a $12 billion capital construction backlog. Providing a source of funding to support the immediate restoration needs of the memorial, as this bill does, is appropriate and necessary.

 

We are incredibly proud of the service of Ray Randall and the millions of other Americans who valiantly served in World War II. We must continue to show our appreciation by passing the Greatest Generation Memorial Act so future generations can pay tribute to these heroes.

 

7-9-21 3:33 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

July 9, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – The state Department of Human Services has installed a new system for filling out applications for social services.

It is designed to be more user friendly, both for people applying for services and for staff at DHS county offices.

 

DHS officials told legislators on the Senate and House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committees that the new system should hold down costs, and make it easier for applicants to find the benefits for which they are eligible.

 

For example, in filling out the application digitally, they can click a button that refers them to services for veterans. They can also access other resources such as child care, transportation and housing.

 

Previously, an applicant for social services could fill out as many as eight applications. The new system eliminates the need for separate applications. Also, one application is good for an entire household.

 

Lawmakers specifically asked if the new system was linked to agencies that could help applicants find a job or sign up for adult education classes. There is a link to those resources, DHS officials told the legislative committee.

 

All the department’s medical services, including Medicaid, have been set up in the new system since April. Just last week the system began a pilot project in five Arkansas counties to take applications for food stamps and welfare. The five counties represent six percent of the department’s total caseload. They are Carroll, Hot Spring, Independence, Lafayette and Pope Counties.

 

In November, DHS county offices in about half the state will install the system. They’re roughly in southern and eastern Arkansas. In December the remaining half of the state, in eastern and northern Arkansas, will get the new system.

 

The technology will allow applications 24 hours a day, on numerous types of devices. People who wish to can still visit a county office in person to fill out a paper application, and they can still telephone their county office.

 

DHS officials hope the new system will cut down on the number of in-person visits and phone calls to county offices. Staff will no longer have to enter as much data manually. Applicants will be able to download documents digitally, which will eliminate the need to mail documents or bring them in person to a county office and wait in line.

 

It is the Arkansas Integrated Eligibility System, and officials are calling it ARIES for short. A DHS official told legislators that it would make a “huge” difference in how people apply for Medicaid, food stamps, welfare and other services. Also, the state will have more accurate and timely access to demographic data about social programs, she said.

 

ARIES will provide translations into Spanish and Marshallese. The language of the English original has been simplified, compared to previous application forms. It is written to be understandable at the fifth to seventh grade level.

 

One legislator thanked the DHS officials for staying within their budget when they installed ARIES. That doesn’t always occur when state agencies implement new information technology, he said.

 

The department spent $111.1 million in Fiscal Year 2020 on ARIES, and $88.3 million in Fiscal Year 2021. During Fiscal Year 2022, which started on July 1, the department estimates it will spend $68.3 million on the system.

 

7-9-21 11:07 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for June 27TH - July 3RD

 

Mena Police Department reports for the week of June 27th through July 3rd, 2021

 

 

June 27

 

Jordan Schmitz, 22, was charged with Possession of Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Disorderly Conduct, and Public Intoxication after a disturbance call to McDonalds.

 

June 28

 

Elva Bruce, 40, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

June 29

 

A report of unauthorized use of a debit card was taken from a walk-in complainant.

 

A report of breaking or entering was taken from the Northside Laundromat.

 

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

 

A report of possession of drug paraphernalia was taken at a residence on Church Avenue.

 

June 30

 

No report.

 

July 1

 

Richard Silverman, 48, was served with a warrant at a residence on 7th Street.

 

July 2

 

Michael Lance, 57, was served with a warrant after contact on Highway 71.

 

A report of a prowler was taken at a residence on Cordie Drive.

 

A report of Breaking or Entering was taken at a residence on Evans Circle.

 

David Heard, 34, was charged with Criminal Trespass after a complaint on Edwards Street.

 

July 3

 

Stacey Burnett, 35, was served with two warrants at the Limetree Inn.

 

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

 

7-7-21 11:09 a.m. KAWX.ORG 

Polk County Sheriff's Report for June 29TH - July 4TH

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of June 28, 2021 – July 4, 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.

 

June 28, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 24 near Cove of damage done to a yard in the amount of $1000.00. Deputy responded. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for further consideration of charges.

Report from complainant on Hwy 8W near Rocky of the theft of a power washer valued at $349.00. Deputy responded.

Request for a welfare check on 134 Rogers Drive near Cove. Deputy responded.

 

June 29, 2021

Report from complainant on Hwy 71S near Hatfield of attempted arson. Deputy responded.

Report from complainant on Farmer’s Lane near Hatfield of the violation of an Order of Protection. Deputy responded.

Report of a domestic disturbance on Polk 44 near Dallas Valley led to the arrest of Eric T. Cannon, 29, of Mena, on a Warrant for Disorderly Conduct and Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree.

June 30, 2021

Arrested was Timothy S. Woods, 45, of Grannis, on a Warrant for Delivery of Meth or Cocaine, and Possession of Meth or Cocaine, and four Warrants for Failure to Comply, and a Warrant for Failure to Appear.

 

July 1, 2021

Traffic stop on Hwy 278E near Wickes led to the arrest of Jennifer D. Johnson, 43, of Grannis, on a Warrant for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Charges of Possession of Meth or Cocaine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Arrested was Jason L. Cox, 35, of Mena, on three Warrants for Failure to Appear.

 

July 2, 2021

Report of the theft of tools valued at $3000.00 on Longfellow Lane near Ink. Deputy responded.

 

July 3, 2021

No reports filed.

 

July 4, 2021

Report from complainant on Polk 18 near Vandervoort of a stolen truck. Deputy responded.

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

 

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

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 17 Incarcerated Inmates, with 5 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

PC21-00546

 

7-6-21 5:41 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Commitment and Sacrifice of Service

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: The Commitment and Sacrifice of Service
 
Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address can be found in MP3 format and downloaded HERE.
 
LITTLE ROCK – Last week, we lost another police officer in the line of duty, and if we could pass a law to guarantee we will never lose another one, then I would pass it and sign it today. But we know that is not realistic.
 
The roster of police officers who have died in the line of duty is too long. More than 300 Arkansas police officers have been killed on the job.
 
In the seven years since I took office, fifteen officers have died in the line of duty. Most recently, Pea Ridge Officer Kevin Apple, the officer whose memorial service I attended on Friday, was run over and killed while attempting an arrest.
 

Public Safety Secretary Jami Cook points out that seventy percent of our officers who have died in the line of duty since 2015 were killed by assault.

 

An assault on a police officer is an attack on the rule of law that is essential to civil society. In the past year, the rule of law has been threatened unlike any time since the 1960s. A loud minority has clamored for a reduction in the number – and sometimes the outright elimination – of police.  Anyone who has ever been the victim of a violent crime or needed quick assistance after a car wreck knows that’s a bad idea.
 
In my career as a United States attorney, as a congressman, at DEA and Homeland Security, and now as Governor, I have seen crime and law enforcement up close at all levels. There has never been a time in my career when the work of law enforcement has been more difficult, challenging, and dangerous, but yes, very important. The death of Officer Apple illustrates the dangers police face every time they suit up. In spite of the increasing danger of the work, people still choose to become a police officer, and we are all very grateful.
 
We understand that for police, there is no such thing as a routine encounter. Every traffic stop, every knock on the door of a house, requires a commitment to serve.
 
Officer Apple had been in law enforcement for more than twenty years, and he understood the risks. He put his service daily above his own safety.
 
I hope that every police officer understands that the people of Arkansas value and are grateful for the work of our men and women in blue. Secretary Cook, who was a member of my Task Force to Improve Law Enforcement, is a former police officer who believes that cities, counties, and the state should provide the best for their police officers. She says that we expect much out of officers, so we must provide them with all they need to do everything that we expect. I certainly agree with that assessment.
 
We are all saddened by the loss of another Arkansas police officer. Arkansans value the rule of law as well as the law enforcement officers who preserve it, and I echo Secretary Cook’s encouragement to every jurisdiction to supply officers the training and tools they need, and to find a way to pay them well for their service. And in addition, when you see an officer, thank him or her for their service.
 
7-2-21 4:09 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Arkansas started a new fiscal year this week, and final reports for the previous year give us an optimistic outlook about the future of our economy.

 

Fiscal Year 2021 ended on June 30. We began Fiscal Year 2022 on July 1.

 

Results from collections and distributions for FY2021 reached $6.845 billion. This is $1.09 billion or 19% above prior-year results.

 

The collections fully funded the Revenue Stabilization Act for the Fiscal Year 2021 and left a surplus of $945.7 million.

 

The fiscal year ended above forecast in all major categories of collections and above year-ago levels. The Department of Finance and Administration says there are several contributing factors.

 

The deadline for individual income taxes was extended last year to July. Payroll withholding tax exceeded expectations amid a faster rebound in the state economy. Sales tax exceeded expectations from the combined factors of an economic rebound, stimulus transfers, and growth in online marketplace sales.

 

The state’s most significant sources of revenue come from individual income tax and sales and use tax.

 

Individual income tax collections totaled $3.97 billion. That is $550 million or 16.1% above FY2020.

 

Sales and Use collections totaled $2.88 billion. That is $340 million or 13.4% above FY2020.

 

Corporate Income Taxes totaled $651.9 million. That is an increase of $169.8 million or 35.2% above FY2020.

 

This week, the Governor authorized the Department of Finance and Administration to increase the state forecast for FY2021 by $213 million.

 

This increase allowed for $86.6 million to be diverted to the Medicaid trust fund. That brings the balance of the trust fund to more than $600 million, ensuring that there are adequate funds for the healthcare of low-income Arkansans.

 

After the revised forecast, the state’s Long-Term Reserve Fund has a balance of $1.22 billion.

 

The Governor has indicated he will call a special session this fall to address future tax cuts. We will continue to update you on any developments.

 

7-2-21 4:06 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column: Expanding Access to VA Mammograms

Expanding Access to VA Mammograms

 

Last Congress we made significant progress to expand Department of Veterans (VA) care and services for women with the passage of the landmark Deborah Sampson Act. This was a critical first step that we must continue to build on in order to uphold the promise we made to women who served in our nation’s uniform.

 

The VA must have the necessary tools and resources to address the needs of this growing population. By 2043, the VA estimates women will account for 16 percent of all veterans. As more women volunteer for military service there is a greater demand to develop and implement policies that address health challenges unique to women veterans. It’s especially important because of the increased risk of breast cancer for those who served in areas with higher chances of exposure to toxic chemicals.

 

The incidence of breast cancer in women veterans and military populations is estimated to be up to 40 percent higher than the general population according to a study on cancer occurrence at Walter Reed Medical Center. Given the dangerous environments in which military members serve and additional risk factors associated with these locations, the VA must update its policies for administering mammograms.

 

Early detection is crucial to preventing and treating breast cancer. That’s why I joined Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) to introduce legislation expanding VA’s mammogram screening eligibility. The Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act will broaden access to mammography services for women veterans, requiring the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

 

This legislation is personal for women such as U.S. Marine Corps veteran Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas. In 2018, she was unaware of her elevated risk for breast cancer as a result of her deployment. During a routine medical exam she was advised to have a mammogram and at age 38 was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

 

“I could have used that information much earlier than I acquired it. We should be telling military women these things and arranging the standard of care for preventive medicine around these increased odds ratios. Put simply, I needed that mammogram sooner,” Dr. Thomas wrote in testimony submitted to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in support of the SERVICE Act.

 

We need reliable and updated data to show how pervasive breast cancer is among women veterans. This will allow us to allocate appropriate resources to the VA for this fight. The SERVICE Act directs the VA to submit a report to Congress within two years of enactment that compares the rates of breast cancer among members of the Armed Forces and the civilian population. This data will help us implement advanced procedures to better treat breast cancer patients.

 

Dr. Thomas has been a tenacious advocate for spreading awareness of the increased risk of breast cancer. We owe it to her and all veterans to provide the preventative care necessary to live long and healthy lives.

 

7-2-21 1:22 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

July 2, 2021

 

LITTLE ROCK – The state Board of Education has approved another round of plans submitted by Arkansas school districts that want the option of offering online classes in the fall.

 

At a special meeting, the Board approved 60 applications from school districts and charter schools.

 

The Board is prepared to decide on up to 50 additional applications before school resumes. Counting decisions made at previous meetings, the Board so far has approved about 90 applications by school districts.

 

Applications to offer virtual classes are usually accompanied by a request for a waiver from traditional education standards.

 

Waivers exempt the schools from regulations that limit maximum class sizes and the number of students assigned to an individual teacher. Also, the Board can grant waivers that reduce the total number of hours a student must spend in a particular course.

 

Board members had questions about plans by some districts to have teachers conducting online classes while also teaching students in the classroom. In response, representatives of those districts said that fewer students are expected to take online classes this year.

 

Also, teachers will have more training in online education this year, compared to last year when the Covid-19 pandemic caused so much disruption in schools.

 

Some school districts plan to sign contracts with private vendors that specialize in online classes.

 

So far, the Board has approved all the plans submitted by local school districts. Many virtual courses will be recorded, rather than live, so that students can take the online classes at any time of the day.

 

Last school year the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted everyone involved in education, from administrators and teachers to students and parents. Support staff in the cafeteria and bus drivers were affected, as were cleaning staff who had to sanitize classrooms more frequently.

 

Revised Forecast

 

June 30 was the final day of the state’s 2021 fiscal year. The governor and budget officials revised the official forecast upward, to reflect better than anticipated revenue over the past 12 months. The forecast was raised by about $212 million for the fiscal year.

 

Tax collections are an accurate barometer of the state’s economic economy because tax rates have not gone up. Increases in state revenue mean that business activity has grown and more people are working.

 

Federal stimulus payments to individuals and businesses were a factor that recovery of the Arkansas economy.

 

Under the new forecast, state general revenue for Fiscal Year 2021 will be about $5.89 billion.

 

The governor announced that the revised forecast means that an additional $86.6 million will be transferred into the state’s Medicaid trust fund. That increases the fund to more than $600 million, and bolsters Medicaid’s ability to reimburse medical providers who care for the elderly, people with disabilities and patients from low-income families.

 

The revised revenue forecast also means that the state’s long term reserve fund will be about $1.2 billion. Budget officials think the reserve fund is enough to improve the state’s bond ratings.

 

Some education institutions can carry forward unspent money from one fiscal year to the next. The revised forecast means that they will have about $101 million for Fiscal Year 2022.

 

7-2-21 7:20 p.m. KAWX.ORG 

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