KAWX News Archives for 2022-12

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: W.I.N.S. in 2022

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: W.I.N.S. in 2022
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – As 2022 comes to an end, I have been reflecting on my time as Governor and looking forward to what is ahead.
In January, I announced my W.I.N.S. initiative for my final year as Governor. Each letter in W.I.N.S. stands for a pillar that I have focused on to boost Arkansas to success. Workforce Training, Infrastructure, New Economy Jobs, and Strengthening Arkansas Families all aim to push Arkansas to being the best place the state can be – and help Arkansas WIN.
 
Arkansas has continually grown economically over the past eight years. Thanks to the people of Arkansas, we have made this state one of the premier locations for business owners to put their roots down and conduct business that gives well-paying jobs to hard-working Arkansans and puts more money into our state.
 
As this year and my term is coming to an end, Arkansas has never been in better financial shape than we are right now. We have lowered taxes, funded services, and we have over $2 billion in reserve accounts.
 
Even in the face of a pandemic, the state’s economy, like Arkansans themselves, remained resilient. In 2021, Arkansas was ranked number two in the nation for states with the most pandemic-proof small businesses. That speaks not only to the hard work of business owners who have chosen to live in Arkansas, but to the small business environment, workforce support, and resource access our state’s infrastructure had in place, ready to help small businesses.
 
Arkansas small businesses were rightfully ranked as having the greatest potential to bounce back because they had the least to bounce back from. Arkansas never shut down throughout the pandemic. Our state kept working, and our consistently low unemployment rate over the past few years reflects that. In fact, there are over 120,000 more people employed now than when I took office in January 2015.
 
The future success of our state demands that we improve the training of our workforce. Now with initiatives like the ‘Ready for Life’ program, it is easier for employees and employers to find each other, and it will offer business leaders a quick snapshot of the employee pool in Arkansas as they recruit talent.
 
Our infrastructure is the backbone of everyday operations in this state, and it is worth investing in to create a better quality of living. That is why we have invested almost $500 million in rural broadband expansion in our state.
 
In terms of new economy jobs, we expanded our high-tech jobs from the steel industry to software development, and this growth will continue with the recommendations from the Council on Future Mobility Report.  
 
Lastly, but certainly not least of the pillars of my W.I.N.S. initiative – strengthening Arkansas families. Over the past year, my focus has been to give families the best chance of success and to protect Arkansas children from child abuse and crime.
 
In November, I announced a monumental expansion in rural health services with the ARHOME Medicaid program. Thanks to the great work of the teams at the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Life360 HOMEs will address the complex challenges facing many of Arkansas’s most vulnerable residents, including individuals in rural areas with serious mental illness and those in need of addiction services. I look forward to watching the full potential of this transformative program as it unfolds in the months and years to come.
 
As we conclude 2022, I am grateful for the W.I.N.S. we have had this year in improving our workforce, investing in our infrastructure, creating new economy jobs, and strengthening Arkansas families.
 
12-30-22 1:31 PM KAWX.ORG

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Making a Difference for Veterans

 

As a son of a Master Sergeant in the Air Force who served for 23 years, I understand the unique challenges veterans and their families experience and how Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, programs and care are critical for men and women called to serve in our nation’s uniform. This is what drove me to serve on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and work with Arkansas veterans and Veterans Service Organizations in our state and nationwide to improve services and benefits veterans earned. Through our collaborative efforts, we’ve made positive reforms and updates to VA care and benefits.

 

I want to share some of the improvements we’ve made in 2022 that will help veterans well into the future.

 

Today’s veteran population looks a lot different than it did a few decades ago. With more women serving in uniform it’s necessary the VA has the resources to serve their unique needs. We’re building on the foundation from last Congress to improve support and medical resources for women veterans. Just months ago, the president signed into law two measures I championed to save lives through implementing better cancer prevention, detection and treatment tools at the VA.

 

The Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act and the Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act will modernize the VA’s breast cancer screening policies and offer earlier access to mammograms and, for those diagnosed with breast cancer, improved breast imaging services to ensure they get the world-class imaging and care they earned.

 

We strengthened oversight at the VA so the Office of Inspector General (OIG) can conduct more thorough investigations by expanding its authority to subpoena former VA employees no longer in federal service and other individuals who may be relevant to its reviews. This will enable us to enhance transparency.

 

We expanded health care to all eras of toxic-exposed veterans with passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 and supported VA funding to ensure we can meet those needs. 

 

Congress closed out the year with some other achievements in support of veterans including expediting disbursement of veterans’ life insurance benefits to surviving family members or beneficiaries. Veterans need to know their loved ones will be taken care of when they’re gone. The Faster Payments to Veterans’ Survivors Act will improve the VA’s process for administering these funds.

 

Finally, we made improvements to how the VA cares for survivors of military sexual trauma so they have the trained support they need when documenting their experience. We also made it easier for veterans living with service-related medical conditions to get their clothing allowance benefit. The VA Clothing Allowance Improvement Act eliminates bureaucratic paperwork and simplifies continued participation in this program.

 

I look forward to continuing my commitment to our nation’s veterans and their families. In 2023 I’ll be working to strengthen suicide prevention programs and bolster recruitment and retention of the VA’s workforce. As long as men and women wear our nation’s uniform in defense of our ideals and freedom, we have a responsibility to take care of them. As always, we will continue our promise to supporting them like they like support us.

 

12-30-22 7:55 AM KAWX.ORG

 

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

December 30, 2022

 

LITTLE ROCK – When the 2023 regular session convenes on January 9, there will be 13 new members in the Arkansas Senate.

The legislature is a citizen legislature, and the senators’ occupations reflect the Arkansas economy. The Senate has cattle ranchers, chicken growers and row crop farmers. It has bankers, accountants, attorneys, educators and people who own their own businesses. One senator is a pastor and chaplain for people in hospice care.

 

There are senators who work in the timber industry, health care, long-term care, employment services, graphic design, real estate development and construction.

 

Their experience is varied and extensive, including service on city councils, county quorum courts, school boards, development districts and state government.

 

Each senator represents about 86,000 people.

 

The political breakdown is 29 Republicans and six Democrats. Five senators are women and four senators are African-American.

The 13 new senators will be the largest freshmen class in the 35-member Senate since 2011, when 14 senators began their first regular session. One of those 14 newcomers had limited experience because he had been elected in a special election and served in the Senate during the 2010 fiscal session. The 2011 session was his first regular session.

 

Fiscal sessions are not nearly as hectic as regular sessions. In a typical fiscal session fewer than 300 budget bills are considered and work is completed within several weeks.

 

In a typical regular session, the legislature works for several months and considers about 2,000 bills affecting state government, law enforcement, education, health care, insurance, transportation and economic development.

 

During the regular session, senators will meet in committees to review in detail proposed bills. The nine standing committees are State Agencies and Governmental Affairs; Judiciary; Insurance and Commerce; Education; Revenue and Taxation; City, County and Local Affairs; Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development; Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs and Public Health, Welfare and Labor.

 

The Joint Budget Committee has members from the Senate and House. It will review in detail all state agency spending requests and meets more often than any other committee during regular sessions.

 

Also during the 2023 regular session the Joint Committee on Public Retirement and Social Security Programs will review numerous bills affecting public pension systems.

 

The Senate experienced historic turnover in 2001, when 17 senators were newcomers, and in 2003, when there were 16 newcomers. Those years reflected the impact of the first version of a term limits amendment to the state Constitution, which was first approved by Arkansas voters in 1992.

 

The amendment took effect for about half of the senators in 2001, when they would have come up for re-election except they were prohibited due to term limits. The amendment took effect for the remaining senators in 2003, when it prohibited them from seeking re-election.

 

The 100 members of the House of Representative serve two-year terms and all 100 seats are contested every election year.

 

Senators serve four-year terms, and half of the 35 seats are contested in every election year. That means if 17 seats are contested during one election, then 18 seats are contested at the following election. Another difference between the Senate and the House is that gubernatorial appointments are confirmed by the Senate.

 

12-30-22 7:47 AM KAWX.ORG

Mena Police Report for December 18th - 24th

Mena Police Department reports for the week of December 18th through December 24th, 2022

 

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

 

December 18

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

 

Tanner Milham, 24, was charged with DWI, Refusal to Submit to BAC, Possession of Open Container of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle, and Disorderly Conduct after a traffic stop on Reine Street.

 

December 19

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

 

December 20

Ginger Acquaah, 41, was served with a warrant at the county jail.

 

Morgan Waller, 59, was served with warrants at the county jail.

 

A report of theft was taken from Wal-Mart.

 

December 21

Alicia Wolcott, 46, was charged with Disorderly Conduct after a call from McDonald’s.

 

December 22

A report of Domestic Battering and Criminal mischief was taken from a residence on 3rd street.

 

December 23

No reports were filed.

 

December 24

A report of aggravated assault was taken from a residence on Mountain View Drive.

 

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

 

12-27-22 8:34 AM KAWX.ORG 

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

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of December 19, 2022 – December 25, 2022. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

December 19, 2022

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to a theft of property.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 21 near Cove in reference to a break-in.

 

December 20, 2022

Deputies responded to a report of stolen property from an area on Ransom Road.

Deputies responded to a report of stolen property from a local school.

 

December 21, 2022

Deputies responded to a report of Financial Identity Fraud.

Joshua Bland, 30 of Louisville, KY was arrested by an officer with the Highway Patrol on a hold for another agency.

Deputies responded to a vehicle in the ditch on Polk 70.

 

December 22, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 99 near Vandervoort in reference to a structure fire.

 

December 23, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a wrecked vehicle on Hwy 8 West. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies responded to a residence on West Johnson near Hatfield in reference to a physical domestic disturbance leading to the arrest of Bobby Peek, 46 of Hatfield on a charge of Possession of Firearm by Certain Persons.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Blossom Lane near Board Camp in reference to a Verbal Dispute. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

Deputies responded to a residence on Polk 41 S near Mena in reference to an unresponsive person.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence near Wickes in reference to a prowler.

 

December 24, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 41 near Mena in reference to a structure fire.

 

December 25, 2022

Deputies responded to a residence on Hwy 8 E near Mena in reference to a domestic disturbance leading to a citation being issued to Brittiany Mendel for Disorderly Conduct.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 1 vehicle accident this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 19 Incarcerated Inmates with 17 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

12-2622 11:55 AM KAWX.ORG

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Earlier this month, many of us gathered in the Old Supreme Court Chamber at our Capitol to celebrate Christmas with some of the children currently in our state’s foster care system. This is an annual event that distributes thousands of gifts and brings countless smiles. Our goal as a state is to make sure these children have the best care available year-round. At the end of the State Fiscal Year 2022, there were 4,524 Arkansas children in foster care. That is a decrease of 7% from the previous year. In 2021, the General Assembly passed Act 574 which directed the House Committee on Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs and the Senate Committee on Children and Youth to conduct a study of the best practices for reducing the number of children in foster care. That study was conducted and the final report was submitted to the Arkansas Legislative Council this month. The study included an assessment of the number of children in foster care, an examination of the state’s current practices and policies aimed at reducing the number of children in foster care, an examination of the methods other states use, and the formulation of a plan for the state to implement to reduce or eliminate the number of children in foster care. The reports details staffing challenges in the most recent years presented by the health emergency. But despite those challenges, the DHS Division of Children and Family Services has continued to implement a variety of strategies to reduce the number of children in foster care. Those strategies include incentive programs to recruit and retain quality staff and prevention programs focused on in-home services. The reports also note that DCFS staff have worked hard over the last several years to ensure children are placed with relatives and fictive kin when safe and appropriate. Close to 41% of children were placed with relatives statewide as of September 30, 2021, as compared to the 28.1% of children who were placed with relatives statewide as of March 30, 2019. Children whose first placement was with a relative or fictive kin have consistently shown to have more placement stability, fewer instances of maltreatment while in foster care, and have achieved permanency more quickly than their counterparts. This report will help guide members when considering legislation in the 2023 Regular Session. We’ve posted the study on our website arkansashouse.org.

 

12-23-22 6:00 PM KAWX.ORG

Congressman Bruce Westerman's Weekly Column

Looking Forward

As the year and the 117th Congress comes to a close, I am grateful to reflect on my time in the House of Representatives serving Arkansas’ Fourth Congressional District. It is my highest honor to represent my constituents in Congress, and it is a privilege I never take for granted.

 

I value service to my constituents above all else, and this year, I am proud to share that my staff helped 1,070 constituents navigate the Federal bureaucracy, processed 1,302,845 pieces of constituent mail, provided U.S. Capitol tours to 355 Arkansas families, and sent constituents 21 flags flown over the U.S. Capitol. I spent countless hours traveling from one corner of the Fourth District to the other – from Madison County all the way to Ashley County – visiting with residents, community leaders, and local officials to ensure I stayed abreast of any challenges our friends and neighbors were facing. I also brought several of my House colleagues to the District to show them how the excellent work done by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Division, our private forest owners, and the local U.S. Forest Service officials in Arkansas can be replicated across the United States to prevent the yearly forest fires that devastate so much of the American West.

 

We have accomplished many great things this year, including the introduction of a bill to reopen overnight camping at Albert Pike, legislation to make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible for all Americans, and a bill to unleash American energy production and prevent any President from restricting production in the future. I also co-sponsored many pieces of legislation to fight the opioid epidemic, support school safety, and invest in our local law enforcement.

 

In truth, we are just getting started. Next year, in a Republican majority, I am looking forward to becoming Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and bringing the fight to increase American energy production to the doorstep of this Administration. I will continue to advocate for Conservative values including the Right to Life, lowering the debt, securing the border, backing the Blue, and so much more. One party rule in Washington, D.C. is over and Republicans are ready to hit the ground running to bring reason and responsibility back into our nation’s Capitol.

 

As always, please reach out to my office if we can assist with any issues regarding a federal agency or if you are coming to visit Washington, D.C. I am thankful to continue serving the great state of Arkansas for another year, and I look forward to another Congress bringing Arkansas voices to Congress.

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Joys of the Holidays

 

To listen to Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address, click anywhere on this line, then click on the play button.

 

LITTLE ROCK – On behalf of the state of Arkansas, I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season.

Christmas is my favorite time of year in the Natural State, especially in the halls of the Arkansas State Capitol.

 

During the month of December, student choirs travel from all over the state to sing in the rotunda in the center of the Capitol. Their songs echo to the ceiling and can be heard in all corners of the building. The beauty of their voices reminds me of the verse in Scripture about the angel and the multitude of heavenly hosts filling the sky and praising God at the birth of Jesus.

 

That’s what this season is all about. Despite the shopping, the crowds, and the stress, it is all about the birth in Bethlehem that changed the world.

 

This Christmas is a particularly special one as it marks the end of my final year as Governor. This year I am grateful for the gift of life, my family, and the privilege of a lifetime that has been serving the great state of Arkansas as Governor.

 

Some of the Christmas traditions I have been able to be a part of these past eight years have been especially memorable this year.

 

Last weekend, at the beginning of the Hanukkah season, I had the privilege of lighting the first candle of the Little Rock Chabad Menorah. In 2015, I was the first Arkansas Governor to light the Menorah publicly. It was a humbling experience then, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to join the Central Arkansas Jewish community in celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah each year since then.

 

A couple weeks ago, I once again got to host the “Christmas at the Capitol” event where we collected gifts for children in the foster care system in Arkansas. Those who donated gifts made a small gesture that will make more of an impact than they will ever know.

 

After all, giving is a core part of what Christmas is all about. Arkansans are some of the kindest, most giving people I have ever been around. That is especially evident during the holiday season. One of the best parts of being Governor is getting to meet Arkansans from every corner of the state and from all walks of life.

 

The holiday season often brings out the best in people. I encourage you to extend goodwill toward our fellow man and find a way to serve someone who is less fortunate. Consider giving not only monetary gifts but giving your time. In the words of Mother Teresa, “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”

 

I encourage everyone to find a way to celebrate this spirit of giving not only this week but throughout the year. Tell your family, friends, and coworkers how much you appreciate them. Be kind to others – you never know what type of day they are having. You could be a light in their dark season.

 

I hope each of you are able to reflect on your blessings, remember the reason for this season, and find joy in being able to call Arkansas home.

 

12-23-22 12:30 PM KAWX.ORG

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

 

December 23, 2022

 

LITTLE ROCK – The legislature’s list of accomplishments in 2022 is lengthy and significant.

 

During a special session in the summer, legislators reduced income taxes for about 1.6 million Arkansas taxpayers by moving up the effective date of the tax cuts adopted last year. The tax cuts will save Arkansans an estimated $500 million a year.

 

During the fiscal session in the spring, lawmakers approved $5,000 salary supplements for police officers, parole officers and probation officers. State troopers received $2,000 supplements. Also, starting salaries for state troopers were increased from $42,357 to $54,000.

 

Also during the fiscal session, legislators approved using $37.6 million to eliminate a waiting list for people with developmental disabilities.

 

Over the next three years about 3,200 Arkansans with disabilities will get Medicaid services at home or in their community. Previously, they could only get care in an institution.

 

The state Medicaid program also expanded services for some of the most vulnerable citizens, including about 12,500 women with high-risk pregnancies.

 

More Medicaid benefits will be available to veterans aged 19 through 30, and to people in rural areas who have been diagnosed with a serious mental illness or a substance abuse disorder. Medicaid expanded eligibility to include young people from 17 through 27 years of age who have been in foster care, young people 19 through 24 who have been incarcerated and young people aged 19 through 24 who have been in the custody of the state Youth Services Division.

 

In 2022 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Arkansas immediately began enforcing Act 180 of 2019 to make abortion illegal in Arkansas except to save the life of the mother. The attorney general said that Act 180 made Arkansas the most pro-life state in the nation.

 

Anticipating that the Supreme Court ruling would result in greater numbers of unplanned pregnancies in Arkansas, the legislature appropriated a million dollars for pregnancy resource centers. Grants are available for centers that traditionally have been known as crisis pregnancy organizations.

 

Also, adoption agencies, maternity homes and social service agencies qualify if they provide material support and assistance to pregnant women, in order to help them with delivery of their babies.

 

Legislators approved funding for a 498-bed expansion of the North Central Prison Unit at Calico Rock. The state wants to build more space for serious offenders. County sheriffs have said they now have to hold more violent offenders in their jails, endangering staff and other prisoners who are in jail for minor offenses.

 

Thanks to legislative action, county jails will receive higher state reimbursements for housing state inmates when there isn’t enough space in state prison units. Now the state pays counties $32 a day per inmate. That will increase to $40 a day.

 

The legislature provided $10 million for body cameras, bullet proof vests and other equipment that protects officers.

 

The legislature authorized the state Education Department to use $50 million from reserve funds for grants to school districts that need school safety upgrades.

 

Also in 2022 the legislature approved funding for statewide upgrades in broadband access, for local drinking water and wastewater systems and for child care centers to cover expenses caused by the pandemic.

 

12-23-22 12:30 PM KAWX.ORG

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Sharing Gratitude for Holiday Heroes

 

During this season, we’re fortunate to have time to reflect on the past year and look ahead for what’s to come. That can stir lots of feelings, but appreciation and excitement are usually right at the top of the list.

 

We’re blessed. Even amid trying times, we get to call a wonderful state and great country home, with freedoms and opportunities that are the envy of the world.

 

That’s a lot to be grateful for.

 

The holidays seem to bring those truths into even greater focus as many of us are surrounded by family and friends, have the ability to take a break from daily routines and become even more aware of the things that matter most.

 

Yet it’s also important to recognize that some of our loved ones and neighbors don’t get to experience these special moments in quite the same way.

 

These ordinary citizens don’t seek out recognition or need the applause of others for doing what they’re passionate about and trained in. They just show up day in and day out, shift after shift, doing their jobs even when the rest of the world seems to stand still.

 

Our first responders, servicemembers, health care workers and other essential personnel across various sectors often sacrifice their own convenience at this festive time of the year.

 

We might or might not notice when a nurse in our extended family misses out on the annual gathering or feel the void when a neighbor’s parent, child or sibling who is deployed overseas is absent on Christmas morning. But the reality is this happens in communities throughout our state and across the nation more often than we realize.

 

Sometimes it means just a brief interruption that is possible to accept and see past. But for others, the separation may be frequent, prolonged or even permanent.

 

This sacrifice is to be applauded. It gives the rest of us great comfort to know that, if disaster strikes or a truly urgent need arises, our fellow citizens are prepared to help even when that means missing out on or putting off a celebration that has been weeks or months in the making.

 

Sadly, for those families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty, their holidays are never the same.

 

This is the case for two more Arkansas families this Christmas. Stuttgart Police Sergeant Donald Scoby and Benton County Detective Paul Newell both perished in recent weeks while performing their duty to protect and serve their communities.

 

That means this holiday season will feature painful changes to family traditions and episodes of joy and grief mixed together as they mourn and remember these men.

 

Christmas, New Year’s and other holiday observances that mark this season truly are a time for joy. This year, as we gather together with our family and friends to take in all the wonder and thrills, I hope all Arkansans will join me in pausing to remember and express the gratitude we feel for the holiday heroes sacrificing in ways large and small.

 

They represent the best of us and we are proud to call them our loved ones and fellow Arkansans.

 

12-23-22 12:25 PM KAWX.ORG

US, Arkansas Flags to Half Staff for Detective Paul Newell

Governor Asa Hutchinson has directed the United States flag and the Arkansas State flag to fly at half-staff in tribute to the memory of Detective Paul Newell of the Benton County Sheriff's Office. Flags will fly at half-staff from December 20, 2022, to December 28, 2022.

 

On the morning of Saturday, December 17, 2022, Detective Newell, of Gravette, passed away in the line of duty while serving as a motorcycle escort for the Wreaths Across America procession in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Proclamation

 

12-20-22 6:17 PM KAWX.ORG 

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

SHERIFF’S LOG

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of December 12, 2022 – December 18, 2022. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

December 12, 2022

John Robertson, 48 of Mena was arrested by an officer with the Arkansas Drug Task Force on a Felony Failure to Appear Warrant.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 72 near Cherry Hill in reference to a welfare check.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 17 near Vandervoort in reference to a vehicle fire.

 

December 13, 2022

Deputies responded to a residence on Buffalo Creek Lane near Cove in reference to a structure fire.

 

December 14, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Tilley Road near Hatfield in reference to a trespasser.

 

December 15, 2022

Deputies responded to a report of a dog bite victim.

 

December 16, 2022

Justin Velazquez, 22 of DeQueen was arrested by an officer with the Grannis Police Department on charges of Disorderly Conduct, Public Intoxication and Possession of a Schedule VI Controlled Substance.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Hwy 270 W in reference to a break-in.

Deputies responded to a report of Forgery.

Deputies responded to a report of an issue with a child custody exchange.

 

December 17, 2022

Danielle Sackett, 39 of Cove was arrested on a Felony Failure to Appear Warrant and two Misdemeanor Failure to Appear Warrants.

A traffic stop on Reine Street led to the arrest of Sunshine Butterfield, 19 of Mena on a charge of DWI.

 

December 18, 2022

A traffic stop on Hwy 8 West near Mena led to the arrest of Nicole Renard, 43 of Mena on charges of DWI and Driving Left of Center.

Eric Cearley, 29 of Mena was arrested on a charge of Obstructing Governmental Operations.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 1 vehicle accident this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 22 Incarcerated Inmates with 18 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State  Facility.

 

12-19-22 12:30 PM KAWX.ORG 

Mena Police Report for December 11th - December 17th

Mena Police Department reports for the week of December 11th through December 17th, 2022:

 

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

 

December 11

 

A report of criminal trespass and theft of property was taken at Walmart.

 

Edward Kilcollins, 48, was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia after a traffic stop on Griffith Park Road.

 

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

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at a residence on Ridge Street.

 

December 12

 

A report of theft of property was taken from Walmart.

 

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

 

December 13

 

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

 

A report of theft of property was taken from Walmart.

 

December 14

 

No report

 

December 15

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken from a person at Valero.

 

A report of theft of property was taken from Walmart.

 

Joy Reed, 34, was served with warrants at Oak Grove Cemetery.

 

Riley Jackson, 28, was charged with Possession of Schedule 6 Controlled Substance, and Laura Flores, 19, was charged with Possession of Alcohol by Minor and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia at Tapley Park.

 

December 16

 

No report.

 

December 17

 

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

 

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

 

12-19-22 10:05 AM KAWX.ORG 

 

Polk County Detention Center Inmates

Local DAR Chapter Honors Veterans With Gift Boxes, Wreath Laying Ceremony

The James K Polk Chapter, NSDAR, continued our service to our local veterans this month.
 
With help from our local Wal Mart and the Wal Mart Community Grant program, our ladies were able to pack and wrap 50 shoeboxes for our local veterans. Each box included a throw blanket,  a hat, a pair of gloves and personal care items.  These gifts were then delivered to Peachtree Assisted Living, The Cottages and our local veterans  clinic.
 
 
Several chapter members then met at Old Dallas Cemetery  for a brief  memorial service and  laid a wreath to honor the veterans who rest there.
 
 
Merry Christmas from the James K. Polk Chapter, NSDAR!
 
12-19-22 7:26 AM KAWX.ORG 

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Ending the COVID Vaccine Mandate for Military

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Ending the COVID Vaccine Mandate for Military

 

To listen to Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address, click anywhere on this line, then click on the play button.

 

LITTLE ROCK – A few weeks ago, I joined 20 of my fellow governors in a letter to Congressional leaders asking them to repeal the Biden administration’s COVID vaccine mandate for our military, and today I’d like to provide an update on our request.

 

In August of last year, President Biden directed United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to impose a COVID vaccine mandate on the men and women of our armed forces. Since that time, the National Guard has missed its recruiting target by 10 percent, and 7,500 members have left the service. The United States Army also missed its recruiting target by 25 percent, falling short of their target by 15,000 recruits.

 

As of November of this year, over 8,000 active members of the military have been discharged since the implementation of the mandate. It’s clear that this overbearing requirement has put our nation’s military readiness at risk and created a national security concern.

 

In Arkansas, we took a different approach. I never imposed a mandate for vaccines because I trust people to make the best decision for their health and the health of their family. Instead of mandates, I chose to educate.

 

I went to 15 cities around the state to hold town hall meetings to answer questions from Arkansans. I held these events with my public health advisors and local health care providers to ensure that specific medical questions about the vaccine could be answered. And yes, I encouraged people to understand the COVID vaccine and to take the vaccine.

 

Throughout the course of my conversations, I was reminded of how damaging a vaccine mandate could be. Unfortunately, we’ve seen our concerns become a reality because of the COVID vaccine mandate in our armed forces.

 

While the damage has been done from the President’s decision, I want to applaud the members of Congress who recently passed the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual funding legislation for our military. This bill not only funds our military, it also revokes the COVID vaccine mandate. The House passed the defense authorization bill with a bipartisan vote by a margin of 350-80, and the Senate approved the bill 83-11. The vote on this bill and provision will ensure we have a military that is ready to face our adversaries whenever that time may come. I urge the President to sign the defense authorization bill and to end the particular COVID vaccine mandate.

 

We owe the men and women of our military a great debt for their service, and they do not need to be saddled with unnecessary mandates that only harm their readiness.

 

 

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

This week, the Arkansas Legislative Council received a report regarding the state of mental and behavioral health in Arkansas.

 

This report was months in the making. It makes clear that medical professionals are facing a mental health crisis in our state but the collaborative efforts involved in this study also provide a path forward to improving care.

 

Act 802 of 2021 required a study of Mental and Behavioral Health conditions in Arkansas.

The purpose of the study was to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the mental and behavioral health resources and care currently available and to recommend legislation to the General Assembly.

 

For the last several months, legislators, mental health providers, medical professionals, and behavioral health stakeholders have been meeting to discuss various services offered to persons suffering from mental health issues. The group has also been discussing the current difficulty is providing these services without a professionally trained workforce.

 

Representatives of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics testified that many pediatricians in the state are spending the majority of their day on working behavioral health right now and struggle to find access to proper care for their patients. 

 

Arkansas Children’s Hospital reported seeing a 25% increase in mental health and behavioral health cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

And medical professionals testified that more than 36,000 adolescents in Arkansas had a major depressive episode in the last year.

 

Arkansas is not unique in facing these challenges. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year. The CDC also states that 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness.

 

The Department of Human Services participated in these working groups and discussed what could be changed by policy. As a result of the concerns raised in the working group, DHS agreed to several policy changes which will allow Medicaid providers to be reimbursed for more preventive care and provide more oversight for at-home care.

 

In the 94th General Assembly, we could see several pieces of legislation introduced as a direct result of this study.

 

The final report states that legislation is being drafted, studied, and considered which will address several concerns raised including increasing the number of Psychological Examiners practicing in the state, enhancing the availability of intensive treatment for young children and adolescents, and advocating for school counselors to be trained on suicide awareness and prevention. 

 

We have posted the study on our website www.arkansashouse.org

We want to remind anyone struggling with a mental health crisis to call 988 to be connected to resources near you. 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Bridging the Gap: Helping Arkansans Navigate Federal Agencies

 

It’s common to hear from Arkansans all over the state about their friends and family members in need of help regarding a problem with a federal government agency. Issues such as securing emergency passports for a family to attend an overseas wedding, obtaining a grave marker to honor a WWII veteran or ensuring a small business gets paid for its government contracted work all represent the type of outreach my office receives over the course of a year. I’m proud of the work my staff provides in getting questions answered and resolving these impasses for constituents. 

 

2022 was a record year in my office. In addition to thousands of calls, letters and emails we fielded concerning legislative issues, we heard from more than 3,800 Arkansans who needed direct help on matters involving the U.S. government – 50 percent more than just a few short years ago 2019.

 

Many of the problems were related to COVID-19 backlogs that continue to plague the federal programs so many rely on.

 

Annually, the IRS is one of the top agencies Arkansans request help with, usually due to unacceptable processing times for tax returns and terrible customer service. More than 300 Natural State residents requested assistance this year, and we were able to make a difference.

 

Just weeks ago we learned one Arkansan would be getting a refund check worth more than $31,000. Reports like that are good to hear, and while we were able to help many people obtain overdue refunds or overcome problems with identity theft, too many taxpayers are still waiting for basic services from the agency. These issues are why I will continue pushing to spur change and accountability.

 

We were also able to help right wrongs made by unfortunate agency mistakes. Several involved Arkansans who were mistakenly reported as deceased, resulting in their monthly benefits being cancelled.

 

One Social Security recipient found her monthly check fraudulently re-routed to a different bank account. The agency re-issued her check, but then mistakenly took the money back thinking she had been overpaid. Fortunately, we were able to shine a light on this case and help correct the costly error. Another incident impacted a widow’s VA benefits after department personnel delayed updating her paperwork. After our intervention, the agency discovered the misstep, restored her full benefits and sent back pay.

 

One of my most important duties as a U.S. Senator is to be a voice for the people of Arkansas when they’re dealing with the federal government.

 

In addition to that being an important responsibility, learning of the difficulties our family, friends and neighbors face also helps me understand where resources are needed and what federal agencies need reform. This outreach helps bring important systemic problems to light and, ideally, prompts more permanent solutions.

 

I am blessed with a tremendous team working in my offices in Arkansas and Washington, D.C. that shares my dedication to our state, has experience navigating these situations and never stops using the tools and resources available to us for good.

 

I look forward to the calls, visits and emails in 2023 as we continue working to make a difference for Arkansans.

United States Flag and Arkansas State Flag Half-Staff For Fallen Sergeant

On the evening of Wednesday, December 14, 2022, Sergeant Donald Scoby of the Stuttgart Police Department was killed while serving in the line of duty.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson has directed the United States flag and the Arkansas State flag to fly at half-staff in tribute to the memory of Sergeant Scoby from December 17, 2022, to December 19, 2022.

 

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Proclamation

Congressman Bruce Westerman's Weekly Column: Congress is Back and Open for Business

Congress is Back and Open for Business

Over the past two years, the American people have endured a complete shutdown of the People’s House in a way never before seen in our lifetime. In recent months, as the threat of COVID-19 waned, the halls of Congress once again bustled with members, staff, and constituents. Hospital rates remain low and Americans are filling our airports, train stations, and highways at normal levels. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, has continued to exert tight control over the House of Representatives, limiting the number of people able to enter the Capitol and its office buildings to petition their government, as is their constitutional right. 

 

Even after President Joe Biden, the leader of the Democrat party, announced that the pandemic was over, the Speaker continued using fear of COVID-19 to justify extending proxy voting and virtual hearings until the very end of the 117th Congress. From the very beginning, proxy voting and virtual hearings have never worked. Americans witnessed an embarrassing display from their representatives as Members of Congress attended hearings by Zoom from the road, their boat, or their bed, often caught on hot mics or even without proper clothing.

 

Tune into C-SPAN on any given voting day and you will listen to a long list of absent members voting by proxy, for no other reason than their preference to stay home or attend another event. Legislating is a serious responsibility granted by the American people and should never be taken lightly. Congress has the ability to radically shape Americans’ lives, and that’s more than enough reason to show up to work. When members refuse to come to Washington, D.C., they can’t look each other in the eyes to discuss solutions for the issues facing our country, and their constituents suffer.

 

In the new Congress, under Republican leadership, the Capitol will become the People’s House once again. Visitors will be able to come and go as they please, meeting with members and staff and touring the Capitol without hindrance. Members will vote in person, as is their duty. As Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, I will ensure that members in my committee show up to work, as they were elected to do. For meaningful bipartisanship, members of Congress on opposite sides of the aisle must work with each other and find common ground, but that is virtually impossible when members are phoning it in from the other side of the country.

 

Republicans are ready to hit the ground running in the New Year, bringing normalcy back to the House of Representatives and working hard to bring results back to our constituents. The sign on Congress’ front door on January 3, 2023, will be “Open.” I look forward to welcoming all Fourth District residents to the People’s House in the 118th Congress. If you are visiting Washington, D.C., please contact my office to set up a tour by calling 202-225-3772.

 12-16-22 12:10 PM KAWX.ORG

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

December 16, 2022

LITTLE ROCK – Legislators finished the calendar year with a final round of recommendations for spending federal relief funds and reserve funds.

 

The recommendations include using another $93.8 million for broadband projects and $20 million to upgrade computerized case management for the state court system.

 

Also, $6.25 million was recommended to help cover the expenses of opening the new Sevier County Medical Center.

The subcommittee also recommended using $75 million from reserve funds for expansion of a prison unit in Calico Rock. It would add space for 498 beds.

 

Sevier County has been without a hospital since 2019, when the previous one at DeQueen closed. Since then, voters in Sevier County approved raising their sales tax by half a cent to back a bond issue for new hospital construction.

 

Rural hospitals have been hard hit by the pandemic and have submitted numerous requests for financial aid. The subcommittee decided to recommending hiring an independent firm to analyze requests from as many as 26 rural hospitals.

 

The state Administrative Office of the Courts has been installing a computer system over the past two years, and will be able to accelerate the process with the $20 million allocation. Updating technology used in Arkansas courtrooms should improve collection of fines, fees and restitution. It will make enforcement of court orders more efficient, an official at the courts told legislators.

 

A modern digital system can send messages to people reminding them of scheduled dates in court and due dates for fines and other payments. In Arkansas more than 1.2 million court cases are processed every year.

 

The funding of broadband projects is part of a massive state investment to provide high-speed Internet access to all areas of Arkansas. Almost $400 million in grants have been awarded for 163 projects by the Arkansas Rural Connect program.

 

The actions were taken by the Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review Subcommittee (PEER) of the Legislative Council. Its agenda has been lengthy and its meetings well attended since it became the legislative panel that considers requests for federal relief aid.

 

A steering committee appointed by the governor makes initial recommendations, but the legislature has the ultimate authority under the state Constitution for government spending.

 

Arkansas received more than $1.5 billion in American Rescue Plan relief funds. In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars in other categories have been designated for Arkansas recovery projects. The PEER subcommittee has seen its workload grow significantly due to the amount of relief funds flowing into Arkansas and the number of proposals for spending it.

 

At the final PEER meeting of the year, legislators expressed differences of opinion about how to prioritize the remaining applications for relief funds. State finance officials estimate that less than $300 million in relief funding is left to allocate. However, PEER has more than $700 million in requests for funding.

 

Some of the most heated comments were made when legislators discussed funding requests that were not approved. Some senators on PEER disagreed with proposals to fund localized projects based on negotiations among influential legislators, because it would not be fair to applicants and lacks transparency.

 

The senators prefer a grant system that allows communities to apply for grants, and the applications are awarded on merit or need.

 

 

DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER

STOP BEFORE DRIVING IMPAIRED; HOLIDAY LAW ENFORCEMENT PUSH TO PROTECT MOTORISTS

“DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER”

 

The festivities of Christmas and New Year holidays is often mixed with good cheer leading to tragedies on Arkansas roadways.  This year the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the state to share the message about the dangers of drunk driving.
 
  Beginning this weekend (December 16th – January 1st), Arkansas State Troopers and law enforcement officers from local departments will be working together to get impaired drivers off the road.  The Arkansas Highway Safety Office asks everyone to remember, “Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over”.
 
  According to NHTSA officials, 11,654 people were killed during 2020 in motor vehicle crashes that involved alcohol impaired drivers.  Averages from that year show one person was killed in a drunk driving crash every 45 minutes.  Between 2016 – 2020, on average, more than 10,000 people died each year because of drunk driving crashes.
 
  To reduce the chances of future drunk driving crashes, Arkansas law enforcement officers are working together with NHTSA to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal but also a matter of life and death.
 
  “It’s so important that drivers act responsibly, and refrain from driving if they’ve consumed a beverage containing alcohol,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “The holidays are a special time of year for everyone and it’s our job in state and local law enforcement to keep the highways and local streets safe for everyone by arresting anyone who is driving while impaired.”
 
  Federal law, as well as laws in most states around the country, make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher and the penalties for impaired driving can be severe.  If a driver is convicted of driving while intoxicated, the person could face jail time, lose their driver’s license and pay up to $10,000 in attorney’s fees, court fines, higher insurance premiums, and experience lost wages.
 
  Designated drivers are a valuable tool for reducing impaired driving.  If you are a designated driver, be sure to stay hydrated with water and other non-alcoholic beverages and actively support other designated drivers.  Being a designated driver can be difficult, but it's important to remember that many people are counting on you, particularly other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the streets.  A designated driver should remain sober and drive safe while on the road.
 
  “We need a commitment from drivers to stay off the roads if they’ve been drinking alcohol,” said Colonel Bryant.  “This will help ensure everyone can safely enjoy their holiday celebrations when traveling across the state.”
 
  The stepped-up holiday enforcement period allows law enforcement to get the message out that drunk driving is illegal and deadly.  The Arkansas State Police and its Highway Safety Office recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
 
•  It’s never okay to drink and drive.  Even if you’ve had one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get to your destination safely.  Plan a safe way home before you leave.
 
•  If you’ve been drinking, call a taxi, ride-share service, or a designated driver to drive you home.
 
•  If you see an impaired driver on the road, call 9-1-1.
 
•  If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle or any other vehicle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.
 
•  Always buckle up.  A properly secured seat belt is the best defense against a drunk driver. 
 
  For more information on impaired driving, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving or call the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit www.TZDArkansas.org.
 
12-15-22 8:06 PM KAWX.ORG

Mena School Board Meeting Recap

The Mena School Board met for their regular December meeting on Wednesday at the District Administration Building.

 

The meeting began with the superintendent’s report. Dr. Lee Smith began by informing the board that the charter for the Polk County Virtual Academy had been renewed for five years.

 

Smith then recognized Candace Thompson for her actions during a recent bomb threat. Thompson’s actions lead to the prompt arrest of the perpetrator and she received a round of applause from all those in attendance.

 

Smith then yielded the floor to Mena High School counselor/career coach Mr. Tim Walston. Walston informed the board about the ACT WorkKey Assesment and Polk County becoming a work ready community. ACT WorkKeys is a nationally recognized workforce solution for identifying, certifying and strengthening core workplace skills. 

 

Next on the agenda was project updates. A bid was received on the construction of an awning from Louise Durham Elementary to the gym. The bid was $30,897. The bid was accepted and approved by the board.

 

The board was then updated on bus information. A bid has been received on a new trip bus. A bid of $121,000 was received. The district has applied for a Go Red Grant that will help with the purchase and the purchase is pending the results of that application.

 

The board quickly approved  the financial report and the restructuring of the contract of Rebeccah Sprague from a “C” to a “D” bus route.

 

The meeting adjourned.

 

12-15-22 7:58 PM KAWX.ORG

Rutledge Recognizes Polk County Officer of the Year, State Police Corporal Bo Hayes

Rutledge Recognizes Polk County Officer of the Year

Corporal Hayes honored as County Officer of the Year

 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted the 20th annual Officer of the Year awards and recognition luncheon at the Benton Event Center, where she honored Arkansas State Police Corporal Bo Hayes as the Polk County Officer of the Year.

 

“Corporal Hayes is a tireless servant who works to protect Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I could not be more grateful for Hayes’s dedication as a public servant in Polk County.”

 

For the eighth consecutive year, Attorney General Rutledge has honored Officers of the Year from all 75 Arkansas counties, in addition to statewide and regional winners.

 

12-13-22 5:27 PM KAWX.ORG

 

 

Mena Death Investigation Turned Over To State Police

The Mena Police Department released the following statement late Tuesday afternoon concerning a death investigation in Mena. No additional details are available at this time.

 

"On Tuesday 12/13/22 about 9:00am, the Mena Police Department responded to a call at a residence on Hickory Avenue. Upon arrival, officers discoverd Layman J. Hughes, 47, deceased. The Arkansas State Police was notified and will be investigating. More information will be available at a later time." 

 

12-13-22 5:02 PM KAWX.ORG

 

 

 

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

SHERIFF’S LOG

 

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of December 5, 2022 – December 11, 2022. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

December 5, 2022

Kaitlyn Moss, 24 of Mena was arrested on a Felony Probation Violation Warrant.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Hwy 71 S near Vandervoort in reference to damaged mailboxes.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 151 near Hatfield in reference to a verbal domestic disturbance.

 

December 6, 2022

Bomb threats made to local schools led to the arrest of April Scroggins, 41 of Mena on three charges of Threatening to Commit an Act of Mass Violence on School Property.

Deputies responded to a residence on Tilley Lane near Hatfield in reference to a verbal domestic disturbance leading to disorderly conduct citations being issued to Jimmy Howell and Stephanie Boyd.

Deputies responded to a residence on Polk 35 near Hatfield in reference to a damaged mailbox.

Deputies were dispatched to a business near Hatfield in reference to someone throwing rocks. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

 

December 7, 2022

No reports.

 

December 8, 2022

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to harassment.

William Hinkle, 49 of Cove was arrested on a Felony Failure to Appear Warrant and a Misdemeanor Failure to Appear Warrant.

Katlynn Hughes, 22 of Mena was arrested on a warrant for 2nd Degree Terroristic Threatening.

Deputies responded to a business near Hatfield in reference to a Domestic Disturbance.

Deputies responded to a residence on Creekview Lane near Vandervoort in reference to a prowler.

Cortney Lyle, 40 of Mena was arrested by an officer with the Arkansas State Police on a misdemeanor warrant for 3rd Degree Domestic Battery.

Stormy Bodwell, 22 of Mena was arrested on a 2nd Degree Terroristic Threatening Warrant.

Shirlee Huffman, 32 of Mena was arrested on a 2nd Degree Terroristic Threatening Warrant.

Deputies responded to a report of forgery.

 

December 9, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 96 near Acorn in reference to an altercation leading to the arrest of Michael McFarland, 59 of Mena on a charge of Disorderly Conduct.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Pleasant Lane near Mena for a welfare check.

 

December 10, 2022

Floyd Evans, 63 of Grannis was arrested on a Misdemeanor Harassment Warrant.

Deputies were dispatched to a vehicle accident near Wickes leading to the arrest of Brenden Ludlow, 27 of Cove on a charge of DWI.

Jessica Stepp, 21 of Clarksville was arrested on a Misdemeanor Warrant for 2nd Degree Terroristic Threatening.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Council Lane near Acorn in reference to a Physical Domestic Disturbance leading to the arrest of Dustin Dodge, 38 of Mena on a charge of 3rd Degree Domestic Battery.

 

December 11, 2022

A traffic stop on Hwy 71 S led to the arrest of Gavin Whitmire, 31 of Grannis on charges of DWI, No Driver’s License and Fictitious Tags.

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 2 vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 24 Incarcerated Inmates with 18 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

12-12-22 3:57 PM KAWX.ORG

Proposed Mena Trail Project Moving Forward

Mena trail expansion to be explored through public, private agreement

MENA, Ark. – A memorandum of understanding to begin an exploratory phase of a trail expansion project will be signed at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, at the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain in Mena. The memorandum, which will be signed by representatives of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, the Ouachita National Forest, the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation, and the city of Mena, will outline the group’s intent to cooperate to explore expanding trail opportunities within and adjacent to Queen Wilhelmina State Park, the Ouachita National Forest and the city of Mena. If pursued and realized, the trail expansion would represent a significant enhancement of outdoor recreation activities and tourism attractions in the area. On hand to sign the memorandum will be Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism; Felipe Cano, acting deputy forest supervisor for the Ouachita National Forest; Suzanne Grobmyer, executive director of the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation; and Seth Smith, mayor of Mena. The signors and Shea Lewis, director of Arkansas State Parks, will be on hand after the signing to answer questions from members of the media.

 

12-9-22 4:55 PM KAWX.ORG

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Nationwide, just half of all high schools offer computer science courses.  That’s not the case here in Arkansas.

 

Arkansas is recognized nationally as a leading state in the computer science education movement.

 

When the General Assembly passed Act 187 in 2015, we became the first state to require every public high school and public charter school to offer at least one computer science course.

 

The 93rd General Assembly expanded efforts to provide computer science education when it passed the Computer Science Education Advancement Act of 2021. This act requires that beginning with the 9th grade class of 2022-2023, every student will be required to earn one credit in a high school Computer Science or Computing Course for graduation. It also requires every public high school must employ at least one high school computer science certified teacher.

 

Computer Science Education Week is December 5-11.  This week is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science and to celebrate the contributions of students and teachers in the field.

 

According to Code.org, computing occupations are the number one source of new wages in America.

 

However, computer science education does more than give our students an advantage in the tech industry. It also teaches them to think differently about problems they are trying to solve in any context. In fact, numerous studies show that studying computer science helps students outperform in school and college.

 

Computer science education teaches students how to create new technologies instead of just being consumers of technology.

 

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, the Arkansas Department of Education Office of Computer Science announce the submission window for the Computer Science Gold Medal School Program. The program is designed to recognize Arkansas high schools for outstanding work in supporting and implementing the Arkansas Computer Science and Computing Initiative. Schools are ranked based on information submitted to and reviewed by the ADE Office of Computer Science. 

The submission portal is now open and will close at 11:45 p.m. on January 31, 2023.

 

You can find more information about that program and other incentives for students and teachers at cs.arkansas.gov.

 

12-9-22 4:08 PM KAWX.ORG

 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Life Experiences Help Shape Defense Policy

 

Congress is advancing the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to strengthen defense investment and ensure servicemembers and their families have the tools, resources and training to combat evolving threats to our national security. At the forefront of achieving this legislative milestone is the relationship between Congress and the Department of Defense (DoD). Throughout the year, Members of Congress engage with DoD officials from all services to help establish or continue defense programs, policies, projects and activities. This connection is further strengthened through the DoD’s Legislative Fellowship program.

 

Servicemembers representing each branch of the military work as personal staff members in congressional offices for one year in this prestigious program, which presents a unique opportunity for military personnel to learn and support the people and institutions shaping defense priorities.

 

My office, and others in the Arkansas congressional delegation, find this fellowship valuable to our role in supporting our nation’s defense. That’s why for the last eight years I have sponsored a fellow from the Department of the Air Force with most of the participants being from the enlisted corps. Enlisted members make up roughly 80 percent of the military workforce, serving as the backbone of the world’s greatest military. We look forward to welcoming our next enlisted Air Force fellow at the beginning of 2023.

 

These airmen have shaped policies by offering their life experiences in uniform and identifying areas needing improvement to better support our military members and their families. From adjustments to cost-of-living and dislocation allowances to reducing barriers for military spouses to gain meaningful employment, legislative fellows are crafting and helping advance proposals that improve quality of life.

 

During the recent graduation for the 2022 Air Force Legislative Fellows Cohort, Major General Christopher Finerty spoke about the importance of the program to the Pentagon. By allowing DoD to place fellows in areas where they can be best utilized to help advance military priorities and share its long-term strategic outlook, it provides benefits now and well into the future.

 

The Legislative Fellowship is a worthwhile experience for Arkansas and the DoD as we aim to strengthen our state’s role in our nation’s defense. As a co-chairman of the Senate Air Force Caucus, I actively engage with other congressional offices and Air Force leaders to ensure the service has robust support and cooperation within the legislative branch. This partnership has led to increased federal investment at the Little Rock Air Force Base and an expanded mission at Ebbing Air Field in Fort Smith.

 

Having this opportunity to enhance the development of our nation’s best and brightest airmen is deeply rooted in my own experience as the son of an Air Force Master Sergeant where I witnessed the determination, drive and sacrifices our men and women in uniform make to protect the freedoms we share. Our Air Force fellows have also found the work in an Arkansas congressional office just as rewarding.

 

The value added experiences and knowledge fellows provide while serving as congressional staffers is one reason why the bipartisan NDAA has successfully passed Congress for the past 62 years. I look forward to approving this legislation when it comes before the Senate in the coming days.

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Commissions' Reports Aim to Assist Women and Advance Future Mobility

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address: Commissions’ Reports Aim to Assist Women and Advance Future Mobility

 

To listen to Governor Hutchinson's weekly radio address, click anywhere on this line, then click on the play button.

 

LITTLE ROCK – This week I received reports from two important commissions I created earlier this year, and today I’d like to discuss those reports and what it means for the future of our state.

 

On February 17th of this year, I created the Arkansas Commission on the Status of Women. Their task was to study and analyze a number of factors relating to women in the labor force and in education.

 

The idea for this Commission came from the Arkansas Women’s Foundation and a look back at history. In the 1960’s and 70’s, governors, including Rockefeller, Pryor, and Bumpers, created commissions to study the role women play in the labor market, the economy, and in our politics. But it has been over 40 years since the last report, and the Commission’s review is much needed.

 

The Commission I created was chaired by my Chief of Staff, Alison Williams. She was joined in this work by elected officials, state government employees, and leaders in business and education.

 

The findings and recommendations of the Commission were instructive. Their research concluded that women continue to bear the greatest burden of family care. One of the barriers they determined for women in the labor force is often the lack of access to childcare.

 

Their report also included recommendations like increasing access to women’s physical and mental health resources, equity in entrepreneurship, and increased mentorship programs for women.

 

Based on these recommendations, I dedicated $200,000 for increased mentorship programs for women through Arkansas State University.

 

The second Commission report I received this week was from the Arkansas Council on the Future of Mobility, chaired by Cyrus Sigari. The Council was tasked with providing recommendations of policies and objectives that can be achieved by both the public and private sectors to grow Arkansas’s potential in future mobility.

 

This report included a number of recommendations, and they all had one goal: to ensure Arkansas is not only a national leader in future mobility innovation, but that we are globally competitive.

 

Some of the Council’s finding expand on our current efforts in computer science education and autonomous drone delivery for things like groceries. The key recommendations include creation of the Arkansas Innovation Fund, workforce training and education, infrastructure, and effective policymaking to foster growth in this field.

 

I’m hopeful the General Assembly will take up this report and build on these recommendations when they convene in January. Future mobility provides an opportunity for our state to continue leading the nation in innovation while growing our economy and creating the best paying jobs.

 

 
 

Congressman Bruce Westerman's Weekly Column: I am proud to support the NDAA

I am proud to support the NDAA

This week, the House voted on the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to fund our military and defense related items in Fiscal Year 2023. This bill has been passed every year for over 60 years, and I’m glad to see that streak continue.  This NDAA is focused on increasing our military readiness and empowering a robust national defense by ensuring our service men and women have the tools they need to properly protect our nation. While Russia, China, and other bad actors continue their campaigns to undermine democracy and world security, it is vital that the United States stands capable and prepared. We must remain competitive by ensuring our forces and their families are taken care of, on and off the battlefield.

 

The bill delivers a slew of Republican wins, including freeing our military from any COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Approximately 5,700 members of the military have been separated from service due to the vaccine mandate. The U.S. Army had only approved 55 religious exemptions for active-duty soldiers, one exemption for a National Guard soldier, and one for an Army reserve soldier.  While I am glad Republicans were able to negotiate the cancellation of this mandate, I call on the Pentagon to reinstate the servicemembers who lost their jobs due to this mandate.

 

I have heard from many constituents who are understandably concerned with blank checks sent to Ukraine, without any accountability of how those funds are used. All Americans want to support Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s evil crusade, but they desire to ensure their tax dollars are being used for that purpose and no others. That is why I am proud to see this bill require the DOD, State Department, and USAID Inspector Generals to regularly review and audit U.S. assistance provided to Ukraine.

 

This bill also substantially invests in military modernization and shipbuilding to deter and compete with China and reverses suggested cuts to our missile defense programs by President Joe Biden. The bill counteracts the damaging impacts of inflation on our military and delivers a well-deserved pay raise for our servicemembers.

 

What’s more, the NDAA continues strong investments in defense programs in Camden, which is vital for the economy of the city and for the 4th Congressional District. I am glad to support an NDAA that is good for Arkansas and defends America.

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

December 9, 2022

 

LITTLE ROCK – The state Natural Resources Commission has awarded $270 million in grants for 157 drinking water and wastewater projects in 58 counties.

 

Work will begin in 2023 on the projects and they must be completed before the end of 2026. Money for construction comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, a massive federal emergency funding law meant to help state and local communities recover from the economic impact of the Covid pandemic.

 

The governor appointed a steering committee to determine how best to spend the more than $1.5 billion in federal relief funds coming to Arkansas. A working group within the steering committee focused specifically on water and infrastructure needs. It conducted a survey of needs and garnered more than 1,400 responses that identified about $5.2 billion in needs.

When legislators heard from local water officials, several officials said that it was unreasonable to expect the entire list of projects to be funded.

 

However, they urged legislators to quickly create a grant program to address the most pressing needs, and to allow construction to begin before inflation cut more deeply into their spending power.

 

The approved projects include $135 million for 105 projects for clean drinking water systems that serve 170,000 customers. The median household income for those customers is $34,218 a year.

 

The remaining $135 million will be spent on 52 wastewater projects that will serve 283,000 customers. The median household income for those customers is $42,533 a year.

 

According to an official with the Natural Resources Commission, the wastewater projects will help purify 162 million gallons of wastewater every day.

 

Some entities applied for both a drinking water grant and a wastewater grant, and 14 systems received a grant in both categories. In all, 119 entities applied for grants.

 

Of the 105 clean drinking water projects, 22 will extend service to areas that now are not served by a water system, 43 projects are designed to reduce the use of groundwater and 63 projects will help local water systems comply with clean water laws.

 

Of the 52 wastewater projects, six will extend service to areas that now lack service and 21 will improve water quality in waterways that are now classified as impaired. Forty-two projects will improve water quality in watersheds used for drinking water, resulting in improvements to the public health of the community.

 

Forty-four projects will reduce nutrients in waterways, such as fertilizer runoff from farms and food processing plants.

For most of the applications, the local water system must match the grant funds by putting up 25 percent of the costs of the projects.

 

The Commission compiled a waiting list, in the event that grants are not awarded due to an applicant failing to comply with conditions, such as missing deadlines.

 

Only a few applicants received the maximum award of $5 million.

 

In July the legislature’s Joint Committees on City, County and Local Affairs heard from managers of water and wastewater systems about the need to finance infrastructure projects.

 

In September the full Legislative Council voted to dedicate the funding to water projects, and directed the Natural Resources Commission to set up an application process. The Commission received 882 applications for $1.3 billion in grants.

 

12-9-22 12:17 PM KAWX.ORG

 

Mena Schools, UARM Receive Bomb Threats Forcing Evacuations, Searches

On Tuesday 12/6/2022, at approximately 9:30 am, The University of Arkansas Rich Mountain received anonymous phone call of a bomb threat. UARM staff contacted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and quickly evacuated the building.    

 

A few minutes later, Mena High School received a phone call stated that they had a bomb in the high school. Mena School Security teams quickly evacuated their campus. 

 

Both campuses were thoroughly searched. No devices were found on either campus and students were allowed to return to class. 

 

Shorty after the UARM and MHS campuses were reopened, Mena Middle School received a call stating they had a bomb in the gym. Mena Middle School was evacuated and searched. Again, no device was located and the students were allowed to return to class. 

 

The investigation quickly led to the arrest of April L. Scroggins (shown below), age 40, of Mena. Scroggins is currently incarcerated at the Polk County Detention Center. She is charged with 3 counts of 5-13-302 Threatening to Commit Act of Mass Violence on School Property. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheriff Sawyer stated “We take threats to our children and our schools seriously. Our College and MSD staff did an outstanding job today. The school security staff, SROs, Mena Police Department, Arkansas Game and Fish, and the Polk County Deputies did an incredible job of quickly evacuating our campuses and searching the buildings. They quickly identified a suspect and were able to make an arrest. I’m very proud of and truly appreciate all of them for their hard work and courage they displayed today. They all deserve kudos for a job well done”. 

 

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

 

12-6-22 1:02 PM KAWX.ORG

Flags to Half Staff Wednesday for Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

A Proclamation on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, 2022
 
On National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we honor the memories of the 2,403 service members and civilians whose lives were cut short on that tragic December morning. We reflect on the resilience of America’s Armed Forces, who withstood the attack and built the most capable fighting force the world has ever known. In the wake of tragedy, these brave women and men — the Greatest Generation — answered the call to defend freedom, justice, and democracy across the Pacific, throughout Europe, and around the globe. Today, we carry forward their spirit of unity and their enduring resolve to protect the United States against those who seek to do us harm.
 
    This commemoration is also a solemn reminder that our country is capable of achieving great triumphs coming out of dark moments. From the death and destruction at Pearl Harbor came victory over the forces of fascism. Fierce battles with the Axis powers gave way to diplomatic partnerships with strong allies. And from the darkness of World War II came the light of liberty and the establishment of a rules-based international order. Today and every day, we remember that the great and defining truth about our Nation and our people is that there is nothing beyond our capacity — we do not break, we never give in, and we never back down.
 
    The Congress, by Public Law 103-308, as amended, has designated December 7 of each year as “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.” Today, let us commemorate the patriots who were wounded and who perished on December 7, 1941, and continue to fulfill our sacred obligation to care for our service members and veterans and their families, caregivers, and survivor.
 
    NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 7, 2022, as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I encourage all Americans to reflect on the courage shown by our brave service members that day and remember their sacrifices. I ask us all to give sincere thanks and appreciation to the survivors of that unthinkable day. I urge all Federal agencies, interested organizations, groups, and individuals to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff on December 7, 2022, in honor of those American patriots who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor.
 
    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.
                              JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
 
12-6-22 12:35 PM KAWX.ORG
 

Special School Board Meeting Recap: Bonuses Approved, Philpot Resignation Accepted

The Mena Schools Board of Education met Monday afternoon at 5:30 in a special called meeting. The first item of business was to approve a $1,000.00 Christmas Bonus for Aramark employees to be paid by Aramark from the District's Food Services fund. The board also accepted the resignation of Andrew Michael Philpot. With no other business, the board adjourned.

 

12-6-22 9:55 AM KAWX.ORG

Polk County Sheriff's Report for November 28th - December 4th

SHERIFF’S LOG

The following information was received from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer for the week of November 28, 2022 – December 4, 2022. The charges against those arrested are allegations and the cases are still pending in the courts. Individuals charged and whose names appear in this column may submit documentation to us at a later date that the charges have been dismissed or that they have been found innocent and we will include that information in this space in a timely manner.

 

November 28, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 482 near Vandervoort in reference to a Physical Domestic Altercation leading to the arrest of Nancy Odle, 37 of Cove on a charge of 3rd Degree Domestic Battery as well as five misdemeanor warrants for Failure to Appear.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence near Potter in reference to a Domestic Disturbance.

Michael Higgins, 36 of Mena was arrested by an officer with Probation Parole on Felony Warrants.

 

November 29, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Bowling Lane near Hatfield in reference to a trespasser.

 

November 30, 2022

No reports.

 

December 1, 2022

James Case, 49 of Grannis was arrested on charges of Violation of a Protection Order and Stalking.

Michael Philpot, 43 of Mena was arrested on a Felony Warrant for 2nd Degree Sexual Assault.

Deputies responded to a walk-in complainant in reference to harassment. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

 

December 2, 2022

A traffic stop near Cove led to Dawnylle Boutwell being issued a citation for Driving on a Suspended DL, No Proof of Insurance and Fictitious Tags. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

 

December 3, 2022

Tristian Morales, 33 of Mena was arrested on a hold for another agency.

Tony Cox, 58 of Mena was arrested on Felony Warrants for Delivery of Methamphetamine or Cocaine, Possession of a Schedule I or II Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia as well as a charge of Possession of Firearm by Certain Persons.

Fernando Diaz DeLeon, 40 of Cove was arrested on a Body Attachment.

Steven Chandler, 41 of Springdale was arrested on a Felony Warrant for Probation Violation.

Deputies responded to a report of a missing person. The subject was later located.

 

December 4, 2022

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on North Mullin Street near Hatfield in reference to a

structure fire.

Robert Bush, 39 of Mena was arrested on a Failure to Appear Warrant.

Deputies were dispatched to a residence on Polk 417 near Potter in reference to a trespasser. Information has been forwarded to the Prosecuting Attorney for further consideration.

 

 

Polk County Sheriff’s Office worked 2 vehicle accidents this week.

 

Polk County Detention Center Jail Population: 24 Incarcerated Inmates with 18 Inmates currently on the Waiting List for a State Facility.

 

12-5-22 3:40 PM KAWX.ORG

Mena Police Report for November 27th - December 3rd

Mena Police Department reports for the week of November 27th through December 3rd, 2022

 

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

 

November 27

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

 

Gage Goff, 25, was charged with Theft of Property after a complaint from Phillips 66.

 

November 28

Anthony Robertson, 31, was charged with Criminal Trespass at Walmart.

 

November 29

Charles Walker, 73, was served with two warrants after a traffic stop on Morrow Street.

 

A report of possession of methamphetamine, Possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia was taken after a traffic stop on Morrow Street.

 

A report of communicating a false alarm was taken at Southwest EMS.

 

A report of criminal mischief was taken at Sassy Squatch.

 

Morgan Symens, 19, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

Bradley Brumfield, 32, was charged with Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and served with warrants after contact on Mena Street.

 

November 30

Christopher Cox, 39, was served with a warrant after a traffic stop on Dequeen Street.

 

December 1

A report of assault was taken at a residence on 4th Street.

 

December 2

A report of criminal mischief was taken at Homewood Cottages.

 

A report of theft of property was taken from Walmart.

 

A report of theft of property was taken from Walmart.

 

December 3

John Grisby, 39, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

Brittney Watts, 24, was served with a warrant at the police department.

 

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

 

12-5-22 9:09 AM KAWX.ORG 

 

Polk County Detention Center Inmates

State Representative John Maddox's Weekly Column

Returning House members and newly elected members are now preparing for the upcoming session.

 

The 2023 Regular Session will begin on January 9 at noon.

 

The pre-filing period for bills and resolutions began on November 15. So far, 16 bills have been filed in the House and 3 have been filed in the Senate. You can review all the bills filed at www.arkansashouse.org.

 

The House Organizational Meeting previously scheduled for November 17 has been rescheduled to Monday, December 5, 2022, at 9:00 am in the House Chamber.

 

During the meeting, newly elected members will draw for seniority and all members will select their seats for the 94th General Assembly. After seat selection, the committee selection process will begin. 

 

The vast majority of legislation considered during a legislative session begins in a standing committee. There are 10 standing committees in the House. Each standing committee consists of 20 members including 5 members from each of the 4 House district caucuses.

 

Selection for the House Budget Committee, Arkansas Legislative Council, and Legislative Joint Auditing will take place after standing committee selection. 

 

The next day, December 6, newly elected members will begin orientation. For the 94th General Assembly, there will be 26 members serving their first term in the House. The legislative institute will review everything from parliamentary procedures to balancing the state budget so that every member is prepared on day one of the session.

  

At the beginning of each legislative session, the House and Senate meet separately to organize and adopt temporary rules for the respective bodies. Then on the second day of the session, we will meet in a joint session in the House Chamber to hear an address from the newly elected Governor.

 

The House streams every committee meeting and House floor proceeding live on our website. We will also be streaming the organizational meeting on December 5. In addition, the recorded meetings are archived and searchable by key terms on our site. 

 

12-2-22 5:18 PM KAWX.ORG

Governor Asa Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address

Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Radio Address: Firearms and Ammunition Industry
 
 
LITTLE ROCK – When I ran for Governor in 2014, I wanted to be the jobs governor, and today I’d like to talk about our work to bring firearm industry jobs to our state.
 
On my first day in office I made calls to six CEOs across the country to recruit them to Arkansas. One of those calls was to Ron Cohen, CEO of Sig Sauer.
 
Just over one year later we announced that Sig Sauer would be relocating its Elite Performance Ammunition manufacturing operation to Jacksonville. But this wasn’t the beginning of the firearms industry in the state.
 
In 1969, Governor Winthrop Rockefeller joined Remington Arms to break ground on their new plant in Lonoke. He even proclaimed July 23, 1969, as “A Day to Welcome Remington Arms.” The proclamation states, “this multi-million-dollar plant will employ approximately 1,000 people, thereby bringing new prosperity to the community and to the State.” 
 
Today, more than 50 years later, that same Remington plant in Lonoke continues to thrive and grow under the ownership of Vista Outdoor, employing hundreds more people than when the plant first opened in the late 1960s.
 
When I took office I tried to recruit industries that would be mesh with the culture of the state. I knew of the history of the Remington plant and Arkansas’s respect of the Second Amendment, so the firearms industry was a natural fit.
 
In 2015, I was the only governor to attend the SHOT Show, the industry’s leading trade show. Since then, I’ve taken a delegation from Arkansas every year they’ve held the event. Governors from states like Georgia, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Montana have since followed our lead and attended the SHOT Show in an effort to recruit these companies.
 
Because of our rich history and continued efforts to attract these businesses, we’ve seen steady growth over the past eight years. While it began in 2016 with Sig Sauer in Jacksonville, that’s not where it ended. In 2017, Gamo/Daisy Outdoor, the maker of the legendary Red Ryder BB gun, expanded their production in Rogers.
 
Ammunition manufacturer American Marksman in Searcy and high-end firearm creator Nighthawk Custom in Berryville have also expanded their presence in the Natural State.
 
During the pandemic in 2020, Fiocchi of America announced their decision to move primer production to Arkansas. When they made this decision they also acquired some of the assets of Grandeur Fasteners in Danville, which was a supplier for Sig Sauer.
 
Just last month, Fiocchi announced the largest investment in the firearms industry in Arkansas with over $41 million dollars and 120 new jobs coming to the Port of Little Rock.
 
The Remington Arms factory that Governor Rockefeller helped bring to our state was also purchased by Vista Outdoor in 2021 and reopened to bring an additional 450 jobs back to the state.
 
As governor, I focused on job creation and the growth of the firearms industry is a great fit for Arkansas. Now our state is known as a premier destination for the firearm industry.
 
12-2-22 5:13 PM KAWX.ORG 

US Senator John Boozman's Weekly Column

Preserving Memories of Time in Military Service

 

Growing up in a military family, Richard McKinney learned at an early age about service and sacrifice. These lessons inspired him to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Greenwood High School.

 

He trained as an electrician and eventually moved into management with the civil engineering division, but found his true calling when an Office of Special Investigations (OSI) officer said they were looking for new agents. The selection process was rigorous, but it was rewarding.

 

Throughout his career as an OSI agent, McKinney was involved with investigations that ranged from narcotics and fraud to counterintelligence. He also served on teams to help maintain security for U.S. military programs. 

 

Recalling how commanding officers would charge him to search for leaks about information regarding a unit’s operations, McKinney described his special agent duties and career in uniform to my staff as part of the Veterans History Project (VHP), a Library of Congress program preserving the history of our nation’s veterans. This collection of former servicemembers’ accounts ranging from World War I to the present day is the largest oral history archive in the country.

 

Arkansas has a storied legacy of brave citizens answering the call to serve in our nation’s uniform. It’s fitting their personal reflections will be preserved for future generations, and we’re working to ensure more Arkansas veterans are part of this record.

 

My staff and I have helped expand the collection. We recently hosted Arkansas veterans at the Van Buren Public Library to record their experiences. Soon, the archive will hold the memories McKinney and others who participated in the event shared as part of this initiative.

 

I’m proud of the work we’ve done and are continuing to do to encourage more Arkansans to participate by hosting workshops around the state teaching others how to get involved. There is a lot of enthusiasm to honor our veterans by preserving their experiences.

 

More than 1,200 Arkansans have been trained to participate. Civic organizations, public entities and schools have also joined in this worthwhile endeavor. Arkansas PBS has promoted the program and shared some of the interviews in its archive with the VHP. Arkansans seeking to earn their Eagle Scout badge have arranged interviews and trained volunteers while some schools have incorporated the VHP into their coursework.

 

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently reported Little Rock Central High School students are now taking part and have begun scheduling interviews with veterans for submission to the VHP.

 

It’s exciting to know young people around our state are demonstrating an interest in history and honoring the men and women who served in uniform by recording their memories for the benefit of future generations. The personal reflections help us better understand the sacrifice of all who are called to defend our country.

 

I encourage more Arkansans to join us in the effort to document and preserve the experiences of family and friends who have been willing to give their all. I’m appreciative of those volunteering their time to recognize veterans in this manner.

 

The VHP is a valuable resource to learn about the realities of war. It’s worth exploring the archive to hear the personal stories and dedication of Arkansans and all brave American veterans. The accounts are nothing short of inspirational.

 

In recent years, communities in our state have made this a special time to recognize our veterans by blanketing national and veterans cemeteries with Christmas wreaths. In that same spirit, we can launch a new tradition demonstrating our thanks and gratitude by sharing the experiences of a loved one’s service in uniform.

 

12-2-22 3:30 PM KAWX.ORG

State Senator Larry Teague's Weekly Column

State Capitol Week in Review From Senator Larry Teague

December 2, 2022

 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas has been developing a statewide response to the growing health crisis created by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

 

During the 2023 session the legislature will consider a series of proposals brought by the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Advisory Council, which was created by Act 319 of 2021.

 

Measures include enhancement of services for caregivers. Many wear themselves out physically caring for loved ones, and many receive no compensation for the long hours they devote to care.

 

Although most people have heard of Alzheimer’s disease, public awareness campaigns are necessary to improve early detection, and educate people about the early warning signs. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are treatments that can slow its progression and soften the impact of its symptoms.

 

State governments began responding to Alzheimer’s in the 1980s, and their responses amplified as public health officials became more aware of the wide-ranging effects of the disease.

 

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases. Dementia is a general term to describe loss of memory and mental abilities. There is no single test for Alzheimer’s. Physicians rely on blood tests, scans, interviews with family members and tests of memory and cognitive skills.

 

How a person gets Alzheimer’s is not known exactly. The major risk factor is old age. It can run in the family. Obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease may be risk factors. That means you may be able to ward off the disease by exercising, keeping mentally active and eating healthily.

 

The most common early symptom is the inability to remember newly learned information. Other warning signs include difficulty completing familiar tasks, losing things, being disoriented, withdrawal from social activities, no longer being able to plan ahead or work with numbers, changes in judgment and decision making that are out of character and finally, mood swings and personality changes.

 

In Arkansas, an estimated 93,000 people provide unpaid care to loved ones with Alzheimer’s. The majority are women and two-thirds are older than 50, so the physical challenges of caregiving are daunting. The majority of caregivers have been providing care for more than four years.

 

Caregivers have to leave work early or take time off. They lose benefits and have to turn down promotions. Due to the demands of caregiving, nine percent have had to quit work entirely and 18 percent have had to leave a full-time job and take a part-time job.

 

In 2020 about 58,000 Arkansans had Alzheimer’s and by 2025 that will increase to 67,000 people, in part because of the general aging of the population.

 

It is expensive to care for Alzheimer’s patients, more so than caring for people with cancer and heart disease.

 

Patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia tend to have more incidents entailing higher costs for coronary artery disease, diabetes, strokes, chronic kidney disease and cancer.

 

Overall, people without dementia don’t need care as often for those same medical conditions as do people who also suffer from dementia.

 

For people 65 and older with dementia, the rate of hospitalization is twice what it is for people who don’t have dementia. It is 538 hospital visits for every 1,000 people compared to 266 hospital visits per 1,000 people.

 

12-2-22 11:13 AM KAWX.ORG

Mena Teacher Arrested For Sexual Assault

The following is from Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer.

 

"On Monday 11/28/2022, representatives from the Mena School District notified the Polk County Sheriff’s Office about allegations of an inappropriate relationship between a Mena High School teacher and a student.

 

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Prosecuting Attorneys Office opened an investigation into the allegations.

 

On Thursday, 12/1/2022, Michael Andrew Philpot, age 43 of Mena, was arrested on a warrant for Sexual Assault 2nd degree. Philpot, a former employee of the Mena School District, was booked into the Polk County Detention Center.

 

Sheriff Sawyer stated “ This is an ongoing investigation and as such I can’t comment further on the specifics. But, I would like to thank the Mena School District, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and my deputies for their hard work on this case. They did a great job putting this together”.

 

The above charges are allegations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."

 

12-1-22 2:41 PM KAWX.ORG

Mena Police, Polk County Sheriff Receive State Grants

EQUIPMENT GRANTS AWARDED TO STATE & LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
   
Arkansas funded grants totaling more than $7 million dollars were awarded today to 113 local and state law enforcement agencies and correctional or detention facilities.  Approximately 90 percent of the total funds will be received by local police and sheriff's departments to purchase new equipment. 
 
The grants were authorized last year through legislation adopted by Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas General Assembly.  Act 786 sanctioned the Public Safety Equipment Grant Program to the administered by the Arkansas Department of Public Safety and provides for grants to be used for purchasing, “non-lethal equipment that aids in improving trust and relationships between law enforcement agencies, detention centers and corrections agencies within their communities that they serve.”
 
"One of the key recommendations of our Task Force to Advance the State of Law Enforcement in Arkansas was the creation of state funding for increased training and improving the safety equipment used by local law enforcement officers,” stated Governor Hutchinson.  “The grants directed to local law enforcement agencies will help to further the trust between these agencies and the communities they serve, and I want to commend the Department of Public Safety and the General Assembly for bringing this program to fruition,” said the governor.
 
The grant applications submitted earlier this year were reviewed and graded for distribution by a committee selected from a cross-section of state and local law enforcement officers, correction and detention officers and professional laypersons.
 
Recipients of Public Safety Equipment Grants are:
 
  • 12th Judicial District Drug Task Force - $10,000.00
  • 9th West Judicial District Drug Task Force/South Central DTF - $32,612.86
  • Alexander Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Alma Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Arkadelphia Police Dept - $90,247.96
  • Arkansas Division of Corrections - $100,000.00
  • Arkansas Game and Fish Commission - $100,000.00
  • Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy - $89,979.02
  • Arkansas State Police - $99,661.04
  • Arkansas State University - $100,000.00
  • Arkansas State University Mountain Home Police Dept - $3,448.39
  • Batesville Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Bauxite Police Dept - $94,241.11
  • Beebe Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Benton Police Dept - $67,500.00
  • Blytheville Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Bradley Police Dept - $12,116.57
  • Bull Shoals Police Dept - $20,699.94
  • Cabot Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Calhoun County Sheriff - $11,232.32
  • Camden Police Dept - $41,979.70
  • City of Ashdown Arkansas Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • City of Centerton Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • City of Conway Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • City of Fort Smith, Police Dept - $68,458.96
  • City of Greenbrier - $27,197.24
  • City of Hope - $13,375.00
  • City of Jonesboro, Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • City of McGehee Police Dept - $42,797.85
  • City of Monticello, Monticello Police Dept - $32,783.58
  • Clark County Sheriff's Office - $53,240.89
  • Clarksville Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Clay County Sheriff’s Office - $100,000.00
  • Cleburne County Sheriff's Office - $79,327.13
  • Corning Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Craighead County - $20,633.43
  • Crawford County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Cross County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Dardanelle Police Dept - $17,034.96
  • Decatur Police Dept        - $46,028.12
  • Des Arc Police Dept -     $26,126.14
  • DeWitt Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Dumas Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Earle Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • El Dorado Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • England Police Dept -     $100,000.00
  • Faulkner County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Fayetteville Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Flippin Police Dept - 13497.33
  • Fordyce Police Dept -     $26,230.00
  • Fort Smith Public Schools Police Dept - $49,372.00
  • Grant County Sheriff's Office - $21,347.00
  • Green Forest Police Dept - $33,110.00
  • Greenland Police Dept - $16,709.97
  • Greenland School District Police Dept - $6,173.00
  • Haskell Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Hazen Police Dept - $18,820.80
  • Highland Police Dept - $30,660.43
  • Hot Springs Police Dept - $71,275.85
  • Independence County Sheriff's Office - $11,875.00
  • Jacksonville Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Jasper Police Dept - $17,999.61
  • Lake City Police Dept - $11,948.75
  • Lakeview Police Dept - $22,627.03
  • Little Flock- Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Little River County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Logan County Sheriff's Office - $79,745.01
  • London Police Dept - $14,866.65
  • Lowell Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Marion County Government      - $20,071.83
  • Mayflower Police Dept - $82,681.27
  • Mena Police Dept - $9,148.73
  • Mississippi County Sheriff Dept - $100,000.00
  • Monroe County Sheriff's Office - $66,046.00
  • Morrilton Police Dept - $34,356.91
  • Mountain View Police Dept - $38,480.51
  • Mountain View School District - $6,586.70
  • Murfreesboro Police Dept - $13,826.53
  • Nevada County Sheriff's Dept - $63,032.88
  • Newton County Sheriff’s Office - $62,673.51
  • NWA Regional Airport Authority Police Dept - $16,572.00
  • Pangburn Police Dept - $25,331.60
  • Paragould Police Dept - $55,398.75
  • Phillips County Sherriff's Office - $82,795.46
  • Pike County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Pocahontas Police Dept - $49,771.18
  • Poinsett County Sheriff's Office - $43,000.00
  • Polk County Sheriff's Office - $5,157.45
  • Pope County Sheriff's Office     - $100,000.00
  • Prairie Grove Police Dept - $9,693.06
  • Prescott Police Dept - $54,465.10
  • Randolph County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Russellville Police Dept - $46,935.40
  • Saline County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • Scott County Sheriffs Office - $100,000.00
  • Searcy Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Sheridan Police Dept - $52,500.00
  • Springdale Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Stamps, Arkansas Police Dept - $2,444.06
  • Strong Police Dept - $16,035.93
  • Stuttgart Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Texarkana Arkansas Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Tuckerman Police Dept - $74,250.00
  • Union County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • University of Arkansas at Monticello Police Dept - $12,828.69
  • University of Arkansas-Fort Smith Police Dept - $48,469.27
  • Van Buren Police Dept - $67,500.00
  • Vilonia Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • Waldron Police Dept - $29,021.09
  • Washington County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • West Memphis Police Dept - $100,000.00
  • White County Sheriff's Office - $100,000.00
  • White Hall Police Dept - $9,675.74

12-1-22 12:56 PM KAWX.ORG