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October 27, 2016


Washington, D.C.—
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement after the United States abstained from a United Nations vote condemning the trade embargo on Cuba: 

"Instead of enabling a vote against the U.S. embargo on Cuba, why didn't the Obama Administration offer its own UN resolution condemning the brutal kleptocracy of the Castro regime that keeps the Cuban people in poverty? Instead of spreading the Castros' propaganda that the U.S. embargo is at fault for Cuba's social and economic ills, why didn't Samantha Power point the finger at the Cuban police state that hoards all the spoils of the island's tourism industry and fails to leave even scraps for everyday Cuban men, women, and children?  Instead of once again apologizing for America, why doesn't President Obama begin to stand up for American values, speak on behalf of the scores of political prisoners in Cuba's gulags, and demand an end to the Castro regime?  Gone are the days when the United States acted as a beacon of principle at the United Nations that shed light on the hypocrisies, double-speak, and lies of that institution's rogues' gallery of dictatorships. We now have a UN ambassador and a president who actively—and shamefully—cheer them on."

October 26, 2016

HG's Annual Financial Aid & Scholarship Night is November 1st, (Tuesday) from 6-7:00 p.m. in the HG Auditorium. Don't miss out on presentations from the AR Department of Higher Education, SAU Tech's Financial Aid office, and the Harmony Grove Counseling office! Questions will be answered about the FAFSA (Free Application For Student Aid) process and scholarship timelines. Door prizes will be given away for those attending!!  A free booklet will be provided with lots of helpful information to assist in preparing seniors for college.  Please call 574-0656 with any questions. 

– U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today said Secretary Ash Carter “made the right call” after he announced that the Department of Defense (DoD) would suspend "all efforts to collect reimbursement" from improperly awarded enlistment bonuses given to some members of the California National Guard.

“Secretary Carter made the right call to end the effort to penalize service members for the actions of recruiting officials. Putting a huge financial hardship on the backs of service members and their families was an entirely inappropriate way to handle the situation. Our commitment to the men and women who put their lives at risk to serve our nation should not be broken by bureaucratic incompetence or overzealous recruiters,” Boozman said.

Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times reported that the DoD was seeking to force up to 10,000 California National Guard soldiers to repay enlistment bonuses plus interest after audits revealed overpayments as the result of fraud and mismanagement by officials trying to reach enlistment targets. The Los Angeles Times report noted that many of the soldiers affected had served multiple combat deployments and many had their wages garnished and tax liens placed on them as a result. Secretary Carter ordered a full review of the incentive program while suspending efforts to collect reimbursements.

Boozman encouraged Secretary Carter to conduct a similar examination of DoD’s efforts to collect taxes on the severance payments received by veterans who suffer service-ending combat-related injuries. Under federal law, veterans who suffer combat-related injuries and who are separated from the military are not supposed to be taxed on their one-time lump sum disability severance payment, but DoD has withheld money from qualifying veterans for a number of years. Veterans are typically unaware that their benefits were improperly reduced as a result of DOD’s actions. Boozman and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) have introduced the Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016 to rectify this problem.

“It is absolutely wrong to deprive combat-injured veterans of their full severance upon separation. This has to be corrected. Our bill will put an end to this injustice and ensure that our nation’s wounded veterans receive the benefits they are rightfully due. Now would be a good time for Secretary Carter to throw his support behind our efforts while he is conducting a review of bureaucratic mismanagement at the Pentagon,” Boozman said.

October 25, 2016


  MAGNOLIA – Morgan Layssard, a senior from Bradley, Ark., said she is following her dream of helping people “at their best and worst times” by receiving a nursing degree from Southern Arkansas University.

 Her recent election as District 1 director of the Arkansas Nursing Students’ Association will surely rank as a highlight of her academic career. Layssard was elected to the post earlier this month during the state convention of the ANSA in Little Rock. She said she “didn’t get up that morning” thinking about seeking the post.

“I had no idea I would even run for director,” Layssard said of her Oct. 7 election, “but I applied that day. I thought it would be interesting and I would love to serve on a state board. I was super-excited to be elected.”

She said her duties will include serving as a liaison between SAU’s Department of Nursing, other schools in the district and the state board. She will attend monthly meetings, raise funds and work with different philanthropies. She will also attend the national convention next spring in Orlando, Fla. She will serve as director for one year.

Layssard said there was “never really a question” about where she would go to nursing school, or college. “SAU has that small feel that I really enjoy, but also, everyone here is willing to help you. I just couldn’t imagine going anywhere else – it was the only university that I applied to.”

“I always wanted to work in health care,” she said. “We help people on their best and worst days and that can be an amazing experience. I knew SAU had a good degree program in nursing and getting my degree here will help me do what I want, which is to try make peoples’ future a little bit better and brighter.”

Noting that nurses spend more time in direct contact with patients than physicians, whose time may be “spread thin” among patients, Layssard said she has seen the highs and lows of nursing at clinicals.

“You have to learn how to detach, and that can be hard,” she said. “That might be the greatest challenge in nursing because you don’t expect to become so attached. I’m a very tender-hearted person – I want to help, I want to brighten someone’s day. It’s difficult when you’re just starting out. You learn with experience. There are no books to tell you how to deal with a sad situation.”

Having recently completed a round of pediatric clinicals at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Layssard said she wants to work with infants and children.

She praised SAU’s nursing faculty. “Their doors are always open, they are always there for your questions and concerns,” she said. “All are tests are geared toward the state board exam, and I feel like you are well-prepared to enter the workplace.”

Close relationships are formed among nursing students. “We understand and appreciate one another’s hardships,” she said. “Nursing school can be hard, and you build relationships built on that. Sometimes you need people to bring you up when you’re down.”

Clinicals help prepare the students for work in health-care facilities. In addition to shadowing at ACH, Layssard said she has also done clinicals at St. Michaels in Texarkana.

“I enjoyed the work environment,” she said. “It can be stressful, you have to learn to multitask and prioritize, and you may have multiple patients who all have needs, but you have to figure out which ones are the most important, and you handle those first.”

She said that in clinicals, she has gotten to work with “great nurses who teach us the tricks of the trade. They help you decide what area you want to work in most – what’s our passion?”

She said she has also learned to work as part of a health care team. “There are so many people who make up just one patient’s team – their physicians, their occupational or respiratory or physical therapists, their nurses. You have to learn to work as a team to make a person better.”

Because health care is holistic, she said, nurses also have to learn to work with patients’ families. “When you’re treating a patient, you’re also treating the family. You have to educate them. You’re seeing them at their best and worst, too.”

Technology is an important factor in nursing. “We learn and train on all the latest technology,” Layssard said. “You have to learn how to operate all of the equipment, because if you use it wrong, there could be a bad outcome. Nurses will take the time (in clinicals) to show us how to use things.”

Charting is an important part of the health-care process. “We learn all the charting systems because each facility uses a different system,” she said.

Layssard said that she sees herself a year from now working “in a job I enjoy, with co-workers I enjoy. I’ll miss the people I see every day after I graduate, but I feel like I’m ready to work. I would like to eventually become a nurse practitioner but I will need to get a lot of experience under my belt first.”


Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement after the Obama administration announced that premiums for Obamacare will increase by twenty-five percent next year:


“Yesterday, the administration confirmed another Obamacare broken promise. Despite the President's claims that Obamacare would lower the cost of premiums, Americans will pay on average 25 percent more than last year. In some states, consumers are seeing increases of up to 100 percent. Regrettably, the problems don’t end there. Americans are also facing higher deductibles, shrinking networks, and fewer options as insurers flee the exchanges.


“Obamacare is in a death spiral and we must take action before things get worse. That’s why I’ve introduced the Obamacare Tax Relief and Consumer Choice Act with the support of 19 of my colleagues in the senate. This bill would protect Americans from the Obamacare mandate tax when health insurance premiums rise and provide relief to people who can't afford Obamacare deductibles. The best solution is to fully repeal and replace Obamacare. As we work toward that goal, we must provide Arkansans and all Americans a reprieve from the law's worst effects and pass this bill when Congress returns in November.”


The Women's Crises Center is hosting a holiday fundraiser. If someone on your list loves Scentsy products why not buy for a local non profit? It's simple. Visit and look in the upper left hand corner of the page. You'll see Maria Simpson's picture. Click on  my open parties and choose the Women's Crises Center. A portion of your purchase will go directly to the Women's Crises Center. Easy shopping and it's a great way to help support the Women's Crises Center.


The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is currently gathering information from recycling collection programs for a Scrapbook of Arkansas Recycling. This scrapbook will become part of the ADEQ website, increasing awareness of recycling facilities and programs throughout the state.


The electronic Scrapbook of Arkansas Recycling will showcase accomplishments, challenges, and plans of entities collecting recyclable materials in Arkansas. Any public or private drop-off collection site or curbside recycling program can be included by completing a form on the ADEQ website. Go to to enter information no later than October 31, 2016, to be included in the scrapbook’s initial release.


Information provided, including submitted photographs, will be formatted into scrapbook pages. These pages will be posted to the ADEQ website on November 15 to commemorate America Recycles Day. Information received after the October 31 deadline may not make it into this initial release, but will be added at a later date.


ADEQ’s Recycling/Reuse Specialist provides a variety of programs and services to increase awareness of sustainable waste management practices,  including waste reduction, recycling, and composting, in the state. For more information about the Scrapbook of Arkansas Recycling or other awareness activities, contact Betsy Spetich at or 501-682-0822.



October 20, 2016

Saturday, October 22nd
LITTLE ROCK – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) encourages Arkansans to participate in Arkansas Take Back and get expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs out of their homes.

“Prescription drug abuse is the fastest growing drug problem in the country and unfortunately Arkansas is not immune to this problem. Arkansas has implemented measures to combat this problem by decreasing the availability of prescription drugs and properly disposing of expired and unneeded medication through the Arkansas Take Back program. Providing a safe option to dispose of old or unneeded medication helps reduce the risk of developing addictions to prescription drugs,” Boozman said.

More than 130 collection sites across Arkansas will take old and unneeded prescription drugs. This is part of the nationwide initiative, National Drug Take Back Day, to return and dispose of prescription drugs and curb their abuse. Across Arkansas 25,289 pounds of prescription drugs were collected during the last Take Back event in April, setting a new record for the state-wide collection.

In July, the Senate passed, and the President signed into law, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to provide a series of incentives and resources designed to encourage states and local communities to pursue proven strategies to combat addiction and support individuals in recovery.

Drug take-back programs are an important tool to breaking the cycle of addiction for our veterans and all prescription drug abusers. That’s why Boozman helped push the Drug Enforcement Administration to establish drug take-back programs in coordination with the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs by expanding prescription drug disposal programs to allow pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and other locations to serve as drop-off sites to collect unused or unwanted prescription drugs.

Click here to find drop off locations in Arkansas.


– Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin today released the following schedule for Friday, October 21:

WHAT: Lieutenant Governor Griffin will discuss the significance of STEM in Arkansas at the El Dorado kick-off of Million Women Mentors (MWM). He will then attend a roundtable with business leaders from Camden, El Dorado, and Magnolia sponsored by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and local chambers of commerce. Lieutenant Governor Griffin will also tour Magnolia High School and participate in the Magnolia High School homecoming assembly.

WHEN: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM (MWM); 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (roundtable); 1:45 PM - 3:00 PM (tour & assembly)

WHERE: El Dorado Conference Center, Murphy Hall II, 311 South West Avenue, El Dorado, Arkansas 71730 (MWM); Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development, 625 South Adams Avenue, Camden, Arkansas 71701 (roundtable); Magnolia High School, 1400 High School Drive, Magnolia, Arkansas 71753 (tour & homecoming assembly)

About Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin

Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin was elected on November 4, 2014. From 2011-2015, Griffin served as the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District. For the 113th Congress, he was a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means while also serving as a Deputy Whip for the Majority. In the 112th Congress, he served as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Griffin is a graduate of Magnolia High School, Hendrix College in Conway and Tulane Law School in New Orleans, and attended graduate school at Oxford University. He has served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 20 years, was deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Lieutenant Colonel Griffin is currently pursuing a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. He also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush. Griffin lives in Little Rock with his wife Elizabeth, a Camden native, and their two children.


October 19, 2016

The Little Rock Vet Center has a Mobile Vet Center (MVC) to provide outreach to the veterans in your county. The MVC resembles a super sized recreational vehicle; it is 38 foot long and 13 foot 6 inches tall (takes up 5 parking spots). The mission of the Readjustment Counseling Service is to provide information to Veterans in far-reaching rural areas on the services the Little Rock Vet Center has to offer. They are as followed: Individual Readjustment counseling, group counseling, military sexual trauma counseling, bereavement counseling, marital and family counseling, referrals, substance abuse information and referral, community education and liaison with community agencies. 

Outreach material includes (brochures, information booklets and benefit books), phone numbers (Vet center, VA, VBA and other resources) and contact numbers to County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO) in their county.
The main goal is to let the veterans know that we are here for them and to get the Veterans connected to the right agencies to get the benefits that they have earned.

The MVC will be in Camden on Tuesday, October 25th from 10 AM until 2 PM in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

October 18, 2016

MAGNOLIA— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) yesterday presented lost medals to World War II Veteran Julious Elmore in Magnolia for his honorable service during World War II with the 3169th Signal Service Battalion. The medals were recently recovered by Senator Cotton’s office. The presentation was done at the home of Mr. Elmore’s daughter, Mary Lewis, in front of family and friends. “Mr. Elmore is an American hero and it was an honor to meet him and hear more about his service to our country. I am proud that my office was able to recover these lost medals and help honor Mr. Elmore’s service and sacrifice,” said Senator Cotton. “If you or someone in your family is missing military medals, please contact my office for assistance.”

MAGNOLIA-The operator of an all-terrain vehicle was struck and killed Tuesday morning when he turned into the path of a car in Hempstead County. According to a report from the Arkansas State Police, Malcolm “Donnie” Dougan, 58, of Hope was driving a 2003 model Suzuki ATV east on the shoulder of U.S. 278. He made a left turn in front of a 2004 model Lincoln, which was also eastbound, and was struck by the car.

Dougan was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car was not injured and was not identified in the Arkansas State Police report.
The weather was clear and the road was dry when the wreck happened at about 10:33 a.m. Trooper First Class David Hamilton investigated the accident.


October 14, 2016

Thanks to the U or A Cooperative Extension service the ballot issues have be made easy to understand. Educate yourself before going to vote.

(Referred to the people by the Arkansas General Assembly) Allowing the governor to retain power and duties when absent from the state

A Constitutional Amendment to allow the governor to retain his or her powers and duties when absent from the state.

An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to allow the governor to retain his or her powers and duties when absent from the state.

What is being proposed? The amendment would change the constitution to allow the governor to remain in power when traveling outside the state of Arkansas.
How did this issue get on the ballot? Arkansas legislators voted to put Senate Joint Resolution 3, or Issue 2, on the 2016 general election ballot. If approved by a majority of the House and Senate, the state legislature has the right to include up to three constitutional amendments on the general election ballot. Constitutional amendments require the approval of a majority of voters in a statewide election

What does your vote mean?
 A FOR vote means you are in favor of changing the Arkansas Constitution to allow the governor to remain in power when leaving the state.  

An AGAINST vote means you are not in favor of changing the Arkansas Constitution to allow the governor to remain in power when leaving the state.

Visit for more on this and other issues.

We will discuss Issue 3 on Monday.

New analysis outlines problems and provides simple, low- and no-cost solutions for schools and policymakers
Chronic absenteeism - defined as students missing 10 percent or more of the school year for any reason - is a big problem in Arkansas. Time lost in the classroom has a direct impact on students’ academic progress, especially reading proficiency. 

The Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level reading (AR-GLR) and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) are co-releasing a new report, "Make Every Day Count: Reducing Chronic Absence in Arkansas Schools."  AACF’s analysis of data from the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) found that more than 12 percent of Arkansas students in kindergarten through third grade missed 18 or more days of school in 2014-2015. Our state's chronically absent elementary school students could fill up every seat in Little Rock Central High School's football stadium.  

Angela Duran, director of AR-GLR, says chronic absence is highest in kindergarten and first grade, when students are learning the building blocks of reading and setting the stage for all future learning. "Students who miss a month or more of school in the early grades are less likely to read on grade level by third grade," she says. 

"Chronic absenteeism is widespread in Arkansas, and it has a significant impact on our state's educational outcomes," adds Ginny Blankenship, AACF’s education policy director and editor of the report. "Chronically absent students struggle to catch up for the rest of their years in school. Other research has found that these students are more likely to drop out and less likely to pursue higher education and find good-paying jobs.

“Chronic absenteeism affects students from all income levels, but the problem is even worse for children who grow up in poverty. Lower-income working families often struggle to get their children to school, due to a lack of reliable transportation, adequate health care, and other basic needs that many of us take for granted. The good news is that our report highlights many simple, inexpensive things that schools can do that have proven to help keep more kids in school every day, thriving and ready to learn.”

Some of the report's key findings:

  • Chronic absence starts early: According to the data analyzed, kindergarteners were significantly more likely to be chronically absent than students in third grade (16.18 percent vs. 10.32 percent).
  • Chronic absence is worse among certain schools: In 2014-2015, 25 percent of chronically absent students were concentrated in 52 of the state's schools.
  • Chronic absence is worse among third graders who are economically disadvantaged or have special needs: These combined groups accounted for more than 30 percent of the state's chronically absent third graders in 2014-2015.
  • Hispanic students are the least likely to be chronically absent: Only nine percent of the state's chronically absent third graders in 2014-2015 were Hispanic, compared to 12 percent of white third graders and 14 percent of African-American third graders.
  • Chronically absent third graders are less likely to read on grade level: Only 20 percent of third graders who were chronically absent in 2014-2015 were reading on grade level. 


Several schools around the state have partnered with the AR-GLR and Attendance Works  to implement simple strategies to identify and address chronic absence. These three partner schools - Marvell-Elaine Elementary in the Delta, and Monitor and Parson Hills Elementary schools in Northwest Arkansas - now serve as shining examples of how other schools can implement change. Details of the schools' challenges and success strategies are included in the report, as well as recommendations for policymakers to make an impact at the state level.

Southern Arkansas University Tech began the process of identifying candidates to fill the College’s vacant chancellor position earlier this year. The search resulted in a total for 49 applications. The SAU Tech Chancellor Search Committee selected 9 potential candidates and after reference checks were completed, 4 were chosen for interviews. Since that time, one candidate withdrew from the process.  The three remaining candidates  are Dr. Jeffrey Watson, Dr. Dani Day and Dr. Jason Morrison. SAU Tech is hosting the candidates on its campus during October and November and is inviting employees, students, and the public to visit with the candidates during the allotted times.  A short background and the dates for each candidate's visit are listed below.

Dr. Jeffrey Watson - Thursday, October 20, 2016

2:00 – 4:00 pm   Staff and faculty               TE100
4:00 – 5:00 pm   public                                    TE100

Current Position: Provost – Trinity Valley Community College, Palestine Campus – Palestine, Texas (August 2011 to present)
Background: Prior to Trinity, Dr. Watson was employed at East Arkansas Community College for 5 years as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Director of Administrative Services. Dr. Watson has been in higher education for 33 years.


Dr. Jason Morrison – Monday, November 7, 2014

2:00 – 4:00 pm   Staff and faculty                  TE100
4:00 – 5:00 pm   public                                   TE100

Current Position: Vice President for Academic Affairs – Carl Albert State College (June 2014 to present)
Background: Prior to Carl Albert State College, Dr. Morrison was employed at Central Community College as Dean for Academic Education for just under a year. Dr. Morrison has been in higher education for 16 years and has served a number of years as an adjunct instructor.

Dr. Dani Day – Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2:00 – 4:00 pm   Staff and faculty                   TE100
4:00 – 5:00 pm   public                                    TE100

Current Position: Vice President Academic Services, Collin College- McKinney, Plano, Frisco, Allen and Rockwall, Texas (2014 to present)Background:  Dr. Day also served as Associate Vice President for Teaching and Learning (2012 – 2014) for Collin College. Prior to Collin College, Dr. Day was employed at Cisco College as Vice President for Learning Services (Chief Academic Officer) for 6 years and as Division Chair for 3 years. Dr. Day has been in higher education for 22 years.

The members of the SAU Tech Chancellor Search Committee were appointed by SAU System President, Dr. Trey Berry and are as follows: Phillip Allison, SAU Tech Social Sciences Instructor; Olivia Clack, SAU Tech HR Director; Brian Dixon, SAU Tech Multimedia Technology Instructor; Johnie Hall, SAU Tech Faculty Senate; Phyllis Hutson, SAU Tech Office Systems Technology Instructor; Sara Landaverde, SAU Tech English Instructor; David McLeane, SAU Tech Vice Chancellor; Connie Riley, SAU Tech Financial Aid Analyst; Lee Sanders, SAU Tech Director of Institutional Research; Dr. Valerie Wilson, SAU Tech Vice Chancellor; Shelley Young, SAU Tech Nursing Instructor; Jimmy Golden, Jim Golden Ford, Lincoln, Mercury; Gene Hill, Highland Industrial Park; Scott James, Lockheed Martin; Connie Wilbur, General Dynamics, SAU Tech Foundation; and Roger Giles, SAU Vice President for Administration and General Counsel.

SAU Tech is planning to hire one of the candidates to fill the chancellor position beginning in January of 2017. For more information call, 870.574. 4481.

Texarkana, Arkansas -
Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Brittany Frierson, age 31 of Hope, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 84 months in federal prison followed by (3) three years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. The Honorable Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Texarkana.

According to the Plea Agreement, on June 26, 2014, agents with the Arkansas South Central Drug Task Force applied for, received, and executed a search warrant at a residence in Hope.  The warrant was based on the fact that on two occasions, law enforcement had arranged for a controlled purchase of methamphetamine from Brittany Frierson, a resident of that house.  Investigators seized digital scales and a total of 9.41 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine.  Frierson provided a statement during a post Miranda interview admitting that the methamphetamine belonged to her and stated that she had sold approximately $1,000 of methamphetamine on a weekly basis for the past three years.  The suspected substance was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab where it was tested and determined to be 8.86 grams of actual methamphetamine.  Frierson was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 25, 2015 and pleaded guilty to the charge on March 31, 2016.

“Methamphetamine continues to ruin countless lives and families every day.  Frierson’s sentencing today is a reflection of our unwavering commitment to taking this drug off the streets of Arkansas,” stated SAC Diane Upchurch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Little Rock.  “We will continue to work with the Arkansas South Central Drug Task Force and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Western District to arrest and prosecute the individuals responsible for distributing dangerous drugs to our communities. I'm grateful for the hard work of the Agents, Task Force Officers, Analysts and other personnel who contributed to this success."

The investigation was led by the Arkansas South Central Drug Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Ross prosecuted the case for the United States.


When you go to the theater to see a play, most people expect the actors to be of the two-legged variety.  Not so in the South Arkansas Arts Center’s fall production of “Frankenstein”.   The play’s newest and most popular cast member is a rescue dog from UCAPS that was picked to play William Frankenstein’s dog, Fritz.


Most of Fritz’ time on stage will be spent with young Cierra Grant, who plays William Frankenstein, and they bonded immediately.  Cierra’s mom, Gianna Grant, also in the play, was charmed by his easy going and fun loving personality, too.  Fritz has been living with them at their home during the practice phase of the play and has made himself right at home. During a recent interview with them, Gianna said that he is so deeply entrenched in their family life now “there is no way we would take him back to the shelter now.  We just couldn’t do it.”


Fritz has endeared himself to the other cast members as well, requesting belly rubs and ear scratches constantly and being rewarded for his acting skills with bites of hot dogs.  He also has found his way daily to one of the actor’s backpack, where he knows from past experience there is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich waiting to be eaten as a snack.  Gianna also commented, “He is so friendly and happy. His tail is always wagging. He is very calm and likes to be with people.”


Gary Hall, assistant director for the production, has enjoyed having the dog around.  He said, “Fritz is such a sweet, gentle soul. The more comfortable he gets with Cierra, the more of a stage hog he becomes.  He's constantly stealing focus because he's so adorable.”


Delaine Gates, director, said, “We’ve altered the script so Cierra can be with him on stage all the time. He’s a sweetheart to work with and all the cast loves him.”


Fritz, aka Cannonball when he was at the shelter, was found on a roadside traveling with another stray dog and was taken to UCAPS.  Good fortune came his way and he was picked by the Paws In Prison Program to be trained at the Tucker Unit and hopefully adopted out to a loving family.  In the meantime, Del Gates, director for “Frankenstein”, realized that they would need a dog for the production and contacted UCAPS.  She was sent two photos of dogs they thought would be suitable for this training situation and the stage and Del picked Fritz for this position because he looks more like a hunting dog which might have been owned by a family during the Victorian era.


Things have worked out for old Cannonball.  Its a true success story with a happy ending.  Colleen Means, Marketing Director for SAAC said, after meeting him, “he has a forever name and a forever home.”  What a lucky dog.


This acting gig is actually not Fritz’ first rodeo.  He was recently photographed by El Dorado photographer Tammy Swarek for her feature on rescue dogs called “Canine Couture”, in which the dogs were dressed in fanciful human attire and photographed to bring awareness to the overcrowding problems in shelters and the need for animal rescue and rehoming.   The overwhelming success of that project has reached worldwide and continues to shed light on the issue.


“Frankenstein”, sponsored by Simmons First Bank, will open on October 27 and run through October 31.  The curtain goes up at 7:30pm.  For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474.  The SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

This week, Arkansas watched and stood ready to assist as Hurricane Matthew took a toll on our nation’s eastern coast. We were saddened to hear of the devastating loss of life, destruction of property, and hardship for the communities impacted by the storm. Hurricane Matthew caused damage from Florida to Georgia to the Carolinas, including widespread power outages for about 2.2 million households.


But disaster relief crews from across Arkansas were ready to help. Most people run from hurricanes; but one Arkansas energy company ran towards Hurricane Matthew, providing assistance and relief to areas affected by the power outages. This week, Entergy Arkansas sent 70 servicemen to the east coast to help Florence, South Carolina turn the lights back on.

The devastation of 2.2 million homes suffering power outages demonstrates just how fundamental reliable energy is in protecting the health and safety of Americans. A sustainable and diverse energy supply powers our industry, transportation and way of life.

As the Chairman of Southern States Energy Board and the Chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, I recognize just how critical the effective supply of reliable, affordable energy is for our state and our nation.

In recent history, our nation has emerged from an energy importing country to the world’s largest oil supplier, exceeding Saudi Arabia and Russia. Unconventional natural gas drilling has opened up such a large resource base that prices are affordable and supplies have created an enormous potential export market. Just last year, Arkansas had the nation’s seventh lowest average electricity prices at about 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. Today, in the West South Central Region of the U.S., which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, residential electricity prices are averaging just over 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

This just goes to show how important the South’s role in the energy marketplace is. Five new nuclear power plants are being built in the region, meaning that the South will soon supply about 50% of the nation’s nuclear energy.

But the key factor in supplying energy resources for the benefit and security of our citizens is building diversity in our energy resources. Arkansas uses coal, natural gas, nuclear, solar and hydro as a balanced mix in our energy supply. Reliable and affordable energy of many different varieties enables states to pursue jobs and business development.

A state’s economic development is inextricably tied to the energy policies we pursue. This is why, in Arkansas, I emphasize state leadership for the protection of our energy industries and for the responsible regulation of one of our nation's most vital resources. Let’s continue working towards strong, state-led energy policies to benefit our communities, our state and our nation.

October 13, 2016

Thanks to the U or A Cooperative Extension service the ballot issues have be made easy to understand. Educate yourself before going to vote.

Issue Number 1
ISSUE NUMBER 1 (Referred to the people by the Arkansas General Assembly) Terms, election and eligibility of elected officials POPULAR NAME: Proposing an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning the terms, election and eligibility of elected officials.

BALLOT TITLE: Proposing an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution concerning elected officials; providing for terms of office for certain county officials for four (4) years; providing that certain county officers shall not be appointed or elected to a civil office during their elected term; allowing a candidate for an office to be certified as elected without appearing on the ballot when he or she is the only candidate for the office at the election; and defining the term “infamous crime” for the purpose of determining the eligibility of elected officials to hold office.
What is being proposed? This amendment asks voters to approve multiple changes to the Arkansas Constitution. If approved by voters, this amendment would:

 1. Allow four-year terms for elected county officials. 2. Prevent certain elected county officials from also being   appointed or elected to a civil office. 3. Allow unopposed candidates to be elected without their   name appearing on the ballot; and 4. Define what “infamous crime” means in regards to who is   not allowed to hold an elected position.

What does your vote mean?
FOR: A FOR vote means you are in favor of changing the Arkansas Constitution regarding all four components proposed, including four-year terms for elected county officials, prohibitions on county officials also holding civil office, creating a process for unopposed candidates to be elected without their name appearing on the ballot and defining “infamous crime.”  

AGAINST: An AGAINST vote means you are not in favor of changing the Arkansas Constitution regarding one or more of the components proposed, including four-year terms for elected county officials, prohibitions on county officials also holding civil office, creating a process for unopposed candidates to be elected without their name appearing on the ballot and defining “infamous crime.”

Visit for more on this and other issues.

We will discuss Issue 2 tomorrow.

Lieutenants Brady Gore and Jason Aaron were promoted to the rank of captain today during a meeting of the Arkansas State Police Commission.

Gore will assume command authority over Highway Patrol Division Troop G, headquartered at Hope and Aaron will command Highway Patrol Division, Troop H, headquartered at Fort Smith.

The promotions were recommended to the commissioners for consideration by Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police.

Captain Gore, 43, of Stamps is a twenty year veteran of the department. His most recent assignment has been serving as assistant commander of Troop G.

Captain Aaron, 41, of Van Buren, is an eighteen year veteran of the department.  His most recent assignment was commanding Criminal Investigation Division, Company D, headquartered at Fort Smith.

Sergeant Michael Exum, 40, of Paragould was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and will assume new duties as assistant commander of Highway Patrol Division, Troop C.  Exum is a sixteen year veteran of the department. 

Corporal Seth Pinner, 31, of Magnolia, was promoted to the rank of sergeant and will assume post supervisor duties within Highway Patrol Division, Troop G.  Pinner is an eight year veteran of the department


Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson requesting that he inform Congress of the full number of people subject to deportation who were improperly granted citizenship and other immigration benefits.  A September DHS Inspector General report indicated that 858 to 1,811 such persons were improperly granted citizenship.  But in their letter, Senators Cotton and Johnson explain that the report only focused on a slice of all improper immigration benefits, and that the full extent of the immigration fraud committed by persons who were subject to deportation is likely to be significantly larger in scope.


The Inspector General report was limited in two ways.  First, it did not report the number of individuals who were improperly granted immigration benefits other than citizenship, such as legal permanent residence or employment-based visas.  Second, the Inspector General report focused mainly on individuals granted citizenship who came from special interest countries and countries with high rates of immigration fraud that share a border with a special interest country. While special interest countries do present certain U.S. national security concerns, they make up only a portion of the countries from which individuals subject to deportation orders hail.


In order for the Senate to understand the entire scope of the immigration fraud problem DHS is facing, the Senators requested that Secretary Johnson provide answers to the following questions:

  1. Regardless of whether an individual hailed from a special interest country or country neighboring a special interest country, please indicate the full number of individuals who fulfill the following three criteria: (i) had final deportation orders under another identity; (ii) became naturalized U.S. citizens; and (iii) did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) was reviewing and adjudicating their citizenship application.

  2. Regardless of whether an individual hailed from a special interest country or country neighboring a special interest country, please indicate the full number of individuals who fulfill the following three criteria: (i) had final deportation orders under another identity; (ii) were granted legal permanent residence; and (iii) did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time USCIS was reviewing and adjudicating their permanent residence application.

  3. Regardless of whether an individual hailed from a special interest country or country neighboring a special interest country, please indicate the full number of individuals who fulfill the following three criteria: (i) had final deportation orders under another identity; (ii) were granted an employment-based or student visa; and (iii) did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time USCIS or another appropriate office was reviewing and adjudicating their visa application.

  4. Regardless of whether an individual hailed from a special interest country or country neighboring a special interest country, please indicate the full number of individuals who fulfill the following three criteria: (i) had final deportation orders under another identity; (ii) were granted a family-based visa; and (iii) did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time USCIS or another appropriate office was reviewing and adjudicating their visa application.

  5. Regardless of whether an individual hailed from a special interest country or country neighboring a special interest country, please indicate the full number of individuals who fulfill the following three criteria: (i) had final deportation orders under another identity; (ii) were granted any other immigration benefit not mentioned in questions 1 through 4; and (iii) did not have a digital fingerprint record available in the DHS fingerprint repository at the time USCIS was reviewing and adjudicating their application for an immigration benefit.


October 11, 2016


 El Dorado, Arkansas – Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Samuel Calvin Richardson, Jr., age 33 of Crossett, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 37 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm.  The Honorable Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing in the United States District Court in El Dorado.

According to court records, on April 6, 2015, Crossett Police responded to a call of shots fired near a school in Crossett.  Multiple officers responded and found Richardson and another individual in the parking lot and noted a strong smell of alcohol.  One of the officers advised Richardson that he was going to pat him down for weapons.  Richardson responded negatively and began to backup and ran off on foot.  Officers caught up to him and took him to the ground when Richardson began reaching for his waist band and would not bring his hands behind his back.  Officers were able to get him under control and found a 9 mm pistol in a holster under his jacket when they patted him down.  Officers also found Richardson in possession of a badge at the time of his arrest.  The weapon had a live round in the chamber with four rounds in the magazine. Richardson was mirandized and interviewed the next day and stated that he knew he was a felon and shouldn’t have the weapon and that he found it in a house he recently moved into.  At the time he possessed the firearm, Richardson had a felony conviction for Felon in Possession of a Firearm in January of 2014 which was punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year. 

Richardson was indicted by a federal grand jury in July, 2015 and pleaded guilty to the charge in November, 2015. 

This case was investigated by the Crossett Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Wulff prosecuted the case for the United States. 

BOOZMAN HIGHLIGHTS CONWAY WWII VETERAN IN "SALUTE TO VETERANS" WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman recognized the service and sacrifice of Lieutenant Colonel (retired) William (Bill) Ledbetter, a WWII veteran whose service to his country spanned more than four decades, in this latest edition of ‘Salute to Veterans,’ a series recognizing the military service of Arkansans.


American war efforts were well underway in 1944 when 17-year-old Bill Ledbetter of Conway enlisted in the Army Air Corps, the predecessor of the Air Force.


He enlisted January 5, 1944 in Little Rock and went to basic training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. Next he was sent to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a 26-week course in radio technology code.


After 24 weeks “they closed it down. Germany just surrendered and things were winding down,” Ledbetter said.


He was assigned to another radio school in Illinois, but experienced the same result.


“It was 16 weeks and they closed it the fourteenth week. This major called me in and said ‘Ledbetter you’ve had all this radio training and know how to operate the radios and take code. We’re going to send you to a tower operator school at Langley Field, Virginia.’ That’s the best deal that ever happened to me. It’s the best job in the Air Force,” Ledbetter said.


He was sent to Camp Stoneman, California before being deployed to the Pacific. Ledbetter was sick for the first three days of the 19-day journey across the ocean, a fate that he estimates more than half of the troops experienced on the ship.


He spent one month in the Philippines before his assignment in Okinawa. As he was heading to Japan he realized how small the world really is.


“We were sitting on the plane waiting to go and somebody said what are we waiting on? Some guy said we’re waiting on the radio operator. Pretty soon this guy came in and it was Lewis B. Setzler from Conway, Arkansas. I didn’t know he was over there and he didn’t know I was over there. It was a good feeling to see somebody from your hometown,” Ledbetter said.


That wasn’t the only Conway connection he had in Okinawa. The lieutenant who met the plane when it landed was also a friend from his hometown.


“Bill Ledbetter dedicated his life to serving our country. I am grateful for his sacrifice and leadership to our nation. I’m honored to share his memories of his service,” Boozman said.


Following WWII, Ledbetter used his GI Bill benefits to attend the University of Central Arkansas, where he earned a degree in social studies with a minor in physical education.


During school he joined the Arkansas National Guard. He was initially based at the Conway armory four blocks from his home, making it convenient for the weekly drill schedule in his early days with the guard.


Ledbetter later transferred to Little Rock when he was promoted to captain and served as company commander of one of the units. His duty included service at Little Rock Central High School for one month in 1954.


Standing in front of the school, Ledbetter remembers that he was told not to let anyone enter the building.


“Everything was going fine. This guy walked up and had the loudest sport coat I ever saw. He started to go in and I said ‘you can’t go in there.’ He flipped his jacket. It was FBI. I said ‘go ahead,’” Ledbetter recalled.


Ledbetter served for 41 years in the Arkansas National Guard and retired as a Lt. Col.


Boozman will submit Ledbetter’s entire interview to the Veterans History Project, an initiative of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center to collect and retain the oral histories of our nation’s veterans. 


Little Rock, Ark. — Oct. 11, 2016 — Thirteen Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas linemen recently returned from a mission in rural Bolivian in which the men ran power lines to three remote villages resulting in electric service to more than 360 residents. The villagers’ 72 homes near Guararamerian located at the Brazilian border had previously been without service.


“The Operation Razorback - Bolivia crew have changed lives in Bolivia,” said Duane Highley, president/CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “These men volunteered their skills and showed a passion for serving their fellow man. Their efforts will result in an increased quality of life for the villagers and future generations.”


The linemen represented electric cooperatives across Arkansas and worked closely with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) International team on the project. The Arkansas crew worked with the Guayaramerin Electric Cooperative, or COSEGUA, on the project that involved substantial construction of distribution lines.


A unique challenge was the Bolivian use of concreate powerline structures. With no bucket trucks and the inability to climb the poles, the men utilized ladders to run the conductor and build lines for the eager villagers that had been waiting for power for years.


Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas crews have assisted in establishing electric service to approximately 1,500 residents in rural Bolivia and Guatemala since 2013.


Linemen and their respective cooperatives participating in the project are: Bill Bonds and Doug Evans with Petit Jean Electric of Clinton; Richard Freeland with Ouachita Electric of Camden; Kenneth Byrd and Clayton McMurray of Arkansas Valley Electric of Ozark; Gene Milton with Woodruff Electric of Forrest City; Shannon Strope and Aaron Yearta with Craighead Electric of Jonesboro; Hugh Starkey with First Electric of Jacksonville; William Thompson with North Arkansas Electric of Salem; Jimmy Sharp and Alex Wright with Southwest Arkansas REA of Texarkana; and Kevin Riddle with Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. of Little Rock.


The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC), a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states.

There is an insidious new IRS scam doing the rounds. They send you a phony IRS CP 2000 form and claim the income reported on your tax return does not match the income reported by your employer. This is meant to get you worried. To confuse you further, the bad guys claim this has something to do with the Affordable Care Act.

You might receive emails with attached phony forms, text messages and even live calls to your phone about this! You need to know that the IRS will never initiate contact with you to collect overdue taxes by an email, text message or phone call.

If you get any emails, text messages, old-time (USPS) snail mail or even live calls about this, do not respond and/or hang up the phone. If you receive a "CP 2000" form in the mail and doubt this is legit, you can always call the IRS at 1-800-366-4484 ( tel:18003664484)  or go to to confirm it is a scam.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will present the first of six free workshops on regulated waste management and pollution prevention at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 19, 2016, at the James “Jitters” Morgan Community Center, 9801 Dollarway Road in White Hall. 

The two-hour workshops, which will be presented around the state, will include information on the Solvent Wipe Rule, contingency plans, common Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) violations, personnel training, and basic best management practices to prevent pollution, reduce waste and energy, and operate more efficiently. Staff from ADEQ’s Regulated Waste Branch and Business Regulatory Assistance Program will present the workshops.

Other workshops are scheduled for
• October 25, 2016, Washington County Extension Service, 2536 North McConnell Avenue,    Fayetteville
• November 9, 2016, JPH Conference Center, 1515 Pioneer Drive, Harrison
• March 1, 2017, Donald W. Reynolds Community Center, 100 East University Road, Magnolia
• March 7, 2017, ADEQ Commission Room, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock
• March 14, 2017, West Memphis Utility Commission, 604 East Cooper Road, West Memphis

Admission to the workshops is free, but preregistration is required due to seating limitations. To register or to receive more information, contact Audree Miller at 501-682-0015 or

October 10, 2016



Two adults and a nineteen month old child were wounded by gunfire last night (Sunday, October 9, 2016) in Eudora (Chicot County).


Eudora Police responded to 240 South Mabry Street at approximately 10:50 PM where the three wounded victims were located.  They are identified as Trent Tuner, 24, Viniki Haney, 34 and her child Truth Turner.  All three were wounded from gunfire directed from outside their residence into the home.


Truth Turner was airlifted by medical helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and is reported to be in serious condition.  The other two victims were admitted to the Chicot Memorial Hospital.  Their condition is unknown.


Local police contacted special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division to assist in the investigation.  While the special agents were still at the Mabry Street address investigating the scene, gunfire was heard at a nearby residence later determined by local police to be outside 1633 Front Street.  The occupant of the residence had moved-out the previous day.


A short-time later Shandria Adams called police to her home at 1435 Front Street.  Adams stated someone had fired a gun into the home.  Adams and her infant child escaped injuries from the shots fired into the home.


Arkansas State Police and Eudora Police are searching for suspects believed to have been involved in the shootings.

– James E. Reppert, associate professor of mass communication at Southern Arkansas University, recently was named Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Communication Association.

The honor was given at the Kentucky Communication Association’s annual convention, held Sept. 16-17 at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ken.

Reppert, also KCA Teacher of the Year in 2000 and 2006, was recognized for interactive teaching techniques that foster media literacy. Twitter, Facebook and RebelMouse are used to disseminate course readings and research materials. Transparency and accountability of student work are stressed, with completed projects curated on his Google website.

Other Kentucky Communication Association honors include the President’s Award for Outstanding Instruction in Mass Media (2014), the President’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Mass Media Studies (2013), Communication Excellence Award (2009), Undergraduate Mentor of the Year (2007), and the James L. Applegate Excellence in Research Award (1997).

Earlier this year, Reppert was one of 40 media educators from across the country competitively selected for participation in the International Radio and Television Society Foundation Faculty Seminar in Las Vegas, held concurrently with the Consumer Electronics Show. Reppert has been selected for 11 IRTS Faculty Seminars since 1993 (seven in New York City, four in Las Vegas).

Reppert has made more than 150 presentations at regional and national conventions of professional associations.  He has been selected to participate in 24 faculty media seminars since 1989.

A member of the SAU faculty since 1987, Reppert holds a master’s degree in communication studies from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a bachelor’s degree in university studies from North Dakota State University.  He is a graduate of Brown Institute in Minneapolis in radio-television broadcasting and acquired a First Class License from the Federal Communications Commission.


October 7, 2016


The South Arkansas Arts Center would like to announce to the public that the box office is now open for tickets to the fall production of Victor Gialanella’s Frankenstein, from the book written by Mary Shelley. The show, sponsored by Simmons Bank, will open on October 27 and run through October 31.  The curtain will go up each night at 7:30pm in the Callaway Theater, with the exception of Friday night, October 28, when the full production will be moved to the El Dorado Conference Center in conjunction with Southern GothiCon, being held that weekend in El Dorado.


Set in nineteenth-century Switzerland, this classic tale of horror and suspense details the ill-fated experiments of Dr. Frankenstein as he attempts to fathom the secrets of life and death. Blending thrills and horror with moments of touching sentiment, the play accomplishes the singular feat of being as moving and affecting as it is terrifying.


"This play is less of a horror story, than a morality tale. There is no green monster with bolts in his neck. The real monster here is Frankenstein himself. His obsession with recreating life makes us question the fine line between science and divinity,” said assistant director Gary Hall. “This backdrop provides a smorgasbord of acting opportunities as we raise these questions in performance and character. We are fortunate enough to have an impeccable cast, more than up for the challenge presented by Mary Shelley, a girl of only 19 who created a diatribe that is still repeated today in novels like Jurassic Park. If this is horror, it's thinking man's horror, and there lies the challenge and the excitement of the piece.”


For all performances at the South Arkansas Arts Center, tickets are available by calling SAAC box office at 870-862-5474. Tickets are $20 for the general public, $10 for SAAC members and $5 for students.  Special effects for the production include the use of flashing lights, smoke and a gun shot.  Admission to Friday night’s production of Frankenstein is included with the purchase of a ticket to Southern GothiCon.  Passes can be purchased from El Dorado Festivals and Events office or online at “SOGO developers were extremely excited to learn that SAAC was producing Frankenstein in the year’s season.  What could be better than showing the original zombie story at a festival full of zombites?,” said Austin Barrow, president of El Dorado Festivals and Events.


For more information on Frankenstein, which is sponsored by Simmons Bank, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at



South Arkansas Arts Center invites the public to attend the 2016 Editorial Cartoon Contest awards reception on Tuesday, October 11 from 5:00-6:30pm.  Experience the political fervor of this year’s election season.  The contest, sponsored by William P. Cook and Associates and the El Dorado News-Times, includes 41 entries by single and collaborative artists with divisions for Adult and Students Grades 9-12.  The cartoons will be on exhibition Monday – Friday, 9am to 5pm, in the SAAC’s Lobby Gallery through October 27. 


Cash awards will be given for the first three places selected by the judge in each division, as well as Best of Show.  Ronnie Bell, General Manager of the El Dorado News-Times, will select one piece from the exhibit for the Editor’s Choice Award, which will afford the winner a cash prize. In addition to the Editor’s Choice Award, Bell will select his favorite cartoons for publication in the News-Times.  A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Bell holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing.


Dr. Jay Barth from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, is serving as judge for this year’s contest.  Dr. Barth received his PhD in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel  Hill, and has spent his entire teaching career at Hendrix.  “I grew up with a daily dose of the political cartoons of George Fisher, the long-time cartoonist for the Arkansas Gazette,” he said.


This reception, free and open to the public, will be held in the Lobby Gallery at the South Arkansas Arts Center, 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.  For more information about the contest, please call the SAAC office or visit the website at


MAGNOLIA – For members of SAU’s Competitive Cheer Squad, the chance to compete on a national stage next year in Daytona Beach, Fla., is a dream that has come true.

“We’d get big rings on our fingers,” Elizabeth Mangus, captain, said of a win at Nationals, which will be held April 5-9. “We’re ring-chasing – that’s our hashtag.”

While the squad will concentrate in the short term on cheering the SAU Muleriders, preparing for Nationals – both in terms of creating new routines and raising funds for the trip – will not be far from their minds.

They recently launched an online crowdfunding campaign at with a goal of $10,000. The campaign ends on Oct. 31, so they are encouraging possible donors to visit the page soon to find out more information and to give online.

At Nationals, the team will compete in the Intermediate Division. “It’s not the hardest stuff, it’s not the easiest, it’s right in the middle,” Mangus said. “We will make it clean and make sure we hit everything in our routine.”

“It’s a dream for any girl who ever wanted to be a cheerleader,” Haley Mullin, an incoming freshman, said. “You want to grow up and do that yourself. I always watched it on TV. It’s really cool.”

“It’s an experience like no other, going on that mat in front of thousands of people,” Mangus said.

“My mom, when she found out we’re going, said, ‘No way, y’all are going to Daytona Beach to compete?’” said co-captain Nikki Miller. “She was so impressed that we buckled down and actually did it.”

Winning is the goal, said Makenna Thomas, also an incoming freshman. “I am a very competitive person. This is my dream. We’re all in.”

Success at NCA (National Cheerleaders Association) Cheer Camp in Conway earned the squad the opportunity to compete at Nationals. At camp, the squad received the NCA Spirit Award, and two freshmen – Makenna Thomas and Haley Mullin – were among only three campers invited to apply to join the NCA Staff next year. Camp was held July 28-29 at the University of Central Arkansas.

At Daytona, the team will have 2 minutes and 30 seconds to demonstrate in a single routine “everything there is in cheer,” Mangus said. “At camp, we had to tumble and get the crowd involved. It wasn’t as big of a routine that we’ll have to do at Nationals.”

 “I’ve always competed, and I’m looking forward to Daytona. Cheer camp really made us realize what we are getting ourselves into, competing with other college teams,” Mullin said.

At camp, the team had to “excel in different areas,” Mangus said. “We excelled in pyramids and stunts, and in Game Day routine, we killed that – it was really good.”

Prior to leaving for camp, the team members participated in a mini-camp at SAU. “We all really bonded,” Mullin said.

They practiced intensely. “We did three practices a day,” Mangus said. “We prepared for more than we had to do.”

There are 14 cheerleaders on the competition team, coached by Lydia Lindsey, head coach, and Meredith Lawson, director of cheer operations. Mangus, a junior, said she gets a lot of satisfaction out of leading the squad.

“I cheered for two years at Liberty-Eylau (Texarkana),” Mangus said. “I knew I was going to go to SAU since it was only about an hour away, and I wanted to get involved in cheerleading. I tried out for the cheer team, I made it, and it’s been awesome. I am excited to get to cheer two more years.”

“We have outdone ourselves this year,” she said. “We haven’t even really started. We’ve got a great team.”

Mangus was chosen for the NCA Staff in her freshman year at SAU. “When I entered, there were three senior cheerleaders, all on NCA Staff. They noticed my skills and I was encouraged to try out. I did a video with tumbling, stunts and a cheer, and then you hope that, months later, you’ll get a big package in the mail. I did.”

She said she thinks that Mullin and Thomas, who were invited to apply to NCA Staff next year, will enjoy the experience. “I think it would be a good summer job,” Mullin said.

Thomas, who is from Monroe, La., said she has been cheering since eighth grade at Ouachita Parish High School. “I’ve experienced going to NCA Nationals in Florida, and I had a good experience all four years,” she said of cheering in high school. “I’m excited to get to go to Daytona Beach this year. It’s on a college level, so it’s going to be a lot more intense.”

“I like competing, I like showing what we have,” Thomas said.

Mullin comes to SAU from Smackover. “I cheered for eight years, in high school and junior high, and two years on an all-star team. I went to national and state-level competitions in high school. My all-star cheer coach asked me to try out for SAU. I did a video tryout and got a message saying I was on the team.”

Miller is a native of Maud, Texas. “I cheered for two years in junior high and four years in high school, and I was captain for two years,” she said. “I wanted to go to SAU because it was close, but when I came to tour, I just fell in love with it. It felt like home.”

“In high school, I did every sport,” Miller said. “Basketball, track, powerlifting, anything I could. I was also in band. I realized cheer was where I should have been the whole time.”

All four cheerleaders credit much of their success to their coaching. “They are like our moms on campus, Mullin said. “We can go to them for anything.”

“The coaching is absolutely awesome,” Mangus said. “It couldn’t be better. They treat us like we are their own. We’re a big family.”

“Lydia is fun-loving and Meredith is very serious,” Miller said “It’s a good balance. If we’re down, they push us to keep going. They are proud of us.”

The cheerleaders said they keep plenty of room in their schedule for academics.

“Our practice schedule involves school,” Mangus said. “Study hall is mandatory, and that gives us time to get a lot done early. The professors are very flexible with any sport, even cheer, and if we have to be absent they are willing to let us catch up.”

The team members are thrilled about their prospects.

“We’ll practice our routine for Nationals until it is perfect,” Mangus said. “It will have an easy beginning but will get harder toward the end, so we just have to push through the whole time.”

“We can be playful and still push through practice and get stuff done,” Miller said of the team.

“We’re all willing to work really hard, and that’s what makes us a good team,” Mangus said.

MAGNOLIA – Hearing their names announced as Southern Arkansas University’s Homecoming King and Queen 2016 might have been surreal for Babajide Aina and Gabrielle Davis, but it was a moment neither is likely to forget.

Aina, a senior biology pre-health major from Garland, Texas, said that although many of his fellow students have jokingly taken to calling him “Your Majesty” following his selection as Homecoming King on Oct. 1, “I don’t feel any different. I just feel like I’m the same old person.”

He not only found himself on the Homecoming Court but escorting the winning candidate for Queen, Davis, a senior political science major from Magnolia, Ark. Both said their hard work asking for votes paid off and now look forward to serving SAU in their newly-elected capacities.

“I feel very blessed and thankful,” Davis said of her selection. “It is definitely going to be a journey.”

For Aina, the journey to SAU Homecoming King took him through three other universities before an offer to play Mulerider basketball brought him to Magnolia. He attended Prairie View A&M University in Houston, Texas A&M University at Commerce and Kansas City Community College before deciding to continue his collegiate basketball career at SAU. He plays guard for the Muleriders and is passionate about not only the game but the University.

“When I came to visit the campus, classes were out, but I could visualize what kind of school it is,” Aina said. “It felt like home. For me, being a Mulerider means being an ambitious individual, helpful to others, and appreciative of all the memories and experiences gained at the University.”

Last summer he asked a co-worker at the Reynolds Center Information Desk about activities in which he could participate during his senior year. “I wanted to go out with a bang. I just said, ‘Hey, what about Homecoming King?’ She said, ‘I think you can do it.’ I talked to my boss, Victor Duke, who said I had the personality for it.”

“When school started, I started with the SGA elections, got my feet wet asking for votes and it just carried on into Homecoming,” he said. “I’ve never done anything like this in my life. It was a great experience.”

Davis said she has been prepared to campaign for Homecoming Queen since before arriving at SAU. “Last year, I told myself that would be me,” she said. “I had my mind set on it.”

“Once I was nominated to the Homecoming Court, I knew how to prepare,” Davis said. “As a political science major, I knew what it would take to campaign. I made up fliers and candy bags. I made buttons to give people at all the popular places on campus, and social media was huge – it really moved my (campaign) out into the community. Babajide also helped promote me whenever he talked to people.”

“I started campaigning as soon as I found out I was on the Court,” Aina said. “When I asked for votes, I would always say, ‘Hello, how you doing,’ and ‘Have a good day,’ because you never know what somebody is going through or who’s going to vote for you.”

“I met a ton of people,” Davis said. “I think there were some misperceptions about what it means to be on the Homecoming Court – people would say, ‘I’m not into sports!’ So I had the chance to explain what it is that the King and Queen do. It’s about being a good representative of the school.”

Aina and Davis agreed that Homecoming Week was a time of hard work and campaigning.

“I actually missed an assignment,” Davis said. “I never miss an assignment! It was stressful, I won’t sugarcoat that, but God worked it all out for me.”

“We held each other up at the end,” Aina said. “We worked really hard. When they called my name (as King), I felt like, ‘Did that happen?’”

“I wanted to cry, but I didn’t,” Davis recalled of hearing her name announced as Homecoming Queen. “I was just so happy. You don’t know who’s going to win until they call your name, and I felt it was well-deserved … we worked so hard. I felt like I built a foundation instead of resting on one.”

Like Aina, she said her fellow classmates now treat her like royalty. “I reciprocate the respect that’s shown,” Davis said. “It is a blessing to hold this position.”

Each expects the other to do a great job in their respective roles. “He’s going to be a great King,” Davis said of Aina. “He’s very involved, a lot of people know him; he’s very personable. It’s about that personal experience. People remember that better than a flier.”

“It’s the first impression that sticks,” Aina said. “You’ve got to give people a reason to vote. We prayed about it and put the work in.”

Aina, a Bronx, N.Y. native, said he plans to use his biology degree to apply to dental school. Davis said she plans to law school after she receives her undergraduate degree.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department will conduct a Public Involvement Meeting in El Dorado to present and discuss the proposed revised plans to widen Highway 82 from Airport Drive to Highway 82B in Union County.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Wyatt Baptist Church (Fellowship Hall) 4621 W. Hillsboro Street in El Dorado.

This will be an "open house" meeting with no formal presentations. The public is invited to visit anytime during the scheduled hours to view exhibits, ask questions, and offer comments.



Last week, I welcomed thirty-two Arkansas State Police Recruits to the 2016 Recruit School Graduation. As I addressed Arkansas’s newest State Troopers, I thought back to the many stories I had heard just the night before at the Chiefs of Police Banquet – stories from some of Arkansas’s most seasoned officers who have experienced their fair share of interesting moments on the job. Their accounts made it clear to me that Arkansas’s newest State Troopers have quite a future ahead of them.

As I reflect on the stories I’ve been told by our state’s law enforcement officers, I think about the extraordinary

courage and dedication that our officers have demonstrated over the last few months and how we need to recognize their service.

I think about the kindness of five Arkansas State Troopers who threw a birthday celebration for a ten-year-old boy from Hot Springs Village.

I remember visiting Trooper Roy Moomey of Crawford County, who was severely injured when he risked his life to save another, colliding with a car driving the wrong way on the interstate.

I think about the initiative of Trooper Gabriel Chambers when he brought water and groceries to a group of bikers stranded on the side of the interstate in Fayetteville in the middle of the July heat.

I think about the unwavering perseverance of Corporal Jason Chester and Sergeant Trey Dupuy when they swept a storm drain three times to rescue a 13-year-old boy who had been trapped there.

And with a heavy heart, I remember the courageous life of Sebastian

County Corporal Bill Cooper who was tragically shot and killed in the line of duty. His selfless service to his community will not be forgotten.

Whether police officers or state troopers, our law enforcement community works hard to protect and serve Arkansas. And it is the responsibility of our law enforcement leaders to provide critical law enforcement training and best practices to those making life and death decisions on the frontline.

That is why our law enforcement officers are becoming increasingly involved in programs like the Arkansas Law Enforcement Accreditation Program – a voluntary process where Arkansas police agencies prove their compliance with the highest standards to ensure the public safety and the protection of individual rights. This is also why I have committed to supporting Crisis Intervention Training, which teaches officers how to identify symptoms of mental illness and appropriately respond to mental health emergencies.

Now, more than ever before, it is the call of our law enforcement to go above and beyond their everyday responsibilities. I am grateful for the ways that our officers have demonstrated leadership by protecting, respecting and serving our communities.

Again, thank you for your service, and keep up the good work. 


October 6, 2016

MAGNOLIA – It was a beautiful day – and a great one for Southern Arkansas University, the south Arkansas region and, more importantly, SAU engineering students.

“There’s no doubt about that,” said Dr. Trey Berry, president of SAU, during Wednesday’s dedication of the new Engineering Building, formerly the National Guard Armory. “It’s been a long road,” he said of getting the building ready, “but we’re here.”

Distinguished guests included Fourth District Congressman Bruce Westerman – an engineer by training – state and local officials, area public schools and chambers of commerce, and Arkansas National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Mark Berry. President Berry announced that the interior of the building would be named the Robert and Edna (Cook) Norvell Center, in honor of a gift of more than $1 million by the alumna. Funds from this endowment will benefit future students in the form of what will be known as NORCO SAU Engineering Scholarships.

“This day is not just about the dedication of a building,” Berry said, “it’s about students living and learning here for generations to come.”

Berry thanked the SAU Board of Trustees for “believing in this project and its impact from the very, very beginning.” He also acknowledged SAU President Emeritus Dr. David Rankin, “whose vision for the Engineering program four years ago led us to today.” He also thanked the SAU Foundation Board and the College of Science and Engineering for supporting the project. “Their dogged determination made this program happen,” Berry said of the College.

“We had planned to build a $2.2-million engineering building that would have been half this size,” Berry said. “And then we heard that the Armory was slated for closing. SAU has had a connection with the National Guard that goes back long before this building was built in 1976. This gift, Gen. Berry, was truly a blessing. To have this facility right in the middle of campus, literally double the size of what we were hoping for, saved us about $1 million. It’s the perfect building.”

Berry said that in 2017, the old skating rink, or “Mule Barn,” will be turned into a 78-bed residence hall for engineering and science students. “Living and learning for engineering students is just about to expand,” he said.

Westerman told the large crowd that he was “excited to be here to celebrate this program.” He called the granting in 2015 of the armory back to SAU “a great story – this government property being used to further an extremely important degree field.”

A $1.4 million renovation project turned the former armory into the new state-of-the-art engineering facility neighboring the SAU Science Center. Six labs were created along with three large classrooms, and the motor pool has been converted to a machine shop for hands-on instruction and training.

Westerman joked that engineers are frequently referred to as “boss” just five years after they graduate. “There’s such a need for more engineers. Being able to produce these graduates will have a huge impact on the local economy.”

He said engineering teaches students “how to solve problems – how to break problems down, be discerning and come up with a reasonable answer. The fruits of this program might not be realized for many years, but you can take satisfaction knowing it will do good things for this community for years to come.”

Junior engineering student Aaron Stanich spoke on behalf of his fellow students in the program. He told donors that thanks to their generosity the program has “evolved drastically.”

He said the extra space the new building provides is vital to the program. “We have five labs that allow for more specific work that relate to jobs we’ll all be looking for in the marketplace,” he said. “We now have a room dedicated just for 3-D printing that is always open for student use.”

Industry partners were represented by Colin Sterling, Camden site director of Lockheed Martin, which provides internship opportunities for SAU students and resources for the engineering program.

“As Dr. Berry talked about the contributions that Mrs. Norvell made to this facility, I couldn’t help but think what a pioneer she was,” Sterling said. “I can’t imagine the impact she had on the lives of the students she taught around the world. I’m really grateful to her today.”

Sterling said Lockheed Martin has helped provide engineering students with what they need to know “to hit the ground running” when they are ready to enter the job market. Internships such as those provided by Lockheed Martin can give students “an extra edge” in finding jobs.

He said donors should be “tremendously proud” of the program and the new building, and that SAU has done well in generating programs that meet the needs of companies like Lockheed Martin. “Qualified candidates are needed for Lockheed Martin to be successful,” Sterling said. “This truly makes South Arkansas more attractive for employers who may be looking to come to the state.”

Dr. Scott McKay, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, spoke about the features of the new facility. “I want to thank all those who contributed to this day,” he said. “This building is the cornerstone of future economic growth. This facility … will provide unprecedented opportunities for collaboration. Let’s put them to work.”

McKay said the “industry-grade equipment” makes collaboration possible with industries and entrepreneurs. “From concept to production, we’re here to help.”

SAU Engineering, which started fall of 2014, has seen steady enrollment growth. Enrollment numbers for fall 2016 show close to 200 declared majors, up from 172 in fall 2015.

The popularity of SAU Engineering, the only such program in all of south Arkansas and most affordable in the state, is due to many reasons, according to Berry. Strong industry support since the program’s inception has offered students internships and job opportunities. This support has also translated into more than $400,000 in gifts and grants from industry partners to provide the program with the latest technologies and equipment so students enter the workforce with hands-on experience.

SAU Engineering offers several areas of emphasis, including Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Engineering Technology, and a new Welding Engineering Technology program developed by the SAU System. This new program is started this fall and is one-of-a-kind in Arkansas and among only a few in the country. The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved SAU’s addition of a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics with an option in Welding Engineering Technology at the Board’s April 22 meeting. This integrated program utilizes the strengths of both SAU and SAU Tech and will provide highly skilled welding supervisors for the region’s aerospace defense and oil and gas industries.


El Dorado Festivals & Events will welcome honored guests and announce timeline for project opening
El Dorado, Ark. – September 29, 2016 – El Dorado Festivals & Events, Inc. (EFEI) announced today that it will host the inaugural dedication of the city’s new Arts & Entertainment District on October 11, 2016, with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson as the guest of honor. Beginning at 10:30 a.m., the event is open to the public and will be held inside the Griffin Building on Locust Street on the mobile Showtime stage.

With CEO Terry Stewart and COO Austin Barrow acting as masters of ceremonies, El Dorado Festivals & Events will announce a timeline for the district’s opening to the public, as well as pay tribute to EFEI’s founders and recognize the public officials and construction partners who have been integral to the project’s growth. EFEI founding board member, Madison Murphy, will introduce Governor Asa Hutchinson.

Entertainment will be provided by local musical legend Jason D. Williams, and the event will include a ceremonial signing of the beam, in which dignitaries and attendees can leave their mark on the final beam to be placed in the stage house.

EFEI has been working to transform a section of El Dorado’s historic downtown into an Arts & Entertainment District, including the 1929 Rialto Theatre and the Griffin Auto Company, both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The master plan, created by nationally recognized architecture firm Westlake Reed Leskosky, brings new energy and flexibility to these landmark structures to create a theater complex that will be comprised of a mixture of amenities, including performance spaces, a restaurant and cabaret, a visual arts space, and a family-friendly playscape.

To date, EFEI has raised over $65.5 million with donations and pledges from Murphy Oil, Murphy USA, The Walton Family Foundation, City of El Dorado Economic Development Tax, The Murphy Foundation, Deltic Timber Corporation and numerous individual donors.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK Arkansas Department of Emergency Management along with Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills encourage Arkansans to come together and take action now to improve how well they can respond to the next disaster. The National ShakeOut is always on the third Thursday of October (this year: 10:20 a.m. October 20, 2016). Participation is a commitment to practicing Drop, Cover, and Hold On, for one minute no matter where you are. This drill may be especially important in the wake of the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck northern Oklahoma last month and was felt widely throughout the central United States.

The U.S. Geological Survey on their seismic hazards map lists Arkansas as one of several states at high risk for earthquakes. The New Madrid Fault line, which is the largest east of the Rocky Mountains, runs through parts of Northeast Arkansans and the USGS indicates that this fault line creates the potential for a major earthquake that could be devastating to the state.

Arkansans are encouraged to register for the Central U.S. ShakeOut at Last year, over 43.5 million people around the world participated in the drill.

"Earthquakes happen without any warning," ADEM Director A.J. Gary said. "The National ShakeOut is an excellent time for families to practice what they will do when an earthquake occurs."

At 10:20 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, participants can practice "Drop, Cover, Hold On":

  • DROP to your hands and knees, under a table or a desk if you can;
  • COVER your head and neck with your hands and arms; and,
  • HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

Experts say Drop, Cover, Hold On is the best way to protect yourself from falling debris, which is the most likely cause of injury during an earthquake in developed nations with modern building standards.

ShakeOut is a day of action for individuals to show they know what to do during an earthquake or to update their current earthquake and emergency preparedness plans. Some other ways to participate in this drill include, but are not limited to:

    • Conducting a "hazard hunt" of items that might fall during an earthquake and securing them.
    • Identify and correct issues in your building’s structure.
    • Plan for additional preparedness drills throughout the year.

Share your ShakeOut photos and videos by using the hashtags #ShakeOut2016 and #ShowMeYourShakeOut.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is the state's homeland security and preparedness agency. The agency works to identify and lessen the effects of emergencies, disasters and threats to Arkansas by developing effective prevention, preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery actions for all disasters and emergencies.  For additional information, contact ADEM at (501) 683-6700 or visit the website at



Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew requesting the Obama administration provide to the Senate all assessments it performed of Iran’s Bank Sepah and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Bank Sepah International Plc in the run-up to the administration’s lifting of sanctions on those entities.  This request is in response to statements made by the State Department’s deputy spokesperson last week confirming that the department conducted an internal assessment of the consequences of lifting sanctions on a bank the  Treasury Department has labeled “the financial linchpin of Iran’s missile procurement network.”


In the letter Senator Cotton outlines three concerns with Bank Sepah as it relates to sanctions relief:

  • First, Bank Sepah has long been the financial facilitator of Iran’s illicit ballistic missile procurement efforts, a program whose sole purpose is to create delivery systems for nuclear weapons.
  • Second, the sanctions relief may have constituted a major component of a ransom payment paid to Iran in exchange for the release of five U.S. hostages earlier this year.
  • Third, the decision to lift these sanctions is a direct violation of the Iran nuclear deal under Annex V of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Senator Cotton requests an immediate response to his inquiry

October 4, 2016

"When We Stand Together, No One Stands Alone"
CFMS realizes that bullying is indeed a problem. The CFMS Beta Club will be hosting a Bullying Prevention Rally on October 19th at 2:30 in honor of National Unity Day. We will be celebrating the 10th Year Anniversary. The color for the day is orange: Make it orange and make it end. The school's campus will be dressed in orange from top to bottom. Our Beta Club's motto is "Let Us Lead by Serving Others" and that's exactly what our students are taking a stand to do.
We need your help to bring greater awareness to this issue. We know how complex bullying is, and how it affects youth at the time they experience it, and even as adults. The proceeds of the Bullying Prevention Rally will be donated to our local Women's Crisis Center. We must stand up against bullying - together.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Melissa Ellis, (6th grade science teacher and Beta Club sponsor) at 836-9361, or email

September 28, 2016



MAGNOLIA – Mia Hyman, a senior marketing major and Southern Arkansas University’s 2015 “100 Years of Homecoming” Queen, said she has enjoyed being an inspiration to other students and feels “bittersweet” about graduating in May.

Her success is indicative of the enthusiasm that drives many SAU students. Originally from Gulfport, Miss., Hyman serves as president of the Student Activities Board; president of the Student Government Association, and president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Describing herself as a “determined and hard-working leader” who has sought leadership positions that challenge her to be her best and make an impact, Hyman also serves as vice-president of the Iota Zeta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha; vice-president of the Ladies’ Club and is a member of the Business Student Advisory Council. She is also former editor of The Bray Online. She strives to better herself “by facing new challenges” and “encouraging my peers to be the change they want to see.”

“Nothing gets accomplished in your comfort zone,” Hyman said. “You have to go out and take action first. All it takes is 10 seconds of courage – take 10 seconds to step outside your comfort zone, and things get done.”

Her story begins in Gulfport, where she lived until after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

“I was there throughout the hurricane,” Hyman said. “I can remember being at my aunt’s house…and looking outside and seeing things flying. It was a little scary, but it was like, ‘wow.’ The scariest part, for me, was hearing all the shingles flying around, hitting the house.”

Her father, Millard, was stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Ark. After Katrina, Mia and her twin sister, Mya, left Gulfport to live with him. (Mya attends the University of Central Arkansas.)

“We were going to move forward (with) a new life,” she said. “I was in about the fifth grade when we moved to the airbase. Then, after a year, we moved to Little Rock. We attended Horace Mann Arts and Science Magnet Middle School and then Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School.”

She made the transition to Arkansas fairly easily. “I never had trouble making friends. The base was like a gated community; we made friends and could explore without having to be too cautious.”

Arkansas introduced her to a different culture. “It was very different than we were used to. Seeing snow for the first time was very interesting…I loved sledding in winter, customizing my snowman. I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had in Arkansas.”

Student Council was her “favorite thing” in high school, a passion she later transferred to SAU. “Going to retreats, meeting kids from across the state and country – that was so much fun. I know a lot of students (at SAU) from Student Council.”

“I’ve always loved serving others,” she said. “I dabbled in sports, I cheered my freshman year and in my senior year, I was on the bowling team. What better way to get out of the house?”

She studied visual arts in the magnet schools she attended and developed a love of photography. “It was great practice for college,” she said of high school. “When I came to college, it was not a big change. I was well-prepared.”

Hyman chose SAU because of her initial major, communication design. “I liked the fact SAU wasn’t like any other university. A lot of my friends were going to Fayetteville or Jonesboro, but I didn’t want High School, Part Two.”

She said she loves living in Magnolia. “It’s quiet and peaceful, so you don’t have to worry about much. You can create your own things to do.”

Hyman said she changed her major to marketing, which she’s glad to have done. “I love marketing,” she said. “The (Rankin College of Business) has been so welcoming to me. I appreciate that I can go talk to the dean, Dr. (Lisa) Toms, and she knows who I am. You can’t do that at many colleges. The faculty and staff really care, and I’ve got such a great support system. I can understand why SAU and the College of Business produce so many fantastic students.”

She said she is now thinking about a career as an event coordinator. “It’s what I did throughout middle and high school, and it’s my passion. That’s part of what I love so much about the Student Activities Board – an organization that focuses on just that. It’s my heaven. It’s stressful, but at the same time, it’s so different, so unpredictable.”

Making friends, networking, joining organizations and making great memories are all integral to the college experience, she said.

“It’s an experience you are supposed to get now,” she said. “Some people don’t get involved in anything. They don’t leave their dorm room. Then when they graduate, they wonder why it is so hard to get a job. You have to take advantage of the resources a university has to offer. If you don’t do that, you have only yourself to blame.”

Working for The Bray for two years helped her get outside her comfort zone and network with faculty, staff and students. “It was stressful at times,” she said of serving as editor, “but you have to want your job, because there’s always somebody else who wants it, even if you’re just frying fries.”

She also enjoyed working as a Bray photographer, though her passion has shifted to marketing. “I loved meeting people and going to all the different events,” she said.

As 2015 Homecoming Queen, Hyman said has tried to present herself as the best SAU can offer. “It feels good,” she said of being queen, “but it was a nervous process. Going out for it, getting nominated, that was all great, but I still had a long way to go. I knew I could mess up, I could bomb. I kept praying, doing the best I could, giving 110 percent.”

She said she also felt she was “doing something for African-Americans on campus. I wanted to show that no matter who you are, if you work hard enough, this is what you can do. White, black, international – you gotta lay it on the line and be real.”

What would she say to this year’s candidates? “Don’t be afraid to get out there and talk to people – it’s never too late to sway a vote. And to the King and Queen, I hope they will make appearances, serve students and the school, and make a difference. You are the epitome of the SAU student, and that is an honorable thing. Thank them by showing them you’re going to wear the crown with pride. Show them it’s not something you’re just going to put on a shelf and on your resume. I want to see you around!”

This year’s presentation of the Homecoming Court and the crowning of the King and Queen will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday before the Mulerider football game at Wilkins Stadium. Hyman will be on hand with last year’s King, Jacob Johnson, to congratulate this year’s royalty.

To see the full list of activities for the “101 Years of Homecoming,” visit




Speaks on Senate floor for National Rice Month; Supports disaster relief for August floods

WASHINGTON–As National Rice Month comes to a close, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) spoke on the Senate floor about the important contributions rice production makes to Arkansas's economy.


September is National Rice Month, making it an ideal time to highlight the significant role of the industry in our state.   

“Farmers in Arkansas grow rice on 1.5 million acres on average each year. 96 percent of those farms are family owned and operated. As the number one producer of this crop, Arkansas has a unique role in the industry. That’s why I’m proud to recognize the 26th anniversary of National Rice Month,” Boozman said on the Senate floor.

Boozman also spoke in support of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for disaster assistance to mitigate the impact of the devastating floods that Northeastern Arkansas experienced in August.

“The University of Arkansas estimates that the state suffered $50 million in crop losses due to the recent flooding. This damage has largely flown under the radar, and the final damages may be more than this preliminary estimate,” Boozman said.

The following are Boozman’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President,

Famously known as the “Natural State”, my home state of Arkansas holds the proud distinction as the nation’s leader in rice production.

Last year, Arkansas produced more than 50 percent of the total rice grown in the country.

Farmers in Arkansas grow rice on 1.5 million acres on average each year. 96 percent of those farms are family owned and operated.

As the number one producer of this crop, Arkansas has a unique role in the industry. That’s why I’m proud to recognize the 26th anniversary of National Rice Month.

I am proud to promote policies that enable our farmers to manage risk and ensure that high quality U.S. rice remains a staple on tables across the globe.

This industry is not only contributing to a nutritious and balanced diet, it’s also an economic engine in rural America. Nationwide, the rice industry accounts for 125,000 jobs and contributes more than $34 billion to the US economy. In Arkansas, rice contributes more than $1.8 billion to our state’s economy and provides thousands of jobs.

We can increase both of these numbers even more if we open additional markets for our rice producers to compete in.

Rice farmers all across America would benefit from a change in policy with Cuba because rice is a staple of the Cuban diet. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that U.S. agricultural exports could increase by $365 million per year if financing and travel restrictions were lifted. Arkansas’s Agriculture Secretary has said the economic impact on the state’s rice industry could be about $30 million.

 Rice production is efficient. More rice is being produced on less land, using less water and energy than 20 years ago. As great stewards of the land, rice farmers are committed to protecting and preserving our natural resources.

I’m proud to celebrate 26 years of National Rice Month and honor the more than 100,000 Americans involved in the rice industry.

Additionally, I’d like to make a comment about the devastating floods that Northeastern Arkansas experienced in August.

The recent floods caused serious damage to crop production including rice. Many of these crops were near harvest stage.

The University of Arkansas estimates that the state suffered $50 million in crop losses due to the recent flooding. This damage has largely flown under the radar, and the final damages may be more than this preliminary estimate.

The Governor of Arkansas has requested disaster assistance from the USDA, and last week, the Arkansas Congressional delegation wrote a letter in support of the Governor’s request. Secretary Vilsack committed to me that he would expedite this request as quickly as possible. And, I encourage him to do so.

Agriculture accounts for nearly one-quarter of Arkansas’s economic activity. One out of every six jobs in Arkansas is tied to agriculture. Rice production is a vital part of agriculture’s contribution to Arkansas’s economy.

I am committed to helping our rice producers succeed in today’s global economy.






Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) joined Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Dan Coats (R-Indiana) and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) in introducing The Taylor Force Act which would require the Secretary of State to certify the Palestinian Authority has ended its policy of paying monetary rewards to terrorists and their surviving family members. Senators Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) were also original cosponsors of this legislation.


“This bill stands for a simple principle: U.S. taxpayer dollars should never be used to fund terror against our own citizens or our ally Israel,” said Senator Tom Cotton.  “The American people and the Israelis believe in helping the Palestinians build a better and more prosperous society.  But that better society will never be possible if Palestinian leaders continue to funnel cash to terrorists and their families.  The Obama administration and future administrations should hold Palestinian leadership accountable on this issue and tell them that as long as they continue to fund terror, they should not expect another dollar of U.S. economic assistance.”


“This legislation shines a light on a very real problem,” said Senator Graham.  “Why is the Palestinian Authority paying young Palestinians to commit acts of terror against innocent Americans like Taylor Force or Israelis?  The Palestinians need to decide – do they condemn these horrible acts or do they reward them?  You can’t be a partner in peace when you are paying people to commit terrorist acts.  The choice the Palestinians make will determine the type of relationship they have with the United States in the years to come.”


“To provide American taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority so that it can treat terrorists as heroes or glorious martyrs is morally unacceptable,” said Senator Coats. “Our hope is that applying this budgetary pressure will end this immoral program of rewarding and encouraging terrorists.”


“Israel is one of our closest allies and a stalwart of democracy in the Middle East,” said Senator Blunt. “It would be absolutely unconscionable to allow U.S. taxpayer dollars to be used by the Palestinian Authority to reward convicted terrorists for acts of violence against Israel. I urge all of my colleagues to back this effort to hold the Palestinian Authority accountable.”


The legislation:

  • Requires the Secretary of State to certify to Congress the Palestinian Authority is taking credible steps to end acts of violence against United States and Israeli citizens that are perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control, such as the attack on Taylor Force;
  • Calls on the Palestinian Authority to publicly condemn such acts of violence and is taking steps to investigate and cooperate in investigations bringing perpetrators to justice; and
  • Terminates payments for acts of terrorism against United States and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been imprisoned after being convicted of terrorist acts, to any individual who died committing a terrorist act, or to family members of such individuals. 

September 26, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) - Arkansas is set to begin offering new enhanced drivers licenses and ID cards, a move that will help protect individual identities and bring the state in line with federal standards. The new enhanced licenses and ID cards are being issued in response to federal REAL ID Act, which imposes stricter guidelines for some state-issued drivers’ licenses and identification cards. As Governor Asa Hutchinson points out below, state-issued drivers’ licenses and ID cards play a major role in protecting individual identities and preventing fraud. “From my time at the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security, I know the importance of accurate and secure personal identification,” Hutchinson said. “Today’s announcement means Arkansas is doing its part to improve the security of its state-issued licenses and IDs and to combat identity fraud.” Enhanced licenses will be more difficult to tamper with and will require increased background checks for applicants, said Walter Anger, assistant revenue commissioner for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. “The intent here is to increase the security of the license and the person carrying it,” Anger said. “This is a major step in protecting the identity of the individual and ensuring that licenses and ID cards are issued properly and to the right person.” Under federal rules, individuals wishing to board aircraft for commercial passenger flights will need to present an enhanced ID by October 2020. Similar rules will restrict access to federal buildings and installations. Enhanced drivers licenses will be available at 25 revenue offices (click here for list of locations) statewide, beginning Oct. 3. Standard drivers’ licenses and identification cards, such as those currently issued, will still be available after October.

MAGNOLIA- According to reports, many of South Arkansas residents now have a new boss. Chemtura Corporation said Sunday that the American company will be sold to Cologne, Germany-based specialty chemical maker Lanxess AG for $2.5 billion. Chemtura’s Great Lakes Solutions division employs about 500 people in Union County at its South, Central and West plants. The South Arkansas employees produce bromine and brominated products that are used in flame retardants, fine chemicals, industrial water treatment, pharmaceuticals and oil field chemicals.

Great Lake Solutions has three Union County brine units covering 150,000 acres, 10,000 brine leases, 250 miles of pipelines and 70 brine supply and disposal wells. Chemtura shareholders will receive $33.50 per share in cash for each outstanding share of common stock held, which represents an 18.9 percent premium to the stock’s closing share price of $28.18 on Friday. The respective boards of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction. “For the past year, our management team and Board of Directors have been actively working to identify a transformative opportunity to create value for our shareholders and to enhance the scale, strength and diversity of our business, both vertically and geographically, for the benefit of our customers and employees. The transaction we are announcing today delivers on that promise,” said Craig A. Rogerson, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of Chemtura. “It provides premium value to our shareholders and benefits our customers and employees by making Chemtura part of a larger, stronger global enterprise with the resources to fully support a more diverse suite of specialty chemicals products and services.” Matthias Zachert, chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of Management of Lanxess, said: “With this acquisition, we are forming a major global player in the field of additives and are significantly strengthening our already profitable portfolio. We are confident that this transaction will create new and exciting opportunities for the customers and employees of both companies. The Chemtura team has built four industrial businesses into a highly attractive group of assets. In addition to the additives segment, Chemtura’s urethane and organometallics businesses will further diversify our company’s product offering.” Rogerson concluded, “We believe Lanxess’ offer is recognition of the strength of our business, product portfolio and exceptional global team. I am confident that Lanxess shares Chemtura’s commitment to quality, safety and service and is the right home to ensure a bright future ahead.” Lanxess will fund the transaction through existing liquidity and the issuance of new debt. The transaction is expected to close around mid-2017, subject to approval by the holders of Chemtura’s common stock, customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Chemtura Corporation, with 2015 sales of $1.7 billion, is a global manufacturer and marketer of specialty chemicals. Lanxess is a specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 7.9 billion ($8.8 billion U.S.) in 2015 and about 16,700 employees in 29 countries. The company is currently represented at 55 production sites worldwide. The core business of Lanxess is the development, manufacturing and marketing of chemical intermediates, specialty chemicals and plastics. Lanxess was founded in 2004 from the chemicals division and portions of the polymers segment of Bayer AG. The following is an English-to-German translation created by Google Translate. We cannot guarantee the quality of the translation: Achtung! Deutsch-basierte Lanxess erwirbt Chemtura Gesellschaft Hunderte von South Arkansas Bewohner haben jetzt einen neuen Chef. Chemtura Gesellschaft sagte am Sonntag, dass die amerikanische Gesellschaft nach Köln, Deutschland ansässigen Spezialchemiehersteller Lanxess AG für 2,5 Milliarden $ verkauft werden. Chemtura Great Lakes Solutions beschäftigt rund 500 Mitarbeiter in Union County an seiner Süd-, Mittel- und West Pflanzen. Die Süd Arkansas Mitarbeiter produzieren Brom und bromierte Produkte, die in Flammschutzmittel, Feinchemikalien, industrielle Wasseraufbereitung, Pharma- und Ölfeldchemikalien verwendet werden. Great Lake Solutions verfügt über drei Union County Sole-Einheiten für 150.000 Acres, 10.000 Sole-Leasing, 250 Meilen von Pipelines und 70 Sole Ver- und Entsorgungsbrunnen.
Chemtura Aktionäre werden 33,50 $ pro Aktie in bar für jede ausstehende Stammaktie gehalten, erhalten, die eine 18,9 Prozent Aufschlag auf den Schlusskurs von 28,18 $ am Freitag Aktie darstellt. Die jeweiligen Vorstände beider Unternehmen haben die Transaktion einstimmig genehmigt. "Im vergangenen Jahr hat unser Management-Team und Board of Directors wurden arbeitet aktiv transformierende Gelegenheit zu identifizieren, Wert für unsere Aktionäre zu schaffen und die Skala, Stärke und Vielfalt unseres Geschäfts, sowohl vertikal als auch geografisch zu verbessern, zum Nutzen der unsere Kunden und Mitarbeiter. Die Transaktion wir heute bekannt, werden dieses Versprechen liefert ", sagte Craig A. Rogerson, Präsident, CEO und Vorsitzender des Vorstandes der Chemtura. "Es bietet Premium-Mehrwert für unsere Aktionäre und Nutzen unserer Kunden und Mitarbeiter, indem sie Chemtura Teil eines größeren, stärkeren globalen Unternehmen mit den Ressourcen eine vielfältigere Palette von Spezialchemikalien Produkte und Dienstleistungen in vollem Umfang zu unterstützen." Matthias Zachert, Chief Executive Officer und Vorsitzender des Vorstands der Lanxess, sagte: "Mit dieser Akquisition sind wir ein bedeutender Global Player im Bereich der Zusatzstoffe bilden und unsere bereits profitable Portfolio deutlich zu stärken. Wir sind überzeugt, dass diese Transaktion neue und aufregende Möglichkeiten für die Kunden und Mitarbeiter beider Unternehmen schaffen wird. Die Chemtura-Team hat vier Industrieunternehmen in eine hochattraktive Gruppe von Vermögenswerten gebaut. Zusätzlich zu den Additiven Segment Chemturas Urethan und Organometallverbindungen Unternehmen wird unser Unternehmen das Produktangebot zu diversifizieren. " Rogerson fasst zusammen: "Wir glauben, dass LANXESS Angebot Anerkennung der Stärke unseres Geschäfts ist, das Produktportfolio und außergewöhnlichen globalen Team. Ich bin zuversichtlich, dass die LANXESS-Aktie Chemturas Engagement für Qualität, Sicherheit und Service und der rechten Seite zu Hause ist vor eine glänzende Zukunft zu gewährleisten. " Lanxess wird die Transaktion durch vorhandene Liquidität und die Ausgabe neuer Schulden finanzieren. Die Transaktion wird voraussichtlich etwa Mitte 2017, vorbehaltlich der Genehmigung durch die Inhaber von Chemtura Stammaktien, üblichen Abschlussbedingungen und behördlichen Genehmigungen. Chemtura Corporation mit 2015 einen Umsatz von $ 1,7 Milliarden ist ein globaler Hersteller und Vermarkter von Spezialchemikalien. Lanxess ist ein Unternehmen der Spezialchemie mit einem Umsatz von EUR 7,9 Mrd. ($ 8800000000 USA) im Jahr 2015 und etwa 16.700 Mitarbeitern in 29 Ländern. Das Unternehmen ist derzeit in 55 Produktionsstätten weltweit vertreten. Das Kerngeschäft von LANXESS bilden Entwicklung, Herstellung und Vermarktung von chemischen Zwischenprodukten, Spezialchemikalien und Kunststoffe. Lanxess wurde 2004 aus der Chemiesparte und Teile des Polymeren Segment der Bayer AG gegründet.

Now that school has been in session for several weeks and the temperatures are beginning to cool a bit, it’s a perfect time for a field trip. Unfortunately, some schools have lacked the travel funds needed to provide this special experience for their students and teachers. Now those schools can receive up to $1,000 specifically for that purpose thanks to the Arkansas State Parks Field Trip Grant Program“We are excited to partner with the Arkansas Humanities Council to receive applications and administer these grants,” said Parks Director Grady Spann. “This is a great opportunity for schools throughout the state to take field trips in all of our 52 state parks.” The grants will focus on a classroom visiting the park during the school year. Priority will be given to field trips that align with the school curriculum and are between September and April. Grant guidelines are:

·ASP field trip grants are available to public, private, charter and home school groups in Arkansas, grades K-12.

· Field trips are available through the Arkansas State Parks and must be scheduled prior to submitting the application.

·  All field trips must take place at an Arkansas State Park.

·  Funds may be used for mileage reimbursement, bus fees and substitute teachers.

Money for the grants comes from the sale of State Parks of Arkansas specialty license plates. Earlier this year, a new design was unveiled and the plates were placed on sale at all state revenue offices. The design, which features hikers enjoying a scenic landscape, is the result of staff and stakeholder collaboration to generate imagery that reflects our State Park mission. That mission is to enhance quality of life through exceptional outdoor experiences, connections to Arkansas heritage, and sound resource management.  The specialty plates are $35.00 with $25.00 of that amount going to an educational fund. In addition to the field trip grant program, the educational fund will also be used to provide scholarships and internships for college students who are studying park related fields. The fund was created under the authority of Act 292 of the 2011 regular legislative session.

The Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant announced Tuesday that for the first time in pageant history it will combine pageant weeks with it's sister program, the Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen Pageant.  The Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen 2017 competition will be held in conjunction with the Miss Arkansas 2017 pageant.
Previously the Outstanding Teen Pageant had been held during a separate week in Russellville and Hot Springs. "This is a great opportunity to combine our Miss Arkansas Pageant with the Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen program into a beautiful celebration of our contestants and their academic and community achievements.  It will be an incredible move forward for both of our programs,"  said Jessie Ward Bennett, Miss Arkansas Executive Director.  "We are excited to grow our programs in new ways at our new home in Little Rock." Both state pageants will be held June 11-17 in Little Rock at the newly renovated Robinson Auditorium. The Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen program is a part of the America's Outstanding Teen program.  It is the sister program to Miss America and promotes scholastic achievement, creative accomplishment, healthy living and community involvement for America's teens. Thomas Collins, Executive Director for Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen, said "the Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen Board of Directors looks forward to a partnership with Miss Arkansas."  They look forward to celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant in June. Details on the schedule for the combined pageants are still being worked out and will be released as soon as they become available.

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016


The Camden Ministerial Alliance hosted a “Bridging the Gap” meeting last night. The point of the meeting was to try and begin to bridge the gap between residents and Law Enforcement. Bishop Jacovis acted as MC for the event. The forum included Sheriff David Norwood and Police Chief Bo
Woody. After welcoming the attendees Bishop Davis explained that both Sheriff Norwood and Chief Woody would take a few minutes to talk about their respective departments. There would then be a question and answer session. Everyone was given a index card as they entered the Camden Fairview High School Little Theatre and were encouraged to write down any questions they might have for the LEO’s. The event was well attended with the Theatre being well over half full.

Chief Woody began and spoke about his department. He has been in Law Enforcement for the majority of his adult life. He was at the Ouachita County Sheriff’s Office for a number of years before joining the Camden Police Force. He worked his way through the ranks and was named Police Chief.

He said the Camden is a good town. He hoped the he meeting would be a beginning of better communication between the community and Law Enforcement. Chief Woody said that he has an open door policy and always meets with residents that may have a concern.

Chief Woody talked about the department and the hiring and training process. Camden only hires the best. Camden has a Civil Service Commission that interviews for the open positions as they arise. Twice a year the Civil Service exams are given to those who wish to become Camden Police Officers. After passing a rigorous written and oral exam. Applicants are interviewed. There are also physical requirements. Camden boasts a diverse department consisting of men and women of different races.

New Officers go through rigorous training at ALETA. They also have continuing education throughout their careers. Every Office is required to take 4 hours every single year on racial profiling. The Department has a weekly meeting. Records are kept of what Officer has done what over the week time. If it appears any type of profiling is taking place, the issue is addressed.

Chief Woody was asked about the Blue Code of Silence. He said that it does not exist in Camden. Officers all wear the body cam and are required to have them in use. A paper trail follows every single encounter an Officer has with any individual. It would be extremely difficult to cover any thing up between the paper trail and video evidence.

Chief Woody believes that it all comes down to good communication between Officers and the public. If you are ever pulled over, please communicate in a calm way with the Officer. The side of the road is not the place to argue or get into a confrontation. Confrontation only causes problems. If you feel an Officer wronged you in some way, call Chief Woody and make an appointment to see him. God to Court at the appointed time. That is where justice will be served if you have been wronged in any way.

The Chief said his biggest challenge is to make sure the Police Department and Community are one and keeping the lines of communication open.

Sheriff Norwood has been in Law Enforcement his entire adult life. He was elected Sheriff in 2008. The Sheriff’s Office has over 900 miles in Ouachita County to Patrol. The County Deputies patrol 24 hour a day.

Sheriff Norwood oversees the running of the jail. It can house about 200 inmates. The County houses a number of inmates for the state. The state in turn, pays the County for the service. He said his biggest challenge is the grievances of inmates. He tries to keep them as content as possible as that keeps a calmer environment.

He said he encourages his Deputies not to give tickets. They are more there to serve. They serve warrants, answer all kinds of calls, and work accidents. Training is done in house. There are outside trainers that come in from time to time to train on any number of different topics. The Deputies also train throughout their careers. It is an ongoing process.

Every employee of the County is trained on diversity and the Sheriff stresses to his Deputies, Jailers and staff the importance of self-discipline and respect for everyone in the County.

We, a community as a whole, can make sure that we never make the National News for a senseless shooting. No Officer ever wants to have to use deadly force. Remember, communication is very important. We face a different world than ever before. Let’s learn to communicate and get along as a community and show the Nation how things should be done. We can do this by showing each other decency and respect. Let’s not all the National Media to form our ideas and behaviors. Let’s make Ouachita County a better place.


Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) yesterday sponsored the No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act, originally introduced by Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota). This bill seeks to address problems in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Crisis Line (VCL). Specifically it requires the VA to implement a documented process that will improve the responsiveness and performance of the VCL. It will also also require that a live person answer every phone call, text message, email, or other form of communication received by the VCL and its backup call centers. 


“Our men and women in uniform put their lives on the line to defend our freedom and keep us safe,” said Senator Cotton. “The least we can do is ensure they receive the support and care they need—particularly in times of crisis. This bill will implement much-needed reforms that will help make the Veterans Crisis Line a better resource for all veterans.”



Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today introduced the Safely Advancing Valuable and Inexpensive New Generic Solutions Act, or the SAVINGS Act, legislation that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite the review process for both the first and the second introduced generic drugs. It would also require the FDA to make a final approval decision within 150 days of receiving the priority review applications.


“The steady rise in prescription drug costs over the last several years has left many Arkansans wondering just how much more they can take. And as healthcare premiums rise under Obamacare, there’s now even less room in family budgets to spend more on prescription drugs,” said Senator Cotton. “Regrettably, the current FDA backlog of new generic drug applications awaiting approval is only making this problem worse. Expediting the approval process for both the first and the second generic and requiring the FDA to make a decision in a timely fashion will increase competition in the prescription drug market and help lower costs for Arkansas families.”



  •  Prescription drug spending rose 12.6 percent in 2014 and is expected to continue to rise through 2018, according to March 2016 report issued by HHS.
  •   Since the enactment of the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA) in 2012, FDA approval times have slowed down and the number of generic approvals has decreased despite having received $300 million in user fees.
  •  Academic studies have shown that every time a new generic enters the market drug prices significantly drop, and after the second generic is approved, prices continue to decline, leading to significant savings for consumers.
  • Cotton’s SAVINGS Act would require the FDA to expedite the review of second generics and make a final decision within 150 days of receiving these Priority Review Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs).


SEPTEMBER 21, 2016


It’s been one year since Keith Wilbert Jr. was murdered in the home where he and four roommates lived together in southwest Pine Bluff.

Wilbert, 21, was shot when as many as three individuals entered the home at 4302 Boone Street about 2:30 AM, Wednesday, September 23rd 2015.  The murder scene was only a short distance northeast of U.S. Highway 79 (business route) and the Interstate 530 interchange.

Wilbert’s roommates were present when the shooting occurred.  All were students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Kyle Hunter, Eleventh (West) Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, recently requested special agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division to review the Pine Bluff Police Department investigative file related to Wilbert’s murder and assist the local department in the continuing investigation.

 "I believe someone knows more about what happened that night,” said Prosecuting Attorney Hunter. 

 “Regardless of how insignificant the information might seem, we want to hear from anyone who has information about what may have occurred inside the house in the hours leading up to the murder, or information about anything out of the ordinary someone saw outside the house, and we want to hear from anyone with knowledge about who would want to kill Wilbert,” Hunter said.

 Individuals with information about the murder or knowledge about individuals who may have been in the home are asked to contact the Arkansas State Police by calling (501) 618-8100.



Bridging the Gap between Community and Law Enforcement Relations will hold a meeting tonight at 6:00PM at the Camden High School Little Theatre. This event is sponsored by the Ouachita county Ministerial Alliance. The Public is strongly encouraged to attend. The purpose is to bridge the relations between citizens and law enforcement to create a healthy atmosphere for our community.




Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) recently recognized Pea Ridge National Military Park in the Congressional Record as part of his initiative to highlight Arkansas’s National Parks and Historic Sites in celebration of the National Park Service's 100th anniversary.  You can find the full text of Senator Cotton’s recognition in the Congressional Record below.

In honor of the National Park Service’s 100th birthday year, I want to recognize Pea Ridge National Military Park in Northwest Arkansas. Pea Ridge National Military Park is one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields in the United States and its history deserves to be shared.


The Battle of Pea Ridge took place in March of 1862 when 26,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought for two straight days. The battle was hard-fought, but in the end the Union forces, led by General Samuel Curtis, were victorious and the Union won complete control of the state of Missouri.


Pea Ridge National Military Park officially became part of the National Park system on July 20, 1956, thanks largely to the efforts of the Arkansas congressional delegation. And it was officially dedicated as a national park during the nation’s Civil War Centennial in 1963.


Today, 4,300 acres of battlefield are preserved for visitors. The grounds include a recreation of the Elkhorn Tavern—an important landmark of the battle—as well as a visitors center and a museum. The park is also home to two and a half miles of the Trail of Tears, another important United States landmark.


Arkansas is a state full of rich history and heritage and Pea Ridge National Military Park is a critical part of that history. If you find yourself in the picturesque Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas this fall, take some time to drive through or walk the grounds of Pea Ridge National Military Park and see for yourself.



Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on Senate passage of the Charles Duncan Buried with Honor Act, legislation that would expand the cemetery burial options offered by the VA to financially insolvent veterans:


“I’m pleased the Senate unanimously passed this important bill. Charles Duncan and hundreds of veterans just like him bravely served our country in uniform. We should do everything in our power to ensure they receive the care and support they need, even in death. I’m hopeful this legislation will continue to advance toward becoming law, giving all veterans access to more veterans cemeteries. 


"Specifically, this bill would allow veterans who could not otherwise afford services to be buried in the veteran cemetery closest to their family and loved ones. The bill is named for Mr. Charles  Duncan of Little Rock, Arkansas, who died last year. Due to financial hardship, Mr. Duncan's family had to rely on the VA for his casket and burial fees, but a small gap in the law meant he was only eligible for burial in Fort Smith, Arkansas, which is over 150 miles from his home. As a result, Mr. Duncan's adult daughter was unable to attend his funeral."


Background: Under current law, indigent veterans with no next-of-kin are eligible to reimbursement rates of $2,421 for caskets or $244 for urns when buried in a National Cemetery. However, if the survivors of the veteran need to take advantage of that benefit, the veteran is not eligible for burial in a state cemetery, even if that cemetery is geographically closer to the veteran's home or the homes of their loved ones. The Charles Duncan Veterans Memorial Act amends the Dignified Burial and other Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2012 (s. 3202) by expanding its scope to include state or tribal cemeteries for which the Department of the VA has provided a grant.


SAU Tech’s search for a chancellor is underway. Representatives from SAU, SAU Tech and the community are working together as the search committee to interview applicants and ultimately identify the best candidate for chancellor. The committee hopes to have a new chancellor hired and ready to start in January 2017. As the college prepares for the new leader, the fall semester started with Student Appreciation Day to welcome students to the campus. Each year local banks and other community groups prepare lunch for students and staff at the event, and students enjoy a few hours of activities before heading back to class. This year the event was held inside the Student Center to get out of the summer heat. During the event, the Student Life staff provided the first glimpse into a new student activity to be held later this fall—Tech Island. Tech Island is based on reality TV shows such as Survivor and American Ninja . The event is for college students and the effort is being led by the MUSED Drama Club. The photo below shows SAU Tech Recruiter, Laruen Ray, with students at the Tech Island booth built by SAU Tech staff member and MUSED sponsor, Steven Fry. 


September 12, 2016


Atlantic City, NJ (September 12, 2016) – Miss Arkansas, Savvy Janine Shields, was crowned Miss America 2017 tonight at the birthplace of the legendary competition in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall for its 96th Anniversary broadcast on the ABC Television Network. Returning for his 8th time as host, Chris Harrison was joined by co-host Sage Steele and celebrity judges Ciara, Mark Cuban, Gabby Douglas, Sara Foster, Laura Marano, Cole Swindell and Miss America 1985 Sharlene Wells Hawkes. The evening included a 9/11 tribute in honor of the 15th anniversary. Shields’ acceptance of the highly-coveted crown is just the beginning of a journey that will take her to every corner of the nation and around the world during her year of service as Miss America 2017. She will embark on her national speaking tour about her platform, Eat Better, Live Better and act as the official National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for its 170 member hospitals, is the national platform partner of the Miss America Organization. Shields is a student at the University of Arkansas. During her year as Miss America she will serve as a spokesperson for Eat Better, Live Better. Along with the coveted title of Miss America 2017, Shields won a $50,000 scholarship provided in part by Joseph Ribkoff Inc. and the Miss America Organization to continue her education. For the talent portion of the competition, Shields performed a jazz dance to “They Just Keep Moving The Line” from the American drama series Smash. The first runner-up in the competition was Miss South Carolina Rachel Wyatt who earned a $25,000 scholarship. Her talent was dance and her personal platform is Autism Speaks. The second runner-up is Miss New York Camille Sims and received a $20,000 scholarship.  Her talent was jazz vocal, and her personal platform is Encouraging Wellness and Fostering Food Justice. Third runner-up Miss Washington Alicia Nicole Cooper received a $15,000 scholarship. Her talent was tap dance and her platform is Live on Purpose: Defining Your Legacy. Fourth runner up Miss Mississippi Laura Lee Lewis was awarded a $10,000. Her talent was vocal and her platform is Mentoring Matters. The 52 contestants, who represented all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, participated in preliminary competitions earlier in the week. Miss Kentucky Laura Katherine Jones was the winner of “America’s Choice,” an online competition where viewers were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite Miss America contestant entirely on social media. The winner of “America’s Choice” advanced to the Top 15 in the competition. Founded in 1921, the Miss America Organization is one of the nation’s leading advocates for women’s education and the largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women. The Miss America Organization and its 52 state organizations award millions in cash and in-kind scholarships annually. The Miss America Organization also provides young women with a vehicle to further their personal and professional goals and instills within them a spirit of community service through a variety of nationwide community-based programs.

MAGNOLIA – Award-winning author Dr. Nancy Hendricks will portray Arkansas native Hattie Caraway, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, during Southern Arkansas University’s celebration of Constitution Day 2016 on Friday, Sept. 16. The program will be in the Foundation Hall of the Reynolds Center from noon to 1 p.m. and is open to all faculty, staff, students and community members. Brown bag lunches are welcome. Hendricks, author of the book Senator Hattie Caraway: An Arkansas Legacy, delivers her signature performance in the film Hattie Caraway: The Silent Woman, which has been shown on AETN, and nationwide in her one-person show, Hattie to Hillary: Women in Politics. Caraway, of Jonesboro, was elected to U.S. Senate in 1932, and made Magnolia one of her campaign stops that year. Hendricks said Caraway and Huey “Catfish” Long of Louisiana, on their campaign tour of Arkansas, spoke on the steps of the Columbia County Courthouse at 9 a.m. Aug. 1, 1932. “I think they would have loved to have the chance to speak at a beautiful indoor space like the Foundation Hall in SAU’s Reynolds Center,” Hendricks said. “I am enormously gratified to be coming to Magnolia.” Hendricks also authored the Civil War epic, Terrible Swift Sword: Long Road to the Sultana, and America’s First Ladies: The Remarkable Women of the White House. Her newest book, Notable Women of Arkansas: From Hattie to Hillary, 100 Names to Know, was named an Arkansas Gem by the Arkansas State Library to be represented at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. She also wrote the play Miz Caraway and the Kingfish, which portrays the colorful story of Caraway’s 1932 campaign with Long. She holds a doctorate in education along with degrees in English and theatre. Before becoming a full-time writer, she was director of alumni communications at Arkansas State University, where she also taught English.


– The fastest growing university in the state last fall has recorded its fourth straight year of record-setting enrollments as Southern Arkansas University’s 11th class day numbers reported to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education included a 15.3-percent overall increase in students from a year ago. Included in SAU’s enrollment records are total number of students (4,771), University Housing enrollment (1,764), School of Graduate Studies enrollment (1,484), freshmen class (854), and international student population (1,157). These numbers were officially reported to ADHE on SAU’s 11th class day on Friday, September 9, 2016. “It is a great time to be a Mulerider! The excitement and energy at SAU’s campus is contagious as evidence by our fourth year of record enrollments,” said SAU’s President Dr. Trey Berry. “Students are being attracted to SAU because of our rich and often unique academic programs, our affordability, and our increasing reputation as a caring institution.” Over the past few years, SAU has established several new and distinctive programs that are proving popular in the state and region. SAU Engineering, which launched fall 2013, already has an enrollment this fall of around 200 students. SAU’s Game Development and Animation Design programs have attracted more than 100 students to Magnolia. Marine Biology is also growing with more than 20 declared majors. Programs launched in 2016 are already garnering attention and include Cybersecurity, Social Entrepreneurship, Welding Engineering Technology and Engineering Technology. SAU’s other established programs are also attracting top students, including areas of pre-health, nursing, business, liberal arts and agriculture. For the Department of Agriculture alone, this freshman class includes two Arkansas FFA officers – President Kinsey Watkins and Northwest Ark. Vice President Drew List – as well as the Arkansas 4-H President Mary Alice Cole. SAU’s theme this year is “I Chose SAU,” and when Cole was asked why she wanted to be a Mulerider, she quickly responded, “for me, it’s always been SAU.” SAU’s balance of affordability and quality has also caught the attention of national higher education publications with several regional and national recognitions. The most recent accolade for SAU was a ranking of fourth among the 100 most affordable small universities west of the Mississippi, by Last fall, SAU was recognized as sixth in the nation ranking for affordability among small universities by Along with being the fastest growing university in Arkansas in fall 2015, SAU was also recognized as being the most affordable and having the highest return on investment by the U.S. Department of Education.“These honors represent our earnest attempts over the years to keep our educational costs affordable,” said Berry. “We hope this will resonate with students and parents that SAU is a place where they can receive a top quality education at a price that is very reasonable.” SAU’s Dean of Enrollment Services Sarah Jennings is thrilled about the sustained and increased enrollment for the University. She said that recruiting is a campus- and community-wide effort, and the reputation of SAU enhances these efforts. For her, the growth will mean a continued strengthening of the University’s experiences for students. “I love the momentum!” She is extremely proud of her team of recruiters and they are already looking forward to recruiting and meeting next year’s class. “It is an exciting time at SAU and we have an outstanding student body this year,” said SAU’s Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Donna Allen. “I am very grateful for all of the hard work and dedication our administration, faculty, and staff have shown to bring about another record enrollment. I'm looking forward to a great year.” Magnolia and the surrounding communities are also excited about SAU. The day before classes started on August 23, the second annual Blue and Gold Day brought together campus and community members in downtown Magnolia. New and returning students were welcomed to town as merchants offered discounts and giveaways, and there was music, a fashion show, a performance by the Mulerider Marching Band, food and fun. SAU’s steady enrollment growth over the past several years led to construction of two additional campus residence halls, Columbia and Magnolia Hall. The new Engineering Building, formerly the National Guard Armory, opened just in time for this fall’s semester and a dedication ceremony is set for Oct. 5.  

September 1, 2016

LITTLE ROCK-"We are thrilled to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Miss Arkansas Pageant in our new home, Little Rock and the newly renovated Robinson Center where the 80th Miss Arkansas will be crowned on June 17, 2017," said Jessie Ward Bennett, Miss Arkansas Pageant Executive Director. "We look forward to developing a long-term relationship with Little Rock and Central Arkansas. We want the Little Rock metropolitan area to become a part of our annual festivities and celebrate Miss Arkansas year-round."  As Arkansas’s capital city and cultural core, Little Rock is home to a myriad of attractions, including the iconic Robinson Center, the pageant’s new home. This 1939 historic landmark is closing in on a 28-month, $70-million-dollar renovation and expansion. The integrity of the exterior has been preserved, while the interior will boast a new state-of-the-art performance hall, and a new conference center addition with an outdoor terrace overlooking the scenic Arkansas River.  "As Little Rock becomes the host of this popular annual event, LRCVB looks to forge a long-lasting partnership with pageant representatives as we plan to showcase the city to its contestants, and their family and friends," said LRCVB President & CEO, Gretchen Hall. "In the coming days, Robinson Center will soon be a world-class facility, and that has helped attract this world-class event," she added.  "We are thrilled to have this opportunity to host the Miss Arkansas Pageant," said Little Rock Mayor, Mark Stodola. "This organization represents the very best of our state. As a nationwide leader in educational scholarships, it is a testament to the commitment and investment in our 2 future leaders," he added. "I’m confident these women will embrace our city and all we have to offer." "We are extremely grateful for the long tenure in which the Miss Arkansas Pageant was held in Hot Springs. Multiple generations of Arkansans have collectively seen fifty-eight women crowned Miss Arkansas in Hot Springs, two of whom subsequently became Miss America," said Bennett. "As one of those fifty-eight women, I have a special place in my heart for the Hot Springs-based organization that provided unbelievable opportunities to me. However, we have been faced with tighter restrictions for the past few years with regard to the Miss America competition. We had to move the pageant to an early to mid-June timeframe, and scheduling conflicts prevented us from remaining in Hot Springs," she added.  The 2017 Miss Arkansas Pageant will be held at Robinson Center in June. The adjoining Doubletree Hotel, going through its own multi-million-dollar renovation, will serve as the host hotel for contestants and pageant officials. The LRCVB is already working to develop a week-long plan of engaging experiences for contestants during their stay.

LITTLE ROCK-When a 12 year old boy wrote to the Make-A-Wish Foundation about his dream of smashing rocks to find diamonds, it was obvious where that wish could be granted – Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Today, Timothy Benusic  visited the park with his dad, two grandparents, and eight-year-old brother.  After a little looking this morning he found what he was looking for – a real diamond! See the attached picture for his fantastic reaction.
Park Background
Crater of Diamonds offers park visitors a one-of-a-kind experience—the adventure of hunting for real diamonds. You’ll search over a 37 ½-acre plowed field that is the eroded surface of the world's eighth largest diamond-bearing volcanic crater. If you find a diamond, it is yours to keep.  Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The three colors found here at the park are white, brown, and yellow, in that order. Park staff at the Diamond Discovery Center provide free identification and certification of diamonds found here. Amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, quartz, and more rocks and minerals may also be found at the Crater of Diamonds, making the park a rock hound’s paradise. 

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas voters will have the chance to vote for or against two medical marijuana amendments this election day. The secretary of state's office certified the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment Wednesday after supporters collected enough valid signatures. It joins the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act on the November ballot. If both of these issues pass, the one that gets more votes takes effect. Here are some of the differences between the two:

  • The Medical Marijuana Amendment would allow doctors to recommend marijuana for 15 qualifying conditions. 
  • The Medical Cannabis Act would allow for 56.
  • The Medical Marijuana Amendment would establish 40 for-profit dispensaries and eight grow centers that are regulated by a marijuana commission appointed by the governor and state legislature. 
  • The Medical Cannabis Act would open a minimum of 39 nonprofit dispensaries and grow centers that would be regulated by the Arkansas Department of Health
  • The Medical Marijuana Amendment prohibits at-home growing. 
  • The Medical Cannabis Act allows it. 
"You don't make your own Penicillin, you buy it at your pharmacy," said David Couch, the attorney behind the Medical Marijuana Amendment. "It's the same thing with respect to medical marijuana." "Are there people that may abuse it? Are there people who abuse opioids, chocolate, authority? Yes," said Melissa Fults who's behind the Medical Cannabis Act. "But are you going to throw out all the chocolate, all the authority, all the medications, everything just because someone might abuse it?" The Medical Cannabis Act also requires that all sales tax revenue goes back into the medical marijuana program. The Medical Marijuana Amendment requires only ten percent of the sales tax revenue to go back into the program, while 50 percent would go into the state's Vocational and Technical Training Special Revenue fund, 30 percent into the state's General Fund and the final 10 percent into the Skills Development Fund.  However, the one thing the two pushing the initiatives can agree on is Arkansans need medical marijuana. "They shouldn't have to break the law to take care of somebody," Couch said. "It may make the difference between them living and dying," Fults said. Plenty of opposition remains to the legalization of medical marijuana in the Natural State.  An advocacy group calling itself "Arkansans against Legalized Marijuana" filed a lawsuit last week against the Medical Cannabis Act, saying it isn't specific enough when it comes to who qualifies for medical marijuana use.  There's no word yet whether they also plan to challenge the Medical
Marijuana Amendment.

PINE BLUFF- According to reports, a man has died after being hit by a pickup truck while he was crossing a road. It happened shortly after 4 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of Hwy. 65B (Martha Mitchell Expressway) and University Avenue. The Pine Bluff Police Department identifies the victim as Kerry Mooney, 33, of White Hall. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A police news release stated that the driver of the 2006 Chevrolet Colorado that hit the man said he did not see him before impact. According to officials, Mooney was wearing dark clothing and was more than 30 feet away from the designated crosswalk. Police say the driver was released at the scene and there's no indication that any charges will be filed against them.

August 25, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - According to the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), the number of travel-related Zika cases in Arkansas is now at 12. Spokeswoman Meg Milival said the two new cases this week are both associated with travel to Central America. There have been no reports of Zika locally transmitted by mosquitoes within Arkansas so far, but the ADH recommends taking precautions. Pregnant women are most at risk for complications from the Zika virus because serious birth defects can occur in children born to women who are infected with the virus. The Centers for Disease Control has issued travel guidance for women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant. 

ASHLEY COUNTY-The Ashley County Sheriff's Office said  authorities are looking for two Arkansas men in connection with an animal cruelty case that happened in Louisiana. According to officials authorities are searching for Boots Stanley and Steven Sadler after a video surfaced on social media showing a man abusing a dog. The video shows the man with a dog, and the dog has a collar with a rope around its neck. The man is also seen putting the dog on the back of a horse, as well as taking a knife to the dogs throat. Ashley County sheriff officials said the men live in the county, but the video shows an incident that happened in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. Law enforcement agencies in both Arkansas and Louisiana are searching for Stanley and Sadler. The Ashley County Sheriff's Department posted the following on their Facebook page: "We are aware of the video of the dog. Please hold your calls on this video to the Sheriff's Office we are having to deal with other calls as well. The incident actually happened in Morehouse Parish as we are assisting them with this and is being investigated."

MAGNOLIA-Earlier this month, Mary Alice Cole, received the news of a lifetime – she will serve as Arkansas' 2016-2017 state 4-H president, becoming the first Izard Countian to be elected to the post. Cole previously served as one of the 2015-2016 Arkansas 4-H State Officers-at-Large. She said she learned what it takes to serve as the state president by watching fellow state officer and outgoing president, Travis Clark, through 2015-2016 year. “I am so honored to have been given the opportunity to serve Arkansas 4-H this year as president,” Cole said. “Throughout this year I hope to be able to reach and inspire 4-Her's all across the state. I can not wait to grow as a 4-Her through this year!"

Cole started in 4-H six years ago with the poultry chain project, not knowing what all to expect. She has spent the next years showing livestock at various events, doing community service, counseling county and state camps, talked to various organizations about what 4-H offers, and has traveled all across the nation. The last 4-H state officer to come from Izard County was elected in 1959. Cole said she is honored to represent not only her county but also Arkansas 4-H as well. Cole will be attending Southern Arkansas University this fall, with plans to major in animal science and a minor in digital photography and film. In addition, Taylor McNeal of Vilonia, another SAU student, is the current national president of the FFA.
Cole will be serving with these state 4-H officers at large: Cheyenne Gilliam from Independence County, Sara Toll from Prairie County, and Lane Fritch from Benton County. Ethan Parker from Benton County was inducted as Ozark District vice president, Mallory Perkins from Lonoke County was inducted as Delta District vice president, and Olivia McClure from Saline County was inducted as Ouachita District vice president. The State 4-H Officer adviser Angie Freel, an instructor with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said she is “looking forward to my second year as state 4-H adviser, and watching them grow and develop into the leaders I know they can be." Throughout this year the State Officers will be planning, and facilitating different activities. The state officers will also represent Arkansas 4-H throughout the year at various events such as the Agriculture Hall of Fame. Be sure and visit or contact your county extension office, for additional information.

LITTLE ROCK (News release)-The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission passed a package of 14 new fisheries regulations for 2017 at its Aug. 18 meeting. The following regulations were distributed for public comment in May and officially proposed at the Commission’s July meeting. They will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017.

• Implement a 10-inch minimum length on crappie at Lake Atkins;

• Replace 3-fish daily creel limit on striped bass in Lake Greeson with the statewide daily limit of 6 fish;

• Remove the ½ daily creel limit restriction on Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois d’Arc Lake for all game fish except crappie;

• Clarify the need for a commercial license to sell wild-caught fish;

• Clarify the definition of “snagging” in the AGFC code book;

• Clarify snagging regulations;

• Clarify that game fish may not be possessed while gigging;

• Implement a 14- to 17-inch protected slot limit with a daily creel of 10 fish, one of which may be over 17 inches, for largemouth bass on Mallard Lake;

• Move Dr. James E. Moore Camp Robinson Firing Range pond from Family Fishing Program rules to Community Fishing Program rules;

• Remove Landers Lake from the Family Fishing Program;

• Close commercial harvest of species of greatest conservation need outlined in Arkansas’s State Wildlife Action Plan (available at Those now prohibited include: lake sturgeon, American eel, striped mullet, highfin carpsucker, pealip redhorse, and silver redhorse.

• Close a portion of the White River from Newport Access to Jacksonport Access to commercial fishing for paddlefish and sturgeon;

• Implement a 15- to 18-inch protected slot limit with a creel limit of 10 fish, only one of which may be larger than 18 inches, for largemouth bass on Lower White Oak Lake, and

• Simplify the Commercial Facility Operator’s License by having one Commercial Boat Dock Permit with an annual cost of $25 on any commercially licensed facilities on Commission property. In other business, the Commission:

• Approved the removal of obsolete, damaged and unusable inventory with an original value of $851,761 and a current net book value of $15,986.

• Approved a request granting surplus boating equipment to Diamond City Police Department for the development of an emergency response program.

• Approved a quarterly update to the agency’s Capital Asset Master List to modify capital asset expenditures and meet emerging needs for Fiscal Year 2017.

• Authorized AGFC Director Jeff Crow to convey a small portion of land surrounding Harris Brake Lake in Perry County to resolve an encroachment issue on AGFC property.

• Authorized Crow to accept a land donation at Johnston Eddy on the Current River in Randolph County for future expansion of a parking lot at the neighboring AGFC boating access.

• Tabled a proposal from Wildlife Management Division staff to restrict the movement of live cervids from captive breeding facilities within the CWD management zone until the next regulations cycle, after sufficient data has been collected from CWD tests taken during hunter-harvested samples in the 2016-17 deer season.

August 23, 2016

MAGNOLIA-On Monday, a single-vehicle accident on U.S. 371 in Taylor about 12:45 p.m., killed a driver and injured her passenger. According to a preliminary Arkansas State Police report, Betty J. Palmer, 82, of Springhill, LA was driving a 1998 model Mercury south on the highway when the car left the roadway, collided with a culvert, went airborne and then struck a tree.

LITTLE ROCK, (News release) – After being closed for most of the summer for the installation of world-class grass, War Memorial Golf Course will reopen Friday, Aug. 26. The grass on the putting green and holes 1 -18 was converted to Champion Ultradwarf Bermudagrass. In addition, contours on some greens were modified to compensate for the increased green speeds from the new grass type. “We are excited to welcome back our loyal customers and are confident this renovation will be enjoyed by all who come to play. I applaud the staff for their hard work and dedication to getting the task done and I thank our patrons for their patience. Welcome back to War Memorial Golf Course!” said Truman Tolefree, Director of Little Rock Parks & Recreation. With the exception of greens 13 and 14, which were relocated in 2010, the 90-acre golf course hadn’t received any improvements in more than 20 years. The upgrades postponed the Fourth of July Golf Tournament held each year at War Memorial. The tournament is being rescheduled to Sept. 5 this year. To register a team for the tournament, contact Bob Baker at (501) 663-0854.

The Obamacare Tax Relief and Consumer Choice Act, introduced last month by Republican senators, would suspend Obamacare’s individual mandate when health insurance premiums rise.
Sens. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), John McCain (R., Ariz.), James Lankford (R., Okla.), Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), and Richard Burr (R., N.C.) introduced the bill at a time when major insurers such as Aetna and UnitedHealth have announced they will cut participation in the Obamacare exchanges. Insurers participating in Obamacare are requesting an average national rate increase of 23.9 percent. Obamacare’s individual mandate requires individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS. In 2016, uninsured individuals must pay either 2.5 percent of their family income or a flat fee of $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, whichever is greater. The bill would suspend this penalty under two circumstances. The mandate would no longer apply to residents in states where health insurance premiums have increased by 10 percent or more on average. The mandate also would not apply to individuals who cannot afford the deductible of available health care plays, under Obamacare’s current definition of affordability. “Because these deductibles are so high, especially the bronze plans, this would essentially exempt everyone making less than close to $100,000 dollars regardless of whether premiums went up in your state or not, the deductible would be a huge exemption from the mandate,” said a Senate aide who is familiar with the bill. The bill would also remove Obamacare restrictions on health savings accounts, removing Obamacare’s 20 percent tax on the accounts and allowing them to be used to cover over-the counter drug and medical costs. “Obamacare stripped away a valuable tool that patients all across our country came to depend on—health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts,” Lankford said in a press release. “These valuable tools are used by people all across our nation to help with the cost of high deductibles, co-pays and other out-of-pocket medical expenses using tax-free dollars. This bill repeals these harmful Obamacare provisions, and restores the full ability for Americans to utilize these valuable savings and spending health care accounts.” Americans have fewer health insurance choices now that some insurers have announced they are exiting Obamacare. When Aetna exits the exchanges next year, residents of Pinal County, Arizona will be left without a single insurer offering coverage. The bill would help uninsured residents of this county, who would otherwise be forced to pay the Obamacare penalty. “Just last week, Aetna became the latest major health insurer to exit the marketplace, which makes Pinal County, Arizona the first in the country to have zero options when it comes to Obamacare’s marketplace,” said McCain, who represents the state. “Our legislation would provide relief to Arizonans and Americans across the country who have been hit the hardest by out-of-control health care costs under Obamacare.” “Arizonans shouldn’t be forced by the government to pay potentially thousands of dollars for something the Obama administration and congressional Democrats have made increasingly unaffordable,” McCain said. “From the start, Obamacare has been the wrong solution to fixing our nation’s health care system, and has left our citizens with less freedom, reduced access, and decreased quality of care,” McCain said. “Now we are seeing the consequences: premiums are skyrocketing, insurance companies are facing massive losses, co-ops are going under leaving thousands of Arizonans out-to-dry, and citizens are facing higher health care costs for decreased quality of care and fewer choices.” The bill will be voted on this fall, according to the Senate aide.

LITTLE ROCK - According to reports, Arkansas’ governor and attorney general hailed Monday a ruling by a federal judge in Texas that blocked enforcement of federal guidelines on transgender bathroom access in public schools. Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas issued a nationwide injunction Sunday night temporarily barring federal agencies from taking action against states that do not follow the government’s guidance, issued in May, advising public schools to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. President Barack Obama’s administration has threatened to withhold federal funding from schools that do not follow the guidance. O’Connor barred enforcement of the guidance while a lawsuit by Texas and a dozen other states proceeds. O’Connor, an appointee of George W. Bush, said that the guidance contradicts existing laws and regulations, the states did not receive enough notice and time to comment, and the plaintiffs are likely to win on the merits of the case. Arkansas has joined with Nebraska and eight other states in a separate lawsuit challenging the guidance. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson previously advised Arkansas public schools to disregard the directive. Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said Monday, “The governor is pleased with the judge’s ruling. He hasn’t had a chance to review the specifics of it yet but will do so soon.” Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement, “The administration’s intimidation of local school districts with a federal directive that unlawfully ignores the role of Congress has forced half of the states in the nation to stand up against this radical social agenda. I am pleased that the district court in Texas has acted to protect districts across the country while the full legality of this policy is determined. I am confident it will be determined that the Obama administration once again overstepped in its attempt to rewrite law.” The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Transgender Law Center and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, which previously joined in a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the guidance in the case in the Texas federal court, said in a statement Monday: “A ruling by a single judge in one circuit cannot and does not undo the years of clear legal precedent nationwide establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination. … We will continue to file lawsuits representing transgender students and litigate them to the fullest extent of the law — regardless of what happens with this particular federal guidance.” Hutchinson and some Arkansas state legislators have said they expect bathroom access in public schools to be an issue in the legislative session that begins in January.

August 18, 2016

CAMDEN-Endorsement of Trent Garner for the Arkansas State Senate, District 27...“It is a great honor to receive the endorsement of the National Defense PAC in my election for the Arkansas State Senate,” said Garner. “I am the right leader to take Arkansas in a new direction. I know in order to lead, you have to know how to serve. I had the privilege to serve my country as a Special Forces Green Beret. I want to take that same service to the Statehouse when I am elected. I will be a strong voice to the nearly 250,000 veterans who live in Arkansas, working every day to fulfill our commitment to them and to protect their rights. I will work hard to create good paying jobs for those veterans by applying free-market, conservative principles to grow our economy.”

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general, urging the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals to strike down a restrictive and unlawful firearm law put in place by the Washington D.C. City Council. The District refuses to issue a public-carry license to any law-abiding citizen unless the District believes, on a case-by-case basis, that a citizen has “good reason to fear injury.” The attorneys general believe that such a scheme makes it almost impossible for a normal citizen to obtain a license to carry a firearm, thus infringes the Second Amendment, and does nothing to improve public safety. The attorneys general write in the brief that “the challenged regulation represents a policy choice that is foreclosed by the Second Amendment. Amici states are concerned that upholding the challenged regulation would rest on an erroneous construction of the United States Constitution and would infringe on individual rights. While states may enact reasonable firearm regulations that are substantially related to the achievement of an important governmental interest, the challenged regulation does nothing to improve public safety and instead may be counterproductive.”
 “It is not my role, nor is it my intent, to interfere with local policy choices, but I have a duty to speak out when law-abiding citizens are having their Second Amendment rights trampled,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The District, like Arkansas, is entitled to create permitting laws consistent with the Constitution, but this law goes far beyond that. It requires citizens to have and prove a special reason to exercise their right to bear a firearm. The permitting scheme is being applied to prevent the large majority of D.C. citizens from lawfully carrying a weapon.” Led by Arizona, Rutledge is joined in the brief by attorneys general from Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

BRINKLEY- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded nearly a half million dollars to an east Arkansas project aimed at supporting new farmers and ranchers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $17.8 million for 37 projects on Wednesday as part of the USDA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The USDA says the average age of the American farmer is 58 years old, so the agency recognizes the need to recruit the next generation of farmers. The Arkansas Land and Community Development Corporation in Brinkley received $481,080 in funding. The program aims to recruit 120 farmers and ranchers who are socially disadvantaged or have limited resources to become successful growers of produce. Organizers say the program will have a positive economic impact on the community.

MAGNOLIA-Kinsey Watkins of Guy, Ark., said she has found what she was looking for at Southern Arkansas University – that “home away from home” feeling. Watkins will be a freshman this year but comes to SAU already familiar with the University and with a prestigious title: 2016-2017 state president of the Arkansas FFA (Future Farmers of America). She joins other recent high-ranking FFA officers who chose SAU, including Taylor McNeel, who like Watkins came to SAU as state FFA president and who last year was elected national president of FFA. McNeel is presently a senior. Watkins was elected to her position on June 3 during the 89th Arkansas FFA State Convention at Camp Couchdale in Hot Springs. A lifetime in agriculture led her to pursue her academic and career goals. She will major in Agriculture Business/Animal Science and intends to make the field her life’s work. Watkins, who is 18, has always held herself to a higher standard in FFA as well as at school and in her community. Helping feed a growing world population is one reason she wants to devote her life to agriculture. “People will always need food and shelter. Those are the major (aspects) of agriculture, and this is what I want to do,” she said. Expanding technologies are another reason she feels so strongly about agriculture. “It’s ever-changing,” she said of technology, “and with the population growing so rapidly, we need to promote these new technologies and let people see how they will feed the world.” “There needs to be a more positive perception of agriculture,” she said. “There are some misconceptions but we need to hone in on the positive aspects and keep pushing for those. I want to be able to advocate for the industry throughout Arkansas and across the nation, as much as possible.” Her personal connection to McNeel helped her decide to seek state office.“We grew up in Faulkner County,” Watkins said of McNeel. “We showed (livestock) at the same county fair. She’s always been a mentor to me. When she became FFA state president, I attended some of her leadership camps, and it was just seeing her influence others that sparked my interest in running.” “Just seeing how state officers connected with me and other Arkansas FFA members really stood out. On the way home, I told my ag-teacher that becoming a state officer was something I wanted to do. I wanted to be that model for members across the state, someone they could talk to.” “I know that becoming a state officer is a privilege, but my main goal was to become the state president,” she said. Watkins said she always enjoyed being involved in activities at Guy-Perkins and looked for leadership positions. “Whenever we would go to competitions or other leadership camps, I was someone my fellow chapter members looked up to. I enjoyed being that person,” she said of serving as chapter FFA president at Guy-Perkins. Participating in community service also gives her a feeling of satisfaction. “You know ahead of time that you might not receive anything in return,” she said of such projects. “You leave with satisfaction knowing that you helped someone or a group of people.” Leadership training helped her gain a sense of perspective. “You learn about yourself – your strengths and weaknesses, what you’re bringing to the team,” she said. “You learn how to come together and build upon each other to serve Arkansas FFA members to the fullest.” She said she learned that one of her own strengths was “being reliable. I know that when I commit, I’m willing to go full-force.” As state president, she said she will “travel across Arkansas, meet industry representatives and go to conferences.” Already she has traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the National FFA State Presidents’ Conference, which was held July 25-29. “We were able to see some of the sights of Washington, D.C. and learn what is coming up at this year’s national conference, which will be held in Indianapolis. I will serve as group-discussion leader on a committee at that conference in October.” Regarding SAU, she said, “I grew up showing livestock, so I’ve been here before. I know the campus very well and I have a lot of stock-show family here. When I came to tour, I thought, ‘This is an option,’ but when I arrived here, and people knew me by name, that was very comforting.” “I had a meeting with Dr. Berry in his office. I talked to him for a good 20 minutes, and that stood out. Being able to meet the president … meant a lot to me,” she said, noting that she “felt really good” about receiving a Foundation scholarship from the University. She said she’s heard nothing but positive things about the agriculture program at SAU. “That really got me interested in coming here.” “When I toured, I met a lot of the agriculture professors and that was another reason I felt comfortable with SAU – having one-on-one conversations with them. They were honest with me about what SAU has to offer. That was great,” she said. “I actually met with Rusty Hayes (who) I knew before my tour. He showed me the Farm, and I’m excited about getting involved in the sheep barn – I have a passion for that.” She said her parents, Mitchell and Diana, are excited about SAU. “They saw how excited I was. It’s like my home away from home. I wanted something that would be comfortable and my parents knew it was just that for me.” She credits her parents with introducing her to the world of agriculture. “Throughout my life, I’ve always been in the agriculture scene. I started showing livestock when I was five years old. I showed cattle, broilers, market goats and lambs.” “The most exciting part of showing livestock was when I got to run a jackpot series through the Arkansas Junior Sheep Council. I would go every weekend in the summer to livestock shows across the state. I developed a stock-show family just by doing this. Not only did the council allow me to do this series but to also hone my leadership skills. I was able to serve as president of the association for two years in a row.” Watkins’ resume contains many impressive honors, such as Rotary Club Outstanding 9th Grader; first place 4-H Public Speaker; FBLA first place Public Speaker; FFA National Delegate; and a National Bronze award in Sheep Production. As a Conway Outstanding Business Woman, she was “inspired to know that being a woman doesn’t stop you from doing something big in the business world.” She has ranked at or near the top in a variety of other achievements, including academic awards in science, math, English and agriculture; premier livestock exhibitor; Girls State Qualifier and Outstanding Senior 4-H member. She has also volunteered in numerous community service projects. In addition to serving as chapter FFA president at Guy-Perkins High School, she also served as Future Business Leaders of America vice-president, Beta secretary, Student Council vice-president, 4-H president and class president from 7th-12th grade. She was also the 2015-2016 Arkansas Junior Sheep Council president.

HOT SPRINGS-A Hot Springs couple is in jail, accused of zip tying a four year old girl. Police responded Friday to a call from the Department of Human Services about the child.  DHS called police after the found signs of physical abuse on the little girl. The police affidavit noted that DHS reported bruising, a blackened eye, swollen cheek, scars, and ligature marks on the child. Jennifer Denen, 30, and Denen's live in boyfriend, Clarence Reed, 47, were arrested.  The couple is facing several charges including endangering the welfare of a minor and permitting abuse of a minor. The police affidavit showed that Reed admitted to zip tying the child to a bed after he found her climbing on cabinets.  Another child in the house told DHS that the couple referred to the child as "idiot" instead of using her name. As of Tuesday Denen and Reed remained in the Garland County jail on $500,000 bond.


August 11, 2016

TEXARKANA- According to reports, earlier this week, Texarkana officers responded to report of a physical alteration between two women. Officers assigned to the uniform portal division were called to an apartment complex located at 3302 Washington Street to investigate a domestic dispute over a man. The incident is said to have happened on August 9th, around 7:00 pm. As the dispute unfolded, one of the women involve contacted her family from Shreveport, Louisiana to arrange transport from the scene.  When her family members arrived around 9:35 p.m., the dispute resumed, and two individuals--whom officers suspect were family members of one of the dispute's participants--exited the vehicle armed with unknown types of firearms and fired multiple rounds of ammunition at the crowd that had gathered at the scene.  As a result, two people were struck by bullets and were treated and released from the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  The case remains under investigation. 

MAGNOLIA-On Monday, the Magnolia Police Department began an investigation into theft from a local bank. Shantia Leshae Henderson, 27, of Magnolia, was identified as a suspect and arrested the following day. She is charged with theft of property over $25,000. Her bond was set at $50,000. Henderson is awaiting a first court appearance hearing.

CAMDEN-According to a press release, the Camden Fairview School District, is collaborating with K-12 Culinary Connection for the 2016-2017 school year. The goal for this year, is to give the students restaurant quality food and healthier options on a daily basis. During August, the cafeteria employees will be learning new recipes and cooking techniques. By the second week in September, Camden Fairview will launch the new program and increase the amount of choices for all schools. The school district is brining over 1,000 new recipes to sample and enjoy. Some of the new recipes include made from scratch pizza, orange chicken and fried rice, homemade meatloaf, chicken enchiladas, as well as some of the school favorites you know and love.

SEBASTIAN COUNTY-According to reports, a search is underway for a police dog that went missing after a man fired shots from a rural home, killing one law enforcement officer and wounding another Wednesday morning. The Greenwood Police Department (GPD) says K-9 Kina was inside a patrol car at the scene when the gunman fired on it. They say some blood was found in the car and the extent of her injuries is uncertain. Officials say Kina was wearing a bulletproof vest when she escaped. The GPD reported on its Facebook page shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday that there had been a possible sighting of Kina. Search crews are out in a field off Hwy. 253 near where the shootings took place. Volunteers are welcome to help in the search. The GPD says they should be in decent physical shape as the terrain in the area is demanding. They should also be hydrated, and wearing appropriate clothing for such activity.

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY-Three Arkansas State University students were reported missing in a cave near Batesville. According to university spokesperson Regina Bowman, the wife of one of the students reported them missing Wednesday evening.  She said her husband, a senior at ASU, was leading the group on a spelunking trip in the Batesville cave system in Independence County. The other two students are said to be incoming first-year students from Japan.  A search and rescue mission is underway. The names of those missing are:
- Casey Sherwood
- Daiki Itoh
- Daisuke Takagi
As of Thursday morning, no photos have been released.
Acting ASU chancellor Lynita Cooksey said, “We are praying for both the searchers and our students who are missing.  Arkansas State is between semesters, and many of our students go out to explore the surrounding nature areas.  Our UPD, Academic Affairs and Student Services personnel are supporting the Independence County Sherriff with information and photographs of the students.”

August 8, 2016

One person died this morning in a collision along the eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 at the eight mile marker near the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department Weight Station at Alma.  Injured in the crash was Arkansas State Trooper First Class Roy Moomey, 41, of Van Buren. At approximately 3:35 AM today (August 8, 2016), State Police received information of a vehicle traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of traffic. Trooper Moomey was dispatched to the area where his patrol car was struck by the vehicle being driven in the wrong direction. An investigation of the crash is underway.  State Troopers are currently working to identify the deceased driver. Trooper Moomey is reported to be in serious, but stable condition.  Trooper Moomey is a six year veteran of the Arkansas State Police.

LITTLE ROCK  (News Release) - According to a press release, Tyson Foods, Inc. has presented Arkansas Tech University with a $67,760 grant that will allow the institution to fight hunger within its own population. The grant will assist in the creation of the Green and Gold Cupboard. The new pantry will provide access to meals for Arkansas Tech students, faculty members and staff members facing food insecurity, which is defined as lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Because We Can, a registered student organization at Arkansas Tech, led the grant application process. Faculty members Dr. Sean Huss and Dr. James Stobaugh from the Arkansas Tech Department of Behavioral Sciences serve as co-sponsors for Because We Can. “Hunger on university campuses is an unseen need,” said Huss. “We’re still assessing the level of need at Arkansas Tech, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that this is an issue for the Tech family. With assistance provided by the grant from Tyson, our Because We Can students are prepared to further study food insecurity on campus and how they can play a role in helping those in need.” One of the next steps in Because We Can’s fight against food insecurity at Arkansas Tech will be a campus survey during the fall 2016 semester. The survey will seek to determine what percentage of the campus population is food insecure. “We are hoping for an open and honest response to the survey,” said Stobaugh. “This project is one step closer in building a coalition to target hunger in our region. Because We Can also sponsors The Campus Kitchens Project at Arkansas Tech, a food recovery program that provides for community members in need. Because We Can recovered and distributed 4.5 tons of meals to the food insecure in the Arkansas River Valley during the spring 2016 semester.  “We’re proud to help bring a unique model combining food recovery and hunger relief to Arkansas Tech,” said Pat Bourke, program manager, corporate social responsibility for Tyson Foods. “This is a great opportunity to engage students in a project that truly makes a difference while helping spread awareness about food insecurity.” Arkansas Tech was the first educational institution in Arkansas and the 50th in the nation to join The Campus Kitchens Project.

MAGNOLIA-With the fall season approaching, and Arkansas hunters and outdoors lovers heading to the woods to prepare food plots or enjoy a hike, it’s also time to keep a lookout for tiny critters that can cause big problems. Ticks, often smaller than a millimeter or two, are waiting on low-growing plants to latch onto a passerby. The host may be an animal, but a tick also can secure itself to a person’s clothes and eventually find its way to the skin. From there, it cuts into the skin’s surface and begins to feed. There’s no pain or itching, because ticks secrete small amounts of saliva with anesthetic properties, so that a person or animal can’t feel its presence. That saliva also can carry pathogens that cause spotted fever disease (a grouping that include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever), ehrlichiosis, tularemia and other illnesses that could lead to hospitalization or worse if not promptly treated. According to the Arkansas Department of Health, which obtains reports from clinics who diagnose the tick bites, says there were 1,129 confirmed or probable cases reported in 2015, up seven cases from 2014. Spotted fever made up 79.3 percent of the 2015 tick-borne disease cases, and ehrlichiosis accounted for 17 percent. Tularemia and anaplasmosis made up the remaining 3.7 percent of cases. The ADH reported 16 deaths have been caused by tick-borne disease in Arkansas since 2012. According to the ADH, many varieties of ticks are found throughout the world, but only a few bite and can transmit disease to humans. Arkansans should be most concerned with the American dog tick, the blacklegged tick (commonly called the “deer tick”), the brown dog tick, the Gulf Coast tick and the lone star tick. The American dog tick is most responsible for the spread of spotted fever. The blacklegged tick (or “deer tick”) can transmit organisms responsible for anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Lyme disease. However, according to the ADH, it is important to note that the pathogen that causes Lyme disease is maintained by wild rodents and other small animals, and is not transmitted everywhere that the blacklegged tick lives. In some regions, particularly in the southern U.S., the blacklegged tick has different feeding habits that make it an unlikely vector in the spread of human disease. “While we don’t identify Lyme as a predominant disease in Arkansas, we do have some of the country’s highest levels of tick-borne diseases, and you need to prevent tick bites all the time,” said Dr. Susan Weinstein, the State Public Health Veterinarian. “Ticks are serious and carry serious diseases. We do have the highest level of tularemia. We are one of the highest for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. So, there really is cause for concern.” A 2014 report authored by Weinstein and Richard Taffner, the ADH’s Zoonotic Disease epidemiologist, also revealed that 41 percent of all the state’s reported cases of tick-borne disease that year originated in northwest Arkansas, 22 percent came from central Arkansas and 21 percent came from northeast Arkansas. While more cases were reported in May, June and July than other months, August and September also topped 120 reported cases, and October and November figures were above a four-year mean (2011-2014). Weinstein suggests hunters take precautions before a tick gets in a bite. “One of the best products out there is DEET,” she said. “It does a fairly good job of preventing ticks. Many hunters treat their clothing with Permethrin sprays to repel ticks. Tuck your pants leg down inside your socks and boots so ticks can’t crawl up you as easily. And do a tick check regularly as soon as you get back home.” The ADH recommends a tick be removed from the skin as soon as possible because disease will not transmit until the tick has been attached for several hours. To remove a tick, follow these steps:
-- Use clean, fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
-- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If the mouth cannot be easily removed with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
-- After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and wash your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
The Department of Health also urges avoiding home remedies, such as “painting” the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick come off. The goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible; don’t wait for the tick to let go. People who develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick should see a doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about the recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where the tick mostly likely was acquired.

August 5, 2016

LITTLE ROCK—The State Review Board of the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program nominated 14 Arkansas  properties—including the Green Cemetery near Stephens in Ouachita County—to the National Register of Historic Places when it met August 3, AHPP Director Frances McSwain announced today. The board also listed the Seminary Cemetery near Stephens in Ouachita County for listing on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places. The Arkansas Register recognizes historically noteworthy places that are not eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Green Cemetery is located about two miles northwest of Stephens.“The cemetery includes four generations of the Green family of southern Ouachita County,” the National Register nomination says. “The earliest dated burial is that of family patriarch Simon Green, who died in 1853.  The burial of Estelle Green could also have been an early grave, however the death date has been rendered illegible by weathering and no historic documents have been found for her date of death. The latest death date recorded in the cemetery is found on the gravestone of Elizabeth A. Green, who passed away on July 7, 1913.” The Seminary Cemetery is located about four miles northeast of Stephens.“The Seminary Cemetery includes between fifty and sixty identifiable headstones,” according to the Arkansas Register nomination. “Today, a few of these headstones have been lost due to overgrowth, damage and theft.  The headstones mostly date from the late 19th century, while a few modern headstones with machine cut names and dates have been added to mark graves without headstones sometime in the mid-20th century.  The carved or incised headstones are all composed of granite, marble or concrete.  There are also several field stones scattered across the cemetery that mark unknown graves.” Other properties nominated to the National Register are Hill Wheatley Downtowner Motor Inn at Hot Springs in Garland County, Memorial Lodge near Royal in Garland County, Mount Nebo State Park Cabins 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65 and Mount Nebo State Park Cabins Historic District near Dardanelle in Yell County, McNair House at Fayetteville in Washington County, Stebbins & Roberts Office Building and Factory at Little Rock in Pulaski County and Wilson Commercial Historic District and Wilson Residential Commercial District at Wilson in Mississippi County. The board also listed the Southwestern Proving Ground Telephone Exchange Building near Hope in Hempstead County, Wilson Hartsfield House near Magnolia in Columbia County and Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church at Crawfordsville in Crittenden County on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places. For more information on the National Register of Historic Places program, write the AHPP at 1500 Tower Building, 323 Center St., Little Rock, AR 72201, call the agency at (501) 324-9880 [TDD 501-324-9811], send e-mail to or visit The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency that identifies, evaluates, registers and preserves the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Delta Cultural Center, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.

TEXARKANA-According to reports, a Texarkana man is dead killed and two others are hurt after a two-vehicle accident in Deep East Texas. According to DPS, at about 9 a.m., Wednesday Sabine and Shelby County troopers were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash on SH 87, just south of the intersection of SH 21. The preliminary crash investigation reveals a dump truck and trailer were traveling southbound on SH 87 when the driver reportedly drove through a stop sign at SH 21 and drove off the road, hitting an empty parked car in the parking lot of a local convenience store. After the truck hit the car, the driver overcorrected to the left and overturned in the southbound lane of SH 87, and he was thrown from the vehicle. The driver was identified as Jerry Woods, 58, of Texarkana, Arkansas. He was taken to a local hospital in Hemphill where he was pronounced dead. Two other passengers with Woods were taken to a Lufkin hospital. Their condition is unknown at this time. The crash remains under investigation.

MAGNOLIA-Summer commencement ceremonies at Southern Arkansas University are scheduled for 10 a.m. on August 5, 2016, at the W.T. Watson Athletic Center. View the online stream. More graduate students are graduating in this ceremony than undergraduates. A total of 195 candidates from the School of Graduate Studies and 62 undergraduate candidates from SAU’s four academic colleges will be recognized. Dr. Edward P. Kardas, distinguished professor of Psychology and director of the Honors College, will provide the commencement address. Kardas has been working at SAU since 1980. He did his graduate work at Louisiana State University and his undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Baltimore. He has served as the director of the SAU Honors College since 2009. The College serves students with serious academic interests through special classes, student research and extramural educational opportunities. He is married to the former Julie McCuller of Texarkana and they have three children.

MAGNOLIA-Three residents of Magnolia, have been arrested on drug-related charges after officers executed two search warrants on Monday. Several firearms, a large quantity of marijuana and drug paraphernalia were seized when Arkansas State Police, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Magnolia Police Department searched homes at 1022 W. Calhoun and 1022 W. Calhoun and 101 Taylor Road. The three suspects are being held under bond at the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility. The three men were: Kenneth Earl Messer Jr., three counts delivery of a controlled substance marijuana), possession of marijuana with the purpose to deliver, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms. His bond is $375,000. Rebecca Paige Willis, 19, possession of marijuana with the purpose to deliver, simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms. Her bond is $50,400. Rakeem Bernard Parker, 27, possession of marijuana with the purpose to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, maintaining a drug premises. Parker's bond is $50,000.

LITTLE ROCK- According to a recent press release, concerned patients and supporters of the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (AMCA), which has already been certified to appear on the November ballot, are calling on the for-profit group, Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana to forego turning in any remaining signatures on their initiated amendment, inviting them to join their team instead. A new poll released today indicates a clear advantage for the not-for-profit AMCA, but having two medical cannabis initiatives on the ballot could be more challenging. The poll shows broad support for cannabis testing, hardship cultivation, low-income access, and Health Department oversight—and for the ability for rural Arkansas patients, who live far from a dispensary, to cultivate a limited number of plants of their own. While the vast majority (80 percent) of Arkansans support medical cannabis, more voters support the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act (67 percent) than the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment (59 percent). Arkansans for Compassionate Care is holding a news conference with five key patients to publicly ask David Couch, Cheney Pruett and Jason Polk—sponsors and backers of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment—what about their initiative could be worth challenging the success of medical cannabis in the upcoming election. 

July 25, 2016

CAMDEN-According to reports, a BOLO was issued by Union County Sheriff's Department this morning. On July 23, 2016 a clean-cut white male


CAMDEN- The Camden Fire Department, responded to a fully involved structure fire in the 1100 block of Bradley Ferry around 3:45 this morning. According to Fire Chief, Rob Medford, It was technically a county fire, but the CFD are closer and always provide assistance in that area automatically. The CFD provided the initial response and fire attack then turned the scene over to fire district #1. The residents were home at the time, but escaped without injury, however their home is a total loss.


I was in Little Rock at the Arkansas Municipal League Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week. It was a great honor to represent the City of Camden and the people who elected me to office. I will tell you more about the Municipal League in a day or two, but first, I would like to address the Friday, June 17, edition of the Camden News, which I found to be "charged with revelations".

I seldom ever respond publicly to the slings and arrows that have been constantly fired at me since my election to office. They go with the job, but this attack on our City Council, along with myself, was totally ridiculous, and I will not remain silent!   

The Handbook for Arkansas Municipal Officials is the "Bible", if you will, for all elected officials. It lists all of the Arkansas State Statutes, and is updated every couple of years. It also defines the responsibilities of elected officials.

There are 3 branches of government, both nationally and locally:

Legislative: In our case, the City Council. The City Council meets once a month to vote on the legislative matters of the City of Camden.  They oversee city finances, property, and policy through ordinances and resolutions … including the budget, employee handbook, and policies regarding record maintenance/retention.  All council members have equal votes. No council member has more power than any other council member. The City Council has no legal power over any other elected official or over city employees or over citizens.

Judicial: Our Judges – our legal system.

Executive/Administrative: The Mayor is the CEO of the city, who runs the day to day operations of the city according to policy and State Law, within the confines of the annual budget. The Mayor presides over council meetings, and supervises department heads and other city employees/officers.

According to the Camden News, at the Juneteenth Banquet, Rev. Ronald Matheney "urged for people to see beyond race and/or personal agendas to join alongside the Ouachita County Ministerial Alliance for the betterment of the city." He then proceeded to accuse me of racism, compared me to Hitler, and implied that the Camden City Council is guilty of "taking payments so the powers-that-be could turn loopholes into laws", just like during the Holocaust and Apartheid. He also stated that if all I "can talk about is cleaning the streets, you should have stayed at home and cleaned your house," a blatantly sexist remark made in reference to my Economic Development city beautification efforts.

Every day, tax paying, law abiding citizens come into my office or call me on the phone and ask me to do something about a lot or a house in their neighborhood that is an eyesore or a rat infested danger and health risk to their neighborhood. It is the legal duty and the moral responsibility of the Mayor’s Office and the City Council to provide for the quality of life of the citizens of the City of Camden, and I find it quite frustrating that I am so often insulted for trying to do that. Code Enforcement is more than just the "pretty police". It is the right of every citizen to be able to live in a decent neighborhood, and our City Codes provide for that! It has also been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that community appearance is a key ingredient in economic development. Business scouts look at the quality of our schools, the appearance of our city, and the amenities that we have to offer their people. Without those qualifications being met, the jobs will NOT magically appear.

At the June 14th City Council Meeting, the OCMA, as well as Alderman Marvin Moore, brought up the issue of Carnes Park. I explained THEN that before I was elected, the city received a grant to build a splash pad next to the pool, primarily for the smaller children who are too young to enjoy the pool. At the time, there were public hearings held, and the splash pad was approved by the citizens as well as the city council. We are preparing to apply for another grant that will help to build a pavilion right next to the splash pad to provide shade for parties and parents of splashers, if the citizens at public hearings and the city council support it. The previous plan provided for the splash pad to be located at the parking lot end of the pool area. It is actually too big for that spot, so we determined that it would make more sense to move the basketball court and put the splash pad along the side of the pool. It has never been my intention to remove the basketball court, but to relocate it to another spot in the park, and I have said so all along, AND at City Council … only to have the story bent yet again specifically for the purpose of intentionally inspiring resentment.

Also, because so many citizens ask so often for "more to do", I decided to try adding more recreational opportunities to the city parks. We ran an ad for a parks and recreation director, who would be responsible for the team that maintains the parks and cemeteries PLUS create entertainment and recreational opportunities for the public.

Last summer, the pool opened late and closed early and had a lot of issues in between. This is partly because of the condition of the equipment that operates the pool. We have one of the most marvelous public swimming pools in the state of Arkansas. I decided that it needed to be operated this year by the City, through the Parks and Recreation Department in order to have first-hand knowledge of every aspect of the facility and to update it where needed. It is not ADA compliant, which has never been addressed until now. It was not being run in OSHA compliance, which has never been addressed until now. These things were not intentionally being ignored, it was just a victim of "That’s the way we’ve always done it". Well, in my opinion, once you know a thing, you can’t un-know it, so these issues need to be properly addressed. How can we expect a contractor to operate a facility properly with faulty equipment and undertrained staff?

As you likely know, there were issues with the Parks and Recreation project, a new ad was run for a Director, and no one applied for it. The parks department has reverted back to being the parks department, and they are working diligently to do "catch up’ after all of the rains we have had. There is no recreation for the summer, and I’m finishing the pool project myself with the voluntary advice of my son - the CPO, and my husband - the engineer.

The City of Camden is an at-will employer. This means that the City of Camden (the Mayor or a department head) or any City employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason. In the past year and a half, many city employees have come and gone. In my 61 years of life, I have fired one person. I still do not believe that it is appropriate for me to publicly explain why any employee of the City of Camden is no longer employed, whether by resigning, retiring, or termination. No other employer in Camden is expected to do that, nor would it be appropriate. Some people believe that they have the right to publicly smear the reputations of others with lies and half-truths in order to serve some personal or political agenda … I am not one of those people.

For as long as it is the will of the people of the City of Camden, I will continue to spend all day every day doing the best I can to address the needs of those people. I love my job and the City and the people that I serve, and I will continue to do this work regardless of other people’s personal and political agendas, and regardless of baseless accusations made by people who know absolutely nothing about me or how I spend my day. Thank you for electing me and giving me the opportunity to serve you.


June 24, 2016

    (LITTLE ROCK) – Every year Americans hit the road headed for destinations to celebrate the Fourth of July at picnics, parties, parades and many other events.  Unfortunately the celebrating includes drinking alcohol followed by drunk driving on streets and highways during this most heavily traveled holiday period.

   Nationwide there were 397 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2014 over the Fourth of July holiday period that covered five days.  Among those deaths, 164 people (41 percent) died from crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.

   Arkansas law enforcement officers will be out in full force this July 4th holiday cracking down on drunk drivers by aggressively targeting those who put lives in danger.

    “Don’t even think about drinking and driving this Fourth of July, or you risk being arrested,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Arkansas State Police Director and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “The ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign means zero tolerance for drunk driving – no excuses.”

    The crackdown on drunk driving during the coming holiday period will involve state, city and county law enforcement officers devoting additional patrol hours beginning today and continuing through July 4th.  The objective is to minimize the risk of fatalities.

    If you’re caught driving drunk, you will be arrested and the consequences of drunk driving are serious.  Not only do you put your life and the lives of others at risk, but a DWI arrest could result in a court sentence diminishing driving freedom, attorney fees, court fines and a spike in driver insurance rates.

    In every state it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher, yet people continue to break the law and drive drunk.

    The Arkansas Highway Safety Office recommends these simple tips to prevent drunk driving:

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
  • If you have been drinking, call a taxi or someone who is sober to get you home.
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or operate a motorcycle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to their destination safely.


LOWELL, Ark. (AP) - A Lowell man has been arrested after police say he threatened his family and barricaded himself inside his home. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the 40-year-old was arrested Saturday and charged with two counts of third-degree assault on a family member or household member, criminal trespassing and second-degree terroristic threatening. Deputy Keshia Guyll says the man also made verbal threats toward deputies and the SWAT team was called to the scene. Guyll says negotiators were able to convince the man to surrender voluntarily and he was taken into custody. The man was being held Sunday without bond at the Benton County jail. Court records show he is scheduled for a hearing July 26


HOT SPRING COUNTY, Ark. -- Emergency crews responded to a water rescue on the Ouachita River today. According to a witness a woman was trapped in a "hydraulic" near a rock near the River Park Boat Ramp. The witness reports other paddlers freed the woman. We're told by the Malvern Fire Department an off-duty paramedic happened to be in the right place at the right time and was able to pull her to safety and perform CPR. The woman was breaking and conscious when she was taken the hospital.


BENTON,Ark.--Benton Police are looking for a suspect wanted for questioning about an armed robbery at a gas station in Benton. The armed robbery happened at the Kum & Go on 2202 Lincoln Road in Benton around 10 p.m. June 16. Authorities are searching for 29-year-old Michael Cory Williams in connection with the robbery. Williams is described as 5-foot-8 inches tall and about 180 pounds. He is also wanted in connection to three aggravated robberies and several stolen vehicles across Arkansas. Williams could be traveling with 36-year-old Christopher White, who is 6-foot-6 inches tall and about 190 pounds. The suspect of the robbery left the scene in a 2012 to 2014 white Toyota Camry (L or LE model) and headed towards Bryant on the I-30 south service road.


Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado are teaming up to educate, train, and inspire new and future social work practitioners to fill a need for Southwest Arkansas. Representatives from SAU and SouthArk met on July 6 to officially sign three 2+2 transfer agreements – Social Work, Industrial Technology/Mechatronics and Computer Information Technology. These 2+2 agreements will facilitate easy transfer of coursework with no loss of credit and greater affordability. They will begin fall 2016, and are the latest of several collaborations between SAU and SouthArk. Another recent 2+2 option is Criminal Justice, for which students have begun studies in El Dorado before easily transferring to the Magnolia campus to finish their degrees. Similar to the Criminal Justice offering, the Social Work agreement was initiated by awareness of a need in the job market “There is a very low number of licensed social workers in Southwest Arkansas,” said Jennifer Turner, assistant professor of social work at SAU. “According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they anticipate a 12% job growth rate in general for social workers. Therefore, the collaboration between SAU and SouthArk should help dramatically increase the number of social workers in our area." This agreement means that students can complete their first two years of coursework at SouthArk and earn an Associates of Arts degree toward an accredited Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from SAU. An additional advantage is that SAU will begin offering social work classes each semester at the SouthArk campus, according to Dr. Deborah Wilson, department chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Social work classes offered by SouthArk include Intro to Social Work, Social Problems, Intro to Sociology and Abnormal Psychology. Courses to be completed with SAU include Community Service Learning, Cultural Diversity, Research Methods and Field Practicums. “When you become a student in SAU’s Social Work program, you’ll do more than just take classes and complete projects. You’ll become part of a caring family, with experienced faculty members dedicated to helping you develop the skills you need to get you off toward a good start in your career and become a successful social worker,” said Turner. By earning a degree in social work from a university that has been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), students are eligible to apply for leisure through the Arkansas Social Work Licensing Board. Upon applying for licensure, applicants are granted a Provisional Social Work License so they can work in their desired field until passing the licensure exam and becoming a Licensed Social Worker (LSM). Another option for social work graduates is to attend a graduate school, earning a Master of Social Work degree. Most MSW programs offer accelerated one year programs called Advanced Standing Programs. These require completion of a BSW within the last five years, an overall GPA of at least 3.0, and demonstrated mastery of core curriculum content. The BSW program at SAU attracts students who are interested in improving the quality of life for others. While at SAU, students practice social work skills by joining Social Work Leadership (SWEL) and helping community agencies with various events and activities. Graduates can practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, long-term care facilities and service agencies including hospice and the Department of Human Services. The degree requires a total of 123 hours, and a number of financial aid resources are available through SAU and SouthArk.


June 22, 2016

CAMDEN-On June 21, in the morning hours, the Camden Police Department, with the assist of the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office, executed a search warrant at 449 Jackson Street. As a result of the search warrant, 46-year-old, Ronald "Dale" Strickland, was charged with, possession with purpose to deliver marijuana, methamphetamine, schedule II and schedule lV narcotics. According to Chief Bo Woody, Strickland was out on a bond. Strickland is being held at the Ouachita County Jail/Detention Center. Officers recovered over $700. Strickland is facing 7 felony drug charges.

HOT SPRINGS-Two 14-year-old students at Lakeside High School have been sentenced in juvenile court after they were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl on the school's campus. The boys were sentenced Friday "to an indeterminate amount of time" in the Department of Youth Services. According to reports, prosecutors said that they can only be held until they are 18 because they were sentenced under standard juvenile jurisdiction. The boys were arrested in February after the girl told police that the boys forced her into a girls' locker room, turned off the lights, held her down and sexually assaulted her. Prosecutors say the teens will be sent to a state facility in Alexander, where they will undergo counseling and a sex offender assessment.

LITTLE ROCK- Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said today that eligible Arkansans who have purchased electronic books (e-books) will begin receiving their share of Apple Inc.’s $400 million settlement payout, the result of a multistate e-books price-fixing case. Arkansas and 32 other states filed a lawsuit against Apple Inc. for conspiring to artificially inflate e-book prices with five major publishers. The publishers – Penguin, Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster – settled the claims against them for a total nationwide payment of $166 million, which was mostly distributed to consumers in March 2014. “Arkansans are entitled to an equitable and fair marketplace, but Apple violated that trust with this scheme,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “E-books have become popular in recent years, but when the costs are inflated to build the company’s profit, attorneys general have a duty to protect consumers. Actions like this will not be tolerated and companies like Apple will be held responsible for their corrupt actions.” In July 2013, after Apple declined to settle with the states, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Apple had conspired to raise the retail prices of e-books in violation of state and federal competition laws. Last June, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision, and in March, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Apple’s request for review, prompting the company’s obligation to pay the maximum consumer compensation. $3.915 million will be returned to eligible Arkansans. The amounts received by e-book purchasers will be based on the number of e-books purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. For each e-book that was a New York Times bestseller, consumers will receive $6.93. For all other e-books, the payment will be $1.57. Combined with the $166 million publisher settlements, consumer compensation from the e-books case totals $566 million, about twice the estimated actual damages to consumers. Distribution of the consumer payments is expected to begin today. Arkansans who purchased e-books through Sony or Google will receive checks in the mail. Those who purchased e-books through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble or Kobo will automatically receive credits in their accounts (unless they previously requested to receive checks). Consumers receiving account credits should expect to receive an email between June 21 and June 24, indicating that the credits are available in their accounts. Credits can be used to purchase any items sold by these retailers. The settlement administrator has set up a website and toll-free phone number for consumers with questions about this distribution. Please visit or call (866) 686-9333 for more information. Arkansans can also contact the Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit



June 21, 2016

CAMDEN-The end of last week, Helen Aregood, General Manager of the Radio Works family of radio stations, had the distinct pleasure and honor of attending the
82nd Convention of the Arkansas Municipal League. The Arkansas Municipal League was founded in 1934 and exists for a threefold purpose:-to act as the official representative of Arkansas cities and towns before the state and federal governments; 
-to provide a clearinghouse for information and answers; and, 
-to offer a forum for discussion and sharing of mutual concerns.
City leaders from the some 500 municipalities in Arkansas descended on Little Rock for the 3 day conference. The delegation from Camden consisted of Mayor Marie Trisollini, City Clerk Donna Stewart, Police Chief Bo Woody, Alderman Chris Aregood and Alderwoman Irene Galbert.  Wednesday included a time to meet Exhibitors and Renew acquaintances. The time was spent meeting the exhibitors and seeing what products and services they have that could benefit the city. It was also a time to network with other city leaders from across the state and learn what different cities are doing in different areas. They discuss what is working and what may not be working in various cities. There was also a meeting of the Arkansas City Clerks, Recorders and Treasures Association. The resolutions committee met to discuss resolutions for this year. Each city has a designated representative who is a member of the Resolutions Committee. Mayor Trisollini is the representative for Camden. Wednesday afternoon also included a session entitled Working in a Social World to help municipalities with social media strategies within cities. Wednesday night was the opening night Banquet. The speaker for the Banquet with Governor Asa Hutchinson. Thursday was a busy day with sessions all day long. The day began after breakfast with the opening General Session the begins with the posting of the colors and the sining of the National Anthem followed by a Host City Welcome from Mayo Mark Stodola of Little Rock. The General Session 2 was about Ballot proposals and legal issues of concern. Attendees learned more on the ballot proposals and legal issues of municipal concern. The session featured invited speakers with special knowledge on a variety of topics including the open carry law and various ballot proposals. Mayor Harry Brown of Stephens as well as First Vice President of the Municipal League presided over the session. Speakers were Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Tom Carpenter, Little Rock City Attorney and Dr. Ian Thomas the State and Local Program Director for America Walks. General Session 4 addressed the statewide Long Range Intermodal Plan. The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department is in the process of updating their Statewide Long Range Intermodal Transportation Plan. Those in attendance learned how they and their constituents can be more involved in the process. Jessie Jones, Division Head of the AHTD was the speaker. After Lunch there were a number of concurrent workshops taking place. They included such topics as avoiding conflict in City Council Meetings, Affordable housing for smaller cities, managing your budget during turbulent times, citizen and law enforcement cooperation, economic development strategies for municipalities, animal control just to name a few.  Thursday a number of attendees of the Convention visited the Governor’s Mansion for dinner. They were allowed to look at the main floor of the mansion as well as the art Gallery. Dinner was served in the Janet Huckabee Grand Hall. The Governor and Mrs. Hutchison spoke. There was live music throughout the event. Friday began with the Annual Business meeting after breakfast. There were a couple of sessions in the morning before the Awards and New Officers’ Luncheon. Municipalities and individuals were honored for their many successes and contributions during the past year. President Elumbaugh gave his presidential address and concluding remarks. The new League President, Mayor Harry Brown of Stephens, along with new officers were introduced to the Convention delegates.  The conference was over. Everyone that attended learned a lot about being better city leaders. The Arkansas Municipal League does and excellent job with workshops addressing many different things of interest to the city leaders.

LITTLE ROCK - According to reports, the Arkansans for Compassionate Care (ACC) has turned in 117-thousand signatures for its 2016 Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act. On Monday morning, the group made the delivery, at the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office (SoS). The SoS has 30 days to validate the signatures. In order for the measure to make the November ballot, 68-thousand of those signatures must be found to be valid. The initiative seeks "to make medical cannabis affordable to those who need it." Supporters say medical cannabis is "much safer than a lot of treatments out there." The 2016 Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act is one of three measures hoping to get on the ballot and the ACC is calling for organizers of the similar ballot measures to "stop and join us." Minutes after ACC turned in its signatures, Family Council called the members of the media to a news conference in another part of the State Capitol to speak against the effort. President Jerry Cox said the Act "allows people (dispensaries, care center, etc.) to grow their own marijuana," and that the language of the measure is too broad. "This is going to be the Wild West of marijuana if this measure passes," Cox said, adding that "I would not like to see two marijuana measures on the ballot. It may lead to misinformation." A news release was sent out on Monday afternoon, we received a news release from another group opposed to medical marijuana. The Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities says it is dedicated to fighting any initiatives to legalize marijuana. "The announcement today of a pro-marijuana group turning in signatures is problematic for the future safety of Arkansas. The initiative, headed by Melissa Fults, would allow people to grow marijuana. It should only be used if it becomes FDA approved - which it is not. The whole notion of allowing people to grow their own marijuana is dangerous and will be virtually impossible for authorities to regulate. It's a terrible measure for the future of Arkansas,” said Coalition Chairman, Kevin Russell. “We respect the petition process but will continue to organize our group as we are joined by parents, teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement officials, business owners, and community leaders uniting to protect our youth.” The CSAC says the facts overwhelmingly show that states that legalized marijuana lead non-legalized states in teen marijuana use, meaning less educational achievement, lower IQ, more school dropouts, traffic fatalities, and eventual unemployment. Meanwhile, Prevention Magazine on Monday released a new survey from its July issue that it says reveals many Americans are open to the possibility of using medical marijuana to help treat on-going pain. The survey finds that 75 percent of Americans think medical marijuana should be legal.

MAGNOLIA-It looks like the Abilities Unlimited Recycling Center on West University will now be easier to spot, as the 2016 Class of Leadership  Magnolia Class, used extra funds from the Recycling Bin and Street Pole Banner projects to purchase the sign for the facility at 223 W. University. Anyone who wants to sign up for curbside recycling may call 870-235-3785 to be added to the route and to receive a blue recycling bin. WCA of South Arkansas delivers the recyclables to the Abilities Unlimited recycling center on West University. There, AU clients separate the waste into paper, plastic and metal piles. The waste is compacted and shipped to recycling companies. The companies pay AU for the recyclable materials. AU uses the money to finance its workshop and training programs from developmentally disabled adults.

June 20, 2016

TEXARKANA- According to officials, a two-year-old is in the hospital after finding a gun in a home and accidentally shooting himself in the head. Over the weekend, officers were called out to a home on Summer Wood Lane. According to authorities the toddler found the gun and it discharged one shot. The child has been airlifted to Little Rock for what authorities are calling life threatening injuries. The investigation into what happened is ongoing.

MAGNOLIA-The Texarkana, Texas Police Department is investigating a motor vehicle accident on Interstate 30 that left two people dead on Saturday. They have been identified as Tiffany Provence, 29, and her 3-month-old son, Daclan Marshall, both of Hooks, Texas. Shelby Marshall, 29, was driving a 2011 Chevrolet HHR westbound on Interstate 30 at approximately 2:25 p.m. Traffic on the roadway had backed up due to another accident in front of them at mile marker 211 (FM 2148). Marshall had apparently stopped in the roadway near the Kings Highway overpass behind the traffic when his vehicle was rear-ended by an 18 wheel tractor trailer, driven by Lorenzo Escobar, 63, of Del Rio, Texas. The force of the collision caused Marshall’s vehicle to then strike a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe that was also stopped in traffic. The Tahoe was driven by Alfredo Molina, 44, of New Boston, Texas. Marshall’s vehicle immediately caught fire as a result of the impact. Escobar was able to help Shelby Marshall out of his vehicle but was unable to get to Provence or Daclan Marshall due to the heat of the vehicle fire. Both Marshall’s vehicle and the cab of the tractor trailer were completely consumed before Texarkana, Texas firefighters arrived and could extinguish the blaze.

MAGNOLIA-One vehicle was rear-ended by a van on Interstate 30 in Texarkana on Friday night, killing the driver of the car. According to a preliminary Arkansas State Police report, Harold Huisinga, 71, of Celina, TX, was driving a 2016 model Buick Enclave east on Interstate 20 near the three-mile marker. His car was struck in the rear by a Ford F-350 van that had failed to stop. Huisinga was killed at the scene. His passenger, Sandi Dowell, 68, also of Celina, was injured and taken to Christus-St. Michael Medical Center. The van’s driver was not hunt and was not identified in the Arkansas State Police report. The accident was reported at 6:13 p.m. The weather was clear and the road was dry. Cpl. Les Munn investigated the accident for the Texarkana Police Department.

PINE BLUFF- A homicide investigation is underway after a man is found shot to death inside a car. The Pine Bluff Police Department (PBPD) says officers were called to a parking lot in the 1400 block of S. Blake Street shortly after 4 a.m. Monday. According to reports, a person arriving to open a business saw the vehicle and called police. When officers arrived they found the man's body in the driver’s seat. He was pronounced dead at the scene.The victim's name is not yet being released. The PBPD says detectives don't yet have a motive or suspect.This is the fourth murder in Pine Bluff in 2016.Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to call the Pine Bluff Police Detective Division at (870) 730-2090 or the Dispatch Center at (870) 541-5300.

June 15, 2016

MAGNOLIA-According to reports, a collision between a tractor-trailer truck and a passenger vehicle on U.S. 79 near McNeil on Tuesday afternoon sent four victims to Magnolia Regional Medical Center. The wreck happened about 1:30 p.m. when a Western Star truck, southbound on U.S. 79 with a load of railroad ties, collided with a Chevrolet Blazer at the intersection of Columbia County Road 121. The intersection is where the Jehovah’s Witness hall is located. The Blazer was broadsided on the driver’s side and overturned, coming to rest on the northbound shoulder. The truck left the southbound side of the highway and scattered railroad ties as it traveled. The truck then crossed back over the highway. The truck and trailer rotated 180 degrees across the highway and overturned in a ditch – pointed in the opposite direction from which it had been traveling. The Columbia County Ambulance Service took three injured persons from the Blazer to MRMC. The truck’s driver was trapped inside the cab for almost an hour. Personnel from the ambulance service, Fowler Wrecker Service, and the McNeil City and McNeil Rural fire departments were finally able to pull the driver from the crushed cab. He was conscious and moving when placed in an ambulance. Identities of the injured were not available. U.S. 79 between McNeil and Waldo was blocked while the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department used a forklift to remove the railroad ties.

STRONG - The Strong Water Department would like to inform all citizens of Strong that the "water shut off" has been rescheduled for Thursday. Due to the amount of recent rainfall, the contractors will not turn the water off on Wednesday as planned. Thursday is the day that contractors have rescheduled the shut off, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Citizens are advised to make preparations for this event.

BRICKEYS-Recently, the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) has released images of an inmate that has escaped from a prison in Lee County. According to Public Information Officer Solomon Graves, Lloyd Jones (A.K.A. ADC #120492) escaped Monday from the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Brickeys; officials said he escaped while on work duty. ADC and Arkansas State Police are currently searching for the fugitive who is said to now be wearing a beard and was last seen in a white prison-issue jumpsuit. According to reports, Graves said Jones was serving a 60-year sentence for first-degree murder out of Sebastian County in the death of a 16-year-old girl. 

CAMDEN-Ouachita Electric Cooperative (OECC) and South Arkansas Telephone (SATCO) have formed a new company called ARIS to bring gigabit internet service to  thousands of homes and businesses in south Arkansas. ARIS plans to start delivering services to customers in September 2016, with the goal of reaching all of 9500 homes and businesses of the OECC membership with fiber optic network services over the next  few years.  The initial packages will include options for:  Gigabit Internet services, digital voice with unlimited local and long distance, and video services with options for up to 70 channels. “In the 1930's and 1940's it was the electric cooperatives that brought electricity to rural America, today it’s access to the internet. This partnership leverages the strengths of both companies so we can come together and serve our customers and our communities. Companies looking to move to South Arkansas can know that they can get the same or better level of connectivity services they get in large metropolitan areas” states Mark Cayce, General Manager of OECC. “We’re adding Camden and Hampton, Arkansas to the list of gigabit cities that includes Austin, Nashville, Kansas City and Chattanooga. These services will be transformative for not only our customers but our region as well.  SATCO believes in partnerships with other entities to help drive economic development for southern Arkansas.” said Mark Lundy Director of SATCO.  “In 2010 SATCO partnered with the University of Arkansas ARE-ON to create over three hundred (300) miles of new network to provide service to educational and medical anchor institutions, as well as businesses across southern Arkansas.  This partnership with ARE-ON enabled SATCO to expand and connect with OECC to provide gigabit internet service to some of the most rural areas of the region.” states Mr. Lundy. OECC members looking to sign up or get more information about the services and packages should go to or call 877-252-4538.

MAGNOLIA-The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that scammers claiming to represent either the Publisher's Clearing House or the IRS remain active. Publisher's Clearing House scammers could be calling from anywhere in the U.S. on caller ID and giving you any name, whether it's a foreign voice or someone speaking clear English. The Sheriff’s Office has spoken with the Publisher's Clearing House, which advises that it notifies winners in person, with a check and the cameras. If representatives are unable to find people at their homes, they will find out where you work or when you will return home and then award you your prize. They will not call and notify you or request any money from you in advance. The IRS scammers could also be calling from anywhere in the U.S. on your caller ID and giving you any name, whether it's in a foreign voice or someone speaking clear English. The Sheriff’s Office have also spoken with IRS representatives and also individuals who have dealt with the IRS on a yearly basis. The IRS does not contact people by phone to ask for money. They only contact you by mail. They will send you multiple letters before they take any other action, and even then, they do not contact you by phone. According to reports, scammers are making millions of dollars feeding off fear or hope of individuals, the Sheriff’s Office said. Do not give any of your money to these callers.

MAGNOLIA-Two juvenile boys who ran away Monday night from the South Arkansas Youth Services facility on Calhoun Road were caught within two hours. The 15-year-old boys were reported missing from the facility about 10:25 p.m. One of the youths was caught about 11:30 p.m. near the intersection of U.S. 82 and County Road 408 east of Magnolia. The second youth was found about an hour later in the same general area. SAYS has contracts with state agencies to provide housing and services to juveniles, including the therapeutic group home on Calhoun Road. Juveniles at SAYS in Magnolia have not necessarily committed any crimes, but have been ordered by a judge to be removed from unsafe home situations.

LITTLE ROCK-Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says it was "helpful" to meet privately with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and other GOP governors. Hutchinson met Tuesday with the billionaire and reality television star in New York. Hutchinson said in a statement it was his first opportunity to have a substantive discussion with Trump. Hutchinson initially backed former Gov. Mike Huckabee and later Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the presidential campaign, but has said he'll support Trump as the party's nominee. Hutchinson has criticized some of Trump's comments, including his claim that a federal judge is not qualified to preside over a case because of his Mexican heritage. Hutchinson said they discussed a broad range of issues, including Arkansas' political landscape and the nation's response to the most recent acts of terrorism.

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June 9, 2016

CAMDEN-During Thursday's Kiwanis Club meeting, Mark Cayce spoke about Ouachita Electric and Today's ...Power. It was during that meeting that Cayce mentioned that later this Summer, Ouachita Electric is going to begin construction on a new 1 mega-watt solar facility in Camden. Cayce said " This will be a community solar project .... it'll be available to the members of our community to participate in. It gives people that don't have the opportunity to have solar at their individual location of their house and they can own solar in a large community solar project." Cayce, who is the General Manager of Ouachita Electric, is hoping to get a full press release, with further details, as soon as possible.

FORREST CITY- According to reports, two men were arrested with drugs after a chase on Wednesday in Forrest City, police say.  Antonio Jordan, 28, and Jeremy Canada, 26, were both in a 2006 Nissan Altima that was stopped around 7:27 p.m., according to the Forrest City Police Department.  When officers tried to approach the Altima on foot, Jordan (who was driving) sped off and led police on a chase, authorities said. Jordan stopped briefly on North Gorman Street and let Canada out. Canada then ran away from the vehicle, leading police on his own chase. Both were later caught, and the vehicle was searched. Inside, police found 268 grams of marijuana, hydrocodone pills and other drug paraphernalia, authorities said.  The two suspects face charges of possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver, improper display, hindering apprehension, failure to stop, proximity to certain facilities, fleeing and more, according to police. 

LITTLE ROCK – According to a press release, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today are co-leading a group of 21 states in an original action filing in the U.S. Supreme Court against the State of Delaware. At a minimum, Delaware has approximately $200 million that rightfully belongs to its sister states under the federal Disposition of Abandoned Money Orders and Traveler’s Checks Act. The ultimate dollar figure that Delaware owes other states may be much higher.  The dispute between the 21 plaintiff states and Delaware is about which state is entitled to abandoned and unclaimed “official checks” sold by MoneyGram, a money transfer services company that operates in all 50 states and internationally. With Delaware’s acquiescence, guidance and direction, millions of dollars in unclaimed “official checks” have been wrongfully escheated, or turned over, to the State of Delaware. This error was based on the mistaken belief that such abandoned and unclaimed property is supposed to be turned over to the issuing company’s state of incorporation, in this case Delaware. Federal law and the law in each of the plaintiff states is clear that such abandoned and unclaimed property should be turned over to the state where the property was purchased.   The coalition is asking the Supreme Court to declare that the plaintiff states, and not Delaware, are entitled to the hundreds of millions of dollars improperly turned over to Delaware and to all future similar abandoned and unclaimed property. The coalition is also asking the Court to order the appropriate repayment to plaintiff states by Delaware. “Arkansas taxpayers have been robbed,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Delaware is simply not entitled to unclaimed monies that lawfully belong to 49 other states. I am committed to working with my colleagues to guarantee that this money is properly returned to the taxpayers. I am also very appreciative of the hard work of Auditor Andrea Lea’s office for originally identifying this issue and diligently working with us to try to recover the sums owed to the State.” On Feb. 10, 2015, an independent auditor completed an examination of abandoned “official checks” from MoneyGram in a select group of states and concluded that nearly $200 million was owed to those states. The State of Arkansas is owed over $850,000 in unclaimed “official checks.” Arkansas and Texas are joined in today’s filing by Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and West Virginia.

TEXARKANA-Texarkana Texas Police Department has arrested four juvenile males for their involvement in a string of burglaries in the Rosehill and Beverly neighborhoods over the last week. According to reports, the juveniles, who are 14 and 15 years old, were arrested yesterday following an investigation by detectives and members of the Problem Oriented Policing (POP) Team. All four juveniles were charged with burglary of a habitation, with one also charged with burglary of a vehicle. According to authorities, one of the juveniles arrested was also involved in the theft of five ATVs from H&M Motor Sports located on New Boston Road on May 19th. All of those vehicles have been recovered. According to police records detectives recovered stolen property that was in the possession of the juveniles when they were arrested. The investigation continues and additional arrests are expected in the near future. All four juveniles are currently being held in an out-of-county juvenile detention center.

Little Rock-Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division are assisting Stuttgart Police in a homicide investigation reported last night (June 8, 2016) in the area of 1st and Railroad Streets.
The initial report to Stuttgart Police was received at approximately 10:30 PM. A Jefferson County man, identified as Christopher Haynes, 41, of Pine Bluff, was found dead at the scene.  Haynes’ body was found inside a car. The body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for determination of a manner and cause of death.

Little Rock-A Polk County man died Wednesday (June 8, 2016) when the aircraft he was piloting crashed in a wooded area of rural southwest Jefferson County near the Grant County line.
Arkansas State Troopers responded to a call of a downed aircraft at approximately 5 PM.  The initial report indicated the aircraft was a small single-engine plane. Phillip Sloan, 66, of Mena was pronounced dead at the scene. A passenger in the aircraft, Ross Goodner, 19, of Boles (Scott County) was injured in the crash and transported from the scene by ambulance and taken to a Pine Bluff hospital where he was admitted in stable condition. The Arkansas State Police secured the crash scene, which is located inside a clear-cut area of the timberland.  The Federal Aviation Administration will coordinate the investigation to determine the manner and cause of the crash.

CAMDEN-Over the weekend, officers with the Camden Police Department discovers that The Port of Camden, had been broken into. It's at The Port, that the city stores vehicles that are not being used currently. When the incident did occur, the individuals broke out windows of vehicles, started vehicles, and causes several thousands of dollars worth of damage to the building it self. At this time the Camden Police Department is offering a cash reward of $250, for information leading to the arrest. Chief Woody does believe that juveniles are responsible for the break-in, due to the evidence that was left behind.

CAMDEN-On Earlier this week, citizens of Camden came out to pay tribute to the late great, Gale Allen McFarlin. OCMC held a dedication ...ceremony in Dr. McFarland's honor. During the ceremony, OCMC Administration Director, Peggy Abbott, spoke about the buildings new office space, and newly renovated areas. Abbott said "we had a wonderful turn out this morning for this commemorative ceremony of the dedication of the building.... Dr. Mcfarland was a very revered member of our medical staff .....from 1988 until his death in 2014, he was a remarkable person just extraordinary and his approach to medicine. She also said "he loved this community although he grew up in Banks which is not too far from here he embraced Camden this is home and I know it would mean so much to him". For more details on the G. Allen McFarland Medical Office Building, call OCMC Administration at 870-836-1200.

June 3, 2016

CAMDEN-The City of Camden has a new Assistant to the Mayor, and her name is Amy Perrin. The Camden native is very familiar with the South Arkansas area, working for Southern Arkansas University Tech for many years. Perrin is a graduate of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, and received a degree in counseling. Perrin also had a stint working for Penn State in Pennsylvania. While she is now in this new position, Perrin knows s...he wouldn't have been as prepared, if it wasn't for her past jobs. Perrin said "Pretty much at any college you wear a ton of hats, and so through the different departments that I work for, and the different positions, I was actually able to get really involved with some of the grants that Kathy Lee and (Chris) Claybaker had originally worked on." Perrin hopes to continue on with the grants that the city has, as well as seek out more, and has always been excited about community work. She said " I was excited about this position in the past actually when Kathy Lee was leaving the city ...we had an opportunity to do a lot of work together in the past and so they had approached me that time I had just started with a new program at SAU Tech, and I just didn't feel that it was right to leave that at that point... so whenever I heard that there was an opportunity available I decided why not, and I went for it." She believes Camden is what you make of it and loves the community involvement. She said " To have an opportunity to live in a larger city and then back here I'd have to say I've missed home." Without a doubt Mrs. Perrin is excited to work for the city that she loves, and give back in any way she can.

MAGNOLIA-According to reports, head-on collision on U.S. 82 west of El Dorado about 5:40 a.m. Thursday killed a couple from Mena. According to a preliminary Arkansas State Police report, Jimmie D. Baugus, 69, was driving a 2008 Chrysler van west on the highway when it crossed the center line and struck an eastbound 2010 Mack truck. Bangus and his passenger, Judy S. Bangus, 70, died at the scene. The driver of the truck was not injured and was not identified in the State Police report. The weather was cloudy and the road was wet at the time of the wreck. Cpl. Jeff D. Hust investigated the accident for the Arkansas State Police.

LITTLE ROCK- A former substitute teacher at Catholic High School has pleaded guilty to indecent exposure following her arrest earlier this year for incidents involving a student. 44-year-old, Erica Suskie, was then sentenced in Pulaski County Circuit Court Thursday morning to one year of probation. Reports say, she was also ordered to register as a sex offender and pay a $2,500 fine. The judge also instructed her not to discuss the case with the media. In pleading guilty to indecent exposure, Suskie admitted to exposing her breast to the victim in the case. She was also ordered to undergo counseling throughout her probation period. Suskie had turned herself in back in February to face original charges of sexual assault and entered a plea of not guilty in North Little Rock District Court before the case was transferred to Pulaski County Circuit Court. Court officials say an investigation began in October 2015 after the North Little Rock Police Department received a report from the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children unit about the alleged abuse. In February, officials with Catholic High School said they had addressed the issue late last year and took measures to protect students. Suskie's arrest affidavit states that an alleged male victim said he had sexual contact and intercourse with Suskie, who was a family friend and his Algebra tutor. The alleged incidents are reported to have taken place between April and October 2015 at Suskie's home in North Little Rock and the home of Suskie's parents in Sherwood.

BENTON-Two Benton residents were arrested after an alleged attempted burglary Thursday morning at the 700 block of Center Street. At 3:22 a.m. officers responded to a business alarm and found 21-year-old Brittney Suezann Potter of Benton in the parking lot. Later when the business owner arrived, he noticed a man who was trying to exit through a side door of the business who was later identified at 27-year-old Travis Skaggs of Benton. Both suspects were arrested and taken into custody without incident. Skaggs was found in possession of a screwdriver after officers noticed fresh tool marks on the business’ front door. Skaggs was also found with a glass pipe and suspected marijuana. Skaggs faces charges of Commercial Burglary, Possession an Instrument of Crime, and Criminal Trespassing. Potter faces charges of Commercial Burglary, Criminal Trespass, class C misdemeanor; Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Anyone with information concerning the arrests in encourages to contact the Benton Police Department at 501-778-1171 or 501-315-TIPS. Individuals may also send us anonymous information to CRIMES (274637) with the keyword BNPD in the body of the text, or go to www.crimereports.come to leave a tip.

June 1, 2016

CAMDEN-On Tuesday at 3:00 pm, the Camden City Pool was officially opened for the 2016 season. ...
For many years, city pool has been a summer attraction for most of Camden's youth. The pool grand opening had been scheduled for this past Friday, but due to a few minor complications, the opening was rescheduled. Mayor Marie Trisollini wanted to clear the air about caused the delay in the pool opening. Trisollini said " we had a couple of problems with one of our pumps which lost its prime, and had to be fixed.. and then that the pool had to recirculate with that fixed but everything is great now.. the representative from the health department has come out and okay this to open everything is good...we've got the water all fixed". General admission for the pool is $3.00 per person. You can also rent the pool for a party for $125 during pool hours, and $200 for after pool hours. So don't miss your opportunity to make a splash in the pool this season! For more details on the pool call 870-837-5577. The pool schedule is as followed:
Monday: Open 3-8 pm

Tue-Fri: Swim Team - 7am
Lap Swimmers - 8am
Water Aerobics - 9am
Public Swimming- 3-8 pm

Saturday: Open 3-8 pm

MAGNOLIA – Following up a four-year Engineering-Physics degree with a grueling six-year Biophysics doctorate program would be challenging for the most resilient researcher. For Amanda Taylor of Emerson, Arkansas, it was just another leg of her journey toward becoming a university professor. Her next phase is a post-doctoral research opportunity at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, which began June 1, 2016. On a pre-move visit with her undergraduate family at Southern Arkansas University, she expressed relief in completing her Ph.D. “The whole Ph.D. was stressful, and it took a span of six years. If I would have stopped at any point before finishing it would have been a waste. There were many times I wanted to quit, especially towards the end,” she said. It was her church family in Stillwater, and a community service program she was a part of initiating, that got her through the hard times. “My only strength was the church and the people of the church I attended while at OSU – Abundant Life United Pentecostal. I got to reach out and help others in their need, instead of dwelling on my own issues and discouragements. If I helped others, I was able to see that life is beyond my petty problems.” Around three years into her Ph.D. research, she and a group of about 20 church members, mainly college-age “kids,” organized an outreach program they called Compassion in Action. She said they worked at the area youth shelter, where they mowed the grass weekly and played with the kids. They prepared and delivered food to those in need and to service men and women. “We alternated; some of us would do the mowing or tree cutting and another group would feed the firefighters a meal of chili and cake,” she said as a for-instance. “The firefighters loved it, and we are able to bring kids to see the firefighters. It was a warm welcome.” Another time the Compassion in Action group “got to” clean out a home that was completely infested with roaches. Taylor said the family living there was poverty-stricken and in dire need of the group’s help.  After a hard-day’s work in the community, the next best way to relieve stress was to sometimes play football, said the petit Taylor with a smile. “I had the nickname Speedy. I think we had more injuries with two-hand touch than they do in tackle.” Risk-taking she learned from what she still considers the best advice she’s ever gotten. Interestingly, this life lesson came in a mathematics class courtesy of Dr. Hasan Shehada at SAU. “I loved him. He would be teaching and ask us a question. We would be squirming in our seats,” she admitted. “He would try to get us to at least guess. ‘Are you afraid to make a mistake? Have you ever made a mistake in your lives? Do you think you’ll ever make a mistake again?’” She said that line of questioning is how he would prod the students to “go for it” and make mistakes. “It’s risk taking. It’s how you learn. Make mistakes and make them often. It’s how you learn to write computer programs; it’s how you learn to ride a bike,” she said with a wisdom and fearlessness seemingly beyond her years. During her time at SAU, she also received career-focused motivation. She remembers projects relating to electricity from eels and other bio-electric phenomena. In Advanced Physics Lab, she used two Helmholtz coils and a cathode ray tube to create a shining beam of electrons and measure the charge-to-mass ratio of an electron. “It was a fundamental experiment, but it was enlightening to me,” she quipped with a humor so dry it could easy go undetected. In the summer of 2009, she accompanied Dr. Abdel Bachri and two student colleagues for a summer research internship at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley, California. The group built detectors to measure cosmic ray muons, instrumentation that is now on display in the SAU Science Center. Her work was also published in the Journal of Undergraduate Research. She credits Bachri with not only spurring her interest in research, but also modestly for helping her get accepted into Oklahoma State University’s program. “He is an OSU alum, and he put a good word in for me.” Her Ph.D. research at OSU continued on her interest in biophysics. She utilized NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) spectroscopy as a chemical analysis tool to discover phases of mineral in bone, how new bone forms, how it aggregates, etc. The findings were intended to make diagnostic predictions for patients suffering from bone loss, such as those with osteoporosis or in diabetic patients in which bone loss are not yet well explained.  For her post-doc research, she will be looking at the brain’s response to different visual stimuli using MRI technology to measure changes in blood flow, she explained in the simplest terms possible. The end goal is to map which stimuli activate different areas of the brain once they find a model of blood flow using fluid dynamics. Taylor is a 2005 graduate of Emerson High School and a 2009 graduate of SAU. She completed her Ph.D. in July 2015. She has since had the opportunity to teach college courses, a talent and interest she discovered as a teaching assistant at OSU. “I found out I really enjoyed teaching. After a few semesters as a Physics II teaching assistant, I was trusted with my own course – Descriptive Physics. It was a non-science majors course, and it was a blast to teach.” A passion she is willing to invest more than 10 years of higher education, her teaching and learning influences go well back to both her parents and the small school at Emerson. “My mother was academic-minded and my dad was engineering-minded. He was one that people would call a genius because he can work on and build anything, like the house I grew up in.” The seed for medical interest was planted by her mother, who is a nurse. Her hands-on curiosity clearly comes from her father. She recalled a fifth-grade summer program at SAU Tech in Camden that really ignited her interest in engineering. “We learned all about the dynamics of airplanes and how they work. It was awesome!” Fast-food or retail was not in the cards for Taylor’s teen years after-school job; she got her hands dirty at machine shops while in high school and well into college. Her senior year at SAU she produced CAD drawings for a local industrial service provider. On campus she enjoyed being a part of the Honors College and living in Honors Hall. She earned a choral scholarship, and also held a campus work-study job. She graduated with honors. 

MAGNOLIA-According to reports, a 70-year-old Hope man has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his 60-year-old brother. Hope police said they responded with Pafford EMS at 12:49 a.m. Tuesday to a shooting at 2108 W. Avenue E. There they found Willie J. Gulley inside the residence with a gunshot wound to the body. Gulley was pronounced deceased by the Hempstead County Coroner at approximately 1:29 a.m. Witness information provided to officers during preliminary investigation indicated Gulley committed suicide. But an initial review of the physical evidence allowed for homicide as the manner of death. Criminal investigators then learned that three brothers lived together at the residence. Lee T. Momom and Gulley became involved in an argument. During the argument, Momom shot Gulley with a handgun, police said. Momon was taken into custody at 4:45 a.m. and charged with murder by Hope detectives. Momon was placed in the Hempstead County Law Enforcement Center Detention Facility. Momon is awaiting a first court appearance and a probable cause determination.

LITTLE ROCK-Just before a Garland County judge was set to stand trial for the 2015 hot car death of his son, the state has filed a motion asking for more time to prepare its case. The negligent homicide trial for Wade Naramore is set for June 14-17. Earlier in the week, the state filed a motion for continuance, citing these reasons:

  • On May 23 the defense disclosed its intention to call Dr. David Diamond as an expert witness but did not disclose what the witness would "testify to regarding this case."
  • Being notified of an expert witness this close to trial "does not allow the State adequate time to speak with the Defendant's expert witness or to consult with an expert witness for the State."
  • The state was notified on May 26 that its material witness, Dr. Forsyth is unavailable to testify the week this case is scheduled for trial and the "State cannot go forward with its case in chief without Forsyth's testimony
  • The lead Deputy Prosecuting Attorney had recently been reassigned and "it is impossible for the two Deputy Prosecuting Attorney now assigned to this case to adequately prepare for the trial."

    In its motion, the state requested a new trial date and gave the court four different date ranges in August and October when it could be ready to try the case.  Naramore's son, 18-month-old Thomas, died after police say he was left in a hot car for several hours last July.

May 31, 2016

CAMDEN-Over the weekend a logging company reported to the Ouachita County Sheriff's Department that around 1,000 gallons of fuel was stolen from their logging site on ...Ouachita County Road 138. If you have any information on this theft you are asked to contact the sheriff's department at (870) 231-5300.

TEXARKANA-The Randy Sams’ Outreach Shelter announced its intentions to increase ability to provide services by expanding the physical size of their space via major renovations on their current campus or the acquisition and renovation of another facility. The improvements will include added bed space for women residents, air conditioning, classroom space and additional space for clothing and other items needed by clients to increase the efficiency of distributing needed items for those in the community seeking shelter services. The shelter has introduced a capital campaign to help offset the costs of the planned renovations. The goal of the campaign is to raise $1.2 million- a sum that will address the costs of renovations and help with increased operating costs for the bigger facility. The shelter has $250,000 toward the planned costs through a generous bequest by a donor.

MAGNOLAI-A wreck on U.S. 79 near Camden on Friday morning killed a Bearden man. According to a preliminary Arkansas State Police report, Jackie R. Evans, 58, was driving a Dodge pick-up south on the highway in Ouachita County about 9:50 a.m. when he lost control and ran off the highway to his left. The truck struck a culvert in the median, then crossed back over the roadway and ran into the southbound lane’s ditch, where the truck struck a small tree. Evans died at the scene. Rain was falling at the time of the wreck. Senior Cpl. Billy L. Walker investigated the accident for the Arkansas State Police.

MAGNOLIA-Magnolia Water Utilities continues its distribution system flushing program this week.
The schedule:
Area 11 -- East of Lelia Street, north of Calhoun Road, south of East Main Street, and west of Highway 79.
Area 12 -- East of Verda and East North Streets, north of East Main Street, west of Highway 79, and south of Pittman Street

The purpose for the program is to remove sediments and buildup from the water mains. This will also allow the utility to test the operation of the fire hydrants. The utility will be flushing the distribution mains systematically and will try to complete as much of the system as possible before water demand increases. Customers are asked to keep their water usage down to a minimum during the period that their section is being flushed to reduce pulling discolored water into household plumbing. All discolored water complaints will be addressed, but customers are asked not to call in until after 3 p.m. People who notice discolored water should check for the following: If just the cold water is discolored, try flushing your toilet and running cold water through your bathtub until it clears. If problem persists, call 234-2022 after 3 p.m. If just the hot water is discolored, flush your hot water tank. This will have to be done by the customer.

HOT SPRINGS-According to reports, a woman is in critical condition after being stabbed early Monday in Hot Springs. Police say the victim is 27-year-old Wendy Williams. Police responded around 1:40 AM to a domestic disturbance call in the 100 block of Manor Lane. There they found Williams suffering from an apparent stab wound. Detectives believe they have identified a person of interest, but they have not released an identification. The investigation is continuing.

May 27, 2016

CAMDEN-"I never thought our little video would go as far as it has"...those were the words of Robin Doherty, mom of 19-year-old Glenn Douglas "Doug" Haynes. At the age of 12, Doug was diagnosed with a form of muscular dystrophy, known as Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy or FSHD. FSHD is a genetic muscle disorder in which the ...muscles of the face, shoulder blades and upper arms are among the most affected. FSHD usually begins before age 20, with weakness and atrophy of the muscles around the eyes and mouth, shoulders, upper arms and lower legs. Later, weakness can spread to abdominal muscles and sometimes hip muscles. Though battling with this disease was challenging, Doug was determined to walk at his high school graduation. Little did the people of Bearden Arkansas know that during the 2016 edition of graduation, they we see something extraordinary. During last weeks Bearden High School Graduation Ceremony, the entire crowd and student body stood in awe, as Doug, with help, got up out of his wheelchair and walked across the gym floor to receive his diploma. High School Principal Felicia Doster said "It was a really awesome experience... even though we knew as the administration that what he was going to do and his mother had discussed that earlier ...what was so great was seeing not only his walking but when the class exploded and I think it was their support for here and them cheer him on and encourage him made it a really surreal experience." Doster added " I was very fortunate... I have not been principal here but a year so really I inherited Doug and a lot of people sit around and wait for you know a monetary inheritance or something like that but I was given what I feel to be one of the greatest gifts or inheritance that I could have...that was seeing him up for his graduation that night." Almost immediately after graduation, Doug's video went viral and caught the attention of many around the world. The video was not only shared by Good Morning America, but Today's THV 11 covered the story as well. Doug has plans to work at Ouachita Industries in Camden very soon, and is looking forward to meeting and making new friends. He said "I know they are going to have my back just like my classmates". Doug also mentioned that his condition doesn't stop him from doing what he wants to do. He knows that his life had been hard since he was diagnosed, but has remained positive throughout it all. Doug said "If I give up, then they will give up..and I don't want to see that happen to someone else." Sure we all face challenges, but Doug Haynes has reminded us to stay positive and see the silver lining in all that we do, no matter the circumstances. Doug's video can be found on YouTube.

MAGNOLIA-JEVAC Machine of McNeil is one of 19 small business suppliers recognized by Lockheed Martin for making extraordinary contributions to the company’s Missiles and Fire Control business area's products and services. The 19 businesses were selected from thousands of Lockheed Martin suppliers. JEVAC Machine makes finely-machined metal parts for the aerospace industry. For more than 20 years, Lockheed Martin has annually celebrated small business suppliers providing quality goods and services, and outstanding support. "Lockheed Martin relies on the outstanding performance of our small business partners to help us produce superior defense systems and advanced technologies that protect allied warfighters around the world," said John Varley, vice president of global supply chain at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "Our small business suppliers deliver innovative, high-quality, high-performing components that help us meet or exceed our customers' expectations." Lockheed Martin’s 18 other recognized small businesses for the 2015 year:
Avans Machine, Scottsboro, Alabama
KCA Electronics, Inc., Anaheim, California
One-Way Manufacturing, Inc., Anaheim, California
Gulf Marine of Clearwater, Clearwater, Florida
Powell Electronics, Inc., Coral Springs, Florida
Sunshine Aero Industries, Inc., Crestview, Florida
The Bernd Group, Dunedin, Florida
Orion Industries, Inc., Ayer, Massachusetts
Production Engineering Corp., Minneapolis, Minnesota
Marotta Controls, Inc., Montville, New Jersey
American Products Company Inc., Union, New Jersey
PLX, Inc., Deer Park, New York
General Tool Company, Cincinnati, Ohio
Cera-Met, LLC, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Container Research Corporation, Glen Riddle, Pennsylvania
Schmiede Corporation, Tullahoma, Tennessee
Holleman Construction Company, Inc., Dallas, Texas
Mill-Tech Industries, Inc., Grand Prairie, Texas
Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 125,000 people worldwide.

MAGNOLIA – To help fill the need in Arkansas for the escalating teacher shortage, a new Masters of Arts in Teacher in Elementary Education program was approved by the Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees at its quarterly meeting held at SAU Tech on Thursday, May 26, 2016. SAU’s new MAT K-6 program will begin admitting students in fall 2016. It will be added to the current MAT tracts – middle, secondary, or K-12 licensure. The program includes a year of coursework, followed by a yearlong paid internship as a fully-employed teacher of record in an Arkansas public school. “The College of Education surveyed the South Arkansas region and found 62 job openings K-6 teacher positions, 21 in the El Dorado area alone,” said Dr. Ben Johnson, SAU interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “A job is practically certain for students completing a teacher education degree.” All of the MAT tracts, including the new K-6 emphasis, are online. The MAT is designed for students with non-education bachelor degrees who wish to gain teacher licensure. Students apply for admission to the MAT programs at several points throughout the year and not just once before the fall semester. During the meeting, the SAU Board also appointed Dr. Ed Kardas as Distinguished Professor. Kardas is only the seventh person in the University’s more than 100-year history to receive this designation. Kardas, professor of psychology in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, has been at SAU since 1980. He was also named director of the SAU Honors College in 2009. In 2013, he finished a four-year project and authored his fourth textbook, “History of Psychology: The Making of Science,” with Cengage Publishers. In 2008, he co-authored, with Chris Spatz of Hendrix College, a textbook in psychological research methods published by McGraw-Hill. Kardas teaches research methods, learning, comparative and physiological psychology, cognitive science, freshman seminar, and the history of psychology. In 2002, he was named SAU’s Honor Professor. He is currently a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and is a past-president of the Southwestern Psychological Association. He received his PhD in comparative/developmental psychology from LSU, and his BA, also in psychology, from the University of Baltimore. Before coming to SAU, he taught at LSU-Eunice and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is married to the former Julie A. McCuller of Texarkana, a 1991 SAU graduate. They live in Magnolia and have three children – Christian, Clay, and Cara. According to the University’s faculty handbook, the credentials guiding an appointment of Distinguished Professor are an earned doctorate or comparable terminal degree or equivalent scholarly achievement, and national recognition as a scholar and teacher based upon research, teaching, and/or scholarly pursuits at this or some other institution. The SAU Board also approved the 2016-17 budgets for SAU and SAU Tech. SAU’s budget includes a 2.76% tuition increase. Primary expenditure drivers in the upcoming year’s budget include the State of Arkansas minimum wage increase, changes in scholarships, food service contracts, Live Text expenses, improvements in campus security and expenses related to the two new residence halls and the Engineering Armory building. State funding is slated to be just 26.8% of the total budget. Other items discussed in the Board meeting included:

  • SAU President Dr. Trey Berry reported that enrollment at SAU is looking promising for both summer terms and for the upcoming fall semester. SAU’s student orientation, BAM, starts June 1 and runs throughout June and July, and organizers have had to add a BAM date due to high demand.
  • Construction on SAU’s two new residence halls, Columbia and Magnolia, is progressing at a quick pace. These halls will definitely be needed with the anticipated growth of students living on campus. Also taking place this summer is remodeling of the current residence halls. Talley, Talbot and Greene halls will have noticeable improvements both inside and outside when students return in August.
  • Berry shared several SAU student success stories:The new SAU Engineering facility at the former armory is moving forward quickly and is on track for completion in August.
    • Leading off, he recounted the success of the SAU Lady Mulerider Softball team: “SAU Softball is not just a great team and great athletes, but great people. They made SAU proud on and off the field.” They placed fourth in the nation for NCAA Division II after winning the GAC, regional, and super regional tournaments. Coach Jason Anderson was recently named Division II Coach of the Year and Kimmy Beasley earned the nation’s Newcomer of the Year honor.
    • Berry told of Kardas’ third trip to Cuba in less than a year, with the most recent voyage including guests and two SAU students. SAU is looking into formal agreements with a Cuban university.
    • SAU has six Marine Biology students studying and researching at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory this summer, which is promising for a program that is showing continued growth.
    • Taylor McNeel, SAU student and National FFA President, continues to make news for SAU, FFA and Arkansas. She was recently featured in a cover story on Front Porch magazine.
  • The new SAU Engineering facility at the former armory is moving forward quickly and is on track for completion in August. 
  • Plans for the new president’s home were approved by the Board. The home will feature Georgian architecture in a “timeless style” and will provide the opportunity for hosting events and building community at SAU, according to Berry.
  • A search for chancellor of SAU Tech is moving forward. Ads will begin running soon and hopes are to fill the position by January 2017.
  • SAU Tech Executive Vice Chancellor Robert Gunnels shared successes of students at the recent Arkansas Skills USA competitions. Jessica Young also returned with the Instructor of the Year award. Students will be traveling to the national competition in Lewisville, Kentucky.
  • “Fast Track Fridays” is a new Friday-only course offering at SAU Tech beginning in the fall, and is geared toward employees at the business park.
  • Gunnels pointed to several indicators of the passion and “above and beyond” mentality of SAU Tech’s faculty and staff, including employees working in flower beds and going out their way to pick up litter or escort visitors to offices across campus.
  • SAU Tech has placed a priority on campus safety, and initiatives include active shooter training and putting sound emergency response in place.
  • Enrollment at SAU Tech is also looking promising. Gunnels credited the three recruiters, whose enthusiasm has garnished praise by visiting parents and students.
  • Two colleagues, friends, are retiring from SAU Tech – Dr. Diane Betts, vice chancellor for planning, accountability and development, and Gerald Manning, director of the SAU Tech physical plant. Gunnels misread of their combined “700 years” of experience, actually 70, got a laugh from the crowd.
  • Barbara Hamilton of the Administrative Staff Organization shared two projects the group undertook this past year, including a cleanup day in February for downtown Camden in preparation for the Daffodil Festival and a push to acquire discount opportunities at area restaurants for SAU Tech students.
  • Johnny Hall, SAU Tech faculty senate president, shared of the encouraging attitude on campus and the transition to a new learning management system. She reported that faculty initiated a “Writer’s Circle” bi-weekly meeting in which faculty members enjoy working closely with students.
  • Gunnels shared a report from Loretha Walker, of the Classified Staff Organization, which enacted a monthly speaker series this past year.
  • The Board approved a slight revision to the SAU mission statement. Berry explained that the SAU campus is going through a strategic planning process, and that a committee of faculty and staff senate representatives worked on updating the mission.
  • The Board approved three academic program additions presented by Johnson, including the previously mentioned new MAT K-6 tract and two new tracts for the Masters of Computer Information Science program.
  • The Board approved SAU Tech academic changes, presented by Gunnels, which included adding a Computer Support Specialist program and a new emphasis under the General Technology Degree – Certified Production Technician. The later has been in process for four years, said Gunnels, and they have worked closely with industry on its design.
  • The Board approved both SAU and SAU Tech to proceed in applying for 80/20 grants from the Arkansas Department of Transportation. Jasper Lewis, vice president for facilities at SAU, presented the sidewalk grant opportunity for the Magnolia campus, which will include funding of nine solar-powered triangular flashing crosswalk signs. Gunnels presented the SAU Tech grant opportunity, which will help fund completion of the parking lot at the new student center.
  • All resolutions were approved that were presented by Roger Giles, SAU vice president for administration and general counsel. These included the annual renewal for the SAU campus and properties to remain handgun-free and all the proposed amendments to the Faculty Handbook.
  • Kardas offered a presentation on the SAU Honors College, which was established in 2003 and has shown continued growth to the current enrollment of 184 students. He said a recent focus has been on travel and internships, and he is looking forward to presenting at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference with David Wingfield in the upcoming academic year.
  • Shawana Reed, vice president for finance at SAU, and Gaye Manning, vice chancellor for finance and administration at SAU Tech, share the 2016-17 proposed budgets from their respective institutions. They were both happy to report that two-percent cost of living increases were able to be budgeted for the year ahead, to be officially determined once enrollment figures are clear in October.

May 26, 2016

CAMDEN-For the fourth year in a row, the Camden Noon Lion's Club given out bookshelves and boxes of books to local children. This years winners were Owen Grillo, Jace Wilson, Makya Mann and Lily D. Mayweather. The lucky youth and their families, kept up with the number of books that each child read throughout the school year. At the end of the year, schools turn in their reading calendars to the civic group. Lions Clubs President, Christy Glaze thanked Ham Singleton, Travis Daniel and the late-great Tom Forbes, for building the bookshelves. The Lions Club's prayers remain with the Forbes family at this time.

CAMDEN-Earlier this week, men and women of the Special Olympics, participated in a torch run throughout downtown Camden. Local law enforcement officers were grateful to walk beside those within the Special Olympics, and watch as their faces were filled with joy. Walking along side were Mayor Marie Trisollini, Police Chief, Bo Woody, Sgt. Cameron Owens, among others. The walk started at the Ouachita County Courthouse and ended at Camden Wholesale. Trisollini said " I think it was a great day for this walk...this was actually their practice walk for the Special Olympics...they are a delightful bunch of folks".

MAGNOLIA-21-year-old Luke Chance Fuller, of Emerson, was arrested Tuesday by Magnolia police and charged with false imprisonment-first degree, aggravated assault and terroristic threatening first degree. According to the police report, Fuller and the victim got into an altercation, during which he locked the victim inside of a residence and would not allow them to leave. It is also alleged that during the altercation Fuller was wielding a knife and making threats. He is currently awaiting his first appearance at the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility.

HELENA-WEST HELENA - According to reports, on Monday at 2:07 a.m., Helena-West Helena 911 dispatchers received a call from the 700 block of Liberty Street in Helena, and the caller advised someone just fired gunshots at the house. Virgil Green, chief of police with the Helena-West Helena Police Department, said that when officers arrived on scene the shooters had fled the area. Reports say the residents told officers they were in bed asleep when they heard gunshots ring out. The residents stated they went outside and noticed a bullet hole in a vehicle parked in the driveway. When officers arrived, they also found one bullet had struck a bedroom window where several small children were sleeping. One of the occupants inside the house who was in the kitchen when the shots were fired looked out the window and saw several black men running away. They ran and jumped in the back of a truck and fled the area. Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Agents have been assisting the Helena-West Helena Police department CID detective with recent shootings investigations. Based upon witness information, investigators arrested Armand Winford, 29, in connection with the shooting. Reports suggest that Winford is a convicted felon and faces 11 counts of aggravated assault and 11 counts of terroristic acts. Green said there were eleven people inside the residence, and some of those were small children. Those inside the home were fortunate that no one was struck by the gunshots.

May 24, 2016

CAMDEN- According to those within the Calhoun County Sheriff's Office, two people were injured in an explosion in Camden on Monday evening. Reports suggest that the injuries did not appear to be life threatening. The injured individuals were taken to the Ouachita County Medical Center, and later flown to the Children's Hospital Burn Unit in Little Rock. The explosion took place at Esterline Defense Technologies, and it was contained to one building, according to the sheriff's office. Flares were made in the building where the explosion took place, the sheriff's office said.  The Camden Fire Department said the explosion took place around 6:55 p.m. Updates will be made as soon as more information becomes available.

MAGNOLIA-At about 12:04 p.m. Sunday, A Crossett man was killed, in a single-vehicle wreck on Arkansas 133 in Ashley County. According to a preliminary Arkansas State Police report, Tyler D. Smith, 23, was driving a Toyota TRS north on the highway when it traveled off the west side of the roadway and struck a culvert. The vehicle overturned several times and Smith was ejected. Smith died at the scene.

CAMDEN-Southern Arkansas University Tech’s Adult Education services improved drastically over academic year 2014-2015, according to the Arkansas Department of Career Education’s Adult Education Division.  SAU Tech Adult Education Centers received the state agency’s award for the largest percentage gain and improvement for the Effective and Efficient indicators in the state of Arkansas among Adult Education program. The Center went from an Effective and Efficient indicator of 74.6 percent in academic year 2013-2014 to 109.91 percent in academic year 2014-2015. To be considered effective and efficient, local adult education programs and literacy councils receiving adult education funds are required to meet or exceed 80 percent of the negotiated core indicators of performance.  This means assisting students in making educational advancements in reading, writing, and math based on their entering functioning level. The measurement of gains also includes student outcome measures of entering employment, retaining employment, obtaining a GED and entering postsecondary (college) education.  
 SAU Tech Adult Education Director, Barbara Hamilton, had this to say about the recent award, “ Our staff have been working extremely hard to improve outcomes for the program.  Finding ways to improve student outcomes is our goal! The hard work has paid off and we are very proud and excited.” For  more information on SAU Tech’s Adult Education services, call 870.837.4001.
MAGNOLIA – The Southern Arkansas University Hallman Scholarship has been awarded to two inspiring young females who will be incoming science freshmen from Northeast Texas. The Hallman Scholarship is awarded through the SAU Foundation and provides two scholarships for incoming freshmen women in the SAU College of Science and Engineering. The scholarships are annual amounts of $12,000 and of $17,000 based on ACT scores and other aid. The 2016 inductees are Elizabeth Jacobs of Texarkana and Alexandria Oliver of Atlanta, Texas. Elizabeth Jacobs has always had the dream of helping animals, and her love of science and math has helped keep her vision of becoming a veterinarian in focus despite being a first-generation college student and facing many challenges at a young age. She soared at Libery-Eylau High School with a 4.0 GPA and a top-five ranking in her class while being active in FFA, the University Interscholastic League (UIL), on the varsity tennis team, and in the Gifted & Talented program. She credits the opportunity to volunteer at Runnin’ WJ Ranch as one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. She said she bonded with special-needs children and helped train the ranch’s therapy horses. “Helping those who cannot help themselves is truly my passion,” Jacobs wrote in her application essay. “After my time at SAU, I plan to pursue my Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine and specialize in large animal care, which is currently a male-dominated sector of the profession. Being successful against all odds has been the story of my life thus far, and I look forward to starting this new chapter at SAU.” She also gives thanks to the support of her grandparents, Calvin V. and Helen O. Jacobs. Alexandria Oliver of Atlanta High School has also excelled in her studies with a 4.0 GPA and a 5.7641 weighted GPA, placing her 2nd in a class of 142. On top of her classwork, she has been a member of the varsity softball team for four years. She plans to major in Biology at SAU to prepare her for a future in the medical field as a dentist. She is fortunate to have earned the Hallman Scholarship as she hopes it will lessen her and her parent’s financial burden, allowing her to be able to focus on her studies as an undergraduate. “I am one of four…children. My oldest sister is currently in college, and my twin and myself plan on attending next year with our younger brother following in only two years,” Oliver explained in her application essay. “With four children born so close together and some with plans of attending graduate school, there will be a time when we are all in college at the same time. This can be very expensive for my parents, so I hope winning this scholarship will lessen the burden.” She is the daughter of Gerrod and Allison Oliver. Jacobs and Oliver join previous Hallman Scholarship recipients – Karissa Shackelford,  pre-nursing major from Waldo; Jada Fricks, chemistry major from Saratoga; Calla Bassett, engineering major from Phoenix, Arizona; Bailey Romero, nursing student from Little Rock; Taylor McNeel, National FFA President and SAU agriculture science student from Vilonia, Ark.; and Emily Snyder, a pre-pharmacy student from Cabot High School. Dedicated to providing opportunities for women, 1966 graduate of SAU Cinda Hallman provided funds for the scholarship through her estate. Hallman was one of four women heading Fortune 500 companies at the time of her appointment as CEO of Spherion Corporation. Before joining Spherion, Hallman had a distinguished 20-year career with DuPont. As senior vice president of DuPont global systems and processes, she had full responsibility for global information technology, processes and strategy, and corporate core managing processes. She was named Chief Information Officer of the Year by Information Week Magazine for “reshaping DuPont’s information systems organization to meet the changing competitive needs of its business units.” 

May 23, 2016

MAGNOLIA-According to reports, 25-year-old, James C. "Rollie" Cooper Jr., of Magnolia, was killed in a single-vehicle accident on U.S. 371 about 6:45 a.m. Sunday. According to Arkansas State Police, Cooper was driving a 2000 model Chevrolet Tahoe north when it failed to negotiate a curve and struck a tree in a ditch on the east side of the roadway. Cooper was taken to Magnolia Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7:25 a.m. by Coroner Randy Reed. The accident happened north of County Road 76, which is north of the bridges between Magnolia and Waldo on U.S. 371. The weather was clear and the road was dry. Trooper Brent Walker investigated the accident. The body was released to R.L. Reed Funeral Home. Cooper’s death was the second on a Columbia County roadway this year. There were two fatalities in 2015, four in 2014 and five each in 2013 and 2012.

PINE BLUFF-According to the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney's office, charges have been filed against Maurice Price. Price is wanted in the shooting death of Andre Eason, last Saturday. Authorities say people were partying inside the house, before the shooting, including Price. Witnesses told police that Price went outside and came back in a short time later, pointing a gun. Investigators say he started shooting and telling everyone to get on the floor. Witnesses say other men entered the home, robbing people before taking off in a black Nissan Altima. Police ask anyone who knows anything to give them a call.

During the recent weekly column written for Gov. Asa Hutchinson: We all learn from history and that includes Arkansas history. In 1911, the Arkansas Legislature met for the first time in the new State Capitol. The building was still unfinished, but it was “finished enough” for legislators to meet for a general session. During the session, Arkansas’s 22nd governor, George Donaghey, proposed three bills that would help with the final completion of the Capitol Building. Two of his bills easily passed through the legislature. The third, however, was filibustered to death on the last day of the regular session. The gavel came down at noon on May 13, 1911, signaling the end of the general session. Only 30 minutes later, Governor Donaghey issued a call for a special session – marking the third special session in Arkansas history since the adoption of the 1874 Constitution. Five items were on the special session’s legislative agenda, including bills to help fund the completion of the Capitol. Although the building was not fully finished until four years later, Governor Donaghey was pleased everyone had worked together and had gotten the job done. Now, more than 100 years later, the Arkansas State Capitol continues to house the daily operations of state government. It’s seen quite a few special sessions since the days of Governor Donaghey. And last week, it saw another as the 90th General Assembly gathered for their third special session. We’ve taken on a number of items, but our main objective is to address Arkansas’s highway funding needs. We need to ensure that our state has adequate funding for our highways, roads and infrastructure. Back in January, I outlined a five-year highway plan that would fund our current roadway needs and support future highway projects in Arkansas – all without raising taxes. My plan calls for the use of existing revenue and surplus funds for our highways while still allowing Arkansans to enjoy savings at the pump. A little extra pocket change can go a long way. Today, the “Arkansas Highway Improvement Plan of 2016” will continue through the various committees of the legislature. Some characterize the plan as a short-term fix, but I do not view it as a one-time solution. It’s a plan to meet our federal funding match for the next five years or more. There’s always the option of doing something different down the road, debating our options and looking for long-term solutions. But for right now, we’re off to a good start. In President Ronald Reagan’s first Inaugural Address, he said, quote “We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding – we are going to begin to act, beginning today.” This weekend, the legislators will continue working and preparing for the special session activities on Monday. They will look for ways to achieve greater government efficiencies, protect our Worker’s Compensation program, lighten the workload for our foster care caseworkers and resolve challenges facing our state’s schools. As governor, I am proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, and I applaud our legislators for diligently working to find solutions to our state’s most pressing issues. Keep up the good work, and keep “paving the way” for Arkansas’s future. After all, we’re making history – and it’s a story we’ll all be able to tell.

May 20, 2016

CAMDEN-As many know the Daffodil Festival has grown in to one of the biggest traditions in Camden, and all of Arkansas. Much of the festivals success should be attributed to the many volunteers, that put in the hours to make sure it is the best it can be. On Thursday, the Daffodil Committee hosted an "Ice Cream Social" event to honor all of the men and women that give their time and efforts to the festival. All who s...howed up at the get-together, not only enjoyed frozen goodness, but also found out some news on their Chairperson. During the social, it was announced that Daffodil Chairperson, Katie Parrish, would be moving to Northern Arkansas, for opportunities that have arose for her family. Katie's husband has taken a job with the Walmart Corporation. Parish said "It's bitter sweet we've come to really call Camden home, we've been here for five years and as you know we've made a lot of wonderful friends that are like family and the Daffodil Festival has really really tighten the bond with a lot of the folks around here.... I have so many mentors and so many friends through the Festival but it's going to be very very hard to say goodbye but as I've told everyone they haven't seen the last of me....we will be back". Parish also mentioned that Amanda Wunnenberg has agreed to serve as Interim President over the summer months. Wunnenberg has been serving as a Vice President to the committee. The Daffodil Board will reconvene in the fall, and will then make a decision on a new president. Parrish also said " I just know that things happen for a reason and I was only to be here for one year as chairman and I just know that better things are to come in the future for the festival". Obviously many were saddened by the news, knowing how much Daffodil Festival meant to Katie, and all the hard work she has done. Many will recall the rain that came down at the festival this year, well during the social the rain returned again. Kaite joked saying the rain is becoming a theme for Daffodil related events in Camden, but as always the team is ready for anything. Katie has done a wonderful job as Chairperson and will be deeply missed. If you have time...send her a text, or call...maybe even Facebook message her, but let Kaite know how much she was appreciated in our area.

MAGNOLIA-On Thursday, 16-year-old Keaton Taylor, of Taylor made his second court appearance in connection with the April 13 murder of Douglas Harwell, 53. Circuit Court Judge David Talley Jr. presided over the hearing at the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility. Public defender Robert Jeffrey asked for co-counsel William “Bill” McLean to assist him in representing Taylor in the case. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ryan Phillips, represented the State. He said the state is in the process of making a copy of a discovery motion to give to the defense. He also said several items have been sent to the Arkansas Crime Lab to be evaluated, and they have not gotten those items returned yet. Phillips said the state is also waiting for results from the autopsy. He mentioned that if the defense is planning to file any motions for mental evaluations, that the state had not received any files yet. McLean said he would be fine with accepting partial discovery until all files are able to be produced. He also said there would be a bond hearing and a motion made to move the case to juvenile court pending future interviews. The state said they would provide all discovery as soon as possible to both attorneys. The case was continued to July 7 to allow the crime lab to turn over its results.

TEXARKANA-Texarkana Regional Airport has closed its longest runway for around a month to make repairs to the surface of the runway. The 6,600 foot runway 4/22 is closed for up to 40 days so it can be resurfaced with new asphalt. According to airport director Mark Mellinger, the closure will not affect commercial air traffic. The 5,200 foot runway 13/31 will remain open and serve all traffic. According to reports, Mellinger said “You do have to refurbish the pavement every so often, that guarantee that we have a good smooth surface for airplanes to land on,”. According to Mellinger, the last repairs to the runway were done 17 years ago. Both runways will be closed on the weekends of June 4-5 and June 11-12.

LITTLE ROCK- According to reports, Jermain Taylor has received a suspended sentence and dodged a lengthy prison term he faced for incidents in 2014 and 2015. On Friday, the suspended sentence was handed down by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Leon Johnson. It amounts to three six-year periods and one one-year term which all run concurrently, during which time Taylor must remain out of trouble. He must also perform 120 hours of community service within three years, undergo drug screens and pay a $2,000 fine. The former boxer, was also ordered not to have contact with three victims. During the sentencing hearing, the state recommended 10 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction or a "lengthy" suspended sentence that would allow the threat of prison to hold Taylor accountable for his behavior. The defense countered that by saying being locked in solitary  last summer rehabilitated Taylor and served its purpose, adding that the boxer is ready to be productive and fight again. Back in December, Taylor, 37, pleaded guilty to felony charges that included six counts of aggravated assault, two counts of terroristic threatening and a second-degree battery charge. Each charge carried up to six years in prison. The incidents included:

  • Aug. 26, 2014 - Taylor shot his cousin at Taylor's home near Maumelle.
  • January 19, 2015 - Taylor fired a gun near a man's head at the MLK Day parade in Little Rock.
  • May 13, 2015 - Taylor hit a fellow rehab patient at the Oasis Renewal Center in Little Rock.

May 18, 2016

CAMDEN-On Tuesdays, employees of Lockheed Martin, county officials and members of area business met to celebrate the completion of a million operational hours for HIMARS, and the line reopening for TACMS. The Lockheed Martin High Mobility Artillery Rocket System is a strategic capability, improving homeland and important asset def...ense while reducing overall mission costs. ATACMS is a long-range guided missile that gives operational commanders the immediate firepower to win the deep battle. Each ATACMS missile is packaged in a MLRS look-alike launch pod and is fired from the MLRS Family of Launchers. The celebration began with a presentation of the colors by Camden Fairview High, and a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, which was sung by Shanna Dorey. Welcome and opening remarks were presented by Colin Sterling, Camden Operations Director, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. Sterling also introduced the speakers for the event, which included Frank St. John, Robert B. Lucas, Colonel Joseph Russo and Colonel Robert Picht. After the ceremony, Mr. Sterling spoke with members of the media. Sterling said "It's a very exciting opportunity...the HIMARS system being operational for a million hours is a tremendous accomplishment both for our faculty here, the design overall and for the support it has provided to the military". Sterling also said " We're also excited to announce the restart of the TACMS line and the tremendous capabilities that provides our war fighters and meet the needs they have".

TEXARKANA- More than one dozen suspects have been picked up in a drug raid.
A news release issued Tuesday stated that 18 people had been taken into custody and investigators were looking for eight others. The investigation and raid involved the Miller County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshal's Service, Texarkana Arkansas Police Department (TAPD), Texarkana Texas Police Department, Bowie County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police, Texas Department of Public Safety, and state and federal prosecutors. The release stated that the Bi-State Narcotics Task Force has spent the last eight months investigating a "large scale methamphetamine distribution syndicate involving narcotics trafficking and distribution in the areas of Texarkana and Miller County, Arkansas." The release continued, "As a result of the investigation, 26 people were identified as taking part in the syndicate’s activities and officials within the investigation secured arrest warrants for the these participants." Criminal charges in this case range from Delivery of a Controlled Substance to weapons charges. Some charges will be enhanced as the sale of controlled substances was located near schools, churches, and city parks, the release stated. In a joint statement, TAPD Police Chief Bob Harrison and Miller County Sheriff Ron Stovall said, “This case is an example of how law enforcement can work together in making a significate impact in the community. When law enforcement officers from all levels of government dedicate their efforts towards a common goal, a greater disruption in the distribution and use of illicit narcotics can be achieved.” “The Miller County Prosecuting Attorney's Office is proud to be a part of this investigation and the undercover work of the officers. This is an excellent example of how monies seized in illegal drug activities can be used to fund investigations like this in furtherance of the fight against drugs for the betterment of our community,” added Stephanie Potter Black, the Prosecuting Attorney for the Arkansas 8th Judicial South District, which includes Miller County. “Today’s arrests are the result of effective coordination with law enforcement entities who partner together to disrupt and dismantle drug networks that threaten our neighborhoods,” said Special Agent in Charge Diane Upchurch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Little Rock.

CAMDEN-Jessica Young, SAU Tech Career Academy’s Health Sciences Technology Instructor, is the recepeint of the 2016 Arkansas SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year. Young instructs high school students on the College’s main campus in Camden and recently was awarded the National Career and Technical Teacher of the Year Award for her efforts. The SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year award is given to recognize and honor dedicated Career and Technical Education instructors who serve as... local SkillsUSA Advisors. Recipients of this award have made significant contributions toward training, motivating, and inspiring their peers and students while promoting involvement in CTE programs and projects that benefit their communities and state. Their outstanding contributions to both their students and to the SkillsUSA organization make them a valuable leader and shining example to the entire State of Arkansas. For more information about SAU Tech’s Career Academy programs, call 870.574.4423.

May 17, 2016

CAMDEN-Jim Golden owner of Jim Golden Ford Dealership in Camden, Arkansas donated an eight passenger, XLT Ford Expedition to SAU Tech this past month. The donation came about after Golden was made aware of a need with regards to transporting students from campus housing to the College’s Mechanical Maintenance program which is located in a building owned by th...e Airport Commission on U.S. Highway 79N. Many SAU Tech students who live in campus housing do not have transportation when they come to the College and the need to go back and forth from the campus to the Mechanical Maintenance building can be a hardship. Eddie Horton, SAU Tech’s instructor for the program, made Golden aware of the need and the details were worked out with the help of Gaye Manning, the College’s Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration and Gerald Manning, SAU Tech’s Physical Plant Director. Horton also indicated that the vehicle will be used to take students on field trips to various industries as part of their training while in the program. Golden had this to say about the donation, "I feel that it is very important that local business and the South Arkansas community support SAU Tech. I see SAU Tech as the hub of the wheel in the industrial area that provides much of the training for the area workforce. A strong SAU Tech is a benefit to all of us. We have an industrial park that is second to none and it continues to attract work and jobs from other states and areas. I feel with SAU Tech and the industrial park we have a unique team that we must help grow.” SAU Tech’s Executive Vice Chancellor, Robert Gunnels, stated that, “We are extremely grateful for the partnership that we have enjoyed with Golden Ford over the years, and particularly Mr. Jim Golden personally, who has been an ardent supporter of SAU Tech.” For more information on how you can support SAU Tech and its students, call 870.574.4500.

HOT SPRINGS- Attorneys for a Garland County judge charged in the hot car death of his son say the state unlawfully arrested him and hasn't stated how the judge is criminally responsible for the toddler's death. Defense attorneys for Circuit Judge Wade Naramore say in court filings that prosecutors haven't shown how the judge's actions meet the requirements of negligent homicide. According to reports, they also claim prosecutors have failed to turn over records in the case, despite repeated requests. Naramore is slated for trial next month. This past July, his son, 18-month-old Thomas, died after police say he was left in a hot car for several hours.

HOT SPRINGS-As of Monday night, three people are in custody, following a chase that came to a crashing end in Hot Springs. Investigators say the suspect led a Hot Spring County deputy on a chase through county and state roads around midnight on Monday. The car hit an embankment, wrecking near Church and Broadway in Hot Springs. Detectives say the three suspects in the car were hurt and taken to a local hospital.
 There is no word yet on their condition or the charges they face.

May 16, 2016

Eight people are facing charges after authorities with the Caddo-Shreveport Narcotics Unit reportedly found a suspected meth lab inside a Shreveport residence.  According to the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office, the arrests followed a tip that a meth lab was being operated at the residence.  Agents searched the residence and reportedly found items used to manufacture methamphetamine. Agents say a hazard material crew was dispatched to collect and dispose of precursors necessary for manufacturing. As a result, the following the homeowner and 7 others were arrested and booked into the Caddo Correctional Center. All of the suspects, were booked on 1 count each of creation/operation of a clandestine lab: 

  • Devin Wayne McVay, 36, of the 200 block of Blanchard Mobile Villa Rd. in Shreveport.
  • Timothy Scott Crawford, 37, of the 1000 block of Huckaby Rd. in Haughton. 
  • Ashley Rene Crawford, 34, of the 1000 block of Huckaby Rd. in Haughton.
  • Brandon Cain Mobley, 22, of the 200 block of Blanchard Mobile Villa Rd. in Sheveport. 
  • Charles Stanford Schwartz, 45, of the 200 block of Blanchard Mobile Villa Rd. in Shreveport. 
  • Jodie Dreher Watt, 44, of the 200 block of Blanchard Mobile Villa Rd. in Shreveport. 
  • Amanda Lea Matthews, 30, of the 100 block of Egan St. in Shreveport. 
  • Todd Lee Scruggs, 39, of the 1700 block of Wells Island Rd. in Shreveport. Deputies say Scruggs also had two outstanding warrants from Shreveport Police and Dallas County Sheriff's Office. 

HOT SPRINGS – A Hot Springs family was forced from their home after a fire. Reports suggest that the blaze occurred on Saturday afternoon. According to a commander with the city fire department, the house on Hobson and Oakcliff is a total loss. The family, including four young children, all escaped without injury.There is no word yet on what caused the fire.

CAMDEN – Lockheed Martin is celebrating two major milestones: one million operational hours for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher, and the re-start of Tactical Missile System (TACMS) missile production in Camden. The ceremony will take place in Lockheed Martin’s Ground Vehicle Assembly Building, where HIMARS will resume production later this year. A HIMARS launcher and full-scale TACMS missile model w...ill be on display.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 17

· 10:45–11:00 am: Arrival
· 11:00–11:30 am: Ceremony
· 11:35–11:45 am : Interviews if desired
· 11:30 am–12:15 pm: Luncheon

WHERE: Lockheed Martin Ground Vehicle Assembly Building, 15917 Ar-274 Camden, AR 71701. Enter on the north side of the facility.

· Colin Sterling, Director of Camden Operations at Lockheed Martin
· Frank St. John, Vice President of Tactical Missiles/Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin
· Robert Lucas, Deputy Project Manager, U.S. Army Precision Fires Rocket and Missile Systems, Huntsville, Alabama
· Colonel Joseph J. Russo, U.S. Marine Corps, Commanding Officer, 14th Marine Regiment, Fort Worth, Texas
· Colonel Robert G. Picht Jr., U.S. Army TRADOC Capabilities Manager, Field Artillery Brigade, Division Artillery, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

May 12, 2016


LITTLE ROCK- Law enforcement agencies across Arkansas are once again preparing to step-up enforcement of the primary seat belt law.  The “Click It or Ticket” enforcement operating plan covers a three week period beginning May 16th and continues through one of the most active travel periods for Arkansas motorists. “Too often drivers and passengers who do not buckle-up lose their lives,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “As we approach the Memorial Day weekend and the summer vacation season, we want to make sure people are doing the one simple thing that can save them in a crash - buckle up.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in motor vehicle crashes during 2014 were not using a seat belt.  The facts related to the deaths are the stimulus for increased enforcement and awareness of proper seat belt use. Time and again, law enforcement officers hear from the families of crash victims.  The recurring message is, “I wish they had buckled up.” “The message is simple,” says Colonel Bryant.  “Seat belts save lives and if these enforcement crackdowns get the attention of people, causing them to buckle up, then we’ve done our job.  After all, it is the law” Arkansas state law requires all front seat passengers, not just drivers, to be properly buckled up.  It requires all children less than fifteen years of age to be properly secured in the vehicle.  A child less than six years of age and weighing less than sixty pounds should be restrained in a child passenger safety seat.  If the driver has a restricted license, all passengers in the vehicle must be properly buckled up. It’s not just important to wear your seat belt, but to also wear it properly.  A shoulder harness is worn across the shoulder and chest with minimal, if any slack.  The shoulder harness should not be worn under the arm or behind the back.  Wearing the harness the wrong way could cause serious internal injuries in a crash. More information about "Click it or Ticket" and how seat belts save lives can be found at or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136.  Information about Arkansas' ongoing project "Toward Zero" campaign, can be found at

HOT SPRINGS – Earlier in the week,  the Hot Springs Police Department received numerous 911 calls in reference to a shooting in the area of Helen Street. Responding officers located one victim near the scene who had been shot and that victim was transported to an area hospital by ambulance.  Officers secured the scene and located numerous shell casings in the area of 110 Helen Street. A short time later, HSPD was notified of two other shooting victims at National Park Medical Center. The victims at National Park Medical Center had been driven there by private vehicles. Detectives responded to National Park Hospital and contacted two male victims along with several witnesses. Subsequent to investigation, Jimmy D. Harris was taken into custody at 110 Helen Street without incident.  Harris is charged with three counts of first degree battery and five counts of aggravated assault.  Harris’ bond is set at $27,500. Detectives are currently processing the crime scene and interviewing other persons of interest.  All three victims appear to have non-life threatening injuries.  The investigation is ongoing, at this time.

Authorities arrested an undocumented immigrant, originally from Mexico, accused of raping a 5-year-old in Alexander. According to reports, Jose-Manuel Garcia Gonzalez, who goes by "Manuel Gonzalez", has been charged with rape and sexual grooming after being arrested Wednesday morning. The investigation into Gonzalez began when the Alexander Police Department was told about the possible sexual assault of a 5-year-old. After investigating, police identified the suspect as Gonzalez, who has been living in Alexander and Benton over the past year. The Child Protective Services Division of the Arkansas State Police assisted in the investigation, which led police to get an arrest warrant for Gonzalez. While investigating, police determined that Gonzalez had found out about the investigation and might leave the country to avoid prosecution. So, Alexander PD contacted the U.S. Marshals Service to help them track down Gonzalez. A team of U.S. Marshals located Gonzalez on May 11, and took him into custody on the warrants out of Alexander.

CAMDEN-RadioWorks has been informed that the "May to Remember" events that are set to take place throughout the month, will still be happening. After this weeks City Council meeting, many were wondering if the planned activities for Camden, would be cancelled. However, we can confirm that the events are still a go. RadioWorks Staff was told that the City of Camden is currently working close with Geoff Trosollini, making sure these plans are seen through. For further details on all "May to Remember" events, check of the Camden Parks and Recreation page on Facebook.

CAMDEN-SAU Tech Career Academy Radio and Television Broadcasting students are shown working on a short film called “Spill the Dog Food” with Instructor Chris Franklin. It is a mad lib script that is about two detectives and a psychic that interrogate an inmate about the crimes of Bonnie & Clyde.  This was shot on campus in the basement of SAU Tech’s Business building.  Students in the photo include Darnisha Tooks, CFHS; Jessalynne Leviengston, CFHS; Jessi Poindexter, HG; Todd Crider, CFHS; Chris Williams, HG; and Brandon Brown, CFHS.  For more information about the SAU Tech Career Academy and its programs, call 870.574.4423.

May 11, 2016

CAMDEN-During the May 2016 edition of Camden City Council, a big topic of discussion was the position of Geoff Trisollini as Supervisor for Parks and Recreation. Geoff was hired by Sam Steelman earlier in the year to head the parks & rec department, and has since been trying to create ways to bring fun and exciting activities to the city. Geoff has started a campaign entitled "A May to Remember" which started last week with a dodgeball and kickball tournament. It was Geoff's intention to have activities every weekend throughout the month, and bring some fun back to Camden. However, plans may be put on hold, after tonight's meeting. During the meeting the Councilmen and women decided that the hiring of Geoff was a violation of the City's nepotism policy, with his mother being the Mayor of Camden. The council decided to pass an ordinance for Public Works Director, Sam Steelman, dismiss Geoff as Parks and Recreation Supervisor for Camden. After the meeting, Councilmen L.E. Lindsey spoke on the situation saying " It's unfortunate because Geoff has done a really good job of getting this off the ground, unfortunately it was a pretty clear violation of our policy, which is a necessary policy." Lindsey added "We need to find another way for Geoff to to operate his Department under a non-profit organization like it's been operating under for the last four five six years and done very well but he would be under the employment and supervision of some of the group not our elected mayor and his mother." It was Geoff's hope to bring recreation to the community, and keep people in the city, as well as bring money on to the city. During the audience participation portion of the meeting, multiple supporters of Geoff, spoke to the council, commending him for his job. Geoff spoke on the outpouring of support saying "It meant the world to meant alot to have people that I met a week ago, saying such great things about what they've seen in the community." Mayor Marie Trisollini did not want to comment on the situation right away, but is working to salvage the summer programs that have been started by her son, and make sure this is a May to remember.

MAGNOLIA-On Tuesday, two different players in El Dorado won $50,000, playing Arkansas Scholarship Lottery instant games. John Armer won $50,000 playing a 200X The Money instant ticket, a $20 instant game that launched August 31, 2015. Armer said he first told his father and grandfather about the win. Meanwhile, Clois Moody won $50,000 playing a $1 million Golden Ticket instant ticket, a $20 instant game that launched January 5. Moody said he first told his wife about the win, and that he planned on buying a new truck with the prize. An estimated $5.4 million in prizes remain on 200X The Money, with prizes ranging from $20 to $50,000. An estimated $17.3 million in prizes remain on $1 million Golden Ticket, with prizes ranging from $20 to a million dollars. All prizes remaining are estimated according to winning tickets that have already been claimed. The winning tickets were sold at Missle Mart, 1419 North West Ave., in El Dorado, and at ET Relay, 500 N. College, in El Dorado, respectively. Each retailer will receive a 1 percent commission on the $50,000 prize.

HOT SPRINGS - According to reports, authorities are searching for two men who impersonated Arkansas Tobacco Control officers and tried to extort money from a Hot Springs liquor store owner. The two men walked into North Star Liquor on Saturday and identified themselves as undercover tobacco control officers Hot Springs police Cpl. Kirk Zaner . He says the men tried to extort money from the store's owner, but left when the owner became suspicious and said he was calling police. Arkansas Tobacco Control agents and Hot Springs police are searching for the two men.

May 10, 2016

CAMDEN-According to the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office, Monday morning a citizen contacted the Ouachita County Sheriff's Department after seeing a vehicle submerged under water on Arkansas State Highway 79 B "Old River... Dump Road". With the assistance of the Camden Fire Department the vehicle was recovered. The vehicle was reported stolen over the weekend from Ouachita County. After further investigation we believe that nobody was in the vehicle when it left the roadway.

CONWAY- A teen has pleaded guilty to killing his grandparents in July 2015. According to court documents, 14-year-old Staton pleaded guilty earlier in the week, to two counts each of first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, theft of property, and abuse of a corpse. He has received a sentence of 35 years in prison. The bodies of Robert and Patricia Cogdell, both 66 at the time, were found in a tree line behind their home on Quail Run Circle. Both had been shot inside their home before being moved to their final location. Five other people have been arrested in connection to the crime. According to reports, Hunter Drexler, 18, faces the same charges as Staton. Connor Atchley, 17, and Anastasia Roberts, 17, are charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of theft by receiving. Randal Staton, the second grandfather of Justin Staton, has been charged with hindering apprehension, which is a class B felony. Justin Staton's mother, MIchelle Staton, has pleaded guilty to a charge that she hindered the apprehension of her teenage son.

LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas House and Senate officially adjourned the fiscal session on Monday, 10 days ahead of an expected special session on highway funding. Also Monday, the House re-elected Speaker Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, to another two-year term as speaker, and the House Republican Caucus chose Rep. Mathew Pitsch of Fort Smith as its new leader. The fiscal session began on April 13 and was dominated by wrangling over whether to fund Arkansas Works, Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s plan to continue and modify the state’s Medicaid expansion plan, pending federal approval. Lawmakers ultimately approved the Arkansas Works funding and passed a $5.3 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, adhering mostly to the budget plan Hutchinson proposed in March. The budget, which Hutchinson signed Monday, increases state spending by $142.7 million compared to the current fiscal year. It includes increases for the Department of Human Services and public schools but keeps funding for most agencies flat. Gillam was the only candidate for House speaker. His re-election does not compel the 2017 House membership to seat him, but no one has announced plans to challenge him next year. “I am very, very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish so far together,” Gillam told House members. “We’ve been able to show that … there is a better way of doing things than the example we’ve seen on TV so much out of Washington.” The Republican House Caucus later announced it had elected Pitsch as the new House Republican leader, replacing Rep. Ken Bragg of Sheridan. The caucus also elected Rep. Robin Lundstrum of Springdale as secretary and Rep. John Payton of Wilburn as whip. The elections were effective immediately. Hutchinson has said he intends to call a special session beginning May 19 to ask lawmakers to consider his plan to use a combination of general revenue and rainy-day and surplus funds to boost highway funding by $750 million over the next 10 years. Some legislators have said they are developing plans that would provide longer-term revenue sources for highways than the governor’s proposal. Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, has said he is part of a group of senators working on a four-year proposal that would raise the gasoline and diesel taxes by 5 cents in the first year and by another 3 cents in the second year, keeping the tax at that level for three years before the increase would expire. Currently, the gas tax is 21.5 cents per gallon and the diesel tax is 22.5 cents per gallon. The increase would generate about $100 million in the first year and about $162 million in each of the following three years, according to Hickey. Rep. Joe Jett, D-Success, said he is working on a proposal that would partially repeal the sales tax exemption on motor fuels, with the amount of the repeal tied to the inflation rate of the cost of highway construction materials. If 5 cents of the exemption were repealed, that would generate about $100 million a year, according to Jett. Gillam told reporters Monday it was “too early” to say whether the legislative proposals had enough support to merit taking them up in the special session. Asked how he feels about raising taxes to generate highway dollars, Gillam said raising taxes is not “Option A,” but he said that “I learned a long time ago, my first term down here, never to say never.” House Minority Leader Michael John Gray, D-Augusta, said House Democrats “would like to see a long-term solution.” “We’ve got to find some revenue, whether it be a brand-new source or whether it’s removing the exemptions or other sources,” he said. Pitsch said he will look at any proposal that gets drafted, but he said that “I like the one proposal that I’ve seen, which is the governor’s plan — and that doesn’t include raising taxes.”Hutchinson said last week that Arkansans are enjoying some extra spending money because of low gas prices and that he does not want to take that away by raising taxes. Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said Monday the governor’s position has not changed.

May 9, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – President Obama today granted Governor Asa Hutchinson’s request for a major disaster declaration for Public Assistance for the State of Arkansas as a result of damages due to severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of March 8 to March 13, 2016. The declaration will allow governmental bodies in the affected areas, who meet certain criteria, to apply for assis...tance. Public Assistance for emergency work and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities will be available in Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Cleveland, Columbia, Desha, Lincoln, Ouachita, Phillips, and Prairie counties. Through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, funds will be available for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards for all areas of the state. Additional designations may be added to the declaration if requested by the state and warranted by results of further damage assessments. Individual Assistance for individuals and households is still under review for Ashley, Chicot, Desha, Lee, Lincoln, and Phillips counties.

ST.FRANCIS COUNTY -A New Mexico man is dead after the Harley Davidson he was riding left I-40 near Forrest City, flipped and crashed in the median. According to the Arkansas State Police, 66-year-old, Terry Behling, of Deming, NM, was pronounced dead by the St. Francis coroner at the scene of the accident just after 4:30pm Saturday. Road conditions were dry at the time of the accident.


MAGNOLIA-According to reports, e
leven public meetings will be held throughout the state May 24 and May 26 to discuss chronic wasting disease and the regulations being proposed by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in an effort to manage the disease. Three of the meetings will be held in South Arkansas. To date, 82 cases of CWD have been found in Arkansas deer and four more in elk. Currently, the disease has been detected in four counties: Newton, Madison, Pope and Boone. The AGFC continues to collect road-kill samples statewide to send off for testing out of state. A one-hour broadcast on AETN at 8 p.m., May 23, with a panel discussion about CWD, has also been scheduled. The agency also will be sending CWD information and deer season regulation proposals by email to the state’s licensed hunters. Meeting locations in South Arkansas:

May 24, 6-8 p.m. University of Arkansas at Monticello, Fine Arts Center, University Drive.

May 26, 6-8 p.m. Camden Fairview High School, Little Theater Auditorium, 1750 Cash Road.

Hope Fair Park Community Center, 800 South Mockingbird Lane

CAMDEN - An Arkansas boy bitten by a snake hiding underneath his toy dump truck survived after receiving 16 vials of anti-venom. John McClane was outside with his children -  Judson and Jasmine - while the youngsters were playing when the father heard his son, 3, scream. "I figured it was an ant or maybe a wasp," he said. Hiding underneath Judson's Tonka Truck was a snake that doctors identified as a venomous cottonmouth, commonly referred to as a water moccasin. "He was in severe pain as we got there (to the hospital)," the father said. "The second day the same, but they took care of him the right way." Lamar Williams of the Little Rock Zoo says water moccasins can be aggressive but typically don't bite unless provoked. Getting rid of easy hiding places like high grass and brush piles can make a yard a less likely hiding spot for these potentially deadly snakes. With springtime being mating season for water moccasins, it's a good idea to be extra cautious when kids are outside. "I'm going to start picking up every evening and I'll go out and scout before we all come out," Josh McClane said.

May 2, 2016

CAMDEN-As of Saturday morning, Ouachita County Judge, Robbie McAdoo, has made a verbal declaration that assistance was needed due to the recent storm. Earlier today, a special meeting was held in McAdoo's office. The verbal declaration must now be followed up with a written disaster relief proclamation. The purpose of the meeting was so that the judge could get input from Mayor Marie Trisollini..., Police Chief Bo Woody, Fire Chief Rob Medford, among others, to get actual estimates of damage. State Senator, Bobby Pierce, Ben Gilmore with Congressman Westerman and Trent Garner from Tom Cotton's office were also in attendance. Those who attended the meeting had to identify destruction of houses and also determine major, minor or affected damage. The group also talked about the public assistance area of the declaration, and talk about things such as debris removal, emergency protection measures, as well as utilities affected. During the meeting, McAdoo mentioned that he had received a call from Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson. McAdoo said " I think now more eyes are on our disaster here". He also said " the purpose of today was to get as much assistance as possible, for our residents". Mayor Marie Trisollini mentioned that she had spoken to people from Entergy, and power should be restored sometime this evening.

CAMDEN-On Sunday, a meeting held at the Camden Police Department, County and City officials met, to discuss the recent storm damage, and the recovery process. During the meeting Dennis Cavanaugh with the National Weather Service, spoke to those in attendance, and explained what he believes took place over the weekend. Cavanaugh said "what we've found was evidence of a strong microburst that struck the Northwest side... of Camden....microburst winds mean it's not a tornado, but it's still a very strong core of winds, that can do quite a bit of damage". Cavanaugh believes they found evidence of wind damage anywhere from 80-95 mph, which does rank in the EF-1 intensity damage, very similar to a tornado. Mayor Marie Trisollini described it as "a lighting strike during a storm, but except for lightning, it's a wind strike, that burst out in every direction around it". The Mayor would go on to say "this is something relatively common in a thunderstorm...which we intend to ignore during a code red call...that's important to know and we have to have some public education for that". Trisollini also wanted to remind the public that the city and county both are still working to clear damage and help anyway they can, but if you do not live in the damaged neighborhoods, then you need to stay away at this time, for safety reasons. Ouachita County Judge Robbie McAdoo also attended the meeting and is ready to help any in need. McAdoo said " we're still going to be working with a collaborative effort to reach out and give people assistance, and make this bad situation better ". More updates on the recent storm damage will become available as the recovery process progresses.

TEXARKANA - Testimony began Monday afternoon in the trial of the motorcyclist accused shooting another man over a gas station parking spot last September. Marvin Stanton, 49, is charged with murder in the death of Jesse James Hamilton, reportedly because he wanted to park his motorcycle in the space occupied by Hamilton’s truck at the Raceway station on State Line Avenue in Texarkana, Ark. According to a spokesperson from Miller County Prosecutor Stephanie Black’s office, multiple witnesses have been subpoenaed from both sides, and the trial is expected to last throughout the week, and maybe even longer. 

LITTLE ROCK–Ouachita County Judge Robert A. McAdoo, Chidester Mayor Bobby Box, Sr., and Camden Mayor Marie Trisollini are among 147 officials in 70 counties who have declared May as Historic Preservation Month and Arkansas Heritage Month, AHPP Director Frances McSwain announced today.“As we enjoy these month-long celebrations of our Arkansas heritage, as well as the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, we hope all of the people of Arkansas will take time to reflect on the importance of their local historic sites, especially those listed on the National Register of Historic Places,” Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst said. (A list of Ouachita County’s National Register properties can be found at The proclamations from McAdoo, Box and Trisollini note that historic preservation is an effective tool for managing growth, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering local pride and maintaining community character while enhancing livability; and that historic preservation is relevant for communities across the nation, both urban and rural, and for Americans of all ages, walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. The officials declare that it is important to celebrate the role of history in our lives and the contributions made by dedicated individuals in helping preserve the tangible aspects of the heritage that shaped us as a people and that 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of passage of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Noting that "This Place Matters! " is the theme for National Preservation Month 2016 and “ARKANSAS ARTS: CELEBRATING OUR CREATIVE CULTURE” is the theme for Arkansas Heritage Month, cosponsored by Ouachita County, Chidester, Camden, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, McAdoo, Box and Trisollini proclaimed May as National Historic Preservation Month and called upon their constituents to join their fellow citizens across the United States in recognizing and participating in the special observance. For a list of Arkansas Heritage Month events, visit For information, call the AHPP at (501) 324-9880, write the agency at 323 Center St., Suite 1500, Little Rock, AR 72201, send an e-mail message to, or visit The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Historic Arkansas Museum.

April 29, 2016

CAMDEN-Earlier this week, Deputy Jacob McClane, along with EMS and Arkansas State Troopers, responded to a roll-over accident on Highway 79 N, near John Deere. The reporting party advised there was one occupant and he was out of the vehicle. Upon arrival, contact was made with the driver, who was from Missouri. He was observed by medical personnel, but refused medical treatment. His vehicle, a silver Buick, was observed upside down in the ditch. Deputy McClane assisted with traffic control, while ASP conducted the accident investigation. The driver was escorted to a relatives residence on Jackson Street in Camden. McKelvin's wrecker service took possession of the vehicle.

BENTON COUNTY - In a recent hearing, former Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck pleaded no contest to misdemeanor tampering charges. The ex-sheriff was charged with a felony and misdemeanor charge of tampering of physical evidence in an Arkansas State Police (ASP) investigation. He was arrested on January 19 and originally pleaded not guilty. His hearing was set to go to a three-day jury trial beginning September 21. The ASP was investigating allegations that Cradduck asked employees to backdate the hiring date of a new jailer, paying him for two weeks of time he did not work. A special prosecutor and judge were appointed to handle his case.

MAGNOLIA – The Blue and You Health Sciences Simulation Center at Southern Arkansas University will be dedicated Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in honor of the $149,128 grant from the Blue & You Foundation. At 1 p.m., a simulation demonstration will begin in the Wharton Nursing parking lot. Following at 1:30 p.m. will be the dedication ceremony at the Sturgis Lecture Hall. The public is welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be provided. The grant from Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Blue & You Foundation supported the purchase of equipment for the Health Sciences Simulation Center (HSSC). Some of the items purchased from the grant funds include hospital beds, crash carts, AED trainer, CPR trainers, mobile medication center, and audio-visual equipment with recording capabilities. With the help of the Blue and You Foundation, SAU now has a facility to provide high-quality educational opportunities for students and professionals. Simulation bridges the gap between theoretical learning and clinical practice. It allows nursing students to learn the art and science of patient interaction, decision making, and clinical care skills using scenarios that occur in the real-world. This facility and the state-of-the-art equipment also benefits regional healthcare by offering individual or group simulation experiences, hands-on workshops, professional development courses, and competency training and employee certifications and re-certifications. Many of these opportunities have not been previously available in the southern half of the state and in the Ark-La-Tex region.The HSSC is comprised of four studios. Each studio has control rooms attached for viewing and recording sessions, along with providing a private area for facilitated and reflective debriefing. The available simulation environments will include Medical-Surgical, ICU, ER, and Labor and Delivery. High-fidelity simulators (HFS) are used in each room to enhance the realistic environment needed for successful simulation experiences.

April 27, 2016

CAMDEN-A few months into his job as Camden Parks and Recreation Director, Geoff Trisollini is already looking to leave his mark. Geoff, a long time resident of Camden, had to grow up hearing the moniker " there's nothing to do here", but is now looking to change that. After collaboration with co-workers and city officials, Trisollini has decided to kick off the summer with "A May to Remember". This campaign wil...l see something exciting going on every Saturday throughout the month of May. With his new brainchild underway, Geoff is excited to see what this could do for his city. Trisollini said " We wanted to draw people while the weather is nice, out to the parks...all the money we raise will go back into our park programs". With his new initiative, Geoff is hoping to bring back more community sports programs, as well as music/art programs. Looking to get things started in the right direction, Geoff has scheduled a Coed Softball Tournament to kick off the month, on Saturday May 7th. Trisollini said "We're looking forward to that, we are hoping to bring in teams from all over the state, as well as Texas and Louisiana". Geoff is also hoping for local softball teams participate also. The tournament will be used as a catalyst for a hopeful community softball league. The following weekend (May 14th) will have a "Race for the Trace 5K" with benefits going towards the Trace project. Another event will be a basketball and tennis tournament, as well as a "Dash and Splash 5K" on the same weekend that the city pool opens. Trisollini added "We want to make sure that not having something to do, is something people can complain about". So with all these events coming up, it's looking like this May could be one to remember.

HOT SPRINGS - According to reports, a local high school student has been arrested after officials say a loaded gun was found in his backpack on Wednesday. Reports suggest the incident happened on the campus of Hot Springs High School. School officials say the gun was found as the male student was being searched after a "behavioral incident." The .38-caliber weapon was confiscated and the student was taken into custody. He will face a charge of possession of a deadly loaded weapon on school grounds, according to information released by the school district on Wednesday afternoon. School officials are reported to be reviewing campus surveillance video as the investigation continues. The students name has not yet been released.

MAGNOLIA-Southern Arkansas University art students Lera Black and Holly Roomsburg won the right to have their designs displayed throughout the city of Magnolia courtesy of the 2016 Leadership Magnolia Banner Art Competition. They were recognized Saturday, April 23, 2016, at an Earth Day celebration in downtown Magnolia. Among the 43 entrants in the design competition, three pieces stood out among the judges and the public. Black, of Magnolia, is a junior Communications Design major. Her design, “Welcome to Magnolia,” features a stylistic Magnolia blossom and a vintage font. Roomsburg, of El Dorado, is a senior Communications Design major. Her “Historical Magnolia” design features a photo of the Columbia County courthouse and the slogan, “growing more beautiful since 1853.” Earning the People’s Choice Award was Alberto Silveira, a sophomore Game, Amination, and Simulation Design major, from Venezuela. His blue and gold design incorporates SAU’s landmark bell tower and branches and blooms of a Magnolia tree. Each of the banner design winners will receive a cash award, a gift card to Melissa’s Frame Shop, space at the Magnolia Arts Blossom Festival Art Show, and a craft vendor table at the Blossom Festival. The banners are set to be hung by the City of Magnolia in May before the Blossom Festival.

April 26, 2016

LITTLE ROCK- Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the Chinese company Sun Paper will build a $1 billion bio-products mill in southern Arkansas, creating 250 jobs. The Arkansas Governor, was joined by Sun Paper chairman and founder Hongxin Li in making the announcement Tuesday. The mill will be Sun Paper's first facility in North America. Hutchinson says the plant is one of the largest private investments in the state's history. It will be built in Arkadelphia, which is about 65 miles southwest of Little Rock. According to an Arkansas economic development official said earlier this month that Sun Paper was also considering Mississippi for the mill. Sun Paper employs more than 10,000 employees worldwide.

SALINE COUNTY – According to police, a woman tried to kill her child during a suicide attempt. Court documents show that a 33-year-old Saline County woman has been charged with attempted capital murder, introduction into body of another, and endangering the welfare of a minor. Investigators allege that the mother took a large number of Alprazolam and Sertraline HCL and also gave the pills to her son. They were reportedly found by the woman’s brother, lying on her bed together in a lethargic state. Medical professionals and a social worker said the woman told them she was trying to end both of their lives. The mothers name has not yet been released.

HOT SPRINGS- A driver has died in a late night accident after his car went off a city street, hitting a gas main and a tree. The Hot Springs Police Department (HSPD) said it happened around 10:30 p.m. Monday in the 2000 block of Park Avenue.The vehicle involved in the accident was a 2003 Honda Accord headed south on Park. Police say witnesses told them the car was speeding and had passed two vehicles while in a curve on a double yellow line before it went out of control and started spinning. The crash ruptured the gas main, shutting down Park Avenue from Gorge Road to Fox Pass Cutoff until 3:30 a.m. Tuesday while crews shut it off. Police identified the victim as Michael C. Tisdale, 41. He died about an hour after being taken to St. Vincent hospital.

MAGNOLIA – Southern Arkansas University’s Spring Commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, May 6, 2016. A total of 418 candidates for graduation will be recognized in four ceremonies at the W.T. Watson Athletic Center. The Department of Nursing will honor 70 nursing candidates at 10 a.m. Following will be the ceremony for the School of Graduate Studies at 2 p.m., during which 115 candidates will be recognized. The first undergraduate ceremony will begin at 4 p.m., and will consist of candidates from the College of Education and the College of Liberal and Performing Arts. The second ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., and will be for candidates from the Rankin College of Business and the College of Science and Engineering. The commencement speaker for the two evening undergraduate ceremonies will be Ray Dillon, president and chief executive officer for Deltic Timber Corporation. Below is the schedule of events for Friday, May 9, 2014:
9:15 a.m.         Nursing graduation candidates report to W.T. Watson auxiliary gym
9:30 a.m.         Nursing faculty report to room 106 in W.T. Watson
10 a.m.            Nursing Commencement, followed by a reception in Reynolds Center Grand Hall
1:15 p.m.         School of Graduate Studies candidates report to W.T. Watson auxiliary gym
1:30 p.m.         Graduate faculty report to room 106 in W.T. Watson
2 p.m.              School of Graduate Studies Commencement in W.T. Watson
3:15 p.m.         Undergraduate candidates (CoE/ CoLPA) report to W.T. Watson auxiliary gym
3:30 p.m.         Faculty for CoE/ CoLPA ceremony report to 106 in W.T. Watson
4 p.m.              CoE/CoLPA Undergraduate Commencement in W.T. Watson
5:15 p.m.         Undergraduate candidates (RCB/CoSE) report to W.T. Watson auxiliary gym
5:30 p.m.         Faculty for RCB/CoSE ceremony report to 106 in W.T. Watson
6 p.m.              RCB/CoSE Undergraduate Commencement in W.T. Watson

ARKADELPHIA-Ouachita Baptist University’s Ouachitonian yearbook was recognized by the Arkansas College Media Association (ACMA) as the top yearbook in the state with the first place award in General Excellence for yearbooks. The publication was recognized at ACMA’s recent annual convention, hosted this year by the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. The Ouachitonian and Ouachita’s student newspaper, The Signal, earned a total of 40 group and individual awards. ACMA is an organization of collegiate newspaper, yearbook, online, magazine and television staffs from across the state. All Arkansas university publications compete in the awards regardless of the university’s size. In addition to first place in General Excellence, the 2015 Ouachitonian staff also won 32 awards for individual entries. “I knew the staff and I had produced a book that I loved and was proud of, but to be awarded first place for General Excellence at the ACMAs was just the icing on the cake,” said Aly Smith, a 2015 Ouachita graduate from Sherwood, Ark., and editor of the 2015 Ouachitonian. Smith also earned 14 individual awards for her work. “I truly believe that Ouachita has some of the best communications students around, and the yearbook is evidence of that,” Smith said. “Though, none of it would have been possible without the love, support and eagle eyes of Dr. Deborah Root.” Root serves as chair of OBU’s Rogers Department of Communications and faculty adviser of the Ouachitonian. “I am proud of last year’s staff and the excellent publication the students produced,” Root said. “It’s great to see the creative and critical thinking skills taught through our courses executed through the production of our yearbook and newspaper. We have very talented students who take pride in what they do, and I’m proud for them to be honored for the work they have done.” The Signal also was recognized by the ACMA, receiving honorable mention in General Excellence and winning six awards for individual entries. The following staff members were recognized for individual work in the 2015 Ouachitonian:

  • Taryn Bailey, a sophomore mass communications major from Kyle, Texas, won second place for Academic Writing and third place for Organizations Writing.
  • Kelsey Bond, a senior mass communications and studio art double major from Alexander, Ark., won first and second place for Academic Photo.
  • Amber Easterly, a senior mass communications and business administration double major from Alexander, Ark., won second place for Student Life Writing.
  • Molly Freel, a 2015 Ouachita graduate from Nashville, Ark., won first place for Academic Writing.
  • Barrett Gay, a junior mass communications major from Little Rock, Ark., won honorable mention for Student Life Writing.
  • Coleson Lechner, a 2015 Ouachita graduate from Minden, La., won second place for Special Feature.
  • Zach Parker, a 2015 Ouachita graduate from Shreveport, La., won second place, third place and honorable mention for Sports Writing.
  • Tyler Rosenthal, a 2015 Ouachita graduate from Little Rock, Ark., won first and third place for Student Life Photo, first place for Feature Photo and honorable mention for Academic Photo.
  • Aly Smith won first place for Closing, Opening and Organization Layout; first and second place for Portrait Layout; first and second place for Divider; first and third place for Student Life Layout; second place for Art/Illustration, Cover, Title Page and Typographic; and third place for Sports Layout.
  • Brandon Smith, a mass communications and kinesiology double major from Arkadelphia, Ark., won first place for Special Feature.
  • Blaine Surber, a 2015 Ouachita graduate from Sulphur Springs, Texas, won first place for Student Life Writing.The following staff members were recognized for individual work in The Signal during the 2014-2015 school year:

-Barrett Gay, a junior mass communications major from Little Rock, Ark., won second place for Personality Profile and third place for Feature Writing.
-Dixon Land, a senior mass communications major from Little Rock, Ark., won second place for Sports Page Layout and Sports Column.
-Evan Wheatley, a senior mass communications and music major from Camden, Ark., won honorable mention for Feature Writing and Review Writing.
For more information on Ouachita’s student publications, contact Dr. Deborah Root at or (870) 245-5510.

April 22, 2016

A log truck overheated its brakes near Fairview and highway 7. The Camden Fire Department responded to the scene. Camden Fire Chief Rob Medford believes theirs not much to it and everything is under control at this time.

CAMDEN-Today Camden's finest held a drunk and distracted seminar for our highschool students. With prom approaching, students were able to put on alcohol impairment simulation goggles, and drive through a course set up by officers. Students were also told to try and text and drive on the course, to see the consequences of it as well. Sgt. Ben Opelt said " I think we made a big impact on the kids..they might think they can handle it, but they really can't". Highschool principal Garry Steelman also took part in the seminar, and hopes his students walked away knowing not to drink or text and drive. Steelman said "I think they understand now what the consequences are". Members of F.A.D.D. also spoke to the kids. With the end of the school year looming and prom getting closer, the Camden Police Department will continue to do their part to make sure our youngsters stay safe and make the right decisions.

CAMDEN-People person. Those were the words that Athletic Director, Ricky Tucker, used to describe the Camden Fairview's new football coach. After the unfortunate retiring of Mike Cox, Mr. Tucker new the transition process had to be quick. After a few weeks of searching and interviewing, Tucker and Superintendent Mark Keith, believe they have found their guy in Jake Monden. Tucker said " He set himself apart....he loves kids and he's going to work to be the best that he can be everyday". Monden, who has served as defensive coordinator for the Wildcats of El Dorado for the last three years, has a passion for teaching and improving. Monden said "This is what I picked to do with my life, and I love sharing it with kids and being able to put a product on the field Friday night, that shows what all the hard work that we've done". Monden was chosen for the job, in unanimous fashion, as all attending school board members approved. Monden was accompanied tonight by his wife Stefanie, and three children - Haylee, Maddix, and Reese. No doubt it's an exciting time in Cardinal Country...and the beginning of the Monden era.

CAMDEN-Together with community leaders, the HUB will host a seminar later this year that will address poverty. Bridges Out of Poverty is an initiative that has a proven track record across the country for more than twenty years. This includes at least six communities in Arkansas. Camden is the first south Arkansas community to adopt this plan.According to their website, the Bridges’ initiative helps communities, “move individuals from poverty to self-sufficiency; reduce social costs related to crime, poor health, and welfare; strengthen educational attainment and job skills; enhance economic development; improve on-the-job productivity; revitalize neighborhoods; and build sustainable communities where everyone can live well.” According to HUB chairman Johnny Hobbie, “People from Ouachita County are coming together, with a common goal of relieving the suffering among our neighbors. When we formed the HUB, we promised to address poverty in a new way. This is a desire shared by leaders and citizens throughout our community. We do not want to put a band-aid on this problem. We want to address this issue in a way that will offer hope to those who need it most. We wanted to offer a hand up, not a hand out.” Operating under the guidance of the Christian Health Center, the HUB has welcomed community leaders to join the discussion addressing poverty-related issues. “We have learned so much about what we already have available in our community to address poverty issues. Our effort is already a success because we have put a lot of information in one place. When people come for help, we are able to outline a number of opportunities rather than sending them on a non-stop route of various churches and organizations,” according to Hobbie.
Dr. Larry Braden, medical director of the Christian Health Center said, “I am so excited. Poverty in our community is a significant issue, affecting all of us, on many levels. This initiative gives us all a chance to move beyond complaint toward positive change, using evidenced based strategies that have proven effective for others before us. I pray that all of us will come together to make a difference.” The one-day seminar, scheduled November 3 at the First Presbyterian Church in Camden, is geared to employers, city and county officials, community organizations, law enforcement, first responders, educators, counselors, healthcare and social service providers, religious leaders and anyone interested in building a sustainable community. Organizers hope the plan will spread throughout Ouachita County, encouraging others to become involved as mentors and volunteers.Dr. Regina Lewis, the guest speaker for the seminar, will outline the Bridges’ philosophy. Early bird registration will be $25. Registration covers breakfast, lunch, a book and workbook. For more information on the seminar, contact the Christian Health Center at 231-1111. For more information on Bridges Out of Poverty, visit their website at

MAGNOLIA-One driver was killed and two other people were hurt Wednesday in a two-vehicle accident on U.S. 82B west of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in El Dorado. According to a preliminary Arkansas State Police report, Wanda Sullivant, 62, of El Dorado was driving a 2015 Nissan east on the highway when the vehicle crossed the center line and hit a 2015 Toyota head-on. Sullivant was taken to the Medical Center of South Arkansas in El Dorado, where she died. Injured were the occupants of the Toyota, driver Bruce Gilmore, 55, and his passenger, Karen Gilmore, 53. They were taken to the hospital for treatment. The accident happened at 9:07 a.m. The weather was cloudy and the road was wet. Patrolman Anthony Ross of the El Dorado Police Department investigated the accident. Mrs. Sullivant is survived by her husband, Mark Sullivant; and two sons. She worked as an administrative assistant at Chemtura Corporation. Cremation arrangements are with Young’s Funeral Directors.

HOT SPRINGS – A woman accused of drinking and driving in a neighborhood on Halloween 2014 has been convicted of several charges. Twila Watson, a twenty nine-year-old, pleaded guilty Tuesday to battery, aggravated assault, and DWI.
According to authorities Watson was pregnant when she dragged a man under her car, hit several other cars, and ran over a woman's foot. Watson will serve a term of 22 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction for two battery charges and four aggravated assault charges. She will spend an additional year in the Garland Co. Jail. Watson will also have to pay a fine of $1,000 and will have a suspended driver's license for 120 days for the DWI charge.

ARKANSAS-A Lake Hamilton Intermediate School reading aide was arrested Tuesday at her home on multiple drug-related felonies. Belinda Ann Stengel, 63, of Royal, and Caden Anthony Beard, 29, who lists a Higdon Ferry Road address, were arrested at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday and each charged with simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms, punishable by up to life in prison, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance with purpose to deliver, punishable by up to 10 years, and possession of drug paraphernalia, punishable by up to six years. Stengel received an additional charge of maintaining a drug premises, punishable by up to 10 years. Stengel and Beard remained in custody Wednesday in lieu of zero bond on the simultaneous possession charge and bonds totaling $15,500 on the other charges and are set to appear May 2 in Garland County District Court. Lake Hamilton Superintendent Steve Anderson released the following statement Wednesday when asked for a comment: "The Lake Hamilton School District is aware of the situation involving one of our district paraprofessional employees being arrested off campus at their private residence. To our knowledge at this time, the charges are in no way connected to the school or our students. The employee in question is not on campus at this time and as with all personnel matters, this will be handled according to policy and legal guidelines. The school will of course cooperate fully with legal authorities if asked for any information. Since this is an ongoing legal investigation, it would be inappropriate to make further comment at this time." According to the affidavit, detectives with the Little Rock Police Department Narcotics Squad conducted a random package interdiction with a K-9 at UPS, 5501 Fourche Dam Pike, Little Rock. The K-9 indicated the presence of a narcotics odor emitting from four cardboard packages addressed to "Austin, Thomas, Billy and Michael" at 309 Boulder Road, Royal. After obtaining a search warrant, detectives located approximately 5 pounds of commercial marijuana shipped from a subject in Denver. With a search warrant, officers from the 18th Judicial District East Drug Task Force conducted a controlled delivery to Stengel, who signed for the packages. At 4:36 p.m. the drug task force, Arkansas State Police and the Garland County Tactical Response Team executed a search warrant at the Boulder Road residence. Investigators located four boxes containing 5 pounds of marijuana, two jars with 10 grams of suspected marijuana, a small bag with 0.5 gram suspected marijuana, a loaded Smith & Wesson .38 special, a loaded .22-caliber rifle, three smoking devices, a package containing 2.42 ounces suspected marijuana edibles "THC," vacuum sealers and bags, grow lights and bulbs, two iPhones, marijuana growing instructions, miscellaneous growing materials and paperwork listing the residence as Stengel's. Stengel is listed on the school district's website as a paraprofessional in special education at the intermediate school. The DTF is composed of officers from the Hot Springs Police Department, Garland County Sheriff's Department, Arkansas State Police, the 18th Judicial District East prosecuting attorney's office and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations. 

MAGNOLIA-Earlier this week, a Waldo man died, in a one-vehicle accident that was not discovered until Thursday afternoon.
According to a preliminary Arkansas State Police report, Curtis Smith Jr., 62, was driving a 2002 model Chevrolet west on the highway between Waldo and the U.S. 82 junction when his car went off the roadway on the south side and struck a guardrail, causing it to overturn into a creek. Smith died at the scene. The wreck scene was located about 1 p.m. Thursday. The weather was foggy at the time of the crash. Smith’s body was released to Reed Funeral Home of Magnolia. Trooper Brent A. Walker investigated the accident for the Arkansas State Police. Smith’s death was the first traffic fatality in Columbia County this year. There were two fatalities in 2015, four in 2014 and five each in 2013 and 2012.

MAGNOLIA-Keaton Taylor, 16, of Taylor made his first court appearance on Thursday for the murder on April 13 of Douglas Harwell, 53. There was a large crowd in the courtroom at the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility for the court session. Taylor appeared somber, wearing an orange jumpsuit. His wrists were not cuffed, but his ankles were shackled as he faced Circuit Court Judge David Talley. An insulin pump could be seen hanging out the front of his jumpsuit. Taylor said he had completed the ninth grade. The judge read the charges that Taylor would be facing if he is tried as an adult. The judge said count one was capital murder; count two was aggravated residential burglary; count three was aggravated robbery; and count four was theft of property valued over $25,000. The judge informed Taylor that capital murder carries a sentence of 10-40 years or life in the Arkansas Department of Correction. When asked if Taylor understood these charges, he replied, “Yes, sir.” He said he understood his rights. He said he would also hire an attorney and seemed a little confused. He then corrected himself by saying that he could not afford to hire an attorney on his own, and would take the court appointed attorney. Taylor was sworn under oath. He affirmed the financial affidavit that Judge Talley held before him as his true financial standing. The judge appointed public defender, Robert Jeffery, to represent Taylor with the option that he could hire an attorney at any time. Jeffrey told Talley that he had no paperwork on Taylor and would like to talk to Taylor before discussing bail. Greg Parrish from the Public Defender Commission in Little Rock wanted to remind the judge and jail staff that Taylor has an extreme case of diabetes. He requested the sheriff to monitor it closely. Taylor was scheduled to appear again on May 19 for a bond hearing, although it is possible that this could take place on May 5 if the attorneys involved can coordinate their schedules with the judge. He continues to be held without bond. Directly after Taylor, his co-defendant, Dekota Despain, appeared before the judge with Parrish at his side. Like Taylor, Despain had no handcuffs but did have shackles around his ankles. On Monday, Talley told Despain that Jeffrey would likely be appointed as his attorney. On Thursday, Parrish told the court that since Jeffrey had not spoken with Despain about his case he probably shouldn't do so, as he as been appointed to represent Taylor for now. Parrish said that he was appointing attorneys Jeff Rosenzweig and Katherine Streett, both of Little Rock, to Despain’s case. Streett is frequently assigned to cases in Columbia County. Rosenzweig is a recognized expert in capital cases involving juvenile defendants. The judge said the original arrest warrant called for no bond. The Despain case will be revisited May 5 when his attorneys can be present. Despain appeared to mouth the words “I love you” to family members as he was led from the courtroom. Despain was arrested on Friday after he was interviewed by Arkansas State Police and local investigators. Taylor was taken into custody by lawmen in Springhill, LA, on Friday and was held in Louisiana until his extradition to Arkansas was accomplished. The “probable cause” affidavit in Despain’s case says that he told lawmen that he shot Harwell once in the back and again in the face on the evening of Wednesday, April 13. He later told investigators that he and Taylor both fired at Harwell. The affidavit also said that the boys dragged Harwell’s body into his home, which is next door to where Despain lives with his parents. Later in the evening, Despain is alleged to have stolen many guns from Harwell’s home, putting them in Harwell’s truck, and driving them to Magnolia – apparently in an attempt to sell the stolen guns. Because of their ages, possible capital murder sentences of the death penalty or life in prison without parole cannot be considered. However, the capital murder charge does carry a range of punishment up to life with the possibility of parole after 28 years. Aggravated robbery and aggravated residential burglary carry penalties up to life in prison. The theft of property charge carries a penalty up to 20 years.

April 21,2016

HOT SPRINGS - An elderly couple in Garland County is recovering after being held at gunpoint, robbed and shoved to the ground. The break-ins began on Friday night. The couple’s daughter who lived down the street had her house broken into while she was with her family camping. Then around three in the afternoon on Monday, her mom and dad were home when robbers showed up at their door. Gene and Mary Parker have been married for 64 years, and this is the first time something like this has happened to them. “I just cracked it a little bit to see who it was,” Gene said. On Monday when Gene opened the door, two men shoved him down to the ground “He stood over me and his first words were give me all your money and give me all your jewelry.” He says this is the first time in 85 years he has had a gun pointed at his face and he was scared.“I was afraid he might accidentally pull the trigger.” Mary says the men kept shouting demands.“He said where is your purse I know you know where it is.” Their daughter Kathy Reynolds also had her home broken into last Friday but luckily no one was home. “They broke our security gate down and had the audacity to come on up the driveway.” Kathy says she wish she could've taken her parents place. “I don't think there has ever been anything in my life that had terrified me as much as my mother’s phone call and she said ‘Kathy, they've been in our house and we're both in the floor’.” The couple told reporters that from now on they will be extra cautious but they still have to live their life. The Garland County Sheriff's office is investigating the incident. If you know anything about these break-ins you are asked to call police. 

MAGNOLIA – At the age of three, Kaylynn Grace Sands has fought through cancer treatments with the tenacity and splendor of a warrior princess. She was surprised Monday evening to find that her wish had been granted to travel and meet her princess idols at Disney World. Sands, of Magnolia, entered the Southern Arkansas University armory clutching her mother’s hand and a Disney sticker book. Her pink hat twinkled as she tucked her chin to her chest as the crowd cheered. As her mother explained “this party is for you,” the warrior princess soon held her chin high and shared her heart-warming smile with the crowd and posed for photos in front of the glittery Cinderella castle replica. SAU Cheerleaders paraded out for a dance dressed as famous Disney characters for the big reveal. Anne Sands, Kaylynn’s mother and assistant director of financial aid at SAU, has been amazed at the outpouring of support by her SAU family and the area community. She said their trip is scheduled for May 22, 2016. Anne and her husband, John, are also both alums of SAU. Kaylynn’s older sister, Kendall, 13, was also right by Kaylynn’s side in support at the reveal. This Make-A-Wish was made possible by the support of the Southwest District 4 of Arkansas Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). The 40 schools and around 1,000 students in the district increased their registration dues for the organization’s spring and fall conferences, as well as collected donations, to fund Sands’ wish, according to Will Harris, who was present for the reveal with several of his district FBLA students. He said this is the first time the Southwest District has helped grant a wish, and that the students are inspired to possibly coordinate again with Make-A-Wish. Last summer Sands was given the news that her daughter was diagnosed with ganglioneuroblastoma, a cancer which develops in the nerve tissue. Several fundraising efforts have been held by various groups and individuals on campus. Sands and her family have been blown away by the support from the community, and especially the students. Kaylynn recently had surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which removed about 90% of the tumor. Sands said her daughter is now declared a “cancer survivor.” She will have blood work done once a month and scans every three months for the next year, at which point the doctors will reevaluate Kaylynn’s situation. The list of groups who have raised money or shown support to the Sands family continues to grow, and includes Sigma Pi, Phi Mu, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Harrod Hall, SAU cheerleaders, Tutoring Center, Rankin College of Business, football defensive backs, volleyball, softball, Sigma Gamma Rho, men’s basketball, and The Bray

MAGNOLIA-Dekota Despain, 16, of Taylor, emerged Monday from his jail cell for his first appearance on a capital murder charge before Circuit Court Judge David Talley Jr. He wore an orange jump suit, handcuffs and shackles, and a smile. He went back to his cell in tears. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ryan Phillips told Talley that the state wants to try Despain as an adult on a charge of capital murder in the death of Douglas Harwell, 53. Harwell was found dead Thursday inside his home at 9525 Arkansas 160. Despain lived next door. Recent legal decisions mean that because of his age, Despain won’t face the death penalty and cannot be sentenced to life in prison without parole. But Talley did explain to Despain that he’s facing 10-40 years to life in prison, which is an Arkansas Class Y felony. He is also being charged with residential burglary and theft of property valued over $25,000. The Columbia County Justice and Detention Center Courtroom contained a few family members and about a dozen law enforcement for Despain’s first appearance. Also expected to be charged with capital murder is Keaton Taylor, 16, of 261 Columbia 224. Taylor was apprehended on Saturday in Springhill, LA, and was being held at the Ware Youth Center in Coushatta. Taylor is expected to have his first court appearance shortly after he is returned to Arkansas. Phillips said the state was presenting a probable cause affidavit from Arkansas State Police Agent Louis Imler, detailing the case against Despain and the state’s basis for charging him as an adult. Talley informed Despain that he was only appearing on Monday to have his rights explained to him, and to discuss bond. Asked if he understood the charges and penalties, he replied, “Yes, sir.” Despain said that he needs an attorney appointed to him. He presented a signed financial affidavit and was sworn in. He stated the information provided in the affidavit provided was accurate. The judge said Despain qualified for a public defender and that he would appoint Robert Jeffrey to the case. He was asked if he would like to continue to the probable cause hearing, or if he would like to wait until he spoke with his attorney. Despain requested to wait until he talked to his attorney before proceeding. The judge started to state there would be no bond at this time and was interrupted by Despain asking if he could change his mind. “I just want to find a way to get home until my court date,” Despain said. The judge informed him the safest thing to do was to wait to talk to his attorney if he has any questions or concerns. Despain took a moment and began sobbing into his hands. “Can my parents come up here?” he asked the judge. Phillips stated that Depsain was being charged as an adult and should therefore take that position. The judge stated that his court allows adults the chance to consult with family and would permit Despain to get advice from his parents on what to do. After speaking with his father, Despain said on record that he would wait to talk to his attorney before proceeding. Despain left the court room flushed and eyes full of tears. The judge said that the case would probably be revisited on Thursday, and that bond can be discussed at that time. For now, no bond has been set and Despain remains incarcerated. Thursday is the regular court date for Columbia County’s probation revocation hearings, but other criminal court matters are also heard.

MAGNOLIA-Ray Charles Curry, 53, of McNeil, was arrested Friday and charged with aggravated assault on a family member, endangering the welfare of a minor - second degree, and public intoxication. According to Magnolia police, Curry and the victim were involved in an altercation, during which Curry pulled a gun. There were also young children in the immediate area during the altercation. Curry remains at the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility. Corey Halcomb, 26, of El Dorado, was arrested Friday and charged with terroristic threatening - first degree, a felony. Halcomb sent messages threatening the victim’s life. He is held under $25,000 bond. Anthony Pugh, 31, of Magnolia, was arrested Friday and charged with sexual assault of a juvenile. On April 12, an investigation into sexual assault allegations was begun. The case is still under investigation. Pugh has attended a first appearance hearing. Bond was set at $500,000.

April 15, 2016


TEXARKANA- Kenneth Elser, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced that Jeffrey N. Bain, age 52 of Hope, Arkansas, was sentenced today to 63 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release on two counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and 12 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana; the sentences will run concurrently with each. The Honorable Susan O. Hickey presided over the sentencing hearing in the United States District Court in Texarkana. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Hempstead County Sheriff’s Office, and the South Central Drug Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan D. Ross prosecuted the case for the United States.

MAGNOLIA- Around 100 students from eight schools in seven counties representing 4-12 grades all added up for a successful economics learning experience at the SAKE event hosted April 8, 2016, at the Southern Arkansas University Rankin College of Business. SAKE (Students Acquiring Knowledge through Economics) offered youth a fun opportunity to visit with SAU students and participate in economics-themed learning activities. “The junior and senior student presentations for the Business Dilemmas were very impressive to observe – they had obviously put a great deal of thought behind their presentations,” said Sheryl Edwards, SAU instructor of finance and Enactus advisor. “In addition, students were given grade appropriate standards-based exams and their resulting scores were super.” To conclude the day, students, teams and teachers were awarded prizes and gift cards totaling $9,250. SAKE at SAU was sponsored by the Murphy Foundation, SAU Enactus, SAU PBL, the Center for Economic Education and Research and the Rankin College of Business. The counties represented at SAKE included Columbia, Union, Ouachita, White, Dallas, Monroe and Grant.

ARKADELPHIA-A local man who works at the Arkadelphia Human Development Center has been arrested in an alleged case of adult abuse. Rodney Brothers Jr., 42, is accused of hitting a resident of the center in an October 2015 incident. According to an investigative review by the Arkansas Attorney General's office, the resident was reported to have been hit in the jaw three times and lost two teeth. Another staffer reported seeing the resident kick Brothers when he tried to get him to leave a living room area and go to bed. The staffer stated that Brothers hit the resident a short later after they were moved to another room of the facility.

HOT SPRINGS- Hot Springs police continue to search for a 92-year-old man who has been missing since Wednesday.
According to police, Harlan Swartzendruber, 92, of Wichita, Kansas was last known to have been at the Best Western Hotel on Central Ave. across from Oaklawn. Police confirmed that he check out Monday morning and was supposedly headed to Oklahoma but never arrived. His cell phone is turned off and his credit cards have not been used since Monday. Swartzendruber has severe health issues and police are concerned for his whereabouts. Swartzendruber is driving a white 2012 4-door Lincoln MKZ with Kansas purple heart plate #11481. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Hot Springs Police Department at (501) 231-6789.

LITTLE ROCK-April 15 marks one of the most stressful deadlines in America – tax day. It also marks the kickoff to one of the most exciting summer pursuits in Arkansas bayous, the opening of bullfrog season. Bullfrogs can be found across Arkansas, but the heaviest concentrations usually are found along the many ponds, slow-moving streams and fish farms in the east half of the state. It may take some door-knocking and asking for permission, but many small, private ponds can prove worth the effort once you break out the gigging gear. Some froggers don waders or rubber boots to ease along the banks as quietly as possible, but many slide silently along in an aluminum johnboat or kayak, using only an electric trolling motor or a sculling paddle to get close to the easily spooked amphibians. It’s possible to sneak up on a frog or two during the day, but the real action takes place at night, when spotlights and headlamps come into play. The reflective eyes of bullfrogs will shine brightly at the water’s edge, and the beam will daze the frog enough that a careful sneak can get you within arm’s reach. Then a fast stab with a gig or a quick grab of the hands will nab the fat frog before it can hop or swim away. It’s usually a good idea to scan the bushes along the banks before making an approach on a frog as well. Plenty of spiders set up shop along the shore’s edge to catch their prey, and the webs can be a bit of a nuisance. More than one snake also has fallen into an unsuspecting frog gigger’s johnboat, causing him to nearly walk on water trying to get to the shore. Most water snakes are harmless and should be left alone, but that doesn’t make you feel any safer when they slide off a branch and thump down in the bottom of your boat. Gigging frogs is more akin to hunting than angling, but participants need an Arkansas fishing license to participate. The limit is 18 bullfrogs per day, which runs from noon to noon. Along with grabbing them by hand and gigging, frogs may be taken by hand net, hook-and-line, spear or bow and arrow. Firearms and air guns may not be used. Most folks who fry up a mess of frog’s legs may use the old “tastes like chicken” phrase to get a newcomer to try the delicacy. It usually doesn’t take any further prodding to get someone to eat more once they’ve tried them. Col. Sanders can’t compete with the tenderness and flavor of fresh frog’s legs done right.

TEXARKANA- The Texarkana Arkansas Police Department has released the details of one man's arrest after concern grew for public safety.  Skip Lomax was arrested on March 24 after police discovered a fully automatic weapon and a hand grenade in his vehicle. The items were sent off to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) for further testing. Results released on April 13 confirmed that the machine gun was fully functional and automatic. The hand grenade was also active. BATFE referred to it as a "dead-man's grenade," meaning once the pin is pulled the grenade fuse would detonate immediately without the usual delay. 


April 11, 2016

According to Mark Cayce of Ouachita Electric, their are no major power outages to report in the Ouachita County area. Cayce did say that their was an outage in Hampton earlier today, but that was a result of crew working on a particular line, and not the weather. RadioWorks will be keeping you posted on any power outages and weather conditions.

CAMDEN-The 13th Judicial Drug Task Force conducted a six-month investigation into the distribution of methamphetamine in the Stephens, Arkansas area that concluded with execution of 6 search warrants on Friday April 8, 2016. The operation dubbed Operation RoadRunner, resulted in the arrest of two defendants for various drug charges. Three search warrants were executed in Stephens and three search warrants in Columbia County. Located during the searches were Methamphetamine, two handguns, Marijuana, Scales, Baggies, and a sum of U.S. Currency. Assisting agencies include the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office, Stephens PD, Magnolia PD, Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Union County Sheriff's Office, El Dorado PD, Camden PD, FBI, U.S. Marshall, Arkansas Community Corrections SRT, Arkansas Game and Fish, Arkansas Army National Guard Counter-drug Unit, and Arkansas State Police. Carlos Brown, 38, of Magnolia has been charged with five counts of delivery of controlled substances, maintaining a drug premise, use of a communication device, possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver, simultaneous of drugs and firearms, possession of a firearm by certain persons. Brown is being held on a $250,000 bond. Quincy Jones of Magnolia is charged with possession of a controlled substance with purpose to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia. Jones is being held on a $50,000. The investigation is continuing and further charges are pending.

CAMDEN-Former FHS athlete, Richard Robertson donated $5,000 to jump-start additional Phase 2 remodeling efforts for The Event Center at Fairview Park, a remodeling of the iconic 1937 Gymnasium in to a Creative Arts and Performing Center. Work is currently in progress, as reparing and installing a commercial roof on the building, should finish in the next week or two. The much needed roof component was essential in protecting all future inside the remodeling. The roof has been in the planning and fundraising stages, for the last 20-months. Grants, donations, and fundraisers by volunteers, have enabled this to be accomplished. Phase 2 plans include a performance stage, interior, modifications, remodeling the restroom and the lobby, and getting the building functional again. Over 4000 hours have already been donated by committed volunteers and are evident in before and after photos. According to the Board, Rich Robertson stepping up at this time, allows continued work on the undertaking, while the roof, is finishing up. The board appreciates this timely donation to the Events Center Repurposing team. Robertson reflected with this challenge: "Be a voice in our vision, not an echo...if your a past player and haven't stepped up yet, please consider doing so, and help us through this next phase". You can keep up with all of The Event Center at Fairview Park's updates on Facebook.

HOT SPRINGS-A girl, 13, was hospitalized in critical condition at last report after being shot in a Sunday evening incident. In a news release issued Monday morning, the Hot Springs Police Department (HSPD) said it happened around 6:45 p.m. Sunday at a home in the 100 block of Hillsdale Terrace.  Police say the victim was wounded in the left leg. Jesse Alan Flemister, 20, was arrested at the scene and charged with battery. His bond was set at $20,000. According to the release, witnesses at the scene told officers that Flemister was playing with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and accidentally fired it once.  The injured girl was first taken to St. Vincent Hospital in Hot Springs and then flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

Deputy Anthony Nicholson of the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office, was dispatched to the office to make contact with Misty Green over the phone. She stated that she attempted to by a 2002 Toyota Four-Runner on Ebay for $ 2,500.00. Green stated that Amber Carrigeer was the person selling the vehicle and that it was in Omaha Nebraska. Green stated that Carrigeer advised her to put $2,500.00 on Ebay gift cards abd then give her the pin on the cards. Green also stated that she has not yet recieved the vehicle and that she had been contacted by a man named Michael, claiming to be from Ebay. Green stated that Ebay advised her that she had been the victim of a scam. She was also advised that a report would be put on file.

MAGNOLIA-Magnolia Water Utilities customers may be experiencing a slight musty and earthy smell in their water. Robert Baxley, water system manager, said the problem is due to lake turnover and algae bloom at Lake Columbia. “Steps have been taken to overcome this problem. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” Baxley said.

EL DORADO,-Lightning appears to have sparked fires across an Arkansas town Monday as storms moved through the state. According to El Dorado Police Department Captain Kevin Holt, crews worked to contain three fires: One at a home, one at a single-pump oil well, and one at a church. According to Holt  the home did not have much damage, and the oil well was extinguished quickly.  Murmil Heights Baptist Church, however, is reported to be a total loss.  No injuries were reported to have happened. As of late Monday afternoon, crews were in what Holt described as the "mopping up phase" as they were containing any remaining hot spots.   A tornado warning was active during the fires; Holt said the town saw pea to marble sized hail.

April 8, 2016

CAMDEN-Another year of Arkansas-Gives has come and gone, and this year did not disappoint. After passing the $2 million goal last year, many were hoping to see that number double this time around. Sure $4 million seems like a lot to raise in a 12-hour time span, but as we all know, nothing is impossible. This year, Ouachita Valley Community Foundation Executive Director, Stephanie Shearman Wyatt and others wanted to "grow the love", and at $4,071,660 it's safe to say that they succeeded. Now this number is just a preliminary number, which doesn't even include the $400,000 in bonus dollars that was available for non-profits, based on Monday they raised. Wyatt said " We really wanted to reach the sky...and we did". As for our area, the non-profits that participated, raised near $30,000, which will probably be surpassed with bonus dollars. So it's safe to say the 2016 edition of Arkansas-Gives was a success, now the only question is....How will they top it next year? For more on Arkansas-Gives visit

MAGNOLIA-A Faulkner County inmate serving two life without parole sentences was shot and killed Thursday afternoon while attempting to escape from the Arkansas Department of Correction Varner Unit at Grady. The ADC said is a statement that Christopher Wilson, 41, tried to flee at approximately 12:57 p.m. Arkansas State Police and ADC staff are responding to the scene. Notifications have been made to the inmate's family. The body will be turned over to the coroner. The department has referred the matter to Arkansas State for investigation. The officers involved will be placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete. Wilson pled guilty on September 2, 2003, to the beating and stabbing death of Pamela Kay Reed, 26, and the beating death of her son, Lucas Aaron Colton Reed, 8 months, of the Saltillo community.

ARKADELPHIA - Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia got a new president on Thursday. The university's trustees unanimously elected Dr. Ben R. Sells as the college's 16th president during their meeting.  He will officially start on June 1. “The presidential search committee’s desire to do a national search was different than all of our presidential searches in recent history,” said Jay Heflin, chairman of the OBU Board of Trustees. “However, I believe that this has resulted in our eyes being opened to several opportunities that we have not been able to see in the past. And, ultimately, I believe that this national search has brought Ouachita a new president who is wonderfully gifted in many ways. Sells will succeed Dr. Rex Horne, who resigned as president in 2015.

MAGNOLIA-The Heritage Singers and Chamber Singers of Southern Arkansas University will present their spring concert, “What’s In a Name?” on Thursday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of Central Baptist Church, Magnolia. Admission is free, and the public is encouraged to attend. The concert gets its title from the selection of works to be performed by the choirs. Every setting identifies a specific person, whether a Biblical character like Moses or Daniel, someone described in a song setting like Stephen Foster’s “I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair,” or an arrangement of the Irish folk song, “Annie Laurie.” The evening’s music will range from a Renaissance motet by Palestrina to a 20th century composition by Egil Hovland that depicts the New Testament story of the conversion of Saul. Sharon Ard of El Dorado is the accompanist, and the groups are under the direction of David De Seguirant, SAU director of choral activities.

April 7, 2016

CAMDEN-After weeks of speculation, Camden Mayor, Marie Trisollini has chosen a new Fire Cheif. Rob Medford has been selected as new head of the Camden Fire Chief. Medford has served as a member of the Camden Fire Department for many years, and was selected by Mayor, this past Friday. Throughout this process the Mayor narrowed down the 5 applicants with the help of her interview committee, which included Police Chief Bo Woody, Assistant Chief's Rick Van Asche and Ron Nash, and Civil Service Commissioner, Cecil McDonald. Mayor Trisollini commented on the recent hiring, saying "I believe Rob will be a great leader, and good example to his co-workers... I look forward to his contributions". A promotional meeting with me held for Medford once his new badge comes in.

The Harmony Grove Water Association will begin flushing their water lines on April 11, 2016. This process will take about 5 working days to complete. When washing white clothes, please take precaution until the process is complete, as it could stir up sediment in the pipes. The Harmony Grove Water Association is very sorry for the inconvenience this may cause, but it is a process designed to give the customer the best water quality possible. If you have any questions, please contact Mike Kidd - HGWA Water Operator at 870-807-6737.

MAGNOLIA-The McNeil Rural Fire Department responded to a car fire at 9:21 p.m. Tuesday on County Road 120. Eveney Hildreth owned the car. The cause of the fire may have been an electrical problem under the dashboard. One engine, a foam truck and a rescue truck were dispatched. There were no injuries. CR 120 is the Old Waldo Road that runs west from McNeil north of Arkansas 98.

LITTLE ROCK-Eatrlier today, the state House and Senate gave approval to a plan to continue and revamp the state’s Medicaid expansion program, but with majorities that fell short of the vote thresholds the program will need during the upcoming fiscal session. The Senate voted 25-10 and the House voted 70-30 to approve matching bills containing Arkansas Works, Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s proposal for a Medicaid expansion program to replace the current program known as the private option. The chambers will vote on each other’s bills Friday, which is expected to be the final day of the special session. Appropriating funding for Arkansas Works during the fiscal session that begins Wednesday will require support from at least 27 senators and at least 75 House members, meaning the proposal cannot survive the fiscal session unless some members who voted against the policy vote for the appropriation. Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, told reporters he would be talking to the senators who voted against the measure. He made a distinction between voting on the policy and voting on the appropriation. “We’ll have to have a conversation with those members and see if their intent was to only vote against the policy or if they’re going to attempt to set new policy during the appropriation process,” he said.
Under Arkansas Works, Arkansas would continue to accept federal Medicaid money to pay for private health insurance for low-income Arkansans but would add features, including referral to voluntary work training for unemployed recipients, premiums of up to 2 percent of their income for recipients earning over 100 percent of the federal poverty level, and a requirement that recipients obtain employer-sponsored insurance if an eligible plan is available. More than 267,000 Arkansans with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level have obtained subsidized health insurance through the private option since it launched in 2013.

April 5, 2016

CAMDEN-Well its official! Generations Bank cuts the ribbon and opens its doors, looking to be the bank that's always first. This new rebranding had been in the works for quite a while, and one that CEO/President Phil Foster knows honors the South Arkansas culture. Foster said "the name has to do with the relationships that we have built with our customers... that's what banking is all about". He also said " Over the last four or five generations we have had the opportunity to build and keep this relationships, and will offer the same type of services to future generations ". Michael Shelton, a fellow Generations employee, wanted to remind all current customers to not worry about anything. Shelton said " there were no ownership changes, nothing on anyone's account will change, this is strictly a name change that the Harrell family felt fit our bank and our culture ". The bank that turns 109-years-old this year, continues to prove that age is just a number. With this new relaunching, Generations Bank is ready to celebrate the past, and create the future.

LITTLE ROCK-Asa Hutchinson has agreed to remove his managed care proposal from the special legislative session scheduled to start on Wednesday. This comes after both the Arkansas Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tempore requested that he remove his managed care proposal on Monday evening. Now, the special session will focus only on Hutchinson's continuation of the Medicaid expansion, known as Arkansas Works. In order to pay for the continued Medicaid expansion, Hutchinson proposed contracting with a managed care company to oversee some Medicaid programs. Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam and Senate President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang each sent an identical letter to the governor saying that the managed care proposal doesn't have a consensus with legislators in either the House of Representatives or Senate. It was then that Hutchinson made his decision to remove it from the special session. 

A joint task force charged 32 people Monday morning after a 3 month undercover investigation by Hempstead County Sheriff's Office and the South Central Drug Task Force. At 5:30 a.m., more than 50 law enforcement officers began serving warrants at a house in the 1400 block of Greening Street for Narcotics violations for delivery of controlled substances in Hempstead County. In what they are calling "Operation Burnout," officers found about 70 grams of Methamphetamine, several ecstasy pills, marijuana, 750.00 in cash and a handgun. The 21 people arrested were:

  • Aaron Shepard, 56, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of a Controlled Substance
  • Ambe Benson, 35, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of a Controlled Substance
  • Bertha Muldrew, 61, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of a Controlled Substance (4 counts)
  • Christian Reynolds, 24, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of a Controlled Substance
  • Chuvez Harris, 22, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of A Controlled Substance
  • Cleo Adams, 34, Hope, Arkansas Currently in Bowie County Jail on Unrelated Charge
  • Devonte Barker, 25, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of Controlled Substance
  • Gary Gillard, 23 Stamps, Arkansas Parole Violation
  • Harmon Williams, 42, McNab, Arkansas Parole Violation
  • Jelani McCowan, 38, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of Controlled Substance
  • Kenneth Scott, 55, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of Controlled Substance
  • Luval Cole, 30, Washington, Arkansas Delivery of Controlled Substance
  • Marcus Alexander Pierce, 27, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of Controlled Substance
  • Melvin Todd Reliford, 35, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of Controlled Substance
  • Michael Joseph Muldrow, 56, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of Controlled Substance
  • Ronald Muldrew, 58, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of Controlled Substance
  • Sequoiah Adams/Holston, 53, Hope, Arkansas Possession with Purpose to Deliver
  • Sheyann Marie Helmick, 27, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of Controlled Substance
  • Steven Ray Mc Clure, 54, Hope, Arkansas FTA, Body Attachment
  • Tina Jameson, 46, Hope, Arkansas Delivery of Controlled Substance 
  • Tony Cooper, 25, Currently in ADC, Delivery of Controlled Substance

The Sheriff’s office still has 12 warrants on people that have not been pick up. Officers are working to find those twelve suspects at this time. “This will continue to be an ongoing investigation as we try to provide a safe and drug free county for our children,” said Sheriff James Singleton. The law enforcement agencies involved included Hempstead County Deputies, Agents of the South Central Drug Task Force, Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police, Hope Police Officers, Arkansas Game and Fish Wildlife Officers, Howard County Deputies, Arkansas Department of Parole and Probation and undercover narcotics officers.

March 30, 2016

DALLAS Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has restarted its Tactical Missile System (TACMS) production line at the company’s facility in Camden, Arkansas. For more than 20 years, TACMS (formerly ATACMS) was assembled on-budget and on- or ahead of schedule at the company’s facility in Horizon City near El Paso, Texas. In order to consolidate all of Lockheed Martin’s Precision Fires missile and rocket production at its Camden Operations, TACMS production was temporarily suspended in 2014 and relocated to Camden. “Restarting the TACMS production is excellent news for our customers seeking deep precision fire support,” said Ken Musculus, vice president – Tactical Missiles at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This production re-start will yield greater flexibility and significant cost-savings on a program with a rich history of reliability, affordability and mission success.” TACMS is a combat-proven precision deep-strike system with readiness rates exceeding 98 percent since the program’s initial fielding in 1990. Providing quick-reaction firepower with ranges up to 300 kilometers, the TACMS missiles can be fired from the entire family of MLRS launchers, including the lightweight High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). Each TACMS missile is packaged in an MLRS launch pod and is fired from the MLRS family of launchers. TACMS is the only long-range tactical surface-to-surface missile ever fired in combat by the U.S. Army. Almost 600 TACMS have been employed to date, with the system demonstrating extremely high rates of combat accuracy and reliability.

MAGNOLIA-Southern Arkansas University has hired Dr. David J. Lanoue to be provost and vice president of academic affairs, effective July 1, 2016. Lanoue is coming to SAU from Hawai‘i Pacific University, where he has served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts since 2013. “I am attracted to SAU because I believe in its mission to provide a high-quality, transformative education to all students, regardless of their circumstances,” said Lanoue. “I also appreciate SAU’s role as a full partner in the local and regional community, supporting economic development, providing cultural enrichment, and helping to provide the next generation of leaders for the region and state.” Lanoue is an experienced higher education administrator having held a number of leadership roles at various universities since 1990. Prior to his current deanship, he served as the dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at Columbus State University in Georgia. He has held the position of chair at Political Science departments at the University of Alabama, at Texas Tech University, and at the University of California, Riverside. He credits the ability to listen as the key determinant to a leader’s effectiveness. “I believe the most successful leaders are, first and foremost, good listeners. They work to build a sense of trust and create a culture of collaboration, actively encouraging input from every stakeholder.” While serving as an administrative leader, he has also risen up the ranks in teaching political science to the level of professor. He wrote From Camelot to the Teflon President: Economics and Presidential Popularity. Since 1960, published in 1988, and co-authored The Joint Press Conference: The History, Impact, and Prospects of Televised Presidential Debates in 1991. He has also written two book chapters, more than 30 refereed articles, and been a part of more than 30 conference papers and panel discussions. His knowledge and insight of the field of political science has been sought after by media outlets, and he has been quoted in many publications including The New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, U.S. News and World Report, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald, and Washington Times. Lanoue has served as president, as well as vice president and program chair, of the Southwestern Political Science Association. In 2009, he was inducted into the Anderson Society, a leadership honorary that recognizes students and faculty who have made significant contributions to the University of Alabama. He was named Graduate Student Association Political Science Professor of the Year at Texas Tech University in 1999-2000. Lanoue has a Ph.D. in Political Science from State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he also earned a Master of Arts. He acquired a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of California, San Diego. He enjoys long hikes and short walks, depending on the time available. He said he is looking forward to being outdoors and enjoying the beauty of Arkansas, as much as the job allows. His wife of 33 years, Suzanne Lanoue, will be joining him in the move to Magnolia, and she wants to become an active member of the local and University communities. Lanoue visited SAU on February 29, 2016, as a candidate for the provost position and visited with college deans, student leaders, vice president, faculty and staff. Dr. Ben Johnson, the Ragsdale Professor of Arkansas Studies, has served as interim provost and vice president of academic affairs since Dr. Trey Berry transitioned from that role to be president of the University on July 1, 2015.

SHERIDAN-After a fire at the Sheridan Golf Club, that swept through many sheds, between 20 and 30 privately owned golf carts were destroyed Wednesday morning. According to Sheridan Fire Chief Tim Stuckey, the club was closed when the department was called around 6:30 a.m., and no one was injured. It took firefighters about an hour to get the flames under control, and crews stayed on scene for about three and a half hours, Stuckey said. Because of the early hour, not all of the Sheridan department's members were available, and Stuckey said about seven other departments in Grant County responded to a call for a assistance. The fire affected a group of sheds used to store golf carts owned individually by the club's members, Stuckey said. The country club building was not affected. The cause of the fire is under investigation, he said. The club posted a message on Facebook asking members to stay away while the investigator is on the scene. A phone message left with the club was not immediately returned Wednesday morning.

MAGNOLIA-A flash flood watch is in effect from 7 a.m. Wednesday until 7 p.m. Thursday for all of Southwest and Southern Arkansas, portions of extreme Northeast Texas and much of Northwest and North Central Louisiana.
The National Weather Service in Shreveport said multiple rounds of strong to severe thunderstorms and abundant moisture will lead to periods of locally heavy rainfall. Total rainfall amounts are expected to be between two and four inches with locally higher amounts of up to six inches being possible. This will lead to a flash flood threat particularly across Northwest and North Central Louisiana where soils are still saturated and recovery is still ongoing from historic rainfall earlier in March. Widely scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible into the day Wednesday as a disturbance moves closer to the Four State region from the west. During this time frame there is a slight chance of severe thunderstorms across the Four State area. Large hail, damaging thunderstorm wind gusts and isolated tornadoes will be possible with any severe thunderstorms through Wednesday night.

March 29, 2016

CAMDEN-On Monday, March 28th, Lt. Cedric Gregory, with the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office, was dispatched to County Road 7 for a van parked in the ditch, with two unresponsive people inside. Just east of Ouachita 3 intersection, Gregory located an overturned vehicle on the roadside. According to reports, the vehicle was a 2000 Isuzu Rodeo, red in color. Reports also say that the vehicle left the roadway, struck two trees and overturned, coming to rest on the drivers side of the vehicle. Inside the vehicle were two individuals, later identified as Evelyn Hayes (driver) and J.T. Jackson (passenger). Unfortunately both were found deceased. Both were wearing seatbelts and the airbags of the vehicle had been deployed. Evidence observed at the scene indicate that Hayes drove off onto the north side of the roadway, over corrected, and traveled back across the roadway, where the vehicle left the roadway, and struck trees, before finally overturning. Fire and Rescue were contacted to extract the two from the vehicle. The coroner reported to the scene and tool custody of the remains. The vehicle was rendered inoperable and was towed from the scene. Thoughts and prayers are with the two victims family and friends.


Sacramento, Calif. and Little Rock, Ark. — Mar. 29, 2016 — Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc.(NYSE: AJRD), Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation (OECC) will celebrate the full commissioning of the 100-acre East Camden, Arkansas, solar field on March 31. The 12-megawatt (AC) array is located in the Highland Industrial Park and is owned and operated by Silicon Ranch Corp which constructed the solar field. Aerojet Rocketdyne will purchase the solar power for its 1,200-acre East Camden facility. The solar plant was completed in late 2015 and is capable of generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 2,400 single-family homes. Excess solar energy will be released to AECC and dispatched to the wholesale power market. “We are proud to report the testing period that began at the end of November has produced zero power anomalies, and with the unusually sunny Arkansas winter we have been witness to the exciting potential solar has in Arkansas,” said Gary Vaughan, Aerojet Rocketdyne director of Production Operations, Camden. “Silicon Ranch and their construction partner, McCarthy Building Companies, produced a world-class solar facility that will benefit the company and the region today, and in the future.” “This innovative partnership benefits electric cooperative members by providing predictable energy cost and contributing to the strong economic growth in the Camden area,” said Duane Highley, president and CEO for AECC, a generation and transmission electric cooperative. “AECC is constantly evaluating energy sources to ensure that our 17 retail distribution cooperatives and their more than 1.2 million members have reliable electricity that is affordable.” Ouachita Electric Cooperative, which serves Highland Industrial Park, assisted in the project by providing technical support, guidance and expertise in power production and delivery. “Ouachita Electric Cooperative works to increase the quality of life for our members and their communities,” said Mark Cayce, general manager of Ouachita Electric Cooperative. “Our board of directors and employees are diligent in our efforts to be advocates for rural Arkansas by keeping electricity rates affordable and assisting with economic growth." According to Matt Kisber, President and CEO of Silicon Ranch, construction of the Highland Park project was a seamless process, due in large part to the participation and support of OECC and AECC. “We could not ask for a better partnership to bring the first large-scale solar energy facility to Arkansas,” Kisber said. “Silicon Ranch echoes the importance of bringing renewable generation to rural America. This project should assist in additional positive economic impact for the Camden area while providing a reliable, low-cost energy source for Aerojet Rocketdyne and AECC.”

SALINE COUNTY-Former Saline Co. Sheriff Bruce Pennington was given an additional eight months in prison on Tuesday morning, court records state After he plead guilty to a charge of wire fraud in a federal case in 2015, he was already sentenced to one year in prison. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to a charge of abusing public trust and two counts of theft of property. He'll serve the eight months of prison time concurrently with his previous sentence in the wire fraud case, according to court records. Pennington was credited for 64 days already spent in jail. The former sheriff was also ordered to pay more than $2,500 in restitution, court documents state. 

March 28, 2016

CAMDEN-A day that seemed like would never get finally here. Today workers with Ketcher and Company Inc. of Little Rock, began construction on the Ouachita County Courthouse roof, something that has been long over due. Ouachita County Judge Robbie McAdoo is pleased to see something that was brought up during Quorum Court months ago, finally come to fruition. McAdoo said " its been a long drawn out process, but the workers are here, the equipment is here...we've identified the worst spots, so that's where we are going to start". The Judge also wanted to remind the residence their might a bit of a mess in front of the Courthouse for a few weeks. "Contractors will restore the grounds to the way they found it...they've laid out ply wood to limit damage to the ground... I'm just excited about it..its like we've been on set, and now we are on go" said McAdoo. The roofing project is expected to wrap up in about six weeks.

CAMDEN-The 2nd Annual Kids Running the Show: Corvette Car Show, has some how outdone itself. The event put on by the E.B Williams Youth Center, has exceeded expectations, as people from all over the country are in Camden. Youth Center founder, Eric Gunter said "the corvette community knows where Camden is now....I'm speechless". All funds from the event will go to the youth center, which is currently looking for a building to house all the kids. The event is going on all day and there will also be a parade this evening. Follow the E.B. Williams Youth Center on Facebook to keep up with what they are doing here in the Camden area.

HOT SPRINGS- On Easter Sunday, firefighters responded to a large fire at the Forrest Hills Apartments of Rogers Road in Hot Springs. Deputy John Schroeder with the Garland County Sheriff's Office told THV11 that the fire began around 11:40 a.m. at apartment building "J."The Highway 70 West Fire Department and the Bonnerdale Fire Department responded to the fire. No injuries have yet to be reported. 

LITTLE ROCK Arkansas is putting a renewed emphasis on education and enforcement of the state’s distracted driving laws.  Highway Safety authorities are joining national operations intended to stop distracted driving. Law enforcement agencies across the state have joined the national “U Drive U Text U Pay” campaign to stop distracted driving.  A statewide awareness campaign will utilize paid advertising with television, radio, online ads and social media to reach out to the motoring public. “We all know that using our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn’t stop most people from continuing to do it,” said Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.  “We want to educate Arkansas drivers about the dangers of texting and cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle.” Colonel Bryant continued, “We hope that once people see and hear the messages, they will be more aware and change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families and others on the road.” Arkansas law prohibits the use of a hand held cell phone for texting, typing, email or accessing the internet while driving, regardless of the driver’s age.  It is also a “primary offense” law, which means a state trooper, police officer or sheriff’s deputy can initiate a traffic stop without observing any other violation. Drivers should be aware of all state laws related to distracted driving, particularly related to the prohibition of using a hand-held cell phone while traveling through school or highway work zone.   All drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.  Drivers 18 to 20 years using a cell phone are required to use a hands-free device.The national distracted driving effort focuses on ways to change the behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education which are the same tools that have been used to curb drunk driving and increased seat belt use. For more information on distracted driving issues, visit, or contact the Arkansas Highway Safety Office at (501) 618-8136. For more on Arkansas’ ongoing Toward Zero Deaths campaign to eliminate preventable traffic fatalities, visit

TEXARKANA- According to reports, a Texarkana, Texas, man was arrested early Monday after fleeing from officers on Jamison Street near Waggoner Creek, a police department spokesman said. A K-9 was involved in the apprehension of the suspect. Dewayne Fetner, 25, was arrested for a felony probation violation warrant and also evading detention with a previous conviction and resisting arrest, said Shawn Vaughn, police spokesman. Fetner was also treated for a dog bite to his lower leg at Wadley Regional Medical Center before being transported to the Bi-State Jail, Vaughn said.Officer Colton Johnson observed a man walking in the roadway on Jamison Street at midnight last night. Aware of recent burglaries in the area, Johnson made contact with the subject, who identified himself as Fetner, Vaughn said. A felony warrant for probation violation on breaking and entering out of Miller County, Ark., was confirmed. After Officer Bo Carter and his K-9 partner Boston arrived on the scene, Officer Johnson attempted to place Fetner under arrest. However, Fetner managed to pull from Johnson's grasp and began to run east on Jamison Street before entering wood line along the roadway. Officer Carter activated the remote door opener on his belt to release Boston from the patrol unit. After Fetner continued to ignore commands to stop, Carter gave K-9 Boston the apprehend command. Boston pursued Fetner into the wooded area and caught him approximately 15 yards into the woods. As officers tried to handcuff Fetner, he continued to actively resist and try to get away. He hit Boston on the head several times with his fist and pushed against his face. After they were able to secure both of Fetner's hands, the K-9 was ordered to disengage.

March 25, 2016

CAMDEN-A few weeks ago, Ouachita County Judge, Robbie McAdoo, told reporters that he was planning to put a stop to all the dumping on county roads and highways. The Judge talked about putting an end to the ever growing problem, mentioning establishments like the Recycling Center. He also talked about the County Road Department and Solid Waste Department, and how they would soon start a county-wide initiative to pick up numerous bags of trash around the area. Earlier this week, that process began as our great county workers collected 263 bags of trash. Now this was not exactly the 300+ amount the Judge was hoping for, but he knows that this is just a dent, as his crew has only tackled about a third of the entire County. When asked if he has seen a decrease in the issue, Judge McAdoo said " its to early to tell, but I am starting to get notifications from residents who see people littering, and I'm starting to follow up on that with the court system ". Having citizens contact him was Judge McAdoo's third phase in this process. In a recent phone interview, he also talked about a fourth phase, which was something that had never been done before in Ouachita County. County Departments have begun spraying 81 miles of County roadways to kill out weeds. The Judge believes that once this kicks in and the Bermuda grass starts to grow that it's going to help out our curbside appeal. McAdoo said " sometimes we go away from that idea that it's going to take everybody to make us live up to the name Natural State ".

CAMDEN-The Camden Police Department will offer the first ever Camden Police Department Scholarship this year. The Scholarship will be awarded to a City of Camden, AR student who will pursue a degree in a Criminal Justice. The amount is $1000.00. For more information look in the news section of the Police Department's website, You can print the application from the website. Police Chief Woody will also deliver copies of the application to the Camden Fairview High School, Victory Christian and Camden Christian Schools Monday, March 28, 2016.

MAGNOLIA_JEVAC Machine in McNeil was recently awarded the 2015 Most Outstanding Small Business by Lockheed Martin's Missile and Fire Control Division. JEVAC thanks its employees and community for their hard work and support over the last 32 years. JEVAC Machine employees include Craig Cheatham, Amy Rogers, Dianne Fields, Barbara Wafer, Anne Foreman, Vicky Furlow, Bobbie Sue Olinger, Roxana Castro, Joe Lonigro, Roy Henderson, Chester Witcher, Jimmy Cheatham, Maurice Smith, Michael Lambert, Cranston Gentry, Nathell Clayton, Clay Cheatham, Mark Hardimon, Brandon Sanders, Otis Heard, Gerard Smith, Brian Cooper and Monique Lowdermill.

PINE BLUFF - The suspect wounded by an officer of the Pine Bluff Police Department (PBPD) earlier this week has been identified as a 16-year-old boy. The Arkansas State Police (ASP) shared that information in a news release issued on Friday, but did not release the teenager's name. He is alleged to have pointed a gun at the Pine Bluff officer in a Wednesday afternoon incident at a home on Womack Street. Officers with the PBPD at first told state police that the wounded suspect was Deontae Garrett, 19, who was the subject of an arrest warrant the officer was serving.
The officer shot the individual after the person refused to comply with orders to drop the gun and pointed the weapon toward the officer, the ASP said. By the time state police investigators arrived at the shooting scene, the wounded teen had been taken by ambulance to a local hospital. His condition was reported to be critical and required emergency surgery. Later the same day, a man identifying himself as Garrett surrendered to Pine Bluff Police, leading state police to begin efforts to identify the person who had been wounded and hospitalized.

LITTLE ROCK-Arkansas has seen another drop in its unemployment rate. New figures released on Friday by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, show Arkansas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined two-tenths of a percentage point, from 4.4 percent in January to 4.2 percent in February. The labor force data, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also shows that Arkansas’ civilian labor force gained 8,360, a result of 10,702 more employed and 2,342 fewer unemployed Arkansans. The United States’ jobless rate remained stable at 4.9 percent in February. “Arkansas’ unemployment rate has been in a steady decline, down one and four-tenths of a percentage point over the year. The state is now seven-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate,” said BLS Program Operations Manager Susan Price.

March 24, 2016

Suspect in the Erika Batton 2014 murder case, Eric Thrower has been found guilty. For being found guilty, Thrower recieved a life sentence plus 10 years.

At approximately 9 PM last night (Wednesday, March 23, 2016) Deontae Garrett, 19, surrendered to Pine Bluff Police Officers.  Garrett was wanted on multiple felony warrants originating in Cleveland County. Earlier yesterday Pine Bluff Police had identified Deontae Garrett as the individual who was shot by a local officer outside 5701 Womack Street. Following the shooting, Kyle Hunter, Eleventh Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, requested special agents of the Arkansas State Police to conduct an investigation of the officer involved shooting. When state police agents arrived at the Womack Street address the wounded individual had already been transported to Jefferson Regional Medical Center and was about to undergo surgery. Pine Bluff Police Department personnel stated one of their officers arrived at the residence about 2:30 PM (Wednesday) to serve an arrest warrant.  The warrant was to be served on Deontae Garrett, wanted for kidnapping, residential burglary and theft. As the Pine Bluff Police Officer approached the house a young man armed with a pistol exited the residence.  The officer reportedly ordered the individual to drop the gun and according to initial statements the individual subsequently pointed the gun at the officer who then shot the person. State police special agents now suspect the wounded individual is likely a juvenile who has not been positively identified.  The wounded juvenile was initially reported to be in critical condition and this morning is reported to be in stable condition. The state police investigation will be used by Prosecutor Hunter in determining whether use of deadly force by a police officer was consistent with Arkansas law and whether any criminal charges may be warranted against the person who met police with a gun outside the home.
HOT SPRINGS - Magic Springs Water and Theme Park has added Hinder to its 2016 concert series lineup, which officially begins June 4. Hinder will perform Saturday, June 11, at 8 p.m. Sing-along anthems, such as “Better Than Me” and “Lips Of An Angel,” shot them to megastardom, establishing Hinder as the next wave in anthemic rock. Now with over a decade-plus career under their belts, and having honed their live chops touring with the likes of Mötley Crüe, Nickelback, Aerosmith and Papa Roach, Hinder’s upcoming album with their official new lead vocalist Marshal Dutton has breathed new sound, and new air, into the ever-evolving band. “We’re excited to be able to add multiplatinum rockers, Hinder, to this year’s concert series,” said park general manager, Steve Honeycutt. “We know this will be a concert our guests won’t want to miss because of the high energy and big sound Hinder will bring to the Timberwood Amphitheater.” The concert series will run most Saturdays through August 13. All concerts are included with a season pass or general admission ticket with free lawn seating on a first come, first-served basis at Timberwood Amphitheater. A Magic Springs season pass, priced at $64.99 from now until April 18 and $74.99 after that, allows for unlimited visits to the park plus up to 12 free shows at Arkansas’s largest concert series. The season pass also includes in-park discounts and opportunities to gain other perks, such as a souvenir bottle with discounted refills and a free friend ticket when the pass is processed at the park by specific dates. 
Magic Springs Theme Park opens for the 2016 season on April 9 with Crystal Falls Water Park opening on May 7. For more information on park pricing or to purchase a Season Pass, visit or call 501-624-0100.

LITTLE ROCK – Bad news continues to roll in from north Arkansas amid the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s efforts to find the prevalence rate of chronic wasting disease in the area where the disease initially was detected. Results from last week’s tests revealed an additional 18 deer and a single elk with the disease. Last week, tissue samples from 49 deer and elk taken in and around the 125,000-acre focal area were sent to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Madison for testing. Out of the 18 positive deer samples, four were found just outside of the AGFC’s focal area. Those deer were either found dead or were killed by vehicles. The single cow elk was taken from the Boxley Valley area of Newton County. Arkansas now has 22 CWD positive samples from the state’s deer and elk. Before today’s lab results, two deer and an elk had tested positive for the fatal disease. All three of those initially tested cervids came from within Newton County. Today’s test results included 17 positive samples from Newton County and two deer from Boone County. The first animal in Arkansas confirmed to have CWD was a 2½-year-old female elk. The elk was killed by a hunter Oct. 6 on the Buffalo National River near Pruitt during elk season. The disease was confirmed on Feb. 23. As of today, more than 260 deer and 18 elk have been taken for sampling. Another large batch of samples is currently at the Wisconsin lab with results expected late next week. The AGFC will continue its efforts to sample elk that appear to be sick from throughout the known elk range. Due to the large number of positive samples, including samples outside the established focal area, emphasis will be placed on collecting samples from road-killed deer and sick or dead deer throughout northwest Arkansas in order to determine the extent of the disease’s distribution. The latest test results were a blow to AGFC Chief of Wildlife Management Brad Carner. “This is not good news. We were hopeful that all positive samples would be contained within our focal area. That’s obviously not the case,” he said. “We also hoped to find a low prevalence rate in the test samples. We’re disappointed, but still focused on the job at hand,” Carner noted.

The Southern Arkansas University Alumni Association will honor six alumni members at the Dinner of Distinction awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 9 in the SAU Reynolds Center Grand Hall.
Alumni members being recognized include Dr. Jerome D. Yates, John O. Armour, LeAnne Johnson, Don R. McDonald, Jonathan D. Baird and Larry C. Dunn. Alumni and friends are invited to attend. RSVP by calling the SAU Alumni Office at (870) 235-4079 or toll-free at (800) 797-1986. “You will not want to miss hearing from all of our alumni award recipients with their interesting personal histories of SAU and how much SAU has impacted their lives,” said SAU Alumni Director Ceil Bridges.

March 23, 2016

CAMDEN-Darleen Wheelington owner of Waggin’ Tails in Camden, AR, has been named a winner in the 2016 Pet Age Women of Influence awards program. The awards program is produced by Pet Age, a national publication covering all things in the pet industry, providing the latest industry news and more. The Women of Influence awards program honors women leaders who are influential in the pet manufacturing or servicing industry. Successful candidates will have a solid reputation based on experience, integrity and leadership and have a proven track record of accomplishments. To qualify, a nominee had to meet selection criteria that included working in the pet industry and possessing significant authority for decision making within a company or organization. Winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges including: Ashlee Gonigam, Matrix Partners, Ltd.; Kerry Sutherland, K. Sutherland PR; and Stephanie Volo, Planet Dog The Women of Influence award winners will be profiled in an awards article inserted in the May issue of Pet Age.

CAMDEN-Arkansas Senator, Bruce Maloch was the guest speaker at today's Camden Lion's Club meeting. Maloch was brought in as Ouachita County Assessor Debbie Lambert's guest speaker. "He was delighted when I asked him about coming...and I'm so grateful" said Lambert. Maloch said " I split Ouachita County with Bobby Pierce, but I'm always glad to get up here and speak to my constituents and get their feedback". During the meeting, the senator spoke to the Camden civic group about the upcoming session. When it comes to the Medicaid expansion (private option) issue, Senator Maloch told the attendees that without local hospitals, communities like Camden, Arkadelphia, Magnolia and Fordyce would not make it. The Senator also knows that highway funding has been an issue for years but is hoping that Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson's proposed plan can help generate revenue. "Particularly since gas prices have gone down, I would entertain generating some more revenue for highway construction...The Governor had a plan that is revenue won't do as much for our highways, but whatever we do I'm going to be out there lobbying for South Arkansas getting our share". He also said " We sometimes don't have as many people, but we have just as many roads and it is critical to maintain and for our economic development". Now when it comes to economic development, Maloch, like so many, was disappointed that Lockheed Martin's Camden facility did not receive the JLTV Production Contract, but is hopeful. Maloch said "We are still working on some other projects, I think what we have to do is keep plugging...many times we see those jobs go to North and Central Arkansas...I met individually with the Governor last week about these issues and the need for something down here in our area, and we are going to keep plugging away until we land something". Maloch did complement Governor Hutchinson, who has been around the Country and the World, promoting the Natural State.

In a recent Facebook post, the Camden Police Department wanted everyone to watch out for different types of scams. The post read:
Be aware of the scams!!! They are out in full force! Mega Millions, Cruises, Publishers Clearing House, Banks in reference to your account or Debit Cards, Credit Cards, etc. Also there are scams where they say you have a warrant and if you pay within a certain amount of time you will not be arrested. There are scams that lead you to believe your family member needs bail money. Some scams come to your email address. Be sure you do not open any email that you do not know who or where it is coming from. Money exchange scams will lead you to believe you will receive an enormous amount of money if you will cash a check for the scammer. There are scams where they call representing a hospital or medical clinic about a bill. They ask to verify your social security number or other personal information. If this is a place you have received services from, they will have this information already. As the weather warms up, there will be scammers trying to sell gravel for driveways, work on your yard or house. It is a good idea to hire only people you or a close friend knows to be reputable. If you have any doubt, call the police, Don't let strangers into your home to use the phone, bathroom or get a drink of water. Remember, if you didn't enter a sweepstakes, you probably did not win anything. Even if you did enter, be cautious and do not give personal information out.

MAGNOLIA-The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, which has twice rejected bids for the proposed widening of 4.2 miles of U.S. 82 in Magnolia because they were too high, received only one bid for the job on Wednesday morning.
The bid was $240,903.57 higher than the lowest of two received during February’s bid opening, and came from the same company. James Construction Group of Baton Rouge, LA, bid $22,175,162.47 for the project, which was higher than the $21,934,258.90 bid it offered the state in February. Also in February, the Johnsonville Company of Hermitage bid $24,152,533.25. Five other companies expressed an interest in the project during the March round, but they did not submit bids. The highway department is expected to announce whether it will accept the bid next week, or invite a fourth round of bidding for the job. The state’s next highway bid opening will be May 11. The plan is to widen U.S. 82 from County Road 525 to the 79-82 bypass to five lanes. The sides of the roadway will have curbs and gutters. The project includes rebuilding the Nations Creek Bridge, and widening 79-82 from East Main Street to the Shell Superstop, also to five lanes. The state is also well into the planning for the second phase of the U.S. 82 widening project. It has already held a public involvement meeting for the widening of six miles of U.S. 82 from the Shell Super Stop on the bypass to Columbia County Road 27. CR 27 is the extension of South Hope Street through Waldo, east of the Deltic Timber Company mill. In other bid openings of interest to South Arkansas on Wednesday morning: Hempstead County Redstone Construction Group of Little Rock was the low bidder at $1,685,143.45 for the overlay of U.S. 67 between the Red River and Peavine Creek. Dallas County Jet Asphalt & Rock Co. of El Dorado was the only bidder at $1,467,919.17 for the overlay of Arkansas 8 from Arkansas 9 west. Union County Jet Asphalt was the only bidder at $1,201,235.75 for the overlay of Arkansas 7 north and south of El Dorado. More bids were to be opened on Wednesday afternoon

According to SmartAsset’s second annual insurance study, Ouachita County ranks as one of the most insured places in Arkansas. Ouachita County made the list at number 7, up from their rank of 6 in last year's study. The study compares coverages rates across all counties for life, health, and auto insurance, to see where citizens are leading in coverage. For a look at how Ouachita County compares to the Arkansas leaders, check out the table below: Rank County Auto Insurance Coverage Health Insurance Coverage Life Insurance Coverage Overall Coverage Index
1 Perry, AR 86.34% 88.81% 61.19% 69.49
2 Grant, AR 85.50% 87.92% 65.37% 65.66
3 Saline, AR 84.13% 88.57% 66.80% 65.32
4 Lonoke, AR 83.50% 87.82% 74.04% 63.35
5 Cleveland, AR 85.88% 85.88% 64.74% 60.74
6 Jefferson, AR 83.24% 87.41% 65.46% 60.37
7 Ouachita, AR 84.34% 86.83% 65.60% 60.37
8 Arkansas, AR 84.13% 86.87% 65.18% 59.94
9 Franklin, AR 84.78% 86.41% 65.24% 59.68
10 Benton, AR 83.20% 86.58% 77.19% 59.65


March 22, 2016

CAMDEN-Has yours faucet or shower at home been filtering out "brown water"? Camden Water Utilities Manager, David Richardson said that this was due in large part to a malfunctioning pump. The error happened over the weekend, which resulted in the water issue. Richardson wanted to ensure Camden residents that workers are out fixing the problem, and water should be back to normal sometime this afternoon. He also mentioned the annual system flush that will be taking place in a few weeks. The flush is set to take place on Friday April 1st.

MAGNOLIA-Southern Arkansas University Engineering is hosting three-day, two-night Engineering Summer Camp from July 11-13, 2016. The engineering and physics camp is open to students entering grades eight through 12. The registration fee is $250, which includes room and board. Applications are due online at by July 2. Checks can be made out to “SAU Engineering Camp” and mailed to Southern Arkansas University, ATTN: Sarajane Telford, 100 E. University, MSC 9397, Magnolia, AR 71753. For more information, contact Telford at or (870) 235-4290. Participants will enjoy hands-on projects related to engineering and physics. Engineering projects will include building and programming of Lego Mindstorms robots, playing with Arduimo-based electronics and hardware, designing the path of a robotic arm, building of model bridges and structures, design and modeling with Solid Works and material testing using a force tester. Physics projects will include designing and building electrical circuits, learning about space radiation and performing nuclear physics experiments and learning about wave interference, diffraction and beats with a sound laser. There will be an awards ceremony at the end of the camp. SAU launched the only four-year engineering program in the southern half of Arkansas fall 2014, and enrollment has reached more than 160 students in its second year. The University will soon begin construction to renovate the former armory on the SAU campus to house the growing Engineering program.

HOPE- Two young men have turned themselves in, after police said they were wanted in connection with several shootings.  Police in Hope said the shootings happened Wednesday, March 16. Warrants for aggravated assault were issued for Devonte Barker and Patrick Powell in connection to shots fired in the area of Oak and Walker streets in Hope. According reports, at least four homeowners reported gunfire entering their residences that night. One person is said to have been shot in the legs and transferred to the hospital by private vehicle. Kim Tomlin with Hope police said Monday that Powell and Barker turned themselves in and are awaiting their first court appearance.

CAMDEN-According to the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office, the Arkansas State Police is covering what you should do when you see an emergency vehicle behind you with their lights and siren on! Seems simple to some, but many people block the roadway OR stop us from getting to injured citizens quickly by not abiding by this law. Here are a few of the common questions:
1) What if you are in the left lane and can not move over to the right? KEEP DRIVING in your lane of traffic until you can safety move to the right. Many people will pull to the left, and that is more dangerous for the emergency vehicle and for yourself.
2) Can I just stop immediately where I am, and the emergency vehicle can just go around me? Please try to slowly pull to the right then come to a stop. If you brake suddenly, you might cause a chain reaction, creating another traffic hazard.
27-51-901. Operation of vehicles and streetcars on approach of authorized emergency vehicles.
(a) (1) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, when the driver is giving audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle, or bell, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the highway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.
(b) Upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, as stated in subsection (a) of this section, the motorman of every streetcar shall immediately stop the car clear of any intersection and keep it in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.

The Ouachita County Courthouse and the Ouachita County Extension Office will be closed on Friday, March 25th for the Good Friday Holiday. Trash pickup will run on its regular schedule.This coming from Ouachita County Judge, Robbie McAdoo.

TEXARKANA-Area law enforcement was involved in a pursuit that started in Texarkana and ended at the Louisiana state line early Monday morning. The pursuit lasted for around 90 minutes. Around 12:30 a.m. a Texarkana, Ark. Police Officer attempted to stop a car on Dudley St. near Ferguson St. The car led the officer onto the loop and then back into Texarkana before once again heading to the loop and then south on I-49. Texarkana, Texas Police, Bowie County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, and Miller County Sheriff’s Office Deputies all assisted in the pursuit. About 30 minutes into the pursuit the suspect called 911 and told dispatchers that she had no reason to live. She stated that she had a baby in the car and threatened to kill somebody if officers did not stop chasing her. The woman also told Miller County dispatchers that she was going to slam on her brakes and cause officers to rear end her. According to radio traffic the suspect has multiple warrants out of Bowie County for failure to appear, theft of property, failure to identify as a fugitive, and possession of a dangerous drug. All units stopped the pursuit on Highway 71 at the Louisiana Line. No Louisiana units were in the area to assist once it crossed the state line. According to reports, the woman and one other person were apprehended by Harrison County Deputies near Marshall, Texas. The woman has been identified as Jessica Hayes.

March 10, 2016

CAMDEN-"I'm tired of it" was Ouachita County Judge Robbie McAdoo's response to the issue of trash dumping on City Streets and County Roads. Judge McAdoo hopes to put an end to this ever growing problem, in which furniture and trash in being dumped and left throughout the County. The Ouachita County Judge doesn't want his citizens to forget about the Recycling Center, which is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 am to 5 pm. There is no charge to recycle at the center. In a public service announcement, McAdoo said "please don't dump trash on the County Roads or City Streets...take it to the Recycling Center and let's dispose of it properly". He would go on to say "It's important for this reason, as we are in an economy that's needing to grow, and as we bring people in here to possibly brings jobs to Ouachita County, then they have to see clean streets and roads". While speaking with Taylor May, the Judge also mentioned a county-wide initiative that is being put on by the Solid Waste Department and County Road Department. The Departments have set a goal of 300 bags of trash in one day (depending on the weather), so that we can have County to be proud of. Also, Judge McAdoo is asking all citizens to get information from the dump site, or license plate number, if they see someone dumping. The Judge will follow that up will local law enforcement if needed. Judge McAdoo said he doesn't like to "police" his citizens, but he wants the County to look and be the best that it can be. We could possibly see a Code Red message in the future as well.

So far this is what we have on road conditions in Ouachita County. We will keep you updated if more info becomes available. Ouachita Road 232 - Closed Ouachita Road 233 - Closed Ouachita Road 234 - Closed
County Road 275 - Closed County Road 83 - Closed County Road 66 - Closed County Road 3 - Closed
County Road 9 - Closed County Road 11 - Closed County Road 76 - Closed County Road 441 - Closed
Ouachita Road 6 - Closed Ouachita Road 43 - Partial Highway 7 North - Impassable from City limits to County line
Ouachita Road 45 - Closed Ouachita Road 67 - Closed Hwy 9 - Use extreme caution Ouachita Road 66 - Closed Ouachita Road 68 - Closed Ouachita Road 86 - Closed County Road 44 - Closed County Road 77 - Closed County Road 205 - Closed.....Sheriff David Norwood advised this morning that if a creek is near a county roadway, it is likely underwater.

MAGNOLIA-According to reports, a United Express flight enroute from Houston to Indianapolis made an emergency landing at South Arkansas Regional Airport on Monday night.
The aircraft landed in El Dorado after people reported smelling smoke in the cabin of the aircraft. There were 66 passengers and four crew members aboard. No injuries were reported. Buses were taking the passengers to Little Rock so that they could catch flights on Tuesday morning. The El Dorado Fire Department and other emergency services were dispatched to the airport. There was no emergency evacuation of the aircraft using slides. Instead, a mechanical lift was used to take passengers from the jet's main door to the ground. There is no jetway at the general aviation airport. Bob Birge, director of Corporate Communications for Republic Airways Holdings, issued the following statement on Monday night: “Shuttle America flight 3579, operating as United Express from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) to Indianapolis International Airport (IND) made a safe landing after diverting to El Dorado, Arkansas. We are working to accommodate our customers to their final destinations. Our maintenance team is investigating the issue,” the statement said. According to the airline tracking site Flight Aware, Flight 3579 -- an Embraer 175 twin-engine jet – had just reached its cruising altitude of 37,000 feet and a speed of about 550 knots at about 8:12 p.m. when it began a rapid descent and a right-hand turn to line up for the emergency landing on Runway 22, touching down at 8:24 p.m. The runway is 6,601 feet long by 150 feet wide – well within the 4,130 feet required for an Embraer 175 to land. An Embraer 175 flown by United Express is normally configured with 76 seats.

HOT SPRINGS – The storms began in Hot Springs on Tuesday afternoon starting off a week of keeping close watch on streams that have a history of flooding downtown. City officials have an array of both high and low tech tools to try and keep the city from flooding. Some of the city's high tech tools are placed at Whittington Creek. It feeds into Hot Springs Creek and is the likely spot a flood will first form. Flood gauges and surveillance cameras help public works officials stay on top of the storm. “We have a unique system partnering with the USGS. We have five stations that actually monitor all of our creeks and stream to see if flooding is about to occur,” said Max Sestili, storm water manager of Hot Springs. In addition to alerts for residents, tourists to the state basketball tournament or to the track will be able to hear if flooding gets dangerous. "We've tested our newly installed siren systems that will alert people if we trigger it that a flood is about to occur." Hot Springs has a history with flooding. The creek tunnel that runs under downtown was severely damaged in 1990. Now, crews keep the creek clear with claw trucks, clearing debris from bridges and other choke points. In addition to the high tech, the city's bags are packed. With sandbags that is. “We've got some predetermined spots downtown that we will actually mobilize them, drop them off and make a public announcement where they can go and that they're there to be picked up," said Denny McPhate, public works director. McPhate says his divisions are ready for whatever these storms may bring this week. He's also crossing his fingers. He says storms in the area usually cycle downtown every 7 to 10 years, and the last major one happened 25 years ago.The sandbags aren't public ally available as they have been in the past. They will be deployed if flooding downtown becomes imminent.

SALINE COUNTY - You may think that falling behind on child support is a victimless crime, but authorities in Saline County disagree. And now, they'll be shaming those deadbeat dads and moms by posting their faces all over social media. "This is not a victimless crime, when we talk about deadbeat moms dead beat dads. It's not a victimless crime at all. The children are the victims,” said Lt. Jeffrey Silk, with the Saline County Sheriff’s Office. For the more than 300 so-called deadbeat dads and moms and the more than 3,000 people with active warrants in Saline County, consider this your fair warning. "We are going to post their pictures, and their bonds, and what they're charged with on our website,” said Silk. And that's not all. The sheriff’s office will also be sharing those mugshots with their 3,000 Facebook followers. "It's really been a game changer, because we can reach thousands of people." Lt. Silk says the issue of deadbeat dads and moms is not a new one in Saline County, but it's consistent. That's what his department is hoping to change. "We always try to fight a little bit harder. Even though we are very objective, we always fight a little bit harder when there's kids involved." Local attorney, Luther Sutter, handles child support disputes. He says the sheriff's office is walking a fine line when it comes to the law. "What the Saline County Sheriff's Office is doing is posting pictures of people who may or may not be guilty of a crime. Simply because you don't pay, doesn't make it a crime. What makes it a crime is when you willfully don't pay it.” All of the information on the website is public record, meaning anyone can request it.  Even still, SCSO says they spent a lot of time ensuring all the information is accurate. "Marcus Earl West, if you're tuning in right now, we urge you to come in and turn yourself in because it won't be long before somebody picks up the phone and lets us know and we will be knocking at your door. So if you'd like to make it easy on yourself just come in and turn yourself in now."

SALINE COUNTY, Ark. - A man was killed on Sunday afternoon in a truck crash in Saline County, deputies say. Kevin Carr was driving a 2009 Chevrolet pickup truck when he left the road and struck a tree, according to the Saline County Sheriff's Office. He was pronounced dead at the crash site. The incident took place in the 1500 block of 12th Street in Paron. "Excessive" speed was found to be a factor in the crash, deputies said. 

March 7, 2016

CAMDEN-Deputies with the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office, were dispatched to 107 Sunset Street in reference to a disturbance. Upon arrival, officers made contact with Eliza Rucker, who stated that her boyfriend, Stevie Glosson, came to the residence intoxicated and wanting to talk to her. Rucker stated that she didn't want to talk to him and did not want to be with him anymore, sho she did not have to answer the door. Rucker then stated that Glosson became irate because she wouldn't speak to him. According to reports, Glosson screamed out that he was going to hit the woman, and then broke out one of the bedroom windows, and then left the residence. Rucker was advised that a report would be on file at the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office and of Affidavit and Warrant Procedures.

Recently, Deputies with the Ouachita County Sheriff's Office, were dispatched to 2787 Ouachita 3 for a report of a disturbance between a grandfather and a grandson, who had a baseball bat. According to reports, upon arrival, officers made contact with the reporting person, who stated that he and his grandson, had gotten into an argument. He then stated that his grandson grabbed a baseball bat and acted like he was going to hit him with the bat. The grandfather then stated, that he ran at his grandson to prevent him from swinging the bat. Officers entered the residence and noticed the grandson, with a metal baseball bat in his hands. After officers got him to put the bat down, the grandson was put in hand restraints and transported to the station. Reports suggest that he had an odor of intoxicants coming from him, and threatening to kill people.

MAGNOLIA-The Magnolia Wastewater System will begin testing on Monday to find breaks and defects in the sewer system. Smoke testing will start in the Western Hills area, including Summit Drive, Amhurst Street, Melrose, the Magnolia Travel Center, North Vine and the Magnolia Apartments on West University.During the test the public may see smoke coming from vent stacks on buildings, or from holes in the ground. The smoke will not be a cause for alarm. The smoke has no odor, is non-toxic, non-staining, does not create a fire hazard, and will dissipate in a few minutes.The public is asked that before smoke tests are conducted in any particular neighborhood, that they pour water into all unused plumbing fixtures. This will seal the drain traps so smoke will not enter a building through the drain. If smoke should enter a building during the test, it probably means that there are defects in the plumbing that could allow dangerous sewer gas to enter. Note the location of the smoke and call Magnolia City Hall at 234-1375 to arrange a meeting with an inspector. Open doors and windows to ventilate any smoke that enters a building. Notify the city before tests are conducted if any of the following conditions exist on your property:
-- Dogs, birds or other pets that will be confined alone in the building during the test.
-- A person who will be alone and is physically handicapped.
-- Any individuals with respiratory problems who will be in the building.
-- Elderly persons who will be alone and might be alarmed or confused if they see smoke.
-- A person that will be sleeping during the test.

MAGNOLIA-A driver who may have been experiencing a medical problem rolled through a block-and-a-half of front yards before his vehicle struck the corner of a home on Amhurst Street in Magnolia about 2:45 p.m. Sunday. The driver, whose name is being withheld pending notification of kin, was taken to Magnolia Regional Medical Center by the Columbia County Ambulance Service. The drama began when the male driver of a Nissan Pathfinder, westbound on Summit Drive off North Vine, travelled off the left side of the street and collided with a mailbox in front of the Jimmy Phillips residence. “Just a bunch of noise – banging. I was in the backyard. I finally walked around out there. He evidently got off track right there,” said Phillips, pointing to a nearby real estate sign. The vehicle continued off road for another half block before passing over Shamrock Street. It jumped the curb, flattened a stop sign and rolled through another block of yards – demolishing another set of mailboxes along the way. At the end of the block where Summit Drive forms a “T” intersection with Amhurst, the Pathfinder veered slightly right -- just missing a fire hydrant – and striking a tree and the southeast corner of a house where James Gaines and Lisa Blakemore live with their daughter, Kayla Gaines. “I was in the tub when it happened. It was a big boom through the house,” Kayla Gaines said. “We just heard a big, loud noise,” said Lisa Blakemore. She wasn’t worried about the damage to her house so much as what had happened to the driver – a man Blakemore knows who also lives a few doors down on Amhurst. “I hope he’ll be alright. I’m worried about him. I’m not worried about the house.”

The deaths of 2 people within 3 hours in 2 separate Southwest Arkansas counties could be related, area law officers say.Virginia Paulette Seeger, 63, called 911 from her home on County Road 314 shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday, the Lafayette County sheriff's office reports. Deputies found Seeger dead when they arrived at her home. Investigators are not saying the cause of her death, only that someone apparently broke into her home through a side window. Police also say that Seeger's car had been stolen.A few hours later. the Miller County sheriff's office received a call just before 8 a.m. in reference to an alleged attempted home invasion. Police say Trent Ames was asleep in his mother's home on County Road 9, just south of Fouke, Ark., when he reportedly was awakened by someone beating on the glass door of the home. Ames said he went outside to get his gun from his car. Then he spotted the alleged intruder.  According to reports, "I grabbed the gun and turned around," Ames said, "He was running right at me. He was within 10 feet." Ames said that's when he shot the alleged intruder.  Police say the suspect was dead at the scene. The Miller County sheriff's office says Seeger's stolen car was found near Ames' home. Both bodies are being sent to Little Rock for autopsies. Police still are trying to identify the home invasion suspect. 

HOTS SPRINGS - A former teacher convicted of possession of child pornography has now been sentenced. Zachary Thomas Nehus, 42, of Hot Springs is to spend three years in prison for each of eight of the counts and 10 years for each count of two of the counts along with recommendations for probation. All counts will run consecutively. A formal imposition of sentencing is set of October 21. Nehus was originally arrested in September 2014 on 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child. He was employed by St. John's middle school at the time of his arrest, according to the Attorney General's office.

JEFFERSON COUNTY AR – The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office arrested two Pine Bluff men after deputies intercepted package deliveries that contained illegal drugs. Anthony Dennis, 27, and James Jones, Jr., 54, were both arrested this year for trafficking drugs. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office arrested Dennis in February after finding a large amount of methamphetamine in a package that was being shipped to a residence in the 2600 block of W. 24th Avenue in Pine Bluff. Deputies stated there was around 1 pound of meth inside the package.  Dennis reportedly ran from deputies in a black Mercedes but was quickly captured. Officials also later found a .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol in the floorboard of his vehicle. Inside Dennis’ residence, deputies confiscated an additional pound of meth, a clear jar containing a dried green leafy vegetable matter, black digital scales, KBI 9mm pistol, stolen Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol and a baggie containing a dried green leafy vegetable matter believed to be marijuana. Jones was arrested on March 3 after deputies found him in possession of several pounds marijuana. A package that was accepted by Jones in the 600 block of East 2nd Avenue in Pine Bluff contained around 15.6 pounds of weed, according to JCSO. The package was flagged as suspicious by investigators prior to it being delivered to the East 2nd Avenue home. As deputies were watching it, they witnessed Jones pick it up and put it in the trunk of his vehicle. Investigators arrested him shortly after during a traffic stop. Dennis is charged with Possession with Purpose Methamphetamine, Possession of Firearm by Certain Person and Simultaneous Possession of Drugs & Firearms. He is being held at the W.C. “Dub” Brassell Adult Detention Center on a $10,000 secure bond. Jones was also taken to the DBDC and is charged with Possession of Controlled Substance with Purpose to Schedule VI.

HOT SPRINGS – Hot Springs police arrested a man on Wednesday for illegal tattooing practices. According to the Hot Springs Police Department, Hubert “Aaron” Samuel Evans, 34, of Hot Springs, was arrested after allegedly tattooing two teenage girls out of his home on Rector Street. While responding to a disturbance at the home on May 12, 2015, police discovered body art tools and two girls, 14 and 15, who reported being tattooed by Evans. Police confirmed with the Arkansas Department of Health that Evans is neither licensed by the state of Arkansas to perform body art nor is his home a licensed facility.  He faces one count of performing body art in an unlicensed facility and two counts of unlawful performance of body art on a person under 18 years of age. Police reports state that Evans was released on a $4,500 bond and is set to appear in the Garland County District Court on March 18.

March 4, 2016

HOPE, Ark.– The Hope Police Department has arrested a woman for reportedly having inappropriate contact with a student. On Wednesday, investigators took 37-year-old Kristie Brown of Hope for three counts of first degree sexual assault. Police stated that they believe she was acting as a substitute teacher at the school at the time of the offense. The arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation into allegations that Brown had inappropriate contact with a high school student. Brown was booked in at the Hempstead County Detention Facility and is awaiting her first court appearance. The Hope Police Department has requested the assistance of the Arkansas State Police in the investigation.

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. - A Henderson State University airplane rolled over at the Dexter B. Florence Memorial Field airport on Thursday, injuring two, officials say. The Arkadelphia Police Department responded to the incident and said that the investigation was turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration. An aviation student onboard was treated for minor injuries at the airport, and the flight instructor was taken to a local hospital for observation and later released, officials said. Henderson State University said the aircraft (Maule MXT-7-180A) was forced to land upside down on the runway. "A sudden, strong crosswind blew the aircraft off the centerline as it was touching down. The rain-softened ground caused the plane to land on its back," the university said. The Dexter B. Florence Memorial Field is south of Arkadelphia.

MADISON COUNTY, Ark. – Nearly 200 puppies and dogs were rescued from a suspected puppy mill in Arkansas. 5NEWS reports the Humane Society of the United States and the Madison County Sheriff's Office rescued the dogs and puppies Thursday from a property near Elkins. The owner, Joyce Johnson, surrendered the animals to the sheriff's office and is facing two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.  She is said to have been booked on the charges and released on her own recognizance. Officials said the dogs were transported to the Saline County Humane Society, where they are being examined and will receive immediate medical treatment. Other groups that assisted in the rescue include the Madison County pet shelter, Animal League of Washington County and Jones Mobile Veterinary Service. 5NEWS reported that five dogs were found dead during the raid. The HSUS has established a reward program to offer up to $5,000 to anyone who provides any information leading to the arrest and conviction of a puppy mill operator for animal cruelty. Persons wishing to report a valid tip are encouraged to call 1-877-MILL-TIP and will remain anonymous.

CAMDEN-According to Ouachita County Judge, Robbie McAdoo, the City Limits of Bearden is under a boil order until further notice due a major 6 inch line busted close to the high school. Boil order in place until further notice. The Bearden water department will have the Department of Health to test the water for approval to remove the order.

TEXARKANA-Arkansas State Police are investigating a hit-and-run accident that left a Texarkana, Ark. woman dead early Thursday morning, Casey McCarley, 35, of Texarkana, Ark.Casey McCarley, 35, of Texarkana, Ark., was struck and killed by a 2000 GMC pickup traveling north on County Road 22, according to a fatal crash report. Lucas McCarley has been arrested on charges of negligent homicide, felony possession of a controlled substance, felony drug paraphernalia and DWI, according to information from Miller County Sheriff’s Office. According to the report the accident happened at 12:57 a.m. at the intersection of Miller County Road 22 and 249. According to jail records Lucas McCarley was checked into Miller County Jail at 9:57 a.m. Thursday. The report indicates that an active investigation is pending.

March 2, 2016

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - Two 14-year-old boys have pleaded not guilty to rape charges in the alleged sexual assault of a girl in the field house at Lakeside High School. The Sentinel-Record reports ( ) the two entered the pleas Tuesday in juvenile court and that both remain in custody at the Garland County Juvenile Detention Center. The boys were arrested Friday after the girl told police that she was in the field house on Feb. 24 when the boys forced her into a girls' locker room, turned off the lights, held her down and sexually assaulted her. Lakeside Superintendent Shawn Cook said Tuesday that stronger security measures are planned for the campus, including two full-time police officers and more security cameras.

Southern Arkansas University Tech is pleased to announce the dates for its annual Welding Academy Competition. The SAUT Welding Academy, located in Magnolia, Arkansas inside the Harvey Couch Business Park, will be hosting a welding skills competition on Saturday, April 2, 2016. The annual event will begin at 10:00 a.m. and finish around 3:00 p.m. First prize is a full tuition scholarship to the SAUT Welding Academy, second prize is a Victor Journeyman Torch kit and third prize is a Miller Pro Hobby Auto Darkening Welding Hood. The entry fee is $25 and includes lunch. The event is open to all ages. For more information call 870.390.0353.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton topped Bernie Sanders in the Arkansas Primary General Election on Tuesday. The former secretary of state and first lady had been ahead in multiple polls prior to the election. She was in Arkansas campaigning on Sunday at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.  Sanders did not make any campaign stops in Arkansas. 

March 1, 2016

MAGNOLIA-A Camden woman was killed Sunday morning in a one-vehicle wreck on Arkansas 9, north of U.S. 79 in Ouachita County. According to a preliminary Arkansas State Police report, Marnie Rowe, 44, was driving a 2007 model Dodge Nitro north on Arkansas 9 about 8:42 a.m. Rowe lost control and crossed the center line, traveled off the roadway and into a ditch. The car collided with a driveway embankment, went airborne and hit two trees, before finally coming to rest overturned in the ditch. Rowe was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was in the vehicle. The weather was clear and the road was dry. Senior Cpl. Billy Walker investigated the accident for the Arkansas State Police.

PINE BLUFF - According to Lt. Price with the Pine Bluff Police Department, an Arkansas man who was being sought for taking the two-year-old child of his estranged girlfriend turned himself in on Monday evening. Police believe David Lee Bailey took the toddler Saturday, February 27. Officials have not confirmed whether Bailey is the biological father of the two-year-old. He faces charges of interfering with child custody. Reports state that the child was returned safe and unharmed to his mother.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark.-- Two men were arrested Saturday after a human trafficking investigation involving two juvenile women. Jerry Nutt, 41, was arrested for Rape and Trafficking of Persons by the Little Rock Police on warrants out of North Little Rock. The investigation also led to the arrest of Tavaris Candy, 28, of North Little Rock by North Little Rock Police. He was charged with Trafficking of Persons. Reports suggest that both men are now in the Pulaski County Jail.

HOT SPRINGS- Hot Springs police are investigating an alleged rape on the Lakeside High School campus. According to Cpl. Kirk Zaner, a 16-year-old female at the school reported that two males approached her while she was inside the field house Wednesday after school hours, and forced her into the girls' locker room. He said that once they were in the girls' locker room, the males are said to have turned the lights off and forcefully sexually assaulted her. Parents were notified on Monday and for them, it's a shock to hear that this happened in their district. “As a parent, that scares me, ya know? That’s really crazy," said Shawn Gallagher, a former Lakeside parent. The Lakeside School District is ranked among the top five schools in the state according to U.S. News. Parents never imagined that a sexual assault incident would happen in this particular school. “I was shocked. You never know that it's going to happen in your district...What were they thinking? Why? Why? I don't understand, it's heartbreaking," said Diana DeFroe who has two girls that attend Lakeside. Though parents are concerned, they have faith in the district. “It's a really good school, I mean they care about the kids," said DeFroe.The two 14-year-old boys were arrested Friday and booked into the Garland County Juvenile Detention Center without bond.  

A statement from Lakeside School District read as follows: A high school female student reported to Lakeside Administration Thursday morning that she had been sexually assaulted by two male high school students on campus, Wednesday after school. Administration notified police immediately. The two male high school students presently are not on campus. At this time matters are being handled by the Hot Springs Police Department. For privacy issues, Lakeside School District will not release any student information. 

CAMDEN-Get your team together for Walk Across Ouachita County, the eight week program that gets you up and moving. Gather a team of 4-6 members and record the minutes you exercise each day. The team with the most minutes wins! Kick off starts March 14th at the Ouachita County Extension Office at 1 PM. Register your team by March 9th. For team packets, call 870-231-1160 or email

February 29, 2016

CAMDEN-On February 24th, an incident occurred between an Arkansas Department of Corrections inmate and Ouachita County Detention Officer. The inmate is at Ouachita County on the ACT 309 program, which allows state inmates to work at local Detention Centers, for a period of time. The inmate and Detention Officer got into a physical altercation in the jail area. The inmate was immediately locked down and an investigation in to the incident was started. During that process, it was found that the inmate and Detention Officer had an inappropriate relationship. Immediately upon Ouachita County CID finding this out, Arkansas State Police and Arkansas Department of Corrections were contacted to assist the investigation. During the course of the investigation, it was found that the Detention Officer had taken the inmate from the jail facility on at least four separate occasions without authorization. During the course of the investigation, the Detention Officer resigned from the Ouachita County Detention Center, charges are pending. On February 26th, Ouachita County Detention Center voluntarily suspended the ACT 309 program temporarily until the incident is reviewed by the ACT 309 oversight committee.

MAGNOLIA-Weekly column written for Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson: There have been a lot of questions surrounding the recent outbreak of Zika virus. As governor, I value the health and safety of all Arkansans and want to do my part to provide people with information about how to help prevent the virus from spreading. The Arkansas Department of Health is working to promote greater awareness of Zika, evaluating people who may have been exposed to Zika and working with national experts, including the Center for Disease Control, to stay up-to-date on the latest information. The Department of Health is also studying mosquitos in various parts of the state to see where to best direct mosquito control efforts. In Arkansas we have had only one case, and that was from someone who traveled to an area where Zika infections are occurring. We have not had any evidence of Zika spreading in Arkansas. Here’s what we know about Zika virus: In May 2015, Zika first appeared in Brazil. Since then, it has spread to Central and South America, as well as to the Caribbean. Zika virus is spread mainly through mosquito bites. The primary symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red, itchy eyes. These symptoms are usually mild and last up to a week. However, many people who become infected with Zika virus experience no symptoms at all. Zika poses the greatest risk to unborn babies of mothers who become infected with the virus. There is evidence suggesting Zika is linked to birth defects, so women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should take precautions and avoid traveling to areas where Zika is present. Here’s what you can do to prevent the spread of Zika virus in your hometown: As the weather gets warmer and mosquitos become more rampant, use insect repellants containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. When outside, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. When indoors, make sure your window and door screens are keeping mosquitos out. Also, empty standing water near your home from containers like flowerpots or buckets to prevent mosquitos from breeding. For more information about Zika virus and what you can do to help prevent it from spreading, please visit or call the Arkansas Department of Health at (501) 661-2000.

MAGNOLIA-The Magnolia Panthers boys’ swim team won its third consecutive Arkansas Activities Association Championship on Saturday in Bentonville.
Magnolia competes against the nine other schools in Classes 5A through 1A that have swimming teams. The Lady Panthers finished fifth statewide – their best state championship finish ever. The four Lady Panthers seniors -- Taylor Eddy, Suzannah Neal, Macey Westfall -- along with sophomore Rylee Barnett, placed 3rd in their 200 free relay with a best time of 1:54.50. Their 400 free relay placed 4th overall with a time of 4:19.20. The Panthers won the 5A-1A State Championship thanks to strong performances in relays. For Magnolia, the meet started off with the relay of freshman Carter Pyle, senior Grady Jennings, senior Charlie Taylor and junior Aaron Hartsfield swimming the 200 medley relay and placing first overall with a best time of 1:45.46. In the 50 free, senior Charlie Taylor swam a personal best time of 22.29 placing 2nd in the state, and junior Aaron Hartsfield swam a personal best time of 22.61 placing 3rd in the state. Charlie Taylor swam his signature stroke in the 100 butterfly with a second personal best with a time of 53.68 placing 2nd in the state. Aaron Hartsfield swam his personal best time of 51.07 in the 100 free, placing 2nd in the state. In the same event, senior Grady Jennings swam his personal best with a time of 52.40, placing 3rd in the state. The 200 free relay was the next event, led by Grady Jennings with a split time of 23.64. He was followed by junior Patrick Daniel with a split time of 25.79, Aaron Hartsfield with a split time of 22.63, and anchored by senior Charlie Taylor with his final swim of his high school career, with a personal best relay split of 21.63. Their relay placed 1st in the state with an overall time of 1:33.99, dropping 2.34 seconds off their best time. Senior Grady Jennings swam his final event of his high school season in the 100 breaststroke, where he finished his best stroke with a best time of 1:03.42, finishing 3rd in the state. The final event of the meet was the 400 free relay where senior Curt Jennings led the team on his final swim of his high school season, followed by sophomore Epi Torres, Patrick Daniel and anchored by sophomore David Cheng. Their 3rd place finish in this event finalized the 2016 championship of the Magnolia Panthers. Scoring 211 total points, the Panthers are the 5A-1A state champions for the 3rd year in a row, but within the entire 7A-1A boys state swimming the boys finished 3rd, placing behind Bentonville and Central High School. Coach Kathleen Dingman said, "The seniors of 2016, Josh Hight, Curt Jennings, Grady Jennings, Charlie Taylor, Casey Wilson and Wesley Wilson leave behind a tradition that future Panther swimmers will work to achieve for many years to come.”

February 26, 2016

CAMDEN- In 2015, felony warrants were obtained for Zacoby Miller (22) for Domestic Battery, and Theft of Firearm and his parole status list him as an absconder. On February 22nd 2016 investigators were made aware of Miller staying at 1630 Laurie Street. A search warrant was obtained for the house, and on this date investigators, including Camden PD and Drug Task Force, were in the process of serving the vehicle , when Miller was noticed in a vehicle. Officers tried to conduct a traffic stop on Miller, driving a 2008 Ford Taurus, but he refused to stop, and led officers on a vehicle pursuit for approximately four miles before he was stopped. Miller resisted when officers were trying to place him in handcuffs. As a result of Miller failing to yield to emergency vehicles, he is being additionally charged with felony fleeing, resisting arrest, and possession of marijuana with purpose to deliver. James Hopson, passenger in the vehicle, was also taken into custody on a parole warrant.

The Arkansas State Police Commission will convene in a special called meeting at 2 PM today (Friday, February 26, 2016). A telephone conference call connecting Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police and the commissioners will originate from the Director’s Office at One State Police Plaza Drive, Little Rock. The purpose of the meeting is to consider affirmative job action involving a probationary State Trooper.

MAGNOLIA-A Little River County couple, James and Barbara Judd, was found dead Tuesday in their home in an apparent murder-suicide, according to Sheriff Gary Gregory. At approximately 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, the Little River County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a person who informed the dispatcher that if deputies responded to 1001 Highway 32 East, they would encounter two dead bodies. According to Little River County Sheriff’s Office, investigators Dave Hall and Tyler Schlomer along with Sheriff Gary Gregory, and Chief Deputy Alex Mathis, alongside the Arkansas State Police, and the county prosecutors responded to the location. On arrival deputies discovered two bodies, both having sustained gunshot wounds to the head. Taped to the front door was a note presumably written by the male inside which led the deputies to believe that this incident was a possible murder-suicide. The 911 call that was received is believed to have been made by Mr. Judd. James and Barbara Judd were found deceased in their bedroom inside the mobile home, both from apparent gunshot wounds to the head.Read more of this article at .

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Former Gov. Mike Huckabee's daughter has joined Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign team, Trump announced on Thursday.  Sarah Huckabee Sanders will serve as a senior advisor to Trump.  She released the following statement: "I volunteered to join Mr. Trump’s campaign because he is a champion of working families; not Washington-Wall Street elites. Like the other Republican candidates, Mr. Trump is pro-life, pro-marriage and will appoint conservatives to the courts. What makes Mr. Trump my choice for president is he will break the grip of the donor class on our government and make it accountable to working families again. I’m honored to help Mr. Trump Make America Great Again.” Trump said, “I have great respect for Gov. Mike Huckabee, and we have a mutual admiration for our wonderful families. It is great to have his daughter, Sarah, join the campaign." 

MAGNOLIA-The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has warned the public about a billing scam.
A Taylor resident informed the Sheriff’s Office about a call from the telephone number (870) 533-5200. The caller said that the citizen's water bill had not been paid and would be shut off if the bill wasn't paid, and the citizen needed to call (202) 787-1134 with credit card information immediately to pay the late bill. “This is a scam. Your local water company does not contact you via telephone requesting your credit card information. Please also keep in mind that the scammer could have 'spoofed' the number that showed up on the caller ID. Please do not fall victim to these types of scams,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement

February 25, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced the immediate availability of $1 million in emergency relief funds from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to the Arkansas Department of Highway and Transportation Department (AHDT) to help repair roads and bridges damaged by heavy rains and flooding last month. “Emergency relief funding will help Arkansas begin to recover from the widespread damage caused by last month’s storms,” said Secretary Foxx. “We understand how important it is to get these roads repaired and reopened so life there can return to normal as soon as possible.” Storms producing heavy rain in late December and most of January caused severe flooding throughout the western half of the state. “Arkansans should know that the funds provided today are just a down payment on what we know will be many other repairs to the highways that they rely heavily upon,” said Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “As the extent of damage becomes clearer, we won’t hesitate to make additional resources available.” The state will receive $1 million in initial, or “quick release,” funds to begin important repair work, make further damage assessments, and to restore road access to normal. Preliminary damages are estimated at more than $4.5 million, though that figure could grow as new information becomes available The FHWA’s Emergency Relief program provides funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Raucous crowds have greeted Donald Trump during rallies in The Natural State.  Now, he's trying to turn that enthusiasm into victory. "From day one, people have underestimated him," said Skip Rutherford, Dean of the Clinton School of Public Service.   But Trump is up against stiff competition for Arkansas voters. During a Wednesday press conference at the capitol, 18 state lawmakers threw their support behind the campaign of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. "We've got a movement," said State Rep. Bob Ballinger, R-Hindsville, Cruz's Arkansas state co-chair.  "We've got a candidate that's come together, that's produced a lot of individuals that are really excited about getting involved." Among the three top presidential contenders, Cruz is thought to have the biggest and most active network of grassroots supporters in Arkansas. Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, has racked up the endorsements of 31 state legislators and Gov. Asa Hutchinson. An email from Rubio's regional spokesman on Wednesday said the campaign is  counting on that long list of influential supporters to "talk with their constituents, neighbors and friends to help get out the vote." Negative ads targeting Trump are also hitting local airwaves this week. "It hadn't worked in the other states," Rutherford said. Trump is said to have set a record with a crowd at Barton Coliseum for a rally earlier this month and campaign officials say he's primed for a good day March 1. "There's so many volunteers in each area that have signed up to either block walk or make phone calls," said Trump National Spokesperson Katrina Pierson.  She said volunteers will be "talking with voters to find out what's important to them and talk about Mr. Trump's policies." Rutherford says Trump is relying on an influx of new voters showing up to the polls who so far are drawn to his style and are not deterred by the attacks against him. 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- On Wednesday, A man died, after an elevator cab crushed him at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn said Brent Hutchins, 32, was performing routine maintenance on an elevator in the hospital's Central Building when the cab came down and struck him. The accident is being investigated by his employer, Shindler Elevators & Escalators, as well as the Department of Labor.  Rahn notes that all elevators at UAMS are "safe, licensed, and routinely inspected." He said, "This is a tragedy and I ask that you please keep Brent’s family and his co-workers in your thoughts and prayers."

SAU Tech’s Arkansas Council for Women in Higher Education (ACWHE) and the Ouachita and Calhoun County Single Parent Scholarship Board are hosting guest speakers from UAMS during a fundraiser luncheon on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 from 11:45 am to 1 pm in the Student Center. Lunch is included in the $10 attendance fee and can be paid at the door or in advance. The program is focused on stroke awareness for women. For more information call 870.574.4507 or email

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - The chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court has assigned a judge to preside over the case of a suspended judge who is charged in his son's death. The Sentinel-Record ( ) reports that retired Circuit Judge John Langston will preside over Division 2 Circuit Judge Wade Naramore's trial. Naramore was arrested Feb. 11 in connection with the July 2015 death of his 18-month-old son, Thomas. He is charged with negligent homicide. Arrest records say Naramore forgot to drop off his son at day care and left him in the back seat of a hot car for about five hours. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene. Naramore faces up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine if convicted. Arkansas' judicial discipline and disability commission suspended him with pay last week.

The Arkansas State Highway Commission has approved a bid for improvements to a roadway in Columbia County, according to Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) officials.
The purpose of this project is to resurface 6 miles of U.S. 79 between the Louisiana State Line and Arkansas 98 in Emerson. Jet Asphalt & Rock Company, Inc. of El Dorado was awarded the contract at $1,298,943.23. Construction is scheduled to begin in two to four weeks, weather permitting. Completion is expected in mid-2016.

February 23, 2016

CAMDEN-According to Camden Mayor, Marie Trisollini, this Thursday – February 25th From 8 AM until 12 Noon at Carnes Park CADC will be doing mass intake for people with a SHUT OFF NOTICE on their utilities. The Shut Off needs to be happening with in 7 days of that date. The person needing help will need to bring: Both Electric & Gas Bill (for verification purposes) Photo ID Proof of Income for the Month of January.

MAGNOLIA-A 53-year-old Texarkana woman accused of shooting her former son-in-law to death last July has been found incompetent to stand trial. Anne Fisher is charged with first degree murder in the July 22 shooting death of Russell Scott Cain, 28, in Bowie County. Fisher appeared with Mount Pleasant, Texas, lawyer Mark Lesher for a pretrial hearing Monday morning before 5th District Judge Bill Miller. Miller, Lesher and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards discussed what to do next in the case now that a psychologist has determined Fisher isn’t currently fit to proceed in her criminal case. Richards said she is preparing an order for Miller to sign which will commit Fisher to a maximum security mental facility. The closest state hospital with maximum security is in Rusk, Texas. Miller said he wants the order to contain a ruling from the court that Fisher has to take any medication prescribed for her by doctors. Once she is returned to competency, the case will move forward, Miller said.

PINE BLUFF, Ark. - Two people were injured in a shooting Monday at a Pine Bluff apartment complex in broad daylight. The Pine Bluff Police Department said the first victim, a 19-year-old man, was returning to his home at Aikman Apartments around 11:50 a.m. when two suspects followed him into the complex and shot at him. The suspects were described by police as black men in a white car. The gunfire struck the victim in his upper body. According to police, he was taken to a local hospital and underwent surgery His condition is unknown at this time.  Pine Bluff police said a second victim, identified as a 51-year-old woman who also lives at the apartments, was struck in the hand by the suspects' gunfire. She was not involved with the incident, according to authorities. She was also taken to a local hospital for treatment. According to neighbors, the woman was in her car during the shooting. The car has three bullet holes. While police investigate a motive for the shooting, several neighbors said they will look for a new place to live. Anyone with information on the shooting in encouraged to contact the Pine Bluff Police Department at (870) 730-2090. 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News Release) - Steve DePriest from Benton is $2,000,000 richer after winning the prize in the latest Arkansas Scholarship Lottery’s Play it Again drawing. Steve purchased ticket at Murphy USA on i-30 in Benton. Steve entered the non-winning $20 - $2,000,000 Gold Rush game ticket into his free ASL PIA Rewards Club account.  On February 22nd his ticket was drawn to win the prize. Steve told his co-worker first (he wanted to surprise his wife with the news).  Steve’s initial reaction when he was notified of his win was he didn’t believe it, saying that his friends often play pranks on him and he believed that this was just one of those pranks. Steve said he intends to soak the whole thing in for a little while before deciding what to do with this (his) fantastic prize.  Steve’s birthday is tomorrow, so Happy Birthday Steve! (photo attached) The ASL PIA Free Rewards Club Promotional Program information can be found at, just click on The Club to join.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is throwing his support behind fellow Republican Marco Rubio in the presidential race. Hutchinson announced his endorsement of the U.S. senator from Florida on Monday afternoon. Rubio made a campaign stop in Arkansas on Sunday. “The more I’ve watched this election unfold, the more I’ve come to see that Marco Rubio is the only candidate who can unite our nation the way Ronald Reagan once did," said Hutchinson. "Not only is Marco uniquely capable of rallying Americans behind a conservative vision for the future, but he also fully understands what it takes to keep us safe in this dangerous world. I am endorsing Marco Rubio for president today because we need his optimism and strength in the White House."

MAGNOLIA-Workers began removing the roof from the East Side Part swimming pool last week.
The roof will be replaced thanks to $29,900 authorized by the Magnolia Advertising and Promotion Commission last year. The City of Magnolia is spending an additional $20,000 for pumps, chlorinators and restroom improvements. The pool building was constructed in 1959 with laminated wooden beams made by what was then Magnolia-based Unit Structures. The unusual, jagged-shaped roof deteriorated, and the city decided that the building could not be used until the roof was replaced.

February 22, 2016

GARLAND COUNTY, Ark. - Scammers targeted several bank customers in Garland County through texts this week. According to the sheriff's office, hundreds of texts were sent out Tuesday night with a link to what appears to be Southern Bank Corp. The text asks for your username and password. The sheriff's office says this is a scam.

Powerball’s jackpot rolled over to $236 million ($156.3 million cash value) on Saturday night as no one picked the winning lottery numbers, which were: 11-12-15-16-54, Powerball 25. Power Play 5x. Oklahoma had one Match 5 winner with the Power Play option, worth $2 million. There were Match 5 winners of $1 million each in the states of California, Connecticut, Georgia, New York, Virginia and Wisconsin. The next Powerball drawing is Wednesday night. Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing is worth $114 million ($75 million cash value). Numbers drawn Friday night: 2-27-41-50-75, Mega Ball 4. Megaplier 4x.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Ted Cruz is coming back to Arkansas. The Cruz campaign will be in Arkansas next Sunday, February 28th, two days before the primary. This will be the Cruz campaign's third stop in Arkansas. Cruz finished third in the South Carolina primary behind Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. The exact time and location are still to be determined.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KTHV) - A single-car accident on Park Avenue in Hot Springs left one man dead on Saturday. According to Corporal Kirk Zaner with the Hot Springs Police Department, the accident happened at around 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 20. The driver, 77 year-old Alton Blocker, was reportedly traveling eastbound on Park Avenue when he drove into a ditch. His vehicle then nose dived, causing it to spin out on to the road. It eventually ended up back in the ditch, landing on the driver's side. Blocker was not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident and was partially ejected. He was pronounced dead at the scene. No other details have been released at this time.

JOPLIN, Mo. - A car accident in Missouri claimed the life of a Hot Springs woman on Saturday.  In Joplin, Mo., 21-year-old Ali Arguello of Hot Springs died when the car she was riding in left the road at the intersection of Interstate 44 and Missouri Highway 249. According to police, her car rolled down an embankment. The others in the car included driver Sophia Waller of Fayetteville and Lauren Rowell of Texas, who both went to a hospital with minor injuries.

NASHVILLE — FOX Sports reporter and television personality Erin Andrews is returning to Nashville, but this time, she is coming to a courtroom. Andrews' negligence lawsuit against a Marriott hotel, in which she's seeking $75 million, is set for a civil trial beginning Monday. In 2008 Andrews visited Nashville to cover a Vanderbilt University football game. In her lawsuit, filed two years later, Andrews accuses the hotel and others of allowing David Barrett, then 50, to book rooms next to hers, rig peepholes and film videos of her changing clothes. Court documents say Barrett then posted those videos on the Internet. Andrews is suing Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University, Windsor Capital Group and Barrett. Her lawsuit accuses the Marriott of negligence, infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. Andrews also sued Marriott International, but Circuit Court Judge Hamilton Gayden dismissed claims against the hotel giant in late January, saying that among other reasons, the franchiser was not responsible for security at a local hotel. The hotel chain released a statement via its attorney, Elizabeth Tipping, expressing sympathy for Andrews' ordeal and noting it was a third party who was responsible. The statement continues: "As we have maintained since this matter first came to our attention, however, Marriott International was not responsible for what happened to Ms. Andrews, and we are pleased that the Court has dismissed Marriott International from the case. Marriott International continues to be sensitive to the serious nature of this matter and remains committed to the safety and comfort of our guests." Barrett was arrested in 2009, pleaded guilty to stalking and shooting the nude videos and was sentenced in 2010 to 30 months in prison. He now lives in Oregon. The jury trial is expected to last 10 days. Much of the pretrial work, including motions that could reveal more details about the case, have been filed under seal. It will be heard before Gayden. Jury selection begins at 9 a.m. Monday.

February 19, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved a new director on Thursday afternoon, officials say. Jeff Crow, former deputy director, was named as the new director, the commission said. He will take the new promotion on July 1 as the current director, Mike Knoedl, retires.  “I’m very humbled by the commission’s decision, but I also am very confident moving forward,” Crow said. “The direction and support this commission has given Director Knoedl and myself gives me that confidence. The staff of the AGFC are like none other in their passion and dedication, and I think we are really poised to continue this agency’s momentum in managing the natural resources of the state for the people of Arkansas.”

DE QUEEN, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas State Police are investigating the death of a Sevier County inmate. The Texarkana Gazette ( ) reports that 37-year-old Randi Wolfe died Feb. 13, two days after becoming unresponsive while at the Sevier County Jail. Little River County Sheriff Gary Gregory says Wolfe had been arrested Feb. 9 near Foreman on a charge of residential burglary. She allegedly stole medication pills from a home. Wolf was housed in the Sevier County jail because the Little River County jail doesn't incarcerate females. Sevier County Investigator Robert Gentry says Wolfe was transported to a local hospital. Her condition became worse after she was airlifted to a medical center in Little Rock. State police sent the body to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) on Wednesday said it had withdrawn its protest in federal court of a $6.75 billion contract awarded by the U.S. Army to Oshkosh Corp (OSK.N) for 17,000 new armored vehicles to replace the Humvee.
Lockheed spokesman John Kent said the company decided to withdraw its lawsuit from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims after "careful deliberation," but gave no further details. Lockheed's decision followed the court's decision last week to deny a Lockheed motion seeking to halt any work by Oshkosh on the new trucks while the protest was being reviewed. Oshkosh on Friday said it would resume work on the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) trucks after the court's decision. Wilson Jones, the company's chief executive officer, said the court's decision was "another indication that the U.S. Army conducted a thorough, methodical procurement process." Lockheed had argued that the U.S. Army's evaluation of the competing bids was flawed because it assessed the reliability of the rival vehicles using different standards. It was not immediately clear why the company withdrew its lawsuit, its second attempt to reverse the U.S. contract award. The Government Accountability Office, the congressional agency that rules on contract protests, dismissed Lockheed's protest in December after the company announced its plan to take the matter to federal court. One source familiar with the case the GAO had been poised to reject Lockheed's protest before it decided to file a lawsuit in federal court, and the federal claims court only very rarely reversed a decision made by the GAO.

February 18, 2016

Tonight, Southern Arkansas University Tech, honored Black History month with another great Black History Celebration Banquet. This year, Camden's College hosted the event at its new Student Center Grand Hall. The banquet brought out many citizens from Camden, including business owners, senators, and both city and county officials. Many from other parts of the Natural State, also attended the event. Attendees were not only provided a good meal by Woods Place, but also heard from guest speaker, Earnest Green. Green, on of the Little Rock Nine, spoke his experiences at Little Rock Central High School, and the impact that it made on the world, over 50 years later. When asked what he hoped the audience took away from his speech, Green said "I hope they understood what went into being a member of the Little Rock Nine, the amount of energy and support we had from our families, friends, and people like Daisey Bates...tonight was a huge turnout". During the evening, Farmers Bank & Trust and Highland Industrial Park were awarded for sponsoring the event.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - A temporary suspension with pay has been granted against a Garland County Circuit Judge accused of negligent homicide in the hot car death of his son, court records state.  The Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission voted on Tuesday to recommend the suspension. Circuit Judge Wade Naramore, 36, was booked into the Garland County Detention Center on February 11 and released shortly after on a $5,000 bond. The body of 18-month-old Thomas Naramore was found late in the afternoon on July 24, 2015. His cause of death was ruled to have been from "excessive heat." Naramore said he will not contest the commission's vote. For more information on the case, click here

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. - One month after what police say was a failed suicide attempt, an Amity woman has been charged with murder in the death of her grandchild. Hilda Daves, 49, is also charged with attempted murder and battery in the January 17 incident. She was arrested on Tuesday. The Clark County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) says it received a 911 call that Daves had poisoned her two grandchildren and was suicidal. The caller also told them that Daves' grandson was on the way to CHI St. Vincent in Hot Springs and her granddaughter was possibly dead. Officers arrived and forced entry into Daves' home and found her with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and the girl, who was unconscious. Both Daves and the girl were also taken to CHI St. Vincent in Hot Springs where the child was pronounced dead on arrival. Daves' grandson was later moved to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock where he was treated and released. Daves also received treatment until her arrest. In a news release issued Wednesday, the CCSO said toxicology reports on the children revealed the presence of prescription controlled substances. Arkansas State Police and Clark County investigators further found related controlled substance prescriptions in Daves’ home, the release said.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (Feb. 16, 2016) - Magic Springs Water and Theme Park has added Rachel Platten to its 2016 concert series lineup, which begins June 4. Rachel Platten will perform Saturday, June 11, at 8 p.m. The latest single from Rachel Platten, “Stand By You,” has reached #1 on the Hot AC radio charts on its 21st week at radio. The single has currently sold over a half million copies, to pair with her first single “Fight Song,” which has sold more than 2.6 million copies. Her album “WildFire” was released on January 1, 2016, and is still on the Billboard Top 50 Albums Charts. The fire that “Fight Song” ignited has connected not only with music fans but also Columbia Records. “Fight Song” is without a doubt the life-changing inspirational song of 2015, topping iTunes and radio charts. “We’re thrilled to be able to add Rachel Platten, a young, emerging star who has taken the country by storm with ‘Fight Song,’ to this year’s concert series,” said park general manager, Steve Honeycutt. “With sold out concerts across the country, we know this will be a concert our guests won’t want to miss.” The concert series will run most Saturdays through August 13. All concerts are included with a season pass or general admission ticket with free lawn seating on a first-come, first-served basis at Timberwood Amphitheater. A Magic Springs season pass, priced at $64.99, allows for unlimited visits to the park plus up to 12 free shows at Arkansas’s largest concert series. The season pass also includes in-park discounts and opportunities to gain other perks, such as a souvenir bottle with discounted refills and a free friend ticket when the pass is processed at the park by specific dates. Magic Springs Theme Park opens for the 2016 season on April 9 with Crystal Falls Water Park opening on May 7. For more information on park pricing or to purchase a Season Pass, visit or call 501-624-0100.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ark. - A drug sweep dubbed "Operation Ice Storm" is bringing in suspects after an 18-month undercover investigation. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) says a total of 20 defendants face charges for violations of delivery of methamphetamine and cocaine, distribution/proximity to certain facilities, and possession of controlled substance methamphetamine/cocaine. The JCSO says several pounds of methamphetamine (ice) and cocaine worth $100,000 or more has been purchased and/or seized in the investigation that sought to disrupt and dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize its assets. "Protecting our citizens and county from plague of illegal drugs and drug trafficking is a core obligation of this office and our federal law enforcement partners. Every day we witness the negative impact that the distribution and use of illegal drugs has on our community. Our goal is to make every effort to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing and trafficking through out collaborative efforts," said Sheriff Gerald Robinson.

LITTLE ROCK — Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Wednesday her office will help Arkansas law enforcement agencies comply with a state law aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Act 873 of 2015, also known as Laura’s Law, sponsored by state Rep. Charlotte Douglas, R-Alma, requires law enforcement officers to provide to crime victims and their families a card informing them of their rights and available resources. Douglas filed the bill after having conversations with Laura Webb of Cabot, a survivor of domestic violence who said she did not know where to turn when she was victimized. The law took effect last summer, and since then law enforcement agencies have been able to obtain the card, called Laura’s Card, by printing it from the website of the University of Arkansas’ Criminal Justice Institute. Rutledge on Wednesday unveiled a new version of Laura’s Card that she said her office has printed and will distribute to sheriffs’ offices, police departments, advocacy groups and shelters in all 75 Arkansas counties.“If we can save one life by sharing these resources, it is worth it,” Rutledge said in a statement. The attorney general’s office is spending $4,500 from court settlements to produce and distribute about 30,000 cards, according to Rutledge spokesman Judd Deere. The new version of the card includes 24-hour crisis lines, a place for the law enforcement agency, advocacy group or shelter to include its contact information, a list of victim’s rights, information about the Crime Victims Reparations Board and the address of, which contains links to resources available across the state.

“Domestic violence is most often about control of the victim: physical, emotional, financial and educational,” Douglas said. “It is my hope that through Laura’s Card we bring power to victims through access to their victim’s rights and services that are offered to free them from a life of abuse. We must all work to turn victims into victors.”

- See more at:

February 17, 2016

The Arkansas State Police Commission will meet in regular monthly session on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. The commissioners will convene their meeting at 10 AM in commission chambers located at Arkansas State Police Administrative Headquarters, One State Police Plaza Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas.

There is a scam text message going around claiming to be from First Bank. Please do not click this link! First Bank does not request customer information via text.

MAGNOLIA – Southern Arkansas University Theatre is set to perform "Out of Order" at Harton Theatre starting at 7 p.m. nightly from February 18-20, and at 2 p.m. on February 21. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling SAU Theatre at (870) 235-4291. Prices are $10 for an adult/general admission ticket and $5 for children 12 and under. The performance on Saturday, Febraury 20, will be followed by an actor talk-back. The show is an all-comedy British farce, and is rated PG-13. It is directed by Richard Vollmer. As with many other Ray Cooney plays, it features a lead actor (a junior UK minister) who has to lie his way out of an embarrassing situation (a planned adultery with a secretary). He gets the help of an innocent side-kick (the minister's personal private secretary), who gets more and more embroiled in the increasingly tangled tale improvised by the lead character as events unfold. The action takes place in a suite in a posh London hotel and revolves around accidents caused by a defective sash window. The show will have a 15-minute intermission. For more information, visit

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The 30th Annual Hot Springs Boat & RV Show is coming up later this month. It's being held February 26-28 at the Hot Springs Convention Center and Bank of the Ozarks Arena.This year's show will feature nearly 200 Boats and RV’s in over 100,000 square feet of exhibits. There will also be information available on resorts, campgrounds, boating and RV accessories, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Mobile Aquarium, dock exhibitors and other exhibits related to the Boat and RV industries. The Hot Springs Boat & RV Show will feature the industry's latest in motor homes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, pontoon boats, bass boats, deck boats, ski boats, wakeboard boats, personal water craft and much more. The Show will also feature a large selection of discount fishing tackle and fishing experts will be on hand conducting fishing seminars and teaching the latest fishing techniques and sharing tips on the latest in tackle. “The outdoor industry in Arkansas is thriving. Arkansans recognize the outdoor opportunities available in the Natural State and there is no better way to reconnect with family and friends than in a boat or RV. With 52 State Parks right here in Arkansas alone family camping experiences are endless,” said Show Producer Ken Griffey with Denton & Griffey Attractions in a news release. Show attendees can also register to win an $8,000 Polaris utility vehicle. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb 26 & 27 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 28. Admission price is $5.00 for adults, children 12 and under free.

The Arkansas State Police is investigating an officer involved shooting that occurred in Mena today. Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division were requested by Polk County authorities to investigate the use of deadly force by a local law enforcement officer. At approximately 12:00 (noon) a Mena Police officer approached an individual outside a local convenience store located at 1513 Reeves Avenue. During the encounter a physical altercation evolved, leading to the suspect fleeing on-foot and dropping a handgun. Initial statements from police indicate the fleeing suspect turned to pick-up the gun and simultaneous commands were reportedly given by police for the man to stop and move away from the gun. The commands were reportedly ignored leading to the police officer firing his gun. The suspect was transported to a local hospital where he died. The body will be transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for examination to determine the manner and cause of death. Questions relating to the identity of the local police officer at the shooting scene, the status of the officer, or information relating to the initial call that brought police to the store should be directed to the Mena Police Department. The Arkansas State Police will prepare an investigative file relating to the officer involved shooting. The case file will be submitted to the prosecuting attorney to determine if the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer was consistent with Arkansas laws.

Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin will visit Ouachita County on Wednesday. Lieutenant Governor Griffin will tour the Raytheon Energetics Integration Center factory and attend an award ceremony and lunch following the tour on Wednesday, February 17th. The factory tour 8:30 am-10:30 am. The Award Ceremony and Lunch: 11:00 am– 12:30 pm. The factory tour will be at Highland Industrial Park.

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday he disagrees with critics on both the left and the right who say it is inconsistent to support continuing Medicaid expansion in Arkansas while opposing the federal law that funds the program.

In a news conference at the state Capitol, the Republican governor said he wanted to “debunk” the argument made by some liberal writers and conservative groups that supporting his vision for Medicaid expansion, which he has proposed re-naming Arkansas Works, amounts to an embrace of the federal Affordable Care Act.

“It is perfectly consistent, it is perfectly conservative and logical to oppose Obamacare as a federal policy and yet to accept federal dollars under the Medicaid program in Arkansas,” he said.

With a group of state legislators, most of them Republicans, standing behind him, Hutchinson said he has opposed the Affordable Care Act since 2010, the year President Barack Obama signed it into law.

“I was opposed to it because I believed the individual mandate (to obtain health insurance) was wrong in terms of freedom. I believed the employer mandate was wrong in terms of freedom of our workplace in making decisions over health care,” he said.

But the law was approved in Washington, not Arkansas, and it has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, said Hutchinson, who took office last year. He said Arkansas’ leaders at the time the law went into effect “had to pick up the pieces and make the right decisions for the state.”

In 2013, the Republican-controlled Legislature and then-Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, approved an alternative to expanding the state’s Medicaid rolls as envisioned in the federal health care law. That alternative, commonly known as the private option, has used federal Medicaid money to subsidize private health insurance for more than 200,000 low-income Arkansans and has reduced the state’s uninsured population by more than half.

Hutchinson said Tuesday he continues to support repealing the Affordable Care Act — and replacing it with a new federal policy that would make “an accommodation” for states that have accepted federal dollars for Medicaid expansion.

The governor said ending Medicaid expansion would mean turning down federal money that more than 30 other states are accepting; denying insurance assistance for the poorest Arkansans while receiving it for people higher on the income scale; reversing progress on improving the health of Arkansans; and creating a $100 million hole in the state budget.

“I understand that we in Arkansas and across this nation are all frustrated by what we see happening in Washington — federal intrusion on state prerogatives in terms of health care. But we should not punish Arkansans simply because we are frustrated with Washington,” he said.

David Ray, Arkansas director of the conservative group Americans For Prosperity, said in a statement Tuesday, “The governor’s outline for ‘Arkansas Works,’ just like the ‘Private Option,’ relies on Obamacare money to provide a taxpayer-funded entitlement to the exact same population as outlined in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. This is a distinction without a difference, and Arkansas legislators should reject any attempts to cement Arkansas’ status as an Obamacare Medicaid expansion state.”

Appropriating a new round of federal funding for Medicaid expansion would require a three-fourths majority vote in each chamber of the state Legislature. Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, one of the legislators who joined Hutchinson in the news conference, said later it is “very premature to even try to counts votes” at this point.

But Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, an opponent of Medicaid expansion, said the votes needed for a three-fourths majority are not there, at least in the 35-member Senate.

“There are nine in the Senate who say, ‘No way. If expansion is part of it, no way,’” he said.

Hutchinson has said he plans to call a special session on Medicaid sometime after the March 1 primary election but has not announced a date.

- See more at:

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday he disagrees with critics on both the left and the right who say it is inconsistent to support continuing Medicaid expansion in Arkansas while opposing the federal law that funds the program.

In a news conference at the state Capitol, the Republican governor said he wanted to “debunk” the argument made by some liberal writers and conservative groups that supporting his vision for Medicaid expansion, which he has proposed re-naming Arkansas Works, amounts to an embrace of the federal Affordable Care Act.

“It is perfectly consistent, it is perfectly conservative and logical to oppose Obamacare as a federal policy and yet to accept federal dollars under the Medicaid program in Arkansas,” he said.

With a group of state legislators, most of them Republicans, standing behind him, Hutchinson said he has opposed the Affordable Care Act since 2010, the year President Barack Obama signed it into law.

“I was opposed to it because I believed the individual mandate (to obtain health insurance) was wrong in terms of freedom. I believed the employer mandate was wrong in terms of freedom of our workplace in making decisions over health care,” he said.

But the law was approved in Washington, not Arkansas, and it has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, said Hutchinson, who took office last year. He said Arkansas’ leaders at the time the law went into effect “had to pick up the pieces and make the right decisions for the state.”

In 2013, the Republican-controlled Legislature and then-Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, approved an alternative to expanding the state’s Medicaid rolls as envisioned in the federal health care law. That alternative, commonly known as the private option, has used federal Medicaid money to subsidize private health insurance for more than 200,000 low-income Arkansans and has reduced the state’s uninsured population by more than half.

Hutchinson said Tuesday he continues to support repealing the Affordable Care Act — and replacing it with a new federal policy that would make “an accommodation” for states that have accepted federal dollars for Medicaid expansion.

The governor said ending Medicaid expansion would mean turning down federal money that more than 30 other states are accepting; denying insurance assistance for the poorest Arkansans while receiving it for people higher on the income scale; reversing progress on improving the health of Arkansans; and creating a $100 million hole in the state budget.

“I understand that we in Arkansas and across this nation are all frustrated by what we see happening in Washington — federal intrusion on state prerogatives in terms of health care. But we should not punish Arkansans simply because we are frustrated with Washington,” he said.

David Ray, Arkansas director of the conservative group Americans For Prosperity, said in a statement Tuesday, “The governor’s outline for ‘Arkansas Works,’ just like the ‘Private Option,’ relies on Obamacare money to provide a taxpayer-funded entitlement to the exact same population as outlined in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. This is a distinction without a difference, and Arkansas legislators should reject any attempts to cement Arkansas’ status as an Obamacare Medicaid expansion state.”

Appropriating a new round of federal funding for Medicaid expansion would require a three-fourths majority vote in each chamber of the state Legislature. Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, one of the legislators who joined Hutchinson in the news conference, said later it is “very premature to even try to counts votes” at this point.

But Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, an opponent of Medicaid expansion, said the votes needed for a three-fourths majority are not there, at least in the 35-member Senate.

“There are nine in the Senate who say, ‘No way. If expansion is part of it, no way,’” he said.

Hutchinson has said he plans to call a special session on Medicaid sometime after the March 1 primary election but has not announced a date.

- See more at:

LITTLE ROCK — Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday he disagrees with critics on both the left and the right who say it is inconsistent to support continuing Medicaid expansion in Arkansas while opposing the federal law that funds the program.

In a news conference at the state Capitol, the Republican governor said he wanted to “debunk” the argument made by some liberal writers and conservative groups that supporting his vision for Medicaid expansion, which he has proposed re-naming Arkansas Works, amounts to an embrace of the federal Affordable Care Act.

“It is perfectly consistent, it is perfectly conservative and logical to oppose Obamacare as a federal policy and yet to accept federal dollars under the Medicaid program in Arkansas,” he said.

With a group of state legislators, most of them Republicans, standing behind him, Hutchinson said he has opposed the Affordable Care Act since 2010, the year President Barack Obama signed it into law.

“I was opposed to it because I believed the individual mandate (to obtain health insurance) was wrong in terms of freedom. I believed the employer mandate was wrong in terms of freedom of our workplace in making decisions over health care,” he said.

But the law was approved in Washington, not Arkansas, and it has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, said Hutchinson, who took office last year. He said Arkansas’ leaders at the time the law went into effect “had to pick up the pieces and make the right decisions for the state.”

In 2013, the Republican-controlled Legislature and then-Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, approved an alternative to expanding the state’s Medicaid rolls as envisioned in the federal health care law. That alternative, commonly known as the private option, has used federal Medicaid money to subsidize private health insurance for more than 200,000 low-income Arkansans and has reduced the state’s uninsured population by more than half.

Hutchinson said Tuesday he continues to support repealing the Affordable Care Act — and replacing it with a new federal policy that would make “an accommodation” for states that have accepted federal dollars for Medicaid expansion.

The governor said ending Medicaid expansion would mean turning down federal money that more than 30 other states are accepting; denying insurance assistance for the poorest Arkansans while receiving it for people higher on the income scale; reversing progress on improving the health of Arkansans; and creating a $100 million hole in the state budget.

“I understand that we in Arkansas and across this nation are all frustrated by what we see happening in Washington — federal intrusion on state prerogatives in terms of health care. But we should not punish Arkansans simply because we are frustrated with Washington,” he said.

David Ray, Arkansas director of the conservative group Americans For Prosperity, said in a statement Tuesday, “The governor’s outline for ‘Arkansas Works,’ just like the ‘Private Option,’ relies on Obamacare money to provide a taxpayer-funded entitlement to the exact same population as outlined in Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. This is a distinction without a difference, and Arkansas legislators should reject any attempts to cement Arkansas’ status as an Obamacare Medicaid expansion state.”

Appropriating a new round of federal funding for Medicaid expansion would require a three-fourths majority vote in each chamber of the state Legislature. Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, one of the legislators who joined Hutchinson in the news conference, said later it is “very premature to even try to counts votes” at this point.

But Sen. Bart Hester, R-Cave Springs, an opponent of Medicaid expansion, said the votes needed for a three-fourths majority are not there, at least in the 35-member Senate.

“There are nine in the Senate who say, ‘No way. If expansion is part of it, no way,’” he said.

Hutchinson has said he plans to call a special session on Medicaid sometime after the March 1 primary election but has not announced a date.

- See more at:

February 15, 2016

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - Authorities say a 29-year-old man has died after crashing his scooter in Hot Springs. Hot Springs police Cpl. Kirk Zaner says Rex Davis crashed his Honda Ruckus scooter at about 4:30 a.m. Sunday on East Grand Avenue just west of Malvern Avenue. Zaner tells The Sentinel-Record ( )  that Davis died later Sunday at a hospital. Zaner says the crash is still under investigation but that Davis apparently lost control of his scooter and crashed. He says Davis was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Monday is a legal holiday for the observance of George Washington’s Birthday. In Arkansas, the day is also observed as Daisy Gaston Bates Day. All city, county, state and federal offices will be closed on Monday. The Columbia County Landfill will reopen Tuesday. WCA will run its regular waste collection routes on Monday. Magnolia Public Schools will be closed Monday for their Winter Break. The Emerson-Taylor-Bradley School District will close on Monday. Columbia Christian School will be closed February 15-19 for its Winter Break. All federal government agencies will be closed on Monday and there will be no regular postal service. The U.S. Post Office in Magnolia will be closed. In recent years, some people have begun incorrectly referring to the holiday as Presidents’ Day. There is no federal holiday – and in Arkansas no state holiday – honoring all presidents. The day is set aside as a singular honor for George Washington, the nation’s first president. The federal Office of Personnel Management notes in its official schedule of federal holidays that “this holiday is designated as ‘Washington’s Birthday’ in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for federal employees. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is our policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.”

MABELVALE, Ark. - According to reports, the Saline County Sheriff's Office responded to shots fired in the 14000 block of Black Oaks Court Friday night. Saline County deputies responded to a residence off Black Oaks Court around 9 p.m. Friday, February 12. While on scene, a gunshot was heard, and then a muzzle flash was seen coming from inside a residence. As deputies were setting up a perimeter around that home, the acting sergeant on the scene stated that he was being fired at by a person or multiple people inside the home. SWAT, Benton police and Bryant police arrived as backup. Hostage negotiators and firefighters with the Shannon Hills Fire Department and Northeast Fire Department were also dispatched to the scene.  Attempts were made to contact the occupant(s) inside of the home, but there were negative results. During the barricade situation, a 17-year-old living next door had to be rescued. He was first advised to hide inside a closet but was eventually evacuated from his home by SWAT team members. At this point, officials were able to make contact with family members who could give insight as to who was in the home. Those attempts were helpful, according to Lt. Jeffrey Silk with the Saline County Sheriff's Office, however contact could still not be made with anyone inside. Shortly after 3 a.m., a female, Jackie A. Founds, and a small dog exited the front door of the home. They were detained by Benton/Bryant PD. At 3:30 a.m., SWAT entered the home to find no one inside. There were no reported injuries to citizens, suspects, deputies or officers, and Founds was arrested and charged with four counts of aggravated assault because she allegedly shot at four Saline County Sheriff's Office deputies. More charges could be filed at a later time. Founds' dog was given to a neighbor.

MAGNOLIA-Jill Thomas, 40, of Sarepta, LA, was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident about 2:30 a.m. Sunday at Muddy Bottoms ATV and Recreation Park. Reports said the ATV that Thomas was riding struck a tree and that the woman died at the scene. A female passenger was injured and taken to University Health in Shreveport for treatment. Two people died in separate ATV accidents at the park near Sarepta on the same day – September 7, 2015 – as part of Labor Day weekend festivities.

JONESBORO, Ark. -- Jonesboro police say a lockdown for Arkansas State University has been lifted after no reported gunmen were found. Investigators determined that actors in a student video project were mistaken for armed intruders.Officers responded to the campus Sunday afternoon, after multiple reports of several men seen on campus with guns.
They were reported to be near the student union. According to dispatch, a caller said two or three men wearing all black were carrying pistols. The University sent out an alert that the campus was on lockdown.

NEAR GURDON, Ark. - Seventeen people are behind bars after an early morning drug sweep. "Operation nodruG" was carried out in Clark County on Friday (2/13). Most of the suspects involved face felony charges of delivery of a controlled substance. "This morning was the result of several months of undercover operations that were conducted by  the Gurdon Police Department," says Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson. Operation "nodruG" is Gurdon spelled backward. The investigation included undercover buys which included marijuana, methamphetamine, prescription pills and crack cocaine. The Gurdon Marshal's office, Clark County Sheriff's Office, Arkadelphia Police Department and state agencies worked together on the sweep that was coordinated before dawn. Nineteen targets were on the list. Six teams consisting of the Gurdon City Marshall's Office, Clark County Sheriffs Department, Group 6 Drug Task Force, Arkadelphia Police Department, Arkansas State Police and Arkansas Game and Fish coordinated the execution of arrest warrants beginning at 6:00 a.m. "Very successful," Sheriff Watson described after the event. "We were looking for 19 targets and we have 17 in custody at this time." The suspected drug distributors range in age from 19-to-60. 12 men and 5 women were arrested.When asked, Watson insisted the drug problem there needed to be addressed and the investment in the resources used was a must. "We've seen [drug crime] in the past lead to other crimes, and sometimes those crimes have been serious. So, we think it's a serious problem," the sheriff continued.

February 12, 2016

Austin Hill has pleaded guilty to capital murder and aggravated robbery. Due to being found guilty, Hill will serve life in prison, without the possibility of parole. The death penalty has been waived.

Lockheed Martin Corp.’s was recently awarded a $198.7 million boost to a previous multimillion dollar contract that will enhance production on an anti-ballistic system that President Obama recently touted as a deterrent to North Korea’s nuclear threat. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin’s Missile and Fire Control (MFC) division based in Grand Prairie, Texas, received the multimillion dollar adjustment to a previously awarded fixed-price contract for production of 20 additional Lot 8 Interceptors and associated production support efforts for the Pentagon’s so-called Missile Defense Agency’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) project office in Huntsville, Ala. With those changes, the total cumulative face value of the contract was revised upward by 29% to $882 million from the previous aware of $683.3 million, DOD officials said.  The work on the THAAD system will be performed at Lockheed Martin’s MFC manufacturing locations in East Camden; Grand Prairie, Texas; and Huntsville, Anniston and Troy, Alabama. “This contract modification extends THAAD canister production in Camden by about two months, and will be serviced by the existing employee base,” said Lockheed Martin spokesman William Sudlow. The work on the contract is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2019, but procurement funds in the amount of nearly $200 million were obligated at time of award in late January. The upgrade to the THAAD contract is key given President Obama’s signaled this week that he wants to send the anti-missile defense system to South Korea “as quickly as possible” in response to North Korea’s recent nuclear provocations. However, China and Russia have voice strong objections to having the U.S. anti-missile system so close to their borders. According to video and marketing materials on Lockheed Martin’s website, THAAD is capable of defining countries and entire regions against short and medium range ballistic missiles by basically knocking them out of the sky and rendering them useless. THAAD interceptors employ Lockheed Martin’s proven “hit-to-kill” technology to destroy missile threats inside and outside the atmosphere, the company said."When enemies attack, governments must be ready to defend their soldiers, citizens and infrastructure. That’s where THAAD comes in – one of the most advanced missile defense systems in the world,” Lockheed Martin boasts on its website. Earlier this week, the White House said President Obama spoke by phone with President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea to discuss North Korea’s recent launch using ballistic missile technology. The two leaders condemned the launch, and they agreed that it represents yet another destabilizing and provocative action by North Korea in flagrant violation of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions.And because the United States is committed to its regional allies’ security, “We will take all necessary steps to defend ourselves and our allies and respond to North Korean provocations,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a news release. Based on North Korea’s evolving threats, the U.S.-South Korea alliance will examine its missile defense posture and the feasibility of U.S. Forces Korea operating a THAAD system as soon as possible, Cook said. In Lockheed Martin’s recent fourth quarter earnings report, the company’s MFC division saw net sales increase by $106 million to nearly $2 billion, up 6% from $1.86 billion in the same period in 2014. MFC’s Camden Operations facility manufactures THAAD ground vehicles and missile canisters, the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile system, and the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS). According to Lockheed Martin, officials, the U.S. Army recently activated the fifth of seven programmed THAAD batteries at the end of 2015. Lockheed Martin delivered the 100th THAAD interceptor earlier in 2015. If the anti-ballistic system is purchased by South Korea, the country would be the second U.S. ally to deploy the system. The United Arab Emirates was the first international partner to procure the THAAD system with a contract awarded in 2011.

Financial crimes have resulted in the arrests of two suspects. Kelly Davis, 42, of Magnolia, has been jailed relating to credit card theft and the illegal use of a credit card. Magnolia police received a complaint from a victim on December 14 that a debit/credit card had been stolen and used at several ATM machines. An investigation led to the arrest of Davis on Tuesday. She is charged with theft of property of a debit/credit card. Davis has attended a first appearance hearing, and her bond was set at $1,000. In a separate case involving Davis, police received a report last December 12 that an unauthorized person was making withdrawals from a checking account. Davis was arrested for this crime as well on Tuesday. She is charged with fraudulent use of a credit/debit card. In an unrelated incident, Jasneda Hunter, 27, of Magnolia, was charged Monday with forgery second degree. A Magnolia business made a report on December 17 about an individual cashing checks on a fraudulent account. The business provided video and photo images of the suspect. Investigation led to Hunter’s arrest. Bond was set at $5,000.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Two 15-year-old female students are dead after a double shooting at an Arizona high school Friday morning, police said. Police were not looking for anyone else. Glendale Police officer Tracey Breeden said the two sophomores each sustained a single gunshot wound, were found next to each other and were declared dead at Independence High School in the Phoenix suburb. They were found in an isolated area of campus near the administration building. "This is not an active-shooter situation and we realized that once we got on scene," she said. Police did not provide the names of the victims. Breeden said the circumstances suggested the possibility of a murder-suicide or double-suicide, but no determination had been made. She had no information about the relationship between the girls.

February 11, 2016

According to Ouachita County Judge Robbie McAdoo, the county-wide burn ban has been lifted. The ban was issued out earlier in the week due to dry and windy weather conditions. The Camden city-wide burn ban is still in effect.


SAU Tech is offering ACT prep for high school students on the following dates to all area high schools.

Saturday Feb. 27
Saturday, March 5
Saturday, March 12
Saturday, March 19
Saturday, April 2

8:00 am – 2:00 pm
SAU Tech Campus – Technology Building in Room 100

Priority is given to students in 9-11 grades with 12 graders eligible to fill any slots not filled by 9-11 grade students.
Students must have an ACT score below 19 (or a low score on a comparable exam) or have never taken the ACT.
The prep classes are free through a grant from the Arkansas Department of Education. For more information call 870.574.4495

MAGNOLIA – Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward will be the guest speaker at Southern Arkansas University’s Collegiate FFA 2016 Banquet at 6:30 p.m. on February 25 at the SAU Reynolds Center Grand Hall.
Tickets for the banquet are $20, and the deadline to purchase is February 19. Contact the SAU Department of Agriculture at (870) 235-4350. Proceeds from the dinner will help SAU Collegiate FFA members attend the National FFA Convention in support of National FFA President Taylor McNeel. The SAU junior Agriculture Business major was elected National FFA president on October 31, and has taken a year off from her studies to travel representing the organization and its more than 610,000 members. Also, $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Arkansas FFA Foundation.
Wes Ward serves as the 3rd Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Arkansas. He was appointed to the position in March 2015 by Governor Asa Hutchinson. Ward is from the small town of Lake City in Northeast Arkansas and is a graduate of Riverside High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business with an emphasis in Agricultural Finance from Arkansas State University. He earned a law degree and has also completed the joint LL.M./M.S. degree program at the University of Arkansas for a Master of Laws degree in Agricultural and Food Law and a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. He has been serving in the United States Marine Corps for more than 15 years and has completed deployments to Afghanistan and Jordan with the 1st Marine Division and 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. He is currently serving in the Marine Corps Reserves as a Civil Affairs Officer and Team Leader with the 3rd Civil Affairs Group in Great Lakes, Illinois. He has also worked as a Field Coordinator for U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford doing agricultural outreach and as an Adjunct Law Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law. The Arkansas Agriculture Department includes the State Plant Board, the Livestock and Poultry Commission, and the Arkansas Forestry Commission. The Arkansas Agriculture Department is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its Farmers and Ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - A local judge has been charged in the July 2015 death of his son, who was left inside a hot car.
That's according to special prosecutor Scott Ellington, who announced his decision Thursday morning after a months-long investigation. In a news release, Ellington stated that Wade Naramore, 36, surrendered himself today at the Garland County Detention Center in Hot Springs where he was booked and released on $5,000 bond on a charge of misdemeanor negligent homicide. The Garland County Sheriff's Office says Naramore booked in at 11:33 a.m. and released at 11:41 a.m. Thursday. The body of 18-month-old Thomas Naramore was found late in the afternoon on July 24. His cause of death was ruled to have been from "excessive heat." Details about the incident released by Ellington today:
  • 911 call came in from Wade Naramore at 3:10 p.m. on July 24 from the corner of James Street and Fair Oaks Place
  • Naramore stated "My son was left in the car and I think he's dead."
  • When police arrived, Naramore had taken his son inside their home and was holding him, yelling "No my baby! No my baby!
  • Naramore told police the child had been in the car for about five hours
  • The child's core temperature was 107 degrees. Outside temperatures were 97 to 98.1 degrees with a heat index of 104.8 to 106.5
  • Naramore said he and his son said their morning prayers while he drove to work at about 8:15 a.m., stopping at McDonald's on the way
  • Naramore said he had a court case he was worried about and went to work as he did each day. He got off work early, ran some errands and went home. As he was leaving his home to pick up his son from daycare, he heard a noise in the back seat and saw the child still in his car seat and had not been dropped off to daycare
  • Naramore said he immediately stopped the car, got Thomas out and called for help
On Jan. 29, Ellington announced a delay of his self-imposed deadline for a decision on charges in the case by the end of the month. Back in November, officials released 911 calls from Naramore and his father-in-law in the moments after the child was found dead. In October, Naramore and his wife released the only public statement they've made in the case.

SALINE COUNTY,Ark.--The Saline County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) intensified its search Wednesday for Jeffrey Mays, who escaped from custody on February 3, 2016. Wednesday around 1:45 p.m., information was received by the SCSO of a location where Jeffrey Mays was suspected of frequenting since his escape. Deputies and detectives went to a location on Jeanne Drive, Mabelvale, and met with Kristy Mays. Based on the investigation conducted by CID detectives, Kristy Mays was arrested for hindering in the apprehension of Jeffrey Mays, which is a class D felony. Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 pm, the SCSO was informed, and verified, that Jeffrey Mays was arrested in Montgomery County, Texas. Jeffrey Mays is currently being held by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at the Conroe Detention Center. The SCSO will be working closely with Texas authorities in securing the extradition of Jeffrey Mays from Texas to Arkansas. Additional arrests may be carried out by the SCSO and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at a later time.

During this months Camden City Council meeting, Police Chief, Bo Woody, gave his annual report. As far as crimes, the Camden Police Department does categorize by "crimes against persons", which could be a homicide, rape, or robbery.....and "crimes against property", which could be burglary or theft. Woody did mention that both crime categories are on the decline. Currently the Camden PD is showing a 25% in thefts, which the Chief hopes to contribute to program that are set in their crime units. Now Woody did mention to the council members, that the department did see and increase in domestic violence cases, with a 120% increase. When asked about the significant increases, Woody said " I don't think we have an increase in domestic violence cases..I think what we have is more awareness and more programs and place, where more victims are wanting to come forward, therefore we are getting more reports on it". Speaking of programs, all of the Camden Police Department programs have been a success. The CPD had two Citizens Police Academies last year, which they look to continue this year. Woody also expressed to the council that he is hoping to put together a Youth Police Academy in the future. Woody closed by saying " we live in an ever changing world and the police department is going to grow with it. I never want to be stagnant. I think we're constantly looking for ways to improve what we are doing and what we need to do to make it better". The City Councilmen and Mayor Marie Trisollini, where very pleased with the report, and what the Camden Police Department is doing to make the city the safest it can be.

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department will conduct a Public Involvement Meeting in Fordyce to present and discuss the proposed widening of Hwy 167 between Highways 274 and 79 in Calhoun County. The meeting will be held on Thursday, February 25th from 4-7 PM at the Fordyce Civic Center, located at 300 Hwy 79/167 Bypass in Fordyce. This will be an "open house" meeting with no formal presentations. The public is invited to visit anytime during the scheduled hours to view exhibits, ask questions and offer comments.

February 8, 2016

Important information for our customers and non-customers: Farmers Bank & Trust wants to let you know that there are current messaging scams being sent to our customers and non customers. Farmers want to remind you that they will never send you a text message beyond text alerts that you have set up within online banking. Do not click on suspicious links within messages from Farmers Bank & Trust or any other financial institutions. Most importantly, never disclose account or personal information in a non-secure or text message setting. If you received a text, clicked the link, and entered your account information, please change your internet banking password and login immediately. To verify your account or for additional assistance, please call customer support at 855-855-3268. We are very sorry that our lines are overloaded at this time. If you received a suspicious message, please delete the message and do NOT click the link. WE HAVE NOT BEEN HACKED, the message is coming from a fraudulent source. We are working diligently to solve the issue as soon as possible.

SHERWOOD, Ark. (KTHV) - It has been a little over two weeks since the death of a local volunteer firefighter, and people claiming to be with the Sherwood Fire Department are already trying to scam people for money. The Sherwood Fire Department posted on their Facebook page Sunday that people in the community have been receiving calls from individuals claiming they are with the department and are asking for donations towards the Lt. Jason Adams Memorial Fund. Lt. Adams was a volunteer firefighter with both the Sherwood Fire Department and the East Pulaski Volunteer Fire Department. He died on January 22 responding to a medical emergency in the Dortch Loop area. The Sherwood Fire Department stated the following: "The Sherwood Fire Department will NEVER call soliciting donations for the Memorial fund. If you receive a phone call concerning this please notify your local authorities."

FORDYCE, Ark. - A manhunt is underway for a prisoner who escaped from the Dallas County Jail just after midnight on Sunday. According to the Dallas County Sheriff's Office, Paul Grice, 38, escaped from the Dallas County Jail around 12:30 a.m. Authorities from Dallas County, Bradley County and Drew County, along with local police and the ADC, are currently searching the Monticello area. Grice is described as standing 5' 6" tall and weighing around 155 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black shirt, blue jeans and a light colored jacket. He was being held for the Arkansas Department of Correction, awaiting bed space in prison. Grice was convicted of Second Degree Murder, Theft of Property, Residential Burglary and numerous other charges. He is considered to be very dangerous and residents should be very cautious of hitchhikers and suspicious persons in the area.

SALINE COUNTY,Ark.--Thieves in Saline County were caught on camera in the act,and now deputies need help identifying them. Investigators say two men were seen stealing a riding lawn mower from a Bauxite home. They put the mower in their trailer and took off in an older grey GMC Yukon. Anyone with information should call police.

Over the weekend, Women's Crisis Center of South Arkansas, held their first ever "Princess Tea Party" at the First Baptist Church of Camden. During the event girls were able to walk on the runway, wave their magic wands, and interact with their role models. The event was attended by Miss South Central Arkansas Britney Humphreys, Miss Grand Prarie Haley Bird, Miss Queen City Katy Medford and Miss Arkansas Loren McDaniel. The pageant girls were able to not only able to sign autographs and take pictures with the Camden youth, but also hug them, dance with them and tell them how special they are. As the "tea party" went on, Miss Arkansas made it a point to talk to the young girls out being yourself and how important that can be. Loren said "its just so important since this is raising money for the Women's Crisis Center, just knowing at a young age that you hold the key to your confidence...its great to love what's on the outside, but in order to do that, you've got to love what's on the inside". Once she leaves Camden, Miss Arkansas looks to continue her quest to visit all of the Women's Crisis Center's in the state, and help put a stop to domestic violence.

The Board of Directors of Union Pacific Corporation has approved the company's 2016 capital plan of approximately $3.75 billion, down about $550 million versus 2015. The plan includes $375 million to further implement Positive Train Control. “Given the decline in volume, we have taken a hard look at our capital plan and continue to invest for safety, productivity and where returns meet our threshold of reinvestability," said Rob Knight, Union Pacific chief financial officer. "These investments will create value for our customers and strong returns for our shareholders in the years ahead." The board also declared a quarterly dividend of 55 cents per share on the company's common stock, payable March 31, to shareholders of record February 29.

Recently, the HOPE Health Commission met tonight at the OCMC Green Room, to discuss ways to help make Ouachita County, the healthiest it can be. Members of the commission have first decided to tackle teen pregnancy, which they see as a major problem in the area. Commission Chairman, Thomas Bell said "We want to do whatever we can to support the Health Department and their efforts to educate our young people and their parents". Dr. Larry Braden spoke on the ambition of the group, saying " We are in our infancy, we've got a long way to go..I hope people are patient with us, but I think we're going to make it". The February meeting was also attended by Addie Wilson with the Ouachita County Extension Office, and Ouachita County Judge Robbie McAdoo.

February 2, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A substitute teacher at Catholic High School has been taken into custody after surrendering to police on sexual assault charges. Police say Erica Suskie turned herself in this morning to face charges in the case. On October 26 of last year, the North Little Rock Police Department received a report from the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children unit about the alleged abuse. Officials with Catholic High School say they addressed the issue three months ago when the allegations were made, and took measures to protect their students.Suskie's arrest affidavit says that an alleged male victim said he had sexual contact and intercourse with Suskie, who's a family friend and was his Algebra tutor. The alleged incidents are reported to have taken place between April and October 2015 at Suskie's home in North Little Rock and the home of Suskie's parents in Sherwood.

MAGNOLIA-Arkansas State Troopers are asking for the assistance of anyone who may have information relating to a pedestrian hit-and-run that left a Nevada County man dead.
The body of James Matthew Langston, 23, of Rosston was discovered about 4:30 a.m. Sunday. An investigation leads State Troopers to believe a vehicle traveling eastbound along Arkansas 32, three miles west of Bodcaw, about 500 feet west of the Little Bodcaw Creek Bridge, struck Langston and fled the scene. Langston’s body is being examined at the Arkansas Crime Laboratory to collect evidence that may assist Highway Patrol State Troopers and special agents of the department’s Criminal Investigation Division identify a suspect vehicle. Anyone who may have been traveling Arkansas 32 between 4-4:30 a.m. Sunday and witnessed anything unusual or persons who may know anything about a suspect vehicle with fresh damage seen on Sunday is asked to contact Arkansas State Police, Highway Patrol Troop G in Hope by calling (870) 777-4641.

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - Opening arguments and testimony are set to begin in the trial of a Texarkana woman accused of killing a fellow square dancer in 2013. According to reports, a testimony is scheduled to begin Tuesday morning in the trial of 67-year-old Virginia Hyatt. Hyatt is charged with capital murder for the death of 59-year-old Patricia Wheelington. Hyatt has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say Hyatt shot Wheelington multiple times Dec. 3, 2013, on the front porch of her Texarkana home because she believed Wheelington was responsible for the end of her 40-year marriage. Hyatt and Wheelington were both members of the Guys and Dolls Square Dancing Club. Hyatt was found to be competent after a court-ordered psychological evaluation. She faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.