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February 20, 2018

Live On Stage, Inc. and the Ouachita County Community Concert Association announceSong-and-Dance Duo as part of their 2017 - 2018 Concert Season
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (February 20, 2018) – Broadway veterans Melissa Giattino and Ron DeStefano are bringing their gorgeous vocals, exciting choreography and unique musical arrangements to Camden Fairview High School, 1750 Cash Road, Camden, Arkansas on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.  Children and students are admitted to all OCCCA performances at no charge if accompanied by an OCCCA ticket holder.  For more information please call 870-807-6915 or 870-818-2131, or visit

“... rhythm, style, humor, and Broadway flair…” – New Orleans Times

Two On Tap marks the creative collaboration of celebrated musical theatre veterans, Melissa Giattino and Ron DeStefano. Since its debut in February 2010, Two On Tap has entertained tens of thousands at countless theatrical concerts and gala events in the US, and enjoyed headliner status aboard luxury cruise liners. Heralded by presenters and critics alike, Two On Tap aims to breathe new life into classic song-and-dance with clever arrangements, a meaningful connection to the audience, and exciting high-energy routines. Featuring timeless Broadway show tunes, this show will keep you entertained from start to finish! Click Here To View A Video Of Two On Tap.

The Ouachita County Community Concert Association has been presenting world-class entertainment to the Camden community since 1947! An enthusiastic group of volunteers work tirelessly to provide family entertainment and educational outreach performances to educate and entertain adults and students alike.

Live On Stage, Inc. provides excellent, affordable, entertainment attractions and support services to an American community of concert presenters.  View a video about Live On Stage.  

(Feb. 20, 2018) LITTLE ROCK, Ark – The Commissioner of State Lands Office returned over $17 million to counties across Arkansas in 2017, Commissioner John Thurston announced.

That turnback, totaling $17,484,793.73, is produced by property owners paying delinquent real estate taxes, and from proceeds in excess of taxes due when the COSL office sells property.

“The sole purpose of collecting delinquent real estate taxes, and selling long-delinquent properties, is to get that funding to the counties where it is owed,” Thurston said. “When we sell properties that have been delinquent for many years, it gets them back onto the county tax rolls, producing income that helps a county with its roads, schools and emergency services.”

The amount of money disbursed to counties varies widely, from just over $4,300 in Newton County to $3.1 million in Pulaski County last year. “Those numbers reflect how many parcels, and their tax value, are certified to us and then redeemed or sold,” Thurston said. “Many rural counties have only a few dozen delinquent parcels, while more urban counties certify hundreds.”

Since Thurston took office in 2011, the COSL has returned more than $135 million to counties across Arkansas.

“We’ve had a few spikes, but overall the past several years have seen a decreasing trend in the number of parcels certified for delinquent taxes,” he said. “That means that property owners are keeping their taxes current, which helps both the owner and the county.”

Property is certified to the COSL Office when it is two years delinquent. Owners then have two more years to redeem the property before it goes to public auction. If a parcel sells at auction, the owner has 10 business days after the sale to redeem the property. Any parcels not sold at auction are placed on the COSL’s post-auction sales list, where the public can submit offers to purchase.

The Commissioner of State Lands offers an online Catalog of Tax Delinquent Lands, containing the current statutes governing the sales, auction dates, times, location and other pertinent information regarding parcels being offered. The catalog and schedule can be found on the Commissioner’s website at   providing current information resources about each parcel. The 2018 auction season will begin April 3.

Aligned with national Great American Cleanup, campaign encourages local cleanups statewide
LITTLE ROCK (Feb. 16, 2018) – As part of the annual Keep America Beautiful™ Great American Cleanup®, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) is helping volunteers in every county organize and promote local cleanup and beautification events that will #MakeArkansasGreen.

The Great American Cleanup in Arkansas – and the #MakeArkansasGreen challenge – is a call-to-action to volunteers to organize at least one cleanup event in each of the state’s 75 counties during March, April and May. Cleanup events should focus on enhancing a community’s public spaces – such as roadsides, waterways, parks and neighborhoods – by picking up litter and debris, planting flowers, removing bulky waste, recycling materials and improving overall appearance.

“Littering is illegal in Arkansas, and it is ugly and unhealthy. We want Arkansans to no longer tolerate littered places,” said Liz Philpott, KAB’s volunteer program manager and statewide cleanup coordinator. “KAB is committed to fostering behavior change and new attitudes to make littering socially unacceptable. We advance change through volunteer activities and educational outreach about the negative impacts on a community that isn’t litter-free. The #MakeArkansasGreen challenge during the Great American Cleanup in Arkansas is a key initiative to engage and inspire Arkansans toward better habits.”

Each week beginning in April, KAB will post to its social media platforms a #MakeArkansasGreen map of the counties where a cleanup is registered. Arkansans can follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to track the #MakeArkansasGreen campaign’s success. During the 2017 Great American Cleanup in Arkansas, volunteers registered events in 52 counties.

Communities and groups are invited to sign up to organize a local cleanup at KAB will provide local events with trash bags, T-shirts and other supplies, as long as those supplies last. Volunteers can find local cleanups on the calendar of events at The Great American Cleanup in Arkansas runs March through May.

2018 marks the 20th year of Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup; last year alone, volunteers picked up nearly 186 million pounds of litter and debris in communities across the country. During last year’s Great American Cleanup in Arkansas, 6,153 volunteers picked up nearly 135,000 pounds of litter and collected 6.9 million pounds of bulky waste from 725 miles of roadside and 156 miles of waterway. Volunteers also cleaned up 10,000+ acres of parks and public areas and recycled nearly 300,000 pounds of electronics.

About Keep Arkansas Beautiful
The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff of three and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc., KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded through its 1-percent portion of the eighth-cent Conservation Tax. For more information, visit or stay connected on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and Pinterest.

About Keep America Beautiful Inc.
Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Celebrating its 65th Anniversary in 2018, Keep America Beautiful strives to end littering, improve recycling and beautify America’s communities, so that everyone can live in a community that is clean, green and beautiful.

Behavior change – steeped in education, research and behavioral science – is the cornerstone of Keep America Beautiful. The organization empowers generations of community and environmental stewards through volunteer programs, hands-on experiences, educational curricula, practical advice and other resources. It is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 certified affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities, elected officials and individuals. Join Keep America Beautiful on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Take action at

Camden's own Laura Raines wins Honorable Mention 
The South Arkansas Arts Center announces the winners of “The Viewfinder” photography competition, which is currently on exhibit in the Price and Merkle Galleries through February 27, 2018.  An artist’s reception was held on Saturday night. Terrence Armstard, judge for the competition, was on hand to make his winning decision and announce the rest of the awards for the show. 

“The Viewfinder” 2018 winners are- Best of Show - Emma Hayes for “Fe de Frank”;  First Place - Michael Donnella for “Earls of Leicester”;  Second Place - Lee Morgan for “Really, Dad?”;  and Third Place - Paul Waschka for “Lonely Highway”.   Honorable Mention awards went to Steve Rainwater for “Green Machine”, Keith Dodson for “Sleeping Beauty” and Laura Raines for “No Jumping”.

Emma Hayes said of her winning photo,” I captured ‘Fe de Frank’ deep the mountains of Nicaragua last summer. My mom and I, along with the rest of my church family, have gone every summer for the past 3 years. I’ve taken countless pictures of people, buildings, coffee and  nature over there.   You name it, I captured it!”

Boasting over 90 photographs by more than 60 photographers, this year’s entries included landscapes, animals, still life compositions, faces and nature, as well as many other subjects from local and regional photographers. 

The South Arkansas Arts Center is gearing up for its spring musical production of “Sunset Boulevard”, and the behind the scenes production staff is working overtime to make this play a memorable theatre experience for the audience.  This Hollywood classic in musical form will run March 2-4 and 8-9 and 11, 2018.

Countless hours have been put in by the production staff, with so many facets to be tended to…set design and construction, lighting, costumes and music, as well as hair and makeup.  It takes a small army of people to pull off the work that accompanies any production, and most of the hard work at SAAC is done by volunteers.   

“Sunset Boulevard” is well known for its stylized set, and that fact proved to not be a problem for production designer, Richard Wharton, who has been obsessed with the movie his entire life. He and his crew of set builders, including master carpenter Shawn Dartez and Corey Sublett, have brought to this stage design a very interesting way for the audience to be able to see the everyday workings of a soundstage.  Wharton said, “Basically, we are using a movie studio soundstage to tell this many layered story.  We are literally pulling back the curtain, and the audience will see the process and wonder if Norma’s world is based in reality or fantasy?  The audience is also asked to believe this simple set itself is playing many roles: Norma’s mansion, Schwab’s Pharmacy, Paramount Studios and Sunset Boulevard itself winding through all of Hollywood.”  Wharton, a self -confessed super fan of the movie added, “At any moment of the day, I am any one of the lead characters.”

Assistant director Justin Howard is also in charge of lighting the stage and he said, “The lights are a character in themselves for this production. With the set being abstract yet minimal, and many of the soft goods removed to make the audience feel as if they are on a sound stage at Paramount, the lights will be telling the story right alongside the actors and music while being completely visible to the audience, whereas with many productions they are hidden.”

Hali Pinson is enjoying her job of music director and sound design. “Every sound effect has to be very accurate to the time period in order to preserve the authenticity of the piece and meld with the design of the set, lights, props, etc. This means that a lot of the sounds I will have to create myself (versus; pulling sounds from archives or other sound effects websites that are pre-made) in order to stay true to the vision of every one on the production staff.”

Costuming is an integral part of any production and recent Louisiana Tech theater graduate Monique Mapes, head costumer, said of her job, “I'm a traditionalist in that I'm staying true to the original musical look. I want a fun, flirtatious feel with the sophisticated look of old Hollywood.”  Norma’s look is very iconic in this show and Monique has a vision for her outfits.  Along with Diana Hunt and Susan Smith, who are assisting with some of the costumes, they will outfit Norma in her unique style.

SAAC is blessed with many volunteers who give their time and efforts to help each production be the best it can be, and this production team has well exceeded the expectations for this show. 

Box office is open now for tickets for “Sunset Boulevard”, sponsored by Teague Auto Group and Southern Bancorp.  For more information, please call the SAAC at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

Women from across the state will gather March 13-14 at the Wyndham Riverfront in North Little Rock for the Arkansas Women in Agriculture Conference. Registration for attendees and vendors is available at

Krista Cupp, Vice President of Public Affairs, The Herald Group, will anchor the conference with keynote addresses during lunch both Tuesday, March 13 and Wednesday, March 14. Sessions during the two day event include: a Farm Bill Update; How to Market Crops; Got Trees? Now What?; Agri Tourism; and Estate Planning. This year there will also be a Collegiate Session with topics on Ag Careers, Resume Building and Dressing Your Best.

“The conference, in addition to offering a multitude of educational sessions, provides a great opportunity for attendees to network and build valuable relations with other landowners, farmers, ranchers and those who serve agriculture throughout the state,” said Monica Paskewitz, President, Arkansas Women in Ag.

In addition to the conference session, vendors will be on hand to provide valuable educational information to attendees as well as offering some shopping opportunities.

If you have any questions, please contact Jenni Burke via email at or by phone at 417-372-2012, or email For hotel reservations contact the Wyndham Riverfront at 501-371-9000 and request the ARWIA group rate.

February 19, 2018

AMDEN, AR — Isaiah Dennis, a 10th grader at Camden Fairview High School of Camden Nominated for the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders in Lowell, MA on June 29th ­ July 1st, 2018.
The Congress is an honors­only program for high school students who are passionate about science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). The purpose of this event is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be scientists and technologists, to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide a path, plan and resources to help them reach their goal.

Isaiah Dennis was nominated by Dr. John C. Mather, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and Science Director of the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists to represent Camden, AR based on his academic achievement, leadership potential and passion for science and technology.

During the three-day Congress, Isaiah Dennis will join students from across the country and hear Nobel Laureates and National Medal of Science recipients talk about leading scientific research; be given advice from deans of the world's top tech universities; be inspired by fellow teen science prodigies; and learn about cutting­ edge advances and the future of science and technology.

"This is a crucial time in America when we need more nimble-minded and creative scientists and technologists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially,” said Richard Rossi, Executive Director, National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists. “Focused, bright and determined students like Isaiah Dennis are our future and he deserves all the mentoring and guidance we can give him.”The Academy offers free services and programs to students who have the desire to learn more about their future in science or technology. Some of the services and programs the Academy offers include online social networks through which future scientists and technologists can communicate; opportunities for students to be guided and mentored by tech and science leaders; and communications for parents and students on college acceptance and finances, skills acquisition, internships, career guidance and much more.

The Academy was founded on the belief that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education plays a critical role in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century and that we must identify prospective talent at the earliest possible age and help these students acquire the necessary experience and skills to take them to the doorstep of vital careers. Based in Washington, DC and with an office in Boston, MA, the Academy was chartered as a nonpartisan, taxpaying institution to help address this crisis by working to identify, encourage and mentor students who wish to devote their lives to advances in society as scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.

For more information visit or call 617-307-7425.

(StatePoint) Prom is a time-honored tradition and a rite of passage for teens. Originally inspired by graduation celebrations and debutante balls, prom today is now an extravagant, defining moment in a teen’s life, bearing little resemblance to promenades o
f the past -- especially when it comes to cost. All of this indulgence unfortunately comes with a price tag, and prom expenses can put a large dent in your wallet.

Teens are spending nearly $640 on prom hair and makeup, outfits, tickets and rides, according to Yahoo Style’s “2017 Prom Across America” survey -- and that doesn’t take into consideration any pre-prom expenses, such as the promposal, which, according to Visa’s annual prom spending survey, adds another $324!

The Promposal
In recent years, teens have upped the ante, finding elaborate -- and often public -- ways to ask someone to prom.

What are some popular promposal tactics? Spelling “prom” with pastries, creating giant duct tape posters, decorating lockers and bedrooms, and popping the question on the jumbotron at a sporting event.

Fashion First

When proms first became common, teens were encouraged to wear their “Sunday best” -- implying a nice dress or suit they already owned. Not so anymore. For girls, prom is all about the dress, and finding the perfect one at the right price is no easy task. “Seventeen Magazine” reported that girls spend $231 on average for a dress, $45 on shoes, $23 on a handbag, $32 on jewelry and $118 on hair, nails and makeup.

While guys typically spend less on prom clothing and accessories, they’re still shelling out for a tuxedo, corsage and other accessories.

Cut Costs, Save for College

The steep prom price tag is leading teens to look at alternatives, such as ditching typical outfits and making their own. One example is Duck Tape formal wear. Over the last 17 years, the Duck brand Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest has attracted more than 7,000 entrants and awarded more than half a million dollars in scholarships to teens who crafted their Duck Tape prom attire.

Now in its 18th year, the contest will once again help offset the skyrocketing costs of college by helping teens save on prom and by awarding creative makers for their unique promwear designs, offering two individual $10,000 Grand Prizes: one in the Dress Category and one in the Tux Category, totaling $20,000. For more information, visit

Other ways to cut the prom price tag? Hair, makeup and other accessories can cost more than $200, so skip the salon and opt for online tutorials for hair and makeup inspiration. Also, DIYing accessories, such as jewelry, a clutch or flowers (i.e. Duck Tape roses), can add a personal touch, and keep money in your wallet.

Setting a budget and looking for opportunities to save money can help ensure prom is an amazing night that doesn’t break the bank.

Governor Hutchinson's Comments from the Capital 02-16-18

February 16, 2018

(Magnolia Reporter) Lance Deandre Cooper
Lance Deandre Cooper, 31, of Magnolia, has been charged with attempted murder in connection with a shooting about 1:40 a.m. Wednesday at a Peace Street residence.

The Magnolia Police Department responded to a shooting report at the residence and learned that the victim had been taken to Magnolia Regional Medical Center by private vehicle.

Cooper was identified as the suspect and was found walking away from the house when police arrived. He was questioned at the Magnolia Police Department before he was taken to the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility.

Police said the incident occurred during an argument at the residence. The handgun believed to have been used in the shooting was recovered.

Cooper is a convicted felon, and he is not allowed to possess a firearm. So, in addition to the attempted murder charge, Cooper is also charged with possession of a firearm by certain persons.

Cooper appeared in court on Thursday morning and his bond was set at $250,000. Cooper had been out of jail on bond in connection with another case.

Police said the victim was seriously injured, but is recovering from the wound.

Peace Street runs east and west one block north of West Union Street, west of the Louisiana and North West Railroad.


MAGNOLIA - The Southern Arkansas University Theatre Department is set to perform William Shakespear's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Harton Theatre from February 15-18, 2018. The show is intended for mature audiences. 

SAU's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" will run nightly at 7 p.m. on Feb. 15, 16, 17, and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 18. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for SAU faculty, staff, and students. Online reservations can be made at Group sales are available by calling 870-235-4263.

At first glance, perhaps Shakespearean comedies and the early rave scene don't seem to have much in common. In his comedies, Shakespeare often utilized the notion of a "green world," which was a form of the natural world to which his human characters ventured in order to escape from their civilized lives. In this natural world unhindered by the laws of man, true feelings could be unmasked and problems solved in ways that carried over back into the real world.

From their inception in the fields of England in the early 1990s, raves served a similar purpose. They existed as an escape-where the younger generation left the rules of their parents behind and chased after four ideals: peace, love, unity, and respect. Eventually even the adults got in on the act, normalizing the rave and using it as a means to simply leave behind the burdens and responsibilities of the work-week and "have a good night."

Yet at their cores, both the rave and the green world are a space between -- where the social hierarchies between us all get to be left at the door. Between experience and desire, between constraint and freedom, between who you have to be and who you want to be -- this is the place that one's true self can be really be present.

To learn more about SAU's Performing Arts and Theatre department, visit

Expanded Options available to enhance Farm Safety Net

WASHINGTON, FEB. 16, 2018 – Last year’s hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts, devastated parts of the South, Midwest, Northern Plains, and California, and were a stark reminder that agriculture is an inherently risky business. Federal crop insurance indemnities for these disasters totaled more than $1 billion in 2017.

“The prosperity of the rural economy depends on our farmers and ranchers and their ability to bounce back from adverse conditions,” said Farm Production and Conservation Acting Deputy Under Secretary Robert Johansson.  “Crop insurance is central to a strong farm safety net, and producers should talk with their agents to purchase their coverage before the sales closing date.”

To prepare for this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) urges farmers to sign up for crop insurance before the sales closing dates for eligible 2018 spring crops. The sales closing dates for most spring-planted crops is February 28 or March 15.  

Federal crop insurance helps producers recover after severe weather and manage other business risks. RMA implemented a number of program improvements for the 2018 year. Coverage is available for nearly every commodity, including fruit, vegetable, and organic, with crop specific plans or the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection policy. 

Sales closing dates vary by crop, state, and county. More information about deadlines are available in the RMA Actuarial Browser. To discuss dates and options, producers should contact their local agent. Learn more at

By Joe Thompson, MD, MPH - President and CEO, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

A recent study contains some alarming statistics: America’s death rate is declining more slowly than in years past, and more slowly in comparison to the death rates of other wealthy nations. The study suggests this is due, in part, to rising obesity levels.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences under the title “The Role of Obesity in Exceptionally Slow Mortality Improvement,” the study found that even setting aside increases in the U.S. death rate related to the opioid epidemic, progress in improving mortality is slowing. The researchers suggested that advances in areas such as medical technology and tobacco cessation are being offset by rising levels of body mass index.

From 1976 to 1980, 15 percent of Americans were obese, but by 2014, 38 percent were obese, according to the study. The researchers found that in 2011, obesity accounted for about 186,000 excess deaths and reduced Americans’ life expectancy by almost a year by age 40.

Obesity is a national crisis. The 2017 America’s Health Rankings Annual Report by the United Health Foundation noted that every country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has a lower obesity rate than Colorado, the least obese state in the U.S. But the problem is particularly severe in Arkansas: The United Health Foundation ranked us better than only two states for adult obesity rate, with the rate increasing over the past five years from 30.9 percent to 35.7 percent.

Arkansas has made great strides in improving access to health care. Its innovative, bipartisan approach to expanding coverage through Medicaid has cut the state’s uninsured rate in half and allowed Arkansas to avoid hospital closures seen in many surrounding states that chose to reject Medicaid expansion. But the health of Arkansans will not significantly improve without changes in behavior.

Increasing the percentage of Arkansans who are at a healthy weight is the goal of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Healthy Active Arkansas initiative, now entering its third year. Complementing the work of the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, the initiative has launched the Statewide Learning Network, which helps communities across the state develop and implement action plans to promote healthy behaviors in their populations.

At five regional meetings across the state in 2017, nearly 250 community members joined the Statewide Learning Network, and there are plans to invite others to join at several meetings again this year. For more information, email or call (501) 526-2255.

Even our legislators and constitutional officers are getting into the act. During last year’s legislative session, the House, the Senate, and the Governor’s Office competed in the CapitolGO! Challenge, during which participants were encouraged to log their steps using a smartphone app. More than 30 million steps were logged overall, with the Senate taking top honors for logging an average of 6,743 steps per day.

During this year’s fiscal session, Arkansas’s constitutional officers and legislators are focusing on reducing sugar-sweetened beverages in a new competition, the CapitolGO! Healthy Hydration Challenge.

Challenges are a good way to get people active, get them thinking about healthy behaviors, and inject some fun competition. You or your business, school, or church can get involved by participating in the Blue & You Fitness Challenge each year. Over three months, participants log eligible exercises and earn points for both physical activity and participation levels. For more information, visit The deadline for signing up is the end of February.

I am confident we can make Arkansas a healthier, more productive and more competitive state. We have a comprehensive, state-level plan, but commitments from communities, businesses, schools and individuals are necessary if we are going to move the needle on one of the most serious issues we face as a state, obesity.

Joe Thompson, MD, MPH, is president and CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and served for 10 years as Arkansas's inaugural surgeon general under Governors Mike Huckabee (R) and Mike Beebe (D). Follow him on Twitter @JoeThompsonMD and @ACHI_net.



Washington, D.C. – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement after the Senate failed to pass immigration legislation:

"What this debate has shown is just how unserious the Democrats are about illegal immigration. If they were serious, they wouldn’t have shut down the government over DACA only to reject the one bill, endorsed by the president, that would’ve given DACA recipients the legal certainty they need. And they wouldn’t have introduced such a reckless proposal that had zero chance of becoming law. There’s broad agreement about how to solve this problem, but we won’t succeed unless the Democrats stop this incessant virtue-signaling and start negotiating in good faith. At this point, the House should take the lead and pass the Goodlatte-McCaul proposal.”


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement after the Senate failed to pass legislation that would resolve the status for DACA-eligible individuals while strengthening border security and enforcement measures to reduce illegal immigration:

“For months, Congress has been working very hard to try to help individuals who were brought here as minors through no fault of their own.

We all want to resolve the status of DACA beneficiaries with a long-term fix that ensures we are not right back in this situation again. That solution must address chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program, while providing our nation with desperately-needed, commonsense border security.

President Trump presented a thoughtful framework to accomplish these shared goals and Senator Grassley’s amendment, which I supported, turned that framework into legislation that could become law. Given our mutual goals, it should have passed the Senate in a bipartisan manner. I am disappointed that it did not.” 


(StatePoint) From small one-time purchases to monthly service fees, you may not think much about what happens to your money after spending it.

But beyond the typical considerations, such as price and product features, many savvy shoppers are starting to pick their brands and services based on new criteria like ethics. An ethical company treats both its employees and customers fairly and practices environmental sustainability. Luckily, there is some guidance out there for those consumers who want to spend their money with companies that share their values.

Your Wardrobe 
Patagonia’s mission statement is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” A leader in social and environmental responsibility efforts in the fashion industry, the company is fair-trade certified for all its sewing production and is dedicated to transparency. Consider shopping here if you want to look good and feel good.

Your Wireless Provider
One good resource to check out is “The World’s Most Ethical Companies” list, released annually by the Ethisphere Institute. It offers a quantitative assessment of a company’s performance in corporate governance, risk, sustainability compliance and ethics, and knowing a company or brand has scored high on this particular assessment can help set your mind at ease.

For the 10th year in a row, that list includes T-Mobile, which, among other initiatives, committed to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2021, the only major wireless provider to do so. As one of only five honorees in the telecommunications industry to receive recognition from the Ethisphere Institute in 2018, they also landed on Best Place to Work lists for parents, diversity, the LGBTQ community and more. T-Mobile was also given a perfect score of 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign. For the full list of the 2018 World’s Most Ethical Companies, visit

Your Glass of Wine
Red or white? The next time you imbibe, consider going beyond the wine’s flavor and potential pairings, seeking a bottle from a company that you know treats its employees well. Included in Glassdoor’s 2018 Best Places to Work Employees’ Choice list was E. & J. Gallo Winery, a family-owned company with a strong internal program to foster diversity and career development among underrepresented communities.

Whether you’re shopping online, hitting the mall or choosing services that help you connect with friends, family and the world around you, consider doing a bit of research before making your next consumer decision to ensure you’re comfortable with where your money is headed.


February 15, 2018

 A Lonoke County woman was wounded late yesterday evening (February 14, 2018) after she reportedly fired a gun at local law enforcement officers who had responded to a call of shots being fired at 420 E. Holly Street.

 When Lonoke County Sheriff’s Deputies responded, they encountered Janie Bryant, age 62, who had barricaded herself inside the residence. Deputies soon requested the assistance of the Lonoke County Special Response Team, in order to assist in removing Bryant from her home. As the Lonoke County Special Response Team attempted to make entry into the home, Bryant reportedly fired a weapon at several times at the officers, who then fired wounding Bryant.

Bryant was transported to a Little Rock hospital where she is reported to be in stable condition.

The Lonoke County Sheriff’s Department requested the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division to conduct an investigation into the use of deadly force by a law enforcement officer. Upon completion of the investigation, a case file will be submitted to the Lonoke County prosecuting attorney for review.

  Any questions relating to the identity of the deputies, as well as their administrative status, should be directed to the Lonoke County Sherriff’s Office.  



The South Arkansas Kennel Club Dog Shows and Obedience Trials, Rally and lure coursing will be held on February 24th and 25th at the Highland Airport Facilities (formerly the General Dynamics Building located at 204 Ouachita 212 (Veteran's Road) in Camden.

When you get to Camden, just look for dog show signs to direct you to the show site

Show Hours are Saturday from 9:00 A.M. until  5:00 P.M. Each day individual breeds begin showing at 9:00 A.M.on Saturday and  8:00A.M.  on Sunday. Groupos begin at approximately 12:30 to 1:00P.M. 

The public is encouraged to come out and see some of the most beautiful and smartest dogs in the country. Please bring your lawn chair. Sorry NO un-entered dogs allowed per AKC rules.

 The Northwest Arkansas Kennel Club is joining the shows again this year hosting Lure Coursing Ability Test.  This will be a fun event to watch.  There will be two tests on Saturday and one Sunday morning

 Vendors from around the country will be there with lots of cool stuff. Admission for the dog shows is $5.00 Adults $1.00 Children 6-12 yrs of age $1.00 for Senior Citizens. Children under 6 yrs get in free.

 •For more info contact Darleen Wheelington, 870-818-7588 or visit to see the judging schedule for the time different breeds show. Judging schedule will be online by February 20th.


WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) issued the following statement after the House passed his bill, the TRID Improvement Act, by a vote of 271-145:

“For an Arkansas family, purchasing a home is one of the most important events, and the last things they want are hidden costs and fees. Arkansas families can breathe a little easier tonight because my bill that passed the House eases one part of the complex maze of regulations created by Dodd-Frank regulations, ensuring that homebuyers are able to get from financial institutions to share accurate information about the cost of title insurance during the mortgage closing process. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to join the House in passing this common sense bill.”

Background Information:

The TRID (TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure) Improvement Act, H.R. 3978, modifies requirements related to mortgage disclosures and offers clarification to consumers and regulatory relief to financial institutions.

In October 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) implemented the Know Before You Owe (KBYO) or TRID mortgage disclosure rule. This rule integrated a series of mortgage forms and was designed to assist consumers with better understanding the home closing process, but it has had the opposite effect. In the majority of states, consumers are not receiving an accurate disclosure of their title insurance premiums.

In these states, the CFPB does not allow the calculation of a discounted rate known as “simultaneous issue,” which is a rate title insurance companies provide to consumers when they purchase a lenders and owners title insurance policy simultaneously. This rate provides consumers with an effective discount on their owners title insurance policy in order to protect their property rights for as long as they own their home. The CFPB is unwilling to fix this problem on its own, calling on Congress to act. 

(SPM Wire) President’s Day is around the corner. Here are three fun and educational ways to celebrate with kids.

Visit a museum: Check out a local American history museum in your area and head out to learn about past presidents. On the way home, ask kids to share some facts they learned.

Head to the library: Make reading fun by checking out books about American history. Whether it’s a biography of George Washington or a novel that takes place during the Civil War, this is a great opportunity to encourage a love of reading. The librarian can help you find age-appropriate reading material for your kids.

Costume party: Throw a presidential costume party, and have kids dress as presidents and other historical figures. Ask each attendee to tell the group a little bit about his or her figure and costume.

The kids may be out of school, but that’s no reason their brains need to take a vacation. Make education fun this President’s Day by celebrating the holiday together.


February 14, 2018

Local Radio Station Owner is included in appointments

Jay Bunyard, owner of the Radio Works family of radio station was appointed to the Arkansas Economic Development Council. The appointment expires January 14, 2022. Mr. Bunyard replaces Gene Hill.

Other appointments announced today are as follows:

Dr. Don Phillips, Fort Smith, to the Arkansas State Medical Board. Appointment expires December 31, 2023. Replaces Dr. William Dudding. 

Daryl Coker, Little Rock, to the War Memorial Stadium Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2025. Replaces Wayne Callahan.

Mayor Jerry Boen, Lamar, to the State Aid Street Committee. Appointment expires December 31, 2021. Reappointment. 

Lang Zimmerman, Mountain Home, to the Arkansas Economic Development Council. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Reappointment.

Wayne Callahan, Sr., Rogers, to the Arkansas Economic Development Council. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces Chester Koprovic.

Jim Smith, Rogers, to the Arkansas Economic Development Council. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces Leslie Webb.

Jim Andrews, Jr., El Dorado, to the Arkansas Economic Development Council. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces Doug Falls.

Austin Albers, Ponca, to the State Parks, Recreation, and Travel Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces Mike Mills.

Shash Goyal, Stuttgart, to the State Parks, Recreation, and Travel Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Reappointment. 

Ronnie Gossage, Alma, to the State Parks, Recreation, and Travel Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces Jim Dailey.

Mark Thomas, Magnolia, to the Oil and Gas Commission. Appointment expires February 20, 2023. Replaces Mike Davis. 

Paul Cash, Warren, to the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2022. Replaces David Hendrix. 

Neal Anderson, Lonoke, to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2025. Reappointment. 

Doyle Yates, Springdale, to the Arkansas Real Estate Commission. Appointment expires December 31, 2020. Reappointment. 

Phillip Gilmore, Crossett, to the State Board of Health. Appointment expires December 31, 2019. Replaces James Lambert. 

Doug Harton, Monticello, to the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2027. Reappointment.

Marcus Creasy, Drasco, to the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2025. Reappointment.

Pamela DePriest, Morrilton, to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2024. Replaces Billie Jean Hervey.

Matthew Stone, Camden, to the Arkansas Forestry Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2027. Replaces Aubra Anthony. 

Andy Shock, Conway, to the Parole Board. Appointment expires January 14, 2025. Reappointment.

Steve Landers, Little Rock, to the Arkansas Racing Commission. Appointment expires January 14, 2023. Reappointment. 

Bill Michel, Harrison, as a Justice of the Peace for the Boone County Quorum Court, District 7. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Robert Meek.

Greg Holland, Heber Springs, as a Justice of the Peace for the Cleburne County Quorum Court, District 4. Appointment expires December 31, 2018. Replaces Willie Stone. 

Mark D. Wankum, Little Rock, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CR-17-76 Sammy Dortch v. State of Arkansas. Replaces Chief Justice John Dan Kemp, who has disqualified himself from the case. 

Robert Hudgins, Searcy, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. D-11-1259 Stark Ligon, as Executive Director of the Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct v. Bruce Jamison Bennet. Replaces Justice Karen R. Baker, who has disqualified herself from the case.

James E. Crouch, Springdale, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CV-16-596 Robert Steinbuch v. University of Arkansas. Replaces Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson, who has disqualified herself from the case. 

Roger D. Rowe, Little Rock, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CV-16-596 Robert Steinbuch v. University of Arkansas. Replaces Justice Rhonda K. Wood, who has disqualified herself from the case. 

Judge Doug Schrantz, Bentonville, as a Special Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Arkansas. CV-16-596 Robert Steinbuch v. University of Arkansas. Replaces Justice Robin F. Wynne, who has disqualified himself from the case.


Part of Great American Cleanup effort, poster entries are due March 1

LITTLE ROCK (Feb. 12, 2018) – The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) is still accepting entries in its statewide student poster contest. KAB invites students in kindergarten through fifth grades to put their creativity on paper and enter this year’s Keep Arkansas Beautiful Great American Cleanup® Youth Poster Contest. Entry deadline is Thursday, March 1.

“The entries we’ve already received have been fantastic,” said Liz Philpott, volunteer program manager at KAB and statewide coordinator of the Great American Cleanup in Arkansas. “Each year, the posters get better and better, and I can’t wait to see the others yet to come. Our youth are especially important in making and keeping Arkansas beautiful. Don’t miss the March 1 deadline!”

The contest is open to all elementary-aged students in Arkansas. Scouts, 4-H club members and home-schooled students are also encouraged to enter. One poster per class or group should be submitted for statewide judging.

Entries will be accepted in two divisions: Grades K-2 and Grades 3-5. Posters must be no larger than 8 ½" x 11" and can be submitted on any sort of paper medium, including copier paper, construction paper and poster board.

Prizes will be awarded to the Top 3 posters in each division. KAB and Great American Cleanup in Arkansas representatives will recognize winners in their local communities during March and April. Winning posters and honorable mentions will be displayed April 16-27 at the Thea Foundation Art Gallery on Main Street in downtown North Little Rock, as well as on KAB’s Facebook page.

Entries are due Thursday, March 1, by mail or delivery to Keep Arkansas Beautiful, 1 Capitol Mall, Suite 4A-007, Little Rock, AR 72201. Additional information about the contest is available at, by emailing or by calling 888-742-8701 toll-free.


The box office at the South Arkansas Arts Center is open for ticket sales for the upcoming production of the Hollywood classic, “Sunset Boulevard”. This show will run March 2-4 and March 8-9 and 11, with the curtain going up at 7:30pm, except for the Sunday performances at 2:30pm.  Ticket prices are $5 for students, $15 for SAAC members and $25 for the general public.

A “Red Carpet Night” reception is planned for both Friday nights during the play’s run, March 2 and 9.  The champagne reception will also feature light hors d’oeuvres and will begin at 7:00pm.   Tickets for the “Red Carpet Nights” are $25 for all adults. 

A beloved Hollywood classic, “Sunset Boulevard” continually makes the list for Top Ten Movies of All Time.  Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical rendition is also one of the  most popular scores written during his composing career on Broadway, making this an unforgettable and must see musical.  Director Gary Hall said of this production, “I’ve never worked on a musical with as much depth in the characters.  This has been very exciting for me to be able to get this level of acting out of these four main actors.”

This season’s production of “Sunset Boulevard” boasts an interesting twist- two local actresses will be sharing the role of the female star, Norma Desmond.  SAAC stage veteran Tracey Wilson Rice and SAAC voice and piano teacher Charlsie Falcon will be lending their talents to the character of Norma on different nights.   Tracey will be playing the part on March 2, 4 and 8 and Charlsie will take her turn as Norma on March 3, 9 and 11. Joel Cheshier, the understudy for Thomas Brewster, will perform the role of Joe Gillis on Saturday, March 3. 

Also during the run of the musical, SAAC will host a Talk Back with Dr. Yates on Sunday, March 4, and on Thursday, March 8. Yates will be on hand fifteen minutes before curtain on those dates to provide a brief introduction and moderate a Talk Back with the cast following the performance.

In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded, silent-screen goddess, Norma Desmond, lives in a fantasy world.  Impoverished screen writer, Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world.  Persuaded to work on Norma’s ‘masterpiece’, a film script that she believes will put her back in front of the camera; he is seduced by her and her luxurious life-style.  Joe becomes entrapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free with dramatic consequences.

Box office hours are Monday- Friday from 9:00-5:00pm.  For more information about “Sunset Boulevard”, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK—The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will hold a public hearing Tuesday, February 20, 2018, on a draft renewal permit of the general permit 0002-MN-AG2 for the operation of an open-cut mine site located within the State of Arkansas under the Arkansas Open-Cut Land Reclamation Act. Coverage under this permit authorizes the operator to mine twenty acres or less outside of a stream channel. The hearing will begin at 10:00 a.m. in the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission Room at ADEQ Headquarters, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, Arkansas. 

A brief presentation explaining the permit renewal will be given and then the floor will open for formal comments.

An agency hearing officer will receive formal comments from anyone present regarding the draft permitting decision to issue a renewal permit. In addition to commenting at the February 20th public hearing, interested parties may submit written or electronic mail comments prior to the comment deadline. Oral and written statements will be accepted at the hearing, but written comments are preferred in the interest of accuracy. Written comments should be mailed to the attention of the Mining Program, ADEQ, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118. Electronic mail comments should be sent to: Written or email comments must be received by 4:30 p.m. (Central Time) on February 20, 2018, in order to be considered.

Dr. Anthony Bland Announced today that he was withdrawing as a candidate for Secretary of State and would instead seek the office of Lieutenant Governor. He said he was encouraged by members of the Democratic Party, his family and a host of friends and supporters to make the switch.

Dr. Bland said he has been considering the change since Susan Inman entered the race in August. “As a business owner, and having education in business law and business administration, I have the qualifications to serve as Secretary of State, but Susan Inman has the hands on experience,” Bland said.  “In fact considering her vast experience with the election process, she may be the best qualified candidate to ever seek the office.”

Dr. Bland is the first Democrat to enter the race for Lieutenant Governor.  “I’m running for this office because I believe all Arkansans deserve an equal opportunity to obtain quality education, affordable health care, and jobs that pay decent wages,” said Bland. “As Lieutenant Governor, I will work to achieve these goals.”

Bland is looking forward to challenging Tim Griffin in the General Election.  “I’m looking forward to winning the nomination so I can face Griffin. The Lieutenant Governor is a Trump enabler who is out of tune with the people of Arkansas. I intend to call him out on his support of the Trump agenda,” said Bland.

Anthony Bland graduated from J.A. Fair High School and Arkansas Baptist College. He has a Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Business Administration Degree from the University of Phoenix. He is currently completing a Master of Theological Studies Degree from Regent University. He is a small business owner and has many years of experience in various job capacities.  Dr. Bland is also an ordained Baptist Minister. He and and his wife Jameelah reside in Little Rock and are members of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.

February 13, 2018


A myriad of food, collectables, and crafts.(Camden, AR) – Join Camden as we celebrate Spring at one of South Arkansas' largest and most beautiful events, the 25th Annual Camden Daffodil Festival, March 9th & 10th in beautiful downtown Camden.

Join thousands from all around the region and nation at this unforgettable weekend for the entire family at the 2018 Daffodil Festival! Tour the amazing Daffodil Gardens, with over a million blossoms! Enjoy the rich history of South Arkansas with guided tours through Camden's famous museums, antebellum homes, and historical sites complete with costumed re-enactments, or shop ‘till your heart's content along the sidewalks of downtown Camden displaying a myriad of food, collectables, and crafts.

Stay for the entire weekend complete with the annual 5k run, Arts and Crafts show & sale, and Live Music acts and stage events. Bring the entire family for the Civil War Encampment, downtown booths, children’s activities and Antique Car Show. Shop for one-of-a kind gifts along the sidewalk vendors with food, crafts, and other festival favorites and enjoy some of the best food in South Arkansas at our famous Steak Cook-off!

Enjoy the many gardensStart by visiting the beautiful Garden Tours open where you will find amazing Daffodil Gardens. Be taken back in time with guided costumed tours through the historic Oakland Cemetery and enjoy the Civil War re-enactors. Also tour the Historic Homes. After touring the sites, join us downtown for a variety of events the whole family is sure to love where you will find a day full of activities Friday and Saturday.

The 12th Annual Steak CookoffDon’t miss the region’s favorite Championship Steak Cook-off on Saturday with the World’s Finest char grilled Black Angus Rib Eyes complete with music and live entertainment throughout the festival. If you enjoy food, fun, beauty and history then this is the place for you. It’s all at the 25th Annual Camden Daffodil Festival, March 9th & 10th, 9am-6pm Friday & 9am-5pm on Saturday in Beautiful Downtown Camden. (205 W. Washington, Camden AR. 71701) 

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The training session will take place on Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the Camden Accelerated Business Services (CABS) Center located at 625 Adams SW, Camden, AR 71701 (OPED Building) Call 870-836-2210 or to Pre-Register

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' governor called for cutting income taxes for the state's top earners by $180 million on Monday, and said his plan to set aside surplus money will help set the stage for that reduction when lawmakers take up the proposal next year.LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' governor called for cutting income taxes for the state's top earners by $180 million on Monday, and said his plan to set aside surplus money will help set the stage for that reduction when lawmakers take up the proposal next year.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he'll push next year for cutting the state's top rate from 6.9 percent to 6 percent for those making more than $75,000 a year. Hutchinson issued the recommendation as lawmakers convened for an abbreviated session focused on the state's budget.

The proposal follows two other tax cuts Hutchinson has successfully shepherded through the Legislature since taking office three years ago: a $100 million tax cut for those making between $21,000 and $75,000 a year in 2015 and a $50 million cut for those making less than $21,000 last year. Arkansas' median household income is about $42,000 a year. State finance officials say the latest proposal would affect about 162,000 of the state's 1.3 million taxpayers.

Hutchinson, who is seeking re-election, said he'll push for the tax cut next year. A legislative task force is expected to come up with its tax cut recommendations later this year. "It is important to achieve this in order that we have continued success in job creation and economic growth," Hutchinson told a joint session of the House and Senate.

Hutchinson didn't offer specifics on how the state could pay for the reduction in revenue, but said the task force should look at closing some tax exemptions "that have outlived their usefulness" or finding savings elsewhere in state government. He said he believed the cuts could be made without jeopardizing essential services.

Hutchinson touted his proposed $5.6 billion budget for the coming year as lawmakers convened for an abbreviated "fiscal" session. Hutchinson's proposal calls for setting aside a projected $64 million surplus, with most of the funds going toward the reserve fund for tax cuts.

"This is the right budget for Arkansas because it is conservative in spending, it increases our savings and it invests in the future of our state," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson kicked off the session as he and other supporters of the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion face questions about whether there's enough support in the Legislature to continue the program. Three vacancies in the state Senate have left supporters short of the three-fourths approval needed to approve the budget bill for Medicaid and the hybrid expansion, which uses federal and state funds to buy private insurance for low-income residents. Most budget bills require a three-fourths vote in both chambers of the Legislature to win approval.

Hutchinson told lawmakers he expected approval before the end of this year's session for the state's plan to require some on the program to work. The Trump administration last month said it would allow states to impose work requirements on Med

The governor's call for further tax cuts drew skepticism from Democrats who have complained his proposed budget this year is building up a surplus at the expense of other needs.

"We're already to the point where we feel like a whole lot of our priorities are either underfunded or not funded at all...At some point, we're not going to be able to pay the bills," House Minority Leader David Whitaker said.
The plan, however, won praise from some Republicans who said it would follow through on Hutchinson's call for across the board cuts after advocating reductions for low- and middle-income earners.
"It's time for everyone to get some of the fresh air we've been passing around," Republican Sen. Bart Hester said.

Senator Boozman on why DOJ needs to restore critical grant funding 02-12-18

February 12, 2018


WASHINGTON D.C.A group of U.S. Senators tomorrow will introduce a common-sense proposal aimed at providing legal certainty for undocumented children brought to the United States by their parents and preventing others from falling into the same legal limbo in the future. Their proposal, which mirrors the White House framework announced by President Trump, provides a generous opportunity for approximately 1.8 million DACA or DACA-eligible immigrants to earn citizenship while strengthening our nation’s border security and enforcement measures to reduce illegal immigration.

The Secure and Succeed Act, sponsored by Senators Cotton, Grassley, Cornyn, Tillis, Perdue, Lankford, and Ernst, appropriates $25 billion for real border security such as physical and virtual fencing, radar and other technologies. It also provides for additional personnel for border control and ends key loopholes in current law that allow dangerous criminals to enter our country. The legislation prospectively limits family-based immigration to the nuclear family and reallocates the Diversity Visa lottery. Their proposal generously grandfathers all pending family-based visa applications in order to reward those who chose to follow the law and immigrate legally. The allotment for the Diversity Visa lottery will be reallocated to reduce this backlog and the employment-based visa backlog. 

“This is the only bill that has a chance of becoming law, and that’s because it’s the only bill that will truly solve the underlying problem. It will protect those eligible for DACA but also make sure we don’t end up back here five years from now. By addressing our border security needs and limiting family sponsorship to the nuclear family, it goes far beyond the other half measures that have been proposed. This bill is generous, humane, and responsible, and now we should send it to the president’s desk,” Cotton said.

”This legislation is a reasonable approach to shielding children illegally brought to our country through no fault of their own while also taking the meaningful steps to ensure nobody finds themselves in the same situation in the future. This is a rare opportunity to fix a real problem and protect the country in a thoughtful and compassionate way. We simply have to correct the loopholes in current law that allow dangerous criminals to enter and remain at large in our country. Our proposal is supported by the President, who’s come a long way to reach a compromise. This is the only Senate proposal that has any chance of passing the House and being signed into law. If my colleagues are serious about actually finding a real and permanent solution to the DACA crisis, they should be ready and willing to support this compromise,” Grassley said.

“This proposal provides a common-sense, permanent solution for nearly two million people who find themselves in limbo. The Secure and Succeed Act gives us the opportunity to help these individuals and build the trust of the American people by securing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws,” Cornyn said.

“This is a common-sense compromise that accomplishes a number of goals that both parties have long supported. It offers a fair and compassionate solution for DACA youth to earn naturalization, and it effectively secures our borders to help prevent future illegal immigration and stop drug and human trafficking. It also provides a path forward for modernizing our broken immigration system so it can be more merit-based and reflective of the changing economic and labor needs of our nation. This legislation is the only proposal that the President supports, and the open amendment process will give Senators the opportunity to improve the baseline proposal and get it signed into law,” Tillis said.

“President Trump has been very clear on what he will sign into law, and this is it. This is a great deal and the only solution that fully addresses the four pillars in the President’s framework. Now it is up to Republicans and Democrats in both chambers. If people really want to solve the DACA situation, secure our border, and fix the flaws in our current system that incentivize illegal immigration, they should be eager to support this plan,” Perdue said.

“We have a unique opportunity to finally get something done on the four immigration areas that leaders in Congress and the President agreed must get done - DACA, border security, the visa lottery, and family sponsorship reform. It’s important to do this in a way that prevents repeating this conversation again ten years from now. I call on my colleagues to put aside partisanship and posturing to have an honest debate about decades-long immigration issues and practical solutions that can pass both Houses of Congress and be signed into law.  There are many immigration proposals being floated in the Senate that the House will not pass and the President won’t sign. Too many families are counting on us to do the right thing. Now is the time to get this done,” Lankford said.

"We must ensure a path forward for those who were brought here through no fault of their own as children, while also enforcing our laws, putting an end to illegal immigration, and strengthening our border security. This framework is a step toward addressing the legal, economic, and security concerns that are present in the current debate and the unique challenges that the DACA-eligible population faces, and I urge my colleagues to support this proposal,” Ernst said.

(StatePoint) If you’ve ever experienced dry mouth, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Unfortunately, your pet can get dry mouth too, and it can lead to more serious issues down the line and can also be a sign of more serious current health issues.

Dry mouth is a condition where saliva loses its protective benefits and leads to an overgrowth of odor-causing bacteria and plaque accumulation, as well as increases the risk of periodontal disease.

While such diseases as diabetes can contribute to dry mouth in pets, the most common cause is medication. What’s more, it is believed that medications increase the risk of developing complications due to dry mouth by 40 percent. This side effect is far-reaching. Medications for allergies, anxiety, urinary incontinence, osteo-arthritis pain, heart conditions, high blood pressure and more can all contribute to dry mouth.

While most pet parents are not aware their furry friends have dry mouth because they may still drool even with the condition, watching out for bad breath can help, as it is often a red flag that something is wrong. Experts say that you don’t need to wait until this becomes an issue to protect your pet’s health. “Prevention is always the best medicine,” says Pamela K. Bosco, president of Pet King Brands.

Bosco recommends Oratene Brushless Oral Care for pets, an easy-to-use oral care product line that doesn’t require brushing. Whether it’s the water additive, breath freshening spray or brushless toothpaste gel, the enzymes in its formula work to replenish what is missing in order to help restore healthy oral flora, as well as destroy odor-causing bacteria and remove plaque biofilm. The products can help prevent complications due to dry mouth, and will benefit any age dog or cat, especially those on medications, aging pets, or those pet parents averse to brushing.

Oral health is crucial to a pet’s overall health. Be sure to pay special attention to the state of affairs in your pet’s mouth by taking steps to prevent dry mouth, a condition that can lead to serious health issues when left untreated.



February 09, 2018

The 94th Annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet was held at the Student Center at SAU Tech last night. The event was catered by Wood’s Place. Tiffanie Hildreth of Ouachita Electric welcomed the attendees followed by the invocation from County Judge Robbie McAdoo. Beth Osteen, Executive Director of the Chamber recognized elected officials that were in attendance.

Blake Fain of Farmers Bank and Trust presented the 2017 industry of the Year Award to Woodfield Trucking. Michael Shelton presented the 2017 Searcy Harrell Community Service Award to James and Eloise Oliver. Wendi Nix from Nix’s Airport Liquor presented the 2017 Small Business Award to Becky Powell, owner of The Perfect’s.

James Lee Silliman then introduced the Keynote Speaker, Governor Asa Hutchinson. The Governor talked about marketing Arkansas all over the world as “a good place to do business”. He talked about Highland Industrial Park and the good work done in the area. He stated that Highland Park is an area that has the capability to do defense work that  can’t be done anywhere else in the country.

He went on to talk about the Natural Resources in South Arkansas. South Arkansas leads the country in the timber industry.

Governor Hutchinson said that State Legislators are entering the Fiscal Legislative Session. The state budget will be set in this session. He said that Arkansas has a growing economy. Governor Hutchinson said the education is fully funded. Arkansas is a leader in education in the computer field. All schools in Arkansas are required to offer computer coding in High School. Arkansas also fully funds Workforce Education. Arkansas also has a pilot Mental Health Program.

Arkansas currently enjoys a surplus of 64 million dollars. Nineteen million of the surplus will go to the Highway Program to improve Highways in the state. The remainder of that surplus will go to a restricted reserve account in case of economic downfall in the state.

The Governor said that the Federal Tax Bill will help continued growth in the state. He says that the State is being set up for more tax cuts. The State has already cut the tax rate for low income families. The state followed that cut with a cut on every family that made less than $75,000 a year. The legislature is hoping to be able to cut taxes on even more Arkansas families in the future.

The Governor is hoping to see the private sector grow faster than the Government.

Beth Osteen gave closing remarks. 



    The Arkansas State Police has been requested to assist in the investigation of a homicide reported yesterday afternoon (Thursday, February 8, 2018) by the Carroll County Sheriff's Department.  Special Agents of the Arkansas State Police Criminal Investigation Division have been assigned to the case. 

Carroll County Deputies responded at approximately 1 PM to a residence on County Road 116 near Eureka Springs.  Inside the residence, police found the body of Christopher Alvard, 37.  

Alvard’s body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory to determine the exact cause and manner of death. 

The investigation is continuing


On February 1st, 2018 the Arkansas State Police released a revised version of the Morgan Nick AMBER Alert. The revised version is now called the Arkansas AMBER Alert Plan.

The Arkansas AMBER Alert Plan is a statewide initiative between law enforcement, news media and the public, with the shared objectives of using a dependable information delivery system to help quickly locate abducted children and bring them home safely. The Arkansas State Police have made changes to the AMBER Alert protocol and plan to use social media and improved technology to help safely recover abducted children across the state.

There are many who believe that the AMBER Alert is used for all missing children. This is not the case. The AMBER Alert is a tool to be utilized when a child is abducted. We want to inform you - the media - of the criteria for issuing the AMBER Alert, so you can understand the reasons for issuing such an alert, as well as helping you provide better information to your audience. You are also many times, the first resource people lean on for information in these cases, and we want you make sure you understand when and why we make the decisions we do.

  The Arkansas AMBER Alert Plan will only be activated if the situation meets the minimum criteria recommended by the Department of Justice. It will be used only for child abduction cases, and it will not be used for an incident involving a runaway or for most parental abduction cases, unless the circumstances are determined to be life-threatening to the child.  Below is a list of the minimum reporting criteria that must be met by a local law enforcement agency before an AMBER Alert will be issued:

Minimum Reporting Criteria:

- There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that an actual ABDUCTION has occurred.
- Law enforcement believes that the child is in IMMINENT DANGER of serious bodily injury or death.
- There is enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER ALERT to assist in the recovery of the child.  
- The abducted child is under 18 years of age.  
- The child’s name and other critical data elements, including the CHILD ABDUCTION FLAG, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.

If the circumstances of the disappearance of a child do not meet the Arkansas AMBER Alert Plan criteria, a Missing/Endangered Child Media Advisory may be issued (taking the place of the Level II Alert).  The Arkansas State Police Public Information Officer will take the available information and forward that information to media outlets from the agency's current media contact list, as well as social media outlets. The telephone number for the law enforcement agency making the request for a Missing/Endangered Child Media Advisory will be listed for the public to contact.  A Missing/Endangered Child Media Advisory may be upgraded at any time to an AMBER 

Please be aware that there are no more “levels” of AMBER Alerts. Only AMBER Alerts and Missing/Endangered Child Advisories.

Also, please note - to sign up for automatic Arkansas AMBER Alert text and email notifications, visit our website. 



Washington, D.C. — Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement on Senate passage of the budget. 

“This budget agreement will give our military a desperately needed spending increase as well as the certainty it needs to plan ahead for the coming years. But the very fact that we need to pass this agreement four months into the fourth year demonstrates the folly of keeping the Budget Control Act on the books. It hasn’t controlled spending, and the defense-spending caps are far too low to meet our defense needs, so it’s long past time that we repeal that law before we face this situation again next fall.”


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement on the signing of the Bipartisan Budget Act:

“Year after year, Congress struggles to reach a consensus on how to fund our national priorities. As each side digs in further, that commitment to come together becomes harder to find. This agreement is a breakthrough in that regard. 

This bill ensures, that for two years, our military will no longer be hindered by sequestration. It allows us to uphold our promise to the men and women who served our nation in uniform, fight the opioid epidemic that is devastating our communities and begin to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.

In addition, the bill includes disaster relief for the states and territories hit hard by last year’s hurricanes, a long-term reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), greater stability for community health centers and a one-year extension of recently expired tax provisions. The agriculture provisions will provide a workable safety net for cotton producers in Arkansas and throughout the Cotton Belt.

Getting an agreement on all these big-ticket items takes considerable effort. It is my hope that by removing these obstacles, we can return to regular order, where we are no longer governing by crisis and funding decisions are made in a timely and responsible manner with proper congressional oversight.”

By Joe Thompson, MD, MPH President and CEO, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement

A recent study contains some alarming statistics: America’s death rate is declining more slowly than in years past, and more slowly in comparison to the death rates of other wealthy nations. The study suggests this is due, in part, to rising obesity levels.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences under the title “The Role of Obesity in Exceptionally Slow Mortality Improvement,” the study found that even setting aside increases in the U.S. death rate related to the opioid epidemic, progress in improving mortality is slowing. The researchers suggested that advances in areas such as medical technology and tobacco cessation are being offset by rising levels of body mass index.

From 1976 to 1980, 15 percent of Americans were obese, but by 2014, 38 percent were obese, according to the study. The researchers found that in 2011, obesity accounted for about 186,000 excess deaths and reduced Americans’ life expectancy by almost a year by age 40.

Obesity is a national crisis. The 2017 America’s Health Rankings Annual Report by the United Health Foundation noted that every country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has a lower obesity rate than Colorado, the least obese state in the U.S. But the problem is particularly severe in Arkansas: The United Health Foundation ranked us better than only two states for adult obesity rate, with the rate increasing over the past five years from 30.9 percent to 35.7 percent.

Arkansas has made great strides in improving access to health care. Its innovative, bipartisan approach to expanding coverage through Medicaid has cut the state’s uninsured rate in half and allowed Arkansas to avoid hospital closures seen in many surrounding states that chose to reject Medicaid expansion. But the health of Arkansans will not significantly improve without changes in behavior.

Increasing the percentage of Arkansans who are at a healthy weight is the goal of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Healthy Active Arkansas initiative, now entering its third year. Complementing the work of the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, the initiative has launched the Statewide Learning Network, which helps communities across the state develop and implement action plans to promote healthy behaviors in their populations. At five regional meetings across the state in 2017, nearly 250 community members joined the Statewide Learning Network, and there are plans to invite others to join at several meetings again this year. For more information, email or call (501) 526-2255. Even our legislators and constitutional officers are getting into the act. During last year’s legislative session, the House, the Senate, and the Governor’s Office competed in the CapitolGO! Challenge, during which participants were encouraged to log their steps using a smartphone app. More than 30 million steps were logged overall, with the Senate taking top honors for logging an average of 6,743 steps per day.


Before you see the musical, see the movie that started it all!  Dr. James Yates and the cast of the South Arkansas Arts Center’s production will host a film showing of “Sunset Boulevard”, the movie version of the upcoming spring musical, on Thursday, February 15, at the South Ark Library, at 6:30pm.  South Ark Library is located at 300 Summit Street in El Dorado.  

“’Sunset Boulevard’ is a film noir that remains the best drama ever made about the movies, because it sees through the illusion created by Hollywood,” said Dr. Yates. “You can say that it’s a film made about Hollywood at its worst, told by Hollywood at its best.”

That evening will also feature a background and talk back session with Dr. Yates and the cast members about the movie, how it was made and some interesting facts you may not know behind the story.  Dr. Yates is vice president for arts, sciences and academic support at South Arkansas Community College. 

During the run of the musical at SAAC, Yates will also host a Talk Back with the cast following the performances on Sunday, March 4, and on Thursday, March 8. He will be on hand fifteen minutes before curtain on those dates to provide a brief introduction to the performance.

For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at . SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

February 08, 2018


Reinvigorating and retooling rural communities are hot topics in Arkansas these days and will be thoroughly discussed at an upcoming regional conference to be held in Monticello, Arkansas.  Funded by Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, Arkansas Human Development Corporation (AHDC) and United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, the 2018 Southeast Arkansas Business & Enterprise Development Conference, will bring together approximately 20 private, state, federal and nonprofit organizations with a singular goal of equipping small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools, skills and resources needed to start and expand their businesses.

Hosted by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, AHDC, Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center of the University of Arkansas Agriculture Cooperative Extension Office, Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, Drew County Chamber of Commerce, University of Arkansas at Monticello, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, the conference will be held Friday, March 2, 2018 from 8:30am – 2:00pm in the Fine Arts Center – Spencer Gallery, located on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Monticello, 346 University Drive, Monticello, Arkansas 71656.  Topics will include but are not limited to, building effective partnerships, securing capital, developing business plans and selling goods and services to the government.

Join us at 8:30 am for a “Lenders Roundtable Breakfast,” where participants will network with local, regional and statewide lenders. Lenders confirmed to participate include Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Citizens
Bank, Communities Unlimited, FORGE, Monticello Bank, Union Bank…and MORE will be invited.  Lunch will also be provided.

Current business owners and those just getting started, youth entrepreneurs, business and technical school students, apprentices, veterans and community and economic development professionals, are invited to attend this unique opportunity. You will engage with other business owners, receive help with research and business planning, learn how to increase your networking results and learn to do more business with government and private industry. Mr. Mike Preston, Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission will be the luncheon speaker.  He brings a wealth of experience as an economic development leader in Arkansas and Florida.  Since coming to Arkansas, he has helped over 300 companies locate or expand here, encouraged investment of more than $7 billion and helped create over 16,000 jobs.

Don’t miss the opportunity to help your community create needed small businesses and JOBS by learning the tools, skills and resources available to help your small business GROW!

An investment of time is the cost to attend but registration is encouraged. You may register by calling Arkansas Human Development Corporation at (800) 482-7641 or online at



The South Arkansas Arts Center will host El Dorado artist Danny Nesbit’s show in the Lobby Gallery February 2-27, 2018. An artist’s reception honoring Nesbit will be held on February 10, from 6:00-8:00pm. 

Nesbit’s eclectic exhibit consists of a varied grouping of sizes and media, mostly concentrating on detail oriented small mixed media pieces.  His works are showcased on different backgrounds, including canvas, boards, small shells and other miniature items.  His show also includes drawings and abstract paintings, as well as cartoon drawings.

Nesbit’s interest in art began when he was in high school, and a few of his works from that period of his life, mostly cartoons, are included in this show.  Most of the pieces in his exhibit have been done in the last 4-5 years, and from a period when he lived in Florida.  Some of his favorite pieces are beach scenes and paintings done on driftwood from a canal near where he lived.

Nesbit said of his art, “My art consists of many different mediums, acrylics being my favorite.  Melting crayons with a heat gun is a technique I recently tried and I liked the colorful results.  I enjoy creating and thinking outside of the box.  I may see an image in an object that someone else may have overlooked. Also, working with old barn wood from my grandparent’s farm keeps me connected to my family’s past.”

Gallery viewing hours are Monday- Friday 9:00-5:00.  For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

The South Arkansas Arts Center’s open photography competition, “The Viewfinder”, will be on display in the Merkle and Price Galleries from February 6-27, 2018. The bi-annual judged photography competition is sponsored by William P. Cook and Associates, PLLCAn artist’s reception is planned for February 10, 2018, from 6:00-8:00pm with the awards presented at 6:30pm.

“The ViewFinder” reveals the interests and imagination of shutterbugs throughout our community and beyond.   In the last 10 years, with the wide penetration of digital cameras with video capabilities, the environment surrounding image-making has dramatically changed and it continues to evolve to create new standards and provide new opportunities for discovery. 

Photographers of all ages submitted their original images, captured with any camera and printed on varied media, for inclusion in the competition. Photographers could use basic corrective editing in the dark room or digitally, but no graphic manipulations or touch-ups were allowed. The photos had to have been taken within the last three years and not under supervision or in a classroom environment. Boasting over 80 photographs by more than 60 photographers, this year’s entries include landscapes, animals, still life compositions, faces and nature, as well as many other subjects from local and regional photographers.

An avid photographer since 1997 and also holding an MFA in photojournalism, Terrence Armstard, News Editor at the El Dorado News-Times and Adjunct Instructor at South Arkansas Community College, served as judge this year’s competition.  Armstard has selected the award winning photographs for Best of Show, First, Second, Third Place, and Honorable Mention. $600 in prize money will be presented to the winning selections during the artist’s reception.

Viewing hours for the Price and Merkle Gallery are Monday- Friday, 9:00-5:00.  For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas

February 07, 2018

Angler Input Welcome

CAMDEN - On Thursday, February 22, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission will host a public input meeting regarding fisheries management on Upper White Oak Lake. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the AGFC Camden Region Office at 500 Ben Lane in Camden.

“We want the anglers and general public to be a part of the process of updating the fishery’s management plan,” said Andy Yung, regional biologist in the AGFC Camden office. “We’ll have a short presentation on 

the current status of the fishery, followed by a period of structured public input concerning management of the fishery going forward.”

Yung says regulations, stocking and habitat enhancements will be covered in the future plan, as well as any other concerns directly related to fishing on Upper White Oak Lake. A follow up meeting will be held at 7 p.m., March 1, at the Camden office to go over the information gathered and provided a draft plan for final public input.

“With many of these meetings, some ideas can be implemented immediately, some may require additional planning, and some may not be feasible due to biological reasons, but all of the input brought in will be considered,” Yung said. “We want to work with our local anglers to make this lake fit their needs and desires, and we need their input to make that happen.”

Anyone interested in management of the lake is encouraged to attend both meetings. If you have any questions, please call the Camden Regional Office at 1-877-836-4612.

The CADC (Central Arkansas Development Council) has announced that the USDA Commodities Distribution will take place on Tuesday, February 13th and Wednesday February 14th. Distribution begins at 9AM at Ouachita County Carnes Park located at 955 Adams, S.E in Camden.

Food items may include walnuts, grape juice, raisins, applesauce cups, UHT milk, cream of mushroom soup, peaches, sliced potatoes, green beans, canned chicken, diced tomatoes, spaghetti, whole corn, vegetable soup and tomato sauce.

For information contact Gwen Edwards at 870-836-3200. All participants must show id. A photo ID is preferred. 

This is an equal opportunity program. In accordance with Federal Law and the US Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. If you believe you have been discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability  write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Ave., SE, Washinigton, D.C. 20250


Arkansas’s Griffin to Serve with Chairman Lt. Gov. Dan Forest of North Carolina

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (February 6, 2018) – Lt. Governor Tim Griffin today made the following statement after the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association announced he was named vice chairman and will serve with Chairman Lt. Governor Dan Forest of North Carolina: 

“I look forward to working with Dan to help elect common sense conservative lieutenant governors all across the country who know how to solve problems and get things done. Dan and I are excited about the opportunity to build upon the success the RLGA has already had electing candidates who are committed to the core principles of freedom, security and prosperity for all Americans,” Lt. Governor Griffin stated.  

"As the highest ranking statewide Republican in North Carolina, Lt. Governor Forest has consistently been an outspoken voice for conservative governance in the Tar Heel state. Lt. Governor Forest knows what it takes to win in a competitive environment, and with Lt. Governor Griffin at his side, their shared experience will be a tremendous asset to the RLGA in what is expected to be a challenging election year,” said Matt Walter, President of the Republican State Leadership Committee.  

Since 2016, six Republican Lt. Governors have ascended to become Governors of their respective states.  

The 2018 Executive Committee will also include Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Iowa Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, and Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.

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 three children.



Washington, D.C.— Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) along with Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today introduced Eric’s Law, a bill that aims to deliver justice to victims and their families in federal death penalty cases. The legislation would permit prosecutors to impanel a second jury for sentencing if the first jury fails to reach a unanimous sentencing decision. 

Eric’s Law is named for Eric Williams, a federal correctional officer who was savagely murdered by an inmate at U.S. Penitentiary Canaan in Wayne County, Pa. in 2013. At the time he took Officer Williams’ life, the inmate was already serving a life sentence for murder. Although a federal jury found the prisoner guilty of this brutal crime, the inmate received essentially no additional punishment because one juror out of twelve would not vote for a death penalty sentence.

“It’s disturbing that the man who murdered Officer Williams escaped punishment. Eric’s Law will protect against such a gross miscarriage of justice and allow more hardened criminals to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Senator Cotton

“Officer Eric Williams’s life was senselessly cut short by a violent gang assassin. His murderer essentially received no punishment for his crime, even though eleven out of twelve jurors voted for the death penalty, because he was already serving a life sentence. The lack of any consequence in this case highlights a flaw in our justice system that this legislation will address,” said Senator Toomey. “I hope my colleagues will swiftly consider this important piece of legislation so no other families have to see violent criminals avoid justice.”

“Federal law provides for the penalty of death in the most severe crimes, including those involving the vicious murder of law enforcement officers and prison guards like Eric Williams,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation will help keep our communities safe and give federal prosecutors the option to empanel a second jury to decide the ultimate penalty if the first panel cannot reach a unanimous decision.”  

“I am proud to join Sen. Pat Toomey in introducing Eric’s Law,” Senator Cruz said. “Officer Eric Williams was violently murdered by an inmate serving a life sentence. At the trial, the jurors did not reach a unanimous sentence, allowing his murderer to essentially go unpunished for his crime. By allowing federal prosecutors to impanel a second jury for the sentencing phase of a federal death penalty case, we can prevent further miscarriages of justice.”

Currently, prosecutors cannot impanel a second jury for sentencing if a jury in a federal death penalty case fails to reach a unanimous decision on a sentence. Instead, the judge must impose a sentence other than the death penalty. Eric’s Law would allow, but not require, prosecutors to impanel a second jury in these instances. The bill is modeled after state laws in California and Arizona.

Eric’s Law is endorsed by:

  • AFGE Council of Prison Locals 33
  • Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
  • Voices of J.O.E


Washington D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) today introduced the Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, legislation that would prohibit the United States government from purchasing or leasing telecommunications equipment and/or services from Huawei, ZTE, or any subsidiaries or affiliates.

“Huawei is effectively an arm of the Chinese government, and it’s more than capable of stealing information from U.S. officials by hacking its devices,” said Cotton. “There are plenty of other companies that can meet our technology needs, and we shouldn’t make it any easier for China to spy on us” said Senator Cotton.

“Chinese telecom companies, like Huawei, are directly linked to the Chinese government and communist party. For national security reasons, we cannot allow a foreign adversary to embed their technology in U.S. government systems or critical infrastructure” said Senator Rubio.

Congressman Mike Conaway (Texas-11) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives last month.

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote to U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to voice concerns about the collection of location data of U.S. servicemembers abroad. The Senators’ letter follows news that the U.S. military is reviewing the use of wireless devices, like Google’s Android, at military facilities after revelations that fitness trackers can reveal the locations and identities of individuals working in sensitive areas. Recent written statements from Google to Congress expose the risk of mapping data automatically collected through Wi-Fi networks compromising the location of military bases and other sensitive facilities. While Google has a “nomap” feature that disables a Wi-Fi network from being mapped, enabling it requires proactive opt-in from Wi-Fi network owners, many of whom may not be aware such an option exists.

“For servicemembers using Android-based phones, there is a strong likelihood that most users are sending precise location and activity data to Google, and, by extension, all divisions of its parent company, Alphabet,” wrote the Senators. “In an era of increasingly contested cyber domains, we could be unknowingly allowing our adversaries to map DoD networks for cyber intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and operational preparation of the environment.”

Cotton and Blumenthal requested Mattis respond to questions about Department of Defense (DoD) policy on enabling “nomap” features for Wi-Fi and other wireless entities on military bases and elsewhere. Additionally, the Senators requested information on steps DoD has taken to address the growing threats posed by location tracking devices.

The full text of the letter is copied below.

Dear Secretary Mattis:

We commend the Department of Defense (DoD) for undertaking a review of its guidelines for the use of wireless devices, such as mobile phones and fitness trackers, at military facilities around the world in light of the recent discovery that a popular fitness tracking app has exposed the locations and identities of individuals working in sensitive areas.  As part of this review, we encourage you to consider a couple additional items of concern that may jeopardize national security and endanger the privacy and safety of our servicemembers.

First, a January 24, 2018 article published in Quartz, recounted the continuous collection of precise user location data by Google Android phones.  This data is collected and sent back to Google, “including everything from GPS coordinates to nearby Wi-Fi networks, barometric pressure, and even a guess at the phone-holder’s current activity.”  The article makes clear the difficulty for an average user to opt out of this location tracking.  For servicemembers using Android-based phones, there is a strong likelihood that most users are sending precise location and activity data to Google, and, by extension, all divisions of its parent company, Alphabet. 

In Questions for the Record (QFRs) from a November 1, 2017, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing, Google’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Mr. Kent Walker,  was asked  whether information it collects on U.S. government employees is processed or stored in Russia or China.  In his answer, he noted that Google does “not have data centers that store information collected on U.S.-basedgovernment employees in Russia or China [emphasis added].” Given this response, we are concerned about the storage of location data offoreign-based government employees, such as servicemembers and diplomatic personnel stationed overseas.  As part of the Pentagon’s review of wireless devices, we encourage you to look into whether there are any special risks to servicemembers using Android phones or Google services, in terms of having their locations tracked and stored by Google, whether in U.S. or foreign-based data centers.  In addition, as to foreign-based storage of U.S. person information, we ask that you evaluate the respective foreign government’s ability to access that U.S. person information, as well as the privacy protections and legal process available to affected U.S. persons.

Second, Google’s Android phones collect data on all Wi-Fi base stations and send it back to Google as part of its mapping and location programs.  At the same hearing,  Mr. Walker was asked whether Google uses Wi-Fi networks on military bases or in other government buildings to map those locations.  We are concerned that DoD Wi-Fi base stations in military bases and facilities around the world could be mapped unwittingly by servicemembers using Android phones.  This concern expands beyond phone use by servicemembers to include anybody, including foreign support personnel and even servicemembers’ family on base, who happen to be carrying an Android phone while on or near a military site.  In an era of increasingly contested cyber domains, we could be unknowingly allowing our adversaries to map DoD networks for cyber intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and operational preparation of the environment. 

Mr. Walker responded that Wi-Fi base station owners may opt-out of this collection by using a “nomap” process made available to consumers on one of Google’s customer help pages.   The instructions seem difficult to use, even if DoD personnel knew they existed at all.   As many of our routine modern-day conveniences are now vulnerabilities that our adversaries can and will exploit, we respectfully request you answer the following questions within 30 days as part of your review.

1. Does the DoD regularly “nomap” its Wi-Fi networks so that Google cannot use them in location tracking?

2. Is it appropriate for the DoD and/or the U.S. Government to bear the burden of taking affirmative steps to prevent surreptitious mapping when it is not even party to any kind of contractual relationship with the entitity that is mapping?

3. Has Google, or any other internet technology company, ever notified the DoD that it should engage in this “nomap” step to protect the location of its Wi-Fi networks, and therefore, location of its service personnel?  If so, when did DoD receive each notification?  If not, what steps does DoD plan to take to remedy the providers’ lack of notification?

4.  Does U.S. Cyber Command, the associated service cyber components, and the Defense Information Systems Agency have the necessary resources to respond to the growing threat from location-tracking devices? What additional tools, resources, or partnerships with the private sector are necessary?

Thank you for your service to this nation and your attention to these matters of national security.

February 06, 2018


Chief Bo Woody of the Camden Police Department spoke with Radio Works regarding the rash of recent car break-ins. There were reports of 9 break-ins over the weekend in an area off of Maul Road. The Chief reported that one vehicle was moved from the residence and located down the road later on. He stated that the thieves are targeting unlocked vehicles and going through them to see what they can find of any value.

Chief Woody said that everyone should lock their vehicles. Do not leave valuables in the car. There were no broken windows in this rash of thefts. They are looking for vehicles that are left unlocked. An investigation is underway.


Ouachita County Sheriff and Collector David Norwood announces his re-election bid.

Sheriff Norwood,57,  is a lifelong resident of Ouachita County and a graduate of Harmony Grove High School.

Norwood said, “In my 35 years in law enforcement, it has been my highest honor to serve the citizens of Ouachita  County as Together we have accomplished many great things.

Norwood spoke of his most notable accomplishments during his current tenure and plans for the future.
“The revenue created by our detention facility housing ADC inmates totals 5,256,366 since 2010. These funds have been used to build our new District Court facility that opened Oct 2017, taking our 2018 budget in account we will still show a 3.2 million dollar surplus.   I am in the final phase of negotiations to house federal detainees in our detention facility, this additional revenue will increase our surplus two-fold.  I am extremely proud of my staff at Ouachita Co Sheriff & Collectors office and  want to continue to preserve the hard work we’ve accomplished. 

I greatly appreciate you for your support and humbly ask for your vote to continue working for the citizens of this great county.”



\WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined a bipartisan group of senators in calling on Senate leadership to immediately reauthorize funding for community health centers. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Boozman and his colleagues expressed their strong support for community health centers, which serve the primary health care needs of more than 27 million patients in more than 8,000 locations across the United States, including more than 135 health center sites in Arkansas.

“Community health centers serve a vital function, providing affordable health care to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” wrote the senators. “They provide quality medical, dental, vision and behavioral health care to more than 27 million patients, including 330,000 of our nation’s veterans and 8 million children, at over 10,000 sites nationwide. … Without extension of the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), community health centers will lose seventy percent of their funding.  This will result in an estimated 2,800 site closures, the loss of 50,000 jobs, and approximately 9 million Americans losing access to their health care.”  

As the senators note in their letter, the CHCF expired on September 30, 2017. The failure to reauthorize the fund has jeopardized access to care for millions of Americans, and made it difficult for community health centers to adequately plan for everything from staffing needs to securing loans for capital projects.

In September 2017, Boozman signed a bipartisan letter urging the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Chairman and Ranking Member to extend funding for community health centers.

Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Debbie Stabenow (D- MI) led the letter. In addition to Boozman, the letter was signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Dean Heller (R-NV), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Hoeven (R-ND), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), John Kennedy (R-LA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), James Risch (R-ID), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

The full text is below.

Dear Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer:

We write to express our concern over funding for community health centers, which expired on September 30, 2017.  We strongly urge you to reauthorize this funding immediately.

Community health centers serve a vital function, providing affordable health care to our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.  They provide quality medical, dental, vision and behavioral health care to more than 27 million patients, including 330,000 of our nation’s veterans and 8 million children, at over 10,000 sites nationwide.  By offering preventative care, treating chronic conditions, and working to fight the opioid epidemic, community health centers are not only greatly improving the health and well-being of those they serve, they are also saving significant taxpayer dollars.  

Without extension of the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), community health centers will lose seventy percent of their funding.  This will result in an estimated 2,800 site closures, the loss of 50,000 jobs, and approximately 9 million Americans losing access to their health care.  Moreover, community health centers operate as small businesses and require a level of predictability to operate and respond to the needs of their communities.  Since the expiration of the CHCF, community health centers have not been able to adequately plan for everything from staffing needs to securing loans for capital projects. In addition, the expiration of the National Health Service Corps and Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education program threatens the ability of health centers to meet their workforce needs.

For more than fifty years, community health centers have experienced strong bipartisan support.  In fact, twenty bipartisan senators cosponsor legislation which reauthorizes funding not only for community health centers but also for the National Health Service Corps.

We look forward to working with you to reach a bipartisan agreement to fund the community health center program and enable our community health centers to continue providing high quality and affordable care to those in need.



 A seminar addressing "Top-Notch Customer Service" will be held on Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. Excellent customer service is a cost-free marketing technique, as well as a way to set your business apart from your competitors. Learn how to exceed customer expectations, handle unhappy customers, and create a culture of top-notch customer service. FREE! Thanks to a sponsorship with Team Camden OPED Building, Camden, AR.

The seminar will be held at Camden Accelerated Business Services (CABS) Center located at 625 Adams SW (OPED Building) in Camden.  Call 870-836-2210 or email to Pre-Register.

(StatePoint) At a divisive moment in our nation’s history, you may be wondering how average citizens can help bring about friendlier politics.

Experts suggest that it starts with finding common ground among those whose opinions differ from you. Ira Shapiro, a former ambassador who has held senior positions in the U.S. Senate, recently authored “Broken: Can the Senate Save Itself and the Country?” in order to explore the state of U.S. politics and its future.

Of the U.S. Senate, his area of expertise, he says, “America is deeply divided. But the men and women of the Senate should not mirror -- or worse, inflame -- the nation’s divisions. Their job is to overcome them, finding common ground to take collective action in the national interest.”

Citizens can apply this principle in a number of ways:

• Get involved. Attend city council meetings and town hall meetings. Join the PTA. But don’t just show up -- make your voice heard. Make friends on all sides of the issue. Be a coalition builder. Discover where your beliefs overlap with others before debating about the issues on which you disagree.

• Get in touch. From petitions to postcards to calls and texts, there are numerous ways to get in touch with your elected officials at every level of government. Encourage your representatives to work constructively with their colleagues in an effort to de-polarize politics and ultimately be more effective at their jobs.

• Speak out. Organize or attend a rally. Raise money for a political cause that mattes to you. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Take advantage of the channels available to you.

“The best remedy of all, on both the national and local levels, is to support candidates who are problem solvers and consensus builders, not partisan warriors. Look for the candidates who put the country, or the community, first -- above party allegiance or personal aggrandizement,” stresses Shapiro, who also serves as a trade law and global policy consultant. More thoughts from Shapiro are available on his consultancy’s website at

Shapiro believes that the Senate is in trouble, but it can be saved. Likewise, everyone, including average citizens, can be a champion for a climate of healthier politics, whether it’s around the dinner table, on a social media thread or at a city council meeting.


February 05, 2018

(SPM Wire) February 14 is National Donor Day, an annual reminder that organ donation is a life saver.

More than 118,000 people in the United States are waiting for organs, and every 10 minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing.

Average people can make a big difference, simply by adding their names to The National Donate Life Registry. Indeed, one organ donor can save up to eight lives. You can register to become a donor at the DMV when applying for a driver’s license or by visiting

With more organs needed than are actually available, consider learning more about how organ donation works.

(StatePoint) A busy lifestyle and cooler weather can take a toll on the body, especially for those who suffer from chronic aches and pains. Whether the cause of your pain is due to injury, stress, or poor sleep, there are many ways to feel better while avoiding future pain.

To stay well this season and naturally manage muscle pain, consider these tips from professional ballroom dancer Tony Dovolani, who’s no stranger to the subject of pain management.

• Stretch. Stretching is not just for before or after a workout. Stretch throughout the day to keep blood flowing, particularly if you have a job that keeps you sedentary.

• Eat right. Your diet should include lean protein and healthy carbs. “And I eat my vegetables, too!” says Dovolani. “Mainly spinach, string beans and broccoli.”

Figure out which vegetables you like best, and be sure to incorporate them into your diet.

• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is necessary for muscle repair. Drink water throughout the day and especially when you’re active.

• Apply heat. Heat is a timeless remedy, and it’s clinically proven to relieve pain associated with muscle tension and stress, helping to relax muscles and improve blood flow. The increased blood flow restores oxygen and nutrients to inflamed areas to help accelerate healing.

“After every rehearsal and performance, I use heat to soothe aches and pains and improve blood flow to my neck and shoulder muscles,” says Dovolani, whose pain relief routine includes using The Sunbeam Renue Neck Wrap. “It’s great for providing relief to the back of my head, neck and shoulders.”

Because it features an adjustable neck collar that contours to the shape of the neck of the user, it can provide high-level, concentrated heat for targeted relief.

Don’t let aches and pains set you back. With a healthy, active lifestyle and simple, natural remedies, you can feel your best.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to paint something that actually looks like what it’s supposed to be, now’s your chance to have a lesson from a real artist…and have fun while you’re doing it!  The South Arkansas Arts Center presents another Corks and Canvas class, this time hosted and taught by local artist Rhonda Hicks on February 15, 2018. . Corks and Canvas is an art class for non-artists who have always wanted to paint.  The instructor takes the class through the step by step process to complete a work of art in 3 hours.

Hicks plans to teach a mixed media painting for Corks and Canvas.  She plans to instruct an acrylic 11x14 painting with a spring theme.  She has previously taught at Corks and Canvas and has had great response from the class. Melissa McFarland, who has participated in one of Hicks' previous classes at SAAC said, “Being around Rhonda is a party!  She is fun, creative and inspiring.”   Rhonda and her shop, Backwoods Art and Frame, have been an important downtown art destination for many years.

Corks and Canvas starts at 6:00 and runs until 9:00, with snacks being provided.  Participants are allowed to bring the beverage of their choice.  Cost of the class is $40, which covers all supplies and snacks. The next Corks and Canvas night will be held on Thursday, March 15, with Kelly Campbell instructing.  Please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 for more information, or visit the website at  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

February 02, 2018


MAGNOLIA - The Southern Arkansas University Board of Trustees approved on Tuesday a bond proposal in the amount of $7.9 million through the Alumni Association for the construction of a new student resident hall that will help the University meet continued enrollment growth projections.

The Board also approved a separate bond proposal in the amount of $6.2 million for growth areas and deferred maintenance. Dr. Trey Berry, president, said the bond issuance would cover improvements around campus and pay for an expansion of facilities to support the College of 

Education and the SAU Band.

Edgar O. Lee was appointed chairman of the board, replacing W. Steve Keith, whose term has expired. David Nelson was voted vice-chair and Lawrence Bearden was appointed secretary. Keith was also honored for his service to SAU during what Berry called “some of the most rapid and significant changes in the history of this institution.”

Bond proposals

Berry outlined the need for SAU to build Arkansas Hall, a 132-bed residence hall to be located on the north side of the campus, adjacent and similar to Magnolia and Columbia halls. SAU has had an average growth of incoming freshmen of 105-120 new students annually living on campus over the past five years. SAU residence halls were home this past fall to more than 1,850 students. The increase from last year’s residential record of 1,764 was made possible by the opening of two 

 new residence halls this August, Eichenberger Hall and Burns-Harsh Hall.

“If we want to continue to grow, we need to have space for our students,” said Berry.

Other campus improvements occurred over the summer to prepare for the growth, including a cafeteria expansion, moving of the tutoring center to the centralized library, and the main throughway being converted to a boulevard for improved pedestrian and cyclist safety and enjoyment.

Under the agreement executed Tuesday, the Alumni Association will take out the bonds and SAU will be financially responsible for the note. SAU will pay the Alumni Association $25,000 per year for five years beginning in the fall of 2019.

“We are excited the Alumni Association will do this for us,” Berry said. “It has played a significant role.”

Once Arkansas Hall is finished, the four new residence halls on the west end of campus, including the 85-bed Burns-Harsh Hall, will have a capacity of almost 500 students. “What a great way to enter the campus,” Berry said.

For the second bond, the primary project is a two-story, 10,000 square-foot addition to Cross Hall. Berry explained that this new facility will consolidate the growing College of Education and accommodate the University’s anticipated doctoral program.

The bond also includes an expansion of the Oliver Band Hall, now inadequate due to the rapid growth in the SAU Band program, to add practice rooms and storage. Other items include construction of an office and locker room facility for tennis, golf, and possibly other athletic programs.

Shawana Reed, vice president for finance, explained the details of the bonds and presented a proposed refinancing of a 2007 Bond that would create significant savings for the University. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education Coordinating Board has final review and approval of the bonds, she said.

After brief discussion, the Board unanimously approved the bond proposals as well as the E&G and auxiliary resolutions.

Board honors Keith

Keith was honored with a special presentation to honor his five years of service to the University. He served on the Board from 2013-2018 and is replaced on the panel by Monty Harrington of Magnolia. Tuesday marked Harrington’s first meeting as a trustee member.

Berry lauded Keith’s service as secretary, vice chair, and finally chairman of the board, shepherding both SAU and SAU Tech through “significant changes.” He cited continuous technology and infrastructure upgrades, the new softball field, the Mulerider Activity Center, and the construction of four new residence halls as among those changes during Keith’s tenure.

“Your service deserves lasting recognition,” Berry said, presenting Keith with a memorabilia case that included Keith’s gavel and a copy of the resolution, which was placed in the official minutes.

Keith replied that he also saw the hiring of Berry as president and Jason Morrison as chancellor of SAU Tech, “two great accomplishments.” He said he made many great friends while serving as a trustee and thanked faculty, staff and administration for their hard work.

He said one of the most impactful parts of his time on the Board was watching graduation ceremonies at SAU and SAU Tech and seeing the emotional graduates and their proud parents. “That’s what we are here for. If we don’t have kids, we’re out of business.”

He thanked his wife, Kerry Cloud Keith, for supporting him, and noted his special connection to SAU. Not only did he earn two degrees from SAU, a B.S.E. in 1974 and a M.S.E. in 1977, but several members of his family are also proud alumni. They include his mother, the late Dorothy Keith; his sister, Nelda Keith Peace; his brothers, Mark and Phil Keith; his son, Kyle; and his wife, Kerry.


Little Rock, Arkansas - The Drug Policy Education Group, Arkansa Cannabis Industry Association, Illegally Healed, and the Arkansas Hemp Association are hosting the 2nd Cannabis Patient Day at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock on Tuesday, February 27th, at 10AM.

Organizers say that over 420 people have already registered online to attend. Medical cannabis is a constitutional right for Arkansans with one of 18 qualifying conditions. Arkansas patients, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and advocates will be educating law makers on the health benefits of medical cannabis.

“It’s time for us to flood Capitol Hill with facts and education. We’re patients, not criminals.” said Corey Hunt, Chair of Patient Advocacy Committee, for the ACIA and co-founder of Illegally Healed. In 2017, over 75 people showed up to take part in group meetings and talk with their elected representatives. This year, organizers expect over 500 Arkansas medical cannabis patients, caregivers, and health professionals to attend meetings with state and federal representatives throughout the day.

“With the uncertainty of the current Federal government's approach to cannabis, it is imperative now more than ever that medical cannabis patients stand up and be given proper respect.“ said Michael Cary, Vice President of the Drug Policy Education Group. The schedule for the Cannabis Patient Day includes a rally to demand that representatives vote to respect Arkansas’ rights and protect patients. Free t-shirts will be provided to pre-registered attendees.

The general public and the media are invited to attend free of charge.
DATE AND TIME: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM CST
LOCATION: Arkansas State Capitol 500 Woodlane Street Little Rock, AR
Drug Policy Education Group: www.drugpolicyeducation.

February 01, 2018


LITTLE ROCK (Feb. 2, 2018) – Dr. Mark A. Elrod of Conway (Faulkner County) and Mary Joe Rogers of Stamps (Lafayette County) have been re-elected as officers of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission for 2018.

Elrod will serve as chairman, and Rogers will serve as vice chairwoman, each for a one-year term. Both were initially appointed to the commission in 2014; Elrod represents the state’s Second Congressional District; Rogers, the Fourth Congressional District.

Other Keep Arkansas commissioners include Laurie Blackwell Black of Lake Village (Chicot County), Brooks Coatney of Fayetteville (Washington County), Brenda Fendley of Marshall (Searcy County), The Rev. Dr. Thurston B. Lamb of North Little Rock (Pulaski County), Jane Phillips-Jolly of Hot Springs (Garland County) and Mayor Mark Simpson of Clarksville (Johnson County).

About Keep Arkansas Beautiful

The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional program staff of three and a nine-member, governor-appointed advisory board, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc., it works to inspire and educate individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB’s operations and programs are funded through its 1-percent portion of the eighth-cent Conservation Tax. For more information, visit and follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. 



SAU Tech was approved by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) on Friday, January 26, 2018, to begin offering a degree in forestry harvesting.  The College has been working on preparations for the program for almost two years. The demand for employees to fill positions in the logging and forestry processing industry in the south Arkansas area was the driving force behind the development of the new program.

Arkansas Senator, Trent Garner, stated that “It is great news for south Arkansas that the new forestry technician program will be at SAU Tech. The program will provide opportunities for careers in one the largest industries in our area.”  SAU Tech Chancellor, Dr. Jason Morrison, Matt Stone, owner of Stone Timber, and John Dawson III, owner of Arkansas Pulpwood, all attended the ADHE session that included the presentation and subsequent program approval for SAU Tech.

Matt Stone has been strong in his support for the program saying, “SAU Tech’s Forest Harvesting Technician degree will allow men and women to come into the forest industry with the skills to succeed.” Stone also spoke on behalf of SAU Tech during the ADHE session. He reiterated the need for technicians who would get out in the woods and do hands-on work. John Dawson III has supported the creation of the program since the beginning and stated that “our industry needs people with a good work ethic in the field. This new opportunity at SAU Tech will help train qualified employees to fill an immediate need in south Arkansas.”  Dr. Morrison said he included Stone and Dawson in the ADHE session as he felt it was important for the decision-makers to understand the industry need directly people who work directly in the industry every day. 

The program will be delivered starting in the fall semester. Anyone wanting more information on the program can call 870-574-4717 or contact the program advisor by email at



Sergeant Jeff Whitlock, 42, of Little Rock was promoted to the rank of lieutenant today during a meeting of the Arkansas State Police Commission.

 Three recommendations for promotions were presented to the commission for consideration by Colonel Bill Bryant, Director of the Arkansas State Police. 

Lieutenant Whitlock is a fourteen year veteran of the department and has most recently served within the department’s Office of Professional Standards.  Lieutenant Whitlock will assume new duties as the commander of Fleet Services.

Corporal Jimmie N. Thomas, 49, of Oden has been promoted to the rank of sergeant. Sergeant Thomas is a twenty-two year veteran of the department and will assume new duties as a supervisor within the Criminal Investigation Division, Company C, headquartered at Hope.

Sergeant Seth Pinner, 33, of Magnolia, has been granted a lateral transfer within Highway Patrol Division Troop G, and will continue his role as a post supervisor. Sergeant Pinner is a 10 year veteran of the department.



WASHINGTON- U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act to modernize investment in water infrastructure.

This legislation rejects the fix-as-fail approach currently used to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and instead empowers states to invest in multiple water infrastructure projects. The bill combines the best aspects of state revolving funds (SRFs) with the leveraging power of the Water Infrastructure and Innovation Act (WIFIA) to make the process easier and more affordable for states to meet their underserved or unmet water infrastructure needs.

“We have a more than $500 billion shortfall for water infrastructure funding in this country. This is a national emergency. Access to safe and clean water is critical to the livelihood of every American. This legislation is an innovative approach to helping communities of all sizes, in every state secure loans so they can improve their crumbling infrastructure,” said Boozman, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works’ Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife.

“This bipartisan legislation I’ve worked on with Senator Boozman will help provide desperately needed federal investment in water infrastructure in New Jersey and communities across the country,” said Booker. “By expanding the use of innovative practices and authorizing new funding, this bill will leverage tens of billions of dollars to make dramatic improvements to our country’s drinking water and wastewater systems.”

“Oklahoma communities are struggling to supply water to their growing populations, upgrade water infrastructure that is beyond its useful life, and keep up with the multitude of unfunded federal mandates they must comply with. These issues are not unique to Oklahoma and this legislation will give states greater flexibility to set priorities and get projects off the ground,” said Inhofe, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works’ Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“We can no longer afford to put off repairs to our nation’s aging water infrastructure. California alone has a more than $7 billion backlog in needed improvements and repairs to our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Our bipartisan bill will provide low-cost loans to facilitate desperately needed investments to ensure access to safe, clean water,” Feinstein said.

This legislation would:

  • Authorize $200 million annually in federal loans over five years to support state revolving fund projects exclusively.
  • Encourage states to bundle their projects by waiving the $100,000 application fee and streamlining the application process to a maximum 180-day turnaround.
  • Simplify the federal approval process by allowing thousands of vetted drinking water and wastewater projects to receive funding, eliminating the need for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to process thousands of additional loan applications.
  • Preserve the successful state revolving funds (SRFs) and the Water Infrastructure and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program.

This legislation has bicameral support. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressmen John Katko (R-NY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

January 31, 2018


Little Rock, Ark. — Jan. 30, 2018 — Since 2013, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas linemen have traveled to Central America to build power lines to deliver electricity to more than 1,700 rural Bolivians and Guatemalans. On Feb. 4, 15 electric cooperative linemen will travel to Guatemala to provide electric service for more than 105 villagers who have never had electrical service.

“During the mission, electric cooperative linemen from Arkansas will work with EMRE, a municipal electric utility, to expand service to rural areas including Las Tortugas and San Jorge communities that are located near the Mexico border,” said Duane Highley, president/CEO of the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas. “The Arkansas linemen’s primary project is to build approximately 7.5 miles of power lines that will have multiple connections to homes and huts.”

The project area is agriculturally based and produces corn, beans, rice, coffee, tea, cacao, pepper, cardamom and other domestic crops.

According to Highley, the new power line will help improve the quality of life to rural Guatemalans just like rural Americans experienced in the 1930s and 40s in the United States.

“As we have seen and experienced in our blessed nation, the quality of life that electricity brings is beyond measure,” he said. “Each of the electric cooperative linemen are honored to volunteer to help make the world brighter for current and future generations in Guatemala.”

Linemen and their respective cooperatives participating in the project are: Kenneth Byrd and Zac Pettis with Arkansas Valley Electric of Ozark; Terry Harkey with Craighead Electric of Jonesboro; Shawn Hammonds, Zack Lewis and Chris Wiles with First Electric of Jacksonville; Keith Uselton with Mississippi County Electric of Blytheville; Joey Burk and Billy Smart with North Arkansas Electric of Salem; Richard Freeland with Ouachita Electric of Camden; Doug Evans and Jamie Reeves with Petit Jean Electric of Clinton; Kyle Thomason and Brandon Winer with Southwest Arkansas REA of Texarkana; Daniel Baker with Woodruff Electric of Forrest City; and Kevin Riddle with Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. of Little Rock. NRECA International is coordinating the project.

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. 


U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) invited Camden native Col. Jennifer Wesley as his guest to the 2018 State of the Union Address.

Wesley serves as the Chief for the Strategy and Plans Division of the U.S. Army at the Pentagon. She has served in the military for more than 28 years.

“I’m grateful for Colonel Wesley’s dedication and commitment to our country. I’m honored to have her as a guest at the State of the Union address,” Boozman said.

Wesley is a graduate of Camden High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. 



Award-winning chef adds soybeans to top-selling pasta, supports Arkansas soybean producers

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Jan. 31, 2018) – Demonstrating continued commitment to Arkansas agriculture, The Hive in Bentonville is February’s featured restaurant for the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board’s Kitchen|Fields Table Tour. To show support for Arkansas soybean producers and help educate Arkansas consumers on the state’s largest row crop, award-winning chef Matt McClure is changing the lineup for their top-selling ricotta cavatelli pasta and adding edamame to the dish.

The Hive’s featured dish will feature two ways to eat soybeans: edamame and cured pork. Edamame, a popular dish, is a vegetable soybean, harvested before complete maturity. The cured pork, which rounds out the entrée, is fed soybean meal, making it a quality protein source. 

"The Kitchen|Fields Table Tour program speaks so much to The Hive’s desire to source local food. We are always looking to support the farms in our region that serves our ingredient-driven approach to cooking. I want The Hive's menu to reflect the Arkansas food story, and soybeans are an integral part of Arkansas’ culinary identity,” said Matt McClure, executive chef at The Hive.

Since its launch in 2015, the Kitchen|Fields Table Tour partners exclusively with Arkansas-owned restaurants to educate consumers through their taste buds. Beginning in January and running through June, each month will feature a partner restaurant and their unique take on soybeans from cheesecake to pasta to steak. This delicious food program allows diners to experience the many ways to eat this versatile bean beyond shelled edamame and tofu, and to learn of the impact our soybean farmers have on Arkansas’s $2 billion soybean industry

The partner restaurants for the 2018 Kitchen|Fields Table Tour include: 

  • The Butcher Shop, Little Rock | January 
  • The Hive, Bentonville | February  
  • Postmaster’s Grill, Camden | March 
  • Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co., Little Rock | April
  • J Town’s Grill, Jonesboro | May  

Throughout the year, menus may change, but each restaurant’s dedication to supporting local and supporting Arkansas make them a great lunch or dinner option year-round.

From the pictures on the walls to the food on the table, The Hive, located in the award-winning 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville, is a work of art. Through Executive Chef Matt McClure’s creations, The Hive’s menu is a prominent member of the high south cuisine movement, with respect to the region’s own style of refined dining. 

As the Kitchen|Fields Table Tour travels the state, the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board encourages Arkansans to eat more soy foods and soy-fed protein, such as pork, beef, turkey and chicken. Foodies around the state can find more information on the program, including facts about our soybean industry, by visiting

By The Associated Press

This article was published today at 11:02 a.m. Updated today at 2:04 p.m. Emergency personnel work at the scene of a train crash involving a garbage truck in Crozet, Va., on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. An Amtrak passenger train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers to a Republican retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck south of Charlottesville, Va. No lawmakers were believed injured.
(Zack Wajsgrasu/The Daily Progress via AP)

January 30, 2018

Arkansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc. (AECI) is hiring right-of-way crew members. AECI assists in providing reliable, affordable and responsible electricity to Arkansas’ electric cooperatives.  Right-of-way crews are essential in providing reliable electric service by clearing trees and vegetation that grows near power lines. The tree and vegetation trimming and removal process helps prevent outages, blinking lights and reduce potential hazards.

Positions available include:
· Bucket Truck Operator
· Mechanized Tree Trimmer
· Tree Trimmer/Saw Operator
· Special Equipment Operator

The hiring event will be held at Ouachita Partnershipo for Economic Development Building located at 625 Adams Avenue in Camden on January 30th from Noon until 6pm and on January 31st from 7AM until 12 Noon.

MAGNOLIA - The Department of Engineering and Physics at Southern Arkansas University invites all to a public presentation by the renowned NASA astronaut, Lt. Col. Duane “Digger” Carey, in the Engineering Building atrium at 5 p.m. Feb. 13, 2018.

In 1996, Carey was invited by NASA to join the Astronaut Corps as a space shuttle pilot.  His most noteworthy contribution was a servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope, a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. Carey and his crew successfully upgraded the telescope, leaving it with a new power unit, a new camera and new solar arrays, during which Carey orbited the Earth 165 times and covered 3.9 million miles in 11 days. The telescope is known to be “one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built.” About 4,000 astronomers from all over the world have used the telescope to probe the universe and make profound observations. It has also captured amazing photographs of deep space.

Carey received a BS in aerospace engineering and mechanics in 1981 and an MS in aerospace engineering in 1982 from the University of Minnesota. Prior to serving with NASA, he attend the Air Force Test Pilot School and served in the U.S. Air Force as a lieutenant colonel. He served as an F-16 experimental test pilot (specializing in Performance and Flying Qualities flight testing) and as a systems safety officer, leading dozens of comprehensive safety review boards for the Air Force Flight Test Center. In 22-plus years of service, he logged more than 4,300 hours of flying time in more than 35 different types of aircraft.

Prior to his lecture, Carey will speak to engineering and physics students about the technical aspects of space flights. The lecture is free to the public, and parents and children are welcome to attend.  The Department of Engineering and Physics is grateful to Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence for sponsoring this event via INBRE Research Seminar funding, which was secured by Dr. Abdel Bachri.

According to Dr. Bachri, “People have always been fascinated by the work NASA does, and the speaker does an excellent job to seal peoples’ excitement about space exploration,” Bachri said. “He is known for giving lectures that are captivating and extremely motivational. I look forward to meeting him on campus and watching him interact with our students. Through his presentation, I am sure people will see an excellent example of why maintaining an edge in science and engineering is important.”

Washington, D.C.
 – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) today released the following statement after Senate Democrats filibustered the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act:

“It’s a sad state of affairs when a bill that a broad majority of Americans supports can’t even get a vote on the Senate floor. Senate Democrats insist on putting ideology before science and refuse to help us protect the most innocent of all Americans. But whatever political intransigence we face, the pro-life movement must continue to do all we can to build support for this bill and create a culture of life.”

Washington, D.C.
 – Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) along with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today introduced the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, which would require the Treasury Department to provide a report estimating the assets of key figures in the Iranian government. 

“This report will expose to all the world just how badly the ayatollahs have mismanaged the Iranian economy and just how much money they’ve stolen from the Iranian people. For too long, they’ve lived lavishly while their own people have suffered, and it’s time we shine a bright line on this corruption,” said Cotton.

“I am pleased to join Senator Cotton in introducing the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act, a bill that calls for the public release of information concerning the fortunes that line the coffers of Ayatollah Khamenei and his regime. By educating the public about the Iranian government’s profiteering at the expense of its own people, this proposal will aid Iranians in their quest for freedom and prosperity,” said Hatch.

Background: Companion legislation sponsored by Congressman Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) passed the House in December 2017.

JANUARY 29, 2017


Governor Asa Hutchinson will be the keynote speaker at the Camden Chamber of Commerce’s 94th annual banquet on Thursday, February 8, 2018. The banquet is scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the South Arkansas University Tech Student Center.

Since Governor Hutchinson became the 46th governor of Arkansas in 2015, the state has seen the lowest unemployment rate and the highest number of people working in the state’s history.

Under his leadership, the state has recruited major international companies to open operations in Arkansas,  created more than 11,000 jobs, cut taxes by $150 million, exempted military retirement pay from state taxes, and reduced the number of people enrolled in Medicaid.

His computer-coding initiative has led national publications to recognize Arkansas as a national leader in computer science education. More than 6,000 high school students are enrolled in coding classes, which is a 460 percent increase since the 2014-2015 school year

This year’s guest speaker is Governor Asa Hutchinson.  Tickets can be ordered by responding to this email or can be purchased at the Chamber office.  Tickets will not be available at the door.  The banquet will be catered by Woods Place and the cost is $25 until February 1st, afterwards, the cost will be $35.  If you have promotional items you would like placed on the tables, please bring those to the Chamber office before Februar 7th.


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) joined a bipartisan group of senators in expressing support for a proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would help increase the transparency and accuracy of prescription drug costs in Medicare Part D.

“Pharmacy price concessions account for real differences between the listed prices of prescription drugs and those drugs’ final, actual costs,” the senators wrote in a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “By requiring that all of these pharmacy price concessions be reflected in the negotiated price at the point of sale, CMS’s proposal will help increase the transparency and accuracy of prescription drug costs in Medicare Part D, and help significantly lower American seniors’ out of pocket drug costs.”

The letter was led by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) and also signed by Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Kennedy (R-LA), Angus King (I-ME), James Lankford (R-OK), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), David Perdue (R-GA), John Thune (R-SD), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Administrator Verma:

We write to express our support for the proposal related to pharmacy price concessions in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s (CMS) proposed rule for the 2019 Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit program. Pharmacy price concessions account for real differences between the listed prices of prescription drugs and those drugs’ final, actual costs. By requiring that all of these pharmacy price concessions be reflected in the negotiated price at the point of sale, CMS’s proposal will help increase the transparency and accuracy of prescription drug costs in Medicare Part D, and help significantly lower American seniors’ out of pocket drug costs.

In June 2016, a bipartisan group of Senators raised concerns with the current lack of transparency in pharmacy price concessions in Medicare Part D. In the letter, the Senators noted the impact these concessions had on beneficiaries’ cost sharing, federal reinsurance payments, and additional cost-sharing assistance for low-income beneficiaries. Many of these same Senators have also proposed legislation to bring greater transparency to pharmacy price concessions, lower seniors’ out of pocket costs, and bring certainty to the community pharmacies who serve them.

We thank CMS for hearing these concerns and taking concrete steps to address them. We are particularly pleased that the proposal would effectively prohibit retroactive pharmacy Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR) fees. Part D plan sponsors, often through their pharmacy benefit managers, claw these price concessions back from pharmacies well after they have already sold and dispensed the drugs. These claw backs sometimes occur as much as six months after Medicare beneficiaries fill their prescriptions.

We have heard from numerous pharmacies in our communities—many of which are rural or medically underserved—that these claw back fees cause so much uncertainty that they do not know if they can continue to serve American families. They do not know when the fees will be collected, how large a fee they will have to pay, and if the final amount they are paid will actually cover the cost of dispensing the drugs. This sort of opacity in the real cost of prescription drugs and the method of paying for them is exactly why Americans are so frustrated when they try to fill a prescription.

While CMS’s proposal will provide much needed certainty to the community pharmacists who serve American seniors, it will also reduce Medicare beneficiaries’ out of pocket drug costs. CMS has noted that this proposal would reduce total beneficiary drug costs by $10.4 billion. Seniors should no longer have to bear the burden of artificially inflated drug prices when they go the pharmacy counter. This proposal will help reduce the financial strain on seniors with fixed incomes and protect them from exposure to the Part D coverage donut hole.

For these vital reasons, we encourage CMS to adopt its proposal on pharmacy price concessions. We thank you for hearing concerns about the negative impacts of concessions like retroactive DIR fees, and look forward to the implementation of the proposed changes to address these concerns.

The South Arkansas Arts Center will host auditions for the children’s theatre program’s production of Disney’s The Aristocats KIDS on Monday and Tuesday, February 5 and 6 at 5:30 pm.  Director Hannah Davis and Music Director Sophia Meyer will be in the lobby both nights starting at 5:00 to answer any audition questions or to help with filling out forms.  This spring production is slated to run April 20-21.

For this production of Disney’s The Aristocats KIDS, the director is looking for young actors, singers and dancers for many featured roles (especially for a few with strong comedic skills), as well as a large chorus of alley cats. The Alley Cats rely on each other for strength, so a large ensemble is necessary for this show. Davis hopes to put 40 or more young actors on the SAAC stage for the show. 

Disney’s The Aristocats KIDS allows a great deal of flexibility in casting.  In this show, only Thomas O’Malley, Duchess, and Madame are gender-specific roles.  For this reason, Davis will consider all auditioning actors for all roles.  All races and ethnic groups are encouraged to audition.  All roles in this show require singing.  Two songs will be used in audition; “Ev’rbody Wants to be a Cat” and “Scales and Arpeggios”.  The songs will be taught at auditions, but students are welcome to listen to and learn the songs before arriving for the audition. Links for videos of the sheet music can be found on the SAAC website or at the front desk at SAAC.

Auditions are open to all actors in Grades 2-8. Attending both nights of auditions would be preferential for all young actors. Both parents and children should plan to be at SAAC for auditions by 5:30pm on both Monday and Tuesday nights.  Wear appropriate footwear and be prepared to move. Music and movement will be taught at the audition, so no preparation necessary.  Those auditioning for featured roles of Duchess, O’Malley, Edgar, Madame, or the Kittens will be asked to sing a short solo from the show and read a short scene.

Based on the beloved Disney animated film, and featuring a jazzy, upbeat score, Disney’s The Aristocats KIDS is a non-stop thrill ride of feline fun, complete with unbelievable twists and turns. Disney’s The Aristocats KIDS is sponsored by Kiwanis International and there is no fee to participate. Rehearsals will be held twice a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3:45-5:30 pm.

For more information, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

The theater committee of the South Arkansas Arts Center is thrilled to announce the cast members recently selected for its upcoming production of “Sunset Boulevard”.  Sponsored by Southern Bancorp and Teague Auto Group, “Sunset Boulevard” will run March 2-4, 8-9 and 11, 2018.  

Cast members were chosen by director Gary Hall over two evenings of auditions.  The part of Norma Desmond will be shared by Tracy Rice and Charlsie Falcon. Other cast members are Thomas Brewster as Joe Gillis, Darrin Riley as Max von Mayerling,  Hali Pinson as Betty Schaefer, Makenzie Lee as Artie Green, Rob Bosanko as Cecil B. DeMille, Justin Howard as Sheldrake and Jonathan Randle as Manfred. The ensemble cast includes Joel Cheshier, Holland Ruff, Joe Rogers, Bear Langston, Corey Sublett, Bob Stephenson, James Yates, Jim Roomsburg, Meredith Stone, Jaqueline Wood, Eliza Brewster, Addie Bosanko, Felice Scott, Melanie Allen, Josie Denson, Katelynn Gifford and Hannah May George.

Hall said about his cast, “How exciting to see a list with so many new names sprinkled in between some SAAC legends! I can't imagine a better group of people to bring this Hollywood fable to life.  There will also be cameo appearances by local ‘celebrities’ throughout the show, adding to the overall ambience of the piece.”

 In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded silent-screen goddess Norma Desmond lives in a fantasy world. Impoverished screen writer Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world. Persuaded to work on Norma’s ‘masterpiece’, a film script that she believes will put her back in front of the camera, he is seduced by her and her luxurious life-style. Joe becomes entrapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free with dramatic consequences.

For more information about “Sunset Boulevard”, please call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at  SAAC is located at 110 East Fifth Street, El Dorado, Arkansas.

January 24th, 2018

– ,Finalists have been announced for the 2018 class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The Department of Arkansas Heritage launched the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame in 2016 to recognize Arkansas’s legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events across the state.

Nominations were accepted from the public from September 11 through October 31 in five categories:

  • Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
  • Proprietor of the Year
  • Food-Themed Event
  • People’s Choice
  • Gone But Not Forgotten

Winners will be announced at a reception and induction ceremony on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock. The business casual reception will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by the induction ceremony at 6:15 p.m.


Finalists include:


Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

Franke’s Cafeteria of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Feltner’s Whatta-Burger of Russellville (Pope County)

Doe’s Eat Place of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Kream Kastle of Blytheville (Mississippi County)

McClard’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant of Hot Springs (Garland County)

Bruno’s Little Italy of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

White House Café of Camden (Ouachita County)

Ed Walker’s Drive-In of Fort Smith (Sebastian County)

Neal’s Café of Springdale (Washington County)      

Dixie Pig of Blytheville (Mississippi County)

The Venesian Inn of Tontitown (Washington County)        

DeVito’s of Eureka Springs (Carroll County)


Proprietor of the Year

Mary Beth Ringgold of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Capi Peck of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Scott McGehee of Little Rock (Pulaski County)      

Matt McClure of Bentonville (Benton County)


Food-Themed Events

Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival (Bradley County)

Hope Watermelon Festival (Hempstead County)

International Greek Food Festival (Pulaski County)

Gillett Coon Supper (Arkansas County)

World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook Off (Arkansas County)


Gone But Not Forgotten

Jacques and Suzanne of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Klappenbach Bakery of Fordyce (Dallas County)

Coy’s Steak House of Hot Springs (Garland County)          

Cotham’s Mercantile in Scott (Pulaski County)


The People’s Choice Award has been chosen solely based on the number of nominations for a particular restaurant, so there are no finalists and the winner will be announced at the induction ceremony.


A total of 450 submissions were received from 40 counties across the state for the second class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. “We’re so pleased to see the public support for this program continue to grow,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “We look forward to many years of celebrating Arkansas’s unique food traditions.”


The public is invited to attend the reception and induction ceremony. Tickets are available for purchase, but space is limited. Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by emailing Shelby Brewer at or calling 501-324-9349. Tickets must be reserved no later than              February 26, 2018. Payment will be accepted by cash or check at the March 6 event. For more information about the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, visit


The 13-member selection committee includes Paul S. Austin, Evette Brady, C.C. (Chip) Culpepper, Cindy Grisham, Stacy Hurst, Montine McNulty, Tim Morton, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Kat Robinson, Christina Shutt, Swannee Bennett and Lisa Speer.


About the Department of Arkansas Heritage

The mission of the Department of Arkansas Heritage is to identify Arkansas’s heritage and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors by the discovery, preservation and presentation of the state’s natural, cultural, and historic resources. This is accomplished through the work of its eight divisions: Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.



Arkansas students now have access to high-speed broadband in the classroom thanks to the completion of the Arkansas Public School Computer Network (APSCN) championed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. This provides students in public and charter schools across the state access to the internet for schoolwork and allows their teachers to bring in educational resources available online.

Unfortunately, some students only experience the benefits of high-speech broadband while at school. Arkansas is among the first states to achieve 100 percent connectivity in its schools. This impressive and important achievement highlights the great need and continued work necessary beyond the walls of our schools to accomplish connectivity for all Arkansans.

Arkansas is ranked as the 48th most connected state according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As a rural state, there are more challenges to providing access to the minimum speed of wired broadband that experts agree is functional: 25 megabits per second.

As a founder and co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, a group launched in 2016 to strengthen broadband infrastructure and deployment across the country, I’m leading efforts to extend broadband service to Arkansans all across the state.

The co-chairs of the caucus recently urged President Donald Trump to include dedicated, stand-alone funding for broadband deployment in an infrastructure proposal. In a letter to the President, we encouraged him to prioritize funding for broadband deployment to help close the digital divide that exists, especially in rural America.

This follows efforts initiated by the caucus last year calling on the administration to prioritize policies that will promote high-speed broadband in an infrastructure plan. The letter we sent was signed by more than 40 of our colleagues.

There is widespread support in Congress for improving broadband deployment, and the White House is on board too.

In a recent speech at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention, President Trump expressed his support for rural connectivity and signed two executive orders to expand broadband to rural America. These executive orders will help streamline and expedite requests by cutting red tape to encourage private sector investment in high-speed internet.

I’m pleased to see the administration is joining our efforts to improve rural broadband. Having the ability to get online is as essential as having modern roads and bridges and it’s a key component of economic development.

For every $5 billion invested in broadband infrastructure, 250,000 jobs are created; and with every percentage point increase in new broadband distribution, employment expands by 300,000 jobs. Yet, according to the FCC’s 2016 Broadband Progress Report, one in ten Americans lacks access to sufficient broadband. In rural America, it’s even higher at 30 percent.

Broadband investment strengthens our economy and expands opportunities for healthcare, agriculture and education.

Arkansas students shouldn’t have to rely on high-speed internet access only at school to complete their homework and expand their horizons. They deserve to continue to hone the skills they learn in the classroom at home, but that requires expanding broadband access. Increasing the availability of affordable, high-speed internet will close the digital divide. I’m committed to working with my colleagues to accomplish this goal.  

CAMDEN – You’re never too hold to harvest your first deer, as Ron Goza proved late last year. Goza is 77, and the button buck he took recently allowed him to receive the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s certificate for “My First Deer.”

“I’ve hunted with my son-in-law the past few years and tried to get one and just never did, year after year, just never did. But I always say, maybe next year, maybe next year,” he said.

“Next year” finally arrived for Goza on a cold morning a few weeks back. “I was out there again with my son-in-law and I told him when we saw a deer, ‘Son, this is it, or not at all.’ About two seconds later, I took the shot.”

Goza says he fired a shot from his .30-30 rifle that appeared to pass through one shoulder of the buck and out the other. The deer began to run. Goza’s first thoughts: “Oh, no.” But then after a few yards, the deer dropped near a creek.

“I was happy, really happy, honestly happy,” he exclaimed with such excitement apparent in his voice even a few weeks after the event.

Goza said he grew up getting to hunt some with his grandfather, but mostly for squirrels around his native Cleburne County. His granddad let him hunt with a .22 rifle. He remembered later taking three squirrels on one trip with a single-shot 12-guage. But he said he never had a chance for a deer when he was younger. He says it wasn’t until he was in his early 60s that the chance for a deer arrived. He now lives with his youngest daughter and son-in-law in Louann in southern Arkansas, where this deer was taken.

“I’ve just enjoyed it, I love hunting, just love it very much,” Goza said. “This looks like it was a young deer, really. It was a good, nice-sized deer. The meat was real tender. Our pastor and my son-in-law dressed it and I’ve got it in my freezer, though we ate some already.

“I’ll be looking for the big buck next year. But this was a dream come true. I couldn’t hardly believe it, that I actually got one, I really got one.”

Hunters of all ages can memorialize the unforgettable experience of a first big hunting or fishing moment with a full-color AGFC certificate: first deer, first fish, first turkey and first duck. Visit, scroll to the bottom and choose the certificate you want to display to commemorate the accomplishment. Fill out the Portable Document File (.pdf) online and print on your color printer, or download the photo placement version to customize the certificate with an image of the lucky hunter and their harvest.

MAGNOLIA – Southern Arkansas University recently signed a dual admission memorandum of understanding (MOU) with South Arkansas Community College (SouthArk) and SAU Tech (Tech). The purpose of the MOU is to simplify and expedite the college-to-university transfer process. To qualify for the benefits listed in the MOU, students must complete a dual admission request form within their first 30 hours of course work at SouthArk or Tech and must begin coursework at SAU within one year of receiving an associate degree. Program benefits to students include personal academic advising and transcript review from SAU annually, transfer planning, access to SAU facilities, career services, student activities, library, and more.  

Recognizing the demand for an educated labor force and the need to reduce student debt, Dr. Barbara Jones, President of SouthArk, facilitated the MOU to help students realize cost-effective pathways to earning a bachelor’s degree in a timely process. Signing the MOUs between SAU and area colleges are Dr. Barbara Jones, South Arkansas Community College President; Dr. Trey Berry, Southern Arkansas University President; and Dr. Jason Morrison, SAU Tech Chancellor. Members of each campus witnessed the signing, along with students from SouthArk who will immediately benefit from the new MOU.

Farm Credit of Western Arkansas donated $1,995 to both the Arkansas FFA Foundation and the Arkansas 4-H Foundation in October.  Farm Credit pledged the donations in conjunction with the association’s annual director election.   The donation totaled $3,990, and was split evenly between the two organizations.     

“These donations further demonstrate Farm Credit’s commitment to Arkansas youth and these valuable organizations,” President and CEO Glen Manchester said.

“Arkansas is fortunate to have strong 4-H and FFA programs that offer important learning opportunities,” said Randy Arnold, Board Chair for Farm Credit of Western Arkansas.  “FFA and 4-H are helping shape Arkansas youth, who are tomorrow’s leaders.”

“These donations are just one more way that Farm Credit of Western Arkansas is proud to support Arkansas FFA and 4-H,” Manchester concluded.      

Farm Credit serves rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services, today and tomorrow. With more than 5,500 borrower-stockholders and $1.2 billion in assets, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas is a part of the nationwide Farm Credit System that has served rural America for more than 101 years.